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All Things Footie | Monday, November 5 | Jordan

What's Goin' On?

As Marvin Gaye would say.

Top of the table lose 3-0, United crumble like last weeks apple pie, Arsenal concede four goals at home for the first time since Norwich visited in 1992 (and who aren't doing to badly at the moment either), Middlesbrough score five to destroy Derby and Ade Akinbyi scores!!! At least normality is restored with Spurs throwing away a goal lead to be swept away in the last half an hour, and Chelsea pulling off an escape act in injury time.

On top of that I've found a temporary solution to my hosting problems as Grey Matter doesn't want to install on my server—you may therefore notice that all things footie is looking a bit different. If you want to comment on the design then you can fill in a form on the new and improved contact page. Thanks in advance.

Brave, Brave Sir Alex

For it is surely a courageous man that puts Fabien Barthez behind the increasingly shaky Wes Brown and Mikael ‘well... he's quick’ Silvestre. Michael Owen must have thought all his Christmas' had come at once. In his (slightly misplaced) words,

“Without mistakes I wouldn't score many goals,”
and with those three at the back that's one thing he'll be guaranteed of. I'm not jumping on any bandwagons here when I say that I feel vindicated in my judgement that M. Barthez is by no means the best goalkeeper in the world (are you listening Ron Atkinson). Liverpool's performance was professional, hard working and effective. Dietmar Hamann was superb, playing almost the Steven Gerrard role in front of the back four, and Michael Owen was his usual, deadly self. One particular performance of note was that of referee Graham Poll. Another Steven Gerrard horror tackle aside, no cards were warranted and none shown, he controlled the game superbly and let it flow as it should—there are more than one Premiership ref's that could learn a thing from England's number one (and I don't mean David Seaman.

Talking of the big lad, I don't blame him for holding his head in his hands at Highbury. After a couple of marvellous performances something seems to have happened to Richard Wright. I remember watching him a few times during Ipswich's promotion year and deciding that although talented, he lacked a certain clarity of thought so important to goalkeepers. A little Barthez-esque if you will.

It would be unfair to blame the disastrous result on him alone though, the target for most of the red tops has been effervescent forward Thierry Henry. His record of 61 goals in 113 games does say a little for the striker's ability, but if only he was a bit more hungry to get the ball in the net sometimes. It's sounds ludicrous to think that record could be 80 or 90 goals in 113 games but it's true. Of course some would say (probably including me at a push, but you've got to haven't you) that if you changed his game that way you'd lose other qualities; his selfless work for other players... and the part of his game that make people—who don't even like football—love to watch him perform.

Kudos to Charlton though, the two at the back and Dean Kiely worked incredibly hard to keep out the 25 shots on goal. I still think Claus Jensen's goal was a cross but you've got to give him credit for the work he did on other goals and the fact that he still scored a beauty.

Super Alan...

Shearer. I've slagged him off as much as anyone but you have to give him credit. There's probably only two English forwards that could claim to be able to finish like that, and he's one of them. Newcastles most accomplished performance under Bobby Robson (big Al's words not mine) was too much for high flying Villa. There was no one deserving of praise in the Villa team apart from the ever impressive Peter Schmeichel, but Newcastle were littered with fine performances. Craig Bellamy continues to defy his critics (including myself) and makes team of the week with ease. Laurent Robert and Nolberto Solano exploited Villa's lack of width and the back four dealt with the few problems that came their way comfortably, Shay Given just being edged out of team of the week contention by Charlton's more busy stopper.

Carlos Marado... Marinelli

At 17 Carlos Mainelli was described as the new and (behaviourally) improved version of everyone's favourite coke snorting midget and football genius. At 19 he is starting to show why. Two goals and one assist is a match record that would on any other day tell the story, but the full scale of Marinelli's influence was far greater.

It would be fair to say that had 'Boro not had the young Argentine it would have been a difficult game. As it happened they strolled and boo-boy target Fabrizio Ravanelli had to console himself with a late, albeit excellent, consolation goal.

It would be unfair on the poor guy—with the amount of stick he's taken—not to mention Ade Akinbyi's winning goal for Leicester. So what if Leicester, on the whole, were shocking (but no worse than Sunderland). And so what if the goal was his second bite at that particular cherry, and it was deflected. It means they can add another million on to the fee from Wolves (although whether they need him right now is another matter).

It must be hard being Peter Reid though. To see your team perform magnificently one game and then incomprehensibly awful the next. Maybe he should talk to Claudio Ranieri, after seeing his Chelsea side go out of the UEFA cup to Haipol Tel Aviv in the week, a strong performance at home in the Premiership would have followed form. Well, nearly. The contest between the two could not be summed up better than in the words of Daily Telegraph journalist David Miller,

“misfiring Maserati versus Skoda Turbo.”
There's not much else to say.

The Rest?

Fulham strolled to a 2-0 away victory over a poor West Ham side, once again the emphatic Steed Malbranque ran the show. Bolton held on to draw 2-2 against an Everton side inspired by the rejuvenated Paul Gascoigne, looking fitter and healthier than he has done in years—good on him.

Blackburn continued a good season with a 2-1 victory at Southampton's talismanic (for the visiting team) St. Mary's stadium. Finally Leeds strolled past a Spurs side lacking in invention and class, White Hart Lane import Gus Poyet providing the only moment of inspiration for a side that even at 1-0 up you'd have put your mortgage on losing.

Talking of wagers, anyone who took up Sporting Odds' offer of �20 for a goal outside the box in the United-Liverpool game, well done and don't say I don't give you any tips.

Now for the silverware...

Performace of the week : Newcastle vs Aston Villa
Player of the week : Carlos Marinelli (Middlesbrough)
Goal of the week : Alan Shearer (Newcastle vs Aston Villa)
Team of the week :
Dean Kiely
Bruno N'Gotty
Mark Fish
Steve Brown
John Arne Riise

Steed Malbranque
Claus Jensen
Dietmar Hamann

Carlos Marinelli
Michael Owen
Craig Bellamy

Definitely a difficult one to choose this week. Perhaps, with 4 player in the team of the week Charlton deserved the .. well, team of the week accolade. I think Newcastle edged it as they actually played well as opposed to held out. No doubt some geordies won't be happy at the non inclusion of Alan Shearer but could you argue against Owen or Bellamy? If you think you could, then just click the link below and have your say.

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