Half Term Report
I`m sat outside at my patio table in 33` heat as I write this, sipping on an ice cold XXXX. But before you start to feel down about the minus temperatures and snow that you are all facing up to every morning….spare a thought for me. It`s a nightmare trying to get anything done out here at the moment. Every ten seconds I`m wiping my brow so as not to have the laptop drenched in beads of sweat. And don`t get my started on having to apply sun lotion every hour. Such a pain in the arse!
It`s been a while since my last offerings to the reader but I have my reasons. In a nutshell, I`ve moved house, changed jobs and wrote off my car.
So with that in mind, and too much to comment on during the last five weeks or so, I have decided to summarise the first few months of the squad`s progress with a 'Half term report`….. similar to those that you used to get in school. So today Matthew I`m going to be…..Mr Bronson from Grange Hill (only I`ll try not to send any of the players to an early grave like the unfortunate Danny Kendall).
Starting with the keepers….
GORDON - Has shown glimpses of his obvious ability in short spells this term and was starting to impose himself and win fans over before an 'accidental` clash with Jermaine Defoe. (B-)
FULOP - Must surely have played more football in the last few years than any other deputy goalkeeper. Inconsistency is Martin`s area to address in the following months if he is to develop into a regular Premiership custodian. (C+)
TURNER - Always difficult transferring from one club to another mid-season but Michael has found his feet comfortably. I`m sure he would agree that he has yet to produce his best football, but is showing signs that he can be a valuable asset. He must avoid being led astray by Nosworthy. (B-)
MENSAH - I am yet to be convinced that Mensah is as good as his previous record shows. His CV of regular Champions League football gave me cause to get excited about his arrival but as yet, I`m not sure he will become permanent. (C-)
DA SILVA - Nothing flash about Paulo. Has had moments of top class (Arsenal at home) but also times when I`ve been wondering what his best position is. Potentially solid though when he adjusts to the league. (B-)
FERDINAND - I actually think Anton gets a raw deal from certain sections of supporters. He is obviously the lesser talented brother (younger ones tend to be), but he has knuckled down and works hard to improve his game. Good squad player. (C+)
McCARTNEY - Nowhere near as bad as most fans make out. In fact, I don`t understand the whole anti-McCartney clan. Maybe it`s because he can`t cross a ball? That`s not his job. Defensively he is solid if not spectacular. (B-)
NOSWORTHY - Where to start? The 'cult` status that was earned by Nyron during the Championship season under Keane is still baffling to me. As is his continued involvement with the football club. Must go.(U)
BARDSLEY - Solid start to the season on the back of a reasonable finish to the last campaign. Phil is never going to be the best full back around, but he will always be defensively strong and compete no matter who he is up against. (B)
CANA - Tough one this. I can`t help feeling that Lorik is using the club as a stepping stone in his career. The lesser educated supporter will no doubt point to his 'Herculean` efforts against Arsenal and Liverpool as proof that the lad is genuine class. I don`t argue that. However, what worries me is that he doesn`t seem to have as big an impact against the weaker sides. Hopefully it is more a case of still 'finding his feet` in England. (B+)
CATTERMOLE - For me, will prove to be the best signing of the summer in the long run. His injury mid-season has hit us a few weeks later than we feared. One or two of those who coped so well without him at first now appear to have lost their way a touch. Maybe a yellow card picked up by Cana that he wouldn`t have got with Cattermole in with him as opposed to Richardson? Top class performer, whom I believe will get full international recognition in the future. (A)
RICHARDSON - Far too inconsistent. Will one week play out of his skin only to ruin it the week after with a shocker. Two seasons in a row now, he has raised expectations with great pre seasons only to drop his standards when it matters most. (C-)
REID - Now that he has done what he should have done at 18, Andy is looking a genuine top class footballer. He has always had the ability, now he has the attitude and application that is required. Great start. (B-)
HENDERSON - For me, the real positive note to take from this recent blip in results. Has kept going and been positive even when his team`s results have been disappointing. Could we have a new 'local hero`? (A-)
MALBRANQUE - Started the season well. Has faded recently though. Probably tired due to not being used to finishing games under Keane. Glimpses of his quality though and an improvement on his last few months of last season. (B-)
ZENDEN - Will probably prove to be a good squad player when he returns to fitness. Can ably come on and play in most positions. Not bad for a free transfer. (C-)
BENT - International class. His goals per game ratio has always been good so It`s no surprise to see him up at the top of the League`s leading scorers list. His work rate has been immense and surely must be a good chance for South Africa if he keeps his current form up? (A)
JONES - If Quinn and co. really did reject $17m for Jones last January then they need their heads looking at. One good game to five bad ones hardly represents value for the wages that Jones is on. Not good enough this season for the undoubted qualities he has to offer. (D)
CAMPBELL - Been a big disappointment. Maybe if he had got off to a good start with a goal it may have been different, but he now seems to be snatching at his chances. Playing out wide doesn`t help him either. (D)
HEALY - Waste of space (E-)
MURPHY - Waste of oxygen. (Z)
Till next time…