Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Last Rites: Round 35 in the BPL

Of ducks and last rites

o Arsenal came out for the Cockney Derby looking more like the side that spent mid-week going toe-to-toe with the current European Champions rather than the side that spent Wednesday watching that game from their couch. Which only goes to prove that tired minds can be worse than tired legs.... The nil-nil draw likely suited both sides: Chelsea's hopes of finishing fourth are still alive, as is their momentum going into Tuesday's key clash with Barca, and Arsenal are still looking fairly comfortable in the race for a Champions League spot.

o Hatem Ben Arfa is a difference maker at this time of the season. The Frenchman made something from nothing, turning a routine out ball into a dangerous cross that ultimately led to Newcastle'a first goal against Stoke. Call me cazy, but between Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse, I'm beginning to believe the Magpies may nip the final Champions League spot.

o Who would've thought in January I wouldn't be including Demba Ba in that prior sentence?  It's a funny old game....

o Stoke is mind numbingly poor on offense: 32 goals in 35 games, and not a one added to that total on Saturday. Personifiying the Potters' stupefyingly poor performance, Cameron Jerome came on as a mid-game substitute, and dribbled the ball into a complete dead end down the left side of the pitch no less than 3 or 4 times in his time on the pitch.

o Sunderland 0 - Aston Villa 0. Does this surprise anyone? Two poor teams with little to play for....

o Brad Freidel looked every one of his 40 years of age on Saturday when he was slow to react to a free kick that even our own Columnist Ed could have outrun. No doubt the shot was well placed by QPR's Adel Taraabt, but Friedel evidently must have been suffering from some severe arthritis as he creaked toward the ball.

o Spurs look a completely different side to the one that bamboozled the BPL earlier this season. Swift of foot and full of cunning, Spurs cut apart the competition en route to spending much of the season in third place. Of late, however, Spurs seem stuck in the mud and unable to get out of third gear. Theories range from mounting injuries to Uncle 'Arry's job speculation, but I'll propose something much simpler: Spurs -- not an especially deep squad to begin with -- just look tired and run down by the rigors of an eight month season.

o Brief prediction: If QPR don't stay up this season, I have an idea of the color Mark Hughes will be seeing -- Red.

o City played a dull Wolves side into relegation, Sergio Aguero's first half opener creating the initial gap between the two sides, a divide the never-prolific Wolverhampton eleven were unable to bridge. The rain pissing down on the proceedings was appropriate, as it mirrored the mood of the fans who came to witness the home side's Premier league last rites.

o Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic, a pair of cut rate but scrappy goal scorers, are our Co-Players of the Week. Putting the Race back into Title Race, Jelavic and Fellaini never believed themselves beaten en route to a 4-4 thriller at Old Trafford, turning in Man of the Match performances in a show of Evertonian defiance.

This is farlieonfootie for April 24.

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