Monday, January 31, 2011
Another fantastic January transfer window has come to a close with a heaping of players changing the logos on their shirts. Ridiculous spending has given us ridiculous excitement through a multitude of transfer day story lines.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Score board Courtesy: Fox Soccer Channel
I can't believe I'm saying this but last night's match at Bloomfield Road offered a great representation of why the English game is the best in all the land. Blackpool FC representing a seaside town on the coast of Lancashire, well known for its amusement parks, gave the football world a roller coaster of a game yesterday evening. While, the final result did not fall in the Tangerines' favor, they and every orange-clad fan in attendance had good reason to hold their head high as they left the park.
As last year's Championship season wore on, the Beachsiders looked destined to finish outside of the coveted sixth place position and a chance at promotion. However, wins in 6 of their final 8 games ensured 70 points, just one more than 7th place Swansea City. As great of a run as it was, most pundits within the game gave them little chance to win their first aggregate tie in the playoff against Nottingham Forest, a side that had seemed a sure bet for second place and automatic promotion all season. However, two wins over 'Forest' later and Blackpool were on to the Playoff Final against Cardiff City. One would assume that celebrations would ring out through the Welsh capital on the evening of the 22nd of May, directly after the conclusion of the final. But, songs were instead being sung by the Irish Sea. Blackpool were on their way to the top flight for the first time in an astounding 39 years.
And it was this grit and the long, at times dreary history of Blackpool that led to one of the more exciting games in the Premiership in quite some time. The Tangerines appreciated the magnitude of the fixture in ways that no fans from Chelsea, Man U, or Liverpool could possibly understand. Because of this, the home side put forth an effort worth mentioning even in defeat. I don't think anyone really thought that the game was even close to being won with the scoreline at 2-0 in Blackpool's favor at halftime. But for every minute that they kept that margin, belief grew inside "the road". That's the beauty of Blackpool and countless other teams throughout England. They keep believing whether they have a reason to or not.
So, as last night's game ended on the coast with an epic come from behind 3-2 victory by Manchester United, you know there was a father who lived through Blackpool's near dive toward the fifth division who told his son to wipe away the tears and smile. The Tangerines had just played Manchester United in the greatest league in the world. And they almost won! Belief is warranted indeed in Blackpool, England.
Up the Pool!
video courtesy: Daniel Fard and Glen Kirkham
photo courtesy: Blackpool FC official website
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
"It couldn't happen so, not a problem, we'll just get on with it." (The Sun)
There has been talk of Redknapp signing David in November, when his contract with L.A. Galaxy ends and will become free agent. I’m sure there are going to be a handful of clubs that try to sign him, with possibilities such as AC Milan, Arsenal, Leicester City, Galaxy, extending their contract, and of course Tottenham. All decent teams, but let’s be honest, Leicester City should have expected to be turned down by the superstar. When he said he wanted to return to Europe, I’m sure he meant a top league team. In my opinion, I don’t think he will extend his contract with the MLS team because this whole loan spell was to get back on the English National squad, and continuing what he has been doing might not be the best idea. I think signing a contract with Tottenham in November will be the best for Becks because Harry Redknapp is said to be England’s next manager, which would probably allow Becks a spot on the team. It is also said that after his time is served with playing on the team, he will become Redknapp’s assistant manager. Now when you look at past players who have become manager they haven’t had the best outcomes. Not mentioning any names, but Diego Maradona made a joke of himself during the world cup. He was jumping around, having the craziest reactions and made a joke of his legendary status. I this case, I don’t think
Beckham will do the same, mainly because, he was there during the world cup, and was very subtle. He also won’t be the manager, just an assistant manager, so he will still have a very experienced manager next to him. I think this partnership will work well together because there will be an experienced player and an experienced ENGLISH manager. Redknapp did play professionally so he does have player experience, but the game has changed since his day. All in all, I think Becks can fit in a few more years playing, and after his contract ends with whichever team he signs with in November, he can be a great impact as a manager with his national team.On another note, Thierry Henry has followed Beckham’s footsteps once again. They both left to English Premier League to go to La Liga. Beckham left United for Real Madrid, Henry left Arsenal for Barcelona a few years later. Then they both left La Liga for the MLS, Becks arriving in 2007, and Henry just in 2010. Now Henry has followed Beckham back to London to keep in shape, but Henry is training with his former club, Arsenal. He wants to keep in shape for the MLS season which starts up in March. Henry never considered a loan spell to Arsenal; he strictly wanted to train with them.
What do you think about Beckham’s future with the English National Squad?
