Friday, November 14, 2008
"Didier Drogba has been charged with violent conduct by the FA for throwing a coin back into the crowd during Chelsea's--"
Let's just stop right there. No need to go any further. Does no one else see what's wrong with the above statement? It's a coin. I know Drogba has a helluva lot of power in those legs of his, sort a prerequisite for his job, but unless he has some sort of superhuman strength in his arms that flinging a coin into the crowd would cause any injury, let alone serious injury, to a fan I don't see how this is a legitimate issue. It shouldn't have even been addressed by the FA let alone actually brought to a decision.
I'm usually not one to vocalize protection for players as they essentially have the BEST LIFE EVER. Add to that that I'm actually defending a Chelsea player, I'll admit I feel a little dirty. But in this case I think the fans are getting too much leeway. How is it that Drogba gets charged but the Burnley fans don't get charged for throwing the coin in the first place? It's not like Drogba pulled a quarter, or I guess in this case a half-pence, out of his jock and threw it at the crowd. It was thrown at him in the first place and the Burnley fans should be reprimanded for their behavior. I know people always talk about giving more respect to the fans and believe me you're preaching to the choir, I'm a fan, but when it comes to abuse--be it physical or verbal--a line needs to be drawn in the sand and certain behavior needs to be flagged as unacceptable and thus properly punished.
Throwing a coin is really no different than hurling racial abuse at players. Pampered as they are they don't deserve such abuse just as fans don't deserve racial abuse or coins thrown at them. I'm not saying that Drogba shouldn't be reprimanded to some extent but I'm saying it needs to go both ways. If you're gonna charge Drogba with violent conduct then you have to charge Burnley with disorderly conduct and give them an equivalent punishment.
Ok I'm done, It's a Friday night I'm gonna get off my proverbial soapbox and get a little loose. I'm a bit buzzed as it is. Good talk.
*Addendum: This should not be misconstrued as any form of favor towards Chelsea. They're still a bunch of diving, cheating, overpaid, overrated, overly-metrosexual, overly-not fresh at all bunch of fucking amateurs that will again finish below the mighty United both in the league and in Europe.
And we'll win the Carling Cup just for kicks. Recognize.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Anyway, yea, let's not get into that. The purpose of this post is help us all remember the utterly unapologetic brilliance of the Balded One. Specifically, his other take-your-breath-away moment of that game:
What? He chipped a penalty? In a World Cup Final? Wait...what? Didn't doubt his shot for a second, cool as a cucumber. You can't see me right now but trust that I'm giving this youtube video a standing ovation in the privacy of my own living room. I raise my glass of pomegranate green tea in cheers to you, Zizou. Really wish you would come play in the MLS...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
But having to stomach the likes of Iker Casillas and Raul strutting about the locker room with a confidence borne of the adulation of thousands of fawning female fans (it's a gift, really); I imagine the indignity was just unbearable. So naturally he enlisted the PR talents of one Jorge Munoz, deaf boxer stalker extraordinaire, to up his visibility enough to maybe get some well-deserved recognition for his services to club and conditioner companies.
"Munoz was eventually restrained and arrested while one of the security guards required hospital treatment - Munoz's lack of hearing obviously not impairing his ability to land a punch."
Iker Casillas, your move.
*Actual focused and serious post about the state of United affairs coming soon
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I'm still on the fence about this Sway in a chopper gimmick. On the one hand it's immensely stupid. It gives me a headache just trying to wrap my mind around the the fact that this idea was actually voiced by someone let alone looked upon as a good idea by his/her peers. But on the other hand the creepy factor of Sway hovering above celebrities like Katy Perry and calling them on the phone and telling to wave their lipstick out the sunroof is too good.
Mind-blowing fact of the night: Sway has a daughter.
Jonas Brothers are so jewish-looking.
ASHLEE SIMPSON IS SO PREGNANT.
I wish Obama would show up.
British host whose name continually evades me: "Kobe Bryant welcome to the VMAs!...(to Vanessa Bryant) hello to you as well."
Annnnd that's the pre-show.
The VMAs have started and it's too brilliant of a trainwreck for me to write on any further. God speed.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Hmm let's start with the good news first because there's not much of it so we'll get it out of the way quickly:
Well we held on to Ronaldo which, as much as he still is a little cunt, is a good thing because he is as close to irreplaceable as you'll get in football. Still, nothing he does this season, no matter how heroic or jaw-droppingly incredible, will illicit any more than a gentle golf clap out of me. Until he fucks off to Madrid at the end of the season. Then I'll give him a standing ovation. Ok what else...oh right we didn't sell Frazier Campbell like we usually do with any young promising talent that tries to make it into the first team. That was a pleasant surprise. I hope he gets a chance to prove himself this season because he's definitely quality.
Yup. That's it. No more good news to report for the summer of wheelings and non-dealings. Now the bad news in quick bullet points because there's so much:
- Sold Gerard Pique, soon-to-be one of the top 10 defenders in the world. Haven't bought any replacements so no defensive cover to speak of. Wonderful.
- Didn't sell Mikael Silvestre as expected so technically he is our defensive cover. Even better.
- Didn't buy a long-term right-back replacement for the aging Gary Neville. Apparently Sir Alex expects Wes Brown to make another deal with the devil and have another surprisingly competent season.
- According to the latest reports today, we bought Dimi Berbatov to finally address our need for another striker. 'But why is this bad news?' I hear you inquire. Well, little ones, gather round close and let me tell you a little tale I like to call: The Extortion of Manchester United...
Once upon a time (about a month ago) Manchester United bid a reasonable 20 million pounds for the services of Dimi Berbatov. Dimi's employers, Tottenham, rejected the bid and asked for a ludicrous 38 million pounds instead. United laughed heartily at such a suggestion and began looking elsewhere. After a month or so they could not find another striker to buy and desperately bid a slightly less ludicrous but still ridiculous 28 million for Dimi. Tottenham gleefully accepted. United got fucked over. Now to put this in perspective:
- Liverpool paid 3 million less for Fernando Torres who is 4 years younger than 27 year old Berbatov and about 5 times better, give or take.
