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DragonRat
02-11-2007, 05:37 AM
Well, I guess I'll start off my reintroduction (of which there will be countless many, considering how fluctuatory my appearances can get) with a thread on Prem footie. If anyone is interested in their take so far this season, or for future crystal-ball suggestions in the coming year, feel free to make your voice known. It's important to set up debate, so that the resident Gunner fans (YOU know who you are... yours truly included) don't look like arrogant pricks.

As of now, I'm pleasantly satisfied with my Arsenal. Who would've known that trading (in the American sports franchise speak) Henry off to Bartha and benching Lehmann for the much cooler (and in my opinion, WAY cooler) Almunia, would jump-start the youngsters to such heights? To see Arsenal playing the way Wenger wants, and the fans want, is just a delight. Even if you dislike Arsenal, you have to admit, they're playing fabolous footie right now.

I can certainly see the other big three--Man U, Chelsea, and L'pool--coming into the title picture after January. If Man U can sort out their injuries, they'll definitely roar back to the form of last year. Chelsea seems to have found their offensive knack, after Avram 'The Puppet' Grant has instilled them something else besides the Mourinho strategy of "all men to the back except Drogba and Lampard". And if Benitez can actually start the same 11 twice in a row, they may actually get somewhere.

But as far as I can see now, Arsenal have it. Watching their most recent game against L'pool, one could say that Arsenal should've won--though they deserved at least a tie (which they got). Gerrard certainly looked mighty throughout the game for the Reds--and his role appears to me, from an American sports fan perspective, like the center in a hockey team. Sure he starts in the middle, or the left, or the right, but he's everywhere the ball is. Just like Fabregas. It was certainly fitting that these two beasts in the middle grabbed the goals for their respective teams, in much the same way that they've been doing their careers thus far: Gerrard with a thumper of a right-foot free-kick; and Fabregas with his uncanny sense of opportunism in the clutch.

Too bad I won't catch the ManU-Arsenal game this Saturday. I'm working. But man...

Hazzle
02-11-2007, 11:36 AM
DR's back!!! Wow, first Poggs, now you. Old school returning!

Yeah, the timing of the fixture is awful. Should've been a Sunday game. Funnily enough this Gunner fan (and I know it was me you were thinking of ;)) said at the start of the season that United would win the title and sticks by that.

I always thought we'd finish second or third and as the season goes on the more I'm thinking second looks to be our most realistic goal. Chelsea may have fired 6 past Man City but they'll miss Drogba and Essien when the ACN comes round a lot more than we'll miss Toure and Eboue. It would be the equivalent of us losing Cesc and Ade (who isn't going as Togo didn't qualify).

Liverpool's problem is exactly what you said, the rotation policy. If Rafa settles down to a first-choice 11 only resting players (like Arsenal have done) when games are won, then they'll start going somewhere but I suspect they're already too far behind. They really had to beat us. Chelsea and Manchester United still both have two games each against us but Liverpool now only have one and it's at our place. Can't see them winning that.

Tomorrow's game should be good and will be the real test of our season. I said before we played Liverpool that two points from both games would be a result as we're top with a game in hand on those below us. We now have one of those points, if we can get stop United winning we're in pole position. Having said that they're coming to us in great form so it won't be easy.

I don't see a high-scoring game, their defence is rock solid and these games are usually tight. Given Arsenal's current run of scoring goals in the last 20 minutes United will be after a 2-goal cushion and I think if we can prevent them doing that we can win the game. 2-1 to Arsenal is my hope.

hasselbrad
02-11-2007, 02:36 PM
Arsenal looks pretty solid, but the real test will come once they get into the meat of their schedule...like say this weekend. We've seen how they do against the relegation zone, now let's see what happens against the CL zone.
I think Portsmouth have a shot at knocking someone out of the Champions League spots and I think the two candidates are Chelsea and Liverpool.
Their 6-0 ass-rape of Manchester City notwithstanding, Chelsea look to be a three or four points from twelve stretch away from some serious dressing room drama. And, that may very well be during the African Cup of Nations. They won't just be missing Essien and Droghba, but Mikel and Kalou as well. That's a lot of depth up front and in the midfield to cover, and the problem could be much worse depending on what injuries crop up. If things start to go off the rails, Chelsea could really implode and Grant will be sacked.
Liverpool. Rotation. Nothing really more needs to be said. Like Chelsea, I see this club as another potential powder-keg beneath the manager's seat situation. Expectations were high here and if they are struggling for a Champions League spot, Benitez could rotate himself out of a job.
As for Portsmouth, if they can stay relatively healthy, I think they have the most potential for a move up. They score a lot of goals and are solid at the back. The period during the African Cup of Nations will hurt them, but 'arry should be able to cobble something together.
Blackburn is the other sleeper in this regard. They play a physical game and don't really have any glaring weaknesses.
Speaking of glaring weaknesses, what do Tottenham and a party attended by Paris, Lindsey and Britney have in common?
Multiple scoring opportunities.
Paul Robinson has already cost Martin Jol his job...can Steve McClaren be far behind? To be fair, Tottenham's back four make last season's Newcastle cluster-fuck look well organized. Seriously. These guys make Titus Bramble look like Franz Beckenbauer. But what's his excuse when he puts on the England shirt? How can McClaren look in the mirror starting Paul Robinson over Robert Green?
I think Sunderland and Birmingham are staying up.
Derby may not break Sunderland's record for futility, but if there are any for negative goal differential, they certainly are in the running.
I think Bolton is going down. Megson has never won more than about 40% or his games anywhere he's managed, and I don't see this changing. I think Anelka will be gone in January and that certainly won't make the row any easier to hoe.
Wigan will struggle. There are already rumblings that Hutchings is not on solid ground and Dave Whelan seems like kind of a prick that doesn't like when things aren't going his way. If he throws his toys out of the pram, they may slip back to the Championship where they belong.
Middlesbrough and Fulham are the other possible relegation candidates. Lawrie Sanchez is like Benitez when it comes to stubbornness. His high back line may well cost him his job. I'll hate to see Fulham go down simply because of all the Americans on the team. And, I hope Brian McBride gets well soon.
Coppell seems to have gotten Reading straightened out. They're too good a team to be where they were.

