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EPL Week 13: A Look Back


Heurelho Gomes is a very good goalkeeper.

No, really, he is.

Okay, so maybe anybody will have a hard time believing that given some of the Brazilian goalkeeper’s mistakes since joining Tottenham from PSV Eindhoven last summer. It was easier to ignore those mistakes when he was just one of many players underachieving. Now, with Tottenham showing signs of life, Gomes’ mistakes are even more magnified.

A Gomes’ blunder helped Fulham knock off the Spurs and slow down the Harry Redknapp Revolution, at least for a week. No such stopping the league’s powers, Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United, which all cruised. Arsenal tumbled yet again, leaving Arsene Wenger to scratch his head at his enigmatic squad.

SBI EPL correspondent James Tyler of The Unprofessional Foul gives us his take on Tottenham’s tumble, as well as the rest of the weekend’s action in the English Premier League:

Tottenham express hits a bump


Ladies and gents, the wheels are off at White Hart Lane. The bandwagon crashed this weekend, ending a euphoric fortnight for Spurs in which they beat everything in sight (including my Reds twice, sigh). One thing is certain: Redknapp is clearly the man for Tottenham, what with his crafty demeanor and no-nonsense attitude. Calling him Harry Houdini is perfect. They hadn’t beaten Fulham in the EPL in 6 years, but with Harry at the helm, wasn’t the outcome obvious?

Not with Heurelho Gomes between the posts. Dempsey tested him early with a ferocious shot from long-range, but it wasn’t long until Simon Davies’ speculative cross/shot from the left wing made Gomes look like the most expensive 10-million dollar mistake since Swept Away. Gomes failed to handle it under no pressure whatsoever, and it slipped off his hands, bounced off his chest and in. Insane as it sounds, but I bet Tottenham Nation misses Paul Robinson greatly.

When Bale and Gomes failed to clear a corner, Andy Johnson made it 2-0 from close range, and despite a late Frazier Campbell goal, Fulham held on, sending Spurs back into the relegation zone. It’s a much-needed burst of reality for Spurs, who were a vogue pick to finish Top 4 back in July, only to find themselves in a very real fight for mid-table survival. The league is stronger all-round this season than in recent years, not to mention the fact that everyone’s beating everyone at the moment and no-one wants to take control of their destiny (see Man City, Portsmouth, West Ham). It’s worth noting that just 10 points separate 6th from 20th. That’s parity we can almost believe in.

Redknapp will eventually guide them to credibility, but their defeat this weekend gave me a breather from all the Spurs/Redknapp/Messiah hyperbole. After all, two weeks does not a season save.

And in the rest of the week:

Bolton 0, Liverpool 2
It should have been 5- or 6-0 for the visitors, but I’ll take it. Fernando Torres continues his gradual return to match fitness, and with a couple of late, glaring misses, it’s clear he needs more time to warm up. Dirk scored AGAIN, his 7th in all competitions this season (he’s almost doubled his EPL tally from last season already), and Gerrard’s header late sealed the deal. They’re still second to Chelsea thanks to the almost insurmountable goal difference, but I’m refreshed to see us passing these tests week after week (except for that f*cking Spurs game), and relieved that we didn’t fall apart despite not having Torres for a full month.

Arsenal 0, Aston Villa 2
What’s Arsene’s excuse this week? It’s great when your kindergartners can embarrass Wigan midweek in the Mickey Mouse Cup, but when you can’t get it done at home the week after knocking off Fergie, can there really be any words of comfort or solace for the Gunners? Last weekend confirmed that they were legit contenders; what does this weekend confirm? Other than that Bendtner’s useless, I’m not entirely sure. Arsenal did begin brightest, but Villa were worth the 3 points, even with help from Gael Clichy’s forehead for their first goal. A truly great performance on the road by Martin O’Neill’s side, winning at Arsenal for the first time in 15 years, although they don’t get much time for back-patting before facing Man United next week. As if it couldn’t get worse for Wenger, he’ll likely be without Sagna for a few weeks. Can Carlos Vela play right-back?

Blackburn 1, Sunderland 2
Dear oh dear, Paul Ince. Up against your Old Trafford battering-mate, and in the clash of former fearsome central midfielders, you’re outdone at home by the Irish firebrand, who looks 1,000,000 times more menacing with the salt-and-pepper facial hair. The Mackems deserved the points for their second-half alone (although Santa Cruz was unlucky with his late effort bundled off the line), and the loss puts Blackburn in the Bottom 3. They were a Top 10 team last season; does the loss of David Bentley really mean that much? Me thinks it’s Hughes’ departure that hurt the psyche most.

