Thursday, September 6, 2007

Premiership Report: September 1

My very good friend Matt is another football fan-atic. He was the person who was most influential in encouraging me to follow football more closely, and he himself is a massive fan of English football in general and Newcastle United in particular. He is a very close and careful observer of the English game, and he always has interesting things to say about the premiership matches of the week.

Because of this, we have decided to try a little experiment here at the Fan-Atic. We are going to publish Matt's thoughts and summaries from the premiership action he watched the previous weekend, both because I think there is some smart analysis there and also because I think it is useful to get the perspective of football fans who are watching from the U.S.. That is, after all, what this website is all about.

So here is Matt's first report on Premiership action, which covers the Premiership matches he watched on Saturday, September 1. If this works out, and we both wish to keep doing it, we will presumably post these reports much sooner after the actual matches. This first one took a little while, as we were trying to co-ordinate.

I do hope you enjoy these summaries as much as I do. Let me know your thoughts...


Here is my review of today's games (either seen in entirety or fast forwarded throughout with DVR; shameless plug for DVR).

The day started with what would be the game that actually turned out to be the best one of the day to watch: Fulham v. Tottenham. Tottenham got out to an early 2 goal lead, and Tottenham's defense was so shambolic that I was saying to myself that Fulham will be getting relegated this year. But then came the cavalry led by Clint Dempsey, who scored a fabulous header before halftime to give Fulham a glimmer of hope and make me happy as well as he is on my fantasy team. Things worsened for Fulham at the beginning of the 2nd half, but brightened even more for me, when another one of my players, Gareth Bale, scored, giving a 2 goal advantage once again to the Spurs. However, Fulham kept fighting, and through two more assists from Dempsey (although Yahoo only credits him with one), they salvaged a draw. I wonder if Martin Jol still has the vote of confidence after dropping 2 more points?

The next game I watched was the absolute destruction of Derby by Liverpool at Anfield, as the Scousers won 6-0 behind a 2 goal performance by Torres (yet another player of mine) as my day brightened further. Then came the Newcastle/Wigan game, which had lots of emotion for me. Newcastle absolutely dominated the game, but I was having fits when after 80 minutes the score was still nil nil. In fact at that time it should have been 6-0 to Newcastle, but for 2 incorrectly offside calls, which cancelled an Owen goal and a Steven Taylor goal, two hand balls by Titus Shambles which weren't called, including one in the penalty area that should have rewarded Newcastle a penalty kick, and about a gazillion break-aways and one-on-ones with the goalie in which Newcastle couldn't put the ball in the old onion bag (most of the time Owen blowing them). I was screaming his name until he headed in a beautiful cross from Martins to secure a 1-0 win. Naturally I am happy with the win and the fact that Owen finally scored, but I was upset that he blew so many chances, that Newcastle could have won this game comfortably instead of waiting until the end to secure a victory, and most of all about how terrible the referee’s decisions were once again. Two perfectly good goals had been called off, and the ref was the only person in the stadium that didn't see the hand ball by Bramble. If they had lost because of this I would be fuming, but I can't remember the officiating being this bad last year. Yes there were bad calls last year, but it seems this season has already surpassed all of the one from last season. Newcastle even gained an advantage of a referee blunder when a Wigan player was red carded after receiving his second yellow just as the second half began, which he shouldn't have gotten. They say that these bad decisions work themselves out over the course of the season, but I have my doubts. Still I can't be too upset with a Newcastle win and with them remaining undefeated.

I quickly fast forwarded through the West Ham/ Reading game in which the Hammers won 3-0 so I could get to the game of the day if not the weekend: Man U v. Sunderland. Nothing could have been farther from the truth as this game was an absolute snooze-fest. I thought that I was watching Chelsea play Chelsea except that the players were taken from the Galaxy (without Beckham) and Toronto FC. Even though they eventually won, I do believe that Man U are not going to win the title. With the exception of Saha coming on, they never looked like scoring and with Liverpool running on all gears and Chelsea doing their thing, I think Man U fans are in for a long and trohpyless season.

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