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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How About Diaby, Arsene?

So what's Pards thinking about right now over his morning breakfast? Figuring out if it's a jam or marmalade day? One round or two? And meanwhile, over the table, the missus just can't understand why he's in such a good mood this morning, despite the burnt toast.
But while she's busy musing and planning a weekend shopping trip with hubby, Pards has jumped in and told her that sorry love, its not really a 'free weekend' after all, 'cause he's got a couple of tickets for him and Parky to see the Arse play Newcastle in the Cup, because he's made plans to pop in to see his old mate Arsene before the game on urgent business.
He's conscious that the shell-shocked Wenger ought to be left alone for a couple of days before any advances so Saturday seems just about right. For Pards experience will have told him that there's a squad of interesting kids up there that have now got nothing to do for the rest of the season, after last nights comprehensive defeat in the semis of the Kids Cup. And after that walloping, they'll be nothing but a big problem for Arsene as they struggle to come to terms with a 1-5 scoreline.
No, its a quiet convalescence they need, away from their mates in North London, down there in the fizzies, with all that space to run about and enjoy. So who's it to be Arsene? Last season it was Alex Song that lifted us with 12 appearances, and Pardew's mouth is watering at the prospect of another loan deal with no capital expenditure worries.
Meanwhile over at Parky's household, he's free from making any boring phone calls and is trying to figure out what to do about the arrival of Stoke on Tuesday. It's his job to look at the videos and stats and analyse the opposition's strengths and weakness and find a clue to getting the three points.
So he's been looking at the stats for Stoke and found some interesting facts.
First thing he's noticed is that they score a lot of goals. With number 10 Ricardo Fuller (12), number 9 Richard Cresswell (9), and number 7 Liam Lawrence (9), they've got 3 forwards that know where the goal is and between them they've got 30 of the 46 fizzy goals, a total second only to West Brom. So they can score but in doing so, they'd do seem to neglect their defence a bit with 35 goals conceded, more than 10 other teams.
And while we score less (41), we have fewer off-days and do usually score and while have they have failed to score 6 times, we have only failed in 3 games to find the back of the net, despite our bad shooting...
But to emphasize that the policy of Pards mate Tony Pulis is to attack, you only have to look at the record of his defence. While we can feel a bit sorry for the fans at Molineux, ( and bemused at Mick McCarthy) - a team that have managed a massive 13 clean sheets and the embarrassing and pointless record of conceding less than anyone and meanwhile scoring less then anyone - Stoke have only managed 6 clean sheets - only Coventry and Colchester have less.
But it therefore follows that Stoke have now gotten the mentality that losing a goal doesn't affect them in the slightest. In fact they expect to concede and you'll probably see them all having a good laugh about it as they are the team with the best record in the fizzies for getting points after the other lot have scored first, having got 17 of their 47 points after going behind.
So what to do? Well, with Stoke scoring more goals in the first 10 minutes than any other 10 minute spell, its obviously important for Pards to wake everybody up before the start, no early daydreaming from anyone. And its worth noting that they've scored three goals at all of Barnsley, Blackpool, Sheffield Utd, Scunthorpe and Palarse and on only two occasions have they failed to score away from home...... So its probable that plan A should be to stop them scoring.
Meanwhile, Pards couldn't care less about all that number nonsense, he's busy plotting what he's going to say to tempt any of Diaby (only 5 Premier starts this season), Gilberto Silva (only 4 starts), Denilson ( a single start) , and even Alex Song (a massive zero starts) to make the short but meaningful trip to the Valley for a few months of actual football.

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