- Liverpool also paid 20 million for Berbatov's teammate, Robbie Keane, of similar age and talent.
- United paid the same amount for Rio Ferdinand but he's been the rock of our defense for the past 5 years so I'd say it's money well spent.
- United paid the same amount for WAYNE ROONEY. 20 years old at the time and ABOUT 10 TIMES BETTER THAN BERBATOV, give or take.
I'm not amused.
Friday, July 18, 2008
I picked up the July issue of Sports Illustrated with the headline "Nadal Defeats Federer In the Greatest Match Ever." I read it again..greatest match ever..and two thoughts came to mind that have never previously come to mind when I've picked up any other issue of Sports Illustrated:
1. "Spot on!"
2. "Wow, that's not at all an exaggerated sensationalist headline to sell more copies of a sub-par sports magazine living off the repuation of the one swimsuit issue every year that actually has some quality."
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Harry Kewell revealed Galatasaray were the pick of several clubs interested in him after signing a two-year deal with the Turkish champions.
The Australian had been linked with Portsmouth, Celtic and Roma, but Kewell admitted Galatasaray quickly won him over.
Oh that's right, Galatasaray is clearly a better option than staying in the best league in the world with Portsmouth or going to one of the most successful clubs in European history in Celtic and let's not even mention that little club from that little town called Rome in that boot-shaped country.
Now don't get me wrong, Galatasaray are no slouches and they've had their fair share of success both in Turkey and in Europe. And Turkey is a great place from what I hear what with their grape leaves and passionate bordering on psychotic fan support (if you have the time, fascinating piece). But don't anyone for one second try and convince me that the Turkish league is on par with the English or Italian leagues or a club of so grand a stature as Celtic. It's just not.
And lest we forget Mr. Kewell played for Leeds for 9 years, during that time playing against Galatasaray in a match that was overshadowed by the tragic stabbing to death of two Leeds fans by Galatasaray hooligans. Leeds fans still haven't forgotten about the tragedy to this day but I guess for Harry a big pile of stinking cash can make you forget just about anything.
Enough of the bullshit, the Turks were the only team that wanted to take a chance on your glass legs and take on your ludicrous salary demands because the silver lining of the depressing realization that you're a has-been at 29 is that some people with money to burn and seats to fill actually remember you used to be a decent player (despite your worst efforts of the past 5 seasons) and are willing to roll the dice on the slight chance that you might rediscover that form. Suckers. I can't even fathom how many kebabs you're going to stuff your face with on an $80,000/week salary.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
FOX Sports: Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has told Fernando Torres he is still not as good as Thierry Henry at his best, but could get there in time.
"I played in the same team as Thierry Henry, who was like a god," said the 38-year-old shot-stopper.
"There is still a difference. Torres could get there, but it takes a while."
That's right, Jens, there is a difference. Torres has actually scored in the final of a major tournament. You remember, don't you? He did it against you, after all. Thierry Henry, on the other hand, has never scored in the final of a major tournament despite playing in the World Cup final in 98', the Euro final in 2000 and the Champions League final in 2004. As for deity status, Torres was a sort of baby Jesus at Atletico Madrid and after 24 goals in his first season he's already achieved cult hero status amongst the Liverpool supporters. So you're right, Torres is not as good as Henry at his best. He's better.
I just read over this weeks after I originally posted it and I must admit I was a bit out of line. Torres is not better than Henry at his best because Henry at his best is the best player English football has ever seen. It's still an asinine thing for Lehmann to say because it's unfair to compare a soon-to-be great player to one who's already great. Obviously Torres at 24 is not better than Henry in his prime of 28-29, you ponce. He's just sour grapes about that peach of a goal Torres scored in the final so I had to call him out for it. One thing you can do is compare Torres now to Henry at the same age and when you do that Torres is better so there suck on that, Jens.
On a sidenote two players who impressed me immensely were Spanish right-back Sergio Ramos and Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder. Incidentally they both play for a certain Real Madrid who has been making bedroom eyes at that little cunt of ours, Cristiano Ronaldo. Speaking of that prick, let me take this opportunity to get this off my chest:
This is from the heart: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, you're a cunt. You're a selfish, arrogant, diving, greedy, self-absorbed, shameless, conniving, treacherous, childish, petulant, ungrateful, hooker-hiring, mullet-having, man-purse-carrying, cunt. Now fuck off.
Back to my point, since the fucking cunt (hereafter TFC) has expressed his desire to leave for Real Madrid I say let TFC fuck off to Spain as long as United get Sergio Ramos and Sneijder in return. At 22, Sergio Ramos is the ideal long-term replacement for an aging Gary Neville and the left-footed Sneijder can fit in on either wing as well as the heart of the midfield. Nani should be much improved in his 2nd season and if we sign a goalscoring striker like Berbatov or Klaas Jan Huntelaar to fill the 40 goal void I truly don't think we'll miss him. I don't even want any additional cash compensation . I just never want to see TFC in a United jersey ever again.
So let's recap: Hats off to Spain, worthy victors. Cristiano Ronaldo, fuck off. Hi, Sergio Ramos and Wesley Sneijder, cmover?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Nobody really cares about the games tomorrow. We're all just waiting for Portugal vs. Germany on Thursday so here's something to hold you over til' then and boost my page hits a whole lot.
Pretty simple idea, WAGs play the corresponding position of their significant other.
GK Alena Seredova - She's just regal, isn't she? Former Miss Czech Republic, also my aformentioned favy.
LB Cheryl Cole - You know what I always say, if she's good enough for one of the Jonas Brothers she's good enough for me. Ms. Tweedy-Cole brings some major musical "talent" to the table with her tremendously successful Britpop girl group and her little cameo in Will.i.am's catchy "Heartbreaker." And she's a good wholesome norn' english Geordie girl. Her only downside is she's married to a stupid fucking cunt.
Gotta have a girl who seems attainable to the average male, sort of the Lindsay Lohan of the squad. With that I introduce to you...
