Posts Tagged ‘West Ham’

The Six Pointer: Theo Time, Tennis Scores & more…

23/08/2010

That was the weekend that was.

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1. Theo Walcott had arguably his best ever game for Arsenal scoring a hat-trick as the Gunners demolished Blackpool 6-0. Showing pace, direct running, and good end product, Walcott ran the show against the beleaguered Seasiders.

Yes it was “only” Blackpool and he was afforded more time and space than normal (not least once Blackpool were down to ten men) but it was encouraging to watch him put in such a performance.

Walcott has had his critics in his brief career, and rightly so in many cases but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he’s only 21 years old and has yet to get a through a season without major injury disruptions.

Taking his league stats from the last three seasons into account, it shows every season broken up through injury and bit part appearances.

2007/08 – 25 appearances/1260 minutes

2008/09 – 22 appearances/1265 minutes

2009/10 – 23 appearances/1129 minutes

1260 minutes equates to 14 full games which is just over a third of the season. Therefore in the space of three league seasons, he’s had one season’s worth of playing time. Yet people wonder why he’s not yet the finished article.

Of course cup and European games can be added to those totals but the point remains that Walcott is still very early into his development. Walcott himself acknowledges this is a key season for him, but let’s judge him at the end of it not the beginning.

Yeah!

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2. Another week, another 6-0 win for Chelsea – this Premier League lark is pretty easy isn’t it?! Drogba was once again a key player with three assists while Malouda and Anelka helped themselves to yet more goals.

Tougher tests will follow than West Brom and Wigan but a significant goal difference advantage amounts to the equivalent of an extra point at the business end of the season. Given they won the title by just a point last season, these early victories may prove vital.

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3. Two bogey teams continued their hold in London this weekend; Bolton winning their third successive game at Upton Park while Fulham prevented Man Utd from 3 points at Craven Cottage for the third successive season. Both games came down to missed penalties taken by someone other than the regular taker.

Carlton Cole saw his kick saved by Jaaskelainen which meant West Ham didn’t go into half time with lead. Bolton came out in the second half and scored twice and went on to win meaning Mark Noble’s penalty made no difference.

Meanwhile at 2-1 up against Fulham, Man Utd’s Nani took a spot kick instead of regular man Ryan Giggs. Stockdale saved, Fulham equalised and Fergie bemoaned silly dropped points.

It got me wondering as to why Noble hadn’t taken West Ham’s first and Giggs hadn’t taken United’s. Every club ranks their penalty takers for a reason. If the top man is on the field, he should take it.

The only exception to this is if someone is on a hat-trick and the game is won. I’m sure both Avram Grant and Alex Ferguson will be telling their players as much before the next game.

He's no Ronaldo...

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4. As much as I want to ignore Bale’s second goal vs Stoke, I can’t deny it was an excellent volley. I’m pretty sure we’ll see better this season but it’s likely to end up as goal of the month if nothing else. Bale is fast becoming Tottenham’s most important player and will be key to ensuring they challenge for a top four spot again.

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5. I don’t think anyone expected the third 6-0 of the weekend at St. James’ Park. Newcastle were terrific against a woeful Aston Villa and Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan reminded many that they are more than capable of performing at the highest level.

Andy Carroll scored a nice hat-trick and already people are tipping him for an England call. It is perhaps a little early for that but he has great potential. He won most things in the air against Vidic last week and was once again dominant aerially against the Aston Villa defence. His link up play suggests decent technique and it will be worth watching him this season, especially in home games.

Newcastle are now unbeaten in something like 23 games at home and they could do well to follow the template of two other recently promoted clubs, Stoke and Birmingham, in making their home ground a fortress in order to get the points needed to stay up.

Aerial beast.

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6. Last season Wigan were very Jekyll and Hyde beating Arsenal or Liverpool one week before getting smacked by seven the next. It looks like this season will mainly consist of the latter. I don’t think Martinez will have too long to sort it out but with games against Spurs and Man City coming up, they may be quite far adrift quite quickly.

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T.

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Season Previews 2010/11 – How They’ll Finish

13/08/2010

Based on all the predictions written, here’s how I see the Premier League finishing up in May.

