Monday, December 3, 2007

Beats doing the Christmas shopping - premcorrespondent

I've already bought the wife her Christmas present - a new ironing board - so that left me free to watch the football slewing across the television over the weekend.

First up was the Chelsea - West Ham local derby (although it takes me longer to get from Stamford Bridge to Upton Park than it takes Roman Abramovich to get from Stamford Bridge to Monaco), which saw an offside Joe Cole bite the hand that used to feed him. A Big Four Club went into a top four place, everyone yawned and Avram Grant nearly smiled.

The three o'clock kick-offs-saw criminal justice reform agitating do-gooder Harry Redknapp reflect on a stalemate with Everton at Fratton Park, vaudevillian defender Titus Bramble hand Sven's Citeh a goal before Borat lookalike Paul Scharner rescued a point for the ever-cheerful Steve Bruce's Wigan, and the last draw of the afternoon played out by 22 unknowns representing Reading and Middlesborough. Of the games with a positive outcome, popular Big Sam Allardyce's Newcastle fell to two superb David Bentley strikes at Blackburn. How that young man finds enough time away from the mirror to practise, I don't know, but he shows every sign of knowing how to kick a ball properly - a rare quality in a young Englishman. Roy Keane's Sunderland repeated last week's feat of scoring a single goal, but conceded seven fewer to secure three points against doomed Derby.

The highlight of Saturday's programme was Arsenal's first half performance at Villa Park during which Arsene appeared to field 10 Juan Roman Riquelmes (only with more, much more, pace and heart). Come the second half, Martin O'Neill borrowed the old Bolton blueprint and got his VIlla men amongst them, but this new, resilient, Arsenal held on to run out 1-2 winners in a splendid match that was a fine advert for English football, if not English footballers. Arsenal have shown that they can play without Little Cesc: can they play without their African contingent? If so, the Premier League will surely be theirs.

Sunday's games comprised Liverpool swatting aside a minimal challenge from Bolton at Anfield as a Big Four Club went into a top four place and an hilariously incompetent match at White Hart Lane marred by Ossie Ardiles, sorry, Juande Ramos selecting no competent defenders, a red card for Robbie Keane apparently agreed upon by the referee and the radio-linked fourth official (making them the only two people in the country who thought so) and a magnificent winner from Arsenal reject Sebastian Larsson. It's a shame that it was Keane and not strike partner Berbatov who got the dodgy card, as nobody would have noticed the sulky Bulgarian's absence (and they won't when he goes in the transfer window in January).

The final Premier League game of the weekend brought two goals for "not quite as good as Kaka" Ronaldo as Manchester United defeated Fulham 2-0. Who would have forecast that?

I have to wait 48 whole hours for the next Premier League game with just some Champions League football to see me through - I'll survive.


gg said...


you confirm my "avoid shopping with the wife" theory: i.e. footy fans and Morris dancers are a bunch of unreconstructed "male show business pigs", as the toddler daughter of a thespian feminist family of my acquaintance once remarked.

Poor Ronaldo - what was he supposed to do? Yellow-carded for taking evasive action! At least he didn't fracture the skull of that kamikaze goalie...

guitougoal said...

10 Riquelmes at high speed and you'll get the best ever dream team-not quite arsenal yet.

mimi said...

I was mainly otherwise occupied at the weekend and I have perhaps read this too quickly to get all the facts, but didn't The Big Eck get a bit of a win in his first match at some midlandsy sort of club?

offsideintahiti said...

So tonight is the night we get another chance to assess Lord Ebren's pre-season statement that "man for man, Newcastle have as good a squad as Arsenal". Sorry, I'm quoting from memory here, so maybe not verbatim. The head to head (whichever way it goes) won't give us a definite answer, just a general idea. Of course, it will all have to be reassessed at the end of the season, along with miro's statement that Liverpool will win the league.

Early award for pre-season most outrageous statement can already be handed over to HannibalProust, for declaring that Fabregas would follow Arsène Wenger to Barcelona.

By the way, m'lord, when you said "man for man", did you include the managers?

gg said...

offy -

one apiece, then (just a general idea, like).

We can't, of course, judge the veracity of Hannibal's outrageous statement as yet - until Wenger has gone, it's impossible to see if Fabregas has followed him.

A pint of your best absinthe, please!

MotM said...

Everton were liike Manchester United tonight vs St Petersburg - we had the ref playing for us!

offsideintahiti said...


last summer, MarcelaBrooks actually said that Wenger would defect to Barça (taking Fabregas with him) before the start of THIS season.

Couldn't watch the Newcastle game here. Your impressions, lads?

guitougoal said...

Arsenal football team meeting Newcastle rugby association-Arsenal didn't back up from an
oncoming express train-
The last fifteen minute the ref got confused between
rugby and football and Newcastle could use their arms
to stop Abedayor-Who said big Sam has no resources .

exvanp said...


I know you said you had reservations about Adebayour, but his goal was superb. he's been playing well this season.

Missed Cesc and Hleb, but then any team would. *cue gg and hb saying something to the contrary*

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