Sunday, 28 November 2010

Premier League Review - Match Day 15

Even a cynic like me agrees this is the best Premier League season we've had in a very long while. Lots of goals. lots of drama and an equal amount of disappointment. A full programme this weekend and EVERY single team managed to score, with a full Christmas on it's way I can barely contain my excitement.

As a Gooner every time we go two nil up I get a little worried and it's a habit we need to get rid of. Quickly. Samir Nasri continued his excellent form with his ninth goal of the season from the edge of the box after Andrey Arshavin had opened the scoring. Ciaran Clark has been at Villa since the age of 11 and Villians will be looking forward to his future there after he scored a brace to bring them back into the game. Although, some would like the referee's association to confirm whether John Carew was active or inactive as the second goal was scored.

Chamakh has been a welcome addition to Mr Wenger's squad and he showed his worth before setting up Jack Wilshere's injury time header. Once the injured players return, Gerrard Houllier may have a collection of players with the ability of challenging for Europe.

STAR MAN: Ciaran Clark - Took his chances well and played with a composure way ahead of his years.

As predicted both teams were all about the attack as Blackpool drew first blood with Ian Evatt scoring both goals from set pieces. The first a powerful header from a corner and the second from a free kick. But Bolton under Owen Coyle have strength as well as flair and there was no doubt about them coming back into the game.

Super sub Martin Petrov sent a bomber into the top corner before a great second was scored by Mark Davies, who was making his first start since January. He started the move by passing to Kevin Davies who found Johan Elmander, the Swedish striker sent a sublime back heel into M Davies' path for him to score and give Bolton a point.

STAR MAN: Johan Elmander - For that back heel alone. Are we sure he isn't Brazilian?

The stress continues for David Moyes and the Toffees who are seriously struggling at home. With Phil Jagielka looking a little above his fighting weight and Jermaine Beckford achieving a hat-trick of misses, the only good news is that David Beckham is interested in joining them on loan. Though, I must say that is allegedly. As expected Tim Cahill scored their consolation goal with another header while this match was filled with controversy surrounding Everton captain Mikel Arteta's red card.

West Brom were full of everything the home team were lacking; invention, style and belief. It was their first win at Goodison Park in 31 years and the newly promoted team continue to look far stonger than they have in previous seasons. The purchase of Paul Scharner was a masterstroke by Roberto Di Matteo and the former Wigan man's experience and knowledge was visible in all the away team did. Unfortunately Gonzalo Jara's over excitable body checks on Leighton Baines AND Stephen Pienaar will overshadow his teams performance in the papers. As it will here.

STAR MAN: Paul Scharner - Provided his teammates with a calming influence to guide them towards their well deserved three points.

I have just checked my notes and all I wrote was:
Sebastian Larsson scored with an Alexander Hleb assist while Clint Dempsey scored his sixth goal of the season. So that is all I have to write, pretty much says it all.

STAR MAN: Anyone who paid to go to Craven Cottage! (Sorry)

Dimitar Berbatov joined the special ranks of players who have scored five goals in a PL match while Wayne Rooney returned in the role of the puppet master at Old Trafford. United were as superb as Blackburn were abysmal with Nani, Rooney and Berbatov running riot as the home team continued their unbeaten start to the season. The three of them were involved in every goal, the best move giving Berba his hat-trick after he started the move in his own half. A lengthy run that may have surprised the Bulgarian himself.

Sam Allardyce blamed injuries but there are other PL teams who could blame their batterings losses on the players that are missing. Surely those on the pitch have to be good enough to take responsibility for whatever result occurs. Hopefully the new owners will follow he example of Jack Walker when it comes to opening their wallets in January.

STAR MAN: Berba and Rooney - Manchester's Christmas lights have definitely been switched back on.

The snow didn't stop the match which is a credit to Deputy Groundsman, Andrew Tully and all the staff. Though Chelsea's travelling fans may have wished it had been postponed. The first goal came after a terrible back pass from Alex, with Andy Carroll taking advantage to give the Geordies the lead. Chelsea came back through Solamon Kalou on the stroke of half-time. They may have avoided their third straight defeat but four points from 15 is not befitting of Premier League champions.

