Posts Tagged ‘Downing’

Season Previews 2010/11 – Aston Villa


Aston Villa

Last Season: 6th

New Signings: Hmm, none to report as yet.

Key Player: Ashley Young

One To Watch: Marc Albrighton

Needs  A Big Year: The new manager

Would Quite Like: Continued dominance over Birmingham whilst pushing onto the Champions League places.

Prediction: 9th

Thoughts: This was all written up and then Martin O’Neill resigned which changed things somewhat. Much of it still applies though. Aston Villa appear to have reached a bit of a glass ceiling at the moment. Sixth place for three seasons running but unable to make to the breakthrough whilst other teams such as Spurs and Man City overtake them.

Despite them fading every spring I think Villa’s problem is not so much one of squad depth but more of quality. Martin O’Neill tended to play the same starting XI for 95% of the season so to push on they need one or two top quality players who will cost £10m+ and replace someone currently in the side.

It appears that at the moment the money doesn’t exist to do that which would reflect in the attempts to get rid of the likes of Luke Young, Steve Sidwell and Habib Beye. Also, in losing arguably their best players two summers in a row (Barry and now probably Milner) it means they’re always trying to catch up to where they were rather then move forward.

Laters, I'm off.

Assuming Milner does leave I would suggest buying a replacement in midfield (though if they get Ireland in part exchange then it’s a great deal) as well as a striker and left-back. For all of Carew and Agbonlahor’s qualities, neither can be relied on to score 20 goals. With Milner gone, the onus falls on Ashley Young to live up to his undoubted potential.

O’Neill had been experimenting with him in a floating central role in pre-season and perhaps this change in tactic is needed to offer some variety in Villa’s play. I think as usual they’ll be tough to beat and will gain a victory or three over the sides above them but the reality is that they’ll find it difficult to maintain their current level and may find they drop a place or two this season. O’Neill’s motivational skills will be greatly missed.

Villa’s prospects really depend on who comes in to replace O’Neill. Some of the names mentioned so far aren’t very inspiring but I think they’ll go for someone up and coming rather than a big name. I don’t see a new manager getting any greater sum to spend, but I suppose there will be some Milner money to make a few improvements. Either way it’ll now be mid-table.



England World Cup Squad Predictions – Part Three


A semi-regular feature (ok, just twice) has been an attempt to look into Signor Capello’s mind and try to make an educated guess on who might make the England squad for this summer’s World Cup. When first written in March last year the following conclusion was reached:

James, Foster, Kirkland.

Terry, Ferdinand, A. Cole, Johnson, Brown, Upson, Bridge.

Lampard, Gerrard, J.Cole, Young, Beckham, Hargreaves, Wright-Phillips, Barry.

Rooney, Walcott, Heskey, Crouch, Defoe.


Another go was made in November and there weren’t too many changes to be honest:

James, Green, Foster.

Terry, Ferdinand, A. Cole, Johnson, Upson, Brown, Lescott.

Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Hargreaves, Milner, Beckham, Lennon, J. Cole.

Rooney, Heskey, Defoe, C. Cole, Walcott.


So, what’s changed since then? Quite a lot since you ask. We’ll start with Goldenballs himself David Beckham. A shoo-in for the squad if fit, he injured his Achilles in the last-minute of a Milan league match and will not be fit in time. He’ll still be going to South Africa, but purely as a cheerleader. I think Fabio Capello would sooner pick his mum for England than Michael Owen but he’s been saved the hassle of having to explain to the press why it wasn’t going to happen as Owen is out injured too.

In my last preview I had doubts over Wayne Bridge going just to the low likelihood of needing a second left back but now he won’t be going due to John Terry’s assertion that the role of club and country captain allows you to shag your best mate’s fiance and then pay her to get rid of the consequences. Capello harbours hope that Bridge may change his mind but he won’t.

england squad

Capello's first squad. How things change.



Five months ago David James looked certain to be first choice but a succession of niggly injuries and a relegation battle with Portsmouth seems to have given a chance for Rob Green. There’s no doubt in my mind James is still better but it may come to whether he can play seven games in a month. Either way both go.

The third spot is now clearly Joe Hart‘s after a great season at Birmingham. He won’t play but I imagine it’s to give him experience ahead of him becoming the first choice for the Euro 2012 campaign. This is the least interesting position in terms of uncertainty; barring injury those three will 100% go to South Africa. Next in line would be Paul Robinson I reckon but the less we think about that the better.



