Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Premiership Week in Review

Below find my buddy Matt's review of the weekend in the Premiership. In this week's edition, Matt looks at the English keeper situation, why Spurs shouldn't get too excited about yesterday's win, and why Stevie G is a good guy. Good analysis here...


This week’s update is a day late due to the additional game between Spurs and Aston Villa being played on Monday night, and it is with that game where we begin. This game was to celebrate the 125 year anniversary of Tottenham Hotspur, and they had all their legends on the field before the match began. Berbatov gave Spurs the lead, before the horror show began with lead actor, Paul Robinson, and his supporting cast of the shambolic defense. It all started with Robinson dropping a ball that was in his hands which lead to the first Villa goal. By the 60th minute of the game, he had let in 3 more and the Spurs were down 4-1 as crowds of fans exited from White Hart Lane. There has to be someone in England who could actually be a good goalie for the national team. Since the “big four” have foreign keepers, and Tottenham are usually just outside looking in, Robinson seems to get his caps by default. Why doesn’t McClaren look to the Championship or the lower leagues for a keeper if he can’t find a reliable one in the Premiership?? Peter Shilton was one of England’s greatest keepers, and he wasn’t playing for any big clubs. Of course some would say that Scott Carson should be given the chance, but then he let in 3 goals in the last 30 minutes for Tottenham to salvage a draw. Now not all the blame could be placed on him, as one of the goals came off of a penalty thanks to the sheer stupidity of Marlon Harewood, and Villa fans must be in shock at how they blew 2 points in a game they were winning comfortably. Tottenham’s late equalizing strike as time was expiring led to all the players surrounding and hugging Martin Jol as if they just won the Premiership. And while it was impressive to come back from 3 goals down in under 30 minutes, all they got was a point, at home, on their special anniversary to keep them in 18th place!! Somehow I don’t think staying in the relegation zone is going to keep Jol’s job no matter what show of solidarity the players show him on the pitch.

Moving on from the bottom of the table to the top, all 4 top teams remained in the same position as last weekend as each won their respective games. 1-0 to the Arsenal was a common saying of the Gunners of the 80s and early 90s, and so that sentiment was echoed this weekend with their 1-0 victory over West Ham, a team they couldn’t beat last season. It must be said that while the score line echoes the past, the style of play is completely different with the current team showing why they call it the beautiful game.

The same can’t be said of Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Birmingham. The Blues dominated the game putting more shots on goal than the Red Devils, but it was a lapse in Birmingham’s defense in the second half that allowed Ronaldo to knick a goal. Man U still haven’t displayed the goal scoring form of last season, and hopefully tonight’s game with Roma in the Champions League will bring back the goals from last year’s 7-1 demolishing of the Italian club, but Man U continue to do what Champions are required to do which is finding a way to win no matter your form. They went to a hostile environment in Birmingham and got 3 points, while the week previous Liverpool hosted Birmingham, couldn’t score a goal, and dropped 2 points in a 0-0 draw. Once again, I hope Liverpool are paying attention because this is what they have to do if they ever want to capture their first Premiership crown.

Speaking of Liverpool, they held onto their 4th spot in the table with a blah 1-0 victory over Wigan, but that’s what they need to do. See above. Which leaves the 3rd place team, Man City, staying put thanks to a 3-1 win over my unfortunate Newcastle United. It was a bad week for the Magpies, with Owen getting hurt (again), getting knocked out of the Carling Cup by Arsenal (are we ever going to win a trophy?), and then leading by a goal at Manchester before letting it slip away. I have recently been reading the season preview from When Saturday Comes, and each team is compared to a type of food. Newcastle is like a 2 day old glazed donuts at Dunkin Donuts; they have the glaze of the all their star players, but the’re always on the (injury) shelf and there is a big whole in the middle. I sure hope Joey Barton comes back soon, as they need some creativity in the midfield, but if he doesn’t get injured as soon as he comes back, he will probably instead get arrested for attacking one of his teammates.

Then there was the goal fest between Portsmouth and Reading, with Pompey winning 7-4, and in the process setting a Premiership record for most goals scored in a game. It could have been more, as David James saved a penalty shot from Nicky Shorey, and if it wasn’t for the fact that he still gave up 4 goals, I would be pushing for him to reclaim his England slot. It should be noted that Pompey, Reading, Spurs, and Villa each scored more goals then the combined goals scored by the “big 4” (4-3 thanks to Chelsea failing to score again). What does this mean? Absolutely nothing, except that the Premiership is certainly been entertaining so far this season. Let’s hope it keeps up.

One last note: Apparently Steven Gerrard was involved in a car accident in which he hit a 10 year old boy causing him to break his leg. Cue the stories of millionaire player carelessly and recklessly driving his Bentley and hitting small children, but nothing can be further from the truth. While he was driving his Bentley, he wasn’t speeding when the boy ran out between 2 cars causing the accident. He immediately exited his car, knelt down and held the boy’s hand comforting him until the paramedics arrived, and was extremely distraught according to witnesses at the scene. He also has been in constant contact with the boy’s family to check up on his condition and how he is doing. It is nice to see for once a star athlete doing the right thing, and just goes to show that not all footballers (soccer players) are like those portrayed on Dream Team and Footballers’ Wives.

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