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Judge
10-09-2007, 22:58
There is a God, Lampard to miss the Russia game..:jester:
The midfield will now be balanced.

DJ Biscuit
11-09-2007, 17:10
Top post!

Len Ganley Stance
11-09-2007, 17:42
Top post!

Bloody hell a Tottenham supporter who claims to know about football.

I liked this article today. I've highlighted the important pieces -

ARSHAVIN TARGETS `WEAK` ROBINSON

Russia skipper Andrei Arshavin thinks that Paul Robinson is the weak link in the England team.

The Zenit St Petersburg attacker says that Guus Hiddink's men will look to target the Spurs keeper in the Euro 2008 qualifier at Wembley on Wednesday night.

Robinson has come under heavy criticism for his inconsistent form in recent weeks, in particular the mistakes that led to Germany's opening goal in last month's friendly.

His place in the side was under pressure from both David James and Scott Carson, but Steve McClaren chose to stick with Robinson for Saturday's 3-0 win over Israel, during which he was a virtual spectator.

And Arshavin reckons that putting pressure on the 27-year-old will be Russia's best hope at Wembley.

He told The Sun: "I believe they do not have normal keepers.

"Robinson, putting it mildly, is not the strongest representative of his profession - this is our chance!

"We will have to try and disturb Robinson.

"We are relying on a victory against the Englishmen and it is completely possible in this game. They have weak spots and if we use them we will definitely conquer."

However, Arshavin reckons that getting past the four men in front of Robinson will be a slightly tougher proposition, but still looked to undermine their ability.

"Once we're on the field we will forget they are superstars. As an attacker I'm more interested in finding the weak points in their defence.

"And in my opinion they have one of the best defences in Europe.

"To force it open will be complicated but individually the English appear, frankly, weak football players."

Now, Arshavin is a quality footballer - he really reminds me of Paul Scholes - but I can't believe that he actually said the above. Plus it was in The Sun

Scottish01
11-09-2007, 19:37
but I can't believe that he actually said the above. Plus it was in The Sun [/COLOR][/I]

It's hard to believe the truth sometimes!
-----------------------------
England 1 Russia 2

France 1 Scotland 1

What's your predictions? :coffee:

mandelstam13
11-09-2007, 19:51
pretty much agree.

Perhaps England 1 Russia 1 is more realistic though?

Andorra 1 Croatia 0 would be the top result of the night...

Len Ganley Stance
11-09-2007, 22:14
England 2 Russia 0

France 2 Scotland 1

and most importantly of all...........

Czech Republic 3 Ireland 0 - we are going to get stuffed.

Hopefully all of the above will be totally wrong!!!

Judge
11-09-2007, 22:31
England 3 Russia 1

France 2 Scotland 0

Czech Republic 1 Ireland 1

DJ Biscuit
12-09-2007, 10:32
England 3 Russia 1

France 2 Scotland 0

Czech Republic 1 Ireland 1

I'd put money on those predictions, if I had any money that is!

Judge
12-09-2007, 21:48
I'd put money on those predictions, if I had any money that is!

You're a wise man.:respect:

Judge
12-09-2007, 21:49
Russia will be intimidated by playing England,if we get the early goal then Russia should open up....

thewanderer
12-09-2007, 21:51
There is a God, Lampard to miss the Russia game..:jester:
The midfield will now be balanced.

Here I was thinking that you had it backward, as I was disappointed to see that Lampard wouldn't be there.

Then I realised you're an England supporter, while I'll be supporting my newly adopted Russian team.:doh:

Judge
12-09-2007, 22:02
Here I was thinking that you had it backward, as I was disappointed to see that Lampard wouldn't be there.

Then I realised you're an England supporter, while I'll be supporting my newly adopted Russian team.:doh:

It's a blessing that Lampard isn't playing,with him out Gerrard gets to run the midfield,no more back tracking to help out Frank when he drifts out of the game.

Adopted Russian team:eh::eh:, i'm gonna be divorced from my wife for 90 mins tonight.

Judge
12-09-2007, 22:05
Borat and his mates will be going mental tonight,Kazakhstan drew 2 2 with Belgium

Judge
13-09-2007, 00:59
Good win for England,but the defence needs to sort it self out,if Russia had a decent striker we would have suffered.At 2 nil Russia still looked like they could sneak a goal ,Gerrard should have put the game away when he missed that sitter,all in all 3 points is what it's about.For now the flick ons from Heskey work against a weak defence but against top defenders we wont stand a chance.

Great game by Scotland, to win away to France.

