Archive for January, 2011

More Tweets From The Palace 2011-01-30

  • Anyone else think Mubarak looked like Caeucescu – the punch has already landed he just hasn't felt it yet. He'll be abroad in a few days. #
  • Entire Egyptian cabinet resigns immediately after being fired by Mubarak. Talk about a pointless action. #
  • @rockstargames add me to the list of f-ed off people whose RDR has suddenly decided to continually crash their PS3. Patch soon? #

Archive for January, 2011

What We Learned From Prem Week 23

It’s Just Like Watching Madrid v Barcelona

And then there were (approximately) two. If this round of matches and catch up matches tells us anything it’s that class will out. No surprise, after all that’s the way with league football, and no surprise either that it’s the long term runners, Man U and Arsenal, who are going to be fighting it out for first place. Chelski seem to have utterly lost their mojo and now seem resigned to fighting it out for a Big Cup place, while new arrivistas Man City and Tottingham are finding out just how hard it is to maintain a serious challenge for the top four places. Both of the latter would consider a top four finish job done for the season, more interestingly both would consider fifth place as a major disappointment. More so than last year, where City effectively handed fourth place to Spurs with their tame, defensive tactics, this season’s Race For Fourth Place looks like being fascinating.

Equally the Fight For First looks like being a titanic struggle. On the one hand you’ve got Man U, who are just starting to get into their groove and playing some excellent football, a team that has pedigree and talent aplenty; on the other Arsenal, who are nothing if not potential unleashed but which lacks only the track record of success. Like Real Madrid and Barcelona last season this promises to be a full on fight, with neither team able to countenance even a draw in the run in. The pressure will be immense. Last season Real went on one of their best runs ever, yet no matter how much pressure they put on Barcelona it made no difference as Barcelona just kept on winning. This season in the Prem looks like being every bit as close.

Hi Ho It’s All Aboard The Magical Merry-Go-Round

So who’s going to be the big winner in the Darren Bent transfer saga? More importantly, who is going to be the big loser? Certainly not Villa, who in all probability will now coast it to safety if their two wins in two games since Bento arrived is anything to go by. Certainly not Sunderland, who’ve already got a perfect replacement for Bent in Gyan and are now in the market for every single halfway decent no 2 striker. Could the real loser be Stoke? Sunderland have put in a £3 million bid for Ricardo Fuller, which seems stunningly low although Stoke’s objection seems to be not the price but that Sunderland amazingly want to pay in installments. More stupefying still is that Stoke have taken Villa reject Carew for the season – presumably as a replacement for Fuller. So Villa get a ready made ‘get out of jail free’ card in Bent and get rid of useless moaning lump Carew, Sunderland get a sack of money and, apparently, Fuller for a song, while Stoke lose one of their most effective players and recruit someone who is every bit as ineffective as Emile Heskey. Sounds like Stoke are on the wrong end of a major stitch up.

Game On!

Both top sides began to bring the pain to their opponents. Man U demolished yet another side ruled by a ‘Fergie Pal’ that simply didn’t bother to turn up. Alex McLeish’s Boremingham looked every bit as ineffectual and useless as Fat Sam’s Real Blackburn did a few weeks ago. Possibly their minds were on the Useless Cup semi-final with West Ham, but that’s not really an excuse. And sure, Man U put in one of their best performances of the season with both Rooney and Berbatov being outstanding, their team up for Ryan Giggs’ goal was simply sublime, with a neat backheel from Chav Wanker and Berbatov at his languid, skillful best. 5 – 0 should hopefully put the kibosh onto Boremingham who are simply a foul football team. Man U subsequently went on to scrape through against Blackpool in midweek. Sadly the Bores managed to scrape past West Ham into the Useless Cup Final.

