Sunday, December 04, 2005

Premiership Weekend Roundup: December 3-4

Manchester United 3 - 0 Portsmouth
United had to feel confident going into this game, with the dire state of affairs at Pompey. Although that confidence must have also ebbed slightly when they got over an hour into the game and were only up by one goal. (On a side note, how great is it to see Paul Scholes not only passing the ball beautifully, but also finally scoring a goal?) It took Cristiano Ronaldo coming on for the last half hour to really liven things up. I only hope that he remembers the lesson from this game: that it's much more useful if he can actually send in effective crosses, rather than doing stepover after stepover until his marker knocks him down and gets a foul. Another encouraging game, but the real test will come at Benfica on Wednesday.

Liverpool 3 - 0 Wigan
Ok, Peter Crouch has finally scored. Can we all talk about something else now? Oh, no, of course not. Now we get the endless debate over whether it was one goal or two. I say two -- that ball was going in anyway, if the keeper hadn't touched it -- but I don't really care. I hope he keeps scoring, though, because (a) it will shut people up and (b) I get to see Steven Gerrard jumping on him like an overgrown five-year-old, which is always entertaining.

I expected more of a test from Wigan, honestly, despite them losing their past two Premiership games. But Liverpool is really on form at the moment -- the question is whether it can hold up against Chelsea in the Champions League.

Bolton 2 - 0 Arsenal
Here's the thing about Arsenal: they have a fantastic attack, but their defense is dangerously shaky. Not as bad as, say, Newcastle, but any back four with Pascal Cygan on the left has obvious problems. And then there's the gaping hole in their midfield. Everyone talks about how Man United need to find a new Roy Keane, but Arsenal faced a similar dilemma when Patrick Viera left and -- inexplicably -- elected not to replace him. Gilberto proved in this game how utterly inadequate he is. Arsenal's midfield style works well as long as they have the ball and keep passing it around, but as soon as they have to fight to get it back -- against a hard-fighting team like Bolton -- they're in big trouble.

Other results
Chelsea 1 - 0 Middlesbrough
Blackburn 0 - 2 Everton
Newcastle 1 - 1 Aston Villa
Tottenham 3 - 2 Sunderland
West Brom 0 - 0 Fulham
Charlton 2 - 5 Manchester City

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