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Monday, November 13, 2006

Premiership weekend review - 11-12/11/06

Arsenal 3 v Liverpool 0

Another defeat away from home to make it five consecutive losses for Liverpool and another comprehensive match in which bad mistakes have cost us dearly. The game began well for both sides, chances and possession was shared until the 41st minute when Aleksander Hleb dragged John Arne Riise wide and then came inside, going past Mark Gonzalez and passing inside the box for Cesc Fabregas to collect and square for Mathieu Flamini to add a touch for the ball to go in. Replays showed the possibility of offside on Flamini, nonetheless the goal stood minutes before half time. With the single goal disadvantage, Liverpool should have stepped up a gear to level the score but some ten minutes into the second half the ball was won by Arsenal and with quick passing Robin Van Persie was found, mis-controlling at first but was allowed time to pass for the running Kolo Toure to collect, Sami Hyypia caught napping, the Ivorian defender slotting under Pepe Reina for no.2.

Ten minutes from time a Van Persie corner came over and our corner nemesis, William Gallas, was free to nod in no.3, Steven Gerrard and Riise at odds as to who should have picked up the Frenchman. It was the points that moved the Gunners into third place behind the leading two, making up the three top teams in the three top places. Liverpool have a major task in restructuring their away form which is deteriorating their league progress. Our defending particularly has taken a hammering, and it is up to the players, not solely Rafael Benitez, to correct this slump in form. In his first season, Liverpool lost 14 times, 11 away. Last season it was narrowed down to six, five losses away. We have already matched last season's loss tally, and for some reason, which I don't feel is down to Gerrard's positioning, we are playing defensive kamikaze away from home and not being sharp enough in front of goal. I do feel that certain players will have to put more effort into their game to improve this abysmal away form.




Sheff Utd 2 v Bolton 2

The home side did very well to pull this game back from defeat against a Bolton side who usually hold a lead well away from home. El Hadji-Diouf latched onto a high ball and outmuscled Phil Jagielka to slot past Paddy Kenny. Bolton doubled the lead on the hour as Idan Tal squared across the box for Kevin Davies to drill low into the corner and it looked a high and dry away win on the cards. But Utd came alive after the second goal and took the initiative, where perhaps Bolton felt the game was won and held back to see out Utd's attacks. On 70mins Mikele Leigertwood crossed from the right which was met by a superb Rob Hulse header that left the keeper with no chance of stopping. Three minutes later another Utd attack found Jussi Jaaskelainen coming out to clear the ball, which found its way to Colin Kazim-Richards, who instead of chipping into the box simply touched the ball with a curl right around the players in front to catch the keeper unaware.




Reading 3 v Spurs 1

The North London sides found themselves live on Sky for the second consecutive week with contrasting fortunes and swapped schedules. Spurs were first up away to Reading having not scored an away goal thus far. They certainly began well with quick attacks and chances going amiss after sharp passing, and with Robbie Keane in form his balls into the box were opening up the Reading defence. One such ball found Hossam Ghaly entering the box and a rash tackle by Ibrahim Sonko brought down the Egyptian, with little excuse. Keane stepped up to score Spurs' first away goal. It wasn't until half way through the half that Reading upped their attacks and orchestrated a number of openings on their right through Glen Little. It was from there the ball was kept and then passed across to Nicky Shorey, who shot low from outside the box past Matt Dawson and Paul Robinson to equalise.

A Reading corner in injury time came across a static Spurs defence and found the foot of Steve Sidwell as he came from behind Ledley King for no.2. Replays showed how at least six Spurs players were around before the corner was taken and none of them picked up on Kevin Doyle nor Sidwell. With Jermaine Defoe on the England striker was played in and shot at the side netting, and the goal kick that ensued was nodded on by Leroy Lita for Doyle to run onto and slice left-footed across Robinson for no.3. Spurs came forward to forge another Defoe opportunity that he struck to come off the inside of the far post and across the goal away from danger. With no disrespect to Reading, Spurs came from a sturdy test last week to give in this week. I wondered if the chances and attacks Spurs made in the first 20+mins made them too confident that they had Reading in control.




