Saturday, September 25, 2010

Random Thoughts from Today's EPL Games

* Uncle 'arry called Wenger a "nutter" right here: Redknapp Calls Wenger a "Nutter". I agree!  "The Professor" seems to be losing his cool much more these days than he did so a few years back. Losing at the Emirates to West Brom today can't have helped the situation.....

* Two reasons Arsenal will not win the Premier League this year: Marouanne Chamakh and Manuel Almunia. Almunia can be relied upon for at least 2 or 3 bad decisions a game. Today he conceded a penalty (ok, that didn't hurt them, but that's not the point) and went on walkabout for the Baggies 3rd goal. How can you compete at the top without a world class goalie?  And Chamakh was all but invisible up top today for Arsenal. What was I thinking when I captained him this week for my fantasy league team?  He looks like the kind of player that will always score the 4th goal in a 6-nil scoreline, but all but disappear when the team really needs him for a score. I saw another writer refer to him as "Nicklas Bendtner-lite," and that tag for me is spot on. He's a waste of space on the pitch.

* Chelsea's victory balloon popped today, didn't it? Not only didn't they win, they didn't score for the first time since Boxing Day last year. In fact, they looked lost for ideas on attack toward the end of the game.  1-nil was a strange scoreline, indeed (lots of guys in my fantasy footie league must've been disappointed to see Drogba subbed around the 70 minute mark), but represented a fair outcome. I still hate Carlos "Chicken with his Head Cut Off" Tevez, but I have to admit I did enjoy seeing his shot go right through the legs of Cashley Cole and hit in off the post.....

* Why doesn't Roberto Mancini play Adam Johnson more?  The guy is a holy terror when he plays for England, rampaging down the right side of the pitch and taking on defenders every time he touches the ball, yet he has only started 3 of the last 9 games for City. I fully admit I'm biased because he's on my fantasy team, but is it just me or do City look more dangerous when he's playing?  They had no width at all in the first half, and their entire offense ran through the center left of the field. Also, Chelsea to me look susceptible to pace, especially Terry and Alex. Why didn't Mancini look to exploit that before the game was almost over?

* Who was the 12-year old playing for Chelsea today?  I think his name was Josh McEachren and the announcer said he was a star for the Under-17 English team, but he's single-handedly bringing down Chelsea's league leading 182 lbs. per man weight by quite a large amount. Even my friend Ed could push this guy around the soccer field.....

* I love the fact that Ian Darke is now the lead announcer for all ESPN soccer games here in the United States. I've had a soft spot for Ian ever since his goose-bump-inducing call of Landon Donovan's game winning goal against Algeria this summer. If you haven't heard it, it's here: "Go, Go USA -- Oh, it's Incredible...!". Best call in American sports since the immortal Al Michaels' "Do You Believe in Miracles?" call of the US upset of Russia in the
1980 Oympic semi-final hockey game (Here's the link: Al Michael's Epic "Do You Believe in Miracles? Yes!"). In any event, I love Darke's mellifluous voice and genuine way with words. He is a signifcant step up from Alexi Lalas, et al.

* Speaking of which, I would gauge how seriously the US is now taking soccer with the increasing excellence of the announcers we can now hear over here on a daily basis. In addition to Darke, I absolutely love Ray Hudson and Phil Schoen on GolTV. If you want to know what they are all about, take a listen to their call of Ronaldhino's wonder-goal against Villareal (Ray Hudson and Phil Schoen ) . Great stuff. And don't even get me started on Tommy Smyth. I love his classic "back of the old onion bag" goal call.

* Darren Bent is better than I thought. Two goals today against the Scousers, and the second one pure quality off the head. I don't know why I haven't picked him for my fantasy team in ages, but I attribute it to the fact that I keep expecting him to cool off. 150 goals as of today, and no sign of cooling off yet. I'll have to remember that next week.

Over and out -- more matches to watch!  And that's farlieonfootie for today (again!), Sept 25th.

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