Posts Tagged ‘mancini’

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.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 31 Preview

19/03/2010

Week 31. 15 matches. Given it’s so late in the season this will be title deciding I would think. Ten teams play twice including four from the top half so you should really be looking at having a minimum of seven double players I’d say. Unless we get a bunch of 1-1 draws, 100 points should be the minimum target.

Last week was pretty good – 85 points and a slight increase of my league lead. This despite having five players who would have been better captain choices than Fat Frank. He’ll be leaving my team for Fabregas again shortly after this double gameweek ends. I was particularly pleased with Bendtner getting another 11 points while spending eight points on transfers just about paid off too.

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Gameweek 30 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

fernando torres liverpool

Maverick wants to know where Torres got those highlights...

After an injury truncated season, Fernando Torres reminded us of what he can do with 19 points against Portsmouth. Two goals, two assists and three bonus gave him his highest score of the season, moving him into the top seven strikers despite having played just 1471 minutes.

Funnily enough his price has actually gone down this week as people were still reacting to one point against Wigan plus the fact he faces Man Utd this week. Judging by past form against Vidic that no bad thing. Elsewhere Malouda got 16, Milner and Aquilani 12 while it was a striker’s week with Rooney, Drogba, Bendtner, Berbatov and Pavlyuchenko all in double figures.

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Three Captain Picks:

1. Chelsea attackers – First choice for a captain this week should be Chelsea attacking players. While they have two away game which are trickier than they look, I’d still be surprised if they didn’t come away with six points from Blackburn and Portsmouth. Lampard is an option as always, while Malouda is possibly their best player right now. You can’t really look further than Drogba though, and he should feast on those two defences. I wouldn’t bother with Chelsea defenders this week, I think it’ll be one clean sheet at best.

2. Aston Villa players – Villa have two home games against Wolves and Sunderland. Again, I’d be surprised if they got less than six points and they perhaps offer more variety than Chelsea. I’d be quite comfortable with picking Dunne as captain while Agbonlahor is usually involved some way when they score. Really though Milner is the most realistic choice when choosing a Villa captain. You can talk about potential differentials like Young and Downing all you want but at the end of the day it will be Milner getting the points.

3. Everton midfielders – Choices from Everton are narrowed to their midfield for me as Saha is currently injured and I don’t trust the Yak. Pienaar has been consistent and Cahill is always good for a goal but now that Arteta is back he’s the man you want.

Didier Drogba Chelsea

Gets a Captain's tick.

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Three Suggested Transfers In:

1. Johnson/Man City – How brave are you feeling? Johnson has shone for Man City since joining in January and last week got himself nine points coming of the bench to rescue a draw vs Sunderland. Difficult fixtures against Fulham A and Everton H but he is in form and making an impact. The key question is will he play both matches? I think yes, but you never know with Mancini.

2. Olsson/Blackburn – An interesting week for Blackburn as they have two home games but both of those matches are quite tough (Chelsea and Birmingham). Olsson is one of the cheapest players in the game at just £3.8m and is listed as a defender even though he normally plays left of midfield. I could certainly see him getting a clean sheet against Brum and perhaps a cheeky assist too.

3. O’Hara/Portsmouth – They’ve been docked points, are essentially relegated, and face Hull and Chelsea this week. That said they are ok at home and tend to score if nothing else. O’Hara should get something against Hull (unless new manager syndrome kicks in) and will get two points vs Chelsea too. He’s cheap and gets bonus, what more do you want?

adam johnson man city

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

1. Hull players – Not even Iain Dowie can save this lot.

2. N’Zogbia/Wigan – His double gameweek produced just one assist and he’s been taken off before the hour twice in the last three weeks.

3. Anelka/Chelsea – No goals or bonus since the end of January.

jimmy bullard hull

Are you taking the mick?!

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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?

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roberto-mancini man city

Roberto Mankini?!

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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...

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More here.

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T.

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Archive.

Weekly Photoshop – Patrick Vieira

19/01/2010

The summer rumours around a possible return for Patrick Vieira to Arsenal got me quite excited. Yes, he wasn’t the player of the late 90s/early 2000s but I thought it would fantastic to see him in an Arsenal shirt one more time, once again doing battle against fellow old man Gary Neville.  

Now that he’s signed for Man City it just feels a bit weird, and I fear that he’ll no longer be able to handle the tempo of the Premier League. As you may have gathered he was this week’s Photoshop theme. There was lots of stuff to work on like how old he is; how French he is; how ‘big’ he is (allegedly); how Man City will throw money at anything… 

In the end my laptop screen has been dying a slow a painful death all week so after eventually finding a monitor that I could connect I spent all of about 5 minutes on my entry. Did get me third place though. Success!.

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patrick-vieira man city

The trouble with signing le grande saucisse at the end of its career is that all the good bits have already been bought and you're just left with the straggly ends.

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More can be found here.

T.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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T.


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