Everton 0 v Aston villa 1

Tim Cahill was injured badly from an accidental contact by teammate Lee Carsley, who went in to tackle but instead had pushed Cahill's right knee to hyperextend, the Australian stretchered off as a precaution. Three minutes from half time Isaiah Osbourne chipped a ball into the box where Chris Sutton remained and nodded on past Tim Howard for his first for Villa and their first away win.




Man City 0 v Newcastle 0

This match was live on Sky and had its moments of good football and chances, unfortunately they were few and far between and at times the quality of play dulled to a bore. City scored through sub Georgios Samaras but the referee spotted a foul by Bernando Corradi on Stephen Carr, which looked six of one and half dozen of the other but the goal was cancelled. Frustratingly a number of attacks were formed well by City with Hatem Trabelsi coming forward from midfield but the final ball was very lacking. Newcastle formed one of their best attacks with good link-up that resulted in Antoine Sibierski breaking into the box to be denied by a timely intervention.




Chelsea 4 v Watford 0

The defeat at White Hart Lane came like a slap rather than an uppercut to the Blues. They scored four in midweek and they repeated it again and once again it is Didier Drogba who is ghosting around the defence with a spirit that could carry him alone through teams, much less with the others in assistance. Every week the Ivorian captain is on bustling form, if he is not defending he is tormenting the defence, if not that he is peacemaker. Geremi attacked down the right before crossing low, Andriy Shevchenko missed the ball yet had dragged Danny Shittu and Lloyd Doyley, leaving Drogba to touch in mere inches from goal. Next, a superb attack, Drogba collected a pass from midfield and found Shevchenko, who held the ball as Shittu tried to call offside on Drogba's run but two defenders had failed the trap, leaving Drogba to collect the return pass to slot in no.2.

In the second half, Shevchenko got in on the rout as Drogba simply bounced off Shittu to control the ball on his chest and turn, touching the ball over the defence for the Ukrainian to chest past Ben Foster and score. Finally Drogba gained his hat-trick as Geremi yet again crossed from the right for the striker to simply touch in the ball unmarked. I must admit Watford were defensively non-existent, even if it was against Chelsea.




Middlesbrough 1 v West Ham 0

Two good home results that seemed to emphasise a return to basics and good form that was ended by a sngle Massimo Maccarone goal. West Ham failed to clear under attack, the ball came back into the box and the Italian held well to go round Robert Green and slot in from an angle.




Blackburn 0 v Man Utd 1

The pressure was on the Red Devils after Chelsea had romped at home and perhaps it may have told where Wayne Rooney was concerned, after he made numerous chances for himself to no avail. Blackburn could have gone through to score as they became better in the second half. Zurab Khizanishvili glanced Morten Gamst Pedersen's in-swinging free kick just wide, Morten Gamst Pedersen had his corner come off the crossbar. But past the hour came the telling moment when John O'Shea crossed from the right and Ryan Giggs touched it across from the left for Louis Saha to hit in.




Portsmouth 1 v Fulham 1

A home draw that almost turned into a home defeat for Pompey. Pompey tested Fulham well for the majority of the game, particularly through Lomano LuaLua and Antii Niemi had earned his pay keeping out Nwankwo Kanu's header from close range. Fulham took the lead from a Claus Jensen corner that Zat Knight aimed a head at and deflected the ball off Dejan Stefanovic. Harry Redknapp went for broke in bringing on Andy Cole and it paid off. The ball came into the box and players from both sides kicked at it, with Niemi not getting a firm grip on the ball at two attempts. Cole kicked at it and it came to him, and though he was on the ground he managed to aim it diagonally a second time to score.




Wigan 3 v Charlton 2

Another London side mini-revival that fell short, and now Iain Dowie has left after just twelve matches that made up eight defeats, two draws and two wins. Charlton have fallen further than at any time in the Premiership where they are rooted at the bottom and I think a good cause was the inefficiency of the players. The BBC site states Charlton only kept one clean sheet when in fact it is so far four, against Bolton, Watford and Man City at home, and away to Newcastle. It has not been Charlton at the least. It is burning to have dropped so low but there are 25+ games to go and they are in the league cup, much less the FA Cup so there is still promise. What there isn't is the opportunity for Dowie to get those players he brought in to blend with the others and raise the side back up the table. England players in Luke Young, Scott Carson and Darren Bent shows the quality the side has and it is one big battle.

