Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wet and Wild

Yesterday was another busy day in the Premiership, with a full slate of games -- although Watford v. Wigan was called off because of the monsoon conditions.

Manchester United 3 - 2 Reading
Y'all are going to get tired of me saying this, but: Cristiano Ronaldo. Quite a player, eh? Scored two and set up the third yesterday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had an excellent game as well, and overall it was a solid performance from United, although they were helped out by Reading having Sam Sodje sent off with 20 minutes left. They should've been cruising after that -- and they did expand their lead shortly thereafter -- but Sir Alex won't be happy that they also conceded a very late goal after Leroy Lita blew past Mikael Silvestre. Still, the win means that they're currently six points clear of Chelsea, which is a great way to go into the New Year.

Sheffield United 1 - 0 Arsenal
Neil Warnock has a policy of not naming a goalkeeper among the substitutes for Sheffield United, and yesterday it almost came back to bite him in the ass, when Paddy Kenny went down injured with half an hour still left to play and his team hanging on to a one-goal lead. It was the sort of match that you think doesn't happen in the Premiership anymore: the penalty box nothing but mud, a midfielder forced to play in goal -- making a couple of very good saves, too -- and the team of scrappy underdogs fighting their way to a win. It was great fun to watch -- although probably not if you're an Arsenal fan, because it epitomized all the problems with their game.

Tottenham 0 - 1 Liverpool
It's a precious away win for Liverpool, so maybe I shouldn't quibble, but they certainly don't like to make things easy for themselves, do they? At least Tottenham helped them out by wasting several decent chances. For the Reds, Luis Garcia demonstrated once again why, no matter how frustrating he is, he still has a valuable place in the squad, as he scored the only goal. But I've stopped trying to understand Rafa's substitutions -- like why he brought on Mark Gonzalez in place of the more defensive Fabio Aurelio if they were just going to spend the last 10 minutes of the game camped out in their own half.

Chelsea 2 - 2 Fulham
Hey, look at that, Chelsea dropped points again. I knew Fulham must have some reason to exist -- apparently it's to annoy Jose Mourinho. Good enough. Also, I'm happy that it was Moritz Volz with the distinction of scoring the 15,000th Premier League goal, because his personal website is the only footballer's site I've seen that didn't make me dislike them intensely (unlike, say,, which currently seems to be down but was possibly the chav-est website ever).

Anyway, Chelsea's problem at the moment is that with John Terry out injured, their defence is leakier than a really leaky thing, and it's sent Mourinho into a snit, which is always entertaining:

"In this moment Chelsea cannot defend. I am the first to know that. Maybe we are not as good as we think, maybe I am not such a good boss, maybe the players are not such good players."

"In this country everybody has tall and strong strikers. They put the ball in the box and we do not dominate the game in the air. What can you do with Paulo (Ferreira), with Geremi? Nothing. The players have no qualities adapted to the game opponents are playing against us."

Poor Jose. Somebody must have held a gun to his head and forced him to buy those players. He's so hard done by.

Other results:
Blackburn 2 - 1 Middlesbrough
Bolton 3 - 2 Portsmouth
Charlton 2 - 1 Aston Villa
Everton 3 - 0 Newcastle
West Ham 0 - 1 Manchester City

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