Monday, August 20, 2007

Premiership Weekend Roundup: August 18-19

I kind of like how unpredictable the early rounds of the season have been. Of course, I would like it more if this didn't also mean that my teams aren't winning, but I suppose you can't have everything.

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
Fuck you, Rob Styles.

Oh, he's apologized now. Isn't that nice. I suppose this means that I can go off and rob a liquor store tomorrow, and as long as I apologize afterwards, everything will be fine. I won't have to give the money back or anything like that.

Attempting to ignore that egregiously terrible penalty call, let's look at the good points for Liverpool from this game:

  • The pleasant surprise of Rafa starting Gerrard and Alonso together in centre midfield
  • Actual proper wingers for them to pass to (okay, apart from Riise starting at left mid), which I've been saying for ages is going to make a big difference to their game
  • Gerrard not seeming to be hampered too much by that broken toe
  • Unlike, say, Frank Lampard, who once again did nothing much other than convert that misbegotten penalty and stamp on Xabi
  • Fernando Torres scoring on his Anfield debut and making Tal Ben Haim look like a useless lump in the process
  • Torres completing his performance by winding up John Terry and ultimately getting him booked (maybe I shouldn't approve, but: heeee)

So I think it was a good performance for Liverpool overall, and an unlucky result, because despite Chelsea working themselves into the game more as it went on, they still didn't have many shots on goal.

As for Mourinho's insistence that his team is naive and pure: AHAHAHAHAHA WHAT. Seriously, how deluded is this man?

Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
I'm starting to wonder if United are this year's Arsenal. Which is a depressing thought. But this is the third game in a row that they have utterly dominated without managing to win. And they've scored a grand total of one goal in those three games.

Actually, I don't think the comparison with Arsenal is strictly accurate, because United are at least taking shots rather than pinging the ball around the box and waiting for people to be awed by their brilliance. But they're still not putting the ball in the net, which is a problem. To put it mildly.

A big part of the problem, obviously, is the lack of an out-and-out centre forward, which Wayne Rooney is not, and nor is Carlos Tevez. (I kind of hope that a side effect of this string of bad results will be Sir Alex pulling his head out of the sand and realizing that they need to buy somebody, particularly if Saha is going to be out for however long.) The other part of it, I think, is that teams have learned the best way to play against United is to drop deep and stifle them on the edge of the penalty area. United are most effective when they're in motion, running at defenders, pulling them around out of position. And if they're not able to do that, then they need to come up with some different tactics -- either a way to draw opposing teams out and create space, or to force their way through.

(And just what the hell is wrong with Saha, anyway? I mean, I realize that he's sort of perpetually injured, but what exactly is the problem right now? I could attempt to do some research, but frankly I'm too lazy today.)

Blackburn 1-1 Arsenal
Oh, le Arse are such a bunch of brats. But they are entertaining brats nonetheless -- as long as they're not playing against a team that I actually like. Also entertaining: watching Jens Lehmann fuck up, and simultaneously pondering how much bigger that bald spot on the back of his head has gotten over the summer.

Other results
Portsmouth 3-1 Bolton
Fulham 1-2 Middlesbrough
Reading 1-0 Everton
Birmingham 0-1 West Ham
Wigan 3-0 Sunderland
Tottenham 4-0 Derby
Newcastle 0-0 Aston Villa

Who would've thought that Fulham v. Boro would be most entertaining game I saw on Saturday? Of course, I could hardly have predicted that Tony Warner would throw the ball into his own net for the second week in a row, or that Fulham would have a perfectly good goal ignored by the referee. by contrast, Newcastle - Villa was a boring scoreless draw that...actually, I should've expected that, having seen both teams play last year.


Anonymous said...

That call was beyond rubbish. That said however, those things happen and Liverpool need to learn to get the ball into the net and score a winning goal. I liked the way they kept going rather than letting the call take the helium out of their balloons but there was plenty of time for them to score again.

weenie said...

Was wondering, who do you support when Liverpool play United?

That was such a bad call but now that I've calmed down, I guess I can say you win some, you lose some.

Anonymous said...

Have some respect for the referee's , if you played for as long as i did, you would know mistakes are made. Blame FIFA for no replay tchnology. 100 bad calls across borders will be made every day.
At least styles only awarded a penalty, lampard could have missed. At Fulham they scored a goal and it was waved away.

Jen said...

Anonymous #1: You're right that Liverpool need to be able to come back and win the game when something like that happens. That being said, playing Chelsea is always going to be tough, and I kind of suspected it was going to be a one-goal game.

I was a bit surprised that Rafa took Pennant off for Babel instead of Riise, though. Pennant was at least getting behind the defenders, whereas Riise's main contribution, as far as I could tell, was blasting free kicks into the wall. And if you're going to bring on Peter Crouch, doesn't it make sense to have someone who can put in a decent cross?

Jen said...

weenie: It's a complicated algorithm, depending on what the game is, who needs the win more, and who's pissed me off more recently. But it generally boils down to United in the league, Liverpool in the cups.

Jen said...

Anonymous #2: I respect that referees have a tough job and they're inevitably going to make mistakes sometimes. (And I agree that some kind of replay technology can only help.) But I have very little respect for Rob Styles, because he's got a history of making terrible calls like that.

Anonymous said...

That was SUCH a bad call that I have no sympathy for him whatsoever. Plus he did it against MY team when they were playing the team I hate the most (other than Mexico which the 'pool don't often play). He's worthless.
And this year, after SAF's whinging I certainly hope you'[re supporting Liverpool against ManU!

Jen said...

I don't know...Rafa's catching up to Fergie in the whinging stakes, after his latest rant.