In the match, Chris Kirkland pumped the ball upfield that eluded Souleymane Diawara and Lee McCulloch took advantage and ran on to score past Carson. Henri Camara obliged a carbon copy as Kirkland's kick was missed by the defence again and the Senegalese forward volleyed no.2. Charlton came back through an own goal by Arjan de Zeeuw as he came to block out Bent and the Addicks looked to be back into the game, but fifteen minutes from time Kevin Kilbane delivered a freekick from the right that Matt Jackson headed in unmarked. Charlton pulled one back again as Herman Hreidarsson's pass found Marcus Bent and he controlled to shot past Kirkland deep into stoppage time.




RedsMan.

23 Comments:

Blogger BlindJak said...

Watford did indeed make it easy for Chelsea with some rather hapless defending. Furthermore they failed to press the ball when not in possession nor did they make use of the possession they had. But kudos to them, it’s not many teams that still play with two upfront when visiting the Bridge. Just a shame the strikers saw little of the ball.

I personally thin that in the summer body snatchers took the old Drogba and replaced him with Drogba +. I was quite a critic of his first touch (truly awful) and all the theatrics when ever touched. So I’m chuffed to bits that he’s reinvented himself and am happy to eat humble pie regarding some of my previous comments.

Re Liverpool’s form, when Sissoko got injured I was certain that this would allow Rafa to play Gerrard in his favoured central role, yet against Arsenal, and I believe also in the Carling Cup Zenden played there. From his time at Chelsea I'd be surprised to hear any fan saying that the central role is one he can play effectively, much less play it better than Gerrard. I’d also wager that most fans would say that Zenden would make a better wide player than Gerrard so why not Gerrard in the centre and Zenden out wide?

11/14/2006 10:17 am

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

Blindjak...I too am impressed with Drogba...and hatricks are not easy...and he's had 2? His gaol against Liverpool was a cracker a few months ago...so indeed...we can't call him just a big gorilla now!! He's turning out to be some striker! Do you think it is the Shevchenko factor? If you want to get better...it is always easier with good competition!!

I feel sorry for Redsman and the 'pool fans...it is a bit of a sticky situation...and I don't entirely blame Benitez..the players themselves just don't look the part. Liverpool just don't feel dynamic at all to me...did Sissoko really make that much difference? Mmmm...I'm also disappointed in MArk Gonzalez...he just looked so dejected...and had no confidence at all! Where was Riise with his rasping runs and long drives? There was a measure of invisibility about some of the players on Sunday for sure. Liverpool have always turned it on for the big occasions...have they run out of juice?

Thanks for the reports Redsman - I get a feeling that you are too disappointed with the Reds at this moment...but there are still many games to be played.

11/14/2006 12:05 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks chaps. Blindjak, I definitely feel Drogba has been effectived by the arrival of one of the most reputed strikers in Europe, who could have taken his place in a 4-3-2-1 and yet we have now both of them featuring in a match. He is in superb form, that's it right now. Scoring, assisting, defending, peacemaking. T spoke of him before he joined the EPL and I was pessimistic at first, so hats off to T for spotting the talent.

Nturtle, you're spot on. A loss is less severe if the effort to withstand is more honourable, and again we let ourselves down. I hate to seem offensive but despite RB's plans, Gerrard should now start in the middle and stay there where he is more influential. We need a change now and the first 30-40 mins we held well but tellingly our defence has suffered a lapse.

Attack is the best form of defence, and were we to use that thinking away from home then our defence could be less utilised and at the same time we are pressuring the opponents. I believe this is key to our confidence away from home. As I said, there are certain players who are lacking in quality right now and that has to be addressed. There is a certain resolve teams ust have to win away and ours is rock bottom at the moment. There should be few to disagree with me unless results suddenly begin to pick
up.



RedsMan.

11/14/2006 12:26 pm

 
Blogger EL said...

Can I just say how fabulous it is being a Spurs supporter and that I don't envy any of you chelsea, man u or arsenal supporters one bit.

Thanks.

11/14/2006 1:06 pm

 
Blogger BlindJak said...

