The Worst Players of the Premier League Season So Far…

Goalkeepers

David De Gea (Manchester United), Petr Cech (Chelsea)

De Gea Has Not Has The Best Of Starts At United

The criticism may be harsh for the young United keeper, especially having just moved over from Spain it is fair to say he has not hit the ground running. The reigning Champions could’ve done with a more experienced keeper between the sticks, with the injuries and changes in defence, De Gea has had a disruptive time. However, when a United keeper makes a mistake, it’s more highlighted than any other and he’s made a few already this season.

Has Cech Lost His Class?

The Chelsea keeper is a victim of his own success, with 5 clean sheets already, he’s not done too bad between the sticks for the Blues but by his own standards he has been poor, perhaps hampered by the confusion in tactics with the Defensive line and new boss Andre Villas-Boas but it’s clear to say Cech isn’t the world class keeper we saw a few seasons ago.

Defenders

David Luiz (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Arsenal & QPR…

Out of his Depth?

At times, David Luiz looked like an excited kid picked for the big team in the Chelsea defence, his rocky performances in defence has made John Terry look poor, when he’s actually had a pretty good season (in football terms only). Ashley Cole too, hasn’t had a terrible season but his standards have certainly dropped.

Rio Ferdinand has had his fitness problems but I believe his overall game has dropped massively and will not be surprised if he leaves Old Trafford in the summer to find first-team football.

Arsenal's Defensive Woes Continue

Arsenal’s defence is all-inclusive in this list, and you can throw in Queens Park Rangers too. Some of the defending that both clubs have shown this season have been dismal, so much so, you wonder if they bother with Defensive training drills in between games.

Per Mertesacker of Arsenal has looked suspect since his arrival. Surprising, considering that the Gunners needed a big presence in defence but still look twice as vulnerable with him there.

Midfielders

Tim Cahill (Everton), Stuart Downing (Liverpool), Man United, Adel Taarabt (QPR)

No Goals This Season

Everton’s Tim Cahill usually pops up with several goals a season but so far he’s failed to hit the back of the net during 2011/2012. Has he lost his touch or is it because Everton’s quality in the final third has declined?

£20 Million = 0 Goals and 0 Assists..so far!

Stuart Downing joins the list due to the amount of criticism I’ve heard from Liverpool fans who watch him week in and week out. Personally, I’ve seen glimpses of him playing some decent crosses and pot shots, but with no goals and no assists so far this season is an extremely poor record considering his price tag.

Big Time Charlie

Last season’s Championship player of the year was QPR’s Adel Taarabt but for one reason or another the Moroccan attacking midfielder has not been able to continue his form in the Premier League. It’s disappointing, considering how well he’d done last year, whether or not he can come back under the guidance of new manager Mark Hughes remains to be seen.

Attackers

Hugo Rodallega (Wigan Athletic), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Maroune Chamakh (Arsenal), Peter Odemwingie (West Brom)

Wigan Athletic are spending another season battling relegation and their star striker Hugo Rodallega only has 1 goal to his name. He once quoted as saying he can be as good as Lionel Messi, I still haven’t seen this come true.

Obvious choices are Fernando Torress and Andy Carroll, with a year since their big money transfers occurred neither of them have had the success on the pitch their price tags suggested. The common Twitter and Facebook status has been “Yakubu & Demba Ba, £1.5 Million = 27 goals – Torres & Carroll , £85 Million = 4 goals”.

Looking Fat

At least both strikers are willing to play football, Carlos Tevez, despite the skill and talent he possesses as a Footballer has had a terrible season when he refused to come on as a substitute for Manchester City in the Champions League. He’s never played a game since. What a waste of talent (& wages).

West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie scored 15 in 32 games last season, so far this season he’s only got 5 in 19. The Baggies expected big things from him but it appears he’s having a bit of “second season syndrome”.