  1. Man Utd
  2. Arsenal
  3. Chelsea
  4. Man City
  5. Liverpool
  6. Tottenham
  7. Everton
  8. Fulham
  9. Aston Villa
  10. Stoke
  11. Blackburn
  12. Birmingham
  13. Bolton
  14. Sunderland
  15. Wolves
  16. West Ham
  17. Newcastle
  18. Wigan
  19. West Brom
  20. Blackpool

A few more thoughts. I think the top four are quite interchangeable though Man City won’t win it. It depends what other business is done before the end of the transfer window – you get the feeling the Milner deal will get a few things going.

I reckon Liverpool, Everton and Spurs are all capable of sneaking fourth spot. With the former two it depends on how fit their first choice teams stay throughout the season while Spurs could maybe go as high as third but it relies on them coping with two competitions at once. I’m sure they’ll sign one or two more players but are waiting to see if they beat Young Boys in the qualifier.

With Martin O’Neill leaving Aston Villa will drop down the table. It doesn’t matter who they get in to replace him, they won’t come ahead of those top seven teams. I have Fulham a little high on reflection. I should probably swap them with Villa. If they lose Schwarzer and get an injury or two, it remains to be seen whether Hughes can keep them going. With the signing of Kenwyne Jones Stoke might push on an extra place or two. I genuinely wonder if they have any players under 6ft beyond Tuncay and Etherington!

Going down to about 15th/16th you can mix and match. Bolton could shock a few people, while West Ham have one of the more talented spines of teams at that level. Birmingham could really struggle if Foster doesn’t live up to Hart’s performances last season and Zigic doesn’t perform but all in all the teams in this section should be ok.

For me there are just the four clear relegation candidates, though you could perhaps chuck Wolves in there too. Maybe I’ll revisit this once the transfer window shuts, as things should be a bit clearer by then.

T.

Season Previews 2010/11 – West Ham

11/08/2010

West Ham

Last Season: 17th

New Signings: Barrera, Reid, Hitzlsperger, Piquionne, Ben-Haim

Key Player: Scott Parker

One To Watch: Jack Collison (when he eventually returns from injury)

Needs A Big Year: Benni McCarthy

Would Quite Like: To keep their stars players and move up the table.

West Ham manager Avram Grant.

Prediction: 16th

Thoughts: Life at West Ham is comparatively stress-free at the moment. A permanent manager in place, the owners have a little bit of money and all their best players still at the club. Yet you get the feeling it’s a very flimsy layer of calm. I’d be amazed if one of Green, Upson, Parker or Cole hasn’t left by September 1st, various clubs have been sniffing round the latter two in particular.

Keeping them seems key; Parker drove them on to safety with some inspiring performances while Cole had a breakthrough season which has brought England recognition. Some interesting players have been signed with Winston Reid and Pablo Barrera both impressing in the World Cup while Piquionne wasn’t awful for Portsmouth last year. Hitzlsperger was capable of scoring the odd spectacular goal in his time at Aston Villa. Hammers fans will hope that these guys complement the spine players above rather than replace them – Piquionne is no Cole for example.

I think Avram Grant is a decent manager who did what he could with Pompey and almost won the lot with Chelsea. His extra-curricular activities are interesting but his wife doesn’t seem to mind so it shouldn’t matter. I think it will be less of a struggle but West Ham will still be in the bottom half.

T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 27 Preview

19/02/2010

Friday morning, and it’s time for the weekly fantasy Premier League preview. We’re up to week 27 now and soon we’ll be entering the home stretch. After the foursome of Bolton, Wigan, Man City and Stoke played out disappointing second games in week 26, two teams are in action twice this time round – Man Utd and West Ham. More on that later.

Despite my captain Tevez not playing in the second game, I managed a pretty good score of 69 this week, thanks in part to Charles N’Zogbia doing well for Wigan and Abou Diaby having a great game against Liverpool. It was a relatively low scoring week, and going by overall comparison it was my third best week of the season, enough to bring me up to 6,666 in the world (how satanic!). Another eight points added to the lead in our private league too – 43 now.

There’s lots to consider in the coming weeks with plenty of double teams as well the potential annihilation of week 29 due to the FA Cup.

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Gameweek 26 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

Maverick approves but expected a higher score to grace this spot.

Bit of a random Top Gun this week but Paul Scharner led the way with 14 points via a goal and clean sheet. Adam Johnson continues his immediate impact at Man City with 12 points (including four bonus points) and Charles N’Zogbia matched him. A few other scores in double figures while the expected big hitters of Tevez and Adebayor got just seven and eight points respectively.

