Sunday, August 19, 2007


I'm absolutely steaming. I'm not one to get all hysterical so early in the season but when you drop 7 out of 9 points to start and you're gunning for the title, yes it's officially a crisis. I hate rooting for Liverpool but that's what I'll be doing in a half-hour. I am so fucking pissed right now. I'll write a full match report/scathing madman rant later when I've cooled down. I'll also do a post on the Red Bulls-Galaxy game I went to last night because that game made me happy unlike this mindless fucking drivel I just watched.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oh God. Oh God, No.

Quick game analysis
: Watching the first 30 minutes or so I had no doubt that we would start this season off to a flyer. Dominating possession, creating chances left and right, I was just waiting patiently for the breakthrough. Then the minutes dragged on, then Rooney went down and I immediately thought the worst despite him continuing to play the half, then Nani came on for him and it was clear that we we're lacking that finishing touch. We looked like Arsenal. Ugh.

Full credit to Reading, they were organized and played "bend but don't break" defense.
Kitson red card was a bit harsh on replays but referees don't make decisions on replays they make em' on what they see in real-time and in real-time that challenge looked nasty. First game of the season at Old Trafford is a daunting task and no one wants to start off with a loss so you can't blame them for putting 10 behind the ball.

Moving on to the more important matter
: It's not enough that we absolutely dominate Reading for 90 minutes and even with an extra man end up with a draw, no it's not enough. The boy wonder just has to go and get injured. Out for 3 months could be a legitimate possibility. I'll make this very clear, there is no single player that we couldn't have afforded to lose to injury more than Rooney.

If Ronaldo goes down, PFA award and all, we at least have Anderson and Nani to fill in. If Scholes or Carrick go down, we have Hargreaves or Fletcher (yes, he really isn't that bad). But Rooney, that's a whole other story.

Riddle me this, how is it that currently the only available strikers we have are Carlos Tevez and Dong Fangzhou? DONG EFFIN' FANGZHOU. Nothing against the guy, he sells a lot of jerseys abroad and maybe he'll be good in a couple years, but no way is he ready to contribute to this years campaign. In contrast you have Giuseppe Rossi, a guy who lit up the Reserves two seasons ago and has been chomping at the bit for a full season now. Oh and in his spare time he also scored 9 goals in half a season for Parma. Now how exactly do you bid 10 million pounds for Quagliarella, who scored 11 goals in a full season in Italy, while letting Rossi go for 6 million? Are you meaning to tell me that the conversation where SAF tells Rossi that he's gonna let Smith go to Newcastle and he needs him to play this season because Saha is made of glass and Solskjaer is on his last legs never happens? Really?

Me feeling Rossi was hard done by aside, this is a team that is playing on 4 fronts. The fact that Saha and Solskjaer are only temporarily injured shouldn't be taken lightly. SAF knew that he would only have Rooney, Tevez, and Fangzhou to start the season (and actually the Tevez deal wasn't even finalized by then) when he decided to sell both Smith and Rossi. Just like how currently we don't have to sell Heinze, we didn't have to sell Rossi.
It just doesn't make sense.

Looking for solutions: Enough ranting. No crying over spilt milk, well maybe a little crying. I'd like to see Frazier Campbell called up and given a shot, I think he can contribute more than Fangzhou (still can't understand why he isn't out on loan to a Championship side like Arsenal did with Bendtner last year). Also let's not forget, the transfer deadline is August 31st and rumor has it that Eidur Gudjohnsen is available. All for now, cheers.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Rihanna and Cassie Should Learn From Freddy

Now hold on a minute give me a chance, there is in fact a link to football here and not just an excuse to post these ridiculous pictures of Rihanna and Cassie (well...)

Recently, two of the sexiest members of the music industry's U-21 squad (though definitely not two of the most talented) were denied entry to Fabolous' album release party at a club in NYC because they were obviously under 21. Seems like fame can't always circumvent the law, not always at least.

These two bombshells need to learn from my boy Freddy Adu, who I recently spotted at nightclub Fur when I was down in DC for the weekend. See Freddy got in because it was an 18+ night and y'know what he looked like he was definitely enjoying himself (probably because his handlers were slipping him drinks).

Anyway Freddy was very nice when I went up to him to shake his hand (more like give him a drunken pound-come-hug). In my drunkeness I failed to get the scoop on whether he's leaving the MLS or not but now we all know that he is. I did ask him if he'll be in the squad for South Africa 2010 to which he enthusiastically replied "Yeah! Definitely man!"

And you know what? I think I believe him. Best of luck with Benfica.

Monday, July 23, 2007

That Scheming Arsene Wenger Has Got Me Worried (Slightly)

Wenger Crouching and Scheming

It's easy to say that, in the wake of Thierry Henry's departure to Barcelona and the arrival of unproven Croatian league starlet Eduardo da Silva, Arsenal will be the weakest of the big 4 and may even finish 5th behind big spending North London rivals Tottenham. It's a bit bolder to say that Arsenal will not only finish higher than Tottenham, but higher than Liverpool, too. Even bolder to predict a 3 horse race this year for the title between United, Chelsea, and Arsenal and distinct possibility that they could nip the league. Well, that's what I'm doing (-pumps out chest-).

