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Old 02-11-2007, 05:37 AM   Officer #1
DragonRat
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Premiership Up-to-Date

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...
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:36 AM   Attended an OMGWTFKKWBBQ! KKWiki Contributer Senior Registered Member #2
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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.
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Old 02-11-2007, 02:36 PM   First Class Member KKWiki Contributer Senior Registered Member #3
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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
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Old 03-11-2007, 12:10 PM   Attended an OMGWTFKKWBBQ! KKWiki Contributer Senior Registered Member #4
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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
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Old 05-11-2007, 03:05 PM   First Class Member KKWiki Contributer Senior Registered Member #5
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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.
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Old 05-11-2007, 05:10 PM   Lifetme Service Award Officer #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazzle View Post
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?
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Old 05-11-2007, 07:38 PM   Attended an OMGWTFKKWBBQ! KKWiki Contributer Senior Registered Member #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonie View Post
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!
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