Friday, 30 November 2012

Heavy Handbags Ahead of Huddersfield v Leeds

Why is it that I when I read about Lorimer and Grayson's spat, I picture Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough wielding handbags over the garden fence? In the white corner in the wrinkled tights is Lorimer; in the blue, in curlers and head scarf, Grayson.

Still, it's a good excuse for some Dawson gags:

Warnock said to the chemist, 'Can I have some sleeping pills for the Chairman?' He said, 'Why?' Warnock said, 'He keeps waking up.'

Bates upset Warnock the other Guy Fawkes Night. He fell off the fire.

Warnock said to the Chairman, 'Treasure' - He always calls him Treasure, he reminds him of something that's just been dug up.

Warnock  saw six men kicking and punching the Chairman. Lorimer said 'Are you going to help?' Warnock said 'No, Six should be enough."

What amazes me is that so many people think Leeds are glamorous and exciting. Believe me, watching Leeds is about as glamorous as changing sheets in a bed-wetting clinic.

A letter came from GFH Capital. They could tell it was from the bank as it was written on a wreath nailed to the front door.

There was an old farmer from Leeds
Who did terrible things to his geese
But he went too far with a budgerigar
And the parrot phoned the police.

You can always tell when GFH Capital are coming to stay; the rats throw themselves on the traps.

Warnock said to Bates, "When you're dead, I'll dance on your grave." Bates said: "Good, I'm being buried at sea."


Leeds United is an institution and that's where most of the fans end up!

It's the way I tell 'em!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

QPR Want Tottenham's Parker

Admittedly it remains a rumour but I predicted that as soon as he was appointed, 'Arry would target Scotty, and lo and behold, the former West Ham "legend" is now an identified target.

I would love it, just love it, if Parker was shown the door by AVB and obliged to join Green, Anton, Zamora and Dyer in a relegation dog fight in the Bush - a fight that I anticipate QPR losing.

Parker's stock has slipped whilst he has been out injured and I don't see him featuring in AVB's first eleven - and on his wages, Levy won't be happy with him sitting on the bench. I therefore expect a loan deal to be agreed, with QPR committed to buying Parker if they escape the drop - just like the deal we signed up to for Keane. And look how that ended!

Should Parker go down with QPR, his career really would have turned full circle - and this time in Hoops!

Heroic & Unlucky Or A Missed Opportunity?

So, how do we reflect on that performance? Manchester United's goal was extremely lucky and they rarely looked like scoring after the thirty seventh second of the game. We, on the other hand, had five or six decent chances, far more than I was expecting. So can we look back on a heroic and unlucky performance, or was this really a missed opportunity, a failure to steal a point or three off a distinctly off colour Manchester United?

To begin, Ferguson used squad rotation in a way that suggested he anticipated a comfortable victory. True Scholes was suspended, but there was no Giggs, no Ferdinand, no Fletcher and Young started on the bench. A central defensive pairing of Evans and Smalling screams out vulnerability, and a decent striker would have been licking his lips at the prospect of matching up against those two. The trouble is, we have Carroll and Cole vying for the role of non scoring centre forward. And to be fair to both, we had no invention, creativity nor flair in our midfield.

Without Benayoun we lack invention and without Noble we lack control. Ball retention last night was appalling. Apparently only 55% of our passes went to a man in a West Ham shirt. Noble's pass completion rate is in the mid to high 80s. And his percentage of passes forwards matches Steven Gerrard's exactly, destroying the argument that he is a sideways and backward passing clone of the older Ray Wilkins.

Diame is a conundrum. When he powers forward he looks awesome and when he makes a successful challenge, he looks a powerhouse. But he plays with his head down and his first instinct is to run with the ball, no matter what the situation, his position on the pitch and the availability of team mates. There was one classic moment last night when he ran the ball directly into touch! When Noble is in the team, he has an easy out ball and can move into space fairly certian of a return pass, without Noble, he tries to do it all alone, and loses possession.

Jarvis was also bitterly disappointing last night. Perhaps he is still struggling for fitness but his pace looked far from electric and his crossing was straight out of Faubert's 'Little Brown Book of Merde'. For Carroll to be effective, he needs balls into the box to attack, and there were precious few. 

The problem remains one of balance. When set up to defend, we can nullify the opposition, but we have no way of opening up the opposition because we sit too deep and Carroll and Nolan lack the pace to hit the opposition on the break. Meanwhile, our full backs can defend when screened by the midfield, but should we try to move onto the offensive, we are vulnerable down the flanks.

At the end of the day, I saw enough to suggest that we can survive this season. But to push on, we need more pace and more guile.

Redknapp to put QPR survival into the hands of Rob Green?