The first choice back four pick themselves and they should all be relatively fresh given their various injuries this season. Yep Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand being fit are key to England’s hopes (along with Rooney of course) given how poor the back up is. The drop-off in each position is quite worrying and none of the backups really strike me as being international quality.

Matthew Upson is still the go-to centre back if one of the main two go down. Joining him will be Joleon Lescott who can provide cover at left back and probably Wes Brown who can provide cover at right back. It’s a scary thought if either of those two have to play full back – can you imagine them trying to stop a Ribery or a Messi *shudder*.

The more I think about it the more I believe it will be seven defenders only, especially when you can call on certain midfielders to provide cover too. Barry, Milner, Carrick and Gerrard have all played defensive positions adequately. Desperately hoping for an injury or two will be Phil Jagielka who is certainly next in line.

Should Capello go a bit cautious then Leighton Baines will now be the second left-back while shockingly, and mainly due to lack of any other alternatives, Gary Neville would go if Johnson was crocked. Ryan Shawcross has been looked at but the fallout over the Ramsey tackle has put paid to his hopes. Michael Dawson? Perhaps but I doubt it.

A couple of interesting wildcards would be Ledley King and Sol Campbell. When fully fit the former is probably better than Terry but he’s rarely fully fit. The latter meanwhile has been a revelation since rejoining Arsenal in January. As backups they wouldn’t have to play every three days but I guess the risk is that if Terry or Rio were badly injured then they would be needed more often than they could handle. Still though, it could be worth a gamble.

wayne bridge john terry veronica perroncel

No longer friends, no longer teammates.



Again we’ll deal with the first choice guys first. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry have been there and done that. All are super experienced and in the team. Beyond that it starts to depend on who the opposition is. James Milner has gone from nowhere to possibly challenging for a place in the first XI.

Aaron Lennon should regain fitness in time to take a right-wing spot against weaker sides, while the fact Owen Hargreaves still isn’t fully fit means Michael Carrick will be the nominal defensive midfielder. That’s the Michael Carrick who has been found out against every top side he’s faced this season.

If I had written this two months ago Theo Walcott would probably not have been going but he’s recovered form well in the preceding time. You still feel his one weapon is pace though. Stewart Downing seems to be the only left winger under consideration but I haven’t really been that impressed by him.

Joe Cole is desperately trying to find some form in Chelsea’s last few games – he’s under great risk of not going but at the same time he has skills which no other English midfielder has. It may well come down to a straight choice between him and Adam Johnson, who has been excellent in his three months at Man City.

The one thing against the latter is the he normally plays on the right (even though he’s left-footed) and there’s already Lennon and Walcott in the squad. That said Beckham would still have gone if fit so there’s no reason why Johnson can’t be a third option on the right as well as one on the left too. It could come down to the next friendly.

Shaun Wright-Phillips wasn’t in my squad last time I did this and he won’t be in this one either, despite Beckham’s injury opening a spot. Johnson has usurped him at club so no doubt he will at country. Plus it may also be that Wright-Phillips is a bit average. Sorry Ian.

People knocking on the door marked injury backups? Hmm, Tom Huddlestone has had a decent season at Spurs as a central midfielder with centre back skills but I think Jagielka would sooner go as a centre back with central midfielder skills. Ashley Young just doesn’t seem to be liked Capello as for my money he’s better than Downing but is very much on the fringes.

There’s a real dearth beyond that. Jack Rodwell? Scott Parker? Lee Cattermole? Your guess is as good as mine.

capello england

Johnson and Cole? Just one, not both.



I think it’s still very much four strikers plus Walcott as a fifth forward. Wayne Rooney is so important it’s unbelievable. If he gets injured you’re probably looking at a second round knock-out. With him fit it’s at least the quarter finals woo! Anyway, he’s first name on the teamsheet.

Emile Heskey is under a lot of pressure right now. Obviously the point of Heskey isn’t goals but how he enables others (like Rooney) to play better – the thing is though that there’s only so poor a season someone can have before you have to look at alternatives. He should be fine, I think. Jermain Defoe is an impact striker – not good enough for 90 minutes but capable of being a 25 minute nuisance.

