Monday, February 9, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I think the Premiership is divided into those who like Manchester United and those who don't. They've put together an incredible run in football(soccer), as the other teams just can't seem to score (like my friends without alcohol).
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Newcastle United at Blackburn - Big Sam faces his old club, and he really wants this one. Don't be surprised if Roque Santa Cruz is suddenly fit, to help Sam get all three points, and to fetch a higher price for Blackburn. Newcastle have a host of injuries(surprise), and predicting this game is like predicting the wind(can you predict the wind?). Tie 1-1
Man U at Bolton - Man U has a chance to go top of the table if they win this game. Bolton beat them last year, and United have Rooney, Evra and Rio out for this match. Bolton will rely on set pieces, but with Nolan and Elmander out they'll have their own problems. Look for a bit of class from Berbatov, Tevez and Ronaldo to make the difference in this match. Man U 2-0
Stoke at Chelsea - This is the kind of game you would circle as a gimme, but due to Chelsea's current form and their home problems, things may not be so simple. Drogba is supposed to come back, but Joe Cole is injured and Deco has fortuitously picked up a calf injury. With Malouda fit, it will be interesting to see who starts, and who comes off the bench for Chelsea. James Beattie will start for Stoke, while Fuller is still suspended for hitting Andy Griffin. Stoke will want to play physical, and take advantage of throw ins and free kicks. Last week's loss was bad, but anything less than three points from this match would be apocalyptic. Chelsea 3-0
Wigan at Man City - Wigan are the in form team, and they travel to a Man City team that is having all sorts of problems. Kaka, Bellamy and the rest of the world have been linked with the club, so their is probably a lack of confidence in the side. Wigan played a tight game with Man U, and as long as Valencia is still in their side they should be confident. Robinho is fit, but Ireland is out and Wright-Phillips has a knock. If Wigan's defense can hold, they should grab a point. Tie 1-1
Aston Villa at Sunderland - Villa are unbeaten in their last nine, and there's no reason they shouldn't make this ten. Carew and Bouma are both close to coming back, but expect Agbonlahor, Young and Milner to lead the line. Malbranque is suspended, while McCartney and Gordon are still injured. Villa have been as lucky as they have been good, and they'll need that luck against a physical Sunderland side. Villa 2-1
Middlesbrough at West Brom - Middlesbrough have looked the opposite of confident(unconfident?), while West Brom are playing with the house's money(definitely not a sponsor's). Morrison is injured for the Baggies, while Teixeira could start and loan signing Fortune could factor. Gareth Southgate is relying on the class of Downing, Alves and Mido to push Boro through. West Brom have gotten four of their five wins at home, and will be hoping for another, and this one could go either way. Tie 1-1
Arsenal at Hull - Hull defeated Arsenal at the Emirates to begin the Gunners slide, and they'll be wanting revenge. Hull have looked a shell of their former selves, but new signings Kilbane and Manucho could start. Arsenal are still dealing with injuries, and have Gallas and Silvestre on the short term list. This should be similar to their game against Bolton, and Arsenal will be relying on some brilliance to put them ahead. RVP or Nasri should supply it. Arsenal 2-1
Fulham at West Ham - A London derby, with both teams doing pretty well. Fulham's defense has become one of the league's best, while Bellamy and Cole have been pouring it in for the Hammers. A number of West Ham players are linked with moves away, while Bullard could shortly leave the Mighty Whites. If Bullard is fit, this could be a good battle of the Hammers counter attack versus the back to front build up of Fulham. Tie 1-1
Portsmouth at Tottenham - Harry's revenge, or is it Pomepy's revenge? It will be a battle of former strike partners, as Defoe leads his line against Peter Crouch. Each will want to prove their supremacy, and 'Ansome 'Arry 'Oudini will want to show why he was worth all that money. Tottenham have been struggling late, and if Portsmouth can hold it tight, they might be able to nick one. Tottenham 2-1
Everton at Liverpool - Everton have been playing a 4-6-0(Cahill isn't really a striker), and will be without Fellaini this game. That should really hurt them, as Torres and Alonso are both expected to start, and Kuyt will be able to use his aerial ability. Liverpool will know what they need to be in first place at this point, and if Man U wins, three points is all that will suffice. Liverpool 2-0
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
What has been most impressive about United's surge up the table is their defense. Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Man City have all scored more goals than United. However, United have conceded the fewest goals all season with only 10 goals allowed in 20 matches. This has really showcased their depth at the back, as they have dealt with a number of injuries. Gary Neville has been battling injuries for the past two years, and even when he is healthy it looks like Rafael is the preferred choice. Neville did start the Chelsea match, but Rafael has more starts than the United skipper this year. He is extremely dangerous going forward, and a perfect compliment to Evra on the left. Evra has missed games through suspension and injury, and in his stead John O'Shea has played brilliantly. While not gifted with Evra's pace or ball control, his size and strength make up for it. Along with youngster Jonathan Evans, they have deputized for Rio Ferdinand during his injuries. Vidic has played almost every minute, and his goals against Sunderland and Chelsea were huge morale boosters. It's easy to forget that West Brown will be coming back from injury shortly, and explains why Silvestre was sold in the summer. United have an understudy for every player on their backline, which explains why they are still challenging for four trophies and won the FIFA World Club Championship in Japan.
