If you've noticed that Matt has been posting almost as much as me recently, well, you've been right. As I've said earlier, I am trying to truck through a busy period at work, and I confess I have also been a bit sidetracked by the Boston Red Sox (the local baseball team, who just won the World Series for the second time in four years). Between the Red Sox and the Patriots (the local American football team, for all of my outside-the-U.S. readers) I've had little time for soccer, but I still managed to cram in this weekend's Fiorentina game as well as most of Roma v. Milan. That actually reminds me of that great line from the "Simpsons" when Homer was reminiscing about his early years of marriage: "In spite of working a full-time job, being a newlywed, and raising a young son, I still managed to pack in six hours of television a day..."(I'm paraphrasing here)
Anyway, I am glad that Matt is reviewing the English league. My beloved Series A was actually quite boring, with low-scoring draws and 1-0 matches as far as the eyes could see. I'll be back more this week as I get back into the football world.
Wow. What another great weekend in the EPL with games filled with goals galore, and a big game that actually lived up to the hype. Arsenal and Liverpool played an entertaining game where both sided were attacking each other from start to finish, and the 1-1 scoreline doesn’t give justice to what a great game it was. Liverpool took the lead on an early free kick by Steven Gerrard, but eventually Arsenal’s class allowed them to tie it up through Cesc Fabregas, and keep both teams undefeated for the season. The question becomes which team should be happier with the result, and I would have to say, it’s got to be Arsenal. Liverpool dropped another 2 points at home, and they simply can’t afford to do that if they want to challenge for the title. Although both fans and players of Arsenal might feel that they should have won the game, they still can be happy that they remain undefeated and atop of the Premier League. However, they are now tied atop the League with the defending champs, and sets up this week’s clash between them and Man U at the Emirates. I was knocking on Man U at the beginning of the season, but they are on form now. They are scoring goals in buckets full like they did last year, and the Tevez/Rooney partnership is really starting to jell. Rooney did a beautiful back pass to Tevez to set up the third goal of the game in their 4-1 romp over Middlesbrough, and he is starting to show once again why he is seen as England’s savior. I can’t wait for this week’s game between these two powerhouses, but I think Arsenal will hold out for a 3-2 win.
In other games, Avram Grant has done something that the Special One couldn’t seem to do with Chelsea; have them play entertaining football. Chelsea demolished Man City 6-0, and has pundits pondering whether Man City’s early season form was just a flash in the pan. While I don’t think it was anything more than just a bump in the road for Sven’s men, you do have to wonder if Sven is a one trick pony, who can easily be figured out. He didn’t seem to have a plan B for Chelsea after his 4-4-2 formation fell apart, and it was like we were seeing signs of the England team again. One thing for sure is that Chelsea are back, and they aren’t going to give up on the title so easily yet.
Speaking of a one trick pony, those were the words I was using to describe Michael Owen as I yelled at the TV while watching Newcastle’s dismal display against Reading this weekend. They are without a doubt the most Jekyll and Hyde team in the Premier League. You never know which team is going to show up; the one that should be guaranteed a spot in Europe, or the one battling a relegation dog fight. As for Owen, he is good at doing one thing only. Scoring goals when the ball is delivered directly to his foot or head while he is in the box and there is no one around him. If that doesn’t happen, don’t expect him to do much else except get called for being offside. Why Sam insists on placing him above Martins on his striker depth chart is beyond me. I certainly have my fair share of problems with Obafemi, but at least he is out there trying, has pace, and can actually do something with the ball when outside the box. When he has the ball, I at least have some hope that Newcastle might score. I don’t feel the same way about Owen. I pray to God he proves me wrong.
Finally, as many of you know, Martin Jol was finally given the sack this past week. Despite this, Tottemham still found a way to lose and remain in the relegation zone. Somewhere Tony Soprano, I mean Martin Jol is laughing.