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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Premiership weekend review

Charlton 0 v Watford 0

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was dropped for Jerome Thomas in this relegation-placed meeting, something which added more pace but couldn't produce a goal on Saturday. Talking points included Charlton's chances on goal but for the ability of Man Utd loanee Ben Foster keeping the ball out of danger. It may have been Ashley Young involved next as a chipped ball touched a Watford player's arm, and the referee Lee Mason gave a freekick for it. Replays showed the player stood within the penalty area, therefore it should have been a spot-kick decision, another decision Iain Dowie scowled at.

Watford had a gilt-edge chance to take the lead in the second half as Young raced towards the touchline and pulled back for Darius Henderson to strike from near the penalty spot but it went upwards and over the goal. Charlton called for another penalty decision as the ball came into the Watford box and Amdy Faye went down under a Hameur Bouazza challenge from behind, which consisted of the Watford man's arms appearing to pull back on Faye. Nothing given.

Everton 2 v Sheff Utd 0

Everton bounced back from their defeat at Boro into winning ways again. Phil Neville ran down the right to cross, Mikel Arteta jumped up to nod past Paddy Kenny on 13mins. Replays showed that was a push by Andy Johnson on Utd defender Claude Davis as he went to jump but it was not spotted by Dermot Gallagher. Twenty minutes later Johnson became a further scourge for Davis as he went to run onto a loose ball, he went down under Davis' challenge. Replays showed minimal contact and Johnson possibly went down easier than expected. Nonetheless James Beattie stepped up to deposited the penalty, giving the Toffees a good advantage by half time.

Sheff Utd came out the interval a better side and put pressure on Everton's goal. Leigh Bromby ran on into the box and rode a James McFadden challenge from which he could have easily gone down but instead found advantage in staying up and squared to Danny Webber, who missed. The thing is Chris Morgan was penalised for a similar, if not identical, tackle on Steven Gerrard at Bramall Lane so McFadden should have received the same decision.

Chelsea 2 v Portsmouth 1

David James made a first half performance that should have made a regular appearance some years ago while he was an international. His display in goal kept out Chelsea who found space through a Portsmouth defence which had been quite stingy. How long Portsmouth could withstand the pressure seemed impressive in the first half but eventually the home side made the breakthrough. Arjen Robben had constantly ran at Noe Paramot and again found himself onto another through ball from Frank Lampard or Michael Ballack, cutting back for Andriy Shevchenko to touch the ball towards goal, the ball deflecting off Sol Campbell's boot past James. James may well have otherwise stopped the ball but it counted as a Chelsea goal and he was one with the fans nearby, earning a booking for it. MOTD panel may disagree, Andy Gray always disagrees, but it is there in the rules to help prevent crowd disturbance that could result in injury or death.

Chelsea repeated the feat two minutes later. A cross into the Portsmouth box was headed back by Didier Drogba and Ballack timed his run to meet the ball with a firm header for 2-0. This was the Germany skipper's first in the EPL and he too was one with the fans, also earning a booking. Portsmouth came back in feisty style as they gained a consolation after Andy Cole's presence made for Benjani Mwaruwari to slot home.

Man Utd 2 v Liverpool 0

Livrpool have a poor away record that has gained one goal and a point out of five games, including this fixture. Much is made of Rafael Benitez' rotation policy and playing Gerrard out of position on the wings. Only time will now tell as to where Liverpool move from here on. From the heights of 3rd last season and several clean sheets down to their current form. The players were lethargic and uninspiring yesterday and Man Utd took good advantage. Paul Scholes played his 500th game and added a goal when he found Wayne Rooney on the left and then stole into the box unmarked to first touch the ball which deflected off Pepe Reina, and then tidied up in front of an open goal.

Twenty minutes into the second half Utd doubled the lead as Ryan Giggs took on Xabi Alonso down the left and crossed, the ball coming off Louis Saha, Jamie Carragher attempted to clear but looped the ball towards Rio Ferdinand, who dummied John Arne Riise and then shot with his left foot past Reina.

Reading 0 v Arsenal 4

This was a display of excellence from Arsenal against a side who had previously drawn against Man Utd and lost by one goal to Chelsea. For their first season Reading are doing very well currently in 9th place and have now faced the three top teams in the league. Cesc Fabregas did the running into the box, and as he did you could see Thierry Henry casually jog in and make himself free to receive, his effort placed past Marcus Hehnemann. Aleksander Hleb and Tomas Rosicky combined for the Belarussian to slam a fierce shot past the keeper for no.2. Henry was at hand again as he found Hleb running into the box and the midfielder cut the ball across for Robin Van Persie to score no.3, and finally Fabregas and Henry were involved in the last goal. The Spaniard ran on and reached the ball before Hehnemann and was brought down. Henry scored from the spot.

