Monday, April 14, 2008

Who wants it? PremCorrespondent

The usual British recipe for footballing success calls for a peck of technical skill to be added to a great, boiling stew of passion - and look how far that's got us. The flint-eyed continentals have always preferred a more balanced diet, with pecks of passion spicing up a cassoulet of solid technique. But this is the one time of year when technique can take a back-seat to passion, particularly when a relegation-threatened club comes up against a mid-table stroller.

And so it proved at the Reebok where dead and buried Bolton, suddenly sprung to life to despatch a late-season Curbishleyesque West Ham 1-0 and give themselves a glimmer of hope. Bolton are just a win behind troubled Birmingham City who played their "Get out of Jail Free" card, Mauro Zarate, to scrape a draw against tiring Everton. Whether the club have any more such cards remains to be seen.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Fulham finally remembered how to win away from home (0-2 at shouldn't be can't be bothered yet Reading) and Sunderland risked the wrath of Roy Keane by can't be bothereding their way to a 1-2 defeat to two lucky Manchester City goals. In the games that nobody noticed, Aston Villa walloped Derby County 0-6, Tottenham drew 1-1 with Middlesborough and Kevin Keegan's entertainers drew 0-0 with an FA Cup obsessed Portsmouth.

Small Slam Sunday saw Liverpool and the Kop doze through the first half against Blackburn, before News of the World star Gerrard and New World Star Torres decided to win the game (eventually 3-1).

Then the main course.

After a cagey first half, Adebayor added some punch to Arsenal's pretty football to snatch a handy lead. Only one of the teams on the pitch were populated by players who knew what it takes to win a Premier League, and that soon showed as Ronaldo converted a penalty and tousle-haired Canadian-Englishman, Owen Hargreaves popped up to slot home a free-kick that reminded everyone of another Manchester United midfield fee-kick specialist who keeps a low profile these days. Arsenal's season has collapsed with Arsene blaming referees, rough boys, anyone except the man who could have strengthened his squad and didn't.

Only Chelsea, slogging away under Avram Grant, are left to dispute the title and they blew it at home to Wigan, drawing 1-1, which goes to show just how much use a 100 league game (or whatever it is) unbeaten home run can be.

So that's pretty much that for the Premier League - Manchester United and Arsenal have served up some cordon bleu dishes; the rest have offered bread and butter football most of the time, despite having exotic overseas chefs to call upon. Dullest domestic season in years.


guitougoal said...

Spot on. Premco is telling it as it is.

offsideintahiti said...

Ooh la la, Heskeyyyyyyyyyyy!

offsideintahiti said...

So, this article has been up for hours and there's no one here but crowing Arsenal followers?

Is Pseuds' Corner suffering from 2nd season syndrome?

munni said...

I'm here but keeping quiet. Am taking things very badly. I spent Sunday afternoon making allegorical comparisons between Arsenal and classical tragedies, and have now been told to stop talking about it because it only upsets me and annoys those who have to listen.

And I didn't watch any other footy this weekend, so have nothing positive to contribute.

guitougoal said...

it's a glorious feeling to be able to rise again after
a fall.
muni, it has been said that Arsenal's tragedy is of apocalyptic dimensions, a human catastophe comparable to the melting of the ice-caps etc..etc..
I don't unerstand, I thought they had a very good season.They fell short at the end because they were short on personal, simply as that.

munni said...

On the one hand , guitou, you are right as always, but I also can't help feeling that there is some sort of cosmic mistake, not in the fact we lost but in the way we lost. The most successful teams always have a certain amount of dumb luck, and ours seems to have deserted us in spectacular fashion lately.

Funnily enough, my sister also told me to think about the ice caps melting and get some perspective - this did not make me feel better.

Enough melodrama from me, must get some work done now.

MotM said...

PremCorr - I'm not entirely sure that those embedded links are as informative as they might be. And they are hardly helping those lamenting Arsenal's fizzle-out.

andrewm said...

Does anyone else really like Steve Bruce?

It occurred to me today, when I was thinking about which managers I don't dislike, that I really like Steve Bruce. Not in a sexual way ... although ...

Remember when he got beaten up and went straight back to work and refused to make a fuss about it?

I really like him.

Steve Bruce.

Margin said...

And to think we have another four weeks of this dross.

Have to say - Arsenal had a much better season than I expected - and a much better season than their performances against spurs suggested they were capable of.

Spurs were the better team in three games, (not the 3-1 when Jol was still half-in-charge) and only a lot of luck (a missed penalty in the league, and a ludicrous fluke bounce off Wallcott) kept spurs down to one win.

But you make your on luck I guess. And Arsenal made plenty early on and not very much late on this season.

greengrass said...

Sorry, Offy, I've been gorging thrawn
sandwiches all day - after all these years with Lord Wrigley's Wee Frees Take-Away, I'm quite partial to Kevin McCarra's culinary extravagances.

glad you like Steve Bruce - he has a nice Sco''ish surname, and might soon be managing your beloved LFC when the Fat Spanish Waiter is sent down for trying to drown Gillett&Hicks in a vat of gazpacho.

Ebren said...

The league is teasing us - pretending it's all over. Opening up again. Then closing faster than the trapdoor behind Derby.

And just as the top gets dull the bottom opens up.

It might be an interesting end of season.

munni said...

I'm feeling much better today. In case anyone was concerned.

guitougoal said...

we are all concerned, only gg doesn't know how to express it, he is so shy.....:-)

Zeph said...

Munni - this might amuse you (a little)-

mimi said...

And though I referenced the football, mostly you still don't read me??

Retiring hurt.

munni said...

Mimi, I for one read you with interest, had deep but difficult-to-articulate thoughts about how much/whether politics should be allowed to influence the Olympics, decided my comment did not do the subject justice, deleted it without posting, and went swimming instead (it was 95 F here on Sunday).

guitougoal said...

it's true, 95f here last week end, get your Speedo and come over,

offsideintahiti said...

95f? wow.


Deepend Greengrass said...

I used to swim - and play water polo - but I've lost touch.
I still ride a bike, but have never been interested in those Twiggy blokes.
Trawling through heaps of unfamiliar names just turns me off, so - sorry! - I never got to your question about the Olympics.
If I were fit to compete - the Zimmer Dash, perhaps? - I'd boycott them.

offsideintahiti said...

Mimi, Having nothing to say usually doesn't stop me from posting, but motorsports? That's just too alien for me (and let's not mention cricket, unless Chanelle is involved).

I have sent the link to Paddleman, though, he's a moto gp enthusiast...

Ebren said...

Offie - we write about rowing and you get all offended about us facing the wrong way. Now swimming is out?

Are you saying we will need to write about the international coconut tournament where the coconut 11 do their best to put the lime in the coconut cocktail according to the latest research and you would still grumble if there was no lagoon?

offsideintahiti said...

Ebren, OK, that's it, one provocation too far. I'm boycotting your cricket article.

Ebren said...

I really hope that pun was intentional ;o)

guitougoal said...

I boycott anything including boycotting,

wisden greengrass said...

if I write a Boycott article, will you cricket it?

mimi said...

I sort of Boycott boycott, but he is fun. Like Kermode in full rant mode but less funny.

I missed most of Paris -Nice but reading reports it seems like road cycling is well exciting again.

Couple more classics and then, we're nearly at the Tour. Can't wait.

offsideintahiti said...


I'll give it a crack. I mean a whack.

Tweet it, digg it