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The Bryan Ashton Approach
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Thoughts and Questions...
6th April 08
Oh You're Half Way There
Wayne Rooney finally got a goal that if it was removed would cost United a point - 6th April for his first meaningful goal using pure hindsight (i.e. others that opened scoring were obviously valuable and necessary). Yet again though his performance was amazing and dispiriting. Alan Smith was lauding him like a great yet for all his shots and effort and possession he managed to get a goal that deflected off a defender. He is sort of like a harder working forward version of Jesper Gronkjear in that it all seems to fall apart when he tries to kick the ball somewhere.
He works hard and is a constant threat but frankly did any of his forward passes go easily controllable or run on toable for a team mate in the 2nd half? Did Park not do more with 5 or 6 touches than Rooney with 20 or 30 2nd half? (I missed the first half watching Saracens beat the Ospreys).
He will get goals and assists for United and he clearly creates with his energy and movement but frankly it would be madness if United were not looking for a bigger target man who was a better finisher and all round player.
You cannot help feel in teams where he would get less ball and space he'd be less effective than even Yakubu, Andy Johnson, Jermain Defoe and others.
Have you seen the Polo ad where the dog is a man in the car and a mouse out of it? Is that United's defence without Nemanja Vidic?
Maybe it was chance that they conceded 2 although the break of the ball could have seen more. Indeed I felt Riley gave United every break going 2nd half. Every 50/50 and including over ruling the assistant on a throw in.
No doubt if Rio and Vid go missing they will not fancy facing a fit and rested The Drog and will also hope Chelsea drop points elsewhere.
Boro Get Hope But Remain Enigmatic
Alfonso Alves getting a couple of goals will remove the usual excuses now. In theory with the hard working Tuncay and Aliadiare not to mention the occasionally good most waste of talent Mido next year they could at least become a top mid table side (8th or so).
One also has to wonder if Southgate has shifted the lethargy of his players who can outplay United for long periods and beat Arsenal (Chelsea have done that this season no one else). Yet they are barely clear of relegation. McClaren never cracked this nut and this has been a 3 year pattern.
23rd Mar 08
Arsenal On Empty
It is time for Arsene Wenger to do what Mourinho failed to do last year and target the Champions League. Why because his team look exhausted. They were 2nd best at the end of each half and 4 guileless draws against poor teams with late equalisers just show the lack of creativity when the games are open. Indeed like Spurs their main showing today was that the Chelsea defense is a liability at set pieces and this will need looking at.
Indeed both sides went from a congested midfield to a non existent one. Chelsea started to attack Arsenal very directly and frankly they were found wanting.
Arsenal created very little in open play and Adebayor is a shadow at present of a few weeks ago.
If I was Wenger Fabregas, Hleb and Adebayor would miss the next 2 league games. Arsenal surely are at best set for 2nd and there is no difference between finishing there than 4th. They are happy to play kids in the cups why not in next to pointless league games?
At present their best XI is not winning anything and they could only bring on Diaby, Bentner and Walcott. Hardly game breakers. Which for me means they have to freshen up the main eleven and take the hit. To not to make a decision on this would be to lie about what they can achieve - English sport is of course hamstrung by the failure to make decisions and batter on regardless.
Grant Has Horse But Does He Have A Team
Chelsea has the opposite problem to Arsenal with a host of horses but no great starting XI. They seem to struggle to put out a team that plays team football. Until the game became a charge against a tired team they were a rabble with poor passing and negative decisions that frequently sent the ball back to Makelele to pump forward.
Grant has to make more decisions about his starting team and look at their defensive organisation which is unrecognisable from 2 years ago (slip started last year). They are conceding far too easily from corners and free kicks even against teams not noted for those.
It is a measure of Malouda and Wright-Phillips that Kalou would get a start - 40 million of wasted money and the wages? Both would make the current Arsenal bench mind.
Only Joe Cole had a good game all through for me.
Essien Not A Right Back
Playing Essien at right back and Belletti on the bench made the decision to hand 5 more years to Paulo Ferriera look like another 10 million just wasted. Worse this was not a signing who did not work out but a player they knew all about. So he would have left for free! Now they will have to pay him to go, what fantasists.
Essien does not have the tackling, positional sense, crossing or range of passing to play full back. Quite how Grant and Mourinho could not see that or still would rather that than Paulo Ferreira or Belletti is a question that someone else can answer.
23rd March 08
Bennett Is Consistent
One aspect of Javiar Mascherano's red card is that surely players can adjust to officials who are officious and consistently so. As a fan I tend to prefer Bennett to others as he does not mess around.
Andy Gray consistently complains but does he know how little we like seeing players' gurning and play acting like psychotic deviants in front of the referee? What was missed at half time was Torres made a finger gesture at Bennett and that was the trigger. I also disagree that the likes of Tim Cahill and Mascherano's constant talking and facial expression implying the referee is a moron are in any way a part of the game or a result of passion. Like C'Ashley they are a sign of an immature self important tosser and in any normal walk of life would result in people disliking you or worse.
Even after he has screwed his team Mascherano's inflated sense of self importance led him, instead of shamefacedly walk off as he should, to protest like a 4 year old denied his sticky toffee pudding. What a total and utter disgrace to his family, Argentina and club.
Alan Smith had it right: get on with the game. Like McLeish Gray misses the point what is loved about English football is the pace and the time the ball is in play. Most of us find gurning whining millionaires, often degenerates, about as appealing as electrodes on our testicles.
Rooney Still 10 Chances 1 Goal : Ron Not A Big Gamer
Against good teams it must be hard for United fans to watch someone miss as many good chances as Rooney does. Worse he still, in a system without Louis Saha to cover for him, thinks his role includes dropping deep. Indeed the only fig leaf he has is that he got a decent cross in and Wes Brown was there to attack the ball... I do not think he can rely on that in future.
Indeed 2 Reina's two errors have covered up United are toothless against good teams who deny Ronaldo time and space. This does not exactly bode well in Europe against well organised defensive players. His header from a corner is a bonus and not something to rely on either...
Nani The Ultimate Luxury Player
There are times when Nani looks a good player however note these always occur when he is playing beaten teams and there is plenty of space. The fact he behaves like an arrogant poseur when opponents are beaten implies like Mascherano a surfeit of self importance over brains and respect for opponents, as well as complete delusion as to their own abilities.
19th Mar 2008
Kevin Davies And ?
A few years ago Bolton had an eclectic mix of characters, poseurs and triers built around the ability of Kevin Davies to create mayhem at set pieces and in open play. Now they have Davies still although he is getting on and the wear and tear will start to erode further given his style of play. They seem to have precious little else mind.
They really looked a nothing team.
I know people will say how great Ronaldo is (and he is and so pretty as well) but frankly how does the keeper not get near that free kick to his side? That was Robinsonesque keeping. He is their keeper till the end of the season now as well.
United Will Be Happy
S'Alex will be chuffed to bits at getting some action into some players and winning without needing to get out of nuetral.
