United Extend Lead

January 31, 2009

ronaldoMan United used a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty just before half-time to secure a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford over Everton. United records yet another clean sheet as keeper Edwin Van der Sar now holds the English club record with over 1100 consecutive minutes without giving up a goal.

The three points send United five points clear of Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa who are all on 48 points. Everton missed an opportunity to gain ground on the top five, especially since Arsenal and Villa drew today.

Tomorrow’s Chelsea-Liverpool match-up will keep United’s lead at at least four points over one or both of their top tier foes.

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A Nil-Nil Kind of Day

January 31, 2009
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It was this kind of a day for most of the Premiership

Second tier clubs were unable to make up ground on the leaders of the English Premier League, and were in fact unable to score at all.

Starting at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal put forth a sorry home effort against West Ham United, drawing nil-nil. The result is pretty nice for the Hammers who currently sit in eighth place. One does not pick up an away point at the Emirates very often. Arsenal, meanwhile, should be happy to get anything out of today’s match. They’re lucky that Aston Villa drew above them.

Next we go to Villa Park where Aston Villa were equally inept on a day where they could have put a huge distance between themselves and the Gunners below them. Instead, a nil-nil draw with seventh place Wigan was the result. Again, not bad for Wigan emerging from a tough away match with a point, though they’re still quite a ways behind Arsenal for the final European qualification spot. Villa equal Chelsea and Liverpool on points but trail in differential so retain fourth. Chelsea and Liverpool play each other tomorrow.

A third match today ended without anyone scoring, Blackburn and Middlesbrough at the Riverside. Both clubs are in the relegation zone and even with their shared points, do not budge from eighteenth and nineteenth respectively.

On to a match where both clubs bothered to score. Bolton held off Tottenham on Kevin Davies’ second goal in the 87th minute, 3-2. Darren Bent went for a double within a three-minute span (72nd, 74th) to even the match on two goals each. The victory sends Wanderers up to twelfth place while Spurs slink back to fourteenth, another good opportunity missed.

The Britannia Stadium saw a red card and a single goal from the home side in Stoke City‘s 1-0 victory over hapless Man City. City, who cannot win away at all, gave up a short-handed goal after Rory Delap was sent off for Stoke in the 37th minute. James Beattie scored just before half for Stoke and the score held. Stoke jump out of the relegation zone but still have just 24 points. City meanwhile, continue their up-and-down season, this time ending up in tenth place.

Hull City and West Bromich Albion also completed a match without a winner today, a 2-2 draw at the KC Stadium. Hull had a 2-1 lead but Chris Brunt’s 73rd minute penalty for Albion evened the score on two. West Brom remain DFL even with the point after Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Stoke all earned points today as well. Hull continue to fall and are now in eleventh place.

Finally, Erik Nevland had a second half brace and Fulham took a 3-0 lead before winning 3-1 over sorry Portsmouth. Ever since the departure of Harry Redknapp (for the not really greener pastures of Tottenham), Pompey have been downright awful as evidenced again by their terrible performance today. David Nugent did score in the 84th minute to avoid the clean sheet but Pompey fall down to fifteenth place with this result. Fulham get back on track with the three home points and claim today’s ninth position.

Manchester United and Everton are kicking off in a matter of minutes and the big Chelsea-Liverpool match will be tomorrow, as well as the woeful Sunderland-Newcastle battle.


The Procrastinator – January 30

January 30, 2009

pro

So, it’s time for another edition of The Procrastinator newsletter, our bi-weekly attempt to write something coherent and interesting. This time around you’ll find mostly politics and some thoughts about the inauguration that happened just a few days ago.

For a web view, check out our newest feature, The Procrastinator Online.


The Procrastinator – January 30

Thanks for checking us out, as always, and enjoy the weekend and the Super Bowl.

Cheers


Premiership Predictions – Week 24

January 30, 2009

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The Premiership brings its second slate of matches this week on Saturday and Sunday. We have a new hierarchy in the EPL with Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Arsenal filling out the European qualification right now. The leadership will all have tough matches on the weekend as United host sixth place Everton, Liverpool host Chelsea, Villa host seventh place Wigan and Arsenal host eighth place West Ham. In other words, the top eight clubs all play each other this weekend. Elsewhere, Tottenham look to jump further up the table in a match at the Reebok and Fulham are keen to regain stature if they can win at Craven Cottage against Pompey.