Let's not forget that just last season the "experts" were tipping United to finish 3rd or even 4th and predicting Liverpool and then-defending champs Chelsea for the title. Then this happened.

Chelsea also won their first title in 50 years the season after Arsenal went unbeaten and seemed invincible until we did this. Sure they had millions upon millions pumped into the squad, but I'm just pointing out there seems to be a theme of teams defying the pre-season predictions in recent years.

Now for my actual reasons why I think Arsenal will pose a serious threat to take the title from Old Trafford:
1. Henry leaving means the greatest goalscorer to ever play in the Premiership leaving (yeah, I said it). But Henry leaving also means a whole lot of whining and distractions and prima donna behavior leaving, too. Arsenal had the best record last year against the top 4 teams, beating United twice including once at Old Trafford without Thierry Henry. It's important to note that young Cesc Fabregas set-up Adebayor for the winner with a lovely through-ball.

2. That brings me to my next reason, Cesc Fabregas. Much like how Ronaldo and Rooney rose to the occasion and carried United to victory after van Nistelrooy was sold, I think this is the year that the young Gunners break out from the shadow of Henry and start beating down on teams, led by Cesc. Specifically the lesser teams that they had the most trouble beating last season. Look for the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott, Van Persie and Denilson to have great seasons, too. Also, goalkeeper Fabianski is a bit under the radar but he could be a given a chance and replace the error-prone Jens Lehmann.

That being said it's not like United or Chelsea have lost a step this off-season and both have only gotten stronger. Too close to call for a concrete prediction (cop-out, I know) but I will say it will be a very close 3 horse race for the title (sorry, Scousers, I'm just not buying the hype).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Good News For Smudge Fans

Alan Smith, affectionately nicknamed "Smudge" by his former Leeds fans, has been added to the United squad that is set to tour Asia. Amid all the rumors of him going to Boro or Newcastle or wherever, this is good news for the majority of United fans that love our Smudger. This man broke his leg and dislocated his ankle in one of the most horrific injuries I've ever seen (typically diving in to block a John Arne Riise free-kick) then worked his socks off for about a year to get fit again when some said his career might be over. He turned down the opportunity to get some playing time on loan, worked through the reserves and finally emphatically came back with this. The guy is 100% committed all the time.

Some people have such a short memory. Only 3 years ago Smith was signed for a bargain 6 million pounds from Leeds United. He was a major contributor to Leeds' Champions League semi-final appearance in 2001 and scored 7 goals in Europe that year. He's not just got heart, he's got skill too. He famously turned down an opportunity to play for England to instead play for the United reserve squad. United have a talented striker that would start for the likes of Middlesbrough but is actually willing to be 3rd or 4th choice and help the team in whatever way he can. He's a fan favorite (especially with the ladies) and a great example to the rest of the squad with his commitment and heart. All he's asking for is a little backing and new contract that says we want him. Is that really too much to ask?

With that being said, here are my Top 5 Alan Smith goals for Manchester United:

5. 2004 vs Blackburn - Couldn't find it anywhere but it was a clutch injury time equaliser. Instead here's a nice little goal he had at Charlton:

4. vs Fulham (skip to the 2:12 mark):

3. 2004 FA Community Shield vs Arsenal (first goal for United-skip to 2:58 mark):

2. 2007 CL Quarterfinal vs Roma:

1. 2004 vs Norwich:

He needs to stay because, frankly, he's a true Red Devil (apart from that whole being from Leeds thing, minor detail).

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Forget Arsene Knows, Martin O'Neill Knows

Shhh. If you listen very closely you can hear Martin O'Neill quietly putting together a very good squad at Aston Villa. Flying under a Premiership radar clogged by Arsene and Henry, United and Tevez, 'Pool and Torres, and Big Sam and every bargain buy on the market; Martin O'Neill has been carefully crafting a young, well-balanced team that looks more than capable of qualifying for Europe. I've always been a fan of Martin O'Neill, rarely ever makes a mistake in the transfer market and success follows wherever he goes (pictured above is what you call a TREBLE).

The latest piece iin O'Neill's masterplan is young Nigel Reo-Coker, signed from West Ham this past week for about 8 million pounds. Reo-Coker is a 23 year old central midfielder and was captain of the England U-21's (he is no longer eligible for the 21's). At such an early stage in his career, Nigel managed 120 caps in 3 years at Upton Park and was club captain for most his time there. He was also captain at Wimbledon before coming to West Ham. Hmm something tells me this boy has great leadership abilities. Detractors will say that he didn't perform like a captain this season and didn't have his heart in it. With the circus that is West Ham--changing managers, changing owners, Tevez and Mascherano, court hearings and oh yea playing for a shit team that avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth--can you blame him for having an off season? Change of scenery, change of fans more importantly, and playing under O'Neill should do wonders for him.