Here's how I see it all finishing.

1. Manchester United
2. Arsenal
3. Portsmouth
4. Liverpool
5. Blackburn
6. Chelsea
7. Manchester City
8. Newcastle
9. Everton
10. Aston Villa
11. West Ham
12. Reading
13. Birmingham City
14. Tottenham Hotspur
15. Sunderland
16. Fulham
17. Wigan
18. Middlesbrough
19. Bolton
20. Derby County

Hazzle
03-11-2007, 12:10 PM
I can't fault any of your thinking. The reason I didn't mention Mikel and Kalou was because they're not "key" players like Drogba and Essien but you're right, they'll be missed. I do love how Kalou was so insistent he would only play international football for Holland (he has Dutch nationality by naturalisation), not the Ivory Coast (where he was born) only to change his mind.

Tottenham should never have fired Martin Jol. Pompey look good and could pounce.

My prediction:

1. Manchester United
2. Arsenal
3. Chelsea
4. Liverpool
5. Portsmouth
6. Manchester City
7. Everton
8. Blackburn
9. Newcastle
10. Reading
11. Aston Villa
12. West Ham
13. Sunderland
14. Birmingham City
15. Wigan
16. Fulham
17. Middlesborough
18. Tottenham Hotspur
19. Bolton
20. Derby County

hasselbrad
05-11-2007, 03:05 PM
If West Ham can't beat the likes of Bolton at Upton Park, a top half finish may be as unattainable as European football. That was two points flushed.

Leonie
05-11-2007, 05:10 PM
I can't fault any of your thinking. The reason I didn't mention Mikel and Kalou was because they're not "key" players like Drogba and Essien but you're right, they'll be missed. I do love how Kalou was so insistent he would only play international football for Holland (he has Dutch nationality by naturalisation), not the Ivory Coast (where he was born) only to change his mind.

The reason he changed his mind was because the minister of immigration at the time saw no reason to speed up his application just cause he wanted to play football for the Netherlands. I can't fault that reasoning. He's not Dutch, or he wasn't at the time, so what would he be doing in the national team?

Hazzle
05-11-2007, 07:38 PM
He's not Dutch, or he wasn't at the time, so what would he be doing in the national team?

I think he is now. Either way, it's funny. We got the two points I thought we needed too!

Leonie
05-11-2007, 07:43 PM
I still think it's strange that footballers are allowed to change nationality just because they want to play their sport overseas, and join the national team. The fact that you need to change passports to join said national team should tell you something.

Hazzle
05-11-2007, 07:52 PM
To be fair Kalou ws playing in Holland at 18, his brother had been playing there for six years before that, so I'd guess he visited him. If he's been exposed to Dutch culture from the age of 12 it's understandable he may feel more Dutch than Ivorian. It's just a more extreme example of someone like Johann Djourou, born in the Ivory Coast but moved to Geneva when he was 17 months and now plays for the Swiss. Sometimes people can feel an affinity for another country.

No offence but what about Clarence Seedorf, who played for the Dutch but was born in Suriname? Or Edgar Davids? What about the French naturalising players from former colonies? It happens because teams want to get better. The difference here was that Kalou's pretty good but is not better than either Robin Van Persie or Arjen Robben, but you can bet your arse if he filled a much-needed role he'd have had his naturalisation accelerated. Principles don't come into it.

Cricketers do it too. Hell if they didn't allow it in Rugby the Kiwis would suck.

Leonie
05-11-2007, 11:41 PM
Suriname is a former colony :P We're like France too, only these players often have family in the Netherlands from times past. Davids was born before Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands, Seedorf less than six months after. At this stage, the country was still on the receiving end of Dutch aid, and something silly like 25% of the population at the time moved to the Netherlands, fearing the new independent state would fare worse.

Whoa, I ramble. What I'm trying to say is, at least there is some sort of tie there. And yeah, if you've grown up in another country, fair enough that that's who you side with. What bothers me about this fella is that he'd not bothered to apply for citizenship until it became clear he might play for the Dutch team. He hadn't felt so overwhelmingly Dutch he couldn't wait to get a passport ever before.

Even so, that's all still fair enough. What really bothers me is that he had the guts to ask the minister of immigration to bend the rules for him, cause he wanted to play for the Netherlands. And then what REALLY angers me is that he had the guts to be stroppy when she said no. I reckon all asylum seekers in desperate need of a Dutch passport because they can't go home cause home means death would like the rules bent a bit, too. Where does this git get off thinking he's more important? It's a sport, not life and death.

