Friday, January 7, 2011

Ramblin' Man

photo by AmberStrocelvia PhotoRee

farlieonfootie's corporate bad boy Ed is back, and isn't going gentle into that good night:


Blackpool’s loss to Birmingham City on Tuesday hurts, especially due to the fact that Birmingham scored in the last minutes of the game after enduring a barrage of shots and play in their end including a stellar run and shot off the post by Charlie Adam.  That said, it could have been far worse, as the number of chances Birmingham had inside the six yard box of Blackpool was outright frightening. 

Birmingham attacked the advancing outside backs of Blackpool on every counter by pushing the ball up the flanks with their fastest player, striker Cameron Jerome.  Tactically, this was an appropriate response to Ian Holloway’s aggressive style of pushing his outside backs forward and wide, because while both Eardley and Crainey are creative in their passes, neither – especially Earley – have EPL speed. 

The only flaw in Birmingham’s strategy was Jerome.  While he was able to burst past Eardley at will, he was completely incompetent in front of the goal.  Birmingham’s inability to score goals this year is now clear to me.  It appears that Jerome’s problem is in his head;  regardless, he won’t be playing up top for long after efforts like that.
Charlie Adam once again was a dominant performer both on offense and defense.  As usual, he and Vaughan controlled the midfield and set the dial on the pace of play to the frantic setting, and kept the Tangerine machine running full tilt beginning to end.  Very fun to watch. 

Unfortunately, in this one Holloway’s aggressive style at the end of the game cost them a point.  Clearly he’s betting that the chance of three points is worth the loss of one, plus as has been stated before, this "throw in the kitchen sink" mentality energizes the fans and players alike. 

The second half of the season will get gritty, and one wonders whether Blackpool will be able to grind out wins.  I’m still a believer in Blackpool, but wow they could use some backs with more pace. 


Spurs loss at Everton was also tough.  To keep pace against Manchester United, a win would have been necessary, though frankly I would have taken a point as Everton are tough at home and are, once again, gaining momentum as the season passes.  I wonder what Everton would be like if they started playing before January?  A lot of the season remains, but Spurs have to be sure to beat the teams that they’re supposed to beat – a quality they’ve lacked this year.

Strangely United seems to win and win and win even while they don’t look like much when they do it.  This is not to diminish the ability of United’s personel.  Despite losses each year, they seem to be able to insert new high level talent to replace the old (see Chicharito and Nani).  That said, as even farlieonfootie seems to acknowledge, they fail to inspire and seem something less than an undefeated team when they play.  Some of this is luck – good calls, posts hit, etc.  Some is skill.  And some, I think, is the slumping of the top flight competition in the EPL (see, e.g., Chelsea and Liverpool).  

Not long ago it seemed there would be a great scramble at the top of the league as everyone seemed vulnerable.  Nothing has changed – everyone still seems vulnerable – but regardless United keeps winning.  Can they crank it up or will they start to fold after that first loss hits?  I’m thinking neither – expect them to consistently play well enough to beat most teams and run away with the title.  Let’s hope my prediction is wrong as it’s the least fun of the alternatives available.  And no one really wants to see this United team win it all, do they?


Let’s not give the City’s manager or their defense too much credit.  While they employed the same strategy as United against Arsenal – give them the wide and pack in the middle – they could have easily lost that game 3 - 0 (I refuse to use “nil” for cultural reasons) if not for great saves by the woodwork.  I will, however, give goalkeeper Joe Hart credit as he’s proving again and again to be the best in the EPL.

Permit me continue to be mean to Gareth Barry and his fans.  He was terrible in this game.  I think to some extent he’s not a good fit for this City team as no one is really very fun to watch in that style.  That said, I still believe him to be overrated. 

At one point during the telecast, the camera turned to the bench and focused on poor Shay Given.  Open request to City:  please release him and don’t let him waste his youth watching others play.  I myself would love to see him at Spurs because Gomes is just so. . . . . odd.  But instead we’re getting Beckham.  Huh?  But more on that later from correspondent James.

As for Arsenal, they are still playing at a different level since their win at Chelsea.  I’d like to see that matchup against United now rather than the unkempt game we saw several weeks ago.  Of course, their lack of height up top is still killing them.  Wenger clearly knows it:  all of the corners were pushed to the short man, and at the end of the game he even brought in Bendtner as what I considered a desperate attempt to get some size out there.  Oh, Bendtner, your about fun to watch as farlieonfootie when he sucks down his nasty Spinach and Raisin Pudding Cups.  You guessed it:  spinach, raisins, pudding.  Argh.

[Ed Note: In rare and semi-exclusive footage, farlieonfootie has finally managed to capture some home video of our boy Ed's Tuesday night rec league team in one of its most recent games of footie.  That's Ed with the next to last miss:]

This is farlieonfootie for January 8.

No comments:

Post a Comment