CB Aida Yespica - Now let's not mince words, she's a big ol' slut, and god bless her for it. Any girl who goes from Italian striker Pippo Inzaghi to Italian defender Matteo Ferrari (omg interracial!) to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is A-OK in my book.
RB Imogen Thomas - Used to date Reading defender Ibrahim Sonko (why? I'm not sure) so she qualifies for the right back position. I'm also a sucker for dimpled Welshmen. She's like a less hairy Ryan Giggs aka perfect.
RM Victoria Beckham - Can't think of anyone more worthy of captaining my WAG XI. Before her the WAG didn't even exist. She single-handedly starts fashion trends. Her tits (what augmentation?) make her look like those fem-bots from Austin Powers and they could probably poke my eyes out but I'm drawn to them nonetheless. And she was really funny on that Coming to America NBC special, personality is a refreshing quality to find in a WAG. Basically, she's an incredible woman.
CM Sylvie van der Vaart - The hottest woman alive. Seriously. I saw but a glimpse of her in the stands at the France-Holland game and she is, without lighting or photoshop or a particularly flattering angle, the most stunningly beautiful woman alive. K now that we're on the same page, moving on...
CM Noemie Lenoir- At 28 she brings some much-needed experience to this squad and some essential full-frontal nudity (note the tattoo location, brilliant stuff). And as the arm candy of pitbull Claude Makelele she brings some steel and man-eating prowess to an admittedly lightweight midfield. If you're wondering how a mug like Makelele gets a nubian princess like Naomi, might I direct your attention to his impressive abdomen.
LM Oksana Andersson - Gotta have a Swede if you're making a list of best WAGs. Well she's Russian-born, actually, thus the Oksana. But the Andersson is a dead giveaway that she's the product of free health care and ABBA. Just what do they put in those meatballs?
CAM Ilary Blasi - Wifey of Francesco Totti. Perhaps the crown jewel of this team with those soul-piercing eyes and that unmercifully sexy name of hers. And the gratuitous nudity doesn't hurt, either.
ST Gemma Atkinson - Ok you're probably thinking there are two problems here:
1. She's a former WAG as she is Cristiano's ex-gf and
2. Cristiano is not a striker.
But I'm one step ahead of you:
1. She's not a former WAG because she's currently dating Marcus Bent who, contrary to popular belief and career statistics, is a professional footballer, and
2. Marcus Bent is a striker. Also, she has really nice surgically-enhanced breasts so I think she's earned her place.
ST Belen Rodriguez - Gotta have an Argentine. Like Sylvie she's been a dutiful and supportive WAG of the sport that has made her famous, making a cameo in the stands of Euro 2008 during the Italy-France game. Looks absolutely stunning in HD.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
So anyway let's run the rule over the 16 and seperate the pretenders from the contenders, alphabetically:
Austria: Co-hosts so I have a soft spot for them but they can't avoid the tag of pretenders. Simply don't have enough quality across the board, probably the weakest team in the tournament. Valiant defensive effort vs Croatia but they still ended up on the losing end and it won't get easier against Poland or Germany.
Croatia: An enigma of a team. Sometimes they can look so dangerous and other times just stale. Good enough to finish 2nd in the group but will bow out in the quarterfinals.
Czech Republic: Don't have the offensive quality they've had in past tournaments and were fortunate to beat a poor Swiss side. They won't make it out of the group stages, losing to a hungrier Turkish side in the deciding final group game.
France: Deja vu of their slow start to their last World Cup run. The difference is now they don't have Zidane to inspire them. At risk of them proving me wrong again I'm gonna label them pretenders because despite their solid defense, Thierry Henry is a shadow of his former self and thus they don't have the finishing touch up front to be considered a contender. But they'll still get out of the group ahead of Italy and Romania. Maybe.
Germany: Definite contenders. Ballack is in the type of form that helped carry Germany to the 2002 World Cup final. Klose and Podolski are two of the most potent offensive threats in the entire tournament and they've got a strong and physical lineup from top to bottom. Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann could be their Achille's heel, wasn't even good enough to start for his club team. I say they lose to Portugal in the semi-finals. There isn't a German that can stop the likes of Joao Moutinho, Quaresma and Deco, let alone that selfish prick of a best player in the world who shall remain unnamed.
Greece: Pretenders. This team needs to get out of this tournament ASAP. They are reigning champions of Europe but they are also a gratingly-boring, defensive-minded, leg-hacking scourge upon the world of football that systematically kills any and all joy a fan might get from watching them play. Sweden finally picked the lock to their defense and as a result we won't see them advance past the group stages, thankfully.
Italy: I guess I can't call the reigning world champions pretenders but they definitely aren't contenders. Simply put, they got rolled on by the Netherlands. They are too old, too poorly coached, and too disjointed and uninspired to get far in this tournament. That being said, they'll probably squeeze a win vs Romania and play for the draw vs France to get 2nd place in the group. Then they'll get rolled on by Spain in the quarterfinals.
Netherlands (Holland): Contenders and in my mind favorites to win it all. They absolutely dismantled and defending world champions. They scored 3 great goals against an Italian team that let up 2 goals throughout their entire run to the World Cup two years ago. Their only weakness could be an unheralded defense but if they can hold it together back there they've also got arguably the best 'keeper in the tournament, midfield steel in Engelaar and de Jong complemented perfectly by creative attackers van der Vaart and Sneijder and led by one of the most reliable and prolific strikers of his time in van Nistelrooy. They'll beat Sweden in the quarterfinal, though not easily, blow by a defensively undisciplined Spanish side in the semi-finals and take out Portugal in the final like they should have 2 years ago. Total football has returned to Holland.
Poland: Plucky bunch of guys, I really feel for em'. Can't call em' pretenders because they play too hard to be stuck with such a tag, but they won't beat Croatia so they won't make it past the group stages.
Portugal: Definite contenders. Probably the most fun team to watch in the tournament and they win games to boot. They Ooze with flair and attacking ability from just about every position, even central defender Pepe has shown he has an eye for goal. They'll beat Croatia in the quarterfinal and might have to go to extra time or penalties to beat Germany in the semi-finals. With the best player in the world in their ranks they can never be counted out but I think Holland will match their speed and one-up them in the final thanks to superior finishing up front.
