Message Board ‘Legends’

Posted: August 24, 2010 by thepremierleagueowl in Banter
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Sometimes it seems that Britain is just a collection of people who sit around in-wait for something that is liable to offend them. Andy, from Cardiff, clearly doesn’t like football – nor any of the people that partake in it – but that doesn’t stop him from reading and commenting on football-themed articles. In reaction to an article on the, entirely press-created, controversy regarding Joey Barton’s goal celebration from the Daily… well, just guess which paper Andy reads.

Why can’t these over grown, over paid babies just shake hands with their team mates when they score instead of making complete morons of themselves with utterly ridiculous ways of celebrating? They look even more stupid when they lose after 90 mins. Football? Don’t make me laugh!

Indeed footballers, don’t make him laugh! They should all be preserving their dignity by misusing punctuation while responding to Daily Mail articles, that’s a real man’s activity.

Highlights from Man City Vs Liverpool

Posted: August 24, 2010 by thepremierleagueowl in Match Reports, Video
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We’re really not able to stress how poor Liverpool were last night. However, instead of a big analytical piece about how Roy Hogson’s team are still going backwards, here are the highlights instead, courtesy of those fine people at Premtube.

Ashley Young will already have been on the phone to his agent…

The day Martin O’Neil handed in his resignation at Aston Villa, the future looked less bright in the midlands. Less bright, but not bleak – Villa fans could correctly have reasoned that they still had a very competitive squad, even if the manager who had assembled them had packed his bags.
If James Milner’s value to his former team is in doubt, let it no longer be so. The most apparent deficiency in Villa’s performance yesterday was the absence of a link between midfield and attack, a gap that used to be bridged by Milner. Without him, Kevin MacDonald’s front line and midfield drifted individually as two separate entities, continually surrendering possession in the chasm between them. The memory of a comfortable victory over what Bolton showed to be an extremely fragile West Ham team are a distant memory, Villa are sinking back into mid-table nothingness, or worse.
At around the same time that O’Neil walked through the exit door, there were persistent rumours that Ashley Young would soon follow on his coat-tails. Only a last-minute intervention from Randy Lerner managed to convince the England winger that the club could match his ambition, and that his future was not back in London. However, following the humiliation at St James’ Park, would anybody really bet against Young having already issued a distress call to his agent. Interestingly enough, his odds of joining Tottenham have been slashed overnight – to 1/2.

Subtle as Carlo Ancelotti’s influence is, Chelsea are better for it….

Again a slight difference, but a noticeable one. The change in Chelsea that has transformed robotic 3-0 victories in 6-0 maulings is one of enhanced fluidity. Apart from the sum of the team’s parts being regularly superior to their opposition’s, the multi-tasking and flexibility of Chelsea’s forwards has made them near impossible for most to cope with. Anchored by a fit-again Michael Essien, the front four of Lampard, Drogba, Anelka, and Malouda now seem to drift into whichever attacking channels take their fancy. Watch the fifth goal scored against Wigan, and appreciate that setting up banks of four – or ‘parking the bus’ – is really no longer a viable option in attempting to subdue them.

Matthew Upson and Robert Green both need to move clubs…

Players don’t become hopeless overnight. Sometimes a sequence of events, or a severe individual event, can afflict confidence terminally. The combination of conceding goal after goal last season, and being cornerstones of all that was bad in South Africa, is a classic example of this phenomenon. The sooner this period in their careers is bookended by a change of environment the better, both for the players themselves and for West Ham.

Andy Carroll is a future England player…

Not because of the hat-trick – there are plenty of average players that have Premier League hat-tricks to their names – but because of his link play. Newcastle’s second goal owed everything to Carroll’s age-defying maturity in squaring his back-post header instead of going for goal, showcasing his understanding of how to actually play the target man role. Like Premier League hat-tricks, there are also plenty of average big-framed players that are referred to as target-men, who show none of the qualities expected within the role. Carroll’s intelligence, understanding, and strength on the ball all add up to a bright future in not just black and white, but plain white also.

Jermaine Beckford is a huge mistake by Everton….

Little tricks and flicks that worked in League One are going to fool nobody in the Premier League. David Moyes enjoys special status given what he’s managed to do with such scarce resources, but this looks likely a black mark against his record. You can’t take a player from the lower leagues who is already in his mid-twenties, and expect him to adapt to such a dramatically harsher environment. If he ever scores a goal for Everton it will be a surprise.

