It’s a glorious feeling waking up in the morning knowing that right before you are three back to back games of premiership action. And so without further ado, some observations:
Fact of the week no. 1: Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory over Portsmouth was their first at Fratton Park in 34 years.
Fact of the week no. 2: That Villa win was also a club record sixth consecutive away victory. Next up Blackburn Rovers.
Fact of the week no 3: £23.5 million combined is what teams have paid in transfer fees alone for Emile Heskey. The Donkey scoring a typically scrappy goal first time out for his new employers.
Fact of the week no 4: Jermaine Defoe continued his record of scoring every time he has played Stoke City in his career.
Fact of the week no 5: Manchester United have now gone 1032 minutes without conceding a Premiership goal, passing Chelsea’s record in the 84th minute of their game against West Brom.
Fact of the week no. 6: That wasn’t the only defending record achieved in that game; 11 consecutive clean sheets is also a new mark.
Manchester United cuntiness level: This measurement, that surely needs to be added to the Actim stats package, sees the number rising quickly up to the percentage of Coen brother movies in which Frances McDormand has appeared. For the current league leaders to beat the bottom placed team 5-0 is nothing unreasonable but in everything there is a manner in victory, just search Micah Grimes of Covenant, Texas to see where running up the score gets you. Leading 2-0, and with the opposition captain sitting on the sideline having been sent off, watching the way the world club champions pranced, pouted and preened their way through the second half was sickening.
A crazy and captivating aspect to this year’s Premiership race is how ridiculously tight the bottom of the table is. It’s so tight that a team like Spurs can go from the doom and gloom of being in the bottom three to being in contention for Europe with just one win. If they were going to choose a team to get that win against it would surely be Stoke City who have not won at White Hart Lance since 1975. With further woeful predictions in this regard able to be made on their away record that has garnered three of a possible thirty-six this season.
That leaves just three further questions from this game; is David Bentley playing more like his Blackburn self because he has been returned to his favoured right midfield position, or is it because he has finally lost that late 1950s account executive hairdo? How bad does the summer signing of Heurelho Gomes look when the third string stopper from Chelsea is your starter less than a week after joining the team. Also, with the amount of sideline advertising for Maxxis cycle tyres in English grounds, their ad agency does know that they’re booking football hoardings right? I think I saw more cycling related signage in this game that the week long Tour Down Under.
With no Premiership action, or its replacement FA Cup, on our screens this weekend I went for a little trip down to Turin for the Serie A clash between Juventus and Fiorentina. For a league that is known more for the style of its coaches than the style of play this was a captivating game.
Belying a 1-0 scoreline the action was flowing and non-stop with Juve able to go top with a win and Fiorentina trying to keep touch with the leaders both teams sought the result with all of their being. The initial plan was to just watch the first twenty minutes or so to see Pavel Nedved and the return of Buffon in goal until del Piero did this. (Watch closely from the 40s mark)[youtube:http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=_8MOvzPu3V0%5D
A pass that somehow broke through the ring of five Fiorentina players encircling just him was almost as special as watching him sulk and throw things when he got substituted late in the second half. It wouldn’t be a truly memorable Italian game without at least one blatant instance of referee bias to the home team and so thankfully Massimiliano Saccani was there to not give an obvious penalty or allow the Gilardino equaliser because of a dubious offside call. As perfect as a purple puffer jacket.
– Teeth Benitez