15 October 2006

Weekend in the Premiership

Wigan 1-3 Manchester United: Former Liverpool academy player Leighton Baines hammered a stunning free kick past Edwin Van der Sar, and Wigan went into the half up one-nil. And then United went and scored 3 in the second half, and Wayne Rooney played his best game in about seven months. Sometimes life is not fair.

Arsenal 3-0 Watford: Admittedly, it is home against Watford, but Arsenal, despite the injuries and early poor home form, look to be finding their stride. Thierry Henry in particular has been much improved in the last couple of games, but that was only a matter of time. Theo Walcott got playing time as well, and he certainly looks to be something. The English game needs creative young players like Walcott to succeed, and while I don’t wish Arsenal any luck, I hope to see Walcott achieve his potential, because he could be frighteningly good.

Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham: Bad day for Juan Pablo Angel. He missed a penalty after Gabriel Agbonlahor was brought down by Calum Davenport (who was sent off) in the area, and three minutes later headed Jermaine Jenas’ cross into his own net. Good day for Gareth Barry however, who scored an absolutely beautiful goal five minutes after that. While they have drawn five times, Aston Villa continues to be undefeated.

Manchester City 0-0 Sheffield United: Manchester City let Sheffield United get away with all the chances they missed, and I really do hope it doesn’t come back to haunt them at the end of the season. They have been so inconsistent this season that you have to worry about a relegation fight, and a team must get maximum points against fellow strugglers at home.

Middlesbrough 2-1 Everton: Everton’s winning streak comes to an end. And it’s not really a surprise it comes against a side as inconsistent as Boro, as it just summarizes Everton for me. So far, Middlesbrough’s only wins are against previously unbeaten Everton and Chelsea, while they’ve lost to two out of the three recently-promoted teams. That’s pretty much the definition of inconsistency.

Portsmouth 2-0 West Ham: Alan Pardew’s got to start fearing for his job. Which is a pity, as he did such an excellent job last season, and West Ham is awful for so many reasons aside from the manager this season. I don’t mean to diminish Portsmouth, they continue to play very well to start the season, and for the first time since they were promoted, surely look likely to avoid a relegation battle. But it is just so much more astonishing to see West Ham flounder, despite the players they have.

Reading 0-1 Chelsea: Tough day to be a goalkeeper. Petr Cech was stretchered off in the first minute, and his replacement lasted eighty-something minutes longer before succumbing to the same fate. Cudicini’s looked worse (it reminded me of the reverse of the Battiston incident, without the malice), but it turns out that Cech’s injury is far more severe. He’s still in hospital having had surgery on a depressed skull. It’s hard to tell, and I won’t make any judgment, but it appears Steven Hunt lowered his knee into Cech. Oh yeah, and there was a game. Reading played quiet well, but as usual, despite being the weaker side, the evil empire held on for three points.

Newcastle 1-2 Bolton: Newcastle bossed around the first half, scored a penalty after Abdoulaye Faye appeared to have handled the ball, and looked to have Bolton on the ropes. A second goal seemed to be assured. And then Nicolas Anelka woke up and beautifully put Diouf through on goal. Less than 10 minutes later Diouf scored again, and Bolton is leaving Tyneside with 3 points. I find it amazing how Allardyce can make players like Diouf into something worthwhile. He’s still a creep though.

Charlton travels across London for a derby against Fulham on Monday. As usual with these games, it’s on FSC at 3pm.

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