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Archive for August 22nd, 2010

After what was thought to be a rather lackluster World Cup, many potential converts to the beautiful game were led further away and found themselves completely disinterested. True fans of the beautiful game can see beyond goals and find beauty in the little intricacies of the game – newcomers to the beautiful game come from a culture of constant scoring (see: NFL, NBA) and fail to notice other details. To those failed converts I say: come watch the English Premier League.

The Premier League season has started with a flurry of goals across the board. Chelsea began their title defense against newly promoted West Bromwich Albion, managed by former Chelsea legend, Roberto Di Matteo. Chelsea welcomed Di Matteo and his squad with a 6-0 drumming and Drogba netted a hat-trick. That same day newly promoted Blackpool welcomed themselves into top flight football by embarrassing Wigan 4-0. Sunderland and Birmingham fought to a 2-2 draw, Aston Villa plowed past West Ham 3-0, Wolverhampton shocked Stoke City 2-1, and Manchester United welcomed Newcastle back to the Premier League with a 3-0 bashing. Week 1 of the Premier League saw a total of 26 goals scored in 10 matches. That equals to an average of 2.6 goals per game. No goals scored in soccer? Let’s see how week 2 shaped out.

No way a team can score 6 goals in two consecutive games, right? Certainly not in top flight football, right? Chelsea’s “playstation” football continued into week 2 where they met the team they demolished 8-0 in the final game of last season. They invaded DW Stadium and took home their second consecutive 6-0 victory. Malouda continues his hot start to the season with another goal, Anelka bagged a brace, as did Kalou, Yossi Benayoun scored his first goal as a Chelsea player, and Drogba had himself a hat-trick in assists; Drogba’s unselfish style is a symbol of the chemistry this squad has built.

Arsenal brought Blackpool back down to earth and gave them a dose of what real Premier League football is like. Blackpool were playing with a disadvantage for the majority of the match when defender Ian Evatt saw a red card in the 30th minute when he took down Marouane Chamakh just inside the penalty box, denying him a scoring opportunity – resulting in an immediate red, and penalty shot for Arsenal. Arshavin made no mistake at the spot and handed his team a 2-0 lead, and from there the goals kept coming. Theo Walcott made the most of his place in the starting XI with a lovely game which he stamped with a hat-trick. Marouane Chamakh was able to notch his first goal as a Gunner in the 83rd minute giving his new squad a 6-0 victory over The Tangerines.

So that makes two games ending in 6-0, in the same week. But wait….there’s more.

Is this really an indication of how important James Milner was to Aston Villa? Fresh off a fantastic performance against West Ham, the James Milner-less Aston Villa completely fell apart against newly promoted Newcastle. John Carew squandered an opportunity to put Villa up early by missing a penalty shot in the 10th minute. Two minutes later the wonderful mustache of Joey Barton put the Magpies in the lead, and they never looked back. Kevin Nolan bagged a brace, and Andrew Carroll netted himself a hat-trick as Newcastle annihilated Aston Villa 6-0. Perhaps Randy Lerner will think again about keeping interim manager Kevin MacDonald for the rest of the season.

Three games in the same week end in 6-0, that’s unheard of. Other scores in week 2 include: Birmingham City 2-1 over Blackburn, Gareth Bale leads Tottenham past Stoke City with a goal of the year candidate 2-1, Bolton deal another blow to West Ham with a 3-1 victory, Wolverhampton pull back a late equalizer against Everton to draw 1-1, and Fulham take advantage of Nani’s missed penalty to head home a late equalizer at Craven Cottage 2-2. There is still one more game left to be played in week 2, Manchester City host Liverpool on Monday. However, so far in the 9 games played in week 2, 35 goals have been scored. Resulting in an average of 3.89 goals per game. Even if 0 goals are scored in tomorrows Man City vs Liverpool game (highly unlikely), week 2 will end in at least 3.5 goals scored per game.

Goals Galore is not just occurring in the English Premier League, it’s spreading across Europe. Inter Milan recently dealt a blow to Roma winning 3-1 in the Super Cup final. Barcelona bounced back from a 3-1 first leg defeat to thrash Sevilla 4-0 in the second leg of the Spanish Super Copa, led by a Messi hat-trick, giving them a 5-3 aggregate victory. The Young Boys recently wrestled Tottenham to a 3-2 victory in the first leg of the UEFA Champions league play-off, and Werder Bremen dealt Sampdoria a 3-1 whooping in their first leg play-off.

There you have it, folks. Contrary to popular belief, goals do get scored in soccer.

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