Reo-Coker joins a team boasting some of the best young English talents in Ashley Young, Gabby Agbonlahor, Luke Moore, Liam Ridgewell and Gary Cahill. Villa also have some real studs like captain Gareth Barry (aka the best left foot England has), vice-captain and defensive stalwart Olof Mellberg (I like to call him Castaway), midfield maestro Stiliyan Petrov, and Norwegian hitman John Carew.

Speaking of Carew, Martin O'Neill deserves a great deal of credit for making the deal to get this guy. I mean it's a feat in and of itself to find a team that actually wants Milan Baros (suckers), but to do that AND get John Carew in exchange? Wow, just might be the best transfer of the past season if they can persuade Carew to stay.

With a couple more signings possibly on the way (Jason Koumas or Nigel de Jong maybe, who I really like) and strong squad already, mark my words, Villa will improve upon their 11th place finish last year and qualify for Europe. Prediction: 6th place.

On Horseface and Hulk...

If I'm Sheffield United, I'm pissed the fuck off.

Moving on, in a previous post I said that I didn't think Tevez was that good. I didn't really mean that, I was just turned off by the price tag and the messy ownership problems (I still am). He's been playing well in the Copa America and if you play consistently well on the international stage in a big tournament then you probably are legit. And I trust Ferguson/Queiroz's judgment.

All this talk of Tevez being another Rooney and our need for a target man is seriously fucking retarded. We had a target man and his name was Ruud and he was a damn good horse-faced target man. But we sold him. And then we went on to win the league. We sold Ruud because he was sticking out like a sore thumb with his inability to do anything other than finish and poach goals in and around the 6 yard box (I know, I know, he was really good at it but you're missing the point). There was a clear improvement w/o Ruud, more slick and free-flowing football that wasn't just more pleasing to the eye but more of a nightmare to opposing defenses. Tevez is in the same mould as Ronaldo, Rooney, Nani, and Anderson in that he is a more well-rounded attacking player. And 7 goals in 10 games shows he can be a prolific scorer, too. So there.

Monday, June 25, 2007

This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse (SI Style)

Nope, that is not photoshopped. Beckham and Reggie Bush will be in a new commercial where they swap sports. Credit to Bob from The Offside.

So Benny Feilhaber Is Pretty Good, Eh?

Just finished watching the USA-Mexico Gold Cup Final and I've got some musings...

About 10-15 minutes before Feilhaber's winner there was a searing half-volley from just outside the box by a Mexican player who plays professionally in Greece (Castillo?) which prompted the color commentator to call it a "European" volley. And that got me thinking, WTF is a European volley? Does that mean it was a volley with such a high degree of technique and skill that only a player playing professionally in Europe could hit? Then I though of the quality of play in the MLS and decided the commentator had a point, albeit a bit poorly articulated. And then up steps Benny Feilhaber with a very well-taken dipping volley of the "European" variety as he plys his trade with Hamburg in Germany.

Point is the USMNT needs more guys like Feilhaber and less like Brian Ching. Ching's miss after rounding Sanchez was inexcusable and smacked of MLS quality finishing. Ignore the bombastic, attention-seeking comments of Alexei Lalas; the MLS is not on the same level as the English Premier League. They're more on a level somewhere between the Coca-Cola Championship (Div 2) and League One (Div 3). Look at the other standout performers on the day and throughout the tournament: Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Beasley, and Dempsey all playing in Europe. Sure Donovan plays in L.A. but that's only because he's pussy-whipped into not playing abroad where he belongs (I guess you can't blame him). Anyway I'm actually not really sure what my point is, I'm just frustrated at the gulf in class and technique between European-based guys like Feilhaber and born and bred MLS guys like Ching. It shouldn't be that way. I read an article today in World Soccer magazine about the extensive youth setup at Arsenal and Chelsea with players from all over including Cyprus, Mexico, Belgium, and more and couldn't help but notice that there weren't any Americans. I can't take watching MLS guys like Ching and Twellman up front anymore, for all their heart and effort they just aren't good enough. Freddy Adu should've gone to Europe, not D.C. United, and more Americans youngsters need to start developing their game in the superior youth academies across the pond. Then they can come back and better serve both (MLS) club and country.

Sidenote, Beasley does play in Europe and he had a miss that was even more embarassing than Ching's. So what gives? you ask. Well the explanation for that is Beasley just isn't that good, really. Ask Man City fans.

As Donovan tied Eric Wynalda for most international goals for USA, I realized that Donovan is only 24-25 and he's already beaten a record that took Wynalda a full career to tally up. Just an observation. Says a lot about the rapid improvement in US players over the years.

Twellman, though obviously lacking in quality when taken from the small ponds of the MLS to the international stage, has a helluva a lot of fight in him. From the second he came on as a sub he was flying around and harrying defenders, tracking back and flying in for tackles to help out the team whatever way he could. A great example of heart and determination that other USMNT guys should look to emulate.

