Monday, 28 March 2011

Yet Another England Captain??!!

 What the hell is going on at the F.A......sweet F.A I can tell ya!
How they can let this debacle carry on this far as regards to the Captaining on the nation team is disgusting and disrespectful to everyone involved, and that includes all players and all officials from the illustrious heads of English Football.
The issues that they deal with on a daily basis it seems are never handled well and somewhat remind me of dealings by the one the only Sepp Blatter, of FIFA 'fame'.
He himself is renowned for his blinkered approach to all things outside the brain that he holds in his head, anything that isn't his own thinking is quickly turned down before it is fully justified, and unfortunately for the followers of English football, the same is felt about the handling of the English Captaincy by the F.A and the man 'in charge' of the team, the illustrious Italian Fabio Capello.
Now in Italian International circle's the Captaincy is automatically handed to the player who has the most caps for their country, hence the likes of Paulo Maldini and now Gianluigi Buffon have been the most recent captains of their beloved national side, both having the most caps.
So when it comes to our home nations, England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland, and indeed even Northern Ireland, we always look to appoint the most influential, charismatic, passionate candidates about, whether they have an abundance of experience or not at the highest International level?
At the weekend the young Aaron Ramsey, at the age of a meagre 2o years of age caused some controversy by being named as Wales' captain against England, while on the other side the newly re-instated England captain John Terry caused as much controversy for being just that, re-instated.
A year ago Terry was stripped of his armband for matters happening in his private life, rumours around an alleged fling with his then team mate Wayne Bridge's then girlfriend, rumours which had disrupted the National teams performances at the World Cup as a clear dived amongst the team had occurred, of course this was not the only reason England failed to live up to their pre-tournament billing of one of the fancied nations to lift the trophy but it couldn't be overlooked as playing at least some part in the poor performances.
So I can only say I am shocked and disappointed in the fact that Terry has been given the armband back, yes Rio Ferdinand, who was going to be Captain in that World Cup on the back of the issues surrounding Terry's private life was injured, and his vice Captain Steven Gerrard stepped in to fill his boots, which Gerrard did with some inspiring displays, no-one can deny that, but the questions, a year on still remains, Rio does get injuries, so therefore he doesn't play as much as an England need a captain to. So for those reasons, yes, England need a captain to play almost every game, which Terry generally does, but I personally don't think he is the right choice to take the armband again, what message must that send to the rest of the squad? Not a good one if they are of the mindset that Terry was at fault and fully responsible for his own un-doing in the first place.
Capello doesn't have Gerrard to call on due to injury and an operation, but surely Terry was not the right choice here?

Let me simplify it, England Captain should.....Be a respected member of the squad.....Maybe Terry isn't anymore, Captain should lead by example.....on the pitch yes, off the pitch certainly not, just a few reasons why it shouldn't be John Terry, we all know his qualities he does bring but surely an England captain should encapsulate everything the country as a whole, not just a sporting team, should be sending out as a message to the rest of the world and the back and forth juggling of the captains armband is sending out a message making our national team look like a joke.
Capello doesn't understand the ramifications of the honour that goes hand in hand for the English public, because his roots buried in the Italian way doesn't translate into the way of doing by the National coach.
Because of his lack of knowledge on the thoughts and feelings or lack of both, it shows he maybe not the right man for his job either, but until he steps down in 2012 this will not be changing, the overall handling of all situations since his appointment has disappointed me in every way, but if the team then went and won a major trophy then he could throw that back at his doubters but as that hasn't happened and in my opinion not likely to under his guidance, then and only then he could stand tall and say his choices were justified......

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Spurs for a Quater Final place??

