Month: December 2014

BenjaminWills’Blog Premier League Team of the Season so far (2014/15)

The Premier League always offers drama, excitement, and talking points, and the 2014/15 season has not failed to disappoint so far. Here are the 11 men who have caught the eye of BenjaminWills’Blog from August to December.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Manchester United)

Spain international De Gea has really made an impact in English football after overcoming a stuttering debut season in 2011/12 and is considered by many to be one of, if not the, best Goalkeeper in the Premier League.

De Gea has managed six clean sheets this season so far despite playing behind a much talked about inexperienced Manchester United defence that has included the likes of Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair at centre back as well as winger Ashley Young as a makeshift wing-back.

He has made a string of impressive stops, most notably from Bryan Oviedo against Everton in the dying stages to keep it at 2-1 and in the home clash with Liverpool where Raheem Sterling looked certain to score.

Saving from Private Bryan: De Gea keeps out Oviedo

Saving from Private Bryan: De Gea keeps out Oviedo

Honourable Mention(s): Robert Green (QPR) who has made the most saves so far this season with 59 and Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea) who has kept the most clean sheets (Seven) and least goals conceded (14).

Right Back: Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton)

Southampton have surprised many this campaign, spending a large section of the latter end of 2014 in the top four despite losing five first teamers and their manager in the summer.

The Saints have conceded just 15 goals in their 19 games with season with only leaders Chelsea conceding less (14) with Clyne part of an impressive foursome that also features Jose Fonte, Toby Alderweireld and Ryan Bertrand.

Clyne is the most proficient tackler in the league with 48 successes when attempting to win the ball and his quality displays were rewarded with his full England debut against Slovenia in November.

Clyne-ing up the pecking order: England may have found their right-back.

Clyne-ing up the pecking order: England may have found their right-back.

Honourable Mention(s): Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City) and Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).

Centre Back: John Terry (Chelsea)

Many have compared the current Chelsea team to that of 2004/05 where they romped to the title with a record 95 points.

One of the few surviving members of that side is captain John Terry who, if you go by stats, is performing even better than he did 10 years ago.

He has won a higher percentage of his tackles, more of his duels, and conceded less fouls. To quote a famous Chelsea banner; “Captain. Leader. Legend”.

Better at 34 than 24? John Terry is in fine form.

Better at 34 than 24? John Terry is in fine form.

Centre Back: Toby Alderweireld (Southampton)

Tobias Albertine Maurits Alderweireld, or “Toby”, to his friends, Alderweireld has been the cement in the heart of the Saints’ defence with partner Fonte while Bertrand and the previously mentioned Clyne are doing the business on the flanks.

Alderweireld swapped the Spanish capital for the South Coast in September to get more first team football, he is getting it, and his performances make you wonder why he has not had a look in at Vicente Calderon.

The Belgian defender has won 17 tackles, losing just 12, won 22 aerial duels, made 89 clearances while comitting zero defensive errors. His loan at St.Mary’s could well be made permanent in the near future.

TA

To-by or not To-by: Will Southampton make his loan deal permanent next Summer?

Honourable Mention(s): Winston Reid (West Ham) and Jose Fonte (Southampton).

Left Back: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Chelsea fans’ Player of the Year last year Azpilicueta is shining again this term, although he is naturally a right back, “Dave” has taken to the other side like a duck to water.

So much so that even Champions League runner up Felipe Luis has failed to dislodge his spot in the Chelsea 11.

He has made great strides since his under the radar £7 million arrival from Marseille in August 2012 and has proven to be a fine replacement for Ashley Cole.

Just call me Dave: Azpilicueta has faultlessly made the transition from right to left back.

Just call me Dave: Azpilicueta has faultlessly made the transition from right to left back.

Honourable Mention(s): Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Manchester United) and Ryan Bertrand (Southampton).

Right Midfield: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

It is a surprise to no-one how much of an impact Alexis has made on the Premier League in such a short space of time.

The Chilean terror arrived in North London from Barcelona for £35 million five months ago on the back of a successful World Cup, scoring two goals in four games as Chile reached the last 16 ahead of holders Spain in Group B.

And he made an immediate impression on Gunners fans, helping his new team to a 3-0 win over Champions Manchester City in the Community shield on his debut and soon started scoring goals. 10 of them in fact, in 18 games, making him the fourth top scorer so far.

Agent of Shield: Sanchez has been Arsenal's Superhero.

Agent of Shield: Sanchez has been Arsenal’s Superhero this season.