Copa America squad selection debate: Bradley's decision to put out a stronger squad for the Gold Cup has been vindicated, regardless of what happens in Venezuela. Gold Cup victory means a Confederations Cup place and $1 million dollar reward. USMNT doesn't have a chance of winning the Copa America no matter what squad they bring. The most they can hope for is a respectable showing. That is still possible, and with young and unproven (read: hungry, chip on shoulder, underdog, underestimated, prematurely written off...) squad maybe Bradley is trying to recreate a USA Hockey at Lake Placid scenario. Do you believe in miracles??

And worse come to worse (Argentina have this guy, I don't know if you've heard of him, named Lionel Messi (1:18 is my favorite)? Yea, he's supposed to be pretty good) we can at least say we didn't have our strongest squad out there. Which is cop-out but whatever. We're the US, we do what we want! Well, at least that's the president's philosophy...

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's About That Time... actually post something, I haven't done that in a while. It's also about that time to address the recent transfer rumors that have been circling and address them in terms of validity and what I think about it (regardless of how valid it is). Considering the sheer massive volume of transfer rumors bandied about daily to fill the newspapers in lieu of actual match reports at this time of year, I'm just gonna deal with United transfer rumors.

Fab Quag: Ok first of all, this nickname needs to go. It may flow phonetically, but it has to be one of the most effeminate nicknames in all of football. And calling him Fabio isn't much better because then you just get the mental picture of the long-haired I Can't Believe It's Not Butter guy. So do you go with Quagliarella? That's a bit of a mouthful. So I guess it's Quag, but even that I'm not too keen on. Actually I think I got it, just call him Q. Like the gadget guy from James Bond, I've always liked that guy. Ok good so it's settled, now Q can play for United.

Now as for his chances of pulling on United red, I think its a 30% chance. Udinese just gained full ownership of Q in some bizarre blind auction thing that only Italian football would do so there goes the previously high probability that Q was gonna stay at Sampdoria. The reason I say 30% is because rarely do Italian players, especially young ones, come over to play in England. Especially when they have local big guns like Roma (who Q is a known admirer of) and Inter interested to sign them, too. It's also no accident that every member of the World Cup winning Italian side played in Serie A. Q knows this and doesn't want to jeopardize his already successful Azzuri career (he scored twice in his debut recently). Basically the 30% is the allure of playing for the English champs, alongside the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs, etc. which can be pretty enticing. Plus there's also this.

And I don't trust anything that comes out of an agent's mouth, by the way, so until Q says it himself I won't believe it.

Eidur for Pique: No, no, no. No. NO. Former Chelsea affiliations aside, Gudjohnsen is 29 years old and wasn't very impressive this season at the Camp Nou (albeit with limited chances). Gerard Pique, on the other hand, had a very nice little season on loan at Zaragoza and is very bright young talent at only 20 years old. He's an intelligent defender and with Rio's lapses in concentration getting more and more frequent and costlier I could see him taking over for him very soon.

Berbatov: Would cost too much and I would feel bad raiding Spurs for their star player for a second year running. With Chelsea getting all these free transfers we're gonna become the new Chelski. Thanks, but no thanks.

Tevez: I really don't think he's that good and the ownership issue is too messy. And he looks like a monster, but not in a good way. So no.

Defoe: Nonsense.

Saviola: Always have been a fan but I think we're looking for someone with more size so I'll pass.

Huntelaar: Next van Nistelrooy. Which is exactly why we shouldn't get him.

Torres and Eto'o: Both would be big money, but both would be worth it in my opinion. United and Liverpool have both been heavily linked to each of them so you have to figure if one goes to Anfield then we can get the other one. Eto'o's (that looks weird) attitude worries me and Torres is younger and got good size and strength for the Prem so I'm partial to El Nino. But I guess I'd settle for Eto'o (kidding, kidding, I'd be ecstatic). Just don't like the idea of competing with Milan for his signature, we're gonna have to shell out the big bucks.

1. Torres
2. Q
3. Eto'o
4. Don't bother buying

**Update: I'm surprised no one picked up on the real problem with the name Fab Quag before. Now he must be called Q.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ok, So Bentley Isn't a Cunt...But The Others Still Are!

After reading a nice little piece on 101GreatGoals by Arthur Antunes Coimbra I've decided to take back the cunt label I put on David Bentley in my previous post for pulling out of the U-21 Euro Championship. Some might disagree with this decision, pointing to the fact that James Milner played more games than Bentley this season and and is also vying for the senior England squad but he's still playing in the U-21 tournament. Well the point Bentley is trying to make is that maybe that isn't the best idea by Milner as he's been advised by senior players who tell him he'll "hit a wall" come October/November if he doesn't rest now.

I still think Bentley was irresponsible to pull out too late to allow Pearce to get a replacement, but he's not a cunt. Thierry Henry and Michael Owen, however, are still cunts. Especially Henry with his latest comments:

"At this moment, I am an Arsenal player and in the same situation as I was last year.

