Monday 24 February 2020

Premier League (FPL) Team of the Weak - GW Twenty Seven

PICKFORD (5.3 EVE) – Only the goalkeepers of Liverpool and Manchester City have made less saves than Pickford this season. This would be fine if Everton had a great defensive record. But they don’t. It is worse than Burnley, Wolves, Arsenal and indeed every team in the league above them… and also Palace and Brighton below. No, Pickford has had a terrible season and is arguably the worst first choice keeper in the league. He makes high profile errors and has a level of distribution that would make a sea lion trainer blush. He has never let his country down, but nor had Joe Hart until his club form fell off a cliff. Pickford needs to focus and step up fast, or the same fate will beset him in half the time.

GUILBERT (4.4 AVL) – Villa are an absolute shambles at the back. A fact highlighted by letting both Stuart Armstrong and Shane Long score in the same match, and the fact that they give up around 20% more chances than any side in the whole league. Guilbert, allegedly a defender completed a guttural 58% of his passes on Saturday. He won just 40% of his headers, 50% of his tackles and won less loose balls than any other defender on the pitch. Put simply, he was complete shite.

Villa have now conceded a staggering 366 chances this season. If that continues for the whole campaign, it would mean 515 chances all told. For comparison Fulham and Cardiff conceded 426 and 439 last season respectively. Indeed, a total of 515 would be worse than any Premier league club in 7 years (step forward West Ham 13/14 who gave up 535 under the defensive nous of Big Sam).

That they aren’t even in the relegation zone is an absolutely damning indictment of the form of those beneath them.

HANLEY (4.0 NOR) – Grant Hanley, the 4m defender nobody is interested in. Captain of the team with a defence that resembles a 5-year olds first stab at a paper mâché balloon. A defender who loses a third of every header or tackle he makes. A defender who cannot pass the ball and seems incapable of stopping shots reigning down on his goal. A captain who couldn’t organise a dyslexic gangbang in a warehouse. A player who is just… not good enough.

COOK (5.0 BOU) – Time may well have finally caught up with 28-year-old veteran Steve Cook. He wasn’t great last season but this year he’s been depreciating faster than a diesel car off the forecourt. It’s not really clear what he did against Burnley, other than not protect his defence via the medium of tackling, blocks or interceptions. He is a truly terrible football player who has inexplicably kept his place at the heart of a Premier League defence for almost 5 years.

Cut. The. Chord.

CAPOUE (4.8 WAT) – A walking yellow card (34 in the Premier League over the past 4 seasons) Etienne Capoue has had his worst season to date. Watford now stare relegation in the face after what looks like a false dawn of their initial Pearson revival. Capoue was hopeless against Man United, the movement and guile of Bruno Fernandes was simply too much for him to handle and he succeeded with a pathetic 1 of 7 tackles attempted.

For United, how refreshing to watch them against a lesser light with somebody finally equipped to unpick a defensive line. Fernandes was the best player on the park against Watford, full of slide rule passes, flicks and creativity. His Cantona esque penalty a throwback to the days when United used to breed these sorts of players in their sleep.

And not play Jesse fucking Lingard.

For three fucking years.

LO CELSO (7.3 TOT) – Hold on. 7.3m? Really? He’s not a number 10? Who the hell priced this guy? Well 0 goals and 0 assists to date tells its own story about the value of the Spurs midfielder, but he’s made the list this week largely due to the horror tackle that inexplicable went unpunished. Literally one the two key reasons why VAR was introduced, it’s hard to fathom how the official didn’t recommend a red card for what was essentially grievous bodily harm. Even less so given after the match he then admitted he made a mistake. You what? You made a mistake? It’s literally your job not to. That is what the fucking monitor is for? You’re not a referee making decisions in a split second… you looked at this image and thought… nah, that’s good. You abominable pillock.

BENTALEB (5.0 NEW) – Brought in during the January window to add steel to the Newcastle middle, Nabil Bentaleb has done precisely… not that. He has been woeful so far – neither creating chances or stopping them from being conceded at the other end. Newcastle gave up 18 shots for Crystal Palace on Saturday. This is the team with pretty much the worst attack in the entire league. And I mean ever. Palace have only created 188 chances all season. That is not even 7 per match. And yet Newcastle made them look like Barcelona. And they still only scored 1 bloody goal. Dear god get your act together all of you! Why can’t people just do their jobs! Wankers.

