The Weekly Pig’s Bladder is no more. Welcome to another seven days in the asylum as Kieran Davies takes in passionate celebrations, wondergoals, and the possibility of the cat getting the cream.

One thing we can all agree on, irrelevant to footballing allegiance, is that this season more than any other has been absolutely insane. Trying to predict outcomes of games for football accumulators is a pure lottery as truly anyone can and will beat anyone this season (with the exception of Aston Villa, they couldn’t beat eggs at the moment). When we think of the world of football in general it is so far detached from the real day to day lives we lead. There’s no recession in football and prices just keep on going up. Some of the best players now go for sums of money that could genuinely fund wars across the globe they have inflated so much. Managers can refuse to do facets of their job as they are not in the mood a la Fergies boycott of BBC or Mourinho’s series of ‘no comment’ comments. Players can just stop trying as they want to work for someone else. None of this would wash in our daily lives and we would be on the scrapheap before you could say players union. This made me think, the world of football is genuinely crazy. So that led me to the new title……..Another Seven Days in the Asylum, as we look at another seven days of all things Premier League and beyond.

Old Trafford is beginning to surpass the oversensitive speed camera on the A48 in Ely, Cardiff as an easy way to pick up three points on the road for most teams of late. Despite spending more money than India did to fund their space programme, United still struggle to reach the upper reaches of the Premier League table where as our friends from the sub-continent managed to reach the upper reaches of our atmosphere and beyond with a far smaller budget. Charlie Austin pretty much paid off his transfer fee to Southampton with one header of the football last week in the match up between the pair. With fans calling for LVG’s head for so long now it’s beginning to sound like a mantra at Old Trafford, they travel to Derby in the FA Cup this weekend and with current form, Derby will fancy their chances. Unbelievably United fans go into games now hoping defeat may force the board’s hand in sacking the manager. Meanwhile their ‘noisy neighbours’ dropped more points with a draw at West Ham. Their form is very patchy of late but they will be hoping a morale boosting victory over Everton in the League Cup Semi Final midweek will spur the team on to a run of form. With de Bruyne out injured and Toure still going missing far too often, City will need Aguero to carry the mantle as he usually does and will need the likes of Sterling and co to step up to the plate too. Pellegrini’s side head to Aston Villa which could be just what they need at the moment as Villa are a side devoid of any confidence.

Garde’s Villa will feel they were the better team last week at The Hawthorns and looking at the stats they do suggest so but it doesn’t detract from the fact this was two very toothless sides facing one another and this game was one to make the most ardent football fan, look forward to the drive home. They will be hoping that ‘The Baggies’ find their scoring touch again with Peterborough the visitors in the cup this weekend. Sunderland seem to be backing Allardyce financially this window to cement their safety in the Premier League. Bournemouth will feel they edged the game at The Stadium of Light but in all fairness the draw was probably a fair result. Sunderland are too reliant on Jermaine Defoe’s goals and need other players to start pitching in. Without them, sides who take their chances are always going to beat this team. Eddie Howe’s team have a South coast derby with Portsmouth this weekend which should be a thrilling cup tie.

Carrow Road was the venue for a thrilling Premier League game last weekend. The visitors Liverpool took the lead, only to see Norwich equalise and then take the lead themselves before adding a third and giving the home fans and Delia aspirations that this was a day for three points for the Canaries. The game had another twist and Liverpool pulled a goal back almost immediately, before then equalising and then taking the lead. It is always great to see a Liverpool goal now if for no other reason than Jurgen Klopp’s passionate celebration. This game wasn’t over though and unbelievably Bassong scored a stunning strike outside of the box which any player would be proud of despite not having netted for the previous three years. The home fans erupted. This was in the second minute off added time, surely thats it? No! In the fifth minute of added time step up Adam Lallana. His scuffed shot into the ground found its way into the top corner and saw Herr Klopp sprinting down the touching before launching himself in the air, fist pumping the air. Norwich and their fans were literally pigsick. Despite losing the tie in midweek against Stoke, via a penalty shootout, Liverpool made the final of the League Cup. This weekend they host West Ham in the FA Cup. Another win would make it the perfect week for the reds German leader.


Watford continued their impressive season with a home win over Newcastle. Despite some form of late, The Magpies didn’t really cope well with Watford. The home side were good value for their win and will look to use this as a catalyst for their cup tie away at Nottingham Forest. Tottenham have improved their impressive position by creating a gap between themselves and fifth place in the table with a win at Crystal Palace. This isn’t an easy place to go but they ran out comfortable 3-1 winners which included a Dele Alli wondergoal that deserved to settle any game. Alli has really impressed me this season and plays like a player much more mature than his young age. A trip to Colchester should allow Pochettino to rest a few stars but the squad will want to win every game they play currently. Pardew’s Palace entertain Stoke. Hughes’ side took a 3-0 thumping from league leaders Leicester City (that still sounds weird) last week and followed that up with defeat in League Cup Semi Final at Anfield. There were positives for Stoke as they won the game 1-0 but that won’t make the pain any more manageable of falling at the final hurdle. A good run in the FA Cup will be important to Stoke and I expect to see them field a strong side. Whether Pardew will do the same will remain to be seen but we may get to see Emmanuel Adebayor make his debut for The Eagles.

There is a club in the Premier League who pride themselves on calling their club ‘The People’s club’ yet this same club sees their fans turn on their team and the manager in an instant. When the talk of Stones going to Chelsea was rife, the player had to hole up in a hotel as angry fans mobbed his home. Regularly this season they have booed their team off. The manager is being criticised week in, week out as the fans feel this the best squad they have had for years but find themselves 12th in the Premier League still. I don’t think for a moment the hierarchy at Everton are considering the manager’s future. They go into the FA Cup this weekend with a seemingly easy tie against Carlisle. Winning this one won’t have the fans back onside for Martinez but will surely relieve the flack he receives slightly. Defeat at home against Swansea didn’t help his cause at all last weekend but helped the Welsh side and their new manager move clear of the drop zone. After a humbling defeat against Oxford in the last round, Swansea will have a weekend to work on the new manager’s ideas.

Guus Hiddink will have felt like the cat who got the cream with a win at Arsenal last weekend. Gunners fans will tell you that Diego Costa’s theatrics won the game for the West London outfit and there is no denying the numerical advantage did make a big difference, especially against a team like Chelsea who like the pass the ball around. All in all both Man City and Arsenal contributed to a fantastic weekend for Leicester fans. Chelsea travel to MK Dons in a tie they will fancy winning even if they rotate their squad as the wealth of talent at their disposal should make easy work of the struggling Championship side. Quite differently, Arsenal will host an in form Burnley side. This one will hinge on what sort of a side Wenger puts out but he must be wary of the clarets who are having a good season and will no doubt field a strong side. So many teams have a rest weekend who haven’t progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup, watching their Premier League counterpart’s fortunes instead. A lot of sides will be hoping for upsets and this trophy never fails to deliver.