Monday, 19 January 2015


…you have to leave the ground and say that the opposition was the better side; sometimes we just weren’t good enough. Both applied equally well on Sunday after the Arsenal defeat.

I’ve said it before…

and I’ve said it recently; it might sound ‘crazy talk’ to some but I still firmly believe that we don’t have the quality in depth of attacking / creative midfielders at the club to FULLY compete as consistently as a trophy-chasing team should. Lose two of those types of players – Samir Nasri & Yaya Toure on this occasion – and we simply don’t have enough to ‘step in / step up’ to fill the gaping holes.

Hart – Oddly not TOO much to do despite Arsenal having the lion’s share of attacking possession. 6/10

Clichy – One of the better players in a blue shirt. 7/10

Demichelis – Decent enough and solid all things considered. 7/10

Kompany – Good returning performance from our skip. 7/10

Zabaleta – MotM for me. 8/10

Fernando – I made a point of watching this fella for large parts and, in the first half, witnessed him put in several successful tackles. He dispossessed several Arsenal attacking players; his decent timing of tackles and those long legs of his do come in useful.

However, “faded” wouldn’t be doing justice to what happened to the Brazilian in the second half – he was woeful to say the least. He looked lost and whenever he did manage to get hold of the ball his passing was pitiful. I look at Fernando as our main defensive midfielder; I look at what we’re trying to achieve and where we’re trying to head as a football club and I can only come to one conclusion, which is that his guy is just not good enough for us; this was a £12M mistake…or at least is proving to be at the moment.

I hope he proves me wrong and I gladly wait for him to do so but, sadly already, I can see him leaving in the summer if a better option becomes available (Sami Khedira anyone?) 3.5/10

Fernandinho – I find THIS Brazilian a little more useful…but only just. He shows flashes of quality but not enough for me especially as, looking back before the F(not-so)FP imposed sanctions, we coughed up £28M for him! Decent display yesterday…but he’s no Yaya or Samir. 6/10

Milner – On a day when we needed more craft it just wasn’t for him. A rare, lowly 4.5/10

Silva – Tried and tried to be our main creative player but struggled alone for the most part. 6.5/10

Navas – I’m losing patience. HOW MANY TIMES has it been said that this wee, fleet-footed chap appears to have the ability to tear teams apart but apart from his pace…he just can’t flippin’ cross or shoot?! Huhhhh…another very frustrating and very average 5/10 from the Spanish winger.

Aguero – Like Silva, tried and tried… 6/10


Jovetic – Similar to Navas; has all the apparent ability but with often little to show in terms of results. 5.5/10

Lampard – Quality shone through immediately and appeared to be changing the game. For the 30 minutes he was on the pitch he gets a 7/10 from me.

Dzeko – First pass to his feet was, in fairness, a little on the strong side BUT...what a shock; he failed to control the ball (again)! Did nothing after that of any note. 4/10


If I have done my maths right then we do have some spending power in the remaining transfer window. I have already gone through who we might target but I will add the following / change my mind slightly.

  1. If Juventus (or whoever) really DO want Stevan Jovetic then, providing we can bring in an attacking / creative midfield / winger option in the winter window with the additional cash from the sale of the Montenegrin, then I’d go for it. If not, I think Stevan has to move on in the summer…
  2. If there’s someone who wants him AND we can bring in another striking option (Alexandre Lacazette?) then I’d also consider off-loading Edin Dzeko before the summer as well, which would leave us with Aguero, Bony & ‘A.N. Other’. If not, Edin surely has to go in the summer too…
  3. He’s travelled with the first team squad to a strangely-timed trip to Abu Dhabi and has been getting rave reviews in the EDS. It’s a HUGE step up of course; but if Brandon Barker can make that leap in quality then we might be wise to include the home grown player in our squad. We need a creative, goal-threat down the left and Manchester-born lad might be able to fill a hole left by the injured Nasri, who might be out for up to 4 weeks. Other EDS players who have travelled include attacking, central midfielder Bersant Celina, defensive midfielder George Evans, and Striker Thierry Ambrose.
I hope the warm, summer weather does them good ahead of our home, F.A. Cup game against Middlesbrough.

‘Catch up’...again

I take considerable heart from the fact that we’ve done it time and time again; not least in our last two Premier League winning seasons, as well as pulling back an 8-point gap already this season. And I do, of course, bear in mind that Aguero will (probably) get better again with time following his time-out on the treatment table and that we have Bony & Toure to come back; as well as the recently injured Nasri.

But Chelsea are a different animal this season; a machine with an attacking engine room that appears to be relentless…and that leaves my spider sense tingling. That’s why – not wishing to look like I'm panicking at all nor appear greedy – we need to add that additional attacking / creative ‘spark’ to push us right up against Jose’s men. Push ‘em hard and I’m convinced they’ll be the ones to crack first; let ‘em get an 8-point gap once again and I think we’ll struggle to catch them for a second, successive time this season.

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