Arsenal continued their push for the top by doing for a desperately poor Wigan team, who were only kept in the game by a great performance from their keeper Al Habsi. It could have been about 6 – 0 at half time, yet was only 3 – 0 at the end and that was only down to Al Habsi being great and Van Persil missing a penalty. Still nowhere near as fluent as they were against the likes of Braga, Arsenal are getting back to their beautiful best. However, given they’re still in for four competitions, they’re going to have to find answers for their poor grade second team if they’re going to continue to win a game every three days. In particular the games around their Useless Cup Final and the two matches with Barcelona around the end of February. Possibly the most encouraging thing about the win was not the Van Persil hattrick (his first for Arsenal), but the impressive defensive performance of Koscielny and Djourou. Koscielny in particular looks to have begun to get the measure of the English game and this was another clean sheet for the defence.

Darren Bent cashed in some of his transfer money as he helped Villa bring down Man City. One touch in the box, one goal in the net. That’s what £24 million gets you. So what does £27 million spent on the best striker in the German league get you? One good headed attempt at goal, two shots off target and three shots from outside the box, which were all blocked. True City besieged Villa’s goal once they went behind, but Tevez aside they didn’t seem to be able to break Villa down. And it reiterates the core belief that Mancini’s sides are fundamentally geared up to defend and while they are great once they’re ahead, they seem unable to fight their way back into a game once they’re behind. Villa made it two for two by continuing Wigan‘s fall from grace in midweek.

Interestingly enough, Week 23’s fixtures were the mirror image of Week 19. The most interesting element being that so  many pairings ended up differently. Take Loserpool Redsox and Wolves. Last time, at Anfield, Wolves managed to sneak an early goal and beat Uncle Wroy’s Old Boys and hammer the pressure onto the Loser’s hapless ex-manager. This time, back at their own place, an apparent mudbog covered in a light patina of green slime that does little to conceal the pudding-like surface, they were comprehensively outplayed and stuffed by an apparently resurrected like one of them movie zombies Loserpool. Loserpool even scored a couple of good goals from Torres and Meireles, the latter a great one touch volley from outside the box. They then compounded our misery by beating Fulham in the most jammy of circumstances.

Westy Ham continue their outstanding ability to transform potential victory into defeat, or in this case a draw against Everton, by playing atrociously as soon as they have managed to take the lead. This time idiot boy Freddy ‘The Moron’ Piquionne managed to get himself sent off for not one, but two utterly unnecessary bookings. This not only reduced the Hammers to 10 men but ensured that he would play no part in the upcoming Useless Cup Semi-Final (which they naturally managed to lose having got themselves into a winning position).  Wonder how his teammates will feel about him. Everton still look way more effective without Tim Cahill than they did earlier this season, which is nice.

Similarly, Newcastle showed that they can’t be relied on to see out the full 90+ minutes as they let another late extra time equaliser slip through their defences. This time against Tottingham. So once again Newcastle scrape a draw against a ‘big’ side, which should be enough to see them safe this season, while Tottingham confirm that they may not have the legs to both compete in the Big Cup and maintain an effective challenge to qualify for next year’s competition, which would be somewhat sad.

Fulham did everyone, not least themselves, a great favour by stuffing a really crap Stoke. The match was doubly beautiful as useless defensive grunt Shawcross was sent off once again for utterly incompetent defending. Fulham still look like a really dreary Mark Hughes team though. You’ve got to hope that they begin to improve once Zamora returns.

Chelski appear to be very slowly turning the ocean liner as they got a relatively easy win over Bolton. However, despite the 4 – 0 scoreline, which kicked off with an outstanding goal from The Drog, Chelski are nowhere near their early season fluency. Rather the truth is that Bolton were truly shocking and they look less and less like qualifying for Europe and more and more like sliding down the table to join the relegation cockfight.

Real Blackburn continue their own special journey from Fat Sam luddites to a vaguely interesting football team by doing for West Brom. It would be funny if all the four teams starting with W took up the bottom four places, then they’d all be fighting to be simply the best team starting with W in the league.

