Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bartons Banned



This is far from the first piece of controversy surrounding Joey Barton but it may very well be his last as a professional footballer. That’s right, Joey Barton has been handed an 18 month ban for placing 1,260 bets over the course of 10 years and at the tender age of 34, it’s unlikely he’ll be up to the task when he returns…


The Burnley man has called the ban “excessive” which I can’t really agree with as he knew what the rules were and has repeatedly broke them since 2006. Of course the only reason he’s saying it’s excessive is because this ban effectively forces him into retirement.


Is this the end or just the beginning of something new?


Let’s be honest though, this doesn’t really come as much of a surprise, his retirement was always gonna be a big fiasco. Barton has been in the papers for more bad reasons than good over the years, whether it be stubbing out a cigar in a youth player’s eye, starting a 10-man brawl in a friendly or just plain kicking the shit out of his own players he’s rarely in the headlines for his footballing brilliance…


Which is a shame because he was actually a good player. Not a great player. I don’t want people getting confused that because I’ve complimented Barton I’m comparing him to the likes of N’Golo Kante and Luka Modric. I think Barton holds a much closer comparison to Robbie Savage, a seemingly constant starter in the Premier League but was never a Premier League great.


He’s a very direct kind of player which is a perfect fit for Burnley as they are a much more direct team that like to try and get the ball moving forward as quickly as possible with little regard towards the possession stats. Joey’s best qualities though are in his defensive capabilities.


As many people know he’s a very strong tackler, he’s surprisingly good in the air considering he’s only 5ft9 and is a unselfish player, not being afraid to throw his body in the way of a shot or cross to the benefit of his side. All traits that suit hard working Burnley team.


Another positive on Barton’s game is his dead ball ability. He can whip in a good ball from either a free kick or a corner which is an ability needed in any side in my opinion. It pisses me off when teams don’t have a player who can whip in a cross, like England in the 2016 Euro’s...not even one of our wingers could cross...it’s embarrassing. I’m not saying we should have called up Joey Barton but it’d have been better than putting Kane on dead balls. But I digress.


Barton celebrating after scoring a free kick against Southampton earlier this season.


And despite some fans opinion’s on him, he is actually an intelligent player. Off the pitch he likes to make people believe he is this profound philosopher, a regular Aristotle. When in actual fact he’s just an average Joe with a large Twitter following gained from his career as a footballer and not his “profound” opinions.


...But despite his questionably intelligence off the pitch, his intelligence on it is impressive. He reads the game well, has good positional sense and know’s when a tactical foul is needed. And that is not just to the opposition, Joey Barton is the kind of player who knows if his team are under the cosh, sometimes the best course of action is to just go down. Not dive per se, more just leave a leg dangling and go down when your man touches it...ok dive, whatever…


Fouling actually brings me onto Barton’s first negative point; his discipline. Barton has received 8 yellow cards in 23 games this season. If that was a goal scoring stat, you’d think this kid isn’t half bad. Sadly for the 34 year old it's not a goal scoring stat and can put his manager in a tricky situation if (or should I say when) he gets a ban.


Again to be fair to Joey it is a bit of an occupational hazard when you play in a midfield of a side battling relegation, it can’t always be helped. But one thing that can be help is his sudden outbursts of aggression on the pitch...I think most fans of Premier League football know what I’m talking about there.


I think everyone at some point has though "dick head" when thinking of Joey Barton.


I mean just look at that. He goes from “this is a disappointing development” to “I’m going to end all life as we know it” in less than a second. A lot of people can look back on it now and laugh but might I remind you that this was the game where City needed a win to become Premier League Champions. Tensions were running so high, this act could have started a riot…


But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Barton’s career, there were times where Barton could make us piss ourselves just simply by having the attitude of a Sunday League footballer. The time he got his arse out to Everton supporters was and still is funny. Putting on a French accent when speaking to the media was another corker from the Scouser.