Honourable Mention(s): Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Centre Midfield: Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)

Arguably the player of the season so far, Cesc Fabregas’ form on his return to the Premier League has picked up from when he departed Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal in 2011.

Back then he had already established himself as the sixth best assister in Premier League history with 71 in eight years but has leap-frogged former Arsenal team mate Thierry Henry into fifth since his move to the West side of the capital.

Fabregas has contributed 13 assists in his 18 games in a Blue shirt, with two goals to his name as well. He is Chelsea’s most influential player in the final third by a mile.

Absolutely Fab-ulous: Fabregas is arguably the Player of the Season so far.

Absolutely Fab-ulous: Fabregas is arguably the Player of the Season so far.

Centre Midfield: Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)

While the aforementioned Fabregas is the go to guy to put the finishing touches to Chelsea’s attacking play, Nemanja Matic is very much the man who gets things started.

Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are often the subject of the plaudits to the 41 goals the Blues have scored this season (joint highest in the league with Manchester City), Matic has been the driving force behind them.

BenjaminWills’Blog has waxed lyrical about Matic in the past and it appears this season the imposing Serbia anchor man is getting the praise he so truly deserves.

Comeback King: Matic has become Chelsea's most important player three years after his exile.

Comeback King: Matic has become Chelsea’s most important player three years after his exile.

Honourable Mention(s): Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea), Alex Song (West Ham), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) and Michael Carrick (Manchester United).

Left Midfield: Stewart Downing (West Ham)

If there is one player from this side that is best defined as the “most improved” then Stewart Downing is that player.

The revitalised England winger has scored four goals, assisted six and created 54 chances already this campaign while he only managed three goals, two assists and created just 62 chances throughout the whole of last season.

In the first half of 2014/15, he has set up more goals than the heavily praised David Silva who has just two assists to his name and created 31 chances with Downing also boasting more key passes (48) to Silva’s 29.

It is a completely different Downing to the one who scored zero goals and fashioned zero assists in the 2011/12 season for Liverpool.

Happy Hammer: Stewart Downing is back to his best.

Happy Hammer: Stewart Downing is back to his best.

Honourable Mention(s): David Silva (Manchester City)

Striker: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

The Premiership’s top marksman at the halfway stage is a deadly diminutive forward that goes by the name of Sergio Aguero.

A World Cup runner up in July, Aguero has bounced back from that bitter disappointment and has rediscovered his scoring boots after he failed to find the back of the net in Brazil.

He is having no such problem domestically though, scoring 14 goals and is eight clear of City’s next top scorer Silva. It says a lot about Aguero that he is had his injury issues this season but is still top of the league’s goal scoring charts.

Argentine Assasion: Aguero is in hot form as ever.

Argentine Assasion: Aguero is in hot form as ever.

Striker: Diego Costa (Chelsea)

Costa arrived on English soil to more than a few doubters to his ability, but, he has, quite literally, pushed all of that to one side.

The imposing Brazilian-born Spaniard, 25, has bulldozed his way past most Premier League defences and notched 13 goals from 54 shots in the process as Chelsea have stormed to the summit.

That tally is one less than Aguero with 14 (one came from the penalty spot) while the little Argentine needed 22 more shots than his fellow former Atletico star striker.

Deadly Diego: At long last Chelsea have found a striker they can rely on.

Deadly Diego: At long last Chelsea have found a striker they can rely on.

Honourable Mention(s): Charlie Austin (QPR) and Graziano Pelle (Southampton)

Here is BenjaminWills’Blog Team of the Season so far in graphic form then:

Graphic

TOTS graphic provided by @YidNick

Nemanja Matic is the lynchpin of the modern Chelsea

He may not be the man who grabs all the headlines but the defeat to Newcastle proved that Chelsea do not fully tick without their dynamic Serbian.

Chelsea lost their unbeaten run that stretched back to late April, 24 games in total, in the North East on Saturday lunchtime – the only game Nemanja Matic has not featured in in that time, due to a suspension.

The absence of Matic was clear to see, Cesc Fabregas struggled to find the space to be the orchestra of Chelsea’s attack and therefore the normally prolific Diego Costa had limited chances and ultimately failed to hit the back of the net.

Matic has made 840 successful passes with an 89% completion rate, won 37 tackles, made 29 interceptions and made 44 clearances. The last three totals are the highest out of the rest of Chelsea’s regular midfield five of him, Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar. *

Fabregas is the man that unlocks defences, contributing 38 key passes and 11 assists in his 15 league games this season but the physicality of Moussa Sissoko, Chieck Tiote and most notably Jack Colback stunted the Spaniard at St.James’ Park.

