I’ll get you something on the US Mens’ national team victory over Jamaica tonight, 1-0, for tomorrow but with work lately I’ve been kind of zonked when I get home on some nights & tonight is one of them.  By the time you work late, fix something to eat, wash some clothes, it’s already 9:15 & you just know I have to squeeze in some Football Manager time too.  So, with that said here’s the laziest blog post in the world, actually it’s not it’s just a tribute…

Arsenal’s simple passes out of the back lead to our possession dominance in the early season.

Arseblog’s tactics column predicts it won’t be long before Olivier Giroud opens his scoring account.  Dennis Bergkamp & Thierry Henry opened their club accounts versus Southampton.  Guess who we play on Saturday?

Chuks Aneke made his debut for Crewe Alexandra over the weekend.

Diaby sat out France’s game yesterday & was set to do so prior to the match.  Word is he picked up a slight knock.  Knock on wood, because we all know the history with Diaby & injuries…

Alright, there is the laziest blog post.  Hope you had a good 9/11.

 


Sort it out, Klinsmann!

After the sort of debacle on Friday night in Kingston, losing to Jamaica for the first time, 2-1, the US Mens’ soccer team faces a game where if three points aren’t a must, they’re virtually 99% a must.  Dropping points to Jamaica on Tuesday wouldn’t eliminate the US from the World Cup in Brazil, but it would make their qualification task nigh impossible.

I would hope that Jürgen Klinsmann makes a few lineup changes, even if he were to stick with the same tactics which I also hope he changes, since we’ll be at home & should play with more impetus on attacking & going forward.  Klinsmann’s tactics on Friday were quite defensive (3 deeper-playing midfielders in a 4-1-2-1-2 “diamond” midfield) which I hope was in response to both Michael Bradley & Landon Donovan missing the match through injury & not a choice made regardless of players available.  Having the midfielders we had starting on Friday led to the inevitable very narrow formation width& play being done virtually all through the middle all evening.  Jermaine Jones’ handful of attempts to play wider & give some flank play to the US often amounted to nothing the last time out.

Klinsmann was selected to be the USA head coach in part to implement & encourage attacking play but in the loss to Jamaica did what virtually all coaches do when faced with a problem, especially when playing on the road- play it safe & conservative.  It is actually quite a rare thing that a coach, in any sport mind you, actually be daring for than brief, passing moments (this is why my LSU brethren should quit bitching about Les Miles’ shortcomings & enjoy him while we have him).

Klinsi should, given the players available, start Brek Shea on Tuesday.  However, looking at players Klinsmann selected for the two qualifiers with Jamaica, there isn’t much natural width on the roster:

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos)

Practically all the midfielders, apart from Shea & Danny Williams, are more naturally central-playing midfielders.  Joe Corona, whilst sounding like a creation of a beer advertising campaign, can play as a winger, but he only has two caps to his name & I’m not sure Klinsmann would gamble playing both youngsters Shea & Corona.  Although if Klinsmann were to start with Corona, that would cap-tie him to the United States over Mexico, as he would have represented the US in a full official match.

Whomever Klinsi chooses to start on Tuesday versus the Reggae Boyz, I hope for the love of God he drops Stonernaldo (aka Kyle Beckerman).  Beckerman was complete rubbish on Friday & his performance was so awful, he should never see the field again for a US ‘A’ international ever again.

With that said, I would lineup like this:

4-2-3-1
Howard

Parkhurst / Cherundolo— Cameron — Bocanegra — Johnson —————

Jones —- Edu

Dempsey ——-Torres ———- Shea

Gomez / Altidore

But listening to his review of the match, I’m not sure how far Klinsi will deviate from his 4-1-2-1-2 / diamond tactics on Friday.  He doesn’t sound like he thinks he got the tactics wrong, just the execution of them.  It should be interesting to see how he’ll lineup with so much on the line in Columbus.

The match should be interesting emotionally as it falls on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks & US Soccer plans to honor three FDNY firefighters who are also part of the FDNY Soccer Club.  There will also be a moment’s silence prior to kickoff to honor those fallen on 9/11.

