Good morning to you.
It’s a pity that irony doesn’t pay the bills. Early last year I tried to run a ‘Let’s Kick John Terry Out Of Football’ tee shirt and ‘Let’s Kick Racism…’ threatened legal action so it was shelved. Now black players are threatening to boycott a campaign that means nothing, achieves nothing.
The cad Terry won’t be playing tomorrow but all eyes will be on the away fans. They’ve more form than Framkel when it comes to racism. Hissing, coin throwing, you name it. No one likes a grass, but if you’re there and spot someone behaving like this, tell a steward.
The side kinda picks itself to a large extent. Hugo had a solid international performance against Spain during the week, stopping a Cesc Fabregas penalty here and making a double save here. After that he would be the right choice to bring into a big game like this.
A back four that makes the fewest number of mistakes as possible is the way forward and reluctantly I’m picking Walker ahead of Naughton. Walker increasingly terrifies me defensively and I’m becoming rapidly depressed being told how good he is going forward. This is like telling a woman who’s lost the heel of her shoe that the colour goes perfectly with her outfit.
He doesn’t appear up to the job as a defender. He’s athletic and he does make some useful passes I’m not denying that, simply asking, at what cost? Unless something dramatically positive happens tomorrow we need Naughton.
Jan, Cauler & Billy look as sound as we have been in decades. This seems extravagant praise, but if you think about it that’s how long we’ve been mending and making do.
Sandro & Dembélé have been actually formed a formidable partnership with their highly efficient contrasting styles. An excellent article by Matt Swan is essential reading here.
Opta sats on Sandro only serve to underline what we might have suspected. His Own Half passing accuracy rate is consistently excellent. Against Norwich City, Manchester United and Aston Villa it was 100%. Overall this season in his own half his passing accuracy was 93%.When he goes over the halfway line things go a little downhill. His Attacking Half passing accuracy rate drops to 79%. In the final third it takes a small hit and becomes 77%. So the key is obviously for him to keep it simple and concentrate on utterly owning the zone he can control.
Dembélé missed the Newcastle and West Brom games so it’s important to look at the direction the stats take you in. Also this is Moussa’s first season with us. Factoring all this in, Moussa’s numbers are better than encouraging, to put it mildly.
Overall this season in his Own Half his passing accuracy has been 90% his is Attacking Half passing accuracy rate has been 87% which in the final third he maintained that 87%.
Bale, Dempsey, Azza and Ade. The only question mark in my mind here was should we swap Dempsey for Siggy or the Midget Gem for Adebayor. The answer I believe is more a question of who would I want coming off the bench. This is a game where it’s highly likely the subs will be deployed so we need to ensure that they make an obvious difference.
My prediction? This, like the Manchester United game and indeed every tough test is about being able to play for 95 minutes. We ought to win and I think by two goals.
There will be much made about this match in relation to Villa-Boas facing his previous employers for the first time since getting the tin tack. If we draw or worse, it’s important to focus on the manner the game pans out. How we played and how well we’ve done so far this season.
Your predictions? Ha. Here they are!