Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kicking the Bottle - PremCorrespondent

You know it was a good weekend if it doesn’t end until Wednesday, and only then because you finally remember there isn’t a Swiss Cottage in that part of north London after all. But that’s enough of my week. There was some football played and some damned fine football at that.

Lets start at Old Trafford with what might prove a crucial clash for champions league qualification come May.

Arsenal played some pretty football and took the game to a United side who seemed surprised anyone would do that on their home turf. When the Arshavin goal came the North Londoners were well worth the lead they took into to half time. Then in the second half it all changed. United fought back well, Rooney earned an unusually controversy-free penalty that he then converted, before Diaby inexplicably handed the game to United with a ludicrous header past his own keeper.

All that remained then was for the world to ignore Eboue’s blatant dive as an example of exactly why all diving should be treated as only Eduardo’s so far has been. Well, that and an offside goal in the dying seconds that led to Wenger being banished to the stands. Some, and by some I mean I, might say hitting the bottle beats kicking one in frustration. But Wenger's glib response with outstretched arms surrounded by Red Devil fans behind the dugout was almost classy in its sober execution.

And then there is the other team tipped for but unlikely to win the title. Liverpool recovered late after seemingly handing the points to Bolton Wanderers.

Bolton went both 1-0 and 2-1 up while Sean Davis was on the pitch. He had been charged with shackling Steven Gerrard and did so excellently. Then he was sent off for the sort of nonsense that would have troubled no one in my day, and so Gerrard ran the show against ten men. His new found freedom was perfectly summed up by the complete lack of anyone marking him when he scored the late and ill-deserved winner.

Next up the title favourites beat poor Burnley 3-0. The game was something of a walkover by the end as class took its toll on the result. This was not the fortunate late win of their first home game against Hull. Instead it was the first time Chelsea had truly impressed on the pitch this year. But a win is a win is a win is a win as Chelsea’s perfect start to the season tells us.

Two minutes after the first half should have ended, Anelka opened the scoring. Second half goals from Michael Ballack and Ashley Cole then allayed the fears that some Chelsea fans had about who will score when Drogba misses games.

That win would have put Lampard et al clear at the top if it were not for a still impressive Spurs. They match Chelsea’s four for four, and including their one cup outing they have eleven goal scorers already this season, seven in league games.

Tottenham should have scored hatfuls before Crouch finally broke Birmingham’s resolve. The Blues had set out to keep the game 0-0 for 90 minutes and fought well. But they did better when they threw on a striker and hit back to 1-1 thanks to a clown-like howler from Cudicini in the home goal. Of course as you would expect from a top team, and Spurs might soon count as one, the home side struck back for a late winner through Aaron Lennon.

One other team has had a perfect start, all be it having played only three games rather than four. Manchester City were a cut above Pompey, though only the one goal separated them thanks to a battling performance from the south coast club.

City, and particularly Adebayor, have had an impressively steady start to the season. They have won three games against weak sides without conceding a goal, something the other two sides with full points have failed to do. Unlike those two teams they have not yet torn anyone apart. But beating the lesser teams consistently is the first rung of the ladder to the top.

In other games, Aston Villa strolled to a 2-0 win against a Fulham side lacking in attacking intent after the setback of an early goal conceded. Everton narrowly beat Wigan at home thanks to an injury time penalty, and Stoke beat Sunderland to briefly claim fourth place in the league.

Wolves and Hull played shared the points from their energetic and hectic 1-1, and West Ham played out a solid goalless draw with a Blackburn team that looks as though it will struggle to stay up this season.


mimi said...

So the football season starts and Chelsea has a big big ban. What you say footie fans?

offsideintahiti said...

What do you mean, "almost" classy? The attitude, the timing, the pose, the sheer sartorial chic, the nonchalance... Monsieur Arsène est une icône.

And if you can't see it, you're probably, lemme guess... a Spurs fan? That you, Margin? Under another layer of nom de plume?

Oh, and Chelsea can always draft in bluedaddy for cover at center back, so they have no worries (judging from from what I hear, 'cause it's still not on yœutœube).

munni said...

