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Eddie Elbows
Grumpy Old Man
Posts: 1767
Joined: 26 Mar 2009, 21:19
Location: In the meadow gassing Badgers.
FS Record: Top 400 finisher TFF 2007/8, 2010/11 and TFF World Cup 2010


Post by Eddie Elbows » 18 Sep 2018, 21:04

Bonjour mes amis,

Welcome back to the land of fantasy. I trust we are all in the pink and refreshed after two weeks of not staring into our computers. As you may have gathered from my opening salvo my stomach and I are freshly returned from the continong and suitably reinvigorated and enlarged. Truffles, foie gras, walnuts and more truffles is the Perigord way, but not recommended for gout sufferers. My big toe began throbbing after three days of gluttony and it was back to the bully beef and hard tack. Speaking of throbbing things, no, perhaps not.

Our WEEK SIX grand poobah is of course Eden Hazard whose hat trick heroics helped Chelski seemingly come from nowhere to dislodge Liverpool from the top of the pile after easing past relegation certs Cardiff. Trailing to Sol Bamba’s marauding opener Kovacic was twice denied by Etheridge before normal service was resumed and two fine lay-offs from Giroud and two equally fine finishes from Hazard turned the tide. Reid at the other end was inches from levelling before Bamba had a rush of blood and brought down Willian in the box and Hazard confidently completed his hat trick from the spot. A delicious bender from Willian ten minutes from time put the glint on the gateaux. It’s fair to say Cardiff’s defensive star has waned somewhat of late, and given their troublesome looking fixtures and lack of fire power they could be down before Santa starts digging out the wrapping paper. Despite this fluid display Chelsea’s immediate programme is not all plain sailing and I have doubts about the centre of defence, especially the new goalie who looks like he could do with a few sessions on the chest expanders and a square meal. There are however signs of a growing understanding developing between Hazard and Giroud, and the Belgian looks hard to resist while he’s in this impish mien AND on penalties.

Also hitting four were the boys from Walmington-On-Sea. A bore draw last time around, this was easily game of the week. With two sides wanting to play on the counter and both vulnerable to pace a goal fest looked likely from the get go. Ryan Fraser, the belle of Bournemouth’s ball opened his account after just twenty minutes latching on to Kings pass and curling one just inside the far post. Either side of this Begovic twice had to be on top form to vanquish Vardy, and Maddison hit the bar with a follow up shot. That was probably the turning point as Sgt. Wilson and Private Fraser then combined on the counter, the pocket rocket ‘megging Schmeichel for for two-nil. The Foxes day went from bad to worse when the Cherries were awarded a ridiculous penalty suitably converted by King, and Morgan then received a very harsh yellow which was to prove costly. Shortly after the break he completely lost his rag, correctly got a second card and got sent off with a flea in his ear and flames coming down his nostrils. Fraser from the by-line set up Smith for an elegant one touch fourth, before late goals from Albrighton and Maddison from the spot lent the score line a slightly more representative aspect. No doubt the visitors will feel hard done by here and Leicester are moving into what should be a purple patch. Vardy and Maddison both look attractive (in a strictly heterosexual way you understand). Bournemouth also should be set fair for the next month or so and Ryan Fraser certainly looks in the mood to stick it up'em. King over Wilson for me.

Tottering Tottenham suffered back-to-back defeats as Liverpool extended their one hundred percent start without ever really having to hit the turbos. The visitors’ harrying and high press pressured Spurs’ midfielders into mistake after mistake, and if you told me they’d all had Rohypnol on their porridge it wouldn’t surprise me at all. Even Moussa Dembele who normally looks after the ball like a dog guards a bone was an embarrassment. Speaking of drug taking, The Sun had Michel Vorm as MOTM!!!. This was a painful watch for a diehard front-wheeler like me, and it’s five seasons since we hit these kind of lows. Notable absentees were Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli, but frankly the rest of the Spurs team might as well have stayed in bed for all the impact they made. None were worth more than five out of ten. Harry Kane could be for the knacker’s yard. There’s good money in dog food these days and they can take Michel Vorm with him. Liverpool came within seconds of their fourth shut-out, but good as they were at the back, their shooting was scatter gun, and despite all their dominance could have had victory snatched from their mitts if the ref had been on point when Son was clearly fouled in the area the dying seconds. A second blank for Salah seems to be have put the wind up some managers but I’m not for turning for strictly actuarial reasons. This is the first mini-crisis of Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs career. Let’s see if he’s the mutt’s nuts or a dead dog.