/end Kalou rant. Please continue your very pleasant football discussion :)

PS. I looked it up - Kalou's still not Dutch, and he's said he's given up hope of ever attaining Dutch citizenship. Or at least, that's what Wikipedia say, and we all know they are a beacon of truth and accuracy.

Hazzle
06-11-2007, 12:12 PM
PS. I looked it up - Kalou's still not Dutch, and he's said he's given up hope of ever attaining Dutch citizenship. Or at least, that's what Wikipedia say, and we all know they are a beacon of truth and accuracy.

Heh. Yeah, I looked it up too after my last post but I was damned if I was editing it based upon Wikipedia, given the reliability of the source ;). I don't know the specifics of Kalou's case so I won't go into it but I believe it was his brother who suggested he apply, not so much for the national team but for other reasons. Still, I understand why it bothers you, it's more the other stuff around it.

To be fair it wasn't him that wanted the rules bent either, it was Marco Van Basten and Johann Cruyff. Far be it from me to defend a Chelsea cunt though so yeah, string him up! And btw I know Suriname is a former colony, jeez. Who do you think you're talking to, Ran? ;)

Back onto the topic...who thinks Ferguson should get punished for saying the referee was biased?

hasselbrad
06-11-2007, 02:22 PM
Back onto the topic...who thinks Ferguson should get punished for saying the referee was biased?


I do.
Here, in the States, you take your beef to the league behind closed doors. If you make comments to the media regarding officiating, you get fined.
Period.
Whether or not a referee is biased is best left to talk radio.

As for referees, I am constantly shocked by the absolute lack of respect that players and managers have for them around the world. Here, you touch a referee, you shower early and deposit less money in the bank. Just this weekend, Jeremy Trueblood (a lineman for the Bucs) was ejected because he happened to run into an official during an altercation with another player.
Earlier this year, I watched John Terry grab an official's arm in protest to Mikel getting a red. In my book, he should have gotten a red as well. And, a suspension. Not just a standard red suspension, but something like three games.
Every call in show I listen to (606, World Soccer Daily, The Football Show) is inundated with calls about how poor the officiating is, and most of the traditionalists decry the idea of using instant replay to get calls right.
Why?
Do you think instant replay should be used?

Hazzle
06-11-2007, 05:37 PM
Technically we do have rules against managers saying the sorts of things Ferguson did but he has a reputation for getting away with saying what he likes about officials and never being punished. Wenger often gets fined for much more subtle digs at officials (not that I condone that either).

I agree with you, criticising referees is something fans will always do, and in fact is part of the game, but that is where it should end. Players and managers both need to respect the officials more. It's no wonder they struggle to maintain order or get decisions right.

Where I disagree with you is your comparison between the NFL and Premier League. The problem of not showing officials respect is very much a unique to football. Rugby is a totally different ball game, no pun intended. Officials in Rugby are always given the proper respect due to them. In Cricket, likewise, the umpires are given respect.

My personal belief is it's a problem with the mentality of the Premier League's superstar players, especially the English ones. This is why when they get together to play for the national team they play as 11 individuals, not a team. I do like your idea about grabbing officials being punished, in fact I'd go further and punish those idiots who wave imaginary yellow cards in the air to get other players booked. They deserve to get booked themselves for it.

As for replays partly I suspect it's simply a resistance to change of any sort that makes people oppose them, and partly the way they look over at the NFL and see games "slowed" by the replays. What they fail to realise is that NFL football is a stop-start game, video replays don't create that, that's part of the game. The same replays are used in cricket and Rugby without any slow down.

I'm in favour of video replays for any "big" decision. Red cards, penalties, freekicks on the edge of the area (was it in the area or out?) and ruling whether the ball has crossed the line for goals. Of course people will point out the linesman in the Arsenal v Manchester United game spotted the ball had crossed the line, and use this as proof that video evidence isn't needed but I can show another half-dozen situations where perfectly good goals were not given.

DragonRat
06-11-2007, 07:35 PM
I figure the instant replay deal is really an issue of pride with the officials. They want to be known as immediately right, and they, like most people, don't want to be publicly touted as getting a call wrong (especially if it's an egregious one that would've changed the outlook of a game). And besides, on the chance that a linesman gets an offside call wrong, or misses the ball crossing the goal, the outcome of the game ex post facto will not change the outcome of the game when the referee blows his whistle twice. (Which raises certain issues of fairness: that is to say, hypothetically speaking, if Gallas' goal against ManU in stoppage time--a concept in itself that differs strongly with the American 'time-out'--was not seen as crossing the goal at game time, but instead reviewed later as an actual goal, what should the FA do then? Award Arsenal the one point, and reduce ManU's by two? Tempers would flare from Demento himself, and Wenger would be smiling as if he had read a double entendre somewhere in the offing.)

On another note, Surly Fergie should probably shut his trap and win the League this season. Otherwise, having to watch Wenger do the same with his youth as Ferguson did with Becks, Scholes, Giggs, Butt, and the Nevilles in the late 90's. In my opinion, Ferguson is protecting his own image, saying that Wenger's youth does not compare (at least, at this point) to the treble-winning 99 team. (But, let's be honest on this point: the Arsenal team of 07 and the United team of 99 are apples and oranges. Ferguson and Wenger have way different gameplans: Ferguson prefers a strict 4-4-2, while Wenger likes to keep the concept of positional play loose. (In terms of the literary criticism I read, one could compare it to the orderly nature of Anglo-American criticism--like F.R. Leavis or Cleanth Brooks; whereas Wenger's fluidity reminds one of Jacques Derrida or Roland Barthes. The Anglo-Americans base interpretation solely on the tension and resolution between form and content; that is, United's 4-4-2 must ultimately work in exactly that manner, to the style that Ferguson is accustomed, in order to succeed. For Wenger, however, the starting 4-4-2 does not always end up like that: if the half-backs run up the sidelines, the left- and right-midfielders run into the middle, and the centre-forwards float out toward the corners and sides, then the 4-4-2 becomes, in its full-on attack, a 2-4-4, and a chiasmus is reached. That's probably why I like Arsenal; their form is dynamic, but remains symmetrical.)

