Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sign Lua Lua Sam!

Bit left field I know, but I watched Lua Lua play for Turkish team Karabukspor recently and the guy was on fire. True, his finishing was profligate but his pace and movement were electrifying, as was his awareness of team mates.

He is 32 and would be a stop gap but I reckon he would be worth a shot, offering an injection of pace that we so desperately need.

Reading 1 West Ham 0 - Inept West Ham Book Relegation Battle For 2013

Well that was dire. Collison, Maiga and Vaz Te were held back far too long and a Reading team there for the beating were allowed to con their way to victory. When Allardyce eventually woke up to the possibility that we could actually attack the team that has already conceded 19 goals at home this season, we created three good chances from open play. But until then, the only game plan seemed to be to defend and pinch a goal from set pieces.

This was the old Doctor Evil that I complained about all last season, a guy who doesn't understand that sometimes you are the superior team and that you should stamp that superiority on the game. Every game is played the same, with the priority being reducing the goals scored by the opposition, forgetting, it seems, that you can win by outscoring your opponents. We should have beaten this Reading team comfortably, instead we gave away a pathetic goal and then spent 60 minutes protecting a 1-0 deficit. When the chances came, because at last we tried to create some, we missed them.

The squad is, of course, hopelessly inadequate. Tomkins is not a right back. O'Brien is not a left back. O'Neil is not a Premiership player. Taylor was offloaded by a Bolton team heading for relegation for a reason. And Noble needs somebody half decent alongside him to control a game. And yes, to satisfy his critics, his set pieces in this game were embarrassing. Meanwhile, Jarvis is hopelessly out of form.

It's one win in eight games now, and Nolan's suspension for the Norwich game isn't going to help our cause. We need Vaz Te fit and firing whilst Collison's performance was promising. The teams at the bottom are closing the gap however, and the relegation trap door has eased open. Five wins is all we need, but this is a team that has forgotten how to win. Three points against Norwich are essential, but Norwich pushed Man City close today so that won't be easy - especially without Nolan.

Worrying times!

Player Ratings: Jussi 5 (He didn't make a save!); Tomkins 5 (distribution awful) Reid 7, Collins 4 (what an error!) O'Brien 5; O'Neil 4, Noble 4; Taylor 5, Nolan 6 (stupid booking!), Jarvis 4; Cole 5 Subs Collison 6, Vaz Te 5, Maiga 5

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Nolan Books Off New Year's Eve - Again!

Well there's a surprise. Captain Kev is free to enjoy New Year's Eve for the second season in a row having secured the yellow card necessary to take him to five just in time. How convenient! Last season it was a foul inside the Birmingham half which merited a yellow at the very least and this time it was a foul inside the Reading half that was guaranteed to secure the requisite booking.

Was the foul necessary? Well Reading were breaking but were deep inside their own half so the answer is no. Should Nolan have been on strict orders not to make silly challenges which would put him out of a crucial six pointer against Norwich? Unquestionably yes.

With resources stretched absurdly, the absolute priority should have been for Tomkins and Nolan to avoid yellows which would buy suspensions. One more game and the cards would be wiped. But, surprise, surprise, both are now free to enjoy a New Year's Eve piss up after collecting utterly stupid yellow cards - Tomkins for dissent!

Stupid or deliberate? Carroll has probably already texted Nolan to tell him which night club they are heading for!

Half Time Reading 1 West Ham 0 - Inept!

Well it looks like we have been found out. I warned that the cocky optimism being shown by some was misplaced and that first half confirmed what I have been warning for three weeks now - we face a battle to avoid the drop.

Going forward, we are clueless. Cole is trying but there is no movement. Jarvis is misfiring and Taylor's crossing is poor - but the big problem is the absence of bodies in the box. Tomkins is not a right back and offers nothing going forward and O'Brien is not a left back either and offers little on the left. As a result, we rarely double up on the flanks unless Nolan pulls wide. When he does, there's only Cole down the middle.