MADDISON (7.4 LEI) - 11 matches without an assist for Leicester's creator in chief tells you all you need to know about their current slide.With Ndidi still on the injury list, Maddison has dropped deeper and deeper in search of the ball taking him away from the sort of positions where he can hurt teams. One delightful flicked through ball early on in the match highlighted such, but after that it was the same old story as Maddison sat deep playing meaningless 6 yard balls and failing to make tackles like some sort of cut rate Jorginho with a hair cut. Rodgers has done a fine job with Leicester this season, but with an easier run now beckoning, could do worse than loosen the shackles and play his number 10 right up behind Vardy where he belongs.

AGUERO (12.0 MCI) – The City striker has now scored over 50% of his entire seasons FPL points in just 4 game weeks. There have been too many off days in amongst the mega hauls, and this certainly fell into that category again. Two big chances missed and the latest in the long line of comedic penalty failures. Aguero has had 14 attempts in the last 3 game weeks and scored none of them. His shooting accuracy has plummeted and he faced the ignominy of being replaced for Jesus, who then scored the winner. Aguero is too good a player to not haul again and soon, but such maddening inconsistency is a worry for both his own manager, and many FPL ones.

WILSON (7.4 BOU) – Calum “Prince Gristle” Wilson has scored 2 goals since September at a rate of one every 13 hours. I don’t think we need to labour the point here do we. Right now, he couldn’t find the goal with a map and a compass. Or a fully workable sat nav system. Or a taxi with the pre-booked destination of “the goal.”

He’s as much use as a Newcastle United striker.

FIRMINO (9.7 LIV) - 14 home appearances. 44 shots. A staggering 38 of them in the box. Just 14 on target and 7 big chances wasted.

Bobby. People are writing threads now saying Martial is better than you. Get a fucking grip man.


Monday 3 February 2020

Premier League (FPL) Team of the Weak - GW Twenty Five

The Team of the Weak rolls out an aggressive 4-2-4 formation this week owing to a truly desperate performance by the league’s attackers.

This was not the time to boast about now having an Aguero – Auba - Ings frontline... the most tragic thing of which is that were even worse strikers than them out there this weekend.

Guaita (5.0 CRY) – The Palace stopper has been in fine form this season and this is his Team of the Weak debut. A price that he has to pay for the sort of clanger that would have made Roberto blush. When you score as rarely as Palace do… the pressure on the other end is near total.

Palace fans have witnessed just 51 goals this season – possessing the league’s 4th best defence… and worst attack.

Zinchenko (5.2 MCI) – A red card when your team is absolutely dominating the match is always a kick in the nuts, but to get one for stopping Harry Winks from running through on goal, a player with 2 goals and assists in his entire career, is really quite poor decision making.

Zinchenko is a curious player – neither genuine full back or winger, he can do lots of things well but nothing great. Here he probably cost his team more than even his profligate attackers did. 

Incredibly, he was still better than the 30-minute cameo from Cancelo we were then treated to. A player who seems to regard crossing the ball an affront to his right to aimlessly shoot from 30 yards.

Aurier (5.0 TOT) – A performance of reckless ineptitude was inexplicably rewarded with a clean sheet in a match where City should have been 7 up before Spurs finally decided to have a go. Aurier is an absolute sham of a defender, who’s continued selection in a Jose Mourinho defence must be the product of a bet gone horribly wrong.

Stephens (4.4 SOU) – The Hutch that Jack built has been looking strong of late – but despite Saints getting chances, Pool ran away with this match as the gulf in class between them and the rest of the league showed once more. This is a ruthless, winning machine the likes of which the league has rarely ever seen before. A defender as mediocre as Stephens was always going to have his work cut out, and so it showed as he was pulled from pillar to post as the game progressed and ending up on the wrong side of a 4-0 spanking.

At least he doesn’t have to play Liverpool again until next season…

Dunk (4.8 BHA) – Brighton may have rescued a point but they remain in serious trouble. Their captain, Lewis Dunk, was poor here from start to finish. He made zero successful tackles, interceptions and blocks the entire match. Woeful stuff for a defender who goes to ground as easily as an agitated mole.