Scottish01
13-09-2007, 02:04
Fair play to England they got a result!

But Scotland !

What a result !!
What a goal !!

I am still in shock :bowdown:

Judge
13-09-2007, 02:25
Fair play to England they got a result!

But Scotland !

What a result !!
What a goal !!

I am still in shock :bowdown:

Great result for you guys,now you need to win your next two games and you're through.
Do you have a link to the scot goal.

jl74
13-09-2007, 10:06
super goal by Makkkkkkkkfadden! well done Scotland but get in there England... to all those who doubted our team:bird:

Now we have to come to Moscow and do the same.:hooray:

Len Ganley Stance
13-09-2007, 10:28
super goal by Makkkkkkkkfadden! well done Scotland but get in there England... to all those who doubted our team:bird:

Now we have to come to Moscow and do the same.:hooray:

Bloody hell, you'll be saying next that McClaren is a brilliant manager.

Still congratulations on your win and it looks like you'll qualify now whereas our lot - Ireland that is - predictably blew out. That's not all together bad news though and maybe, just maybe, our Football Association might get rid of Staunton and put their hands in their feckin pockets and appoint a decent manager. Who would be my choice? I haven't a bloody clue but anybody would be better than Staunton.

Well done to the Scots as well. Absolute cracker of a goal. Let's hope he doesn't do the same on Saturday.

kste22
13-09-2007, 11:29
Good results for everyone, apart from Len!

Now that's all that is over can we get back to more important things like domestic football.

Judge
13-09-2007, 12:34
Good results for everyone, apart from Len!

Now that's all that is over can we get back to more important things like domestic football.


The main thing is that Gerrard came through the two games ok.

trebor
13-09-2007, 13:34
The main thing is that Gerrard came through the two games ok.

England were really impressive last night and If people are calling for McClaren's head when England do badly surely they must praise him when they do well. Simple logic.
He's got a very nice problem now. What to do when those that are injured are fit again. I'd stick with the team that has delivered so well in the past couple of days.

Judge
13-09-2007, 20:21
England were really impressive last night and If people are calling for McClaren's head when England do badly surely they must praise him when they do well. Simple logic.
He's got a very nice problem now. What to do when those that are injured are fit again. I'd stick with the team that has delivered so well in the past couple of days.

I would stick with the midfield for sure,but i would put Rooney back in the team,Heskey or Crouch could come on as a 3rd striker if England fall behind.
England need a draw away to Russia but a win would be better,maybe having Heskey start against Russia might be a good thing,he holds the ball up well and brings other players into the game.

Gotta admit that McClaren got it right in these two games,even i wasn't happy with Heskey back in the team but Heskey prved everyone wrong,fair play to McClaren for picking him.
Barry and Gerrard link up well and this partnership should stay for now,Lampard should be used like a sub,this will bring the best out of Lampard,kinda like he needs to show us that he deserves a start in the first 11,this problem of who to pick is a good one for McClaren.Russia couldn't handle Heskey and his flick ons,starting with him might be the way to go.

England created lots of chances and should have had the game over with in the first half.Atleast things are looking better now.

Len Ganley Stance
14-09-2007, 11:11
Gotta admit that McClaren got it right in these two games,even i wasn't happy with Heskey back in the team but Heskey prved everyone wrong,fair play to McClaren for picking him.


Judge,

England did have two good wins but I wouldn't be getting carried away just yet. McClaren got it right because the changes he made were forced on him by players being injured (Lampard / Rooney / Beckham Hargreaves and even Gary Neville). I reckon that McLaren will make some changes with some of these 'big names' being available for selection for the next two games.

England are two points ahead of Russia at the moment and play Estonia at Wembley in their next game. They'll win that. Russia do not play that day.

They then come here to Moscow and it's a must win game for Russia. Playing on the plastic pitch / potentially bad weather conditions and with Russia having to take a far more positive approach than they did at Wembley, it's going to be a difficult game. A draw would be good enough for England.

England then have a day off, while Russia go to Israel in what will be a difficult tie for them.

Russia's last game is away to the whipping boys of the group, Andorra. England play Croatia the same day at Wembley and the Croats are no pushovers.

I do reckon that England will qualify though and I can envisage Russia getting a result against England here but then f*cking it up in Israel.

Len Ganley Stance
14-09-2007, 12:24
Here's an excellent article from today's Times on the dilemna McClaren will find himself in on team selection -

Wayne Rooney or Emile Heskey? Steve McClaren must go for obvious solution — play them both

A pair of thumping wins, no goals conceded and one look at the table to indicate the way forward. Clearly, those who played are the best team and those who did not were the problem all along.