Blackpool are having a bit of a hard time right now. Not content with having the supposed ‘big’ teams descend like vultures on their players, they’re having trouble on the pitch. Admittedly they are still playing their own brand of attacking, full  on football, it’s just that other teams have sussed that they are still vulnerable to the late 90th minute attack. This is particularly apparent when Blackers are at home as the onus of attacking is more focused on them, rather than when they’re away and can work on the break. This time they lost to first Sunderland, then Man U, where they were two up at half time.

Rob Green Save Of The Day

One for the Gareth Southgate Balloon It Over The Bar Memorial Trophy, it’s Robin Van Persil‘s spectacular penalty miss. He would have had a hattrick, he would have made the win utterly comfortable, instead he ensured that the game felt tense until he finally got his hattrick five minutes from time.

Archive for January, 2011

More Tweets From The Palace 2011-01-23

  • Great articles on comparison b/n apparent 'star' Bale and supposed 'flop' Theo Wallcott and hmmm #
  • Good to see Facebook f-ing up/backing down over privacy AGAIN. What with all their members you'd think they might do some audience research #
  • Neat tutorial on creating custom icons for Logic. Now all my fav instruments and Fx have their own icons. Sweet #

Archive for January, 2011

Will The Best 4th Striker Please Stand Up

You Want How Much?

Darren Bent reveals his true worth to 'Appy 'Arry Redknapp - or possibly his cut from his recent deal

I don’t get Darren Bent. Not least because I don’t support Villa and I don’t have a spare £24 million lying around in my back pocket. I simply just don’t get him. Sure we’re all in the market for a proven Prem goalscorer, not just one of those Johnny Come Lately foreigners who’ve done the business in one of those big abroad leagues but is utterly untested in the rough and tumble of the Prem penalty area, but Bent? Spindly, lacklustre in front of goal Bent? Who saw that one coming?

Certainly not me. Because, you know what, I still don’t get Darren Bent. I don’t see him as a dangerously prolific, gamechanging striker like Drogba, Chav Wanker or Torpid Torres, despite having scored just one less Prem goal than the former two and way more than the latter. My impression of him has always been that he’s a relatively ineffectual lightweight striker, not unlike his erstwhile, if even less effective, strikepartner Offside Trap Defoe. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, Bento has missed out on not just big team action, but two World Cups as his international career has been mysteriously scuppered by the rise of even less effective striker Peter Crouch. But despite knowing all this, despite checking his stats and being amazed, I still don’t see Bent physically holding off a defender before slamming the ball past a top four keeper in a key match, or doing his defender for pace before casually slotting the ball home. Rather to me he has always seemed a bit of a soft lightweight, someone who needs to be handled with kid gloves and wants/needs to be the big fish.

For Bent the move to Villa makes perfect sense. Villa are on a par with Sunderland as wannabe ‘Big’ teams go and having been threatened by the arrival of the effective Gyan (who also replaced him as Sunderland’s record signing), he becomes, once again, the undisputed no 1 at a club who will really value him and which has exactly the kind of striker support that will benefit him and give him goalscoring opportunities. And there’s no doubt that for the rest of the season (if not beyond) Villa will arrange the team around him and his goalscoring. For Villa it’s the nearest thing to buying an insurance policy against relegation and reaffirms their position as an ambitious, ‘buying’ club following the loss of both Barry and Milner to Middle Eastlands. As for Sunderland, maybe, just maybe, it removes the worry that faced Bruce when he bought Gyan, namely that you can’t realistically play Bent and Gyan in the same side all the time. And for my money Gyan is the better player.

Will The Best 4th Man Please Stand Up

Which brings us to the key question. If Darren Bent is actually not that bad, then who is the single worst squad striker in the Prem? Who least deserves that most reviled of positions, benchwarming supersub and rotation magnet? And immediately I’m faced with something of a list:

  • Kalou (Chelski)
  • Bendtner (Arsenal)
  • Jo (Man City)
  • Agbonlahor (Villa)
  • Offside (Tottingham)
  • Lil Mikey Owen (Man U)
  • Ngog (Loserpool Redsox)
  • Babel (Loserpool Redsox)
  • Ameobi (Newcastle)
  • Santa Cruz (Man City)
  • Carlton Cole (West Ham)
  • Carew (Villa)

And so on. The criteria here is simple. You have to not be the club’s no 1 striker (which kind of counts Bent out) and you have to be a proven failure in front of goal when given the opportunity.

