SUP-Ah?! Slowmo Review – 06 (Sub Plots – Edition)

And so it was that as the sporting weekend played itself out, some headline fixtures were true to form and delivered on their top-billing status.  Others merely faded into the obscurity of the touch lines, as others muscled their way to greater prominence by providing waaaaaay more drama than was bargained for.  History was re-written, extended and at times cemented.  Some not-so-trivial occurences provided the answers to some future trivia questions.  Some of my PUNts stood up to the test of reality, others put up a brave fight, but some were TKO’d in the early stages and were thus never afforded a sporting chance.  Whatever the eventual results, it was indeed the sub-plots that provided us with the initial interest to prioritise certain match-ups.  Thankfully some of the PUNted sub-plots held their line as others turned out to be little more than a damp squib.  BUT the greatest thrill was derived from witnessing some events that came in from the blind side to play themselves into firm contention as future sub-plots upon which we will justify most of our interest in the future editions of the chosen encounters.

SUP-Ah?! – PUNts

  • Queens Park Rangers  -v-  Tottenham Hotspur(my PUNt = LOW SCORE DRAW!)
  • Okay so it turns out that the eventual NIL-ALL RESULT was never going to really drive home the revenge sub-plot that I PUNted for ‘Arry, BUT be assured that should Spurs fall short of their season’s target by a “mere” 2 points, it will undoubtedly be this encounter that people will present as the sole reason why.  Not because it was a blood and thunder cliffhanger no-score-draw, BUT more because we would sooner rather attribute and Spurs mishaps to ‘Arry because it creates a juicier sub-plot.
  • From their 38% of possession QPR only managed 4 shots at goal (none were on target) as they spent most of their efforts repelling the opposition threat, which came in the form of 18 goal attempts (with 7 on target – take a bow Mr man-of-the-match Julio Cesar).  This was another great result from a London Derby, and if home form will once again prove to be crucial to QPR’s survival chances, they will be encouraged by the fact that about a quarter of their fixtures will be “home matches” seeing as they will be London Derbies.  They will do well to maintain their derby form, and should ‘Arry pull off another Houdini act, I am sure that he will be the first to admit that it wasn’t a stroll in the Park.
  • Manchester United  -v- Liverpool (my PUNt = MANCHESTER UNITED WIN!)
  • A welcome “glitch in The Matrix” for the Old Trafford faithful, as it helped to bring about a rare Premier League double over, arguably, their most bitter rivals.  It was the 2007/8 season all over again (which was when United last did the double over Liverpool 3-Nil and i-Nil), and a few overzealous United fans (is there any other kind?) will prematurely latch onto this as a good omen for United’s Champions’ League aspirations.  “WHY??” I hear you ask…. well simply because the last time United did the League double over Liverpool, United went on to become Champions of Europe (not to mention also being crowned EPL Champs).  BUT, Liverpool will gladly point out that they went on to exact sweet revenge in the following season with a League Double win of their own (2-1 at Anfield and that famous 4-1 at Old Trafford where Stevie-G kissed the badge and the camera!!).  So the potential, emerging sub-plots will be somewhat welcomed by both sides.
  • The PFA Players’ Player of The Year is set to be voted for in the Spring so Luis Suarez better get his hustle on to recover any ground he may have lost due to his lacklustre performance in the 2-1 WIN for Manchester United.  RvP did his chances of becoming only the 5th two-time winner (and 3rd back-2-back winner) of the award no harm by scoring one and helping set up the other of United’s goals.  United edged this one by simply being more clinical, scoring twice from 5 shots on target, out of 15 overall attempts from 46% of possession.  Liverpool, in contrast, used their 56% of possession to carve out 13 goal attempts, and their solitary goal coming from 3 shots on target.  They will be smarting from this defeat (whose effects are only compounded by the FACT that it’s United they lost to), BUT their 2nd half performance did enough to convince many that they are well on course to dominating a few headlines in the near future.

SUP-Ah?! – Quick PUNts

  • Stoke -v- Chelsea (EPL) = I PUNted (A NARROW VICTORY FOR CHELSEA!) … BUT thanks to Jon Walters’ valiant goal scoring antics, the eventual 4-Nil Chelsea WIN, was as far from “narrow” as Torres was from being in the starting line up.  As much as the headline will point (perhaps inaccurately) to an emphatic Chelsea victory, it’s only when we zero in on the details of the sub-plot  that the real details emerge.  Enter Jonathan Walters!
  • I could not help but reflect on the irony that emerged as a result of my PUNt which had stated (on the back of Ivanovic’s 2 errors that had led to a Chelsea defeat by Swansea in their last match) ..”…Stoke City will force Chelsea to make errors while limiting the number of chances Chelsea will have to shoot at goal…”   When you consider that Stoke had 5 “legitimate” shots on target (from 12 goal-bound attempts) and Chelsea had 6 on-target shots from 13 my narrow win PUNt could have stood a chance.
  • Malaga -v- Barcelona (La Liga)= I PUNted (A MULTI SCORING AFFAIR FOR BOTH TEAMS RESULTING IN A WIN FOR BARCELONA!) and thankfully Malaga and Barca obliged in the resultant 3-1 WIN for Barcelona.
  • South Africa -v- New Zealand (2nd TEST).  = I PUNted = (A SOUTH AFRICA WIN WITHIN 4 DAYS!)   And after declaring their 1st (and only) innings on 525 for 8 South Africa WON by an innings and 193 runs, on the 4th day.

