Weekend Review: Manchester United throw title, Tottenham get over-excited, City go top as refs cock up

Oh boy – controversy, controversy and more controversy (and despair for Manchester United fans as the champions fall 7 points behind league leaders Manchester City after the first week of fixtures (it’s all going to hell, I tell you)).

At least we have something to talk about, eh?

Anyway, on with the weekend review, a look back at our predictions AND a look forward to the next week of football. Come in and have your say.

Portsmouth 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

I wrote about this game earlier – bottom line, Portsmouth have done really well and full credit to Harry, but it must be remembered (for the sake of Bolton and other misfiring teams in the Prem) that their main reason for success is that they got the basics right.

Pompey players fight for each ball, they play together as a team and move up and down the pitch as a team.

On the other hand, Bolton repeatedly made basic errors, looked disjointed in their movement and were it not for Anelka’s presence up front, Pompey could have gone full-tilt and score more. Sammy Lee needs to get this team on the training pitch and get their shit sorted out. An easy game at home against Derby will help as well.

Birmingham City 0-1 West Ham United

I predicted that Birmingham would win, and I remember after watching the Pompey-Bolton game that I was probably wrong, that West Ham would hopefully turn it around and get a win here.

Some controversy in the match as there were calls for a penalty for a foul early on Dyer and the only goal of the game came courtesy of a Mark Noble penalty won by Bellamy. Steve Bruce talked about Bellamy playing for the penalty – he’s within his rights to bitch about it but have some integrity man, against Sunderland midweek you guys were lucky to not give away a penalty in the middle of the game.

Fulham 1-2 Middlesbrough

I remember thinking that it would be hilarious if Mido scored, but overall the match and especially it’s conclusion pissed me off. It’s never good to see any player get injured the way Brian McBride did, but for Warner to make that mistake, and for the linesman to not give that goal at the end for Fulham – criminal.

Credit to Southgate for admitting that Middlesbrough got lucky with the disallowed goal.

The thing with these situations is – why can’t the FA or the Premier League simply come in and say – hey, we saw that mistake, we know it was wrong, so let’s fix the situation, give Fulham the goal and readjust the points.

There will rarely be a better case for video evidence in football than this – with Fulham and Boro expected to be in the bottom 10 (sorry folks) come the end of the season, how costly will those 2 points be?

And Warner…well, all I can say is, hopefully he doesn’t make that mistake again – Fulham have enough to worry about without such keeping.

Middlesbrough will be happy to get the points and credit to them for fighting hard.

Reading 1-0 Everton

Two of the hardest working sides in the Premiership and a match worth watching. The match was decided by a defensive mistake (although Everton could have been penalised with a penalty as well) and to be honest Everton not only edged the game in domination but if things had gone a bit differently they could have come away with a draw at least (that James McFadden looping shot that hit the crossbar – damn!).

There were sounds before the season started that Reading would suffer from the ‘second-season syndrome’ and I myself said that they needed to reinforce the squad. They’ve started well and I don’t think they’ll do badly, but they still feel a couple of players short of a side that can be confident of a top 10 spot.

Everton – at the end of the day, they had the discipline but not the drive or quality to break Reading down (not many teams do, especially away from home). Could Yakubu help? Look at this way – if he gets Everton 8 points this season by turning 4 draws into wins, that’s worth how much? In the long run, it could mean European football and that’s surely worth 11m, right?

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Derby County

Fun to watch the goals, but it was disappointing to see the amount of space Derby defenders gave the Spurs midfield. After the first two home games (where they drew with Pompey and troubled City), this was very disappointing.

Spurs? Well the fight isn’t over yet, it’s just started. They have United next, and if all goes according to plan (Fergie’s plans, that is), Spurs will have 3 points from the first 4 games. All is not well, yet. Playing Derby at home has got to be the easiest game of the season, so winning that isn’t going to be big deal.

Spurs have United, Arsenal and Liverpool up in the next 6 games – that should be fun, eh?

Oh and Darren Bent goes to the ground way too easily. Too easily.

Wigan Athletic 3-0 Sunderland

Surprised at this, I expected Sunderland to do better. So much for playing this by heart than by mind, eh?

Two penalties given away, plus several other penalty claims in the game, not Keano’s day at all.

The mere fact that Wigan went top of the table is enough to give a few shivers…

Newcastle United 0-0 Aston Villa

Disappointing game – although given Aston Villa’s tactical discipline and the freshness of Newcastle, this was perhaps to be expected.

Newcastle fans have been quick to criticise their team’s display but like the reaction to the Spurs game, I think it’s a bit over the top. Newcastle will take some time to gel together as a team, especially with the new faces in the squad. Martins will not be there every day to win the day, and I’m sure that eventually, players like Smith, Owen, Viduka and even Milner and N’Zogbia will contribute greatly to Newcastle’s season.

It’s a matter of allowing them to settle in and play together. Half the Newcastle team was comprised of fresh faces and that can cause coordination problems and even if you are defensively sound (relatively), that killer edge in front of goal often suffers.

Aston Villa – good point for them – Martin O’Neill is a good tactician, he knows how to play the big tough games and his team executed the plan to the letter. Now if only Aston Villa could win games with the same quiet confidence that they defend with.

Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

At the moment it seems that Manchester United are ‘carrying’ a couple of their players, who might / should make space for others, even if those others are Chris Eagles and Frazier Campbell.

As far as Manchester City are concerned – they’re doing well but their league position flatters them at the moment.

Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Arsenal

Read the match report through the link above.

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea

Read the match report through the link above.

League Table

This should entertain you 🙂

# Team Games GoalDifference Points

1 Man City 3 4 9
2 Chelsea 3 2 7
3 Wigan 3 3 6
4 Everton 3 2 6
5 Portsmouth 3 2 5
6 Newcastle 2 2 4
7 Arsenal 2 1 4
8 Blackburn 2 1 4
9 Liverpool 2 1 4
10 Reading 3 0 4
11 Sunderland 3 -2 4
12 Tottenham 3 1 3
13 Fulham 3 -1 3
14 Middlesbrough 3 -1 3
15 West Ham 2 -1 3
16 Man Utd 3 -1 2
17 Aston Villa 2 -1 1
18 Birmingham 3 -2 1
19 Derby 3 -5 1
20 Bolton 3 -5 0

Fun days ahead, indeed. And as I’ve said before, just a week’s gone by 🙂

Comments are very welcome.

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