1. Wingers in Wales- As Wayne Routledge wheeled away in celebration after scoring Swansea’s second goal, Brendan Rodgers probably popped an Aspirin. For newly promoted sides selection dilemmas are few and far between, making each individual one all the more dangerous. Sinclair, Dyer, Routledge. Routledge, Sinclair, Dyer. Because I was just working on a math assignment, I have a calculator handy. That’s £15.8 million fantasy pounds worth of talent. Probably quadruple Swansea’s January transfer kitty. Anyway, with the three wingers all playing well, Rodgers has at least one footballer to disappoint. And possibly half-a-million pseudo-managers. Don’t take a risk on one of Swansea’s stars – rotation is a terrible thing.
2. For those of you interested in taking a risk- Being an unashamed Manchester United fan, Federico Macheda’s face is plastered all around my bedroom. Him being grabbed by Darren Fletcher, him hugging his father in the stands, him running past a rather disgruntled looking Luke Young (who, incidentally, could be quite a snip at £4.9 million…)… If only the images spanned more than a five-minute period of a game that happened more than two years ago. Since his fantastic goal against Aston Villa, Macheda has flopped and whined, flopped at Sampdoria, and flopped and whined back at Old Trafford. Which is why his loan move, confirmed Sunday, is such a welcome relief. Under the tutelage of Neil Warnock and the threatening gaze of Joey Barton, Macheda will learn to channel his immense talent and criminally under publicized arrogance into something positive. His probably-too-much-but-still-worth-a-pop price tag shouldn’t deter you.
3. Fulham’s attack– Fulham, not renowned for their vitality in attack, have accumulated a pair of talented forwards. Orlando Sa’s goal at Norwich almost matched my excitement at the striking (haha, see what I did there?) similarities between his name and that of a certain Senegalese international. And Bobby Zamora scored a neat volley to down Arsenal. Now, given the obvious weirdness of the situation (Fulham having decent strikers that is), it’s no surprise at all that Martin Jol is doing his utmost to alienate Zamora. A lot of teams really could use him, though. Including yours. I’ve already signed him (it is nice to see the advice columns before they’re published) – what more convincing do you need?
4. Liverpool’s wingers- Probably the least talked about aspect of Luis Suarez’s eight game ban is the profound impact it will have on Craig Bellamy’s popularity. With Andy Carroll now Liverpool’s default front man, Kenny Dalglish will have to to mold his line-up around the team’s new, if not improved, focal point. That means lots of crosses, and therefore lots of wingers. Downing has struggled statistically this year so should be avoided. Bellamy, though, is in fine form already, and the presence of Carroll will only enhance his already attractive offerings. Assist points change seasons.
5. Don’t jump on the Tim Howard bandwagon- Something about a scoring goalie appeals to the masses (I love it when a keeper sprints into the penalty area to contest a late corner, don’t you?). Tim Howard’s strike may not have been a last-minute header, but, just for the celebration it precipitated, it tops all other goals I’ve seen stoppers score. The way Howard turned around, slumped his shoulders and pretended not to be excited somehow straddled arrogance and humility – he seemed genuinely upset for his colleague Bogdan, while at the same time maintaining his “too cool for school” attitude.
It’s a pity Everton can’t defend. The Toffees concede on average more than a goal a game, leaving Howard – while not in a disastrous area points-wise – someway off the leading pack of Vorm, Hart and Friedel.