Monday, November 27, 2006

Fortress Anfield repels Man City

Our amazing home form continues. Our home form is the exact match of Chelsea for the season which makes both the best home teams. Unlike Chelsea, we have only been able to take two points from seven games. While we didn't play well bar around 15 or 20 mins in the second half, we reduced an unambitious City to no clear chances. But the fact that we managed to break down an obstinate defence was encouraging. Garcia can often help to do this at home but he had a fairly poor game on Sat. I'm a big fan of Luis and hope he gets a new contract. He gives us something that none of our other players do. When he's on form he can be stunning but off form he can have shocking games.

Stevie Gerrard built on his goal scoring exploits against PSV to hit the winner. He looks to be finding some decent form over the last 3 or 4 games after a terrible start to the season. Zenden played a very disciplined role behind Gerrard. He was tidy in possession and tackled well. He is no world beater and nowhere near a Momo substitute but we'll have to hope that he can keep this up until Xabi returns in a week or so.

As we have come to expect by now, Kuyt put in his usual trojan workload. He also managed to provide another assist making it three in two games this week. Neither striker came that close to scoring. Hopefully they can change that against Pompy on Wed. Pompy have something of an injury crises at the moment and their defence has lost it's early season resoluteness.

The formation was interesting on Sat. We seemed to start with Agger at left back but this changed to 352 very quickly. In the second half we appeared to revert to 442 with Carra at right back and Finnan on right of midfield. Rafa tried 352 against Newcastle last season and it worked well. I don't see this being used that often and it might have been an effort to get around our lack of fit wingers at the moment.

In transfer news, the Liverpool echo say that we have signed a young Argentine left back called Emiliano Insua. He is 17 and has signed from Boca Juniors for £1m. Jamie McCarthy from Hamilton Academical has also been linked. This kid made his debut at 15 and is in the first team now at 16. He is Scottish born but has expressed a preference to play for Ireland, a la McGeady at Celtic, which is good news for us. Utd want him too so I would expect that Fergie will win that one. Sky linked us with two Spanish youngsters from the Real Madrid B team called Juan Manuel Mata and Alberto Bueno. I can't saw that I know anything much about them other than they played for Spain when they won the under 19 euro championship last month. Billy Clarke an 18 year old striker at Ipswich, has been linked with a £1.6m move. He's Irish too and seems to be doing well for Ipswich this term. I've only seem youtube compilations but some who've seen him play compare him to a young Fowler.

Lucas Neil remains a January target by all accounts. His contract is up in July so he shouldn't cost much. The press say that we'll have competition from Newcastle, Barca and Milan for his signature. I think that he's a decent player and could do a good job for us. But he can be a total hatchet man when he wants to as some of our players have found out when on the receiving end of his tackles.


Thomas said...

The talk linking Neill to Barcelona is rubbish. He's hardly better than Zambrotta (who had a super game against Villarreal on Satruday by all accounts) or Belletti or even Oleguer. Barça are coming down with right-sided defenders.

I don't see why Liverpool are interested in him either. Like you say he's a hatchet man and no more than an average defender. Rafa should be aiming higher than Neill.

Mal O'Brien said...

I reckon that he'll be brought in as cover as he can play anywhere accross the back four. He did have a good world cup and would be almost free as he only has 6 months to go on his contract. It might be useful to have a hatchet man when playing the likes of Everton and Bolton.

Dermot said...

I reckon Neill is an average premiership defender who played way above himself in the World Cup. I can't really understand why Benitez is interested, but I would be happy enough to see him go to Liverpool.

Billy Clarke is getting linked to Everton a good bit too. He seems to be pretty decent. Wouldn't mind seeing him in Ireland jersey at some stage.