I think there are several factors behind Drogbas reinvention. Firstly the signing of Sheva could have broken his spirit but Jose showed him absolute 100% faith from the moment it was announced. Not only did he receive public verbal backing but we sold Gudjohnson instead and switched to 4-4-2 to accommodate both strikers. That’s got to pump any player up and prime them to pay back their manager with 110% every game, right?

Also the bad press he got last season for his diving culminating in getting booed by the Stamford Bridge faithful after a dive against City in the tail end of the season. He made comments that this made him feel unhappy and he, I assume, took a look at his actions and resolved to change his ways. After all, the goal he scored against Blackburn earlier this season we would never have seen in the previous two.

11/14/2006 1:41 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

EL, you did exactly that! I was looking for your view on Spurs' performance on Sunday.

Blindjak, I agree, switching formation to accommodate both simply allowed Drogba his chance to shine and that is what he is doing. His expression after that goal at Ewood Park smacked of some reservation over the previous season.


RedsMan.

11/14/2006 2:56 pm

 
Blogger EL said...

Sorry redsman that I've been reduced to simple minded sarcasm in my response to that godawful Spurs performance but the almost unbelievable level of inconsistancy which Tottenham Hotspur have been showing for the best part of 30 years, reached what must be considered it's zenith when we lost to reading in the style of a concussed pub team who'd only just met IN the pub after one too many at lunchtime after being out all night clubbing the night before. The number of 'lacklustre' performances - and I'm using that polite term due to the lofty nature of this impressive site - was so formidable and the degree of incompetence so complete that I quite genuinely would not know where to start. I can only hope Martin Jol doesn't have the same problem.

All the best

EL.

11/14/2006 6:02 pm

 
Blogger EL said...

Have you noticed redsman how the 'Terry King racism' issue is gathering momentum on the web and behind the scenes though not yet in the media proper. Allegedly Terry's comment to King was "shut up you lippy monkey". I've heard it said that chelsea's on the field spat with Barca was fuelled by Eto's allegation of racist comments made to him by Terry last year and apparently rio ferdinand stated in his book that it's well known among players that one of the England team is a racist. There is much talk about the Terry incident in footballing circles but the players, Poll, the FA and media seem happy to keep it all quiet. Makes the 'kick racism out of football' campaign look like a bit of a waste of time.

11/14/2006 10:27 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

EL, about Spurs, you and I are very similar. We have lost five away, drawn once. Spurs have lost four times away, drawn twice. Liverpool at home have drawn once, won five, Spurs have drawn and lost once, won four at home. And we both have only scored the once on our travels through a penalty. I didn't know Spurs hadn't scored away until I heard it during the commentary on Sunday. Simply you are not alone in frustration.

As for the Terry issue, I have not recognised its momentum on the net but what is significant is the reaction of Chimbonda and Zokora and King being the target of those words and I can only suspect it was racist. Yet as an international draws near within less than 24hrs, King would have been training with the squad but for injury. I find it astounding the possiblity Poll cold be aware of it and not make this clear in his report. Nothing from Chimbonda and Zokora, King is quiet, therefore it goes no further.

One view is Poll spoke to the players involved in the Spurs team and ask if they were prepared to go further, King said no, the other two concurred and it ended there. But now I suspect Poll did not hear anything and booked Terry for a pull on King. I don't think Poll would have left it there if he had heard it, it would have to have been a straight red, and he could then say to Mourinho 'if I had an agenda against Chelsea, I could have issued a straight red and reported Terry for racial abuse but instead gave him a second yellow.'

The crux of this is with the three Spurs players and they seem OK to let it rest. I do suspect Terry said something untoward in that manner but without the appropriate people making a statement, it ends there. As far as the media are concerned, it is whatever makes headlines for them.

Had it been a LFC player alleged to have made such comments, even in rumour, they would have swooped on it, 'swoop' being the perfect adjective for vultures.


RedsMan.

11/14/2006 11:34 pm

 
Blogger EL said...

