Monday 4 February 2013

GW25 Match Centre

Both these teams have a weakness that is all too often exploited.  Villa can't defend set pieces and Everton's defence is as shaky as the come when they are attacked with verve.  Result...?  Six goals.  With Baines's deliveries and Fellaini aerial threat and with the pace and power on show from Villa's front line it's not too surprising.  Doubts over Fellaini's role should be allayed now with Gibson back giving the Belgian license to menace alongside the hulking frame of Anichebe, in the team on merit ahead of Jelavic.
Rooney and Van Persie played very closely together as a front two in this one.  Despite a lack of attacking drive from central midfield pair of Carrick and Cleverley, Rooney was not tempted to drop deeper and try and play from there.  Fulham's put up a good fight although without Berbatov they are lack the kind of class that Rooney showed with his precision finish.  Surprising to see so little creativity from United' wingers though.

Arsenal can be a frustrating side and do blow hot and cold.  They did pretty well here when you look at the stats and Stoke as unambitious as ever away at a top club at least returned to something of their old resolute self.  Wegner's tactics here perhaps explain the lack of real cutting edge with Cazorla being dropped to accommodate the more combative Diaby.  Walcott won the free-kick for the goal and bagged an assist and new boy Monreal was very impressive on his debut at left back.

Sunday's 4pm kick-off served up yet another pulsating Premier League encounter, although one that took a while to get going.  Manicni's lineup with three holders in the middle in Barry, Milner and Garcia.  This really limits the extent to which Silva and Aguero can create anything, as can be seen in the lacklustre attacking stats of their front three - although the strikers did of course both score.  This was much in contrast to Liverpool who were the better team in my opinion, creating far more chances and will rue another missed opportunity.  I really don't think there's much to separate Sturridge and Suarez in this team from a fantasy perspective.

This fixture has a real tendency to produce both shots and the goals.  As elaborated on in the GW25 Top Players article, Sissoko really looks to be a player to watch with great penetration and shooting accuracy here.  There's plenty to like about this Newcastle performance against a decent Chelsea team and Cisse really should  have scored.  Demba Ba owners will be very disappointed with their purchase after his rotation and his now broken nose.  Otherwise though, it's Lampared stealing the show and Mata remains as irrepressible as ever.

I ventured before hand that QPR would try and win this game.  You know, have some shots, score some goals.  It looks like they tried, a little, managing an "average" number of total attempts for a home team against Norwich but, as is their style, they didn't get in the box enough and Taarabt, despite his ability, is again the main culprit - even more so not scoring his penalty.  Just one of his shots was in the box (the penalty).  Someone should tell him about this.   Norwich were pretty productive for a change away from home, which probably tells you just how much trouble QPR are in.  Hoolahan, Snodgrass and Holt were most like to grab an away goal.

 Ian Harte's deliveries are always worth an assist every few games and Reading are now starting to score with some consistency.  Kebe was on the score sheet a few times earlier in the season and is a worthy attacking player and will score a few more this season no doubt. Sunderland's new boy N'Diaye is certainly catching they eye on the left flank but this was a limited performance overall from O'Neils team.

Quite a reserved performance at the end of the day from Tottenham after West Brom were reduced to 10 men after Popov saw red for spitting.  Spurs were content to keep the ball and pass it around for long stretches.  They're a team that have really improved through the season and credit must be given to their manager AVB for bouncing back from his "Chelsea experiment".  Defoe left the ground on crutches and his replacement here was new signing Lewis Holtby who  played an advanced role.  Bale too played pretty central at times and it's no surprise he nailed another beauty to seal the win.  Lukaku and Long may be the front pairing now after Odemwingie's transfer-window  antics, although the former was withdrawn after Popov's dismissal which perhaps gives you some idea of his place in the pecking order.

 With Carroll back at the point of their attack West Ham were able to get to something like their early season attacking numbers, and the Nolan-Carroll partnership promises to be very fruitful for both parties.  Mark Noble too, beneficiary of an assist here, should see some joy from his set-pieces with Carroll to aim for.   I'm not all that sure Swansea are equipped for a visit to Allardyce's Upton Park, and I imagine too that this is a point Laudrup will concede - you can't win them all.  Pablo Hernandez and Michu had the best chances for the Swans ahead of their DGW 26.

 Despite how well you play, and just like last week at Old Trafford Southampton played well, you are always going to be vulnerable in English football to set pieces.  Today, this was to Wigan's benefit as two Beausojour corners ended up in back of the net.  They really didn't create much else to trouble Southampton who showed most threat through their front pair of Lambert and Rodriguez.  Their best chances came on the break.


  1. Excellent as always. Although Graham doesn't play for Swansea any more