When Interpol Has to Deny Investigating Your Game for Gambling Shenanigans, You Know It was a Wild One

That was the case this morning following a French TV station’s report that German authorities had alerted Interpol officials “after spotting suspicious betting patterns” during Saturday’s Arsenal–Newcastle game, which ended 4-4 after Arsenal had taken a 4-0 halftime lead.

They really took the “it was a game of two halves” soccer cliché to extremes in that one at St. James’s Park.

And if the fix was in, well, there was nothing artificial about Cheik Tiote’s incredibly well-taken 87th minute equalizer for the Magpies. (Check it out here if you missed it. Or even if you didn’t.)

Yet as completely crackers as that game was, it had real competition for Battiest Game of the Week in Round 26 of the Premier League.

There were 41 goals in eight games on Saturday. Carlos Tevez hit a hat trick. Luis Saha hit a Texas hat trick*. Wigan beat Blackburn 4-3. Everton outslugged Blackpool 5-3.

And in apt capper for the bizarre day, first-place Manchester United saw its unbeaten streak stopped by … last-place Wolves, which downed the Red Devils 2-1 at the Molineux.

Man U’s loss made Arsenal’s second-half collapse even more painful. Had they been able to hold on to their four-goal advantage, Arsenal would have moved to within two points of the Red Devils at the top of the table.

Sunday also produced an unexpected result: just days after acquiring striker Fernando Torres for a record transfer fee from Liverpool, Chelsea went out and … lost  … to Liverpool, 1-0.

Americans were in the thick of much of the madness, too. Tim Howard was in net for Everton’s eight-goal affair with Blackpool, Jermaine Jones got a yellow card in Blackburn’s gunslinging loss to Wigan, and Clint Dempsey scored the equalizer in Fulham’s back-and-forth 2-2 tie with Aston Villa. The goal was Dempsey’s team leading 10th in all competitions. See it here.

Villa started Dempsey’s fellow American Brad Friedel between the pipes, but did not dress their new signing, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley, after initial reports that he would make the game-day bench. U.S. defender Eric Lichaj also failed to make the Villa bench.

Stuart Holden started and played 87 minutes in Bolton’s 2-1 loss to Tottenham; Marcus Hahnemann sat the bench in Wolves’ shocker over Man U;  and Jonathan Spector sat out with a hamstring injury as West Ham fell to Birmingham City 1-0.

*That’s four goals. Hat-tip to the Striker Liker.

For a recap of this week’s MLS offseason action, take a look at our column over at the league site and learn how U.S. defender and Green Bay native Jay DeMerit celebrated the Packers’ big win.

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