David Sweeney returns to dish out a well-deserved mauling or two….
A valid contender for the worst game of the season took place on Sunday with Newcastle taking on newly appointed draw specialist Mark Hughes’s QPR.
The match was so poor the usually deafening Geordie roar was muted even though their team were winning. With the influential duo of Demba Ba and Cheik Tiote away on International duty United’s starting XI noticeably lacked quality and that was reflected in their play, only mustering one shot on target. Fortunately for them it went in. The Magpies were dealt another stroke of luck as they came up against a clueless QPR side who will have no chance of staying up unless the drastically improve their playing squad.
Out of the R’s starting line up there is only Shaun Wright-Phillips that I would class as a Premier League player and he is long past his best. Worse than that the likes of Derry and Hill considerably exceeded expectation in the Championship; it’s just unrealistic to expect then to perform in one of the top Leagues in the world.
Perhaps the most worrying thing for Mark Hughes was that in the last ten minutes QPR offered precious little going forward, despite their need to chase the game in which they never looked like scoring.
Mark Hughes has a big job on his hands, however he will have to be streetwise in this January window as selling clubs know they will be able to charge top dollar for any players deemed necessary to stave off relegation and let’s be honest, which world class player would want to join Rangers at the moment apart from the true mercenaries of the game. Step forward Mr Tevez?
As if watching the aforementioned clash between Newcastle and QPR was not punishment enough for any neutral hoping for an entertaining afternoon of football, the fact that Ray ‘my word’ Wilkins was co commentator made things almost unbearable.
The bald know-it-all would be more suited to a commentating role on the Antiques Roadshow rather than ruining our Sunday afternoons with his nonsensical drivel. The way he witters on about nothing, constantly going round in pointless circles with his conversations and alarmingly addressing every player he has ever met in person as if he and they are best mates. A case in point is when he referred to Ryan Giggs – yes the dirty love rat one – as Giggsy and incongruously stating that ‘(He) is such an honest pro, we all want him to do well’. Has he been living with your head stuck in the ground for the past year?
Other comedy quotes from Wilkins included “I’ve just seen Beardsley coming down the steps with blankets” and “In the Premier League you have to score goals”. Yes Ray that’s exactly the kind of incisive analysis Sky pay good money for, I genuinely toyed with the idea of switching to fanzone for the first time in years and I can see now why Chelsea got shot of him – listening to him every single day would make you go insane; I’m struggling to cope with my weekly 90 minute encounters. I never thought I’d say this but bring back Andy Gray!
It’s the moment every London based sports media outlet has been waiting for; Tottenham Hotspur can go JOINT top of the Premier League
Kenny Dalglish could be excused for throwing as many defenders as humanly possible onto the pitch at the Etihad last week in order to preserve a deserved 1-0 lead, playing in a 1970’s European away style, completely nullifying the game in order for them to take a slender advantage back to Anfield for the return leg. However, starting a home premier league game against a defensive minded Stoke City with FIVE defenders on the pitch highlights the reason Liverpool will not finish in the top four this season. Namely a complete lack of creativity.
King Kenny’s propensity for packing his team with defenders is not an uncommon trait of his; towards the end of his first tenure his tendency to defend at all costs historically backfired at an away game to Arsenal. The Red’s were unbeaten in December, flying high at the top of the league and yet Dalglish went there with one of the most negative line-ups imaginable and as a result a rampant Arsenal roundly stuffed Liverpool, a defeat that Daglish and his side arguably never recovered from.
Is history repeating itself? Yesterday’s draw against Stoke means that the Reds have now dropped 14 points at home and we are barely half way through January. Fortress Anfield is no more, especially when you consider the calibre of teams that Dalglish’s men have faced, draws to newly promoted Norwich and Swansea to go with the underwhelming performances against lacklustre Blackburn and Stoke outfits. Dalglish is currently adopting some very odd formations, putting round pegs in square holes that cumulate in drab, predictable football that quite simply isn’t bearing the fruits it initially promised, whilst his side keep on making the same mistakes every week without any signs of improvement.
The money blown on overpriced average British players is clearly a waste and is obvious to every man and his dog in the country apart from those on Merseyside whose blind faith in Dalglish is really quite alarming. He spent a combined £36 million on Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson but consistently plays the pair out of position which makes their extortionate fees look increasingly ridiculous.
Liverpool need to adopt a more expansive formation if they are to even make the top six, which is still not a formality.
All that criticism for Kenny and that’s without mentioning his biggest disaster, the donkey that is Andy Carroll. Maybe next week…….
The stage is set, it’s the moment every London based sports media outlet has been waiting for; Tottenham Hotspur can go JOINT top of the Premier League, except somebody should really tell these ‘experts’ its not joint top at all, that is why we have a neat little system called goal difference. If it didn’t exist then they would have been joint top. However it does and despite this it matters very little as predictably this apparently ‘invincible’ Tottenham side once again bottled it by drawing 1-1 at home to lowly Wolves.
They have been under the radar quietly going about their business, coasting along with no pressure on them with absolutely no attention being paid to them as being potential title winners. Suddenly they are well and truly in the mixer according to the fawning media.
Another key development which people are ignoring is that ‘Arry will face trial for tax evasion in February, completely disrupting his plans for two matches with the potential for him to miss more than that should he be found guilty.
Tottenham are completely over-hyped and it seems the general public are buying into it. Hopefully yesterday’s result will bring them back down to earth with a bump and don’t forget they have been on a relatively easy run recently; they still have to go to the Etihad, the Emirates, Stamford Bridge and Anfield. Bearing that in mind finishing in the top four would be a far more realistic aim for them.