Sunday, December 28, 2008

EPL Open Thread: Let's Get This Started Early


Should anyone besides insomniacs and security guards be awake this early? If you're as mad about the beautiful game as I am, then your alarm clock was set ages ago. 16 teams take the field today, and Newcastle/Liverpool will get us started.

The pressure's on Rafa to keep winning... will a depleted Newcastle team oblige? Chelsea play at Fulham in a couple of hours, and they're no longer pushovers, while Arsenal hosts a Portsmouth team that's more inconsistent than they are. Sparky could use another emphatic win today to keep his grip on the job at Eastlands too.

Maybe a liveblog later, but I'm too nervous and hung over to give the treatment to my Reds.

Come wake up with us after the jump.


Today's Fixtures:
Newcastle v. Liverpool (7am kick-off)

9am kick-offs:
Arsenal v. Portsmouth
Bolton v. Wigan
Everton v. Sunderland
Fulham v. Chelsea
West Brom v. Tottenham
West Ham v. Stoke City

Blackburn v. Manchester City (11.15am kick-off)

LINEUPS:
Newcastle: Given, Edgar, Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Gutierrez, Guthrie, Butt, N'Zogbia, Duff, Owen.
Subs: Harper, Xisco, Geremi, Ameobi, Kadar, LuaLua, Carroll.

Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Insua, Benayoun, Mascherano, Leiva Lucas, Babel, Gerrard, Kuyt.
Subs: Cavalieri, Keane, Riera, Alonso, Ngog, El Zhar, Skrtel.

Owen against his former club, tons of changes at the back for the Magpies. Meanwhile, Lucas and Mascherano will play alongside each other, Keane gets a rest after scoring 3 in his last 2, and Riera will also be used off the bench. Oh, and Babel gets a start! Hallelujah! There is a god!

75 comments:

Mike Georger said...

I'm up, trying to get a stream. Haven't seen bed yet, decided it would be a good idea to watch all five Harry Potter movies in one night. So lets keep it going!

Lingering Bursitis said...

Three good scoring chances for us already:

- tons of space down the wings thus far for Babel and Yossi
- Gerrard forced two good saves from Given

It's a matter of time. The passing is sharp, and Newcastle are defending high up the pitch. We've split their backline a couple of times already

Lingering Bursitis said...

Hyypia puts a free header just past the post from a Stevie G free-kick out on the left... Shay Given's patience for his defenders is already wearing thin.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Another Hyypia/Kuyt effort cleared off the line... it's just a matter of time

Lingering Bursitis said...

Given with another brilliant reaction save to keep Lucas' header out

Lingering Bursitis said...

To summarize the first 20 minutes:

- 6 good shots on goal
- 3 cleared off the line
- 2 wonderful saves by Given

no partridge in a pear tree as yet

Lingering Bursitis said...

Gorgeous LFC goal by Gerrard... Benayoun broke the offside trap and cuts back for Stevie who pings it in off the post

Lingering Bursitis said...

Hyppia scores his first EPL goal in over a year with a brilliant header falling backwards via Gerrard's corner. Given couldn't save that. 2-0!

The NY Kid said...

dammit! I forgot to change out Given in fantasy team. No more goals, Reds!

The NY Kid said...

bah. stoopid sexy Babel

Lingering Bursitis said...

A rampant performance telling the rest of the league to come and catch us. Fell asleep to give up their goal right on half-time, but an equally dominant 2nd half. Ruthless finishing. Gerrard's 2nd goal was a beauty, and Martin Skrtel makes his first appearance back from injury. Welcome back, lad!

Lingering Bursitis said...

I did NOT know there were TWO Lua Lua brothers playing in the EPL! The more you know..

The NY Kid said...

and Fulham go up 1-0 on the Blues through Deuce

Goat said...

NYK--how did Dempsey score?

JT said...

Thanks, Dempsey! May the goal hold.

As for Arsenal, it's typical Gooners thus far: tons of comfortable possession yet no urgency whatsoever to venture into the Pompey penalty area. Crouch headed against the post for the best chance of the game in the first half-hour.

JT said...

Goat: it was off a free-kick that everyone missed. It fell to Clint at the back post and he had time to control and shoot.

JT said...

Everton take a 2-0 lead, and it's Arteta again. First goal was a free-kick, 2nd goal was a deflected 2nd effort after his free-kick was blocked.

