Posts Tagged ‘bellamy’

Season Previews 2010/11 – Manchester City

11/08/2010

Man City

Last Season: 5th

New Signings: Silva, Boateng, Toure, Kolarov with Milner and Balotelli to potentially come

Key Player: Carlos Tevez

One To Watch: Mario Balotelli if he joins, David Silva if he doesn’t.

Needs A Big Year: Joleon Lescott

Would Quite Like: Everything if possible. Will settle for a trophy and coming above their city neighbours.

Four more players please.

Prediction: 4th

Thoughts: A friend and I spent a couple of hours at work recently trying to predict who would be in Man City’s starting line up. After much deliberation we decided we had no idea. This is probably the biggest issue facing Mancini as he begins his first full season in charge at Eastlands.

Whilst some of the prices he (or rather his bosses) have paid for players would dictate they will start but even then who can you really say is guaranteed to play if fit? Tevez obviously. Silva and Yaya Toure I suppose. Koralov too. But beyond that it appears like it may be a case of adapting to the opponent and seeing who performs.

This is fine but with big games from the very off, there isn’t much room for error if the aim is to challenge for the title. The sheer depth of a squad where Bellamy, Ireland and Santa Cruz aren’t even in the 25 (and are all likely to leave) means a top four finish should be comfortably achieved. Whether they can do even better depends on how quickly things will gel together.

Tactically it looks like City will be playing two defensive midfielders whatever happens, though Toure is known to get forward. At home I’d wager that Tevez and another striker (Balotelli probably) play up front with Silva and Milner pushing from left and right. A fluid 4231. Away from home against stronger teams it may almost be a Christmas tree formation with three defensive midfielders, with Silva and another pacy player supporting Tevez up front on his own.

The options are quite varied to be honest but Mancini is a bit of a safety first manager. My main concern is whether the centre-backs are up to the task. Lescott and Kolo Toure were decidedly average last season meaning it will be probably be Kompany alongside one of them, or possibly even Boateng. Either way it’s not going to be the greatest partnership in the world. What price another defender coming in before the deadline?

No , make that five.

Overall I think City will do well but they’re still a season away from a proper title push. This time next year though they’ll have Champions League football to offer as a carrot to prospective players. Just watch who they sign then…

T.

Season Previews 2010/11 – Tottenham

11/08/2010

Tottenham

Last Season: 4th

New Signings: Sandro

Key Player: Luka Modric

One To Watch: Tom Huddlestone. Hard to miss him really.

Needs A Big Year: Peter Crouch

Would Quite Like: Some glory European nights and finally coming ahead of their bigger, better neighbours from N5. Perhaps a trophy too.

Harry counts the number of signings on one finger.

Prediction: 6th

Thoughts: After many years of trying and many years of spending, Spurs finally reached their holy grail and came 4th last season to have a shot at the Big Cup. Assuming they overcome Young Boys (responsible for one of the best ever headlines), Spurs will suddenly be welcoming the top sides to White Hart Lane every few weeks. I get the feeling may struggle to cope with demands of the Champions League and Premier League football.

Certainly their squad is big but I’m yet to be convinced that there is enough quality in it to do well in both. Surprisingly there’s been just the one signing so far, Sandro coming in to provide a much needed second defensive midfielder. It’s clear Redknapp is after a striker a who can play the lone front man role as none of his current ones can (save perhaps Pavlyuchenko).

The ability to adequately play 451 away from home (and in Europe) may go some way to improving their woeful record of no away wins against the top four in about fifteen years. Creatively they look fine with Modric, Kranjcar, Lennon Bale and Bentley all capable of laying chances on a plate. Defensive cover is probably an issue, certainly at right back at least. Corluka is a bit slow and none of the others are fully established. The last time all four central defenders were fit at the same time was quite a while ago too.

It’s clear Spurs are a good side but perhaps they peaked last season. I just don’t see how they’re going to as motivated this year for an away trip to someone like Blackburn when there’s a home tie against say Inter round the corner. They’ll still be challenging the top four again but I personally think they may find that both Man City and Liverpool come ahead of them this season. 6th spot in the league but the knockout stages of Europe.

T.

Weekly Photoshop – Roberto Mancini

02/03/2010

Man City’s slightly under pressure manager this week. Anyone else beginning to think that behind that luscious hair there’s really not much substance at all?

.

roberto-mancini man city

Roberto Mankini?!

.

roberto mancini man city scarf

Mancini wasn't best pleased after someone put a United sock in the wash with his scarf. My money's on Bellamy...

.

More here.

.

T.

.

