07 May, 2008

Malcontents 11

As the season draws to a close with only one weekend of matches left before the title is decided, a number of players are looking to next year, to new opportunities in other cities with bigger paychecks. We've already covered the players most likely to be snapped up by bigger clubs if their team gets relegated, but there are so many players in this league who have had stinking seasons and want to get out of dodge, as well as players who may have outgrown their clubs. If another team was created, with the malcontents and castoffs from the other 20 teams, we reckon this would be the strongest team. It wouldn't be much of a surprise if this was West Ham's starting 11 next year, then.

GK Paul Robinson

The former England number one's career has been on the slide ever since Juande Ramos got his besuited knees under the desk at White Hart Lane, bringing in Radek Cerny as his possible replacement. Robinson has been linked with Villa, Newcastle and West Ham.

LB John Arne Riise

It hasn't been the best season for the hammer footed Norweigan, as he has been kept out of the Liverpool side by Fabio Aurelio. It's a shame, because there was a point when Riise provided plenty of excitement with long range shots and some fairly comical defending. The own goal that let Chelsea back into the Champions League Semi Final will stay for him for a while, though. He will be expensive for anyone who signs him, though. That someone will probably be Newcastle.

CB Micah Richards

Richards isn't necessarily unhappy at Man City, but he wouldn't say no to a megabucks deal from United. It would be hard to see where he would fit in at Old Trafford, with Vidic and Ferdinand showing priapic form this year and Wes Brown showing that he is actually a professional footballer. Still, the guy's only 19 and would be a shrewd investment.

CB Sol Campbell

Campbell has had a decent season on the South Coast, but it looks like his legs have well and truly departed. After some fairly silly comments aimed at the board in January, it appears that Sol won't be kept around for his dressing room presence, either. It looks like a move to Spain or France may be on the cards, but it's hard to believe what the big chap says. His career's not over yet, but it seems that retirement is just one big hissy-fit away these days.

RB Olof Mellberg

After more than 200 games in 7 years for Villa, one of the most solid defenders in the league is off to Juventus on a free transfer. While he may not be pissed off with Birmingham, it looks like Mellberg fancies a new challenge in a different country. The great scenes last weekend on 'Mellberg day' show what he means to fans at Villa Park.

LM Gareth Barry

GazBaz has had something of a breakout season this year, at the ripe old age of 27 and may be getting a bit too big for his boots. Arsenal and Liverpool have been stalking him, waving the filthy lucre under his nose and offering to stuff his pants full of Champion's League football. A move may be lucrative, but probably detrimental to his career. It's unlikely that he'll ever actually look like he's enjoying himself when he's playing, so sour is his demeanour.

CM Mathieu Flamini

It's not clear what's happened behind the scenes at Arsenal, but a number of players really are not very pleased with their situation. After fighting to get a regular starting place anywhere on the pitch for 3 years, Flamini is doing one to Italy after a career defining season, where he has well and truly kept Gilberto sitting on the bench in a huff. I could speculate all day about why he's off, but he spoke to pretty much every club in Serie A before signing with AC Milan, so maybe he just likes sunshine, wine and cinghiale.

CM Steve Sidwell

Who? Oh yeah, he's that ginger guy who was great for Reading last year, but who does he play for now? Chelsea!?!? Really? I don't think he wants to stay there for much longer, having sunk to sub SWP levels.

RW Alexander Hleb

Another casualty of the Arsenal malaise, Hleb's fate is yet to be decided, but it looks like he was listening to Flamini shouting about Italy as he walked out the door. After a strong season, where the less intelligent Arsenal fans have claimed that he is George Best reincarnate, he gave the league something to remember him by by bitch-slapping pundit-in-waiting Graeme Murty. Ouch.

CF Peter Crouch

It's been a difficult season for the big chap, as he's shown what he can do in short spells this season, but Rafa seems to think that this is only marginally better than Andriy Voronin, but not nearly as good as Dirk Kuyt. While few strikers (i.e. none) can complain about being second choice behind Fernando Torres, Crouch's performances this year have warranted him a place in another Premiership team, with Portsmouth and Newcastle leading the pack.

CF Dimitar Berbatov

So little was known about Berbles before he turned up in North London almost 2 years ago, such is the level of exposure of das Bundesliga. There's no need for superlatives with Berbatov, but let's just say that he would do a pretty good job for any team in the world, as long as his head is in the game. Much like Gareth Barry, he sulks his way around the pitch, looking like someone switched his half-time oranges with limes. Still, here's hoping that he stays in the Premiership, but doesn't go to United.

On the Bench:

The rest of the Arsenal Squad, especially Emmanuels Adebayor and Eboue

Frank Lampard

Didier Drogba

Benni McCarthy

El Hadji Diouf

1 comment:

harithski said...

Wonderful compilation. Well said about Sidwell. If he stayed with reading, both reading and himself wouldn't have been in their current crisis.