24 September 2006

This weekend in the EPL...

Aston Villa 2-0 Charlton: Aston Villa continues their good run of form, although admittedly against a Charlton side that’s been dreadful and are quickly becoming relegation favorites. Both Agbonlahor and Luke Moore had excellent games for Villa; aside from installing a team spirit, Martin O’Neill has done an excellent job bringing the young players along, these two especially. You saw flashes of brilliance last season from both, but this year they’ve become consistent starters, are contributing goals and assists, and are keeping a now-fit Milan Baros out of the team.

Man City 2-0 West Ham: Bit of a surprising result here. But you knew City would play better this week after the abomination that was the midweek Carling Cup tie. I’m sure Stuart Pearce screamed the paint off the wall both after Wednesday’s game and before Saturday’s, and the players responded. West Ham still hasn’t adapted with the new Argentinean boys; they haven’t settled yet (granted, it’s still really early), and they’ve made a cohesive dressing room far less stable. And it certainly doesn’t help that Yossi Benayoun has been a shadow of the player he was last season.

Arsenal 3-0 Sheffield United: A vastly improved second half against Sheffield helps Arsenal build on the victory over United last Sunday. Arsenal looked to have the same problems as earlier in the season, with a large amount of possession and shots leading to no goals, but much like Liverpool, they put in three in the final half-hour. Henry looked handy returning from injury, involved in the build-up to Gallas’s goal, whipping in the cross for the own-goal, and scoring a header late on.

Middlesbrough 0-1 Blackburn: And Boro wonders why the fail to draw crowds at half of their games, this one sounds as if it was visual Valium. Boro failed to create any real chances, and they left the field at halftime to a chorus of boos. Which is guess is better than last year when a fan stormed the field and ripped up his season ticket in front of then-manager Steve McClaren.

Fulham 0-2 Chelsea: Pity for Fulham. Papa Bouba Diop (it’s even more fun to say than it is to write) should have scored for Fulham, and Chelsea followed up with a Fat Frank penalty and a second from Lampard on the counter-attack. Fulham’s been a bogey team in the past for Chelski, and they again looked vulnerable. And yet, Chelsea’s top of the table with this win.

Wigan 1-1 Watford: Henri Camara (Wigan) and Hamuer Bouazza (Watford) scored. Evidently it was a fairly entertaining match. Both will still end up being relegation candidates, and will rue that neither got three points from this game. I expected Wigan would fall into a sophomore slump, but they should be beating Watford at home, no matter the enjoyable soccer Watford’s played so far.

Reading 1-1 Manchester United: I guess United deserved their equalizer through Cristiano Ronaldo, but Reading had done an excellent job keeping them at bay after scoring. It was a dubious penalty, Gary Neville knew little about that ball hitting his arm, but Reading continues to impress, and looks the mostly likely of the promoted teams to stay up. Still, damn you Ronaldo.

Newcastle 1-1 Everton: I’m sure David Moyes is a very unhappy man right now. Newcastle’s goal should have never stood, Ameobi was clearly offside, but I certainly enjoyed seeing it. Yet I couldn’t complain when Everton tied the match, they deserved the draw if not the win. They look a far better side with Andy Johnson, who continued to play well even without scoring. Steve Bennett did his best to make the game unwatchable, with 6 yellows and 2 red cards in a game that wasn’t ill-tempered, but it was a back and forth match, especially when both sides went down to 10 men.

Tomorrow Bolton travels to Portsmouth, with the game on at 3pm EST on Fox Soccer Channel.

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