Monday, 18 October 2010

Weekend Observations 16th - 17th October 2010 - Part One

Mouthing off about a lot this week...

Admit it, irrespective of the so-called 'magic' of the Premier League and football's uncanny ability to surprise, you all thought that the mismatch between Blackpool and Man City this weekend would be a dull, predictable procession with the result a foregone conclusion for the blues, didn't you? Ok, yes, City still won but no-one could have imagined it would have been half as entertaining as it turned out to be in the end. Sky got it right picking it as their 'Super Sunday' match.

Firstly, credit must undoubtedly go to the tangerines who, on the basis of their second half performance, didn’t really deserve to lose but sadly came away with the sum total of f*ck all. For my money, they actually deserved to win the game. Charlie Adam pulling the strings in the centre of the park has taken to Premier League football like a duck to water and looks a player that could continue to play at the top level even if Blackpool are relegated as expected come May. I also have to eat a jumbo slice of humble pie after seeing Luke Varney playing for Charlton once and loudly demanding to know why he was a professional footballer (no-one answered). He's really stepped up his game and looked brilliant this season. Gave Boateng no end of grief on Sunday.

But Alas, another week and yet more complaints about the standard of officiating at the supposed top level. Had the ref and linesmen been more competent, we’d probably be sat here talking about a great Blackpool win. Naturally, Ian Holloway was pretty peeved post-match at THREE perceived injustices against his team. As much as I agree that the muppets tasked with enforcing the rules have once again got it wrong, Blackpool are playing with big boys now and far from being the poor picked on small club that Holloway was implying, he and others ought to realise that quite simply, these things will happen in football. He calls for video technology have struck a cord but what he is asking is for every single contentious decision – such as Tevez' 'foul' in the build up to his and City’s second goal – to be scrutinised. An impractical suggestion which would simply ruin the game.

For City, that man Charlie Tevez was once again awesome and the blues are surely laughing heartily at their penny-pinching neighbours who decided he 'wasn’t worth the money'. The only question mark would be their current over-reliance on him and in particular, his goals. If City are to keep up this apparent title challenge, the Argentine is either going to have to maintain this rich vein form for the rest of the season or others might have to start chipping in a bit more. One player who looks totally incapable of contributing is Emmanuel Adebayor who had a stinker on this rare occasion he was selected to start. No longer playing with that trademark (and annoying!) smile on his face and really struggling for form. Can't say I feel the slightest bit of sympathy for him.

City haven't exactly been the most easy on the eye this season (In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve been to more entertaining funerals) but by God are they effective. It was interesting to note that having started this game 4-4-2 with view to being more 'adventurous' they couldn't get their game together. Once Adebayor was replaced with the pant-wettingly good David Silva and they reverted back to a more pragmatic 4-4-1-1 they were able to take full advantage.

Preceding that minor classic at Bloomfield Road was "biggest Merseyside derby for years" as Everton welcomed Liverpool with both sides floundering at the wrong end of the table before kick off. Goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta sealed the win for the home side who looked so comfortable throughout the game, they may as well have erected some deck-chairs as Joe Cole lumped aimless balls into the box and Lucas made yet another sideways pass. Liverpool offered nothing which makes Roy Hodgson's post-match proclamation that this was one of their best performances under him all the more perplexing. The opening stages saw constant Everton pressure pinning the reds back in their own half. Upon scoring their second, the Toffees were able to take their foot of the pedal, sit back and happily deal with whatever their hapless neighbours threw at them which actually didn't amount to a great deal in the end.

Much is said about the lack of quality in the Liverpool squad but even their 'better' players with the exception of Gerrard failed to step up. Torres was anonymous pretty much the whole match while Joe Cole showed exactly why Chelsea won't be losing much sleep over his summer departure anytime soon.

And so, it goes without saying that the season has started poorly for Liverpool and the club are very much deserving of the 19th place they currently occupy in the league. Regardless of how many votes of confidence he gets from his new bosses, Hodgson must skating on the thinnest of thin ice. After all the tedious and mind-numbing courtroom palaver over the last week, you'd think that John W. Henry and NESV will be expecting a lot more for their considerable buck and even if they are clueless to the finer details of the game, there are at least 300 million reason why they need to arrest the problems on the pitch sooner rather than later.

Everton on the other hand are looking to steady the ship after their own poor start to the season. Despite their match-winning midfield, troubles remain up front as Yakubu is currently looking about as mobile Mt. Kilimanjaro (and twice as big!) while Jermaine Beckford who came on as a sub, is looking so frightfully out of his depth in the Premier League that coast guards are on standby each game to make sure he doesn't drown. Convoluted metaphor? Don't act like you expected any better...

Part Two to follow...

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