Spurs 1 v West Ham 0

The poor form for West Ham continues. Robert Green made a first appearance in goal, Javier Mascherano and Marlon Harewood started. Three talking points from this game. The goal, courtesy of Mido, who controlled Edgar Davids' centre ball with a flick then turned to shoot low past Green. The second is that Aaron Lennon put on a MOTM performance and gave a thorough testing of Paul Konchesky, someone who much was thought of as a potential international. The third was the incident between Jermaine Defoe and Mascherano. Defoe picked up the ball in the centre and was on a run until he was unceremoniously clipped by the Argentinian from behind. Defoe took offence and appeared to have aimed a bite at Mascherano, from which the midfielder was shot.

The action taken was a booking apiece, therefore the FA will not intervene with any disciplinary measures as the matter was seen by the referee. Nonetheless Defoe shouldn't be doing such conduct, it is not part of the game and he should have known much better than that.

Wigan 4 v Man City 0

A number of managers are finding it difficult to understand why their players are not performing as well as they should be, or have done. Man City had a superb beginning to their season last season but on Saturday they began the fixture and walked into a minefield. First explosion came via Emile Heskey as he turned to hook a shot off Emerson Boyce's centre ball, the effort going over Nicky Weaver. Minutes later Wigan had a freekick on the left and as it swung over, Richard Dunne headed it into his own net where I felt Weaver was placed to come and collect it. In the second half Leighton Baines ran into the box to square a Kevin Kilbane ball, Stephen Jordan went to clear but took so long Henri Camara came in to challenge and the ball went in off his contact. Heskey turned provider on the right as he found Colombian Luis Valencia running up and Valencia went further unchallenged to slam a fierce drive past Weaver for his first EPL goal.

Middlesbrough 1 v Newcastle 0

The North East derby between two sides who ached for three points. The match showed two sides who fought well to deny each other, though Newcastle had the majority of the chances. It threatened to run out as a no-score draw until Stewart Downing and Aiyegbeni Yakubu combined to gain the winner. Downing delivered a curling corner from which Yakubu juped the highest to head home.

Blackburn 0 v Bolton 1

Quite an entertaining match from this Lancashire derby, perhaps the most over the weekend with Bolton continuing their superb form home and away. Once again Ivan Campo has stepped up to head Bolton into the lead in the second half after Blackburn had attacked their visitors with a number of chances. El-Hadji Diouf delivered a corner from which the Spaniard jumped up and headed past Brad Friedel. Blackburn had two penalties granted, both won by Jason Roberts who had come on with 15mins to go. First Quinton Fortune, who was on himself for Abdoulaye Faye, went into a tackle that caught Roberts on his boot in the area. Benni McCarthy stepped up and Jaaskelainen guessed right to deny a tame effort. Next Nicky Hunt and Gary Speed sandwiched out Roberts as he turned in the box. Roberts was rapid in demanding the ball to take the penalty, and did so, but was denied by Jasskelainen's decision to go the same way.

Captain Kevin Nolan protested at the penalties and earned himself a booking. After the second penalty was saved and the ball went out for a corner, Nolan mentioned something again to Mike Dean, who immediately brought out the red card. I have read Nolan received two bookings but I saw him receive a straight red. That didn't mar Bolton, as a clean sheet, good saves, and two penalty saves aided the win and made Jaaskelainen the worthy saviour at Ewood Park.

Aston Villa 1 v Fulham 1

Villa remain the only unbeaten side in the Premiership. They should have had a penalty when Leroy Rosenior misjudged a cross and the ball came off his arm. It looked a penalty but referee Chris Foy judged it otherwise. However Villa gained a spot kick in a fashion which was less a penalty than the handball. Stilian Petrov took on Rosenior and as the right back and the Bulgarian made contact, Rosenior had his arms out to show he is making no intent with Petrov making more of the contact than the ball. Penalty given. Gareth Barry scored from the spot. But Villa had switched off a little and took on some Fulham pressure. This allowed a chance through Tomasz Radzinski on the left, who clipped over a ball that eluded all but Morice Volz, and having slipped his marker the German full back side-footed in.



Blogger BlindJak said...

Regarding the Chelsea bookings I feel the fans/pundits are riling against the wrong person. The ref has his hands tied and has to make the booking as that’s the rules. If there is an issue it should be against those that set the rules rather than those that apply them.

I have sympathy for Sheva as he’s been constantly backed 100% by the fans the in the relief and emotion of scoring could easily have forgotten himself. But having seen him book a minute earlier Ballack was professionally remiss to repeat shevas actions. I just home that an accumulation of yellows doesn’t lead to him being suspended for an important game.

10/25/2006 10:04 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

One point was made by Mourinho that Mark Clattenburg refereed the Charlton v Arsenal game where Van Persie had ran up to the crowd but was not booked. Van Persie was booked earlier, I believe, and I wondered if the referee felt bad in issuing another. That is, nonetheless, beside the point. If RVP was to be booked in the same manner as Shev and Ballack, then it should have happened. It is still a bizarre grey area, refereeing, as I felt Defoe should have gone off for his bite at Mascherano. Then there was the Ben Thatcher incident.


10/25/2006 12:01 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Thanks again for the review Redsman - appreciate the effort. I am so surprised that West Ham aren't doing better...but I haven't watched any of their I can't really make a sensible judgement. Too bad they lost in the Carling Cup to....Chesterfield...for an 8th straight loss...even without the Argentinians!!

