All posts by Matt Carter

Has Adebayor finally been found out?

Emmanuel Adebayor has prominently been known for being able to really turn on the style with a physical and at times bullying presence, which can too deliver goals.

He has played for some of the World’s elite side’s he had a sensational season at Arsenal where he bagged over 20 goals before he moved in a high profile £24 million transfer to Manchester City.

It appears though ever since he moved to the Etihad and beyond his career has seemed to never quite reach the height it did whilst he was at the Emirates.

There were glimmers of potential in his loan spell at Real Madrid but his lack of workrate cost him a permanent move there under Jose Mourinho. Last season he appeared to be an ever present under Harry Redknapp and in spite of the large wages he was viewed as a steal at £5 million before the season began.

Now Tottenham supporters at White Hart Lane seem to understand why. The Togo international appears to only want to play when a contract is on the line and a chance to line his pockets.

Adebayor has been given a chance to be welcomed into a football club in desperate need of striking talent, yet refuses to take on the burden and instead but in lukewarm and lazy displays.

The frustration is the talent remains, yet you suspect he needs to find it sooner rather than later or he will be put in the bin pile at Tottenham as they find a new striker to help carry the goals alongside Bale in the summer.

Whether he can or not is another matter and greater players than him have failed to realise their full potential for their whole career. One Michael Owen springs to mind.

The Three Key battles in the Arsenal v Bayern game

Psychological aspect

It has been mentioned pre-game by Arsene Wenger that there will be a huge mental aspect to this game in his programme notes for tonight as Arsenal will be smarting after their Blackburn defeat.

Also if the Gunners are to have any chance they need to be supremely confident and knock Bayern Munich off their game, as they are one of the favourites for the whole competition let alone this game. They have won their last 5 games are 15 points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga and their form looks ominous. Pepe who?

Podolski v Neuer

If Arsenal are to have any chance of winning this tie they will need to ensure they can score at home. Their main threat being former Bayern Munich player Lukas Podolski and whilst he can go quiet in what is seen as the lesser games he usually rises to the occasion on the huge games. He will need to be on his A game tonight if his team are to take a lead to the Allianz Arena.

Central midfield

Arsenal are not renowned for their defensive midfielders with Wilshere, Arteta and Santi Cazorla all having a tendency to try and unlock doors going further forward.

The discipline in this area will be pivotal to any success they have though. Schweinsteiger  and £34.5 million summer signing Javi Martinez pull the strings in central midfield allowing their attacking options such as Ribery, Robben and Muller space to cause damage. If the Gunners can stem the flow to the attack they should be on to a winner.

Is this the beginning of the end for Nani? (Video)

There was so much promise for Luis Nani when he arrived at Manchester United from Sporting CP with a £19 million pricetag and a dazzling style, brilliance was expected.

He was forgiven in the Ronaldo era for being perhaps overawed and not being able to fully shine, but these excuses are existent no more.

At 26 he is in the peak years of his career and Sir Alex Ferguson expects the finished package, yet all he seems to get is injuries with the Portuguese international these days.

The signing of Wilfried Zaha for the summer was hardly the vote of confidence that Nani would have been hoping for.

He may 43 league goals to his name but he is very close to being forgotten. He certainly needs to provide a timely reminder of his capabilities if he is to survive at Old Trafford.

Danny Welbeck is testament to the fact that you need to continue to improve or risk having your appearances significantly reduces.

In the summer Man United received overtures from Zenit for the Portuguese international and you suspect they would not let a deal collapse this July or August should a similar chance arise again to cash in.

He can change a game when he is playing to his maximum but has his promise petered out or would selling him be a mistake akin to Chelsea’s sale of Arjen Robben?

If you have forgotten the talent he may possess here is a little reminder:

 

Is this finally the end of the road for Stephen Ireland?

Stephen Ireland is the latest “big” name to be frozen out by Paul Lambert and told to train with the youngsters at Aston Villa. Is it any surprise?

No, not really. His career has stagnated for an awfully long term. He falls into the Michael Owen category of his previous exploits; the worry is that somehow he looks even more inefficient than Owen these days.

The problem as with many footballers who fail to live up to their promise is not the talent, but the lack of desire.

In the same way that loan periods failed to galvanise the ever disappointing David Bentley, it is not enough for Ireland to expect to walk into the team at Villa Park anymore.

If he is to prove his worth he needs to apply himself and you suspect a successful loan spell is the only way to achieve this.

I don’t mean anything like his lacklustre spell at Newcastle United either, which has hardly made him popular in the North East since.

He is at a crucial stage in his career where his once reported £12 million fee and big wages are not enough to save him anymore.

Lambert has proved ruthless with players whatever their reputation or fee and he’s forced Ireland to wake up and smell the coffee. Is he capable of rising to the challenge? Or is he just another story of a career that tails out? I suspect the latter.

Are Celtic reviving the SPL’s reputation?

The SPL has taken some battering over the last season with the demise of one of the pillars of the Scottish elite in the form of Glasgow Rangers.

This is not to say anybody should have any sympathy for that situation. They spent beyond their means and paid the ultimate price.

It is not to say that it wouldn’t be good to see them climb the greasy pole back to the SPL title in a redemption only football can deliver, but for now it is Celtic’s turn to carry the burden of Scottish Football.

They sit in the last 16 in a glamourous tie against current Italian Champions Juventus in the Champions League this week, and you have to give credit where it is due.

Neil Lennon has comprised a team that is finally capable of challenging amongst the best in Europe which a Scottish side hasn’t done for a long time.

The highly impressive Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama have gained admiring glances from the Premier League and abroad and they have high hopes of a Champions League quarter final.

In a rare piece of respite for the Scottish game we should tip our hat to Celtic for their work so far this season, after all none of the English teams have beaten Barcelona 2-1 this season yet.

Can Everton match Fellaini’s ambition?

The January transfer window may be closed, but this does not stop the debate on one of the hottest properties currently in English football.

Marouane Fellaini has the physicality and accuracy to have a significant influence on any match. Whether it is through marauding in the centre of the park or being used as a battering ram up top to give centre backs afternoons to forget.

Chelsea was amongst the vultures willing to swoop in and meet the £24 million release clause in his contract if reports from L’Equipe were to be believed.

The Belgian International now is at a crossroads with the 2014 World Cup on the rising with his nation has a golden era and this alongside his desire to play Champions League football you suspect will mean Fellaini’s marriage at Everton will come an end towards the end of the season.

There is no desperation to sell from Everton’s point of view and David Moyes sees him as a key cog in the machine, but the decision may be taken out of the Scottish manager’s hands.

Everton never sell their key assets for cheap but in the same way you suspect Gareth Bale may leave Tottenham if they don’t reach the Champions League, the same applies for Everton and Fellaini.

Despite this Fellaini should be careful what he wishes for. Steven Pienaar found out the grass isn’t always greener and the Toffees are certainly a lot closer than Liverpool to the European Elite these days.

Can Odemwingie recover like Tevez?

Peter Odemwingie travelled with the West Brom side for a huge building block in their recovery from a mini slump of five defeats in six prior to their victory at Liverpool last night.

He was though no closer to starting and you have to wonder if he is able to force his way back into Steve Clarke’s plans.

The touch and patience of Shane Long is something that Odemwingie could have taken note of, whilst the strength and guile of Lukaku are aspects of his game few can match.

Despite this you suspect the Nigerian will get his chance to show why he was once a firm fans favourite once again.

It may be advisable to let his actions on the pitch do the talking. After all he is a player who has competed at Champions League level and has finishing and pace that several clubs in the League higher than QPR could admire.

West Brom are on the cusp of one of their greatest seasons in a long time and if he knuckles down and commits to the cause he will definitely benefit. Even if the rewards is a summer move elsewhere.

There were several who said he should have moved to QPR to work under Redknapp and start every week.

Jeremy Peace saw no reason to give into the pressure of West London’s wheeler dealer and you can see why. He was leaving for a big pay packet and nothing else. QPR are streets away from the Baggies at the moment. One thing that may be worth considering too is West Brom took him away from a Russian nightmare prior to signing the diminutive forward, so he may be careful to bite the hand that still feeds him.

How much support does Bale need at Tottenham?

This may seem a pointless question to ask on the face of it. A lot of fans would argue that surely all the support Bale can get will help him flourish.

Gareth Bale is a different kettle of fish. You can’t help but think that the loss of Luka Modric has helped the Welshmen hasten his development into what those at White Hart Lane had hoped it could be.

It is clear he is a crucial attacking influence and the industrious Holtby appears to be a perfect foil for Bale to forage down the wings and slice through the middle of teams as he has been recently.

The success of Tottenham has been based around playing with one striker whether that be Defoe, Dempsey or Adebayor.

Sandro was doing the dirty jobs exceptionally well before his injury and Parker still has a little way to go before he reaches last season’s level and that will be essential. Dembele too is a settling influence in the midfield and this will be important for the rest of this campaign.

There is a reason why Sigurdsson hasn’t got a look in, and this is because AVB has realised that Spurs could nullify Bale’s threat if they try to overkill things up front.

It is not a problem making Gareth Bale the fulcrum of the team, Barcelona do it with Messi, Real Madrid with Ronaldo, so why not Tottenham Hotspur with Bale?

If the support cast are aware who the main character in the play is for them and read their lines on cue and not try and steal the Welshmen’s limelight, things could be very bright for the Lilywhites this season.