Posts Tagged ‘defence’

Feelings, wheelings and dealings

June 13, 2011

Dusting off the cobwebs here at the HQ and the sight isn’t pretty. Aging furniture and curtains sure have a way of making the point that it’s been a while since I last posted. Apologies for that.

Summer has arrived and so has Brad Friedel. It seems Harry has been reading his literature textbooks again because summer symbolizes maturity and knowledge. If that’s the basis of his transfer “wheelings and dealings”, then I guess that would explain why he feels the need to sign more experienced players: Drogba, Forlan, Rio Ferdinand (if there’s any truth there), Beckham, etc.

I for one believe that it’s time that we start signing some just-maturing players in the 24 – 26 age bracket. They have a bit of experience under their belts at that age and are somewhat close to their prime, yet potentially influenced.

Defence is an area we should address quick. I’m happy to see that Gallas has become a pivotal element in our back four. The guy has really put in a lot of effort and hard work to make sure none of us question his allegiance to the cockerel. Daws will be Daws, but this season hasn’t really seen his best efforts. Bassong looks set to leave and with all honesty, he’s too shaky in his decision-making for us to rely on him. King and Woodgate require a medical team investment which could be used on new signings instead. Still, it’s great to have them on the bench and available at their doctors’ discretion.

I’m very happy with the midfield. I would be happier and more relaxed knowing we were able to retain the services of Mr. Kranjcar. I have made no secret in expressing my love for this man (neither has my wife as she is completely taken by his dashing looks), his style of play, his attitude, and his fiery shots at goal. What went wrong in that relationship with Harry is beyond me. Nonsensical.

The forward line needs a bit of work. Robbie is leaving for sure (I’d like to think), but the other three should stay. They should definitely not complain about 1st team football considering the amount of goals they collectively achieved this season. Bad year? Sure, for one guy… but not all three. No excuses boys. Still, they are skilled and I think it will be hard to find two or three good strikers out there, available for decent money and not some sort of ridiculous un-payable ransom amount (not to Man City of course).

So what happens from here we don’t know. The press seems to link us with every unknown player in the world (as always) but we supposedly have had a few bids officially rejected. Rossi would have been a great addition but I can see him and Villareal holding out for a bid from Barcelona. My message to Harry and Levy is be realistic, get us players who we know can fit the system and that will be more than capable of score goals in the Premier League… not the Chinese league. God knows we’ll need them come next season.

COYS!

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The fat lady at the grand Italian opera

October 21, 2010

She sang alright and it took her no less than 70 seconds to begin the graphic murder scene. I hate fat ladies.

The defence remains the problem area of focus here. Not only did they play a major role in conceding 3 goals within minutes, but they also came off looking like amateurs at best.

Arse Wanker (Arsene Wenger) must have sent Gallas here to sabotage our cause. This is definitely not the same player who captained that side. Sloppy seconds at best (so far). Bassong doesn’t really cut it either. Time to recall our younger boys? Not yet. Kaboul will be back shortly (not soon enough; never thought in my wildest dreams that I would say that) and he should add some bite to the mix. But we will make do with whatever we have.

But honestly speaking, I switched-off the television right after the 3rd goal. I couldn’t take it anymore. I did miss Bale’s stellar hat-trick performance, but it was probably better for my health in the long run. The determination to come back from 4 goals down means we will give them a run when they come to visit. No doubt about that.

Hit the reset button and bring them back to the Lane.

The road to…

October 19, 2010

Chugging along. Plugging away. Making ends meet. Doing the business. 5th in the table and a mere 5 points below Chelsea means the league is up in the air and the top 4 are as vulnerable as ever. I likey!

4 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses… and we’re still in 5th? Arse and Man United (3rd & 4th respectively) have dropped a few unexpected points keeping us in the mix of things. Thankfully. But it’s wins like the one at Craven Cottage, home of the Fulham sore losers, which mean we’re doing something right. Okay, it wasn’t a pretty victory but at the end of the day, it’s all about those three vital points. In the near future, those very points will be an integral part of a collective figure which will dictate if we play Champions League football next season, in-flow of money for the club, new bandwagon supporters and last but not least, the possibility of adding another VDV or “flair” player to the squad.

So now that we have the midfield doing the job our strikers are contracted to do, it’s safe to say that we are able to score (I was a bit hesitant typing that). Even more importantly, we are able to hold the ball for long periods of time; crucial to success in Europe, and potentially at San Siro tomorrow.

Still, something’s not right. Harry needs to address the defencive issues within the squad. We need to rewind back to a time when White Hart Lane was a sealed fortress. I think the main point of concern is the fact that we don’t have a consistent pairing at the back. It takes time and communication to build the trust between the center duo. “I cover you – you cover me” type of unspoken promises.

