Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Week 15: Premier League Tops and Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Week:

Frank LampardTop game: Chelsea's home win against Manchester City was a pulsating match where both teams went at it and there could have been more red cards than just the one! It was a feisty clash where the home side's top quality, team work and spirit beat City's snorty arrogance. All games had plenty of goals, action and refereeing controversy once again, but Norwich's home win against Newcastle tops the lot! Six goals, five bookings, one red card - it was a cracking game and result, for Norwich anyway.

Grant Holt (left) and Danny Simpson challenge for the ballTop team: Even after their first defeat of the season, City are still 12 points better off than they were at this stage last season and remain top of the Premier League table, two points clear of local rivals United. It will take more than one defeat to sink that massive ship! The promoted teams Norwich and Swansea are flying high mid-table, in 10th and 11th spot, on 19 and 17 points, after enjoying impressive home wins against Newcastle and Fulham respectively.

Manchester United's Nani (second right) scoresTop player: Nani and Antonio Valencia impressed me most at Old Trafford. Their runs left everyone far behind, so too their top quality passes, crosses and shots. The Portuguese midfielder scored two whilst his Ecuadorian provided two, Nani's cheeky right-foot opener running past all defenders along the box setting the tone of the match. Maxi Rodriguez showed similar pace and resilience at Anfield but was not rewarded with his name on the scoresheet thanks to some brilliant saves by QPR's Czech goalkeeper Radek Cerny.

Robin van Persie scores for ArsenalTop goal: The opening Chelsea goal by former Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles was a smacker-and-a-half after a beautiful build up run clear and cross by once-again-impressive Daniel Sturridge. Of course Robin Van Persie's left-foot touch off Alex Song's wonderful diagonal pass and unstoppable shot and winning goal against Everton is impossible to overlook. The one goal Wolves got against United is also worth a note as Liverpool fan Steven Fletcher will never forget how wonderful he headed and curled the ball over everyone and into the back of the net.

Top news: I loved this little quote on BBC's Sportsday Live: Qatar's Al Sadd want Fifa to let them field a team of 16 players when they face European champions Barcelona in Thursday's Club World Cup semi-final in Japan. "I've got a plan," Al Sadd's Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati joked. "If they agree to my request we are allowed 15 or 16 players on the field, I think we have a chance!" Nothing's impossible, right?

Emmanuel Adebayor scores again but the goal is disallowedFlop game: Tottenham's defeat at Stoke was a strong win for them home side with a solid and resilient performance, especially by the back line, however, for Spurs it was a weak performance, by the referee especially. Yes, Chris Foy had a day to forget. I don't know how Emmanuel Adebayor's goal was offside and why Peter Crouch's handball in the build-up to Matthew Etherington's opener was conveniently overlooked, well, convenient for Stoke of course. In this day and age it is an impertinence that there is no back-up system, i.e. video ref to correct all this humbug!!!

Aston Villa's Stiliyan Petrov scoresFlop team: Bolton worried me sick this weekend! They gave Aston Villa no worries and a too easy win! There was no tracking, lack of defending which left Villa with too much time and space to push forward too freely and easily. Owen Coyle must have said something right at half time because they came out firing in the second half but it did not last long. The Wanderers are bottom of the league with only nine points, 14 points and 14 places worse off than at the same stage last season! Chris Kamara may not agree with me on his blog, but I am really worried for Bolton if they continue like this!

Referee Chris Foy shows Younes Kaboul a red cardFlop player: There were three red cards this weekend, which could not have painted a bigger contrast: City's Gael Clichy painted a frustrated picture against the pace of Chelsea's Sturridge and saw a second yellow for tripping Ramires; Spurs' Younes Kaboul was harshly dismissed for a challenge on Stoke's Jonathan Walters by an imcompetent Foy who should not have stayed on the pitch himself; and last but not least Dan Gosling was Newcastle's main villain in their defeat with some miserable defending and fouling which lead to his sending off and his depleted side's defeat. How come the referees are not picked up, assessed and/or dropped according to their performances and consistency as the players and teams are?!

Martin O'Neill celebratesFlop goal: As mentioned above, this week there were a bunch of all-too-familiar cases of goals and penalties that should have or should not have been, but thanks to the mood swings and dazzling minds of the referees and their decisions, the goals, penalties and results stand as they are. I know, that gives us the spice to the food we eat, the words to the blogs, reports and articles we right, and the action and controversy to the matches and sport we follow and so thoroughly enjoy but damn! All action and entertainment would not be lost if all the lies, deceit and utter incompetence would be taken out of the game by modern technology! FULL STOP! I think this and could right this EVERY WEEK!!!!!!! The only one left jumping for joy this weekend, was new Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill after his side recorded only their third win of the season, his first match in charge, against Blackburn.

