Monday, April 11, 2011

Like a Woman Scorned

photo by Prairiekittinvia PhotoRee

A relatively normal weekend in the EPL is a strange occurrence in and of itself.  The top teams won, and the bottom teams lost.  What a concept:
  • Roberto Martinez managed to commit professional hari kari this weekend, pulling Wigan's only two offensive threats off the pitch with almost a half an hour to play at the Bridge on Saturday. Locked in a nil-nil bore-fest, if Martinez was pinning his slim hopes in Wigan staying up on holding Chelsea to a scoreless draw, he was soon disappointed. And his team had no way back in the contest after Chelsea's lone goal, with both Hugo Rodallega and Charles N'Zogbia seething on the sidelines. Judgment like that will end up getting you fired.  And rightfully so.
  • In the same game, referee Howard Webb refused to cite Fernando Torres for his interference which led directly to Chelsea's only tally, despite the fact the Spaniard was clawing at Wigan 'keeper Ali Al-Habsi's eyes like a woman scorned. Even Florent Malouda couldn't miss the rebound from point blank range, and nailed his first goal in 15 league games. Although this may be difficult to remember, the Frenchman actually led the league in scoring through the season's first few weeks, back when Chelsea was in first place.  A long time ago, indeed.
  • Wolves crumbled under the relegation pressure Saturday morning, and managed to lose a game they dominated for long stretches of the early going. Everton made the most of its few opportunities, and led 3-nil at the half, despite having little of the ball or the opportunities.

  • Blackpool's defense was absolutely shambolic against Arsenal on Sunday. The Tangerines may be easy on the eye going forward, but their defense looks like a leaky sieve. The game was over within the first 20 minutes, with the only open question being how large the Gunners' final margin would be. Fortunately for Blackpool, Arsenal's finishing was typical: a ton of chances, but few beating the goalkeeper: final score, Arsenal 3 - Blackpool 1.
  • When Blackpool does go down (and the only reason they're not in the relegation zone after this weekend is that every team below them lost, as well) I for one will miss both Ian Holloway and Blackpool's swashbuckling style. Holloway is a breath of fresh air in a sea of interchangeable EPL coaches, and Blackpool will get relegated the same way they've played all season: going down fighting.
Two other notes on the game:

  • i) I wonder if referee Lee Mason kept his ears open for swearing on the pitch -- and I'm confident there was plenty coming from the Blackpool side....  It was Mason you'll recall, heavily criticized on these pages previously, who bent to the FA's considerable pressure and wrote Rooney up in his post-game comments, leading to the striker's current two game ban.  Too bad he's so see-through in his capitulation to the powers that be -- he could be a sympathetic character, but instead comes across as more of a sycophant.
  • ii) It must've been Old Timer's Day at Bloomfield Road, because I thought I saw Jens Lehman on the pitch for Arsenal. And I bet if I looked hard, I would have seen David Seaman sitting on the bench, waiting patiently for his opportunity.
This is farlieonfootie for April 11.

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