Romania: Ah these boys hold a special place in my heart. They hold in their ranks a certain Adrian Mutu so despite their atrocious yellow jerseys I always root for em'. Doesn't mean they'll make it out of the "Group of Death" ahead of Italy or Holland. But hey the draw vs France is still something you can hang your hat on.
Russia: Uhh..k I'll be honest, they all have names that end in -ov or -chenko or something ridiculous with a lot of consonants. I can't recognize a single player on that team. They've got some fight in em I guess but any team that lets up 4 goals can't possibly expect to make it out of their group. And they won't.
Spain: Goodness they are fun to watch. Their technical ability is unparalleled and they have hands down the best forward partnership in the tournament with David Villa and Fernando Torres. And I know I said before that Holland's van der Sar is arguably the best 'keeper in the tournament but I take that back now, Casillas is the best in the tournament, unarguably. Still, I'm not convinced by their defense. They're undisciplined and lack focus at times which will cost them against a predatory finisher like van Nistelrooy.
Sweden: Will finish 2nd in the group behind Spain and lose in the quarterfinals to a superior Holland side. That being said if there is one chance of a major upset its Sweden over Holland. So I guess this is a quasi-upset special but not really because I have faith in the Oranje.
Switzerland: Co-hosts so I'm rooting for them. They won't make it out of the group but I think they'll give at least one of the host nations something to cheer about when they pull the minor upset vs Turkey, even without their injured captain/all-time leading goalscorer.
Turkey: Baklava and kebabs aside, I'm just not feeling the Turks. They lack a distinct identity, another sort of enigma of a team that has talent in its ranks but just can't pull it together. Which is why they'll be the victim of my actual upset special when they fall to the Swiss.
So, to recap:
Group winners Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, and Spain will advance to the semi-finals and proceed to beat the hell out of each other. When the dust has settled Netherlands will be top of the pile with coach Marco van Basten, the man who hoisted the trophy as a player 20 years ago, lifting it once again to the delight of the Dutch. Golden Boot (top goalscorer) winner will be Ruud van Nistelrooy. Player of the tournament will be Wesley Sneijder. Or maybe selfish man purse wearing Portuguese prick who shall remain unnamed, can't count that guy out he's not half-bad. Now disregard everything I just said, I'm no Nastrodamus.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Exhibit A: Robinho
The Brazilian nino has just "revealed" that United have a proposal:
"There are proposals, yes. One is from Manchester United which would be in exchange for Cristiano Ronaldo and the other is from Chelsea."
Of course by revealed he really means fabricated out of thin air to make it seem like he's even remotely come close to fulfilling the potential he had 5 years ago which saw him dubbed "the next Pele" by none other than Pele himself. Truth is he hasn't. In 3 seasons with Real Madrid he's chalked up a paltry 35 goals in 131 appearances. To put that into perspective, Ronaldo scored 42 goals this season alone in just 48 games. And he's better looking. And he has hooker orgies. Sorry nino, can't win this one.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Anyway it's 13 days between now and the start of the European Championships in Austria & Switzerland so here's a little something to hold you over until we can see Cristiano and the boys doing it big in Portuguese maroon (yes I've adopted them as my team in lieu of England's absence); his unofficial top 5 free kicks of his remarkable season complete with awful techno music (also helps me forget about that penalty miss):
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Because I'll be too much of a nervous wreck during the game to live blog and too drunk/ecstatic/depressed/furious/at a loss for words depending on the result to blog after.
Don't expect a prediction, I'm definitely not daft enough to do that and tempt the football gods.
In fact, fuck it, I'm too much of a nervous wreck right now to give a preview. I'll just ask that you all cheer on the Red Devils like I will be like a raving lunatic in the comfort of my own home.
OMG OMFG LESS THAN AN HOUR TIL KICKOFF!!
This post hasn't been much of a preview, more a way to expend nervous energy. For all your CL Final needs including a Live Blog, a drinking game, and previews and predictions abound head on over to the fine people at The Offside.
Anyway I'm off to watch the pre-game. C'MONNNNN UNNNNIIIIITTTEEEEDDD
**ESPN First Take Segway: "The..uh..UEFA Champion Final coming up right now" Can't make this stuff up.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
He's dreadful, in fact. Sure he's got raw talent but so does Kwame Brown. The difference between Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum is that Andrew Bynum has actually developed his talent into tangible skill. Andrew Bynum also has a discernible basketball IQ. Jermaine Jenas is talented, sure, but his football IQ is negative. I just finished watching the Tottenham-Liverpool game from last week and though he shows flashes of promise overall he's ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL. SERIOUSLY. HE'S REALLY BAD. HOW IS HE ON THE ENGLAND NATIONAL TEAM?
Friday, May 16, 2008
The latest rumor is that Cardiff have already agreed to sell young Ramsey to Manchester United for a fee of around 5 million pounds and the deal will be announced after the final on Saturday. Ferguson reportedly sees him as a long-term successor to Paul Scholes. He already seems to have the right attitude to replace Scholesy. About the recent rumors Ramsey said, "The media stories don’t affect me whatsoever. Obviously I hear about it, I just don’t take any notice." He also said in a recent interview that he was more nervous about his final exams this time last year than he is about the upcoming final. He should fit right in at Old Trafford. Ramsey cites fellow Welshman Ryan Giggs as his all-time hero (surefire sign he's coming to United) so if that's any indication of things to come then 5 million should turn out to be a shrewd investment for another 20 years of Welsh wizardry.
**Quick aside, while looking for an image to post I google-imaged him and came across Aaron Ramsey's profile on some Welsh social networking site. It's good for a laugh. Let's just say he isn't the sharpest spike in the cleat. My personal favorite:
Scared Of: "nuthin im hard as nais.hmm wel sum say i am but i wouldnt like to cum that close to tarantulars if thats how u spell it."
I'll update this space after I actually see him play on Saturday. Then I'll mitigate or exaggerate my comments above as needed.
