All eyes were on Sunday after one of the least appealing set of Saturday games this season. Only Sunderland v Bolton served up anything interesting and that was in part to all the comedy defending. As Mark Lawrenson would say (he would and you know it), Christmas is the season of giving.
1. Is Roy Keane any good? We’ve touched before on how Sunderland’s strikeforce of Kenwyn Jones and Djibril Cisse has more than enough quality to keep them up. However, judging by the state of their defence (Saturday’s comedy here), it may not be enough. They’re down to 19th with just one win in seven. Keane has spent more than £60 million since taking over in the summer of 2006. There are some decent players there (Malbranque, Ferdinand, the two main strikers, a few others) but also a lot of tosh. His reliance on Man Utd rejects and Irish players who aren’t Robbie Keane has led to the biggest squad in the Premiership but arguably very little genuine quality. Squads are important but your first choice eleven take priority given that they’ll play the majority of games when fit. I think part of the problem has been the lack of a first choice defence – he has used six different back fours thus far. Looking at their squad I guess you would choose Chimbonda – Ferdinand – Nosworthy – McCartney. Hmm. As always, he’s being very frank in his assessment of his team and his own future but I reckon that as long as he keeps Sunderland up he’ll get a new contract. Great beard by the way but has he been taking styling tips from Abel Xavier?
2. Is Gary Megson any good? Quietly, Bolton have won four out of their last five games and climbed to the dizzy heights of ninth in the table. Universally derided upon his appointment a year ago, Megson led Bolton to safety with a similar run at the end of the season where eleven points were taken from the final five games. Until then they were in dire trouble and looked set to be relegated. This year, they were in most people’s bottom three in the pre season predictions but have been steadily gaining points. So is he any good? I’m not convinced. His main summer signings were gambles to say the least (Muamba and Elmander for a combined £15 million) but to be fair the latter has started to score regularly now. He needs more than a 17th place to be judged a success, they should be looking towards mid table. I will reserve judgment until their next four games have passed – Chelsea(H), Villa(A), Pompey(H) and Liverpool(A). If they get anything from those then perhaps I’ll start to believe Gary Megson is a decent manager.