Monday, December 10, 2007

Premiership Weekend Roundup: December 8-9

Reading 3-1 Liverpool
Rafa moves in mysterious ways. I really have no explanation for his decisions in this game -- either the 4-3-3 formation he sent out, which, most bizarrely, featured Peter Crouch as a left winger, or his substitutions, taking off Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard when Liverpool were chasing the game.

Yes, they had some bad luck -- a penalty against Jamie Carragher for a foul outside the box, one or two penalty shouts in Liverpool's favour that weren't given, a couple of shots that hit the crossbar -- but that luck wouldn't have been such a decisive factor
if Liverpool had played better. The players looked confused and disorganized by the formation. They were way too narrow in midfield, and yet they weren't even able to clog up the play and shut Reading down, because of the way they kept giving the ball away and having to chase around like headless chickens.

Dear Rafa,

A couple notes:

1. If you want to convince the owners to let you buy more players, the way to do that is not to totally misuse the ones you have.
2. If you want to win the Premiership, like you say, the way to do that is not to give up against Reading with 20 minutes left in the game.

Footie Girl

Gah, Liverpool. I don't even know what to say. I just wish they would stop lurching back and forth between triumph and crisis.

Manchester United 4-1 Derby
It took United quite a while to break down Derby -- not helped by the torrential downpour and the slow, rain-sodden pitch -- but there was a sense that it was inevitable. Although Derby had a few decent ventures forward, including a consolation goal in the second half, they were a mess at the back. After United's first goal -- Ryan Giggs scoring his 100th Premier League goal, with the rebound from Cristiano Ronaldo's shot -- they just fell apart and couldn't seem to clear their lines. The second goal was just a few minutes later, Carlos Tevez having enough time to miss the ball completely with his first kick before scoring with his second. Tevez added another in the second half, but was denied a hat-trick when Ronaldo was awarded a rather dubious penalty and decided to take the shot himself. Oh, Ronniecakes. I try to defend you, I really do, but it's not easy when you pull stunts like this.

Middlesbrough 2-1 Arsenal
Possibly the best result of the weekend, from my perspective. United's win over Derby was entirely expected, whereas this was a pleasant surprise. Thank you, Boro. It wasn't always pretty, but it was beautiful to watch them hassle the je ne sais quoi right out of Arsenal. Also, I would just like to reiterate my dislike for Emmanuel Eboue. Here's the thing: You can either play dirty and kick people constantly, or you can fall over if someone looks at you wrong and complain about being fouled. (I won't particularly like it, but I'll probably let it slide.) But you cannot do both. If you do, it makes you, like Eboue, a loathsome little snake who would be better suited to some other sporting pursuit, like WWF wrestling or maybe ice dancing.

Other results
Aston Villa 1-3 Portsmouth
Blackburn 0-1 West Ham
Bolton 4-1 Wigan
Chelsea 2-0 Sunderland
Everton 3-0 Fulham
Newcastle 2-1 Birmingham
Tottenham 2-1 Manchester City

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