Archive for July, 2012

July 24, 2012

£423m debt

£423m debt

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July 14, 2012

Remember there was only o…

Remember there was only one red card on Saturday and the last time I watched the game it certainly was not a Stoke City player who received it.

Tony Pulis in response to Wenger saying his side are overly aggressive and dangerous, in a match RVP was sent off in, with the help of some elaborate feigning from Sorensen. For a man so accustomed to pushing the laws and principals of football to it’s limits frequently in a match, he is remarkably good at being on the right side morally when it matters.

July 14, 2012

Media often incorrect in identifying mistakes

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Rafa Benitez’s failings came, according to our incisive media, as a result of his squad rotation. Yet that is ignorant of the fact that Ferguson chops and changes his side unpredictably every single game. Ferguson’s command, management and understanding of his squad is so immense in fact, that it is almost impossible to 100% guess the line up he will select for any given game.

Much more so than Benitez, who was essentially rotating full backs or swapping a midfielder or two. Ferguson is the Godfather of picking a team for battle for each individual game. Yet the media lazily and stupidly pointed to Rafa’s rotation as a reason for his side failing, when United last season, where they lost the league on goal difference alone, had no true or ultimate line up at any point.

Likewise, Rafa’s goals conceded were attributed, largely by Alan Hansen (once a defender apparently) to the application of zonal marking, presented by the media as if it were a bizzarre voodoo mysterious way of doing things, unfamilliar and utterly doomed to failure as a result. The fact was however, zonal marking is largely employed as the basis for defending, particularly outside of the Premier League. However, much more Liverpool’s conceded goals were a case of poor execution of zonal marking, individual mistakes, or just bad defending.

Another supposed failing of Wenger is that he never splashes out on peaking powers, or players that are established. Yet the truth is, Ferguson doesn’t do this either. The policy cited already on here ensures that Utd are also builders of talent rather than procurers of it. United’s best players of recent times, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and Paul Scholes, were all acquired at young ages. So too have Arsenal’s; Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera. The difference is that Wenger is being forced to operate firmly in the black as costs of The Emirates stadium inhibit the club still, meaning that he is sometimes forced to sell when he does not want to. Whereas Ferguson retains the power to firmly say no to Madrid if they want Vidic, despite this ultimately losing money, or telling Madrid ‘one more year’ til they can buy Ronaldo, Wenger is not being allowed this priviledge, meaning he is forced to sell players when he doesn’t want to, unlike Ferguson who sells as and when he sees fit.

Perhaps though, the pervading feeling is that if you are winning and competing at the very top, see United getting to the 2011 Champions’ League Final, then everything is forgiven, forgotten and viewed as a success, whereas if you haven’t won anything for 7 years and there’s a dedicated site counting this (http://www.sincearsenallastwonatrophy.co.uk/), then media will go looking through your drawers and asking questions. These questions are often misplaced and off target but nevertheless confirm that winning writes history. And also that Ferguson is incomparable in management ability.

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July 14, 2012

15 Years

Berbatov is the only player over 26 to have been signed for a fee by Ferguson in 15 years. Leighton Baines could soon be the second.

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July 2, 2012

Euro 2012 Best XI

Coach – Slaven Billic, Croatia – Was a poor header away from beating, and knocking out Spain, before they hit on the counter and scored. Pushed Spain closer than any other side and would have gone much further but for being in a group with the two finalists.

Gk – Iker Casillas, Spain – Never really looked like conceding. Dominated crosses into the box throughout (the only consistent threat), and his distribution improved as the tournament went on which helped Spain retain the ball.

Fb – Fabio Coentrao, Portugal – Defensively sound and decisive and technically assured when Portugal broke.

Cb – Gerard Pique, Spain – Not a gargantuan display but looked his old self with good reading of the game, tackling and passing.

Cb – Mats Hummels, Germany – Reads the game extremely well and is very comfortable on the ball. Cassano spinning him was a significant, sole mistake in an otherwise utterly convincing tournament from him, but the goal was due to good Italian play at their left wing back spot too.

Fb – Jordi Alba, Spain – So natural and technical on the ball he could really play anywhere as a forward, and with Spain dominating possession that’s essentially what he could be; a later-arriving attacking option. Spain could play with no wingers and dominate the ball because of this man’s direct, linear qualities on the left. Vital.

Mf – Andrea Pirlo, Italy – Pirlo dominated games when consecutive teams failed to press him. Instrumental against England and Germany in particular, making ball retention and switching the ball look effortless. Altered the tempo of games to suit him, before meeting his match against Spain.

Mf – Xavi, Spain – Xavi was just the catalyst for how Spain were approaching games. Always the middle pass in build up play, he played much higher up in the final and pushed Pirlo so deep he was ineffectual. Provided key passes throughout the tournament and just seems to be playing football with an understanding above everyone else.

Mf – Mesut Ozil, Germany – The one attacking player in the German team that was undroppable. His movement and positioning made him impossible to track and provided a fantastic, creative link that makes him suitable for possession play or counter attacking. Finishing is the only thing his game lacks.

