Monday, January 02, 2006

Premiership Weekend Roundup: December 31

Somewhat belated, since I was hungover yesterday. Happy New Year, y'all.

Manchester United 4 - 1 Bolton
An excellent way to come back from the draw with Birmingham in midweek, although it took far too long for United to put the game away. I was worried about the starting lineup -- not exactly what you'd think of as United's strongest, with Darren Fletcher and John O'Shea in the centre of midfield -- especially against a physical team like Bolton. And yet it worked. O'Shea was mostly invisible, but I thought that Fletcher had a solid game. The big difference, though, was the link-up play between the wingers and the strikers. Wayne Rooney was spectacular as usual, and Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have rediscovered his form. I just hope it continues for the game against Arsenal tomorrow.

Aston Villa 0 - 0 Arsenal
And people say that 0-0 draws are boring. Ha! This one was fun to watch, but I suspect that if I hadn't been a neutral observer, it would have just been frustrating. It was a game with lots of action, lots of running -- although in the case of Milan Baros, mostly into offside positions. But, unfortunately, not a lot of chances at a goal. Villa harried the Arsenal players all game and didn't let them string their pretty passes together, but they weren't able to complement this with solid attacking play of their own.

Tottenham 2 - 0 Newcastle
Newcastle battled hard in the first half, but everything changed just before halftime when first Teemu Tainio scored for Tottenham and then Michael Owen went down in the Spurs box with a broken bone in his foot. Newcastle might have been hoping for a break to give them a chance, but not like this. The game also featured an interesting matchup between two of the candidates for the holding midfield role on England's World Cup team -- Michael Carrick for Spurs and Scott Parker for Newcastle. I thought that Parker had a better game, in spite of -- or perhaps because of -- his team's mediocre performance.

Liverpool 1 - 0 West Brom
Liverpool should have had way more than just the one goal. They kept West Brom pinned back in their own half for most of the game. But although they dominated the play, they didn't have a lot of clear chances at goal, and the West Brom keeper, Kuszczak, was excellent. Good to see Harry Kewell back in form -- finally! -- although on the other hand, Luis Garcia has seemed a bit off recently. Also, Peter Crouch scoring with a header -- shocking! (Was that the first time?)

Other results
Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Manchester City
Portsmouth 1 - 0 Fulham
Sunderland 0 - 1 Everton
Wigan 0 - 3 Blackburn
Charlton 2 - 0 West Ham
Chelsea 2 - 0 Birmingham

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