With the beer still flowing (this week it’s Magic Hat #9), I take note of a few observations from this past weekend's matches:
Dea Gea Finally Looked Worth the Money
For a least one game David De Gea looked like the future goalkeeper of Manchester United. De Gea had several strong saves on Sunday, including a brilliant stop on Anthony Pilkington and another strong save on Grant Holt. The United defense, and Rio Ferdinand in particular, did a solid job of keeping De Gea clean and giving him room to operate. While he can still look tentative at times, De Gea was much more aggressive then he has been in past matches. While only one game, this could be a springboard for De Gea and a performance he and the United defenders can build upon.
|De Gea Looking Good|
Paul Lambert for Manager of the Year
While Norwich went down to defeat against Manchester United this weekend, they did give the Red Devils a good run. Lambert’s managing has been impressive this season with his ability to effectively change systems based on the game situation. He is the first manager since 2000 to have back-to-back promotions, League One to Championship in 2009/2010 and Championship to Premier League this past year. Norwich are safely sitting in the top half of the table, currently eight, and can easily make a run at Chelsea for fifth and a place in the Europa League next season.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a player barely touched and then fling themselves to the ground and writhe in “pain” in an attempt to draw a foul. This is truly embarrassing for the game and can be stopped by officials giving yellow cards to the offending diver. They could also implement a rule where if you’re rolling around in “pain” you must leave the field of play for a minimum of one or two minutes. There was one very notable exception to the diving epidemic this weekend, and that was Danny Welbeck of Manchester United. On multiple occasions Welbeck was fouled and, where others would have gone straight to ground, he played on, allowing the official to determine advantage and allow play to continue or call the foul. This is the way it should always be played.
|Maybe We Can Make Him Stop Diving|
Arsenal Decide to Show Up
What a turnaround by the Gunners. After two straight horrible defeats, a 4-0 drubbing by Inter Milan in the Champions League and a 2-0 loss to Sunderland in the FA Cup, Arsenal got off to a terrible start against Tottenham and were down 2-0 in the game's first 30 minutes. Their defense was extremely porous as evidenced by Saha’s goal. Tottenham's new signing was so open in the middle of the Gunners defense he had time for some fish & chips and a pint before scoring the opening goal.
The Gunners then came blazing back to score five unanswered goals, although Spurs did themselves no favors by going in to a shell and allowing Arsenal to take the play to them. Additionally, one has to question Harry Redknapp’s half-time substitution for Saha, as Adebayor was a total non-factor. This win was especially important for Arsenal, who have now bounced back from a dreadful start to secure fourth in the table and quiet the criticism of Arsene Wenger. That said, they do need to find some defense if that want to keep their current Champions League spot.
This is farlieonfootie for February 29. Happy Leap Day!