Outstanding level of nonsense from Andy Dunn, Chief mockney b****cks-merchant at The News of The World, this morning. Jumping into the ‘City spend money recklessly’ discussion, a mere three days after it happened, he reasons that Sir Alex Ferguson is in no place to comment on transfer policy, or in his own words:

For a bloke that lavished £24M on Juan Sebastian Veron and emptied £30Mout of the Old Trafford coffers to secure Dimitar Berbatov, that is a bit rich.

As anybody who has seen Sky Sports’ eye-wateringly smug ‘Sunday Supplement’ program will know, Andy of course is a Chelsea fan – and one who has a tendency of bending the truth around his allegiance. He reasons that what happened on the Fulham Road during the early-Abramovich years bares no resemblance to the present day at Eastlands, as:

(Chelsea’s success) has still been founded on the axis of two club stalwarts, John Terry and Frank Lampard.

Not to be pedantic Andy, but a couple of things…

We’re fairly certain that Frank Lampard started his career at West Ham, and that Chelsea spent £11m on him at a time when the club could only just afford to pay the groundsmen.

Is that the same Juan Sebastian Veron that Chelsea would later spend £15m on, before loaning him out and then eventually allowing him to leave the club for free?

Would it also be fair to say that at no point during the Abramovich years has anybody had due cause to refer to a transfer involving Chelsea as ‘a good bit of business’.

It is of course only right to point out that Chelsea went about their spending in more of a ‘team-building’ way than the ‘star-f***ers’ in blue, but the criticism of the instant-gratification culture that exists at City is still deeply hypocritical. Just as Roberto Mancini is doing now, Chelsea spent vast sums of money on fully-developed players that would give them the quickest route to success ( Carvalho, Paolo Ferreira, Crespo, Makelele, Essien ) – and they did so in the same ‘cluster-bomb’ manner. For every success like Drogba, there is a Veron, Shevchenko, Damien Duff, and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

The difference with Ferguson at Manchester United has always been his promotion of an ‘embrace, develop, and nurture’ policy – there are very few examples of players that haven’t left Old Trafford as better players than when they arrived, nor are there many that have been sold on for huge net losses (Ince, Stam, Cristiano Ronaldo). Ronaldo is probably the best example, the £12m spent on the spotty, self-indulgent teenager is probably the best bit of business the club ever did – both in terms of what was achieved during his tenure and the colossal profit made on his departure. Furthermore, for every obvious bust like Veron, there is a Denis Irwin, Lee Sharpe, Eric Cantona, and Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer for Sir Alex to counter with.

Probably not ‘a bit rich’ for him to comment is it.

Arteta ready for England

Posted: August 21, 2010 by thepremierleagueowl in General
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As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago here, Mikel Arteta qualifies to play for England through the residency rule. Interestingly enough the BBC has reported that the Spaniard would be ‘open’ to a call-up, with him quoted as saying:

“If one day the opportunity comes obviously I would have to consider it very seriously”

Given that the queue to play in Spain’s midfield seems to get longer every season, this might represent the only chance the Everton player is likely to get to play International football. Other than the typical objection that will be shown by ‘In-Ger-Land’ fans, the national team could do worse than a midfielder that can actually keep possession of a ball.

Gareth Barry – Ye be warned.

Lazy Blogging Exposed

Posted: August 20, 2010 by thepremierleagueowl in Banter
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Do you remember those times at school when you used to copy people’s homework? And how when you did it, you would always change around a couple of sentences and restructure the odd paragraph? Well, it seems that this is a lost art…

From – ClubCall – 20/8/10.

William Gallas is likely to go straight into the Spurs squad for the clash with Stoke if he completes his move in time.

Spurs are still without Jonathan Woodgate who remains a major concern with a long term groin injury and Ledley King will have a fitness test before the clash so Gallas is likely to be in the squad as long as he completes his deal before the deadline to play on Saturday.
“He’s a no-brainer on a free transfer,” said boss Harry Redknapp who denied there had been a problem with his wage demands.
“He’s never asked for big money here.
“The chairman’s agreed a one-year contract with him and the wages are more than reasonable.”

From –EatSleepSport.com – 20/8/2010

William Gallas is likely to go straight into the Spurs squad for the clash with Stoke if he completes his move in time.

Spurs are still without Jonathan Woodgate who remains a major concern with a long term groin injury and Ledley King will have a fitness test before the clash so Gallas is likely to be in the squad as long as he completes his deal before the deadline to play on Saturday.
“He’s a no-brainer on a free transfer,” said boss Harry Redknapp who denied there had been a problem with his wage demands.
“He’s never asked for big money here.
“The chairman’s agreed a one-year contract with him and the wages are more than reasonable.”

