Archive for November, 2012

Evolution not Revolution?

Posted in NUFC on November 1, 2012 by tegtalk

Can the manager see it is time for a change maybe?

We have played nine games in the league now and a few in the Europa League and Credit Card Cup. How would you assess the season so far?

At home: Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 1 against a bang in form Man United. I’m fairly happy with that.

Away: Won 0, Drawn 3, Lost 1 against a Chelsea team that is resurgent. We are unbeaten apart from that, but need to start turning draws into wins. Not a bad start either

Europa League: Top of the group, yet to concede a goal. Smashing.

Then why do I feel uneasy still? Why aren’t I as confident as I was a few weeks ago? I should be. The injury time winner against West Brom was the most mental I have gone in SJP this season. I should be really looking forward to us pushing on now. Shouldn’t I?

Well yes, but the feeling of uneasiness is purely because we have not played anywhere near the levels we played last season yet. The Europa game at home to Brugge (or however you bloody spell it?) was the most fluent and positive we have played.

The supporters know it. The players know it. The Manager certainly does.

Jonas gave an interview yesterday saying other teams know how we play now and set up against us to nullify our strengths, especially at home. Then surely we change, evolve and force opposition managers to rethink their tactics and how they set up their team?

Curiously it was West Brom away last year that first saw the 433 formation and it clearly rattled Hodgson enough for him to scratch his head. Several times.

We have the players to do it even during the game. Pardew admitted on Sunday that he changed the team during the second half because we looked jaded and one-dimensional.. Shook it up. Threw players with pace on and went at The Baggies. Then why not do that from the start?

We have the perfect opportunity to do this on Sunday at Anfield against their lumbering centre halves and a probably nervous Enrique (unless he is playing in goal again?). I know our record there is shocking. Even last season we went there in good form, scored first and then fell apart.

We have most of the first team back from injury apart from possibly Ba, who is rated 50/50 and the suspended Tiote (more on him a little later).

The back four probably picks itself apart from who gets the nod between Taylor and Williamson. I have given Williamson stick in the past but to be fair to him, he has played very well with Coloccini back alongside him in the last couple of games. I’d still play the stamp collector though.

Cabaye and HBA will be definite starters and let’s say if Ba does miss out then Cisse has to play after his worldy against West Brom. (hehe)

Jonas has had a lot of stick recently, some of it possibly deserved as he seems to be as ineffective as I have seen him for a while. Maybe he is toiling under new instructions from the boss? Maybe he has a niggling injury we don’t know about? But, the fact that the manager has named him vice captain suggests if he is fit he plays.

Perch has to play for me. He has been outstanding in his last few appearances. Especially at the Dark Place (or the Rat Hole as Mr Barton called it. Genius).

We will probably see a midfield of Jonas, Cabaye, Perch and HBA with Cisse and Shola up front.

My first thought is: Are Shola and Cisse a compatible striking partnership?

When Shola plays with Ba he tends to play behind Ba flicking on balls into Demba, as was perfectly demonstrated on Sunday.

Does Cisse play the same way as Ba? Or is he more of a number 10 than a number 9? I’m still not sure. He is an instinctive and deadly predator who is going through a barren spell. It happens to them all. Even the Lion of Gosforth went through them sometimes.

Shola has also played a lot of football recently and maybe could do with a little break.

Is it not time to shake the team up radically, as I earlier implied?

More pace in the team could mean switching to more traditional wingers. Obertan right, Ferguson left? Would that work? Would they track back and help the fullbacks? In my opinion, yes.

Ferguson was poor against Man U but he did play at full back. Free him of that and let him attack Liverpool’s right back, flashing balls across the box. He has already shown he is capable of pin point accuracy from the left wing.

Obertan needs a few games. Maybe for the manager to make a decision about him and decide whether to keep him as a squad player or move him on. The Brugge home game showed the complex character he is. Nervous and unsure before his goal. Positive and direct after. Never have I known a player who must need an ‘arm around the shoulder’ more.

In this 442 formation we could play the wingers with HBA floating behind Cisse with Jonas probably the one to miss out.

Alternatively we could revert back to the 433 system that worked so well last season but with added pace in the front 3. I would like to see at least one of these two players get a game.

We could play 433 with Cabaye/Perch/Jonas and then HBA/Cisse/Obertan or Ferguson.

Or maybe Sammy, who came onto the pitch on Sunday, ‘bought a ticket for the raffle’ and won us the game will see action from the start? I wouldn’t personally, but keep him on the bench to run at the Scousers as they tire.

These are all questions the manager will be pondering in the next few days I hope and it makes for great debate in the pub or on Twitter.

I think if we play with pace, controlled aggression and determination we can win. I really don’t want to see Brendan Rodgers giving a smug interview to Geoff Shreeves after the match. He irritates me immensely.

I hope one of the names in the three envelopes is his.

Oh and one line about Liverpool. Stop Suarez scoring

‘Controlled aggression’ brings me back to the subject of Tiote. I firmly believe his red card in the derby was because of who he is not because of what he did.


He needs to stop picking up these silly bookings. The coaching staff need to get him to alter his game so he is not making Cattermole-esque challenges in areas of the park that he does not have to.

