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One yearly award is already locked up

15 August 2010

The scoreboard at the DW Stadium said it all, as everyone's pick to finish bottom of the table demolished Wigan.

I’d like to extend sincere Goalless Draw congratulations to Wigan, which just one match into the new campaign, already has clinched “worst performance of the season” honors with its staggeringly putrid 4-0 home loss to Blackpool.

Yes, that Blackpool. The one that finished sixth in the Colaship last season. The one universally picked to finish 20th in the 20-team Premiership this year. The one whose manager said *after* Saturday’s match that he’s “scared” of just how many more players Blackpool needs to bring in in order to be a viable Prem side.

Every World Cup viewer I know loved Wigan manager Roberto Martinez in ESPN’s studio coverage, and he may be back in that capacity much sooner than he’d like if this is the type of performance his club will conjure. We chose to overlook a couple of horrendous hidings last season because Martinez was fresh off success at Swansea and has a well-earned rep for having sides that play with copious passing acumen. There’s no excuse for this defeat, though. The goals allowed were, at best, sloppy. At worst, they were inept. Keeper Chris Kirkland was terrible, but he wasn’t alone.

Before I finish shredding Wigan, congrats to the Tangerines, who made a savvy pickup of veteran striker Marlon Harewood and actually led the Premiership for about two and a half hours, until Chelsea crushed West Brom. That said, the “credit” for this fiasco goes to the Latics, who undoubtedly uncorked the worst performance of the Prem season on its opening day. Retire the trophy and ship it to the DW Stadium, which in this instance stood for “don’t watch.”

Other quick thoughts:
1) You hate reading too much into one match, but maybe concerns about Aston Villa were overblown (until they sell James Milner, anyway) and maybe West Ham’s “struggles” last season weren’t a fluke. I watched the condensed replay of this game and there was a gulf in class between the two sides.

2) As much as Jake was disappointed by City’s first-half effort, I think the lion’s share of the credit should go to Spurs, which busted out a midseason-quality performance that featured high-tempo crisp passing and ball pressure. Spurs is just a different team at White Hart Lane and this was virtuoso stuff early. You can’t work a team over worse without scoring than what Spurs did to City between the 10th and 35th minutes. Joe Hart was sensational in goal for City, staking a giant claim to the Citizens’ No. 1 shirt.

3) If Sunderland wants to make a legitimate top-10 push with an outside chance at Europe, it can’t blow 2-0 leads in the final 15 minutes to peer squads like Birmingham City. 10-man or not, that was two wasted points.

4) Timmay, it helps if you catch the bouncing ball, not grab it and then gently have it slip from your grasp and land right at the feet of a Blackburn striker. Ball tucked home, Everton never levels and they lose a lame 1-0 decision. Blackburn is really ornery at home, but that was an unnecessary loss of at least a point. Howler of the week, despite Kirkland’s effort on Blackpool’s fourth goal.

5) Chelsea set a Premier league record when it scored an 89th minute goal to close out a 6-0 thrashing of yo-yo side West Brom. Chelsea now has scored 14 goals in its last two league games, breaking the former mark of 13. The Blues clinched the title last season with a final-day 8-0 rout of … you guessed it, Wigan!

Hey, Roberto. Norby’s on line 2. Pack a suit and tie.

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