Posts Tagged ‘Aston Villa’

Transfer records went tumbling on deadline day yesterday. I expected a lot of activity but the amount of money that was thrown around really surprised me. January transfer window is usually full of speculation but very little transfer activity takes place. Mid-Season transfer are considered to be risky and unless there is an emergency clubs usually stay away from buying. Even players like Nemanja Vidic have struggled to make an impact immediately after coming in during the January transfer window.

The most high profile transfer was that Fernando Torres to Chelsea.The Blues also signed David Luiz from Benfica. The Luiz transfer had been going on and off the entire window, but I think it was a necessity for the Londoners to sign a Center Back given their lack of cover in the area. Chelsea fans would now love to see the back of Paulo Ferreira.

Once auditioned for a role as Side Show Bob.

Considering Liverpool’s position at the moment, I expected Torres to leave Liverpool soon. But I never expected him to hand in a transfer request 3 days before the window shuts. Torres has not been great this season but then again their whole team is struggling badly. The arrival of Dalglish has made a difference but it seems it wasn’t enough for Torres. One can’t blame Torres for wanting to leave but the manner in which he has left would have certainly angered the Liverpool supporters. A £50million offer was too good to refuse as far as Liverpool were concerned (and we privately agree, £50million for a player who is crocked so often?).

LFC fans surely feel let down by a man they called a Club Legend

Let us get down to the most mind boggling transfer in the history of transfers – Andy Carroll. I think he has been excellent this season. But £35millon?? £35millon for a player who has only 41 appearances in the league has 14 goals! This is the 8TH most expensive transfer in football – more expensive than World Cup winning David Villa. Andy Carroll (and every other English player still active in the world) has no idea what a World Cup medal looks like. Andy Carroll – much like his most expensive English brethren also suffers from disciplinary issues off the pitch. We clearly see him following in the path of Rooney, Ferdinand and Gerrard in that sense.

If he's worth 35 million, how much is Ronaldo or Messi worth?

This clearly is a panic buy from Liverpool. The Merseysiders are seventh in the league. Regardless of who they sign (barring maybe Messi) they are not going to get into the Champions League. Why spend so heavily in the January window when you have to pay twice the price?  Also Dalglish doesn’t seem like the kind of manager who would approve this kind of transfer which makes you wonder how much say he has over transfers.

Final Verdict regarding these two transfers- I have a feeling Torres won’t make that big an impact at Chelsea like many think he will. I think Chelsea needed a creative midfielder more than a striker. It will be interesting to see where he plays, probably Anelka will be dropped. He will score goals but I doubt he will be able to justify the £50million Chelsea has paid for him. He will not be available for the Sunderland game which means he could make his debut against Liverpool! It will be a real heated game.

Darrent Bent went to Aston Villa for £24million.So Carroll who is younger should fetch more than that. Only if you apply that kind of logic will this transfer make sense. This is a lot of pressure on a young player. After all he is only 22.He could crumble under the weight of expectation. But if keeps his head Liverpool have a good player in hand. But like Torres, I think he will struggle to justify the £35millon transfer fee.

In one corner of Manchester, some people are really happy that some other club is paying ridiculous prices for players who aren’t quite up there. City have been surprisingly pretty quiet throughout this transfer window, splashing £27 million pounds in the direction of Edin Dzeko, which looking at all the other transfers in this window seems like a well thought out, measured and financially prudent move.

 

Transfer Round-up

Tottenham went on a rampage in the last 3 days bidding over 30 million for nearly  every single striker playing in La Liga and got rejected by all.Harry Redknapp is not too happy about it. Peter Crouch was video taped doing The Robot outside White Hart Lane.

Denilson last night shocked the football world and Arsenal supporters by demanding a move away from Arsenal.He later on changed his mind after the best bid he received was  £5.99 from Crawley town! Crawley then withdrew the bid thinking it was over priced.

Rangers have signed Kyles Bartley and El-Hadji Diouf on loan. Glad to see Diouf leave the premier league. Fulham have signed Eidur Gudjohnsen on loan and Aston Villa have secured Michael Bradley on loan till the end of the season. Paul Konchesky joined Nottingham Forrest on loan. Daniel Sturridge moved to Bolton on loan.

