Posts Tagged ‘Derby’

The Six Pointer – Complacency, Financial Burdens & more…

23/11/2010

That was the weekend that was.

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1. I don’t know where to start with the north London derby. Cruising at 2-0 going in to half-time, Arsenal had run rings around their neighbours in the first period. A smart tactical change by Redknapp at the break coupled with a complete mental collapse from the Arsenal players resulted in a famous Tottenham comeback.

You can’t even say this was a massive shock, as it’s happened too many times in recent years for it not to be a serious problem. A very good analysis can be found over at Arseblog while there was an interesting post on Arsenal Vision which documented every game where a lead had been lost and Arsenal had not won the match in the last five years.

Déjà vu.

I think it’s a touch unfair to include every instance where 1-0 ended 1-1 but what I found telling was in the last three seasons alone there have been 11 occasions where Arsenal have taken the lead and gone on to concede at least two goals. There in lies the crux, be it through complacency or the fact they haven’t held on against a top side when gaining the advantage.

The fact another game comes tomorrow will give the players an immediate opportunity to make partial amends but this side has a long way to go before it can be considered winners.

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2. Chelsea were pretty unlucky not to have beaten Birmingham with Ben Foster making at least five or six top saves while the defenders in front of him stood firm.

Like Ancelotti said, their problem at the moment is they’re not firing on all cylinders going forward which means they’re vulnerable when conceding (which in turn is currently more likely with their centre-back woes). Drogba has not scored since October 3rd (while admittedly recovering from malaria) while Malouda also has just one goal since late September.

I feel in part this is down to the midfield three they’re forced to regularly play at the moment – Mikel, Ramires & Zhirkov. There’s not much creativity there nor the control that is offered when Lampard and Essien are fit. Lampard’s absence has been perhaps a little easier to cope with but it’s no coincidence these three recent defeats have been without Essien in the side.

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3. Bolton were very impressive in beating Newcastle 5-1 and it will be interesting to see what happens in January if they are still riding high in the top half of the table.

Admiring glances are being aimed at the likes of Lee, Cahill, Holden and even Owen Coyle himself and with the club recently announcing a debt of £93million there may be some pressure to sell a star to ease the burden.

But for how long?

Another twist to this is the impending expiring contract of Johan Elmander, who is having by the far the best of his three seasons at the Reebok. He finally seems to have adapted to the Premier League but now Bolton risk losing their record £8m signing for nothing next summer.

Unless I’ve missed the Swede professing his undying love for the Trotters, I suspect we may see a gentleman’s agreement when a one year deal is signed but with him being sold in the summer.

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4. I don’t see Blackburn’s new owners pumping too much money into the Ewood Park coffers but it would be interesting to see what Sam Allardyce does with a bigger budget. He claims he’d win the double every year at a top club, but I seem to remember him being something of a flop the last time he had a bit of money to spend when managing Newcastle.

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5. Roberto Mancini has been saying for a while that a big part of  his tactical plan was to have full backs who bomb forward and support Tevez/the notional front three. We saw a glimpse of that in the victory over Fulham with both Kolarov and Zabaleta consistently getting into the Fulham half and attempting several crosses and four of their 11 shots on goal.

Shoot!

I think while Mancini is at heart a cautious manager, we will eventually see a relatively attacking side with Milner and Toure in the central midfield trio and Silva and Balotelli properly supporting Tevez. Reasonable upcoming fixtures should provide opportunity to experiment.

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6. Fulham have lost just four times but are 17th. Chelsea have lost four times and are top of the table. An extreme example perhaps but it shows how destructive draws can be to your league position. Mark Hughes should remember that a win and a loss is better than two draws. Of his last 27 games with both Man City and Fulham, Hughes has overseen 15 stalemates.

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T.

Season Previews 2010/11 – Blackpool

10/08/2010

Blackpool

Last Season: Playoff winners, Championship

New Signings: Keinan

Key Player: Charlie Adam

One To Watch: Charlie Adam

Needs A Big Year: Charlie Adam

Would Quite Like: To beat Derby’s 11 point total from 2007/08 coupled with a famous victory over someone.

tangerine men blackpool

Get used to seeing this colour at grounds across the country.

Prediction: 20th

Thoughts: As well as Ian Holloway has done to get the Tangerine Men up I fear it’s going to be along hard season for Blackpool. Yes, he’s a great motivator and certainly has the gift of the gab when it comes to describing his team’s performances but at the time of writing the Blackpool squad contains about 18 players. Whilst I’m sure this will increase before the transfer deadline with some loans and whatnot, the fact remains that very few players in the squad look like Premier League quality.