Has 'Arry gone mad? Word on the training ground is that he fancies Rob Green between the posts after his heroic 45 minutes in the Stadium of Twilight. Somebody should show him tapes of that 5-0 thumping at home to Swansea. Or 'Arry might like to re-run the England game against the USA. Yes Rob will always have the odd excellent game, but he will have as many or more aberrations and his defence will soon be a confused mess every time the opposition have a set piece.

Cesar has looked very good to me. Will he really be asking, "Et tu 'Arry?"

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Man Utd 1 West Ham 0 - A Perfect Night of Damage Limitation!

Well Allardyce very nearly came up with the perfect tactics! Give the Mancs the lead inside the first minute, thereby removing all the urgency and passion from their play, keep the game at 1-0 for as long as possible, then steal an equaliser in the final minutes. It so nearly worked!

Of course Man Utd had more of the ball, but that stat apart, we were in this game from the thirty seventh second right through to the end. Nolan could have scored with a clever near post deflection from a corner. Carroll might have scored with a rasping volley. Nolan so nearly connected inside the six yard box. Cole forced a good save from Lindegaard. And Maiga fired narrowly over.

And what did Rooney and co offer in return? Very little. Jussi was stretched a couple of times and there was an ugly goal mouth scramble mid way through the second half, but other than that, we looked pretty composed and comfortable in defence, with Tomkins playing a key role in screening the back four.

And how unlucky were we to concede? It's true that Collins should have been closer to Van Persie but he got in the block, only for the ball to spin cruelly over and away from the committed Jussi. Without Collins' intervention, Jussi would have saved it.

Of course, had that goal not gone in, we might have come under greater pressure as the game unfolded. QPR made the mistake on Saturday of scoring, thereby rousing the dozing beast. We did the reverse, gave them the lead, thereby administering a perfect sedative. Such a shame that we lacked a goal scorer to pinch an equaliser!

However, a one goal reverse was better than expected, and with Southampton and Norwich drawing tonight, QPR and Sunderland sharing the spoils yesterday, and Reading and Wigan losing, we are in a better position than any of us dared hope for going into this round of games.

However Benitez is now under pressure after two goal less games at Chelsea and Torres is long overdue a hatrick so let's not count our chickens yet guys!

Player ratings: Jussi 7, Demel 7, Collins 6, Reid 8, O'Brien 6; Tomkins 7; Diame 5 (how many times did he give the ball away again?), Jarvis 5 (poor crossing all night) Taylor 6, Nolan 7 (led by example except for his stupid booking); Carroll 6 Subs Cole 6, Maiga 6, O'Neil 5

Time For West Ham Fans To Show Their Class

After the shame of White Hart Lane, it's time for West Ham fans to show their class. One thing is guaranteed: even though the game is in the North West and even though we are virtually guaranteed to be on the wrong end of a tonking, West Ham fans will show up in numbers, singing their hearts out and backing the team no matter what the score.

Whereas the home fans are fickle and turn far too easily on the players, the away supporters have developed thick skins and almost revel in masochistic agony. When not spouting vile invective, the passion is a joy to behold and an example to many.

Do we stand a cat in hell's chance? It is bloody hard to make a case for anything other than a three goal reverse at best. Rooney, Van Persie, Hernandes...ok, the Mancs are weak at the back but will we ever get the ball down the other end to exploit that? Long lumped balls to Carroll are not going to trouble Man Utd any more than they troubled Spurs.

Still, Noble's critics will be hoping that we suddenly play like Barcelona and prove that all the stats suggesting he is our best player are wrong!

Leeds Charge Gathers Pace - But Absent Fans Let Down Warnock and Speed

Start a snowball rolling down hill...

The announcement of the takeover seems to have perked up the Kingdom of Leeds and there may now be no stopping them - at Elland Road at least! Two teams in the top three defeated in a matter of days, and suddenly Leeds are surging up the table. Better still, most of their rivals for promotion are stuttering.

Mind you, the locals don't seem to be impressed. This was a memorial game for former great Gary Speed and a crucial match against a top three team, and only 17,717 got their arses down to the stadium. The excuse of not putting money into the pockets of Master Bates no longer holds; it seems that the defection is not as personal as many fans have claimed.

When GFH Capital bought the club, it was on the basis of the Kingdom of Leeds being one of the best supported clubs in the country but last night Brighton, Charlton, Derby, Miserableboro, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolves all attracted more fans through the turnstiles for Championship fixtures. There were only eleven games so Leeds came fifth from bottom of the attendance table on the night in the second tier of English football.

It's a pretty poor state of affairs isn't it, when fans can't even show up on the first anniversary of Gary Speed's death? Well done to those who did; shame on those who stayed away. With gates of just 17,000, some might say that Leeds don't deserve to have a Premiership team!