Seria A

Lot of transfer has taken place in Seria A.The best signing has to be that of Antonio Cassano by AC Milan. Milan have also signed Emanuelson from Ajax, Van bommel and Nicola Legrottaglie from Juventus.

Inter Milan made 2 excellent signings in the January window.They have signed Pazzini from Sampdoria and Andrea Ranocchia from Genoa.This will certainly help their squad.

La Liga

No major news in La Liga. Adebayor of course moved to Real Madrid on loan. Also don’t forget that Ibrahim Affelay’s transfer from PSV to Barcelona went through during this transfer window.

 

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I’m sorry, but I didn’t watch most of the games from this weekend, I’ll speak about the two games that I did watch – Aston Villa versus Man United and Chelsea versus Sunderland.

I’ll start off with the game at Villa Park. I was pretty sure this would be the game where it all changes. United would come out, stamp their authority on a young and inexperienced Villa team and then we’d all go home happy. I was completely wrong. United were outplayed by the “young and inexperienced” Villa team. Stuart Downing, Mark Albrighton and Ashley Young were causing problems to United’s back four. Vidic and Ferdinand were really good and solid (I’m glad to have that center back pairing back together) up until the 72nd minute when Wes Brown bundled over (I think it was) Agbonlahor to give Villa a penalty. It was a definite yellow card.

Four minutes later, United substitute Kiko Macheda gave away the ball way too cheaply at the Villa end and Villa countered like lightning. They moved so quickly with the ball that within second Mark Albrighton had put the ball in the back of the net. It was a fantastic performance by a team that consisted of players like him, Bryan Bannan and Hogg, with Stuart Downing, Ashley Young and Agbonlahor putting in their share of experience.

But United fought back with 14 minutes left to go, and Macheda managed to pull one back after Fletcher’s clever flick back to him. 2-1 and the game looked like changing. And then Nani (about whom we will speak in a bit), puts in a beautiful cross to find Captain Vidic on the far post and he heads the ball in. 2-2, and perhaps if there were five more minutes we would have seen United walk away with all three points and a grave injustice done to Aston Villa who definitely played better football for large parts of the game.

Lets talk about Nani, United’s biggest threat when it comes to goals. He’s got, I think, 9 assists this season and he’s scored a few himself as well. But he’s still not matured fully. He’s still got to be a little bit more consistent when he’s on the field and he should DEFINITELY stop rolling around on the fucking floor so often. I’ve noticed that there are many times he just gives the ball away and rolls on the floor hoping the ref gives him a free kick. When he doesn’t get one, he can’t obviously get back up and chase after the player, so he rolls around for some more time. I think Nani is going to be hugely influential this season and which is why, I hope, that if he ever reads this awesome blog, that he will note these things and I’m sure it’ll help him improve as a player.

Needs to stop rolling around

But other than that, all I can say about United is this – Its the midfield, stupid! There’s not enough creativity, something United fans have been moaning about from the start of the transfer window. Lets be very clear, if Ferguson does pull a rabbit out of his hat and delivers the Premier League (which really isn’t unlikely, I think as a Man United fan) it should definitely go down as his most memorable because he did it with a very thin squad and perhaps an average one as well.

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Steve Bruce mentioned that Sir Alex had asked Bruce to keep him informed about Jordan Henderson. So I had to check out this player who Fergie was interested in, apparently. So I brought out all my voodoo equipment, the Drogba doll with needles stuck in it and everything (which must’ve worked) sat down to watch Henderson take on the champions – he was good, but I really liked the way another youngster, on loan from United, played. Take a bow, Danny Welbeck.

Chelsea suffered a humiliating home defeat at the hands of a well organized Sunderland side. This was Chelsea’s starting 11 – Cech, Cole, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Ramires, Zhirkov, Mikel, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka. And if you ask me that’s enough quality for them to be winning at home against Sunderland.

A very well organized Sunderland who were crisp with their passing managed to put 3 goals into the Chelsea net and most surprisingly keep a clean sheet as well! Even more surprising was that Cattermole did not get booked!

