Monday, 11 May 2009

David Di Michele

I have never been convinced by Di Michele. He might have been alright at his peak but there is no way that he can be effective in the best league in the world. Zola has done some great things this season but he has a complete blind spot when it comes to his foreign loan signings. Surely it would be better to give some experience to Sears and Hines at this stage of the season. Would Collison and Tomkins have been given an extended run if we had a couple of foreign loan signings in the squad?

This is what Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times had to say about Di Michele yesterday:

"David Di Michele is almost small enough to look Gianfranco Zola straight in the eye but for some time to come he may have trouble doing that. This was a forgettable game that contained a classic football moment - but not of the glorious kind. It was not so much a comedy as a whole six-season sitcom series of errors; first, in trying to accept an Alvaro Arbeloa pass, Jamie Carragher lost his balance inexplicably and swiped fresh air, allowing the ball to run free and Di Michele to collect it and bear down on Jose Reina. Di Michele lured the goalkeeper forward and nicked the ball past him with his right foot. So far so good. Then came the banana skin. The West Ham striker was four yards out, the goal was open and all he had to do was tap the ball in. Instead Di Michele lost co-ordination. His left foot came down in the wrong spot, he stumbled into the ball and it was somehow knocked wide of the goal. An attempt to retrieve the situation, and his pride, ended in further ignominy. Di Michele threw himself on the grass, looking for a penalty. Instead Alan Wiley booked him for simulation - Di Michele deserved punishment for trying to fake being a striker."

Monday, 4 May 2009

West Ham and Rory Delap

A football commentator at Sky recently said that no team has been able to deal with Rory Delap's long throws this season. It seems to me that West Ham did very well against it on Saturday. In an interview in the Guardian today, Rob Green explained the tactics employed by Zola and Clarke: "Everyone stood up to it and really took on board the information we were given" said Green. The article goes on to say: "The key to combating Stoke's dangerous long throws and set-piece deliveries, Zola and his assistant, Steve Clarke, had told them, was not to crowd the penalty area." Green added: "When we watched the videos, a lot of the time it was two or three of the opposition with one Stoke player, which didn't really make sense, it's better to have a clearer area and someone to head the ball... We went man-to-man and said 'We'll win the ball', and everyone today did that."

Green also gave an interview to John Wragg of the Daily Express: "The advantage of facing a long throw is they can't throw it straight in he net, whereas with a free kick they can. So you can afford to come off your line a little bit more and help the guys out. It's a massive part of Stoke's game. We took it on board what they had and knew what was coming. It was just a case of being organised."

Andy Wilkinson, Stoke's right-back, claimed after the game: "Green was more commanding than the other keepers who have tried to deal with Delap's throws. He came out and claimed a lot of them."