Welcome to the first EPL Round-up. These will happen weekly or bi-weekly, depending on whether there are midweek games. You won’t get all of the summaries here, but you will get a push in the right direction.
Finals (home team first; top four in the table listed in green, 5th place in brown, bottom three in red*)
Jermain Defoe has 115 goals in 310 Premier League games. That’s .37 goals/game. Wayne Rooney has 87 goals in 236 Premier League games: .37 goals/game. Defoe has come on as a substitute in almost a third of his games played (29%). Rooney has been a substitute only 17% of the time. Who’s joining me in the JD18 fan club?
Defoe had FIVE goals against a Wigan team that has struggled to maintain their form this season: After beating Villa 2-0 to start the year they have lost 0-5 to Man United, beaten Chelsea 3-1, lost to Arsenal 0-4, and now this Tottenham embarrassment. Aaron Lennon and Defoe were given unbelievable amounts of space. Lennon had four assists before leaving in the 79th minute (he was replaced by David Bentley, who scored on a free kick in a rare appearance). It was Defoe’s day, though. All of his goals were well-taken, and he would have scored five more if he had five more touches. He is simply the best English striker going right now, and should be paired with Rooney on the World Cup squad next summer. Anything less would be uncivilized.
Liverpool is terrible at defense. A hallmark of the Rafa Benitez era, the Reds haven’t looked solid in the back all year. Kyrgiakos is not a EPL-level defender, and Liverpool isn’t one of the six best teams in England this year. On the other side, every time Manchester City doesn’t win they are underperforming. If any team could use Benitez on their sidelines it’s the citizens: A team as talented as it is disorganized. If Leiva Lucas was an actual soccer player instead of an extra from Risky Business, City would have dropped a very winnable game. As it is, they are left to wonder how a team with so much attacking talent has only scored the sixth most goals in the league. They must have thought they bought more than that with their nearly 200 million pound summer spending spree.
Clint Dempsey put in a full 90 for Fulham but failed to make an impact. He has been one of their best players this season. If you’re looking for a EPL team to follow, Fulham is a fun choice.
Brad Friedel continued to play well in goal for Villa, but is showing lapses in concentration that never used to plague the notoriously fit and focused American goalie. The Burnley goal came after poor communication from Friedel and defender Richard Dunne created a mess in the box during a free kick. Brad Guzan was on the bench for the Villagers, presumably still looking like a young Brad Friedel.
Marcus Hahnemann made the bench for Wolves and probably spent most of the game secretly admiring Michael Essien like the rest of us.
Jozy Altidore got his first start of the season for Hull. He played well and, considering how absurdly horrible Hull has been this year, deserves more playing time going forward. He drew the foul that set up the first Hull score.
Everton looks awful this year, and I’m not just saying that as a Liverpool fan.
*The top 4 teams in the EPL standings earn bids to the 2010 UEFA Champions League. The 5th place finisher wins an automatic berth in the Europa Cup, a step below CL. The bottom three finishers are relegated to the second division (called the Championship).