Archive.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 19 Preview

24/12/2009

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me the Sportboys gave to you… a fantasy football preview for gameweek 19. I tell a small lie as I’m writing this on Christmas Eve and very little team news is in yet but we’ll do what we can. Gameweek 18 was quite bad for me personally and I only just scraped a slightly higher than average score of 40 points.

Only Richard Dunne and Andrey Arshavin scored more than 2 points and it was all in all a week to forget for me and many others. To add insult to injury I was knocked out of the fantasy cup by someone who had a really random team which hadn’t been changed in months but just happened to have a certain Abou Diaby in it. More on that below.

.

Gameweek 18 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

abou diaby arsenal

Maverick approves of Diaby's 2nd Top Gun of the season

craig bellamy man city

Some Christmas Goose approval for Bellamy

In what is now a regular occurence, we have a tie for last week’s Top Gun award with Abou Diaby and Craig Bellamy both scoring 14 points. Diaby scored, assisted, kept a clean sheet and got three bonus for his second Top Gun of the season while Bellamy scored, assisted twice and picked up a couple of bonus for his trouble. Elsewhere Crouch and Santa Cruz both scored 13 points while Bobby Zamora hit the net again for 12 more points.

On to your Boxing Day picks…

.

Three Captain Choices:

1. Tevez/Man City – The overpriced Argentinian has a few things going for him this week. Firstly he’s been in great form having scored four in his last four games while picking up nine bonus points in his last five. Secondly he faces Stoke at Eastlands – Stoke are terrible away from home and Man City have no trouble scoring lots (if not always winning). Thirdly you have the new manager syndrome which usually results in a positive result for that team. No one really know how Mancini will line things up but I’m fairly certain Tevez should be involved.

2. Rooney/Man Utd – I’ve had Rooney in my team for the past few weeks and have felt disappointed with his production, even though he technically has five in five (includes a hat-trick vs Pompey). He faces Hull this week, who despite their recent upturn in form are still a poor side and he should hopefully find the net.

3. Torres/Liverpool – One final striker to consider this week as the Spanish hitman will hopefully play against Wolves at home. The risk is that Rafa will save him for the Villa game on the 29th but the way Liverpool are playing right now this is more important. A goal is virtually guaranteed if he does play, it’s your call if you think he will.

Carlos Tevez Man City

Gets a Captain's tick.

.

Three Suggested Transfers In:

1. Milner/Aston Villa – We suggested him not so long ago and it’s time to do so again. In the last seven weeks he’s scored five points or more six times and got into double figures three times. Aston Villa look like they can last the pace this season and Milner will be doing his utmost to ensure they a) finish in the top four and b) he get’s in the World Cup squad. Great value at £8m too.

2. Zamora/Fulham – It feels weird to suggest this but you can argue that Zamora isn’t in form right  now. Three goals in his last three games plus five bonus points suggests a man who is finally harnessing his talents at the highest level. I still don’t think it is a permanent thing but you may as well ride the wave until it stops seeing as he’s only £5.7m and plays twice next gameweek.

3. No transfer at all – With four teams playing twice in Gameweek 19 why not save this week’s transfer and get two free for then? Or be able to change three players for just a four point hit. Arsenal, Fulham, Stoke and Bolton all play twice and provide options longer term then just gameweek 19. Something to consider.

James Milner Aston Villa

Might be worth a pick.

.

Three to avoid:

1. Man City players you don’t have – With any new manager comes two things; an upturn in performance but also uncertainty over who will play as he works out his favoured side. Mancini is generally someone who plays 4-4-2 with wingers which leaves question marks over people like Stephen Ireland. Additionally Adebayor and Robinho were dropped in Hughes’ last match in charge – will they find their way back in. Hold off a few weeks.

2. Chelsea strikers – With Drogba off to the African Nations, Anelka nursing a minor injury and Kalou being a bit rubbish, the onus will fall on the midfield in the next few week. People like Lampard, Ballack and Joe Cole should be monitored in the next few matches.

3. Anyone going to the African Cup of Nations – Time to think about who to bring in as replacements, gameweek 18 will be their last for a month.

Stephen Ireland Man City

Are you taking the mick?!

Good luck this week and a merry Christmas to everyone. I’ll try to do a gameweek 20 preview on Sunday but might not get a chance. Needless to say you should be going with Arshavin or Fabregas as captain and getting in a player or two from Bolton or Fulham.

.

T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 9

16/10/2009

There were a measly 33 goals last week (down from 37 the week before) and even a couple of clean sheets! Might the entertainment be winding down?! No, of course not but I do think slowly but surely we’ll start averaging under three goals a game. While there were a few 2-2 draws, it was Arsenal’s 6-2 demolition that really bumped up the average.