Brilliant, but could you not have even used a different font. At least when we steal content from the BBC/SSN, we try and make it look like our work. Oh, and the irony in both cases is that the information is incorrect – no Billy tomorrow Spurs fans.

Premier League Betting – Week 2

Posted: August 20, 2010 by thepremierleagueowl in Betting
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An up and down week last term around, Villa, United, and Chelsea all going as we expected – the less said about the abomination at Wigan the better.
Jumping out from the coupon at us this week is the very long 12/5 on Stoke overcoming Tottenham. Spurs started well against Manchester City, but expect the Young Boys Bern disaster to have a knock-on effect. Dawson and Bassong have both had the confidence rattled, and looked uncertain in the air throughout – with Ledley King likely to be preserved for next week, expect the same partnership to struggle against aerial onslaught that awaits them.

If a degree of risk is not really your cup of tea, then have a look at the 1/2 offered on Everton to beat Wolves. The corresponding fixture last year was a dream for the bookies, with Wolves snatching a ill-deserved point. David Moyes is nothing if not astute tactically, expect his tongue lashed players to give a far better account of themselves than last week – home certainty.

Elsewhere, 13/10 on Aston Villa to win at St James’ Park – but wait for team news on this one. If Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor both start, expect the paceless Geordie defence to have a very long day. The same applies to Monday night’s Man City versus Liverpool encounter – if City are at full-strength get right behind them at 11/8, the home crowd should be enough to see them beyond a Liverpool team very much in transition.

Accumulator? Take QPR, Middlesbrough and Chelsea.

Balotelli Watch…

Posted: August 20, 2010 by thepremierleagueowl in Banter
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So… in his first twenty-five minutes as a Manchester City player, Mario Balotelli managed to score, square-up to the FC Timisoara captain, get lectured by the referee twice, get booked, and nearly score again.

I’m sure we’ll come to like you once we get to know you Mario.

Gallas having Spurs medical/Sandro arrives.

Posted: August 20, 2010 by thepremierleagueowl in Transfers
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Maybe this would have been shocking three years ago, and maybe it’s still a little unpalatable for Arsenal and Tottenham fans, but William Gallas is undergoing a medical in North London this morning ahead of signing a one-year deal.

32 years old he may be, but Gallas will bolster Harry Redknapp’s fragile defence just through his presence. Astute signing this one – IF his tired and broken body can actually pass the medical. Neither Gallas, or Sandro who arrived in London today, will feature against Stoke tomorrow – but Gallas could feature in the return leg of the Champions League play-off.

Ah, Craig Bellamy. Man of many clubs, many words, some goals, and one enormous cumulative transfer fee. Value for money?

£6m Norwich to Coventry: Craig’s Norwich team-mates supposedly take to locking him in the coach toilet on away trips, so unbearably audible is his level of self-confidence.

£8m Coventry to Newcastle: Craig gives a public interview to SSN slamming Graeme Souness ‘for not talking to him’, goes on loan to Celtic, but still manages to find time to send abusive text messages to Alan Shearer. Also indulges in the ill-advised tendency of wearing his hair ‘long’ during this period.

£8m Newcastle to Blackburn: Uneventful.

£6.5m Blackburn to Liverpool: Craig is signed by Rafa Benitez, fulfilling his ambition of playing for the club he supported as a boy (apart from Cardiff, obviously). Celebrates his time at Anfield by making sulky faces from the bench and hitting John-Arne Riise with an eight iron. Does a very clever and ironic celebration in the Nou Camp.

£7.5m Liverpool to West Ham: Amazingly Liverpool manage to turn a profit on the Welshman, as he moves to the strikers’ graveyard of Upton Park.

£14.5m West Ham to Manchester City: A lack of goals and multiple injuries endear him to nobody at the Boleyn Ground, and as such the West Ham board bite City’s hand off when offered a predictably, ‘because we can’, inflated offer for Bellamy. Craig rediscovers his Blackburn and Wales form under Mark Hughes, but on Roberto Mancini’s arrival, reverts to his ‘unappreciated’ persona – and celebrates City’s failure to qualify for the Champions League by ‘high-5′ing’ Harry Redknapp.

August 2010: Despite dodging four winding-up orders, and owing money all over the football league, Cardiff City prioritise appropriately to bring Craig back to Wales at huge expense. Unfortunately, the Bluebird’s hope of making a killing on shirt-sales is undermined by the club shop running out of ‘Ys”, cue ‘humorous’ Sky Sports News featurette and possibly ironic spellings of Bellamy.

That’s £50.5 Million spent on Craig Bellamy. What recession?