There were also a couple of FA Cup games today, and judging by his selection it looks like Scolari reads my blog. He dropped Deco and Drogba, and instead had Anelka, Kalou and Joe Cole leading the line. Sherlock Holmes would have had dropping finding any evidence in the fog that plagued the game, and Southend was able to take advantage of Chelsea's woeful defending of set pieces. Ballack fired home a loose ball in the box right before halftime to boost the morale. Chelsea then turned it up a notch, with Kalou, Anelka and Lampard all scoring in the second half. After this win, Scolari will be hardpressed to feature Drogba against Stoke. Hull defeated Newcastle in their replay, while Crystal Palace defeated Leicester in a lower league matchup.
- Kaka rejects £100 million move to Man City, I guess money can't buy everything
- Bolton makes bid for Bullard, but he probably has too much hair for the Reebok
- Hammers reject another Bellamy bid, why?
- Chelsea unsure of Joe Cole injury, hope that magic spray can work its magic
Monday, January 12, 2009
There are decisive wins, and then there are decisive wins. Manchester United's 3-0 victory over Chelsea was an emphatic declaration of their title intent. Cold weather caused two games to be postponed, but this could be the start of a week where Man U show that they're interested in a 3-peat.
Aston Villa defeated West Brom 2-1, in a game that was a lot more lopsided than the score suggests. Curtis Davies opened the scoring against his former club(and had the class to not celebrate), and then Gabby Agbonlahor(who apparently had the flu) fired one at Scott Carson, who did his best impersonation of Swiss cheese. Morrison grabbed one back in the second, and the Baggies had some chances, but Villa showed that the Big 4 should be concerned. Everton defeated Hull 2-0, as they continue to play without a recognized striker. Fellaini used that big afro to score the opener(he later picked up his tenth yellow card in only 17 games), with Arteta's perfect free kick giving them some cushion. Hull looked impotent, and look like they'll soon be in a relegation battle.
Middlesbrough and Sunderland drew 1-1, thanks to a late equalizer from Kenwyne Jones. Stewart Downing and Afonso Alves combined well for the opener, and Southgate will need to keep the young England winger if they have any hope of staying up. Newcastle and West Ham drew 2-2, as Michael Owen continues his audition for a bigger club. After Owen's opener, it was Bellamy and Carlton Cole who scored for the Hammers, before Andy Carroll secured the point for Newcastle. Neither team looked very impressive, and with only eight points separating 9th and last place, they will have to keep their eyes on the rear view mirror.
Arsenal defeated Bolton 1-0, in a match where they looked like they'd be held to a draw. Bolton only managed two shots the entire game, and had possession for less than a quarter of the match. RVP had a number of chances, but it was the one that he created for Nicklas Bendtner that made the difference. Bolton only named four players to their bench, due to injuries and suspension, and will feel hard done by to lose a point in the final six minutes. Liverpool drew with Stoke 0-0, meaning the Potters come away with two points from their two matches against the leaders. Stoke parked a whole caravan in front of goal, and while Liverpool dominated possession they couldn't seem to penetrate the final third. Torres looked dangerous in the thirty minutes he played, but the decision to leave Robbie Keane on the bench must be questioned. New signing Matthew Etherington shone for the Potters, and looks to win them a lot of throw ins(which Stoke have gotten nearly half their goals from).
Manchester United defeated Chelsea 3-0, in a game that saw Chelsea look as uninspired as Liverpool. The trio of Deco, Ballack and Lampard could not create any chances, so Drogba and Cole were left out to dry. Malouda's injury means Chelsea are lacking width, and replacing the ineffectual Deco with Kalou seems like a good solution. Vidic's header right before halftime opened up the scoring, while Rooney and Berbatov piled on the humiliation. Ryan Giggs did a great job stifling Bosingwa and controlling the game, with Fletcher mopping up in the midfield. There was a lot of class on the pitch, but Chelsea seem like they've forgotten how to score. Whether this is a confidence issue, a tactics issue or something else, they are drastically under performing. Wigan defeated Tottenham 1-0 in injury time, as 'Ansome 'Arry 'Oudini seems to have lost his magical touch. Wigan used none of their substitutions, while 'Arry tried a Defoe-Bent combination in the second half that looked lost. The Spurs have been giving up too many late goals, and while they are better than at the start of the season, there is still seem to lose their head over the course of a game.
