by David Sweeney
This week Fernando Torres seemed to heed last week’s mauling as he was
impressive overall. However he still gets mauled again for a truly appalling miss.
Liverpool deservedly receive one also for their ill discipline. Then there’s Stoke whose season could suffer unless they quickly clue-up at the back and what about a
player so unsporting that JOEY BARTON, yes JOEY BARTON takes the moral high ground. Lastly we look at how unhappy Forest boss Steve McClaren’s
side fared in the local derby against……..well Derby.
From these Liverpool gets my Mauling of the Week for being generally poor and dirty exacerbated by Dalglish’s complaints that tried to hide his failure to discipline his side properly.
He ends his goal draught, he is lively throughout creating numerous
opportunities for himself and his teammates yet Fernando Torres still
gets a mauling for a miss that will undoubtedly rival Steve Stone’s blunder
as one of the worst misses in Premier League history.
His general play was as good as it has been for two or three years and
he calmly finished after Nicolas Anelka’s through ball with the same
aplomb as a fully-fit Torres would have in his pomp.
However there can be no excuse for Torres as he somehow managed to
miss after he expertly sidestepped De Gea at the Stretford End then,
with the chance to roll the ball into the gaping empty goal in front
of him he fired wide as the jeers for the former Liverpool favourite
rang mockingly round Old Trafford.
Let’s just hope that the once scintillating Spaniard’s confidence is not
completely shot after this shocker as the green shoots of recovery
were there for all to see in the preceding 84 minutes. Torres played with the swagger and innovation that mirrored his Anfield days until the shocking howler.
No matter how unfairly ‘King Kenny’ feels his Liverpool side have been
treated by referees in previous weeks he surely can have no excuses
here as his reckless Reds lost their rag and their early grip on a top
four place as they were humiliated by a rampant Spurs at White Hart
Lane on Sunday. Dalglish earlier stated Liverpool FC ”have never
wanted or asked for any form of preferential treatment – simply a
level playing field for everyone’. He also claimed, “We will continue to
conduct ourselves in a dignified and respectful manner at all times.”
However there was nothing dignified or respectful about their play
yesterday as his side received six yellow cards and two reds, one
for Charlie Adam whose terrible tackle could have resulted in a much
worse injury for Scott Parker and one for Martin Skrtel who went
after pointlessly going through the back of Gareth Bale. Luis Suarez
also had an afternoon to forget and not only had a goal disallowed but
was petulantly booked for dissent and was lucky to escape a red card
himself as he continued to strop throughout before being correctly subbed on
Liverpool were taught a lesson through there own ill discipline and
they deserved their defeat for there self-important attitude and
I can barely believe I’m about to write this but this average mid-table clogger could do a lot worse than taking a leaf out of
The reckless Wolves skipper was left embarrassed by new arch enemy Joey
Barton as the pair continued their embarrassing feud which has spanned
now over two seasons. Barton certainly had the last laugh on this
occasion as both he and QPR put in an impressive display to run out
comfortable 3-0 winners, with Barton giving Henry the run-around all
afternoon and even getting on the score sheet himself. The newly
reformed culture vulture Joey Barton (still does not sound right!)
summed up Henry’s spineless, thuggish attitude to the game perfectly
when he remarked on Twitter
‘He is chirping up all week saying he is going to do x, y and z to me
and then he lets himself down massively by not even turning up on
Saturday afternoons. He should concentrate more on playing and less on
talking a good game.’
Henrys late lunge on Barton could have seen the player badly injured and
there is certainly no place for that in football; I can barely believe I’m about to write this but this average mid-table clogger could do a lot worse than taking a leaf out of
Barton’s book who seems to have added a new dimension not only to his all-action playing style but also his personality.
All credit to the way Stoke City have started the season and the way
they are beginning to mix it with the big-boys, recording numerous
impressive wins, including beating Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.
However yesterday The Potters came unstuck at the hands of Sunderland,
who were without a win all season. It comes as no surprise that Stoke’s
heaviest defeat since the 9th of May 2010 comes following the clubs
first venture into Europe for over 30 years. The rigours of playing
European football in midweek cannot be underestimated and Tony Pulis’s
men will have to acclimatize quickly if they want to build on their
impressive start to the season and continue to progress as a football
club. They purchased wisely during the summer, adding much needed
depth to a relatively thin squad and it looked as though their rotation
policy had paid dividends after notching up a very respectable 1-1
draw away in Kiev on Thursday night. However Stoke’s usually sturdy
back four produced a defensive horror show conceding four very sloppy
goals which were mainly a consequence of the lack of commitment and
organisation Stoke uncharacteristically showed. Despite making eight
changes from midweek Pulis’s men looked jaded and not mentally
prepared properly for the fixture and will definitely have to improve
if they want to do well in Europe and in the Premier League.
This week’s manager mauling goes to Steve McClaren whose feeble Forest side
failed to overcome local rivals Derby County despite the Rams only
having ten men for 90 minutes of the match and being gifted the
opening goal after goalkeeper Frank Fielding gave away a penalty and
was sent off for a blatant foul on Ishmael Miller. Despite their dream
start McClaren’s men, who have been in terrible form all season,
failed to push on and secure the win they so desperately required. This
all comes after McClaren supposedly threatened to quit the City Ground
after not being backed sufficiently during the summer transfer window,
which seems a bit rich considering he should be grateful to Forest for
giving him the chance to resurrect his career in England following his
embarrassing spell as national manager.
The defeat increases the pressure on the frustrated Forest boss, who
is still seeking his first home win since taking over at the City
Ground and his side occupy one of the final relegation place in the
Championship. In comparison last season Billy Davis guided the same
beleaguered bunch to 6th place. On current form it is safe to say
McClaren will have to drastically turn things around if he has any
aspirations of coming close to that.