Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Fournier out at PSG

It is a shame that Fournier is out at PSG...dropping down to sixth and being out of the Ligue Cup made Fournier's stay short lived. Fournier had not been on the job for a year, just around 6 months. This makes the move ridiculous and terrible for the club. PSG had played well during the season rising as high as second, the recent few games have seem PSG drop to 6th, but only 1 point out of second place. The rulers at PSG demonstrated a lack of understanding and patients with the manager. Watching a team like Lyon it is apparant you need continuity to ensure success. Changing Managers every 6 months will not bring that continuity.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Henry to Barca?

The rumors keep rearing their ugly head...meaning it might be true. If Henry leaves Arsenal, Wenger would have lost two of his most influential players - Vieira and Henry. Granted he was able to recover after losing similar players in the past - Petit, Anelka, Overmars etc, but not sure he is ready to restock the club as well as he did last time. Darker days may be ahead for the north london club...

Friday, December 09, 2005

ESPN idiots part II

Then again who would have thought that Greece would beat Portugal (in Portugal twice), France, the Czech Republic to win the European Cup in 2004?????

ESPN idiots?

For any of you who watched the WC draw on ESPN 2 you would have heard Wynalda and Balboa talk about who they saw as "pretenders" and "contenders." While it irks me they claimed France was a "pretender" I can see where they made that call, although their analysis was about as deep as a puddle of water in the desert. They claimed that France had a bunch of old players...granted Zidane, Makelele and Thuram are on the wrong side of 30 but last I checked Henry, Trezeguet, Cisse, Vieira, Gallas were in their prime all playing much higher level of football than Balboa or Wynalda ever did. It also seems that Zidane, Makelele, and Thuram all play important roles for Real Madrid, Chelsea and Juventus....anyways...what really drove me crazy was their assertion that the US had a real chance to win the world cup this year, and they were serious. I wonder if they would still make that statement seeing the draw - Italy, Czech Rep, and Ghana....In addition to having to play the Czechs first, then the Italians...the Ghana game could be an exhibition game. If the USA gets out of their group, I would assume that it would be as second place team, they would have to meet the winner of Group F....which should be Brazil.....if they can get through that then the US deserves to be WC champions. Maybe Mr Balboa and Wynalda should drink some reality cool aid first.

The draw is out

For the futball junkie in all of us here is the draw for the WC:

GROUP A
Germany
Costa Rica
Poland
Ecuador

GROUP B
England
Paraguay
Trinidad & Tobago
Sweden

GROUP C
Argentina
Ivory Coast
Serbia & Montenegro
Holland

GROUP D
Mexico
Iran
Angola
Portugal

GROUP E
Italy
Ghana
USA
Czech Republic

GROUP F
Brazil
Croatia
Australia
Japan

GROUP G
France
Switzerland
South Korea
Togo

GROUP H
Spain
Ukraine
Tunisia
Saudi Arabia


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Essien the goon?

I final got to see the horrible tackle Essien dished out the Liverpool's Hamann, after a similar tackle earlier in the season vs Bolton. Essien has not been known as a dirty player, but these two horrible and unnecassary tackles will quickly put Essien right in the bull's eye as a dirty player. Both tackles were extremely high, right above the opposing players knee, something that can easily break a leg, tear up a knee etc. We all stared in shock as Keane went at Haaland of Man City in similar fashion tearing up his knee. Keane admited that he did this on purpose, knowing that this was a manner of injuring a player.

Essien has attempted two similar tackles in less than half a season at Chelsea. He is suppose to be Chelsea's "hard man" but this not a way to get that title. He needs to avoid becoming seen as the "goon" of Chelsea, not a moniker anyone desires, least of all a player of Essien's talent.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Champions League

Manchester United crashes out with a lose to Benefica...I must chuckle.....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The World Cup seeds are out

For the futball junkie in all of us, the world cup seeds and "pots" have been determined:

POT ONE
Germany (hosts)
Brazil (holders)
Argentina
England
France
Italy
Mexico
Spain
POT TWO
Australia
Angola
Ghana
Ivory Coast
Togo
Tunisia
Ecuador
Paraguay
POT THREE
Croatia
Czech Republic
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine
POT FOUR
Iran
Japan
Saudi Arabia
South Korea
Costa Rica
Trinidad & Tobago
US
Special pot: Serbia & Montenegro

What is to note is the United States just missed out on being a seeded team, I think if that had happened that would have immediately been the weakest group. But now I think the Pots are balanced, with no clear ability to get a "group of death." I think having Portugal, Czech Rep, Holland in the same pot ensures that there is not a group with 3 power house nations. I think that the Ivory Coast could cause problems, with players like Drogba and Kalou they have the talent to create an upset. The US I think is the best team in Pot Four, I am not afraid of either former WC hosts - South Korea and Japan (of course watch one them upset Les Bleus!). From the "pots" I think we will see well balanced groups, with two strong nations, 1 up and coming and 1 just happy to be there.

Of course I will not be surprised if Brazil gets "drawn" with Angola, Ukraine and Trinidad....because FIFA would not want to see Brazil suffer too much in the first round.....until Friday....

Monday, December 05, 2005

Lyon rolls on

I sat through a painful 90 minutes this weekend, and no it was not the fact that Arsenal could not beat Bolton, but the fact that PSG looked like a JV team compared to Olympique Lyonnaise. Lyon easily defeated PSG 2-0 securing their spot at top of Ligue 1. What impressed me is the main reason why Lyon is favored to win its 5th straight domestic title as well as go far in the Champion's League - cohesion. Lyon looked like a team that has been together for a while, a team that has developed and maintained its rythm and system. While the team that Lyon has today is different that the one they had 4 years ago, the main pieces remain: Juninho running the midfield, Coupet in net, Govou using his speed to break down defenses, Diarra moping up the midfield etc. But they have demonstrated an ability to bring in players that play the system - the midfield of Tiago - Diarra - Juninho is the strongest in France and one of the strongest in Europe (to think that it used to have Essien instead of Tiago). Tiago has slipped in without missing a beat. The front line which can interchange Carew, Fred, Govou, Wiltord is scarey. With Malouda running one of the flanks, this attacking side is very dangerous. Lyon moved the ball with ease, never really being under threat from PSG.

While PSG, a team I think will become much better before the end of the year, seemed to be out of sync. Too many passes behind teammates, too many missed opportunities, too many players out of position (something the commentators notably pointed out). I think the midfield of Rothens - Dhorasso - Kalou can match the magic of Lyon, but it still needs time to develope. PSG also needs another striker to support Pauleta (maybe Cisse from Liverpool?). I think that PSG will end the season in 2nd or 3rd place, but I doubt whether or not they will get within reasonable striking distance from Lyon.

Who would have thought that Chelsea would have a harder fight for the Premiership than Lyon would have with Ligue 1.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Crouch the stork

Why is Crouch starting for Liverpool? I have no idea what Rafa is so enchanted with Crouch and allows Cisse to rot on the bench. Crouch sticks out on the pitch, not because of his talent but because of his height. I realize that he can control the airial game, but even that he is not that great. With players like Garcia and Alonso who can spring any player with deft passes, why is Liverpool sticking a slow footed striker infront of them? A combo of Morientes and Cisse with Gerrard/Garcia/Alonso supporting them, Liverpool would cause teams fits, the speed and pace of Morietes and Cisse would force defenses to back up, opening up the midfield for the talented players Liverpool has there. With Crouch teams can push up their defense, knowing that he will not beat them with spead. While he is a giant, he remains a little light, and easily gets pushed around.

Let Crouch develop his game, maybe he will prove to be a solid striker but not right now.
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