The image above sent shock waves around the world a couple of weeks ago, the 'crazy' night in the San Siro was completed with Gennaro Gattuso headbutting Spurs assistant coach Joe Jordan after the final whistle.
The game was full of incident on and off the pitch with Tottenham running out eventual winners by a single, but ultimately important away goal.
Over the history of the Champions League the illusive away goal has always proved an interesting proposition, with the team playing the first leg away from home, unconciously having the upper hand even before a ball has been kicked.
Spurs have their precious away day notch and this will play a huge part in tonights second leg. Its simple, AC Milan HAVE to score, and this in itself sets the tie up very nicely, especially for a neutral, but in my opinion also a very good situation for Tottenham fans. AC will have to attack at some point, and with the attacking ability waiting in the London club's ranks it can only play to their advantage.
Yes Milan do have danger men, with players like Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Pato they will always carry a goal threat.
Ill be astounded if Pato doesn't start for the visitors, his introduction in the first leg spurred the home side, even though they couldn't muster a finish. He is the key IF Milan are to progress passed this maturing Tottenham side.
With Van der Vart passed as fit, and Gareth Bale supposedly 'touch and go', a status that I'm sure will see him play tonight, with all the other goal scoring talents in the Spurs squad, I can't see them messing this one up. Yes they have been conceding, but they nearly ALWAYS score. If they convert half the chances they make in any game they would probably be top of the Premiership.
With Defoe getting his first league goals in almost a year against Wolves at the weekend, I can see him getting in on the act tonight.
With my correct prediction for last nights game under my belt, I am punting for a repeat scoreline at 'The Lane' this evening, 3-1 Tottenham, something that will only enrage Arsenal fans further I'm afraid.
 Last night for Arsenal, no, Van Persie shouldn't have gone off, but, even with eleven versus eleven the Gunners were being given the run around. The mecurial play between Xavi, Iniesta and Messi is truly out of this world. If Arsene Wenger's team play the best football in the English Premier League, and they do with no question do that, then it goes to show just how far behind our teams are.
One Arsenal player that stood out was young Jack Wilshire, it was an un-enviable task constantly chasing the ghosts of the three Barcelona play-makers, but he stood firm, and when on the rare occassions that Arsenal had the ball, he was most definately at the heart of it. With a big majority of Barcelona's players coming through their own accademy, this must point the English clubs in the direction of following suit, only then we will see a true improvement, and overdue performances from our National side.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Will the real Barcelona please stand up

Tonight sees the Champions League return in the shape of "Footballing Showdown" between Barcelona and Arsenal at the Nou Camp.
The Gunner's go to Spain leading the last 16 tie 2-1 after a gripping first leg at the Emirates, where they trailed the Spanish giants early on but fought back to take a lead into the second leg this evening.
Arsene Wenger has had his side repeatedly compared to the un-comparable Spanish Champions, because his philosophy of total football is paramount, even above results in a lot of cases.
Everyone wants to see the beautiful game played beautifully, and no team, in my opinion does or ever has played it that way more so than this current Barcelona side.
A team boasting such talents as Messi, Xavi, Villa, Iniesta, Puyol, Dani Alves to name but a few never disappoints as far as watching great passing and movement, and more importantly for the record books, they get the results to boot.
Barcelona destroyed Real Madrid earlier in the season, and the talents Madrid have are no secret, and the 'Galactico's' couldn't get near them. The speed and accuracy of the attacking football is breathtaking and I don't think there is a team who could dampen them, especially if they hit top gear which does happen with eerie regularity for their opponents. Arsenal have a chance?? In a word, NO. In my opinion. But of course football is a funny old game, anything IS possible, but I just can't see Arsenal being capable of doing it this time.
They have two options from where I see it, they can either sit tight and try and hit them on the break, nick a goal and hang on for dear life, or go at Barca, play the football we all know they are well capable of doing, get a goal....and hang on for dear life.
IF, and its a big IF, but IF they get the first goal then it could get interesting, if they do not get the first one, then it could be a long night, even for a side of Arsenal's qualities.
Personally I predict a 3-1 home win for the Spanish side, thus putting Arsenal out, but even if that does materialise, they must still take heart from the performance at the Emirates.
If they do go out, it could destroy their season totally, having lost in the Carling Cup final at the hands of Birmingham, stuttering in the league whilst even the might of Manchester United are wobbling, this could really hinder the run in if they lose, the feeling of also-rans will be printed in the minds of their players, because another year without a trophy is simply unacceptable for the loyal Gunners fans.......

Monday, 7 March 2011

King Luis blows the title race wide open.....again

The weekend rolled in boasting some interesting prospects, could Birmingham capitalise on their Carling Cup triumph? Could their defeated rivals Arsenal bounce back from disappointment? Could Manchester United recover after their mid-week defeat at the hands of Chelsea? And could someone take hold of the situations developing at both ends of the table??? A lot of questions......and in the end we were left with more answers to them all.....again!!!
Birmingham hosted fellow stragglers West Brom at St Andrews in the early kick off Saturday. Having dispatched Arsenal at Wembley a week earlier the blues struggled against the dogged Albion side who went ahead almost straight after the break, the home side immediately replied with an equaliser only 60 seconds later.
The away side must have sensed that Birmingham were feeling the effects of their gargantuan effort in the previous weeks outing, because they rallied to the extreme and fulfilled manager Roy Hodgson's faith by going ahead on 58mins, reflecting the run of play in my view.
They got a third twenty minutes from the end to concrete a mixed week for Alex Mcleish's blue's, who thanks to this result dropped into the drop zone as West Brom leapfrogged them in the who could take advantage in the other games???
West Ham played Stoke in a 3 o'clock kick off at Upton Park, looking to carry on from their brilliant result against Liverpool last week, and capitalise they certainly did.

