The Big Kick Off.......

Monday, 13 August 2007

Sunderland 1 Spurs 0

After all the preseason hype, Spurs reminded us all why they really have not got what it takes to break into the top four. A truly awful performance from Spurs opened up the 2007/2008 premiership season, with Michael Chopra grabbing the winner with a classy finish, after some spirited defending from Roy Keane’s Sunderland. Chopra had only managed one goal in the Premiership previously during his time at Newcastle, and Martin Jol was clearly livid that his second was the reason that Spurs lost a game they really should have won.

With all the great striking talent they have, their midfield resembles a mish mash of Latvian part timers, with the increasingly useless Jenas providing the creative impetuous (its hard not to laugh when writing that, how dare I use the word creative). Can someone tell me what Jenas actually does on a football pitch? I know what the grounds men, physios and mascots all do, but I’m still struggling to figure out what his purpose is. Without some major improvements to their midfield, I think Spurs will continue to underachieve. They do have some key players to return from injury, so all is not lost, but what baffles me is how can you have a lack of quality midfielders, when you have spent more money than anyone else barring Chelsea in the last few years.

Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 2

Liverpool used their famous get out of jail free card, namely Steven Gerrard to get the 3 points at Villa Park. The performance was reminiscent of last season, with Liverpool squandering plenty of chances to put the game out of reach after going ahead through a Laursen own goal. The Torres and Kuyt partnership looks good, and the chemistry between these two men could one day be as good as Elton John and David Furnish. Regardless of the new signings, Steven Gerrard is still the man for the big occasions, scoring a wonderful free kick after a dubious decision from the referee. With Gerrard now playing firmly in the centre, and new signings Babel and Torres looking impressive, I think Liverpool’s title challenge may last longer than an adolescent sexual experience. Villa still have a lot of work to do with Reo-Mediocre living up to his new nick name. With the money they have, I think they need to invest more to compliment the brilliant talents they have upfront.

West Ham 0 Man City 2

Sven is back in business. He may be a chequebook manager, and signing players based on DVDs and Youtube may not be ideal, but Sven has never been a man to do things conventionally. The new look Man City look rather impressive, and the new signings seem to have adapted to the Premiership very quickly. In Elano, I think they have one of the singings of the season, his all round play was superb and he made Upson look like a traffic cone when he ghosted past him to set up Bianchi for the 1st goal. Sven probably scored more times last year than the whole Man city frontline, but with the Acquisitions of Boijinov, Bianchi and Geovanni, I don’t think goals will be a problem this season.

West Ham didn’t look great, with the back line being opened up more times than a Dutch prostitute. They didn’t have enough upfront, and I feel they will need to push Ashton into the starting line up as soon as possible if they are to move on from the ineptness of last season.

Bolton 1 Newcastle 3

Big Sam puts his former team to the sword with an impressive performance from Newcastle. Removing Bramble from the Newcastle backline is the equivalent of going on Extreme makeover, suddenly things are a lot better looking. With Martins upfront they have a striker ready to take the Premiership by storm this season. His unorthodox bicycle kick was something special, and I think Martins and Viduka will turn out to be one of the most underrated and effective strike forces in the Premiership. Even without the infinitely injured Michel Owen, Newcastle will probably be the most improved side this season.

Arsenal 2 Fulham 1

Different season; same story. Arsenal go behind thanks to an error from their crazy goalkeeper, they then control the game, create hundreds of chances, and fail to score. They were fortunate enough to get a questionable penalty to level things up, and also something as rare as a giant panda, something that you may never see again. A brilliant performance from Alexander Hleb, which he topped off with a goal in the 89th minute to snatch three points at the death. If Arsenal are to progress they will have to start taking their chances, or they can expect to have another season wondering what would have happened if Thierry was still around.

Man Utd 0 Reading 0

The Alamo springs to mind when I watched this match. Reading literally had 11 men behind the ball for 90 minutes, and I think 75% possession is a reflection of that. As Coppell said, if they had played 4-4-2 they would have got destroyed, so the tactics were spot on. Not a great start for the champions, with Wayne Rooney going off injured with a fractured foot again. When a man of Michael Duberry’s size stomps down on you, there is only going to be one outcome. Unlucky for Rooney, but Man Utd have bought an ideal replacement in Carlos Tevez, but if he isn’t ready for Portsmouth, then expect the clinical John O’Shea upfront again, how comical was that. Nani did not impress on his debut, with his touch sometimes as delicate as a WWF wrestling move. Ronaldo will find life much harder this season, and with Giggs and Scholes ageing maybe the title defence won’t be the forgone conclusion we were all expecting.

Chelsea 3 Birmingham 2

Chelsea broke Liverpool’s unbeaten top flight home record with a hard fought win 3-2 win against newcomers Birmingham. New signings Malouda and Pizarro continue to impress, both scoring on their debuts. If not for some frankly shocking goalkeeping from Doyle, the result may have been different. Makes you wonder whether there was some Bruce Grobelaar match fixing going on, especially considering the importance of the match. Kapo is another new signing that impressed me, scoring a brilliant goal to level the game at 2-2, but it was the half man, half machine hybrid of Michael Essien who grabbed the winner for Chelsea, and another one to forget for Colin Doyle. 64 home games without defeat is an unbelievable record, makes you wonder, will they ever lose another home game?

Everton 2 Wigan 1, Middlesbrough 1 Blackburn 2 & Derby 2 Portsmouth 2

Everton beat the relegation favourites Wigan with an effective performance. Matt Derbyshire scores the winner for Blackburn against the truly terrible Middlesbrough, and attempts to recreate a classic Steven Gerrard celebration, and fails miserably. Santa Cruz was also on the score sheet, coming of the bench to score on his debut. Derby secured a late draw against Harry Redknapp’s League of Nations, thanks to a diving header from Andy Todd.

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