16 August, 2007

Gameweek 2 – ‘Its Never 2 Early for League Tables’

Happy Thursday everyone, and welcome to the midweek wrap-up of all things Premier League. After just two matches is it too soon for patterns to start emerging? Here at STT we embrace generalizations as much as possible, but yes, it is too early to comment on anything significant really. Instead here are a couple of gentle observations before we get down to the nuts and bolts of Gameweek 2’s action:

- Chelsea are already 4 points ahead of Manchester United and they don’t tend to drop many cheap points at all throughout the season

- The 3 newly promoted teams look like they can more than hold their own so far

- Big up to Reading for valiant performances against last year’s top 2 straight out of the gate

- Middlesborough, Wigan and Bolton look like they might be in real trouble this year

Premier League Team of the Week (based on OPTA stats, Fantasypremierleague.com ratings and my own expert eye):

Keeper – Paul Robinson (he might still be a vampire…terrified of crosses…but made up for it with 3 incredible saves to deny A.J. late on)

Defence – Joleon Lescott (proof that not all guys called ‘Julian’ live in San Francisco, posing in muscle Ts), Andre Bikey (scored with his first touch and was excellent at the back), Paul Scharner (solid in defence and still a danger going forward)

Midfield – Mikel Arteta (amazingly never capped for Spain, can someone find him an English passport please?), Paul Scholes (not for the first time in his career, the best player on the pitch), Jason Koumas (inventive and energetic in a generally pretty flat Wigan team), Alexi Smertin (great form to start the season), Michael Johnson (was the standout in a superb team performance, out-shining all the big-money foreigners)

Up Top – Michael Chopra (caused problems throughout and poached his second last minute goal in two games), Didier Drogba (a constant threat, and his goal was a cracker)

Weekly Awards:

Nutmeg of the Week – Nani on about half the Portsmouth team.

Goal of the Week – Michael Johnson; superb move and unreal finish the outside of the foot.

Whinge of the Week – Pizarro’s pathetic theatrics to get Cisse sent off for “a stamp.”

Save of the WeekBirmingham’s Colin Doyle with his incredible change of direction to keep out the wickedly deflected free kick that lead to Chopra’s equalizer.

Wrestling Hold of the Week - Roy O'Donovan falling on Colin Doyle after his heroic free-kick save and quickly locking him into an arm-bar submission Kurt Angle would be proud of.

Skill of the Week – Take your pick from the entirity of Arteta’s performance against Spurs. He’s the most consistant winger in the league; might not score the number of goals Ronaldo does, but his delivery is always world class

Worst Haircut of the WeekBirmingham’s Garry O’Connor for managing to combine both a terrible Mohawk and a bushy mullet.

Nearest Lampard came to Contributing…er, of the Week – Getting a shit new ‘tough-guy’ haircut…also, deflecting Drogba’s dangerous 35 yard header past Hahnemann for Chelsea’s opener. Looks good in highlighters.

Nickname of the WeekManchester City Chairman/overthrown ex-Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra asking people to call him ‘Sinatra’ instead. Geddit? It rhymes! What a cock.

Re-incarnation of the WeekCaspar Schmeichel appears to actually be his father, its uncanny…the positioning, the shot-stopping, even the screaming at defenders and glove-spitting. All that’s missing is the bright red nose, which’ll come either from the forthcoming bitter Manchester winter or too much partying with Pete Doherty.

Gaff of the Week – It’s a close call, because Cech expertly bowling over Sidwell and Ben Haim for Bikey’s goal was pretty special, but Tony Warner dropping the ball at Helguson’s feet like a bar of soap takes some beating. He wouldn’t last 5 minutes in a prison shower.

Hero of the Week – Paul Scholes; just lost out to Johnson for goal of the week, but takes this prize for becoming Man United’s highest ever league goal-scorer, bagging his 96th Premier League goal last night.

Zero of the Week – Its gotta be Ronaldo I guess. It was a frustrating game all round for Man United but you just can’t react the way he did, regardless of how much contact there actually was. Looked like he might cry as he walked off. It's good to know that Richard Hughes's single contribution to this season was a good one for Pompey.

Personal Highlight of the Week – Roy Keane telling it like it is, calling out WAG-whipped primadonnas:

“A couple of years ago I nearly went to Juventus, and people spoke to me about Turin saying it's this and it's that, and that Milan would be nicer, and I said ‘I'm not going for the bloody shops, I'm going because it's Juventus.’ Football must be your priority…If a player doesn't want to come to Sunderland because his wife wants to go shopping in London, it's a sad state of affairs.”

Speak on it brother Roy, speak on it!

Oh, and in other news, Liverpool and Arsenal both won their first leg Champions league qualifiers, while Celtic earned a decent draw away at Spartak Moscow. Apologies for the lack of coverage but until the actual group stages start a-proper, we at STT have bigger fish to fry. Small shout out to Alexander Hleb for proving me wrong though, good performance last night fella.

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