The likes of Jason Euell and Brett Ormerod have top flight experience but let’s be honest, there’s a good reason why they were in the Championship last year.

A lot appears to rest on Charlie Adam who fired in 16 goals from midfield last season having joined from Rangers. Blackpool will hope his ability from set pieces transfers onto a bigger stage. Perhaps the key thing will be to get too downhearted following inevitable heavy defeats and try and be as solid as possible at home and see what happens.

An unfortunate start/stadium not being ready in time sees four away games in the first five matches. Trips to the Emirates and Stamford Bridge in weeks two and five may well be brutal, especially if Holloway maintains his current desire to play attractive flowing football. It is this desire which will ultimately see Blackpool doomed; they’re not good enough to beat the top teams at their own game while the sides in the bottom half are too experienced and too brutal to be outplayed by a team with no Premier League games under their belt.

Derby’s record low points total has been mentioned and while I think Blackpool will eclipse that, it’s hard to predict anything other than rock bottom. Even so they’ll enjoy the ride.

T.

Stop Press: Important Gareth Bale News

29/09/2009
Look at him, so eager!

Look at him, so eager!

I totally forgot to mention this in yesterday’s Six-Pointer but I think it deserves its own post anyway. Yes, two years after signing, Gareth Bale has won his first ever league game in a Tottenham shirt! Well done Gareth! He played a huge role in the 5-0 win over Burnley, coming on after 85 minutes when Spurs were 4-0 up and attaining a 100% successful pass rate with his one pass to Niko Kranjcar.

Like I said, a vital cog...

Like I said, a vital cog...

To be fair to Gareth he only played 25 league games since joining Spurs but even if you were a new Derby signing in 2007/08 you would not have to had to wait that long for a league win (Giles Barnes waited 21 games). Anyway I think he deserves some recognition:

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T.

The Six Pointer – Ronaldo’s Tetchiness, Adriano’s Handball & more…

16/02/2009

That was the weekend that was. In six quick points.

 

1. Swansea were a delight to watch against Fulham on Saturday and I was surprised to find they had only lost five league games this season. Too many draws (15) means they’re still battling to make the playoffs but given how tight the Championship is every year, it is by no means too late to make a move into the top six. It’s pleasing to see a young manager like Martinez trying to play flowing, passing football to get out of the Championship. Too often sides in the second tier play an unskillful, direct/long style and are then surprised when they struggle once promoted to the Premier League. Most of the successful promoted teams in recent years have tended to be pleasing on the eye. It’s the unskillful grafters with no technique that tend to go straight back down.

Will hopefully get promoted

Will hopefully get Swansea promoted.

 

2. Following Sunday’s FA Cup quarter final draw, Arsenal really have no excuse for not reaching the semi finals. Even though they only play their fourth round replay against Cardiff this evening, home ties against Burnley and then Hull or Sheffield United would follow. Given the last four years have been trophyless, the way the draw has played out makes the FA Cup there for the taking.

 

3. Continuing with Arsenal, this has to be the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while… Not a hint of irony either. I imagine Mr Bendtner will soon find Arshavin is keeping him out of the side. As is Eduardo, and Vela, and Walcott…

 

4. A good win for Man Utd yesterday but just why is Ronaldo so irritable this season? He’s getting dragged into petty squabbles rather than showing why he’s a better player than his opponent through the skill and determination which got him 42 goals last year. As annoying as Robbie Savage is, you probably shouldn’t be spitting at him. Ronaldo is quite lucky that Mr Armani Tattoo didn’t make more of itThere have been quite a few other incidents this season as Fooball365 point out.

He was just clearing his throat...

He was just clearing his throat...

 

5. How much will Villa miss Martin Laursen whilst he is out until late March? They were well beaten by Everton and whilst Martin O’Neill is probably glad his small squad can now concentrate on the league, he will be slightly concerned as to whether they can maintain their push until Laursen returns. Next weekend’s game against Chelsea will be intriguing. The Blues will have Hiddink properly in charge for the first time and you’d think there would be the standard improvement that comes with any new manager. Chelsea have been better away from home this year (as have Villa funnily enough) and may well show that they still have relevance in the business end of this season. 

 

6. David Beckham may have lost a derby game for the first time in his career but quite how Adriano’s opener for Inter was allowed I’ll never know. As clear a handball as I’ve seen this season.

 

T.

Derby vs Man Utd Live Minute by Minute!

15/02/2009

So, after their two games in the Carling Cup semi final, Derby and Man Utd meet each other again in the FA Cup fifth round. Derby beat Utd 1-0 in the first leg at Pride Park and battled bravely before succumbing 4-2 in the return match. Will they be able to cause an upset again?

