01 October, 2007

Gameweek 8 – ‘Literally Best Game Ever?’

Happy Monday everyone, hopefully the arctic start of Autumn didn’t ruin anyone’s weekend. Anyway, it goes without saying that this was a pretty spectacular weekend for the Premier League, with a new record for goals scored in a game registered at Fratton Park, and another superlative performance from Manchester City against Newcastle to keep them in European contention. Elsewhere three of the usual inhabitants of that top four, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, secured hard fought single goal victories in tough away fixtures to further show just how tight the league actually is this season. Finally, Chelsea’s woes continued in a tricky local derby with Fulham which in all honesty, they really should have lost. Things are certainly not looking good at Stamford Bridge at the moment, with rumours of dressing room conflicts and lack of confidence in the manager fueling fears that after 3 years the bubble might finally have burst, and that the self-destruct button has been pushed by Abromovich…

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

Keeper – Rob Green (3 phenomenal saves from Clichy, Adebayor and van Persie help him edge it this week in a generally great showing all round from the Premier League’s goalkeepers…yes, even at Fratton Park!)

Defence – Kolo Toure (dealt with the dangerous Ashton and ex-Gunner Ljundberg well), Carlos Bocanegra (played the admittedly quite toothless Chelsea forwards off the park), Alan Stubbs (the old pro was defensively everywhere for Everton), Rio Ferdinand (almost headed into his own net but otherwise was excellent, and in complete control)

Midfield – Elano (perfect game from the sublime Brazilian, his passing was unreal throughout), Martin Petrov (pacey and direct, with great positioning and 2 class feet), Gary McSheffrey (excellent performance to show he can handle it at this level, caused the Chelsea backline all sorts of problems), David Bentley (Blackburn were a constant threat from his delivery, but worst haircut in the League?)

Up Top – Benjani Mwaruwari (probably the best he will ever play), Robin van Persie (great throughout and an excellent headed goal that even Andy Gray would be proud of)

Weekly Awards:

Nutmeg of the Week Elano’s backheel meg to easily turn Nicky Butt on the edge of the Newcastle box.

Goal of the Week – Elano’s incredible freekick.

Save(s) of the Week – Marcus Hahnemann’s point blank stop from Glen Johnson / Tomas Kuszczak’s Jedi reflexes to keep out Rio’s attempted own goal / Shay Given’s strong wrist to bat away Elano’s sweet volley early on at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Skill of the Week – Yossi Benayoun’s beautiful flick round Titus Bramble (and that’s a long way round!) and then shot fake to set up his superb winner at the JJB.

Miss of the Week – Julius Aghahowa expertly heads wide from 5 yards in the last minute against Liverpool.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Family Racism of the Week – According to the linesman at Wigan, all black players look the same as he flags Marcus Bent (instead of Aghahowa) offside, when the worst of the two Bents was clearly five feet on.

Effort of the Week – Another pretty decent bicycle kick from Fernando Torres that just crept wide. Loves his acrobatics doesn’t he? Were you watching ladies?

Hair Dye of the Week – Did Alan Smith actually fall into a vat of Tip-Ex?

Gaffe of the Week Either DJ throwing himself at the feet of Dave Kitson 10 yards outside the penalty area for no reason, or Frank Quedrue sleep-walking to let Ronaldo pinch the winner at Birmingham.

Backache of the Week – Marcus Hahnemann must be sore after picking the ball out of the net eight times at Fratton Park.

Are-you-looking-at-my-bird???!!! Moment of the Week – Alexander Hleb must’ve done something pretty unpleasant to provoke Mark Noble chopping his legs in half at Upton Park.

Hardman of the Week – Big up JT for playing on with a fractured cheekbone without even noticing. He’s like 50 Cent up in this bitch.

Quote of the Week – Mark Lawrenson for once getting something spot on: “What happens when you aren’t playing well is all your chances fall to Salomon Kalou.” Couldn’t agree more, he wouldn’t get in my Sunday league team.

Hero of the Week – Benjani for bagging a hat-trick, including a cracking finish for the second, and a generally hilarious celebration.

Zero of the Week – The number of league goals Chelsea managed to score in September. Not bad from a squad worth more than the whole of East Anglia. And people say they’re boring to watch…

Personal Highlight of the Week – Obviously the 11 goal thriller at Portsmouth. Defending generally is over-rated without doubt, more games like this please!