Let’s get right to it:
• Everton welcomes Norwich City to it’s Really Goodison
The Premiership world was shocked when Everton announced that American Landon Donovan will come on loan to the Land of Toffee starting January 4th.
Okay, not shocked actually at all–except for the fact that Everton actually got a quality player to help them in a battle with Father Relegation, even if only for two months.
This is a much different team that Landon joins in his second loan stint in Liverpool.
No Steven Pienaar, no Yakubu, no Mikel Arteta and an attack that largely relies on the aerial abilities of Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini or the rambling runs of Leighton Baines.
Donovan will play a critical role for the Toffees on the right flank, typically.
Everton–because of probably the best LB in England right now, Leighton Baines, and a largely weak link named Tony hibbert at RB–have predominantly come down the left side when on attack this year. Check the passing charts below from a game two weeks ago against Stoke City at home–note manager David Moyes is much more likely to go for the win at home and bunker or counter for the draw on the road.
The charts? Twice the action down the left side of the pitch and more from the leftback role even more than the right midfielder Seamus Coleman. Donovan will likely compete with Coleman and Leon Osman–who typically facilitates runs for Baines–for two of three outside mid/forward roles.
Moyes has also had no proficient striker at his disposal and twice this season went with a team of six midfielders ahead of the back four. Luis Saha has again been inconsistent and Jermaine Beckford is non-existent. The Toffees have no one to threaten the backline of the opponent. The highline for the Toffees is not a gorgeous park to enjoy in New York City, but a nightmare stretch of land for them.
That’s where Donovan will help as well.
With the foreword-playing Fellaini and Cahill more so often checking back to the ball, Donovan can keep the opponents backline honest threaten an overlapping run when the forwards go back looking to link up with the midfielders.
Hard to say if Donovan will have success this time with the personnel that will be surrounding him, but he will certainly help the cause.
• The Cottage is Craven some goals and Bolton may just be the tonic.
Okay, help me understand this.
The Doctor of defensive distribution, Tim McdREAMy is a very solid player already–only 24, young for a CB and he obviously has great handles on the ball. However, he’s also a mess in terms of his defensive fundamentals, makes an error a game and at last glimpse his confidence was a wreck.
Yet, Owen Coyle and others in the Prem rave about making a purchase for him. Is his defensive game really ready for the Premiership? Would he just waste time on the bench now or be cast to the reserves?
Just what would be the price on his head by the New York Red Bulls for a sale? Shouldn’t Bolton be looking for someone who could offer some more immediate help or are they really going to maybe move Mr. Overrated Gary Cahill in the January window and need some cover? And Ream’s the man?!
It’s just all so very perplexing. (Don’t get me wrong–Ream should get out of Harrison and there’s oodles of potential still there.) Seems a lot of lavishing on him..at this moment. And why would you heap the praise if you want to make a purchase?
Fulham come off their Europa League ouster. The Cottage hasn’t been the steely fortress that it typically has been for them. They need to make a statement.
BTW, carrying on Europa in Fulham’s stead, Wisla Krakow. Genuine feel good for their fans. Courtesy TSG contributor John Nyen with the video find:
• Newcastle vs. Swansea City
Another “Boy I am happy to see you affair here.”
Newcastle may not be sure if they’re going to have Ceick Tiote in the line-up, but that should matter little. Swansea is absolutely dreadful away from home and they haven’t won at St. James Park since 1980.
If the game starts getting out of hand early, just play the following drinking game: Anytime Jonas (35-leader), Scott Sinclair (31) or Nathan Dyer (29) flop (get fouled), take a shot/drink/sip. Three of the biggest hit-the-turfmeisters involved in this one. For comparison, Luiz Suarez (33 fouls suffered) and David Silva (17). You get the point.
• Will Manchester City be good Citizens at home and resist the Arsenal
Isn’t it time for Manchester City to play the same hardball with Mario Balotelli and his agent that they did with Carlos Tevez–who’s probably bowling or something in Buenos Aires right now.
• Wigan’s pitch is TURRIBLE….oh, they’re playing Chelsea.
Rain, snow and sleet in the forecast for Saturday at Wigan. So you’re saying there’s a chance….
Wigan normally get stomped by the Prem’s elite. If they’re going to steal one of these–against a Chelsea team that is probably feeling a tad too good about themselves right now at eggnog time–this is the one.
Given “someone” floating it this week that Fernando Torres can be had for a quarter of what he was purchased for (20L) less than a year ago, AVB may just want to trot the former Spanish striking savant out there on that Wigan pitch and, you know, cash in on that insurance policy.
• Paella! Sevilla get Real Madrid
David Villa down with a broken leg the Fifa Club World Cup (how pointless is that by the way?!). Real Madrid playing for the league lead heading into Santa time. Old school club Sevilla in their way. After a blazing start to the season they, faltered when superstriker Alvaro Negredo went down. Negredo is the non-hipster choice and if you’re looking for someone to put some coin on for the question: Who will be the La Liga leading scorer not from Barcelona or Real Madrid–he may be your man.
If Ronaldo doesn’t go for a cool 37 in this game, the press are going to eat him alive.