17th Mar 2008
Newcastle Can Thank?
the following for why they wills stay up: Derby: Fulham: Bolton now without star keeper and no one to score: Sam Allardyce for the first half of the season.
First Half Hard Going
Howard Webb is supposedly our top ref but so far he has allowed Faye to foul badly and deliberately [cheat] McFadden, the only class player on show, and Nicky Butt to try to kick Larsson out of the game.
Birmingham play nice stuff in midfield but in Forsell they appear to have a lousy forward who neither works for the team, holds the ball, has no height or pace and does not score a lot of goals unless Spurs turn up without a centre half or a care in the world.
Newcastle seem to be relying on their 'vaunted' trio of Viduka, Owen and Martins to magic a goal. So far their best chance was a bad clearence towards his own goal by a Birmingham defender.
Not aiding the Newcastle cause is the constant pumping of balls straight to Maik Taylor.
Barton Poor Player
Last year Joey Barton lambasted team mates at City for lack of effort or care. He was aided in this tossery by Dunne. However Dunne has maybe earned a right to call people out - albeit foreign players in their first season would benefit more from an arm around the shoulders than another tabloid whore quoted at them in headlines.
On his showing so far Barton gives the ball away easily. Can occasionally make a good tackle but instantly gives the ball away. Indeed even without his off field stupidity one has to doubt he is even a Championship player.
Barton appears to me to have no position and quite how he and his agent talked himself into the England squad last year is a question for serial clown McClaren to answer.
2nd half Birmingham managed to drop deep against a team that could not put 2 passes together and has no pace. Also a team who has 2 forwards who can be dangerous if allowed to get close to goal.
Added to all that it took Maik Taylor spilling the ball straight back to allow Owen to show a poacher loses his instinct last.
Premier Rugby Better
Football has to watch itself as frankly this quality in the richest league in the world is terrible. Premier Rugby matches at the bottom are far better quality.
In rugby players don't gesture, shrug, look hurt, act or in any way play to the galleries. They just get on with the game without a question as the game does not wait for them.
23rd Feb 2008
Why Refs Clamp Down On Scum Tackles
Next time some old pro complains about refs clamping down on reckless tackles remember the shocker that has left Eduardo fighting for his career. The ball was not in an area to hurt Birmingham and that standard of reckless assault for the ball English football seems to demand of defenders has to stop.
The clowns (ex-pro) pundits will argue various dreck: you don't want to lose that from the game: he was not trying to break his leg. Well, no. There is a rizla difference between going in hard and reckless ala Taylor or Berkshire Based Hunt on Cech last year and intent. You drive at 100 mph on an A road and whether you intend to kill and maim or not is mute to the victim. Referees never should try to judge intent - that would come down to an issue of prejudice anyway pro or anti the player. Intent is irrelevant.
After Eboue and Rooney tried to maim John Terry in the last few years people said they did not mean it. Yet both went on to commit horrific assaults they and the apologists would claim were not meant on Evra and Ricardo Carvalho soon after. Sorry bad tacklers habitually make bad tackles.
Taylor; as he does not play for the big three; because he is not continental; will not have half the recrimination or wall to wall replays Ronaldo gets every time he is tripped in the box. Is that really the values Sky and ex-pros expound? If so I do not ever want to be a football man.
We maybe got an insight into Theo Walcott today in that after the first half I argued that was there not a conference side they could loan him to? I said are Arsenal so short of reserves they have to pick him to start? Rather than have him on the bench for 10 minutes learning in closed out games.
Then he gets a pure poacher goal and suddenly rather than run up to the full back turn around and have a pointless cross delivered by someone else starts taking people on. The result he looked quite good. Suddenly the loss of confidence is gone and he is talking and demanding the ball.
I can only assume his presence up until now on the fringes of the first team has been due to his extreme ability shown on the training ground. Well let's hope the Wal-flower starts to become more than a morning glory.
McLeish's Birmingham have been very obdurate opponents for the top teams with 2 points off Arsenal and tight games with Man U and Chelsea. Of course the real problem is they lack the firepower to put away bad teams. McFadden is a player who likes space and looks better when not faced by a deep defence and they appear to have no genuine front player.
Cliche caused Arsenal to have a much harder game the other week against Man City with a similar loss of concentration and one wonders how you ever correct that.
I have assumed Arsenal have a big squad and wondered at Eduardo's selection. I have wondered why Walcott on prior form gets on the bench. However for all their vaunted production line and Carling team one wonders where they go from here. Like Drogba Adebayor is likely to be prone to goal droughts - big ungainly players tend to score in streaks ala Dion Dublin. Without Eduardo the pressure will be on the tall guy from Togo unless Theo picks up.
Other than Bendtner they have no other forward and he is yet to show he can score. Eboue is out for 2 more games and looks a liability every time he plays in terms of card counts.
The rest of the bench was Denilson and Silva the two untypical Brazilians when stuff like first touch is counted. Added to that Toure is out for 2 weeks and this was a bad game to drop 2 points in.
11th Feb 2008
Wow what must have scared the opposition is that Arsenal barely had to get out of 1st gear last night. I don't think I have seen a less entertaining Arsenal game this year.
Quite what game Mark Hughes was watching where 2-0 flattered Arsenal is beyond me. If it was not for Hughes histrionics on the side line one would almost assume that the came to avoid a drubbing (job done).
Arsenal probably are vulnerable at the back but to get there you have to get the ball and get no space in midfield.
Eduardo da Silva Lightweight
When you have Arsenal's recent history of 20 or 30 shots a game for 0 goals you apparently love Eduardo. Well as I keep saying a pure goal scorer may help take out the trash but if they are too lightweight they can be a drain. da Silva sought to play wide and off Adebayor mostly but really never got in the game. The majority of his work was poor.
Although many in the media love their Owens, Defoes and Eduardos (arguably Rooneys) I cannot help feel that they are a liability in the over half the games they do not score. It will be interesting with everyone back if he has a position against Man United other than his natural position substitute.
10th Feb 2008
Chelsea Need Drogba For Big Games
If you wanted an illustration of the limitations of Nicholas Anelka this was it. (if you cannot be bothered to look up he only gets 1 goal in 3 games and is lightweight) Often when Chelsea are fresh against Liverpool they do quite well hitting the ball up to the Big Drog and he runs over Carragher and Hyypia. Today Anelka barely challenged where he was needed in the middle on the last defender.
As with United earlier the problem of not having a competitive genuine front player against organised 433 (451) sides means that possession is surrendered and too often deep in your own half.
So even if you think Anelka was a good buy and in the current market money spent is not an issue it is hard to see Chelsea winning in Europe without a fit Drogba.
It may also explain why Chelsea have seemingly become goal shy with Anelka despite him getting some goals. He just does not help anyone else's game. It should be borne in mind as well for such a lightweight his scoring record historically does not show him as a top player - to be that lightweight you need a goal every 2 games minimum and maybe more.
If Grant is wise he will save the Big Drog for the big games, given he is coming off knee surgery and is nearly 30. Use Anelka to bury the dreck - can bring the Drog off the bench late. Sure he can play both in a 442 but they will likely win some games 8-0 and draw 2-2 etc... i.e. not get as many points but more goals.
