|photo by J Fortune Photography||via PhotoRee|
o The West Brom run continues: Steve Clarke's boys comfortably dispatched Sunderland at the Stadium of Shite on Saturday, and after winning four in a row the question needs to be asked: is this a team that can challenge for a European spot this season? Devoid of any true "big name" stars, the Baggies are succeeding by being a team in the truest sense of the word.
o One of the secrets to success in English football commentary appears to be screaming a player's surname every time he's about to shoot, hoping that you'll look like a genius for predicting a goal before the ball even ruffles the back of the net. Although you'd think another lesson they'd teach at Announcing School these days would be that shouting "Torres!" when 'Nando's got the ball in the box is an utter waste of breath.
o It's a good thing Spanish is Rafa Benitez' first language, as Roman Abramovitch may now have a far easier time convincing the Blues' new boss that the Booing sounds which reverberated around Stamford Bridge as he walked onto the pitch are actually a particularly English form of affection.
o Chelsea and City played one of the more uninspired games of the recent Premier League era in their nil-nil draw on Sunday, a disjointed affair that featured zero goals and just about the same number of chances. If we didn't know better we could easily have been convinced that this was a battle between two relegated teams marking time until the season's end -- there was little sign of passion or even the barest hint of a rivalry between the two clubs. If this is the dawn of the Rafa era at Chelsea, Roman had better equip the seats at Stamford bridge with sleeping bags.
o Sighting of the week: The Drog. At the Bridge. In the rain. With a Yankees Cap on, sitting in the stands. What a difference a year makes....
o It looks as if the bloom may finally be coming off the Everton rose. We believe the Toffees will be solid again this season, but the men from Goodison have looked poor the past two weeks running, and they're now in danger of seeing their fast start revert to the mean of a mid-table finish.
o Could someone please tell Arsene Wenger that he shouldn't let his good down coat get wet? Those feathers are going to need weeks to dry out, and that's just from the tears the Frenchman must have shed while watching his team this weekend.
o What the hell has happened to Newcastle? The post was their best defender against Reading, and the 2-0 scoreline flattered the Magpies in a game in which they easily could have conceded 5 or 6 goals. Gone is the sturdy defense and spectacular goalkeeping, and gone too is last season's potent offensive force of Papiss Cisse.
o We were just about ready to hand our Player of the Week award to Jermaine Defoe for the diminutive striker's brace against West Ham, but then we saw Jordi Gomez' hat trick performance against Reading. Always a favorite of the editorial staff here at corporate, the Spaniard was an outright menace on the pitch this weekend, scoring three times and singlehandedly saving Ali Al-Habsi from appearing on Goat's Milk packages around the globe for his goalkeeping Blooper of the Year -- and for that last feat alone Gomez gets the nod.
This is farlieonfootie for November 27.