Category: Archive

Soccer Scene Man. Utd., Gunners even atop Premier standings

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Joe Behan

The English Premier League is taking its expected shape at the top of the table. Manchester United beat Leicester 3-nil to go top with a brace from Teddy Sheringham. Arsenal knew nothing less than a home victory against Aston Villa would be the order of the weekend. Thierry Henry came up trumps again with the winner. keeping United and the Gunners level with 18 points.

Leicester is now in third place and none other than Liverpool and Leeds are in fourth and fifth. Villa are there or thereabouts, and that’s the premiership contenders with Newcastle thrown in there.

It’s like writing the same story as last season. Not much has changed. It seems like we have to wait for Ferguson to pack it in at Old Trafford. The EPL is the main focus, but do we want to read the same results and stories not week after week but year after year? It’s certainly looking that way at the moment almost to the point of boredom.

Newcomers more interesting

The interesting pack to watch for now is the teams from eighth place to 12th. Ipswich Town is the up and coming team who drew 1-all with West Ham. Ex-Ipswich and Scottish full back George Burley is the Town’s manager. He is determined to keep his side focused on good performances and not to get carried away with eighth position.

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It’s great to see Ipswich back in the hunt as attractive football has been the trademark for the club over many years.

West Ham, no stranger to the beautiful game, prevented Ipswich from pulling off the victory which their play deserved; in typical fashion Utd.’s Paolo Di Canio struck a customary volley midway through the second half that spoiled the three points for Ipswich.

Matt Holland, who started his career with West Ham, is in excellent form both for Ipswich and the Republic of Ireland. He is a consistent passer of the ball, works hard and scores goals. Holland captains the Town and his energetic approach to the game is precisely what the club manager, Burley, is looking for.

Ipswich has tied the top teams at Portman Road and means of doing so were under the spotlight. The club was fined £2,500 by the FA because their floodlights were not up to standard against Manchester United on Aug. 22. The problem was blamed on building work, which had taken place in the South Stand.

Charlton, beaten 3-1 by Leeds Utd., were pushed into ninth place. Utd.’s Mark Viduka ended Charlton and Alan Curbishley’s unbeaten run of five games in the premiership with an elegant back-heel game winner. Curbishley said: "I’d warned my players at half time that they had to pick themselves up, otherwise they were going to get badly hurt. They did just that but the referee didn’t help. He missed a lot of things, including a penalty for us, and his performance was disappointing. I’ve been to tell him exactly that."

It is no secret that referees are having a hard time at all levels of the game. Curbishley must not let officials become the excuse; they are not going to determine his survival in the premier. Things will even out over the season and Charlton must get back on the unbeaten road.

Mark Kinsella, doing very well in the Charlton ranks, is becoming a household name for the Republic of Ireland. After admitting it’s about time he needs to score for his country, he did just that when the Irish beat Estonia 2-nil in a World Cup qualifier. Kinsella and Holland are players to watch on the international scene as well as the domestic cup games.

Sunderland managed to give Chelsea’s Claudio Raneiri his first league defeat with a Kevin Philips penalty. Niall Quinn’s persistence earned the vital spot kick and Sunderland can thank the big Irishman for a huge win. Mario Melchiot tugged Quinn’s shirt to prevent him reaching a high cross and Winter pointed to the spot. Sunderland were the surprise team of the season last year and stay in the hunt for the award once again.

In 11th place is Spurs and George Graham, who were beaten 2-1 by Coventry. Fans are becoming impatient with Graham and it will be interesting to see what the m’stro will do.

The last of this group is Manchester City, who beat Bradford 2-nil. No-nonsense Joe Royle continues to bench George Weah and it seems there are personal problems involved. Royle insisted that when players are left out at Manchester City is no different.

EPL bottom teams

Everton drew 1-all with Southampton and Gazza won man of the match. Emile Heskey scored a hat trick in Liverpool’s 4-nil romping of last-place Derby. Bradford and West Ham have much work to do and points are needed now, particularly for Bradford. Chelsea is down there, but one has to expect no problems with relegation.

Celtic Roundup

With the way Celtic are playing these days it’s no surprise to see fan clubs on the rise.

The new Celtic supporters club, Brian Boru’s Pub, hope to have a club meeting within the next two weeks to discuss membership, fees, game schedules, election of officers and even a trip to a Celtic game.

Boru’s will be showing all Celtic matches and more. If you require more information, please contact Brian Boru’s Pub, 924 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park, NY 11040 or call (516) 488-6542.

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