Posts tagged Harry Redknapp
Posts tagged Harry Redknapp
The Premier League was rather flush with fixtures on Saturday, in a schedule that is ever more so controlled by television companies and viewing figures. Eight fixtures were played in total, providing the staple diet for any Premier League fan: there were two six-pointers; Arsenal could break into the top four if they could grab a result against an impressive at home Sunderland side and Manchester United took on fierce rivals Liverpool, in a match that had its own recurring subplots.
1. Ed Sheeran and Luis Suarez have more in common than you may think
Fresh with confidence from defeating their bitter foes in the F.A Cup, thanks to a Dirk Kuyt goal, Liverpool this time faced Manchester United away and in the Premier League. For United, it was all about keeping pace with their inner-city rivals at the top of the table and for Liverpool it was an opportunity to beat Manchester United twice in two weeks and extend their unbeaten run to four.
However, although United got the three points with Wayne Rooney scoring a quick-fire brace, the main attraction was the Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez affair: it was the first time the two had faced each other since the fateful day in October in which the former accused the latter of racial abuse resulting in an eight-match ban and similar to Wayne Bridge and John Terry and Anton Ferdinand and John Terry, there was no handshake. Unlike those two John Terry centred examples, however, it was the villain who refused the handshake and not the victim leading me to think that Ed Sheeran, who sings the line, “I know I can’t heal things with a handshake” has more in common with Luis Suarez than I thought, as does Patrice Evra with Sepp Blatter, who feels a handshake can.
2. Feed the Yak and He will Score
We knew that already right? We did, but it may well prove to be what keeps Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League for next season: during his three-game ban, Blackburn Rovers amassed just a solitary point and furthermore, they struggled to capitalise on the chances they did create, proving wasteful without the Yak.
However, reintroduce the Yak after his three-game, and Blackburn hit three goals just like they did in the last game he featured in and just like in the previous 60 games Blackburn have scored three in, they went on to win with Yakubu getting the decisive goal in a 3-2 victory over fellow relegation candidates Queens Park Rangers. Yakubu is now the fifth highest scorer in the Premier League with thirteen goals in a side that has only found the back of the net 39 times, leaving the Nigerian responsible for 33% of their goals. Luckily for Rovers, Yakubu is the most potent striker in the Premier League with a 39% conversion rate.
3. Chelsea slip to 5th, whilst Capello is linked to the job and Roman’s lurking
Everton’s January really has paid dividends much quicker than anyone could have realistically expected. At one point, it looked as if no transfer activity would take place: however, four signings were made, two on loan and two permanently, and three of them have already returned the favour of a new lease of life, either assisting or hitting the back of the net, going much of the way to ease Everton’s scoring worries that existed for much of the first half of the season.
On Saturday, without Jelavic even featuring, the man signed to “score goals, goals and more goals,” Everton took ten shots, had a 70% shot accuracy and converted their chances twice, with one of their January signings scoring in the form of Steven Pienaar as well as Argentine Denis Stracqualursi. Meanwhile, Chelsea, who are now without a win in four games and have only won two of their last ten, slip to fifth place as Arsenal secured a last minute victory over Sunderland thanks to a Thierry Henry volley, in a week in which Fabio Capello is linked with the club and Roman Abramovich visits the training ground twice.
4. Norwich Head up the table inflicting only Swansea’s second home defeat
Before Norwich City, Swansea’s fellow Championship promotion achievers, the only defeat inflicted on the Swans at Liberty Stadium was handed out by reigning champions Manchester United. That loss, only their fourth league defeat since the beginning of last season, was only by one goal and it didn’t deter Swansea from their free-flowing passing game that is built on from the back.
Norwich defeated Swansea by three goals to two, but before that game, Swansea had only conceded seven goals at home in 12 games - 0.58 goals conceded per game – and furthermore, only Arsenal, 2, had scored more than one goal at the Liberty Stadium. However, considering Norwich City’s aerial prowess this season – they are the most prolific PL side in the air with 14 of their 37 goals coming from headers – and Swansea’s averagely short stature, was it that surprising that Norwich got all three points? Norwich are now up to eighth, leaving Swansea in 11th place and just nine points off of relegation: yet, their home form should be enough to ensure Premier League survival.
5. Harry Redknapp isn’t distracted by England talk as Spurs smash home for five
At 4/11 to manage England for Euro 2012, 5/4 to become the permanent manager of the Three Lions and Harry Redknapp himself describing the post as the “ultimate job,” you’d be entitled to doubt how stable some feel at White Hart Lane now, despite Redknapp’s insistence that he “can’t take [his] eye off the ball at Tottenham at the moment,” declaring that he, “owes it to [Tottenham] to continue to keep completely focused on the job.”