Fw – Andres Iniesta, Spain – Iniesta was just consistently brilliant. From the first game v Italy to the final v Italy, Iniesta was the same; creative, inventive, skilful and impossible to get the ball off. He’s perfect at keeping possession and always presses without it.

Fw – Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal – Lived up to expectation and his physical and technical prowess was matched with excellent awareness and positioning. If Bruno Alves’ penalty falls a few inches lower Ronaldo might have carried Portugal to winning the competition.

Fw – Cesc Fabregas, Spain – Fabregas was outstanding in the final, providing forward runs that defenders couldn’t cope with as well as helping maintain possession deeper. His position, a play maker who makes forward over-lapping runs, makes him unique to watch as he is as likely to play a key pass as get on the end of one.

Subs:

Gk -Buffon, Italy – brief moments against Germany were the only times Buffon didn’t look solid and dominating.

Df – Papadopoulos, Greece – Powerful and aggressive, and capable on the ball too.

Mf – Khedira, Germany – his running up and down the pitch was really good to watch. Played well.

Mf – Montolivo, Italy – Really inventive and imaginative. Got tired trying to press Spain in final.

Fw –David Silva, Spain – was reliable and consistent for Spain with being given a lot of responsibility in attack.

Fw – Balotelli, Italy – His second goal against Germany was brilliant, and his performances in general were incredible for a guy only 21.

Fw – Gomez, Germany – Despite being too static and seeing little of the ball against Italy, his three goals were all skilful ones.

July 2, 2012

Euro 2012 Worst XI

Coach – Bert van Marwijk, Holland – No coach was terrible but van Marwijk made some bad errors of judgement, and the 4-2-4 shape Holland finished with against Portugal showed either the manager was ignorant of cohesive shape, or the players were just ignoring him.

Gk – Chalkias, Greece – A barrelling sprint out in the opening game started a collection of terrible moments for him, capped off with a pass smashed into touch as he exited with a mysterious injury. Positionally shocking, poor with decisions and bad at handling.

Rb – Glen Johnson, England – Johnson’s forward runs, his best asset, were mediocre but much worse was his defensive display. A series of strange decisions and terrible positioning really hindered England and made the defensive two banks of four set up vulnerable.

Cb – Richard Dunne, Ireland – Ireland were always going to invite pressure and be on the back foot, and this really brought out the worst in Dunne who was slow, too aggressive, technically incompetent and utterly lacking in ideas.

Cb – Jerome Boateng, Germany – Looked poor on the ball and was bad positionally too. Not terrible but unconvincing.

Lb – Jetro Willems, Holland – You can’t be too hard on a player playing at a major tournament who is born in 1994, but Willems inexperience showed, and was a bit all over the place.

Mf – Glenn Whelan, Ireland – Whelan’s only really competence is in ball retention and possession, so to say he was bad at it pretty much sums up a dire display from him, as he was wasteful the rare occasions his team had the ball, and too static without it.

Mf – Van der Vaart, Holland – His weaknesses were clear as day against Portugal, where in a midfield role the team carried him defensively and in attack he was often too far ahead of the play which cost Holland dearly when they lost the ball.

Mf – Florent Malouda, France – His role was shuttling the ball between midfield and attack, an important link up, but was rubbish defensively and wasn’t creative or imaginative in possession either. Hard to justify his selection.

Fw – Arjen Robben, Holland – It’s not unreasonable to expect a lot from Robben and he really didn’t deliver. Has had a terrible season in the big games and, along with his other high profile team mates, put in average performances at best.

Fw – Robin Van Persie, Holland – RVP is at the peak of his powers, and as a more dynamic striker, should have contributed more in terms of build up and link up play. Rare poor finishing from him too which cost Holland.

Fw – Wayne Rooney, England – His re-introduction shipped Young to Left midfield where he was ineffectual in attack, whilst Rooney himself was sub par in attack and defensively cost England the game against Italy by failing to track Pirlo at all. For a guy who has long been seen as a hard worker and a selfless player, he was extremely selfish and didn’t work hard off the ball. Ss a result, Italy, through Pirlo, kept the ball for long periods and dominated possession, meaning England didn’t compete as closesly as they should have.

Subs:

Gk – Sifakis, Greece – It suddenly became clear how Chalkias was first choice. Cost Greece a goal or two v Germany.

Df – St Ledger, Ireland – Not as bad as Dunne but still poor.

Df – Terry, England – Was constantly caught out with balls over the top, which cost a dissallowed goal against Ukraine and was exposed by Italy several times.

Fw – Podolski, Germany – £10m move to Arsenal doesn’t look such a bargain after a memorably bad 45 minutes against Italy.

Fw – Nani, Portugal – It’s getting to the point where it’s foolish to expect Nani to be relied on in big games. A skilful and gifted player who isn’t living up to potential.

Fw – Kerzhakov, Russia – 15 shots, none on target.

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