Monday, December 12, 2005

Premiership Weekend Roundup: December 10-11

Liverpool 2 - 0 Middlesbrough
First of all, if United had a defence like this, they'd still be in the Champions League. You have to love Sami Hyypia, especially: he gets cracked on the head, goes off for treatment, comes back all bandaged up like a mummy and immediately throws himself into another header in the box. Rio Ferdinand would probably have been worried about messing up his cornrows.

Up front...well, Peter Crouch was back to being kind of useless. The real problem, I think, is that the rest of the team kept simply hacking the ball forward at him, without getting anyone in the right position to follow up. When they brought Luis Garcia on instead they changed up their game, took advantage of the great passing from Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard in midfield, and made it much harder for Boro to cope. And it was great to see Fernando Morientes getting his goal-scoring touch back. Now if only they could get all their strikers firing at once.

Chelsea 1 - 0 Wigan
How many gazillion pounds has Mourinho spent on strikers? And yet it's taken a header from John Terry to win Chelsea's last two games. I suppose it's only fair that he got the winner in this case, since he had a decent penalty shout turned down in the first half. But I'd much rather point and laugh at him for being a whiny baby who can't cope with being marked by a striker in the box.

Wigan have had a tough run of games recently -- I just hope their bad luck continues when they face Man United on Wednesday. After that I can go back to rooting for them again.

Newcastle 1 - 0 Arsenal
I do love to see Arsenal lose. You could argue that they were unlucky to have Gilberto sent off for a second soft foul, but on the other hand, it's not as if contributes a lot to the team anyway. (Letting Patrick Vieira go and hoping to replace him with Gilberto is about as stupid as, well, actually, letting Roy Keane go and hoping to replace him with Alan Smith. So.)

A couple other observations:

  • Alan Shearer really is a bastard, isn't he? And he got away with a surprising amount of crap during this game -- that yellow card in the 90th minute was just the referee attempting to salvage a little dignity.
  • Scott Parker is a fucking maniac and I love it. Anyone who still wants to play with his mouth full off cotton wool (and possibly a concussion) deserves a spot on the plane to Germany.

Manchester United 1 - 1 Everton

Seriously, can someone explain to me how it is that they can beat Chelsea, but Everton is just too much of a challenge? Because I do not get it. I suppose it doesn't help that their defence -- which I used to think was fairly reliable -- is now giving up cheap goals in just about every game. I know that I knock Rio a lot, but I actually don't think it was his fault this time. Silvestre has been bloody useless, they're desperately missing Gabriel Heinze on the left and Gary Neville doesn't seem to be quite match-sharp yet. He's been effective going forward -- one of the few players who remembera how to put in a useful cross -- but he was also one of the defenders caught out for the Everton goal. I mean, come on: three players drawn in to mark one man, but none of them actually closed him down, leaving McFadden wide open to score! I was cringing. (Can you tell I've been playing defence myself recently?)

Someone also needs to explain to Cristiano Ronaldo that the point of the game is, you know, to put the ball in the back of the net, not to see how long you can dribble before you run into a clump of defenders and have it taken away from you, whereupon you resort to pouting. I said when he joined United a couple years ago that he was going to be a great player once he grew up and got over himself a bit, but lately he seems to actually be regressing. The one bright spot in the game was the goal from Ryan Giggs -- beautifully weighted pass from Scholes, well-timed run by Giggs, and a perfect first touch to finish it. Now THAT is how United are supposed to play.

Also: Phil Neville. Never looked quite so good to me as he did in this game, especially with Alan Smith having to be taken off (and you know your bench is thin when he's replaced by Darren Fletcher) before he got himself red-carded and thrown off.

Other results
West Brom 2 - 0 Manchester City
Charlton 2 - 0 Sunderland
Bolton 1 - 1 Aston Villa
Blackburn 3 - 2 West Ham
Birmingham 1 - 0 Fulham


Steve C said...

Entertaining roundup.

Selling Mr. Non-commitment, Vieira, was a big mistake, but comparing Gilberto to Alan Smith is ridiculous.

Gilberto is a World Cup winner and still a regular with Brazil. Alan is a hothead who sometimes plays well.

footie girl said...

Gilberto is a World Cup winner like Djimi Traore is a Champions League winner...which is to say, it doesn't mean much in this case.

Not that I'm defending Alan Smith, either. I think he's decent sometimes and awful at other times, and from what I've seen of Gilberto, I'd assess his performance about the same way.

Steve C said...

Djimi Traore was only the most useful defender out of a half fit Josemi, David Raven, Zak Whitbread and a large ball of string. I have it on good authority that Benitez was seriously considering the ball of string.

Gilberto was chosen ahead of a dozen world class Brazilian midfielders.

footie girl said...

I have it on good authority that Benitez was seriously considering the ball of string.

Ha, can't blame him for that.

As for Geremi, we'll just have to agree to disagree.