Hazzle
07-11-2007, 02:30 PM
I think you misunderstand DR. I'm advocating using replays during the match to verify things like whether a goal should be ruled out for offsde, the ball crossing the line, penalties etc. Whenever a referee has an important call to make he should do what they do in cricket and "refer" it to a video ref. The video ref then makes a decision which is displayed on the scoreboard and is final.

I actually strongly disagree with reviewing video evidence after the fact because as it stands if a player gets a yellow during the game but is later adjudged to have been guilty of a red card offence, his team still avoids the punishment of having reduced numbers for the remainder of the match.

DragonRat
08-11-2007, 01:15 AM
Well, with instant replays during the match, I'm fine with that. In fact, I'll all for it. I just tend to see that the referees would have a personal issue with it.

What could be interesting is to allow the managers, as they do in American football, the right to challenge (up to twice in a game) a certain call that the referee had wrong.

Another thing to notice is that, if the referees had instant replay, and they decided to use it to review an important event, it might actually break up the dynamics of the game as is, so the players might be miffed about it, too.

All in all, I like instant replay, and I think it would be an important step up in the game's mechanics. In my opinion, in almost every sport that has a referee, the referee can sometimes get a little personal with certain players or teams, and that's the stupid reason why Fergie would get riled, or Wenger sometimes. This is not to say that guys like Mike Riley don't do a damn good job, but the idea of impartiality must and always will be a concern with umpires, referees, and the like. (If anyone knows about the NBA, then you know what I'm talking about.)

hasselbrad
08-11-2007, 02:25 AM
I don't like the idea of challenges.
Managers could use them to simply disrupt the tempo of the game.
Put an official in a booth with multiple camera angles. He can look at fouls and determine if contact was actually made or a dive has occurred. All he has to do is buzz the referee and let him know what actually happened. Play has already been stopped, so it wouldn't be much more of a delay.
There could also be officials charged with watching the goal to see when and if the ball crosses the line, just like in hockey. Another thought would be to add two more linesmen. In American football, there are seven officials on the field in addition to the replay official. In basketball, there are three officials covering a fraction of the playing surface that football officials do. Same with hockey, except they cover a bit more surface...on skates. Four linesmen covering a quarter of the field would probably help get their eyes in the right positions more of the time.
The games have simply gotten too fast for three officials to adequately cover the entire pitch. Use more eyes and technology to get it right.

Hazzle
08-11-2007, 12:32 PM
More referees is a good idea. I disagree with challenges for the same reason that Brad does, it's like how "time-outs" are abused in NFL to just slow the game down (which isn't what they were intended to be used for). Personally I don't think what I proposed would slow the game down that much at all, there is always a delay when the referee blows up, particularly for an important issue.

hasselbrad
08-11-2007, 05:06 PM
More referees is a good idea. I disagree with challenges for the same reason that Brad does, it's like how "time-outs" are abused in NFL to just slow the game down (which isn't what they were intended to be used for). Personally I don't think what I proposed would slow the game down that much at all, there is always a delay when the referee blows up, particularly for an important issue.

Exactly.
The new in-vogue move is to call a timeout the instant before the ball is snapped on a field goal. The head coach usually gets with the line judge and tells him what he's going to do, and I think it's wrong. If you want to call a timeout, you should have to get the referee's attention and hope play is stopped.

Haz and I should run FIFA.
I think linesmen would be less eager to throw up the offside flag if they knew someone was upstairs that could call it if it's missed. Let play flow, and if the eye in the sky buzzes him, then he can make the call. It's not like instant communication is some sort of futuristic pipe dream.
Regardless, having a linesman, who is a minimum of thirty yards from the goal, determine if the ball crossed the line or not is ridiculous. In the NHL there is a Goal Judge whose only duty is to watch one of the goals to determine if the puck crosses the line or not. Surely the beautiful game could employ a similar method.

Rickyh
08-11-2007, 06:28 PM
yeh like every game spurs play we are always cheated like today vd hapoel tel aviv we shud have got a penalty etc

Hazzle
08-11-2007, 10:51 PM
Haz and I should run FIFA.

We should, but then we'd be cunts. Everyone who runs FIFA/UEFA is a cunt.

As for Spurs getting cheated Ricky...heh...bollocks.You were lucky to even be playing Hapoel today, Getafe were the better side over both legs. Jammy Spurs as fucking usual. Hope they go down.

