Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Does PSG have a plan, or are they just collecting toys?

The Manchester City of the Seine is at it again, with the winter transfer window a few weeks away, PSG is rumored to be involved in a host of big transfers;
  • Beckham from LA Galaxy seems like a done deal.
  • The Apache - Tevez - might be heading to Paris rather than Milan
  • Kalou could take the Eurostar from London to Paris
  • Kolo Toure might actually go from Manchester City in Manchester to Manchester City on the Seine.
  • Now there are even "rumors" of Villa and Higuain being looked at...
 Looks interesting on paper, for fantasy soccer and for L'Equipe, but does any of this really make sense on the field? As the article from Sports24 mentions, how would these players fit into the general direction of the club? Where would they play and who would be the odd man out?

I can't run that way anymore...
Beckham: Where would you slot him? Out on the right? Push Menez to the bench? Golden Balls can no longer play in the middle of the park, I know he did that with the Galaxy, but all due respect to the MLS, that is not the same as playing the role in Europe. But that would push out other players from the mix, and again not sure Becks can last 90 minutes in that role.

Tevez: Gameiro does not seem to be the issue, he is on pace to lead Ligue 1 again in goals. Granted having Tevez would be an upgrade, but does PSG really have a dire need there? They have Hourau coming back as well. And they currently choose to play with a lone striker, with Tevez, Hourau and Gameiro there will not be much time to go around.

Kalou: Unlike Tevez, could play other front line roles - lone striker, deep lying striker, winger etc so would give PSG more options, might be a good signing.

Toure: Getting a bit long in the tooth, but clearly PSG have struggled with their central defensive pairing, could the former Gunner be the answer to partner with Sakho? Not sure, but after signing a number of central defenders this summer why dip into that pool again?

Villa and Higuain...uh not going to happen so no need to discuss.

I will have this many assists if I can play deeper
Once again I feel we are seeing what we saw with Chelsea and Manchester City when they found new wealth - sign a bunch of names without any regard to your on field direction! Granted it is easier to figure things out when you have a collection of talent and are not concerned about cutting bait and absorbing costs, but with some thought you can avoid that step in the process.

This transfer market should be interesting for PSG. For me they need to add to the defensive back line, I would like to see them go after some better outside backs - someone like Tremoulinas from Bordeaux would be nice! The real issue that has to be worked out is what formation makes the most sense...to me Pastore is too high on the pitch, maybe look to a 4-4-2 offensive formation where Pastore and Matuidi would be the central midfielders, Matuidi responsible for the dirty work and Pastore would be able to pick up the ball deeper and carry the play. That would allow Nene and Menez to play wide and have two strikers, you could even stay with one striker and play a formation closer to a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1.

I am sure that PSG and their owners will feel the need to add some new toys to their stable, but not sure that is what is needed. Oh well, having money to buy players is not necessarily a bad problem to have...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The sun rising in the West? Goal line technology for footy?

I almost fell off my chair when I read this today about the idiot - Blatter - saying goal line technology could be adopted in a few seasons - click here. After being so opposed to the adoption of technology for football what has created this change in heart? Maybe after he made his asinine comments about no racism in soccer...maybe someone smacked him in the head and knocked some sense into the Swiss. One can only hope that more rational decisions are to follow.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Beware what you wish for - Les Bleus draw host nation again

Ooof oooof ooooof, so France avoided the really big fish in the shapes of Spain, Holland and Germany. They even missed the likes of Portugal and Croatia...so why does this group still make me nervous? It might be the fact that France head into the group as a co-favorite if not the favorite to finish top of the group. Gasp. Remember when France was drawn in what appeared to be an "easy" group for the South Africa world cup? Too bad the ended up in dead last of that group, after scoring one goal and securing one whole point...

So the French will face the following group and schedule:

Monday 11 June 2012
#7: FRA v ENG, 18.00CET, Donetsk
#8: UKR v SWE, 20.45CET, Kyiv

Friday 15 June 2012
#15: SWE v ENG, 20.45CET, Kyiv
#16: UKR v FRA, 18.00CET, Donetsk

Tuesday 19 June 2012
#23: ENG v UKR, 20.45CET, Donetsk
#24: SWE v FRA, 20.45CET, Kyiv

In a good way, facing their historical rival England in the first match will force Les Bleus to be on top of their game from game 1. Based on France's recent history as well as the fact England will be without their best player - Rooney - gives Les Bleus a decent chance to come out with at least a point. Facing the host Ukraine in the second game will be tough, it is never easy to play a host especially in the caldron of Donestek (Ukraine's heart of club football). Sweden will not be an easy opponent for the final game.

France have played well against all three nations they will face - defeating England 2-1 last year, won 4-1 in Kiev and lost to Sweden oh wait that was in the woman's world cup. Les Bleus have a winnable group, but at the least need to finish second. Granted I would be simply happy to see France win a group game after going 0-4-2 in the last two major tournaments. Lloris has already "punted" and put all the pressure on England saying they are the clear cut favorites. Good move Hugo! Deflect the attention!!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Euro 2012 Draw - Judgement Day

The Euro draw will take place tomorrow in Kiev to determine the teams that will comprise the 4 groups of 4 teams. Just a refresher - all 16 teams have been placed in pots based on rankings, with Poland and Ukraine in Pot 1 since they are co-hosting. The pots:


Seedings for Euro 2012
Pot 1: Spain, Netherlands, Poland*, Ukraine*.
Pot 2: Germany, Italy, England, Russia.
Pot 3: Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden.
Pot 4: Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland
* As joint hosts, Poland and Ukraine have already been allocated to Groups A and D respectively.

Each group will have one team drawn from each pot. By this time we all know that Les Bleus have dropped into the 4th pot and could be drawn with Spain, Germany and Portugal...yikes...that would be a serious group of death. For me this is really an indictment on the Domenech years once again. The horrendous showing at the last World Cup and European Cup have lowered the French coefficient to a point that they are dropped to the last pot. Of course we cannot forget that before the World Cup, France was also in a situation that might have been difficult and somehow drew South Africa as their #1 seed (avoiding the likes of Brazil, Spain and Argentina) lot of good that did! France went on to scrape together one lousy point versus eventual 4th place finisher and Copa America winner Uruguay - but poor losses to Mexico AND South Africa were ugly...thanks Dumbenech.

So just for fun I did my own draw and here is how it broke:

Group A
  • Poland
  • Italy
  • Sweden
  • France
Group B
  • Spain
  • Russia
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
Group C
  • Holland
  • Germany
  • Greece 
  • Ireland
 Group D
  • Ukraine
  • England
  • Portugal
  • Czech Republic
These would actually be decent groups, no really top heavy one. Group C would be tasty due to the Holland - Germany match up, but neither Greece nor Ireland would really pose a threat. Group B would be a walk in the park for Espana. Group A would actually give Les Bleus a chance to get into the knock outs! and Group D could see Ronaldo go against Rooney...oh no wait, the Englishman has already gotten a red card!

It will be interesting to see how the groups break. Until then it is just an idle exercise to pass the time!
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