17 September 2006

The weekend in the Premiership

Charlton 0-1 Portsmouth - Pompey continues it’s run of unbeaten games while keeping clean sheets. I know it’s five games in, and against weak opposition, but Harry Redknapp has this team playing very good soccer. The fact that a back line of Glen Johnson – Linvoy Primus – Sol Campbell – Dejan Stefanovic has kept five straight clean sheets is mindboggling.

Bolton 0-0 Middlesbrough – Surprise, surprise. The sad thing is, this is the game that Fox Soccer Channel decided to show in the States in this timeslot. This was going to be a 0-0 draw since the FA made the fixture list. Bolton is Bolton, rough and rugged, then hit and hope and frankly, Middlesbrough just about out-Boltoned Bolton . One would hope that Nicolas Anelka would change this, but it’s becoming obvious he’s going to have to adapt to their system, instead of vice versa.

Everton 2-2 Wigan – Your guess is as good as mine as how Everton can wallop Liverpool 3-0 one week and then give up two equalizers to Paul Scharner the next. Either Everton is inconsistent as usual, Wigan has more fight than I give them credit for, or Liverpool is more impotent in front of goal than I’d imagined. Let’s not consider the possibilities.

Sheffield United 1-2 Reading – Reading still looks to be the one promoted team that could avoid relegation. Sheffield and Watford will continue to be tough to beat at home, but Reading looks like they will be able to surprise people and take points where they shouldn’t. Leroy Lita is a Premiership class striker, and hopefully his recent arrest won’t impact his current run of good form. Not to mention Bobby Convey, Steve Sidwell, Kevin Doyle, or Dave Kitson.

Watford 0-0 Aston Villa – Villa again looked good, but once again Watford proved they will be a tough team to beat. I’m really starting to respect Aidy Boothroyd and the spirit he’s put into his team, and Marlon King will score goals at this level. Villa should have done better. They had chances, and Moore, Petrov, and Agbonlahor played well, but Watford’s offside trap was on, and both goalkeepers played a blinder.

Blackburn 4-2 Manchester City – Surprisingly, a goal fest. It sounds like comical defending led to a boatload of chances. Blackburn has been unimpressive so far this season and both they and Man City will have to improve on current form to make the top 10.

Tottenham 0-0 Fulham – Either Fulham is playing far better away from home this season, or Tottenham is really off-form. Or both. I understand Berbatov is injured, but a front line of Defoe, Mido, and Keane really should be able to put at least one goal past Fulham at home. Once again, Fulham displays the spine that Chris Coleman has imbued in this squad.
I firmly believe he's a manager that should get more respect.

West Ham 0-2 Newcastle – Surprising result here. Obafemi Martins opens his account for Newcastle and West Ham is shocking defensively at home. Other than a free kick, Tevez disappoints, and Mascherano keeps Benayoun, who has consistently been West Ham’s best player, on the bench. This experiment is going to be interesting. It’s still early, but I’m going to suggest they might have been a better team before having to wedge the Argentinean boys into the squad.

Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal – The result of the weekend. Not an impressive performance at all until Adebayor broke the deadlock, but a fun game to watch. It was a correctly given penalty, but a very weak shot by Gilberto Silva and was an easy save for Kuszczak. And for the next 80 minutes, not a very remarkable game. As with other games this season, Arsenal was wasteful with their final ball after slowly building up possession, and today United’s stars (Rooney, Ronaldo, Saha) had quiet games. Fantastic result for Arsenal though; after disappointing for the first few games, they beat the league leaders and one of their biggest rivals, without Thierry Henry to boot. And it keeps United from getting farther away from the rest of the league, which is fantastic in and of itself.

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