And the Stats (for last season at least) speak for themselves:

Name Prem Games Played Prem Goals* Goals per Game %
Kalou 23 5 22%
Bendtner 23 6 26%
Jo 28 3 11%
Agbonlahor 36 13 36%
Offside Trap Defoe 34 18 53%
Lil Mikey 19 3 16%
Ngog 24 5 21%
Babel 25 4 16%
Ameobi 18* 10 55%
Santa Cruz 19 3 16%
Carlton Cole 30 10 33%
Carew 33 10 30%
Kuyt 37 9 24%
Bent 38 24 63%

*Ameobi’s last season was in the Championship, so maybe his goals are like Scottish goals and only worth 1/3 of a real Prem goal.

One thing is clear, most of these guys are nowhere near Bent, clearly reinforcing his position as a no 1 striker (and their’s as ‘not no 1’s). Only Offside Trap, who again has a legitimate claim to a no 1 spot (although Tottingham have a more revolvable formation than that), can really compare. The rest of them are, quite literally, playing for scraps.

I’ve put in Loserpool’s Dirk Kuyt for comparison. Kuyt is there because, for me, he represents probably the best perceived value for a 4th striker, someone who puts in the hard yards, doesn’t moan about it and delivers. Probably more about apparent effort than effectiveness, he doesn’t so much change games as give you a sense that at least he’s committed to giving the opposition a game and supporting the rest of the team. You get the feeling that he’s ‘busy’ on the pitch.

The first thing is that there is a clear dividing line between what you might call Second String strikers like Cole, Agbonlahor and, surprisingly, Carew and the rest of the Prem journeymen. The difference between 26 and 30+ percent might not seem that much but it represents a chilling gap in class between the second string and the journeymen. The former are expected to carry the burden of the midtable Prem teams, while the latter are really there to provide relief for their more prolific first team counterparts.

Aside from the lamentable showing of Lil Mikey, Babel and City duffers Jo and Santa Cruz, who really are bottom trawling fourth raters at this level, the most surprising thing for me was the relative ineffectiveness of Kuyt in comparison with Kalou, Ngog and, especially, Bendtner. My impression of Kuyt was that he was significantly more valuable than any of those three (although the value of his all round game may still be greater). And certainly I’d be happier to see him on the Loserpool teamsheet than Ngog and he appears to be more useful than either Kalou or Bendtner. Yet he’s less effective at scoring than Bendtner and only marginally more so than Ngog and Kalou.

And it’s exasperating because none of these three look remotely like being able to make the next step up and become genuinely dangerous, world class, 20+ goals a season strikers. Indeed with Kalou you almost sense he’s not even trying, what with his Ivorian compatriot The Drog still holding down the big boy’s position in pretty much every area of his life, a bit like that elder brother who’s not really your buddy and who consistently overshadows you. Possibly he’s decided to simply wait it out for the next couple of years as Drog begins to go downhill and make his move then. Bendtner seems to believe that he’s already made it despite all evidence to the contrary, while you just sense that Ngog will never make the grade even if he is only 21.

It’s also clear why the triumverate of Ngog, Kalou and Bendtner are so exasperating. Billed as goalscorers, their strike record of a goal every four or five games simply doesn’t justify their inclusion ahead of regular first teamers, especially when you consider that as fourth strikers they’re often used in rotation against lower grade opposition where they should be expected to score more freely. Yet their value as strikers diminishes the nearer you get to the cutting edge.

And suddenly you begin to appreciate the real value of Darren Bent.

Archive for January, 2011

What We Learned From Prem Week 22

Move On, Move On, Nothing To See Here

Or at least nothing unexpected that is. Apparently the odds on there being four draws in Sunday’s matches was something like 100-1, which is like saying the bookies don’t believe it’s going to happen, but even with two of those matches going down to last minute equalisers, it felt somehow completely natural that all four should, indeed, end up level.