Prediction
Right then.  So with the US of A not exactly backed up against a wall, more like being judo-hold twisted towards a wall, but being on home soil, I’m looking for the Yanks to pip Jamaica for the win.  The players should be sufficiently motivated coming off of a loss & Jamaica won’t make it easy.  I expect the Reggae Boyz to employ the same high pressing tactic to win the ball back but on the road I expect them to try to hold possession a bit more than going straight into counter attacks.  At least, after 20 minutes or so.  They may try to ride their luck & press early & try to grab an early goal & then sit back.   I think they’ll get a goal as the US will have to play an attacking style from the off.          USA 2, Jamaica 1

 Come on, you Yanks!


Losing sucks…

If I could find streams for it I would follow it more but the Aussie Rules Football team that I follow, the North Melbourne Kangaroos, lost yesterday in the first round of the finals to West Coast Eagles by a staggering 96-point margin, 162-66.

North Melbourne had done well late in the AFL season to maintain 8th place & get into the finals (8 teams make the AFL playoffs called “the finals,” culminating in their version of the Super Bowl which is called, “the Grand Final”) but in the end the ‘Roos were too young & inexperienced.  At least that’s what I’m reading from head coach, Brad Scott.

Over the course of the AFL season (which lasts 22 games), Drew Petrie led the ‘Roos with 57 goals followed by Lindsay Thomas & Brent Harvey with 38 & 32 goals, respectively.  Drew Petrie also co-led the team with 18 behinds a total equalled by Kieran Harper.  Drew Petrie led in overall points with 360.

Oh well, there’s always next year, you Kangas!/Roos!  Maybe even next year I can find streams to watch!

First Round Scores
Hawthorn Hawks 20.15 (157), Collingwood Magpies 15.7 (97)
Adelaide Crows 5.12 (42), Sydney Swans 11.5 (71)
Geelong Cats 11.14 (80), Fremantle Dockers 14.12 (96)
West Coast Eagles *24.18 (162)-North Melbourne Kangaroos 9.12 (66)

Semifinal matchups will be Adelaide v. Fremantle & Collingwood v. West Coast if you wish to search the interwebs for info or scores.  THe Grand Final will be held on September 29th at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 2:30 PM local time (7:30 PM in Anchorage; 11:30 ET/10:30 CT/9:30 MT/8:30 WCT).

Hooroo!

* – Aussie rules scores are read as this: 1st # listed are goals (worth 6 pts.), 2nd # listed are behinds (worth 1 pt.), last # is total points.  So, this scoreline would be read thus: “West Coast Eagles 24 goals & 18 behinds for 162 points to North Melbourne’s 9 & 12 for 66.”


After last week’s somewhat underwhelming, at least offensively, performance against North Texas in a 41-14 win, the LSU Tigers put in a complete performance against the Washington Huskies of the PAC-12 in a 41-3 demolition job.  I was disappointed in our pass protection in the opener but last night against a BCS opponent, we protected waaaaaaay better & Zach Mettenberger, apart from a personal foul late hit, was hardly bothered all night long by the Huskies’ pass rush.

LSU did spot the Huskies the ball right off the bat when Odell Beckham (ODB) fumbled the opening kickoff which led to the Huskies’ only three points.  Despite the opening gift, Washington was overmatched & undermanned all night long against LSU’s defense.  Everyone knows about the “SEC speed” meme by now, but what knuckleheads from outside of the South still don’t seem to grasp is that where the SEC has superior speed isn’t at the skill positions, where everyone has burners, but it’s along the lines, most notably the defensive lines where SEC teams have faster, big athletes that face offensive lines from other conferences that employ big guys that lack athleticism.  An example of this can be seen on LaVar Edwards‘ sack of Husky QB, Keith Price (0:44 to 1:05 from the LSUsports.net’s official highlights video).  Washington’s LT, Micah Hatchie (#72), is looking inside to the center for the snap of the ball because of the loudness of Tiger Stadium.  However, by the time the ball is snapped & Hatchie gets his head up, Edwards is already by him on the way to deliver a big hit on Price.

