Toffees manager David Moyes opted to continue with the deployment of dependably dangerous Andrew Johnson as the lone striker while his opposite number, Raphael ‘despicable’ Benitez continued his policy of random selection by starting the match with an awkward looking front pairing of England hero (I never thought I would refer to the beanpole as a hero!) and confessed cokehead Robbie Fowler. A win for the reds in this, the 204th derby battle, would have taken them, at least till
445pm, to the top of the table but fortunately for myself and all the other Liverpool haters, that tragic set of circumstances didn’t materialize.
Luis Garcia and the effervescent Gerrard started well for Liverpool with the Spaniard especially proving a problem for the Evertonian rearguard. However it was the blues who took the lead on 24 minutes when Andy Johnson intelligently laid the ball off to the right wing, and the resulting cross was headed on to Timmy Cahill who made no mistake from 10 yards out. If the Australian had missed the chance, Johnson was also expertly placed to finish the move. Shocking defending from the Hyppia and Carragher combination at the back. And it was only 12 minutes later when the burly Carragher was embarrassed again, this time by Johnson, who made the most of the defender’s woeful stumble, by bundling into the area before despatching a low drive under the keeper, Reina, for his 100th league goal and 2-0 for his team.
The second half saw a great improvement in Liverpool’s focus with Finnan going close, and Gerrard hitting the post. As time began to run out, Benitez brought on the impish Risse who promptly earned a yellow card for a last man tackle which from another referee could have produced a red. I guess the ginger wonder is a touch ring-rusty(but that is what happens if you fuck robots regularly). Despite the best efforts of captain courageous Gerrard, it was Everton who proved the more decisive by scoring a third goal on 77 minutes. The brutish Lee Carsley unleashed a pile-driver from long range, which caught Reina on the hop, who managed to get his fingertips to it but nothing else at the first time of asking… The keeper managed to backtrack enough to grab at the ball from above the goal line, but due to momentum he was unable to hold the ball to his body, instead opting to push the ball straight onto the wisely positioned Andy Johnson who made no mistake from one yard out, capping a wonderful team performance for 3-0. Comically, for all non-Liverpudlians, Reina appeared to gift Johnson the goal, then proceed to give the striker a warm embrace…
The Suitably overjoyed Everton overlord, David Moyes
10 points from a possible 12 is a wonderful start to the season for Moyes and his boys, and the flame-haired x-pitfighter, was understandably ecstatic after the match. As for Liverpool, their defence was a shambles; lethargic, sloth-like and unable to deal with the pace and intelligence of Andy Johnson and the numerous runners from midfield. The omission of the apparently fit Craig Bellamy from the subs bench and starting XI goes some way to explain the relatively toothless Liverpool attack, but why he wasn’t included is unknown. For me, Bellamy is one of the most consistently dangerous strikers in the premiership; whenever I have seen him play he scores goals or makes goals. Why he was excluded may become apparent as the week progresses but it seems very soon for the manager to be discarding such a recent and costly signing who is obviously needed if Liverpool are to make more of what is looking, already, like becoming another depressing season. (FT : Everton 3-0)
After the remarkable escape to safety routine that Redknapp engineered last season, his Portsmouth team have begun this campaign in style and looked a good bet to secure 3 points against the Paul Jewell’s faltering, but battling hard as ever, Wigan.
The first half was an even affair with both teams canceling each other out to a certain degree. Lomana Lua-Lua was looking extremely lively throughout with direct powerful running while on the other side,
Wigan’s Valencia appeared the most likely creator of mischief and goals.
Shortly after the interval, Portsmouth seized the initiative and the lead when Benjani was found in the box, 16 yards out, from where the winger hit a shot first time, with the outside of his right boot, driving the ball venomously over the outstretched frame of Kirkland. A beautifully struck goal for 1-0 Portsmouth.
Despite much huffing and puffing from Wigan, Portsmouth hung on for the victory. On this form, Wigan, who made a fair few chances, will soon start firing on all cylinders and climb up the table. I don’t envisage
Portsmouth making European qualification but the signs are there for their sturdiest season in centuries. Bravo Harry. (FT:
Portsmouths, Zimbabwean forward, Benjani, scored the winner.