"Last season, people were announcing all over the place that I was leaving. Some people wrote that it would happen for sure but at the end of the day I stayed at Arsenal. It could be the same this year.

"I've not taken any decision and my name is not up on any departures board. If something happens, I will tell everybody."

He goes on to talk nonsense about how chairman David Dein leaving was a mistake, as if that sort of thing is any his business in the first place. Again, thinking he is the club, thinking he has jurisdiction over all that happens at Arsenal. I don't care how gifted a player is (and Henry realllly gifted), no player is worth the amount of trouble he's causing. He's even unsettling the future of Arsenal in budding superstar Cesc Fabregas with his antics. I can hear the Arsenal fans (sensible ones, at least) screaming all the way from North London "Just shut it and leave already!! (But leave Nicole behind!)"

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Thierry Henry Is A Cunt...One Of Many...

Hey Nicole, your husband is a cunt.
(She has absolutely nothing to do with this post, she's just nice to look at)

I already had read the article with some of the quotes from Henry from the Soccernet interview with Derek Rae, but now I just watched it on Soccernet and I just need to vent about this stupid cunt. Yea he is incredibly talented, but a cunt of an incredibly talented player nonetheless. The nerve, the $%*#%%@ nerve. He sits there and guffaws and blushes at the thought of Barcelona and AC Milan coveting him. Then he does that emphasized "at the moment" I'm an Arsenal player crap. I just wanna punch him in the face, and I'm a United fan! If I was an Arsenal fan I would be absolutely enraged with his actions. He really thinks he's bigger than the club, he won't say it because he's got slightly more sense than Cashley, but you can tell he thinks it. The way he just runs his mouth. And wtf is up with that "at the moment" crap. Wishy-washy is what it is. You either decide to stay at your club, no matter what happens over the summer with coaching or management changes, and you come out and say it or you say you want to leave (are you listening, Michael Owen?).Don't pull this coy I'm flattered by the attention nonsense. No fans deserve to be jerked around like that, even Gooners.

Staying on the topic of cunts, let's talk about young David Bentley, too. This little prick pulls out of England's U-21 squad for the Euro Championship because he wants to make a push for the senior squad. And you decide this now??!? I mean really you can't be serious. Again with the indecision. It's your peroogative to do what you feel is best for your career, however selfish it may be to put that above playing for your country when they need you (being one of the best players the U-21's have). Let's not even discuss the fact that the England manager himself said he should play the U-21 tournament AND HE PICKS THE SENIOR SQUAD.

All I'm saying is stop dicking around. Thierry Henry, Michael Owen, David Bentley, and all the other footballers who I have to assume are idiot savants as they can't do anything right except play football: STOP DICKING AROUND. Footballers have a lot free time to think about theses things; their futures, their careers, their aspirations. They don't do 9-5 and don't have bills to worry about and all that jazz like everyone else. They have enough money that they don't have to do anything themselves except wipe their own asses. So with that in mind is it really too much to ask Thierry Henry and Michael Owen to make a concrete decision about their future and stop jerking around their fans? Is it too much to ask David Bentley to make his selfish decision to pull out of the U-21 tournament in time for Stuart Pearce to call up a replacement? IS IT REALLY??

Ok I'm done. I know, I'm asking too much of these guys who have had smoke blown up their backside since before puberty. They are so out of touch with reality that they really think their behavior is acceptable because they've scored more goals than any Gunner, or they've got more competitive goals for England than anyone else, or they...oh wait a second David Bentley hasn't done shit to warrant such behavior. Ah but this is the trend with footballers these days, they just get worse and worse.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cristiano Gets Some New Playmates

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I spent the weekend in DC for a wedding. I was planning to make a post yesterday until I accidentally played beer pong for 6 hours and passed out by 9 pm. But there's nothing like a United double signing to get the heart racing, and indeed wake the Trawler from it's week-long slumber.

So it's official, Manchester United have signed attacking midfielder Anderson from Porto F.C. and winger Nani from Sporting Lisbon. Anderson, a Brazil Under-17 international, is 19 and Portuguese international Nani is 20; they are both highly rated and were both linked with top sides throughout Europe. I'm a big fan of the youth, Nani (above in mid-goal celebration) is a left-winger and Anderson a creative midfielder so hopefully they can someday develop into worthy successors to Giggs and Scholesy.

I know that we've been heavily linked to Nani recently, but the added bonus of Anderson is a pleasant surprise. Any 19 year old who's earned a starting spot after just one year with the Portuguese champs can't be half-bad. I like the Portuguese-speaking flavor added to the squad, can't hurt in helping to keep Ronaldo happy. I've been trolling Youtube for the past half-hour for videos of these two guys and they look pretty talented but of course the level of competition in the EPL far more challenging than the Portuguese league and Youtube highlight compilations can be notoriously misleading. That there is actually a Kleberson highlight reel out there proves this.

