Something From The Weekend: Stoke City's Wembley dreams; Paul Collingwood; Heskey's rage

The Good, the Bad and the Odd
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The Independent Online

The Good: Stoke City's Wembley dreams

As much as Tony Pulis will have enjoyed his win over Arsenal yesterday, watching Manchester City's biannual collapse against Everton will have brought him even more pleasure. At Goodison Park, City were in control for the first half but were swiftly eroded in the second half under the relentless waves of Everton's pressing. Twice they conceded headers, the second scored by the diminutive Leon Osman. For the watching Pulis, it will have nurtured new hope that Manchester City will be quite manageable in Saturday's FA Cup final. Given how Stoke shrugged off the similarly effete Arsenal – starting with a header from a free-kick, then pouncing on later errors – Pulis knows that he may have sufficient equipment to take the Cup.

The Bad: Paul Collingwood

The man who was stripped of the England T20 captaincy said over the weekend that it felt like "like a juggernaut had come along at full steam and completely wiped me out". That he should make these comments does rather undermine his image as an English John Wayne or Gary Cooper. Collingwood's whole shtick over his England career has been based on doughty, silent resistance, blocking out the doosras and flippers of ill fortune and injustice. Given his successes as T20 captain, his grievance is certainly legitimate. He may well have been the victim of change for its own sake. But England's most competitive cricketer for generations will need more mounds than ever of his Durham miners' grit to deal with his dismissal.

The Odd: Heskey's rage

Emile Heskey's popularity has always rested on his gentle side, his quiet dignity. He is, in the moral morass of Premier League football, a lone voice of decency, a lighthouse of respectability, the heart in a heartless world. So for Heskey to charge into referee Mike Jones during Saturday's 1-1 draw was a horrible betrayal of everything that he was meant to mean. Heskey was angry at not having been awarded a free-kick, and he bundled Jones over in fury. Further discord in the tunnel led to Heskey's withdrawal. This is not novel; Paolo Di Canio did worse, years ago. But this is different, this is Heskey. If he can be corrupted and defouled by the Premier League, then what hope is there for the mortals?

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