SUP-Aaaargh!! – PUNt

  • The Arsenal (6th)  Vs  Manchester City (2nd) (my PUNt = HIGH SCORE DRAW)
  • Howard Webb, eventually “failed” to live up to some fans’ expectations, BUT in Mike Dean the Controversial Referees Union had a “worthy” headliner who duly was at the centre of all the attention as Citeh WON 2-Nil.  Some will say his 9th minute sending off of Laurent Koscielny spoilt the match and effectively ended it as a fair contest.  BUT my take on it is that Koscielny’s clumsy rugby tackle on Dzeko is what spoilt the match and effectively ended it as a fair contest.  Mike Dean applied the law properly and if players choose to be silly within the early stages of a game and flout those laws in the hope that referees will be lenient, then I hope this will serve as a good benchmark that it should not be done!!!
  • Citeh went on to dominate the match but their continued profligacy in front of goal may well come back to bite them in rear when they try to play last season’s “goal-difference” trump card should Manchester United slip up.  They will be chuffed though, by their continued rear-guard dominance (not that a Theo Walcott led offense is the most menacing) and will be boosted by the overturning of Captain Kompany’s 75th minute red card, which should see him continuing to marshal that defense.
  • Wenger can breathe a lot easier because in managing 3 shots on target from 9 overall, Theo and co would not have done much to put themselves up as possible replacements for Mancini’s starting strike partnership which managed to find the target 6 times out of 18 tries.  It is a strike force that has relegated a-once-Super Mario to being utilised as a “potent” time-wasting 89th minute substitute.  So no substitution controversy headlines for Mancini this time around, as all the controversy of this match belongs to the man below.
  • Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue gets a yellow card from referee Mike Dean during their English Premier League soccer match against Tottenham Hotspur in London

NB* majority of quoted football stats above were sourced from www.whoscored.com

HEZV-OhMG!! Moment!

  • The HEADlines would have highlighted the importance of the event.  Your hundredth top flight appearance is one you are not supposed to forget, the details of that day should stay with you forever.  Unfortunately for Jon Walters all of the above became horrifically true. and boy does he wish it was all a whole lot different.  2 headed own goals (the 1st of which was enough to raise a few curious eyebrows amongst the Zimbabwe Asiagate Match-fixing Scandal’s Investgation Committee) and a missed penalty to boot, were his contribution towards the ending of The Potters formidable 17 game unbeaten home record, which crumbled under the spectacular barrage of friendly fire.  The pitch-side microphones may have failed to pick it up, but my lip-reading skills lead me to believe that as Tony Pulis slumped his head in sympathetic response to Jonathan Walters botched penalty he muttered to himself…. “HEZV-Oh.M.G.!!”  BUT fear not Jon got his radar fixed in double-quick time to score a proper brace in Stoke’s FA Cup 3rd round replay.

PUNisher of the Week!!

  • Rory McIlroy the top ranked golfer ….. (cue the Jeremy Clarkson impersonation) …”..in the WORLD…” sealed a new mega deal (rumoured to be worth up to U$D 250 million) when signing to be on the same team as his boyhood hero Tiger Woods at Nike.  This is due recognition for golf’s most exciting talent at present and one only hopes that the “controversy curse” of the Swoosh does not strike him as it has done some of Nike’s high-profile ambassadors.

PUNk of the Week!!

  • Some call him The Boss, while others know him as Juan Pelota or Mellow Johnny.  He has a nasty habit of repeating himself, doing some things 7 times over.  It has been said that he cheated…. death, by speeding away from it (while sitting down) when it had him by the testicles!!  He has been labeled as a victim of the “controversy curse” of the Swoosh.  All we know is that for this week we know him as…….(cue the final Jeremy Clarkson impersonation)… A PUNk!!
  • For services rendered to inspiring millions to Live Strong while you Lived Wrong I bestow this dis-honour of PUNk-hood on you. Arise Lance Armstrong, you PUNk.  We await to see his confessions in the 2 part interview scheduled to be aired from Thursday.  I suppose the fact that the confession was only fit for Oprah goes to further show that lies, and the burden they impose, are, just like everything else….. BIGGER in Texas!

#Mark-Oh-Row-Coat-Oh! / Congratulations! to those who have earned it.  It remains to be seen what effect the Lance Armstrong interview will have on public sentiment but I suspect that he may soon be hopping on my weekly bandwagon hoping for the same benefits that have seen you consistently and graciously pardonthePUN-dit.

Until the next PUNt, be GR8!!

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