Bang! DGWs are awesome… Kane made up for his goalless game with a sensational brace against QPR and a 30 point GW (for most of us?)! There was rotation as expected however. Rose missed the second game, but we could deal with it after his 8 points in the first. Chadli came back in for Lamela, and performed, which hurts. Eriksen played most minutes, but being greedy, we’d have liked more than one assist. Dier played both too, but the lack of cleanies meant he scored the minimum. All in all, the 100 point holy grail was within reach for some which has to be the target for DGWs…
Aston Villa. Keep an eye on this mob… The “Tim Sherwood” effect is warming up. It may not last very long, but it could be very profitable while it does. Since he took over some very key stats have slowly been going north… Bear with me, I love this stuff… Pass success rate; 66%, 69%, 79%… Their recent FA Cup game jumped again to 82%. Shots (and on target); 3 (2), 14 (3), 16(8). The amount of time they are spending in their opposition third has gone up too; 25%, 28%, 31%. The long passes and numbers of crosses they’re pumping into the box have both trended down. What does all this mean? They’re keeping the ball better, playing narrower up top and trying to fashion better and more chances. Sherwood is still trying to get a gauge on his best XI but be sure, Scott Sinclair is in there somewhere. At 5.2m he could become great value if he can get his minutes up, and he has been one of Villa’s best these past few weeks without scoring the points. We shouldn’t forget how good he was at Swansea before he chased the coin! 151 points in his last season there makes a mockery of his current price. There’s no way to pick out anyone else right now with the amount of rotation going on, but one thing to be keep in mind is to stay away from their defence. We all remember what Sherwood did to Spurs when he took over!
Honourable mentions. Kane Train!!! Toot toot. Jono Walters’ old school spitting comments. Hazard’s form. All Southampton’s games this year bar one, has seen a clean sheet for one of the teams (find a way to use that stat! Chelsea 2 – 0 Southampton maybe?).
QPR. Cooked. If by some miracle they are able to keep their top flight status they need to give Charlie Austin a statue, his own Air Asia jet with choice of flight attendants! Air Asia go alright in that department… And a stonking big contract! Why are they cooked? Firstly, Austin is due a decent barren spell, so far he’s only tricked us into thinking he was done. Since November, he’s only missed scoring in multiple games twice. A three game stretch recently and a two game period over New Years. His ability to bounce back very quickly is excellent, but is it sustainable? Secondly, tactics. EPL teams a little more sophisticated now than in years gone by when it comes to setting out to play, and the tactical awareness of the players. It’s definitely one of the good aspects of the foreign invasion into English football. QPR are just too predictable and easy to defend. Playing with width is great. Bit old fashioned, but great if you have the players to make it work… But only if you play down both flanks! QPR’s desire to bombard the right is bordering on comical and opposition mangers must think they have the easiest job in the world when it comes to playing these guys. Long balls. Far too many for an EPL team. When was the last time you saw the long ball tactic actually work in any top flight competition? It’s lazy. It’s also why Harry Redknapp should never manage an EPL club again! Well, an EPL club who wants to remain an EPL club… These are the tactics of a manger still living in the 90’s. I know he’s gone, but the hangover remains. Would love to see Chris Ramsey be able to make some positive changes, but he has nothing to work with. Losing Fer was a huge loss, he was integral to a lot of the good they were doing on the pitch and brought something different, particularly to the left side of midfield. Losing Barton for so long can’t be underestimated. No matter how much of a douche bag he is, he brings a truck load of English passion to whoever he has played for. Plus he can actually play a bit. Looking forward… With a run home that includes playing Liverpool and City away before an unpredictable Newcastle at home, the final game away to Leicester may be a dead rubber. For both teams…
Honourable mentions. Pitch invasions. Aguero’s 3 in 7… Fabregas without an assist in 5 games!!!
Ryan Bennett Award – Phil Bardsley. If you really want a Stoke defender there’s cheaper options… Nothing else to say.
Jonjo Shelvey Award – Ashley Young. He’s the stereotypical current United player what with his wild form swings. Plays the majority of life as a wingback so isn’t ever going to be relevant.
Jamie Vardy Award – Gabby Agbonlahor. Gabby will go one these 2-3 game runs of form and then disappear for 15. I guess at a stretch he could be half a shout if Benteke misses too many more. That will free up Agbonlahor to play up top? Nah.
Stealth Player of the Week – Dame N’Doye. Here we go, let’s see how this goes! I’m going to “out” players who are flying a little under the radar and put them up for consideration… Dame is up first and with good reason! 3 starts for 3 goals is a great beginning to his life at Hull. At the start of the season a lot of cheap, new strikers helped a lot of us on our way. Well here could be your next one? His 3 starts and 3 goals have all been at home however, and Hull’s final run contains the hardest home run imaginable. Still, worth thinking about.
Now… What to do with all our Spurs players?!? They do have some good fixtures coming, but the ongoing rotation is worrying. And when do we start looking at the Chelsea double? Their fixtures are arguably better than Spurs’. I reckon I’ll be getting back on them as early as this week. Jose may be looking to tighten up and consolidate their grip on the title… Clean sheet alert? Anyway, 92 points for me this week and a yet to be confirmed 23rd in A League…