Lots of focus on Clough Jnr vs Fergie. Let’s just hope ITV let us see the goals this time…

 

Teams:

Derby: Bywater, Connolly, Addison, Albrechtsen, Stewart, Barazite, Green, Savage, Teale, Commons, Hulse.

Subs: Carroll, Sterjovski, Nyatanga, Davies, Todd, Pearson, Porter.

Man Utd: Foster, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Park, Fletcher, Gibson, Nani, Giggs, Ronaldo.

Subs: Kuszczak, Vidic, Scholes, Welbeck, O’Shea, Tevez, Possebon.

 

A slightly weakened side from Ferguson but Ferdinand plays to marshall the defence and Evra finally makes his comeback after injury. Giggs and Ronaldo up front which is interesting. No doubt Carlos Tevez will be a bit annoyed. Robbie Savage and his Armani tattoo play and look out for Nacer Barazite who’s on loan from Arsenal. 

Prat

Prat

Edward Sheringham Esq. joins Steve Rider and Andy Townsend in the studio. He played for Clough Snr, with Clough Jnr, and for Fergie OAP so is well placed to offer an insight. Probably.

 

1 min: Man Utd kick off. Peter Drury and Jim Beglin commentate. Darron (why does he spell it like that?) Gibson has an early shot from 30 yards. Not too far over.

3 mins: Nani gets a bloody nose from a man sandwich of Evra and a Derby player. He’ll be alright though.

5 mins: Ronaldo reckons he’s fouled by Savage by nothing given. He gets annoyed when Savage tries to help him up. Savage will definitely play pantomime villain here. Ronaldo will probably be his sidekick though.

7 mins: Good atmosphere at Pride Park today.

10 mins: Barazite makes a run down the right wing. He goes past Fletcher but with no one to support him is eventually dispossesed.

11 mins: Derby win a corner. Commons swings it in high but Ben Foster claims it.

12 mins: Ronaldo tries to make space for himself but is tackled strongly by Savage. 

14 mins: A lovely bit of quick passing sees the ball break to Fletcher who hits a strong drive which is well saved by Bywater. A United free kick on the left wing is then driven hard at the wall by Ronaldo. He may well have been aiming for Robbie Savage’s head.

15 mins: Bywater makes a great reaction save from Ji Sung Park who had made a late run at the back post. United on top at the mo.

19 mins: United free kick 35 yards out. Ronaldo spits, wipes his nose then hits a drive straight at Robbie Savage’s cojones. That must have hurt. I reckon C-Ron is aiming at him.

21 mins: A decent turn and hit from Hulse.

25 mins: Derby have a shout for a penalty. Hulse goes down under a challenge from Rio Ferdinand but it was dive pure and simple. Rio’s not impressed with that. He shouldn’t be sticking his leg out like that though.

27 mins: Ronaldo tries some stepovers but Savage isn’t buying it. His pass then goes astray.

29 mins: GOAL! Derby 0-1 Man Utd. Nani scores a lovely goal. One we got to see live too. Ronaldo nearly connects with a Park cross but the ball is cleared. It is worked to Nani on the left hand side of the pitch. He takes it inside, runs past a couple of player and hits a curling drive from the edge of the box into the corner of net. About six somersaults follow.

35 mins: Derby still looking to play their game. A Commons free kick is easily saved by Foster but nothing has really happened since the goal.

37 mins: GOAL! Derby 0-2 Man Utd. Giggs plays through Ronaldo who is clear of everyone and slots it past Bywater. United celebrate but the goal is then disallowed for offside. It’s all a bit ludicrous. The offside decision was marginal but why wait so long to rule it out. Ronaldo and Fergie are not happy to say that least. It was genuinely about 15 seconds after he slotted it in. 

41 mins: We’re told it took so long as the linesman wasn’t sure if Giggs had flicked it on, so had to check with the ref. Something like that anyway. It was pretty obvious Giggs had flicked it, it was a pretty good bit of skill.

44 mins: GOAL! Derby 0-2 Man Utd. Another United free kick 35 yards out, Ronaldo takes aims at Savage once more. He hits the the wall, somewhere near Savage’s head. The ball breaks to Gibson who shoots past Bywater. This one counts.

There's only room for one poser in this town...

There's only room for one poser in this town...

Half time: United good value for their lead. Derby have come from two down against both Forest Green and Nottingham Forest in this season’s FA Cup but they surely can’t do it a third time. Can they?

Tea time.

46 mins: Derby kick off the second half.