DragonRat
08-11-2007, 11:42 PM
What I suggest is something that all sports--except the most subjective of them--is that we move toward electronic judging. Some type of electronic marker that would light up whenever the goal went in, or when the attacking player is offside. (If the eye in the sky can spot stuff like that, then what's the point of having referees except to make sure no one gets roughed up any more than necessary?) In my opinion, in order to make the game purer, I would have more electronic control, and less subjective eyes in order to sway the game.

hasselbrad
09-11-2007, 01:37 PM
If they can make a ball that has RFID sensors woven into the surface and goal posts that can send a signal once said ball passes completely through the frame...and they can make it work in Newcastle in the middle of January...then I'm fine with it.
In theory, each player could wear an RFID tag woven into the elastic of his shorts or the collar of his shirt. The sensor on the ball could be triggered when the ball is kicked and a computer could determine offside based on the position of the players.
Then they could change the name from the Barclays Premier League to the George Orwell's Wet Dream.
:p
Seriously though, it's a system that could work very well. However (there's always a however), the conspiracy nuts would come out of the woodwork to claim that Fergie uses some sort of jamming device to hide Tevez from the computer at Old Trafford or that Wenger has a button in the dugout at the Emirates that lets him shut off the sensors in the goal Arsenal is defending. Hackers could get into the system and wreak havoc during the Merseyside derby, keeping fans inside of Anfield for hours whilst it's being straightened out...allowing cohorts to steal every single car stereo for blocks in each direction.

DragonRat
11-11-2007, 04:12 AM
Somehow I think it would all even out eventually :P

hasselbrad
20-11-2007, 02:34 PM
Well, Bruce to Wigan certainly mucks up the picture. Now I'm not so certain Birmingham will stay up. I certainly don't see them bringing in a dynamic manager before January because of their ownership situation. I've heard Paul Jewell's name connected with Birmingham City, but I'm not sure he wants to come back to management that bad. As for Bruce, I understand how tenuous he must have felt his situation was, but Wigan? That's a lateral move, at best.
So far, I have to say Curbs has done the best job of any manager this year. For West Ham to be in the top half of the table despite all of the players missing due to injury is quite remarkable. Dean Ashton spends less time on the pitch than Michael Owen. Bellamy, Bowyer and Noble all have had hernia operations. Virtually every summer signing has missed significant playing time this season. Parker, Dyer, Ljungberg and Faubert have managed only a bit more playing time than I have this season.
Eriksson would have to be right up there if it weren't for the 6-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge. Manchester City seemed to have cooled off a bit and I think they may be headed back toward their rightful (read: middle of the table) place.
I still think that Manchester United have the tools needed to exert their will on the rest of the league now that the yellow balls have been rolled out. I think Arsenal will begin to fade as the weather turns in favor of the scousers, Mancs and Welsh. With Rooney out, United may suffer, but Tevez seems up to the challenge.

Hazzle
23-11-2007, 01:08 PM
Funnily enough Brad we don't do so badly in December traditionally, our bogey month is nearly always November. Having said that I think this is a different Arsenal team and I've always said we'll finish second to United and stand by that. Hleb missing for the next three weeks is a huge loss, everyone's been talking about Cesc being our player of the season but I think it's been Hleb, who's also our most improved player. Having said that Super Robin is back soon and he'll be a massive plus as he's our main goal threat. He's got that bit of magic about him too.

If we're still top come January the title's ours. This is United's time to shine, they either do it now or it'll be too late. I'm not convinced losing Eboue and Toure to the AFCN will affects us TOO badly. We've got so much more squad depth than people think because most of our players can play in more than one position. Not to mention Djourou's coming back in January and he's been playing quite well at Birmingham. No, the winter will be decisive I think.

I still say United will come out on top but I'm eagerly awaiting this winter.

hasselbrad
26-11-2007, 01:43 PM
Robert Green is God.
Two penalty saves in added time to preserve a point in two of West Ham's last three games gives us five from three instead of three from three. He does tend to make mistakes with crosses, but when the heat is on, he is fucking nails.
Shame to see Spurs out of the relegation zone.
Bolton 1 - Manchester United 0. Wasn't expecting to see that scoreline. Didn't see the game, so I have no idea what the run of play was like, but I imagine it was something like West Ham's 1-0 win over them last year. Shock goal against overwhelming possession.
The scousers won by a combined 10-1 and amazingly, neither club was playing Derby. I guess Newcastle fans could gain some satisfaction from Sunderland's 7-1 beatdown by Everton. That, and the fact that their own ass-kicking could have been a lot worse. Torres missed a couple that he shouldn't have. Big Sam's looking less and less like the missing ingredient from Champions League football with every passing match. Perhaps he'll be England's next manager.
:p
Arsenal looked like a champion...kind of like the New England Patriots. In a game against a lesser, struggling opponent who are playing their hearts out, they kept their cool and didn't lose focus.
Arsenal 2 - Wigan 0.
Patriots 31 - Eagles 28.
And now they have a three point lead with a game in hand.

Hazzle
29-11-2007, 03:52 PM
Bah! Have I not mentioned I'm an Eagles fan? Still, I take heart from the fact that NOBODY has played that well against the Pats this year, not even the Colts. Feeley had the game of his life...two mistakes cost him, and the Eagles. Can't see anyone beating the Pats this year on that performance.

On to football and I still am not worried, even after Arsenal finally lost a match this season. We were the last English side to be unbeaten in all competitions and are still one of only two Premiership sides to be unbeaten in the league. At least this way I won't constantly be reminded of the fact that Arsenal last lost a match on April 7th (my birthday) against West Ham...a game I was at (worse, I was at the end West Ham scored at).

michael22
29-11-2007, 10:10 PM
Electric lights do not nescesarily help judging, fencing has it and it does not prevent judges from making calls that are total bollocks. Referees still make bad calls and sometimes are blind enough to miss the lights, I even had one confuse the lights and award the oher participant the point.

hasselbrad
10-12-2007, 01:55 PM
Bah! Have I not mentioned I'm an Eagles fan? Still, I take heart from the fact that NOBODY has played that well against the Pats this year, not even the Colts. Feeley had the game of his life...two mistakes cost him, and the Eagles. Can't see anyone beating the Pats this year on that performance.