Man U v Spurs
Considering Spurs haven’t ever won at Old Trafford, and their opponents, Manchester United, have enjoyed a vastly superior start to the season, the omens didn’t look good for Martin Jol and his youthful team. Though on a positive note, Ledley King made his much vaunted return to Totenham first team action after recovering fully from an ankle injury that has kept him out since April of this year.
It was early in the match when Man United struck the killer blow. With 9 minutes on the clock, the home side won a free kick, which Ronaldo blasted towards goal, through a non-existent wall. Robinson parried the shot, but man of the moment Giggs was on hand to send the follow-up into the net with his determined forehead. Despite the promising start, it was Spurs who gained prominence as the match wore on, with Van De Sar needing to produce a flurry of world class saves to keep his team in the lead. While Mclaren looked on from the sidelines, Defoe did his national team chances no favours when he completely mistimed a free header from only 5 yards out. The speedy midget should have scored. Towards the end of the match, Louis Saha wasted two gilt edged chances to make the points secure, which will have surely caused Ferguson some concerns over his striking options for the coming months. With Van Interlay now firmly departed, there is an increasingly apparent vacuum which needs to be filled by a player capable of world class finishing, else I fear Man united, even with galaxy class Rooney leading the line, may struggle against quality opposition. But on the other hand, four wins out of four is Man U’s best start to a premiership on record and considering how many titles they have won in their silver tinted recent history, that may be an ominous sign that Chelsea won’t have it so easy this time round…(FT: Man U 1-0 Spurs)
Man U’s misfiring striker, Louis Saha, takes a tumble!
Chelsea v Charlton
The champions started sprightly with Drogba poking home the first goal of the afternoon on 10’ after been the first to react to the keeper’s parry from Lampard’s drive which was hit with some anger from the edge of the box. Before half time the giant Ivorian should have extended his tally but missed the goal completely from only 6 yards out… X-Chelsea favourite Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink grabbed an unlikely equalizer with a perfectly hit first time struck bazooka that flew past Cech the Czech, coming to rest in the far corner of the net. The blow spurred the home team into action and Kalou promptly won a penalty which Lampard strode confidently towards and hit, but the keeper saved it!!! After seeing the TV replay of the penalty it appears that Jimmy Floyd was telling his keeper which way to dive. I guess the Chelsea captain has been taking that same penalty for many years. Still, his passing is often wicked and on 72 minutes, it was one of his trademark curling corners which found the head of a determined Carvallho, who sent the ball searing into the roof of the net for 2-1 Chelsea.
Ashley Cole made a quiet debut for the champions elect, when coming on as a second half replacement for Wayne Bridge. Not the greatest performance, and I doubt Mourinho will be too pleased with anything other than that 3 points gained from this ultimately too close for comfort encounter. Credit to Dowie and his charges for showing commendable spirit and making a real game of this one. For most of the second 45 minutes, Charlton were playing with a double Bent attack; Marcus and Darren.(FT:
Didier Drogba, of Chelsea, misses more than he scores, but scores more than most.
Newcastle V Fulham
The first half of this match was a non-event apart from the nasty injury sustained by the impressive of late Jimmy Bullard (Fulham) who ripped his spleen when crudely upending recent high profile Newcastle signing, Martins, who again failed to look good enough to play for Gillingham let alone the magpies. After the break, the game came to life with the pretty rottweiler, Scott Parker, glancing a beautiful header past the Fulham keeper, on 54’, set up perfectly by a teasing Emre cross.
Soon after the Parker opener, on 66’, the visitors equalized after the consistently tricky Routledge crossed from the right wing, into the path of Mcbride, who was lurking with ill intent at the far post. The Yankee made no mistake with a first time volley, hauling his team back to parity. As the final minutes approached McBride was given the chance to head firmly at goal, after a mistake by Bramble, and though the ball was parried, Bocanegra was on hand to steer the ball into the net for 1-2 Fulham. Which was how it finished.