**UPDATE: Came on as a substitute during the FA Cup final and played the final half-hour. No need to mitigate or exaggerate, he's exactly what I thought he was, a 17 year old with a lot to learn but absolutely oozing with talent.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Not a single one of these players need my verbal backing to validate their place in the team of the season. Their play on the field speaks for themselves but I'll still sprinkle a bit of well-deserved praise upon them.
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard - Everton
A few years on after a disappointing spell at United, Howard has cut the nonsense out of his game to become one of the most reliable keepers for one of the stingiest defenses in England. Also he was probably the deciding factor between Everton and Aston Villa in the race for 5th place. I mean have you seen Scott Carson?
Right Back: Glen Johnson - Portsmouth
Like Howard, Johnson is another reject from a big club who's finally come good on his potential. He's enjoyed by far the best season of his career as a vital cog in the Portsmouth rearguard. Despite his penchant for committing the oddest of crimes, I'm sure Chelsea would love to have him back and put the 16 million pounds they just spent on Portuguese right back Jose Bosingwa to better use. (16 MILLION?? For a right back? Fucking jokers)
Center Back: Joleon Lescott - Everton
He has an unusually large and odd-shaped head that's helped him score 8 goals this season, mostly off headers, which is not a bad haul for a defender. He's marshaled the aformentioned Everton defense brilliantly throughout the season and has been the one mainstay in a revolving door of a back four. And he has a gnarly scar on his forehead which is great for intimidation purposes. What more can be said about him? He's got the makings of an England legend.
Center Back: Wes Brown - Manchester United
Yes I know he plays for one of the big 4 but let's not kid ourselves, if Gary Neville hadn't been injured all season young Wesley wouldn't have had a sniff of playing time. That being said, Wes has shaken my beliefs to the core this season by consistently putting in one competent performance after another. Previous to this season the last two words I would've associated with Wes Brown are consistent and competent. It's like my retarded son suddenly isn't retarded anymore. I mean I'm happy, but it's just weird. He must be on steroids.
Left Back: Nicky Shorey - Reading
You may think it bit daft of me to put in a defender who played for one of the worst defenses in the league, letting up a whooping 66 goals, on a team that was so bad they're not allowed back next year (they were relegated). Well it's not daft if he tallies up 10 assists and 3 goals, especially on such a bad team. Plus he completes my all-English defense.
Right Midfield: David Bentley - Blackburn
The other DB of similar Kickette fame (for the ladies) and free kick abilities (for the boys) makes it into the squad after a breakout year scoring 6 goals and dishing 10 assists to help Blackburn to a very respectable 7th place finish. Like ya boy Becks, the other David should be a mainstay for the England squad for years to come and, if he plays his cards right, he could also land a fat MLS contract when he hits his mid-30's. He's clearly destined for pastures greener than any Blackburn can offer. And there probably isn't much pop star wife material in Lancashire, either.
Center Midfield: Gareth Barry - Aston Villa
If I had to pick a captain for this team, Gareth Barry would without a doubt be donning the armband. He has been simply inspirational both for England and Aston Villa. His football IQ is incredible, natural leader on and off the field, and he's the owner of the most cultured left foot since Jason Ackerman. 9 goals and 10 assists later he's earned himself a starting job in the hotly contested England midfield and probably a move to Liverpool. God I hope he doesn't go to Liverpool. That would suck. That would really suck. That would "douche bag arch-rival stole my girlfriend" suck. Gareth Barry would be my girlfriend in this analogy.
Center Midfield: Elano - Manchester City
As talanted a passer as they come and a deadly long-range shot in his arsenal as well, the least Brazilian-looking Brazilian since Anderson Varejao makes the cut thanks to a sublime 1st half of the season and despite his disappointing 2nd half. Sven Goran Eriksson's crown jewel suffered a severe mid-season slump with only one goal from mid-October to early March but still managed 8 goals and 9 assists thanks to a strong start and decent finish.
Left Midfield: Ashley Young - Aston Villa
Another young lad with a penchant for peculiar antics. Ok peculiar isn't the right word, how about bizarre...no it's weird, it's fucking weird. Should get along great with Glen Johnson. So he may be a creep but on the field he's brilliant. Fastest player I've seen this side of Cristiano Ronaldo but he's a much better crosser of the ball. And he actually likes to pass the ball with a league-best 17 assists so at least he's got that over Ronaldo.
Striker: Roque Santa Cruz - Blackburn
Bargain basement buy of the season, hands down. Mark Hughes bought him for 3.5 million pounds in the summer and he went on to score 19 goals, 4th best in the league. To put this in perspective, Fernando Torres scored 24 goals this season, 3rd best in the league. He was bought for 26 million pounds. Also ups the latin heartthrob factor of my team which should bump up jersey sales.
Striker: Dimitar Berbatov - Tottenham
Perfect strike partner to complement the deadly finishing of Roque. With 15 on the season he knows how to score, that's for sure. But with 11 assists as well he's also proven himself to be one of the more well-rounded forwards in the game today. He holds the ball up well and links very well with the midfield and fellow forwards. His first touch and dribbling ability is effortless and immaculate and he has a 6th sense of where everyone is on the field. Am I flirting with hyperbole? Maybe. But I've also never seen a player like him since Eric Cantona, dead serious. The boy's a bit special.
Honorable Mentions (plus why they didn't make the cut):
David James (atrocious hairstyles, have you no dignity?), Martin Laursen (inconsistent, too many Aston Villa players already), Benjani (15 goals, 3 since January), Stewart Downing (I just plain don't like him)
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Solution: Ethnic cleansing, duh.
Ok maybe too radical, how about a series of mandatory American culture classes featuring classes on toughness taught by Bill Laimbeer or domestic spousal abuse taught by Jason Kidd. Let's teach them how to be real men.
Ooor, y'know what? Let's just keep it simple, interment camps.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Scholesy's 30 yard screamer proved to be the difference in an enthralling, and at times nerve-wracking, fixture. Barcelona had their chances to equalize but at times I could have sworn we were playing Arsenal out there with Barcelona oddly reluctant to actually test us with some shots on goal. Another puzzling choice was that of Thierry Henry, so often deadly against us in his old Arsenal days, starting on the bench and only coming on with 20 minutes to play. This is surely Rijkaard's final season coaching Barcelona after another trophy-less season where he has shown he can no longer handle the many superstar personalities of Barcelona.
