Saturday, December 17, 2011

What I'd like for Christmas

In an annual tradition, we look at the bottom ten teams in the Premier League and ask what wish they'd really like granted for Christmas.  Here's what we think they'd say:

Bolton Wanderers:  A team that challenged for a top-half finishlast season now at the bottom of the table?  What could we possibly want?  Thinking big, Gary Cahill to sign to a new contract (or to receive heaps on his sale) and the broken leg corps (Lee Chung-Yong & Tyrone Mears) to recover swiftly enough to mount a second-half charge.

Blackburn Rovers:   The fans want Steve Kean out, the board want Champions' League football, Steve Kean wants the fans not to want Steve Kean out ... could we just settle for stability?  This may take the departure of one of the three entities above, and hopefully not the already-declining crowd numbers.

Wigan:   We'd love the talented Victor Moses to convert his opportunities more regularly, and Hugo Rodallega to turn from back into the guy whose goals last year kept us up to partner him.

Wolves:  There's not much to say about Wolves - we aren't playing above ourselves and neither are we playing badly, we just haven't won enough.  If the teams around us keep struggling, we should have enough to avoid a last-day scramble like last year.  If Kevin Doyle could turn lead-up play into scoring would also be grand.

Sunderland:  I think the thing we wish for most is for Martin O'Neill to work his magic quickly before the confidence lost during Steve Bruce's bunker days becomes terminal and we slide, Hammer-like, into the Championship.  If you're feeling generous, Santa, you could also convince Asamoah Gyan that Wearside really isn't such a bad place now Brucie's gone.

QPR:  For a Neil Warnock team, we've got remarkably few complaints as to the season so far.  Adel Taarabt has been remarkably quiet this year (a combined 0 goals + assists, compared to last year's oustanding tally of 35) and we'd like him to find his feet at this level, and for Joey Barton to continue focusing on football and not Nietzche.

Everton:  Santa, our biggest wish is for the club to be sold to someone with enough money to invest in either the squad, a new arena or both.  If new loanee Landon Donovan can contirbute more than Denis Stracqualursi and last year's bargain Apostolos Vellios keeps improving, we'll be (somewhat) satisfied.

West Bromwich Albion:  We'd like Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie to gel really well as a forward tandem.  Even though our back five will give up a few goals, if those two combine and fire rather than one at a time, we'll stay up and could even give the top ten a run for their money.

Swansea City:  If someone other than our goalkeeper, Michael Vorm, could really assert themselves as a top-flight Premier League performer, we should avoid relegation and continue a Welsh football renaissance.  Scott Sinclair, Wayne Routledge, Joe Allen, and Ashley Williams have performed reasonably well, but we'd love one or two of our midfielders or forwards to grab a few games by the scruff of the neck.

Fulham:   Costa Rican import Bryan Ruiz owned the Dutch league while at Twente Enschede; so far he's struggled to bed in well with our other forwards Dempsey, Zamora and Johnson.  No-one doubts his talent, just his fit.  If he could fire, we could challenge for the Europa League again.

Aston Villa:   We'd like Alex McLeish to "free the beast" and let our offensive talents Marc Albrighton, Charles N'Zogbia, Gaby Agbonlahor and Darren Bent free.  This staid, boring football isn't suited to such pacy attacking players.

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