20 August, 2007

Gameweek 3 – ‘Demolition Derby’

Happy Monday everyone, and what an interesting weekend of football we’ve had. The first ‘Super’ Sunday was indeed ‘super’ with Man City turning over another toothless Man United side, and the first meeting of the ‘big 4’ ended as only they can…with controversy and a lot of Spanish-Portuguese antagonism.

Anyways, I’m not sure if anyone else is getting this feeling, but for the first time in years, the Premier League seems almost wide-open. Fast starters Everton went down at Reading, the previously-appalling Spurs finally started to play, and of course Sven’s City are the ones currently at the top of the pile setting the pace, not their Manchester rivals for a change.

One serious comment on the weekend’s action though; now I know it’s been going on for years and they certainly aren’t the first team to do it, but Chelsea constant harassing and mouthing off at the referee has to stop. Yesterday was pretty bad with even the usually collected J.T. getting involved in official intimidation. Jose apparently encourages his players to do this, but should it be acceptable?

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

KeeperNewcastle’s Steve Harper (quality throughout and a more than adequate replacement for Shay Given)

DefencePascal Chimbonda (dangerous attacking option), Andre Bikey (immense again), Matty Taylor (solid at the back and constantly good set piece delivery), Micah Richards (I could basically have picked the whole Man City backline but he was the stand-out for me; superlative reading of the game for such a young lad)

MidfieldSteed Malbranque (2 nice goals and decent movement throughout), Stephen Hunt (excellent overall performance), Mark Noble (another great game from one of the England's brightest young hopes), Steven Gerrard (inspiring as ever, vital tackles in his own box and then what a pass to unleash Torres)

Up TopJohn Utaka (justifying the price tag already?), Fernando Torres (sharp and caused problems, not afraid to get physical, plus a fantastic goal on home debut)

Weekly Awards:

Nutmeg of the Week Stevie G on Ashley Cole at the edge of the Chelsea box.

Goal of the Week – John Utaka, latching on to Kanu’s offload and running half the length of the field before rounding a sprawled Jussi Jaaskelainen …maybe he was worth that hefty 7 mill price tag after all?

Save of the Week – Tony Warner making amends by clawing David Wheater's acrobatic overhead kick around the post.

Wrestling Move of the Week - Hermann Hreidarsson expertly body-slamming Nicola Anelka down on the halfway line in the build up to Pompey's opener.

Skill of the WeekFew nice tricks from under-rated trickmeister Patrice Evra, but check this cheeky little flick from French superstar Frank Ribery for a Bayern Munich goal at the weekend.

Nearest Lampard came to Contributing…er, of the WeekApparently was so memorable that even England manager Steve McClaren forgot about him in his half-time spiel about all the international players on display. Did come on for about 30 seconds to slot away the rather contentious penalty though.

Best Impression of a Horror Movie Extra - Brian McBride’s blood-curdling scream upon scoring Fulham’s opener; more than understandable though given the horrendous kneecap dislocation that prompted it.

Sniper in the Crowd Moment of the Week - Kanu to win Pompey's penalty.

Superman of the Week – D.J. for his heroic photo-friendly full-length save from Gary Speed's towering header.

Team that were Most Confused about what Sport they were Playing of the WeekSunderland; it’s not rugby lads (conceded 2 penalties but could've been about 8).

Place I would least liked to have been of the Week – No doubt the Sunderland dressing room at fulltime.

Miss of the Week – Clint Dempsey expertly slots wide of the open goal from 5 yards. Still, kudos for being actually called ‘Clint.’

Referee's Assistant Blunder of the Week - I was about thirty miles away from Fulham at the time but even I still saw David Healy's last minute effort cross the line.

Speculative Effort of the WeekCroatia’s “most beautiful player” (not my words) Vedran Corluka's 40 yard screamer flying only just over the bar

Oh shit I’m going to die moment of the Week – Torres needed a change of underwear when John Terry got all up in his grill

Best Tag Team/Potential-Rap-Duo-If-Their-Careers-Go-Down-the-Pan-Anytime-Soon of the Week – John Utaka and Nwankwo Kanu

Lie of the Week – Jose Mourinho : “We do not have any divers, no violent people, we do not have any nasty tackles. It's a pure team.”

Quote of the Week – Pre-game interview with ‘fox in the box’ Michael Chopra: "It’s always great to start with a great start." Astute as ever.

‘The Tony Warner and Jens Lehmann Award for Gaff of the Week’Tony Warner and Jens Lehmann again. Maybe they should start being sponsored by ‘Gaff of the Week’…in fact…

Hero of the WeekSteve Coppell for guiding Reading to an excellent 4 points from daunting opening games against Man United, Chelsea and then-league-leaders Everton.

Zero of the Week Referee Rob Styles for gifting Chelsea an unbelievable penalty; their only shot on target in the entire game.

Personal Highlight of the Week – Only Chelsea out of the ‘big 4’ being in the Top 6…it really would be nice if someone other than Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal won the Premier League this year…


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