Saturday, September 09, 2006

Not catching up with my Premiership team reviews.

Not doing well with my Premiership team reviews, since at times I cannot be bothered to write my blog. Eventually I will get round to all of them, so for those who are reading (which probably means no one). In this entry I will be writing about Middlesborough and Blackburn Rovers.

I was not in favour for Gareth Southgate being appointed manager of Boro. I am sure he will make a fine manger eventually but there are rules against appointing people with no qualifications. Forget about Steve McClaren being appointed England manager or Gareth Southgate doing his qualifications, there are reasons why these rules are in place - to stop dimwitted, famous ex-players being appointed without having a clue what to do. Why not appoint one of the former assistant to McClaren as a manager with Southgate being assistant.

Whatever manager was appointed, I still think Boro will struggle this season with a new manager and young players with relatively few experienced players recruited.

Positional review

GK: Mark Schwarzer, Brad Jones, Ross Turnbull, David Knight

A slew of keepers but keeping them happy will be difficult. I think Schwarzer and Jones will be the number one and two goalkeepers but Turnbull and Knight will have to move on if they want first team action or going out on loan will be another option.

RB: Stuart Parnaby, Anthony McMahon

Parnaby is one of the underrated right backs in this country. I think McClaren should consider Parnaby as an England right back. And the fact that McMahon is also very good, in the future he maybe considered for national duty.

LB: Emanuel Pogatetz, Andrew Taylor, Julio Arca

Getting Arca was a great boost for Southgate - a player who can play anywhere on the left flank and was considered one of the best players outside the Premier League. But letting Queudrue was a disappointing - probably the best left back in the league last season. But Boro still have enough quality players to fill this position

CB: Chris Riggott, Robert Huth, Jonathan Woodgate, Ugo Ehiogu, Andrew Davies, Matthew Bates, David Wheater

Probably Boro have the best young centre-backs in the country but having no experienced players in this position. That is the reason why they gambled on Huth and Woodgate. Even though they are relatively young and usually injured, they got experience at European and national level but massive amounts of talent.

RM: Gazieta Mendieta, Ray Parlour, James Morrison

This is one area that Southgate should improve during the next transfer window. Even though Mendieta, Parlour and Morrison are capable players, they are not true wingers and are better players in the middle of the park. They need some balance in the side and bringing in somebody with a bit of pace would be good. That would mean sacrificing somebody in this threesome and most likely it would Parlour, who is getting on a bit and probably should consider dropping down a division to continue his career.

LM: Stuart Downing, Adam Johnson

The best example of Boro's youth system, with two capable players in this position who could play in the first team and also in the England national team.

CM: George Boateng, Fabio Rochemback, Lee Cattermole

Another player would be needed in this position. Boateng and Rochemback are great players, whilst Cattermole is a capable player with bags of enthusiasm. They need another defensive player if Boateng becomes injured or suspended.

FW: Yakubu, Mark Viduka, Malcolm Christie, Massimo Maccarone

Another area that Southgate could impove on - not in the first pairing in Yakubu or Viduka but the quality of back could be improved upon. I think Christie should be given a chance but Maccarone should leave and go back to Italy.

I think this would a season of transition for Boro. If Boro can consolidate mid table, I think it would be a good season.

Now onto Blackburn...

After saving Rovers from relegation, getting them to sixth place last season was an incredible achievement for Hughes. But keeping the momentum would be the main test or last season could be seen as flash in the pan. What wouldn't have helped is changing the whole strike force. It would take an incredible amount of Hughes' management skills to maintain their progress. If they can do well in the cups and stay relative in the top half of the table, it would be a good season for the boys of Lancashire.

Positional review

GK: Brad Friedel, Peter Enckleman, Jason Brown

When Brown came in, Hughes was obviously thinking of the future. Eventually Friedel would go but for now, he is still one of the best keepers in the Premiership.

RB: Lucas Neill (Zurab Khizanishvili, Brett Emerton, Steven Reid)

Probably Hughes might consider bringing another right back, such as Danny Mills, but with Lucas Neill playing all the matches and with other players capable of playing at the number two, this is not a priority

LB: Michael Gray, Jay McEveley

Hughes has a conundrum here - Gray is good but not great whilsst McEveley has 'potential' but not enough experience. Eventually if Gray continues playing, McEveley may decide to leave Blackburn and this is not a good situation for Hughes.