One more thing, I know Nani is the more well-known of the two signings but there is one video of Anderson that caught my eye. I hate when people say so-and-so is the next Zidane or the next Ronaldinho (like this video does), especially at such a tender age, but in this case the similarities are definitely there. Like Ronaldinho, Anderson is a Porto Alegre native and started his career at Gremio. He's also got the requisite abundance of speed and creativity, able to shoot with both feet, and gleefully skipping past defenders seems to be a favored pastime of his. Plus he's got wacky hair like Ronaldinho and there's an absurd move he does at the end of the video that is just like one Ronaldinho pulled off at Gremio. I know, I know, it's pretty foolish to try and predict the next Best Player In The World, but I'm just saying...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Champions League Final: Running Diary

Taking a page out of the Bill Simmon's playbook with a running diary of the 2007 Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool FC:

Pre-game: Can't help but think as I watch Jermaine Pennant waving at the crowd like a fool during the Champions League anthem that there's just something not right about Pennant being a part of a UCL final. Now watch, the drunk-driving little twerp will pop up with the winning goal.

6th minute: Danny Agger does his best snarling dog impression against the snarling dog himself, Rino Gattuso, with a solid tackle. Definitely one of the best signings this season, talk about value for money.

10th minute: Wow,
Pennant almost makes good on my little pre-game prediction. Pennant steals the ball outside the Milan box, does a one-two with Gerrard and hits a hard low shot to the far post forcing a great save out of Dida. I choked on my chocolate milk, just a little bit.

15th minute: This week's sign of the apocalypse: A plug for the Indy 500 just came up during the UCL final. That's like plugging a Starbucks poetry slam over the loudspeaker at a Texas rodeo. Just not the right audience.

23rd minute: My father bemoans the decision by Gerrard to go for the volley instead of laying off to the trail man. Forgive him he isn't aware of the immense power the lies within Gerrard's right foot with the ball sitting up for him like that. He also just asked if Gerrard is Argentinian...moving on...

24th minute: Hey, Javier Mascherano is pretty good, eh? Woudn't you say, Alan Pardew/Curbishley?

27th minute: 2nd sign of the apocalypse - Tommy Smyth: "Pennant is running them (Milan) ragged on the right side"....oh god..

35th minute: Another good scoring chance started by Pennant, Jankulovksi is looking absolutely dreadful tonight.

38th minute: Pennant just stuck in for not one, but two strong tackles..this is just fascinating..IS THIS THE FUCKING TWILIGHT ZONE? WHERE IS HIS ANKLE TRACKING DEVICE? WHEN DID HE GET OFF PROBATION?

40th minute: Gattuso gets a yellow card, yawn. The over-under on when he would get card (because him getting one was never a question) would've been 30th minute, I'd guess. And I would've gone under, obviously underestimating his level of restraint. Sorry, Rino.

44th minute: Against the run of play, just before half-time, Milan wins a free-kick (Kaka went down too easy for me) outside the box. Pirlo's free-kick is deflected off of Inzaghi, King of in the right place at the right time goals, and into the back of the net. Milan 1 - Liverpool 0.
Half-Time Verdict: The Athenian air is thick with controversy. Stevie Nichol, half-time pundit and Liverpool backer, says that if the ball goes off your arm and into the net--intentional contact or not--it's not a goal. And I must concur. FIFA is kind of ambiguous about this issue but I must concur with Nichol.

Liverpool are the better team so far and I actually feel bad for the Scousers, brutally unfair end to the half. I'm expecting Liverpool to come out with more of the same led by the talismanic Jermaine Pennant (wtf?!?!) and eventually break through with an equalizer, then who knows.
Start of 2nd half: Those guys drumming the boys back on the pitch are outrageously lame.

58th minute: Kewell comes on for Zenden, finally. (wow never thought I'd say that, looks like we're still in the twlight zone)

62nd minute: "He gets away from Nesta, how often can you say that"--GOLDEN opportunity for Gerrard clear on goal, should've done better. 'Nuff said.

70th minute: Milan are doing the Italian thing. Content to sit back put 9 men behind the ball before punting the ball back to Reina. Inzaghi is stranded on a faraway island of In Front of the Halfway Line. Negative football and I don't like it, almost makes me want to root for Liverpool. Almost.

74th minute: Derek Rae points out that Jemaine Pennant has not been as effective here in the second half. All is right with the world. Also good news, Milan are opening up a bit more which makes it easier for me to root for them.

77-79th minute: "A gangly handful he is"--Peter Crouch comes on for Mascherano. Took you long enough, Rafa. Kaladze comes on for Jankulovski, that should put to bed any possibility of a Pennant resurgance.

82nd minute: Despite Sir Fergie's assertion that Inzaghi was born offside, he is in fact also the King of beating the offside trap. And he does it to perfection before coolly slotting under the on-rushing Reina. Slipping away for Liverpool...