I agree with much of what you've said and I also suspect Poll didn't hear terry's words. Someone is alleging via an anonymous journo that one of the Spurs players leaked the comment. Some are also rather tenuously linking the incident with the 3 afro-english Spurs players who've suddenly dropped out of the England friendly. Lots of unsubstantiated gossip flying around. I tend to take a strong line on racism and 'if' there's any truth in these allegations I do hope anyone working to see it buried, fail.

11/15/2006 12:40 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Ditto that, EL, though the coincidence of Lennon, Jenas and King did cross my mind for a slight moment, albeit Defoe is there and you could argue he is more inclined to show because he wants to enhance his international chances. All of that could give a strong indication of what you and discussed but as you mentioned, it is speculation at best.

"afro-english".....PC conscious??

I take such a line on any form of disobedience, disrespect or any other unruly spates of behaviour. Some may say 'what's the point?' yet my standards move me to endeavour and if we were to give up on substantiating standards, we would simply plunge further into social turmoil and anarchy.

If there is some truth, I wish for it to be unearthed and dealt with.


RedsMan.

11/15/2006 7:11 am

 
Blogger BlindJak said...

I got sent the rumour by a Palace fan yesterday and here is my response.

“Can't see it myself but then I’m bound to be disbelieving of such a rumour until I see anything more concrete. Two things, if the press knew he was a racist, considering the way the take every opportunity to snipe at us would Chelsea be able to keep them all quiet? I doubt it. One loner would not be able to contain themselves and it would all come out. Also Eto’o accused a stewards of racially abusing him not Terry. Can't help but feel that some vindictive Spurs fan is simply trying to be spiteful.

Saying that looking at it on Youtube he does say something to King http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psss6Qy50hA&mode=related&search= but I don't see SWP or Essien looking p*ssed off as the email suggests.

As for Rio’s book, the squad is 24 so if Rio is right there's a 23-1 chance it's Terry. Not to mention that he selected Terry, supposedly a mate, for a ‘Mercking’ on his God awful show pre World Cup. Hardly what you would do to a fella you think is raciest and presumably dislike.

Bare in mind that King is also mates with Terry off the pitch and SWP hangs round with him and it starts to look a bit suss.”

The internet and email are a great place to get unsubstantiated rumours going and those that want to believe will, which is a shame as reputations can be for ever tarnished. A couple of years back a Chelsea message board I was part of decide to wind up the Gooners by saying that Manninger was signing for us (I was young and naive, Sorry T) about a month before they were due to play us. It gathered so much momentum and had so many people hooked that the Evening Standard acutely reported the story citing “sources close to the club”!!!

Accusations of racism are very serious and if substantiated Terry should be stripped of national and club captaincy and face a ban. However I don’t believe them to be true in the slightest.

11/15/2006 10:57 am

 
Blogger EL said...

Well put blindjak.

11/15/2006 11:13 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Good comment, Blindjak, and at best no one is making any allegation and it stops there, until further notice. I don't recall Essien or SWP even being within earshot of Terry when he said anything and it was Essien who came after to pull away Chimbonda and Zokora, SWP had in fact pulled on Terry's left arm to come away from the players.

I had an opinion the southern media favoured the southern teams, notably the London sides of Arsenal and Chelsea, but it seems we all have our moments in their sights when they feel like. I wouldn't mind if much of what they wrote was more factual and less scaremongering.


RedsMan.

11/15/2006 12:23 pm

 
Blogger T said...

LOL, I vaguely remember that Manninger rumour!! Apology accepted Blindjak...!

I think it is right for El to have raised this issue about Terry but equally agree with Blindjak that we must beware the net and must queston mark why no one in the media has actually investigated this potentially massive story.

11/15/2006 9:42 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow youre all being very kind to terry


look again. It's really quite obvious what went on. check the reactiion of ALL the black players on both teams.

ledly king the captain wasn't interviewed after there first win in 16 years. WHAT?

a referee saying 'you need to be taught a lesson'. yeah right. sure he did. and then i'm sure he said 'i'm going to send you off terryand make sure you lose'.

11/19/2006 12:45 pm

 
Blogger BlindJak said...