At the back we have been shocking when in possession and there are gaping holes behind the full backs that Reading will exploit in the second half. The Collins error was a carbon copy of his mistake against Swansea and, frankly, I can see a repeat of the 3-0 score at the moment.

Allardyce needs to earn his salary at half time but gobbing off can only achieve so much. O'Neil is not good enough. The full backs are not good enough. Taylor is not good enough. Jarvis is out of sorts and the alternatives are not exciting.

Fingers crossed - it's more in hope than expectation!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Benayoun Heads Into Wilderness

Like Moses, Yossi is heading off into the wilderness by returning to Chelsea, and like his great forefather, he is destined to simply glimpse rather than enjoy the Promised Land. Because let's face it, he aint going to get a game for the Plastics is he?

To what extent his return to West Ham was ruined by injury, we will never know. However, the Benayoun we have seen so infrequently this season is a pale shadow of the player who previously graced Upton Park. The fire seems to be out. There's no desire. No passion. No hunger. Thank God Chelsea were paying the bulk of his wages!

That said, his departure confirms another gaping hole in the squad. Either we source four or five players in January or we are going to struggle, and struggle badly. Two defenders, two midfielders and a striker would be on my shopping list - with an injection of pace an absolute priority.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Reality bites for Leeds at Forest

Oh dear. The wood has walked to Dunsinane. Was Sharp not of woman born?

Luckily most of Leeds' rivals failed to capitalise on the 4-2 thumping so Old Big Gob's team remain in touch with the teams hoping to feed off play off place scraps come the end of the season. That said,  a reverse at Hull will kill off any hope of automatic promotion and will seriously dent play off dreams.

Winning at home is not enough, the away form has to be sorted, and fast!  Bet Brian Clough is having a chuckle tonight.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Has Redknapp Lost the QPR Dressing Room?

Interesting events at QPR. With Pardew praising the endeavour of the Rangers players after the narrow Newcastle victory, it seems 'Arry may have dropped a brick with his criticism of the overpaid, overhere and underachieving darlings in Hoops.

After claiming there were players at the club who were being paid too much, Redknapp appears to have backtracked and softened his criticism, whilst his failure to categorically state that Bosingwa will never play for him again, following his refusal to sit on the bench, suggests that 'Arry is seriously worried about a dressing room revolt.

He has massaged the egos of some of his players - especially Robert Green and Jamie Mackie - but appears to have upset just as many along the way. The result appears to be a divided dressing room, split down pro and anti Sparky lines.

It seems that in his efforts to endear himself with the fans, Redknapp may have alienated key members of his squad - and that is no way to rally the troops for a close to hopeless battle!

Leeds Well & Truly in the Promotion Mix

It gets better and better for the Whites. The fightback against Middlesbrough was hugely important, and with so many results breaking in their favour, Leeds are suddenly in with a real promotion shout.
To stay in the mix, however, the away form has to be sorted out. The charge up the table has been coutesy of four home wins on the bounce and that away win in the derby game at Huddersfield. That result against Grayson's team was the exception that proved the rule, however, as defeats at Derby, Millwall and Burnley have shown.
Lose at Forest and Hull over the next seven days and all the recent good work will be undone. Leeds fans should enjoy their Christmas dinner, happy with the takeover and the home form, but this is no time for complacency: Forest would leapfrog Leeds should they win the Boxing Day game and Hull are already nine points clear of Old Big Gob's team.
An interesting week could see Leeds slip back or confirm themselves as contenders for outright promotion, never mind for the playoffs!

Relegation Struggle Confirmed

Ignore that epic second 45 minutes against Chelsea, and the picture is worrying. The injuries have mounted, the cardboard thin squad has been found out, and the team are on a bad run. Sure we got a draw at the Hawthornes but we played West Brom at a good time and rarely troubled them. The defeats at home to the two Merseyside teams - both deprived of their major striking threat through suspension - has confirmed that we are going to be more concerned with the bottom half of the table than the top half.

