Monday, October 5, 2009
EPL Review: Chelsea Stuff Liverpool, Arsenal Get Six, Spurs Get 12, and Hull!
Week eight of the EPL season doubled the amount of draws we've had so far. Didier Drogba took Jamie Carragher apart, Arsenal scored six against Blackburn, Spurs brought their tally of goalscorers this season to an impressive 12, and Hull pulled off a massively needed win against Wigan.
Portsmouth...in the midst of their 16th takeover this season and without a point from the first seven games, travelled to Molineaux in a relegation six pointer. French youngster Yebda scored the only goal of the game to give Pompey and Paul Hart a deserved first win.
Mick McCarthy summed it up well after the game, "I know Paul Hart well, but I'm not happy for him. I can't be. I wanted to heap more misery on him today. Sympathy is in short supply here..."
Manchester United scored in injury time for the third time this year, as a 94th minute equalizer robbed Steve Bruce of his first win over Alex Ferguson in 13 attempts.
In the Black Cats midfield Andy Reid put on a real show in the 2-2 win...but his recent brilliant form hasn't been good enough to get him back into the Ireland squad, Trappatoni preferring to go for Martin Rowland of QPR...
Hull pulled off the unthinkable by beating Wigan 2-1 at the KC. If there is one team to stay away from when betting it's Wigan. They beat Villa away, and Chelsea, and then lose to Hull.
It was such a monumental occasion, not because of the win, but because Phil Brown actually looks to be finally learning.
"Is it a relief? No. Joy springs to mind but I don't feel relief. It's more that I'm pleased for the players."Yep, that's right, he isn't just pleased for himself.
The Clarets continued their impressive home form with a well deserved 2-1 win over lacklustre Birmingham. The Blues have been strangely defensive in their approach to most games this year. McLeish often uses one man up front, even at home, and on this evidence it is no small wonder that they scored so few in the Championship last year.
Continue to play the way they do and they'll be back there next season.
The final Saturday fixture saw Spurs out-Bolton Bolton. Two longs balls led to Lillywhites scoring twice as two thirds of Tottenham's Croatian connection scored. The real story was that Vedran Corluka was Spurs' 12th goal-scorer of the season.
The draw was a good result on paper, but as with all of Saturday's matches the standard was bloody awful. A pain to sit through, and everyone prayed that Sunday's games would be better.
The Sabbath day started well with another 2-2 draw between West Ham and 10-man Fulham. It was a desperate result for both teams who are struggling near the relegation zone, add that to the rumours that the Hammers are close to going into administration and the winter could be a tough one for little Gianfranco.
Then Everton played Stoke. I felt like gouging my eyes out. 1-1. Good goal by Osman though.
The appetiser was at the Emirates as a very open Blackburn tried to take Arsenal on at their own game.
And despite the 6-2 scoreline they almost succeeded. Arsenal played very well, the football was as you would expect. Nice, intricate, flowing.
But at 3-2 down Blackburn had a blatant penalty turned down, and then at 4-2 down they hit the post.
In the end the six different scorers of Arsenal took home the three points. One should point out that Fabregas had five assists and scored the other himself.
Then came the main course.
Liverpool had been struggling of late but they fancied their chances against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. After all, it was the Reds who ended Chelsea's 86 game unbeaten run at the ground last year with a 1-0 win which was inspired by Robbie Keane.
There was to be no repeat. Chelsea controlled the game and bullied Liverpool for the most part. The 2-0 win was a fair result in the end and now struggling Liverpool take on Sunderland, United, Lyon, and Arsenal over their next four games.
Rafa will be praying to any God that listens that Steve G and Torres come through the international window unscathed.
In actual fact, the final game of the weekend was probably the most interesting. Both Gareth Barry and Richard Dunne were playing against the clubs they used to captain. And while one left for money, the other was forced to leave.
Dunne drew first blood when he out-jumped Barry to power home his header from Young's corner. He put in a magnificent performance, and even showed a touch of class when he refused to celebrate against his old team.
Showing Garry Cook that his dignity is not for sale.
10 statements about week 8-
1) Hull's win over Wigan was only their 3rd in 30 games, they still look doomed.
2) Liverpool's next six games are against Sunderland (a), Lyon (h), Man Utd (h), Arsenal (a), Fulham (a), Lyon (a).
By mid November they will be out of the running for the Premier League and quite possibly the Champions League too.
3) Rafa is a great bet to be sacked before Christmas.
4) Fergie made too many changes, and then tried to cover it up with his poor comment about the referee's fitness.
5) Fair play to Richard Dunne.
6) Would you buy Pompey?
7) Did Harry use tax-evasion or tax-avoidance?
8) Arsenal need a pivotal player in the Adebayor mould if they are to challenge for the league.
9) Only 8 draws from 76 games so far means that bookies are losing millions.
10) Four teams in the top five are playing without their first choice goalkeepers at the moment.
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