By Tom Gaunt
I recently wrote about boo-boys, and whilst I would never boo Fernando Torres or wish him any ill fate I have become slightly fixated with his performances and the mixed reactions to them. In fact it seems the whole media world uses half their Chelsea match report to discuss how the misfiring Spaniard performed. So with this in mind I readily admit that my opinions on Torres may be slightly clouded, but nonetheless I will share them.
I watched last nights game against Bayer Leverkusen and thought Chelsea’s overall display, against a club who are no mugs, was solid if not spectacular. Daniel Sturridge sparkled and new boys Juan Mata and Raul Meireles looked full of ideas and energy. Torres however left me rolling my eyes and sighing as he was constantly knocked off the ball, mis-controlled and generally looked poor. He was unlucky of course, in the first few minutes his clever flick went so close to Meireles that the goal was rightly given offside, but it seems that since his arrival Torres has been plagued with ‘bad luck’. It is the sort of luck which Arsenal have had recently or it seems most relegated clubs are faced with, but it is not really luck when it carries over 20+ games. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
Manchester City will shortly be parting company with arguably their star player – Carlos Tevez. In normal circumstances this would be greeted with outrage from fans – even if he was unhappy and potentially disruptive – and new concerns about whether the team can reach the heights of last season. However at City there is an air of calm. Most fans, whilst appreciating his contribution, are excited about the prospect of finding a replacement. The smart money is on Sergio Aguero who, if the rumor mill is to be trusted, sees Eastlands as his preferred destination. For Manchester City these are exciting times.
City may not have maximized their expenditure thus far, but qualifying for the Champions League is a huge step forward. There are obvious parallels between City and the Chelsea team of 2003/4, when Roman Abramovich first came into power. Chelsea steamrolled the league that year, and the following year too. I think City can potentially do the same. Read the rest of this entry
By Tom Gaunt
This article looks at the 10 most overrated players currently playing in the premiership. I am sure I have missed a few so please let me know and I will add to the honorable mention section at the end.
10. Tom Huddlestone
It is by virtue of Tom Huddlestone’s nominal transfer fee which prevents him being higher up the list. Though Spurs fans will tell you what a class act Tom Huddlestone is, I am not so sure what the fuss is about. He strokes the ball beautifully around the pitch and on occasion strikes the ball as sweet as anyone. However he doesn’t really do anything. He does not score many goals, so those sweet strikes obviously don’t find the net too often. As for his passing, the ability to switch the ball 40 yards from one side of the pitch to the other is very nice and pretty but does not always achieve a lot. I have seen very few occasions where he has created goal scoring opportunities and his assists record would back this up. He is not an attacking midfielder, nor a defensive midfielder and he certainly does not make up ground all over the pitch like Ramires or Park Ji-Sung – so what does he do to earn all this praise? Answers on a postcard please.
9. James Milner
Now, many of you will disagree with this selection. I will clarify that I am not saying Milner is not a good player, he is. He puts a shift in, has a great engine and loves a tackle, and at Villa scored a number of goals. However the fee of £26 million would suggest you get a little bit more than a good journeyman, but in my opinion this is all he is. He is a winger yet he cannot beat a man, he has no real pace, his crossing is OK but due to the former point he is never in a position to deliver dangerous balls. He has somehow become an England regular, in part due to the lack of competition which benefits the whole of our, frankly average squad, and also he is the safe option for a cautious manager scared to play expansive football. He has thrived on the notion that you get a solid performance from him. This is true but in a creative position you need creativity and he has none.
By Tom Gaunt
With two minutes remaining in it seemed like England Under-21′s had exactly replicated the senior teams much derided World Cup campaign of 2010, a 1-1 draw against the best team in the group followed by an appalling 0-0 bore-draw with the group minnows and finally a scrappy win against a plucky side lacking in true quality, typical England. However this was not to be as Jan Chramosta and Tomas Pekhart put England to the sword in the frantic final minutes of an otherwise underwhelming match.
For the purpose of this article I will assume that the England players are quality players physically if not technically, with most having plied their trade at some point in the premiership, and the more experienced members having played a full season for their respective clubs. Whether or not the players are World beaters is a discussion for another day Instead I will be looking at what went wrong in Denmark if anything could have been done differently, with of course that priceless tool hindsight. Read the rest of this entry