Five wins will see us safe, but we don't want a winless run to stretch into mid January.  If that happens, the teams scrambling to avoid the third from bottom slot will be on our shoulders. Suddenly the two Reading games - and Reading are a bogey team - and QPR and Wigan at home assume massive importance. And whilst QPR are not a bogey team as such, any club managed by 'Arry is a nightmare fixture!

Norwich and Swansea at home are also target games, as is the home fixture against West Brom. Matches away to Villa, Southampton and Sunderland have become must not lose affairs meanwhile.

If you were spread betting, you would be brave to go high on a 43 point target at this stage. I fear we may be sweating before the season ends!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Leeds Takeover Completed - Merry Christmas All You Whites!

Well I have scoffed for six months now so it is only fair that I offer congratulations and best wishes for the Christmas season to all associated with Leeds United.

No ifs, buts or maybes here. This is the time of year when we should be charitable to all men and when we should offer a hand of friendship no matter what.

So, this could be the start of the climb back to the top. All jesting apart, I accept Leeds United belong in the Prem. Good luck guys, and merry Christmas.


And the award for the best headline goes to...

...London 24 and their effort "McDonald: Wally Downes’ departure hasn’t affected us".

Maybe not but Burger King, the local kebab joints, the chip shops and curry houses etcetera are all hopping mad!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Chelsea Show Leeds That Big Clubs Live In The Present

It was a salutary lesson, or should have been. At the very least, it was a slap around the arse for all those Leeds fans who repeatedly hark back decades in a desperate attempt to prove that Leeds remain one of the biggest clubs in the country. Five goals shipped in 45 minutes to a team suffering jet lag. Five goals shipped in 45 minutes to a team in disarray. Five goals shipped in 45 minutes to a team managed by Benny Benitez. So much for Leeds United's Premiership pretensions!

So what makes a big club then? Leeds fans repeatedly argue it is all about history, but when Chelsea beat Leeds in that epic Cup Final replay, Chelsea were the smaller club of the two. Nobody would pretend that was the case now.

So what about the fanbase? Leeds fans have been using the excuse of Master Bates to justify gates of 19,000 at Elland Road. Isn't it strange then that 33,816 forgot about the problem of putting money into the Chairman's pocket last night? Surely this was the game above all others that Leeds fans should have boycotted, saving their benefit money to cheer in GFH in the home game against Middlesboro on Saturday? Could it be that Bates is just an excuse then, that, in truth, Leeds fans are glory hunters, only willing to commit to the club when the opposition are an attractive draw and when Leeds are riding high in the table? What does that say about Leeds supporters exactly?

On Friday GFH are scheduled to take over the club but there are big doubts about their willingness or ability to fund a genuine revival of the club's fortunes. Already, fans' expectations of a spending spree in January have been dampened down. Thoughts of a £10m splurge seem well wide of the mark. And what is £10m these days anyway?

For 45 minutes last night Leeds battled like Colchester battled against Revie's team in 1971 but unfortunately, they had all the fight knocked out of them by Chelsea's equaliser. The tragic thing for Leeds fans is that they were in the role of Colchester United, a brave bunch of journeyman doing battle with a Goliath of English football. Never mind last night's result, at the end of the day the Capital 33,816 Fan Cup is an irrelevance, the truly sad thing is how far Leeds United have fallen in relation to clubs who looked up to them in the seventies.

A big club? Once upon a time it seems.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Leeds Nightmare As Chelsea Sleepwalk To Tonking!

Oh dear. Poor Old Big Gob. At half time he was rehearsing in his head his "Stick that where the sun don't shine" speech for Benny Benitez, but come the end of the match, his dreams of Elland Road glory had become a waking nightmare. Chelsea spent 45 minutes getting the sleep out of their eyes and then crushed Chumpionship no marks Leeds United. Five goals in one half! Bloody hell, even Torres scored!

