August 11th, 2012 January 2013, The 9 Game Month
Premier League Major Transfers
A questionable decision by the Arsene Wenger, he is paying a large sum(for a Goalkeeper) when they currently have the second best defense in the league, conceding 15 goals. The starter at this moment is the young Szczensy who has played fairly well so far in this season. The 22 year old has been in the best form of his life so far in the season, having committed 0 mistakes that have led to goals against Arsenal. Now, it seems as the the stronger and more experienced Adler will start as he is among the premier Goalkeepers in the world, even though he didn’t play for Real Madrid.
A purchase made by Tottenham due to the injuries that have been hitting the technically skilled players on the Spurs squad. The reason for this, however, is due to the pressure on these players, having to play every match that they are available in. Their condition doesn’t matter, such is Redknapps dependance on Bale, Modric and others. This transfer might be a change in that policy by the Spur’s, possibly adding a new faith in other players.
In this seasons League, the major difference between Tottenham and leaders Manchester United is the defense. Offensively, Tottenham have had an amazing 52 goals(just 1 less then Manchester United’s 53). Defensively, they have been a bit more human. They have only conceded only 18 goals, 3rd best in the league. They seem to hope that the signing of Ansaldi will force more competition in the WB position. This could help in that the WB position will be stronger, helping both defense and offense.
Our only contribution to the transfer season, we sold an unhappy Jonny Evans to West Brom in order to get him of the wage bill and to cash in on him. The young defender has appeared in just 3 matches for us all season, non of those being in the League. He is way down in the CB depth chart that, unfortunately for him, included Vidic, Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Smallings and even Kyle Walker occasionally. He had no future and yet collected more in wages then players such as Giggs, Welbeck, Saviola, Rafael and even Phil Jones. This was a no brainer as he hasn’t been considered on the team for some time now. The $8M could also help with the debt we currently have to deal with as well.
Against QPR(Premier League),
After great month of December ended with a disappointing draw against Stoke City, I just laughed it off thinking it was just terrible luck….And it could have been luck but unfortunately it was a bit long term. We were the better team by far, having 8 shots on target to their 2. I decided the match would be fairly simple and so I started Lars Bender, Vrsaljko, and Zamani. Zamani was injured early on so I subbed on Miles Taylor to play in his second Premier League Match since we were doing well and creating chances. I then subbed of Bender for Serge Ramirez to make his League Debut in the 45th at the age of just 15. Towards the end, I was getting worried about the lack of goals so I subbed of Seedorf to call on Saviola to have an attack of 2 wingers and 2 strikers(Welbeck and Saviola). Tragedy struck soon after as Fletcher was sent off after a cynical tackle. This then allowed QPR to strike a goal in the 89th to win the match. Tough loss.
Against Chesterfield(FA Cup Third Round),
I went into this match disregarding out 2 previous matches where we under performed and went for a youth squad combined with subs. The line up consisted of Lindegaard goal and Vrsaljko, Walker, Serge Ramirez and Digne in the back. Then, in the midfield, Lars Bender Anderson and Giggs were in charge of running the middle. Finally, Up top was Zamani, Young and Elliot Harding making his first ever start for the 1st team. It took a mere minute to get into the lead with Young scoring right from the start. We played very offensively and never gave them a chance but Harding was a bit wasteful up front. In the 45th minute, I subbed of Harding for Rooney and Anderson for Nowlan. Rooney made it 2-0 in the 48th minute after dribbling past 2 defenders. 2 minutes later, Giggs added his own to make it 3-0. In the 75th, I subbed of Ryan Giggs and called up Naylor to finish the match. Rooney added his second in the 89th minute to end the match. Assists by Bender, Giggs and Young(2).
