13 November, 2007

Gameweek 13 – ‘The Earl of Derby’

Happy Monday everyone, hopefully we’re all feeling nicely rested for the next delightful five day slice of office life. Big news this weekend was the derbies, where on Wearside Sunderland and Newcastle shared the points (and perhaps spared some bloodshed), but in the country’s second city, Aston Villa pinched a late winner to crush Blues fans’ hearts. The passion on display was more than admirable in both. Elsewhere, Spurs seem to be rolling at last, producing a commanding performance against a struggling Wigan side, while Derby’s woes also continue as they were humiliated at home by the Hammers. Liverpool left it late but finally scored in the Premier League for the first time in about 18 months, while Man United kept their breathless form going with a decent victory over Blackburn at Old Trafford. With two games in hand over the defending champions, Arsenal play Reading away tonight and a win would take the Gunners joint top.

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

Keeper – Joe Harte (clean sheet and several world class saves to deny a dangerous Pompey side)

Defence – Nobby Solano (superlative set piece delivery and a cracking goal), Danny Higginbotham (great defensive work to marshall Owen and Viduka, topped off by a vital first goal for the club), Richard Dunne (as excellent as ever with several true goal-saving tackles in the penalty box)

Midfield – Lee Bowyer (playing the best football of his career, even with a groin op scheduled for tomorrow), Steven Gerrard (inspiring performance in another somewhat flat overall performance from the Scousers), Jermaine Jenas (clearly enjoyed himself and could’ve bagged a hat trick), Christiano Ronaldo (a constant threat and two excellent goals), Gabriel Agbonlahor (five star performance from lifetime Villa fan)

Up Top – Dimitar Berbatov (answered some critics with a great display that had everything but a goal)

Weekly Awards:

Goal of the Week – Have to give this one to Nobby Solano for his beautifully placed free kick, finally making amends for those dire misses over the last couple of games.

Meg of the Week – Ace potential Bond villan Jonathon Spector slots the ball expertly through Eddie Lewis legs on the line to open West Ham’s account at Pride Park.

Save of the Week – Joe Hart for just getting enough contact on a Glen Johnson thunderbolt to tip it onto the bar.

Skill of the Week – Javier Mascherano busts some South American flair by backheeling in between Volz and Murphy to turn them both at Anfield.

Attempt of the Week – Matty Upson cracks a half volley against the bar direct from a corner. Di Canio would be proud at the effort.

Miss of the Week – Didier Drogba!5 yards out! Keeper nowhere to be seen…oh he’s fallen over.

Nearest Lampard came to Contributing…er, of the Week – Megged Leon Osman pretty badly, but I doubt it was intentional.

Gaffe of the Week – Paul McShane and Craig Gordon somehow contrive to let James Milner’s speculative cross/shot drift into the far corner to give Newcastle a share of the points at the Stadium of Light.

I-Hope-Someone-Got-Fired-for-That Moment of the Week – David Bentley takes the field against Man United wearing a shirt that has ‘Betnley’ on the back.

Day-Off of the Week – Rob Green; fielded one back pass from Derby with a minute left on the clock. Managed to whip through this week’s Heat though so not a complete waste of an afternoon.

ASBO of the Week – Tie between Michael Essien and Joey Barton who both managed to produce tackles nearly as bad as Binya’s disgraceful leg-breaking attempt from midweek.

Olympic Audition of the Week – Anything Torres can attempt, Tim Cahill can do properly as he smashes the equalizer against Chelsea with an overhead kick. According to Motty it was a “typical goal for him,” yeah for me too…

Whinge of the Week – Laurie Sanchez once again laments about his “usual Monday morning letter to Keith Hackett,” following the decision that awarded Liverpool a last minute penalty. Please stop complaining, your team is just not very good and you were already 1 – 0 down.

Lie of the Week
– Talking about the same incident, Crouch-ing Tiger Hidden Dragon boasts “I was ready to have a shot at goal and I’m sure it would’ve flown in.” Really Peter, really??

Quote of the Week – All talking about Derby, here are some gems to help warm the fans’ hearts over the next week or so:

Billy Davies - “It was men against boys.”

Lawro - “The worst defeat (this season) and the worst performance.”

‘Big’ Alan Shearer - “So poor it was incredible.”

Hero of the Week – Fernando Torres for making an immediate impact at Anfield to secure them the points. Showed more pace, intent and striking ability in 10 minutes than the rest of the team managed in the preceding 80 put together.

Zero of the Week – Unfortunately once again it has to be Billy Davies. Derby have lost their last five games in a row and have failed to score in the last eight hours of Premier League football. It does not look good.

Personal Highlight of the Week – Seeing a few local lads contest both the Birmingham derby and the Wearside derby, and it actually meaning something to them. Not that you’d realize from Agbonlahor and Leadbitter’s post match interviews though…shame personality bypasses seem mandatory these days. In a perfect world Robbie Savage would write everyone’s interview material. Or Steve Coogan.