i spend most of my winter Saturday mornings at the Highbury Pub on the south side of Milwaukee watching English Premier League games with a spirited group of soccer fans. My club in England is Fulham. i selected the Cottagers when Carlos Bocanegra joined them five years ago. Adding Americans Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey, Kasey Keller and Eddie Johnson has strengthened my support for the relegation endangered club.
When they're not playing Fulham, i also support Arsenal, as the Gunners are the "home club" of the Highbury Pub and the Arsenal supporters at both the Highbury and The Globe in Chicago are really good guys.
Well, yesterday had ugly moments in both the Fulham and Arsenal matches. Don't look here if you are squeamish. In the early game, the Gunners' Eduardo Da Silva has his ankle broken badly by a red card offense from Birmgham City's Martin Taylor. Insult was added to that injury as a 10 man City squad sandwiched two James McFadden goals around Theo Walcott's first two Premier League goals for an unfortunate draw.
Fulham, which has made a habit of gifting points by providing opponents with late goals this season, did it again. This time, they were a few minutes away from a just scoreless draw with West Ham when Fulham keeper Antti Niemi was unable to hold onto the ball when a studs up tackle by the Hammer's Nobby Solano went through the ball and into Niemi's face. The ball trickled into the goal, Leon Andreasen was red carded for rightly protesting the non-call and the Cottagers made another step toward the 2008-09 League Championship. The low light can viewed at the end of this five minute video.
On the FulhAmerican front, McBride made his first start since returning from his latest injury and Eddie Johnson squandered a golden chance after he came in as a 76th minute substitute for Dempsey.
It was an ugly beginning and an ugly end to what was otherwise a great morning of soccer.