Using that benchmark, the evidence is clear: Steven Gerrard is not one of the top 11 players at Liverpool any more. Come on, 2-0, 4-0 and 6-0 without him. The last time he played, they drew. Plainly, then, he was the weakness. All Rafael BenÍtez has to do is drop him for the rest of the season and Liverpool win the league.

So, having placed in perspective the flawed logic that insists a winning team must never be changed and only those specific 11 England players could have achieved victory over Russia, what are Steve McClaren’s options? How does he go forward from here?

The populist choice would be to omit the man whose goals took England to the 2006 World Cup (Frank Lampard), the best player when they got there (Owen Hargreaves), a boy genius who was drawing comparisons to Pelé at the last European Championship (Wayne Rooney) and stick with what he had at Wembley on Wednesday. More realistically, McClaren can wait until October 6, when he must next name a squad, see what players he has fit and, ignoring the temptation to tread water, work towards taking this team to the next stage of their evolution. If you want to make God laugh, show him your plans, the saying goes. McClaren is wise not to be rushed into early judgment.

The most common criticism of England has been that the big-name players are in a comfort zone of assured selection. So, on the back of two wins, our answer now is to create a new generation of privileged untouchables? You see where this falls down.

Great managers do not change winning teams; they improve them. The hardest test, in Moscow on a plastic pitch on October 17, is still to come. If McClaren leaves some of the finest footballers in the country on the bench just because his squad players rose to the occasion this time, he is mad.

England’s reserves did what reserves are meant to do. When the chips were down they accepted the challenge and proved their worth. Some, like Gareth Barry and Emile Heskey, looked even more accomplished than their supposed superiors, yet McClaren is in no position to make rash assessments. Many historic victories have been achieved in adversity, with understudy goalkeepers and sundry standins, but that has not stopped the old guard returning.

During Thierry Henry’s time in the Premier League, Arsenal made eight visits to Old Trafford, six with him in the team, two without. With Henry, the record read: W0 L4 D2 F2 A13. Without him, W2 L0 D0 F2 A0. Yet, strangely, Henry always seemed to earn his place again. Maybe because Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, could see that, long term, the way forward was not to play Emmanuel Ade-bayor on his own or Sylvain Wiltord and Kanu as a partnership. It is unlikely he now rues what he might have won had he not had that old millstone Henry dragging him down.

There is a reason Heskey is at Wigan Athletic and Rooney at Man-chester United, and while that does not preclude Heskey’s worth to the England team, anyone who thinks that McClaren’s senior players will not be needed in Moscow has an optimistic concept of the challenge this squad are still to face. For a start, the return of Heskey to the starting lineup makes it ever more important that the head coach finds room for English football’s favourite hate figure. With Heskey in the team, Lampard is a must.

Heskey, selfless and outstanding against Russia, must be allowed to continue his partnership with Michael Owen, but every solution brings a problem. McClaren’s is that one half of his form strike pairing does not score goals at international level and Owen cannot for ever be expected to pick up the shortfall.

Enter Lampard, a 20-goals-a-season midfield man, unique in his class. After a long barren spell, he scored in his last England match, against Germany in August, and will be better suited to England’s rhythms with the energetic Heskey by Owen’s side. As shrewdly identified by another free-scoring England midfield player, David Platt, the presence of Peter Crouch was a problem for Lampard. The Liverpool man is quite static in the penalty area and failed to pull defenders away and give him the space to run into, while the movement of Heskey and Owen better resembles that of Didier Drogba at Chelsea.

If Lampard can contribute even half as much as he did in the two-year period between June 5, 2004 and June 3, 2006, when he scored ten goals in 22 games, this would compensate for Heskey’s weakness. There will, of course, be the predictable outcry from those who believe Gerrard and Lampard cannot be in the same room, much like Superman and kryptonite, but the pair dovetailed faultlessly against Brazil and Estonia last season and will benefit from the addition of a holding midfield player.

If Heskey plays, though, where does this leave Rooney? Not on the bench, it is to be hoped. Despite his disappointing partnership with Owen, such a sublime talent cannot be excluded and there is a way of playing that can accommodate all three forwards, in a 4-3-3 formation with Rooney stretching the play wide and Heskey narrow in support of Owen. Defending, Rooney and Heskey would spread out, covering the full backs, which is pretty much as England played on Wednesday, except with Shaun Wright-Phillips in Rooney’s position.

Barry would appear to be in a straight fight with Hargreaves for the remaining midfield place and, as both have claims, the Aston Villa man probably gets the nod on form. Barry proved disciplined and an intelligent passer against Russia and most of England’s wasted possession came from the flanks, not through the centre.

Bad news for Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole? Probably. Good news for David Beckham? It should not be. England cannot again become reliant on a player who is at his best when the game stops. When Beckham went west, so did his international career and we must admit that his new life in Major League Soccer is not compatible with international football in Europe.

If he returns, it should be as a squad player and an impact substitute, no more. And if he is as lacking in ego as he would like us to believe, he will accept that, too. In the space of four days, England have changed. It is now up to McClaren’s players, whether superstars or squad men, to change with it.



Don’t worry Wayne, there is a way back England played well on Wednesday but the fine performances of Emile Heskey and Gareth Barry leave Steve McClaren with decisions to make. Should he bring back Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard for the matches against Croatia and Russia and, if so, at whose expense? Martin Samuel looks at the possibilities and suggests how the England manager can make the most of the talent at his disposal. McClaren has plenty of options, as the team line ups below illustrate

4-3-3

Robinson - Richards, Terry, Ferdinand, A Cole - Barry, Gerrard, Lampard - Owen, Heskey, Rooney

In Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney
Out Shaun Wright-Phillips Joe Cole

Probably the way forward for England. This gets three strong central midfield players in, thickening the centre, keeps Emile Heskey in place as support to Michael Owen and uses Wayne Rooney as a wild card, cutting in from wide. When England attack, Heskey tucks in beside Owen, in defence, he pulls out to cover his full back. Barry gets the nod over Hargreaves for his display against Russia

4-4-2

Robinson - Richards, Terry, Ferdinand, A Cole - Hargreaves, Barry, Gerrard, Lampard - Owen, Heskey

In Owen Hargreaves, Frank Lampard
Out Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joe Cole

A very narrow midfield, the failing being that in creating a solid centre with Barry and Hargreaves, Gerrard is again shunted to the right. Here, England have four central midfield players and no natural wide players and a variation could be to play three of that four with one wide man, such as Wright-Phillips, replacing either Barry or Hargreaves, while returning Gerrard to the centre. Heskey is preferred to Rooney, which would be a huge call for McClaren.

4-2-3-1

Robinson - Richards, Terry, Ferdinand, A Cole - Hargreaves, Barry - Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney -Owen

In Owen Hargreaves, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard
Out Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joe Cole, Emile Heskey

A tight, midfield, Brazil style, with two men guarding a back four and width coming from the full backs. Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney would break forward in support of Owen, Gareth Barry and Hargreaves would stop Russia on the counter-attack. The drawback is it finds no room for Heskey, and Owen is not as comfortable in partnership with Rooney

4-1-4-1

Robinson - Richards, Terry, Ferdinand, A Cole - Hargreaves - Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Heskey - Owen

In Owen Hargreaves, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard
Out Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joe Cole, Gareth Barry

A variation of 4-3-3 in which Rooney and Heskey are quickly up in support of Owen, but withdraw to play defensive roles in a match in which England need a draw. Barry makes way for Hargreaves, which is rough after his performances against Israel and Russia, but is it also not rough to just disregard a man who was England’s best player at the World Cup finals little more than a year ago?

trebor
14-09-2007, 14:36
The big stars have a right to be picked first? No way. Especialy if they have not been performing well for club OR country. That is especialy true of Rooney, who has been out recently.
Beckham? I was all for him comming back when we looked so bad but hopefully, for a while anyway, the midfield is performing so he is surplus to requirements. As was mentioned in the article. Playing in California against weaker opposition is not good for an England place
Hargreaves has been playing well and has done so for England in his last games.
Neville? part of the old guard along with Becks. and could be time for new faces to take over.
Frank lampard? Great player going through a bad patch. When he's back to his best he gets a chance.
I'm not a great fan of Heskey or Crouch but the last couple of games Heskey has proved his point and he does play well with Owen. Crouch as sub.
There is a theory that part of England's problems in the past have been that some players believe they have a place for life.
The past two results should help to convince them otherwise. No one is indispensible and McLaren should show his courage again and stick with a winning formular. Becks, Rooney, Neville and Lampard want their places back, they had better get their fingers out!

Judge
14-09-2007, 23:39
It doesn't matter who gets picked upfront,Owen/Rooney/Crouch/Heskey,the main thing is that Lampard doesn't get put back in the middle.This is where Sven went wrong,he just picked the big names first and put the team second.
Games are won in the middle of the ground,control the midfield and strikers will score.

McClaren should take note from the wise , Alf Ramsey ..

"Never change a winning team."