84th minute: Inzaghi may be a Milan folk-hero but he's still a wanker. He blocks a Kewell cross with his midsection, seems ok at first, then in true Italian wanker-dom realizes the opportunity to waste time and hits the ground rolling around in "pain" from the blow he took. Kewell tries to help him up and get on with it while resisting the temptation to give put him in real pain.

88th minute: Istanbul flashbacks. Kuyt scores off a corner, it's not over yet.

91st minute: Foul called against Crouch on a 50-50 aerial challenge. Wasn't a foul. Poor guy get's penalized all the time just because he's a giant.

Full-time: Referee blows the whistle a bit early using 2:44 of the alotted 3 minutes stoppage time as Rafa is shown furiously pointing to his watch amidst Milan celebrations.
Final Verdict: Liverpool can feel a bit hard-done by some decisions and bad luck but what it comes down to is execution vs. lack therof. The point is that you shouldn't let the game be decided by referee's decisions or any other outside forces, you decide it yourself. Say what you want about Inzaghi, he's not my favorite guy either, but he had his chance one-on-one vs the keeper and took it well to put the game beyond Liverpool's reach. Gerrard will surely look back on the 62nd minute chance with only Dida to beat and think that was THE opportunity to bring it level. Hmm wonder if Sammy Eto'o would've put that away...let the transfer rumors flow. And Sir, let the wine flow, too.

Champions League Prediction (Premonition?)

Ok so I was about to finish up on a post that had nothing to do with the final today and then I looked at the time and saw it's about an hour or so til' kick-off. I realized it probably wouldn't have been good form to blatantly ignore such an occasion.

So anyway, I think Liverpool will win.

'But whaaa?' is probably what your saying. Yea I know I'm a United fan, but I never said I was rooting for Liverpool. I just said they're gonna win. I do want Milan to win. For one, I think they are out and out a better team and much more fun to watch. I also want to see Seedorf lift his 4th Champions League trophy because he's just a class act and that would be cool. I also like rooting for the team that knocks your team out a tournament because then you can at least say "Well, at least we were beaten by the eventual champions." Otherwise you have to deal with degrees of seperation and Liverpool fans claiming to be two levels better than United because they beat Milian who beat Uni--it's just a big fucking mess.

And I also think that Liverpool should not be rewarded for their squad rotation system that sacrificed the league for Europe. Any respectable Liverpool fan knows the phrase "The league is our bread and butter" and Benitez has thrown that tradition out the window (but you kind of can't blame him when the Reds haven't won the league in 17 years, it's basically our bread and butter these days). In contrast, Milan only started playing for the Champions League when they got off to a slow start after already being deducted points to start the season.

So why do I think Liverpool is gonna win again? Oh right, I had a dream about it. It was a bizarre dream that was very hazy--either from the whiskey sour shots I took in the dream or it was just one those hazy dreams y'know--but I do distinctly remember Stevie G lifting the trophy once again, this time in Athens. That being said, I still hope Sir can open up that bottle of wine when all is said and done. And the latest news that Rafa is NOT PLANNING TO MAN-MARK KAKA also gives me hope that my dream (nightmare?) is not a premonition after all.

But here's the thing, when Milan have the choice of wearing their black and red or wearing their white away jerseys and they choose white despite the fact that Liverpool has never lost a European Cup final in red against a team in white...see that's foolishly tempting the football gods and then you're just asking for it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Top 20 Champions League Goals Ever

20-6 and 5-1

I spotted this on The Offside's homepage who got it from a 101 Great Goal's post

"The goal at Sparta Prague by Thierry Henry just shows what a poor player he is, y'know, no left foot"

On that Bergkamp-Ljunberg goal: "The build-up, Bergkamp's juggling when surrounded by defenders, turning, twisting--I mean his feet are moving, you have to watch it in slow-motion--It's like Van Basten on speed"

Patrick Barclay you cheeky man. He is my new (only?) favorite football pundit. And as usual, Andy Townsend is a wanker in this.

By the by, hats off to Mikael Nilsson for getting not one, but two goals on the list.

Paul McCarthy on the #1 goal: "It's one of the those moments when you stop, you look, you think 'Have I really seen that?'and then you see it on the replay and you think 'privilege'"

Just about sums it up, I think. Though it's not #1, Ronaldinho's goal at the Bridge is my personal favorite. And Smudge's "i'm baaaackk" goal vs Roma got all the way up to #6!

I'll do an original post later tonight just haven't decided what yet. Cheers.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Owen Hargreaves: The Anti-Transfer Saga

The media reports in Germany were confirmed by club president Franz Beckenbauer when he said four simple words: Owen Hargreaves will go. It seems as if Manchester United and Bayern Munich have finally agreed upon a price and as a United fan I’m thrilled about adding a true ball-winner in Hargreaves to our midfield ranks, but this isn’t exactly a surprise development. Everyone knew he would move to Old Trafford this summer it was just a matter of when, and in that way this is a surprise. With the ridiculous transfer saga of Cashley Cole and William Gallas between Arsenal and Chelsea that dragged on all last summer still fresh in all of our minds, I’m sure everyone dreaded (and expected) a similar drawn-out tug of war over Hargreaves.

