This weekend I didn’t get to watch as many full games as usual. I did get to see bits and pieces of different games as well as goal highlights so I didn’t miss out too much. I have to say that the best goal of the weekend was from Glen Johnson of Portsmouth who smashed a screecher of a shot off his chest and on to his right foot putting it in the upper 90. I had no idea that was physically possible. This weekend also marked one of the few times the Big 4 couldn’t score goals (although Chelsea fans I’m sure feel that they scored a few). Even though it was a historic weekend, the action was hard to come by.
As there were no early games on Saturday, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal all played at the same time with Manchester United playing Aston Villa in the late game. The Chelsea game provided me with highlights of the Hull City/Portsmouth match as well as the single highlight of the Stoke/West Brom match. I missed most of the Boro/Bolton highlights so I cant speak to what that game was like, although it was apparently one of the better games to watch.
The main game I focused on was the Chelsea/Newcastle match. Chelsea was completely dominant holding possession on Newcastle’s side of the pitch for more than 75% of the time. They managed 26 shots with 14 of them being on target. Newcastle managed one or two shots, but neither were on target. Luis Scolari said it best when he said that Newcastle were the victors because they came to Stamford Bridge for the tie and succeeded.
Arsenal visited the City of Manchester Stadium hoping to silence the critics and failed miserably. The Gunners gave up three goals and never looked like the better side. Mark Hughes’ side played remarkably well and truly showed what kind of a team they could really become. Arsenal’s problems are larger now as they sit on the outside looking in at 5th in the table.
Liverpool played host to Fulham and seemed like they only wanted to kick the ball around and really didn’t care about scoring or winning the game. Fulham actually looked to be the better side on the pitch, but even with amazing shots from Jimmy Bullard couldn’t capitalize and left with a well deserved point. Liverpool needed a win to get two points clear of Chelsea, but again played down to their opponents ability and are still tied at the top of the table.
I really wished I had watched the Portsmouth/Hull City match because from the highlights I saw it looked like both sides fought with tenacity of clubs looking to break into European competition. One team would score and the other would fight back and get an equalizer. A 2-2 result was fair and showed what teamwork along with drive could result in, goals. Big 4 take note.
The late game Saturday was Manchester United vs Aston Villa. I missed most of this match running errands, but caught the 15 minutes surrounding half time. From what I could gather and read was that Aston Villa was in control in the first half, until United woke up and just blasted Villa’s keeper with shots. Rooney missed a golden opportunity in a second half again dominated by Villa and really encapualted what the match was like. After hearing of the scoreless draws from the teams above them the Red Devils couldn’t get the three points they surely needed to try and play catch up.
On Sunday I was only able to see the second half of the Tottenham Hotspurs match where they beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0. The game was largely dominated by Spurs with Blackburn giving Gomes a few hard shots, but nothing the Brazilian couldn’t handle. The later match finally saw West Ham United secure a win after a horrible slide of losses. They visited Sunderland and managed a goal in a game that was, admittedly, largely dominated by Sunderland. Sunderland’s Cisse wasn’t able to finish and Roy Keane’s boys left with nothing in front of highly disappointed fans.
Sunday afternoon was an under advertised MLS Cup Finals. The New York Red Bulls beat the best the Western Conference had to throw at them to advance to play the Columbus Crew in an entirely Eastern Conference final. The first 20 minutes of the match looked to go the Red Bulls way where they managed six or seven shots compared to zero by the Community Shield winners. However, Columbus’ Moreno changed all that with about 10 minutes in the half with a low shot just out of the keepers reach to put the Crew up 1-0. The rest of the game was fairly even with possession, but momentum remained with the Crew as they went on to win 3-1 with all three assists going to the MLS MVP, Schelotto. It was a highly entertaining match to watch and as a DC United fan I was extremely happy with the result. The Crew celebrate their first MLS Cup and beat three very skilled teams to receive it so congratulations to all Crew fans.