It was a problem Chelsea had in the Champions League last season too with Matic ineligible having already featured in the competition for Benfica.

The West Londoners needed a last minute winner to overcome Paris Saint-Germain in the Quarter Finals and played six defenders in the 1-3 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid (Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta).

Not a problem the Blues have had this campaign, winning three and drawing two and already securing their spot in the last 16 with one game remaining.

Chelsea’s unbeaten run may be over, but a Chelsea with Matic on the pitch remain without a loss. That may continue for a long time to come.

*All stats via Squawka

Liverpool 1 (Gerrard ’82) FC Basel 1 (Frei ’25)

Fabian Frei’s 25th minute strike cranked up the heat on Brendan Rodgers’ pressure cooker as Liverpool’s flash in the pan Champions League campaign finished with a fizzle.

Frei fired in from the edge of the box after a neat one-two with Luca Zuffi to knock out the five time champions at the group stage despite Steven Gerrard’s equaliser.

Gerrard, hero of that night against Olympiakos on this day 10 years ago, dragged Liverpool level with a trademark free-kick eight minutes before the end to ensure a tense finish.

Rodgers’ reds were repugnant up until their goal though and their performance left a sour taste in the mouth in front of an expectant Anfield crowd that produced a fiery atmosphere pre match on an ice cold Tuesday night.

Substitute Lazar Markovic boiled over just after the hour, sent off for flailing an arm into the face of Behrang Safari who went down like he had been shot like a poacher after minimal, if any, contact but the malice from Markovic was clear to see and the Serbian was shown his marching orders.

Martin Skrtel of all people fashioned an uncharacteristic effort from distance that narrowly swerved past the woodwork shortly after Taulant Xhaka shot wide at the other end.

The Liverbirds did produce a late flurry that left all those watching with their hearts in their mouths but ultimately came up short.

Gerrard and Jordan Henderson forced fine saves in the final five from the Basel keeper but finished third and go into the Europa League.

PREVIEW: Liverpool vs FC Basel (19:45 BST)

LIVERPOOL’S Champions League life hangs in the balance going into their final group game against Swiss champions FC Basel at Anfield tonight.

The Reds have only amassed four points from a possible 15 in their five games and only victory will be enough to see them move into the knockout stages.

Basel have been somewhat of a nemesis to English clubs in this competition in the past however, beating Chelsea home and away in the 2012/13 season as well as eliminating Manchester United the previous year with a 2-1 win at their home of St.Jakob-Park.

Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets are the only opposition Liverpool have picked up points against in Europe so far, winning 2-1 in the red side Merseyside and drawing 2-2 in Razgrad.

They have not been much better domestically either and are currently languishing in ninth, six points off the coveted place in the top four spot that enables them to qualify for next season’s competition.

Liverpool last won the Champions League in 2005 but required a two-goal winning margin against Olympiakos on this day 10 years ago to progress from the group and secure the 3-1 win.

The feat was achieved thanks to a dramatic rasping strike in the dying seconds from Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers will be hoping the spirit of that night will still resonate with his out-of-form club captain.

Gerrard was only used as a late substitute on Saturday despite scoring against Leicester the previous Tuesday as Liverpool limped to a lifeless 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland.

 

Kasim thanks fans after winning Swindon Town poll

Yaser Kasim has lavished praise on his fans after he was voted Swindon Town’s greatest player of the 21st Century in a recent poll by BenjaminWillsBlog.

“It’s a great achievement, I personally want to win football games rather than awards but I’m thankful for all the people that voted and thankful that the Swindon fans have taken me to their heart.”

The Iraq International, 23, has made a huge impact in Swindon since he arrived from Brighton and Hove Albion on a free transfer last summer.

So much so that he captained the side in a 1-1 draw against Coventry City on August 30 2014 due to regular skipper Nathan Thompson missing the game through suspension – becoming the first Iraqi to do so in English professional football.

“Yes, very much so! (This is a proud honour for me), considering I’ve only been here for a year. I’m particularly proud of the team right now also and enjoying the football a lot.”

A huge contingent of Kasim’s votes came from his native Iraq and the midfielder described his loyal fan base in glowing terms.

“They are a big part of why I want to achieve so much with the national team. Their love for their own is beautiful.”

Iraq are set to play in the Asia Cup in January 2015, something Kasim is “very much” looking forward to but his feet are firmly on the ground.

