Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Weekend Roundup

Last week was "frustrated but encouraged". This week was just frustrated. Another match where they pretty much dominated, hit the post twice, TH14 had two 1-on-1s with the keeper and feebly shot right at him both times, Hleb had a 1-on-1 with the keeper that didn't even result in a shot, on and on. They went 0-1 down when defender Justin Hoyte had a colossal fuckup and conceded a penalty. Note to Justin: it is never wise, in your own penalty box, to run full speed to your right while looking to your left, becuase you may very well smash into the other team's striker and give away a goal. Ridiculous. Hoyte is a right back who looks lost out there at left back, and why Flamini, who deputised so well last year at left back, is not playing there I don't understand. By about the 70 minute mark you knew they were never going to score, and they didn't. Manchester Citeh 1-0 Arsenal.

So for Pessimist Club members you have: first loss to Citeh in 17 meetings dating back to 1991, 1 point from 2 matches against 2 pretty shit teams (Villa & Citeh), worst start to a season since 1992, etc., etc. Basically the sky is falling.

For members of The Optimist Club you have: completely dominated both matches, haven't given up a goal in open play in 2 matches, and every other big team (except ManUtd) have already dropped points as well. Basically a rationalization that Arsenal can still challenge for and win the Prem.

I'm somewhere in between these two camps. It's frustrating as hell not to have at least 4 points from these two matches, but on the other hand I definitely prefer what has happened thus far to having 6 points from 2 matches but getting knocked out of Champions League by Zagreb last week. They host Boro, another average team, in 2 weeks, so hopefully they can sort it out and get back on track. The transfer deadline is Friday so it will be interesting to see what happens with Ash Cole, Reyes, and the 58 players rumored to be coming in.

Horse Racing
Bernardini romped in the Travers, so everything is building towards a massive showdown in the Breeders Cup Classic on Nov. 4. Most horses will have 1 more start between now and then. In other races at Saratoga Henny Hughes looked amazing and will be one of the favorites in the BC Sprint, and Discreet Cat completely romped on Friday, winning his first start back since winning the UAE Derby in the spring. I think he ran the fastest 7 furlongs of the entire Saratoga meet, so he is one to keep an eye on this fall.

Stop me if you have heard this one before... Tiger looks totally average on Sunday, no one else steps up and grabs it by the throat, and Tiger does what he needs to do to win in the end. That's 4 wins in a row, and he plays again this weekend in the Deutche Bank tourney in Boston. Tiger looked a bit tired on Sunday especially, and he seemed to win more on mental toughness and putting than anything else.

I am going to predict that he does NOT win this week, and here is why. Immediately after the tournament he and the rest of the US Ryder Cup squad hopped on a jet and flew to Ireland, where they landed yesterday morning to play 2 days of practice rounds on the K Club, which is hosting the Ryder Cup next month. After playing on Monday (off only whatever sleep they got on the plane), playing Tuesday, and flying home Wednesday morning, they will play a practice round in Boston Wednesday afternoon and then tee it up Thursday - Sunday. I think Tiger was already fatigued before all of this, so I do not think that he will win his 5th in a row this week. In fact, I don't think any member of the US Ryder CUp team will be the winner this week given that crazy schedule. I look for a Euro or a lesser known US player to win this weekend, but we'll see.

At long last it arrives this week. Time again to spend would-be productive work time studying these. Things kick off on Thursday night as the faux-Bulldogs host Spurrier's Cocks, who will try to deliver the Ol' Ball Coach his 1st ever win in Starkville. The real Bulldogs host WKU, which is only mildly interesting to me because I lived in Bowling Green for a year and worked in the athletic dept. at Western. Otherwise it is essentially a scrimmage.

Kanu Potpourri
Kanu bagged two more goals last night as Portsmouth destroyed Middlesborough 4-0. With 4 goals in 3 matches he is tied for the goalscoring lead in the Premiership. He has already doubled his goal total for his 1st season at West Brom and is only 1 shy of matching the 5 he scored for them last year. Keep it going, Kanu.

This Kanu finally scored for FC Red Stripes on Sunday, but it was pretty ugly. Weak shot that went through a defenders legs and into the goal - the soccer equivalent of a basketball 3 pointer from the top of the key that goes in off the glass when you were shooting for the swish - you just put your head down, run back on D, and don't say a word. Sadly 1/2 the Red Stripes didn't show up and we got throttled in a shootout something like 8-5.


DC Trojan said...

That was never a penalty on Hoyt; Sinclair didn't have control of the ball.

Or, if it was a penalty, then why not the same call at the other end of the pitch when van Persie got mugged from behind while in pursuit of a ball.

Uriah Renny must be laughing: with three EPL refs already demoted to the Championship, he's probably got more job security for his crap officiating than usual...

Kanu said...

I thought it was a clear penalty on Hoyte - to me it seemed like he clearly knocked the dude over and pervented him from controlling the ball.

The push on RVP seemed to be a bit after the play, but we both have seen penalties given for less than the push on him.

More important than was it or wasn't it on Hoyte is why Hoyte is in there - he is out of sorts at left back and Flamini was rock solid there last season. Even more frustrating is Flamini coming on at the very end as a sub.

I sure hope to see Flamini at left back until Clichy is healthy. If Ash stays then he can fuck off and play in the reserves for all I care.

DC Trojan said...

Fair enough re: the penalty; I thought it was an over-reaction but I think I may be alone. Your broader point is true though.