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Three Captain Picks:

1. Rooney/Man Utd – Two games against Everton away and West Ham at home. As far as I can recall he has a decent record against Everton since leaving while if you were a betting man you’d have to back him in any game at Old Trafford. Super form as we know with four of his last five matches resulting in three bonus points (‘only’ two in the other!). No better choice this week.

2. Cole/West Ham – His second match at Old Trafford is a tough game but you never know what might happen if Rio and/or Vidic are still out. This pick is more based on the potential returns from the first match which is Hull at home. He’s in form having scored last week as well as getting a bonus point in each of the last two weeks.

3. Fabregas/Arsenal – A disappointing Champions League result on Wednesday and I suspect Sunderland may feel the brunt of a heavy defeat in response. Arsenal are terrific at home and Sunderland haven’t won in about three months or something silly. As usual Fabregas will run the show.

rooney man utd

Gets a Captain's tick

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Three Suggested Transfers In:

1. Bolton defenders – After no clean sheets all season, they have picked up three in the last five games. Owen Coyle has definitely made them more solid (the other two games were Liverpool and Man City) and they stand much better chance of holding their own against the teams around them. Their upcoming games will decide their season – Blackburn (A), Wolves (H), West Ham (A), Sunderland (A) and Wigan (H).

2. N’Zogbia/Wigan – They have a tough run coming up but he has bonus points in nine of his last 12 games. Now the seventh highest scoring midfielder and still only £6m.

3. Arsenal players – I said this last week but the next five matches are Sunderland (H), Stoke (A), Burnley (H), Hull (A), West Ham (H). I envisage at least ten goals from those games, and with so many injuries to the expensive players, you’re bound to find a potential bargain who could score heavy points.

Ricketts Bolton

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

1. Teams still left in the FA Cup – A warning for week 29 when as many as eight teams may not have a game. In particular you may want to hold off overloading on players from Chelsea (of the title challengers) and Aston Villa (who may not have a game two weeks running due the Carling Cup).

2. Everton midfielders – They do produce fantasy wise and Everton are much improved but I swear every week someone goes down with a serious injury. It’s now Fellaini’s turn to miss several months through injury.

3. Huddlestone/Spurs – I’ve had him in my team for a while due to his cheapness and occasional habit of picking up bonus points and assists. Having missed a penalty last week I think I’ll be finally getting rid – there are plenty of cheap midfielders who produce more.

Ashley Young fantasy football

Are you taking the mick?!

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T.

The Six Pointer – Spurs spanked, Benitez beaten again & more…

02/11/2009

That was the weekend that was…

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1. Robbie Keane will feel like the biggest mug after his supposedly superior Spurs squad got turned over with ease by the Gunners. Old twitchy eyes may have seen the result coming, as he went in to the game without arguably his best two players in Luka Modric and Jermaine Defoe. Nevertheless, Arsenal have their own injury concerns but showed the gulf in class. Early on it seemed that Spurs were getting all the luck, as David Bentley unbelievably managed to avoid even a booking for a rash and dangerous challenge on Vermaelen. They even managed to hold their own in midfield against Arsenal’s fluid 4-3-3. However, Arsenal were knocking on the proverbial door and only a super save from Gomes, aka rubber arms, kept it 0-0. Song made an awesome challenge at the other end to deny the bullshitter himself, Robbie Keane.

Wenger happy, Wenger dance

The game was effectively over the space of two minutes (42nd and 43rd) as Van Persie profited from some lazy defending to volley Arsenal into the lead. Then straight from kick off Spurs inexplicably gave away the ball and Cesc Fabregas went on a great run which ended in a sublime finish past Gomes. A comical third was put away by van Persie, as Arsenal profited from confusion over a foul on Diaby and a blunder by Gomes.

Such was Arsenal’s dominance that Eduardo even managed to waste two chances you would normally put money on him taking. It was a good overall team performance from Wenger’s men, with the two centre halves looking comfortable, penetration from the full backs and clinical finishing. the only disappointment was Arshavin’s limp display.

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2. Liverpool failed to follow-up their redemptive display against United. Fulham outplayed them and exposed Liverpool’s growing defensive weakness. everyone is focused, perhaps rightly so, on the injuries suffered by Gerrard and Torres. However, it is their fragility at the back which should be their main concern. Carragher was finally punished with the red he should have got against United and all-in-all, Benitez has simply failed to maintain an organised defence. Where he has allowed the likes of Johnson, Insua and Degen to provide an attacking threat, the lack of shape has been exposed. Bobby ‘I love to miss sitters’ Zamora even managed to profit, which has made me think. What is worse, conceding a goal to a beach ball or to Bobby Zamora? I think it has to be the latter.

