Monday, March 17, 2008

Premiership Weekend Roundup: March 15-16

Liverpool 2-1 Reading
Liverpool started slowly, and Reading took an early lead with a well-worked free kick, squared to Marek Matejovsky for a beautiful strike from the edge of the box. But Javier Mascherano cancelled that out with an equally well struck goal, his first for the club. You could see how much it meant to him -- not to mention how happy his teammates were on his behalf -- and he fully deserves the recognition, because this was another in a series of excellent games from him. Then it was a header from Fernando Torres -- who else -- to give them all three points. That makes Torres the first Liverpool striker since Robbie Fowler to score 20 league goals in a season, and he's well on his way to becoming a legend at Anfield. The rest of the team were average this weekend; although they dominated possession they could've capitalized on that more and saved themselves a slightly nerve-wracking end to the game. Still, this is their fifth Premier League win in a row, and they're in good shape going into the crucial series of upcoming games against United, Everton and Arsenal.

Derby 0-1 Manchester United
Everyone was predicting that this game was going to be a massacre. An embarrassment. And it was embarrassing, but mostly for United. This is Derby, after all -- probably the worst team in Premiership history. Coming away with anything less than four or five goals is kind of disappointing. But I think United were (unsurprisingly) overconfident coming into this game, and that translated into them not being quite as sharp as they needed to be. They wasted an incredible number of chances, and Roy Carroll also made a number of very good saves to keep them out. Cristiano Ronaldo was getting poutier and poutier with every miss, but he finally scored the one goal they needed in the 75th minute. And it wasn't all defence from Derby: at the other end of the field, Ben Foster had to make a couple of crucial saves as well. He was only starting because of the injury to Edwin van der Sar and Tomasz Kuszczak's suspension, but he certainly looks good enough to give you confidence for the future -- for both United and England.

Arsenal 1-1 Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough seem to be Arsenal's nemesis this year, beating them at the Riverside in September and earning a draw here with their hard work. Arsenal had a bit of bit of bad luck early on when Emmanuel Adebayor's goal was bizarrely ruled out out for offside. And it only got worse as former Arsenal player Jeremie Aliadiere scored for Boro with their one and only shot on target. Arsenal threw everything they had at the opposition goal but nothing seemed to work, with Middlesbrough hanging on by the skin of their teeth. It took a late goal by Kolo Toure to save a point for Arsenal, but that was all they got, as they couldn't take advantage of their extra man after Mido was sent off for (accidentally) kicking Gael Clichy in the face. So, their five-point lead has evaporated and they've ceded the top of the table to United. And now they also have to worry about Chelsea, who won again and are now just three points behind with a game in hand.

Other results
Fulham 1-0 Everton
Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham
Portsmouth 2-0 Aston Villa
Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea
West Ham 2-1 Blackburn

1 comment:

Bet Blogger said...

Just a thought, but if Liverpool can somehow manage wins and Man Utd and Arsenal and the others drop a few points along the way then, suddenly, Liverpool could be back in the title race. I don't think the other 3 will drop enough points but certainly Liverpool are the most in-form team at the moment and are due wins at Old Trafford and the Emirates (Benitez has never won at either venue). It's a testament to the way Benitez has turned things around in the past few weeks that they even have an outside chance after a poor January.