Peter Crouch will need to make sure he performs well in the next squad get together as Bobby Zamora looks set for a call up ahead of the final friendly. Zamora perhaps is more of a replacement for Heskey in terms of skill set and what he’d give the team but Crouch should be concerned too. Carlton Cole would go if Defoe was injured, while Darren Bent would go if Cole and Defoe were unfit. Gabriel Agbonlahor doesn’t seem to be on the radar and rightly so.


So where does that leave us? Well for my money these are the 23 going to South Africa:

James, Green, Hart.

Ferdinand, Terry, Johnson, Cole, Brown, Upson, Lescott.

Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Milner, Carrick, Lennon, Walcott, Johnson, Downing.

Rooney, Heskey, Defoe, Crouch.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 30 Preview


I kept putting it off because I knew it would happen. But last week I could wait no more and finally got rid of Darren Bent in exchange for Nicklas Bendtner. It’s not that I doubted Bent’s ability to score but there’s only so long you can wait for Sunderland to win a game.

One hat-trick from Mr. Bent later and I wish I somewhat regretted the decision (despite NB’s five points against Burnley). Going into the rest of the season it was a move I wanted to make as Bendtner plays every week when fit and is so very cheap, thus allowing improvement elsewhere.

Getting a combined total of 38 minutes out of Rooney (injured), Drogba (no game) and Fabregas (one assist before injury) meant the weekly score was low at 41 points. I lost 12 points with Pompey’s last-minute consolation vs Birmingham but overall it was a week to get through as best you could.

It’s all in preparation for Wigan and Villa playing twice this week before the mighty gameweek 31 where TEN teams play twice. Leagues will be won or lost right there.


Gameweek 29 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

mikel arteta everton

Maverick thinks Arteta is almost as good-looking as he is.

After being a bit of a fantasy god in the first season (06/07) I played (every week he’d assist a Joleon Lescott header) Arteta has had his fair share of injury problems in the three years since. Still a top player but often out for long periods.

This season was no exception but he has recently returned to full fitness and reminded us all of just how good a player he is. 18 points against Hull through two goals, an assist and three bonus points. He does tend to be a bit of a bonus point magnet when he plays and should be a good points scorer for the rest of the season.

Darren Bent pushed him hard this week with a 16 point hat-trick, while cheap strikers that you’re not likely to have followed with Nugent getting 14 and Jerome 13.


Three Captain Choices:

1. Milner/Aston Villa – Two games this week, against Stoke and Wigan away. While Villa have been better away than at home, I’m reluctant to suggest a defender for two away matches. Milner has cooled off recently but is now their top points scorer and most likely to produce this week.

2. Drogba or Lampard/Chelsea – A home game against West Ham is a near banker for Chelsea, despite the useless Ross Turnbull (even worse than Hilario) set to play in goal. Lampard scored twice in the defeat to Man City but I still am more inclined to captain Drogba given a choice between the two.

3. Rodallega/Wigan – Games against Bolton and Villa. As always, you never know which Wigan will turn up but the beauty of them having two matches is that they should perform in at least one. N’Zogbia has been a little quiet since his bonus point binge a month ago so I’ll suggest Rodallega who got nine points against Liverpool last week.

James Milner Aston Villa

Gets a Captain's tick.


Three Suggested Transfers In:

1. Aston Villa players – All about forward planning this week. Ten teams play twice next week so you’ll want to stock in order for a big week 31 score. Best option of all are Aston Villa players who have an unprecedented double double – four games in two gameweeks! I’d say go with attacking players like Milner/Young/Agbonlahor/Downing for this week’s away games and top up with defenders next week for the two home matches.

2. Everton players – A decent game against Birmingham this week followed by Bolton and Man City next week. I’d waver more towards the midfielders give the choice. Arteta will see a lot of pick up this week but justifiably so, while Pienaar offers cheaper but perhaps better value. Jack Rodwell is back in the picture too and before his injury was playing 90 minutes every week for only £4.3m.

3. O’Hara/Portsmouth – Ten bonus points and two assists in his last six games. Yes Portsmouth are rubbish and will be relegated soon but at home they still usually score. They have two home games next week (one against Hull) and O’Hara is only £4.5m leaving you to upgrade elsewhere.

Ashley Young fantasy football

Might be worth a pick.


Three To Avoid:

1. Fulham defenders – They had a nice little run of games from which I picked up two sets of four clean sheets from five games but their Europa League exploits look to be catching up with them. Still worth a bench spot but there’s no need for me to have two players any more. Shorey might find he loses his place to a returning Konchesky.

