Rescinded Red

Oh the media monkeys and their junket junkies will invite you to their plastic pantomime. Throw their invites away.

Wenger Whines About Refs, Ignores the Obvious

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has accused Aston Villa’s coaching staff of pressuring referees during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Friday.  Wenger believes this badgering may have influenced referee Lee Mason’s decision to award a crucial penalty against William Gallas in the second half.

“I know how it works here,” Wenger said.  “At half-time the referee gets stick and in the second half every little 50-50 decision goes the other way.  That’s what happens.  I waited at halftime to see what happened and I was disappointed.  There is nothing to explain more than that.”

Villa manager Martin O’Neil admitted sending assistant John Robertson to speak to Mason at halftime, but to get an explanation for why Gabby Agbonlahor did not receive a free kick leading up to Denilson’s opening goal.

The whine of sour grapes helps little.  Having a squad where Alex Song is not starting in central midfield in the most crucial fixture of the season with an overmatched 18-year-old deputizing would benefit Arsenal far more.

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Boxing Day Premier League Results

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Boxing Day is rough for all and, generally, Premier League defenders are not excepted.  With lapsed concentration get slapped haphazardly around the area, with goals raining in from every direction to the delight of spectators (See Chelsea 4 -4 Aston Villa).  This year, alas, only Manchester City and West Ham received the memo.

The Citizens stormed out of the relegation zone, beating Hull City so badly they looked as if they had met Joey Barton outside a McDonalds.  Robinho was fancy, but effective bagging a brace and imposing his flourish on an overmatched Hull defense.  The drubbing was so bad, Phil Brown refused to let Hull return to the dressing room.  Mark Hughes retrieved some of his pride after the loss to West Brom, but dousing the burner under his bottom after one match would be hasty.

West Ham won just their second Premier League victory in their last 13 matches, but it was impressive.  Carlton Cole and Craig Bellamy penetrated the casual and sloppy Portsmouth back line.  How does a team coached by Tony Adams concede nine goals in three matches?  Perhaps, they were too busy packing.

Arsenal drew Aston Villa 2-2 in the tastiest tie of the day, leaving Villa a three-point advantage for fourth place.  Martin O’Neill’s men comprehensively outplayed every Arsenal partisan on the pitch, except the goal post.  Arsenal then, inexplicably, went 2-0 up.  William Gallas gave away a legit penalty in the 65th minute, and Zat Knight, of all people, knocked in an injury-time equalizer.  Both sides could have won.  Both could have lost.  It was the fairest result.

United were big in Japan, and Carlos Tevez was just big enough to score the late winner against Stoke City.  United have scored just three goals in their past five Premier League matches, however they have not conceded and earned three 1-0 victories.  Given Liverpool and Chelsea’s inconsistency of late, Man U could be title favorites if they pick up their games in hand.

Liverpool’s Robbie Keane can be dangerous on a hot run, which he appears to have hit.  His two second-half goals in the 3-0 win against Bolton, as well as his equalizer last weekend against Arsenal have kept Liverpool on top of the table, shocking since this was their first December victory in all competitions.

The other contenders, Chelsea, earned their first home victory since Nov. 1 with their 2-0 defeat of West Brom.  Drogba received the central role, and scored his first league goal since March after three minutes.  Trim, reliable Frank scored in first-half injury time.  Chelsea put the game away.

Wigan vanquished Newcastle 2-1, with Ryan Taylor again tormenting the barcodes.  Approximately 80,000 combined people witnessed Tottenham – Fulham and Sunderland 0 – Blackburn 0.  They went home profoundly bored.

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Saturday EPL Results: Steed, Big Sam and Ricky

sunderland-v-liverpool-1Hull City 1 – 4 Sunderland: Steed Malbranque had a goal and two assists.  How long before Ricky Sbragia gets the permanent job?

Bolton 2 – 1 Portsmouth: Much less impressive for Portsmouth than it looks.  Could Adams suck them into the relegation fight after January player losses?

Fulham 3 – 0 Middlesbrough: A workman like effort for Fulham, with a fair reward.  The Boro have just three points from their last six matches.

Blackburn 3 – 0 Stoke City: Big Sam engenders the new manager bounce.  With winnable games coming up, he could have them out of the relegation zone by New Years Day.

