Posts Tagged ‘Roy Hodgson’

Dear fellow football crazy people,

This weekends action has not been the best if you’re a fan of any of the so called big four (no, City not included) unless you’re a Chelsea fan that is.

Arsenal get the Blues

The biggest fixture of the weekend ended 2-0 in the favour of the champions. Goals from Didier Drogba and an absolutely stunning free kick from Alex ensured that the Champions won comfortably against a depleted Arsenal side.

Arsenal didn’t look too bad though, especially in the second half, Chelsea were under the cosh a lot but Arsenal didn’t manage to finish. Final ball lacking? Perhaps its because of the absence of both Fabregas and Van Persie. One thing is for sure, Arsene Wenger wouldn’t have gone to Stamford Bridge expecting a win.

Check out the highlights

Sunderland steamrolled United, but the final score was 0-0

Off to the Stadium of Light where Steve Bruce almost got his first win over Sir Alex. But it was not to be. United managed to hold on and keep a clean sheet. The worrying thing about the United team was that there was absolutely no creativity in the squad.

Almost - but not quite

Scholes was back for this fixture after missing out against Valencia and was kept really quiet in my personal opinion because United not only lack a (young, before you point out Scholes) creative midfielder, but also lack a good defensive midfielder. Fletcher is a good midfielder, but isn’t a defensive midfielder, he likes to get forward and make runs into the box and he’s useful to have because he tracks back and gets a good tackle in. But there’s isn’t anybody who’ll just sit and play the square balls to Scholes and Fletcher who then drive the team forward.

I don’t really subscribe to the policy of playing Scholes deeper either, we all know he’s not a great tackler and is very susceptible to get carded. So for the sake of my Fantasy Football team and also for the betterment of United I hope Sir Alex plays Scholes in a more advanced position.

And also, I’m just going to talk about Nani for a bit. He always does his best when the pressure is on him. Even if he’s trying to cross the ball, if he has three players next to him, he’ll put in a brilliant cross. When he has acres of space, he’ll cross it right into the keepers hands. And for God’s sake, PLEASE stay on your feet! Losing Valencia is clearly a big blow for United’s season.

Bebe came on. I just had to add it as an afterthought.

Sunderland should have actually won the game, but they failed to take their chances. Its heartening to see that United aren’t conceding goals, but I hope that they also realize that you need to score atleast one to win a game.

Trouble at Merseyside

After getting knocked out by Northampton at home, you would expect Liverpool would try not to lose to another small club (with no offence to Blackpool). Well, they didn’t learn their lesson clearly and things are troubled at Merseyside.

One of the hazards of maintaining an all round football blog is visiting Blogs of other teams (Arsenal, Chelsea and even Liverpool and City). Most of the posters on Liverpool’s blogs aren’t too happy with the way Roy Hodgson is handling things.

I like Roy Hodgson, but lets be clear, I wouldn’t be too happy if he was managing United. And he does seem pretty clueless at times as to where to play his midfield trio of Gerrard, Meireles and Poulsen.

Then again, the other side of the coin is that he’s inherited a crap team, some really crap players and he’s just come in, its bound to take time for him to change things. Also they really didn’t have an easy fixtures list for sure.

Fans are all calling for Kenny Dalglish to be appointed as manager of Liverpool and sack Hodgson, which doesn’t seem very unlikely if their recent results continue.

Anfield - A crazy place to be

Credit to Blackpool for their win.

Elsewhere on Merseyside, Everton registered their first win over Bimingham which meant that Ben Foster dropped points in my Fantasy Premier League team (Yes, I’m slightly obsessed about it)

League Table after this weekend

P Team Pld GD Pts
1 Chelsea 7 21 18
2 Manchester City 7 6 14
3 Man Utd 7 7 13
4 Arsenal 7 7 11
5 Tottenham 7 2 11
6 WBA 7 -3 11
7 Stoke City 7 -1 10
8 Aston Villa 7 -3 10
9 Blackpool 7 -4 10
10 Fulham 7 1 9
11 Sunderland 7 0 8
12 Bolton 7 -1 8
13 Blackburn 7 -1 8
14 Wigan Athletic 7 -9 8
15 Newcastle 7 0 7
16 Birmingham 7 -3 7
17 Everton 7 -1 6
18 Liverpool 7 -4 6
19 Wolves 7 -5 5
20 West Ham Utd 7 -9 5

Manchester United versus Liverpool. It always turns out to be a fiesty affair. There’s no love lost between these two teams and this time out, both of them are pretty desperate for a win.

