|photo by Don Hankins
o Both Chelsea's and Arsenal's defense in the London derby on Saturday were flat out embarassing. I can't remember a game between two "top" teams in which so many chances were created in the first 15 minutes. The German national coach, Jogi Low, was watching from the stands, and must have spent some serious time squinting his eyes while trying to recognize defender Per Mertesacker, who looks a shadow of his former self.
o Arsenal's third goal of the afternoon was one of the strangest I've seen all season, if only for the utter lack of defensive composure and desire shown by the Chelsea back line. Theo Walcott was bundled over by about five Chelsea defenders, yet still managed to pick himself up before any one of the men in Blue reacted in the slightest, dust himself off, and then proceed to beat Petr Cech on the near post; a true comedy of errors. The Special One must have been smirking while watching from Madrid.
o The fifth goal of the day for Arsenal -- let me repeat that -- the fifth goal of the day for Arsenal at Stamford Bridge was perhaps the most special of all. I could watch John Kerry slip and fall all day long, as it always brings back special memories of Moscow 2008.... (We won't dwell on the irony of Terry's slip occurring on Edwin Van Der Sar's 41st birthday Saturday). Terry's fall -- to say nothing of Florent Malouda's horrendous back pass, which was so atrocious that whoever investigates betting in football might want to take a look at Malouda's bank account -- allowed Robin Van Persie to quickly take the free ball, with not a single Chelsea defender anywhere in eyesight, round Cech, and give Arsenal an unassailable 5-3 lead and all three points on the day. Who'd a thunk it?
o Wolverhampton's Wayne Hennessey had an absolute howler to gift Manchester City their first goal on the afternoon on Saturday. Edin Dzeko must still be wondering whay he did to deserve the good fortune of a unmanned net from ten feet out.... It's too bad, too, because Hennessey was the only thing keeping Wolves in the game up until that point.
o In a sign of the times, I'm beginning to think that the team with the most former La Liga stars is going to have the best shot at winning the EPL. By my count, United (De Gea) and Chelsea (Mata) each have one, while Manchester City now has two (Aguero and Silva). That's worrisome. Even more worryingly for Arsenal, though, than the fact they have no La Liga stars at all to their credit, Arsene Wenger is apparently still operating under the theory that Ligue 1 is the best in the world....
o Watching Spurs play QPR yesterday, it was remarkable to see how different they look than earlier in the season. They're much more self-assured in possession, and their passing is free flowing and easy on the eye.
o I know a fair amount of people rate Scott Parker, but I don't -- not by a longshot. During the game against QPR, I saw Parker make at least 15 passes in a row that were totally meaningless, moving the ball only sideways or backward. He makes Michael Carrick look like a creative madman.
This is a tricky farlieonfootie with your treat for October 31. Happy Halloween!