Anon, I did check out the reaction of all the black players. There is not negative reaction from the Chelsea contingent other than to try and calm things down while from the Tottenham side only Chimbonda and Zokora really lose it while there is no reaction from King and Ghally only looks unhappy once Terry nudges him on his way out of the box. Do you also believe that black players only ever get angry after racial abuse? Could nothing else have been said to cause such a reaction? Again it’s all just net based rumour and innuendo and nothing even approaching evidence pr proof.

11/20/2006 10:59 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

As I mentioned above, I have my suspicion and at the most it is speculative to suggest things, and the only sure way of establishing anything, or trying to, is where parties involved speak out or are interviewed by the FA. Not all the black players from both sides reacted for I am not even certain they all heard what was said. Certainly Zokora and Chimbonda reacted yet Drogba, Essien and SWP showed no reaction. SWP ushered Terry away from it and, given his height and prowess to Terry's, that's no mean feat.

I am surprised that Sky Sports didn't show any interview with King since it was their first win for Chelsea for years and perhaps then asked about the incident. Until such time as anything does elaborate, then this is as far as it goes.


RedsMan.

11/20/2006 11:41 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blindjak, that's my point. The black chelsea players didn't seem to want to get involved. Since when has Drogba for instance wanted to keep out of arguments? He walks away head bowed. Very unlike Drogba. It's almost as if he was too embarrassed to get invoved. Usually whilst screaming players (Chimbonda/Zokora) are having a go, some of the opposition players are verbally retaliating but there was little evidence of that from a normaly firey Chelsea contingent. I would describe it as highly unusual behaviour and unusual behaviour usually follows unusual circumstances.

11/23/2006 5:22 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Anon (5.22PM), the account was Drogba and Essien came over to Chimbonda and Zokora, first they shrugged away from Drogba then Essien ushered both of them away. SWP pulled Terry away from it, then the second booking was issued. There was a slight melee of players.

It is old hat unless someone can prove something occurred.


RedsMan.

11/23/2006 9:41 pm

 
Blogger BlindJak said...

From the Mail online.

The unsubstantiated, internet-led whispering campaign that Chelsea captain John Terry was sent off against Tottenham for a remark he made to childhood friend Ledley King sparked urban music radio station Choice FM to invite listeners to debate what Terry said. Terry's team-mate Ashley Cole rang the station to tell them there was no truth in the rumours, after which Choice ended the debate.

That confirms it for me.

11/29/2006 4:13 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blindjak, I hope you mean the Daily Mail because I just searched it and found nothing about Cole ringing up Choice FM. And there's a DJ there who is good friends with Cole so why should they start a debate like that? Use your head, its the Mail, load of rubbish. Cant even find it in Google and if you cant find it there you cant find it anywhere. I read what was written here about it and there is no way Chimmy and Didier Zokora would go like that if Terry said nothing racist. And Ledley King is no childhood friend of Terry's. That's more rubbish, what do you read? Oh yeah, the Daily Mail on line.....

11/29/2006 11:39 pm

 
Blogger BlindJak said...

“There are none so blind as those who refuse to see”, so a saying goes. Or those who can’t be bothered to look, I would add.

I pasted the piece after a friend sent it to me. After you comments I worried that it might be a counter internet led campaign to absolve Terry, and that I had fallen for it. So I had a look for the piece and found it in less than 5 minutes. So much for Google. It’s the second paragraph in bold should you have trouble finding it

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/columnists/columnists.html?in_article_id=419305&in_page_id=1951

Who’s to say that the DJ who started the debate was even Cole’s mate? There’s more than one working for Choice I’m sure. I’m no fan of the Mail but they have offered something substantive in the face of scurrilous internet rumour and conjecture. Rather than base your opinion on the response of two players (are you really saying that the two players would ONLY react to racism? They would happily stand aside and let Terry yell, “you’re a useless cheating c***” and not stand up for their team mate?) why not base it on anything resembling fact. Oh, that’s right, there are no supporting facts.

As for childhood friends, the Mail may have overstated the depth of their relationship (no idea personally) but many other papers over the years have referenced the fact that they played for the same school/district team, Senrab. Just in case Google doesn’t come up trumps, http://www.english-football.org.uk/players/john-terry/ (see early life)

You told me to use my head (I think I’ve demonstrated I have) I would now suggest you let go of your bias and open your mind.

11/30/2006 10:48 am

 

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