With both manager's reportedly under pressure neither will be happy with a draw, although Chris Houghton will be the less depressed of the two. Having been at Cobham for Carlo Ancelotti's press conference on Friday, I can tell you he didn't seem that worried. Part of his relaxed manner was due to the fact the teams spine John Terry, Michael Essien and Frank Lampard should all be back next week. On the other hand with rivals United hitting their top form, he will know he cannot drop many more points if he wants to stay in the Stamford Bridge driving seat.

STAR MAN: Sol Campbell - Good to see the former England man back and in good shape.


Manchester United continue to falter and like a Monet painting that looks good from afar, they are not so attractive up close. Stoke were more than capable of achieving their fourth PL win in succession had it not been for a lack of cohesion in front of goal. Tony Pulis' men look more like the team the neutrals have grown to love and will know they can shoot up the table if they take their chances.

It was clearly cold at the Potteries as Roberto Mancini's scarf made a reappearance along with another mediocre display from his team. Comments that a draw was a good result emit from Eastlands but personally I do not buy it. A team that cost the amount of a small country's GDP should be more that capable of beating a team who have conceded 19 goals in 15 games. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that City have an amazing array of players but not much of an actual team.

STAR MAN: Micah Richards - A shining English star amongst the foreign clouds.

What exactly is 'Arry Redknapp saying to his team at half-time? Whatever it is, for the second league match running it worked wonders. No one must underestimate the job he is doing in allowing certain players to play to their strengths while ensuring they are part of a cohesive team. Luka Modric is starting to look more at ease in the PL although 'Arry will nervously wait on news of Rafael Van der Vaart's hamstring injury. They can find consolation in the return of Jermain Defoe who is looking sharp even if he did miss from the spot.

Nothing seems to be going well for Liverpool these days. A feeling that will only be confounded with being drawn away to Manchester United in the FA Cup Third Round. Martin Skrtel was the surprise scorer of the opening goal, before returning the favour for Spurs by deflecting Modric's shot into his own net. Roy Hodgson's problems continued as Aaron Lennon scored the winner and Jamie Carragher dislocated his shoulder. Another good show from Spurs, but do they really have what it takes to get any higher than fourth?

STAR MAN: Luka Modric - His pace and run was the catalyst for the own goal.

Finally a bit of release for the fans at Upton Park with a much needed win for Avram Grant and his men. I'm sure Wally Downes will be taking some credit! Scott Parker returned although he still looked to be suffering a bout of 'man flu'. - Honey, lemon and brandy Scottie. My name swears by it. There were some impressive goals, particularly Tom Cleverley top corner effort. It was finally the result the home teams displays warranted and took some of the heat off Avram Grant.

Wigan could have lost by more if Ali Al-Habsi hadn't made some good saves from Frederic Piquionne and Victor Obinna. The performances of the goalkeeper, youngster Cleverley and Charles N'Zogbia may be the only highlight for manager Roberto Martinez as his team fights to get clear of the relegation zone. He should be able to pick them up after this loss as it wasn't the worst performance of the weekend. It will be intriguing to see how he copes when the inevitably N'Zogbia transfer rumours start again in January. They may be better off selling their star man in order to add to the squad if they are to live to fight another season.

STAR MAN: Scott Parker - Left his sick bed to lead his team and remind us why he is much respected as both a man and a footballer.

A much needed win for Mic mac and his boys against Sunderland, who haven't lost to any of the 09/10 top 10 this season. Danny Welbeck kept his place and Darren Bent returned to the starting line-up as Asamoah Gyan was on the bench. With the starting frontmen repaying Steve Bruce's faith in them by scoring the away goals. Bent will be pleased to get back on the score sheet so soon into his return while Welbeck continues to impress with his composure and eye for goal.

The home team deserved the three points with a revitalised Matthew Jarvis pulling the strings in midfield. They had lost their previous four games and were in serious danger of being sucked deeper into the mire. But goals from stand-in caption Kevin Foley, a first club goal for Stephen Hunt and a last minute strike from Sylvan Ebanks-Black the points stayed at home. I'm glad they won if only for Mick Mac's celebration. I get the feeling he could give David Haye a better run for his money than Fraudley did!

STAR MAN: Matthew Jarvis - Wolves' main man on the pitch.


David Moyes: "I'm not talking about the red card, I'm talking about the challenge on the edge of the box before it."

Chris Brunt - Absolutely amazing free-kick to take West Brom 2 - 0 up at Goodison Park.

Avram Grant smile. Who knew?

Mick Mac sparring on the sideline.

(PS: Please comment on new blog design.... Yay or Nay?)

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