Another shout is Arsenal striker Maroune Chamakh, who may not get many starts with in-form Van Persie, but the forward appears to be getting worse. He was signed as someone who could take the pressure off his Dutch team mate, but he’s looking like another Wenger failure. The same can be said about Nikolas Bendtner who’s failed to shine at Sunderland, instead he’s been more keen on trying to blag free pizza’s back in Denmark and smashing up Newcastle City Centre with new team mate Lee Cattermole.

Poor & Poorer

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The Large Pool of Ex-Managers (Part Two)

Long overdue, I’ve returned to this article for the 2nd part which focuses on Football Managers who have been out of management for a long time, for one reason or another despite being great players themselves and in some cases very good managers.

With only 92 clubs in the top four divisions I suppose there is bound to be a long list of those left out of the game without the right luck or motivation to get back into management. Here are a number of candidates that haven’t managed in awhile.

Alan Curbishley: Despite not managing a football club since 2008, his name is still linked to a host of clubs looking for a new manager but for one reason or another he’s never been appointed. Maybe his last spell in management at West Ham United had severely damaged a reputation that’d been impeccable in his 15 years with Charlton Athletic. However I am still surprised he’s not taken/given an opportunity at another club in recent seasons.

His long spell in charge of Charlton saw the club achieve two promotions and consolidation in the Premier League for many seasons. Since his departure from the club in 2006, the Addicks suffered two relegations in 3 seasons and found themselves back where they started.

He saved West Ham from relegation in the 2006/2007 season and finished in the top ten of the EPL the following season, signing players like Scott Parker and Craig Bellamy. However, he left the club after the sale of two players which he wasn’t consulted about and said that it had breached a clause in his contract.

By 2009 he won a court case and the Hammers paid him £2.2 million in compensation. I imagine many Hammers fans were Continue reading

Monday Muse: FA Cup Frolics & Draw

 The weekends football action served up a treat, not only did we have the Premier League and Championship in action but also the FA Cup 2nd Round where teams from League 1, League 2 and those from the Non-League pyramid compete in order for a place in the 3rd Round come the new year, all hoping to be drawn against the big boys.

FA Cup Shocks

Maybe their could’ve been more shocks in the FA Cup 2nd Round this weekend than it really produced, but some teams caused upsets. Most impressively were that of Wrexham, the former members of the Football League have had a rocky road on and off the pitch in recent seasons but they’ll be delighted with the 1-0 victory at League One side Brentford.

Wrexham, who lost manager Dean Saunders to Championship side Doncaster Rovers, are currently top of the Blue Square Bet Premier Division (Football Conference Premier in old money) and managed by former player and Wrexham legend Andy Morrell. The Jamie Tolley strike that settled the tie was fitting of an upset in a game that made Wrexham appear like the Football League side in terms of style and commitment.

Tamworth came out victors in their away tie with fellow Non-Leaguers Gateshead, in which Tamworth won 2-1 with a last minute winner. Whilst Chelmsford and Fleetwood both held Football League sides to draws at home and will be desperate to get a better result in the replays.

Unfortunately, the lowest place sides AFC Totton and Redbridge could not get past strong League Two opposition and were on the back of 5-0 and 6-1 defeats to Bristol Rovers and Crawley Town respectively.

FA Cup 3rd Round Draw Provides Great Fixtures

The tie of the round belongs to the dominant clubs from Manchester as holders City were drawn at home to neighbours Manchester United thus adding an extra derby to the already enthralling rivalry this season.

Other interesting draws elsewhere belong to Cheltenham Town from League Two earning the chance to play Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Whilst Arsenal play hosts to Championship big boys Leeds United.

More one sided has to belong to Everton who will host Non-League outfit Tamworth at Goodison Park. It’d be remarkable if an upset would be on the cards but many would be hoping that Tamworth can give a good account.

Elsewhere, Fleetwood could host locals Blackpool if they’re able to perform a shock result in their replay at Yeovil Town. And Chelmsford could host Premier League Bolton if they’re to do the same in the replay at Macclesfield.

There’s another derby on the cards as Nottingham Forest are home to rivals Leicester City, whilst Sheffield Wednesday could perform an upset as they will take on West Ham United at Hillsborough.

