|photo by 50 Watts (formerly A Journey Round My Skull)||via PhotoRee|
Not much happening in the English Premier League on the penultimate Saturday prior to Christmas: only five games on tap yesterday, and it would be misleading to label most of the action I saw as 'scintillating.' Furthermore, Chelsea was the only one of the "big six" teams in action, making for a rather humdrum day of footie watching. Nevertheless, we push onward and upward, as the show must go on....
o Has there been a defender who's cleared more balls off the line this season than Russell Martin of Norwich City? He did it again vs. Everton on Saturday and prevented another goal, which was crucial in helping Norwich to a point at Goodison Park. This many clearances should also help Martin receive an honorary goalkeeper card at the end of the season.
o There were lots of empty seats at the DW for Chelsea's visit on Saturday. You can't really blame the fans given Wigan's form this season, but they missed a helluva performance by their team on Saturday. Once again, Wigan showed a spirited fight to continue the upward trend they've been on for last few weeks, and they looked the more likely winner as time wound down on the game. Can Roberto Martinez pull yet another rabbit out of the Wigan hat to keep his boys up for one more season? It's still too early to say, but I no longer think Wigan is nailed on for relegation.
o Just a quick question: You think there's any way that Juan Mata speaks Elvish...?
o Andre Villas-Boas looked vaguely like Inspector Gadget (minus the hat, of course) roaming the sideline during the Chelsea - Wigan game. I half expected him to shout "Wowsers!" when Jordi Gomez popped the ball in the net to provide Wigan with a very late equalizer and a deserved point against the Blues.
o Another game, another mistake: Boy, has Petr Cech's form really dropped this season.... I used to consider him the top 'keeper in the league, but there's a bunch of guys I'd pick over him at the moment.
o Peter Odemwingie provided the late drama for West Brom as his 89th minute winner grabbed all three points for Uncle Woy, but what in the world was Blackburn's defense thinking...? They retreated faster than the Vichy French, allowing the Nigerian all the time and space he needed to do his business, and his left foot wrapped the ball around the keeper and took care of the rest. If that game film doesn't lead to someone's immediate demotion I have no idea what would....
o "Bryan" Ruiz offered a crazy good finish for Fulham's second goal in their 2-nil victory over Bolton, heaping further misery on the hapless Owen Coyle in the process. Unleashed by a seeing-eye, Clint Dempsey through ball, Ruiz cheekily chipped both the last defender and the 'keeper to provide the day's final score. A few more finishes like that and the Tico may finally be living up to the £10 million that Fulham invested in him.
This is Farlieonfootie for December 18.