Betfred Sport

Blake's 7 - Buzsaky is Rangers' diamond in the rough

Hi, Paul Blake here again with another look at the past week in the crazy world of football.

In this week’s edition of ‘Blake’s 7’ I applaud Mark Hughes for finding a diamond in the rough at QPR, question whether Arsene Wenger has lost the plot and query why the SPL is utter garbage!

Hold on to your hats; it’s about to get controversial!

A Diamond in the Rough!

Akos Buzsaky is the diamond in the rough at Queens Park Rangers and Mark Hughes can take the credit for finding him.

In a side that, under Hughes, prefers to play without the ball than with it, Buzsaky (pictured) is one of the few players who are able to retain possession for the Hoops. The Hungarian midfielder completed 91% of his attempted passes on a day when Rangers could only find a teammate 66% of the time.

In his own half, Buzsaky was sensible, choosing to keep possession by going sideways or backwards. However, in the attacking third his passes were far more threatening and remarkably precise. He had six shots from close to the edge of the area: two of which stung the hands of the keeper while one, a free-kick on the stroke of half time flew, memorably, in.

Buzsaky is exactly the type of player that Hughes needs right now and maybe the Hungarian will be the difference between survival in the Premier League and relegation.

Wiley Foxes Eye the Top Six

Leicester City’s victory over Southampton in The Championship, on Monday night, adds them to the long list of play-off contenders.

The Foxes join Birmingham, Reading, Blackpool, Derby County and Brighton, all of whom are coming with a late push for the four coveted spots which could see one of them promoted to the Premier League.

With the Premier League already down to a two horse race between United and City, it only really has the relegation battle to hold any interest for fans. This is not the case in The Championship where the standard of football is very high and the teams are far more equal than in The Premier League.

The automatic promotion places are far from decided and even West Ham, who look like they may run away with the title, cannot take anything for granted. After all, there are seventeen clubs in the division with experience of playing in the Premier League: some big clubs who will be eager for a return to the top flight.

The pre-season favourites for promotion, Leicester, are gaining momentum and it will take much more than an under-par Southampton side to stop them.

Relegation: Wigan, Wolves (probably), but who else?

It is beginning to look increasingly like Wigan and Wolves will struggle to wriggle free of the Premier League trapdoor this season. But who else may be candidates for the drop?

Among the favourites are Blackburn, Bolton, QPR and West Brom. However, there is often a team that falls from seemingly mid-table safety, and I fear for both Everton and Swansea.

Firstly, Everton could yet find they need a final day result to maintain their Premier League status. With just one victory in six matches, ‘The Toffees’’ form must improve if they are to avoid getting the jitters late on. Only Darron Gibson has been added to the squad recently and the squad is becoming paper thin. It is unlikely that David Moyes will be given funds to spend on the players that his squad requires and it will take all of his management skill to steer the club to safety.

Swansea’s form has dipped a little recently too. Aside from their wonderful victory against Arsenal, ‘The Swans’ have only managed to gather eight points from the last possible eighteen. They may find themselves paddling against the current going into the final few rounds of games. In their final five games, they play three of the League’s bottom five sides in Blackburn, Bolton and Wolves, before a trip to Old Trafford and a home match against Liverpool complete their season.

I fear that both sides may well be in the final day shake-up and my money would be on Swansea to be playing in the Championship next season.

Redknapp to trawl ‘January Sales’

Any remaining hopes that Spurs had of catching City and challenging for the title all but vanished with Mario Balotelli's late winner at the Etihad stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Harry Redknapp must not dwell on missing out on winning the title though and should now focus his attention on the final days of the transfer window in his quest to secure Champions League football next season. A fit and reliable central defender and a top quality striker will be at the top of Harry's shopping list, I expect, as Spurs lack a cutting edge when Emmanuel Adebayor is not available and are vulnerable at the back in the absence of Ledley King and William Gallas.

Scottish Football: Garbage!

You have to cast your mind back a long time to recall a time when the Scottish League was a decent competitive standard.

There was once a time when Scotland supplied the principal division in England with top quality international players of the like of Kenny Dalglish, Archie Gemmill and Alan Hansen. Nowadays the best players in Scotland can barely secure contracts with the best clubs in the English Championship.

Both West Ham and Southampton have enquired after two of the best players in the SPL in this transfer window and it looks like Gary Hooper could still find himself swapping Glasgow for Southampton while Nikica Jelavic could be heading for Upton Park.

With just two relatively poor sides competing with each other for the title, I don’t remember a time when Scottish football has ever been such garbage.

Has Wenger lost the plot?

Arsene Wenger has some serious problems ahead. The 'Professor' is beginning to lose the faith of even his most loyal supporters as he continues to follow up strange decisions with even more astonishing ones. Take, for instance, Sunday's game against United where he played Djourou out of position at right back, where he was traumatised by Nani, Evra and for the first goal, Giggs. And just when you thought Arsenal were back in the game at 1-1, Wenger made a howler of a substitution in substituting the impressive Oxlade-Chamberlain with the out of form Andre Arshavin.

The whole stadium knew it was a mistake and so, probably, did Arsene Wenger. Even so, the chanting from the fans of 'you don't know what you're doing' most probably fell on deaf (or stubborn) ears. Nevertheless, this is a defeat from which he may never recover. It is not necessarily the defeat itself that will hasten his demise as Arsenal manager but the strangeness of his decisions in recent months.

Wenger will (and should) be revered as an Arsenal legend alongside the likes of Herbert Chapman and George Graham. He should be given a role within the club as the chair of a committee who are responsible for identifying and purchasing footballing talent. But, as far as coaching the team, deciding the tactics and making the decisions on matchdays, forget it, it is time for Arsene Wenger to step aside.

FA to Stamp out Balotelli Violence

The FA is set to issue Mario Balotelli with a four match ban following his stamp on Scott Parker on Sunday.

His lack of self-discipline could still prove costly for City who really should consider moving the problem striker on at the end of this season. Whilst there are more surfaces to Balotelli than a 12-sided dice, he will only continue to cause mayhem for and coach unfortunate enough to have to work with him.

By Paul Blake

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