Also, HOW DID ADEBAYOR NOT SCORE THAT

Goat said...

Did the Russian mob get to Adebayor?

The NY Kid said...

considering Everton's position, 3 points for them necessitates 3 points for Arsenal.


and Ade=EPIC FAIL.

JT said...

NYK: Arse would remain 5th thanks to much better goal difference, for what it's worth. If Arse draw, they remain a point ahead of Everton, so either way, you're alright today.

JT said...

Spurs down to 10 men: Benoit Assou-Ekotto sent off for stamping on Gianni Zuiverloon

The NY Kid said...

@JT - true, but I don't want us to have to look over our shoulders while looking up at Villa at the same time.

Stupid Blue Scouse.

Andrew said...

Bendtner over Vela, because that makes sense.

Found this little gem on gamecast: Gaël Clichy tries a through ball, but William Gallas is caught offside.

When a Clichy to Gallas through ball is attempted, Arsenal is not really playing football.

JT said...

2 Chelsea men injured already: Malouda, and now Alex

JT said...

Andrew: me thinks someone's having a laugh. I don't remember seeing that!

The NY Kid said...

Sol Campbell is starting to piss me off with this competent defending

Andrew said...

Nice backheel from Ade to Nasri around the six, but nothing comes of it. And not Eboue is getting chippy (pronounced "she-pee" for our French friends) after a Hughes challenge on Diaby.

Andrew said...

JT: I went off gamecast until I could find a stream. Following gamecast is like reading outside by candlelight in a hurricane.

JT said...

Re: Everton

It must be noted that since all their strikers got injured, they've beaten Man City and 'Boro and been held to a point at home by Chelsea (a game they should have won).

Not bad, that.

JT said...

NYK: He's the only Pompey player worth anything at the moment

Ibracadabra said...

Schwarzer, as usual, man of the match for Fulham. 5 first half saves already. A fantasy stud, really.

Andrew said...

It's good to have Nasri back on the field. He's always pushing, always creative. He's like the one player I can trust. Him and Sagna.

The NY Kid said...

Why must you dimiss Calamity James?

Oh, never mind.

JT said...

Wigan take the lead at the JJB via the penalty spot.

NYK: let's face it, he's just about finished. Crouch should have buried his header instead of plinking the post.

Ibra: yeah, he's the sole reason that 1-0 lead is holding. Figured they'd have a battle without Bullard in the lineup today.

Andrew: my one complaint with Nasri is that he doesn't seem to have the physicality needed to really get through defenders. He's always pushing down the wing and always trying to create scoring chances, but I feel like it's easy enough to just usher him down the wing knowing that he's not going to outmuscle a defender down the touchline.

Andrew said...

And if I may say, the way the Pool have won the past two games has me almost convinced they're ready to take the Prem this year.

Ibracadabra said...

47 mins - most of anelka's goals are accidental but even he couldn't do anything about that one after ivanovic drilled a volley into his french jewels.

The NY Kid said...

and Calamity James almost strikes, but Silvestre is unable to drive home the header.

As for Nasri, I agree that he isn't physical enough, because that's not how Ligue 1 operates, but I think he will get there.

Andrew said...

Yes Denilson, yes! Give a FK right in front of our area.

The NY Kid said...

dammit - Fat Frank equalizes

Andrew said...

Nice ball from Nasri to oops, Bendtner fell down. As Bendtners are wont to do.

The NY Kid said...

Nicklas Bendtner - mostly useless since 2006

Ibracadabra said...

NY -

And just after I was singing the Aussie's praises - Schwarzer makes a real mess of it so Lampard can finish with his customary forward run / tap-in / clean up the mess finish. typical. this one will end 2-1 to the blues.

The NY Kid said...

yeah, Scwharzer and the defense really bollocksed that one

Andrew said...

Tons of possession around Pompey's 18, good control by Ade in the box . . . no shot, give up possession.

Come on you Gunners!

The NY Kid said...

please tell me that Zaki took the PK for Wigan - after Given's performance today I need all the points I can get to maintain my lead in fantasy footy (at least amongst the UF authoers)

Ibracadabra said...

Anyone watching this one?

