Posts Tagged ‘Dunn’

The Six Pointer – Five Goals, Six Draws & more…

23/11/2009

1. Amazing to think that you can score five goals in a game and there can still be a debate over whether you were man of the match. Aaron Lennon’s performance against Wigan ensured that Defoe didn’t come away with all the plaudits, his sparkling play from the right playing a big part in at least half the goals.

Defoe meanwhile became just the third player to score five in a game in the Premier League era and notched the second fastest hat trick after Robbie Fowler’s four and a half minute wonder against Arsenal many years ago. I’ve mentioned in recent weeks that he needed to watch his temper and just concentrate on his football, and with performances like that there’s no chance of him not going to South Africa. Lennon too did his case no harm, and on current form is far and away the best option when it comes to tricky small winger.

Spurs’ goal difference enjoyed a big boost in terms of chasing Arsenal, while they are beginning to take advantage of Man City, Liverpool and Aston Villa’s inconsistency to open a little gap over those three. They face one of their rivals next week in Aston Villa but should have nothing to fear the way they are playing.

As for Wigan the best you can say is that it’s just one game. These sorts of results can have a lasting effect, especially if you go behind in a game. It will be up to Roberto Martinez to ensure it remains a one off.

Jermain Defoe five goals Aaron Lennon

High five, we're going to South Africa!

 

2. Would Phil Brown be fearing for his job if Jimmy Bullard hadn’t got injured in his first game after signing? His performances in the last couple of games suggest that may have been the case. A win over Stoke and a fightback from two goals down to draw against West Ham possibly indicates an improvement in fortune for the men at the KC. Even Tango Man himself seems to be less in the spotlight than usual.

Bullard may have dodgy knees but he has an enthusiasm for the game that few players can match and his energy and creative play have got Hull scoring some goals again. They have a tough run coming up with three well organised teams in Everton, Man City and Aston Villa. Ok maybe not Man City but still! I’m pretty sure Geovanni isn’t injured and he appears to have lost his place to Bullard but I would be interested to see them both in the same team. Part of Hull’s success last year was to be brave, so maybe playing both together would have the same effect this year.

 

3. Before Arsenal get completely written off for losing against Sunderland (who have drawn with Man Utd and beaten Liverpool), let’s not forget that the key game is next week against Chelsea. Defeat would leave an 11 point gap; a win would leave it at just five with a game in hand. This defeat does render next weekend rather important if a title challenged is to be maintained. The lack of focal point without van Persie (and Bendtner) was a concern but it was in midfield where Sunderland won, with Cana stopping Fabregas and his teammates from creating many chances.

In addition to this, a set play was once again Arsenal’s outdoing at the back with Darren Bent reacting quickest after the initial ball had not been dealt with (déjà vu anyone?) While such defensive frailties are a long-term malaise, Arsene Wenger must ensure that his patched up squad is mentally right for the Chelsea game. Win it and two easier home games against Bolton and Stoke follow and momentum can be formed. Lose it and another frustrating season could be on the cards.

Robin van Persie horse placenta

Pin the placenta on the van Persie.

 

4. They were impressive but it was only Wolves at home. Chelsea’s next two tests are the altogether tougher visits to the Emirates and Eastlands. Let’s see how the keenly the absences of Lampard and Drogba are felt then.

 

5. Liverpool and Man City played out a draw which leaves neither going anywhere fast. Man City have now drawn six on the spin which has stagnated them after a promising start. Just one win in eight games fro Mark Hughes’ side. A Hull side winless away from the KC provides the best possible opportunity to end that run next weekend.

Liverpool have one win in six but their habit of winning games they don’t lose (Saturday was just their second draw) means they’re still in a good position. The pretenders to the top four ideally want a gap going into the spring as if Gerrard and Torres are fit for the run in, I know who I’d back to get the last Champions League spot.

 

6. David Dunn is scored his fourth goal in six games and is playing the best football of his career. Someone left a comment asking what chance an England call for the Blackburn man. While I think he’s bit of a luxury and probably not quite international quality, there’s no doubting there are few more in form midfielders playing at the moment.

david dunn balckburn

Quite good these days.

 

T.

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Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 12 Preview

06/11/2009

So the first double gameweek came and went and I was not best pleased with Aston Villa’s attempts at getting a clean sheet. I gambled on bringing in Dunne to complement Collins but Villa decided to draw 1-1 with a team who have an injury list big enough to fill a teamsheet (Everton), and then lose to then second bottom team (West Ham).

I guess it was to be expected they weren’t to be relied on with two away games and I’m glad I took my own advice of not going for a Villa or West Ham player as captain. Our suggested choices of Fabregas or Lampard but got double figures and whilst we picked the wrong Burnley player, the thought was correct. Europa League action means half the fixtures are on Sunday/Monday this week and there’s a clash between the top two to look forward too as well.

