Observations From Premier League Weekend, May 9-10
It was another exciting weekend of football in the Premier League. Liverpool continued to keep the heat on Sir Alex Ferguson after the Merseyside club beat West Ham United 3-0, while Manchester United moved one step closer to the 2008/2009 title with their comfortable 2-0 derby win. Is the race over or is it just beginning?
Here are some of my observations from this past weekend as well as some news to share with you:
Thank God For Roy Hodgson and Martin O’Neill
Is there a more beautiful game to watch the beautiful game being played than on a sunny day at Fulham’s Craven Cottage? This match was one of the most enjoyable I’ve watched all season. Both teams came out to play. There were few fouls. Both sets of players seemed to be having fun and enjoying their football. And the supporters were into it. Add to this the wonderful condition of the Craven Cottage pitch and a well-balanced match between two of the top English sides outside of the Big Four.
Hull City And Newcastle United Are Doomed
It’s such a shame that Hull City are nowhere near as dangerous and entertaining to watch now than they were during the beginning of this season. Those images of Bernard Mendy bombing down the right wing for Hull earlier in the season are now a distant memory. Why oh why Phil Brown continues to keep Mendy and Manucho on the bench beats me. Whenever those two lads are added, they always create a spark as they did again on Saturday, although it was too little and a little too late.
To me, both Hull and Newcastle United suffer from the same thing and that’s very poor movement off the ball (as well as poor confidence). Whenever Hull and Newcastle go on the attack, the forwards all line up against the last defenders and hope for a ball over the top that they can latch on to. But those type of attacks are easy for defenders to stop. What both Hull and Newcastle need are a lot more creativity and players moving into positions so they can try a different method of getting the ball around the opposition.
For those of you who saw the Hull City against Stoke City game on Saturday, it was comical how Hull continued floating balls over the top to the right wing to Nick Barmby in the hopes that he’d be able to outjump Ryan Shawcross and attack the Stoke City goal. After the commentators pointed it out, it was sad to see Hull keep on trying that same tactic to no avail. Phil Brown seemed nonplussed. At this rate, Hull City are going down especially if West Bromwich Albion continue to keep scoring.
Can Wigan Have An Impact On The Premier League Title Again?
Last season it was Chelsea who lost the Premier League title race when they could only draw against Wigan 1-1 in April, 2008. A win against Steve Bruce’s side could have helped Chelsea to go on to win the title. Instead, Man United scooped up the title with a 2-0 win on the final day of the season against, you guessed it, Wigan Athletic.
Now this week, Wigan Athletic has an excellent opportunity to make an impact on who will win the 2008/2009 Premier League title when Manchester United travel to the JJB Stadium on Wednesday (3pm ET/8pm GMT kickoff; Fox Soccer Channel). A win or a draw for Wigan will significantly dampen Man United’s chances of lifting the trophy. I’m sure Liverpool fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that Brucie can help a number on his old gaffer, Sir Alex Ferguson.
GolTV Launches New Video Player
If you haven’t visited the GolTV website recently, you will have missed its redesign, the addition of blogs (including one by EPL Talk favorite Phil Schoen) and — most importantly — the addition of a new video player which provides highlights of GolTV coverage such as La Liga, Bundesliga and South American football matches. This is a nice feature for those of you who are Dish Network subscribers and no longer get GolTV.
CNN Names Serie A Talk ‘Blog Of The Month’
CNN has named sister site Serie A Talk the blog of the month. The acclaim is thanks to the hard work of writers such as George Metellus, new addition Kris Voakes (from World Soccer Daily fame), Gareth Freeman, Juan Arango, Kevin Walker and others. Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t miss a single article, or visit Serie A Talk now.