24 December, 2007

Gameweek 18 – ‘Happy Birthday Jebus’

Happy Christmas Eve then everyone, and welcome to what is most likely our penultimate post of the year. Hopefully this finds at least a couple of readers checking over the holiday period! Anyway, going into the hectic Christmas schedule, the league is finally starting to stack up the way most would’ve predicted it before the kick-off way back in August; the top six shouldn’t change too much from now until May, and neither will the bottom six.

Wins for the so-called Big 4 solidified their ongoing dominance, while nearest contenders Everton, Manchester City and Portsmouth have experienced a slight wobble as of late. Cruel heartbreak for Sunderland underlined their frustrations once again, but a glimmer of hope for Derby against Newcastle should suggest that at least the fight is there for the side currently propping the whole pile up…

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

Keeper – Petr Cech / Henrique Hilario (Cech helped Chelsea to their 11th clean sheet this season in the league before limping off but Hilario came on to do his part too, with a spectacular save from Santa Cruz to deny the Blackburn man his 6th goal in 3 games. “Hilario-us” he is not.)

Defence – Bacary Sagna (excellent as part of an unusually defense heavy performance from the league leaders), Martin Laursen (superb effort again from the STT favourite), Phil Jagielka (countless crucial interceptions and tackles to keep the defending champions at bay)

Midfield – Dave Kitson (great contribution from the large man with the ‘autumn sunrise’ hair), Christiano Ronaldo (constant threat, topped off by a cracking goal with his left peg), Scott Parker (continuation of his excellent form after long term injury), David Bentley (another class 90 minutes from the Blackburn man who looks more and more like David Beckham in his prime with every game), Tim Cahill (superb going forward as ever but some defensive heroics as well for the big Aussie)

Up Top – Nicolas Anelka (great brace to keep smiles on Bolton fans’ faces), Fernando Torres (involved in everything and another two goals)

Weekly Awards:

Goal of the Week – Several contenders this week, with team efforts from Arsenal and Liverpool coming close, however just for the sheer timing and composure, a round of applause for Scott Parker please ladies and gentlemen.

Nutmeg of the Week Kenny Miller does Rozenhal for Derby’s second at St James’, but Spurs sub Taarabt on Sagna should’ve won another penalty at the Emarites too.

Save of the Week – Two heroic efforts to claw off the line from Craig Gordon but unfortunately the latter one was actually given as a goal.

Skill of the Week – Cesc Fabregas’ beautiful backheel to tee up Adebayor for the opener in the North London derby.

Gaffe of the Week – Johan Djorou will be wanting to forget his disastrous throw-in straight to opposition hitman Anelka as quickly as possible.

Miss of the Week – Robbie Keane clatters the bar from 5 yards and then compounds things further by then missing a penalty two minutes later.

PETA-Bothering Moment of the Week – Jaws look-a-like Dean Whitehead brings the pain to Reading’s lion mascot Kingsley, but the Royal gets the last-laugh as they snatch the points a minute later.

Speculative Effort of the Week – Professional scumbag Paul Konchesky fires a bullet into the cross bar from about 35 yards early on at Craven Cottage.

Nearest Lampard came to Contributing…er, of the Week – Actually forced a great save from Brad Friedel but was otherwise his usual ‘effervescent’ self.

Sniper-on-the-roof of the Week – Kenwyne Jones skips over the contact but takes one expertly to the shoulder to win Sunderland’s penalty at Reading.

Narcolepsy of the Week – Darren Bent struggles to stay awake at the North London derby. At least now he knows how everyone feels watching him.

ASBO of the Week – Papa Bouba Diop tries to break pint-sized Argentinian maestro Javier Mascherano’s legs at Anfield.

Super-sub of the Week – Nikolas Bendtner nets Arsenal’s winner with his first touch.

Coolest Scandanavian of the Week – ‘Big’ John Carew for finally capturing the electric form he had at Lyon for so long.

Controversy of the Week – Parallel incidents at Villa Park and the Madjeski underline the need for video technology to confirm when the ball crosses the line.

Brain Donor of the Week – Everton hang with Man United for 90 minutes then Steven Pinaar ruins everything by tripping Giggs in the box.

Quote of the Week – “Well that’s ruined Christmas then” – Tony Gubba stays upbeat describing the above incident.

Mispronounciation of the Week – For some reason, “Tom Cuddlestone” proved to be a popular player with the ladies I watched the North London derby with…

Zero of the Week – Someone indiscriminate at the FA for continuing to ignore the need for video replays. Linesmen at Villa and Reading had no chance of making the correct decisions from their positions and consequently both failed spectacularly.

Hero of the Week – Mark Viduka for showing his class once again with two great goals to save Sam Allerdyce’s blushes going into Christmas.

Personal Highlight of the Week – Looking outside of the Premier League, it has to be being treated to both the Milan derby and ‘El Classico’ in one weekend. Good job I definitely didn’t fall asleep during both of them…