Monday, January 17, 2011

Reflections on a Weekend Full of Football

photo by Mrs Logicvia PhotoRee
Some scattered thoughts from a scatter brain, after a weekend full of games, derbies and otherwise: 

Manchester City - Wolves: City finally figured out how to turn on the offense this weekend. Having scored only 11 goals at Eastlands so far the entire season, the addition of the big Serbian Edin Dzeko inspired City to put four past Mick McCarthy's Wolves on Saturday. The only problem with the game plan was that Roberto Mancini was speaking to his offense when he talked about playing "wide open football," not to his defense. 

The City players certainly appeared confused, as they gave up three goals to Wolves, and could easily have left their home ground with a single point, if not for a timely intervention of Vincent Kompany and another by the woodwork.  Having been criticized before for a lack of offensive effort, it will be interesting to see of Mancini can get his team playing on both sides of the ball in the same game.

Derby Daze: Why does the EPL inist on playing so many good derbies on the same weekend?  The passion and intensity are obvious to see, which makes the games eminently watchable. But why is Villa vs. Brum scheduled for the same time as Sunderland - Newcastle, with Liverpool - Everton immediately following. Normally I would try to see some (if not all) of all three matches, but as my focus for the day was on United vs. Spurs (saving the best match for last), I had to be content with watching only two of the three derbies, and will have to look for highlights of the "Second City" derby later.

Newcastle - Sunderland: I love the EPL. The Newcastle - Sunderland game typified the last gasp finishes that make this league so great. Ninety minutes of utter frustration for Sunderland and its coach Steve Bruce in the Tyne and Wear derby, followed by a lucky rebound off Asamoah Gyan (that he knew nothing about) into the Newcastle net, setting off a wild minute of celebration for Sunderland. The last second equalizer denied Newcastle a double over their archrivals that you'd have to say on balance that they deserved.

It was pretty clear to me that the Black Cats missed Danny Welbeck more than the Magpies missed Andy Carroll. Newcastle seemed to keep Bent and Gyan largely under control, but you have to wonder if the addition of Welbeck's pace and offensive abilities would have added to Newcastle's worries.

Merseyside Derby: Everton's defense was absolutely horrendous in the first half. Terrible.  At times it appeared that the Toffee's gameplan consisted of seeing how Tim Howard would do playing by himself against the entire Livepool squad.  Things turned around in the second half, and I've give gobs of money to hear what Moyes must have said at the break.  His speech must have been a real paint peeler,  as a completely different team in blue showed up for the second 45 minutes.  

And not that I'm counting or anything, but I think the draw makes "King Kenny" 0-2-1 in his time in charge.   Surely Uncle Roy would never have captured a single point in those three games, and John Henry must be well pleased that Liverpool's turnaround has been so dramatic and sudden.

This is farlieonfootie for January 18.

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