Washington’s OL was missing one starter at RT forcing them to move their RG there which in turn, he ended up getting banged up during last night’s game too.  So with 2 regulars out of the Husky lineup, LSU’s defensive line, which can literally go 10-deep, & according to a Holly Rowe tweet last night can actually go 13-deep (!), had a field day last night stuffing the run & pressuring Price constantly.  Price had come into the game with a good bit of fanfare & was expected to test LSU’s young secondary, but our pass rush kept him off-balance (he was 17 of 36), uncomfortable (7 QB hurries) or on his back (4 sacks) all night.

LSU’s run game was its usual physical, punishing self but last night we added a passing threat too.  Mettenberger was 12/18 for 195 yards & a TD, which aren’t glitzy stats by any means but his performance, especially compared to last week’s indifferent one, was stellar.  All of his incompletions last night arguably could’ve been catches, so in theory Mettenberger, or the Mettenchrist, could’ve gone a perfect 18 for 18.  Funny enough, LSU could’ve had a further completion on a halfback pass that was dropped, albeit on a tough throw, that could’ve seen LSU go a pefrect 19 for 19 in the passing game last night.

With the win LSU remains #3 in the AP poll & leapfrogs USC into #2 in the Coaches’ Poll.

Let’s get to the positives & negatives from last night’s win:

Positives
•   Pass rush; it was relentless & never let Keith Price get comfortable
•   Linebacker play; it was almost flawless all night long, particularly in pass coverage
•   Brad Wing; he’s a freaking punting machine; one of the 1st quarter TDs we scored should be credited to Wing who helped “flip the field” leading to that score
•   Zach Mettenberger; Mett could’ve arguably been perfect with all his pass attempts last night but his performance was still stellar; looked very comfortable all night long, being more composed than in the opening game & he showed on multiple occasions that he can actually read a defense & work through his progressions
•   Pass protection; a much improved performance from the North Texas game
•   Run game; once again it was physical & performed well

Negatives
•  Drops; Being a former high school receiver myself, drops drive my crazy. Don’t know why LSU has to deal with seemingly prolonged bouts of the drops
•   Penalties; LSU still was plagued by some lazy penalties which shows a lack of concentration that can prove critical in a big game provided this isn’t tightened up during the season

Position Grades
Quarterbacks (A)- See Mettenchrist comments above but again, he read well, he threw well & he looked comfortable all night.

Running Backs (A)-  The stable of Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard, Michael Ford & Spencer Ware were very good.  Ran physically, ball security was good, etc.

Wide Receivers (C)-   Freaking drops.  Drops.  James Wright had a good game going for career #s (5 catches for 75 yards)  but I can’t give anything other than C because of the drops.  Although I would like to note for aspiring wide receivers- watch Jarvis Landry on run plays.  He is fierce & physical in his blocking.  There’s more to being a receiver than being fast, kidz.

Offensive Line (A-)-  Run blocking was excellent again & the pass protection much improved.

Defensive Line (A)-  D-line was pretty much flawless.  Pass rush was relentless all night long & run defense stuffed UW all night & made them one-dimensional pretty early on.

Linebackers (A)-  Also, pretty much flawless.  Gave up some completions but were particularly impressive in pass coverage for me.  Chavis likes his linebackers a bit on the smallish size compared to other LB corps, so if you’re going to go with smaller linebackers they better be able tackle & do well in pass coverage.  They did that last night with aplomb.

Secondary (A)-  LSU’s young secondary got their first test last night & with the help of the work from the D-line & linebackers, performed really well.

Special Teams (B+)-   Kicks, punts & kick coverages were excellent all night long.  If Brad Wing doesn’t win the Ray Guy this year, it’ll be a freaking joke; however, ODB, made some questionable decisions on returns on multiple occasions (opening kickoff, waited late to come up & filed two punts).

A’ight, Tiger fans, catch y’all on the flip side.