Flop news: Sad news about Darren Fletcher as it looks like we've seen the last of him in the game. Wish him all the best in his recovery, eventhough he plays for United... ;-P

My predictions - Actual results:
Arsenal 3:1 Everton - 1:0
Bolton 1:1 Aston Villa - 1:2
Liverpool 3:1 QPR - 1:0
Man Utd 3:0 Wolves - 4:1
Norwich 1:2 Newcastle - 4:2
Swansea 0:0 Fulham - 2:0
West Brom 3:1 Wigan - 1:2
Sunderland 3:0 Blackburn - 2:1
Stoke 1:2 Tottenham - 2:1
Chelsea 2:5 Man City - 2:1

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Week 14: Premier League Tops and Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Week

The Chelsea bench celebratesTop game: Newcastle's 0-3 home defeat to Chelsea was a harsh result to a brilliant game. Both goalkeepers had plenty to do and coped more than well. Tim Krul's superb penalty save was just one of many in a competitve match. Petr Cech made some brill saves too, Newcastle hitting the post and bar. Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at Fulham was a cruel result too, both teams enjoying plenty of chances, but one mistake by Pepe Reina costing the Reds dearly in the end. Of all goalkeepers, you would not have bet on that one making such an error! Juicy thrillers to the neutral eye, cruel world of football to the fans of the losing sides.

Mario Balotelli scoresTop team: Manchester City were all over Norwich on Saturday, the 5-1 result reflecting their dominance in the game and their five-point and 17-goal lead at the top of the Premier League to runners-up Manchester United proving their command of the league. With Chelsea and Arsenal next up on the fixture list in the Premier League and their crucial, final Champions League group match against Bayern Munich squeezed inbetween the two, the competitions are getting anything but easier.

Yakubu celebrates with GivetTop player: Yakubu Aiyegbeni's four goals for Blackburn against Swansea brought his side only their second win of the season and relief to manager Steve Kean after all the pressure, stick and protests against him over the last couple of weeks. Celebrating his second goal with his manager, Yakubu became the first Blackburn player to score four goals in a Premier League match. Even the great Alan Shearer did not do that in his short reign at Rovers. With Sunderland, West Brom and Bolton lined up next on the fixture list, Kean can only hope Yakubu stays in such top-scoring form and get Blackburn sneaking up the table. 

Heidar Helguson scores Top goal: Yakubu's opener at Ewood park was a smacker. The Nigerian striker thumped Gael Givet's pull-back into the top right-hand corner, a sweet finish that lifted the mood and the game for the home side. Heidar Herlguson's header which made it 1-0 to QPR was sweet too. The Icelandic veteran striker met and netted Joey Barton's clip-pass well to score his sixth goal of the season. It was cruel Rangers only got a point out of the match in the end, they were on top and Shaun Wright-Phillips had netted another one with a brilliant volley but was wrongly disallowed as offside. The cruel world of football yet again.

Top news: The final Champions League group fixtures are ahead of us this week which will tell us who will emerge victorious and/or who will qualify and make it through to the final stages.

Phil Jones scores at Villa Park for Manchester UnitedFlop game: Manchester United's 1-0 win at Villa Park did not have many highlights to show for itself. The goal was an easy one, Villa kept going though, you have to give them that much, but it just showed the lack of force they have, hardly forming any competition against United.

Gareth BaleFlop team: Tottenham's 3-0 home win against Bolton could have been a 15-0 thrashing, if it weren't for Jussi Jaaskelainen! Bolton showed poor defending in the game, the goalkeeper sparing them from an absolute beating. Gareth Bale snook one in before Gary Cahill got sent off for synical fowl on Scott Parker. After Bale, Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor were denied by Jaaskelainen, Aaron Lennon made it 2-0, past three defenders who blocked the goalkeeper's view. Defoe then made it 3-0 with all space in the world together with William Gallas, no defender nearby. It is the first time in the Premier League Spurs have won six in the row, thanks to every goalkeepers nightmare, a useless defence as Bolton displayed!

 Newcastle v Chelsea Villas BoasFlop player: How David Luiz stayed on the pitch after hauling down Demba Ba, I don't know! Have to ask referee Mike Dean I guess. The Chelsea defender was the last man against the Newcastle forward and brought him down without touching the ball = red, no? Mr Dean seemed to have it in for Newcastle, with a lot of decision's going against the home side and the 3-0 result looking very harsh reflecting an a very competitve, entertaining, end-to-end-stuff game. But I think Andre Villas-Boas would be the last person to call himself lucky, much in contrast to Alan Pardew, I'm sure to say.

Clint Dempsey Fulham Premier LeagueFlop goal: As mentioned above, Wright-Phillips netted a fine goal with a weet right-foot finish for QPR against West Brom but was ruled out as offside, which he was nowhere near of! In the end, that decision meant two dropped points. Clint Dempsey's goal for Fulham against Liverpool was a cruel one too. Former Red Danny Murphy's shot past Glen Johnson was spilled by Reina, unlike him, and Dempsey was there to make it 1-0 with 5 minutes to go. The cruel and crucial world of football - I know I'm repeating myself now!

Flop news: Fabio Capello and England are already making trouble and preparing excuses for Euro 2012 with their decision to stay based in Poland whilst their group matches will be in Ukraine... It's a joke! Even Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister agrees!!!

My predictions - Actual results
Newcastle 1:1 Chelsea - 0:3
Blackburn 0:0 Swansea - 4:2
Man City 4:1 Norwich - 5:1
QPR 2:1 West Brom - 1:1
Tottenham 2:1 Bolton - 3:0
Wigan 2:3 Arsenal - 0:4
Aston Villa 1:1 Man Utd - 0:1
Everton 1:0 Stoke - 0:1
Wolves 2:1 Sunderland - 2:1
Fulham 1:3 Liverpool - 1:0