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Newcastle Preserves a Point v. Southampton; Other Stuff Happens

I've been totally remiss in the soccer aspect of this blog (and the literature part, really, but hey...it's summer time) and there was a lot to blog about this summer in the soccer world...the U.S. Women winning the World Cup, the U.S. Men getting exited from the Gold Cup by Jamaica, MLS action, transfers. etc. etc. But all that is behind us now because the prems are back, baby! Here's a quick round up:

Georginio Wijnaldum: New NUFC midfielder
makes good in first game with a goal
Newcastle 2-2 Southampton - This was an utterly "Newcastley" result...going down a goal, then tying, then going ahead! only to give up the equalizer in the last 10 minutes. But at least they held on for the point. Interesting that that three of this game's four goals came from headers of long, wide crosses, and the one that didn't (from Papis Cisse) came off a chested ball. I like that Cisse and the new guy Wijnaldum both broke their cherries in the first match, because we're gonna need a lot from them this season. NUFC's defense looked a little "Three Stooges"-ish, Coloccini didn't have a great game, but Colback seemed to get an injection of life into his legs in the last quarter of the game, which was promising. Obertan also worked his ass off all game. Tying with Southampton and putting away two goals...that's about the best I could realistically expect from Week 1 of a Magpies season after a very forgettable season in which they slid to the bottom quarter of the league table like a stone after the departure of head coach Alan Pardew. A lot to be happy about in this game.

Phillipe Coutinho about to shoot (not actually from
yesterdays game, but...sue me.
Liverpool 1-0 Stoke City - I didn't really have a dog in this fight other than a slight (very slight) favoritism toward Liverpool because my friend and EPL-watching partner likes them...but...this was crap football. Both sides seemed not to know what to do with the ball. Stoke were controlling the ball in their half and then bombing it up the field like high school footballers. Liverpool were not doing much better, knocking the ball forward at every opportunity, but to no one, really. Liverpool's game took on a lot more form and organization when Emre Can came in with about 20 minutes to go. Seemed like he took over the sort of "center mid" role of slowing the ball down, opening up space, and feeding balls to the right players. The moment of the game was when Coutinho blasted in a goal from 25 yards out; not only was it the game's only goal but it was the only time either team really threatened for goal. Stoke really missed a chance to take some critical early-season points from Liverpool here. 



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