GEAUX TIGERS!


First off, The Mirror brings us hopefully the start of a new media meme (something we Arsenal bloggers have picked up on already)- Steve Bould’s influence on the defensive side of the game for Arsenal.  Despite Arsenal’s coaching staff having been replete with defenders throughout Arsène Wenger’s tenure, Wenger included, Arsenal has had admitted defensive shortfalls in recent years (at differing times- defensive concentration, loss of shape, susceptibility to set pieces, e.g.) but it seems this most recent pre-season a more concerted & concentrated effort to work on the overall team defensive shape & defensive tactics were implemented & it looks like work on that defensive side of the game may be worth a good 9 to 15 points this season more so than trying to replace Traitor van Stapleton’s 30 goals from last term.  Long may the defense’s good early form continue!

With the transfer window shut, loan moves are the only ways players can move from club to club & highly regarded youngster, Chuks Aneke, full name, Chukwuemeka Ademola Amachi Aneke, is moving on loan to League One side, Crewe Alexandra.  Aneke had loan spells last year at Stevenage & Preston North End, respectively.  Both of last year’s loans for the youngster were considered successful  & as he’s been compared, probably somewhat hyperbolically, to a young Yaya Touré before, so I hope he gets plenty of first team action for Crewe & maybe even get into the starting eleven as a regular. 

A player at the club who has been pretty good so far this season is Abou Diaby & he seeks “revenge” for his missing time from injury in the previous seasons.  I know we’re all hoping Diaby stays fit & injury-free & his performances in the opening matches have certainly been encouraging but it’s a good bit of a risk that Wenger has hitched his hopes for the midfield in part on Abou Diaby with his injury record.  Diaby has claimed that his long injury ledger is down to problems with his biomechanics rather than any physical deficiencies or frailties.  It’s certainly an interesting point to consider.  Either way, Diaby’s performance against Liverpool was “majestic,” in the words of one pundit, and showed what he can do when he’s healthy & on song.  Diaby also scored the lone goal yesterday for France so his current form is cause for anticipation for more.

Speaking of the internationals, here’s a full rundown of Arsenal players in internationals yesterday.  The Ox getting his first full start for England against Moldova & Santi Cazorla scoring Spain’s opener being the highlights from yesterday’s matches.

Now for some personal highlights!  Following last night’s nationally ranked high school alma mater, John Curtis’ thrashing of Plant (FL), a fellow nationally ranked team, is the arrival of my first set of Arsenal home & away jerseys!  Behold the glory!:

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As you can see, for the home jersey I went with my surname, “Chatelain,” which is French for “person who goes by the nickname of ‘Curtis’ ” & for the away jersey I went with a Brazilian style nom de guerre of “Curtisimo,” which is actually Spanish for “the most Curtis.”  Obviously, I’m a silly bastard that likes to “pass a good time.”

Anyway, I got to get back to some college football as I’m mainly waiting for Dem Tigers to play Washingtaint in about 90 minutes on De ESPN but I’ve already seen Moo State beat Aubarn in a matchup of cow colleges & I’m currently watching a good game of Floriduh & Texass A&M.  Hooray for football of all kinds!

Have yourselves a good Saturday!

Geaux Tigers!


When your “highlights” video is only 42 seconds long, you know your team stunk.  It’s hard to describe how awful the US were tonight in their 2-1 loss to Jamaica‘s Reggae Boyz.  We’ve had much bigger losses in recent years but tonight’s performance was simply dreadful after the first minute of the match.  It was so awful I started losing interest from around minutes 70-85.  Tonight’s loss also makes the USA’s World Cup qualifying campaign quite tricky from here on out.

Where to begin with this debacle?  How about Jürgen Klinsmann’s midfield selection?  We allegedly were in some kind of 4-4-2 diamond but the midfield selections of Kyle Beckerman (Stonernaldo), Jermaine Jones & Maurice Edu often were too deep & left the top of the diamond midfielder, Clint Dempsey, & the strikeforce of Jozy Altidore & Hercules Gomez often isolated.  Never mind the fact that those midfield selections lacked imagination or impetus to go forward.  For all the hoopla surrounding Klinsmann’s appointment to head coach of the USMNT, he got all squeaky-bummed with his lineup tonight (really, Klinsi? NO wide midfielders? WTF?) & it backfired big time.

Compounding the poor midfield selection of Beckerman, Jones & Edu, whose games are too similar in deeper positional play, was the trio’s complete & utter shitstorm of a performance.  Jermaine Jones & Maurice Edu were very ineffective & their passing was quite dreadful at times.  Jermaine Jones at times attempted to drift out wide on the right to feign some width for the US but Klinsmann’s formations, tactics & lineup selection made Stoke City of recent years look like a high-flying winger-led team.  More worryingly, Jones & Edu looked slow in the tackle & often gave up fouls in poor positions, with Edu givimg up the foul for Jamaica’s winner (both of Jamaica’s goals came from freekicks).

Now, for Kyle Beckerman.  It’s hard to see what Jürgen Klinsmann sees in Stonernaldo.  I don’t watch much MLS so unless Kyle Beckerman tears it up there, Stonernaldo must have nudie pics of Klinsmann & a poodle or something.  Beckerman was in a word- sucktasticfuckingdreadfulshitstormerrificcrappygarbage.  It was a worse performance than old whipping boy of a left back, Jonathan Bornstein used to put in.  The announcers kept saying how he was in the lineup “to keep possession of the ball.”  Well, he failed.  Miserably.  He was too slow, couldn’t pass, couldn’t tackle, couldn’t keep the ball, couldn’t tie his own shoes, etc.  He was also at fault for the opening goal when he gave away a foul in a dangerous position after being too slow to get anywhere near the ball.  Then on the ensuing freekick it was his heel the ball deflected off of to wrong-foot Tim Howard for Jamaica’s opening goal.  He was simply shambolic tonight.  I know the US has injuries to Landon Donovan & Michael Bradley in the midfield but if Beckerman starts on Tuesday, I may turn the tv off in complete disgust.  He should never see another cap in his career.

The backline actually played pretty well in spite of the midfield’s efforts to leave them isolated like the attackers.  Clarence Goodson & Geoff Cameron paired well in the middle (Cameron has been playing really well of late) & Michael Parkhurst did fairly well in a surprise inclusion at right back following a knock picked up by Steve Cherundolo & Fabian Johnson did okay at left back defensively as well, but was lacking going forward & gave away the ball too often.

In short, the US played for one minute, the opening one where Clint Dempsey scored a goal after only 36 seconds, & then shut off for the next 89.  We looked slow, we looked like we couldn’t pass, our formation was dreadful, our tactics dreadful, even the execution was pathetic.  If you have bad tactics, sometimes you can overcome it with superior or even good execution but the only execution tonight should’ve been Beckerman’s national team career.  Zing.  Pow.  Kaboom.

To make matters worse Guatemala beat Guyana, 3-1, to vault over the US into second in Group A.  It’s not panic time just yet but after tonight’s loss, the Yanks have to win on Tuesday night otherwise it would be.  Guatemala will most likely beat Antigua & Barbuda in their match on Tuesday evening which would put them on seven points as well where currently Jamaica resides in the lead of Group A. If the US drops points on Tuesday we’d be third & at least two or three points behind second with only two matches to go.

I won’t even do ratings because I’m pretty much in complete agreeance with Brain Sciaretta of the NYT soccer blog.  Except I wouldn’t have given Bornstein that 3.5.  He would’ve gotten a solid 3 for me.  Worst performance for a national team player since I don’t remember when.

Here’s the “highlights,” for whatever it’s worth:

Early yays! turned into many later nays!

