Friday, 14 September 2007

Taking Stock

Well the first half was brilliant: not just England but the game! It was a real throw back, a match where players passed the ball FORWARDS and tried to score more goals than the opposition. When I saw the shape of the Russian team I thought, here we go, it's got 0-0 written all over it. Instead, perhaps thanks to the early goal, we were treated to 45 minutes of pulsating football - what a joy!

Gareth Barry has been a revelation. He uses the ball instead of passing it sideways or backwards. And his defensive work was excellent. It's of course overstating it to claim that his first misplaced pass came in the 87th minute of the second match, but he certainly retained possession better than Lampard without "playing safe" like Hargreaves. It was a masterclass in how to play "box to box"!

Heskey's contribution has also been exaggerated. True he won EVERY ball in the air but most of his "knock ons and knock downs" fell at the feet of Russians and, as usual, he was as effective in front of goal as a eunuch with mouth ulcers in an orgy. But credit to the guy, he unsettled the Russians and drew the defenders to him, so creating the space for Owen. McClanger has a difficult call now. Do we want the superior skill and goal threat of Crouch (did I just write that description of old daddy long legs?) or the sheer physical presence of Heskey? And where does that leave Rooney?

Wright-Phillips was, in my view, disappointing. He flunked his header, closing his eyes as the ball cleared the defender, and failed to clear the first defender with the majority of his crosses. With the pace of Richards on the right, there still might be a place for Beckham, with Richards pulling the full back away, creating the space for Beckham's crosses. Or maybe Rooney could play wide right. Would that work?

Richards, of course, was the real revelation. The guy is so athletic, so powerful, so quick and so confident. And that long throw is a wonderful weapon with Heskey in the team.

On the other hand, Ashley Cole was a worry. His positional sense was poor and he was done for pace in the second half. Whereas Richards runs beyond his "winger", Cole now seems to regard the edge of the penalty box as the byline. His "angled" balls into the box are poorly directed and he seems low on confidence. Has the injury had lasting effects or is it marriage?

Joe Cole was, at best, adequate. He fluffed his big chance to score and, like his namesake, doesn't seem to realise that the byline is as deep as the corner flag. Every cross was from the edge of the box. Knowing where the ball is coming from must be easier to defend against irrespective of the quality of the delivery - we saw that with Beckham. The left side is, therefore, still a problem. Either Ashley rediscovers the ability and pace to power beyond his "winger" or we need a left footer with pace in Joe's position. Anyone fancy a bet on Etherington?

Gerrard? I don't think he was at his best in either game but he was still impressive. Owen? How could we have ever doubted him?

Still worried about Red Mist Robbo though. Why didn't the Russians test him with crosses?

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Tempting Fate

It's 5.32, two short hours before the Russia game. Dare I say how good we looked against Isreal on Saturday? Did Gerrard and Barry look like a central midfield partnership made in heaven? Did Wright-Phillips really look like an international fooballer at last? Was Richards really the revelation I thought he was? Did Heskey really have a good game? Did Owen really look vaguely like the Owen of young?

But then, it was only Isreal...the test will come when the Russians get a free kick or corner and Red Mist Robbo has to decide whether to come or stay or come or stay or come or stay or...pick the ball out of the back of the net!

Fingers crossed. No not you Robinson!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Painting by numbers

Anybody else notice Mervyn "Slipped Through My Fingers" Day giving Noble his instructions b4 he came on as a substitute at Rovers? He must have flicked through twenty pages in the "tactical manual". Poor lad, Noble thought he was going on for a game of footy, instead he appeared to be receiving directions on how to drive from Mile End to Bristol without using any M or A roads! Noble nodded a lot but, to be honest, had a "What the fuck are you going on about?" look on his face. Pards was famously caught writing down the half time score in his notepad; the new management team seem to think everything can be reduced to painting by numbers!


In a state of shock! Secretly I fancied us at Reading, but to win 3-0 - that surpassed by wildest hopes! At this rate, Turds might keep his job! Delighted to see Etherington scoring. He was a key player in our first triumphant season back up and we missed him more than was acknowledged last season. He lacks that extra yard of pace and clearly has stamina issues but the lad can cross and has a very good range of passes. When Etherington is confident and buzzing the team suddenly has width and the pitch opens up. Good to see Ashton taking another positive step back and Bellyache seems to have the bit between his teeth. And maybe, just maybe, Bowyer has his hunger back. Parker must be wondering if he'll get in the team! I think Turds was actually smiling genuinely (as opposed to ruefully) in the post match interview!

As for Tevez - does he only start playing in January?

Mine's a Carling!

Anybody puzzled by the Blunted Blades' mid week triumph and weekend defeat only needs to look at the names of the respective competitions. Now let's face it, Red Stripe Robbo isn't going to get excited about the Coca Cola Championship is he? (Where's the Bacardi?) But the Carling Cup - now you're talking!!!!


Carlsberg don't do pub teams but if they did they'd probably call the team Sheffield United!

Watch the advert on the TV. Who is that sitting AT the bar? You've guessed it, Red Stripe Robbo!

Hold the Front Page!

Hold the front page! Incredible news coming in from West Ham on transfer deadline day. We can exclusively reveal West Ham have signed....
Er no.
Joe Cole?
Not quite.
Just signed a contract extension so who knows, he might come in January.
Shorey then?
Then Barnes of Derby?
Too expensive I'm afraid.
Then who?
Heard of Camara?
Yes, he's not good enough for the Wigan team is he?
That's right! So Turds has managed to capture him on loan.
But he's not good enough for Wigan!
Exactly! Stroke of genius from Turds, he's found somebody nobody else wanted! Clever eh? And that's not all, we've signed a top international midfielder!
Really? Somebody from Italy?
Not quite.
From Brazil?
Argentina then?
Columbia? Mexico?
It's not Paddington is it?
Very funny!
But what about all the money we're supposed to have?
It's being used to build a new treatment room!