On to football and I still am not worried, even after Arsenal finally lost a match this season. We were the last English side to be unbeaten in all competitions and are still one of only two Premiership sides to be unbeaten in the league. At least this way I won't constantly be reminded of the fact that Arsenal last lost a match on April 7th (my birthday) against West Ham...a game I was at (worse, I was at the end West Ham scored at).

My condolences on the Eagles fanship.
Oh, and my condolences on Arsenal's unbeaten streak coming to an end. Who'd have thought that the last two unbeaten streaks in the Premiership would be ended by Reading and Middlesbrough. Arsrenal may very well have saved two managers' jobs in the space of a few days.
Reading looks like they are getting back to where they were last season. As does Derby...that place being the Championship. What a dreadful showing. As for teams that have turned it around, Bolton and Spurs look like they're adjusting to their new managers. I would imagine that Fulham will be the next team to have to make that adjustment. I don't want to see Fulham relegated, but it's beginning to look like a real possibility. Sanchez just doesn't seem to have any answers.
West Ham has really made me proud so far. Tenth in the table and nine from eighteen in their last six games, including this weekend's win at Blackburn is a really remarkable run of form given the number of injuries. We may just challenge for a spot in the UEFA Cup once some of the goal scorers get well and those on the pitch start to convert more opportunities. Ashton missed an absolute sitter and I've lost count of how many Solano has missed so far this season. Of course, with the defense playing so well and Robert Green continuing to play lights out, most times, we only need one. Four points from trips to Parks Fratton and Ewood are more than I could have hoped for.

Hazzle
11-12-2007, 03:09 PM
Hammers are playing brilliantly. Thanks for your condolences too. I'm not over-reacting to a bad week though, we've got three of our first choice midfielders out and our star striker, not only that but I suspect Wenger's been a bit sneaky (and proven why he's such a good manager)

Rumours were strong that Van Persie would be back for the Wigan game but then Hleb got injured and suddenly we heard nothing about Robin. My suspicion is that Flamini, Fabregas and Van Persie could all have featured against Boro (but Wenger chose not to risk them) and will all feature against Chelsea, the Dutchman probably from the bench.

In the big scheme of things a win over Chelsea and losing to Boro would be a better scenario than beating Boro and losing to the blues. Our early season blitzing start has allowed us to make calculated risks like that and the big 6-pointers (not to mention this congested winter period) will be more likely to decide our fate than two trips to the North East.

And Wenger rightly pointed out United have played 9 home games and 7 away this season, we've played 8 of each, and we're still above them. It would stupid to panic, I'll wait until the new year and see where we are then. To be honest I never expected to even be in the title hunt, let alone leading the race, so this season can't help but be a success. So long as we finish third or above we'll have done as well as I expected us to.

My belief is United will overtake us but we'll remain clear of Chelsea.

hasselbrad
27-12-2007, 09:15 PM
Well Haz...you were right.
United's overtaken Arsenal. I'm sure I was more pleased with West Ham's draw at Fratton Park than you were with Arsenal.
Sadly, I think Fulham is doomed. I wonder where Dempsey and McBride will go if they do get relegated. It wouldn't surprise me to see McBride retire, but Dempsey'll surely go somewhere in the Premier League for next year. I can see Keane willing Sunderland above Middlesbrough, but I just don't see Fulham snagging a manager capable of saving them from relegation. I wonder if Paul Jewell is wishing Sanchez had been sacked when Davies was, because I'm sure he'd rather be at Fulham than Derby, because I don't see any way Derby stays up.

runangl
28-12-2007, 06:12 AM
I was so stoked at that last win. I'm too lazy to go into it, but:

GO MAN U! REDS FOR LIFE!

goodnight :)

hasselbrad
28-12-2007, 01:14 PM
No doubt Haz will be rooting for the Hammers this Saturday. Arsenal needs United to drop points at West Ham, because they probably will at Everton. It could go from a one to four point deficit real quick like. West Ham's had pretty good luck against United recently, and this is the kind of game they generally get up for. For me, any points from this fixture is a bonus.

michael22
28-12-2007, 05:47 PM
Go West Ham, anyways I hope James Mcfadden hammers a couple into the net for Everton.

hasselbrad
28-12-2007, 05:50 PM
I can see Keane willing Sunderland above Middlesbrough, but I just don't see Fulham snagging a manager capable of saving them from relegation.

Hodgson to Fulham. Perhaps I was wrong. I forgot he was floating about.

hasselbrad
29-12-2007, 11:09 PM
I was so stoked at that last win. I'm too lazy to go into it, but:

GO MAN U! REDS FOR LIFE!

goodnight :)

West Ham 2 - Manchester United 1
:p

runangl
30-12-2007, 09:38 PM
look at the rankings.

Where is west ham, exactly? Oh about... 16 points behind Man U.