Then again, a weekend of utter predictability in this season of change seems, well, very, very unnatural. Certainly it’s meant that the table looks more like it did last year than ever before. The top 5 seem set in stone, the top three are beginning to pull away and if things continue this way we’ll start to see all sorts of headlines about how exciting the ‘race for fourth’ is once again. It’s becoming clearer who the midtable teams are, those who realistically are more likely to be fighting over a European place than a relegation lifeline, and those who are seemingly destined for the dogfight. Apparently the only thing that has changed are the names of the clubs involved. And who’s fighting in which bearpit.

Despite there being 3 derbies on Sunday, we appear to have seen the back of the epidemic of really shit tackling that broke out earlier this season. No one seems to have had their leg broken or even been badly damaged for, oh, quite a while – QPR’s Jamie Mackie having sustained his recent injury in slightly different circumstances.

Life In The Trenches, The Phony War

It’s almost as if we’re in a lull between the fighting. The Prem may have said goodbye to the ridiculous winter practice of playing a game every 3 days, which basically eliminates any time for coaching or training and only benefits those teams with the largest squads, but it’s as if the clubs were taking a self-imposed winter break without any of the benefits. The opening of the transfer window means that players and managers are under intensive scrutiny and instability and chaos are the orders of the day. Again there’s the chance that speculation about a player or a coach will undermine any training or coaching going on.  It can’t be easy being Avram Grant, on the verge of taking West Ham to the Useless Cup Final and into the cesspit of the Championship simultaneously, as everyone seems convinced that Martin O’ Neill is coming over the hill on his feisty steed to replace him. It can’t help his control of the team and, ultimately, it can’t be good for results. However, this phony war state will continue until both the transfer window shuts and the European championships (Big and Little Cups) reopen in February. With no option to amend their squads and little time left, there won’t be much point in owners replacing coaches aside from the forlorn hope of a dead cat bounce.

And On They Played

At times this season watching Wolves play has been an unspeakably bad experience, not so recently. It’s hard to pinpoint why they’ve changed the way they play, maybe they always intended to, maybe they just saw that the old shit just wasn’t working, but recently they’ve become far more open and attack minded. Not that it really helped them when Man City were on fire, in particular Leetle Carlito, who scored one of the goals of the season, nipping his way through four Wolves defenders in the area before coolly slotting home. Not quite as breathtaking as Elmander’s fabulous piece of footwork the other month, but up there with Nasri’s. Still Wolves gave City a great game, which is far more than they would have done earlier in the season and with just two points separating them from both Boremingham and Fulham, both comfortably less capable than Wolves, they should be safe by the end of the season.

City, meanwhile, are starting to look like a top three side. Hard to beat, they’ve got a decent spine, Hart, Kompany, de Jong, Yaya Toure, Silva and Leetle Carlito, backed up with a string of quality players like Johnson, Milner and Kolo Toure. They seem to have spent wisely in Dzeko, who linked up well with Yaya and Carlito, and are beginning to shed the also-rans who got them this far but wouldn’t be able to take them to the next level. Barring some kind of savage defensive strategy (not beyond the realm of possibility with Mancini), they’re absolute certs to qualify for the Big Cup next year, at which point cue another round of transfer excess.

Arsenal, meanwhile, had failed to beat Championship opposition in their two previous games, illustrating among other things that their B team is several players short of being even vaguely competitive. Sure the kids, and I include supposed ‘big kids’ like Bigmouth Bendtner and Cantbe Arshavin here, might be good enough for the early rounds of the Useless Cup, but they’re palpably incapable of giving motivated teams anything like a competitive game. So how would a trip to West Ham feel?

