Friday, April 13, 2012

Fast and Furious: Round 33 in the BPL

photo by cauchisavonavia PhotoRee

The games are coming fast and furious now, no rest for the weary, even of the fantasy football variety. I had to wake up at midnight on Easter Sunday evening to change my fantasy squad, as I'd forgotten to do so earlier in the day.  Nevertheless, the show must go on:

o As it did for Newcastle United, although their snoozer of a game versus Bolton never really sprang to life until Player of the Week Hatem Ben Arfa slalomed through the Trotters on his way to a fabulous second half goal. Many of the players on the pitch for Bolton looked as if they had to wake up at midnight Sunday night, as well -- and never went back to sleep.  

o Papiss Cisse may be lighting up hearts and minds in Toonside, but his arrival seems to have coincided with Demba Ba's fall from form. Could it just be a coincidence?  Or more likely, is the first-to-arrive Senegalese striker beginning to get a bit frustrated at his lack of playing time and opportunities -- as he looked when he was substituted after an hour on Monday.  The situation bears watching, because Ba may be eligible to go elsewhere next season....

o All this talk about how Chelsea has turned its season around strikes me as far fetched. Finishing fourth in the League and winning the FA Cup -- which the Blues seem to have a lock on, of late -- will hardly qualify as a major success. That is, unless you believe I've written them off too early against Barcelona....

o Liverpool's situation becomes more comedic by the day. The fact that the dismissal of their first string goalkeeper was followed in the very next game by  walking papers being issued to their second string goalkeeper (and very nearly their third, as well) is topped only by an even more statistically improbable feat: Andy Carroll scoring a late, game-winning goal. I mean, what are the odds?!

o Manchester City's game versus West Bromwich Albion could be the first time I've ever seen a in-depth highlights package of a Premier League game that didn't include any evidence of one the teams possesing the ball outside of their defensive end.  As Ricky Ricardo would have said, Baggies Manager Uncle Woy has "some 'splaining to do" for the lineup he trotted out like lambs to the slaughter -- omitting his two leading strikers for the trip to Manchester.

o The width of the crossbar was all that separated Gareth Bale from the net against Norwich City, a crucial non-goal that may yet cause an even bigger rift: separating Spurs from the Champions League. It's a game of inches, and none will be more painful for the Yid Army than the ones that denied Tottenham a home point in the battle that rages for fourth place.

o Putting Kevin Doyle up front by himself should have been the first sign that Wolves have completely thrown in the towel. Or maybe it was Sebastian Bassong's early red card that reduced a nearly impossible task to the category of the completely futile.  Or possibly it was Wolves 'Keeper Wayne Hennessy getting beaten on his near post for another early first half goal.  Then again, it could have been the  appointment of the affable but over-his-head Terry Connor as Wolves' Manager. Or, quite plausibly, it was the pre-game reports of infighting among members of the team.  Whatever, take your pick: seven points off safety, and adrift by themselves at the bottom  of the table, Wolves have completely and utterly thrown in the towel.

o Villa entertained Stoke (I use that verb very loosely) at Villa Park on Wednesday -- a place that hasn't witnessed a home victory since early November. The Villans' never looked likely to end that streak while ceding 57% of possession to the visitors -- a notorious hoof and run side if ever there was one. Rather than relegating him for the second successive season, the League should hand out an award to Villa Manager McLeish -- an alarm clock which might help to wake the Aston Villa fans out of their season-long stupor.

This is a superstitious farlieonfootie for Friday, April 13.

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