Sunday, October 15, 2006

Premiership Weekend Roundup: October 14-15

Wigan 1 - 3 Manchester United
I still don't understand the point of Michael Carrick. He seems to have some kind of electromagnetic field around him that prevents him from passing the ball forward. Also inexplicable: Why Sir Alex persists in trying to play 4-5-1. It doesn't work, at least not for United. Chelsea may have won the Premiership that way two years in a row, but any formation that requires you to stick Wayne Rooney out on the left wing is really not playing to the team's strengths -- which was obvious by the difference in the way they played in the second half. And Rooney -- thank all the footballing gods -- finally seems to be coming out of his slump. He may not have scored on Saturday, but he did just about everyghing else, including setting up United's first two goals. You can tell that he still wants to score, but he isn't so desperate for a goal, any goal. Look at the way he burst into the box in the 85th minute, with only the keeper to beat, and laid off a pass to Louis Saha instead of just blasting the ball aimlessly. (Memo to Steven Gerrard: Watch and learn.)

Liverpool 1 - 1 Blackburn
Question of the week: Can Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso play effectively together in centre midfield? You can argue that they're not defensive enough, and I probably wouldn't pair them up for games against the tougher teams, but I don't think that Liverpool should be lining up for every match as if they're just going to sit back and defend for 90 minutes. For one thing, there's not much point in doing that, if their back line continues to be as shaky as it's been so far -- once again, when Blackburn scored it looked like none of the defenders were on the same pitch as each other. And you could see in this game how much more effective Liverpool were in the second half, when they actually started attacking and putting sustained pressure on the other team. It probably helped, too, that Rafa brought on Luis Garcia -- who's undeniably infuriating, but at least he creates some movement out there -- in place of Jermaine Pennant, who seems to be nothing more than the right-footed equivalent to Stewart Downing. Maybe he can get an England call-up next. Yay.

Arsenal 3 - 0 Watford
Arsenal. Against Watford. What did you think was going to happen? The Gunners have apparently gotten over their fear of shooting, and Theo Walcott, in his first start, looked almost good enough to have justified his trip to Germany in the summer. And as a Man United fan -- not to mention an England fan, for obvious reasons -- it was great to see Ben Foster performing heroics in the Watford net.

Reading 0 - 1 Chelsea
I wouldn't wish a head injury on anyone -- even Chelsea players -- but the knocks to Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini were almost worth it, just for the hysterically awesome sight of John "It was ball to hand!" Terry pulling on a goalkeeper's jersey. You really only had to watch the first five and last five minutes of the game, though; the rest of it was sadly predictable, including Frank Lampard with a completely uncharacteristic deflected goal.

Other results
Aston Villa 1 - 1 Tottenham
Manchester City 0 - 0 Sheffield United
Middlesbrough 2 - 1 Everton
Portsmouth 2 - 0 West Ham
Newcastle 1 - 2 Bolton*

*Is it just me, or are Bolton's away kits actually fuchsia? What the hell.


sarah said...

Michael Carrick is there to give me a reason to like United. Otherwise, I agree, he's got no point.

footie girl said...

His only point is the one on the top of his head. /MEAN

sarah said...