Now to the player ratings:
Cristiano Ronaldo: 5/10 Petulant and immature, sloppy and selfish with possession and didn't match the effort of his teammates. Predictably ineffectual in the big game once again and I was a bit disappointed he wasn't subbed off instead of Nani late on.
Nani: 7/10 Pace caused Barcelona problems all night and upstaged his fellow Portuguese high-stepper.
Carlos Tevez: 7/10 An absolute pitbull up front and did well to disrupt the flow of Barcelona.
Paul Scholes: 9/10 Scored the vital goal and showed once again why he's one of the great midfielders of his generation with his intelligent and accurate passing.
Michael Carrick: 6/10 Did well to help Scholes manage the midfield and protect the backline.
Park Ji-Sung: 7/10 Gave us an incredible level of energy from start to finish, even coming close to scoring a couple times.
Owen Hargreaves: 7/10 Overall did well protecting his flank but ineffectual supporting the attack and had a couple nervous moments defending.
Patrice Evra: 8/10 Excellent defending and never once made me worry about any Barcelona attacks from the right wing. Also supported the left-wing attack and combined well with Ronaldo.
Wes Brown: 9/10 I usually give him a hard time, but he actually played excellent in place of the injured Vidic.
Rio Ferdinand: 8/10 Led by example wearing the captain's armband. The backline was superb and
Edwin van der Sar: 7/10 Typically steady in goal.
Man of the Match: Wes Brown. Scholes is the sentimental favorite plus he scored the winner but I'm gonna give it to the darkhorse. Against, in my opinion, the most dangerous attack in all of Europe, he stepped into Vidic's place and produced a fine defensive display without which we probably would've conceded a goal late on.
All-around solid performance especially without the services of Rooney and Vidic but still much to improve, particularly from Ronaldo's end, before we can dream about lifting the cup in Moscow.
...and say the Atlanta Hawks will steal, or more like wrestle, Game 5 away from the Celtics in Boston and win the series back in Atlanta. Yes, the same Atlanta Hawks who had a losing record in the regular season. Yes, the same Boston Celtics who had a league-best 66 wins. Incidentally that's one less win than Dallas had last year.
What I'm saying is, come playoff time, the regular season counts for nothing more than that one extra home game against your opponent. It's all about matchups. Dallas won 67 games last season and lost in the first round to another 8 seed, the Warriors, because they simply didn't matchup well against Nellie's breakneck speed offense and prolific 3-pt shooting. They worked for every ball with guys like Andris Biedrins inhaling rebounds. Players like Matt Barnes stepped up like no one could've imagined and provided that little bit of extra to push them past the finish line. And they had a talismanic leader in Baron Davis, a player that no one player on the Mavs could stop, supplemented by Stephen Jackson's timely perimeter shooting.
The Hawks present a similar challenge to the Celtics. They have finally found their sea legs, or playoff legs, in two games at home in Atlanta, and more importantly they've found a formula to beat the Celtics that they have yet to find an answer for. Al Horford is playing beyond his years as a rookie in his first playoff series and is consistently beating Perkins and Garnett at their own game and cleaning up on the boards. They're getting unexpected production from Josh Childress, especially on the boards, and a particularly unexpected emotional boost off the bench from Zaza Pachulia. Bibby is finally letting the game come to him, scoring 18 on only 8 shots and managing the game like a true point guard should. Josh Smith is having a stellar playoff debut, the kind of series that cements you as a star in this league. He's making his free throws, leading the brilliant defensive effort by example (7 blocks!), and maybe most importantly providing a reliable 2nd scoring option to Joe Johnson. Most noticeably the entire team is playing with a degree of poise that just about everyone, including myself, didn't think they were capable of. The best part of it all is that the Celtics didn't even play poorly. The Big 3 combined for about 60 which almost always paves the way to victory for Boston.
I can honestly say, without exaggeration, that Joe Johnson's performance tonight was one of the great individual playoff performances I've seen in my lifetime. I know many will be reluctant to agree with this sentiment because it's just the Hawks, because it's just Joe Johnson, because they believe the Celtics will win out in the end anyway. I'm fine with that. The truth is Joe Johnson scored 35, 20 in the 4th quarter, on above 50% shooting, against the arguably the best defense in the league (statistically 2nd best) featuring the Defensive Player of the Year. Those are the numbers, those are the facts. But let's go beyond the numbers. I watched this game. I watched the 4th quarter. I watched as Joe Johnson toyed, teased, and tortured the Celtics with a vast arsenal of fakes, drives, floaters, fallaways, pullups, pivots, trey pounds (3 pointers for you lames), and when needed the vital dish to one of his teammates. They had no answer for him. For all of his offensive prowess, Ray Allen was helpless guarding Johnson and with the likes of Smith, Horford and Bibby on the floor the Celtics had their hands tied. Kind of reminded me of McGrady's series vs Detroit (1 vs 8 seed) back when he was with the Magic, simply unstoppable.
I'll say it again, it comes down to matchups. But it also comes down to belief and effort. Put simply, the Celtics can't stop Joe Johnson. If they double him there's still Josh Smith who can drive and finish or at least get to the free throw line at will. If they can replicate the effort they showed tonight on defense and on the boards and if coach Mike Woodson (who?) can manage the rotation and timeouts as well as he did, then it just comes down to belief. And they believe. Did you see the Georgian sensation Zaza Pachulia give Garnett that forehead-to-forehead love tap? Could you have ever imagined that happening watching the first two games in Boston? Then again, could you have ever imagined that According to Jim would still be on television? I think I've made my point.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Things I hate:
1. United "fans" who are on their fucking phones the entire game about "maybe getting a couple bottles because y'know bro we'll probably roll with a crew of about 16, probably 10 dudes, but y'know bro nobody wants to commit because it's a lot of money and I'm gonna stay on the phone with you bro for 15 minutes and reiterate this same sentiment with little to no progress being made by the time I finally get off of the phone with you." AND THEN they come back and sit down to catch the end of the game, giving some empty applause for some empty effort on the field. Then they clap it up at the final whistle, feeling satisfied with a goalless draw where we squander a penalty opportunity away from home and get dominated on posession 2 to 1 from start to finish. Why do they do this? Because they don't really see what's going on in front of them because they're NOT REAL FUCKING FANS.