The team that Chelsea put out was good enough to beat Sunderland but it doesn’t ooze with quality. In a way, Chelsea are just like Manchester United but with fewer injuries and fewer defenders. A decently strong starting 11, but after that there isn’t too much you can call on.

Ramires, Chelsea’s biggest buy this summer, hasn’t been as effective as I’m sure Ancelotti would’ve wanted him to be. He’s done okay in the absence of Frank Lampard, but most Chelsea fans would much rather have had Lampard back instead. He’s not gone out and grabbed a game by the throat.

Then they have McEachren and Kakuta, two talented youngsters but throwing them into the Premier League might be a problem as they’ll definitely take time to adjust to its demanding nature. They’re still learning, and they will make mistakes. Even Wilshere, perhaps the most exciting talent at that age in the Premiership gives away the ball cheaply once in a while and not to mention jumps into tackles too early as well. Their midfield will be boosted when the suspended Essien returns, but will their squad run thin?

I’m also fairly surprised with Ancelotti’s substitutions – why did he take off Malouda and play Kalou? I’m disappointed not only because Malouda is in my fantasy football team, but also because I genuinely think that Malouda has more in him than Kalou when it comes to changing a game.

What you’ve really got to question though is the sacking of Ray Wilkins. I’m sure it has had an impact on the player’s mindset, because Wilkins was a really good Assistant Manager, as Ancelotti himself put it. It was abrupt and completely uncalled for, much like the sacking of Jose Mourinho. So long as Abramovich makes stupid mistakes like this, I’ll be glad we have the Glazers who hardly interfere in these matters as owners.

Will definitely be missed - Ray Wilkins

Credit to Sunderland for really taking the game to Chelsea. I thought they put in a fantastic team performance. Welbeck comined really well with Gyan and Richardson. Zenden played everywhere for them and provided them with some fantastic experience. They kept the ball really well, they pressurised Chelsea and they tested Petr Cech on a number of occasions. It could easily have been 5 nil if Cech wouldn’t have saved Welbeck’s header and his shot.

Thanks to this defeat, Chelsea no longer have the comfort of a wide gap between them and the second placed team. Arsenal are within two points of Chelsea, and United would’ve have gone within a point if they’d won, but as it stands they’re 3 points behind – which isn’t too bad to be honest. Its a crazy old league and it doesn’t look like I can see a clear winner!

Drawchester United

Man United have done it again. They have drawn another match. This time against West Bromwich Albion at home! Thus far they have won all their home games and drawn all away games. But now they’ve started drawing the home games as well. Excellent! Just what the doctor ordered.

Costly Van der Sar error saw West Brom take a point at Old Trafford

The worrying thing for a United fan is the fact that they still haven’t played the tougher teams in the Premier League. Granted, given Sunderland’s current form, they are one of the better teams in the league, but they still haven’t played Man City, Spurs or Villa which are bound to be tougher than the likes of WBA. They have played Liverpool and home and won, and played Everton away and drawn. I don’t think this is good enough. In the 2008-09 season United didn’t have a great record against the other big four teams, but hammered smaller opponents, thereby amassing 90 points in the season and taking the title.

United are still unbeaten in the league, but that’s little consolation and so long as Man City are above them in the league (as is the case now) United fans will worried.

Fighting Blackpool

Every once in a while you see a team come up from the Championship and play exciting football. Blackpool are doing just that. They played Man City at Bloomfield over the weekend and boy were they unlucky to lose. Tevez had a goal given to him which should have been ruled as offside and Taylor Fletcher had a goal disallowed after incorrectly being ruled offside. The final score was 3-2 and David Silva scored a beautiful third goal amongst all this chaos.

Blackpool really looked threatening and for a while it seemed that all the money City pumped in had gone to waste. City were really lucky to win the game. I feel sorry for Blackpool because for teams like them, every point counts and could save them from taking the drop.

Teams like Stoke came up from the Championship and they decided NOT TO LOSE, whereas Blackpool decided to WIN. The strategies are different, but if the end result is the same (staying on in the Premier League) then the manager and the team, both, have achieved something worth remembering. You could argue that its boring watching teams like Stoke play. The Stoke board will tell you that they’d rather have boring football on display than earn lesser revenue by going back down to the Championship.

