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.