Monday, April 03, 2006

Premiership Weekend Roundup: April 1-2

Birmingham 0 - 0 Chelsea
You'd think it was an April Fools Day joke, wouldn't you? Chelsea being held to a scoreless draw by Birmingham. But Birmingham did their best to shake off the last few games and got off to a strong start against an apathetic Chelsea side. They might have even taken the lead if Emile Heskey actually knew how to put the ball in the net. Chelsea didn't look all that likely to concede, but they also weren't able to settle into a rhythm and create chances for themselves at the other end.

Chelsea had a much better second half but still couldn't score, with two goals (rightly) ruled out for offside. Mourinho is naturally claiming it was a bad call to disallow the goal from Asier del Horno, but I think the officials got it right. Del Horno may have been onside, but Ricardo Carvalho definitely wasn't and he was clearly trying to head the ball. I'm not sure how you can claim that's not being actively involved in the play.

Bolton 1 - 2 Manchester United
With Chelsea dropping points, United had an opportunity to make up some ground in the race for the title, although Bolton -- still chasing a spot in Europe -- weren't about to make it easy for them. Bolton even took the lead early on against the run of play, thanks to some sloppy defending from United. (I can't blame Vidic too much, since he'd been clocked in the face and was flat on the ground, but Rio had one of his all too frequent brain glitches to let Kevin Davies through on goal.)

The debate about whether Louis Saha should be starting ahead of Ruud Van Nistelrooy continues, as he scored a brilliant goal -- off the outside of his left foot -- to send United into halftime with the score tied. On the other hand, Saha muffed a one-on-one chance against the keeper, but then he also set up Van Nistelrooy for the winning goal. United had switched to a 4-3-3 formation by that point -- a good call by Sir Alex, because it played to their strengths. Even with Wayne Rooney having a slightly sub-par game, the United attack was just way too much for Bolton, and it also covered up the holes in midfield.

So, they're only seven points back now, but can they catch Chelsea? I don't know. It's technically possible, but unfortunately I don't think it's likely.

West Brom 2 - 0 Liverpool
I knew this game had to go well for Liverpool when I saw that my favourite wee linesman was one of the officials (one of these days I'll actually find out what his name is.) Plus the fact that they were playing West Brom, who, you know, suck. West Brom basically had one decent player on the pitch -- Zoltan Gera -- but by the time he came on in the second half and tried to get his team back in the game it was way too late.

Steven Gerrard was suspended thanks to his behaving like a five-year-old last wee, so Djibril Cisse started on the right wing and had a surprisingly good game. He was actually controlling and passing the ball for a change, rather than just blasting it into the stands whenever he got close to the net. Lord Frodsham managed to set up one goal and scored another -- maybe he really doesn't want Rafa to sell him to Tottenham this summer. With Cisse on the wing, and Crouch and Fowler up front, it was practically a 4-3-3 formation for Liverpool -- hardly the cautious 4-5-1 they've used so much this season, but it worked, because West Brom could hardly get a touch on the ball.

Oh, and I see that someone recently found this blog by googling "Xabi Alonso hair." Just for you, let me note that it looks like Xabi got his hair cut recently. It wasn't quite so poofy. I approve.

Other results
West Ham 0 - 0 Charlton
Manchester City 0 - 1 Middlesbrough
Arsenal 5 - 0 Aston Villa
Everton 2 - 2 Sunderland
Fulham 1 - 3 Portsmouth
Newcastle 3 - 1 Tottenham

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