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Monday, 28 January 2013
Clean Sheet 11
Welcome to ‘Clean
Sheet’, an inside look at the ‘Number 1’ position in World Football…
We start this
week looking at the A-League results and in particular the men in gloves. Young
Andrew Redmayne recorded his first clean sheet for Melbourne Heart as they had
a moral boosting win over second placed Adelaide United at AAMI Park. The clean sheet came at the expense of Clint
Bolton’s recent demotion to the bench, but Redmayne with Bolton’s support has stepped
up to the plate and is taking his chance in the starting side. The win helped
Heart move into the top six for now, but they now meet the consistent Western
Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium this Saturday night. Another healthy
crowd will be on hand to boost the Wanderers chances of another victory over
the Melbourne side. In a terrific initiative by the new franchise, all children
will be admitted free to this weekend’s clash.
I attended the
Brisbane Roar/WSW game at a humid Suncorp Stadium and saw an impressive outfit
that showed they now capable of coming from behind to clutch a game. Brisbane
dominated possession for the entire match and looked the victors at the break. Tony
Popovic’s men continued to move the ball forward to open up the holes in the
Roar’s defence and eventually saw them score through Mark Bridge via a clever
Jerome Polemnz assist. Michael Theo was
left all at sea with the next strike after the crowd voiced their displeasure
to officials over their failure to blow the whistle for offside that eventually
led to a clean finish from Youssof Hersi. On replay it was the correct call, as
Shinji Ono played no part in the play. For the Roar it’s obvious that all is
not happy in paradise with Besart Berisha’s antics testing the patience of many
in the playing group. At one stage during the match Berisha found Thomas Broich
on the right hand side of the park and pushed a miss-timed through ball only to
find it intercepted by an attentive Wanderer’s midfield. It wasn’t Broich
voicing his disapproval of poor service by the striker and Berisha’s childish
waving and cursing in Broich’s direction did little to quell the speculation of
player disunity on and off the pitch. Time will tell if management will
tolerate Berisha continuing his regular “I’m taking my bat and ball and going
home” antics or perhaps another club beckons.
Melbourne Victory flew home from the west in high spirits after getting the
three points, albeit from an unfortunate own goal by the Glory defender Scott
Jemieson. Nathan Coe picked up his fourth clean sheet of the season and has all
but cemented his position as the number one keeper at the club. The Victory are now firming as a real player
in the race for finals after their shaky beginnings to the season. The real highlight in keeping terms was the
match between Central Coast and Newcastle Jets. In a display that would put a
wry smile on any keeper worldwide, both sides failed to find the back of the
net. Matt Ryan continued on his clean sheet winning ways with some very clinical
saves whilst Mark Birighitti also impressed by snaring his third clean sheet in
as many matches.
Back in the
Harbour City and Wellington’s Mark Paston had an afternoon he would rather
forget as they went down 7-1 to Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium. Paston had a busy
time fishing the ball from the net after Allesandro Del Perio put on a football
master class that gave their fans some hope of a top six birth.
A brief look at
the EPL fixtures over the weekend with Manchester City’s Joe Hart again adding
another to his tally of clean sheets to lead the League stats sheet with an
unbeaten 10. Liverpool’s Pepe Reiner, currently recovering from a thigh injury
and broken nose suffered in the Manchester United game enabled Brad Jones to
join in the thumping of Norwich and record his second clean sheet from five
games played this season. Jones is likely play in Liverpool’s 4th round tie
against Oldham on Sunday where it will be an all-Aussie keeper affair with
young Dean Bouzanis starting for Oldham Athletic.
The only other
clean sheet recorded was in the Southampton v Everton scoreless draw at St.
Mary’s Stadium. Surprisingly it was only Tim Howard’s fourth of the season for
his fifth placed Everton side, after playing in every league fixture to date. His
ability to save the Toffees from defeat in matches is evident from their 11
draws for the season, equalling Stoke City’s heroics.
This weekend sees
some delectable fixtures with relegation poised sides Aston Villa and Newcastle
meeting at Villa Park. Hard to say whether Villa will be without Manager Paul Lambert
after their disappointing exit in the Capital One League Cup earlier this
morning. The other game that could be a potential banana skin for Chelsea is
their match against Reading. Reading totally outclassed Newcastle at St James’
Park and will be brimming with confidence. Chelsea will be backing up from a
League Cup Semi-final at Swansea and a FA Cup away fixture to League One
hopefuls Brentford, so Rafa Benitez may need to shuffle his talent riddled
bench about for this one.
Best of luck in
tipping the results might be wise to pick a few draws this week.
Football Quote of the week
"I like Balotelli: he's even crazier than me. He can
score a winner, then set fire to the hotel."