You all know my bias, but Arsène's crucified martyr pose was pure brilliance and grace. I can't help feeling for his daughter though, I imagine the average 12-year old would find it fairly mortifying, esp. at back-to-school time.

Chelsea will get the ban revoked soon enough.

guitou said...

we shall see, they don't need anybody they are good enough with or without transfers. Our feeling should rather go to Blackburn, Boston, and Porsmouth very painful and uncomfortable condition.
I was deeply touched above all by Alex sudden concern for simulation( "something has to be done ") and His dedication to educate player to understand
It's fair to say that Alex and Arsene are made for each other.

Margin said...

Offy - Watched the highlights with my dad over the bank holiday. And it was a brilliant spontaneous moment that summed up just how stupid a decision it was. Even my sister agreed and she hates wenger more than i do.

I'm more worried about people talking spurs up again though - if we'd just lost one of our four games we'd be off the radar still and not getting carried away before our inevitable collapse.

mimi - i think the ban is a great idea. but it is arbitrary that this one case among dozens has been singled out. So it must be repealed mustn't it?

Tapir Greengrass said...

"Rooney earned an unusually controversy-free penalty..."

(Splutter, choke, cough)
And you owe me a new keyboard.

yes, we are aware of your bias. You are Welsh, you live in Scotland, you support the England cricket side - of course you're a Gooner, and why not?

On another note (G#, I think) I was moved by the unbridled affection shown him by the United fans in his vicinity when Meryl Str - sorry, Arsene Wenger - had his Life of Brian moment.
Amidst all this talk of verbal abuse, these cultured gourmets of the beautiful game obviously see him as a shoo-in to succeed Lord Wrigley.

PremCo said...


It met with little argument until long after the game. The man from the Mirror sitting beside me in the press box even got angry at his side's keeper rather than the ref or Rooney.

Somewhat different when he played for England this week though...

Greengrass said...

I didn't watch the England game - not up for the nationalist stuff.

Mouth of the Mersey said...

Really splendid stuff, if a little enthusiastic for you Premcorr.

The da Silva brothers must have felt at home looking up at Christ the Redeemer above them, but I guess looking down again brought them back to Salford. I mean, the faces and the er... everything elses on the Copacabana are a bit more appealing than Rooney's and Scholes'.

PremCo said...

Thanks Mouth

You know I still love the old girl when she puts on a bit of slap and gives me a show worth seeing. Just a shame its a rare treat these days.

mimi said...

I am so not a gooner! Insult.
But we must wish our Lord Ebren A Hip Happy Birthday.

He's going to be 50 today you know!!

Greengrass said...

Sorry - I dont know my mimis from my munnis these days. Bloody specs!

Oh, yes - munni is the outside-left who I owe a cd...

Grattis på födelsedagen, Lord Ebren!

guitou said...

are the Gooners the people who live in Goon island or these guys from London doing "goonish" things?
During the vietnam war it was used as a disparaging term for a vietcong.
In fact, no matter how we use it Gooner turns out to be offensive,but since we like beautiful football what is the other choice gg?

munni said...

yes, it is I who am the gooner, I'm not ashamed.

Happy birthday, Lord E.

offsideintahiti said...

Frank Sinatra, he was a grooner too, you know.

Wrigley Greengrass said...

As a Manure, i find it hard to see "Gooner" as a term of abuse - so no, munni, you should not shame at being one.

yes - not to forget his ratpack crony, Sammy Davis Gooner.

P.S. Did Eduardo dive?

offsideintahiti said...

I don't know, but Zigic certainly did.

Wrigley Greengrass said...

will there be a GU article on it, with a thousand comments?

offsideintahiti said...

I hope not. I wouldn't mind reading miro's opinion, though.

offsideintahiti said...

Hey, Premco, just how much added time do you need to pen the next one?

Lord E, the standards, they are a-slippin'.

mimi said...

inside outside leave me alone,
inside outside where have I been?

On the train to Wigan and northern soul.

Great scot, football is dull without the dancehall.

Tweet it, digg it