Skip to main content

Premier League Opening Weekend: The games I saw

No use boring you with a complete Premier League digest or something "informative" like that when you can just as easily look on http://www.espnfc.us/ or any number of sites for that kind of detailed, factual information. Instead, let me give you my impressions of a few games I watched this weekend:

Tottenham vs. West Ham United: I feel like Tottenham should have steam-rolled West Ham but West Ham had far more chances in the first half, even a missed penalty kick by Noble which could have completely turned the tables on the game and probably saved them (at least) a tie. I was in a bar watching this game on a tiny, far-away television and couldn't hear the announcers or see the players very well. So in terms of tactical observations or who were my stand-out players...I've got "nil" for you. Tottenham did manage to sneak in an injury time goal off the boot of Eric Dier, saving them the win and their dignity. Right now Tottenham is my adopted Premier League team, but I may have to put them on waivers if I don't see something more than the tepid, un-exciting football I saw them exhibit in this match.

Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace: You've gotta be interested in any team called "Crystal Palace," for god's sake. Clearly the underdog here, CP logged an early goal off a header (really a deflection) by one of their defenders on a corner kick, but Arsenal equalized later in the half and then went ahead later in the game. Final score: 2-1. To mind, there's no real debate here who's the better team. Arsenal were just too damned good, too efficient, and too persistent with quality runs to have lost this game. You could play it 100 more times and they'd win it 90. Starting with Alexis Sanchez (F) who to me seems to be the stand-out player, they've got a dizzyingly deep squad, and their three Germans -- Ozil, Podolski, and Mertesacker -- aren't even starting yet. Arsenal were the classiest and tightest of all the teams I watched this weekend, no doubt.

Manchester City Vs. Newcastle United: Now THIS was an interesting game. Man City are the 13/14 Premier League Champions, going up against the scrappy, young, middle-of-the-standings Newcastle United, a squad which featured four new players on its starting 11. A beautiful goal by Man City's David Silva in the first half provided some relief after what had been a pretty tense first half without many decent runs by either squad; in fact the Man City goal almost seemed like an anomaly or a freak accident. Newcastle held most of the game after that, but Sergio Aguero neatly popped in a rebound shot in injury time in the second half, sealing the deal.

I like Newcastle United, however, for the following reasons:


  • That's the team that the Buzz Feed EPL Team Selector picked for me
  • They're a young, mostly new team consisting of at least three new players from France, one of them a small, scrappy, clever mid-fielder named Remy Cabella, with a black mohawk. For sheer entertainment value, guts, and play-creation, for my money he's the best player I've seen so far. Combined with countrymen Emmanuel Riviere (F). Moussa Sissoko (M) and others, I think this is a squad that could climb in the standings. 
  • They've got this completely bad-ass black and white striped Home jersey's that look like American referee's jersey's but cooler. 
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a tough city in Northeast England with a population of about 200,000, known for mining a lot of coal and producing Newcastle Brown Ale. 
  • The team nickname is the Magpies
  • The term for someone from Newcastle is a "Geordie"
  • Apparently, people from this area have accents so thick, even other English people have trouble figuring out what they're saying.
  • Last but not least: before the game started they held a touching on-field ceremony for two of their supporters killed in the MH17 disaster who were on their way to watch a Newcastle United game in New Zealand. 
Sounds like like Newcastle-upon-Tyne has got some ffffing character, if you ask me. I come from a small city in the Upper Ohio Valley, near Pittsburgh; a once-proud region of the country known for its steel production, now known mostly for not having a lot of jobs (until recently when the whole fracking boom hit). Anyway, I've got a natural predilection to root for the underdog, the tough little guy, one nobody expects to win. That's partly why Newcastle United appeals to me. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Apologizer" by Milan Kundera

Issue: May 4, 2015

Rating: $$

Review: It took me five years and three separate attempts to finish Milan Kundera's famous novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but in spite of that, quotes and insights from that book still rattle round my head on a weekly basis. What I mean to say is: my feelings on Kundera are very similar to my feelings on Haruki Murakami. I enjoy reading his work, but in small doses, like this short story.

Like Murakami, Kundera uses elements of magical realism, but where in a Murakami story you might encounter a flying dolphin or a disappearing hotel or a person who has lived his whole life in the same room, refusing to leave, Kundera's magical realism offers more direct insights and perspective on real life.

In Kundera's worlds, time and space are malleable and everything that ever happened in history is happening at the same time, and the narrator is a completely omniscient, caring, witty, and hands-on god-like being.

And so it is with "The Apo…

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Meet the President!" by Zadie Smith

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If you told me when I was 12 that I'd be doing this I'd have been like, "Dork. There's no such thing as blogs," and I'd have been right...

Issue: Aug. 12 & 19, 2013

Story: "Meet the President!"

Author:Zadie Smith

(Please note: I've developed a highly sophisticated grading system, which I'll be using from now on.  Each story will now receive a Final Grade of either READ IT or DON'T READ it. See the bottom of the review for this story's grade...after you've read the review, natch.)

Plot: Set in England, far into the future (lets say 2113) a privileged youth of 15, named Bill Peek, encounters a few poor villagers from a small, abandoned coastal town on the southeast shore. He meets a little girl named Aggie, who is going to her sister's funeral. Peek is cut-off from real life by a sophisticated video game system that is implanted in his head, therefore th…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…