Man United 5, Stoke 0
Simple. Clinical. Expected. The Potters are going down, surely. Stealing points here and there doesn’t make up for the gulf in talent between Stoke and almost everyone else. They’ll go down fighting though. The fact that Ronaldo’s found his scoring touch again scares the life out of me. When you’re getting phenomenal goals from your 17-year-olds, this one from Danny Welbeck, you know your season should turn out alright despite a rocky start against your biggest competition.

Newcastle 2, Wigan 2
I never liked Titus Bramble; it was his season-killing late goal at Anfield last season that began my hatred. This weekend, he did it again, but against his former club for good measure. Does Bramble enjoy the attention? I’m thinking so. The late equalizer from Bramble’s noggin capped an entertaining clash that saw the Magpies score 2 in the last 10 minutes to seemingly snatch a win after Wigan had a man sent-off midway through the second half. The result leaves both teams just above the relegation zone on goal difference alone.

West Ham 0, Portsmouth 0
If two dull-ish mid-table sides meet and play out lifeless goalless draw with just three real goalscoring chances and no-one watched it, did it happen? Sadly yes, and the point doesn’t really help either team much in their quests for self-determination. Worth noting that the pint-sized savior Gianfranco Zola has marshalled the Hammers to just 2 points from 7 games. Yep. He was definitely a smart hire.

West Brom 0, Chelsea 3
Another simple win for Luiz Felipe Hackman (the resemblance is uncanny). The Blues win comfortably on the road again, and Nicolas Anelka continues to look like an actual striker.

Everton 1, Middlesbrough 1
zzzzzzzzzz I’ve nothing good to say about either side, so I’ll simply move on.

Hull 2, Man City 2
With his abject failure to get wins with his retooled, money-laden squad, are we setting the stage for Hughes’ dismissal in the New Year, perhaps to be replaced by someone newer, sexier and more Portuguese? I’d imagine so. Four decent goals, and four examples of awful defending defined them all. While it’s all fun and games to have an attacking line of Wright-Phillips (who’s definitely found himself again after that Stamford Bridge phase), Robinho, Elano, Benjani and Jo, does any of it matter when you can’t even play a simple back-pass? Meanwhile, Hull’s impressive season continues.


  1. Mig,

    I agree. I had them too high going into this season, but at the same time I think they finish safely. The results will eventually catch up with the football (God i hope so at least!)

    Hey have been “hard done by” in a few games. I’m optimistic after their first clean sheet in 25 games…

  2. Danny, hey…you’re a fan(atic)! You get a pass for that…even if it is West Ham. 🙂

    I won’t write off Zola yet and I’d bet a lot of money that the Hammers will not get relegated as offered by one post. I said 12th or 13th at the beginning of the season and I’ll stick with that. No malice, just my assessment. They HAVE been playing relatively decent football though…just missing some pieces.

  3. James,

    I do apologize for being insulting earlier. West Ham makes me irrational until I realize I’m being an ass, not an excuse–just an explanation.

    I disagree with you but sorry for making it personal.

  4. James,

    We’ll agree to disagree on how those games bore out. It was widely felt that in almost every game you mentioned (Arsenal, Boro, & Everton) West Ham were the better side fro most of each game.

    Arsenal it took Adebayor to come on for us to lose due to an OWN GOAL, then a late goal cause we sold out. Boro we led until the 80th minute, and Everton until the 83rd.

    West Ham losing Dean Ashton and missing Cole for 3 games were a major part of the problem. They don’t have must in the final 3rd, but they do play good football–I stand by that.

    I think Scott Parker getting a call back into the England squad underlines that fact.

  5. Also Danny, your claim that their football is very good yet their results suck is specious at best. How can they play good football and yet get beaten 4 weeks in a row? Something doesn’t add up. When things aren’t going right on the pitch, you look at the manager to pick things up. He’s not getting it done. He’s not ready to be a manager, yet alone just waltz into a job in the world’s best league.

  6. Fair Play Danny, but even so… that result at home to Everton says it all, really. Hard-fought lead, then they capitulate in the last 10.

    Also, if you read my other blog, you’d know I wrote Zola off as soon as they hired him. Why? Because his only managerial experience was as an assistant manager to the Italian U-21s, and suddenly he’s given a prominent job in the EPL. It’s a dumb choice, especially when there’s tons of more qualified managers around looking for a job.

