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Monday, September 10, 2007

English Premier League Review: Week 5

Better late than never. I was traveling during the Week 4 games, but I'll make a few observations on Week 4 EPL results.

Aston Villa 2 - 0 Chelsea. Hard to imagine with their stroke of luck with the officials and squeeking by over the last several weeks, but yes indeed, Mighty Chelsea took their first EPL loss this season at the hands of the Villains. The Villains improved to 10th place, while Chelsea slid to 4th. Watching Chelsea host a solid Blackburn team this weekend will certainly be interesting. Also, News everywhere is reporting Michael Ballack is irate with his treatment by not being included as a part of the Chelsea the Champions League roster.

Arsenal 3 - 1 Portsmouth. The Gunners continue their impressive play in the Premiership, but their win was mostly due to the poor defense that Pompey provided. Although in fairness, Arsenal did play with a 10-man squad after Philippe Senderos was sent off in the 50th minute. Also, reports claim that if not for a bad kick by Abou Diaby the score would have been 4-1. Nonetheless, Arsenal takes the three points in finds itself sitting pretty in the number two position this week. The past weeks' buzz has been about whether or not Russian billionaire, Alisher Usmanov, is seeking purchase of Arsenal. This adds to the continued talk that EPL teams are becoming more and more internationally owned (Arsenal is already) and less the local English teams of old.

Manchester United 1 - 0 Sunderland. Aside from a standing ovation for the return of Roy Keane to Old Trafford, not much can be said of the offense or defense of Manchester United given that they were facing recently promoted Sunderland. Moreover, Carlos Tevez has been a non-factor since moving over from West Ham United, and in fact, the whole Man U team seems to be going through the motions. Only so much can be blamed on not having Rooney or Ronaldo. Despite a number of veterans on the field, United's goal came from Frenchman Louis Saha.

Newcastle 1 - 0 Wigan Athletic. Michael Owen scored the winning goal in the 86 minute helping Newcastle to slide past 10-man Wigan (note that Kevin Kilbane was sent off for two bookable offenses). Hardly an impressive win for Newcastle, we just wonder what might have been if Kilbane kept to his senses.

Liverpool 6 - 0 Derbyshire. Now its becoming increasingly obvious that Derby is a questionable promotion to the Premier League. But those are the rules of the league. Whatever they did last year to get promoted to the EPL seems to have fallen by the wayside. This is ugly. Liverpool on the other hand continues to dominate on the pitch. Six goals is six goals, and they deserve credit past the first three for solidifying their first place holding atop of the EPL.

Fulham 3 - 3 Tottenham. Hmmm. Well Martin Jol is still around yet Tottenham continues to swim at the bottom of the table, actually both Spurs and Fulham are 14 and 15 respectively. The game was poor for Paul Robinson who was murdered in the press for his poor play against Germany a week ago; allowing three goals won't help his case to be England's number one.

Blackburn Rovers 1 - 0 Manchester City. After an impressive start, Man City seems to have taken a few steps backwards over the past few weeks. The only saving grace is that they lost to a very good upstart Blackburn team. The only item of note is that the teams played each with 10 man squads due to red cards issues to Blackburn midfielder Tugay was sent off at 55', while Man City captain Dunne was sent off at 65'. A good game nonetheless. Man City slipped to 5th place, and Blackburn improved to 7th.

Reading 0 - 3 West Ham United. West Ham seems to have really made some improvements to both its offense and defense to hand a solid Reading team such a substantial loss. Their last visit to Reading near New Years' Day last year saw them crushed 6-0, so although the victory is half as large, its still sweet for the Hammers. Reading sits in the relegation slot for the moment - which is quite a surprise to all, while West Ham sits at 11th place.

Bolton Wanderers 1 - Everton 2. Everton continues to win and remains at a steady third place due to a late goal by Joleon Lescott in the 89th minute. Bolton came close to securing the draw but defense let them down in the last minute of the game.

Middlesborough 2 - 0 Birmingham City. Nothing much to talk about here, other than the fact that Middlesborough and Birmingham City remain in the lower half of the table with a lot more to prove on the Middlesborough side after last years' good season a distant memory.

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