There are Premier League teams travelling to lower league opposition that could prove tricky with Aston Villa going to Bristol Rovers and Queens Park Rangers away to Milton Keynes Dons.

Liverpool will welcome either Southend or Oldham to Anfield whilst Chelsea do battle against Portsmouth. All in all it shall be a great weekend come January for the FA Cup 3rd Round, one of the best times of the season in our historic football calendar.

Football Future: Ground Sharing

A new feature for the Verbal Football blog is called ‘Football Future’ where we will be discussing topics to do with the beautiful game beyond the present day.

In this first edition the topic in question is one that has started to make headlines in the media lately, especially in West London with the new Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes and Co vocalising the fact that the club need to seriously consider moving out of Loftus Road into a new bigger size stadium if the club is to reach their ambitions.

Of course this has raised rumours and speculating that a new West London stadium would in fact be shared by QPR’s rivals, Chelsea who despite owning a Stadium almost twice the size as Loftus Road, in Stamford Bridge, are faced with the Continue reading

Monday Muse: La Liga strike,EPL,Spurs,Championship & Tevez…

The La Liga ‘holdout’

La Liga is arguably the most decorated league in world football and yet, it didn’t kick off over the weekend. It’s refreshing to hear that La Liga’s stellar stars such as Xavi and Iker Casillas were standing on the front of the picket line with their less celebrated counterparts across all the major divisions within Spanish Football. As always with a lockout, it’s down to money and how it’s distributed fairly amongst the professional footballers. A large percentage of players have also been playing without pay hence this lockout. Let’s hope the LFP and Spanish Players association resolve their issues soon. Spanish football is the loser.

Arsenal v Liverpool Continue reading

Friday Focus: The EPL kicks off with new boys QPR and Norwich plus interesting fixtures in the Football League

Another new feature on Verbal Football is Friday Focus, much like the regular feature ‘Monday Muse’ is a round-up of the weekends football action, Friday Focus is an opinionated preview on what the weekend could offer us with fixtures up and down the country.

This weekend sees the opening fixtures of the 2011/2012 season for the English Premier League with 6 games scheduled tomorrow (Saturday) after Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton was called off due to the UK Riots. We are lucky that it was the only cancellation, but only makes the decision more bizarre that only one fixture in jeopardy.

It’s also the opening weekend of Non-League football with England with the Conference, Conference North & South and further down the pyramid kicking off the season. The Football League take on their 2nd weekend of league games as well as competing mid-week in the League Cup.

Focus is obviously mainly on the EPL this weekend, with a bundle of players making their Continue reading

Hamann the Man at Stockport County

 Former Liverpool, Manchester City and German international midfielder Dietmar Hamann recently became the new manager of Blue Square Conference side Stockport County. It is a surprise appointment, for both club and manager, who had recently missed out on the managerial vacancy at League Two side Swindon Town to Paulo Di Canio.

He joins a County team with just a squad of nine players following relegation from the Football League last season, which makes it even more bizarre why the 37-year old with a Champions League Winners medal would take the job in Non-League, rather than higher up or even in his native Germany.

Having recently been on the coaching staff Continue reading

Done Deals: Sunderland looking good,Leicester on the march…

  Another new feature for the Verbal Football blog is Done Deals, a general round-up and opinion on the latest transfers from the football world. Whilst we’ve been bombarded with transfer rumours over the summer break, this section will only focus on Done Deals in the transfer market.

The Premier League champions, Manchester United have been very assertive in the transfer market but it was to be expected. Despite manager, Sir Alex Ferguson commenting on how over priced the current market is last summer, this close season he’s had no choice but make some signings with the loss of Edwin Van der Saar, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes to retirement.

Whilst I covered United’s signings in a previous article on Fergie and his Continue reading

England Under 21 Performance Review:

  The England Under 21 side bowed out of the UEFA 2011 Under 21 European Championships in embarrassing fashion. Stuart Pearce’s ‘boys’ were unable to get a win never mind score more than two goals for the duration of their tournament. Here on Verbal Football, I’ll undertake a performance review of the England Under 21 team. Continue reading