West Ham 0 – 1 Aston Villa: Both teams played hard, my man. Both teams played hard.  Lucas Neill’s sublime own goal deflection proved, without a doubt, why he’s worth £70,000 a week.

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Saturday EPL Results: Title Contenders Underwhelm

heurelho-gomes-spurs-190Liverpool 2 – 2 Hull City: Liverpool dropped points for the third time in four Premier League matches.  Gerrard’s brace evened proceedings, and the Reds stirred the pot during the second half.  But with Robbie Keane on the bench, Liverpool could not muster a third.

Tottenham 0 – 0 Manchester United: Spurs held the line despite injuries to King and Woodgate, with the maligned Gomes, surprisingly, making a crucial late save.  The goalkeeper relieved some angst, but Berbatov, the £30m man, will get more supporter scrutiny, as he once again went scoreless.

Middlesbrough 1 – 1 Arsenal: Adebayor scored early, but Aliadiere, who only tries against his former club, equalized to give Southgate his fifth result in a row against Wenger.  Arsenal missed the opportunity to pick up two points on Liverpool and Manchester United.  It’s sad when this is considered decent.

Manchester City 0 – 1 Everton: Neither side had a healthy striker, so it’s unsurprising that they battered each other boringly for much of the match.  What Cahill lacks as a pure striker, he makes up in grit, with his late header earning Everton a huge away victory.

Wigan 3 – 0 Blackburn: Pressure is pushing down on Paul Ince, as Blackburn succumbed meekly in their eleventh straight without a win.  Blackburn fans united with Wigan fans for chants of “You’re getting sacked in the morning.”

Aston Villa 4 – 2 Bolton: Gabby Agbonlahor doubled and Ashley Young scored another to secure Villa a solid victory.  The win moves them past Arsenal into fourth place.  Surprisingly, it’s only their second home league win since September.

Sunderland 4 – 0 West Brom: Sunderland built on last week’s moral victory with a tangible one, sparked by Kenwyne Jones scoring two goals in a minute.  The result moves Sunderland out of the relegation zone and places interim Ricky Sbragia in the permanent job discussion.

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Sunday EPL Results: The Most Gobsmacking Solo Performance From Ashley Young Since…

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Everton 2 – 3 Aston Villa: Joleon Lescott tumbled from gallant to goat in the space of one minute, scoring a dramatic equalizer and then being pantsed by Ashley Young seconds later for the winner.  The win keeps Aston Villa sniffing behind the Top Four.

West Brom 1 – Portsmouth 1: Pompey managed one shot on target, but used it as Peter Crouch saved them face in the second half.  The Baggies stay rooted to the bottom.  Portsmouth sits three points out of Europe.

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Headlines: David Villa to Premier League?

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Facing bankruptcy, Valencia may need to sell David Villa ASAP. (The Spoiler)

Iker Casillas squashed a £129m move to Manchester City. (The Independent)

Aston Villa have £40m to spend in January if needed. (AstonVillaBlog)

Riquelme’s celebration causes a kerfuffle at Boca (101 Great Goals)

Columbus Crew resign Schelotto (Soccer by Ives)

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Saturday EPL Results: Fulham Hold Aston Villa

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Aston Villa 0 – Fulham 0: Consistency is the key to the top four.  Aston Villa showed why they have not yet finished there.  Gareth Barry missed chances, but it was an even performance from both sides.  Fulham deserved the result.

Middlesbrough 0 – Newcastle 0: This was a monotonous stalemate between two similar teams, filled with almosts and might have beens.  The mist overtaking the pitch in the second half fit the dreariness of the spectacle.

Sunderland 1 – Bolton 4: Cisse scored the first goal, but Bolton roared back with four, threatening the Sunderland goal to the end.  Sunderland won’t fire Keane, but his magic seems to be wearing.

Wigan Athletic 2 – West Brom 1: Wigan recored consecutive victories for the first time under Bruce.  Wigan went down on a Titus Bramble error, but fought back to score two.  They are finally getting the results their talent dictates.

Stoke City 1 – Hull City 1: Hull’s road warrior status continued.  They’ve earned 15 of their 23 points away from home this season.  It would have been 17, but for a dubious penalty.

