The weekend goes…like this:
• Toffees Hope To Kick The Spurs Out of Town.
One little Merseyside radio spot, and it’s all “Landon, Landon, Landon going to Goodison, Goodison, Goodison.”
Not so fast. If you haven’t seen it, check out our notes here.
Everton finally found the netting last week at the Derby, but affix an asterisk in that it was still the work of aging Tim Cahill and recently-re-signed Mikel Arteta that provided nearly 95% of the offense.
Some good movement did occur above them through Yakubu, or the Nigerian Altidore, who did the Jozy thing by going on a few missed a few chances despite making a few stellar runs.
Beyond Yakubu up top, summer import Jermaine Beckford needs to redeem himself fast. The Leeds alumnus has lost the Goodison faithful already and he’s nearly close to losing the coach.
For Tottenham Hotspur, a rough go of it in Champion’s League action at the San Siro still saw the pride of Wales Gareth Bale gather a hat trick.
Spurs clearly missed the play-making of cup-tied suspended Rafael Van Der Vaart, but it’s nice to know the late transfer season acquisition is making an impact.
The Spurs midfield is looking in fine form now that Bale’s been making hay from the left mid spot. Van Der Vaart slots out right and forward and Modric carries the ball while big Tom Huddlestone bangs around the middle making his presence felt and trailing behind looking to snap a cracker.
Everton is stout at home and loops two together here to begin a streak.
• Fulham leave the Cottage and hope to bag a point at West Bromwich.
Who would have thought West Brom vs. Fulham would have been one of the marque match-ups in the EPL at this stage?
While Fulham continue to try to find their footing without Bobby Zamora, West Brom have been the Arsenal Jr. of the Premiership, owning possession and creating changes against all clubs big and small.
Last week, a Van Der Saar gap helped them earn a point at Old Trafford, but West Brom….West Brom! is the surprise of the season thus far.
• Lord Birmingham drops the drawbridge at St. Andrews for the Tangerine seasiders from Blackpool
…or you may say Blackpool is….the surprise squad that is.
Interesting game, this.
Birmingham has been nails at home and Blackpool is the strongest team on the road in the Barclays.
This game is going to come down to one thing…how it’s called. If Birmingham are allowed to impose their physical-nasty style on Blackpool and limit the Tangerines’ free flowing game, it should be a stroll in the park. If the zebras go whistle-happy, Blackpool’s got their shot.
• Derby Time: Wigan vs. Bolton
First, its derby” not “darby”…I don’t know how anyone even makes that mistake…..
Yikes, rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday in Manchester.
That means sloshball at DW Stadium, notoriously the worst pitch in Great Britain not named Wembley.
Puddles favors over-the-top ball which again favors Wigan…only they don’t play all that well at home.
Here’s a prediction: Bank on an assist or, yes, the first premiership goal from Stu Holden after Honduran Hednry Thomas or “Virgin Nigel De Jong” fells him 30 yards out.
• Team Aston Villameria takes to the Stadium of Light and prepares to go Kim Jong Il on Sunderland.
Who is Marc Albrighton and why am I not paying attention?! Why didn’t the TSG faithful alert me to this kid?!
Under Gerard Houllier, the Villa Park inhabitants have to love the offense flow and Albrighton is a big part of that with three starts under Houllier.
Expect better things from Villa.
Oh, and American Eric Lichaj might get some run in this one as outside back Luke Young is shelved for a pay period.
For Sunderland, yeah, Darren Bent scores, Lee Cattermole gets a yellow card and it’s another lost opportunity. Actually, not really. Incredulously, the Black Cats haven’t beat the Villians at home since George Bush’s first term. Yes, really.
• The Manchester City Rooneys-In-Waiting roll out a different carpet for the Cannons from Emirates
(Preview via Shaun)
There are many games in the EPL this weekend, but the biggest (other than Liverpool versus Blackburn…who would have ever thought) is at the City of Manchester Stadium, which host the Gunners. Second versus third, things got a little ugly last year, when Emanuel Adebayor scored and ran the entire length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans (he also stamped on Robin Van Persie face earlier in the match).
Arsenal fans acted pretty poorly knocking over a steward in the process. A year removed and everything should be calm….should be. Adebayor hasn’t been all that impressive in the EPL (he scored a hat trick this week in Europe) and David Silva scored a fantastic goal after replacing him against Blackpool. Look for the Spaniard to get the nod and partner with Tevez this Sunday.
Arsenal are fresh from a 5-1 route of Shakhtar Donetsk and will look to bring the same lineup against The Blues. Hopefully Chamkah can continue his rich vein of form and find the back of net up north.
We here at TSG predict a high scoring draw. Hopefully a 3-3 one. That said the major difference in the teams is their keeping with Joe Hart excellent in goal and Fabianski…not quite so.
• The Maurice Edu Classic: The Old Firm Game.
As we tweeted on Thursday: Beyond Donovan and Dempsey–who both have the “attack” gene–if you had to have one American to convert a clutch goal with a game on the line, aren’t you betting on Maurice Edu?
Edu notched the game winner the last time these squads met in February. He should have had the game winner against Slovenia for the national team and just this past Wednesday, had he not tried to play a little defense and even his plus-minus, he would have had another big-game winner.
Maurice Edu, you’re third string US central midfielder. Man the Yanks are stacked.
• The Capitols take on the Argonauts as DC United close versus Toronto FC
More people tailgating at USA vs. Colombia last week or in the stands at RFK this Saturday?
I’ll take the under on 8,800 folks.
Will the Ben Olsen era close Saturday? Maybe a better question is “Who wants the DC United job?”
No doubt, TSG photog, Matt “Ansel” Mathai will deposit some phenomenal photos of Jaime Moreno’s final game in our inbox.
Here’s hoping for a win in Moreno’s sendoff and for our good friend Matt.
• Houston vs. Seattle
The two fan bases that love each other the most close the season together.
Alexi Lalas picked Seattle to hoist the MLS Cup on Thursday. Did you really mean that Alexi or were you trying to generate the same buzz as when you hired Ruud Gullit in L.A?
Better question, is this Houston’s final game without a Designated Player? ….just made some Dynamo fans giddy.
• The John Denver Exhibition Bowl: Colorado Rapids take on the Salt Lake
Can I just see everyone’s–I mean my–Rookie-Of-The-Year pick Ross LaBaeux on the pitch just once this season?
Probably not going to win that one, is he.
In the draft folder here at TSG, is a column entitled, “Some things that didn’t come true.” Let’s just say the “LaBaeux factor” didn’t even make the top-10 in that one.
Anyone else think this Collen Warner kid has a little shimmy to him for RSL? Flashed a little offense in CONCACAF play on Tuesday but I liked how he kept up the disciplined aggressiveness after an early yellow.
• Will Kansas City Concoct Any Wizardry now that they’re out of the playoffs?
Vermes squad welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to Tornadoville.
Says here that Teal Bunbury stretches the onion bag more than Wondolowski in this one. Oops just added to that draft column.
Coming up later today, La Liga and Bundesliga….