    Oh, and in January, he’s not exactly going to have the money to go out and make it his squad. Where’s the money going to come from for wholesale changes? He’ll most likely have to sell most of their half-decent assets, which will only affect the squad and squad performance even more.

    I have seen them play much. I saw them get outclassed by Arsenal, I watched them play this weekend to little success, I watched Everton decimate them in the final 15 minutes, and I watched them accomplish nothing draw at Middlesbrough.

  7. James,

    Exactly that, because its 7 games. Its not even his squad, its not like this is Juande Ramos and he picked the squad and its not performing.

    Or how about the fact that he’s had injuries during that time to:

    Scott Parker, Valon Behrami, Mark Noble, Dean Ashton, etc.

    Look, I’m not saying Zola is mastermind, but to write him off already just feels like cliche hyperbolic “I want to be the first to cast him off” crap.

    Clearly, you haven’t seen them play much. Their football is very good, their results suck.

  8. re: Gomes

    I didn’t blame him for Spurs losing, but honestly, when you’re valued at 10 million quid and you screw up like that, it hardly helps your cause, does it?

    re: Zola

    2 points from 7 games. Explain to me how writing him off is unacceptable. (thanks, SonicDeathMonkey on that one)

    re: lack of imagination

    Jimmy Bullard should be EPL’s Player of the Year! How’s that?

  9. I was going to say what CommonSense provided… Fulham really controlled that game… despite the gaffe, 2-1 flatters Spurs, as the shots were 16-5 for Fulham and, even more telling… 13-2 shots on goal.

    Every report blaming the gaffe for the loss didn’t pay attention to the game and is just searching for a headline.

  10. “…but it wasn’t long until Simon Davies’ speculative cross/shot from the left wing made Gomes look like the most expensive 10-million dollar mistake since Swept Away.”


    If it were any more expensive, I suppose it would be, say, an eleven-million dollar mistake…

  11. Bill The Thrill/SonicdeathMonkey,

    I think his post offer no imagination whatsoever and he offers nothing new. I also think that anyone writing zola off (the only point I argued, if you notice) is silly.

    Sonic, was I the only one to disagree w/this post? Or you just hate West Ham so much you only respond to my criticism?

  12. You also have to remember, Gomes made some HUGE saves throughout the game, particularly on Dempsey’s long, dipping blast and Bullard’s two FKs.

    So yes, he conceded a horror goal (that was deflected by his defender), but he also kept Tottenham in a game they were clearly outplayed in.

    BTW, Clint just took his starting spot back from Gera. He had such a good game, was very creative and provided a lot on that right flank.

  13. Danny, when ARE you going to have that operation to have that stick removed? Hmmmmm? Two mid-table teams played to a dull, goalless draw = fact. The point didn’t really help either team = fact. Under Zola, West Ham has taken 2 out of a possible 21 points = fact. Just because somebody points out that your team is playing terrible football doesn’t give you the right to play internet bully. I know you think its your job and all, but until Ives starts paying you to be a jerk on here, its not.

  14. im a spurs supporter who was actually really excited when we picked up gomes. i honestly thought he could be one of the best goalies in england. he was great in holland for psv eindhoven… nobody would have predicted his downfall. his problems mostly come from a lack of confidence, same problem that killed robbo’s spurs career. i really want him to succeed, but it doesnt look like its gonna ever work out for him.

    as for the “wheels coming off” the redknapp express… relax, its one loss. we’re at home to blackburn this weekend, so we should be fine. remember, there are only 10 points separating 6-20 right now, spurs could easily be in the top half in a month or two.

    i hope spurs go after guzan. guzan is rotting on the bench for villa, at least loan him out.

  15. Roma might not be a good example.. they are struggling so far this year. I just hope they finally got a system that will work for them having decent results the last 3 matches all competitions

  16. James,

    Apparently you missed Robinson giving up a blundergoal for Blackburn this weekend. Don’t think Spurs is missing him too much.

    Maybe missing Keller, but not Robinson…

  17. More accurate depiction of how stoke is going down- Throwing.

    That said… A lot of teams can have a bad day and go down by 5 to Man U. Look at Roma. They got pounded worse by Man U last year, and they certainly wouldn’t get relegated in the EPL. One poor result, a season does not make.

  18. James,

    You are writing off Zola already? Ha, this is the 2nd time I’ve read your drivel and the 2nd time I’ve regretted it.

    Do you even watch? You make the most generic, boring generalizations ever.

    On the bright side, officially done wasting my time on your posts!


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