Gameweek 11 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

 

Graham Alexander Burnley

Maverick approves of the score but not so much of the hair.

Defenders who score are always likely to threaten the top points scorers lists and so it proved as Burnley’s Graham Alexander scored twice, kept a clean sheet and earnt three bonus points for an excellent score of 21 points. I feel a bit sorry for Aruna Dindane of Portsmouth. Useless/unlucky (depending on who you speak to) up until now, he scores a hat-trick plus assist and three bonus for 20 points which would win Top Gun most weeks.

Elsewhere Joey Craddock was another two goal defender but the lack of clean sheet means just 15 for him, while Van Persie notched his biggest score of the season (and sixth goal in five games) with 15 in the destruction of Spurs.

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Three Captain Choices:

With Chelsea facing Man Utd at Stamford Bridge it means you should probably look elsewhere for some easier pickings. That said Drogba is perhaps the only player I’d consider from those two this weekend, and depending on who Utd play at centre back may result in another good score for the Ivorian.

1. Van Persie or Fabregas/Arsenal –  Take your pick from these two, both have been in excellent form recently. RvP has six goals, two assists and seven bonus in his last five while Fabregas has two goals, six assists and 12 bonus in his last five. Indeed the Spaniard has been man of the match for the last four games, and has recaptured the form of 06/07 & 07/08 where if Arsenal won you didn’t even have to check as you knew he’d get three bonus. Arsenal face Wolves away and whilst Mick McCarthy’s side have only let in six goals at Molineux so far, they haven’t faced anyone especially good or free scoring. Arsenal are still averaging over three goals a game and while I don’t think it will be a thrashing, either Cesc or RvP should be good for points in a 2-0 win.

2. Adebayor (or maybe Petrov)/Man City – As sure as night follows day, Burnley win at home and lose away. Man City haven’t been great recently with four straight draws but I don’t see Burnley making it five. Adebayor missed last week and is a slight doubt but by it should be clearer later today whether he’s fit. He’s only failed to score or assist in one game so far so should do well against Burnley. Alternatively Martin Petrov is the form player.

3. Dunn/Blackburn – Pompey are the visitors to Ewood Park this week and while they won 4-0 last week I don’t expect a similar outcome. Blackburn are struggling but have been ok at home. Dunn has been by far their best player this season and I would expect him to do something on Saturday.

 

van-persie

Gets a Captain's tick

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Three Potential Transfers In:

1. Dempsey/Fulham – A pre-emptive transfer for Gameweek 13 when Fulham play twice but to be fair he isn’t a bad shout this week. Wigan away (masters of inconsistency) following two goals in two games. I like Dempsey as a player, he tends to get forward to support the strikers and takes a lot of shots. Fulham don’t score that many but he’s a better shout than Zamora who could score in five straight games (as if) and I still wouldn’t bring him in. Only masochists would do that!

2. Gibbs/Arsenal – Now that Clichy is out for at least a month (note: you should take this as Arsenal time which is usually half of real time meaning he’s out for two months at least), Kieran Gibbs gets thrust into the left back role. He’s generally impressed when coming into the team and costs just £4.5m. He’s not as good defensively as Clichy but Arsenal don’t really do clean sheets so that’s not a factor. He’s definitely better going forward though so may get an assist or two down the line.

3. Ivanovic/Chelsea – In a similar scenario to Gibbs, he’s replacing an injured full back in Bosingwa. Quite pricey at £5.6m but cheap for a Chelsea defender. They have six clean sheets already this season.

 

Clint Dempsey Fulham

Might be worth a pick.

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Three to avoid:

1. Torres/Liverpool – Yes he’s currently top scorer but I feel it’s only a matter of time before his suspected hernia starts keeping him out of games. Rafa talking about how they have to be careful with him does not fill me with confidence. Cash in and use the money on Drogba, RvP or Rooney.

2. Clichy/Arsenal – Out for ages.

3. Burnley players – Three away games in the next four.

 

torres

Are you taking the mick?

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T.

 

The Six Pointer – Temper temper, goalscoring riches & more…

20/10/2009

That was the weekend that was…

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1. Liverpool were beaten for the third straight week and it’s starting to get a bit boring with how often we have to mention how thin their squad is. Of course any team would miss their two best players, not least when those players are Gerrard and Torres, but of all the big four sides they are least equipped to cope.

Dirk Kuyt toiled on his own up front and reminded us all why he has been playing on the right wing instead for the past 18 months. Meanwhile in the middle Jay Spearing was given his Premier League debut and looked a bit lost by all accounts.

Hilariously the jokers at the Liverpool official website gave him man of the match honours which must have been news to everyone else watching the game. Cana and Cattermole once again dominated for Sunderland and just taking a random cross section of national newspapers, Spearing was not even the best Liverpool midfielder, let alone the best player on the pitch.

