Monday, 31 October 2011

Pessimism returns...

Albion played Liverpool at home on Saturday. Never a fixture I look forward to. Ever since a boxing day game a few years ago when they trashed us 5-0 (at home as well) or something horrific like that. All I remember is that I stopped watching and got drunk instead. Seemed like the right thing to do. In all fairness, it probably was. Not this time though, only 2-0 and I didn't touch a drop. But after the optimism of the previous two weeks, the pessimism (which along with cynicism is an essential part of supporting the Albion) has finally returned.

We simply didn't turn up. Admittedly, I missed the first 20 minutes including the 'penalty' but watching the rest of the game we seemed overawed by the likes of Charlie Adam who is without a doubt the most overrated player in the Premier League. We stood off them, not wanting to press the ball, letting Adam and Lucas control the midfield. Lucas is a fine player on his day, he wouldn't be in the Brazil side if he wasn't, but I genuinely believed before the match that Scharner and Mulumbu would give the Scouse midfield a run for it's money especially with the ever crocked Gerrard out injured again. We managed to pull a few decent passing moves together and managed to look dangerous from set pieces (something which for the past 6 years has eluded us) but really, it was a poor showing. Jonas Olsson was unlucky not to score from a corner, but even if he had it would have been too little too late. In fairness to Liverpool though, Carroll and Suarez linked up well and looked constantly dangerous and even Adam played some of the long accurate passes that made his name at Blackpool. I still think he's crap though.

Next up: Arsenal, away. Oh dear...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Does the phrase 'like a dog with two dicks' mean anything to you?

This week just gone, I have been walking around like a dog with two dicks. "Why?" I hear you cry in anticipation. Well, the Sunday before last we (meaning the Albion or for the uninitiated 'West Brom') beat our local rivals Wolves. It was a game we desperately needed to win, points on the board were sparse and bragging rights were at stake. Super Chrissy Brunt (as I like to call him) and Peter Odemwingie got the goals and fine goals they were too. The next week however i.e. the one just gone, we played Villa. Away. Our other, more local, rivals. In the 21 years I have supported the Albion, I have seen us beat Villa just the once. As a child, Black Country derbies against Wolves were plentiful and we won many, if not the majority. Villa, however were in a higher division and not to be played against as often. Until last season, I had never witnessed or indeed been alive for a victory against the hated 'Seals' as they are colloquially known amongst Albion fans.

So anyway, last Saturday, we won. I'm not used to this. At all. Ecstatic doesn't even come close. It was like a dream, I'm half convinced I'll wake up soon and find out we lost 4-0.  Jonas Olsson and Paul Scharner got the goals. Super Chris missed a penalty, Alan Hutton committed a disgraceful foul on Shane Long and Chris Herd was sent off for a dubious 'stamp' on Olsson. All in all, an action packed derby, worthy of the label.

Also worthy of the label were QPR v Chelsea and the Manchester derby. What can I say about the Manchester derby ? Except; bloody hell. Didn't expect that one. United capitulated like I've never seen from them. They need to be worried, especially with Anderson in midfield. Inept can be the only description. Although, as usual, De Gea will probably get the blame. Despite the performance of the players in front of him, irregardless of Evans sending off.

As for the West London derby; a classic English game of football. Full of tackles and violence. Just how a derby should be. Always pleases me to see John Terry and Frank Lampard upset. There were many on twitter criticising QPR for not being more attacking once Chelsea went down to 9 men. Surely they would have been foolish to commit more men forward when they were already one nil up. I love attacking football as much as the next man, but when you're a newly promoted team, such a tactic is suicidal. God knows, I've seen the Albion throw away too many games by attacking when they didn't need to. Keep possession, be patient and pray 'til the final whistle would be my strategy on those occasions.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Athletic Bilbao 3 Osasuna 1

On the evidence of this performance, Athletic Bilbao will have no problem obtaining a top 4-5 finish this season. A great display of attacking football and an absolute masterclass from Iker Muniain. But, poor Osasuna. In the first half they could have been two or three up but for the performance of Gorka Iraizoz in goal who made several top class saves. Unfortunately for Osasuna, goals from Muniain, Igor Gabilondo and Javi Martinez ensured that they were found wanting, despite a late penalty from Javad Nekounam for a harsh handball decision against Javi Martinez.

An exciting end to end first half was followed by a second half where Osasuna didn't really turn up, their heads had dropped and they never really looked like getting back into the game. Bilbao were unlucky not to score more in the final 45 minutes, particularly Llorente  who led the line brilliantly just in front of an attacking midfield trio of Markel Susaeta, Muniain and De Marcos. Gabilondo came off at half time and was replaced by Autenetxe, pushing De Marcos into midfield from left back. This midfield trio was incredibly fluid throughout the second half with all three players taking turns in various positions, passing and moving like they'd never been the tough, physical side many pundits write them off as. Bielsa must have been ecstatic after their slightly shaky start to the season.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The International Break

God, I hate the international break.The intense monotony of watching England, coupled with the intense monotony of the surprise in the morning's papers of another dismal England performance. The one saving grace of the international break being I do (occasionally) get to see Albion players playing for their respective countries. Notably; Shane Long for the Republic of Ireland, Chris Brunt for the North. Sometimes Simon Cox for the Republic as well, but then again we barely see him at the Albion (which is a great shame in my opinion). Also notable mentions go to Gonzalo Jara (Chile), Paul Scharner (Austria), Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria), James Morrison and Graham Dorrans (both Scotland).

Now I've got that little rant out of the way (although there is a good chance similar rants will appear), a little background information about myself; I'm a 27 year old Teaching graduate who manages a coffee shop in a small town in the North of England. After reading blogs such as Zonal Marking, The False Nine and Ross County Tactics, I thought I'd have a bash myself and see what I could do. Here goes nothing...