48 mins: GOAL! Derby 0-3 Man Utd. Park pressures Derby into conceding a corner. Giggs swings it in and Ronaldo places a header from 10 yards into the top corner. Simple stuff. He barely had to jump.

50 mins: United almost score again but for a fine double save from Bywater. This could get ugly.

53 mins: Evans needlessly fouls Hulse outside the box. Derby pass it about before it’s eventually crossed in. Foster punches away just before Hulse gets his head to it.

55 mins: Double change for United. Park and Evra off, O’Shea and Welbeck on.

56 mins: GOAL! Derby 1-3 Man Utd.  Commons crosses it in from the left and Addison powers a header in from 12 yards. A good goal but Derby had all the time in the world to cross it in. O’Shea was sleeping a bit there and no one tracked Addison’s run.

59 mins: Derby try to work the ball into a good position. Gary Teale tries to blast in a 35 yarder with the outside of his right boot. It goes horribly wide and over.

63 mins: Barazite off for Derby, Sterjovski on.

67 mins: This is end to end now as Derby push for another to make it interesting while Utd hope to catch them on the break and end it. Teale makes a decent run down the left and threads it to Hulse in the box. His touch is poor and he lays it off to a United player.

69 mins: Porter on for Hulse. Giggs and Ronaldo combine but the Portugeezer slashes a left foot shot over.

71 mins: Nani goes past Connolly, knocks the ball too far then falls over. He’s shocked he doesn’t get a free kick. What a fool. He’s hard to like is Nani. 

72 mins: Possebon replaces Ronaldo. Savage has no one to tackle now. On second thoughts there is Nani. He’s probably more thankful no one will aim at him from free kicks anymore.

77 mins: Teale hits a very good shot low and hard from outside the box. Foster makes a great diving save to give away a corner. From the resulting set piece, Commons finds Addison who heads just wide. Derby still looking for another.

81 mins: GOAL! Derby 1-4 Man Utd. Welbeck wraps it up. Some lovely one touch football from United who work it to Welbeck who’s lurking on the left hand side of the area. He opens up his body and curls a great first shot time past Bywater into the far corner. Lovely finish, reminiscent of Thierry Henry in the way he just bent it round the keeper.

82 mins: Savage off to a warm round of applause. Steven Pearson on.

87 mins: This one has settled down. Nothing really happening as both side wind down the clock.

89 mins: Darren Darron Gibson gets man of the match. He’s been neat and tidy and got his goal. Giggs would be the other contender I guess but no complaints here.

Full time: Derby 1-4 Man Utd. A comfortable win for Fergie’s side. His youngsters impressed whilst there was enough experience with Giggs, Ronaldo, Rio etc to make sure there would be no repeat of the Carling Cup first leg. Derby battled bravely and got the goal they deserved. United scored some nice goals, the pick of which I’d say was Welbeck’s.

 

The draw for the quarter finals follows straight after and comes out like this:

Blackburn or Coventry v Chelsea

Swansea or Fulham v Man Utd

Cardiff or Arsenal or Burnley v Sheffield Utd or Hull

Everton v West Ham or Middlesbrough

 

T.

FA Cup Preview & Betting

13/02/2009

Well mainly betting actually, there are still too many nothing matches for me to get excited. We haven’t even finished the fourth round yet.

Talking of the fourth round, the remaining replay between Arsenal and Cardiff takes place on Monday night. I expect Arsenal to win fairly comfortably even though they may rest Van Persie. Perhaps an Arsenal clean sheet @ evens might be worth a few quid. Vela and Bendtner have a good understanding so one of them might be a good bet to score anytime. Also in the frame is the returning Eduardo who assisted the winner for Croatia in midweek. I reckon he’ll start on the bench but could be worth a shout for last goalscorer @ 5.5.

Back

Back

I fancied Kettering to knock out Fulham in the last round but the boys from Craven Cottage won relatively comfortably in the end. They are still without an away win in the league this year and face a much tougher proposition in Swansea this time around. Roberto Martinez has been getting a lot of good press for the work he’s doing in South Wales and Swansea are a great bet to win @ 7/4.

Elsewhere there are interesting stories with Clough facing Fergie and Brendan Rodgers’ Watford taking on Chelsea. I don’t forsee any shocks in either match but in the Derby vs Man Utd game there may be some value in backing some of United’s fringe players to score. Maybe Tevez or Welbeck @ 6/1 to score first.

A chip off the old block. Sort of.

A chip off the old block. Sort of.

I’m avoiding the all-Premier League clashes but at a push I’d go for West Ham to beat Boro and maybe a draw in the Everton Villa game.

 

T.


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