Damn You Jimmy Bullard…

• Well that stinks…as goes Jimmy Bullard so goes Jozy Altidore apparently.

Without funny man Bullard in the middle of the line-up, Hull City skipper Phil Brown has shifted his entire front six strategy. Two games post-Bullard knee injury have seen Brown go super conservative in an attempt to protect an extremely weak midfield. Brown has employed a 1-5 up top, relying on Craig Fagan to run down balls over the top and provide pressure and hoping that the likes of Steven Hunt and Geovanni can do yeoman’s work in both offensive and defensive support.

The strategy has returned Altidore, who was seeing starting time with Bullard in the line-up (and 4-4-2 line-up) to the bench or in Saturday’s case confined him to the stands. I might understand Brown’s strategy against Arsenal with one exception….Mr. Cesc Fabregas donned a parka for the game. If there was ever a game to be more offensive on the road at the Emirates, this was it. Further, what I don’t understand is, if you’re down 2-0 on the road, why take off forward players Geovanni and Garcia and introduce two defenders. Huh?

TSG for Hull City Manager!

When will Altidore see the pitch again as a starter? Likely when Bullard returns from the knee injury suffered three games ago against Villa. Jozy was able to link effectively with Bullard migrating the ball up the pitch–in short Hull was more offensive. With Fagan, Hull is essentially conceding offensive flow in favor of stretching the defense and hoping to get lucky on an over-the-top ball or on the trailing authoritative foots of Hunt and Geovanni.

Not all is lost for Big Jeezy though. Wiith a Sunday game coming up hosting Man U and a Bolton game away the Tuesday following, Altidore should factor in one of the two.Further, as we mentioned in our column on Friday, Kamel Ghilas goes out for the African Cup….so Jozy will–hopefully– be consistently in the 18 as at worst the 3rd striking option.

Does this man hold the key for the USMNT striker fortunes in South Africa....

Finally, you have to be a bit concerned by the defensive posturing of Manager Brown…if Brown thinks he can eek out survival of the relegation zone with going defensive and playing for the win only sporadically, JZA might have further trouble getting on the pitch until his game becomes more mature and well-rounded.

Let’s watch for Bullard’s return–it’s ironical that the once heir apparent to the central midfield for England might hold the key the USMNT striker fortunes in South Africa.

• If you didn’t see Clint’s assist Saturday against United it it was vintage Dempsey….find where the ball is going on a cross, head it back across the goal, score. It doesn’t get much simpler and efficient for that. Clints, “nose” where the ball is.

• West Ham, off the 1-1 draw to the Blues, has back-to-back games Sunday and Monday. So you’re likely to see Jonathan Spector, however with Faubert and Ilunga doing nothing short of a stellar job against the Chelsea attack, that backline looks set for West Ham.

• We know, we know. DaMarcus Beasley for president–another goal and assist. I guess that’s what happens when you’re very fresh from resting. Here’s the latest entry in the Beasley scrapbook:

• I don’t often root against Americans, but I sort of did this week. Bus loads of Woverhampton fans made the trek last weekend, only too see the Wanderers’ “B” squad up against Manchester United. Manager Mick McCarthy got–and TSG thinks he deserved–some serious guff for not playing his regulars. I would have liked nothing better than a Wolverhampton to lose at home to Burnley. Not in the cards, and USMNT’s Marcus Hahnemann turns away 5 shots-on. Kudos.

You don’t think a handful of World Cup-bound nattie teams would want Hahney in contention for their goal spot. Maybe let’s start with, oh, England or France? Gotta be embarrassing if you’re Robert Green and you get beaten three times on the same penalty (Lampard this Saturday), no?

• I can’t wait to see this Landon Donovan-Luis Saha pairing. Saha is at the top of his game….

• The Jay DeMerit locomotive is gather speed, another 90 in the middle for the stalwart as fellow interior man Carlos Bocanegra sits for Rennes. That’s now two straight games that Boca doesn’t make the starting 11 for Rennes when available….yikes!

• We’re calling it! Our next weekend update leads with “Maurice Edu in the 18 for Rangers and……”

(UPDATE: According to Mr. DaMarcus For President, Edu’s getting run out in a reserve game today….)

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/12/20 at 8:11 PM

    Speaking of Saturday, was there some kind of amazing Rabona golazo that i missed yesterday? A relative just told me she saw it on tv yesterday & according to her “some guy was running full speed and stopped on a dime and kicked it like this!*rabona motion*. It was the best!”


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/12/20 at 8:20 PM

      nevermind i found it. He didn’t stop on a dime but i’m pretty sure he was going full speed. Still sick nonetheless. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFsDT6TTec4


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/12/20 at 8:21 PM

        Wow! Thanks for posting that Antonio….


        • Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/12/21 at 2:17 AM

          ANNDD. . .speaking of Hull City. . .someone is spreading rumors around the interwebs that Turkish & Fenerbache footballer Colin K. Richards(aka Kazim Kazim who just happens to be my favorite player in the world) is being linked with a Hull move in January. I’m only posting this because I’ve seen it a couple places. But it makes no sense because for many, many reasons.


  2. Posted by sfshwebb on 2009/12/20 at 9:45 PM

    Matt – I will have to disagree with you on the Mick McCarthy move. I do agree its a little weak but his number priority is to make sure wolves survive. His chances of winning at old trafford were very slim so he played the odds, rested his main started and went for a win he had a better chance at and won.

    The big teams at the end of the season or in meaningless games in the champs league rest their stars and let their youngsters get a chance to play in big games so they gain experience. Its a win win situation as youngsters get valuable game time (which can be used later in the season or next) and the stars rest. Hell Aston Villa were playing in the Europa cup last year and sent a B team which got knocked out so they could concentrate on getting fourth spot.

    Yeah i’v heard the traveling fans have paid good money argument etc…but isn’t one out to support your club not individual players? I agree its weak but it was a smart move and if wolves stay up then good for them. Thats why you have a squad, so that you can rest some players for some occasions and use others for others.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/12/20 at 9:55 PM

      Shaun: Knew my position would be at least a little controversial and fairly so….

      Here’s my problem with the McCarthy move:

      – 1) You’ve got Man United who as ripe for an upset as they’ll ever be. Carrick and that rookie guy De Laet played in defense — Obertan and Gibson played in the middle!

      – 2) Burnley played a day *after* Wolverhampton against Arsenal — likely they’ll be just as tired if not more so

      – 3) You’re playing at home — you’re supposed to win — grant Burnley is still a formidable opponent for you.

      So…I think you can at least draw at Man U and you face just as tired a side in Burnley at home who is coming off one less day’s rest.


      • If Wolves escape the drop this season, McCarthy’s gamble will have paid off. Sure it was a crappy thing to do sporting wise, but the FA is only paying lip-service to sporting behavior everywhere else. Sure United were/are a weakened side, but Wolves would’ve pulled a loss from the jaws of victory at OT, so McCarthy made the right call for his club. And, Burnley is not a formidable opponent for just Wolves this year, they’re proving to be well organized and very tricky for most of the established Premiership. Being extra rested probably allowed Wolves to get a jump on Burnley and put the game away as quick as possible, I haven’t seen the game or the highlights so i’m not positive on this, and Wolves is Wolves.


  3. Posted by sfshwebb on 2009/12/20 at 10:47 PM

    Yes..but your wolves and mick mccarthy is your manager


  4. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/12/21 at 7:19 AM

    @Antonio — Hull have no money — they’ve been told to slash payroll in January….so no Turkish superstar or anyone else is coming their way.

    @Nick, Shaun —

    I don’t care so much about the Wolves issue for the fans, but seriously what kind of message do you send those same fans…and you’re team…if you’re saying you need to rest up for Burnley.

    Maybe I’m just against babying players’ playing time.


    • I completely agree that you’re sending the wrong message to anyone who has a brain, including your players and fans, but the decision that was made was not without merit. And I don’t look at it so much as pathetic in saying you’re resting up for Burnley, but rather that you can’t handle any of the big 4 teams in the league so you might as well not try. It was poor sportsmanship by McCarthy, but unfortunately there’s too much money floating around the Prem right now to expect any team to make the right sporting decision.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/12/21 at 7:40 AM


        Agreed…I know my take is probably not the right one and controversial. I just think that it’s almost over managing.

        Seriously, I’m in my 30s…I play fullfield games twice a week…these guys are getting paid to be fit and play against competition….are you seriously saying that your $100Ks and $1Ms players can play more than one game a week…..

        Anyway…I have the same issue with the NFL and bye weeks…less so now that there are at least frequent Thursday night games….and mind you, you’re job in the NFL is lot more contact and injury acute.


  5. […] For our story on Jimmy Bullard’s impact on Jozy Altidore’s game, click here. […]


  6. […] they has absolutely nill in the way of offensive play, especially in the 2nd half. As we mentioned in our last piece, Manager Brown went with a 4-5-1 with Fagan as the ball tracker up top. The Tigers attempted to […]


  7. […] the nadir or Jozy’s coming of age year. With Jimmy Bullard injured and out of the line-up, Phil Brown sends JZA to the bench in favor or a faster striking team from the […]


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