The white one Jose, save the white one...

The white one Jose, save the white one...

As for the beach ball goal, it shouldn’t really have stood but these things happen. Sunderland fully deserved the victory. Ironically enough it was a Liverpool fan who threw the thing on the pitch in the first place! The title challenge is over, even if they beat Man Utd next week. There is just nothing to fear with this Liverpool team and I can see them losing several more times before the season is over.

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2. Jermaine Defoe needs to keep one eye on his temperament. You can’t be taking players to the World Cup who are liable to get themselves needlessly sent off. Fall out of favour now and it’s going to be very hard to get back in, what with so few friendlies left.

Defoe’s red card also provides a good opportunity for Peter Crouch to cement his claim for a spot in the Spurs starting line up as well as the England squad as Plan B/C. Fortunately for Defoe it won’t be at his expense. For now.

Dum dum Defoe.

Dum dum Defoe.

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3. Since James Collins was sold to Villa, West Ham have failed to keep a clean sheet. That does over emphasise his importance somewhat but when you look at Villa’s form since he joined, it does illustrates that he is a good player.

I had big concerns over Villa’s ability to replace Martin Laursen this season but to be fair to Martin O’Neill he seems to have pulled it off, mainly by signing two players in Dunne and Collins. They exposed Chelsea’s (well, Carvalho’s) set piece deficiency at the weekend and have formed a promising partnership at the back.

Back at Upton Park, Upson has been left to do it on his own (Tomkins is not the finished article yet) and the lack of defensive options has been a big reason why the Hammers have struggled so far this year.

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4. Man Utd were controlled enough against Bolton and are back top. Away games against Liverpool and Chelsea are coming up in the next three matches and we should have a clearer idea of just how good they are this season after that.

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5. David Dunn now had four league goals this season, level with Fabregas for most from midfield. Easily Blackburn’s best player, how their season evolves will depend on him.

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6. Arsenal made heavy weather of Birmingham before eventually completing the job late on. After going 2-0 up they switched to cruise control and started treating it almost like a training match. When Bowyer got one back after the traditional Arsenal goalkeeper fail under a high ball, you could see the nervousness that was so prevalent last year creeping in again.

This was after a spectacularly mis-timed jump.

This was after a spectacularly mis-timed jump. Almunia has taught him well.

Fortunately class eventually told and Arshavin slotted home a nice goal to wrap up the points. Even though I’m not totally convinced by the defence, Arsenal currently have so many goal scoring options in the side that they could well last the distance. In eight games, 27 goals have been scored from 12 different players.

The number of injuries suffered at the Emirates means there’ll never be a situation where everyone is available at any once but as long as four of Fabregas, Arshavin, Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo, Rosicky, Nasri, Walcott and Vela are fit at any given time then a sustained challenge may yet be forthcoming.

Simples. Eventually.

Simples. Eventually.

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T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 6

19/09/2009

Gameweek 6 and we’re beginning to establish who the top performers in this season’s game will be. I will more than likely be using my wildcard this week or next to set my team up for the rest of the season. It is early to use but considering I want to change at least four or five players and prices are rising every week I think it’s worth it. After all, you have to take some risks when the guy leading your private league is currently 6th in the world (out of almost 2 million players)!

Gameweek 5 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves) – Yossi Benayoun

Maverick couldn't have done better himself

In Gameweek 5 Maverick couldn't have done better himself.

Last week saw Liverpool winger Yossi Benayoun score a frankly ridiculous 24 points as Liverpool took apart Burnley at home. He got a hat-trick, assisted Kuyt’s goal, kept a clean sheet and with all that nabbed all three bonus points. His 24 was higher than the next two best players combined! (Reid and Roberts with 12 & 11) – I didn’t expect Fabregas’ week 1 marker of 22 to be beaten so early but congrats to Yossi. I don’t even think Ronaldo got higher than 24 in all his time dominating the game.

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Three Captain Choices:

1. Van Persie/Arsenal – While the Gunners have had an inconsistent start to the season, not least defensively, they haven’t had too much trouble scoring goals. Wigan are beginning to improve under Roberto Martinez but I get the feeling they will come unstuck against Arsenal. Both try to play expansive, passing football, it’s just Arsene Wenger’s side do it better. It won’t be a thrashing by any means, but a comfortable victory in which you can look to Van Persie (or Fabregas) to get among the points.

2. Young/Aston Villa – Portsmouth have so far played five and lost five and I can see them adding to that total away against Aston Villa this weekend. Villa have won three on the spin and their new look defence is settling in nicely. Portsmouth have only once heavily but I think Martin O’Neill’s side will be too quick and powerful for them this weekend. Back Ashley Young to come up trumps in this match and perhaps reach double figures in points.