This has, however, been averted thanks to a certain degree of professionalism and respect exhibited by both parties that is sadly lacking in the front offices of Chelsea, in particular the sniveling chief executive, Peter Kenyon. Yes, the same Peter Kenyon that sickeningly refers to Chelsea as a “brand” and said today that it would’ve been “unjust” if Chelsea only won the Carling Cup this year. And yes, this is the same Peter Kenyon who on more than one occasion professed to be a life-long United supporter before leaving Old Trafford to join Chelsea once Abramovich’s millions came calling. Not that we miss him in the least.

Sorry I’ve been posting on only United news thus far, very myopic of me and I apologize. I think I’ll do a La Liga post next or even mix it up with a music post, who knows. Cheers.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

2007 FA Cup Final: Chelsea 1-Manchester Utd 0

So the 2007 English domestic season is officially done and dusted. All that's left is the Champions League final in a little less than a week and then we'll have to make do with transfer rumors and atrociously boring MLS action to get by.

For the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley it was a letdown and not just because I'm a United fan. The first half was horrendous as was the state of the pitch. Ryan Giggs once said he never like playing at the old Wembley because the pitch was so poor. $575 million dollars later and some things just never change. The second half was improved from both sides and Rooney was in sparkling form, his mesmerizing run from box to box probably the most breathtaking. Anyway blahblahblah you guys can read the match report anywhere you want. Let's get down to the talking points:

The Giggs incident. Let's be frank, Giggs should've done better. Regardless of Essien's challenge, which I don't believe warranted a penalty, Rooney put the ball at his feet and he had the entire goal at his mercy from less than 6 yards out. And all he could do was scuff a shot into Cech's body. And no it wasn't a goal just because it crossed the line, it wasn't a goal because Giggs pushed Cech over the line after he had saved his weak effort. Moving on.

For me one of the most overlooked moments of the game was Ronaldo's chance in the 87th minute. Scholes releases him on the right edge of the box with a lovely chipped pass, Ronaldo does a stepover, cuts inside and INSTEAD of passing to the completely unmarked Ryan Giggs in the center of the penalty box just outside the 6-yard he goes for an outrageous near-post shot against Petr-fucking-Cech. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Kaka is the best player in the world. Ronaldo is only 22 to Kaka's 25, so you hope that in the future he'll do the right thing and keep his head up and pass the ball like Kaka probably would've done in that situation. Good news is Ronaldo will probably be World POY within the next few years.

When it comes down to it neither side deserved to win or lose, it was a cagey match from start to finish with momentum swinging both ways (if at all). The game was up for grabs and Chelsea snatched it with a fine goal (hate to say it but it was a superb return ball from Fat Frank) when the United defense was probably caught napping a bit. Enough of the Mourinho impersonations, whining about fatigue, disallowed goals, and penalties that weren't given. United had their chances and didn't capitalize, Chelsea did.

Yes, it's a tough loss to swallow--being the first one at the new Wembley and all--but I think I'll wash it down with some champagne I've got left over from when we won the league...cheers.

..It's because ze sink sardines will be srown into the sea

Seeing as how the title of this blog is the first part of one of the most legendary quotations in football history, I figured I'd title the first post as the remaining end of the quote by Manchester United icon Eric Cantona (complete with french accent spelling). As some (many? I have no idea the general football knowledge of my readership or whether I have a readership to begin with) of you may know King Cantona said this at a press conference after recieving his near-year long ban from Premiership football for "kung-fu" kicking a Crystal Palace supporter.

So if you haven't guessed it, yes, I am indeed a Manchester United fan, through and through. But apart from my allegiances, I am an unabashed football freak. Some might call the beautiful game soccer but I will only call it football on this blog as it is actually played primarily with one's feet and is an older sport than American football (and I'm a NY Giants fan from Long Island, no less, so this is not coming from a Eurosnob place). Moving on...I wouldn't say I have the most extensive football knowledge and being on 20 years old I definitely don't have as much of a sense of history as others (I was 8 years old when Cantona uttered those famous words, wasn't even born yet when Sir Alex took over at Old Trafford) but I do have a fierce and undying passion and respect for the game and that is one thing that no one can ever question.

I hope this blog can be a haven, a forum, and an all-around informative site for my fellow football fanatics around the world (especially all my fellow United fans!). I also hope that this blog can help put to the bed the notion that Americans (yes, I was born and raised in Long Island and only discovered the beautiful game around 9-10 years old) don't know what they're talking about when it comes to footie.

Yea high hopes, right? Truthfully, acquiring any readership (as in at least one person) would be nice but I really just made this thing so I could get my constant thoughts and opinions on football out of my head when I don't have my buddies around to tell them to. So that's all for now, being a United fan I'll obviously have some thoughts on the FA Cup Final which I'll post tommorrow as I'm home from college now and have nothing better to do. Cheers.