;)

caniskeira
30-12-2007, 09:55 PM
If I'm not mistaken, Keira is a West Ham fan, and that's the only reason (a stupid reason i realize) why I don't feel as crappy as I normally would feel about United losing to them -_-

michael22
31-12-2007, 01:07 AM
so did johnny rotten, though the best reason to feel bad about losing to west ham is that the hammers are awesome.

hasselbrad
31-12-2007, 04:25 AM
look at the rankings.

Where is west ham, exactly? Oh about... 16 points behind Man U.

;)

Mid table and a cup run sweetheart, that's all I ask.

And let's see how smug you are when the Glazers have over leveraged Man U into a black hole of debt and you have a Leeds United fire sale.
;)

runangl
31-12-2007, 06:49 AM
Arrrgghhh.

Well lets just put it this way:

Win or lose, my dad's always been a United fan, I've always been a united fan, and always will be. :D

hasselbrad
31-12-2007, 01:03 PM
Under-fire Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce on Monday blasted controversial midfielder Joey Barton for letting him down.

Big Sam didn't see this coming?
He's Joey Fucking Barton, for Christ's sake. The guy's a thug, pure and simple.

hasselbrad
09-01-2008, 06:51 PM
Dun...dun...dun...another one bites the dust.

Allardyce out at Newcastle.
That's eight out of twenty managers so far this season.
8:

hasselbrad
31-01-2008, 01:04 PM
West Ham -1
Liverpool - 0
:D

Oh, and now this? (http://news.my.msn.com/sport/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1217127)
Can they really fence that much stolen stereo equipment necessary to raise that kind of cash?

hasselbrad
05-05-2008, 01:36 PM
It's official... Derby County is the worst team in Premiership history. Even if they beat Reading this weekend, they'll be a point shy of Sunderland's record for futility.
Speaking of Sunderland, I was right about them and wrong about Birmingham. Looks like they're headed back down. And, sadly, looking at the final slate of fixtures, I think they may be joined by Fulham. Birmingham plays Blackburn at home and Fulham play Portsmouth away. Blackburn and Portsmouth are in a fight for the last UEFA Cup spot, so neither will be taking their foot off the floor. Reading, on the other hand, plays Derby County. They may put up a fight, but they're really aren't very good. Regardless, a minimum of two, and a possible three teams with significant numbers (i.e.: more than one) of American players, are going down.
I was right about Sanchez getting the sack, but wrong about Benitez (so far) and the Champions League places.

hasselbrad
12-05-2008, 02:11 PM
Fulham pulled a West Ham with an unlikely win away from home on the last day of the season to doom Reading.
Wow.

Hazzle
17-03-2010, 01:41 PM
Ok, this thread needs a fucking bump.

Cara: You're a United fan? Oh please say it ain't so. I thought you had taste ;)

Looks like it's going to be an interesting little title race this season. United and Chelsea going at it like a couple of heavyweight prizefighters and Arsenal just waiting for the two of them to pound each other into the ground and leave the title wide open for a return to Wenger's grasp.

How weird would it be for the return of Sol, one of the members of that great Invincibles side, to spur (pun intended) Arsenal to another title?

Speaking of Spurs, there's some weird shit going on between me and a friend of mine who's a Spurs fan. He wants us to win the title and I want them to finish fourth. It's like something out of the twilight zone. Of course we both have the same reason; if United win the title and City finish fourth we Londoners will have to keep hearing about how great Manchester is.

Whereas if Arsenal win the title, Chelsea finish second (and win the Champions League) and Spurs fourth, that proves that London, as those of us who live here know full well, shits all over Manchester.

EDIT: Obviously I wrote that before I'd seen the highlights of Chelsea's defeat to Inter. Oops.

PhoeniX
27-03-2010, 05:10 PM
Yeah Chelsea should do it. 7-1 without Drogba. Looking forward to MOTD tonight. On another note... We (Norwich) are going up! :)

Hazzle
29-03-2010, 12:37 PM
Nah, I reckon United look most likely to win the title now. It's amazing what a difference a couple of weeks make, but with Chelsea crashing out of Europe in the way they did, and dropping points against Blackburn, and Arsenal dropping points at Birmingham, United should have a clear run to win a fourth consecutive Premiership title.

They also have a fairly clear route to the Champions League final. They should be too strong for Bayern, although I wouldn't be surprised to see Lyon cause a problem or two. By that point, though, I'd expect them to have the title all but sewn up. Old Trafford this Saturday will be the key; if Chelsea don't win, that's probably it for them, a draw would suit us (Arsenal) down to the ground.

United's 4-0 at Bolton without Rooney was more impressive than Chelsea's 7-1 at home without Drogba. Villa were clearly distracted by the upcoming FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea and I'd expect them to be more up for that match.

Hazzle
09-04-2010, 09:21 AM
In light of Man United's unique ability to throw away a three goal lead at home, this thread needed a bump. :icon_rofl

Having said all that, it's amazing how spectacularly wrong I was in my last post.

United went out to Bayern (hilariously) and lost to Chelsea at Old Trafford. It's all up in the air now. How will Arsenal react to the Messi show? Is it a good thing or a bad thing for the next league game to be the big north London derby? Spurs are a vastly better side under Redknapp.

Meanwhile, how will United deal with the week from hell? Especially without the services of Wayne Rooney, for however long he's out for. We know he's missing the Blackburn game but there's a hint he could miss the Manchester derby. This season that'll be a tougher game than usual.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have no such issues. But a lot could yet hinge on their FA Cup semi. Do they rest players or go for it with a full strength side? Could they suffer some shock injuries?

hasselbrad
13-04-2010, 04:40 AM
West Ham is, once again, rooted to the bottom of the table. Goal differential may be all that keeps the Hammers up.

