Saturday, October 14, 2006

Little Thoughts

Good day, everyone. I hope all is well on this idyllic New England autumn morning.

Spurs 1-1 Villa

In the English midlands, we were treated to quite a goofy game between Spurs, desperate for points, especially road points, and Aston Villa, which has not lost a Premiership game this season. In the first half, Spurs played Spurs football, that is, enjoyed a lot of possession, created numerous scoring chances, did absolutely nothing with them.

In the second half, we ran into some injury trouble when Michael Dawson had to be substituted after sustaining his second concussion of the fledgling year (definitely not a good thing) in a knock with Juan Pablo Angel, leaving Calum Davenport, our third choice center back, as the only legitimate center back on the field for the Lilywhites. This all changed when Davenport was adjudged to have fouled Gabriel Agbonlahor in the box, although the BBC radio guys were pretty convinced Agbonlahor tripped over himself and were beside themselves when the referee not only pointed to the spot but presented Davenport with a red card. This is what happens when you run afoul of karma, I suppose.

Angel stepped up to take the penalty, but flashed his shot wide of Robinson's post, although England's Number One did pick the right direction. However, the damage had been done. This unfortunate bit of refereeing left Spurs with Pascal Chimbonda, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, and Paul Stalteri as their true defenders, none of which ever plays in the center of the pitch. Sure enough, we would be in for a wild final fifteen minutes.

Just moments after the penalty drama, Angel gifted Spurs a goal by heading a harmless Jermain Defoe corner kick into his own goal without a Spurs player anywhere near him. Everyone knew what was coming. Martin Jol sent on Edgar Davids for Dimitar Berbatov, and Spurs, down a man, would most certainly be under attack nonstop until the final whistle.

Spurs went to sort of an 8-1-1 formation, with 8 makeshift centerbacks, Benoit Assou-Ekotto on the left wing, and Jermain Defoe all by himself up front. It didn't take Gareth Barry long to rescue his team, slotting home from the edge of the box. Villa were playing with all ten of their field players in the Spurs half, determined to get a full share of the points. It nearly cost them when Jermaine Jenas picked someone's pocket and sent Defoe through with nothing between him and keeper (former Goon) Stuart Taylor except for forty yards of green grass. The linesman's flag went up, however, which made absolutely no sense because Defoe started his run from his own half of the field, and theoretically players can't be called offside from their own half.

Robbo, who was the subject of much abuse throughout the match by the home fans after the freak incident against Croatia mid-week, was called upon to make a string of fine saves as Villa's relentless attack continued through four minutes of stoppage time until Atkinson mercifully blew the game dead.

Borat is apparently quite popular in Zagreb. Paul Robinson is less so in England these days, although he was certainly a hero in today's match.

With the draw, Spurs earned their first away point of the season and cobbled together their best away performance to date. I feel like the sleeping giant is in the process of groggily waking up, rubbing the crud from his eyes. Aaron Lennon is back, Steed Malbranque will be following shortly.

After a trip to Turkey this week for the opening matchday in the UEFA Cup group stage, Spurs return to London and don't travel more than 45 miles away from the capital for an entire month. If maximum points can be achieved against West Ham at the Lane and Watford at Vicarage Road, Spurs could conceivably have breached the top half of the table going into the Chelsea derby on November 5. With a League Cup tie in Milton Keynes and another UEFA Cup home game against Brugge, these next few weeks will be exciting times in North London.

So how exactly do you go about getting into the top 25 again?

There are some things I just don't understand about college football. For instance, there's this team. It plays in one of the more prestigious conferences in division one, is off to a 6-1 start for the first time since some guy named Marino was playing quarterback, and is in the top 10 in all of division one in scoring with 37.5 points per game. It's not exactly giving them up, either, allowing an average of just 13 over points a game. And that's including a 38-point belch against Michigan State in the team's only loss.

This team's current quarterback had completed 70 percent of his passes this year, 17 of them for touchdowns, and only three into the arms of opposing players. His quarterback rating is 188.59. I have no idea how quarterback rating is computer, but I was previously under the impression that the scale doesn't even go that high.

The team's feature running back is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and is on his way to a 1,000-yard season. He's also pitched in 6 of the team's 11 rushing touchdowns.

The two top receivers have combined to catch 10 touchdown passes and both average more than 17 yards a catch.

This team is the University of Pittsburgh Panthers.

I realize the top 25 is pretty meaningless apart from reputation, but it's just insulting to sit here and watch Pitt demolish teams 52-7 while pus like Rutgers, a perennial shit stain on the Big East's underwear, has been in the top 25 for about a month now based on beating teams like South Florida by two points.

Things will probably be a little different come Monday, especially after Navy pisses all over Rutgers this afternoon, but I still take satisfaction about being able to play the no-respect card. So I'll continue to do it as long as Tyler Palko & co. are playing like they deserve everyone's respect.

1 comment:

Health Blog said...

With the draw, Spurs earned their first away
point of the season and cobbled together
their best away performance to date.