The Six Pointer – Lucky Hull, Rubbish Goals & more…

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That was the season that was.

1. So Newcastle went down with barely a whimper. Can’t say it’s undeserved either, they’ve been a joke club for years both on and off the pitch. For all the talk of Shearer geeing them up, the lack of fight and determination in the closing stages against Villa was astonishing. I’m sure they were aware of the Hull score at all times and yet there seemed to be no discernible attempt to throw everyone forward in the last few minutes. Of course it’s easier said than done to score a goal but given the situation what exactly was there too lose? It certainly didn’t feel like they had three strikers on the pitch even though that was the case for much of the game. The second half produced a total of zero shots on target. Newcastle aren’t good enough to play patient possession football in the hop of carving out an opening against a well organised outfit like Villa. But that they tried and it resulted in a damp squib of an ending and a relegation which may have much longer term consequences than they realise. Shearer must take some of the blame too. Even though it was a dire situation when he arrived, he failed to produce the inspiration that was necessary. Untried managers that are club legends often talk about heart, desire and determination to make up for the lack of tactical nous they may possess. Shearer delivered on neither but in his defence I doubt anyone could shake up the sorry collection of overpaid players he had at his disposal. I suspect he will stay and his first mess will be dealing with the 15 players on more than £50,000 a week (15!) with no relegation clauses. Getting a squad full of players who want to play for Newcastle will go a long way to determining the length of the Toon Army’s stay in the Championship.

Cheerio

Cheerio!

 

2. Hull got very, very lucky. They are not good enough to be in the Premier League and the run of one win in 25 or whatever it was would have sent them down any other year. It was somewhat ironic to see Phil Brown leading the singsong after their defeat to Man Utd as it was his fault they dropped like a stone in the first place. The half time teamtalk on the pitch at Man City signalled the start of their awful run and went against the age old adage that a good manager never criticises his players in public. Some squad improvement may seem them reach the heights they showed at the start of this season but I suspect the reality will be another season of struggle next year. They will start amongst the favourites to go down next year.

Idiot

What an idiot.

 

3. Has there ever been a more ‘meh’ top scorer than Nicolas Anelka? Given only one Premier League season has seen less overall goals, it was no surprise to see a top scorer with less than 20 for the first time in ten seasons. This was very much the year of tight defences and half the teams in the top flight couldn’t manage more than forty goals (compared with just five last year). Congrats then to Fulham who used their 39 to very good effect with a seventh place finish. 

4. Of the four teams in danger of relegation yesterday, all lost. You could have got 25-1 on that happening. The two teams (Fulham and Spurs) with Europa League qualification to play for also lost. 

5. Arsenal really are in a league of their own at the moment. Eleven points behind third place Chelsea but nine ahead of fifth place Everton. No team is further isolated but as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think the Gunners are far off a proper challenge next season. A good defensive midfielder would go a long way but a big centre back is a priority. If I were Wenger I’d also be tempted to look at another goalkeeper, to at least push Almunia if not replace him. Van Persie’s two goals against Stoke made him a twenty goal a season striker for the first time and although there were defeats when it mattered, a 21 unbeaten run in the league offered a glimpse of the potential within the rest of the squad. The final step up will be improvement against the top three but with a good off season, there is reason to be optimistic at the Emirates.

That's only ten less the Ade last year...

That's only ten less the Ade last year...

 

6. It makes sense that the goal of the season should consist of the ten individual goals of the month but the resulting collection is pretty poor this season. Lots of hit and hopes which blend into each other – anyone can catch a ball sweetly from 35 yards.

GOAL 1: Ricardo Fuller, STOKE CITY v Aston Villa (23 August)

GOAL 2: Geovanni, Arsenal v HULL CITY (27 September)

GOAL 3: David Bentley, Arsenal v TOTTENHAM (29 October)

GOAL 4: Glen Johnson, PORTSMOUTH v Hull City (22 November)

GOAL 5: Robin van Persie, ARSENAL v Liverpool (21 December)

GOAL 6: Paul Konchesky, West Ham v FULHAM (18 January)

GOAL 7: Ryan Giggs, West Ham v MAN UTD (8 February)

GOAL 8: Carlton Cole, Wigan v WEST HAM (4 March)

GOAL 9: Fernando Torres (first goal), LIVERPOOL v Blackburn (11 April)

GOAL 10: Tuncay, MIDDLESBROUGH v Aston Villa (16 May)

Of the those ten goals only three or four could be described as having elements of good skill. For my money I liked Cole’s goal as a team effort and Fuller’s was nice turn and shoot. To be honest though for me it’s between either Glen Johnson’s left foot volley from distance or Torres’ chest and volley from a tight angle. Judge for yourself here.

 

T.

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