He also inexplicably took a direct free kick at the death for no reason I can possibly fathom.

Kante (5.0 CHE) – Once the most feared defensive midfielder in the land, Kante is now a shadow of his former self as he continues to play in a role ill suited to his great talents. Jorginho and indeed Kovacic, are both now preferred at the base of Chelsea’s 4-3-3 formation. And whilst Kante is still starting most matches, it remains mysterious that he is not doing so from a position when he can break up play and be the wrecking ball he once was.

Fine if Lampard, like Conte, prefers a different type of player at his base… but then why pick Kante at all in a position he is pretty rubbish at? James Maddison ran rings around him on Saturday lunchtime, with the Frenchman winning not a single duel across 90 minutes. He also boasted a pass completion rate of just 73%, managing just 27 all match.

This feels like a slow death and given he is still just 28, Kante must surely be courted by several other clubs (amongst them Spurs and Man Utd to name but two) who are in desperate need for a genuine DM at the base of their midfields.

Sterling (11.7 MCI) – In the worst form of his City career, Sterling has now not scored or assisted across the last 6 game weeks. He just doesn’t look happy at the moment, and whilst he is still getting in the positions, he is often doing nothing with it or making the wrong choices where previously he could do no wrong. Immune to be substituted, it was baffling that Guardiola opted to bring off the lively, if luckless Aguero, rather than the already booked, should really have been sent off shit show that was Sterling.

Likely now injured to boot, Raheem could do worse than put his feet up for a few weeks and come back fit and fresh ready for the UCL. The league is over… but City can still make this a season to remember if they win a couple of trophies.

Lacazette (9.3 ARS) – Lacazette has now not scored in a calendar year away from home. He never looked likely to here, forming a partnership with Aubameyang that put the less in toothless. He touched the ball just 28 times all match and just 10 times in the final third. When he did get it, he often misplaced his pass, or shot off target like a prick.

The one chance he did create for his strike partner was also fluffed. Nick Pope couldn’t believe his luck playing against an Arsenal team with this much firepower… and all out of bullets.

Joelinton & Pukki (5.5/6.5 – NEW/NOR) – Paired together in a collective heap of excrement, this was a match that simply had no right to be nil nil. Both keepers excelled, but this was ultimately a woeful example of finishing. A bad day at the office for Teemu Pukki… and exactly what we have come to expect from the wank stain that is Joelinton.

The two of them had 12 chances between them, some blocked, some saved, some so far wide Theo Walcott would have been embarrassed. They also created knack all for their colleagues, so selfish were they in their intent to shoot badly themselves.

Joelinton completed just 4 out of 10 passes in the final third. It’s just not that hard to find a team mate? It’s a simple game?

The Brazilian has scored one goal all season. He’s started almost every game and played 2000 minutes of football?

One goal? He cost £40m?

What the fuck are they smoking up there!?

Abraham (7.7 CHE) – Tammy Abraham is now so shit a striker that he can miss a big chance without it even registering as an attempt.

The biggest fraud in English football right now. If he leads the line for England this summer we are fucked. The guy has missed EIGHTEEN big chances this season. I would rather play Chris Wood up there.



Monday 13 January 2020

Premier League (FPL) Team of the Weak - GW Twenty Two

Pope (4.6 BUR) – Burnley were blown away by Chelsea and are in serious trouble. Thus far they have managed to grind out wins every time a full-blown crisis has reared its head. But they are now 3 points above the relegation zone and play Leicester, Manchester United and Arsenal next. Nick Pope is a fine keeper, but he should have done better with two of the Chelsea goals, one of which literally just went through him. Burnley need to remember their fighting spirit, and for the love of God get Ashley Barnes back on the pitch and scoring goals again.

Cook (5.0 BOU) – Allegedly the central defender and captain of a Premier League team, Steve Cook couldn’t marshal his way out of the fucking Kokiri Forest let alone find the Ocarina of Time. Bournemouth are currently summing up the general malaise of teams at the bottom of the table. They can’t defend, they can’t attack. They are just kind of… there. Like a colourless vapour with no meaning.