Lampard Straight Into Big Game
There is surely a time for bringing back a player like Lampard and this may not have been it. He seemed behind the game for the first half and maybe Chelsea could have done with someone retaining possession better in the first half. After all his freshness will become a huge advantage later on if he stays fit.
United Flatter Rooney
You can see why Ferguson is concerned at Rooney dropping off and playing deep. Without him United do not have anyone who can lead the line. Tevez is as his West Ham record suggested a nuggety battler but not a top class player.
Without Ronaldo producing genius and no front man suddenly they looked like a side carrying ageing players devoid of their old mobility.
United's 5 losses this season have occurred without Rooney - no doubt his backers will add 5 to 7 and get 14. However there clearly is a need for an outlet even one who is adequate makes a huge difference (Canute moi?).
Without Rooney their resources were incredibly stretched as well. When you are 2-0 down does bringing Hargreaves and Carrick on scare anyone?
For the first time I am worried my 6/4 United might not happen.
Giggs and the Prince getting old?
You wonder if Ronaldo's inspiration slows down if the team can carry ageing legs like Giggs and even the Ginger Prince. OK The Prince got forward late, when City showed their Hyde personality, and it led to a goal. However for much of the game Ronaldo and Tevez got isolated.
9th Feb 2008
Half Way There
Newcastle fans should adopt the old Bon Jovi song so adeptly adapted for Jesper Gronkjear "Oh, You're half way there". Recently they have shipped 2nd half goals like 9 pins with 6 by United 2 (could have been 10) by Arsenal and now 4 by Villa.
One wonders quite whether this is fitness or more likely they run around using loads of energy to stay in the game before their basic lack of ability gets shown up.
Keegan no doubt thinks all his name players are good after all when he left the game some of them had not been found out!
Keggsie's Been Away!
Kevin Keegan was saying how much he would love to have Thierry Henry as he had been the best player in the premiership. Well no doubt when wor Kev last looked out that was true. In the meantime he had become a 60 minute player, left his wife and taken on all the trappings of a complete Prima Donna (Sidebar Him, Fed and Tigger hardly carry Gillette ads like Becks - no wonder the tattooed freak was such a hit with advertisers).
Indeed 3 years ago Tyneside welcomed Mickey Owen (more later) who had just stayed fit for a year in Madrid and promptly went on a fitness program that can be best described in Alan Hansen fashion as "Absolutely Dire".
3 years ago Alan Smith was perceived as a promising young player and had even got a move to Manchester United.
3 years ago Stephen Carr might have looked a player. Ditto Joey Barton a prospect. Nicky Butt was probably still dining out on the '02 world cup performances.
Damien Duff would have been considered still a top player albeit with cracks appearing.
Now of course Carr, Duff and Barton surely only make the team because Keegan assumes they are good players? Seriously can Newcastle not produce a youth side which can replace such dreadful players?
OK in all the dreck though we saw a fit Michael Owen showing what the drop does for English players (seeing what I want to see???). It motivates their tiny self important minds. Quite why it is the last resort is beyond me. In other countries where people are positively motivated it is used more with less need.
I cannot help feel our TV media is dominated by old pros (in all sports) who liked to mine a rut and never be challenged themselves - their TV performances certainly speak of never trying anything new or changing their mind about the game no matter how many decades since they played.
Whilst Rooney is still at the age where we all want to believe his gross self indulgence and obvious physical effort, at times, is about the team and shows promise. If Capello wants a lone forward despite his limitations Owen may be the better bet if he can stay team focussed. Of course I would want someone bigger and better technically but when it is not a packed field if Owen can use his intelligence for team play and keeps his finishing he will always beat a clown who runs around for his own purposes.
30th Jan 2008
Ronaldo Simply Stunning
Ask me about a good team and it will be 4321, organisation and not giving the ball away. Thankfully not all managers are into that and allow Ronaldo and his ilk to just pure entertain us.
Now is the time the killing season starts where the top boys go on long not just unbeaten but winning runs. At present the best team in the premiership? Any 10 men players you like and Ronaldo.
As someone who tends to the critic side and likes his facts proved conclusively when judging players I have to say I more than happy to be on the supporter side of Ronaldo.
Almost all the criticism of him is supposedly about his going down easily and has been shown in slo mo replay to be almost all tosh. It is not his job to minimise the stupidity of defenders. In the end it is a better place to be on his side than against him - it makes you sound stupid, bitter and bigoted if nothing else.
Park-ed in Nuetral?
Poor old Parky seems short of a few games. as United move like Panthers around him.
Et Tu Nani.
Grant Gets To Use His Squad
For 45 minutes Chelsea looked as poor as even I can credit them without 4 of their key players (Cech, Ricardo Carvalho, Lampard and The Drog). Indeed only Belletti of their cheap and cheerful summer buys looks worth his wages.
Sidwell was replaced at half time as Grant muct feel a pressing need (literally) to get Makelele back or someone half decent when Essien and Mikel leave for a month or so. Mercifully for Chelsea Tal Ben Haim got away with it against woeful opposition.
At least Bridge performed marginally better now he has a few weeks fitness under his belt. Indeed technically he replaced C'Ash but that show Grant is not bound by star status and also that with both injury prone it pays to rotate. I've argued all season Chelsea need to rotate and not worry about the cups.
I don't see a lot in Ballack but you could argue he would have won his 2nd game here but for the possibly bad luck with C'Ash's handball v Villa. Admittedly his main effect had been his profound ability to fall like a much smaller man under much greater physical pressure in the box. Nice penalty mind.
Should Kalou for all his moron offsides play instead of Sheva? Of course.
Chelsea Squad Weakness African Cup Of Nations Issues
Should Chelsea bother with the cup and just look to be top 4 and Champions League contenders? Does Grant's moral hazard of needing a trophy mean he will try for every tournament? I guess the problem this game brought up is that his reserves are so poor and Everton looking strong can he somehow rotate and guarantee 4th? With the African Cup of Nations I just don't see how with the likes of Sheva and Sidwell playing regularly they can do a lot in terms of the title race and Carling semis. However the egos at Chelsea like last year probably will not allow sense to permeate their shell likes.
The sub text of what I say is of course that I just do not believe Chelsea have enough to win the league in an average year anyway. Yes United look less than dominant and Arsenal have not been the course before and have the African Cup of Nations to de-rail them (although not as much as Chelsea). They should target with their ageing squad.
Who taught Gerrard how to Play Central?
The Man City game has been illustrative of a new thing for me Gerrard playing with discipline in a 442. The fact is that at the top level the so called attacking midfielder cannot do everything from a 442 centrally. His responsibility to make a back 6 precludes him being a constant attacking presence - indeed his creative range is limited.
The problem is that England have tried to make this role the creative hub with 2 wide players not being in position and 2 front players with limited movement and/or size and/or skill. It is no wonder that Gerrard, Scholes and Lampard have not been able to consistently make England better.
Anyway Gerrard has played like he knows what he is doing and knows when to break - 28 and he is finally getting it. You have to sit deeper in a 442 and show discipline.