“It’s all about preparation. We still have a month and a bit to go”.

The competition may see Kasim line up against tournament hosts Australia where club team mate Massimo Luongo plays his International football.

“It would be weird to play against him but would be fun at the same time. It might be very exciting!”

Kasim’s Iraq will contest Group D with Japan, Jordan and Palestine while Luongo’s Socceroos are joined in Group A by South Korea, Oman and Kuwait.

The Asia Cup is played from the 9-31 January which means the pair will miss a maximum of four Swindon matches (Coventry away, Chesterfield home, Bradford City home and Sheffield United away).

 

Steven Gerrard should not be offered a new deal at Liverpool – the club need to move on

Steven Gerrard is reportedly currently pondering signing a new one-year deal at Liverpool with his current one set to expire in the summer but is it time for both parties to move on?

The Anfield icon, 34, is expected to suffer a drop in wages if he accepts the proposed offer instead of leaving the club in June.

Liverpool’s captain has also had to deny a rift with boss Brendan Rodgers this week after the manager dropped Gerrard as he marked his 16th anniversary at the club as well as benching him when the Reds faced Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the Champions League.

Rodgers revealed he “wasn’t aware” of the landmark until he walked into the dressing room and saw the programme. Gerrard insisted in an Instagram post the following day that a rumoured rift was “nonsense”.

Matters on the football pitch obviously need to be considered too of course with Rodgers admitting his skipper can no longer play two full games a week.

He has been forced to play in a much deeper role in Liverpool’s diamond formation which limits his influence in the final third of the pitch that he was once so needed for.

Gerrard looking a frustrated figure on the Liverpool bench

Gerrard looking a frustrated figure on the Liverpool bench

Jordan Henderson (55), Philippe Coutinho (57) and Adam Lallana, then at Southampton (63), all completed more key passes than Gerrard (54) last season and Lallana created more chances (68) than Gerrard (67) too. Henderson and Coutinho fashioned 62 and 64 respectively.

Gerrard did contribute the most assists (13) but only one of these did not come from either a corner or a free-kick. He also notched the most goals out of the five, also 13, but 10 of them were penalties.*

Veteran talisman Gerrard has only missed one match this campaign (the League Cup win over Middlesbrough) – making 16 starts and two substitute appearances but some of his displays have left a lot to be desired.

Most notably the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace where Mile Jedinak dominated the midfield (even scoring a free-kick in a similar vain of a younger Gerrard), as well as Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie repeatedly leaving him for dead with their speed, strength, power and guile.

The much improved Henderson is starting to become the beating heart of Liverpool’s midfield much like he is for England since the former Three Lions captain retired following their dismal World Cup display where they finished bottom of their group.

The new Gerrard: Jordan Henderson, finally justifying that £20 million pricetag

The new Gerrard: Jordan Henderson, finally justifying that £20 million price tag

It was a disappointing display in Brazil from most members of the 23-man squad but unfortunately for him, Gerrard will be tainted with providing the nail in England’s coffin with a mistimed header that played in then club colleague Luis Suarez to knock Roy Hodgson’s men out after only two games.

By Liverpool fans, Gerrard will be remembered as the “one club man” who turned down the glamour of Chelsea’s riches and Premier League titles in 2004 for his beloved Reds and pretty much single handedly dragging them to glory in the 2005 Istanbul Champions League final.

But to many others, Anfield’s legendary number eight will forever remind them of individual errors.

From the dodgy back-pass that led to France beating England 2-1 at Euro 2004 after being 1-0 down in injury time as well as doing the same again, teeing up Didier Drogba in 2010 to all but win the title for Chelsea and of course that slip last season against the same club that cost him his best chance of winning the Premier League.

And as more of these mistakes creep into Gerrard’s game in tandem with his influence on a football pitch fading, Liverpool need to respectfully shun their skipper in order to retain his status as a bona fide Liverpool legend.

*All stats via Squawka

 

Who have you voted Swindon Town’s greatest player of the 21st Century?

Relegation, Promotion and the threat of Administration, twice. The 21st Century has not been a boring one for Swindon Town fans but while 2000 onwards will be best remembered so far for Wembley heartbreak, more Wembley heartbreak, Paul Hart and Paolo Di Canio, who have been the players that put smiles on Swindon folks’ faces?

10) Paul Caddis: One of only eight players who stayed at Swindon following the side’s relegation from League One in 2011, Caddis was given the task of leading the club back from whence they came after taking over as captain from Oliver Risser that October.