They effortlessly put Stoke to the sword with a great performance, much mirroring their victory a week earlier. The Hammers went two up in the first half, before finishing the job off a few minutes from time as Hitzlsperger showed why Hammers fans had been missing him.
Once again Scott Parker was the star man for the Claret and Blue army, whenever he turns up he seems to single handedly lift the ground and results are starting to show that.
Arsenal hot off of their latest Final upset hosted Sunderland at the Emirates. An ideal fixture to wipe out the disappointment from Wembley, or so we thought.
Instead, Sunderland defended sternly, showed determination and vigour to keep the home side at bay.
They played out a pretty drab 90minutes in which the game ended 0-0. Thus Arsenal dropping points in the title race, and leaving their supporters bemused once again.
So, Arsenal fans as well as Liverpool fans were hoping the red half of Merseyside could add to the misery of Manchester United after they lost for only the second time this season at Chelsea.
No defenders for United was seemingly the order of the day for the attacking players for Liverpool. With their record signing Andy Carroll taking a place on the bench it looked promising for the home side.
From the offset the Red's of Liverpool went at United, sensing the injured animal, and United didn't really have an answer. Berbatov hit a post in United's only real attack in the first 45 minutes, and that was a flash of brilliance out of nothing.
At the other end Edwin Van der Sar was by far the busier stopper, with Liverpool playing some breath-taking football rarely seen at Anfield for some time, almost playing Manchester at their own game, using their own blue-print for success.
The Kop truly have a new hero to worship, if the first 'King' of the Kop was the man at the helm now, one King Kenny, then maybe the second coming is upon us.
Luis Suarez, signed in all probability to partner the long forgotten Fernando Torres, was completely un-playable. Possibly one of the best individual performances I have seen in a long long time from a Liverpool player, is it coincidence he wears the number previously worn by King Kenny?? Maybe, but his showing here will go a long way to stamp his application for the 'King' status among Liverpool fans.
His movement and appetite for the game is a true breath of fresh air, even from a neutrals point of view.
He has work rate, he is direct with his running and had the United back four in tatters, and none more evident than when he turned the whole defence on his own and continued to go past another couple of defenders before squaring the ball for Dirk Kuyt to smash the ball home from three or so inches.
United looked rattled, having lost to one of their biggest rivals, Chelsea last week, another defeat would be unthinkable, especially against their BIGGEST rivals.
This didn't look like the solid United that we have seen this season as the home side got a second minutes later as Nani headed the ball back into the six-yard box under no pressure, and Kuyt was there again to oblige by guiding the ball past his fellow countryman Van der Sar for the second time.
Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher smashed through Nani on forty minutes, gaining only a yellow card for his wreckless lunge at the Portuguese whinger, sorry winger.
A few full-blooded tackles followed with Rafael flying through Lucas as the blood started to boil. Pushing and shoving was aplenty as the action reached half time.
The United onslaught was expected, surely after Sir Alex had his say in the dressing room for fifteen minutes. But the fightback never materialised, but for a clearance from Meireles off the line from Berbatov's header. United simply just didn't get going, and couldn't cope with Suarez and the rest of Liverpool's attacking talent.
Attacking the Kop end Kuyt got his hat-trick, the first for a Liverpool player in this fixture since Peter Beardsley notched three under Dalglish's last tenure for the Reds.
Suarez curled a free kick in and Van der Sar couldn't hold on and Kuyt was there to tap home once again. The total yardage for Kuyt's entire hat-trick could have only mustered up to a measly seven or so yards, just showing the renewed enthusiasm in the Liverpool ranks since Dalglish took over.
United managed a consolation goal very late on and even that was half hearted. A very bad week for United finished off and not a moment to soon.
It looks bad on paper but if the two defeats, AWAY to Chelsea and AWAY to Liverpool were divided by a month or two noone would batter an eyelid so its no crisis time at Old Trafford by any means in my opinion. Title number 19 will be on its way to Old Trafford come May, Arsenal will be kicking themselves that they didn't win 24 hours earlier, they are only tree points behind now and have a game in hand, but with lots of big games left and Arsenals season in danger of imploding on tuesday against Barcelona, maybe they have missed their chance now......

For something a little bit off football now, I have had the chance to listen to one of my buddies cover's band, they're called Echo and here is a link to their site, let me know what you think, I think they hit the spot....