- Ronaldo wins top award, accepts award and says they like me, they really really like
- Beckham impresses in Italy, Posh reportedly eats a carb
- Stoke wrap up signing of James Beattie, which I will preemptively call the worse signing of the Winter transfer window
- Man City bid on Bellamy, Mark Hughes getting desperate
- Klinsmann saddened by Podolski's desire to leave club, Podolski saddened by shortage of strudel
Friday, January 9, 2009
WBA at Aston Villa- This would seem a simple game, except for Villa's poor home form this season. Villa also have a number of injuries, with Laursen, Cuellar and Carew out, while Gareth Barry and Luke Young missed their FA Cup match. The Baggies have Zuiverloorn, Morrison and Teixeira struggling to be fit, as they try to grab their second road win. It's a bit of a surprise that neither team has done much business in the transfer market, but it has been quiet so far. Expect a wide open game, and Villa's attack should be too much for the West Brom defense. Villa 3-1
Hull at Everton- The wheels have come off Phil Brown's bus, and Hull are beginning their descent down the table. Hull fans will not be comforted by the news that they are targeting Luis Boa Morte, as Phil Brown tries to find more players his age. Everton look to have regained the defensive form that propelled them last season, and Cahill may continue to lead the line even with Anichebe fit. Everton 1-0
Blackburn at Fulham- Which team has allowed the fourth fewest goals in the Premiership? That would be the Mighty Whites of Fulham, whose defense has pushed them to ninth in the league. Sam's club(clever) will have a tough time playing long ball, with the size of Fulham's back line. Bullard is likely to miss out, while Davies and Gera hope to feature. Santa Cruz will probably never play a game for Big Sam, so this game could be a bit toothless. Draw 0-0
Sunderland at Middlesbrough- After a strong start, Boro are again flirting with the drop, while Sunderland are only a couple points clear of the drop as well. Boro are desperately trying to keep hold of Stewart Downing, while Sunderland are doing the same with Kenwyne Jones. With Aliadiere out, Mido and Alves will need to pour in the goals in the second half of the season if they want to stay up. Draw 1-1
West Ham at Newcastle- These teams may be a little higher up the table, but this is another six-pointer. Zola's team has lacked any consistency, and just about every player on the roster has been linked with a move away. Newcastle will want to forget about their 5-1 demolition at the hands of Liverpool, but they've also had a number of players linked with moves away. Martins is out for Newcastle, but this is Michael Owen's chance to sell himself for a move away. Newcastle 2-1
Manchester City at Portsmouth- City are a point behind Pompey, even though they've scored 17 more goals. With Defoe leaving, a number of other players being linked with moves away, and the club for sale, the confidence of Portsmouth players will be at an all-time low. Mark Hughes will have Wayne Bridge to bolster his back line, but with Robinho and Ireland likely to be out, the Welshman knows he is hanging on by a thread. City 2-1
Bolton at Arsenal- With Gallas and Silvestre out, this is just the kind of team the Gunners did not want to be facing. Fabregas, Walcott and Rosicky are all out for a while, so this will look like a Carling Cup team. This will be a chance for those young players to prove they should be playing, before Monsieur Wenger brings in some replacements. Bolton are without Kevin Nolan and Gretar Steinsson, but they might fancy themselves a point. RVP and Adebayor will be the key, and if they get any decent service they should win this game for the Gunners by themselves. Arsenal 2-1
Liverpool at Stoke- Stoke nicked a draw at Anfield earlier in the season, but this is a much different side. Fuller is still serving a ban for hitting a teammate, but its unlikely that they'll end their slide against the Reds. With Chelsea and Man U facing off, Liverpool will want to try and create some distance between themselves and the rest Big 4. Torres will probably play, but not start for the Reds. Liverpool 3-0
Tottenham at Wigan- Wigan have quietly got themselves up to seventh in the league, which has led to some of their players being linked to Real Madrid(a lesson to all those teams that hope to do well). Tottenham have just seen 100% inflation on Defoe, and it will be interesting if he partners with Pavlyuchenko up front. Jenas and King should be back for Tottenham, but Spurs are dealing with a number of other injuries. Draw 1-1
Chelsea at Man U- The camera men will be busy, and expect a number of closeups of Ferguson, Scolari and Mourinho. Ferdinand and Evra should be back for United, while Terry is back for Chelsea. After their draw in the FA Cup, the pressure is on Chelsea and they'll want to show that they are still in the title race. Draw 1-1