2. Gerrard & Torres/Liverpool – Overpriced and underscoring. Pompey at home is a last chance saloon in terms of fantasy relevance this year.

3. Fabregas/Arsenal – Before you all get in a twist I’m just suggesting getting rid for this week and next before bringing him back in week 32. He definitely won’t face Hull and then has an admittedly good match against West Ham in week 31. In that time however Frank Lampard will play three times. Also, the last time Wenger said an Arsenal player had a small, small calf strain, Eduardo ended up being out for a month. Depends how much money you stand to lose on him I guess..

shorey fulham

Are you taking the mick?!



The Six Pointer – The new Fulham, Arsh power & more…


1. Amazing what effect a good old-fashioned rollicking can have on players. Arsenal were dreadful in the first half against Liverpool yesterday and were lucky to go into the break only 1-0 down. Torres should have buried what was essentially a one on one chance while Gerrard probably paid the price for his recent diving by not being awarded a penalty for a clear foul by Gallas in the box. As it happened Liverpool were gifted the lead after another error by Almunia, who flapped at a routine crossed free kick and palmed into Kuyt’s path to score.

It has been hinted that Wenger told his young charges “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” (something many of us Arsenal fans have thought in recent times) and it had the desired result, in part helped by Liverpool’s terrible second half. First Glen Johnson got his footing all wrong to score an own goal with Carragher slipping and Walcott lurking. Then within ten minutes Andrey Arshavin (who had done little until then) scored a great goal taking one touch to control, one to step past Glen Johnson and one to rifle the ball in the net before Reina even saw it. Another memorable Anfield moment for the little Russian who at that point had five goals from five shots in his two games in Liverpool (he would later ruin it with a shot that didn’t score!).

Andrey Arshavin Arsenal Liverpool Anfield

So tiny yet so much shooting power.

So where does this leave both teams? Arsenal look to be back in the title mix after everyone else around them dropped points and will be just three behind Chelsea if they win their game in hand against Bolton in January. Arshavin up front is working in the sense they have two straight wins but he was much quieter against Liverpool than Stoke. A striker is still needed in January.

Liverpool meanwhile are bereft of ideas, form and confidence. They are still only five points off a Champions League spot but it’s becoming more apparent that something is fundamentally wrong at Anfield.  I’m still unsure why Aquilani isn’t starting league games, especially when the first XI aren’t doing much. Gerrard is playing poorly and petulantly while I feel Torres isn’t at full fitness. I’m not convinced Rafa has lost the dressing room but I do think he has the resigned look of someone who already is just playing out the season. Life under Hicks and Gillett has become ridiculous and to be honest I’ll be surprised to see him at Anfield next year.

rafael-benitez liverpool

Something on your mind Rafa?


2. No team with Champions League ambitions loses at home to Stoke and Wolves and doesn’t score in either game. As always with Spurs as soon as expectation rises, performances fall; which is ironic given that they play better against the big sides. Robbie Keane being captain is becoming an issue due to his poor play, as was obvious it would a year ago, while Defoe isn’t as consistent a scorer as Darren Bent – he’s only scored in six games compared to Bent’s nine. With no money to spend in January it will be interesting to see how Harry Redknapp does going forward.


3. Any team which beats Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd certainly should have Champions League ambitions. Aston Villa got their first league win at Old Trafford in some 26 years and it was thoroughly deserved. Having been in a Champions League spot for two-thirds of last season before falling away, they looked better placed to stick it out this season.

richard-dunne-aston villa

Solid as a rock.

In Milner, Downing, Young and Agbonlahor they have a quartet of attacking players who can cause problems against any team; Agbonlahor in particular consistently scoring in big matches. At the back Richard Dunne proves every week that Mark Hughes made an error in selling him. A lot depends on whether the core players stay fit but of the pretenders for 4th, Villa look by the far the most impressive at the moment. They may even be aiming higher…


4. Are Birmingham this season’s Fulham? The points they’re gaining with the few goals they’re scoring suggests so. Their fifth 1-0 victory this season has got them up to 24 points and eighth place. A far cry from the fools who thought they’d be going down this season.


