The Weekend: Les Grossman, More Landon, Tim McDreamy & More

Let’s get right to it:

Back at it in Candyland...

• Everton welcomes Norwich City to it’s Really Goodison

The Premiership world was shocked when Everton announced that American Landon Donovan will come on loan to the Land of Toffee starting January 4th.

Okay, not shocked actually at all–except for the fact that Everton actually got a quality player to help them in a battle with Father Relegation, even if only for two months.

This is a much different team that Landon joins in his second loan stint in Liverpool.

No Steven Pienaar, no Yakubu, no Mikel Arteta and an attack that largely relies on the aerial abilities of Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini or the rambling runs of Leighton Baines.

Donovan will play a critical role for the Toffees on the right flank, typically.

Everton–because of probably the best LB in England right now, Leighton Baines, and a largely weak link named Tony hibbert at RB–have predominantly come down the left side when on attack this year. Check the passing charts below from a game two weeks ago against Stoke City at home–note manager David Moyes is much more likely to go for the win at home and bunker or counter for the draw on the road.

Leftback Baines in a loss against Stoke City

Baines (aforementioned) had just as many pass attempts on the left as RM Seamus Coleman (pictured here) AND RB Tony hibbert (not pictured) -- couldn't figure out how to bundle the two right siders on the chart...


The charts? Twice the action down the left side of the pitch and more from the leftback role even more than the right midfielder Seamus Coleman. Donovan will likely compete with Coleman and Leon Osman–who typically facilitates runs for Baines–for two of three outside mid/forward roles.

Moyes has also had no proficient striker at his disposal and twice this season went with a team of six midfielders ahead of the back four. Luis Saha has again been inconsistent and Jermaine Beckford is non-existent. The Toffees have no one to threaten the backline of the opponent. The highline for the Toffees is not a gorgeous park to enjoy in New York City, but a nightmare stretch of land for them.

That’s where Donovan will help as well.

With the foreword-playing Fellaini and Cahill more so often checking back to the ball, Donovan can keep the opponents backline honest threaten an overlapping run when the forwards go back looking to link up with the midfielders.

Hard to say if Donovan will have success this time with the personnel that will be surrounding him, but he will certainly help the cause.

• The Cottage is Craven some goals and Bolton may just be the tonic.

Okay, help me understand this.

The Doctor of defensive distribution, Tim McdREAMy is a very solid player already–only 24, young for a CB and he obviously has great handles on the ball. However, he’s also a mess in terms of his defensive fundamentals, makes an error a game and at last glimpse his confidence was a wreck.

Yet, Owen Coyle and others in the Prem rave about making a purchase for him. Is his defensive game really ready for the Premiership? Would he just waste time on the bench now or be cast to the reserves?

Just what would be the price on his head by the New York Red Bulls for a sale? Shouldn’t Bolton be looking for someone who could offer some more immediate help or are they really going to maybe move Mr. Overrated Gary Cahill in the January window and need some cover? And Ream’s the man?!

It’s just all so very perplexing. (Don’t get me wrong–Ream should get out of Harrison and there’s oodles of potential still there.) Seems a lot of lavishing on this moment. And why would you heap the praise if you want to make a purchase?

Fulham come off their Europa League ouster. The Cottage hasn’t been the steely fortress that it typically has been for them. They need to make a statement.

3-1 Londoners.

BTW, carrying on Europa in Fulham’s stead, Wisla Krakow. Genuine feel good for their fans. Courtesy TSG contributor John Nyen with the video find:


• Newcastle vs. Swansea City

Another “Boy I am happy to see you affair here.”

Newcastle may not be sure if they’re going to have Ceick Tiote in the line-up, but that should matter little. Swansea is absolutely dreadful away from home and they haven’t won at St. James Park since 1980.

If the game starts getting out of hand early, just play the following drinking game: Anytime Jonas (35-leader), Scott Sinclair (31) or Nathan Dyer (29) flop (get fouled), take a shot/drink/sip. Three of the biggest hit-the-turfmeisters involved in this one. For comparison, Luiz Suarez (33 fouls suffered) and David Silva (17). You get the point.

• Will Manchester City be good Citizens at home and resist the Arsenal


Isn’t it time for Manchester City to play the same hardball with Mario Balotelli and his agent that they did with Carlos Tevez–who’s probably bowling or something in Buenos Aires right now.

We are....Wigan!

• Wigan’s pitch is TURRIBLE….oh, they’re playing Chelsea.

Rain, snow and sleet in the forecast for Saturday at Wigan. So you’re saying there’s a chance….

Wigan normally get stomped by the Prem’s elite. If they’re going to steal one of these–against a Chelsea team that is probably feeling a tad too good about themselves right now at eggnog time–this is the one.

Given “someone” floating it this week that Fernando Torres can be had for a quarter of what he was purchased for (20L) less than a year ago, AVB may just want to trot the former Spanish striking savant out there on that Wigan pitch and, you know, cash in on that insurance policy.

• Paella! Sevilla get Real Madrid

David Villa down with a broken leg the Fifa Club World Cup (how pointless is that by the way?!). Real Madrid playing for the league lead heading into Santa time. Old school club Sevilla in their way. After a blazing start to the season they, faltered when superstriker Alvaro Negredo went down. Negredo is the non-hipster choice and if you’re looking for someone to put some coin on for the question: Who will be the La Liga leading scorer not from Barcelona or Real Madrid–he may be your man.

If Ronaldo doesn’t go for a cool 37 in this game, the press are going to eat him alive.

16 responses to this post.

  1. I really do love that Wisla video. It shows how much that competition that so many people label as “inferior” means to people who support their local teams.

    Fantastic stuff.


  2. Posted by Scweeb on 2011/12/16 at 5:14 PM

    When does Shea start his training in Europe.


  3. Posted by Nelson on 2011/12/16 at 5:23 PM

    I saw a picture of him training with Arsenal so he’s already started. It would be nice to get some interviews from him and Agudelo.


  4. Posted by dth on 2011/12/16 at 11:04 PM

    Re: Ream. Confidence is one problem (remedied by coaches being interested in paying a transfer fee for his services?); the other is being paired with a human being so bored, so uninterested, that you’d think he was a poster child for one of those anti-marijuana commercials…say, are we sure D.A.R.E. isn’t handling the salary of Rafa Marquez?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/17 at 12:00 AM

      hardly remedied by coaches talking nice. it happens on the pitch and the last game I saw him in he had terrible body language for dropping that Ecuador goal/defensive assignment.

      Ream did fine paired with whomever–his mistakes were one-on-one typically.

      Bolton are stuck on 9 points. It’s a long season, but I find it interesting that a coach who wants him is chatting him (And his transfer fee) when his recent resume hardly screams “season-changer.”


      • Posted by Mike on 2011/12/17 at 1:38 PM

        Agreed with Ream not being a “season-changer”. Article last week discussed Coyle and Klinsman’s relationship, and a handful of US players getting training at Bolton. Maybe he is just talking it up to demonstrate that he is exploring all possibilities. Even though season is only half over, he has got to be feeling pressure.


  5. Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/12/17 at 7:33 AM

    I assume he knows he is losing Cahill and needs a replacement who is cheap enough to let him splash the cash elsewhere.

    How valuable is Stu to Bolton after watching them this year? I almost hope Bolton goes down so Stu can move on to bigger and better things.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/12/17 at 9:28 AM

      I don’t think Stu would be able to move on to bigger and better things right away considering how many injuries he’s dealt with back to back. Unless Bolton were forced to dump him on the cheap because of financial issues there isn’t going to be a club that are willing to meet what Bolton would want for him.


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/12/17 at 9:47 AM

        Good point Jared. I was assuming he is able to come back for a month or so this season and prove he is healthy and if Bolton goes down they will have to sell some of their better assets to raise funds. Going down means a huge loss of revenue particularly for a low spending team. Sort of like West Ham having to get rid of Upson, Parker, ba and others.


  6. What’s with Howard’s camo keeper getup?


  7. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/12/17 at 9:57 AM

    Once upon a time Royston Drentge was supposed to be the next great Dutch Left-SIDER, let alone LM or LWB. No idea what happened…


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/12/19 at 10:34 AM

      Mostly because he read the same things you did and started believing them IMO. Boy is he frustrating to watch. Clueless as to how play at this level with 9 other players but so talented. Won’t be popular on here but I view Sturridge as a similar case but delivering more. Seems to be reading his own press a bit too much and he does frustrate his teammates quite a bit with his selfish play.


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/12/19 at 6:52 PM

        That and he was brought into the worst situation for a young player by moving to Real Madrid. Every year they bring in a new crop of the next big things so the previous year’s cast offs end up sitting around. Any player that isn’t a superstar is risking their career by moving to Real Madrid even if that move sets them up for life.


  8. Posted by primoone on 2011/12/19 at 2:59 PM

    “Tim McdREAMy …”

    it would be a McdReam come true if he can keep from passing it to the oposition right outside his 18.


  9. Posted by Kevin on 2011/12/20 at 1:23 AM

    Beckford is non-existent because he plays in the championship now..


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