Konsa & Mings (4.3/4.5 AVL) – Being torn apart by Manchester City is a rite of passage for many a Premier League defence; but this was an especially poor showing from the Villa centre backs. Collectively they didn’t win a single tackle or header in 90 minutes. Which whether you’re playing Manchester City, Accrington Stanley or the 1970 Brazil team… is still pathetic.

Zimmerman (4.4 NOR) – Marooned at the bottom of the table and now having conceded 45 goals already, Norwich are heading back to the Championship quicker than Delia can rustle up a Victoria Sponge. Toothless without Pukki, their defence has failed to support them all season. Manchester “Ole’s at the Wheel” United have scored 20% of all their league goals against Norwich.

Have some self-respect lads.

Perez (6.1 LEI) – Soundly beaten at home by Southampton (the score line flattered Leicester) – Perez acutely summed up the difference between the last time these two met. Shimmering with menace a couple of months ago, the Spaniard highlighted once again what a deeply frustrating football player he is. Possessing a level of inconsistency rarely seen out of an Arsenal shirt, Perez managed to complete a barely credible 10 out of 16 attempted passes and created literally fuck all before being dragged from the football pitch like a child escorted home by his mother after falling in a muddy puddle.

Perez has scored 3 goals in one game this season. And 2 in his other 19…

Eriksen (8.6 TOT) – What a sad end this is to Eriksen’s Spurs career. Still there, playing out his resignation in front of thousands. The Dane was anonymous against Liverpool, a passenger without a ticket who wandered around with all the menace of a decaffeinated instant coffee. 

Goodbye Christian, so long and thanks for all the fish.

Trossard (5.8 BHA) – It’s been an uneven debut season in the Premier League for Leandro Trossard, who has looked like a world beater one minute and Theo Walcott the next. After finally getting a 90-minute run in the team for the rotation happy Potter, the Belgian has done precisely nothing with that time other than cut inside and shoot on sight like some sort of blonde Nathan Redmond.

Brighton love to shoot. They have fired off 277 efforts on goal already, but a conversion rate of just 9% is terrible. Maupay and Trossard are two of the team’s worst offenders and both are talented enough to score with more regularity than once in ten. 

Ozil (7.2 ARS) – In classic Ozil style, the German followed up a superb performance playing against Manchester United, with this stale fart of a display against Crystal Palace. Everything about Ozil screamed nothing in this match. No touches in the box, no shots on goal, no dribbles even attempted, no crosses, no chances created. His heat map looked like a teenager who has just got his first zit.

Jimenez (7.5 WOL) – The Mexican Metronome ™ has been in fine form this season, but this was not one of his best displays. He often stumbled leading the line and should have scored with a chance put on a plate with a full set of cutlery and a glass of wine from Adama Traore.

Wolves have stumbled a bit after a fine run and are starting to look a little leggy. Although only a fool would write them off before a fixture turn given their near farcical record against the bigger teams.

Next up, a match against the most in form side across all four divisions bar Liverpool.

That’s right folks, Danny Ings and ten amateur footballers really are playing that well.

Solanke (5.2 BOU) – Oh Dominic. What a useless striker you are. You haven’t scored in 2 years. Two Years. What are you doing with your life? You have stats that make Shane Long and Christian Benteke look good.

Saido Berahino is a better striker than you are. You have played over 40 times and had over 50 shots in this period. Do you know where the goal is? Are you aware that you are paid over a million pounds a year specifically to score goals?

What even are you?

Other than fucking shit.


Friday 27 December 2019

5 Things we've learnt from the 19/20 season so far – in an alternate Universe

Liverpool stare relegation in the face

After the dizzy heights of last season, it was to prove yet another false dawn for the luckless Scousers, who spend Christmas Day entrenched in the relegation zone having won just 2 matches all season, both against Everton. Saido Mane has now extended his goal drought to 15 games after the selfless Mo Salah picked him out again and again during last nights heavy defeat by Leicester.

At the back, Virgil Van Dijk was recently rated above Phil Jones and Jack Stephens as the league’s worst central defender. Whilst Lovren has done his best amongst the shit alongside him, the same can’t be said for Liverpool’s meek full backs. Klopp has steadfastly refused to drop Andrew Robertson, despite a county wide poll demanding the recall of Alberto Moreno to the club. The Scotsman has looked lost on the pitch, barely breaking into a jog most matches and at one point refusing an overlapping run to campaign for independence instead. On the other side Trent Alexander Arnold has now put in 234 unsuccessful crosses in a row. He is without an assist in 4 months.

