The Premiership had the weekend off last week due to World Cup qualifiers, which works out good for me, since I was a week behind anyway. So, better late than never, here's what went down in the last weekend of play.
(2-3-2) SUNDERLAND 1, (4-2-1) ARSENAL 1
Hull City's Week 6 win at Arsenal doesn't look as impressive after the Gunners followed that up with another stinkeroo, this time at Sunderland. They needed a 90th minute equaliser from Cesc Fabregas to avoid a second straight loss to one of the Premiership's unwashed masses.
(3-3-1) WEST BROM 1, (2-4-0) FULHAM 0
Albion is a team that seems to shuttle in between promotion and relegation every year, but they've won 2 in a row now, so maybe this time they'll stick around a while. Former Scottish League striker Roman Bednar scored the lone goal of the match.
(2-3-2) WIGAN 0, (3-4-0) MIDDLESBROUGH 1
See, the Premiership is a little like the NFL, sometimes nothing seems to carry over from week to week. Last week, Boro had an embarrassing home loss to West Brom, while Wigan got a huge feel-good home win over Robinho and Man City. This week, Wigan can't score and loses at home to that same crappy Boro team that couldn't win at home against Albion.
(3-3-1) BLACKBURN 0, (3-1-2) MANCHESTER UNITED 2
After a slow start to this campaign, the defending English and European Champs are definitely back. Rovers had an early scoring chance turned away, and then after that it was all Devils. Wes Brown tipped in a Ryan Giggs shot, and Wayne Rooney added the insurance on a rainy fall afternoon. Says Paul Ince of Man U, "They have some of the best players in the world. Sometimes you just have to hold up your hands and say, "Well done.".
(4-3-0) WEST HAM 1, (2-4-1) BOLTON 3
Wacky goals and wacky results can occur in the sloppy weather most of these matches were played in during Week 7. We had a little of both here. Bolton opened the scoring when West Ham goalie Robert Green had a drop on an easy cross that would embarrass Jerremy Stevens, and the Hammers never got it together after that. The Wanderers pick up their second win of the year in surprising fashion, topping a West Ham team that had been on a roll.
(5-0-2) CHELSEA 2, (4-2-1) ASTON VILLA 0
Here's how good Chelsea is. More than half of their starting lineup is hurt, or about half, whatever, this isn't math class, a lot of people are hurt. They are playing Aston Villa who has been on of the best teams in the league this year, and they just routinely swat them aside. Chelsea is better at soccer than any team in the NFL is at football.
(3-4-0) MANCHESTER CITY 2, (5-0-2) LIVERPOOL 3
Since I seem to be in the mode of comparing Premiership teams to NFL teams, I give you Manchester City, the Philadelphia Eagles of England. Everybody rubs their nipples over them and they have all kinds of scintillating talent, only Arsenal and Liverpool have a better goal differential than they do, and they still find a way to have a losing record. Here they have a chance to make a statement with a home match against one of the Big Boys, and in fact look like they will do just that by opening up a 2-0 lead. But then, Fernando Torres and his enchanted hamstring score 2 goals to tie it, and Dirk Kuyt drives home a rebound of a Torres shot in the 90th minute, and MCFC comes away with a big fat 0. Wah...wahhhh.
(4-3-0) PORTSMOUTH 2, (1-5-1) STOKE CITY 1
Don't send Ringo Starr any more fan mail! This is a serious message! I warn you in peace and love! I have too much to do!
(0-5-2) TOTTENHAM 0, (4-1-2) HULL CITY 1
Hull City is in third place in this here league, and we're almost a quarter of a way thru the season. Says Tigers coach Phil Brown on this newly promoted team's unbelievable start, "It is dreamland." 36,000 on hand, by the way, to watch this abortion of a Spurs team.
(2-3-2) EVERTON 2, (1-4-2) NEWCASTLE 2
There's 2 pretty high profile clubs that look like they are going to be flirting with relegation all year, and Newcastle is one of them. Give them credit here though, they fought back from a 2-0 deficit on the road to get a point that they may verwy well end up needing to stay in the Premiership.
TOP 5 (PTS/PLAYED/GD)
1. Chelsea 17/7/+11
2. Liverpool 17/7/+6
3. Hull City 14/7/-1
4. Arsenal 13/7/+8
5. Aston Villa 13/7/+2
16. Bolton 7/7/-2
17. Fulham 6/6/-2
18. Newcastle 7/5/-6
19. Stoke City 7/4/-6
20. Tottenham 7/2/-6
Top 5 Scorers
1. Jermain Defoe, Portsmouth, 5
Fernando Torres, Liverpool, 5
Amr Zaki, Wigan, 5
3. Gabriel Agbonlohor, Aston Villa, 4
Nicolas Anelka, Chelsea, 4
John Carew, Aston Villa, 4
Kevin Davies, Bolton, 4
And we'll close things out with an update on the other 2 relevant leagues in Europe:
Valencia and Villarreal are tied for first place in Spain's first division, so far edging out glamour clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid. Valencia has been driven by David Villa, who leads La Liga with 6 goals. Villarreal, meanwhile, has won with a suffocating style of play that has surrendered only 3 goals all year.
Barca and Real are lurking in the shadows though, 4th and 5th respectively. Barcelona has reloaded this year in their first post-Ronaldinho season, and is led by Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, who both have 5 goals. Real has been propelled by a 3 headed scoring monster of Raul, Rafael van der Vaart, and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Don't forget about Sevilla. They're right there in the mix for a Champions League shot, in third place.
Things are a little pazzo in Italy right now. Inter Milan is, as expected, one of the teams on top, but the two teams they are tied with, Lazio and Udinese, are definitely surprises. Lazio has been the highest scoring club in the league, and has been led by a player, Mauro Zarate, who is on loan from a club in Qatar. Given that he's leading the league with 6 goals, and that Lazio has the option to make the loan permanent, he'll probably be sticking around a while. Udinese's been staying on top due to its tough defense.
Further down the table, AC Milan got off to a horrid start, but is unbeaten in their last 4. This is a club that has the much celebrated Ronaldinho and Kaka in the fold, but they've combined for only 2 goals this year. Juventus is in 11th place, has scored 5 goals all year in Serie A, and their manager Claudio Ranieri, who led Chelsea from 2000-04, is under fire.