Refs do get it wrong easily...and even Collina was not infallible...he just had better authority and respect than many referees. A lot of enjoyable games are when there are NO bookings...and the ref is NOT memorable...and the refs need to be reminded of that from time to time...being a superstart and talked not necessarily good!!!!!

10/25/2006 3:18 pm

Anonymous Black-n-Whites said...

Interesting reading and for a site that speaks football the bias is not there for any team. Defoe should have been sent off and I don't know why a bite is the same as a player going to celebrate with the fans, and that is where the officiation has to be properly addressed. Chelsea look strong and know how to carve out goals and a third title seems to be on the cards. Manchester United met a poor Liverpool, Villa could be dropping form gradually, and I feel sorry for Stuart Pearce because City have no good players anymore. My team Newcastle have spent millions and have got nothing and it is another disappointing game where they had chances and produced poor efforts and we deserved to lose. Hurts me to say it but I sense we could be scrapping to avoid relegation, how long is Owen from playing and where is Luque. Shay Given is more in control in goal and our defence is all over the place. Come on you Magpies! Nice site.

10/26/2006 11:49 am

Blogger BlindJak said...

To be honest I can understand Defoe not being sent off as it would have been every difficult to see what happened for the ref. And even if you saw it would you believe it!! This is just the sort of instance where the FA needs to admit that refs are not 100% perfect and take retrospective action regardless of an already administered yellow card. But I guess I expect too much from those that run our game.

10/26/2006 5:25 pm

Blogger EL said...

Defoe left absolutely no mark as stated by west ham. Obviously Defoe didn't so much 'bite' as 'place' his teeth on Mazza's arm to make a point. If a player whilst having a go at another player, put his fist against his chest and then removed it after his rant had finished would you expect the ref to treat it in exactly the same way as if he'd punched him?

Just a thought. And my Yid-biased contribution.

How do you all feel about my use of the term 'Yid' in this context? (I am not jewish).

10/26/2006 6:52 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Preferred you didn't use the term, EL, whether you are Jewish or not. THFC has a genral Jewish-based reputation but we do not label them as such, simply because Jewish people do support other teams.

Defoe shouldn't have done the conduct in the first place, feigning contact or not. When you have Chris Morgan penalised for attempting to put off Steven Gerrard, you potentially have sanctions for conduct that is deemed an attempt. The rules are to prevent bad conduct, be it an attempt or an actual occurrence. Not having a go at Spurs, rather I'm more embarassed at Mascherano's reaction.


10/26/2006 9:25 pm

Blogger EL said...

Wotchya redsman.

I see your point, but I still feel there's a distinction.

Why would you prefer that I do not use the word 'yid'?

10/27/2006 9:29 am

Blogger EL said...

Doh! Just re-read your post redsman. You've already answered my 2nd question. Odd answer though. "Because Jewish people do support other teams"? I've never heard that one before. Well at least you didn't say "because it's anti-semitic". Gawd bless ya for that.

I think the main reason that most people didn't become outraged by the Defoe-Mascherano incident is because they were too busy laughing at both players' reaction to events. The refs reaction may not have been 'by the book' but I feel he did what the situation deserved.

10/27/2006 9:41 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

The way that Defoe went on to finish off on Wednesday, he had a different kind of 'bite' Martin Jol and the fans have been waiting for!


10/27/2006 3:07 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanx black-n-whites for your comments - good to have a Newcastle fan make a contribution!

Coming late onto last week's talking points…. should first mention that I'm surprised that Defoe did not get sent off for what can only be described as violent conduct. To bite someone as Defoe did is just not acceptable on the football field. Steve Bennett is a FIFA referee who has sent-off players for far less so I don’t quite know what he was thinking to just produce a yellow card. But I understand what Blindjak says about Bennett maybe simply disbelieving what he saw…. I felt the same when I first saw it!

Blindjak and Redsman I agree with you that Clattenberg (me and Reds agree he is a good up-and-coming ref) cannot be criticised for producing the yellow cards against Shev and Ballack. For me there is a good public safety reason for prohibiting players from making contact with the fans in goals celebrations…. inevitably it leads to loads of fans falling over each other to get a piece of the player action.

And the pen decision given against Fulham was a disgrace - how Chris Foy could think that Rosenior was fouling Petrov when it was clear that the Villa midfielder was more intent on running into the Fulham defender than following the path of the ball beggars belief. Foy also gave the penalty for Zokora's dive against Portsmouth!

Anyway, my performance of the week goes to Jussi Jasskelainan- two pen saves in the last five minutes to earn Bolton a good win at Blackburn is something else. He really is a top-class athletic and reliable keeper and the only surprise for me is that a bigger name club (no disrespect meant to Bolton) has not yet come in and signed him.

10/28/2006 9:38 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Ditto those thanks to black-and-whites for your comment. Jaaskelainen was superb and has impressed me previously, but I found Bolton have faltered later on into the season and as such the keeper has been exposed. I understand he is in his thirties, which shouldnt deter others from chasing him but could nonetheless be a deterring factor with big clubs.


10/28/2006 1:25 pm


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