Do you think we will ever be able to buy the 77 Tottenham jersey with Beckham's name gracing the back?-JoeyB
Looking at United’s main defensive players, they were a mess. Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, all experienced players, did not play up to par and for Rafael, the Right Wing Back, getting a red card wasn’t in the best intentions for United either. The first yellow card he got was undoubtedly a yellow, but the second was debatable, but either way, he got it and United needed to make up for it. Wayne Rooney kicked his defensive skills into high gear and took over Rafael’s position. Vidic was alright, but he didn’t seem as experienced because he would rather just kick the ball out of bounds rather than passing it up field. As for the midfield, Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher were decent in midfield, but they weren’t as effective as they normally are. Edwin Van Der Sar had a huge effect on United’s tie. If it wasn’t for him, there would have definitely been a goal for the spurs. Nani on the left wing had some nice plays but was subbed off in the 62nd minute for Anderson. Ryan Giggs on the other hand played his 600th club game, and played phenomenally. He continues to surprise everyone who has been watching United in their past few games. When Rooney took over the defensive position, Giggs took up a forward position as well as the wing position. I think Giggs was United’s best player on the field because he also had to defend against Lennon. Looking at United’s forwards, Rooney, played a great first half as a forward, but broke down in the beginning of the second, but when he had to play defense, he played well. Berbatov on the other hand, didn’t play a good game at all. It seemed like he was one step behind of the play every time he had someone pass to him. Tottenham could easily pick off the ball every time. He was subbed off in the 79th minute for Chicharito, who played a decent match, but to be honest, I expected more attacking opportunities from him.
When you look at Tottenham’s team, there wasn’t a player who I thought didn’t play well. Goal keeper Heurelho Gomes played a great game. I caught myself yelling at my TV every time he snagged the ball from United’s forwards. Hutton and Dawson were great, and it was hard for United to get through their defensive wall. Gallas and Assou-Ekotto made some great runs forward. Especially Assou-Ekotto, he gave Rafeal lots of trouble, which ended with Rafael’s sending off. Midfielders Lennon, Modric and Bale all had an awesome game. They had great passing with each other and set up great opportunities for the forwards. Modric was the center of the passing, controlling a lot of the attacking opportunities. Bale was the main crossing player. I have noticed that Lennon has trouble crossing. He does occasionally, but would rather try to get around the defender and give a short and low pass. This didn’t work that well for him this game, but he still held the ball well against Giggs and Evra. In my opinion, Palacios didn’t play that well because he didn’t seem to cause us that much trouble. He didn’t make many mistakes so it wasn’t the fact that he didn’t play well, it just wasn’t threatening. Peter Crouch was another average player against United. He didn’t any threatening opportunities in front of the goal. The Spur’s other forward, Van Der Vaart, was a huge threat against United. Not so much with the free kicks, but definitely with open play shots. All in all, Tottenham should have been the better team, with one extra player and attacking most of the game, but they couldn’t shut down and in the end it only got them one point.
I think Ferguson planned for just one point by defending because he knows how much of a threat Tottenham are this season. He didn’t want to expose their defense by focusing on attacking, instead he was okay with taking a tie, and I think in United’s position it was a smart move. They are two games behind and tied with title contenders and rivals Manchester City and they are unbeaten this season. It was definitely a smart move. Redknapp was also smart about setting up his team against United by telling the team to focus on attacking. He knew United don’t want to lose a game, so they would normally go up against title contenders, trying to tie, rather than go for the win. Even though United managed a tie against the Spurs, Redknapp doesn’t think this unbeaten streak will go on for long.
“I couldn’t say they (United) are on another level and are going to walk away with the title. I can’t see them going to year unbeaten. There are lots of teams who could beat them on any given day.”
“You can’t be as good a team as you were a year or two ago when you had (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Carlos) Tevez. I think other teams have improved and gotten closer to them, but at the moment they are still top of the pile after losing players like that” (SingTel BPL for Blackberry)
Redknapp makes a good point about losing Tevez and Ronaldo, but I don’t agree with the statement that teams have gotten better. Besides Tottenham, there aren’t really any new title contenders. Liverpool have not been up to par, and really have looked like an average EPL team this season. Chelsea started of strong, but for some reason, they aren’t playing to their full potential. Man City are still a work in progress, definitely a threat, but still not the best, losing some easy games. Arsenal is a defiantly a team to watch out for, but we beat them earlier this season. I think it is possible for United to go unbeaten, but only if they start to play with some more threatening tactics by passing a lot more, but cut the sloppy passes that they have been known for in the past few games. If they get their act together not only could they go undefeated, but they could also win a lot more than just settling for a tie. Right winger, Valencia will be back soon and hopefully he will add a great attacking factor to the team that they seem to have lost.