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Saturday EPL Results: Big Four Shutout

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Manchester City 3 – Arsenal 0: Mentality improves the narrative, but in reality it’s the squad’s thinness.  Arsenal missed Fabregas, Adebayor, Walcott, Sagna, and Toure.  Every Arsenal outfield sub was teenaged.

Chelsea 0 – Newcastle 0: Profligacy cost Chelsea a win.  The had 70% of the possession and 33 shorts with nine on target.  Newcastle did not challenge Cech once.

Liverpool 0 – Fulham 0: Fernando Torres returned and could not affect the result.  Perhaps, Benitez correctly assessed the Keane-Torres partnership.  Not one you’d expect to drop at Anfield.

Aston Villa 0 – Manchester United 0: United missed a ground-gaining opportunity with Chelsea and Liverpool both drawing.  Villa broke a 14-game losing streak against United, with another solid performance.

Middlesbrough 1 – Bolton 3: Boro conceded two straight away.  They held much of the play, but they could not come through.  Swedish so-far bust Elmander scored his first for Bolton since the opening day of the season.

Portsmouth 2 – Hull 2: Who would have picked this one as the most entertaining?  It was fairly even and the score reflected it, with Hull returning to equalize twice.  The timely Windass salvaged a point for the Tigers.

Stoke 1 – West Brom 0: This match equaled expectations, which weren’t enthusiastic.  Mamady Sidibe broke the stultification with a goal in the 84th minute.  Dave Kitson left in a stretcher.

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Aston Villa Vanquish Impotent Arsenal: Has Wenger Finally Lost It?

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Aston Villa will rue their saved penalty and missed chances.  Rather than staining Arsenal’s season they merely beat them soundly 2-0 at the Emirates.  Villa outmanaged, outplayed and outsmarted Arsenal.  For a team that often whines about teams not wanting to play football, they made no effort to do so themselves.  They might as well have defecated on the club crest.  Wenger spoke of consistency in the post-match press conference, but, unfortunately for him, this form has been consistent.

Wenger’s argument for his smaller defenders is that they are more mobile.  With John Carew out, size was not a factor.  Arsenal had no retort for Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahlor.  Villa beat them at their own mobile game.

Arsenal’s midfield showed a startling paucity of determination and creativity.  Not playing an equally slender Manchester United, the five-man solution for midfield did not solve their Flamini-sized dilemma.  Second wave attackers for Villa often ran through unmarked.

The Gunners did miss Adebayor for the start with injury and Robin Van Persie for the entirety with stupidity, but Bendtner’s place in the squad must seriously be questioned.  If a player would not be in a first-choice starting XI for Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Hull City, Aston Villa, Everton, Portsmouth, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Bolton, West Ham, Manchester City, Wigan Athletic, Newcastle, Blackburn or Tottenham why is he Arsenal’s second-choice striker?  

Bendtner is slow, immobile, immature and lazy.  He’s ineffective without perfect linkup play.  When he gets said play, he’s discombobulated and a sub-par finisher.  Credit his confidence, but he really shouldn’t be with one goal in eight appearances in the league.

This crisis at Arsenal is what it appears.  The logical arguments against this Arsenal team were well placed.  Wenger has not outsmarted everyone.  Far from it.  The defense of “it’s Arsene Wenger” no longer suffices for this squad’s amateurish effort.  If he truly was the great Arsene Wenger, he would fix it.

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Aston Villa Are Looking at Michael Owen and Emile Heskey

michael-owenAston Villa will fortify their front line in the January window, despite Gabby Agbonlahor’s castration of Arsenal earlier today.

Manager Martin O’Neill feels that Villa don’t have the necessary depth at striker to compete in their league and cup commitments.

“We have Marlon Harewood and young Nathan Delfouneso, who I think will become a really good player,” O’Neill told the Telegraph.  “But, without naming names, it is fair to say we are looking to see if we can bring someone in to get a bit of extra strength in that department.”

O’Neill likely will look at two reasonably priced ex-Liverpool men.  Michael Owen, undoubtedly would leave Newcastle for a top four offer.  If current form holds, Aston Villa would be just that.  Though, they may need to compete with Chelsea, also looking for a cut-rate striker in January.

Another option may be Wigan striker Emile Heskey, who played for O’Neill at Leicester and fills the big, powerful forward role favored by O’Neill.

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