However, if there is any worry that Redknapp might leave his Spurs post permanently, it certainly wasn’t a distraction on Saturday: The Guardian’s Scott Murray expected a “home capitulation to Newcastle at the weekend,” but it was Newcastle who would leave capitulated, as Tottenham ran rampant on home turf, clocking up 18 shots on target, nine of which were on target and five of the on-target strikes finding the back of the net. With a 63% of the possession and over twice as many shots, Spurs never took their foot off the pedal, but it was an impressive first half performance that saw them four goals to the good come half-time that won them the match. Emmanuel Adebayor was particularly delectable, notching up four assists and scoring the game’s only other goal, whilst new signing Louis Saha scored two goals for the first time in a year.
Irrelevant of the score line, I was sufficiently bored by the Liverpool versus Tottenham game come half-time to already discount analysing the game in one way or another. I’d hoped for Luis Suarez to start and stir up a talking point in one way or another and an entertaining as ever post-match dissection by Harry Redknapp. But, with neither featuring from the first whistle, all hopes of entertainment in a footballing capacity were void. Predictably, Spurs looked rather lacking in penetration without Rafael Van Der Vaart unlocking defences at will, and typical of Liverpool at home this season, a game of few or no goals looked on the cards. It was very much shaping up to be a game of “he who dares wins,” but neither looked brave enough to take the gamble and when they did, the sole purpose of the opposition was the exact opposite.
However, where Carroll had so far failed to make an impact and Bale was yet to produce something worth £140m there was a much smaller creature willing to risk life and limb to provide a splash of amusement to the proceedings. No, Aaron Lennon hadn’t passed a late fitness test and was eagerly waiting to shift a slow-starting Jake Livermore: a cat, as the eleventh minute passed, made its way on to the pitch where it was met with a rapturous reception from The Kop, which simultaneously broke into anthemic chanting of, “a cat, a cat, a cat, a cat, a cat.”
It had managed to: take the attraction off of Fabio Capello, who was adorned by a hundred or so cameramen; alleviate the attention from Luis Suarez, who, despite being on the bench, was receiving more of the flashes than the playing squad were; and it managed to trend worldwide on Twitter under the trend, “that cat.” Andy Warhol’s prediction, no less philosophical than Plato, “everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” hadn’t escaped the cat and with the second half underway, the cat was still more trendy than any of the twenty-two players on the pitch and was only dislodged from his throne, when Gareth Bale lept, rather like a cat in fact, to the floor as Daniel Agger came chomping in. Play-acting was the call and Gareth Bale was the tweet. The cat’s fifteen minutes of Twitter fame was over.
Or was it?
Well no: the cat shall forever live on as some fast acting person quickly made up an @AnfieldCat Twitter, which, at the time of writing, has already amassed 5000 followers: however, I imagine that account’s success will last as long as the cat’s debut did.
After a rather stressful seven days in the footballing world, which had amalgamated into a weekend of penalties, a continual grey cloud of racism and then the American version of something similar, which before Sunday night, I didn’t realise how many people were experts in, light relief in the form of a streaking cat was appreciated and with my own cat currently in animal hospital, with fears of him being put down prevalent over the weekend, it brought a welcome smile to my face.
In tribute to the Anfield Cat is my blog and in further appreciation, here are a few of his furry friends:
The Camp Nou Cats
This cat, typical of the Spanish, showed our English feline friend how to move: looking a lot trimmer than our tabby, the gato elegantly pounced along the turf, not breaking stride to hurdle the advertising hoarding and disappear back off into the stands. That was only at the weekend and it wasn’t the first: in 2010, between Barcelona and Real Sociedad another cat bounded down the left flank, exploiting the space Dani Alves had left, before exiting the pitch with a majestic leap into the stands.
The 3-minute Santa Fe Dog
Back in October 2011, in a cup game between Independiente Santa Fe and Botafogo, a sandy-coloured dog burst on to the pitch and proceeded to dodge match officials and jink and jerk in between home and away players alike. In a stereotyped Latin scenario, a man took to the pitch with a red plastic bag and attempted to play matador in order to coax the trespassing dog from the field of play: however, the four-legged fiend, having lulled the stadium into a false sense of security, got to the edge of the pitch before changing his mind and sprinting back on for more exercise. Eventually, having suitably allowed the home side to recover, having been run ragged for near-on seventy minutes, reflected in the 4-0 score line, the pitch invader left of his own accord. His ability to stop, stand and stare apparently was the inspiration for Mario Balotelli………..
The Deportivo Pereira Owl
Last February, Luis Moreno decided it was ok to kick an already injured owl off a football pitch, as it led still on the side of the pitch, having already been hit by the ball. The owl, considered as a club mascot by the home team, had wandered on to the pitch and unfortunately chose the wrong time to join the action: the ball was within the owl’s close proximity and fell victim to firstly the ball and secondly the boot of the callous Panama defender. Now, the player, having received threats and fines, has left the club and now plays for Tauro. The owl sadly died in relation to the incident.
