by David Sweeney

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has stated that he is now again ready to be selected for the national team after rival John Terry retired from international football. However after his woeful display at the weekend I believe Roy Hodgson would be a fool to even consider bringing the overrated defender back into the fold.

Despite being left woefully exposed by United’s midfield in the weekend home defeat to Spurs, Ferdinand was consistently caught flat footed and was often second to loose balls. This point was emphasized as Gareth Bale flew past Rio and banged in Tottenham’s second goal. He also could’ve have done better for the first and third goals as in the first minute Vertonghen ghosted past him like he wasn’t there before his deflected shot found the bottom corner. For the winner Defoe comfortably turned him on the touchline and outpacing him before putting in the pass for Bale to shoot, resulting in the parry and then the follow up into the open goal by Dempsey. Sadly for Ferdinand he has lost a lot of pace in the last two seasons and yesterday it showed. His display was reminiscent of when Edin Dzeko tore him to pieces in the final 5 minutes of the ‘6-1’. With Vidic out for a considerable period United desperately need some defensive solidity and they can only pray this will come when Chris Smalling and Phil Jones return from injury.

Unsurprisingly Alex Ferguson didn’t take the defeat well and after the game said the most hypocritical piece of garbage I can recall him spouting as he stated; They gave us four minutes [injury time], that’s an insult to the game. It denies you a proper chance to win a football match.” Does he not remember how Manchester City won the league? With 2 goals in four minutes! Fergie is rapidly becoming a parody of himself and it seems he genuinely believes his side have the divine right to get all the big decisions in games where United are struggling, whether it be a red card for an opposing player or a soft penalty award, United usually get it. Now to spit your dummy out after one game where you are beaten fairly and squarely is ridiculous and is the reason why the club are so despised all over the country.

Owen Coyle

Bolton slumped to another disappointing defeat, this time at the hands of Crystal Palace as they continue to struggle to adapt to life in the Championship. I believe the finger of blame for this can be pointed directly at manager Owen Coyle who, despite a bright start with the Trotters has seen his side slip from 8th in the Premier League and in the semi final of the F.A Cup to 17th in the championship and going out of the Capital One Cup to Crawley Town, all within the space of 2 years and despite this Coyle has been given a much fairer crack of the whip than Megson was given by both the board and the fans.

Originally brought in to inspire and rejuvenate Bolton’s style after Gary Megson’s route one play, Coyle was a breath of fresh air, deploying two out and out wingers and playing exciting, attacking football. However once results faltered he sadly reverted back to type and began to implement the tactics of lumping the ball up to Kevin Davies and hope for the best. Sadly Davies no longer has the pace or stamina to successfully play as the main striker anymore.

Along with his poor tactics, Coyle posseses many more poor traits in his management style, his main one being his manner around his players and his lack of authority. Coyle doesn’t seem to take responsibility and gives off the impression that he doesn’t really know how to get his point across apart from telling his side how great they are whilst beating them at table tennis or playing alongside them in a reserve game. He also fails to take blame in post match interviews and regularly takes up the same rhetoric as a bucket load of incompetent managers that have failed in the past, namely Stuart Pearce and Steve Kean, who spewed out the same old boring ‘we were unlucky’ PR rubbish in an attempt to mask their complete lack of tactical nous believing that their pre written drivel feeds the supporters belief that they know what they are talking about.

I’m sure along with somebody new who can actually motivate the players and adopt a formation that actually suits the players, Bolton fans will also want a man who will admit if the performance wasn’t good enough after a game. This is because when a manager can identify mistakes that occur on the field, it leaves you more confident that the mistakes won’t be happening in the next game. At the moment Coyle seems to state general statements like “we should take our chances, or we shouldn’t be conceding sloppy goals”, whilst not knowing how to rectify it.

Bolton were early season favorites for promotion but at the moment there is no sign that they are living up to this billing and worryingly they seem to be moving in the wrong direction and for this reason I feel Owen Coyle should go.

Alan Hansen and Motd Analysis

Manchester City beat Fulham 2-1 this weekend but despite the tight scoreline City largely dominated the game and even Fulham boss Martin Jol was quoted as saying that for 60 minutes, Fulham couldn’t get the ball from the Champions and that they were only hanging on and playing for a point. City’s possession was also calculated as, uniformly, in excess of 70% across the board.

Fulham took the lead after referee Mark Halsey awarded them a very, very debatable penalty after John Arne Riise dived after beating Pablo Zabaleta. ‘Goals on Sunday’ guest Rob Lee got his analysis spot on as he called Riise a cheat whilst saying he should have been booked. However, on Match of the Day it was almost criminally completely swept under the carpet during the ‘analysis’, as Gabby Logan implied that they were going to leave it because Mark Halsey’s had a ‘tough week’. This is not on and I was left dumbfounded and appalled by the lack of discussion at the end, particularly the fact they didn’t even mention the ‘penalty’.

Then to add insult to injury Logan continued to ask ” what did you make of the Burgundy kits Mick?” having already had a two minute discussion about Liverpool’s latest offering of away shirts. It’s Match of the Day for god’s sake, not London Fashion week.

The standard of punditry is actually shocking and it’s getting worse with guys such as Hansen and Lawrenson getting paid decent wages to talk about away kits and continuing to delude themselves that Liverpool are still the finest team in the whole world.

The whole programme is outdated and stuck in its ways and desperately needs new pundits with different views that have actually played the game recently, someone like Gary Neville who, despite hating the man with a passion, gives different insights that not everybody can see, which is both interesting and is also his job. Either, Hanson and his fellow dinosaurs need to up their game or should face the axe.