Posts Tagged ‘Ledley King’

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.

Advertisements

Season Previews 09/10 – Tottenham Hotspur

14/08/2009

tottenham

Last Season: 8th plus a Carling Cup final.

Say hello to your new teammates: Peter Crouch, Kyle Naughton, Kyle Walker, Sebastian Bassong.

Close the door on your way out: Darren Bent, Chris Gunter, Didier Zokora, Gilberto, Ben Alnwick, Ricardo Rocha.

Predicted star: Luka Modric naturally took a while to adapt but by the end of last season was running every game for Spurs. A total of nine assists and three goals should be bettered with a full season of protection from Wilson Palacios. Tottenham need to run their game through him as much as possible.

Needs a big year: Harry Redknapp has no more ‘We had two points from eight games when I joined’ excuses – he’s been backed in the transfer market and now has to deliver.

One to watch: John Bostock made a few cameo appearances off the bench last season and should be given greater opportunity to impress this time round. The dearth of quality central midfielders at the club means he could well find himself a regular by the end of the season despite being just 17.

What they want to happen: Be ahead of Arsenal. Realistically though 5th or 6th and a trophy of some kind would be an excellent season.

Nightmare scenario: Another eighth position or so. They haven’t spent the best part of £70 million since January for nothing.

Plan A: With a defensive midfielder finally in place, they can let Modric or Aaron Lennon attack with through balls and probing passing or pace, dribbling and wayward crossing respectively. Harry loves a little and large partnership, so expect Crouch and Defoe to be first choice strikers even though Robbie Keane is captain.

Plan B, just in case: Hope Ledley King stays fit. That or just never ever play Gareth Bale in the league.

Three (points) is something he's never experienced.

Three (points) is something he's never experienced.

Predicted finish: 7th.

Why? For many seasons now, Tottenham’s transfer policy has been a bit odd for one reason or another. Either having an ill fated director of football or whatever Comolli’s job title was to now having a manager who’s fond of buying players simply because they’re available, not necessarily because they’re needed. They seem to finally be addressing their flaws however – Palacios was signed in January to beef up a lightweight midfield, while Bassong has been brought in to provide central defensive cover for the oft-injured Woodgate and King. Swapping Bent for Crouch won’t make too much difference in the goals scored column and they still don’t have a viable left wing option.

The squad is massive and they have good options and backup across the whole pitch. All the youngsters they’ve bought over the past few years should surely start to make an impact too. There are issues like David Bentley to sort as well. They can’t just let him waste on the bench, play him and improve him or get rid.

Big man little man.

Big man little man.

Regardless, Harry Redknapp is pretty good at building a side if given the money and Spurs should see another improvement from 8th to 7th. I can’t see them finishing higher just as Man City have bought better players while Everton are too solid a team and just won’t drop as many cheap points as Spurs.

If Tottenham maintain the home form which saw White Hart Lane go from seeing the most goals in 2007/098 to the least last time, then I may be proved wrong and they could get 5th. The likelihood is that it will be the usual mix of good performances against the top clubs (Man Utd aside) followed by defeat to a struggler who wants it more.

.

T.

Weekly Photoshop – Ledley King

02/04/2009

Tottenham’s inspirational sicknote captain is our theme this week. I wanted to make Ledley into the 70’s toy Stretch Armstrong but there were no large enough pictures to use from Google. All I can advise is to NEVER, EVER use the search terms ‘stretch toy’ in Flickr. My eyes, my poor eyes…

 

The tug of war between Redknapp and Capello certainly won't help Ledley's injuries

The tug of war between Redknapp and Capello certainly won't help Ledley's injuries

 

The rest of this week’s entries can be found here. It’s Alan Shearer next week. Looking forward to that.

 

T.

 

Previous entries: MowbrayRedknappMegson, and the rest.

The Six Pointer – King McGrath, Chocolate Legs & more…

19/01/2009

That was the weekend that was.

1. How will Liverpool react to now being second in the title race? This evening’s 1-1 draw against Everton sees them back level on points with Man Utd but having played a game more. United’s game in hand is against Fulham in mid February so for the time being they will look to simply match whatever Liverpool do each weekend. Liverpool’s recent form isn’t actually too bad but four of their last six league games have been draws. Perhaps being second will take some of the pressure off and allow them to play with a bit more freedom – they certainly don’t have any experience of leading from the front. The trouble is that when Man Utd go top, they usually stay there. They have reached the summit earlier than usual this year but already things are beginning to have a slight air of inevitability about them. As usual it will come down to Gerrard to stop them.

 

2. I, like many other Arsenal fans, have always maintained that Robin Van Persie has all the talent to be one of the top strikers in Europe. It has always just been a question of keeping him fit. In the four previous seasons at Arsenal the most league games he has played in has been the 26 in his first year. Each season since the number has dropped (26, 24, 22) culminating in last year’s low of 15 – less than a third of the season. Thankfully, and touching wood, he has reached 18 so far this year and has only missed games due to rotation and suspension. It has coincided with probably his best form in an Arsenal shirt and he has really stepped up creatively in the absence of Fabregas. His chocolate leg (right foot to you and me) has improved vastly and it makes him even more unpredictable (in a good way) than he already was. Three assists against Hull give him seven for the year and he will be key to Arsenal keeping in touch with the leaders until Cesc returns.

Van Persie's next injury - melted leg

Van Persie's next injury - melted leg

 

3. Talking of another often injured player, The Football Guy and I were discussing this over the weekend – how can Spurs rely on someone who can only play once a fortnight. When fit Ledley King is a top player but that is exactly the problem – he never is. I know Paul McGrath famously never trained (hangovers as much as dodgy knees no doubt) and just played really well at the weekend but King can barely manage that. In ten full seasons at Spurs he has played just 250 odd times (though amazingly he played every league game in 2004/05) and for the past couple there has been little point in relying on him. The problem is that Spurs can’t really get anything for him transfer wise as everyone knows his record. But maybe it is time to call it quits.

 

4. Who needs Bellamy and Santa Cruz? With Man City having now completed the deal for Craig Bellamy from West Ham whilst also still sniffing around Blackburn’s Santa Cruz maybe the two selling clubs will actually be better off. Saturday saw Carlton Cole score his fifth goal in five games and he formed quite a nice partnership with David Di Michele. Meanwhile at Ewood Park, Sam Allardyce gave Santa Cruz his first 21 minutes of play under his stewardship. It’s understandable why when you see that both Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts have scored four goals each in the four games since Fat Sam took over. The £18 million he’s likely to receive for the Paraguayan will certainly come in useful for improving the rest of the squad.

Fat Sam's Lancashire Emporium

Fat Sam's Lancashire Emporium

 

5. Though we talked about Ledley King always being injured, he’s not really a jinx. When he plays, Spurs are pretty solid. Gareth Bale and Darren Bent are a different story however. Bale reaches 21 games without a win (Nugent’s shot came off him too) while Bent added another glorious miss to his growing collection. You know you can’t have much of a future when the manager reckons his wife could have scored it. Tis true though, she probably could have.

This wouldn't be the first time...

This wouldn't be the first time...

 

6. So it seems Kaka’s move to Man City is off. I think that right now this is a good thing for City. Yes Kaka is one of the best players in the world but in their current predicament defensive players are a priority. Nigel de Jong is a good start.

 

T.


%d bloggers like this: