Monday, 7 April 2014

Premier League Round-up: 7th April PT2

Welcome to a Premier League Round-up blog!

All opinions are just that, so... yeah...

*Part 2 of this weekend's blog, as promised, and now with EXTRA post-Tottenham v Sunderland content*
Check out Part 1 if you missed it: Premier League Round Up: 7th April PT1

5. Fulham: a glimmer of hope?
When you consider the misery of Fulham's season as a whole it is reminiscent of a former time.  In the early 90's, I like many of my contemporaries, used to be enthralled and excited by Channel 4's Serie A coverage. Initially fuelled by the media following of Paul Gascoigne, the slightly grainy footage of world class players plying their trade in the dominant Italian league was a great fix for the armchair football fan; one used to being brought up on 'Sportsnight', The FA Cup Final, The World Cup and the odd Division One match.  Football did not have the ubiquity it has now & Calcio provided very different type of football experience.

One of the factors that endlessly amused media commentators back here in Britain was the 'trigger-happy' attitude of club owners towards management when disappointed by their expensively assembled but underachieving teams.

As we look in on the Premier League, 20 years on, we now have this very same phenomenon and to this end, it has been expressly grasped by recent Fulham owner Shahid Khan.

Khan himself marries this old-style attitude to hiring with a pragmatism borne of his time in America: if Fulham ain't in the Premier League, he ain't got shit.

And maybe, the Magath Gambit could work?

Magath is running at 2-1-4 since starting.  That in itself isn't enough, but take out fixtures against decent sides (Chelsea, Man City, Everton) and he's 2-1-1 with only a miserable defeat to fellow league punching bags Cardiff and he's in pretty decent shape.

The huge 6 pointer against Norwich (larger still now that Norwich have realised they're running out of points & aren't likely to get any more) looks very winnable & whilst Tottenham (A), Stoke (A), Palace (H) aren't straightforward, Hull (H) could well be and might be enough to save them.
This the team that signed all the wrong players, all the old players. The team that played more players than people knew they had, employed managers, ex-managers, coaches and more, conceded goals with unerring regularity & generally stunk out the league until March. That team could survive.

It would be some feat.

6. At the top

This week City were dominant, Liverpool perfunctory & Chelsea kept trying.  Mourinho could end up with nothing, y'know?  That's not really part of his spiel: 

'Last two years, nothing. Big clubs, great players; I won nothing.'

Man Utd dodged a bullet, yeah? 

7. Tottenham v Sunderland

Usual chaos off field in the world of Tottenham, the club that tabloid journalists dream of.  Sherwood, having lost the support of er... the support, has seemingly lost the support of the BIG MAN, Chief Dan Levy.
Whether he ever explicitly had it in the first place is a moot point as it always seemed likely that beyond a dominant drive towards comfortable Champions League qualification, his chances of retaining the job were slim.

And so, with nothing to lose and nothing to gain Tim sets up his team with Ardiles-esque positivity & they proceed to roll over Sunderland in a manner that bore many hallmarks both good and bad of Sherwood's tenure.

Horrific individual error to gift opposition a goal? Yup, every week!
Eriksen/Adebayor inspired victory? Been a few of those.
Young players integrated? Hello Kane & Veljkovic!

Eriksen rightly got all the praise this evening & it was good that he was able to show this with the world watching.  A Monday night game against poor opposition is a great place to build yourself a reputation & he put in a performance of the highest quality.  He's got 8 goals & 6 assists since Christmas in c.15 first team games.  

Them's elite stats.

Eriksen is hot.
Sunderland, trying and ultimately failing, are not.

That is all... for now

[Check back next Sunday/Monday for further installments!]

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