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Sunday, October 30, 2005

"We had enough chances to win this game. In fact, we did win."

A 3-0 scoreline usually means a walkover, and the Magpies did their share of Viking-like stomping on the lowly acolytes of St. Albion Parish. Yet at 1-0 the match was finely balanced, with Welsh Gobby No. 2 doing his share of damage to Ramage. Yes, before Owen and Shearer combined to demolish the inferior opposition to choruses of "Are you Sunderland in disguise?" a series of mishaps involving a certain bald Frenchman could have sent the tie either way.

Said embattled defender of agricultural subsidies - and apparently nothing else - was given the captain's armband as a vote of confidence by Dr. Souey, the Mad Scientist. If the experiment had taken place in a chemistry lab, half of the West Midlands would now be engulfed in putrid blue smoke.

Here's how it usually went:
1. A cross comes in from the wing.
2. Boumsong lunges to dig it out from under a striker.
3. Contact is made, and the ball travels about six feet.
4. Boumsong watches, immobile, as another opposing player closes in.
5. The Irish Cat is forced into an acrobatic reflex save by the resulting shot.

Mercifully Boumsong was substituted after picking up a minor injury midway through the second half. Let's hope it's his Swansong. On came Shitus, who, to his credit, started bossing around the back four. But only a few minutes had passed before he scuffed an incoming ball, which luckily bounced straight into the hands of the above-mentioned, yellow-jerseyed feline. After that it was an easy night for Bramble at the Hawthorns.

Central defense continues to be our biggest weakness. Taylor had a solid game, but he just does not impose himself enough - can he? - to make up for Boumsong's feebleness.

The good news, as is usual these days, came from farther up the pitch. Emre, Nobby and Parker simply sparkled. N'Zogbia was creditable, but Dyer instantly showed his class after Souey bowed to football logic. The latter even had his name chanted by the visiting support, basically for making changes any idiot could have seen, to the catchy tune of "Shearer, Shearer."

The original chant had gone up earlier, as soon as Shola picked up a yellow card. Fair play to Souey, the lad scored twice in the last game, and so he got a start. Credit the Toon Army, too - they waited respectfully until the case for a switch, already strong, was irresistible. Alas, Shola seemed to have lost his killer instinct as quickly as he'd found it. No more "Owen and Ameobi" requests after this one, I trust. With Shearer and Dyer joining the pint-sized poacher, normal service was almost instantaneously resumed: two classy goals in less than 10 minutes.

Plenty of teams would gladly take a lineup that began with Owen, Shearer, Dyer, Emre, Parker, Solano, Babayaro, Ramage/Carr, and then ended with Given. It's the in-between part that we can't figure out. Let's give Shitus a full match and see if he's the Titan of his name, or just the Titanic we all remember.


The A-Bit-More-Special One has weighed in on that most useless of awards, the FIFA Player of the Year, after the Blues drubbed Fight Club despite a brace from Welsh Gobby No. 1. The one and only Fat Frank, Jose said, is the rightful owner of said accolade.

After finally getting back to full fitness, Frank Jr. has indeed put in some excellent performances. At the moment, he may even be playing the best of anyone at his position. But if you could choose one player in the entire world to build a squad around, would it be He Of The Cheeky Celebrations? Do his skills bring grown men in shearling coats to tears? Has he ever been the talisman of a trophy-taking triumph in a top tournament? Tut-tut, perhaps not.

And finally, how many yellow cards did Fight Club pick up in said match? I make it one for each finger of little Luna Lampard's left hand.


Bonus: check out Sifu O-Wen's Unstoppable New Fighting Technique.


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