Archive for December, 2010

Christmas on Tuesday: EPL Docket

Nearly forgot about the Premiership match-ups midweek today. All about to go down.


As good as he is, this is not a face you want to put on program guides

 

Villa v. Tevezchester City

Nothing like sending a message of cluelessness to your egregiously overpriced team like making Carlos Tevez the captain last week after he flip-flopped on a homesickness claim to remain at City.

That said, what does the fact that Tevez is so invaluable to the team say about your wild spending on other players over the past more than two years. Where have you gone Joleon Lescott, Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor? Buyer beware should these names come across your transfer sheet in January.

Meanwhile Americans will be hoping for an encore performance from Eric Lichaj? After containing Gareth Bale this past weekend though, Lichaj gets the start against promising England youngster Adam Johnson. Another audition.

Omar Cummings arrives shortly.

The Boredom Bowl: Stoke City vs. Fulham

Precisely what this game would be for US fans if it didn’t include Clint Dempsey.

Fulham are fighting relegation. Surprised?

Stoke City…okay forget it, next.

"I'm running a bomb route, then I'm going to post you up and you're going to be worried."

Spurs v. Newcastle

Now this will be a good match-up. This one previews like an NFL match-up.

Tottenham Hotspur are doing a good job of spreading the field and incising the opponent with checkdowns (Alan Huttons crosses), fly routes (Gareth Bale barreling down the left) and screen passes (scatback Rafael Van Der Vaart finding defensive holes you didn’t know your team had.)

Newcastle’s defense batters you all day long and then it’s “hike it up to Andy Carroll from a Joey Barton bomb or pray for rain.” Did you know all of Carroll’s goals have been assisted by Barton. You hear that ‘Arry?

West Brom vs. The Remnants of the Artist Formerly Known as Big Sam

Chris Brunt, most underrated player in the Premiership. Bears repeating.

Onward as the left winger is not in the line-up today due to a knock. (Can’t do a proper preview here…I’ve got like 4 West Brom games on DVR…for some reason I really like watching that team.)

Birmingham vs. Manchester United

The Blues are notoriously stingy up at St. Andrews. This will be a good game. I can’t say it will be pretty to watch, but it’ll be a close one.

Alex McLeish’s crew–after having their Everton game postponed–are also well rested coming into this one. It’s got the making of, potentially, Manchester United’s first loss of the season.

Birmingham however will need to something, anything out of striker Cameron Jerome– the biggest disappointment of the EPL season thus far–to keep Manchester United’s defense honest.

 

Villamericas: Cummings To Train With Aston Villa

Cummings to go across the pond...

According to the Denver Post, which oddly and usually doesn’t pick up Rapids stories, Rapids striker Omar Cummings is Aston Villa bound for a training session with an eye on perhaps more.

Rapids managing director Jeff Plush on Monday said the team has allowed the 28-year-old Cummings to train with EPL’s Aston Villa, but stopped short of saying they’ve loaned him outright.

Though they get him back this weekend, Villa have been without the services of Gaby Agbonlahor for most of the early part of the campaign and are sorely in need of a speedy striker option up top.

Also interesting about this is that Stan Kroenke has developed Arsenal and not Villa as a sister club (is that what they’re called?) to Colorado.

(Reaching out for more comment now….gotta love the TSG community, thanks to “BW” for this info.)

(And since it’s a holiday week, I’ll echo my long standing comments. Let’s get on Barack America to annex Jamaica. Beyond access to rum and other things, the USMNT gets access to Omar Cummings, Ryan Johnson, Ricardo Fuller and Dane Richards. Forward problems, at least temporarily, solved!)

Arsenal Make Chelsea Blue

Arsenal vanquished Chelsea at the Emirates on Monday, 3-1, marking the first time that Arsene Wenger left the pitch with a smile on his face in more than 2 years against the Blues.

Arsenal pressured high up the pitch, using surprise starter Theo Walcott, to expose Chelsea poor ball management out of the back. Two of Arsenal’s three goals came on gaffes in their central third, but that might have been a chain reaction as Chelsea missing Nicolas Anelka due to a bum knee and Didier Drogba, due to playing defense continually in his own defensive third, had no outlet over the top.

By the time Chelsea inserted Gael Kakuta to attempt to stretch Arsenal defense vertically it was too late, despite an Drogba-to-Ivanovic set play score. It didn’t help that Kakuta looked very much his 19-years-of-age.

The game was not without some questionable play from Arsenal who saw Robin Van Persie dispossessed in his few possessions and Jack Wilshere continue his uneven play. However, stellar play from the captain Cesc Fabregas and stand-in center back Johan Djourou far outweighed the few subpar home time performances by Arsenal as they dominated possession and the rest of the score sheet.

Notes: Lichaj’s Start, Gooch, Celtic(s), Stu, More

Lichaj...doing some serious clubbing too....(photo credit: Matt Mathai)

The Big Nasty, Eric Lichaj, acquitted himself well in a 2-1 Aston Villa loss to Tottenham Hotspur going up against one of the best wingers in the Prem on Sunday, Gareth Bale.

You can ballpoint it that Lichaj is at least second on the rightback depth chart for 2014 at this point and likely 2011 as well (despite some folks at ESPN suggesting Jonathan Spector already has the starting 2014 spot locked-up. In our best Discovery Channel voice, when you don’t do your research….critics attack.)

Villa faithful give Lichaj MOTM.

———-

• Rumor: Calling this a rumor right now. A friend’s email to us out of Mexico suggests Benny Feilhaber will sign for Cruz Azul this week. Not a “report” until there is another confirmed source.

• While Freddie Ljundberg might head to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League, word is the US star of the 2010 Milk Cup, Adrian Ruelas is set to sign with the storied franchise come the January transfer window. Again, we need confirmation here before this is more than a rumor.

• Multiple reports have Oguchi Onyewu FC Twente-bound in Jan. Not surprising given Twente’s Michel Preud’homme coached Gooch at Standard Leige less than two years ago.

• Stu Holden went 90, again, as Bolton beat-up on West Brom, 2-nil. We chatted with the great tactical writer Jonathan Wilson last week, who had this to say about Holden’s game.

• Arsenal v. Chelsea, Monday….excellent.

• Edson Buddle now linked with Sheffied United as well as Birmingham….getting interesting…

• A little more like it here. At least if Manchester City is going to overpay for player they might as well go young and home grown and create some flexibility. Man City through the acquisitions of Milner, Adam Johnson, Joe Hart and more doing a great job of stockpiling young Brits. Now word comes Mancini wants Andy Carroll.

Happy Holidays From The Shin Guardian

TSG will be publishing on an abbreviated scheduled through the end of the year as Little Miss Shinguardian visits family in NorCal and elsewhere.

Merry [insert holiday that you celebrate].

A moment to share our very favorite gift (besides the little one this morning). In the mail today arrived an picture-and-audio book from my dad.

Continue reading

Tim Howard Gets More Bulletproof…

Tim Howard’s superb performance vs. Manchester City this past week.

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