Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mid-week wonders: Things I missed while at work

It's always difficult following the league here in the States when the schedule calls for mid-week fixtures. I saw nothing except the first 5 minutes of West Ham at Old Trafford, then I had to leave for work. Despite all that, I YouTube'd the Bentley goal, read a bunch of stuff online and decided I want to chip in with a few things:

• Arsenal 4 – Tottenham 4: I've not talked to Colin about this. I was tempted earlier tonight during a smoke break at work to give him a call, but I couldn't think about what I'd even say. I thought he might like hearing from a friend, but the subject was too painful for me to consider, so what the hell was he going through? I was actually hoping Colin's Arsenal-loving, Gunner-blood-pumping heart might post something on this already because this really isn't my ground to cover on Match Pricks.
But I haven't heard from him, and this match cannot be ignored. First off, the Bentley goal. Yes, a fantastic display of ball control with nobody around him at all, but like Alonso's two from beyond the halfway line in recent years, chalk this one up to keeper error. I'm sure Almunia probably thought he had a good reason for being off his line. After all, it took the strike of the season to beat him, but ... well, he got beat.
Still, from what I gather, it looked like Spurs gave up, Wenger took off his attacking threats, and then Clichy slipped, leading to Tottenham's third. Then, somehow, Gallas fell asleep on Modric's long-range shot and it came off the post for Lennon to pop in without much fuss.


You know what, I can't go into it any further than that. I'm tempted to offer opinion here, but it's not my place. Instead, I'm going to go on to this:

"Hopefully it can be a springboard," said Redknapp, before he looked ahead to Saturday's visit of the Premier League leaders Liverpool. "We can't wait. Bring them on. We will give it a real go. We will be difficult to beat on Saturday."

Yes, Spurs will feel a great rush from the draw with Arsenal and how it came about, but this is exactly the response I would hope for, as a Liverpool fan, from Tottenham. Let's look at that again: "Bring them on." Sure, great Harry. See you Saturday. Your defense is a shambles that conceded four, should have seen 5, 6 or 7 hit your net, and your keeper seems unable to do much more than wet his shorts. Hey, this thing can break two ways: (1) Spurs can romp to a run of wins, or (2) Spurs can suddenly believe the change of scenery along the touch line with the manager means all their problems have gone away. I prefer, from a Liverpool perspective, No. 2. It will be a thrilling match Saturday, and Spurs will surely be up for it. But this is still a team with many problems in defense. And there's a big difference between William Gallas and Jamie Carragher these days. We'll have to see, but Redknapp got a little carried away. If there's one side this year that's shown it won't shrink from adverse situations, it's the Liverpool team that's going to White Hart Lane on Saturday.

• Liverpool 1 – Portsmouth 0: Rotation looked like the word certain to be in every headline for the first 75 minutes. It struck me as soon as I saw the name "Pennant" among the starters before the match. Not only him, but no Mascherano, Riera or Keane. I mean, this was a Rafa special from way back.
But the Diop handball was clear – again, only from what I've read – and not even a doubt. Sometimes you make your own luck, and sometimes luck just finds you. There's no point overthinking it. Gerrard did the job and they move on. Besides, they have to hurry back to the capital. Harry Redknapp said he can hardly wait for Liverpool to get there.

• Man U 2 – West Ham 0: I'm throwing this one in only to point out for the loyal band of Match Pricks international readers that FSC airs United matches almost exclusively these days. Disgusting. Who would want to watch this? There were several interesting games, but this one was never a doubt. Yet this was what we got in America. Thanks, Glazer family, for ruining it for the rest of us.

Hull City 0 – Chelsea 3: Too bad, but can't say this result is a surprise in any way. I haven't read any match reports, but it sounds like Hull gave it a go. After Sunday, though, anything less than a comfortable victory from Chelsea would have really surprised me. The most fun here was seeing Geovanni in the days before guarantee Chelsea would lose. He was wrong. So what? It was fun until it started at least.

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