5. Somewhere in Milan a certain J. Mourinho must be laughing at Chelsea’s recent defensive problems. Who would have thought that a team with a least eight players over six-foot including a giant 6’6″ keeper would be so vulnerable on set pieces? Cech has been far below the heights (no pun intended) of 2004-06 and in recent weeks has made a number of errors. The problem with him being so far ahead of Hilario and Ross Turnbull is that you just have to hope he works his way through it. You have to think that Chelsea wouldn’t have conceded three if Essien was playing either. It’s too early to say if he’ll be badly missed, I would say the true test will be once Drogba is out too.

Jose Mourinho Chelsea Inter

They conceded how many goals in one match?!


6. Just five points from seven games for Sunderland. Portsmouth at home was about as good a game as you could have hoped for if you wanted to find some form. Maybe Steve Bruce needs a bit more time (read next season) to truly make them a contender for a Europa League spot.



Germany v England Minute by Minute!


A minute by minute report of Germany v England!


Tyldesley and Pleat commentating. ITV coverage. Joy.

Apparently (Jon Obi) Mikel Ballack is missing for Germany. I thought his name was Michael Ballack.


Germany: Adler, Friedrich, Mertesacker, Westermann, Compper, Schweinsteiger, Rolfes, Jones, Trochowski, Gomez, Klose.

Subs: Wiese, Hinkel, Tasci, Helmes, Podolski, Marin, Hitzlsperger, Schafer, Weis.

England: James, Johnson, Terry, Upson, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Carrick, Barry, Downing, Defoe, Agbonlahor.

Subs: Carson, Robinson, Lescott, Richards, Mancienne, Davies, Parker, Bullard, Young, Crouch, Bent.

The start is delayed while some ex players shake the current players’ hands.

1 min: We’re underway.

2 mins: First mention of that Owen hat-trick in Munich seven years ago.

3 mins: Decent start by England, Downing gets by his man but skies his cross. Who is this mysterious Mikel Ballack?

6 mins: Nervy moment for Terry as he nearly gifts a backpass to Germany instead of James.

7 mins:  Joachim Loew is wearing a very nice coat. A black mac type number with a trendy high collar. 



8 mins: England win a corner. Germany deal with it.

12 mins: 77% possession for England thus far.

13 mins: England free kick. Downing bizarrely lines up like a fly half to take the kick. Barry plays the secondary ball wide to Agbonlahor who beats the keeper to it but the ref blows up for a foul.

15 mins: We are told Jermaine Jones is of American descent. I have had many years of wishing that Germany would stop nicking Poland’s best players. If Klose and Podolski played for Poland they would actually be a decent team. Instead they have to make people like Emmanuel Olisadebe Polish…

19 mins: We almost had the first mention of Crouch has good feet for a big man. Instead we get he has a good touch. A wright Phillips corner comes to nothing again. Germany clear.

21 mins: England are playing with confidence. Agbonlahor is using his pace well to try and get in behind the German defence.

23 mins: Goal for England! 0-1! The German keeper Adler makes a Heurelho Gomes style mess of a Downing corner and Matthew Upson scrambles it in. They’ve fully deserved it too. That really was poor keeping by Adler though. He tried to punch away but his left hand was blocked meaning he missed it completely. It bounces off Agbonlahor’s head and Upson pokes it in. Fully deserved too.

26 mins: Klose wins a free kick on the left, which is fired in by Trochowski (yet another stolen Polish player). James makes a slightly awkward punch but eventually England clear their lines.

30 mins: Capello is wearing an Umbro puffa jacket. I guess if you’re being paid £5million a year you wear what you’re told.

Well I guess it's warm at least

Well I guess it's warm at least...

33 mins: Bastian (Schweinsteiger) Pigforeman drives in a free kick from midfield. Westermann gets his head to the ball but it goes wide.

34 mins: SWP gets in behind and tried to centre the ball to Agbonlahor. It’s a poor cutback though and the chance comes to nothing.

36 mins: Agbonlahor is just offside from an SWP through ball. He puts it in the net anyway but the whistle had long gone.

38 mins: Johnson wins another corner. Adler looks about 12 but makes the punch this time.

39 mins: Try a Pukka pie? No thanks, I’m good. Germany corner. Comes to nothing but they get another. Headed away by Downing. England have a great chance to break but Gabby’s (I’m not writing Agbonlahor anymore) ball to SWP is very poor.

42 mins: Jimmy Bullard amuses Ashley Young and Carson on the bench. He’s a right character…

43 mins: A few whistles for Gomez as he’s muscled off the ball by Carrick.

44 mins: This half has gone very quickly. Bit of a lull as the players set towards half time.

