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Best Week of the Year

I know this sounds corny but in the holiday season of giving, that’s exactly what the Premiership did as this was the most exciting week of soccer, at least that I can remember, in 2007 as far as England’s top league goes.As we all know, the Christmastime schedule is packed with teams playing three or four games in the span of two weeks. Everything kicked off on December 22 and 23 and we saw an exciting 2-1 victory for Arsenal over their North London rivals, Tottenham on the 22nd. Had Robbie Keane converted a penalty late in that game (“Robbie Keane does not miss penalties”), Spurs might very well have come out of the Emirates with a win.None of the other games that day were particularly enjoyable for the viewers, but the next day both the Manchester United-Everton (2-1 Man U) and Newcastle-Derby fixtures (2-2) were fun to watch.Midweek was where things really started heating up though. On Wednesday morning, we had a candidate for match of the year in Chelsea’s 4-4 draw with Aston Villa. Both teams could easily have won the game and there were some harsh refereeing decisions that affected both teams as well. This game was a fast-paced affair with chances on both sides but as a neutral observer, I was really pulling for Villa to win and end Chelsea’s home unbeaten streak. Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard was the true definition of a captain when he put the Reds on his back for the last quarter of an hour at Derby with his team needing a victory. Gerrard’s late winner really just proved once again how much means to his team, while Derby’s terrific effort and performace went for nothing. Tottenham put up five goals against Fulham in a 5-1 laugher at White Hart Lane, and Manchester United’s second-stringers went to the Stadium of Light and beat Sunderland 4-0. On Thursday, Manchester City and Blackburn combined for three goals in as many minutes in the first half in what turned out to be a 2-2 draw. Roque Santa Cruz is on a goalscoring tear right now and is as hot as any striker in the league.We saw some entertaining games this weekend as well, not the least of which was a goalfest between Tottenham and Reading, with Spurs prevailing 6-4 behind four, yes four goals from Dimitar Berbatov. Arsenal came from behind to win 4-1 at Goodison Park in a game in which many people, myself included, predicted that Arsenal would drop points. West Ham pulled off what could likely be the upset of the season so far as the Hammers shocked defending champions Manchester United 2-1 at Upton Park. If only Alan Curbishley’s squad could play Man U every game of the season; West Ham have won three straight league matches between the two sides. It was very nice to see Carlos Tevez salute the crowd before the match, I thought that was a great gesture of appreciation for the fans who supported him with everything they had last season. Even the 0-0 match between City and Liverpool was exciting. It was as up-and-down as they come at times and while Liverpool were the only team who were going to win, City did a great job of defending and Richard Dunne put in a heroic performance.All in all, it was a great week of soccer and no matter what club you support, you can’t beat that.

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  1. wanderer_abroad

    January 2, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Whoops! Sorry gaff. My comments still stand though

  2. Daryl

    January 2, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Hard to make the case for a Premier League winter break after a brilliant last week or so of action.

  3. Michael

    January 1, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Joe, I’m a fan of all those other sports you just mentioned.

    Here’s the deal. The NFL playoffs don’t start until next week (two weeks after the EPL holiday schedule) and only 12 out of the league’s 32 teams qualify, and usually most of those other 20 teams are eliminated from playoff contention a long time before, so they’re just playing out the string in meaningless games.

    Non-conference matchups in basketball? Granted, there are some, but most schools are off around Christmastime so their players can take final exams and go home for winter break.

    Awesome bowl games? Anyone who follows college football will tell you that the only meaningful bowl games start on New Year’s Day (again, a week or two after this busy schedule), and most of the games played before then are contested between mediocre teams who shouldn’t be rewarded with any semblance of a postseason.

  4. eplnfl

    January 1, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    This was a great holiday period for the EPL. although it appears by New Years Day the teams were all worn out. You some games the can be up for game of the year, plenty of scoring, and the big teams getting the short end of the stick at times.

    The down side was the bad calls by the refs altered the outcome in more than one game, ie: Newcastle and Everton and players continue to lead with both feet.

  5. The Gaffer

    January 1, 2008 at 2:24 pm


    Michael wrote that one (check under the headlines of each story to see the author) ; )

    The Gaffer

  6. wanderer_abroad

    January 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I’m sorry gaffer but I can’t agree about the Citeh vs Pool game. It was terrible! The passing was absolutely rubbish and was the worst game I have seen for a while.

  7. Joe

    January 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    For some of us it is the best time of the year thanks to all the great non league matchups in basketball, NFL playoffs and the awesome bowl games going on. Sorry but for many of is here in the US, the EPL is secondary until the holidays are over.

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