Sunday, February 8, 2009

Round 25 Reaction; United stay top, Chelsea fall behind.

This was one of the most exciting rounds of the season; the first after the January transfer window! A chance to get a first laugh at what will surely be the biggest flop, and the first look at some big names. Unfortunately, the biggest name of the window didn't feature this weekend as Wenger decided that Arshavin wasn't ready to take part in the west London derby. Maybe he should've gambled, though, as the match ended 0-0, with Spurs and all their new-old players unable to capitalize on Emmanuel Eboue's sending off in the 37th minute. Arsenal can definitely kiss their title hopes goodbye now, as Arshavin will now be looking to carry his new team into a Champions League spot, as the Gunners continue to disappoint, lurking in 5th place.

Elsewhere, Chelsea's title hopes took a similar blow, failing to score on a scrappy Hull side at the Bridge. There were very few positives to come away with if you're a Blues fan, as Scolari's side continued to not live up to expectations, and the Chelsea faithful even broke into a chorus of "You don't know what you're doing" aimed at the Brazilian manager. Quaresma made his debut for the side, and looked promising and industrious, coming close on a couple occasions and delivering good crosses until he was substituted for Drogba in the second half.

United and Liverpool both scraped wins, looking to make it a two horse race. United looked like they would be stunted by Zola's hardworking West Ham side until old boy Giggs showed off some fancy footwork to give them the 3 points in the 62nd minute, finishing 1-0. Liverpool's match at Portsmouth was far more exciting, with Pompey looking the better side for most of the match. David Nugent fired in Peter Crouch's setup in the 62nd, only to have it cancelled out by Aurelio's freekick in the 69th. Hreidarsson's header put Pompey ahead again, before the Reds equalized for a second time, in the 85th via a totally ludicrous near post finish from Dirk Kuyt. Finally, several minutes into stoppage time, Liverpool continued their last minute heroics, snatching all three points with a finish from... who else? Substitute Fernando Torres. El Nino strikes again.

Villa leapfrogged Chelsea into 3rd place as they continued their stellar run of form... Jo notched a brace in his Everton debut, as the Toffees went on to beat Bolton 3-0... Kinnear's Newcastle side snatched a relegation dogfight 3-2 over WBA.

Other scores:
Wigan 0-0 Fulham
Man City 1-0 Middlesbrough
Sunderland 2-0 Stoke City

Transfer window shut; Keane back at Spurs, Arshavin a Gunner.

It was quite an interesting transfer period, even if there were far less players on the move than expected. The biggest move, of course, was Arsenal's capture of Russian attacking wizard Andrei Arshavin from Zenit St. Petersburg, a move that ruffled the feather of many managers around the league.

Arsenal's manger, Arsene Wenger, doesn't dispute the fact that the transfer went through right at the deadline, BUT, the FA had agreed to extend the deadline for a few hours for any team that could show that their potential moves were hindered by the horrible weather in England on deadline day. So the bottom line is that Arshavin will wear #23 at Arsenal, no matter how much Aston Villa or anyone else whines.

Other big names were noticeably absent from the moves this January. Manchester City (surprise, surprise) and Tottenham were the biggest spenders, parting with about 50 mil and 45 mil pounds respectively. City's big story, however, wasn't one of the transfers that went through, but Kaka's rejection of their LUDICROUS 107 million pound bid. Pressure was heaped on the Brazilian former world-player-of-the-year, with many saying that accepting this record-shattering offer would ruin football. Honestly, I don't know if I would go that far, but I do think that kind of money has no place in the transfer window, and I wouldn't be all too upset if Platini's salary cap legislature ends up happening, even though it probably won't.

City brought in veteran Newcastle keeper Shay Given (saving him from the sinking Toon ship), Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, unsettled West Ham striker Craig Bellamy, and Chelsea's substitute left back Wayne Bridge, letting striker Jo out on loan to Everton. Spurs brought back three, count-em, three former players; Pascal Chimbonda from Sunderland, Jermain Defoe back from Pompey, and finally, Robbie Keane, freeing him from his Liverpool nightmare. Also brought in were veteran Chelsea keeper Cudicini and one of Wigan's two players with any talent, Wilson Palacios.

Other notable transfers: Quaresma makes last minute loan deal to Chelsea, teaming up with former national team coach Scolari. Emile Heskey bolsters Aston Villa's increasingly threatening roster. Jimmy Bullard swaps Fulham for Hull City for 5 million, N'Zogbia joins Wigan.

Best transfer team: Tottenham Hotspur. Cudicini is probably the best deal of the window as a free transfer, and although Keane and Defoe can't stand each other, they both bolster Spurs' attack significantly, and if Palacios can live up to his potential, he could be a superstar in a year or two.

Worst transfer team: Fulham. To be frank, what was Roy Hodgson thinking? Jimmy Bullard is his best player, and with another relegation fight looming, letting him go could be their ticket to the Championship.

Our journey begins...

Hello there! My name is Jackson, and I am an absolute die-hard English football fan. There's just one small hitch with my passion, though.... at any given time, I'm about 3000 miles from my club's home ground. Yep, I'm a Yank, and proud to be, but it certainly makes being a football fan difficult.

So as far as this blog goes, it's gonna be a meeting-ground of anything and everything Premier League related. Transfer gossip, game reviews, manager critiques... you name it. Without further ado, let's get the ball rolling.