Monday, August 27, 2007

Premiership Weekend Roundup: August 25-26

Manchester United 1 - 0 Tottenham
United, you lucky buggers.

I'm not talking about Spurs' claim that they should have had a penalty -- despite the commentators being so convinced that Wes Brown had blocked Berbatov's shot with his arm, it seemed pretty clear to me that it had hit his chest instead. I'm talking about the fact that they managed to score for a change. Yeah, only their second goal in four games. By this time last year, they'd scored five times that many.

And actually, there may have been an element of luck in United's goal -- it was a gorgeous strike by Nani, but there seemed to be a slight deflection off Tevez to take it past Paul Robinson. Nevertheless, they got the goal and, more importantly, their first win of the season, which was a huge burden that they needed to get off their backs. The ironic bit is that I didn't think they played as well yesterday as they had in the previous three games, either going forward, where they ran out of ideas too often, or at the back, where Vidic and Ferdinand were apparently taking it in turns to zone out.

Anyway, I'm trying to be optimistic now. United have hauled themselves up to mid-table; the defensive shakiness I'm choosing to blame on the pressure of needing a win; and unlike last year, when they hit the ground running, they've started the season struggling with injuries and trying to work in new players like Nani, Tevez and Hargreaves. That last point is something that will only improve as the season goes on and players get used to each other. And in terms of absent players, Ronaldo has only one more game to serve on his suspension, and Saha and Neville should be back soon too.

Soon is not before the close of the transfer window, though; I still think they should be seriously considering bringing in another striker. I hear that Bulgarian guy who plays for Spurs is pretty good...


Sunderland 0 - 2 Liverpool
On the plus side: Another away win for Liverpool. On the minus side, losing Sami Hyypia with a broken nose and Jamie Carragher with a broken rib and pneumothorax (which apparently means a collapse lung; one hopes this is the not-so-serious kind of collapsed lung, because yikes). Also, a note to the Liverpool coaching staff: if Carra says he needs to come off, you fucking well bring him off.

It was another solid if not spectacular performance for the Reds. They didn't seem to be missing Stevie G that much, with Momo Sissoko combining well with Xabi Alonso in midfield and even stepping up to score his first-ever goal for the club (although he does still need to work on actually passing to a teammate). Andriy Voronin added a second late goal; he's looking like an increasingly smart buy by Rafa -- as is Fernando Torres, who may not have scored this time but doesn't seem to be having many problems adapting to the English game.

Hyypia should be fit for the second leg of the Champions League qualifier against Toulouse tomorrow, but the injury to Carragher is more worrisome, because he could easily be out for six weeks or more. And they've just sold Gabriel Paletta to Boca Juniors, which basically leaves Alvaro Arbeloa as cover for the entire back line. Yeah, Paletta was shite, but at least he was an extra body; you can see why Rafa was so interested in signing Gabriel Heinze. After Toulouse, Liverpool have what should be an easy game against Derby and then the international break, which gives Carragher some time to heal, but I still think this is going to make them step up their efforts to bu another defender.


Chelsea 1 - 0 Portsmouth
So Frank Lampard scored again.* How nice for him. Another chance for him to show off his "I Am A Smug Twat" goal celebration. Apart from the goal, he didn't really do much (the cynical side of me thinks that he decided to play against Germany in midweek mostly because he was worried about ceding his place to Steven Gerrard), and the rest of the team didn't either. Jose Mourinho, naturally, is blaming the after-effects of an international week, but this is the same Chelsea we saw so many times last year: just good enough to pull off a win. They don't have the excuse of trying to shoehorn Ballack and Shevchenko into the lineup anymore, and yet they're still no more than adequate. I know they're top of the league right now, but that doesn't mean they're playing good football.

* With a deflection, of course.


Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City
I kind of love Kasper Schmeichel, even if he does play for Citeh and he kept a clean sheet against my team last week. But he's all wee and blond and he saved a penalty against Arsenal, even if he did end up getting beat eventually. On the other hand, I like to see Cesc Fabregas scoring too; I think I commented last week on how Arsenal are brats, and Cesc is possibly the biggest brat of them all, but I like him anyway. Yes, there is no actual match anaysis here. Sorry. I think I took a nap somewhere in the middle of the game.


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

4 comments:

Anna said...

"Also, a note to the Liverpool coaching staff: if Carra says he needs to come off, you fucking well bring him off."
Agreed.
Eek, collapsed lung sound serious.

weenie said...

With the good squad Benitez has built, neither Gerrard nor Carra were missed last night in the Toulouse game - a solid performance!

Linda said...

Oh God, you're spot on about Cesc. That's exactly it.

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