Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Served Cold: Round 19 in the BPL

photo by ValetheKidvia PhotoRee

o If revenge is a dish best served cold, Adam Johnson's missile at Sunderland must have been slippery as ice. At least that's the way it appeared as the shot skittered underneath Joe Hart's arm and into his net to beat the City 'keeper on his near post for the winner at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday.

o Stoke City, as encapsulated on one play, a Jonathan Waters goal that sealed the Saints' Boxing Day victory over the Scousers: a) long throw in; b) the ball head flicked from one Stoke player to another; c) the ball controlled with the chest; d) the ball volleyed in mid-air off right foot; e) Stoke players celebrate when ball hits the back of the net. Never touched the ground....

o Victor Moses has made quite an impact on the Chelsea attack, giving it the teeth and incisiveness that its fancier attackers lack. For all the ooh-ing and ahh-ing about Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, it's been the addition of the former Wigan man who has made the Blues' offense really turn over. While the other boys are dancing, Moses takes the ball directly at the opposition, requiring a ton of defensive cover, and allowing his fancier teammates to be operate more freely. Full credit to Rafa Benitez for recognizing this, and bringing into the starting lineup a man that former boss man Di Matteo seemed to overlook too often.

o But if he got that one right, oh, man, do we think he has the next one wrong: Perhaps it's just us, but the only thing more ridiculous than the thought of David Luiz playing midfield is the actual sight of David Luiz playing midfield, hair billowing in the wind. The Brazilian looks really good -- almost like he belongs there -- until he gets into the final third with the ball and has absolutely no idea what to do with it.  We also witnessed a lot of standing around and watching other players near the 18 yard box. It's hard to tell if Rafa is doing this just to pull our collective legs, or just to piss off the Chelsea faithful, but this is an experiment that looks as if it could go badly wrong.

o Least intimidating sign in any English Stadium, at any level: "This is Loftus Road."

o Midweek's least convincing statement: Reading's Brian McDermott saying "This is definitely doable for us," with regard to staying up. A noble spirit, perhaps, but it appeared more as if the Royals' bossman was going through the motions in the post-game interview after his team leapt all the way up to 19th place.

o While Simone Mignolet's merits special consideration for our Player of the Week due to his outstanding form against the Citizens, Gareth Bales managed to nip him at the line with his hat trick against the Aston Villa "defense."  Check it out below:

Aston Villa showcases their "defense"

This is Farlieonfootie for December 28.

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