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3. Top class Chelsea destroyed Bolton. OK, the Blues’ Carling Cup team had already disposed them in mid-week and it was 0-0 on Saturday until JLloyd Samuel deservedly got sent off. But Chelsea showed some classy football, with Drogba, Anelka, Lampard and Deco clicking in a way that reminded me of Arsenal when they had the Vieira, Pires, Henry and Bergkamp combo.  The pick of the bunch was the fourth, well taken goal  by Drogba. Phenomenal build up. Deco’s was quite special as well. If Ancelotti can sort out the Blues’ defensive frailties away from home, they should power their way to the title.

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4. Have Pompey finally turned round their season? Well, a convincing 4-0 victory against an in-form Wigan side was a good place to start. It is obvious that Pompey will ship a lot of goals but the ability to score them, especially at home, will ultimately keep you up. In Aruna Dindane and Piquionne, Paul Hart has genuine pace and quality in front of goal. Question remains whether they are consistent enough.

Aruna power

My name is Aruna, I am here to save Pompey with my golden boot.

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5. Man City drew for the third game in succession at Birmingham. Both sides had decent chances but it was Shay Given’s penalty save from James McFadden that ensured City got a point. Whilst it is impressive that Mark Hughes has only suffered that sole defeat at Old Trafford, it is the draws that can cost you (ask Wenger about his team two seasons ago). Lucky that he has a banker at home against Burnley next Saturday.

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6. Little Gorgon-Zola mustn’t have been able to believe his luck, as his lads raced into an impressive 2-0 lead at the Stadium of Light through Franco and Carlton Cole. Although fatty Reid pulled one back with a top-notch free kick, it still looked good for the Hammers as Kenwyne Jones was sent off for pushing over Herita Illunga. In a complete reversal of their heroics against Arsenal, West Ham surrendered two points when Darren Bent set up Kieran Richardson for the equaliser. All in all a point at Sunderland is a good result considering the form of Bruce’s team. However, Zola’s nice guy managerial style simply doesn’t seem to achieve the right results.

You may be wondering why Manchester United weren’t covered in this week’s Six Pointer. Well it was such a routine Old Trafford win that it wasn’t worth mentioning other than Berbatov had one of his best games yet for United.

Until next week!

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P.

The Six Pointer – Leads let slip, beached whales & more…

27/10/2009

That was the weekend that was…

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1. Liverpool deserved to beat Man Utd yesterday but I think Fergie was right to have another moan at the ref. For me Carragher should definitely have been sent off for the tug on Owen in the second half. It can be argued that it wasn’t a clear opportunity but I think he would have got a shot away before the other defenders closed him down, they were quite far away.

His hatchet job on Carrick in the first half was a penalty – Carrick just got to the ball before Carragher and you just can’t go lunging in like that in that area of the pitch. He somehow got away with both but once more looked like the weak link in the Liverpool defence. The Vidic and Mascherano reds were both justified I reckon – I can’t believe the Serb has been sent off in three straight games against Liverpool!

It was clear that both managers had gambled with their unfit strikers and from what we saw it was clear that Torres had recovered more than Rooney. The Spaniard took his goal magnificently, both out-pacing and out-muscling Rio Ferdinand. He didn’t do much else during the game but it was enough. It’s a tough call between him and Drogba for title of best striker in the league but I’d possibly veer on the side of Torres right now. A good result for Liverpool but lets see if they can do the same away at Fulham next week.

torres-liverpool-man-utd

Eats Vidic and Rio for breakfast.

Man Utd meanwhile have a few areas of concern. Both centre backs seem currently susceptible to pace (not something you’d previously say for Rio) so what chance Jonny Evans coming in for a bit? In midfield Fletcher was once more missed – the one bright note being that he and the soon to return Hargreaves will be a fearsome partnership. Up front, Rooney can be forgiven for being unfit but he has been out of form regardless. Berbatov on the other hand did his usual thing of nice flicks and passes but no real cutting edge. He doesn’t really do it in the big games does he?

