Monday, March 23, 2009

What a difference three weeks makes

Keown, seen here practicing his lines for Match of the Day 2

In the pantheon of absurd punditry, we must now give a special place to former Gunners defender Martin Keown, for his wonderful thought process that landed in today's Daily Mail.

You see, he's been watching Liverpool's recent run of good form (deliberately downplayed so as not to ire the vengeful soccer gods), and he's sussed out the main reason why they're not only playing well, but the reason why he reckons they'll win the league.*

Surprisingly, that reason is getting rid of Robbie Keane.

After the transfer window closed and Liverpool faltered, in no small part to the crazed, unprovoked, red-faced rantings of Rafa Benitez, the media was giddy, falling all over themselves to point to the absence of Keane as the cause for their downturn. After all, not scoring goals and suffering with injuries to Torres and Gerrard made the connection obvious.

But now that they're winning, Keown sees it very differently.

First, he approaches it tactically, you know, Xs and 0s:
"Keane was bought [for £20.3million] to play off Torres, but Gerrard was consequently pushed back into midfield which only stunted the effectiveness of their captain and contributed to a lack of fluidity. But Benitez's best team is now obvious.

Rafa's 4-2-3-1, with Gerrard pushed further forward behind Torres, is now a devastating system that maximises everything from the players he has at his disposal - as was demonstrated by the England player's superb hat-trick yesterday against Aston Villa."
Fair enough. So the Irishman's presence upset the balance of the formation? I could maybe see that.

Then, he attacks "the Keane question", aka the first thing that Rafa would inevitably have to answer after a 0-0 draw at home.
"Everyone seemingly knows their place within the squad. That clarity of thinking is at odds with Sir Alex Ferguson's United at present and I believe Liverpool will maintain this push and pip the champions because they are now playing with the belief that the Premier League title is in sight."
I think you've lost me there. After all, winning is generally the best cure for anything, Keane or no Keane.

So why post all this? It's a slow news day, the first of many now that we're in the international break. Keown's batty outburst reminds us all that when the news well runs dry, we're forced to turn to the pundits. Thankfully, they rarely disappoint.

* Again, not putting any editorial into this statement, for fear of karma


Precious Roy said...

As was pointed out to me by the Likely Lad at our mini-UF SXSW meet up yesteday, Liverpool close out the campaign against Spurs.

So karma might just be biding its time knowing full well it has the best shot at the last laugh. Just saying.

Lingering Bursitis said...

PR: it is that thought that keeps me awake at night. They've already beaten us TWICE this year!

Anyway, this was more about Keown than Keane. Pundits are lol-worthy

Keith said...

the funny thing about the case Keown is making is that, as well as Gerrard did play in midfield (and he was anywhere he wanted to be, precisely because Villa are NOT playing the 4-5-1 that put them nearly 10 points ahead of Arsenal), not one of his goals, nor the one that he set up, came from the run of play. All were from set pieces, which he'd be taking anyway, Keane or no Keane.

Andrew said...

Perhaps Liverpool is just a better squad when they're chasing in the league? Maybe that's better motivation than being tops.

Another note: Yesterday's Riera wonder finish in the run of play strike could be March's goal of the month. If it wasn't for Eddie's sublime outside backheel beaut.

Sarah said...

I love Keown, if only for this picture.

ΓΌ75 said...

If that was Iniesta instead, then I would really believe in vampires.

Kyle B. said...

Not that you implied otherwise, but it's worth making the point that this should be clearly couched in the proposition that L'pool and Keane were bad for each other, not that either is necessarily bad. While the focus of the article is on Pool, Keane's impact on Spurs has been immediate and important, leading Spurs up to the top half of the table (along with 'Arry, of course).

One of the better examples of a situation where all sides came out the better.

Sarah said...

@umlaut - he really is pale as a ghost, isn't he? Can't really make fun of him though, being ginger myself.

jjf3 said...

@Sarah - never seen that shot before. That is frightening, and as implied by umlaut, that looks like the last moment before the vampire strikes in damn near every vampire film of the last 2 decades...hell, even the picture UF used makes him look more than a lot dangerous, and a little too focused on horsey-face's throat. Has UF uncovered some member of the hidden vampire underground? :)

Lennon's Eyebrow said...

Is Keane eligible to play against Liverpool on the final day of the season? He'll get a winners medal if Liverpool win the league, so there seems like some sort of potential conflict of interest situation.

Even though Keane would probably rather stick a few past Reina and deny them their first EPL title than collect a medal for a team that got rid of him.