This past weekend saw quite a few talking points in what remains the most exciting, entertaining & most dramatic football league in the world, the English Premier League, or more officially, the Barclays Premier League.
Any given weekend in the EPL reminds me of a series of highly entertaining films based on various genres. Most weekends I find myself drunk on football by Sunday night, but still find myself tuning into the Premier League Review Show to cap it all off. The range of emotions experienced during a full set of EPL fixtures goes unmatched with any other sport. Without further ado, here’s my quick review of this past weekend, & how I feel football imitates art, more specifically, film.
The Comedy Film: the now notorious, much talked about red beach ball incident at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland & like the rest of the Liverpool back line, the ball’s bad positioning & subsequent defensive woes. (As much as Mike Jones got the call wrong, it would have taken Reina only a second to clear the ball from his penalty box. Why take the chance Pepe?) An unforgettable moment to say the least, but outright laughable for the neutral.
The Hollywood Action/Fight Film: A straight red for Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe – the England International’s sending off was rightfully awarded to the former Portsmouth striker upon his return to Fratton Park. His stamp on Portsmouth’s Aaron Mokoena in a moment of madness had all the action & force of a lethal finishing move in a Bruce Lee martial arts film. Equally insane & action-packed was Timmy Howard’s quasi kung-fu-punch/smack-chop to the back of the head of Wolves Austrian International Maierhofer. A moment of rage & retaliation from Howard who was luck to only receive a yellow. Tempers were heating up all across the country this weekend.
The Brilliant Foreign Film: can be dull at times sure, but in my opinion there’s nothing better than a Kurosawa masterpiece. Slow, brooding, building, but ultimately effective are the films from this Japanese master & quite like the performance put on by champion’s Manchester United at home to Bolton on Saturday. Almost worth a yawn or two on the day, but ultimately the Rooney-less champs got the job done to return to the Premier League summit. Not a lot of flash on display, but if you stick in til the end, 3 points await.
Civil War Film: not quite brother vs. brother in a battle of succession, but USA International teammates Clint Dempsey & twitter-friendly Jozy Altidore met on the field of battle in a not very entertaining match Monday night from Craven Cottage. Dempsey’s Fulham ultimately playing the part of the North to Altidore’s Hull City, the losing South. Altidore himself only saw the better part of 20-25 minutes of action coming off the bench to bemused results. Hopefully this will be the first of many meetings of these two staples of the USMNT in the EPL. I really like Altidore & wish him success in the EPL.
The Revenge/Drama Film: Spurs boss Harry Redknapp also made a return of sorts on Saturday after talk of verbal abuse from Portsmouth fans upon his departure from the South Coast club in October of last year. The Gaffer received the last laugh with his club gaining another 3 points to continue their fantastic start to the 09-2010 season. Credit to Pompey supporters, who on the day, behaved brilliantly with even Redknapp praising the fans for their “fantastic” reception. Redknapp even signed autographs after the match. Reports suggest only a small number of fans to have caused a problem. Sort of a revenge film with a happy ending if you will.
The Western: The first “cotton-mill derby” to be played between Blackburn & Burnley in 17 years of Premier League Football took place at Ewood Park on Sunday. The game itself was an exciting 3-2 shoot-em-up with local tensions. The first derby between the 2 clubs who are only separated by a few miles was played in November of 1888. An era in America that was ruled by the six-shooter & a bottle of whiskey. From the second Burnley’s Robbie Blake opened up the scoring with a 25-yard screamer, you got the feeling more goals where in store – quite like the final gun battle in a Western where the bullets keep flying. The quality atmosphere from the supporters filling out the stadium in East Lancashire definitely added to an open match.
More great matches were on display this weekend, American keeper Brad Friedel led Aston Villa over the “hapless on set-piece defending” Chelsea during the Saturday early match. Stoke City solidified West Ham’s woeful start & Wigan prove they have something to say this year with an entertaining 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City. Keep watching & enjoying your football & here’s hoping the next 2 days of Champions League can be as exciting as the EPL.