In fact you could probably bring out a DVD of all the antics this guy has got up to including; making comments about Zlatan Ibrahimovic's nose to Zlatan, calling Torres a ‘cock-smoker’, comparing Neil ‘wanker’ Warnock to Mike Bassett and even a comical jab to Morten Gamst Pedersen’s chest when the referee wasn’t looking.


A much more recent comedy moment from Barton was when he tried to get a non-league striker sent off in the FA Cup but walking into his arm and saying he was elbowed. The really hilarious part was the fact that he denied diving on Twitter, saying the player “moved his arm back and hit him on the head”...I’ll let you guys be the judge of that one.


How Matt Rhead stayed on the pitch I don't know. Disgusting elbow...


On another note, I bet the Burnley man is having a feeling of deja vu this season as this is the third time he has let a club down at the business end of the season, where the club is really looking for him to step up. This season he will miss the remaining four games of the season which were all very winnable matches.


The last time he let his club down was in the same game as the aforementioned Aguero kick, where he was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez in the face. QPR were not yet guaranteed safety but thankfully games went their way and The Rs managed to stave off relegation, at least for another year that is.


The time before that was when he played for Newcastle and was sent off in the 77th minute when already 2-0 down after a very stupid lunged tackle on Xabi Alonso. With three tough fixtures to follow this it was important that the Geordies had the best squad available. This is also what sparked Alan Shearer to call Joey Barton, and I quote, “shit”...


Where does this ban leave Burnley? The Clarets are currently 5 points off relegation with Swansea looking like the only team with a chance of escaping the drop. They have four winnable games and I think that just one more win will see them steer clear of the bottom three.


This is gonna seem like a random question does this ban only stops him from playing football or does it stops him from any footballing activities? Like can he still be a pundit on TV? Or can he go and apply for any manager/coaching jobs if they became available? Can he still collect Panini stickers? If anyone has any answers please comment below.


But for now, it looks like that is the end of Joseph Barton’s footballing career. He may not have reached the top of world football but I’m sure he’ll look back with fondness of his time in football but, in my eyes, will always be remembered as a player who left the phrase “what if” on many fans’ lips.


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Cheers for reading.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sheffield United to re-sign Ched Evans



I know no one reading this will care but I just wanted to start this post by saying I have managed to keep 3 clean sheets in my last 4 games somehow, saving one penalty along the way. If anyone would like to pass my number onto Mourinho or Zidane please feel free to as I think I’m ready to knock De Gea or Navas out of their positions.
~ Side note: For anyone wishing to see a grainy pixelated video of me saving said penalty then please have a look at my last post TPK Team of the Year 16/17 ~


But anyway, enough about me, let's get back on to today’s post which is about my clubs most fiercest rivals who apparently will be re-signing their former striker, Ched Evans. This has caused a lot of controversy amongst football fans and I felt like chucking in my two shillings worth.


It's reported that a fee of £500,000 has been agreed for the Welshman. 


Now of course most fans will know why this is so controversial, for those who don’t I will explain. In 2012 the Welsh international was found guilty of raping a 19 year old woman in his home town of Rhyl and sentenced to 5 years in prison, after serving 2 and a half years of his sentence he was released and struggled to find a club that would accept him. Eventually after having his rape allegation ‘quashed’ he managed to sign a one year deal with Chesterfield.
~ I use the word quashed as if I actually know what the fuck it means… ~


Now after I decided to write this post I spent around about an hour watching videos on YouTube about the “facts” about the case, other people’s opinions on the night, as if they were fucking there...but then I thought ‘what am I doing?’ I write a football blog and I’m watching video’s about a court case I couldn’t give two shits about. So instead I’ve decided I’m gonna write about Ched Evans as a footballer and not as anything else. As everyone else should be!


The first thing I’m going to say about Ched Evans is arguably the most embarrassing thing I think I’ll ever write...he was (and still is) the best striker I’ve ever seen play live in front of me…
I am a Wednesday fan who hasn’t yet seen us play under Chansiri, so am yet to see the brilliance of Rhodes, Hooper, Fletcher and the 18 other strikers we have in our squad. But for now it saddens me to say that the best I’ve seen is Ched Evans.