Check out the full highlights here:
How do you think United will finish the season?
Monday, January 17, 2011
photo courtesy: footie.co.za
Now this is no sob story. Out of over 900 clubs in England, Sunderland have always been among the best, even in those aforementioned years. However, this season has seen new light at the stadium of the same name. Sunderland at one point in this campaign reached sixth in the Premier League, essentially acting as the best team not in the heart of the title race.
The main point that I'm trying to make is you can go from being a relegation conversation team to a team just a handful of points removed from the likes of legitimate title contenders. With Darren Bent, Sundy would have had the potential to finish at least 7th. Now, it is up to them to show that they are on track to be the next Tottenham in that they can become title contenders within 2-3 years. However, much of that will depend on how they finish this season. In order to finish successfully, they will need to use the money they are getting for Bent to obtain another top-notch goalscorer to work alongside the Ghanaian sensation, Asamoah Gyan. If they can do so, the light will continue to shine in Sunderland. If not, the red and white striped dream may become dramatically less dazzling.
American midfielder and folk hero Michael Bradley is rumored to being on his way to Sunderland. Stay tuned.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
photo courtesy: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea came into the day out of a title race. However, with some help from Spurs in tomorrow's fight against Manchester United, they will leave the weekend right back in the quest for glory. I truly believe if Chelsea continue to play games the way they did today, albeit with just a bit more pizazz, consistent wins will come against teams in spots 9-20 in the Premier League table. The Blues may still drop countless points against top eight clubs. However, I know for a fact that Arsenal, Man City, and Spurs will drop points against top clubs and lowly clubs combined. The way to move ahead of these guys will be to avoid such results. If Chelsea can do so, a shot at the monster that is Manchester United is extremely possible. Neither game has been played between the two this season, and if Chelsea can win both or at least get 4 out of 6 points, along with the aforementioned consistency against the rest of the league, they can get themselves back in business. Those two games, though, will only truly matter if Stamford Bridge continues to play "Blue is the color" for the rest of the season. In order for that to happen, we need to see more wins, lots more to get serious about some silverware.
Monday, January 10, 2011
**Mind the bias post**
Manchester United had a dream start against Liverpool as Berbatov was fouled in the box after just 1 minute. Some say Berbatov went down rather easily, but it is safe to say that mostly any sticker would have gone down in that situation because there did seem to be some contact. Referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot and the hearts of those who never walk alone had stopped. Legendary United winger Ryan Giggs stepped to the spot. Webb blew the whistle and Giggs smashed the ball to the right. Anfield’s goalie, Pepe Reyna chose the right side, but couldn’t even get a finger on the ball, as a result from the power that was used to strike it.
Man United 1-0 Liverpool The FA Cup 3rd Round - 09/01/11
About 30 Minutes after that, Rafael passed the ball to teammate, Michael Carrick, who was then tackled by Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard. Although, this was not an ordinary tackle. Stevie G went it with both legs, studs facing Carrick’s ankle. After, Webb pulled Gerrard to the side, to have a quick chat, while everyone anticipated the yellow card. Webb reached into his pocket and pulled out a red. When I say Webb pull him to the side, I did contemplate the fact that the challenge was a red card, but I quickly doubted myself thinking it wasn’t that bad, but after seeing the replay, it was obvious that the refs had been right.
There was little action after that, besides every single United player dangling Liverpool. Evans had a header that he received from a corner that hit the post. Other than that, the match was pretty even, based on goal attempts, but skill wise, United were far superior, they just couldn’t shut down on their opportunities. Fernando Torres played an awful game, show very little enthusiasm during the game. And no, I am not just saying that because it’s Liverpool, as a matter of fact, I think Torres is great player, but he really didn’t have that spark against United. Reyna was actually very good in goalie, having about four consecutive saves in a few instances. Kuszczak on the other hand, was pretty lucky to have maintained the clean sheet, not because he didn’t play well, but because there were a few instances where the ball caught him off guard. There was a shot from Maxi Rodreguez, where Kuszczak kneeled down as he caught it. This is a sign of a loss of balance, so he was lucky to keep his grasp on it. Other than that, he had a couple nice saves, throughout the game, and you couldn’t have asked for a better result from him. United didn’t necessarily have a nice composure as a team, but they got the job done.
Photo Courtesy: Caught Offside
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Who do you guys want to win, Liverpool or Manchester United?
