Monday, November 13, 2006

Premiership Weekend Roundup: November 11-12

Arsenal 3 - 0 Liverpool
I blame the yellow kits. No, seriously. The eye-gougingly awful kits and Rata's equally awful decision to start Bolo Zenden in centre midfield. Steven Gerrard looked out of sorts -- both on the wing and when he got moved in to the centre later -- but I can kind of understand that, because I'd be pissed off too if I was being shafted in favour of that floppy-haired Dutch mediocrity. As for the so-called proper wingers, Gonzalez and Pennant both seem to be (a) unwilling to try to beat a man and (b) unable to put in a decent cross. Which makes them officially less useful than David Beckham. Actually, the whole team had problems finding a good final pass today, and they gave away possession far too easily -- never a good idea against Arsenal, because when they get the ball, they aren't likely to give it back to you any time soon.

As for the defence, with the benefit of hindsight, I wonder if they would've been better off starting with Dagger instead of Hyppia. Yes, Sami's better in the air, but Arsenal aren't really a team that beats you that way (of course, I say that, and one of their goals came off a corner, but bear with me here). I'd say it's more important to have some pace in the back line to counter them instead. And the Liverpool offside trap, normally a thing of beauty and a joy forever, was just plain ugly yesterday.

So, it looks like any chance Liverpool had of winning the Premiership is gone for another year. Their five wins so far this season isn't great, but if you look at the table, it ought to be enough to keep them in the top four or six teams -- at least, it would if they weren't losing as many games as they're winning. And all those losses have come in away games. The stats say it all. Average goals scored per game: 2.2 at home, 0.2 away. Average goals conceded: 0.5 at home, 2.0 away. what's making them so crap away from Anfield? Hard to say. But I wouldn't rule out the kits.

Blackburn 0 - 1 Manchester United
As much as I love watching United play gorgeous attacking football, it's also good to see them scrapping their way to a win like this. (See, Chelsea isn't the only team that can win ugly. Go us.) It's especially gratifying because United lost to Blackburn twice last year -- this was actually their first Premiership win at Ewood Park in eight years, which: ouch. The ugly weather made it harder to play their usual slick one-two passing, but on the other hand, they benefitted from not having Robbie Savage snarling at everyone in midfield. And they still managed to put together a few impressive moves, including the one that led to the goal. It could've been more than 1-0, actually, if Rooney had spent less time swearing at the referee and more time focusing on his shooting.

Chelsea 4 - 0 Watford
I came so close to picking Didier Drogba for my fantasy football team this season, but in the end I couldn't overcome the intense, seething hatred and force myself to draft him. I'm kind of kicking myself for that now. (I chose Steven Gerrard instead, I think, which means his current bad form is probably my fault. Sorry, y'all.) Drogba has been scarily good so far this seasons -- now that he's stopped falling over every 30 seconds like a bigger, uglier Arjen Robben -- and he and Shevchenko seem to be developing a good understanding between them, as they each set up the other for a goal on Saturday. Great. Because what we really need is to see more of that stupid baby-rocking celebration.

Other than that, the story of the weekend was Plucky Little Whoevers staging a comeback against teams that are supposedly good:

Reading 3 - 1 Tottenham
Tottenham got a penalty from Robbie Keane in the first half, and then proceeded to stink up the pitch. They were also wearing some unfortunately coloured brown away kits. When will people learn? FUGLY KITS MAKE YOU LOSE. FACT.

Sheffield United 2 - 2 Bolton
Bolton were up 2-0 and then threw away their lead in less than five minutes in the second half. Sam Allardyce was not impressed: "In the space of 2½ minutes Sheffield United scored two goals by just throwing balls up as far and as long as they can and winning the knock-downs and putting them in our box," he said." Because that's something that Bolton would never, ever do.

And finally, a bunch of games that are better off forgotten:
Wigan 3 - 2 Charlton
Everton 0 - 1 Aston Villa
Manchester City 0 - 0 Newcastle
Middlesbrough 1 - 0 West Ham
Portsmouth 1 - 1 Fulham


sarah said...

But the yellow kits are awesome. And I'm not just saying that because we kicked your ass.

footie girl said...

Yeah, right.

This is the only good thing about those yellow kits.

sarah said...

At least that wasn't the picture where Rooney was grabbing his ass. I feel that one has scarred me for life.

Also, speaking of asses, Riise's ass looks good in the yellow. Not as good as Arsenal winning, but ...

Someday I'll stop being mean. Maybe.

footie girl said...

You're scarred? Imagine how Xabi feels.

*ignores the last part of the comment*

sarah said...

Felt up? And probably dirty.

*laughs more*

Darth said...



linda said...

Question: has Mark Gonzales really been that awful? I thought he was pretty good last season in La Liga, so it is another case of failing to settle in to the Premiership?

footie girl said...

I don't think Gonzalez has been awful, but he hasn't been that impressive either. He seemed to be either unable or unwilling to beat his marker so that he could get in behind the defence. And his final ball into the box wasn't great either. Not sure how much of that is not having learned to read his teammates yet vs. just fucking up.

I know he tore up the pitch for Sociedad last season, so I suspect it's mostly that he needs time to settle into the Premiership. Either that, or he's been doing too many late-night autograph sessions.