Admittedly I’ve not seen many ‘top class’ strikers play live in front of me. Andreas Weimann was good when I saw him. Andy Johnson for Fulham was another. James Beattie for The Pigs as well wasn’t a bad player...but none of them really matched up to Ched Evans’ intelligent play. He’s a player with something between his ears - and let's be honest, his ears are so big there’s gotta be something between them. *pause for laughter*


I always remember him not being the fastest striker, nor being the strongest, but he got goals from any position, with either foot, simply by making intelligent movement in and around the box. He reminds me a bit like Harry Kane...obviously a League One version but you get my point. To be honest though one thing I always used to say was if he had one good season of Championship football then Premier League clubs would come sniffing...it is a shame really.



Moving swiftly on to try and salvage myself some credibility, I wanna talk about how Evans will do at Bramall Lane. His last stint with the Blades in League One saw him bag 29 goals in 36 league appearances which is a good record to have in any division I have to say. The obvious factor to Sheffield United signing him back is for his goalscoring contribution which they’ll definitely need if they’re going to rely on just Billy Sharp for goals.


I made a £10 bet with my brother (a Sheffield United fan) the other week that Billy Sharp would not get double figures in the League next season because that fat tub of shit is not up to that standard anymore. In 11 years of Championship football, that little gremlin has only managed to scored double figures in 3 seasons. And that was when he was in his prime, now he’s lost a yard of pace (and found two stone) he’ll struggle to find Championship goals.
~ That last paragraph may have been a little impartial. Sue me ~


It is a gamble on the Blades’ part as Evans’ last stint in the Championship saw him score only 9 goals in 34 games, but it was in a dreadful Sheffield United side that was relegated to league One...even if the Welshman had scored 50 that season, he’d have been lucky to keep that side up. In my opinion though it could come off. If Ched gets a good pre-season behind him and gets the games, he could do well.


For Chesterfield so far this campaign he has only managed a measly 5 goals in 25 games. Now you could think that’s a bad statistic but when you consider he was playing for a side battling relegation in League One with the second worst defence in the league you kind of have to think that the blame wasn’t solely his…


All-in-all I don’t think he’ll be a bad signing for The Pigs. It’s a gamble and a huge one at that when you consider they’ve offered £500,000 but if it pays off and Evans has that ‘one good season’ that I was talking about earlier then the Blades will be laughing. For me though they’ll need to make many improvements to their squad to get it ready for the Championship.


Like I said Evans isn’t the fastest or the strongest so if the Blades want goals they’ll need to sign some real creative quality to give the likes of Evans to score or Sharp to blaze over the bar with his fat fucking trotter. But then again if this owner of theirs who owns all the toilet paper in Saudi Arabia really is as loaded as he says he is then they shouldn’t really struggle to find this player…


...wait a minute! What am I saying? Erm...actually what Sheffield United need to do is sign Paddy Kenny back...but stick him up front. And build their team around Leigh Bromby. Also sack Chris Wilder and bring in Michael Brown as player manager. Knock down Bramall Lane and rebuild it as a replica of Hillsborough, change your colours to blue and white, change your name to Sheffield Wednesday Reserves...and other such brilliant suggestions.


I thought I'd chuck this picture in for good measure!


The last thing I’m gonna say is good luck to Ched Evans next season. I know it’s not great support to Wednesday for me to hope a rival player does well but after seeing what’s happened to him and what he’s missed out on because of it, it’d be nice to see him do well in the league he most likely should have been in for the last few years.


And to be honest it’s not like I’m saying I hope United get promoted again. I mean I’m not bothered whether Ched Evans scores 30 goals and Sheffield United get automatic promotion just as long as Wednesday finish as Champions and Atdhe Nuhiu scores 31...a man can dream…


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Cheers for reading.

