OFB–My Costume? The Old Lady

Friday night I hosted a poker party which I do every couple of months.  Nothing major.  Low price cash game that is more for getting people together than bolstering someone’s nest egg.  After three hours I was up a whole 15 cents.  Go me.  The result of the late night and several frosty adults beverages was missing the early EPL games: Everton v Manchester United and Chelsea v Arsenal.  I wasn’t too upset about missing the United game.  I figured it would either be a 0-0 draw or a crushing defeat for the Toffees.  Turns out United won 1-0 which is a decent response to the thrashing they took last Sunday.  As for the London Derby, I guess I missed the game of the century, with RvP scoring three more goals in a 5-3 win for the Gunners.  After all of the doom and gloom of the early season, they have risen to 7th and Wenger’s men seem to be the up.

I also missed Roma v AC Milan, which turned out to be a cracking 3-2 win for the visitors.  Again another team, AC Milan, which are trending upwards.  I did however manage to catch Inter Milan v Juventus.

Inter Milan 1 Juventus 2

Inter were quickly out of the blocks, with Cambiasso just missing as the ball bounced around the penalty area, Sneijder firing straight at Buffon and Obi finding joy in the left hand channel.  But then Big Game Mirko struck. The move started with Pirlo playing Lichtsteiner into the right hand channel, and the Swiss RB squared it for Matri who shot straight at Castellazzi, but Mirko was there to blast home for the visitors.  This was immediately followed by Vucinic setting up Matri who shot agonizingly wide, before being played in again and dealt with by the Inter rearguard.  The Nerazzurri regained control of the match creating several half chances, especially Zarate who went just wide.  Then Sneijder reversed the ball to Maicon who blasted past Buffon from the corner of the penalty area to equalize.  After Pazzini’s header went off the crossbar, Juventus responded with a quick one two at the top of the area between Marchisio and Matri which resulted in a composed finish from Marchisio.  The remainder of the half was end to end, and Marchisio missed in his attempt for a second as his off balance flick went wide.  There were shouts for a PK but the ref got it right.

The hosts started strong again in the second half, with Juve struggling to get a hold of the ball, and early yellows to Chiellini and Pepe put the team on edge. Several half chances fell to Pazzini with no results.  Matri was isolated and did get into the dangerous areas of the first half.  As for Inter, Maicon rolled back the years and was a constant threat on the right hand side.  Things got testy midway through the second half when Sniejder started really going at the ref, Vidal was taken down and Pirlo clipped Sniejer.  Conte changed things up with 20 minutes to go, bringing on Estigarribia on for Matri.  My guess is that he did this to peg back Maicon, and this permutation had mixed results.  Juve had several chances to seal the match without taking advantage but the verve with which Inter played was gone by the last 10 minutes and the Old Lady hung on for three vital points.

Juve go top of the table after nine matches and are still unbeaten.  I am hesitant to say this (after the collapse of last season and the nightmarish last two campaigns) but I think they have a real chance to finish in the European places, maybe even the Champions League.  Their struggle will be breaking down the unfancied sides, especially away from home, plus how they will respond to the inevitable first defeat.  But for now, the bianconeri are well organized and have some momentum heading forward.

Here are some thoughts from the team at Juventiknows.com.  Big praise for the grinta showed by The Old Lady.

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Sunday rolled around with me recovering from a little too much Halloween fun.  Let’s just say I should by stock in Leinenkugel’s brewery.  Anyway, after slowly starting the day, UM/MSU was out of the question (MSU won 1-0 on a second half header), so I went home, cleaned up the house and took Larry to his drum lesson.  While waiting, I read that Spurs beat QPR 3-1, which sees them tied for third in the table with Chelsea and Newcastle and fifth due to Goal Differential, although they have a game in hand over Chelsea.  Despite slow starts and unusual, even freakish, results, the Sexy Six is coming together.

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I’m going to mention the MLS which I don’t do very often.

The Onion News Network did a great spoof, creating the disease of Chronic MLS.

Then I came across the hubris of New York Red Bulls courtesy of the Dirty Tackle.  They are down 1-0 (RESEARCH!!) to the Galaxy heading back to California, so it looks like they can start booking vacation trips.

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Finally, my brother sent me this little Arsenal tidbit.  I appreciated the fan’s sense of loyalty and vision, even his historical knowledge, referencing Jack Walker financial infusion into Blackburn during the mid-90’s, and Arsene’s response is straightforward.  I don’t deny what the Professor has done over the last 15 years and even applaud it, but the point is, supporters, players and hopefully everyone at the club want trophies.  You play to win the game.  In the league they really haven’t been a factor since winning in 2004 and finishing runners-up in 2005.  And what about the FA Cup?  Look at recent finalists besides the Big Four: Cardiff, Portsmouth, Villa, Everton, Millwall and West Ham.  How can Arsenal not even challenge for that?  They are not going to win the Premier League or Champions League this year or in the foreseeable future.  Therefore cups may be their only option for the next couple of years.  Not sure I could swallow that as a Gunners fan.

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