One M.P. who seems to be on the other side of a mini crisis is Manuel Pellegrini. ‘Manuel Pellegrini’s’ expensive misfits are facing another hard day at Goodison Park’ wrote Graeme Souness in Sunday’s Times. Well he’s not the only pundit whose been sticking the knife into the old smoothie – ahem, and how wrong could he be. Credit where it’s due the Argie curbed his cavalier instincts, changed his full backs, his midfield three and bought Yarmolenko in for Snodgrass, and Bob’s yer uncle, they actually looked like a half decent team running out three-one winners in the only week six result that went against form. Everton’s flat-footed ball-watching centre halves were easy prey for the quick thinking Arnautovic, Ogbonna and Yarmolenko. At the other end Cenk Tosun binned three more-than-decent chances, and Niasse hit the bar when it was easier to score. I’m not seduced by the Hammers’ charms because of their fixtures, and Arnautovic could be out for the Chelsea game. Everton have more than their share of walking wounded at present yet they bossed the attempts stat sixteen to nine, and would have got something from this if they could hit a barn door. Coleman is slated for a return next week and Richarlison should return if my calculations are correct.

Also flying unaccustomedly close to the sun are the Golden Boys who were unchanged for the fifth match in a row for the visit of Manchester United. After brutally crushing Burnley before the break José kept faith with Matic, Pogba AND Fellaini, as a midfield threesome that would probably put the frighteners up the All Blacks, and what better way to out-Watford Watford. Understandably the Horns were unchanged after bludgeoning Tottenham into submission but the first forty-five was pretty much one way traffic as the visitors took the lead via Lukaku’s belly button and extended it after a balletic chest and volley from Chris Smalling. Deeney & Co upped the ante in the second period and Gray with a rising side foot finish on the hour gave them a sniff. The hosts piled on the pressure but Mourinho knows a thing or two about trench warfare and United dug in commendably to hold on. A late De Gea save to deny Kabasele drew gasps of admiration and denied the hosts a point they probably just about deserved. The only bad news Mancwise was that Nemanja Matic succumbed to the curse of Mike Dean and received a second yellow. Busby Babes they ain’t, but good fixtures, improving form, and four in five for a certain Belgian should at least pique the interest, which is more than I can say for their shirts which looked like they’d been through the wash with the wife’s red knickers. Watford’s fixtures aren’t the worst and Holebas leads the VFM table by a county mile. Mind you he is a bit if a card magnet.

The other side of Manchester were also happy campers after a routine win which was served up on a sliver platter with just two minutes on the clock when Seri suffered brain fade and his under hit square ball was picked off by Fernandinho. The Brazilian cantered into space before setting up the returning Sane for a gilt-edged tap-in. A Silva chest and volley from five yards and a Sterling tap-in put the game to bed with over forty minutes still to play. I get the feeling it will be Christmas before Fulham can really finish bedding in their new boys and home form will be critical in the interim. Schürrle, Vietto and the very attractively priced Seri are all options as long as Mitrovic continues to lead the line diligently. With a trip to Cardiff next up followed by the visit of Brighton, more boot-filling would seem to be the order of the day for City. Bernardo is becoming increasingly influential, and Sane would appear to be back on the menu. However Moreas, Laporte and Aguero have been the only permanent ins in Pep’s selection hokey cokey, and with Champions League distractions afoot the Citizen’s midfield options remain unpredictable. Yer pays yer money, you takes your choice.

