Weekend Premier League Thoughts: Shearer's Bad Start, Liverpool Keeps It Interesting...for 24 Hours Only

05 April 2009

All cameras were pointed to St. James Park to see if the next anointed Geordie messiah could produce another Newcastle miracle. For forty-five minutes it looked like he had a shot. However once Frank Lampard cleaned up the trash eleven minute into the second half, Newcastle didn't have a prayer at a point. A second ten minutes later confirmed it. It would have been different had Michael Owen's shot late counted, no official saw the fact Ashley Cole cleared the ball once it went in. It ended up being more of the same from Newcastle, and they still remain three points away from safety.

What was shocking was the lack of tactical changes Alan Shearer made. While I have seen him on Match of the Day and knew he added nothing to the program, Shearer had no idea how to get the side left in his care back into the match. All he could do is prowl the touchline looking like he had a clue. Instead, Shearer was exposed for what he was.

Newcastle still has a chance survival. However after their performance against Chelsea, and the lack of tactical awareness Shearer had, it's not going to happen. Shearer's only hope is that Blackburn drops points because Middlesbrough is as good as gone.

While that was going on at the bottom of the table, for 90 Minutes at Craven Cottage it looked like we were going to witness another Liverpool nil draw. Plenty of chances, plenty of shots off the woodwork, just another frustrating day. When Benayoun missed right before stoppage time, I was thinking of changing the channel. Then Benayoun's finish won the game in stoppage time.

I had already mentally written what I was going to write. Another Liverpool 0-0, another opportunity lost in a season that wouldn't be defined by the wins over Manchester United, but by the number of 0-0 draws that killed their title chances. Yet Benayoun's goal gave us hope. Manchester United were playing Aston Villa at Old Trafford and the prospect of more dropped United points had everyone thinking we had a legit title race...

And for 75 minutes those people had their wish. Villa were dominating Manchester United and had a 2-1 lead. Then Ronaldo equalized on a goal that Friedel could have done more to save, it looked United were still going to drop points. That's when the world got introduced to seventeen year old Federico Macheda who's strike in stoppage time ended the Premier League title race.

With Manchester United's game in hand being against Portsmouth (and a game I see them winning), a four point difference will be restored at the top. Sorry folks, that's title race over. If Untied is getting this result with in effect a B side (yes I know Ronaldo and Tevez were in the lineup), they aren't losing again in the league this season.

It's a bit of irony in a way. Most teams under perform when they come back from an international break. The international break may have been just what United needed to ensure winning the Premier League title.


eplnfl April 6, 2009 at 9:47 PM  

A Man U defeat would have made things really interesting.

I'm no Rafa fan but would it be better for all to see Pool win. Do we all really want to see SAF take home the prize AGAIN. No is the answer and Pool is the only other choice.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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