The game finished 0-0 proving my time was better spent writing this.
Harry Redknapp was hot, adjusting his tie and easing the collar that choked his rather saggy neck as it overhung onto his lapel that was trying to present a man as dignifying, despite the fact any dignity he had left was wiped out when his defence of tax evasion was practically illiteracy. Whilst this was all very believable – and becomes more logical when one notices how infrequent Roman Pavlyuchenko is in Spurs’ match day squads having heard Harry tell the courts he can’t “write [and] couldn’t even fill a team sheet in” – it is somewhat disputable considering he writes a column for The Sun. That’s another thing that was hot in the January Transfer Window: the sun.
Not as hot as Harry Redknapp was Roberto Mancini: up until January – ignoring their failure to qualify from the group stages of the Champions League – Manchester City were as hot as Harry Redknapp writing his column for The Sun on the sun; however, since then, they’ve slumped back into a metaphorical armchair from their once proud straight back posture and have begun to go stale. Ivory Coast’s illustrious AFCON campaign so far, which has resulted in three victories, five goals and three clean sheets, isn’t helping matters.
But, which club was hot and which club was not, when it came to the main attraction of the January Transfer Window 2012: signings?
When club chief executive Robert Elstone released a blog detailing the club’s finance to a depth in which he felt “no other Premier League club has done before,” the prospect of January transfers any more exciting than £600k Darron Gibson quickly evaporated like beads of sweat on Sir Alex Ferguson’s red forehead when he sees his side score another winning goal in the 567th minute of injury time.
Yet, when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov left Everton for Spartak Moscow, for what the BBC reported as £5m on January 29th, it looked as if Everton might be able to buy having sold. With two days left until the Transfer Window slammed shut, consequentially leaving glass shards all over the floor for Wayne Bridge to come along and sweep up as part of his new role as housemaid at The Stadium of Light, The Toffees had to move fast. With the pace of Louis Saha, oh what? He went to Tottenham on a free transfer? Okay, with the pace of Royston Drenthe, Everton sweetened up Tottenham with aforementioned French goal machine – if 2000/01 was yesterday – making financial space on their wage budget for ex-Everton winger Steven Pienaar, leaving White Lane through the door still swinging from Saha’s arrival and entering through the equally moving entrance at Goodison Park. Then, Everton robbed Rangers and the SPL of their top scorer Nikica Jelavic for a fee of £5.5m. Suddenly, further compounded by their 1-0 victory of Roberto Mancini’s Toure-less Manchester City, Everton look better positioned to equal last year’s finish of 7th.
Not content with picking on Manchester United as the side that didn’t even reach lukewarm in January – it would be unfair, Fergie isn’t keen on the window of rash decisions – and deciding that Manchester City’s lack of spending is counterbalanced by their superfluous spending of previous windows, I have settled with Tottenham Hotspurs as my team of 0 degrees for transfer activity.
Whilst it would be unfair to simply categorise Spurs as the men with the chilly willies purely because they spent not a single penny on transfer fees – neither of the top three did – the nature of their signings, further highlighted by the transfer activity out of the club, are rather lacklustre.
In Louis Saha, a man who has scored a grand total of 8 goals in 18 months of football, and Ryan Nelsen, the only New Zealander to kick a ball in the Premier League this season and then only in the one appearance he’s been subject to, Harry Redknapp has fully lived up to expectations of being a top quality wheeler-dealer and provider of excitement in the Window, has he not?
No, he hasn’t.
His January activity has seen Spurs sign two players on free transfers with an average age of 33.5-years old: it sounds a bit like the January window you’d expect of a spotty teenager with poor financial control of his Football Manager career. Further mystifying, is the related transfer activity elsewhere at White Hart Lane: in Ryan Nelsen, they’ve signed a defender who is 34 and has only made one appearance this season in a team in the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Vedran Corluka and Sebastien Bassong, also defenders, leave on loan to the Bundesliga and Wolves respectively. Louis Saha is expected to become the cover for the dead on certain departure of Roman Pavlychenko and that could be seen as a justification; however, when Spurs can already boast Emmanuel Adebayor Jermaine Defoe, Cameron Lancaster and have chosen to loan out Harry Kane, it’s hard to find justification for the signing of a striker that spends the majority of the time injured and has only scored one goal this season. As his arrival will undoubtedly stunt Lancaster’s playing time in the first team, a counterintuitive practice as Lancaster will need as much of it as he can get as a young blossoming striker, I can only presume Harry’s signed Saha for the ease of spelling: three letters.
Written by Jordan Florit for www.maycauseoffence.com/ For more articles visit my website or my Twitter @JordanFlorit