Saturday, January 8, 2011
video courtesy: the FA
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Watching this video makes you think, how un-advanced soccer’s regulations are around the rest of the world. You will never see anything like this in Serie A, EPL or LFP or even smaller leagues like MLS for example. There has been a lot of controversy on the rules of soccer because of the kind of mistakes that occurred during the world cup. This is definitely a rule that must change, there is barely and room for throwing in the ball. And on top of the, camera man is sitting there, not standing which would allow him to jump out of the way. Robinho could now miss the next few games, because of a meaningless friendly.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Chelsea saw the first signs of trouble arrive on the 25th of September when they lost to Man City at Eastlands. They had very little creativity and had trouble penetrating their opponents' midfield. Success continued to come for them even after this disappointing result, including a 2-0 win at home to Arsenal. However, the Manchester game proved that all a team must do in order to beat Chelsea is focus on lockdown defense, and decent play from the center backs, goalkeeper and defensive middies. Wolves had similar tactics today as did Birmingham when they beat Chelsea.
Chelsea have had recent games where they looked lively and threatening to score from many places. Sunday's game against Villa is one example, where the Blues managed to put up three fantastic goals, showing that when these boys put pressure on the keeper and bring traffic to the box, good things happen. It is entirely simple in theory. But seeing the inability to do much of that today against lowly wolves, I am disheartened and out of advice for what should happen on the pitch.
One thing I do know is that there are two things that Chelsea could do to get the ship afloat:
They could dump Carlo Ancelotti, the man who brought two trophies to the club last season and/or they can play around in the transfer window. I would think Ancelotti's job is safe at least until the end of the season, but you never know. As for possible transfers? I would love to see Andy Caroll, one of the hottest goalscorers in the world in a blue shirt but it looks as if he could be becoming a spur. Luka Modric of Tottenham might be the best bet. But owner Roman Abramovich is not one to spend big in January. However, there needs to be an addition, if nothing else to bring a mental lift to the club.
Nonetheless, doing these things might solve certain problems for the time being but the future of Chelsea fc will be extremely grim if the current young crop of players do not develop at the same rate as those at rival clubs in the Premier league and unfortunately this looks to be the case. Two years from now or even one, we may begin to see the ages of key players Drogba, Terry, and Lampard show even more than they are painfully showing right now. Only time will tell. But for now? Hope is lost in the once mighty Blue kingdom and we're letting the bad guys win.
image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70391825@N00/348089028/
Monday, January 3, 2011
The Brazilian superstar midfielder has been heavily linked to a move to Inter Milan – with Real Madrid wanting £50m.
Chelsea, too, are seriously interested in grabbing the playmaker who has now fully recovered from an ankle injury after surgery.
The link has already been established with Kaka, 28, winning a Champions League trophy with Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti when they worked together at AC Milan.
But United, according to reports in Spain, have now emerged as clear favourites with Real boss Jose Mourinho happy to do business with his old sparring partner Sir Alex Ferguson.
Mourinho would prefer sending Kaka to United rather than his previous club Inter. (Daily Star)
Manchester United and Real Madrid certainly have a good relationship, exchanging some of the biggest names in football and it’s true that Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho do also, so seeing Kaka move to United would not be the biggest surprise during this January transfer window. As stated above, Kaka has been in contact with Chelsea and Inter Milan, but considering that Mourinho likes Kaka as a person as well as a footballer, he wouldn’t want to send him to his old rival club Inter when fans already had a problem him leaving to Madrid. He also wouldn’t want to send him to Chelsea, the other club he once managed.
Sir Alex Ferguson has already stated he doesn’t plan on buying any players during January’s transfer window, but much like other major transfers, it will be denied until they know whether the deal will happen or not. Federico Macheda has signed a loan with Italian club Sampdoria, so Kaka might be the temporary replacement. It has also been reported that if Kaka does end up being loaned out to United that he might sign a permanent move to United. Real has offered to let Kaka go for £50 million. Manchester City has already offered £45 million, but there has been no recent new with a transfer to City.
It seems that Mourinho wants Kaka to go to Manchester United if he does end up leaving, maybe because if it’s just a loan, then it will be great training while his is gone from Madrid. But it the transfer is going to be permanent, it might be because Kaka will be I good hands, and not in any of Mourinho’s old clubs.
Comment your thoughts on this transfer!
Towards the end of the game, Rooney was victim to a tackle that ended up injuring his ankle. This is not the first time his ankle has been a problem for him, in fact it been a major problem several times. Hopefully the recovery will be quick because if Rooney continues to play as well as he did on New Year’s Day, it will definitely make up for the time lost between March of 2010 and now.
Man Utd. went on to win this game with a winning goal from Javier "Chicarito" Hernandez. United remain undefeated and at the top of the table.
(January 1, 2011 - Photo By: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Sport)