As promised after Part One yesterday, here are the upper echelons of the Premier League as of January 1, 2011.
Stoke have been so average this season that I had actually forgotten they actually existed. If Stoke was a cheese, they’d be extra mild cheddar.
Potential Targets: Keeper is ok, defence is solid, midfield is functioning well, strikers hit form in September then dropped off the planet. Strike me as a team just happy to be there. Just don’t aspire to win anything and you’ll be fine.
Sam Allardyce probably wasn’t that bothered when he was sacked as Blackburn coach. In fact, he’d probably already written cv’s to Real, Barcelona and Inter on Blackburn headed notepaper. Got dicked on by Berbatov. ‘Nuff Said.
Potential Targets: How long can Morten Gamst Pedersen keep giving and giving before someone says, ‘hey Morten, have a spell’. Get a winger, Mr Kean.
“Often an amateur will stitch up a professional” is a phrase I’ve nicked from The Office to describe how I feel about Blackpool and their incredible boss, Ian Holloway. Everything about them from their kit to their name suggests that they need help yet they’ve done themselves proud so far this season and hopefully will continue to do so.
Potential Targets: A complete…person
Have been sporadic in the last 5 months. Fitness, injury and form has affected both Bent and Gyan leaving young Welbeck to shine up front, not that Fergie’s complaining. The Newcastle game blotted the copybook but holding their own against the big 5 means they deserve to be challenging for Europe.
Potential Targets: Brucey could do with a bonus in January as he’s got a few injuries to worry about. He said the other day he was pleased to have Titus Bramble back. I think that nose came with some serious psychiatric repercussions. Get a better centre back.
Have slipped off the boil but enjoyed a purple patch during which Johan Elmander shone brighter than he has ever shone before. Injury problems will no doubt be at the forefront of Owen Coyle’s mind this New Year, can he keep his side in the race for Europe?
Potential Targets: A creative midfielder, preferably not from the Ivan Campo school of diplomacy.
Spurs have 12 midfielders on their first team books. 12. A dozen. We only ever hear about two of them. The Welsh wizard (as Andy Gray calls him in bed) has finally pulled his finger out after two or three years of nothingness since leaving the Saints and Van der Vaart… Well let me ask you, could you believe it when you heard they’d signed him? Europe is calling, their fate rests with them.
Potential Targets: Gomes is still a joke. Get rid of him.
Where did it all go wrong? Top of the league one minute then third and one win from seven the next. The only way they’ll win now is if every other team mysteriously disappears… oh yeah, they’ve got a boss who can do that!
Potential Targets: Rich enough to afford most but seemingly unwilling to buy any. Need something to spark life into the side when the going gets tough and JT and Frank aren’t there.
Whisper it quietly, they could do it this year. Even with the prolonged absence of Cesc, Arsenal have been absurdly dangerous in front of goal so far. Hell, even Bendtner is getting action! Arsene Wenger still looks like a crow.
2. Manchester City
I’ve heard that if you look Mario Balotelli directly in the eyes, you immediately turn into a snood. The players have found it difficult to deal with the cold and poor Carlos got homesick for 5 minutes but a GREAT BIG PAYRISE is the best cure for that. Sometimes bad, sometimes sickeningly good.
Potential Targets: Whoever they want. We already know about Dzeko but what about Danny Cademarteri? That’s anyones guess.
1. Manchester United
Sometimes I think of Alex Ferguson as a bit like Dumbledore and Wayne Rooney is Harry Potter. Which is why I was surprised when the young protégé turned his wand on his mentor this season. (I don’t know why I was surprised, it’s been pointed just about everywhere else already) Can’t see them slipping off the top but it’s a funny old game.
Potential Targets: With a few of the older boys heading off into the sunset soon, Sir Alex may look for some new faces with an eye toward next season.
Disclaimer: I should point out that I’m not a football manager, coach, scout or have any professional knowledge regarding what you’ve read in the last two blogs. I don’t want Charlotte Jackson hammering on my door at 6am on transfer deadline day asking me about where Danny Cademarteri is heading…actually, I do want that. I want that a lot!