Matchday 4 Review: Rooney's Penalty, Eboue's Dive, Sean Davis's Sendng Off, Manchester City Continue to Roll

30 August 2009

Manchester United v Arsenal: This game is not about the penalty. I have to admit laughing at all the stupidity on the net this weekend about “Rooney’s dive”. It was never a dive. Yes, Rooney was never going to get a shot on goal. Yes, Rooney was never going to get to the second touch. Yes Rooney looked like he was going down. The fact remains that Manuel Almunia came out and took Rooney completely out of any play. That is a letter of the law penalty.
Instead this was about three things; the first being the ridiculous own goal by Diaby. That header was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen in a game of football. It should also be a lesson to every other defender that it would never be wise to try said header. Secondly, THE ACTUAL DIVE by Emmanuel Eboue. Do people actually forget that? Oh yea, they do. Finally, this is about the farcical way Mike Dean handled the end of this match. He would have been best to blow for full time, taken an earful from Wenger, and then pressed charges. Instead, Keith Hackett is the one having to apologize to Wenger.

Tottenham Hotspur v Birmingham City: One would have to wonder if Birmingham City would have won had Cristian Benitez been on the park sooner. They were even with Tottenham all game long. After the fast start Tottenham had to the season, they have been a bit found out. In the last two games, Spurs have needed too many chances to score. Peter Crouch should have converted on one of his first three golden chances before finishing the fourth. Make no bones about it; Tottenham stole two points here when they should have in fact, one. City have got find a way to start Cristian Benitez over ninety minutes, not fifteen to twenty a match.

Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool: I’m still trying to figure out why Sean Davis was sent off. Letter of the law, his challenge in the second half was only a foul, not a booking. It wasn’t even persistent infringement. Bolton up until the sending off were deservedly in the lead. Once Davis was sent off, it was only a matter of time before Liverpool won it. Leave it to Steven Gerrard to get the game winner. This performance for Liverpool is only a band aid on a gushing wound of problems as they should win 11 v 10. The defense is still weak and the midfield is barely together. I feel bad for Megson. I understand why he was political in his post match response, but fact is they were robbed of at least one point.

Everton v Wigan Athletic: After the first half, I was just ready to deem this game a nil dray where both sides couldn’t the broad side of any body of water. The second half proved me wrong. Wigan may have gone ahead against the run of play, but they had their chances to put this game away. It took a wonderful set piece to see Everton equalize, and a bad tackle by Emmerson Boyce to concede the game winner from the spot. When you have your chances, you have to finish them. It ‘maybe unfair’ on Wigan that they got no points out of this game, but Everton took their chances and look to be back on track.

Chelsea v Burnley: Oh what would have been for Burnley had Patterson finished his chance early in the first half. After that it was all Chelsea. The Blues had plenty of possession, plenty of well timed passes, and perfectly executed goals. When Michael Ballack and Ashely Cole are scoring on the day, something’s gone right. Burnley will be happy with the six points from their previous three matches and grateful the score here wasn’t worse. As strange as this may sound, Brian Jensen was the man of this match despite giving up three goals.

Portsmouth v Manchester City: If Manchester City could sort out its defense, which is still allowing too many dangerous chances, they would be title contenders. Had Howard Webb called just one of the three penalties that should have been called late, that’s not a potential talking point. Portsmouth only looked slightly better under the new ownership today. I am curious to see what moves can be made between now and the end of the transfer window.

Stoke City v Sunderland: Sunderland’s set piece defense has to get better. It’s the biggest weakness on their team. Dave Kitson should never have that much space to finish, even if the corner kick leading to the goal was partially cleared. They also need a third and fourth option to score. One can’t rely on Kenwyne Jones and Darren Bent all by themselves. Stoke City again do what they do best at home; work from strength to strength while picking apart the weaknesses of their opposition. They also look like a side that is going to be in the Premier League for some time to come.

Aston Villa v Fulham: Villa started and ended this three game in six day stretch with six points in the league. Fulham won midweek, but then made it twenty-seven years without a win at Villa Park. When Eddie Johnson is your only tactical change in a game, you’ve given up the ghost. Yes, the trip to Russia was no fun, but Fulham could have shown a little more life. Clint Dempsey was the only one who looked to be trying. Agbonlahor’s goal in the second half was a thing of beauty.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Hull City: Hull starts the first half quick, Wolves start the second half quick. Wolves controlled much of the second half, with Jozy Altidore rendered useless in his role off the bench. Hull will also consider themselves lucky they got a point in this game; Wolves had two golden chances in the second half they should have finished on.

Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United: Ninety minutes played, yet both sides had only two legit chances on goal. Money should be refunded for having to watch that drivel. I had expected West Ham to bounce back better. Scott Parker is lucky the man in the middle didn’t see his trip on David Dunn in the box as that was a stone wall penalty. Blackburn better find someone who can score; because right now, no one can.


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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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