Ledley seems to be nearing the end of his career. It’s a heart-breaking matter and I don’t know how I’d feel without him on the bench. But it’s only a matter of time before he will have to give in to this chronic injury and take a bow.

So is Ledley the cause of our lag at defence? Not quite. He plays when he can (and is stellar at such efforts) but it is hindering any potential of a blossoming defencive partnership. Bassong needs time on the pitch. Gallas definitely does as well (it’s no secret he’s rusty). If the players don’t have time to strengthen their partnerships, it pretty much leaves us open and vulnerable in one of the most critical positions on the field.

Remember the “2 points from 8 games” season? Our fight to claw back from the dead was aided by the very fact that we went on a record clean-sheet run. Gomes was in superb form, having developed an understanding with the two center-backs and vice versa. That is what we desperately need today.

Kaboul should return soon from injury and Dawson needs a bit of time, but we have players who can establish themselves and secure regular selection. I am concerned that Ledley’s involvement in the team might prevent that to a certain degree. Do I want to see him go? Of course not! Am I sick of seeing us stupid goals conceded? Yes. Ledley does little wrong when on the pitch; he is naturally gifted like that. Since we have brought in Gallas, we have Bassong, Kaboul is beginning to flourish and it’s only a matter of time before Dawson returns, then would it be wise to keep throwing Ledley into the mix?

I’m not so sure anymore.

notre défense française

September 20, 2010

We have a slight niggle at defence: communication.

We tend to invite some of the most lame attempts at goal witnessed in the Premier League this season. Could it be down to lack of communication? Could it be language?

Considering Kaboul’s injury doesn’t last too long, we could see an all-French speaking defence come to life at the back.

Kaboul. Gallas. Bassong. BAE.

Could that possibly work in our favor? None of the goals conceded have been mind-blowing. Just defenders at the wrong place at the wrong time. Terrible positioning and lack of communication. That and the fact that Cudicini hasn’t been as sharp as we hoped. Captain Daws’ injury as well.

We cannot maintain this defencive form moving forward. The Arse are coming to the Lane tomorrow and they are looking sharper than ever. With their clinical ball movement, we will have to cover any potential openings towards goal. If not, we will pay the price. Be there or be square fellas.

Deny. Deny. Deny.

Could a bit of française save the day? Hold the fort while we iron out the niggles?

Just a thought. COYS!

Our glorious BALEout plan

February 16, 2010

Once again, I have managed to let my disappointment with Tottenham get in the way of cranking out consistent blog posts. Can you blame me? In my eyes, we have been performing up to the standards of a lower side, and I don’t mean top 10. Harsh? Not at all. Especially when you know that the boys have the potential to play some beautiful footy (i.e. Man City, Aston Villa). But through all of the “aargh’s” and “for f#^k’s sake’s” that have been constantly oozing out of my mouth, like a foaming-at-the-mouth heroin overdose victim, the clouds have managed to part for one.

Bale. Or as the creative fans like to put it: “Bale, Bale, Bale”.

In every match he has played till today in place of Assou-Ekotto, he has easily been our best performer on the pitch.

Defence

The boy likes to run and is a true LWB. Bale has managed to fine-tune his skills to time his tackles almost perfectly. He has outperformed the likes of Daws and Ledley game-in game-out. But the one trait that I just cannot get enough of, is the boy’s ability to leap / out-jump his opponent when challenging for headers. I remember watching one of the Leeds United fixtures, and watching him dominate headers crossed into his side consistently. Leeds then stopped putting the ball in the air, playing it into the area on the ground. Bale had that covered too. The ball never made it to the left side much after that.

Attack

The boy likes to run and is a true LWB. I said it again. Bale knows when to push the opposition. It seems that at times when our attack slows, he manages to reinvigorate it and speed up the tempo. He stands out so much that he seems to have stolen some of Modric’s thunder, when in reality he should be a major asset to the Croatian’s game. When you think about it, Bale has the required attributes to give Modric the comfort of dropping into the middle, while he assumes left wing duties. Why isn’t it working? It is, but Modric isn’t delivering… yet.

The concern

Who will come knocking this summer? Can we hold onto him? What will happen when BAE comes back? Could Harry possibly bench Bale with the way he has been playing? I have a headache just thinking about all of this. What I can’t help thinking about is how many of us were ready to give up on this young talent (luckily, I can say I wasn’t one of them which is surprising). Makes me think that it would be unfair to judge some of our other squad members so prematurely without giving them a real chance CHANCE to shine. Bale has gotten it. He has taken it by the balls.

COYS!