Does Gerrard's storming first half to the season mean that this is Liverpool actually trying to win the title this year?
Against teams out for 0-0 like City perversely would Liverpool have been better off with Gerrard rampaging like the demonic player of yore?
Dirk Kuyt! Torres! "cow's a arse can't banjo hit a with" rearrange this well known and popular saying. Is it true that Torres went to a brothel with his fat bank roll and failed to hook up?
Kuyt is still shite.
Would people say Arsenal have no plan B if they were held by an unimaginative and negative City as Liverpool were?
29th Dec 2007
Are goals enough alone?
I've noted the trend amongst top clubs to play with a single big striker. Only Man U of the top teams eschew this and I bet if SAF had the chance he'd get one.
Can Arsenal go light and play 442 to keep da Silva in the team?
Is Silva on the basis of his only 2 premiership goals, admittedly, the coolest finisher in the world? Ok the premiership. He just seems to be able to change his mind and change shot direction in a different time frame to the frenetic madness around him.
Moyes Can You Play Any Other Way?
Everton normally look so secure but against Arsenal they opened up. They probably dominated the game. Yet the score was 1-4.
As so often players who look like good defenders, or have a good defensive record, get exposed when they don't have masses of cover. Indeed English defenders like nothing better than sitting deep and throwing their bodies around. Whilst the best continental teams can defend up the pitch and deny the opposition without the bravery of Micah, Sol, Joleon, Terry, Rio and Carragher.
Where do Everton go from here?
Arteta 3 Matches Harsh?
Sending off fine but should Arteta get 3 games for an unintentional elbow that would not crack an egg?
Is not the sending off punishment enough?
If it is worth 3 games what was Ricardo Carvalho's worth?
27th Dec 2007
City Do They Have A Fitness Coach
As we know from his England days the only fitness Svennis is interested in is that of his women. One has to ask after seeing Petrov make 4 runs and then blow like an reluctant arthritic old chaser unwilling to push his joints up the gallops coming off a pipe opener. Do City do fitness work?
Sven has never had a team play a whole English season with its ball in play 70 minutes of frenetic running and have to ask will they keep it up?
Maybe the problem is Petrov himself - after all having started every game one wonders how he can produce so little after half time is beyond me. Sure for people used to the quantity theory of pumping crosses for few assists that is the speciality of Beckham and Pennant I should applaud the quality but maybe there is a reason players like Bianchi, Petrov and Elano are available.
Siddy fans can console themselves that at least Barton's lousy work rate and quality are replaced with quality at least, no controversy either.
Blackburn 19 Players
Blackburn have used fewer players than anyone else. Are they struggling especially against fitter teams than City from a lack of rotation of key players.
22nd Dec 2007
Cahill Great Player But...
Everton seem to have a very hard side to beat. They sit deep with 7 behind the ball and have pace and size outlets in Yakubu and Johnson with Cahill's skill in the air and making runs to support. Indeed even without Arteta they should have got a point here. They are one of the few teams who could sit on United away and expect a point.
Pienaar just a brain cramp. He had 2 men around him and Giggs going nowhere.
You know I'd love Cahill but for his in game persona which is as bad if not worse than Rooney. If you watch highlights you will see Terry and Gerrard manipulate and handle refs but during a game Cahill is a cheat and whiner par excellence. His almost continual niggldy gamesmanship and screaming like a child at refs gets under the radar but I just find him distasteful. Arguably refs should look to correct this or run him out of the league?
Indeed when you consider Everton lost to a wonder goal and moronic penalty why they opted to spend the 2nd half so deep is a mystery to me. I guess the full court press cannot be kept up all game. You wonder if they will be too much for Arsenal next week?
Ronaldo Everything Rooney Dreams Of Being
Rooney did his usual tricks: bad tackle early: screaming like a ranting infant at the referee: not threatening to affect the scoreline. It is hard to crib someone who can get 15 goals and 10 assists probably year in year out but United need better and most decent players could match those stats and provide a better outlet playing for United.
Ronaldo for some reason stood off taking Lescott to the cleaners as the Russians had done. Frankly if I had a game against Everton I would attack his flank all day and night as you get little change going through the middle.
Nonetheless Ronaldo did what Rooney does not do enough of: a spectacular goal from nowt: had the balls to take a spot kick.
Credit to Howard Webb for booking Anderson for trying to suggest who he should book.
Personally I was disgusted the Fletch only got 5 minutes to change the game and so were Everton.
22nd Dec 2007
Keane 95% Of A Great Player
A book that could be written "If Robbie Keane Could Finish in Big Games?"...
Berbatov No Effort But Classy
Dimitar Berbatov hardly covered a blade of grass but still scored and won what would have been a decisive penalty!
Is his mind already at Old Trafford?
If he goes to Old Trafford is that the end of regular starting role for Rooney or Tevez or both?
Could someone splice his skill to Adebayor's and physical effort? You can bet Arsenal would get one's effort and one's skill and Spurs would be relying on a player who does not try that hard.
Since Newcastle every team is pressing Arsenal and one wonders if they can deal with it?
No Toure no title? Has to be asked with the African Cup Of Nations coming up.
Robinson Not Very Good
Adebayor's shot was how far from thye far post?
Can you save a shot 2 inches from your foot falling backwards and turning your head away? The answer is no by the way.
16th Dec 2007
Grand Slam 2 Games 4 Top Teams 0 Decent Goals
Although there was a lot of attacking in the games the dichotomy whereby the ball is in play and the game is fast but there are fewer goals in the premiership comes to mind.
The only goals were set pieces 1 defended by clowns who fell for a trick a under 10 team would be embarressed by. The other a howler from the least howler prone player I have ever seen - go figure.
Chelsea Like United Undermined by Lack Of Top Class Forward
As with Man United earlier Chelsea without the Drog are undermined by a lack of pace and power up front. Sure give enough chances Sheva will gets some goals but teams at the top need more. Indeed arguably Drogba's wearing down coincides with having to play every minute rather than the 60/30 shifts he and Crespo undertook - of course that led to the short sighted to suggest he was not that good!
One down to a Cech error there is no accounting for what decides one off games... I have watched it 3 times and yes it was a clear error from the metronome...
Chelsea would probably prefer not to have to take the game to a team when forced to play Ben Haim who is next to useless and very slow - even compared to John Terry. The idea of moving up with this clown against a pacy breaking team must make them glad Thierry Henry is not about.
Mikel only got his 3rd booking of the season quite how 10 or so referees have not booked him is beyond me.
The foul on Terry was a cynical leg breaker. Yeah Terry's tackle on Fabregas did not look good but he actually kicks the ball and there is little contact or intent. Besides revenge is a petty motive and deliberate leg breakers need to be run out of the game.
Chelsea Title Challenge Over? Better For Season?
Can Chelsea sustain a title challenge with Ben Haim?
Will Grant inadvertently get a fresh Drog, Terry and Ricardo Carvalho to do what they should do anyway and concentrate on the Champions League?
