Monday, November 28, 2011

Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle: Week 13 in the EPL

Fish Bicycle
Photo by Gareth D. Jones on Flickr
Tottemham's Benoit Assou-Ekotto is doing his singular part to bring the Jackson Five back into style. Circa 1974 style. He's beginning to remind me of Correspondent Ed back in his school daze....

o I don't rate Arsenal.  Sure, I know it's the  "in"  thing to do, bowing down at the Altar of Wenger with the Gunners having won 11 of their last 14 after their draw on Saturday, but I just think they've played weak competition. End of story.

o I heard the announcers talk about Samir Nasri during the Arsenal - Fulham game, and it reminded me: Samir who?  Even the  Frenchman's critics could not have predicted his demise would come this quickly. Last season at this time he was gliding silkily through Premier league defenses, pulling the strings for the Arsenal offense.  This year, the only thing he's pulling is the water cart for David Silva, and he only sees the pitch when mopping up for Mario Balotelli or Edin Dzeko -- mostly he's been seen this season watching longingly from the bench.

Nasri is a fish out of water for City. He's best used to create offense in the middle, but with Silva already filling that role, Manchester City needs Samir Nasri like a fish needs a bicycle.   He may be part of a winning team but I wonder how satisfied he's feeling right now.

o There was shocking news out of Wales in Sunday, with the announcement just before the Swansea - Aston Villa game that Gary Speed had taken his own life. The sobering news about the 42 year old Welsh manager put the game in perspective: it's just that, a game.  Sure, we complicate it and imbue the contests with importance in a search for self-worth, but on days like Sunday we're brought up short and reminded how small and narrow our worldview can be. The only game that counts for anything, people, is the game of life:  Live it to the fullest, and enjoy every second. Life is precious.

o Why, oh why did I pick Gabby Agbonlahor for my fantasy team this past weekend?  The Villa man is one of those players who only scores when no one's looking. I knew that, and still I picked him, choosing Agbonlahor over Emanuel Adebayor, who only scored a brace this weekend. No wonder I'm mired near the bottom of my eponymous fantasy league....

o Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool was really the first time this season I've seen the Champions League take a toll on City. The Sky Blues looked overtired from their mid-week exertions as the game neared its conclusion, leaving acres of space in the middle of the park.  Call me crazy, but if Roberto Mancini wants to win the EPL title, he should hope that City get knocked out of the Champions League when it resumes in a couple weeks.  He's not rotating the squad nearly enough for them to compete in both competitions, despite the depth he has sitting on the bench. Sunday's game was a perfect sample: where was Adam Johnson?!  Instead, it was the old reliables, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli, who turned up.

Take note, Bobby: You can't win compete in two or more competitions only playing 12-15 men regularly. Fergie is the master at the type of squad rotation I'm talking about....

o Meanwhile, in action that did take place on the pitch, Joleon Lescott's own goal on Sunday saved the corner flag from taking a beating. Charlie Adam's wormburner was only slightly wide of target (tongue firmly in cheek here), but once it rebounded off of Lescott and wrong-footed Joe Hart, it tied the game at one. Which was fitting, because neither side deserved their initial score....

o By the way, if you're looking for any signs of creakiness in the Manchester City victory parade, Sunday marked the sixth game in a row in which City has conceded at least one goal.  And as we all know, defense wins championships.....

o Jordan Henderson might as well be invisible for all the impact he had on Sunday's game. I didn't even realize he was on the pitch until the 40 minute mark.

This is farlieonfootie for November 28.

1 comment:

  1. Right on Arsenal; very right on Nasri; right on having the wrong A-named forward in your fantasy league; right on City's lack of rotation; right on Henderson; right on defense winning championships. Pretty good for you, FOF, you've clearly been paying attention to Corresp. Ed lately . . . .

    -- Mario B.