Chelsea held at Villa

Didier Drogba didn’t play the game and therefore my Fantasy Football gameweek went for a toss. The result was a pretty fair one in my opinion and I don’t think Chelsea will be too disappointed about getting only a point at Villa. Ancelotti certainly isn’t disappointed.

Jack Wilshere’s dark side

Poor Arsene Wenger. He goes on and on about bad tackles and then suddenly one of his own players lunges in with a really dangerous tackle on Zigic. Arsene Wenger has been very vocal in his criticism of dangerous tackles by other players on his own team and this time when the tables were turned, didn’t come off so strong.

Welcome to the Dark Side. We have cookies.

“We know Jack Wilshere is not a dirty player, but it does show you players can mistime in this hurly burly game in football. Everybody has to recognise that.” – Arsene Wenger

But when Paul Scholes does it, it means he has a dark side. Hypocrisy much, Mr Wenger?

It was a bad tackle and its a good thing Zigic wasn’t injured, Alex McLeish would have cried after spending 6 million on his transfer from Valencia.

Merseyside is blue

Everton absolutely pushed Liverpool out of the game. It was a really dominating performance from Everton and they deservedly ended up winning 2-0. Goals from Cahill and Arteta settled the encounter, Arteta’s strike being fantastic (not that Cahill’s goal wasn’t good in itself). Arteta (once upon a time, England’s midfield hope) and Cahill pulled all the strings in midfield making Liverpool’s summer signing of Meireles seem completely pointless.

Liverpool played two Defensive Midfielders – Meireles and Lucas and were still not able to get the ball enough. Steven Gerrard had to occasionally track back and anchor midfield. Yakubu looked three times a better striker than Fernando Torres, and its not everyday that something like that happens.

Let’s be honest, Everton ran out winners and deserved it.

Barcelona versus Valencia

Barcelona versus Valencia was the clash of the weekend in La Liga and was a really really good match. Barcelona were dominating the game in the second half with the score at 1-1. Barca won the game in the end with a commanding header from Puyol. Final score there was 2-1 to Barca. Iniesta and Puyol on the scoresheet for Barca and Pablo Hernandez for Valencia.

Real Madrid absolutely hammered Malaga with Ronaldo scoring a brace and two from Higuain as well. Higuain’s goals were set up by Ronaldo as well so its fair to say that he was probably the player of the match.

Ronaldo and Higuain celebrate after the first goal against Malaga

 

With that win, Real go on top of La Liga thanks to Valencia’s loss and Villareal drawing 2-2 away at Hercules (who seem to be giving a headache to the big teams). Sevilla also lost to Sporting Gijon which was quite unexpected.

Waaazaaa Wazza?

Wayne Rooney has reportedly refused to sign a new contract with Manchester United. All the newspapers have tipped him to make a move away from Old Trafford and claim that he has had a bust up with Sir Alex.

I’ll give you my two cents on the entire thing. It is too bad if Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United. He’s a good player going through a bad patch, but he needs to be a little bit more mature when dealing with people and the media (especially).

Sir Alex has his best interests at heart and has tried to focus attention away from Rooney and he keeps bringing the spotlight back on to himself. He countered Sir Alex’s story that his ankle had a problem which was why he was going through a bad patch and said instead that his ankle was absolutely fine.

There’s no doubt that Sir Alex would’ve been furious with Wayne Rooney for this and perhaps it was one of the reasons Rooney started on the bench against West Brom.

I read elsewhere that Rooney is holding out for 200,000 Euro a week on his new contract which seems quite ridiculous considering he’s getting 120,000 Euro a week now. Apparently United offered him170,000 which seems quite fair to me.

Rooney needs to grow up.

Tonight’s Champions League clashes

For those of you who are in India and wondering which games will be telecast by TEN tonight –

Shakhtar Donetsk versus Arsenal on TEN Sports at 00.00 hours

Real Madrid versus AC Milan on TEN Action at 00.00 hours

Spartak Moskva versus Chelsea on TEN Action at 21.30 hours