All he needs now is a rested Lampard?
I don't care what Andy Gray says if you run across someone clearing it is dangerous regardless of intent - how often do they even block the ball. However Eboue went further and went hunting and should be run out of the game.
Emmanuel Eboue is a cheat and an aspirational leg breaker (depends on the X Ray if the cheat has achieved his goal) and this site will be particularly slating in future. I said the same when Wayne Rooney committed a similar foul on John Terry in the game he [Rooney] broke his foot before the '06 world cup - Terry missed last few games with stitches in his foot.
The clowns on Sky despite a game where someone deliberately broke someone's leg and the game collapsed into handbags of course praised the ref for not sending anyone off! Go Figure.
United's opening goal shows the lack of thought that Rafa has complained about Gerrard and co. They let 2 not particularly well struck 'passes' travel a long way and yet marked neither Rooney whose pathetic shot was turned into an assist by an unmarked Tevez.
How does a team like Liverpool full of tall bullies lose a corner to Man United? Stupidity. One wonders if it is a function of Rafa's control over the players denying thought or they cannot?
I cannot help view Liverpool as physical bullies who can exploit the rules and pressure of favouritism on better opponents in Europe. However to win a league almost seems to require a consistency and mentality to make yourself favourite - or hope for things to go your way in the 2nd half of the last game of the season!
Dirk Kuyt is shite.
Dirk Kuyt is truely shite. How does he get on before Crouch and Babel.
Has Torres ever been introduced to the concept that you have team mates who can also score and use the ball after you get it?
United Set Up Fortress Of Sorts
United almost 'attacked' the game like Liverpool in the latter stages of the European Cup looking for 0-0 or 1-0 away. They had 6 defenders with 4 behind and 2 in front. Indeed but for Van der Sar I don't think Liverpool managed an awful lot.
The problem for me is that no matter what formation I see United conceding against good teams in Europe. France played this formation in the last world cup and became very much a play for penalties and free kicks - even with Zidane and Henry. United don't have a top class forward with pace or size. Also they are hardly set up for set pieces.
They also got so deep that every 2nd ball headed clear with 6 deep and 2 small forwards and 2 wingers there was no one mopping up in front when they headed clear so the ball could keep coming back. Having got the lead there might have been value in swapping Rooney/Tevez for Carrick sooner.
I don't see this formation takes United anywhere but maybe the idea was to not let Liverpool behind them i.e. take a draw but rely on Liverpool cracking once in the game. Maybe it is a function of no Prince and specifically dealing with Gerrard's power up the middle Maybe the idea is to play ala Liverpool away in Europe? Let us hope this is not the United to come.
My main worry for United is from this formation they cannot attack up the middle. Hargreaves just does not move enough off the ball to help a team pass their way forward. Indeed I foresee much the same problem as England's 442 - the problem of relying on wide players to move forward is they can be cut off and doubled up on deep. At least United have genuine wide dribblers on both sides of the pitch generally speaking.
Wayne Rooney? What is he? Poor shooting, poor mentality, poor control, intermittant movement... So sad to see so much talent basically playing to hold his place in a position his team has no depth in. I once thought he could be so much more, maybe Joe Cole like (a player I used to see no future for!) he can resurrect himself as he grows up.
1st Dec 2007
Mikel Walking Red Card
Chelsea crowd round refs like kids whose Teddy Bear has been taken away from them but not named after a prophet obviously. Why bleat? Is it because deep down they know they are in trouble for all the bleating afterwards?
Is Jon Obi Mikel possible to red card every time he plays? 16 million for a man whose idea of a tackle is to plough through people. Albeit of course he got the most ludicrous red card upheld when his team mates could have gone in the Carling Cup final.
Should the ref book Mikel before the game to save time? Would that help Chelsea control their players? Then he can just intimate if he has got his red when it happens?
Most Spending Is Wasted But Some Makes The Difference
Chelsea have some nice fringe players like Joe Cole but other teams have nice wide players who make a difference occasionally as well.
However for all the money their main upgrade on most sides is Drogba and Lampard. You just cannot buy players that good without needing 20 million or developing them yourselves. Indeed as West Ham found even if you develop good players you cannot be sure to keep them.
Cech, Drogba and Lampard for me are keeping a ship afloat that is trotting out the likes of Bridge (once decent player brought low by injury), Mikel, Sidwell, Ben Haim, Alex, Kalou (has a chance to develop like Mikel and others) and Cudicini (whose ability is hard to ascertain after 3 years of reserve status - albeit as good as anyone bar maybe Freidel 3 years ago).
It gets you a nice bench when one of Phillips and Cole sits. Albeit over priced dreck like Sheva.
Do Chelsea have the squad to really attack 4 trophies? Nope for me... I would say top 4 and look at the other 3 to win after Crimbo.
John Terry is one of my favourite ever players. Yet as his form has gone down and his salary up he seems intent on proving he is a fool:-
24th Nov 2007
Essien Brick For A Brain
Even in the midst of a tedious routine dismissal of a team that may be worse than Newcastle Chelsea cannot just win and walk away. Quite what possessed Michael Essien to make little Kenny Miller's day is beyond me. Honestly, he shoved you, big deal! You are 2 nil up and wee Kenny had his goal disallowed and you thump him! Why give the nobody the satisfaction?
Not even a good hit if you are going to lower yourself to that get a proper ROY on Haaland on him not a slap.
Ban Them All
OK Essien clearly commits an offense that can be a straight red. Yet Chelsea hang around the referee like 6 yellow twits. Honestly if the ref sent them all off then Chelsea would forfeit the game 3-0 (You are unable to continue with only 4 players) and this nonsense would stop happening. It may even stop if the referee just gave them all yellows.
I don't get Terry and co, it is like they want to lie, cheat and bleat without any care about the game they play. Chelsea have had more charges of failing to control their players than everyone put together time to stop their bleating - as much because it is unedifying watching grown men be so pathetic.
Boo Them All
At least Lampard can be glad that he was not singled out for abuse as the fans showed their appreciation of Wednesdays tomfoolery at this game and St James' Park.
I Was Wrong About Sam?
Has there ever been a more toxic mixture of over rated Anglos, ageing paycheck players and Carlos Kickballs than Newcastle United?
You'd like to think that given 4 months a top manager could organise a team to play disciplined combative football. Warnock and Jewell (who showed what a delusional ranting clown he was on Football Focus) managed it. However on this form Newcastle are awful and may have to 'Boro like rely on hot strikers to keep them up.
I wondered at why anyone would buy Milner, Smith and Barton all classic youth prospects whose name is in the news but whose performances often don't match: Milner has seemed to be worth a place in a bad side: Smith does good things even if he cannot block a free kick - every performance a curate's egg of stupidity and signs of ability and thuggery: Barton a nothing behind the strikers player at City last year who seems better at blaming team mates than looking in the mirror.
Added to this toxic mix of prospects falling short is dreck like Geremi whose 4 years at Stamford Bridge would be nicely described as unremarkable. A back 4 of Carlos Kickballs. Obafemi Martins who defines shite - he can run but seems to have no understanding of the game. All topped off with unmoving forward Mark Viduka, the kind of one dimensional striker perfect for a team looking to work hard, be organised and finish 12th to 17th but not for any team of ambition.
