Okay, so I’ve been a little busy, the Practice Cone has a wife and family to take care of and sometimes that takes precedence over my soccer blog. I know, you don’t have to tell me to get my priorities straight, I’m going to see my divorce attorney tomorrow (just kidding honey!). To make it up to you we are going to have an extra big week on The Scoring Third with the return of Monday Morning Keeper today, a big name EPL/USMNT star interview tomorrow, and a “what-if” look at the new MLS plans going into next season. Let us begin with the beginning, Monday Morning Keeper for Week 14.
There was a great article on EPLTalk.com today about how Bolton is getting very little attention considering they are in 5th place in the standings and have had an impressive push in the first half of this season. I guess the main reason they are shown little respect is the fact that they are earning points in fairly boring fashion with 7 draws to go with just 5 wins. Wait a minute people, Manchester United hasn’t had a huge run of victories, just 7 to match the 7 draws they have racked up this season, but the Reds still seem to get all the love. We had said before on this blog that the best American playing in the EPL this season is not Tim Howard or Clint Dempsey, but rather it’s 25 year-old Stuart Holden of Bolton (wouldn’t it be nice to interview him… hint). Stu is not a goal scoring machine like Dempsey or Donovan are from the midfield, but he practices great ball handling and setup for Elmander and Davies on the front line at Bolton. The Trotters decided to make a statement on Saturday as they invited the Magpies from Newcastle into Reebok Stadium for a royal beat down. Newcastle’s downfall was giving up an early penalty kick on the road which Kevin Davies converted and then drove the score up to 3-0 before Andy Carroll sent home a goal in the 52nd minute. Another goal in the 72nd minute by Elmander and a late PK gave Davies his second of the match as well, Bolton walking away with the 5-1 victory.
Things are getting tight at the top with 4 teams separated but just 3 points. Chelsea has stumbled back to the pack with a loss to Sunderland last week followed by a loss on the road at Birmingham on Saturday. For the second time this season it was proven that the only team that can stop Chelsea from winning the league is Chelsea, taking a 5 point advantage 3 weeks ago and allowing it to be whittled down to nothing. Manchester United pounced on the opportunity to pull even in points with Chelsea by serving up a 2-0 victory over Wigan at Old Trafford. The match of the weekend had to be the Saturday North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham. Arsenal appeared to be in complete control going into the lock room at the half with a 2-0 lead. However the Spurs had other plans for the second half and rattled off an astonishing 3 goals on the road at Emirates to win the match 3-2. Finally, Manchester City traveled down to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham in what amounted to little more than a training session for the Blues. Carlos Tevez scored the first and last goals for City taking the outright league lead in scoring and showing once again that he is the heart and soul that the club captaining them to a 4-1 victory.
If your favorite team name begins with a “W” you may want to start making plans for the Championship league next season as they occupy the 3 relegation slots in the table. Here are your top and bottom teams after Week 14: