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August 18th, 2006

New Season

The Premiership kicks on tomorrow with Spurs playing in the libe game at 5pm. This season promises so much for us with the new signings and the way we performed last season, I really feel we could go one better this time and pipped Arsenal to the champions league spot. With all their talented youngsters, I just don't think l'arse can get through the whole season without a any hiccups while our team remained intact from last season with a few strong additions to the squad.
Losing Carrick to the manures didn't upset me one bit, he was a good player, but we can live without him and it was good business for us. Zakora looks more of a solid player then Carrick was and it allows Lennon the freedom to roam forward more. If he can up his game and produce more end products, with Berbetov leading the line, we can score a lot of goals this season. Part of the reason why we didn't quite make it last season was our lack of goals. Our defense looks tight, although it wouldn't hurt to get a new full back in the squad. Stalteri wasn't really up to scratch for most of last season :/
The bookies have us on 15/2 to finish top by the end of August, and if we can beat Bolton on the opening day, I see no reason why we can't finish the month with maximum points and sit proudly on top of the pile since we will have 1 more game then the big 4 ^^b

July 10th, 2006

4 year wait... again!

So the World Cup came to a close and Italy deserved their win. They been the most consistent team in the tournament. Although the tournament itself didn't set on fire the way many predicted, most of the big name stars just didn't perform at all and there weren't many young kids that took our breath away.

Most of the games were enjoyable as a spectacle, some sublime skill shown by players who I thought was way past it. i.e. Zidane, Viera, Ayala, Ronaldo, Del Piero etc.

One thing that disappointed me the most more then anything else was the amount of diving and play acting that went on in all the games. Just when will the referee stamp out on the cheating and dish out red cards before it get totally out of hands? It doesn't take a rocket science to determine whether a player was genuinely brought down or just play acting. If they are too scared to get the decision wrong, then why not introduce some retrospective measures into the game? Get a panel of judges to view all incidents in a game and give out cards afterward, that ought to stamp out the cheats. But maybe that's asking too much for FIFA to actually get off their arse and do some real work. Sepp Blatter must be the biggest joke in the game. Before the tournament started, he pinpointed something the referees would need to be extra vigilant on. Before he said anything, everyone was expecting him to say diving/simulation or whatever you want to call it nowadays. But to everyone's surprise, his so called "new evil" in the game was.... elbowing!!! WTF dude, where's he been for the last 100 years? Elbowing has always been in the game and referees have always shown red cards for players elbowing other players in the past. For him to say something so ignorant was beyond joke. I hope he gets the sack and we get a real footballing man in charge so they won't introduce stupid rules before EVERY world cup to confuse both the players and the referee.

the next World Cup will be in South Africa, no one knows if they'll even have the facilities ready to host the tournament, but if they do, and if I can make time, I want to go visit SA and watch the games. I always wanted to go to South africa, and to do it with the world cup would be like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. with my luck, if I can find time to go, england probably won't even qualify for it lol

July 2nd, 2006

The aftermath.

So, another world Cup passed us by and we are no nearer to landing the big one. I was too upset last night to write anything on the match against Portugal.
The biggest problem in that match was our tactics. When Beckham was injured at the start of the second half, I thought to myself this is the turning point of our campaign. (I have always liked Beckham ever since he got sent off against Argentina back in the 98' world cup, the way he grew up and led the team was something I admired. But time doesn't wait for no one, he's been disappointing for a number of years in an England shirt, and the way the manager kept him in the team even though he's been ineffective for 90% of the matches he's played in since was something that really annoyed me.) I said to my friends at that moment, Sven should bring Crouch on in place of Beckham because Rooney was so isolated up front, his frustrations will make him do silly things. Instead he brought on Lennon. In a game where our midfield dominated the oppositions, there was no need to play 5 across the middle. We should have sent on someone to help out Rooney and take the game to Portugal. If Sven had done that, I'm sure Rooney wouldn't have been sent off and we should have scored at least 1 goal to win the game.
The other problem we have as a sporting nation is our mentality. We always accept defeats as long as we gave our all. I'm sorry, but that's just not good enough. Why should we settle for second best when clearly we have the players and skills to win? this makes it easy for our players to just rest on their laurels and don't take the next step to be the best. If you look at other sports in this country, it's all the same, we all love Tim Henman, yet he's won nothinng of note. He's made out to be our national treasure in tennis, yet he never fail to disappoint. Frank Bruno for the longest time was the darling of the nation, but he never gave us anything to cheer about till the end of his career. It's like we are almost afraid of success. We reward failures and reject success. Lennox Lewis was the best boxer this country produced, yet the public never warmed to him like Bruno just because he moved to Canada at a very young age and represented Canada in the Olympics.
We need to instill the win at all cost mentality and not accept valiant second if we are to win anything. Like Terry Butcher said, "How can we justify calling ourselves a world football power when we are not?

We have become all Billy Big Time and become too big for our boots, and yet we have got nothing to shout about because we have done nothing."

there goes our hopes >.<;

July 1st, 2006

Germans on the march!

I should be a football pundit lol. Not many people fancied the Germans to go through against Argentina, but I had a sneaky feeling they would grind out a result against them and I was proved right. the game took a while to get going, but once it did, it was a good match, especially after the Germans went a goal behind. They are way too clinical with their penalties, not only their players have the skills but most of all, they all have the composure to slot the ball home. This makes it their 5th penalty shoot out win in world cup now.

Requelme's substitution changed the game, it was such a negative move by their coach. The Argentine midfield dominated the game when Requelme was on the pitch, soon as he got taken off, that gave the initiative back to the Germans. It was just a matter of time before they would find the equaliser. The margins are so close with the top teams nowadays, the coach's tactics can really decide a win or a loss. And it's exactly that point that makes me worry about our chances. Sven, despite what he tried to make us believe, doesn't know what he's doing, never have and never will. His substitutions are baffling at best and doesn't really change the shape of the game. I just hope our players perform well tomorrow against Portugal. They are due a good performance and there's no better time to produce one tomorrow!!

Oh, and there's Italy in the Semis now. No one really expect anything from Ukraine and they were lucky to even get this far tbh. Blodkin used to be one of the most exciting forward when he was playing, can't believe he can field a team that's so negative. Italy and Germany playing in the Semi should be a match to look forward to. Let's hope England can join them in the last 4 with Brazil gong through against France.

June 28th, 2006

hate to be right >.>

I knew Spain would stumble out of the world cup in spectacular fashion. Such a lame way to go out to an ageing French side with so many good players in their side. With their luck, the French will probably go on and cause another upset against Brazil next. Never seen a single player caught offside so many times in 1 match, what the hell is Henry playing at? He's got enough pace to go past any defence anyway, but yet every single time he leads the line, he goes offside.

As for Brazil, they are just cruising along without having to get out of second gear, Ghana in some way disappointed me, can't remember a single shot that hit the target. Can't really expect to beat Brazil with such woeful finishing. Brazil's defence still looks pretty weak and the system they are playing surely couldn't get them to the finals if other teams have a real go at them. They need to be more defensive minded.

June 27th, 2006

OMG, I nearly fell asleep watching Switzerland and Ukraine play. Someone must have forgotten to tell both teams the object of the game is to stick the ball into the net more times then your opponent does in order to win. They were so worried about losing a goal, both teams didn't even bother try to attack. And it looked for a while even with a penalty shoot out there wouldn't be a goal. We thought england had problems when it comes to taking penalties, after watching the Swiss' abysmal attempt at penalties, our lads haven't really done that badly in the past. I know the pressure is on the penalty taker in a shoot out, but there's no excuse for all of them to perform so badly. Ukraine will need to up their game a LOT to have any chance against the Azzurri. Come to think of it, how come all the other teams have a nick name for their national side? i.e. Soca Warriors, Samba boys, Reggae boys, Elephants, Azzurri, Socceroos, Tricolor etc etc except England? hmmm...

Italy must be dreaming of a Semi final place tonight after they were gifted a penalty by the referee in the last second of their match. there was no way a penalty in my opinion, the forward blatantly ran over Lucas Neil so he can trip over his body to claim a penalty. I feel sorry for the Aussies, to have put up such a good fight and to lose at the last second of the match must be gut wrenching.

Tomorrow's matches should be interesting, we all expect Brazil to get through against Ghana. An upset is unlikely now Brazil are in the groove after their 4-1 thrashing of Japan in their last game, Ronaldo is finding his scoring touch and the team as a whole look more confident and with the big names coming back in for the tie, it looks a little ominous for Ghana, as good a team as they are, their defence at times play way too naive.
But the other tie between Spain and France is too close to call. On form, the Spaniards look certain to go through, but Spain are the ultimate underachievers when it comes to World Cup. I would be more then delighted if they prove me wrong by beating the French and set up a quarter final with Brazil, that would be a cracking match on current form, both teams play with flair and pace (if you discount Ronaldo) It'd be a great match for the neutrals to watch.

Gonna stick my neck out and say Brazil and Spain will go through tomorrow!

June 26th, 2006

All gloves are off now!

I thought I was watching a poker game when Portugal took on Holland, the rate the referee dished out the cards, I'm surprised no one called out black jack. It's such a shame the game turned into such a shameful farce. Two great footballing teams and we nearly got into a mass brawl. the referee didn't help the game by giving out cards like sweets at Hallow'een. But the good thing to take from that game must be the suspension of Deco and Costinha, both big big players for Portugal and they are going to miss them when England play them in the quarter finals. that's not counting what FIFA would do to Figo with his headbutt on van Bommel.

Before that game, I was really worried about our chances against either teams as once again, we struggled to beat a very average team, the worst thing to come out of that game was Beckham scoring the only goal in the game. Now Sven will have a good excuse to keep him in the side. People keep going on about how important Beckham's free kicks and set pieces are to England. For goodness sake, he's the only one allowed to be near any deadball, the law of average will tell you it's just a matter of time before he actually put one away. We have other players who takes great free kicks for their clubs, yet none were allowed to be near the ball when there's a free kick or a corner. I'm certain we would get more out of set pieces if they were left to other players who will inject more variety and ideas instead of Beckham's tiring routine, all other team's defences must know his free kicks inside out by now and it's easy to defend against them unless he get one 100% right, which, so far in this tournament, is very very rare considering the chances he has had.

My friends thinks I'm mad to even consider we have any chance against Portugal, but having seen Portugal and Holland play and when you look at the players who will be missing through suspensions, we now have a great chance to lay the Scolari voodoo to rest. Despite our inadequacies, there's light at the end of the tunnel and Sven has always been lucky, so let's ride the luck and get into the Semis when Brazil will be the likely opponent waiting for us there.

June 25th, 2006

It's a knockout

The serious business started today with 2 quarter finalist already decided, although the outcome was somewhat predicted, but who would have guessed how badly the Swedes just succumbed to Germany's power play. I been really impressed by their striking partnership of Podolski and Klose. reminded me of Archibald and Crooks for Spurs in their haydays. Both full of running and dragging defenders away from each other to create spaces, the Argies will have their hands full when they come up against them in the Quarter final.
As predicted by me a few days ago, Mexico, as well as they played tonight, crashed out of he tournament from one of the best goal so far.

It was an excellent match, a bit cat and mouse in the second half after a great opening from Mexico. But in the end, I think the true class came out top and who could argue about the outcome when it was decided by a wonder goal from maxi. Argentina will no doubt be favourite to go through into the Semis when they play Germany, but I have a sneaky feeling the Germans will get one over the argies simply because of home advantage and the momentum they are building up through the games. Argentina don't like teams getting at them and not allowing them space to play and that's exactly what Germany are good at, they press the ball and don't allow opponents the time to play their style of football and with the forward line they have, they will always have a great chance to hit you on the break. Watch this space when the two teams meet ^^

England are playing Ecuador tomorrow, I really can't see anything beside an England victory. Despite our team being handicapped by a clueless coach and a has-been captain, we have too much class in depth to let it slip. I wouldn't be so confident if we were to play a better team, with all due respect, I think Ecuador is the weakest team to have qualified for the second phase.
And I was glad to read in the papers there are real pros out there who thinks the same as me. If England do somehow manage to lift the cup, it would be in spite of the coach and not because of him. I'll be backing the boys like I always have, despite my criticism, I still think we have the players to win it, but Sven at the helm, we could blow it big time. The future don't look too bright either, with McLaren stepping in after the world cup, we have a Sven mk II ready to take over. ahhhh the pain of being an England fan.

June 20th, 2006

Same old rubbish

I'm trying hard not to get too upset about England's performances so far in this world cup, but it's hard to bite your lips when they churn out tosh like this. Yet again, our defence were exposed on set pieces, school boy mistakes which should never happen at this level. Beore tonight, even though we weren't playing well, at least we didn't look like conceding goals. Now we have a keeper who suddenly looks lost, the defence just ball watching and because Crouch has to help out in set pieces, we have no outlet up front to ease the pressure when we pump the ball forward.

All these talk of finishing the group as group winners so we can avoid the stronger teams before the latter stages of the tournament. I bet all the other teams are rubbing their hands in glee and hope they can draw against us. Owen looks as though will be out of the tournament with that injury, we only have 1 striker that;s fully fit and ready. It's absurd to think of players like Jenas and Carrick who doesn't look like they'll get a part to play in this tournament got picked over a 5th striker.

The balance of the team will never be right as long as Beckham gets picked no matter how shit he plays. I hope he gets injured in training and won't take part in the rest of the tournament. If there ever was a player who's playing on his past glory, it is Beckham. And he will be the reason we won't progress any further then the quarter finals, IF we can even get past Ecuador >.<

On a lighter note, this tournament has exceeded my expectations with the quality of football. Don't write off the Germans as everybody seemed to be doing before this world cup started. They look useful and play some really nice attacking football. Their defence looks suspect, but the problem for other teams is they are well capable of scoring more then they concede. With home advantage, a place in the final isn't beyond them.
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