Given I wanted Allardyce for England and his seemingly scientific approach his signings and this display maybe show that James Lawton looking through the bottom of a bottle knew more than me. Maybe we should get a foreigner to manage England.
Maybe given time Allardyce will evolve but he made a bad start getting Smith, Barton, Viduka and Geremi. I suspect that this could be his last game in charge given this could have been 10 and 2 players sent off - not to mention 2 brick for brains like Smith getting booked with the game lost needlessly. His team has: no shape: indiscipline: no brains: no outlets: cannot keep the ball.
Are there really teams bad enough to lose to them?
Torres Kuyt Stop Rout
Was the main reason, Wylie aside, that this was not a rout the abysmal finishing and play of Torres and Kuyt respectively?
Torres Hit Cow's Backside Banjo?
3rd Nov 2007
Wow Players Can Play With Their Heads
Is this Arsenal Team Total Football? Toure running the length of field with the ball. Gallas the winner?
United are almost 'Total' too once you get beyond Rio, Hargreaves and Vidic. Their forward line plays no rigid positions and at times they are simply irresistible.
Rooney is a monster around the opposition box and his runs display a quality his deeper work does not. I mean he drops off and nearly set up Adebayor for a goal - something he rarely does deep in the hole for United. McClaren has to look at how United play and consider how to deploy the kid and Lampard rather than the stilted rigid defined roles 442, surely? Why is Rooney allowed in his own half?
Rio handed Arsenal their first goal. He drops 8 yards behind the other back 4 and lets Adebayor start his deep run to goal. This totally undermined a brilliant tactic against 1 up front Arsenal of playing a high line. This is not the team with flyer Thierry trying to get behind you. Adebayor is many things but he is not Rooney or Owen on the shoulder of the defender. Indeed this is an Arsenal team with more artistry than pure sprinters. Honestly Rio is what 27ish and still does not know how to play a back 4. McClaren has to drop him and Terry and find a pairing who can play a high line IF he wants to keep playing 442 - of course 4321 makes more sense when your best player is Lampard and you will pick John Terry and Rio.
Wasn't Howard Webb justified by history by blowing first, esp early, and not letting whining and hand bags happen. He has got it in the neck from SAF and Andy 'Whinger' Gray so must have done a good job. SAF is obviously unaware of how this fixtures has descended into an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show in the past. Indeed people have had pizza thrown at them and there have been incidents where 5 or 6 Arsenal players got banned for bully poor wickle Ruud van Nistelrooy. Someone should tell SAF about this history and he would then understand yesterday was the best we can expect between two top English sides.
Hargreaves was quite effective when United maintained the high line and could be England's Makelele if we could get decent centre halves and a half decent cat. I say that because as you may know I am not a fan in a 442.
Also memo to Rooney (Joe Cole and others yesterday) flick passes backwards in your own half, Why? Not a good idea.
Are Arsenal under a handicap where their cat has to have 5 pounds of lead weight in his boots so he cannot kick the ball clear? Almunia and Lehmann both poor at this.
How did Theo Wal-Flower get on ahead of Eduardo da Silva? He looks like a cross between Spurs lightweights and ball donators Defoe and Lennon. Those two will always have good moments and a decent goal return for Defoe because they have talent and pace. However like Rio they have no clue how to play football really. Walflower makes the wrong runs, passes and loses the ball as well as not tracking back.
Saha comes on and plays a miracle pass that combined with Evra's run opened the Arsenal back 4 up totally. Seriously is he not the world's biggest enigma. Imagine facing him with Tevez or Rooney and Ronaldo? He has pace and effectively plays taller than he is. It just seems he is not a fighter. Like Charlie Hodgson over Jonny you just wonder if he has it or maybe it just won't happen in his career.
Is the 4th official's job just to hold up a board and give SAF and Wenger (or any manager) pair someone to complain to? Sort of like therapy and a sympathetic year for pressurised managers.
Does Andy Gray compile lists of whines before a game or do they come spontaneously on Sky?
27/28th Oct 2007
Are Liverpool a 442 Team? A 451 Team?
Or What Dallaglio Called a WTF Team?
I May be Wrong In Defending Rafa
I defended Rafa rotating but I now have no idea what he is trying. Against Arsenal he tried to become 451 like Chelsea.
He played Torres who is clearly injured - it makes no sense.
To the guy who offered me some advice the other month Dirk Kuyt is still shite. Honestly was he playing for Arsenal? Should he just try to pass to the opposition taking the view he is more likely to hit his own man?
Lawrence Dallaglio was saying that Bryan Ashton, as Clive Woodward in the 05 Lions Tour, had the team's senior players wondering WTF. Well one wonders if Rafa has let the Liverpool players in on his plan?
Does Rafa have a Plan?
Did The Guardian Pick The Wrong Week End To Praise Svennis?
Is the best team in the world one with a 4321 with Cech and a fresh Drogba and Lampard?
At least with his squad Grant should not have to worry about rotation. Replace Alex with Terry and give Sheva 30 minutes now and then - easy peasy lemon squeazy.
Sheva and Balls better to just pay them off and get some real reserves? Less Sheva more wins.
Will Grant target one of the Champions League or Premiership or try for all 4 again? Will he waste the advantage he has with Frank and the Drog fresh now fruitlessly pursuing everything with at best 10 players he wants to select?
OK you are a Set Piece team with Big Kevin Davies is there some reason you don't have a player who can deliver a decent cross?
29th Sept 2007
Mikel Terry Jol Defoe Torres Rotation Rotation Rotation
John Obi and John Terry
Whilst harsh by some standards the Mikel reckless one may not have made contact but there is no reason in that part of the field to jump in 2 footed. If he mistimes or goes over the ball everyone says red, I say red the crime is the same.
How can Chelsea deny failing to control their players, surely Terry deserved the 12 match ban they never use for hands on the ref? I think if the FA should accuse them of being a football club they'd deny it.
Why are the FA sucking up to Terry after his lies about Poll last year? His loss to England would do incalcuable good.
Spurs to Greatness?
Are Spurs fans morons? Why are they so in love with a poor one dimensional player like Defoe just because Keane and Berbatov started the season slowly?
Don't they realise Defoe is the same poor cream on topper he was last 2 years? How do players get better by having no ambition and not playing?
Also Defoe why has no big club tried to buy him seriously? Why is this star so content to stay 4th striker? Cos he ain't that good and even he knows it.
On Torres and Rafa, people should realise that Ranieri stopped rotating and it got no better. This call generally comes from ex-players and current star players - people with fragile egos. It is a rare player especially forward who can deliver all round performances 60+ times a season. Mourinho had it right 60 minutes of 1 and 30 of the other and look to replace the wingers as well.
A fresh front 3 last 30 minutes was why Chelsea at their best murdered teams 60-75 minutes. Yes because people are 1 stat morons initially the Drog's rep suffered but were Chelsea more effective last year for wearing the Drog and Lamps out? (OK OK Lampard always played but off a world cup and having to play in a failing team replete with wasters like Balls and Sheva).