I somewhat regretted bringing in Torres for Van Persie given their respective weeks (2 pts/7pts and a price rise) but while the Spaniard has a somewhat tricky run I think long term he will score more points. This week I am getting rid of one of my big two midfielders. Will it be Lampard? Will it be Gerrard? You’ll just have to wait till Saturday to find out, even though I actually made the change last Monday!

.

Gameweek 8 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

Maverick approves of not having to produce a new image for Fabregas

Maverick approves of not having to produce a new image for Fabregas.

Yes, I was lucky enough to watch Cesc Fabregas‘ destruction of Blackburn in person but not lucky enough to have him in my team when he once again scores 22 points for most and 44 for those sensible enough to have him as captain. Let me assure you that it will be third time lucky and I will snag that next high score. I hope!

He took a different route to 22 this time via four assists, a goal and three bonus and thus wins the Top Gun award for the second time this season. I told you to get him for last week. I just wish I had taken my own advice. For what it’s worth Zayatte and Dunne were next with 12 and 11, the former achieving that rare feat of being a defender who gets taken off while keeping a clean sheet.

On to the tips…

.

Three Captain Choices:

1. Fabregas or perhaps Arshavin/Arsenal – A case of after the Lord Mayor’s show? Perhaps, but that’s not to say Cesc still can’t get a good score this week. Birmingham are the visitors to the Emirates tomorrow and with their defence being pretty solid I think this may be a game where you pick a midfielder as captain rather than a striker.

Fabregas will be rested after missing the second of Spain’s internationals for personal reasons and you have to fancy him to dictate things against Birmingham’s somewhat workmanlike midfield. Arshavin is a good alternative option as his dribbling skills might be the key to opening things up. His direct opponent is Steve Carr after all.

2. Berbatov/Man Utd – With Rooney possibly a doubt due to his calf strain, the onus falls on the Bulgarian to continue his good recent form of two in two and produce a match-winning performance against Bolton. Gary Megson’s side had a good result against Spurs last week but they’ll be no match for Utd at Old Trafford. Berba scored against Bolton last season and if his reputation as something of a small game player is anything to go by he should be a good shout in this match.

3. Dunn/Blackburn – A gamble but if you consider that he has three goals in four games and faces a Burnley side terrible away from home, it’s suddenly not that far fetched that he could have a good weekend.

Gets a Captain's tick

Gets a Captain's tick

.

Three Potential Transfers In:

1. Baines or Saha/Everton – I don’t really buy Heitinga despite his two straight assists. He’s an accident waiting to happen and I would avoid him. Baines on the other hand is very much to his Wigan form of a few seasons ago and has been for a while now. He has much of the set piece duty while Arteta is still out and with games against Wolves and Bolton coming up, has a good chance of clean sheets. Similarly, Louis Saha should relish facing those teams and will look to add to his five goals. He’s a good alternative at £7.2m if Bent is now out your price range.

2. Adebayor or Bellamy/Man City – Many of you will already have Adebayor in your team so this may not apply but he could be someone to bring in if you’re concerned over Rooney’s form or Torres’ run of games. Man City’s next four games are Wigan (A), Fulham (H), Birmingham (A) and Burnley (H) and while a couple of those sides are tough to break down, I’d imagine Adebayor will be the striker to get the goal in a 1-0 win. His price has gone back down to £10m too. Bellamy too has been on fire recently and fully deserves a starting spot. Between them they should be scoring the bulk of Man City’s goals in their upcoming fixtures.

3. Geovanni/Hull – About the only player worth having from Hull (though I suppose Zayatte merits a mention) and about the only player in form for Hull. He has two goals in two games and home matches against Portsmouth and Stoke coming up in the next few weeks.

Might be worth a pick.

Might be worth a pick.

.

Three To Avoid:

1. Wolves players – Whilst the likes of Ebanks-Blake and Kightly have been making their comebacks for Wolves, their upcoming fixtures are horrendous. Everton (A), Villa (H), Stoke (A), Arsenal (H), Chelsea (A) is not a run where you can easily identify point scoring opportunities. I’m sure they’ll score a goal or two along the way but good luck trying to predict the scorer.

2. Upson/West Ham – Judging by the 10,000 people who have got rid of him this week, it seems he is in quite a few teams. West Ham have been a shadow of the side that did so well last season and have let in eight goals in three games. This is strange considering the 4-5-1 Zola employs but with games against Stoke away and Arsenal at home unlikely to bring clean sheets for now Upson is too highly priced at £5.7m to warrant inclusion.

3. Kranjcar/Tottenham – According to Physioroom Modric is back next week apparently.

Are you taking the mick?

Are you taking the mick?