2. Headlines like "United Grind Out Valuable Draw" and "Solid Display Pleases Boss". They just don't sit well with me. Pleases? That kind of performance pleases you, Sir Alex? Where are our standards? I thought we were trying to make it to the Champions League final not just scrape by. We're in it to win it and you sure as fuck don't win it with 7 shots vs 20 from Barcelona, lack of direction, focus and shape, and generally dreadful play over 90 minutes. 27% posession? Were we allergic to the ball? And how exactly is this a good result for us? It makes the return game in Manchester a must-win while Barcelona only needs to score at least a goal and not lose. To qualify this as a good result I would have to be confident that we play better next game. Right now, I'm not.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo in big game situations. I know that's not exactly fair for me to say just a week after he stepped up for a penalty, stutter stepped, and scored against Arsenal--twice. But that still doesn't excuse the way he took that penalty today. Trying to power it just inside the post instead of just sending the keeper the wrong way and slotting it home comfortably. Fucking amateur. Steven Gerrard would have put it away. That's why he has a Champions League winner's medal and Ronaldo doesn't. There, I said it. Gerrard comes through in the clutch. Ronaldo falls down under challenges from defenders too easily and too often that when he does actually get fouled, particularly on two potential penalty calls in the 2nd half, the ref won't call it because he's the fucking pretty boy who cried wolf. And he loses his killer instinct that he usually has, his swag, and regresses to the Ronaldo of 4-5 years ago--holding the ball too long and either flicking fancy but harmless backpasses or just losing posession and falling to the ground...again.
Things I love:
Real World: Hollywood. Between Will and Sarah's forbidden romance, Joey's alcoholism, and Kimberly's latent racism; it's the only thing keeping me going.
All of the above being said, the most pivotal moment of the game came just before half-time when Rafa Marquez cynically tripped up Ronaldo and earned himself a yellow card--and more importantly, a suspension from the game in Manchester. With Barcelona shorn of their best and most tenacious defender and talismanic captain Carles Puyol still injured, United are actually in a good position to win back in Manchester, despite their worst efforts.
*Update: Puyol is not injured, he was just suspended, and he'll be back for next week's clash. So scratch that bit of optimism I had before. On the bright side Derek Rae wrote an article agreeing with my position on the perils of a goalless away draw which at least lets me know I'm not a ranting raving idiot. I'm just ranting and raving.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The 2008 NBA Playoffs:
Where A.I. never left Philadelphia.
Where I've never seen a head coach as happy as Maurice Cheeks to win the first game of the first round of the playoffs.
Where the Orlando Magic are still the league's best kept secret.
Where Lamar Odom finally justifies the Caron Butler trade.
Where Maurice Cheeks, Byron Scott, Doc Rivers, Avery Johnson, and Mike D'Antoni (all former point guards) give hope to Knicks fans the world over with just two words: Mark Jackson (supplemented by three more words: Jeff Van Gundy).
Well that was fun, let me try it some more:
Wes Brown signing a new 4 year deal, where my hairline visibly recedes.
Wes Brown signing a new 4-year deal, where heart trumps head and you really can't imagine the boy wearing anything but United red.
15 goals in 3 games, where any doubt over who is heir to Sir Alex Ferguson's job is surely erased.
15 goals in 3 games, where any doubt over who should fill the left wing problem for England is erased. Hey, he may not be the sharpest tool in the ol' shed, but he sure knows how to polish one.
The movie theater on a Monday night at 10, where confused prepubescent boys go to watch humor way over their heads and brief full frontal male nudity with their parents.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, where the title changes to Hi, Mila Kunis, Be My Wife? in my mind's eye.
12:35 am after writing inspiration from Jason Segel, where opportunity meets execution and writer's bloc finally ends. Enjoy the eye candy/my future wife.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Truth is I really should be doing a "Hi, I'm Cristiano Ronaldo" post based on his other-worldly performances of late. It's come to a point where if he doesn't score a goal it's weird. Ronaldo scoring is a non-event. That's nuts. Here's a look at his last 10 league starts: 13 goals, 4 assists. THAT'S NUTS. To put his absurd season in perspective let's compare it to the other greatest single season performance by a Manchester United winger. George Best, widely regarded as the greatest and most gifted to ever wear the United red, scored 32 goals in 52 games in the 1967-68 season. Ronaldo has already obliterated that mark and with this genius backheel on Sunday brought his total on the season to 35 goals...in 37 games.
Your agility owes his agility 20 bucks. His quick smells like french toast (french toast?). His better is better than your better (waaaaay better).
(Real winner of this post: Nike Marketing Department)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Depressing Stat of the Night for Depressed Knicks Fans to Make Their Lives What Was Previously Thought to Be Impossible - More Depressing:
Only 2 other players have scored 50 points and dished 10 assists in a game in the last 20 years. Michael Jordan and, yup, Stephon Marbury. Yeah, 13.8 ppg Stephon Marbury. Coney Island's finest. Underachiever of all underachievers.
Ok seriously though, this is the stuff of legend. Pre-game dunk contest, half-time buzzer beater, mouthing "Fif-ty" to Spike Lee when he only had 37 in the 4th quarter, a fan so moved by his performance he actually got out of his seat and went up to him to tell him, dazzling play after dazzling play, effortless 3-point shooting, and oh yeah FIFTY. It's a game we'll look back on 10 years from now, the same way we look back on Jordan's 55 at the Garden after he came back from retirement, and think "Wow, greatness."
"As we are people of fair play, we have brought a bottle of red wine chosen from the year Benzema was born," he told The Sun.
"It's from 1987 - a very fine wine.
"Instead of buying Benzema, he will get a bottle of fine Bordeaux."