Well, not good for either player as barring a super brief subs appearance two minutes from time for the Arse, neither got a game. They could however, have spent the time discussing their tactics and sense of desire while sitting on the bench. Arsenal strolled their way through a 3 – 0 win that was characterised by their complete midfield dominance and some excellent interplay between van Persil and Wallchart, both of whom looked really good, but would benefit from just a little of that sense of ‘oomph’ that Leetle Carlito has. Not that there weren’t the usual moments of quiet insanity at the back, as Djourou gave Szczesny one of the hospital passes of the season. Fortunately, only Carlton Cole was around to try to take advantage and he’d scored his goals for the season in previous matches.

Arsenal’s problems at the back do challenge Arsène’s apparent policy of not buying anyone good and trying to build everything up internally as it seems that many of his players are not being sufficiently challenged or simply haven’t developed their game. It’s not that Arsène doesn’t buy, he did after all bring in Chamakh, Koscielny and Squillaci over the summer and Vermaelen last year, it’s just that he always seems to be buying potential rather than proven performance. And while an immediate success rate of 1/3 is fine, buying a new backline and having none of it work, while your first choice players are out for effectively the whole season, smacks of carelessness. I can’t help thinking that buying the occasional proven, I’ve got a track record me, player every now and then (and I don’t mean getting Sol Campbell back for half a season as a stopgap) would benefit his squad. Certainly he can’t bank on keeping Fabregas forever if he can’t build a decent team around him.

You could argue that Arsène has been burned in the transfer market before, and that while he’s the master of the perfectly timed big sell (Anelka £0.5m in, £23m out; Overmars £5m in, £20m odd out; Thierry Henry £7m in, £16.5m out; Adebeyor £7m in, £23m out) and knows when to let players go, he’s no genius buying big or if not big then certainly mid-range. And it’s true that his record here is patchy, Reyes £10m, Wiltord £13m, Arshavin £10m, Eduado £16m (although you’d have to blame the c*nt from Boremingham for doing Eduado), but then so is Ferguson’s. I guess sometimes, in addition to building a team from the ground up you just have to take a gamble. He has also missed David Dien’s mysterious expertise in transfer machinations in recent years.

By now, or more accurately by some time about two seasons ago, it should be catastrophically clear that Arsenal need at least one world class centre back, not to mention a decent defensive coach, the question is will they even try to recruit one? Vidic aside, and he’s not moving, I can’t see a standout central defender in the Prem and you have to wonder how long it would take an outstanding player from a foreign league to adjust. But if they don’t and Arsenal don’t win the Useless Cup this season, what does that do for confidence in this team?

Chelski, fresh from a 7 – 0 thrashing of Ipswich (the same Ipswich who beat Arsenal 1 – 0 in the first leg of the Useless Cup Semi-final), did enough to beat Real Blackburn. It’s not that they were great, their goals being rather scrambled affairs, just that they were able to put more pressure on Blackburn. And while they’re now back to winning ways, they’re very much in a race for fourth rather than pitching for the Prem.

Big losers of the weekend, if you can call it losing given that they’ve still got an unbeaten record in the league this season, were Man U. A single point takes them off the top spot and moves Arsenal and City closer. And while a point at Tottingham isn’t the worst result they could have got, their rather lacklustre performance gives the chasing pack more encouragement. For Spurs, this was more of a bad result, they’ve got a taste for this Big Cup, Big Four atmosphere and they’ll be incredibly reluctant to lose it and they could have won here. Their curse, if it is one, is to be challenging for fourth while Chelski are still around and Man City are splashing the cash to buy their way in. They actually need to finish in the top four more than they need a good run in the Big Cup this year.

Loserpool RedSox have lost the first/last two games under supposed savior King Kenny. And all accompanied by the kind of inexplicable formation tweaking that would have invited scabrous derision if it had been employed by Uncle Wroy. And while we are the first to concede that Glenda Johnson is no great right back (Engerland appearances to the contrary), but bloody hell, he’s a billion times less suited to left back. Christian Poulsen showed that while Glenda might be no left back, he’s not even up to being a Liverpool player. So, going into a Merseyside derby (against Everton) and Dalglish’s first home match, they really needed both a performance and a result. And while they got a point, it wasn’t really what they needed. So far Dalglish has only been back a couple of weeks and already he’s been spanked by both of Loserpool’s longterm rivals, been knocked out of the FA Cup and taught a lesson by Blackpool. Hardly messiah stuff.