No love lost - Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher

Liverpool have taken only 5 points from a possible 12 and United have drawn two matches (against Fulham and Everton) which they really should have won. Its still early in the season of course, but the reason that this game is a must win (especially for United, since its at Old Trafford) is more psychological than anything else.

Chelsea are clocking 3 points after 3 points after their relatively easier fixtures in the start of the season. Arsenal too have started really well and are now strengthened by the return of Cesc Fabregas to their team. Expect them to continue doing well (until they do an Arsenal, sometime mid season).

Liverpool have just come off a really poor season where they didn’t qualify for the Champions League. I’m not going to dwell upon that, you all already know about it. But over here, I’m going to take a minute to catch my breath, because I can’t help but laugh at that. My apologies to all the Liverpool fans. Anyway, and their present season hasn’t started off great either.

Drawing against Arsenal when they should have won, getting hammered by Manchester City, an expected win against West Bromwich Albion and a draw against Birmingham where Barry Ferguson looked like Paul Scholes and Birmingham completely dominated a game in which it looked like Liverpool had no midfield players.

It is very important for Liverpool not to lose their next game against their ultimate rivals. A loss would surely send them home disappointed and then after two games against Sunderland and Blackpool, they go to Goodison to face Everton. To be fair, their fixture list doesn’t look really nice, but then again, it seems to me that the league has just become that much tougher, which is why its becoming increasingly difficult to get 3 points against supposedly lower league opponents.

United have had their usual hot and cold start to a season. Most United fans are beginning to worry, but the ones who have seen it all aren’t too fussed because they know this is how United always start a season. A convincing 3-0 win against Newcastle was followed up by a good display against Fulham, but still the Red Devils managed to get only a point thanks to Hangeland’s late equaliser. The demolition of West Ham was quite expected and was followed up by a ridiculous draw at Goodison Park where the defence seemed non-existent in the final minute of the game. A Champions League game at home against Rangers followed where most expected United to pick up all three points against their Scottish opponents, but failed to do break down their defence. A horrible injury to Valencia marred the night and was terrible news to digest along with the goal-less draw.

Both United and Liverpool will be looking at this game as a very important one. Not just for the sake of old rivalries, but for the morale of their players and the fans. Liverpool would no doubt be overjoyed with a win at Old Trafford and I actually think it might be beyond them. They aren’t really playing well. Raul Meireles seems a good addition to their team for whatever little he played against Birmingham, but will he be enough for Liverpool to gain a foothold in the centre of the park where no doubt the veteran Scholes will be deployed by Ferguson. I’m sure most Liverpool fans would prefer him played there instead of watching the Lucas show.

Will he make the difference?

The main reason for United’s failure to create against Rangers was the lack of creativity. With both Scholes and Berbatov missing, United lacked two players who could cut open most defences. Berbatov has been in stunning form for the Red Devils and will most definitely start against Liverpool (especially with news of an ankle injury to Rooney). United will definitely want to win this one, and they should express that desire with the way they play their football on Sunday.

Striking while the iron is hot

United also need to show a display that asserts their mental strength after the injury to Valencia. Remember how Arsenal’s season crumbled after the Eduardo injury? United fans believe that their players are made of stronger stuff than Arsenal’s. We’ll soon find out.

Most likely the affair will be cagey. Neither team willing to risk too much and both of them cancelling each other out. Or I could be completely wrong and both teams will play end to end football and surprise us all. I wouldn’t count on it though.