Winning the week six Ernest Shackleton award were the Arsenalistas whose trudge up to Scotland was rewarded with three points after what turned out to be a fairly comfortable victory in the end. A miserable first half was notable only for a wild miss by Aaron Ramsey and another close call for Petr Cech who once again nearly got caught dwelling on the ball. Cech’s legs are strictly for standing on and he will continue to be a candidate for the Norman Wisdom ‘Pants Round Your Ankles Award’ if the coach keeps on with this sweeper-keeper caper. The Gunners assumed a measure of control after the introduction of Lucas Torreira at the interval (again!), and Xhaka’s whizzo thirty yard free kick took the lid off the Geordie pie five minutes in. Mesut Ozil with a measured finish added the second ten minutes later after some less than spiffing Newcastle defending. Aubameyang and Joselu spurned decent chances before Ciaran Clark headed a late consolation for the Mags. I don’t know if Mr Emery reads my column but since I counselled against fielding both Ozil and Micky Taryan he has done just that and won all three games. “Football,” as Bill Shankly explained “is a simple game made complicated by people who should know better”. The Londoners who were unchanged here, have what ought to be a dream run coming up, and a light sprinkling of Arsenal striker could have you shooting up that super league in no time. The Geordie’s fixtures ease up significantly from now on but I’m at a loss for a selection especially as Jonjo Shelvey was once again deemed unfit after falling into a box of silver crucifixes.

Dominant Wolves, were only held at bay by an inspired stint from Joe Hart in the visitors’ goal, but the Claret’s façade cracked on the hour when the impressive Doherty beat Gudmundsson rather too easily and Jiménez angled the ball across the keeper with a deft touch. Cork was inches from getting a toe on a late Vydra cross but he’d have been lynched if he’d scored. Burnley whose fixtures are improving looked a little more solid than of late, but offered little by way of goal threat, and thirty attempts to seven in favour of the Old Gold tells you all you need to know. Ward and Lowton were again on bench warming duty. Wanderers, expansive yet measured were easy on the eye but profligate in front of goal, and it will come back to haunt them if it persists. They did however produce their second shut-out. Though Jota appears to be an endangered species he got into decent positions and I’m holding fire for now.

At a hostile John Smiths stadium Palace returnee Wilf Zaha separated the wheat from the chaff with a mesmerising dribble and shot just before the interval. The Terriers did enough to get at least a point but their goal drought alas continues. Löwe’s inch perfect cross ought to have been buried by Mounié early doors, and Mooey cracked one against the upright shortly after the restart. Something of a smash-and-grab from Woy’s boys who only mustered two attempts on target. Ayew was preferred to Schlupp which was a bit of a blow and Ben Techy didn’t even make the bench which wasn’t. The Eagles ought to be making hay until they run into choppy seas at the end of October. Huddersfield face a mixed programme over the next month or so but have a chance to make up lost ground in November and December if it’s not too late.

Desmond down at the Amex and a MNF game of two halves if ever there was one. Southampton bossed the first and deservedly lead through Højbjerg’s swerving thirty yarder. Brighton who were appalling in the first forty-five finally got their act together in the second, but just as they looked like dislodging Saints’ halo, Ings and Bong clashed in the visitor’s area and the former netted form the spot. No matter. The Seagulls were back in it in a trice as Duffy bullied his way onto the end of Knockaert’s free kick. Sparky tried to freshen things up from the bench, but Saints dropped deeper and deeper and when Ward-Prowse stupidly pushed Duffy to the floor and Murray equalised from twelve yards it was probably just about deserved. Brighton without kingpin Pascal Gross were far from their best and will have to nip these lethargic starts in the bud. Duffy’s second goal of the season and a KC returned a nice nine point haul. Ings’ third of the season will go some way to compensating managers for his absence at Anfield next week.


Thirty-three goals and a season low of three clean sheets produced a season low average of thirty-five. I had a decent week thanks to reasonable coverage of Hazards, Frasers and Kings, though my leading lights – a Liverpool block – dropped into the mid two thousands, they are however 22nd in the Fulham supporters league!

I’m a bit bereft of tactical ideas at the moment, but I might be persuaded to expand my Aubameyang and Hazard portfolios next Sunday.

See you on the other side.


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