Match Against Chelsea
Manchester United- Fletcher, Eriksen
Beautiful match for the team where we were by far better then Chelsea. We started off attacking and attacking and it payed off very early on. Rooney headed a ball in the first 8 minutes to make it 1-0. We continued to attack with Rooney causing all types of trouble. In the 30th minute, Rooney took advantage of the lack of pace of Terry along with the adventurous forward runs by Luiz and got behind the defense with the ball. He scored easily on Cech and made it 2-0. We STILL attacked and then Rooney’s third goal was a replay of the second. It was 3-0 in the 43rd minute. I took of Rafael and subbed on Smalling, as I need to keep my players fresh since we have many many games this month. In the 63rd, Rooney contributed again by setting up an easy goal for Douglas Costa. I realized the game was more then done, so I subbed off Douglas Costa for a lesser used Nani. Then, 6 minutes later, I gave Pogba a chance in the match by taking out an excellent Giggs. Match went on with much of the same(us playing amazingly) until finally it ended. Assists by Rooney, Young, and M’Vila.
Amazing month, especially in the defensive side of things. In the month, we were scored on twice(3 goals, including match against QPR). We had a total of 7 clean sheets in 9 matches which is amazing when you consider that out of our 7 clean sheets, 4 were against big rivals(Chelsea, Liverpool and 2 against Manchester City).
Against Fulham(Premier League),
I went into the match a bit scared since Fulham ALWAYS play well against us. This time was a bit different however. We were much greater even though we won by 1 goal. Not much to really comment on, a couple of sub players were used(Nani, Valencia, Seedorf and Vrsaljko) to prepare for the match against City. All players did very well(Nani was only decent). Particularly impressed by the ability of the defense. They shut down any attempt to get into our 3rd of the field and were amazing in getting interceptions. Assist by Valencia in the 43rd.
Against Manchester City(League Cup Semi-Final, Leg 1),
We went into the match with a cautious confidence so to speak. We had been playing well in the past couple of matches but knew Man City could change that. They had a starting line up including Aguero, Silva, Diarra and Kompany. Truly world class. Our own line up was also strong, with the only questionable addition the young Paul Pogba who started in the midfield. We started off amazingly, Douglas Costa had probably the best 10 minutes I think I have seen him play. He scored in the 3rd minute and then again in the 10th minute in addition to creating multiple other chances. He was amazing. We actually calmed down a lot after that and allowed City to control the match for a large period of time. Aguero pulled it back to 2-1 in the 28th minute as well. They continued to attack and we did as well. Eventually half time came and I took out Evra(at fault for goal) for Smalling in what i think now was a great decision. The game, even though slightly going for City at the moment, was restored to equality. Then, in the 50th, the other Brazilian midfielder(Anderson) scored a goal to make it 3-1. Game continued as an exchange of attacks with neither team being greater. Then, I did something that I thought would help tilt the balance. I took off M’Vila for Ferdinand and Pogba for Saviola. I pushed Ferdinand back to partner with Vidic and Jones as an Anchor man in the DM. Then, I pushed saviola to the forward line in order to have a 4-1-1-2-2 with 2 attacking wingers and 2 forwards. We did have better efficiency on the offense, creating more chance. Unfortunately, City benefited more by creating more chances then us. Diarra scored a goal in the 88th to push us to the end but we managed the victory. We went home with a 3-2 win for the second leg. Assist by Pogba and Young.
Against Wigan(Premier League),
very straight forward match. Started with Walker and Vrsaljko covering my WB positions, had Bender start in the middle(M’Vila has been getting very tired) and started with a forward 3 of Zamani, Nani and Saviola. We started the match amazingly as Saviola scored twice in the first 11 minutes. Then, Walker scored his first goal for us in the 17th to make it 3-0. Subs include Ferdinand(Jones), Giggs(Pogba) and Saviola(Naylor) all coming off to give youngsters some time. Assists from Vrsaljko, Giggs and Fletcher.