Hazzle
13-04-2010, 09:14 AM
And yet you're still not the worst side in London. Spurs managed to go out of the Cup to a team already relegated. Hilarious. Here's hoping the injuries and suspensions they picked up (from what I've read, Palacios and Kranjcar will both miss the game) cost them the North London derby too. Arsenal need all the help we can get with the injuries we have.

If Spurs lose to Arsenal but City lose to United, Spurs will still have fourth spot to aim for. Which will be crucial for Arsenal's hopes as Spurs play both Chelsea and United after that. Unlikely, though, in view of City's current run of form and goalscoring ability. They look awesome.

hasselbrad
17-04-2010, 12:02 AM
Rose proved to be a thorn in your side... ouch. That actually made it on ESPN talk shows over here.

Hazzle
22-04-2010, 10:09 PM
Heh. I've heard them all. My mate came up with the best one "You fancy going out this weekend? I'm thinking we can go to Tottenham, listen to Kiss From A Rose on the radio and if it all gets too much we can Bale".

Hazzle
25-04-2010, 02:48 PM
Have Spurs screwed up their chances for fourth? Will City's negative approach at Arsenal pay dividends? Are United hitting form at the right time, and are the Blues dipping at the worst? Could the fourth consecutive title still happen?

michael22
25-04-2010, 07:54 PM
Wow The Hammers finally won a game. Then again it was wigan so I would be more depressed if they lost. wink wink, nudge nudge.

Hazzle
25-04-2010, 08:15 PM
Wigan are inconsistent. They've beaten the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool as well as Arsenal this season. But they also got spanked by Spurs and Man United. That being said, I'm glad West Ham are looking safe. They're a good club.

hasselbrad
27-04-2010, 11:32 PM
Mathematically, Hull is still alive, but their goal differential versus West Ham's is -22 (if memory serves), so I think the Hammers are safe. West Ham hasn't been that bad this year, they've just lost so many close games. When you look at their goal differential versus the bottom half of the table, you wonder how the hell they managed to lose that many games.

Hazzle
28-04-2010, 02:06 PM
It's -23. Unless Hull win their remaining games 12-0 they've not got a prayer.

West Ham have been really unlucky. Parker's been a giant, and could be an outside bet for the England World Cup squad, especially if there were to be some injuries to key midfielders. I mean, people are talking about taking Owen Hargreaves...fuck me, Parker's got to be ahead of him.

As for West Ham, Zola'll probably walk away. Don't think he'll wait to be fired, since he's not in it for the money. He'll see West Ham mathematically safe and that'll probably be it. Another draw and West Ham are safe no matter what.

Good news is, as bad as the new owners have behaved with Zola, they're both good at running football clubs, so you won't go the same way you did with the Icelanders who didn't have a clue. Long-term West Ham should be better off.

hasselbrad
03-05-2010, 09:52 PM
Wow Haz... y'all need an American keeper. :p

West Ham has officially avoided relegation. $)

Besides Newcastle bouncing back, who do you think will get promoted?

Hazzle
03-05-2010, 11:16 PM
Nah. We just need a keeper. To describe Fabianski as a goalkeeper is a grave insult to legends of the club like Seaman and Lehmann. And age is no fucking excuse; Joe Hart is easily the best keeper in the league this season and he's actually younger than Fabianski.

Not that the rumours of us signing him have a prayer of being accurate. I think Hart'll go back on loan, but this time with a recall clause put in so that if they get injuries he can come back (and don't get me started on City being allowed to loan Fulop when they already have a senior goalkeeper who's fit; we had to play Mannone, they should have to play Nielsen).

We may not even buy a new goalkeeper, according to Wenger. Having said that, I've learnt to never trust a word Wenger says about transfers. I suspect he's trying to a) keep Fabianski's confidence as high as possible until the end of the season and b) keep prices for potential keepers low.

In terms of a new keeper, it was looking like Sorensen might be a done deal, but this recent injury could change that. No way Wenger's spending the money needed to land Lloris, no matter what the press may think. He may go to United. If rumours of Juventus needing to sell to give Rafa Benitez money to spend are true (and I suspect they are) then Buffon could yet be an option, albeit a rather implausible one.

As for more realistic recruits, I can actually see the Scott Parker rumours having some validity to them. West Ham'll want to keep him, but I could see Parker wanting to play Champions League football before his career is over. And he could break into the England setup with Arsenal more easily than with West Ham. At the right price the deal could suit both parties, giving West Ham money to spend.

I still think we'll be fine for third. Fulham will likely field a reserve team to keep their best players fit for the Europa final and we're at home; only two sides (Chelsea and United) have beaten us at home, and only two more (Man City, who, for all their spending, parked the bus, and Barcelona) got draws. Don't forget, we only need a point to secure third, due to our goal difference being 11 better than Spurs. I'd actually like to see Mannone given a go against Fulham, who he had such a wonderful debut against at Craven Cottage.

angelababy
11-11-2010, 01:20 AM
If West Ham can't beat the likes of Bolton at Upton Park, a top half finish may be as unattainable as European football.

Hazzle
07-04-2011, 11:38 AM
How in the hell have we managed to throw away so many opportunities to win the title? Needless to say I'm pissed. Was nice to see Spurs get destroyed by the second best side in Spain though...