Tag Archives: chelsea

Haiku Match Previews of this Weekend’s Games

Arsenal v Blackburn

Mad Jens starts in goal.
Lets in three and gets sent off.
Does Seaman still play?

West Ham v Manchester United

Fergie predicting
the ref will have a nightmare.
That guarantees it.

West Brom v Liverpool

Hodgson wondering:
‘Do they still think about me?’
Most have forgotten.

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Hopes & Expectations: January Frontmen

The January transfer window was defined by clubs throwing caution, and sack loads of used fifty pound notes, to the wind. So what did all that money buy and what can reasonably be expected from the top five wallet-emptying forwards?

Darren Bent, Aston Villa (cost £18m, rising to £24m)

Expectation: Four key goals. Villa are just five points clear of relegation and still twelve from the safety of forty points, which adds up to four key wins. If Bent can provide vital goals to get those wins he’s paid for his transfer fee. Simple. A winning goal against Fulham at home on Saturday would be a great start.
Hope: Another fifteen goals to match his tally from last season would make him the bargain of the window (if he’s not already). Ideally, he could also bring the best out of Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and Gabby Agbonlahor. A new England front four?

Fernando Torres, Chelsea (cost a cool £50m)

Expectation: Stay fit, stay in form and stay classy (less of the ‘I’m at a big club now’ talk). If Torres can continue to look like the recently invigorated player, scoring three in his last four games, Chelsea could well threaten a late title tilt, or at least a serious run in the European Cup. However, if he starts challenging Nicolas Anelka for most infantile strop, watch out Blues’ fans.
Hope: If he can score another eleven, bringing his season total to twenty, he could effectively force Didier Drogba and Anelka to move on at the end of the season, leaving him as heir apparent to the new free-spending Chelski. Roll on the roubles.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool (cost £22.8m)

Expectation: Though scoring for fun in the Dutch Eredivisie (81 goals in 110 games, since 07/08 with Ajax), Liverpool fans may want to consider Dirk Kuyt also had a similarly impressive scoring record there before his move to the Reds (71 goals in 101 games over three years with Feyenoord). Perhaps expectations should be as modest as settling into the team quickly and offering to work hard, something Kuyt knows well. Oh, and don’t bite anyone.
Hope: That unlike Kuyt, Suarez can actually hit a barn door from six yards and scores some goals. Torres accounted for almost a third of Liverpool’s league goals so far; what better way to make the Kop forget about it’s Spanish fling than matching that.

Edin Džeko, Manchester City (cost £27m)

Expectation: Make an impact on the first eleven. Not earth-shattering, but plenty of forwards have tried and failed at City in recent years. With such a rotating squad and fluid tactics, ‘The Lamppost’ (‘Kloc’ back home in Bosnia) will do well to keep in first team consideration and better that next season.
Hope: That he develops into the perfect foil for Carlos Tevez. He appears to have a great first touch (see his assist against Wolves on his debut) and already scored in the FA Cup. If he can strike up an understanding with the wee Argentinean, his name might be guaranteed second on the team sheet.

Andy Carroll, Liverpool (cost £35m)

Expectation: What do you expect from a 22 year old who’s halfway through a decent debut season in the Premier League and suddenly becomes the club record signing? A bit of humility might be a start. The price was mental, but mitigating circumstances were involved. But not many Liverpool fans will be excited to hear him say he didn’t want to leave Newcastle.
Hope: That he can somehow justify the outlay; be it in assists, goals, or simply avoiding Liverpool Crown Court for a while. He may also want to watch where he parks his Range Rover.

A Fairytale of Transfer Deadline Day

Fairytale of Transfer Deadline Day

The head of the League Manager’s Association, Richard Bevan, recently said the transfer window system should be scrapped as “it doesn’t create stability, it doesn’t create a level playing field.” It’s a viewpoint which appears to be shared across the English Premier and Football Leagues and is backed up by simply observing the incredible circus that was the closing hours of yesterday’s January window. However for the fans, it can provide a second ‘start of the season’ feeling, when all mistakes can be erased with just one new record signing. It is a bank holiday in the middle of winter, which should be celebrated with feasts and the burning of ex-star shirts.

For Sky Sports News it is a combination of Black Friday and Christmas. For a day they become the centre of the football world in England, as their army of round-faced, pale men, hang around empty parking lots hoping to get a glimpse of a tinted-windowed sports car, which can be breathlessly reported as “something possibly happening”. Half the time they appear to have just arrived at some different empty parking lot, desperately trying to work out which one from the local dialect, while Jim White barks orders into their ear.

If they are lucky enough to be stationed at one of the clubs who “possibly does something”, a nation hangs off their every word as they stand, pantomime like (they’re behind you!), in front of a growing mob that cheers the slightest mention of their club and any player who may, or may not, turn up there.

There’s also the roaming armchair pundit who takes this day of days to finally summon the courage, visit his local ground and get his opinion on the latest happenings, on air:
“What do you think of the news that Tuncay is leaving?”
“Well, you know, I wish ‘im the best. What can you do?”
What indeed.

Bryan Swanson is back in the studio, giddily adding up the day’s net spend, as though it will all be emptied into an Olympic-sized pool for him to crawl through. In another corner, Tony Cascarino keeps coming back to the mantra “big men, up top”, perhaps channeling messages from The Other Side (or Wolverhampton). Next to him Iain Dowie appears frozen in an acute moment of self-awareness that he no longer manages football teams, just commentates on rumours that some of them might buy, or sell players.

Transfer deadline day is a celebration of the hype and speculation that is such an engrained part of modern-day English football. It truly is the end of the holiday season, after which fans can reflect on whether their club has been naughty or nice. A time to regain hope in a disappointing season, or wonder if they kept the receipt for Andy Reid. As unstable and damaging as it may be for the majority of clubs and managers, the transfer deadline day is one last extravagance purely for the fans. Tomorrow we resolve to go on a diet, until the next one.