3. Lampard/Chelsea – Chelsea haven’t lost to Spurs at home in the league since 1990 and I don’t expect to change now. Man Utd showed last weekend that Redknapp’s side still have a way to go before they can compete with the big boys and I should think that Lampard will be at the heart of a routine Chelsea victory.

Gets a Captain's tick

Gets a Captain's tick

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Three Potential Transfers In:

1. Maierhofer/Wolves – Signed on deadline day I believe and he scored on his debut last weekend. At 6’712” he is the new tallest player in the league and will no doubt cause many problems for the opposition (just look at that neck length). I believe Michael Kightly is nearing full fitness again and his crosses will be of importance if the Austrian is to be a success. At £5m he is worth a speculative punt as a third striker.

2. Diamanti/West Ham – Another striker who is perhaps worth a speculative add. The Hammers have only Carlton Cole and him so he should get plenty of minutes. He’s perhaps a little overvalued at £6m but he scored 13 times last season for Livorno and is one to keep an eye on if nothing else.

3. Dunn/Blackburn – In the two games he’s played this season he has a goal and four bonus points. I imagine most of Backburn’s good play will go through him.

Might be worth a pick.

Might be worth a pick.

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Three to avoid:

1. Adebayor/Man City – Banned for at least two games and possibly more depending on how the second charge works out.

2. Keane/Tottenham – A regular feature in this section, but currently stuck out on the wing as Harry Redknapp slowly works out a way to drop his out of form captain.

3. Cana/Sunderland – I read somewhere this week that the Sunderland Echo has given him the man of the match award in three games already this season but he has yet to score a bonus point in fantasy. Just goes to show that some players get all the bonus point love.

Are you taking the mick?

Are you taking the mick?

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T.

The Six Pointer – Mad Jens, Boro’s Struggles & more…

23/02/2009

1. We touched on Ronaldo and his tetchiness last week and on Saturday there was yet another incident in which he kicked out at someone and got away with it. This time David Dunn was on the receiving end of his petulance, and given that Howard Webb didn’t book him over the incident it would not surprise me to see him get a retrospective three match ban.  Blackburn are right to feel aggrieved when shortly afterwards he scored the winning goal with a wonderful free kick. I sense too that whilst he may get away with it in the Premier League, Ronaldo won’t be so lucky if he does it against the likes of Inter Milan or Barcelona in the Champions League.

Needs to calm down

Needs to calm down

 

2. Liverpool’s title hopes were over before yesterday’s draw against Man City. Victory over Man United on March 14th won’t revive them either. I imagine Rafa will prioritise the Champions League now anyway so will tinker his way to plenty more dropped points before the season’s end. It will be interesting to see if they hold off a revived Chelsea for second place who should finish strongly under new manager Guus Hiddink.

 

3. Good to see that Jens Lehmann is still Mad Jens even though he’s now with Stuttgart. Here he takes issue with Khalid Boulahrouz’s headband and throws it away. There was also an incident at the weekend where an opposition striker’s boot had come off and Lehmann proceeded to hide it on the roof of his goal (video deleted sadly but the pic below gives you an idea). In true Jens style he said “the shoe lies where it could be an obstacle for a shot or a through pass.” Brilliant. Let’s also remember a couple of classics from the days when he was still Arsenal goalkeeper.

Mad Jens

Mad Jens

 

4. Fulham have struggled away from home for many a year now; picking up no away wins this season, three last year and just one in both 2006/07 and 2005/06. However they have 27 points from 36 at Craven Cottage this season and sit pretty in eighth place. Goodness knows how high they’d be if they had anything resembling away form.

 

5. While the debut of Arshavin was a bright spot in an otherwise drab performance, Arsene Wenger must be very concerned with the lack of goals coming from his side at the moment. They have only scored only four times in their last seven home league games and have three consecutive 0-0 draws for the first time under his stewardship. Fergie may have a point when he talks about Wenger not buying defenders but ultimately it is the current central midfield which poses the problems. With Fabregas injured and Flamini long gone, there is no one to provide probing passes from the middle of the pitch to the strikers. This puts pressure on the wingers to do it (and they like to cut in anyway) and opposition teams have worked out that if you stop the like of Nasri and Eboue (not too hard) then Song and Denilson will do absolutely nothing to hurt you. 

Why must I play with such dross?

Why must I play with such dross?

 

6. The longer Gareth Southgate remains as manager, the more likely it is Middlesbrough are going down. I know Steve Gibson is a very patient man (remember how long he took to get rid of Robson?) and personally I like Southgate and wish him well. Boro however are really struggling at the moment and are now a club record 14 games without a league win. They are second bottom and are relying on Mido, Afonso Alves and Marlon King to score the goals to get them out of trouble. Best start preparing for the Championship then…

 

T.


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