His consistent high performances during that campaign were rewarded with a League Two winner’s medal and a spot in the League Two Team of the Year. He only missed seven league games, scoring four goals in those 39.

That season, and Caddis’ Swindon career, would end on a sour note though. Di Canio reportedly stripped Caddis as captain due to a “change of attitude” in the Scot.

Di Canio told BBC Wiltshire: “He’s not the same player, not the same attitude, so it’s time to make the decision,”

“Now is the moment to change and send an important signal to everybody because Di Canio is the same.”

“If he wants to jump again he has to not only come back as he was last year but better because my demands are higher this year.

“If I had the same Caddis as last year it would already be a good base because there was availability and desire to improve.

“They have to follow me. And if they don’t want to follow me then they are out.”

It was a sad end to a story that looked liked it had plenty more chapters to come and duly Caddis is showing what Town are missing out on as he continues to impress in the Championship for Birmingham.

Paul and Paolo during happier times

Paul and Paolo during happier times

9) Alex Pritchard: Out of the four loan signings from Tottenham in the 2013/14 season (a further two joining permanently), one young Hotspur stood out from the crowd. So much so that on Tottenham’s first game since Pritchard’s return to North London he was named on the bench away to West Ham.

Voted the second best player in League One and short-listed for the Football League Young Player of the Year Award, the tiny midfielder certainly made a huge impact during his short Swindon spell.

The five foot six inch winger ended his time in Wiltshire with six goals in the league to his name, one of them being a fantastic free-kick away to MK Dons on the Sky Sports cameras and arguably an even better one during a visit at Port Vale, it is something he is fast picking up a reputation for.

He also pitched in with 13 assists over the course of the campaign showing how vital he was in his one season.

Pritchard’s tenure at the County Ground was a brief one but he will be fondly remembered by Swindon supporters.

8) Massimo Luongo: Swindon’s Australian asset Luongo has come on leaps and bounds since his 2013 Summer transfer when he joined for what now looks like a bargain at £400,000.

Luongo initially arrived at the County Ground in March of the same year, signing on loan until the end of the season, scoring two goals in five games, firstly in a 4-1 home win over Crewe Alexandra and then the opener against Brentford in the first leg of the Play-off Semi Final.

Since his permanent swtich, Luongo has established himself as one of Town’s key men, forming a formidable part in the heart of the Robins’ midfield with Yaser Kasim and Louis Thompson.

The Socceroos starlet represented Swindon on the International stage in June of this year, becoming the third player in the club’s history to go to a World Cup while contracted at the County Ground. Alan McLoughlin for Ireland in 1990 and Jan Aage Fjortoft for Norway in 1994 are the other two.

Sadly he didn’t feature in any of Australia’s three games (all of which they lost) in Brazil but regardless, the future looks bright for the 22-year-old.

ML PO Goal

7) Nathan Thompson: Only Fraser Digby (twice) and Shaun Taylor join Nathan Thompson in the short list of players that have won back to back Player of the Year awards, something the current Swindon captain is very proud of.

Speaking to BenjaminWills’Blog Thompson announced:

“What makes this award so special is that it’s voted for by the fans, and each game I try to give 100% for them and the club, so to be recognised in this way is very humbling indeed.

“It goes without saying I’m immensely proud to captain a club that I’ve been at not just for my professional career, but for my Centre of Excellence years and youth development too. I take the role extremely seriously – working hard to ensure the team morale is high – so that this team gives back to the fans and the club.”

Youth product Thompson contributed two assists in his debut season as Swindon skipper as Town finished 8th in League One and at the time of writing has led a team with an average age of 22 to the play-off spots in League One.

Rockin' Robin Thompson with the first of his Player of the Year awards

Rockin’ Robin Thompson with the first of his Player of the Year awards

6) Wes Foderingham: Touted by many as the best Goalkeeper Swindon have had since Fraser Digby, Foderingham has been something of a revelation since he arrived on loan from Crystal Palace in October 2011.

A relative unknown quantity, Foderingham had only previously had spells at Conference North and South sides Boreham Wood, Histon and Bromley before being thrust into the line up of a side expected to win League Two.

Foderingham was calmness personified however, marking his first Football League appearance with a clean sheet in a 0-2 win at Accrington Stanley.

Four more games would pass without Foderingham’s goal being troubled, and the England Under-19 International would become the first Swindon custodian to keep five clean sheets in his first five home matches (Gillingham, Bradford City, Aldershot Town, Morecambe and AFC Wimbledon).

