TT Premier League opinions - November 13

13 November 2010 03:24
TEAMtalk's bloggers give their thoughts on Saturday's Premier League action, which saw the Manchester clubs held but wins for Spurs and Bolton.

The most entertaining 0-0 you'll ever see

It was a game that promised goals, but ultimately it provided none.

However, it wasn't for the want of trying at Upton Park as West Ham and Blackpool went at each other hammer and tongs. And as far as goalless draws go, this was a cracker and it had just about everything - a disallowed goal, one off the woodwork, penalty appeals, great saves and an incredible miss from Gary Taylor-Fletcher. The Blackpool man could have made himself a hero, but instead missed the target by a mile from just eight yards out.

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway, who made 11 changes from the side that lost at Aston Villa, will be overjoyed with the way his underdogs played, but Hammers boss Avram Grant is on borrowed time. The Irons' faithful were calling for the Israeli's head at full-time and it's hard to see Grant given much more time with West Ham without a league win since the end of September. (Matty Briggs)

Boring City need to change tactics

Manchester City improved in the second half after a dour first period against Birmingham at Eastlands, but why boss Roberto Mancini substituted striker Carlos Tevez - his captain - for defensive midfielder Gareth Barry with the score at 0-0 and City needing a goal, only he knows. City already had two defensive midfielders, Nigel De Jong and Yaya Toure, on the pitch!

Tevez was the only player who looked like making something happen for City, who lacked movement off the ball. Mancini is increasingly under pressure but he is inviting pressure on himself by making such defensive substitutions and playing such negative tactics. Birmingham came to Eastlands looking for a point and they completed their mission. (Sam Nightingale)

Tasty Trotters show Coyle class

Wolves against Bolton might not sound like the most attractive prospect on a Saturday night, but the highlights of the clash at Molineux - and two of the visitors' goals in particular - were well worth staying in for.

The hosts did not deserve to be staring at a three-goal deficit with three-quarters of the game gone, but Richard Stearman's own goal, a wonder goal from Johan Elmander and Stuart Holden's first Premier League strike put the Trotters in control before Wolves fought back superbly to ensure a tense finish.

Bolton's second and third goals alone were worth giving the pub a miss. You won't see a better individual strike in the Premier League all weekend than Elmander's brilliant swivel and finish, with the striker leaving three defenders for dead after a turn Johan Cruyff would have been proud of, while Holden rounded off a wonderful four-man move to highlight the quality Owen Coyle's side are capable of.

Had Arsenal scored a goal similar to the Trotters' third, we would have all been bowing down to the class of the Gunners. Bolton, though, have quietly climbed up to fifth in the table without getting the credit they deserve. Whether they can afford to retain the services of Elmander and Gary Cahill in January, though, will determine whether Coyle's crew can sustain their lofty league position for the remainder of the season. (Ian Watson)

Worries for Redknapp despite Spurs success

Gareth Bale starred in Tottenham's 4-2 home win over Blackburn, scoring two and making one as the hosts earned their first Premier League win in five games.

Rafael van der Vaart was less influential than he has been of late, with Harry Redknapp opting for a two-man forward line forcing the Dutchman to limit slightly his forward surges, but Bale again stole the show, noticeably coming off the left flank to wreck havoc in more central areas.

Goals for Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko were also among a number of positives for Redknapp, but the Spurs boss will be concerned at his side's defensive lapses, with Rovers wasting good opportunities in both halves before they scored twice late on.

Younes Kaboul has impressed recently at the heart of the Spurs defence alongside the ageing William Gallas, but Redknapp will be keen to get Michael Dawson and Ledley King back in the side as soon as possible. With Spurs having failed to keep a clean sheet since the opening day of the season, Redknapp needs to shore up his porous backline if he has any hopes of matching last season's fourth-placed finish. (IW)

False dawn for rank-bad Reds

Liverpool appeared to be getting back on track after embarking on a six-match unbeaten run, the highlight of which came last Sunday when champions Chelsea were beaten at Anfield.

If there is one place to make you come crashing down to earth with a thump, however, it is surely the Britannia Stadium, and Roy Hodgson's men reverted to their early season form with an inept and toothless display against the powerful Potters.

Since Fernando Torres' second on the stroke of half-time last Sunday, the Reds have failed to impress in five consecutive halves of football, with Wigan and Stoke both showing more quality and appetite for the fight than Hodgson's underachievers.

To be fair to the manager, Hodgson refused to get carried away with the victory over Chelsea, and no doubt he will accept Saturday's defeat with the same sense of perspective he showed last week. He won't have forgotten how much hard work lies ahead, but if Liverpool fans had, they were served a harsh reality check by Tony Pulis and his Stoke scrappers. (IW)

Toon must improve St James' form

Newcastle started brightly with Peter Lovenkrands looking dangerous and Andy Carroll was denied a goal by Mark Schwarzer's stunning save. Fulham's woe's away from home continue but this was a good point for Mark Hughes' men, with Clint Dempsey the key man for the Cottagers.

Toon boss Chris Hughton will know they must improve their home form but overall Newcastle have made a superb start to the season and Hughton continues to impress in the St James' Park hotseat. (IW)

Source: Team_Talk

World Cup Group G

England 2 0 0 6 6
Belgium 2 0 0 6 6
Tunisa 0 0 2 -4 0
Panama 0 0 2 -8 0
Last updated : 10:18