Are Chelsea now paying for last year with Drogba? Is Lampard also paying for the hard games where they carried Chelsea last Dec and Jan?
When they rotated Chelsea were a machine with only 1 essential player not called Cech (and us cognoscenti know who the other one was (clue called Frank)).
15th Sept 2007
Roman : Half A Billion For That?
Wow Mr A you are showing that the old comment about Horse Racing "that the best way to a small fortune in racing was to start with a large one!" applies to football. At least Sheikh Mo gets to enjoy the horses....
Also you spend all that money to end up watching a team of honest scamperers like Ben Haim, C'Ash, Sidwell, Kalou, Pillips and Belletti and old tossers like Sheva... Lucky you.
Worse that half a Bill includes wages and no fees for Terry and the man Big Frank who were already there. Well done... I have a painting in the style of a Picasso how much? 100K and it is yours.
Is this team worse than last years? Or do the league now realise they don't have them cos they don't make sense in any formation?
Are the weak minded Chelsea fans pointing to players not there? Will it do Frank Lampard's reputation good not to play?
Is Sheva and Kalou the most lightweight forward line since Tommy Langley 'earned' his corn at the Bridge?
United Un-Improved? McClaren Gurning Moron. Chelsea Horrible.
Top Teams Need Better Players Game In Game Out
Players like Ben Haim and Shaun Wright Phillips can get high profiles and look great at less high profile clubs when having a good season - or at least a good set of highlights and the odd goal. I mean who remembers Bolton just shipped goals from Xmas and conceded 5 of Wayne Rooney's bloated goals total (bloated as in made him sound better than it was). Like Geremi at Boro everyone thinks you are a good player because you get a few goals but we all know fans who watch every game often don't rate their supposed best player - see Okocha at Bolton.
Players like Mikel, Kalou and others are maybe prospects but they should not be starting against Liverpool. How do SWP and Kalou start ahead of Joe Cole?
Note how Lampard is also playing hurt (with no fanfares or violins) made big tackles, scored a clutch penalty and probably made more passes and hit free kicks and corners they nearly scored off. Yet every time Gerrard does something similar the commentator has apoplexy... You don't have to believe in stats 100% to know Gerrard has nearly as many shots as Lampard and has 10 league goals once, that Lampard makes more passes, more assists and about the same number of tackles last 4 years. Like You'd swear Gerrard had scored 20 goals one season rather than a bare 10 once. At least Liverpool fans can seemingly count on more than the excreable 5 goals and 2 assists Gerrard managed last year.
Essien at right back! Wow you don't have to like Johnson and Paulo Ferreira but Essien who should be the tower in middle is no better as a defender as his performances show. As a midfielder he will do more for your defense than a poor right back will do you damage.
The good news is that those who worried Gerrard might be in danger of growing up after his sob filled rant at the extreme pressure of being 3rd favourites for the world cup, he is not. He came off the field whining like a small boy whose puppy had died.
The good news for the football fans as opposed to the fans of Chelsea and Man U is that Liverpool have started with purpose. Arsenal also bar a couple of comedy moments from Jens Lehmann.
Bad news for Chelsea is once again their brittleness at the back. Can they keep coming from behind all season? Does anyone really believe they have a much better team waiting somewhere given they are likely to have no great shakes defensive right back all year. Indeed the need to play Sheva and Balls at some point could make them worse. At least Robben and his 10 bad 10 good 40 injured soap opera seems over.
Or maybe I am being cynical and Chelsea are here to entertain and will concentrate on the hard stuff in Europe.
United Did They Improve?
I had an Arsenal fan prior to the season telling me how the Gunners could win the title and I shook my head and said United would repeat. I even backed it with money. Now 3 games is one of those things but as it is at the start of the season the equation to get to 90 points is 27 or more wins. That is a lot easier out of 38 than 35 games... I also think 90 points would rule Arsenal and maybe even Liverpool out of the title. I am also not sure Chelsea has the resilience if Lampard has dropped off rather than got tired last year.
Risking making a total fool of myself so early here is what I think will be the correct view if United are not as competitive this year. Last year United were built on a wide player having a career year and 2 veterans playing as well as ever.
Did SAF maybe make the mistakes of: not adding to his forward power (a clone of your ummmhhh ahhhhh striker who costs 2 million for all the hype and headlines is not exactly stepping it up): In not adding to his creative midfield and relying on Scholes again: In getting a couple of wide player prospects, a future move: In adding Hargreaves a one dimensional stopper one assumes for Europe but hoping to get away with it in the premiership: In not adding pace or height and staying reliant on Saha's fragile body and mind. Who knows but it all shows that we don't look for good reasons for change and assume continuity we can be horribly wrong.
Adding Hargreaves for me only makes sense in a 4321. Which puts Rooney under pressure to perform game in game out at 0-0. Even using the game Tevez does not mean you have pace or height at the front. Indeed United seem to have gone all Arsenal with small lightweight players up front and in midfield. Vidic being their lone physical threat.
10 games time the doubters could all look like clowns, moi? As I type Chelsea are trying to play 442 with poor players like Mikel, Phillips, Kalou, Essien (as a right back he qualifies as poor) and Ben Haim - or is SWP bizarrely in a midfield 3! Unless Liverpool have really cracked it the title could be anyone's at 80 points which brings all the big 4 into it.
McClaren! King of Clowns
For Sunday's coverage Sky put on the man a panel of FA suits interviewed and hired as England manager. Quite how this limited man managed to get away with it for so long says several things to me a) being a no 2 is about getting on with everyone b) that football players as Southgate said can play without direction c) the FA is full of morons.
McClaren mangled his way through why Gerrard was so good in central midfield and why he did not pick Carragher without answering how his selection totally differed from these positions. Another Hanson who lists qualities as though that is a sign of analysis, assessment and knowledge...
18th August 2007
Jol, Goal Line Technology Lee and Hutchings.
Spurs Ludicrous Recruitment Policy
I have never understood how something as random as the next result can make a difference to a manager's ability - do they become better manager when they win it and worse when they lose it? All it ever shows to me is that clubs intend to spend money and bumble along and are run by the kind of clowns who populate the management of every large organisation I have ever worked for. They have no ethos and no intended result rather than a hope to get lots of points - without any thought process to ensure that rather than collecting players they collect points.
Clubs seem to have no ability to assess a manager. Indeed where a manager runs over an owner's ethos like Mourinho did last year the thought of PR seems to cower even Billionaire's like Roman Abramovich. It is hard to believe that someone who has done so much to cement the position of the brutal mass murderer Putin is cowed by public opinion and a Portuguese who could not win a fight with the mascot - the child not Stamford the Lion.
On Jol he may have little say over players but when a team defends so poorly one has to wonder at the coaching. Their weaknesses have been obvious for over a year - 442 2 lightweight wingers, poor defensive organisation/players and a dreadful goal keeper.
