26 November, 2007

Gameweek 14 – ‘I’m Busy Next Summer Anyway’

Happy Monday then everyone, and back down to business after the inconvenience of the international break. Shock of the weekend was obviously Manchester United’s loss, and a performance that seemed unusually subdued, creating very little against a determined and physical Bolton side. Second biggest shock was that Steven Gerrard hasn’t actually forgotten how to kick a football, and played almost well against a Newcastle team that were frankly terrible over Saturday lunchtime. Elsewhere, Arsenal, Chelsea, Portsmouth, Villa and Everton continued their excellent form of late, comprehensively winning each of their respective matches.

Sunday’s action saw as woeful a performance as we’ve come to expect from “England international” Jermaine Defoe, as he humiliated himself once again against his old club by having his last minute penalty saved by Rob Green, which would’ve handed Spurs a vital 3 points. Perhaps unexpectedly, one of the games of the weekend also took place yesterday at Craven Cottage, where Fulham ended up sharing the points with Blackburn, having twice taken the lead in an end-to-end thriller in West London.

Finally, a quick R.I.P. to Billy Davies who was unfortunately let go this morning from Derby. He did his best, and let’s face it, I doubt even Mourinho could come in and save them from the drop…

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

Keeper – David James (another clean sheet from the old Pro, once again underlining the ridiculousness of not playing him for England)

Defence – Steven Warnock (superb wingback play throughout, topped off with a vital goal), Willem Gallas (inspirational performance as ever from the Arsenal skipper), Olaf Mellberg (solid in defence and marauding in attack), Noe Pamarot (not for the first time this season, the pick of the excellent Pompey backline)

Midfield – Steven Gerrard (why can’t he do this in a white shirt?), Tim Cahill (cracking form from the chilled out Aussie), David Bentley (superb once again for Mark Hughes’ side)

Up Top – Kevin Davies (did what he dirtily does best and was instrumental in Bolton’s defeat of Man U), Yakubu Aiyegbeni (great work-rate in an all round perfect team display), Carlton Cole (gets so much stick, but was as good as I’ve ever seen him against Spurs)

Weekly Awards:

Goal of the Week – Everyone favourite Croatian Niko Kranjčar for his top corner missile to put Pompey out of sight at St Andrew’s. Notable mention to Steven Ireland for his match-winning volley at the City of Manchester stadium as well though.

Meg of the Week – Mr Berbatov’s nails Ethrington good with a Cruyff-turn back through the Hammer’s legs

Save of the WeekJussi Jääskeläinen continues his excellent run of form with several crucial saves to keep Man United out, the pick of the bunch being a stretched claw to keep out Owen Hargreaves’ dipping freekick.

Skill of the Week – Most of Mikel Arteta’s performance really…megs, backheels, flicks, stepovers, no-look passes. He really has an expansive locker. What ever happened about getting him an English passport then?

Gypsy Curse of the Week – Fernando Torres did literally everything but score on Saturday at St James,’ slotting uncharacteristically wide on several occasions. Call me a hater, but whenever I think of gypsy curses, Jose Antonio Reyes just pops into my head for some reason.

Miss of the Week – Plenty to chose from actually, with Carlos Tevez certainly in the running. Has to go to Michael Chopra though who missed an open goal which would’ve brought the Black Cats back to just 2 – 4 down.

Nearest Lampard came to Contributing…er, of the Week – Shinned a shot into the post. Was incredible on Wednesday though so poor Frank was probably still a bit tired from all that running about avoiding the ball.

Gaffe of the Week – Unlucky Richard Kingson on his debut dives over Sulley Muntari’s tame shot to let Pompey take an early lead.

Day-Off of the Week – Pepe Reina. 90 minutes, no saves.

Justice of the Week – Without doubt Rob Green saving Jermaine Defoe’s peno (his third of the season already) at Upton Park after it was awarded for no contact at all. Why Defoe looks so smug the whole time I do not know.

Flirt of the Week – Patrice Evra and Kevin Davies sure would make a cute couple…

ASBO of the Week – Toss up between Stephen Hunt, for a horrific thigh-high tackle on Fernandes that only drew a yellow card, and professional bruiser Michael Essien for literally just punching Kenny Miller in the face.

The-place-I’d-least-like-to-be of the Week – Just generally anywhere within about 50 metes of Roy Keane.

Whinge of the Week – Carlos Queiroz resurrects the old “intimidation tactics” argument against Bolton, claiming that Man United couldn’t play without the “referee’s protection.”

Quote of the Week – Andy Gray proves just how astute he can be some times : “Well I can only assume they’re all booing (Steven Gerrard) out of respect.” Either that or they just think he’s a over-rated prick who shites it in the big games Andy, that tends to be what it usually means.

Banter of the Week – Steve Coppell waxes lyrical about speculation that he’s interested in the England job : “Yeah the press keep misspelling my name, putting an ‘o’ on the end of it.”

Hero of the Week – Sven Goran Eriksson, for having his coaching credentials completely vindicated by Man City’s continued success. Surely he could not be feeling any happier at the moment?

Zero(s) of the Week – The entire England squad and management. Glad to see most of them being booed, even those not actually playing midweek, during the weekend’s action, but does anyone seriously expect that to actually register with any of them?

Personal Highlight of the Week – This cheeky chappy appearing at Goodison Park at half time. Rumours that Roy Keane tried to find a kit and get him on for the second half have yet to be denied:

In all seriousness though, STT does firmly support the cause in raising awareness of testicular cancer, and thoroughly encourages all men out there to inspect themselves as often as possible. However, can you please stop sending us pictures of the process? We don’t care if our WAG specials “helped.” You know who you are. Until next week, we Audi 5000