45mins: Just as I type that, Downing belts a shot in from the left wing. Adler parries it to SWP but the wee man fails to test the keeper.

Half time: A good display from England thus far. The pace of Downing, SWP and Gabby is causing Germany all sorts of problems.

I’m off to make some tea and avoid Teddy Sheringham.

46 mins: Half time changes – Bent on for Defoe, Carson for James. Germany bring on Wiese for Adler.

49 mins: Germany have a decent passage of play (well, better than anything they’ve done thus far) but can’t create an opening. They fire in a shot instead. Their movement off the ball hasn’t been great this evening.

50 mins: Terry takes out Westermann on the right wing. Got the ball though so in Andy Townsend’s book that’s ok.

52 mins: Capello is angry at something or other on the touchline. I find Capello angry quite funny. I would therefore probably not be in Capello’s squad.

54 mins: We just heard a random shout of “Hey, Fabio!” It sounded Scouse. I thought all the Liverpool boys were out injured.

55 mins: It’s been a quiet start to the second half so far. Carrick and Barry are passing well though. Downing skips past a German player who did not look bothered at all and fires a shot in wide.

57 mins: Podolski on for Gomez. The crowd respond positively. Every time I’ve seen Gomez he’s been a bit pants. I’m sure he ruined many a Euro 2008 fantasy team. This is Podolski’s 60th cap and he’s only 23. And they say there are too many meaningless friendlies…

62 mins: SWP wins a corner. Downing takes it Arsenal style and it fails to beat the first man.

63 mins: Terrible miss by Bent. Johnson does well to win the ball, Barry plays a lovely through ball and Bent rounds the keeper but slips as he tries to slide it in with his left foot. It goes wide. Reminds me of his miss against Arsenal last year.

64 mins: Goal for Germany! 1-1! They go straight down the other end. Terry is very hesitant with a long ball and he tried to shepherd it back to Carson. Carson makes half an attempt to come out and clear and in the middle of this Helmes nips in and slots it in through Carson’s legs. Terry should have cleared it but you have to think Carson told him he was coming for it. Poor from both players really and as captain Terry should have dealt with it.

67 mins: How will England respond? Gabby is played through by Carrick and uses his pace to go past the defender. He fires in a good shot and the keeper makes a decent save. No corner given though.

70 mins: Tasci on for Friedrich.

71 mins: Downing fires in a free kick which just bounces in front of the keeper. Wiese makes a good save.

72 mins: The rain is starting to affect footing. Meanwhile Bent has a small penalty appeal as he tackled by Wiese. It was a good challenge though, no penalty.

75 mins: Germany are definitely on top at the moment. Marin takes a good low shot and Carson makes a decent parry wide to his right. The England defence looks a bit nervy right now.

77 mins: Ashley Young on for club mate Agbonlahor. Schafer on for Commper.

79 mins: SWP smacks a great shot against the post. He skips past a player and pings it from 25 yards. It was swerving away but Wiese got fingertips to it. The England bench have their heads in their hands. Capello reacts to the shot by taking a step forward. Does that mean he was impressed?

82 mins: It’s end to end as both teams search for a winner.

84 mins: Goal for England! 1-2! Terry grabs himself The Sun headlines in the morning by getting his head to a Downing free kick. He strays offside at the back post, but jumps higher than (fouls) his marker and flicks a header over Tim Wiese. Maybe he really does care about playing for England. Even Capello smiles.

87 mins: All the noise is coming from the England fans. England look to break in search of another. Young’s cross sails harmlessly over though.

88 mins: The boys in the studio (Townsend, Le Saux and Sheringham) have decided that man of the match is Mattew Upson. Not too sure about that. I would give it to Downing probably. Or SWP. Or Carrick even. All had more of an impact.

Man of the match? Ich don't think so

Man of the match? Ich don't think so...

90 mins: This game is petering out know, I think both teams have settled for this result.

91 mins: Germany’s final attack comes to nothing.

92 mins: England still push forward though. Downing curls a right footer but Wiese punches away.

93 mins: Large for little. Crouch comes on for SWP. He even gets a touch before full time.

94 mins: Full Time. Germany 1 England 2. The final whistle blows. A deserved victory for England, their fifth in a row. Some good performances for the reserve midfielders will certainly give Capello something to think about. I’m won’t watch the post match analysis as I sincerely doubt anything Teddy Sheringham says will give me something to think about…



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