Meanwhile, Everton dominated the game and will be far more irritated that they didn’t win. And they still look like a far more coherent attacking unit without their top goalscorer Cahill than they did when he was there. Of the two teams, they look far more likely to be challenging for Europe than Loserpool do.

Big match derbies tend to reinforce everything that’s bad about the Prem, being highly excitable but technically atrocious matches where badly timed challenges and hell for leather hoofery are more common than great ball skills and technique. However, Sunderland‘s rematch with Newcastle was far from typical. Sure there was more hoofery than is normal for either of these teams and players didn’t really have time on the ball as both teams were playing the type of game that if it wasn’t actually a pressing game wasn’t entirely a total hacking game either. As is the way with these things there was something of a midfield stalemate, hence the hoofing, and a pile of snatched chances. Ultimately, Sunderland were very lucky to get a last minute bundle of a goal to equalise.

Not so interesting was Villa‘s game with Boremingham. The latter more than lived up to their name, playing seriously tedious anti-football, while defending just well enough to deny Villa. Villa seem to have a team of great young players but absolutely no teeth up front. Carew is, as always, fucking useless, while Agbonlahor seems to have disintegrated as a striker. It’s no wonder that they appear to be making a move for Sunderland’s Darren Bent, who, while also fundamentally useless, does manage to score a load of Prem goals.  Boremingham appear to be once again proving the wisdom of Arséne Wenger by recruiting another ex-Arsenal cast-off and playing them out of position. Here’s hoping it’s them not Villa who get relegated.

I really can’t make my mind up about Stoke. On one hand they’re a thoroughly tedious side who have made it this far on the back of one player’s decent throw in technique and a fair degree of defensive chicanery – any team that has both Huth and Shawcross in its defense should be expelled from the league immediately. On the other, it’s clear that they’re trying to evolve, developing wingplay using Ethrington, Tuncay and b-grade strikers like Kenwynne Jones. So they’re no longer as shit as Boremingham, but they’re no great shakes either. Still they seem good enough to spank a fairly tired Bolton team, who are suffering from a small team squad and appear to be the new Charlton, watch them get to 40 points and safety some time in March and suddenly turn off the gas, play the youngsters and prepare for the next season.

At the opposite end of the scale are Blackpool, who are, if anything, too adventurous. Away from home, one goal up, they should have put a bit more resolve into the midfield and provided a bit more cover for their defence. As it was West Brom were able to lob or slip neat route one-ish passes over the defense for Odemwinge to run on to, just as they were leaving themselves open at the back. Each side could have comfortably won it, but West Brom will be far happier as they needed the win more than Blackpool, who if they’d won it would have been 7th. They need to get through the transfer window without losing any of their players or their manager and then concentrate on getting to the 40 point safety mark as quickly as possible. Their real fear must be not relegation, but the big clubs leaping in and ripping off all their talent.

Could someone please relegate Fulham. Like now please. They are rubbish and their shit green away kit is nauseating. They didn’t really deserve another draw, this time away to Wigan, but it was as unexpected as it was to see Andy Johnson scoring their goal. It’s now odds on to see who will finish with fewest goals this season, Johnson or Carlton Cole.

Rob Green Save Of The Day

Weeeeelll, technically it wasn’t a Prem moment, but Boremingham’s Ben Foster did let in a really super goal against West Ham in the Useless Cup Semi-Final, when a shot caught him going one way, then having to correct and letting it slip under his leg.

Archive for January, 2011

More Tweets From The Palace 2011-01-16

  • Finally installed Komplete 7. TX to Toni at Native Instruments for the help. Now to make more music #
  • Crap ideas from the '70s pt 2 – bringing back the home internationals. Crap idea from crap car brand. #