CB: Andy Todd, Zurab Khizanishvili, Ryan Nelsen, Andre Ooijer, Stephane Henchoz, Dominic Matteo

With Henchoz just signing, Matteo is all but confirmed to leave Ewood Park despite his experience and versatility. But you have to wonder why he didn't do it early instead of having to rot away for another four months until the transfer window re-opens.

RM: Brett Emerton, David Bentley

See below.

LM: Morten Gamst Pedersen, Steven Reid

The two wide midfield positions do not need any recruitment, with enough capable players filling in the positions.

CM: Robbie Savage, Tugay, Aaron Mokoena (Steven Reid)

With Savage and Reid being the primary choice, perhaps Hughes might like to bring in another attacking central midfielder to give some balance.

FW: Jason Roberts, Benni McCarthy, Francis Jeffers, Paul Gallagher, Shabani Nonda

With a new complete forward line-up, this could be the area where Blackburn cock up this season. It would take time for a partnership to bear fruit, so it could be until mid season when Blackburn eventually start to produce the results they want to.

Like Middlesborough, a major shake up in the staff would mean Blackburn would be happy just finishing in the top half of the table and bring a good performance in the cup competitions.

Now that my shoulders are starting to ache now, I eventually have to go to bed and get up tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


It will be no surprise to people that I am still struggling. I have only been to two days of classes out of a possible eight days. Probably now is the time to get help. Soon

Everybody loves an underdog. The team or person who seem inferiorly weaker on paper but happens to upstage the favourite is always well liked, because they don't rely on skill or strength or money but heart and courage. It appeals to most people because we are like that, not all of us are blessed with gifts or favours.

Two teams that have started the Premier League well are Portsmouth and Everton. And yes, I will be reviewing them now...

I am not a big fan of Harry Redknapp. He's not a big developer of youth. People said he played young players at West Ham United but he was forced to rely on the youth system because he had no finances. So no young players go through at Portsmouth (he was at Southampton for far too short a time to evaluate).

But he has had marvelous results at West Ham United and Portsmouth, despite having to buy bargain players plus free agents. He managed to keep Portsmouth and West Ham United in the Premier League despite being on the budget. Yet this season he has Russian mafia money to spend thanks to new investment (can't remember who the new owner is). Yet he has had trouble attracting good players to Portsmouth. It is the same predicament with Wigan, Bolton and Reading - despite being in the Premier League and having money to spend, the lack of pedigree and glamour around the club has failed to appeal to players. He has attracted some players but I think they won't improve that much.

Positional review

GK: David James, Dean Kiely, Jamie Ashdown

I didn't understand why Redknapp bought James when he had a better keeper in Kiely. James is dominant in the air and he is more prone to mistakes than any other keeper in the Premier League. It may cost Portsmouth points in the long run.

RB: Glen Johnson, Noe Pamarot (Linvoy Primus, Adrian Griffin)

I think signing Johnson was marvellous for Redknapp. I hate using the word 'potential' in football (it usually means they are young but not very good) but Johnson does have that. He has drive and the skill to become the next England right back but he needs discipline.

LB: Matthew Taylor, Adrian Griffin

Not a major department to invest in but getting Matthew Taylor to stay was the best part.

CB: Defan Stefanovic, Linvoy Primus, Sol Campbell, Andy O'Brien, Richard Duffy

Probably the world's oldest centre back pairing. Not investing or playing younger players will be very detrimental in the long run.

RM: Gary O'Neil, Roudolphe Douala

At least Harry Redknapp has bought what he need in Douala but I don't know about the quality of this player. O'Neil is great but he is better in central midfield.

LM: Ognjen Koroman

Another area Redknapp has invested in but maybe needs a back-up.

CM: Sean Davis, Pedro Mendes, David Thompson, Richard Hughes, Manuel Fernandes, Niko Kranjcar, Franck Songo'o (Gary O'Neil)

Lots of players in this position, so Redknapp won't have trouble picking players. Best player he invested in was Kranjcar, who performed admirably for Croatia at the World Cup.

FW: Andy Cole, Kanu, Lomana Lualua, Benjani Mwaruwari, Ivica Mornar

Following his own tradition, Redknapp has bought in Cole and Kanu - talented but elderly. They are great players but probably Redknapp should be investing in the future and not the present.

Portsmouth will improve slightly but depends if they want to invest in the present or for the future.