I would question their director of football even more. Excepting that Defoe clearly won't leave London and hence he is kept on unwanted and unloved but why pay all that money for a 3rd striker who can only play in a 442 with Berbatov. With the wingers and Keane Spurs would have the option of 4321 yet Bent could only be a replacement in that. Defoe is already a pure substitute. 3 in central midfield seems obvious to me looking at the squad and openness.
Wigan and Bolton moving past each other.
Matt Dickinson, the Times, said Hutchings and Lee's recruitment was a suicide note. Well does he still feel that? Was it based on more than gut or that pathetic elitest cut of jib nonsense that worked so well this winter for Duncan Fletcher?
Is it not easier to replace a populist ranter like Jewell with someone with a more holistic approach like Allardyce?
Bolton with a negative goal difference last year and 2nd half of last season were already a poorer team than their final position stated. Now they have Kevin Davies out, no Ben Haim and no doubt that famous Allardyce back room with their CVs out, Lee will need time he may not get. Should he be given a Mulligan?
Memo to Sammy Lee whining about free kicks not given 50 yards from goal is the wrong viewpoint, ask yourself how your defenders let the opposition score 5 seconds later from a position of no danger.
Goal Line Technology, Do We Really Need It?
Bad journalists who can only shout at what other journalists serve up and what is in front of their boats will be rattling on about what is in front of them on Sky Sports News. This week it will vacuum like discussion of goal line technology.
The interesting point for me is this they say it exists but no one has shown anything on my TV that works. You'd think that some journalist or TV company would point to a system that actually works… Rather than go on and on and on about the need for it. I need a teleport device that can get me to work instantly… I won't get one and you'd think I was insane if I said I wanted to buy one. OK we'll have goal tech long before teleportation!
Seriously 3 rounds of games and 1 instance. How many were there last year 1 or 2 or 3? Is not serious foul play, endemic cheating by defenders and attackers, ganging up and failing to accept referees decisions and the complete failure of the English academies to produce a decent player since Wayne Rooney not more pressing? (I would argue John Terry...)
14/15th August 2007
Too early to say anything so more pointless questions....
Everton Top! Siddy 2nd!!
Has every Everton fan copied and framed the league table?
Are Siddy fans dancing in the blood of the Thai people? Damn right they are! At the moment Svennis can say "Get your coat love, you've pulled" to any Siddy supporting woman, which may be a small step up from every money grabbing piece of cunt at the FA?
Mourinho's Asylum For The Insane....
Chelsea fans are dancing in the blood of the Chechens but can they keep going behind in games?
Two times in 2 games coming from behind, Italian style, how many times did Chelsea go behind in Mourinho's 1st and 2nd season?
Cech Flapping again! Is the world tilting on a new axis?
Lampard Drogba Again, the more things change the more they stay the same?
Lampard scored so people will say he played well.... Actually does he not always make those runs, tackles, passes and rarely misses a game? Is he not a cog best used as the spare man in a 3 man central midfield? Why don't people who watch loads of football get it that over the piece game in game out that kind of player is more valuable than obvious physical talents, one game merchants and scorers of great goals? Oh and did I say he rarely misses a game?
Will it be good for England if the Charlie Big Potatoes (CBP - Tony Adams' expression not mine) don't turn up and we can play Super Frank in a 433 ala Chelsea sometimes? CBP are Rooney, Gerrard, Beckham and Mickey... After all we have not exactly been good with them and Frank does turn up like the undersized brother hoping for a game every time so use him as he should be used? Is Super Frank the worst nickname of all time? Or is that Rooney calling himself "The Big Man" which I'd have to see him naked and ready to 100% discount, and I don't intend to thank you very much.
Will Chelsea continue to play devil may care formations? Let's hope so.
Chelsea (Lampard, Cech, Carvalho and Drog to be accurate) performed miracles last year to get where they did winning games they should not can they really repeat it?
My best mate is a fan of the Gunners is he happy? You bet.
Spurs a clown in goal and no coaching at the back? Actually that is a comment...
Ron the hard man? Or just bloody stupid?
Good job Ferguson just bought clones of Rooney and Ronaldo as they plan to miss so many games? Shame he did not strengthen his squad and relying on the ageing Ginger Genius and Giggsy to repeat near best seasons at ages 37 and 56? (OK they are not that old).
Last 3 years titlists have got off to a fast start are United already under pressure to massacre Siddy in a game reminiscent of how Thaksin dealt with his opponents in Thailand?
11/12th August 2007
Sad to relate I did not get round to watching much of the weekend what with the cricket and rugby it's a hard life. Nonetheless some obvious stuff occured to me and I thought I'd do this season in the style of questions. Indeed yesterday's Curate's Egg of Mourinho visiting England's dysfunctional formation raised 20 questions on its own.... Anyway here goes...
Gerrard Before January Are You Sure?
Does Steven Gerrard's winner and energetic display mean he is fit already this year?
Does it mean Liverpool are a threat to not be out of the title race by September this year?
Jol First Against the Wall?
If Liverpool turned up and shook us up by trying away early did Spurs set a marker that this year will be a lot like last year away from home early season?
How many results like this before Martin Jol gets the dreaded its far too early to talk about changing the manager patter from the pundits?
442 with 2 genuine wingers and Lampard with a holder, has Mourinho seen an England game?
Petr Cech flapping, surely not?
Have Chelsea emasculated their own set piece dominance of 2 years ago?
Alex for Ben Haim Shirley?
Lampard broken toe... More reliable and less appreciated than a Bosch power tool?
Someone said if you play badly and win that is a measure of a good side, is it also the measure of a not so good side as well?
Jen Lehmann oh how quickly the blogging Arsenal fans are now saying he is shite? Almunia? Are They Sure?
Is Carlos Tevez a £2 Million Player Or Have The Blades Been Conned?
Is there a more discredited figure in sports than Richard Scudamore?
You enjoyed considerable success last season playing at the front of a 442 on the shoulder of the last defender. Played in a 451 do you drift into midfield and pass to the opposition continually or play as a front man? Doh.
Does he really think it is a free kick or penalty every time they go down? Is that not cheating?
Did he get enough calcium? Should he not be an ad for what happens if you don't eat well and get your milk?
Alan Smith Must Be Shite
Does Ferguson really prefer John O'Shea as a forward to Alan Smith? (Yes of course).
United 451? No forward pace? no height? Does SAF know how they did well last year?
How many times do Reading players have to injure people after the ball is gone before it is a pattern the media can pick up?
Kitson which part of the ball was he playing? Was it the same as the part of the ball Berkshire Based Hunt was not playing when he played Cech's head?
How could anyone say that was not a straight red card? Andy Gray Jamie Redknapp were on which planet? Don't they know refs can never, nor should they, judge intent? Is a deliberate leg breaker objectively different from a depraved indifference that's the way I tackle one? (Yes at least players can stop doing it deliberately)
Could he be a good manager? Or at least better than Pearce!
The Big Issue.....
Could Chelsea and United swapping for formations that suit the other combined with Liverpool going away from home early season really mean the title is not going to Manchester this year????