Another two would follow in games at home to Macclesfield Town and Crawley Town. If Shrewsbury didn’t breach his goal, he would have broken a Swindon clean sheet record that stretches back to the days of a certain Mr.Digby.

5) Matt Ritchie: Out of all the players featured in this list, Matt Ritchie is the most successful in terms of personal accolades earned during his tenure at the club.

Swindon’s triumphant League Two title winning campaign of 2011/12 saw 39 players in total make league appearances in some way shape or form but Ritchie at times made it look like a one man operation.

Alan McCormack would be awarded Player of the Year that season but Ritchie would be given everything else, being named in the League Two team of the year and League Two player of the year itself, not forgetting.

One more honour would follow – Swindon Town’s Goal of the Season, for his rasping long range effort in the 2-0 home win over Gillingham.

The following season he picked up the League One Player of the Year award as Swindon finished fifth in their first season back in League One, however Ritchie departed the County Ground for Bournemouth in January for what was pittance fee £500,000 considering Paolo Di Canio once valued him at £10 million.

4) Sam Parkin: Su-per, Super Sam, Su-per, Super Sam, Su-per. Super Sam, Super Sammy Parkin! It is no surprise the Chelsea youth graduate features highly on this list, but what is a surprise is the impact he made at SN1.

Only 11 goals in 64 games in four loan spells at Millwall, Wycombe Wanderers, Oldham Athletic and Northampton Town over two years saw him sold by his Premier League club and snapped up by maverick manager Andy King.

Paltry Parkin became potent Parkin in no time at all, scoring a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Barnsley on the opening day and ended the season with 26 goals in 48 games (all competitions) overall as Swindon finished 10th in the old Division Two.

The 2003/04 season would see less goals for Parkin, 19 in 40, but Swindon would enjoy a higher league position, finishing fifth only to lose to Brighton in the Play-offs.

Mid table mediocrity would rear its ugly head once again the following campaign but 23 goals in 41 games did give the Town faithful something to smile about anyway. 73 goals in 124 games makes ‘Super Sam’ Swindon’s top scorer in the 21st Century so far.

3) Charlie Austin: Very much the poster boy of Swindon Town in the 21st Century, Charlie Austin joined the club from non league Poole Town in 2009  after Bournemouth were denied the striker due to a transfer embargo.

He made an instant impact at Town, scoring three minutes into his debut start away at Carlisle in November and then netting a 58th minute winner in a 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town in his County Ground bow.

Another 18 more would follow and Austin finished the  2009/10 season on 20 goals, it could have been one more if it wasn’t for that Wembley bobble but the less said about that the better.

Austin formed a formidable partnership with Billy Paynter, the pair providing 56 goals between them but Paynter’s departure to Leeds during the Summer did not hamper Austin.

The then 21-year-old scored 12 in 25 in the 2010/11 season and despite his January move to Burnley, he finished Swindon’s top scorer that season as the Robins were relegated to League Two.

2) Simon Cox: As this list proves, Swindon have had somewhat of a penchant for a gifted striker this past decade and Cox was arguably the best of the bunch.

He may have failed to make an impact in the Premier League, unlike Charlie Austin for example, but 48 goals in games makes him Town’s 30th top scorer of all time.

Cox signed for Swindon on January 31 2008 after initially impressing during a loan spell earlier on in the season, netting eight in 19 and he finished with 14 in 36.

What stands Cox ahead of the likes of Austin and Parkin in the eyes of many is his ability to seemingly score from everywhere.

Famous volleys such as his pre-season strike in Fenerbache and another one closer to home against Walsall are still fresh in the memory and go some way into indicating why he was voted Swindon’s Player of the Year in the 2008/09 season.

1) Yaser Kasim: The Iraqi Xavi or the Iraqi Pirlo, whatever your preference there is no denying the talent of the player plucked from obscurity.

Kasim, a man who saw first team chances at Conference Premier side Macclesfield Town limited, took like a duck to water two tiers up when he was signed by Mark Cooper last Summer.

His rise has not gone unnoticed, bizarrely after impressing in a 0-2 League Cup win at Queens Park Rangers, Harry Redknapp reportedly enquired about taking his services to Loftus Road just two months after he signed the dotted line at the County Ground.

The baller from Baghdad has become a lynch pin in the heart of Swindon midfield, dictating play and contributing four assists and two goals along the way.

He has made continued in the same vain this campaign and has two assists and two goals so far to his name.

Swindon fans and staff will be hoping he isn’t missed too much when he departs for the Asia Cup in January with Iraq.