Now going to Everton, who have done very well in the transfer market. They may have paid a lot of money (Perhaps too much) but they have bought well and what they need. I think they have been going yo-yo in the past few years but they need stability now.

GK: Tim Howard, Richard Wright, Iain Turner

Getting Howard in must mean Wright probably will be going soon. I thought Wright would get the primary position but it seems Moyes is looking for a replacement.

RB: Tony Hibbert (Phillip Neville)

No need to invest here but maybe requires an secondary right-back

LB: Nuno Valente, Gary Naysmith, Alessandro Pistone (Phillip Neville)

Another area not needing investing but probably one player needs to go - probably Pistone.

CB: David Weir, Joleon Lescott, Joseph Yobo, Alan Stubbs

Lescott is a great signing, investing on youth and quality. Having Weir and Stubbs will help his development.

RM: Leon Osman, Simon Davies

Another area not needing investment.

LM: Andy van der Meyde (James McFadden)

Probably the worst transfer to happen to Everton was letting Kevin Kilbane, due to his quality plus his deputy is not that fit. It may mean McFadden will be playing more than usual.

CM: Phillip Neville, Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill, Lee Carsley

Another area not needing investment but Lee Carsley probably will go at the end of the season.

FW: James Beattie, Andrew Johnson, James McFadden

Probably won't need another forward, with two good youths coming through, but having Beattie and Johnson will be a good partnership.

Just getting what they needed was what Everton needed to do. Keeping the same nucleus is ideal and I think Everton will improve. They will win either one cup or finish top eight.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Haven't done much.

As usual, I haven't done much since coming back to the Surgery Specialty Clerkship. Went to classes on Monday and Tuesday but haven't been on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. I think the problem is just having to wake up to my parent's wake-up call. I think I need some independence and I shouldn't want to have to think about what my parent's think.

Another event that has occurred is the end of the transfer window, which will stop the ridiculous rumours of certain players going to certain clubs. In continuing my Premiership club previews, I am going to write about the club who did the surprise of the transfer deadline day - West Ham United - by signing World Cup stars Tevez & Mascherano. There are many conspiracy theories as to why these high profile players have shunned big European clubs to pick a small English club but I am one who won't speculate. I think it is a great buy for the club, which may see it now vying for the UEFA Cup and Champions' League spot for this season.

Postional review

GK: Roy Carroll, Robert Green, James Walker
It was ideal for Pardew to get Green. I'm not a big fan of Carroll, primarily he couldn't establish himself at Man Utd despite the incompetence of their various keepers. Also he dropped that clanger against Tottenham (everybody should know about that "goal"). At least Green has time to improve. Plus at least they have cover in Walker.

RB: John Pantsil, Tyrone Mears
Amazingly Pardew actually has done the logical thing after not having an adequate right back last season, by going out and getting not one but TWO right backs. I don't know about the quality of either player but Pantsil cannot be that bad if he was starting for his country at the World Cup.

LB: Paul Konchesky, George McCartney
It was not surprising that Clive Clarke left, considering the form of Konchesky (I don't think he was every dropped). But to replace Clarke with a higher profile player seems lunacy. I would have thought they would have got a player who could play at left back and wing (like Julio Arca).

CB: Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon, James Colllins, Christian Dailly, Jonathon Spector
This is one area Pardew may have strengthen in over the summer. Ferdinand is following in his older brother's footsteps whilst Gabbidon has adequately taken the step up from Football League to Premiership. Getting experienced cover would have been better than relying on Collins & Spector. They're investing into the future but this may cost them with the present results.

RM: Yossi Benayoun, Shawn Newton
Another area that Pardew should have invested. Benayoun and Etherington are great but Newton isn't, especially now that he is suspended for quite a while.

LM: Matthew Etherington
As I mentioned above, Pardew does not have enough cover. This has been proven now, with Etherington injured and asking Benayoun or Bowyer to cover for him.

CM: Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Javier Mascherano, Lee Bowyer, Mark Noble
Now that Mascherano is here, how will Pardew will keep everybody happy? Mullins will be the most likely to lose his place and Noble will most likely leave later.

FW: Teddy Sheringham, Dean Ashton, Marlon Harewood, Carlton Cole, Bobby Zamora, Carlos Tevez
Another problem that Pardew will have here is keeping everybody happy. He already had two future English international in Ashton and Harewood whilst Cole, Sheringham and Zamora are adequate enough cover.

If Pardew can keep everybody happy, they are going to challenging not just for trophies but for Champions' League places.