Friday, April 21, 2017

TPK Team of the Year 16/17



I didn’t get the chance to say this in my last post but I’m back! I’m gonna be back to my poorly spelt and grammatically incorrect best again and just to prove how back I am, please see the footage below proving this.

video

That was my penalty save in our 2-2 draw against West End Terriers last weekend. I’m the 3rd cluster of pixels on the left, if you just look closely and squint your eyes a bit it’s definitely me...truth be told I’m a little disappointed this was recorded on a potato cause that save was worthy of Match of the Day!

I’m gonna be frank with myself and say that people don’t give a shit about my footballing antics so I’m gonna quickly move on to what this post is actually about; the PFA team of the year for the 2016/17 season.


Below is the team that was voted and I must say there were no surprises that Spurs and Chelsea would clean up with 8 out of the 11 players playing for one of the London clubs. The other three players have come from Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton.




Now for the most part I can’t argue with these players being included, they’ve all had good seasons and deserve to be considered...but in my opinion there were some players that deserved to be in this team more than others, and that is what today’s post is gonna be about.


Goalkeeper
David De Gea got the nod for the PFA team of the years number 1 spot and for me this was the biggest shock. I’ve always been a firm believer that David De Gea is the best keeper in the Premier League and needs a move to Real Madrid to really spread his wings and become a Spanish legend. But this season he’s not been at his best, putting in some average performances but not making those world class saves that we all know he’s capable of.


I know most clubs in the Premier League could argue their keeper deserved this spot but for me it was between Jordan Pickford and Tom Heaton. Now although Pickford has been by far the busiest goalie in the league, I feel like Heaton has been the best!


The Burnley captain makes on average 4.2 saves per game in the Premier League which (especially compared to David De Gea’s 2 saves per game) is an amazing achievement. I can understand the choice of De Gea when you take into account that he has 12 clean sheets so far this season 3rd most in the league, while Heaton in 7th has managed a, still impressive, total of 9.


I could probably write an entire post about how I think Heaton deserves it over The Spaniard and to be honest I may do in the next few weeks but there’s still the rest of the team for me to go through so I’m gonna just move on now.


Heaton has made a whopping 125 saves in the Premier
League this season, more than any other goalkeeper.

Defence

The PFA team of the year’s defence was made up solely of Chelsea and Tottenham player. With this I have to completely agree on but out of the four they chose I’ve only chosen one of them in my team.


Kyle Walker, David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Danny Rose were included in the team. All four have had great seasons, playing parts of two of the best defences in the league. Now all of these lads deserve a spot in this team, I’m not disputing that, but for me I thought there were a number of players more deserving.


I’ve gone for a 3-4-3 formation because it’s been a revolutionary formation this season for Chelsea and for my first centre back choice of Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spaniard has seriously impressed me this season, making 2.1 tackles, 2 interceptions and 3.3 clearances on average per game. What I was most impressed about was how his move from right back to centre back seems to have not fazed him at all, looking like he’s played there his entire career.


My second centre back is Toby Alderweireld who has been surprisingly overlooked after putting in some stellar performances for the Lilywhites this season. He makes on average 1.4 tackles, 5.7 clearances and surprisingly only 0.8 interceptions per game. Those stat’s a quite good but his best trait is that he’s only made on average 0.3 fouls per game! That means that he makes one foul ever four games. Putting the likes of Mascherano and Pepe to shame.


Finally I’ve gone with David Luiz in the third centre back spot. I have criticised this guy ever since he first joined Chelsea in 2011 so what I’m about to say is a first...David Luiz has been class this season. Over the last couple of weeks Luiz and Cahill haven’t been at their best but you can’t deny he’s been great, making on average 1.2 tackles, 2.1 interceptions and 5.1 clearances per game. I have to say the main reason I’ve added him to this list is because of how much he surprised me with his performances.


I'd be happy with that back three in front of me

Midfield

I’ll start though with the mini-maestro himself; Eden Hazard. The Belgian international has been a revelation for Chelsea over the years, fitting into their counter attacking style so well using his amazing decision making ability to devastating effect. There are so many wingers in the world which don’t know what pass or cross to play or when to play it and Eden Hazard definitely isn’t one of them. He very rarely makes mistakes in the final third.


For the second year in a row Dele Alli and N’Golo Kante share the centre of midfield together in the PFA team of the year. Dele Alli didn’t have the best start to the season but is currently on 16 goals and 5 assists in the league and looks set to carry all the blame from future England fans when we get knocked out the World Cup by Qatar or San Marino…


N’Golo Kante has been my favourite Premier League player for the last 2 season’s now. I was worried that once he’d moved to Chelsea I’d begin to dislike him but he still shows the same work rate and desire that he had at Leicester. He makes 3.5 tackles and 2.4 interceptions on average per game! That is insane! For me the guy deserves a the player of the year award, a knighthood and the right to shag any Chelsea fans missus.


Now Sadio Mane has been great this season don’t get me wrong but for me there has been a better player marauding down that left hand side all season; Marcos Alonso. Like David Luiz, Alonso’s last stint in the Premier League wasn’t successful being relegated with Bolton, but he’s come back and boy is he back. He’s maybe not the best footballer in the league but has  provided some important contribution to Chelsea’s title bid in both defence and attack this season.


This team is very Chelsea orientated so far...God
it'll be embarrassing if they don't win the league

Strikers

There was a lot of competition up front this season, so many players have scored around the 20 goal mark. Both the striker from the PFA team of the year will be appearing in my team but with one added extra who could arguably improve any team in the world right now.


Striker number one in my team of the year is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Genuinely thought he was passed it when Manchester United signed him from PSG and I’m so glad I was proven wrong. The massive Swede has knocked in 17 goals this season which is not unlike Zlatan but what has impressed me most is the fact that he averages 2.4 key passes per game. A really impressive stat which surprised me if I’m honest.


My next striker has scored 20 goals in 24 games, in any league that is an impressive stat to have. Harry Kane has been class this season, arguably the best striker in the league. I wrote a piece on the “One Season Wonder” earlier this week where I talked about how good this guy is, I honestly believe he could make it at Real Madrid and the like if he was given the chance. Read my last post for more info on him.


Last striker and last player is Romelu Lukaku, another player that I have written about before. Where Kane uses his brains to get goals, Lukaku uses his physical ability to bully his way into goals, which looks like it's working as he’s got 24 goals so far this season. He reminds me so much of Drogba it is unreal and, as I’ve said a million times before, Everton will be lucky to keep him next season.


Combined these three have a whopping 61 goals
and 20 assists between them

And there it is my team of the year. Feel free to comment yours below or use the BBC website to make your own up in Team of the Year. I’d also like to add that all the stats came from WhoScored.com so if you look into them and fancy calling me a moron, please direct any issues to them.


I literally only made these pictures up myself because the BBC website
wouldn't let me put Marcos Alonso on left wing...

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

One Season Wonder



Harry Kane. To some Tottenham supporters he’s already considered a legend, chorusing “he’s one of our own” whenever he shoots or scores or breaths. In years gone by, Tottenham were happy enough getting 6th and maybe challenging for a European spot but have now been transformed into a club that is battling for league titles and is a mainstay in the top 4, shoving the likes of Manchester United and main rivals Arsenal out of the fray.


A big contributing factor to this is Harry Kane’s goalscoring touch which has seen him score 20+ goals for the third season in a row, joining the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and the Premier League’s record goalscorer Alan Shearer. Not bad for a “one season wonder”.

Not bad for a "one season wonder"

Not even the likes of Ronaldo, Carlton Cole, Sergio Aguero and Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney have managed this, Wazza only managing to score over 20 Premier League goals twice in his career.
~ Side note: Sergio Aguero could be added to the list this season though as he’s scored 20+ goals the last 2 seasons and is currently on 17 this campaign ~


I saw one stat that really made me want to write this post and that was that Harry Kane has scored 69 goals in 110 Premier League appearances, the exact same as Barcelona forward Luis Suarez when he played for Liverpool. This obviously creates comparisons and questions whether the Spurs forward is good enough for Europe’s elite.


Now obviously Suarez and Kane are two completely different players with completely different playing styles but I don’t think there would be much difference in scoring tally if Harry went abroad. I’m pretty sure most people won’t agree with me but I believe that Harry Kane would fit in perfectly in Real Madrid’s team and would be a better attacking option than Karim Benzema. Again that’s just my opinion and I am entitled to it. But I digress.

Would the Tottenham man look out of place at Real?

Although Kane matching Suarez stat is impressive, I think it doesn’t tell the full story. Spurs’ team over the last few seasons has been class and has been getting stronger and stronger under Pochettino, whereas the side that Suarez played with was average at best. Yeah Liverpool had Gerrard and Coutinho you still have to say that their team was lacking any real quality in defence. I mean their best defender was Martin Skrtel for crying out loud…


Not to take anything away from Harry, he’s a world class talent (well almost, I’ll get to that later) but he’s had it a little easier than the Uruguayan did. Kane has the likes of Eriksen, Son, Lamela and Alli to run off him and create chances. If Suarez was having an off day he’d have to rely on the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe to give him a goalscoring opportunity.


When you look back at the 13/14 season when Suarez more or less carried Liverpool to second in the table, Suarez was relied upon for not just goals but also creating chances. The former Ajax man scored 31 goals that season...just imagine how many he’d score if he actually had a good team around him...but again I’m digressing.


The only thing I can think of that will stop the Tottenham man’s scoring streak is a lack of quality around him. The Lilywhites currently have one of the best squads in the league but in 5 years time this side could look completely different. If Spurs offer out some hefty long term contracts to the likes of Alli, Eriksen, Dembele and Kane himself, I think Kane will continue to be up there as one of England’s top goalscorers.


Alan Shearer continued to score goals right up into his thirties because Newcastle managed to keep quality in the side...but when the Magpies began relying on Kieron Dyer, Lee Bowyer and Charles N’Zogbia to create chances for Shearer it was always gonna be a struggle. Still, 10 goals for a 36 year old is still pretty impressive, Rooney is struggling to get that now and he’s only 31...I can’t help digressing now.


Speaking of Shearer, a lot of fans have been asking whether the Tottenham man has the credentials to overtake The Geordie’s record. Now I imagine most Spurs fans are in the same boat as me when I say there’s a long way to go yet. It must be said though that you wouldn’t bet against the Spurs number 10 as he is showing strong signs he could do it.

Arsenal fans always accuse Kane of "only scoring pens" despite only ever scoring 11 in
the league...


It’s quite difficult to compare these guys’ records as Shearer actually played a couple of years in the old first division before the Premier League began. At 23, Shearer had amassed 47 Premier League goals which (for any maths buffs out there) is lower than 69. At this point in time Kane is on course to beat Alan Shearer’s record…all he needs to do now is score around 20 goals a season for the next 10 years. It’s that easy.


At this point in time, I am a firm believer that England should be looking to build a team around this guy. There’s a lot of debate who we should be building the team around with names like Alli, Sterling and Lallana getting their names thrown into the hat but my money would be the Spurs front man simply for his potential longevity.


Whether other players may rely on pace and quick feet, Kane doesn’t. He’ll be playing the same in 10 years time as he is now and that is simply because he uses his brain to get goals. Teddy Sheringham springs to mind, a player who wasn’t particularly strong or quick but was so intelligent on the pitch that he was still banging in goals in the top flight in his 40’s.

It's like Sheringham never left.

So where to now for Harry Kane? Well for me there's not much Kane can do to improve his game when he gets into the swing of it...my only gripe would be how long it takes to get into his swing. The 23 year old has been unbelievable over the last three seasons but from what I seem to remember he had a poor start to all three seasons.


This is only a minor gripe I have to say. Another area where he needs to be careful is one where he has no control over; injuries. He hasn't been hit with a huge injury as of yet (touch wood) but for him to keep progressing and become the next England great he needs to keep fit. To be fair I bet Tottenham a praying he keeps fit as well...otherwise they'll have to rely on...Janssen.


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