Thursday, November 1, 2012

Premier League Points : Week 9

Week 9 saw Chelsea stay top but their lead cut to just one point above both Manchester clubs. Many of this past weekend's games were rather boring but the officiating in two key games has to be the biggest story for this week.

Chelsea faced Manchester United at home and would be a pivotal game in the title race. If Chelsea were to win, they would put themselves seven points clear of Manchester United in October. It would not have been an insurmountable gap but rather a substantial boost to Chelsea's title-contender credentials. Manchester United easily exposed Chelsea's flaws in it's new system with counterattacks down the flanks at pace. One such attack led to Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic being shown a straight red card. It can easily be argued that Ashley Young went to ground without being fouled, as some angles show, but it could have just as easily gone the other way and it did. What followed was tragic; Mark Clattenburg single-handedly killed a cracking match. Fernando Torres was sent off for being fouled by Johnny Evans. I understand that referees are trying to crack down on diving but this was an egregious error. Yet, at nine men, Chelsea still bossed the game and looked to win if it were not for the dreaded offside goal that was allowed. Javier Hernandez was not called offside, nine times out of nine he would have been, and scored the match winner. Dreadful officiating in one of the biggest games of the season. Fergie will be happy that Clattenburg insured that United got all three points. The allegations and formal complaint filed after the match against Clattenburg will be addressed separately.

The Liverpool derby. This game is only rivaled, in my opinion, by the Liverpool-Manchester United derby game in terms of intensity and hatred between the two teams. What was shocking, besides the bad officiating, was the complete lack of any defensive cohesion by either team. I guess both coaches told their defenses to take the first half off. Liverpool looked the better team over the course of the second half and are still having problems in front of goal. The glaring error came at the death and Luis Suarez's game winner was shockingly called offside. It, in essence, was the opposite of the Chicharito goal against Chelsea. How it was disallowed must be infuriating to the red side of the Mersey.

And now for something completely different...Southampton did not look completely terrible against Tottenham.

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