Even though Bullard’s injury was a big loss for Fulham, his replacement, Wayne Routledge, was the difference between the two sides. He caused havoc on the right wing, tormenting defenders with attempted ,and at time bewildering, but often very direct, runs towards the by line, where he is capable, as seen today at St James park, of producing quality crosses into the box. Newcastle defender Titus Bramble looked like an Eskimo in the Sahara for most of the match and was at fault for both goals his side conceded. He has never been premiership class, and the quicker Roeder can replace him the better for the fortunes of the club as a whole. With Owen a long term absentee through injury and Martins looking set to take at an educated guess, 2 years at least, to find his feet in the premiership, a defence with foundations floundering in sludge not set in concrete, and a manager who resembles a startled wood pigeon; the future doesn’t look very bright for the Toon army….(FT:Newcastle 1-2 Fulham)
Good work Coleman and co.
Fulham supreme Chris Coleman jumps with joy as he watches his young steeds tear the Geordies to shreds…
Arsenal V Boro
Former Chelsea favourite William Galas made his debut for the Gunners playing, strangely, in the exact position which his acrimonious departure from Stamford bridge is attributed to. He is a centre-back by choice and predeliction, and it was his continued usage on the flanks which caused the friction which led to his recent transfer to Arsenal. For Boro, local lad Woodgate returns to tee-side on a year loan deal from real Madrid, and he also made his debut for his new club, in the centre of defence. Worryingly and for several reasons, perhaps patriotism and purism, the Arsenal 16 of starting XI and the bench, included not one Englishman.
The match started of cagey with Boro setting their stall out to stay solid and attack on the break. Hleb went close from distance, but his shot was comfortably saved by Schwarzer in the Boro goal. Perhaps slightly against the run of play, on 21’, the northerners took the lead through a well struck edge of the boot shot from Morrison, created by a clever one-two with Jason Euell.
The second half saw Arsenal up the tempo with Henry going close with a trademark ‘before anyone but the kicker and referee are ready;’ free kick and the Gunners generally pushing their opponents further and further back into their own half. Soon the pressure told with first Boateng sent off the field after two nasty challenges, the second proving painful for Ljunberg who was hacked viciously to the turf by the remorseless former Villa hatchet-man…and then Eboue winning the penalty after been crudely taken out by a clumsy challenge in the are by Downing. Henry dispatched the penalty for 1-1 and the sigh of relief around the Emirates Stadium was palpable throughout North London.
Boro admirably held firm and finished the game with a respectable point. My man of the match was undoubtedly Jonathon Woodgate. and if he continues to show the kind of form seen today when he almost single-handedly thwarted wave after wave of Arsenal’s youthful but quick thinking attacks. He is dependable on the ground, in the air and off the ball. Definitely one the best English centre-backs in current circulation. I hope he can stay fit because the injury problems he has suffered over these last few years have been inordinately misery-inducing and unlucky. Arsenal were by no means impressive.(FT: Arsenal 1- 1 Boro)
Jonathon Woodgate, back from Madrid and already showing he is one of the best defenders playing on British soil.
Enfant-terrible Nicolas Anelka made his debut for Bolton in a match which proves to anyone with eyes and a rudimentary understanding of football, that the game is often terribly unfair. Watford dominated from the start to finish, hitting the frame of the goals 3 times, wasting numerous chances to kill off their northern opponents, only to succumb right at the death to a late penalty won by Ivan Tal after a rough challenge by the appropriately named Danny Shittu, which was converted with confidence by veteran Gary Speed to gift Bolton a horrendously undeserved 1-0 victory. To add to
Watford’s woes, they had Ashley Young sent off for nothing. And he will be missed having proved himself a major threat in all the games he has played so far this season.
Bolton were awful, lacking ideas and spirit. Anelka had once chance which he dramatically spooned!(FT:
uncompromising and fierce, danny Shit, of Watford.
Sheffield United V
An incredibly strange game revolving around 3 penalties, two won for Sheffield United, one awarded to Blackburn, which remarkably were all saved. Both teams could have won the match in normal play but it is Blackburn who left the ground indebted to Brad Freidel who proved a one man defiant wall in the face of concerted efforts by Warnock’s well moulded squad. Two penalty saves and plenty more important blocks, made Blackburn keeper Brad Freidel, my man of the match award. He continues to cement his reputation as one of the finest in the top English league. Despite all the goalmouth action this one ended 0-0.
Brad Friedel, more ape than human, but a truly outstanding goalkeeper.