Tsk, tsk, Jean-Michel...
How Aulas thought he was in an appropriate position to taunt us with his team up against the wall facing an away game nightmare and needing to score at Old Trafford is beyond me. Oh hubris, it'll getcha. Funny thing is, a Bordeaux wine doesn't score many goals. Unlike, say, Cristiano Ronaldo who scores a great deal of goals. Take the one he scored yesterday against Aulas' very own Lyon to knock them out of the Champions League, scrappy goal but a goal nonetheless. Keep Benzema, a fine 87' Bordeaux sounds like just the right thing to toast this victory, cheers.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Note: I'm leaving the video up at the top of the page. It's a sort of ode to the abstract, mouthful, rebel without a cause early days of this blog. Now I've sold my soul and become a slave to conformity. Plus I'm tired of explaining the seagulls quote to the unenlightened and getting blank stares/pity laughter. Real post coming later this week after business school has its way with me. And with that here's a namesake commemorative Top 10 Eric Cantona Goals to brighten all our spirits:
Friday, February 29, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
3. Being a member of N'SYNC
2. Being asked to judge for "America's Best Dance Crew" after Chris Judd and Michael Jackson's brother Tito both declined AND despite his distinct lack of dancing talent
1. Being asked to guest star on Blaque's chart-topper "Bring It All To Me" where he got to pretend to be "so for real", wear tims, baggy jeans and have "thug appeal". His words, not mine. Ok let me get back on point...
United Hold Lyon, Gain Upper Hand
United gave me a bit of scare midweek by almost losing at Lyon in the Champions League. Thankfully Carlos Tevez equalized on a scrappy goal in the dying stages to earn United a valuable away goal and the upper hand in their two-leg affair. Too many appendages in that last sentence. Not much to say about this game except that Karim Benzema is the truth in the booth and is, without a doubt, one of the brightest young talents in all of football. Straight up. The holy trinity of French-North Africans he's about to form with Hatem Ben Arfa and Samir Nasri is going to terrorize teams from World Cup 2010 to infinity and beyond. And the just the thought of this possibilty nearly gives me an aneurysm. But , yknow, like a good aneurysm.
United Run Riot
United followed up an impressive CL away performance with another impressive away performance as they embarassed Newcastle in front of their home crowd 5-1. Rooney and Ronaldo scored twice each and Saha added the 5th. United were never troubled from the outset, just a comprehensive demoralization. Oh yea and Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world, no big deal.
Reigning World Player of the Year, Kaka: 8 goals in 18 appearances.
Leading candidate for WPY, C. Ronaldo : 29 goals in 23 appearances.
(Strong) Advantage: Cristiano Ronaldo
The Italian Job
Fiorentina succumbed away at Roma, 1-0. Don't wanna talk much more about it, it's a touchy subject.
And Finally...Fuck You, Chelsea
The Chelski scum were beaten in the Carling Cup final 2-1 thanks to an extra-time winner from new signing Jonathan Woodgate. Suck on that you billionaire bastards.
Monday, February 18, 2008
What I like most about this consummate ass-beating was the virtual 2nd team that handed out the beating. All the pre-game chatter was about how Arsenal would rest their stars and United had the luxury of a full squad including the return of Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra from suspension. Rooney and Evra did return to the starting lineup but that lineup also included a 5-man midfield of all second choice players. Regular starters Hargreaves, Scholes, Giggs, and Tevez were sitting as well as most notably Cristiano Ronaldo. Supposedly the game meant more to United. Didn't seem that way with the likes of Hleb, Kolo Toure and Fabregas all starting for Arsenal when they were all expected to sit meanwhile walking disaster Darren Fletcher started in our midfield as Ronaldo and his 27 goals sat on the sideline. The result was another masterstroke from Ferguson as the fresh-legged 5-man midfield and well-rested Rooney oozed energy and flair and blindsided Arsenal with 3 first half goals. Darren Fletcher added the 4th in the 2nd half after yet more domination, his 2nd of the game (shocking, I know). I'm a bit disappointed we didn't score 5.
Wayne Rooney came back from suspension and showed just what United were missing in last week's loss to City as he could not be contained. His energy was incredible and he was at his precocious best. Unfortunately he was at his petulant worst picking up a completely unnecessary yellow card for time-wasting.
Nani had a hand in all 4 goals, scoring once and assisting twice. Both assists were to Darren Fletcher as the two briefly created a partnership to rival that of Stockton to Malone. His two headed goals aside, Fletcher was, predictably, otherwise generally inept. Anderson also caught the eye with a typically energetic performance, doggedly chasing down and winning almost every ball in his vicinity as well as making the odd intelligent pass. If you take away the dreadlocks, turn his skin color white, and replace his soft-spoken broken English with an Irish bark; you could easily mistake him for a young Roy Keane.
Adebayor was booked for diving in the box to prompt a rousing rendition of the classic chant "Same old Arsenal, always cheating" from the capacity crowd. Eboue was red carded for a heinous aerial assault on Evra. And to top it off captain William Gallas was lucky to escape punishment for a petulant kick at Nani after he made him look silly by running circles around him. You could almost say they were as dirty as Chris Berman's mouth. Almost.
Man of the Match: Michael Carrick
Made a case for a starting spot with his 2nd successive impressive performance after his goal last week vs Man City. Quietly dominated the midfield from start to finish with impressively subtle ball control and a brilliant array of passing talents on display. Also created the play of the game as he delivered a pinpoint lofted pass from 40 yards away to the foot of Nani which he tucked away for the 3rd goal.
Man United travel to France midweek for the first leg of their tie with Lyon in the Champions League. Lyon is grossly underrated and they sort of make me nervous but coming off a confidence-boosting performance like this and with the return of Tevez, Giggs, and Ronaldo to the squad I'm cautiously optimistic we'll come home with an important away victory.
The Italian Job
Mutu is the fucking man. Nothing much else to report here. The win puts Fiorentina ahead of AC Milan in 4th place. It was Mutu's 13th goal of the season. No official statistic of his supermodel count this season but it's probably a similar figure.