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2. For the third time in a week Arsenal completely switched off in a game where they went ahead and for the second time in a week it proved costly. After getting away with against Birmingham, they conceded a last minute equaliser against AZ Alkmaar in midweek Champions League action. They’ve learnt their lesson said the players. So what should happen yesterday against West Ham? A comfortable 2-0 lead with 16 minute left and one poorly dealt with free kick and one silly challenge in the box later and they find themselves going back to north London with one point instead of three.

The free kick for West Ham’s first was soft but Mannone made the cardinal sin of palming the ball back into the danger area instead of out wide. Cole pokes it home, game on. Then with ten minutes to go Alex Song decides to clip the back of Cole’s heels in the box with no real danger. Cole went down, penalty given, penalty scored. Wenger was rightly furious with his team after the game and it is these kind of games which results in Arsenal not properly challenging for titles. For 75 minutes Arsenal dominated but once again couldn’t close it out. They won’t win anything until they learn how to.

wenger-annoyed

They just never learn...

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3. Man City ensured Arsenal weren’t the only title pretenders to blow a two goal lead. Mark Hughes will be concerned at how his £24m centre back Joleon Lescott is a bit rubbish at the moment – Man City have a definite vulnerability in the air. Their form isn’t particularly good either with three successive draws and one win in five.

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4. Spurs surprisingly lost to Stoke at home and it was particularly annoying for me as I had Abdoulaye Faye’s nine fantasy football points marooned on the bench (I didn’t think Stoke would do anything). My point is that given Spurs have lost just twice at home since Redknapp took over and Stoke were winless away in their first four games, it shows just how good (and unexpected and fortuitous) a result it was for Pulis’ team. I certainly wasn’t expecting it and it confirms Stoke should be pushing for a top half finish this season.

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5. Congrats to Bobby Zamora, who I don’t think anyone will beat for miss of the season award. Wow. I know there are strikers who are lauded for their hard work rather than goals (see Heskey, Emile Ivanhoe) but that was ridiculous. To be fair he has already equalled his goal tally for last season but I reckon it’s a long time since the chant “When the balls hits the goal, it’s not Shearer or Cole it’s Zamora” was heard (not least because Shearer and Cole are retired but you know what I mean). Isn’t it now “When the ball hits your head and you’re sat in row Z, that’s Zamora”?

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6. Chelsea gave Blackburn a spanking and from a fantasy perspective it was good to see Frank Lampard return to goalscoring form with a double. I picked him as captain so was pleased with the 28 points he scored. It’s a little early to say for sure but based on that game it appeared that the return of Joe Cole helped as it allowed Lampard to play deeper and make his undetected runs.

Cole himself was excellent too and should stay in the hole behind Drogba and Anelka rather than on the left. He’s not quite at full fitness yet but I reckon Deco should be fearing for his place. I agree with what the Football Guy says – Paul Robinson is just shocking on long shots. I know he’s fat but it be that hard to shift all that body mass. On second thoughts…

paul-robinson-blackburn-beached-whale

Try as he might, Paul 'the beached whale' Robinson just couldn't shift himself to save the shot...

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T.

Season Previews 09/10 – West Ham United

14/08/2009

west-ham

Last Season: 9th.

Say hello to your new teammates: Fabio Daprela, Herita Ilunga (loan made permanent), Frank Nouble, Peter Kurucz, Luis Jimenez.

Close the door on your way out: Lee Bowyer, Freddie Sears (loan), Lucas Neill, Diego Tristan.

Predicted star: Carlton Cole knows that if he maintains the form of last season where he scored ten goals and led the line magnificently then he’s going to the World Cup. In an unassuming team, he’s one of the few current players to consistently make headlines. A good West Ham season will rely on him a lot.

More of the same please.

More of the same please.

Needs a big year: Savio Nsereko was signed for quite a large fee in January and spent the following five months adjusting to the Premier League. Yet to score in his ten games, West Ham will need him to start putting in effective performances. Given that Dean Ashton is never fit, he’s essentially first choice striker alongside Cole.

One to watch: Jack Collison was one of a number of youngsters introduced by Zola last year and he continues a long line of youth academy products. A tidy little midfielder, he scored three times and assisted twice in his twenty appearances.

What they want to happen: Some off field stability is required as Iceland and its associated rich people have lost all their money. A mid-table finish and a cup run on the 20th anniversary of the 1980 FA Cup win would do nicely thanks.

Nightmare scenario: A smallish and quite inexperienced squad struggles to make an impact and Cole’s goals dry up.