Against Newcastle(Premier League),
another easy match where I rotated the squad again, most notably with Pogba in the middle and Valencia on the wings. We started off the match just like most of our matches attacking and controlling the ball in their offensive end. We only needed to wait till the 26th for Rooney to score yet another goal(seventh of the month so far). Match continued with us having the momentum and half time came and went. Then, in the 56th, Valencia his first league goal of the season. That was soon followed in the 62nd when Vidic, with his first goal of the seasons, came up and connected effectively with a corner. I followed this by taking out Giggs for the previously injured Eriksen to get him back into his match grove. We still were on top at this time and, at the 73rd minute mark, I took out Rooney and Rafael and subbed on Danny Welbeck and Kyle Walker so as to give the kids more time playing and the starters more rest for the future games. Assists by Giggs, Valencia and Rooney.
Against Liverpool(Premier League),
we had a VERYYYY frustrating match. And none of it had to do with our playing style. It just seemed that EVERYTHING was against us and yet we still out played Liverpool. We started the match focusing on the left flank so as to give Young more chances to speed past Carragher. This was shown fruitful just 16 minutes in when Ashley Young scored after Vrsaljko(who started here due to his great recent form) chipped a long ball over the left side. Young latched on and placed it past Reina. It seemed as the Official was against us because he seemed to book us more easily then our opponents. My greatest suspicion of this was when Rafael was sent off in just the 22nd minute for a foul regardless that it was his first and it didn’t seem that bad(wasn’t a 2 footed challenge or from behind or as a last man). I took of Eriksen, who I started in the Middle, for Smalling who moved to RB and let my midfield a man short(only Anderson and M’Vila). Weirdly enough, we were still a good amount better. I tried to push my wingers back a bit(by that I mean to drop back when not on the ball) and tried to focus the play on the wings. This seemed to work as just in the 43rd minute, Young scored yet again with a play very similar to the first(Vrsaljko once again). Half time again arrived and I started telling the players to try to keep the ball a bit more so as to not tire themselves out when trying to get it back. Then, a something seeming like a disaster struck. In the 58th minute, Ashley Young was taken down outside the box and was injured. I had to take him off so I took M’Vila and Young off for Bender(save M’Vila for City) and 16 year old Harding who was making his league Debut. Unfortunately for the poor kid, 6 minutes and 1 pass later, he also was injured. Now, if you kept track, I already used all of my subs. So for 26 minutes we played with 9 men against Liverpools 11. Rooney was having NONE of that, he took the ball in the 69th, dribbled around Agger and scored the teams 3rd goal. It seemed like before then it was a bit too easy for Rooney to get motivated but regardless this is how the match ended. Assists by Vrsaljko(2) and Douglas Costa.
Against Man City(League Cup Semi-Final, Leg 2)
Great match but not one I could really comment on. Both teams brought their A game and it was a great exchange of football. The greatest players(or most important rather) in this match were M’Vila and Diarra. I believe that they were the ones who most of the play went through. On multiple occasions, they both stole the ball from the opposition and would pass it on. Then that person would lose the ball until the other team reclaimed. It was a game of tag to an extent. In the 65th minute, I decided to take of Valencia. I needed more flair on the wing rather then speed to cross the ball. Literally 10 seconds after, Douglas Costa dribbled past Enrique. He sent a cross to the far post where Ashley Young headed the ball in to the path of Wayne Rooney who scored confidently. It was great and I felt like a real manager . Soon after, Giggs had a beautiful through pass for Ashley Young who made it 2-0. Subs were Ferdinand on for Smallings and Saviola for Giggs(pushed Rooney and Young back). Match ended at 2-0 leading us to the Final! Assists by Giggs and Young.
The one I wish to talk about is Vrsaljko and his amazing month. Half of his appearances in the League(8) ave come in the 4 matches he’s played this month. In his 5 games, he played amazingly. His first 4 matches were against some lesser teams so I contributed part of it to the overall difference in quality of squads. But then came the Liverpool match. He was one of the best players against Liverpool, giving 2 assists in the match and was overall great. I expect to use him much more then before as he has proved just how great he is. This is what I needed to see him as a clear number one to take over for Evra.