Saturday:
Man City @ Stoke City – Stoke
West Ham @ Arsenal – Arsenal
Wigan @ Aston Villa – Wigan
Blackburn @ Middlesbrough – Boro
Tottenham @ Bolton – Tottenham
Portsmouth @ Fulham – Fulham
West Brom @ Hull City – Albion
Everton @ Man United – United

Sunday:
Sunderland @ Newcastle – Toon
Chelsea @ Liverpool – Chelsea

Results thus far:

Week 1 – 19 points
Week 2 – 16 points
Week 3 – 12 points
Week 4 – 13 points
Week 5 – 13 points
Week 6 – 27 points
Week 7 – 14 points
Week 8 – 22 points
Week 9 – 18 points
Week 10 – 19 points
Week 11 – 11 points
Week 12 – 10 points
Week 13 – 16 points
Week 14 – 13 points
Week 15 – 9 points
Week 16 – 18 points
Week 17 – 11 points
Week 18 – 14 points
Week 19 – 15 points
Week 20 – 23 points
Week 21 – 21 points
Week 22 – 20 points
Week 23 – 21 points


What Gives with the Super Bowl Logo?

January 29, 2009

logoPaul Lukas asked a good question on the Uni-Watch blog the other day about the Super Bowl logo being used this year. Why does it feature so much green and blue? The logo clashes pretty badly with the Cardinals‘ red uniforms and just looks kind of cheesy with the Steelers‘ (especially because they always have a chest patch, so adding a second one starts to look like NFL Europe). Which leads to a larger question, why isn’t the logo tailored to the two teams involved in the game instead of just being generic? Can you really say it would take more than the two weeks between championship games and the Super Bowl to color coordinate a logo to the appropriate teams?

In this vein, the New York Times put together a pretty cool slideshow of alternative logos made by different graphic designers from across the country. Some of them are really fantastic, like the one pictured above. Some of them are downright odd or have nothing to do with the Super Bowl. But either way, take a look and let me know which one you like best.


The AD Hall Super Bowl Pick

January 29, 2009

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Ok, I know you’ve all been waiting to hear what I think about the Super Bowl.

Or maybe not. But too bad, you’re going to find out anyway. Here’s how I think it’ll play out:

1st quarter:
Steelers – Hines Ward TD catch from Ben Roethlisberger – 7-0 Pitt
Steelers – Jeff Reed FG – 10-0 Pitt

2nd quarter:
Cardinals – Larry Fitzgerald TD catch from Kurt Warner – 10-7 Pitt
Steelers – Jeff Reed FG – 13-7 Pitt
Cardinals – Steve Breaston TD catch from Kurt Warner – 14-13 Arz

3rd quarter:
Steelers – Gary Russell TD run – 20-14 Pitt
Steelers – Jeff Reed FG – 23-14 Pitt

4th quarter:
Cardinals – Neil Rackers FG – 23-17 Pitt
Steelers – Jeff Reed FG – 26-17 Pitt

So there you have it, 26-17 Pittsburgh over Arizona in Super Bowl 43. I think Hines Ward will win the MVP after catching a half-dozen balls and a touchdown after his leg injury in the AFC title game. I like the Pittsburgh defense to stifle completely the Arizona running game but I don’t see Kurt Warner having enough time to get off all of his usual throws and he’ll have two interceptions. Ben Roethlisberger will also have an interception and he won’t complete more than twelve passes but it’ll be enough.


Strange Things are Afoot in College Basketball

January 29, 2009

wake

Each day, it would seem, is further answer to my previously posted questions about whether or not there are any great college basketball teams this year. For the third straight week and the fourth time this season the nation’s top-ranked team lost. Last night it was Duke losing at no. 6 Wake Forest. Hardly a slouch loss, but still a loss by the no. 1 team. Here’s what else happened last night:

No. 3 Pittsburgh loses at no. 21 Villanova
No. 5 North Carolina needs a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Ty Lawson to escape Florida State
No. 15 Syracuse loses to Providence and gives up 100 points
No. 25 Georgetown loses to Cincinnati

Each of those teams has been ranked in the top 10 this season and could again before it’s all said and done. No. 2 UCONN, no. 7 Louisville, no. 10 Xavier and no. 18 Memphis all won easily so everyone isn’t losing. But it’s the frequency with which supposedly great teams are losing, even if it’s to other highly-regarded teams, that makes this season so confusing.

I’m sure it won’t take long, if they haven’t started already, before tv pundits start announcing that this could be the greatest NCAA tournament ever. Maybe that’ll be true, or maybe like last year all of the top seeds will advance. But no matter what ends up happening in March and April, this has absolutely been the weirdest January I can remember.