.

T.

The Six Pointer – Blue Hughes sees red, Megson’s style (or lack thereof) & more…

22/09/2009

1. Mark Hughes has been getting on my nerves recently so it was quite funny to see him fume at Michael Owen’s last minute winner for Man Utd against Man City yesterday. He can bleat all he wants about the amount of stoppage time played but as has been pointed out several times now, the time that gets shown up on the board is a minimum not a maximum. Bellamy scored to make it 3-3 right on 90 minutes and the celebrations took around a minute. Fergie made a substitution and brought on Carrick which added around 30 seconds and Owen scored after 95 mins 28 seconds which if you add all the other stuff makes it perfectly fine.

Almost as good as the Neviller's celebration.

Almost as good as the Neviller's celebration.

If I was Mark Hughes I’d be more concerned about how my near £40 million centre back partnership appears to be a bit rubbish in the air while my right back has atrocious positioning skills. Richards was nowhere to be seen when Giggs slipped Owen through while Fletcher twice out jumped the City defence. Don’t forget all the great headed chances Berbatov had too.

Another issue of concern will be the number of shots Man City are taking. Even disregarding the three strikers they had out on Sunday, only five clubs have fewer shots on goal this season. City’s success thus far has been due to making the most of those shots with the highest on target accuracy of 57%. Given you would expect this to drop a little (the average is 44%), it means they’ll need to be more attacking if they’re to maintain their good start.

A word too for Craig Bellamy who has made a good start to the season and scored two excellent goals. I was arguing with the Football Guy the night before the game over where he stood in the pecking order at Man City. He reckons that Tevez is easily ahead whereas I wasn’t so sure. I think Bellamy’s two goals have added to the argument that he’s just as worthy of a place in the side as the Argetine. For all the talk about the determination and fight Tevez brings, it was clear on Sunday that Bellamy has fight in him too!

Biff!

Biff!

.

2. Chelsea were pretty good against Spurs, with Drogba in particular terrorising their makeshift central defence once King went off. The talking point was Carvalho’s challenge on Keane in the box at 1-0 Chelsea. The Portuguese defender took none of the ball but Keane stayed up for a step before going down. This delay probably cost him the decision though Howard Webb wasn’t in a great position to see it clearly.

Had he been at a different angle Webb would have had no choice but to give it and perhaps send off Carvalho too. Given how Drogba played it may not have made a difference but it certainly would have been more of a challenge for Ancelotti’s side at 1-1 and with ten men.

.

3. I’ve been thinking for a while that of the three centre backs Liverpool have, more and more Carragher seems to be the weak link. To be fair to him, Carlton Cole caused just as many problems for Martin Skrtel but Carragher is making lots of mistakes these days. Agger is not quite fit but it will be interesting selection choice once he is. I for one am quite happy if Rafa continues to play the Scousest man on Earth.

Luckily for Rafa Benitez he has probably the best player in the league in Fernando Torres who scored his 42nd and 43rd league goal in just 63 games – an awesome ratio that compares with Ronaldo and Henry at their best.

Another goal for El Nino.

Another goal for El Nino.

.

4. It appears Bolton fans are slowly getting fed up with Gary Megson, booing the team off the pitch after the 1-1 draw with Stoke. Only Matt Taylor’s last minute penalty spared defeat but it’s the manner of play which is at odds with the support. Attendances are falling at the Reebok and it’s in no small part to Megson’s style of play. I imagine it would be bearable if it was bringing good results like last season but there’s just a solitary win against Pompey so far.

Bolton have made the fewest passes in the division and have the fourth lowest shooting accuracy. While the direct tactics may be effective against some, it’s not going to work when you have Kevin Davies on his own against the giant Stoke defenders. Klasnic might prove useful once he fully adjusts to the Premier League but record signing Elmander has not played any part in the last two games. With the promoted clubs doing better than expected it looks to be a long season ahead for Bolton.

Under fire.

Under fire.

.

5. Just like that Aston Villa have won four straight games and all the talk of crisis after the Wigan defeat has gone. The new look defence has settled well and Agbonlahor has found himself some form again. Three straight clean sheets has shown value in Martin O’Neill’s policy of tending to buy domestically. Players like Dunne and Warnock were established Premier League players before moving to Villa Park and thus could slot straight in without the need to adapt. There’s even a little more rotation going on this season with 20 players already used (just 21 were used all of last season). Once again they look well placed to challenge for that elusive top four spot. With a more open league they could get that little bit closer this time round.

.

6. Portsmouth have now lost six of six. Even Derby didn’t start off this badly. Might we have a new contender for the record low points tally?

.

T.


%d bloggers like this: