Date: 4th January 2012 at 7:23am
Written by:

Good morning.

On the news this morning they are stock taking at London Zoo. How quintessentially English. If all zoos do this as a matter of course I don’t want to know. I like to think of American, Chinese and German zoo keepers all zapping and their resident’s from golf carts using bar code guns.  

While in N1…in the midst of four dozen penguins there is a man in wellington boots armed with a pen and notebook. “27, 28… hold up fella, weren’t you number 17?”

Perhaps this is a good time take stock; count our penguins, tot up our tigers.

Yachtsman made the suggestion of not just ratings for the game but cumulative appreciation which is an excellent suggestion particularly at this mid point in proceedings.  So when leaving your, ‘What game were you watching? 7.045?! He was easily worth a 7.047!!!  It’s a good time to reflect upon the individual player’s season so far.

 7.001 Another one of those ‘he had little to do but done it well’ sketches for the Bradster. He’s been consistent and that is why he was shipped in and that is why he’s been a success. My one criticism are his kick outs. 99% of them fall into enemy hands. Ball on the floor please. Ball on the floor.

 7.002 This was him in good form and pleasing to see it. He might draw negative comments for his crossing or whatever but I’m more interested in him being trained to lay the ball off to someone we pay to do that. No costly errors worth discussing at the back and that’s the important bit.

 7.432 I see him and I start to hear Ashford & Simpson’s ‘Solid As A Rock’ playing. He’s a hunched, dogged soldier keeping guard and I sleep soundly on his watch. Something we’ve been missing for donkey’s years. A sluggish return from injury but hey, spring chickens don’t have that level of experience.

 8.999 The meteoric improvement in young Younes has been a pleasure. He was undoubtedly shipped in as cover/addition to/replacement for Ledders. He began his time brightly and then deteriorated into race horse that kept getting stuck in the stalls. Last night shows just how far he has come.

 6.861 Oh Kyle. You need to sit down in a quiet room and dwell a while on your situation. We all love the idea of you, what you could offer. But you need to focus on being a great defender first and foremost. These forward runs are beginning to grate. Again, we have other folk on the pay roll to do this and do it well.

 8.442 The old Dutch masterclass. His determination and energy levels were superb. A swash buckling performance. The only question mark is what to expect from him on a game by game basis. One minute he’s pulling more strings than the London Philharmonic the next he looks like he don’t know how to quit.

 7.000 This little fellow needs to start delivering some consistency. I’m not sure what the problem is but this was West Brom not Bayern Munich. Another game where he pottered about in the first half and then improved inthe second. If you think you’re worth £40M and he keeps telling us he is, then he needs to step up to the price tag every game.

 Ouch. We wish you well.

 6.901 Another one who has gone from being a leading light to a walk on part. This whole drifting about business isn’t working. What’s actually occurring is that he’s less involved in the game and passing over attacking reigns to men who aren’t qualified – aka – our noble ‘wing backs’.  On the wing, occasionally cut in if you wish but knock this roaming spiel on the head. Please.

 6.901 There will soon come a point when he needs to start scoring again. My admiration for him stems from what he brings to the entire team and specifically his selfless play dropping deep and generosity around the penalty box. But he’s a striker and he either creates or scores or he’s playing out of position. He’s missed some good chances this season, less so last night. But he needs to start scoring.

 7.090 His game last night was hugely improved. Call me a miserable sod but that still leaves him as an occasionally offside one dimensional chancer. But he scored and that’s what he’s paid to do so point in digging too deep I guess.