Plan A: Play nice passing football in midfield and look for Cole to create chances out of nothing as he did last season. The addition of Jimenez should provide extra attacking threat while Steve Clarke will ensure the defence doesn’t concede too many.

Plan B, just in case: Try and get Ashton and Dyer fit, just for a little bit at least.

Predicted finish: 10th.

Why? After the appointment of Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola and the poor start that followed, you could forgive West Ham fans for thinking another season of struggle was due last year. However, after some initial poor results, the appointment of Steve Clarke as Zola’s number two saw a change in fortune and respectable 9th place finish was achieved.

While Zola is a promising manager who puts his trust in attractive, attacking football, it’s the work of Clarke behind the scenes that gets West Ham where they are. His renowned ability to organise a defence coupled with his tactical work mean West Ham should enjoy another season of relative comfort.

Who'd have thought two Chelsea legends would be doing so well at West Ham.

Who'd have thought two Chelsea legends would be doing so well at West Ham.

The squad is a little on the small side and there is a lack of firepower but this should hopefully be addressed with rumoured targets such as Luca Toni and Eidur Gudjohnsen. The midfield is strong and nicely balanced with the underrated Scott Parker holding things steady allowing for Behrami, Collison and Noble to create further forward. Jimenez is an interesting gamble and he could well prove useful this season.

Keeping hold of Matthew Upson is key, what with Man City sniffing. The defence would be severely weakened if he left though Rob Green is a excellent keeper to have between the sticks. Overall I think it will be a quiet season for the Hammers, hovering around mid table for most of the season. Given the perilous state of their finances off the pitch I think the fans would be quite happy with 10th.

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T.

End of Season Reviews – Tottenham, West Brom, West Ham, Wigan

13/06/2009

Tottenham

tottenham

Where they finished: 8th & Carling Cup finalists.

Season in five words: Ramos sacked, ‘Arry saves day.

Successful season? Two points from eight games. Two points from eight games. Two points from eight games. Sorry, it was drummed into me so many times by Harry Redknapp this season. Yes, Spurs started very poorly and Ramos rightly had to go, but it’s not as if they didn’t have a wealth of talent plus a multi million January spending spree to help get them out of trouble. Harry has always been one to take credit for everything good and pass the blame for anything bad and that has not changed this season. He did well to lead Spurs to 8th, even making them remarkably solid at home, though it remains to be see if he can buy the right players to push for the top six. He’s more than fond of buying players because they’re available and not because they’re needed (see Keane, Robbie).

Defining moment: Ramos and Commoli leaving. Specifically the latter, who as ‘Sporting Director’ was ultimately in charge of transfers and made huge errors of judgement in his time in the role. By reverting to a system where the manager chooses the players, Spurs have ensured they won’t be in a situation where a need for a defensive midfielder is answered with the signing of Darren Bent.

Player of the year: Aaron Lennon finally turned his pace and skill into relatively consistent performances. Palacios provided the midfield bite they’ve lacked since Davids left and will be a key player next year. Modric grew as the season went on.

Goal of the season: Bentley’s hit and hope against Arsenal.

Flop of the season: David Bentley came with a big price tag but found himself behind Aaron Lennon for most of the season. Gareth Bale is still without a league win in a Spurs shirt, Jenas seems to be out of favour under Redknapp.

Highlight: Redknapp’s first two games. Coming back from two down with four minutes to play to draw 4-4 at Arsenal, followed by a (very lucky) home win over Liverpool.

Summer homework: Resist the temptation to sign ‘name’ players like Owen, Viduka, Cisse and buy what’s needed instead. Central midfield and a left winger are a priority. A big man wouldn’t go amiss.

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West Brom

west-brom

Where they finished: 20th

Season in five words: Nice football, no end product.

Successful season? No. A third relegation in seven seasons sees West Brom once again unable to bridge the gap between Championship and Premier League. Rooted to the bottom pretty much all season, some late victories gave hope but in reality it had been over for a long time..

Defining moment: Failure to sign impact players in January. Consider what Beattie did for Stoke and you realise how badly West Brom needed someone who could score five or six goals in a short span. Chris Brunt had a good run but it was too late.

Player of the year: No one stood out really. Brunt had decent season, as did Koren and Greening.

Goal of the season: Slim pickings – this free kick by Brunt is quite good.

Flop of the season: Luke Moore was disappointing and Arsenal loanee Jay Simpson faded after a bright start.

Highlight: A couple of 3-0 home wins against Boro and Sunderland.