This game shows how far Leeds have to go before they can hope to compete with the big boys. The side turned over so comprehensively by newly promoted West Ham exposed Leeds for what they are, a mediocre team of also rans. True Warnock opted for a reserve keeper and couldn't select the loanees, but the players unavailable tonight aren't wanted by Premiership clubs anyway.

New owners GFH might like to reflect ahead of completing the deal on Friday. Never mind a transfer war chest, they will need a whole desert of oil riches to turn this shower into a team fit for the Premiership!

Taarabt pokes QPR's 'Arry where it hurts

So Taarabt wants to play in the African Cup of Nations after all. That's very bad news for Redknapp and probably means that the Moroccan will be sold in January.

To be honest, it sounded like Redknapp was trying to talk up his price after his weekend goals, claiming he was good enough to play for anybody and comparing him to Il Duce Di Canio. With money from the sale of Adel and Granero, 'Arry can have a bit of fun in the January window, wheeling and dealing to his heart's content!

ASLEF to Sponsor West Ham!

The nine to one victory for those supporting strike action on the London Underground on Boxing Day may be the best result of the season for West Ham!

With so many players out injured, delaying the game is ideal for the Hammers, especially given the talk of signing new recruits in the January window. It's hard to see how the match will be rescheduled in the holiday season so a date some time in February or March would be ideal for Allardyce and his casualty ward.

If the game is called off, West Ham should wear Aslef on their shirts when the game is eventually played!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Jesus On Gay Rap In Liverpool

Bloody hell, it comes to something when Jesus can't use the word gay without picking up a £10,000 fine! We all thought crucifixion was a bit harsh for turning over a few market stalls in the Temple, but now Jesus can't even Tweet a word in the English language without paying out a King's ransom!

In the mad PC world we now live in, Jesus Fernandez Saez has been slapped across the arse for tweeting that a team mate was "gay" for having his teeth whitened! He also used the F word but apparently that is not an issue! Suso, as he is commonly known, fell foul of posting a text that "included a reference to a person/s sexual orientation and/or disability.”

Big bloody deal! Is Enrique, the subject of the text, gay? If so, what's the problem? If not, then perhaps Jesus was thinking of the true meaning of the word before the homosexual lobby hijacked it, namely to be happy. And why wouldn't he be happy with pearly white teeth to flash in the local bars exactly?

This is getting more and more ridiculous. According to Lindegaard, gay footballers need to come out of the closet because gay people need "a hero". How insulting is that? What about all the gay actors? What about Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and a host of other musical geniuses? What about the Tory cabinet? What about Jeremy Thorpe? What about Richard the Lionhart and Socrates? Or Ernst Rohm? Or Nijinsky? Not to mention Bishop and Morley allegedly!

This is all getting totally out of hand, so to speak. I've never heard so much cock and bull in all my life. Suso is a kid and he used a piece of commonly used slang, slang that does not mean that a man has anal sex with another man but which signifies that a man is not behaving in what is seen as a traditionally manly way. A footballer having his teeth whitened? Nobby Stiles would turn in his grave. But maybe, as that would involve a bottoms up position, that might be deemed a reference to a person's sexuality too!

Absurd! We need a sense of proportion because this is getting bloody stupid!

Misconduct Enquiries Follow Watford's Scott Duxbury Around!

Dear me. Poor Scott Duxbury. After finding himself at the epicentre of the Tevez affair whilst at West Ham, he now finds himself embroiled in a mess left behind by previous Watford owner Laurence Bassini.

Watford fans, however, should be reassured by the news that Mr Duxbury is heading up Watford's defence and "has been extremely thorough in preparing for this" with the Watford board "hopeful" that they will come out of this without a points deduction or any swingeing financial penalties.

Let's face it, West Ham avoided a points deduction despite the 'oral cuddles' allegedly afforded to Tevez's representatives, and the six million pound fine was relatively small beer until somebody panicked and agreed a twenty five million pound compensation package to Sheffield United.

Now I wonder who that was?