Five asides: What we learnt this weekend


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1 Andre Villas-Boas is right: the rules have changed

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said last week that "the rules have changed" for penalties, as forwards are now allowed to instigate contact in the box but still go down and win a spot-kick. He was pointing at Danny Welbeck and Adam Johnson, but it was Gareth Bale who smartly won the penalty for Spurs' second goal yesterday.

2 Mario Balotelli is the most natural finisher in the league

Perhaps Mario Balotelli's finest trait is his ability to make difficult finishes appear insultingly easy. On Saturday he scored Manchester City's first, meeting a whipped cross and flicking it with lazy ease past Paul Robinson, barely even making eye contact with ball or goal. His best since his karate kick at Blackburn away.

3 Steve Kean scares easily

Are Blackburn Rovers victims of their own success? They followed a thrilling 3-2 win at Old Trafford with an inappropriately open approach at Arsenal, and were punished 7-1. Steve Kean went to Manchester City with not a smidgen of ambition, seemingly playing for a 2-0 defeat, and, to his credit, nearly getting it.

4 Fulham fans might not miss Bobby Zamora

Fulham fans walking home down Shepherds Bush Road on Saturday evening will not have been cursing their January business. They watched Bobby Zamora lumber in isolation for Queens Park Rangers, while his replacement, Pavel Pogrebnyak, took the game's only goal with remarkable class and patience. His second in two for Fulham: already looking astute.

5 West Ham United are not there quite yet

West Ham United dropped from the top of the Championship on Saturday, managing only a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace. Their recent form, including three 10-man performances, has shown ferocious spirit, but they still lack quality up front. They brought Carlton Cole and Sam Baldock on to threaten but it was not enough.