The last few days have brought rumours of a move for Mo Sissoko. Surely it is Tiote’s position in the team he will threaten most (if he does indeed arrive). Personally I don’t want to see him leave and I think his disciplinary record would put off a lot of potential suitors.

Plus the rumoured £20M Mr Ashley wants for him.

Well let me know if you agree with me or if in your opinion I am talking complete bollocks.

Comments and debate are always welcome.

Enjoy the game. Howay the Lads.



A New Hope, Again.

Posted in Film and TV on November 1, 2012 by tegtalk

“You’re not my f****** father, he’s frozen under The Magic Kingdom!”

As I was watching a cracking cup game on Tuesday night between Reading and Arsenal and following another dismal display from our friends in red and white on Twitter, news started to break of Disney buying Lucasfilm and its intentions to make at least one new Star Wars Trilogy. The first film is already in development and will hit summer 2015. A lot of people would have shrugged their shoulders and muttered “meh, the last one’s were shite, so what?”

I didn’t. A part of me, who saw the first film as an 8 year old and who still rates The Empire Strikes Back as one of the finest fantasy adventure films ever made, gave a little (silent) cheer.

Granted the prequels weren’t fantastic but still showcased some fine bits of cinema: the pod race in the first one; the three way light sabre duel in Phantom; the gladiator scene and ending in Clones; the eerie turn to the dark side of Annakin in Sith to name but a few.

The problem with the prequels in my opinion, was Lucas chose to direct them himself instead of being the creative force and letting someone pull the film together who could distance himself from everything and tell the writer when the story or the script just weren’t working. Irving Kershner did a fantastic job on Empire. Lawrence Kasdan also tidied up the scripts on Episodes V & VI. Lucas seemingly would not relinquish any creative control or allow anyone to make any other decisions on the prequel trilogy.

I still think a lot of the criticism was unfair. Lucas attempted to make a series of films kids could enjoy, just as the 30-40 something’s moaning now enjoyed before they hit puberty. Maybe he went too far but still packed enough action and light sabres in to make three pretty decent films.

Look at what Disney have done with their purchase of Pixar and Marvel. They have basically let the studios get on with what they were doing right.  If it ain’t broke… well, you know the rest.

They have also handed chances to directors that excelled, at Pixar for example, by promoting them to their live action films. Disney traditionally makes a few Blockbusters a year. And they throw a shit load of money at them.

The franchise moving across to the ‘House of Mouse’ makes perfect sense and with Kathleen Kennedy still at the helm of Lucasfilm, I trust the right decisions will be made about story and progression. She has worked in tandem with one of the greatest film-makers ever, a certain Mr Spielberg, and her remaining in control is a very good thing for the future of the franchise.

It is also a very good time to bring a new series of films to life. They are expertly marshalling the Avengers individual stories with new Iron Man, Thor and Captain America films already in production. Warner Brothers meanwhile, have lost two of their biggest cash cows with the boy wizard and the man bat’s stories seemingly completed. True they have the Zack Snyder Superman reboot on the horizon and a possible collaboration with the man in the pointy-eared mask in the rumoured  ‘The Justice League’.

Along with The Hobbit, this is now the biggest film franchise on the slate.

How the story progresses is now the main point of focus. It will be set after Return of The Jedi but how long after is now the raging debate. Vader and The Emperor are gone. Leia and Han are in love and Luke is now the main remaining hope to establish the Jedi again.

Several novels have been written already, most notably Timothy Zahn’s trilogy where Leia and Han had children and they became the ‘new hope’. I doubt Disney will use anything aleady written.

Personally, I would like to see the story moved on a few years with possible cameos from the old guard but a new vibrant cast taking over the mantle, but still fighting the Sith, who like bad smells and Sunderland supporters, just won’t go away.

With the film being announced for a 2015 release, they will have to move pretty fast to make those decisions. What actor would turn his nose up at spinning a light sabre in a Star Wars film? Especially one that gets the franchise back on track and makes them a global name and very, very rich?

Also, probably the most important question. Who takes over the reins as director?

In my opinion, it has to go to someone who knows what they are doing. Someone used to carrying the complexities of a huge film like this. You can rule out Joss Whedon (probably) as he has already begun pre-production on Avengers 2 (unless Disney decides to ‘promote’ him to Star Wars and hand Avengers on to someone else).

Peter Jackson is an ideal fit but he is busy in New Zealand with a little trilogy of his own.

Rule out Spielberg too.

That leaves people like Danny Boyle, David Fincher, Sam Mendes (hot off Skyfall) and maybe a younger director who grew up heavily influenced by Star Wars and making his mark on filmmaking. Perhaps someone like Ben Affleck as a radical choice?

What about the man who has just walked away from a franchise he stuck defibrillators on and made Warner Brothers an absolute gargantuan pot of money? Could the man who brought the Bat back to life breathe new life into the Jedi? Christopher Nolan would be my choice of Director. Would he do it? I guess in the next few months we will wait and see.

Anyway, one thing is for sure. If I am still alive and kicking I will be sat in a dark room, nervous and excited just like I was when that Imperial Star Destroyer rumbled over my head as a child.

And as a little green fella may have said: For that day, I can not wait.