1514: Bad times for Stoke fans. Ricardo Fuller has been sent-off for striking his own team-mate, Abdoulaye Faye. I don't think the striker will be in Tony Pulis' good books.

JT said...

NYK - yep, he did.

Also, Ricardo Fuller sent off for Stoke (with the game tied at 1-1) for trying to punch his own captain who was at fault for the Hammers' equalizer. MUST. FIND. VIDEO.

Andrew said...

Nice counter from Nasri to Bendtner to Nasri, but the final cross isn't heavy enough for Ade.

AND ADE BLOWS HIS SECOND CHANCE.

The NY Kid said...

another gaffe from James, and Ade can't even get it on target

Andrew said...

James had come out to handle a cross. He mishandled the cross, leaving Ade with the ball in his lap and an open net. Ade can't finish.

Ibracadabra said...

fuller with his best lee bowyer/kieron dyer impression. season's greetings.

Andrew said...

Arsenal HOOF the ball.

Andrew said...

Get Bendtner out. Now. Relieve him off his duties.

Of course Eboue comes off - because he played well enough - but our Tiny Mexican comes on. And not soon enough.

Andrew said...

Bendtner with the head off a corner nails some Pompey in the hand. Non-call. But I wish the ref had seen fit to call it. Does that make me bad? Or just SAF?

JT said...

It makes you merely bad. If you're still bitching about it by Thursday, then you're SAF.

As for the rest of the games, did LFC hog all the goals for today, or what?

Andrew said...

Nasri with a nice shot, James with a better save.

Andrew said...

Ramsey on, Diaby off. Sixteen minutes plus to make this right.

Andrew said...

10-1 advantage us in corners. 0-0 on the scoreboard.

Andrew said...

IT'S IN THE NET! GALLAS WITH THE HEAD!

jjf3 said...

Calamity James strikes again, and Gallas with the header in...

and I hate Fat Frank

JT said...

Dear Gunners fans:

Start loving William Gauloises again.

Andrew said...

Now, defend. Please, defend. We should bring on a holding mid for Bendtner.

Andrew said...

Billy Gauloise! We're playing some flowing footie now - have been playing it, but the goal seems to have loosened us up.

And my word verification was backturd.

Ibracadabra said...

andrew -

no holding midfielders on the bench. but i hear viera and flamini are just a direct flight to italy away.

Ibracadabra said...

roman bednar is that kid in u-9 AYSO soccer who develops faster than all the other kids and just steamrolls his way into the penalty area with no skill, just strength. got to love the tank.

Andrew said...

That's really what we need: a holding mid and another center back. I kinda want to see Kobiashvili come over from Schalke.

JT said...

Dempsey again!!!

Andrew said...

You are my Dempsey, my only Dempsey . . .

JT said...

2-0 West Brom at the death

Andrew said...

A win for Arsenal. We left it late, but there we are.

The NY Kid said...

I fully expect all 'Pool fans to be wearing Deuce kits tomorrow

Jordan said...

Hey all,

Long time lurker who really enjoys the blog. For the live blogs, why don't you guys use Cover It Live? (http://www.coveritlive.com/). I'm sure you've seen it, its sort of like a chat and you can moderate if you wish.

I just figured it'd be easier for everyone to communicate and also for people like me to follow along without having to refresh the comments every so often!

Just wondering if you're against it, don't know about it, or what... You should guys really think of using it. :)

Thanks!

ü75 said...

@Jordan-
We have looked at cover it live and watched others use it. That said, we are not really happy with the impermanence of what is written. We decided it was better to have a system like we do where everything--both the liveblog and the comments--are easily accessible for someone coming in late to the thread. The problem with CIL is the need to scroll through what is essentially a chat setup to find what others have said.

That may change in the future, but right now that's where we stand.

jjf3 said...

Fucking Rovers...
Dear Mr Ooijer - the next time you have 30 seconds left in a game you lead, and someone like Robinho drifts out to the left in attack, CHASE HIM, INSTEAD OF RUNNING THE FUCK AWAY!!

Sincerely,
JJF3.

jjf3 said...

Just saw the replay yet again, and that's either Emerton or Nelsen running away. Sorry, Ooijer. But, either way, that's still fucking pathetic on someone's part. And I'm close to putting money on Blyth Spartans next week...

And, all you Arsenal fans, why are you not demanding Hengeland for every last free penny Arsene has?