Klopp has not been seen smiling since last Easter and has vowed his team’s form will shift “the second this fucking weather does.”

McGoldrick blasts in 20th goal already

David McGoldrick scored his third hat trick of the campaign against Watford and propelled himself to the top of the Premier League scorers table in the process. The prolific Bladesman has carried his team this season, which is just as well owing to their disorganised defence. John Lundstram continues to play as a deep lying centre back in a role clearly unsuitable for him. He has been part of a backline that has shipped 40 goals already. He sits in 0.01% of FPL teams.

McGoldrick credits his recent form to copying the playing style of Ashley Barnes, who sits second in the top scorers table. “Me and Barnsey are two peas in the same pod really… we’ve always managed to run around like mentalists and rough up the opposition, but now we’ve added the actual ability to shoot to our impressive armouries.”

McGoldrick ended by expressing his disappointment that despite his recent exploits, he was yet to have his own train.

Xhaka leads Arsenal to summit

Top of the table and unbeaten so far, the decision to employ Granit Xhaka as player manager in the summer has been hailed as a “masterstroke” by Arsenal fans around the world. The Swiss midfielder has taken on more roles than an army knife, but has succeeded in them all. Xhaka was superb this weekend, and instrumental in beating Bournemouth, the league’s most inconsistent team (some things will never change). He set up the first for the returning Emmanuel Eboue, before lashing in the second with a 40-yard free kick that would have made Roberto Carlos blush.

Xhaka was quick to praise himself after the match in his usual style – “people like to talk about the team, and yeah, they’re doing okay… but I prefer to talk about myself. 15 assists and 10 goals this season don’t happen by accident. I’m leading from the front and my relationship with the fans has never been better. They love me here. Almost as much as I love myself.”

Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally scored his first goal of the season whilst on loan at Tranmere Rovers.

Hammers hammer Palace thanks to strength at both ends

In one of the most open matches of the season, West Ham and Palace went toe to toe on Boxing Day but only one side came out blowing bubbles. The scoreline of 4-0 told nothing of the real story, as both teams had 25 shots on goal. West Ham, with the fully fit Lanzini pulling the strings, helped themselves to goal pie as the tireless Anderson and Yarmolenko both bagged braces. 

At the other end though, it was once again thanks to the signing of the season, Roberto Jimenez, to save his team again and again. Breaking the league record with 15 saves in a single match, Roberto has now not been beaten in a month. His manager Pellegrini said “when the owners came to me and said look Manny, we’ve got this guy who is ripping up the soft core porn scene and we wanna give him a shot at the club… I’ll be honest I had my doubts… I mean sure he might well have the best hands in the business when it comes to fluffing cock, but is he gonna be able to keep out balls of a different size coming at him from all angles.”

The Chilean added that he was delighted to have been proven wrong… and that before most games the pre-match warm ups had now been replaced with group watching of Roberto’s blue movie highlights. 

Sherwood return sets up second half of the season for the ages

Almost as unexpected as “Granit’s Arsenal” has been the success of Tottenham Hotspur since controversially moving to reappoint Tim “Tactics” Sherwood. After sacking Pochettino after 5 successive losses, all of which featured Heung-Min Son being sent off and reinstated upon appeal, Daniel Levy shocked the footballing world by moving again for Sherwood. In a bizarre statement Levy said that he had “finally realised, that every single success this club has had, came from the foundations that Tim laid.” Glossing over a near 12 year wait for a trophy, Levy added that “Tim is the boy… the absolute fucking boy… and he’s going to show it.”

Since taken over Spurs have been beaten just once, when they were outclassed by the random results generator that is Manchester “Ole’s at the fucking wheel” United. Sherwood has guided them to second and has brought the best out of Moussa Sissoko; who has responded well to Tim’s idea that “he needs to get in the fucking box more” by reinventing himself as a number 9 and poaching 15 goals so far.

Harry Kane continues to marshal the defence as captain and gilet sales have increased 450% year on year. 

Happy New Year