Summer homework: Sign players that will keep West Brom in the Premier League if they get promoted next season.

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West Ham

west-ham

Where they finished: 9th

Season in five words: Out of uncertainty comes promise.

Successful season? Yes, eventually. Early season was uncertain of the pitch with the owners virtually bankrupt and inconsistency on the pitch. Zola replaced Curbishley in September and had a poor start including seven games without a win. After Christmas however, things began to look up and West Ham finished the season playing stylish, attractive football whilst being solid at the back. There’s not too much money to spend but the future looks bright.

Defining moment: Signing Steve Clarke as Zola’s number two. A key part of Chelsea’s recent success, just look at how disorganised they became once he left and before Hiddink showed up. He’s the perfect assistant for Zola and together they are putting together a good team.

Player of the year: Carlton Cole played his way into the England squad while Upson, Ilunga and Collison all had goo years.

Goal of the season: A fantastic team move finished off by Carlton Cole.

Flop of the season: Diego Tristan isn’t really up to it anymore is he. Savio has yet to justify his rather high fee.

Highlight: 4-1 away at Portsmouth.

Summer homework: Keep hold of Cole and the other England boys. Try and sign some experience to help push on the young players like Tomkins and Collison.

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Wigan

wigan

Where they finished: 11th

Season in five words: Complacency costs a European spot.

Successful season? It could have been. Steve Bruce had Wigan in the battle for seventh for most of the season but the side switched off once the 40 point safety mark was reached. Bruce’s best players were sold in January and a run of eight games without a win right at the business end of the season meant Wigan slipped down to 11th and cost themselves a bunch of prize money and a Europa league spot.

Defining moment: Selling Palacios and Heskey. Wigan would win just three times after they left. It cost them Europe.

Player of the year: Zaki was excellent until Christmas and then completely fell away and failed to score again. Palacios was good until he left and Tottenham’s revival with him mirrors Wigan’s decline without. Figueroa, Bramble(!) and Valencia were solidly consistent for most of the season.

Goal of the season: When Zaki was still playing well, he could do this at Anfield.

Flop of the season: Mido hahaha.

Highlight: 5-0 vs Hull early on.

Summer homework: Seeing as they’ve lost Steve Bruce the emphasis is now on finding an adequate replacement. In Roberto Martinez from Swansea I think they’ve found someone. An excellent young manager who gets his team playing lovely attacking football. It will be interesting to see who he brings in and who he can keep. Valencia looks on his way so it will be the usual case of trying to find players other clubs haven’t thought about or rejected a la Zaki, Palacios, Valencia etc.

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T.

Weekly Photoshop – Harry Redknapp

19/03/2009

SUCCESS! Another second place for The Sportboys this week as we continue our good recent form. I think the prize is a Cricket book. Better than nothing I guess. 

It’s a bumper double edition for you as our theme is the pot of gold that is Harry Redknapp. From his wheeler dealer time at West Ham to his blame game way at Spurs, via an FA Cup win with Portsmouth – there’s never a dull moment with Sir ‘Arry of Redknapp. 

 

We’ll start with an facial analysis:

Those lines will only get deeper the longer he stays as Spurs boss.

Those lines will only get deeper the longer he stays as Spurs boss.

 

and we’ll follow with a psychological study of  his attempts to blame poor form on his predecessors whilst taking any credit when they win:

I'm sure there's a joke about in here somewhere about slipping the bellboy some money.

I'm sure there's a joke in here somewhere about Redknapp slipping the bellboy some money.

 

The latter was sent too late to make it in but the first image and rest of the gallery can be found here.

 

T.

 

Previous entries: Megson, Anelka, Bendtner and the rest.

Football News Haikus

17/03/2009

A haiku is three lines and 17 syllables (5,7,5). Here is a summary of the day’s news in haiku form.

 

FA Cup quarter final

Hull score and timewaste.

Arsenal beat them anyway,

Fabregas phlegmy.

Might have been offside. Possibly.

Might have been offside. Possibly.

 

Warnock threatens to sue West Ham.

The Blades go down.

Everyone else moves on, but

Warnock still bitter.

Still won't accept his team were rubbish that season.

Still won't accept his team were rubbish that season.

 

England world cup bid

England want to host,

but then so do ten others.

I’ll bet on Qatar.

Coming to England. Or Russia, or Indonesia, or...

Coming to England. Or Russia, or Indonesia, or...

 

 

T.


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