It feels weird even caring about the EPL after the weekend Bills fans have had, particularly when things didn't go as planned for my Reds on Saturday...more on that below. However, even if my heart and mind aren't completely devoted to the idea of recapping a quasi-forgettable weekend of Premier League football, I remain devoted to the fledgling series I've started here.
Besides, this week, I have help! Along for the ride, in what I hope will be a consistent fashion - depending, in no small way, on the whims of his dear wife - is our good friend Dave (@davekellynyc on the twitter), who fits in here at DGWU Sports as a fellow Buffalo expat, Bills & Sabres fan, and - though, we forgive him for it - a fan of the Tottenham Hotspurs. While his footy allegiances are to be questioned, particularly when they involve the heroin capital of the UK, his street cred as a tried and true fan of the Beautiful game is unassailable. And, since I can't very well be expected to pay attention to Spurs games every weekend - after all, I have my own dear wife to think about - I figured it made quite a bit of sense to give Dave the soapbox every week here in Closing Arguments so you readers can get a good sense of what's happening with the Totties.
[Note: DGWU will also have some football coverage later this week from the Yachtsman, who prefers complete editorial control over his content, meaning he will post on his own. (read: he will make vague and brief references to the EPL while recapping his trip to Yankee Stadium for Metallica tonight). Though, assuming he does pull through with some gems for you dear reader(s), he will likely be dropping knowledge on the Liverpool match, which we watched together, as well as thoughts on QPR/NUFC & the admittedly non-premiership goings-on in the Champions League.]
So, assuming you want to take this trip on the SS Disaster, click through after the jump for a smattering of recaps from another exciting weekend in the Premiership.
But, as King Kenny goes, so go I, and this time there's not much else to say beyond "Mark 'Busted-Ass Faux Hawk' Clattenburg fucked up big time." While some may place blame on Clattenburg for the 1st half penalty against Jamie Carragher, I am conscious that there really isn't a credible argument against that penalty other than that it was a little soft. But, as with all fair-minded critiques of officiating in any sport, the real gripe for me comes when you look at Clattenburg's comparable throughout the remainder of the match. Fine, penalize Carra, but how does that arguably weak call stack up with how you called the rest of the game?
What's that? Oh, you're going to allow Stoke to run roughshod over our star players, and you're going to let two handballs in the box - one blatant, the other more subtle - go without a whistle? Well then - FUCK YOU VERY MUCH. We're going to unleash Yachter's pit bull on you. PREPARE TO BE HUMPED VIGOROUSLY. (I should know...)
Clattenburg has a history of bad decisions - just google the little bitch, I dare you - so the whole situation smells a lot like the typical officiating garbage you get from the English FA. It seems like every week another game is being called by a formerly suspended asshat who should rightly be banished to officiating the latest clashes between Mount St. Mary's and Holy Angels. I may love British footy, but I don't think there's a fan out there who doesn't experience at least a half dozen moments of sheer bewilderment over the shit quality of some officials in the EPL each year.
As for Liverpool, I think they played a fine game, controlling the ball for the majority of 90 minutes, much of that time in Stoke's third, and they had more than their fair share of chances. My recollection is that the tally of shots on target was was 11-1. Liverpool was the victim, however, of a flawless Stoke game plan - made all the more brilliant when Stoke took an early 1-0 lead on a tough penalty - which centered on overflowing the box with defenders. Of course, Stoke also helped themselves with some clever landscaping - narrowing their pitch to the least width the English FA allowsalso helped the Potters - and were thus able to further limit Liverpool's strength on the wings. Even with these barriers to success, Liverpool had more than their fair share of chances, and ultimately should have left with a draw, at least. Indeed, Jordan Henderson's frustrating impotence on his breakaway chance - chances, actually - left us Reds scratching our heads as we struggled to comprehend giving Stoke three points.
And speaking of Tottenham...CUE DAVE!!
Wolverhampton 0, Tottenham 2
Wolves came in as winners of two of their first three fixtures, and hadn’t conceded a goal on their home pitch. That obviously changed on Saturday. The match itself had its moments, with a few good chances in the first half by both sides. But the two exciting points of the match on Saturday were both the goals, which came in the second half. The first 45 minutes was a test of who didn’t want to make a mistake first, a la Dick Jauron. As a Spurs fan, it was nice to see them go into halftime not down by 3 or 4 goals. Real nice. Thanks guy.
The second half started, and Spurs clearly had an edge that Wolves were lacking. Newcomer Scott Parker was tackling everyone he could, flirting with the yellow card, until finally bedding with it in the 70th minute. Other new addition, but not of New Edition, Emanuel Adebayor, got the Spurs on the board first with trot around the Wolves’ keeper for an easy tap in that THANKFULLY was not missed. 13 minutes later Jermaine Defoe let Spurs fans know that he was actually alive and still playing for us, by netting the second goal that put the game away for us.
All and all, a well needed win and a solid set of debuts from Parker and Adebayor. Next up is a match up with Liverpool who is supported by almost every god damn person I know who watches the EPL, so hopefully I’ll be
writing more than just “Fuck you all!” here, next week. Come on you Spurs!
[Sidebar: Dave better hope his Spurs do no better than draw against the Reds next week, otherwise this little "experiment" of ours will end in your legs being broken. Or excessive sulking from me and Yachtsman, at least until our Bills start douching all over Tavaris Jackson's face...
Either way, thanks for joining, Dave. Fine, fine work.]
Teams I hate: Man U, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal pull out victories
Manchester United, defending Champions of the EPL, continued to roll over the competition by beating Bolton five-nil. IN BOLTON. Wayne "I Love You Chunk" Rooney accomplished a triple - yet again - as the Wanderers lost another one on their home pitch. Perhaps it's time to cut your losses, mates, and resign yourselves to the Championship next year. Good riddance.
Chelsea, my second least-favorite team, won a close one away to Sunderland, who happens to be proving very quite capable of carrying on in the wake of Jordan Henderson's departure to Anfield this summer. Holding Chelsea to 2 goals, and keeping it a close, one goal game is a good accomplishment. The Blues are stacked this year, as always, so good on ya Sunderland. Of course, apart from the decent play of Sunderland, this game also deserves attention due to (A) Fernando Torres's absence from the score sheet, and (B) Daniel Sturridge's absurd backheel strike to seal the victory. (Apologies for the shit quality...EPL copyright SUCKS)
And, well, Man City - meh. Fuck those guys and their surplus of talent. They beat Wigan 3-0 at home. I'm shocked. Anyone can do that. Oh, wait. Right. I guess not anyone.
Queens Park Rangers continued their decent play since promotion this summer, drawing against Newcastle - who, in their own right, have impressed early this season. NUFC taking eight points out a possible twelve in their first four matches is more than most Magpie fans probably expected, and the draw at QPR is a decent result to keep that momentum going. Though, with NUFC's prior wins coming against Sunderland and Fulham, anyone can argue that they're exactly where they should be. Of course, with a Reds Week 1 draw at Sunderland, that is not an argument that I personally endorse.
Finally, a point each for Aston Villa and Everton (as if anyone follows those teams), and maximum points for West Brom over Norwich City, and we have our weekend of EPL football. Not the most exciting of weekends, but I remain happy that the brief break for European and International play is over, and that the season is continuing in earnest.