*          *          *          *          *          *         *          *          *         *

Turning elsewhere for a bright spot, my high school alma mater & perennial football powerhouse in Louisiana, whom I played football for as well from 1989-1992, John Curtis Christian, took on & crushed Plant HS of Tampa, Florida tonight to the tune of 33-3.  John Curtis Patriots went into the game ranked as high as #6 in the nation (by USA Today) & Plant was ranked as high as #7 (also by USA Today) & with their impressive & resounding victory over an overwhelmed Plant Panther team, the Patriots have thrust themselves into (mythical) national high school championship contention.

The Tampa take of the game where reading between the lines, Plant’s head coach Robert Weiner underestimated the Patriots in films:

“Honestly, they were a different team than we saw on film,’’ Weiner said.

“It’s not that you didn’t know the history …but they really were way more outstanding than any game I’ve seen them play this year on film.’’

Sorry, to burst your bubble Plant fans, but that’s coachspeak for “we got arrogant, thought we were better & overlooked this team.”  Weiner made multiple comments before the game remarking how John Curtis played “old man football” & ran schemes that were outdated & too old too work against Plant.

Our veer offense which we’ve run from some 40+ years now & it’s “old man football” style claims yet another victim.  Like I remarked to a friend back in December about the option- “it’s not schemes that win football games in the long run, it’s execution (of whatever the strategy is).”  Another scheme which was supposedly outdated & wouldn’t work was our “picket fence” punt return scheme, where players set up a “wall” or “fence” to one side of the field to help shield a returner & create a lane for the returner to run.  Well, that paleolithic punt return scheme scored on one occasion & had another TD called back on a flag on another.  How’s that picket fence working out for ya, Weiner?

When will people learn that smashmouth football NEVER goes out of style.  Running the ball down people’s throats will never go out of fashion no matter how many new-fangled supposed space age offensive schemes come along.  You would think after watching the SEC win six national championships in a row, people would start to get it.  Or watching year in & year out in the NFL that you at least need the semblance of a physical run game to win the Super Bowl.  Ad infinitum powerful running attacks with good blocking will never go out of style.

I won’t even address how the Plant Panthers came out in the second half, down 27-3 at the time, & proceeded to turn into a frustrated bunch of cheat shop artists.  Oh wait.  Too late.  Take your asses back to Tampa & wait for that LSU beatdown of Florida too, ya secretly candy-assed prima donnas!

Many thanks to iHigh.com for having audio of the game I could listen to & allowing me to listen to fellow alums, Kevin Fayard & Danny Wimprine broadcast (& cheer on) the John Curtis Patriots.  And, of course, congratulations & many kudos on a job well done to my former coaches, J.T. Curtis, Michael Robertson, & Leon Curtis & former teammates who are now coaches, Johnny Curtis, Jeff Curtis, Preston Curtis, Jerry Godfrey, et al.

“Old Man Football” wins again!

This helmet & school is your daddy


A trifecta of teams’ news for you today.  Man, I took the day off from work yesterday (9/6) because my sinuses were acting up pretty good & had all day to post something & I couldn’t get around ’til today (9/7) which is actually just before bed for me yesterday (9/6).  Um, which is still actually “today” (9/6) at the moment for me.  Got it?  Good.

LSU
LSU -24 vs. Washington

Once again, we’re bringing a Tiger to a dog fight, so once again I like our chances…

Ok, I’ll start with the LSU stuff because I don’t near keep up with the daily ins & outs of the Tigers as I should.  For all the immersion 24/7 of LSU football back home, I quite enjoy the sort of daily detachment I have from Da Tigahs up here in Anchorage.  I certainly enjoy being detached from the nitpicking of the team.

Hope you’re not too hungry because this is your only Tasty Nugget of the week right here in LSU-Washington.  I know, I know, “how the mighty have fallen!”  “What is the world coming to?”  “The Nuggetz ain’t what they used to be.”  “The Nuggetz have gone ‘pop.’ ”  And other sundry & assorted platitudes & clichés.  But it is what it is these days.

So did you like over the summer how The Hat, who has a penchant for eating grass, kicked the Honey Badger off of LSU’s football team (though he just recently re-enrolled in school following finishing a portion of his rehab program) for chronic smoking of grass?  Like how I used the double entendre pun with ‘chronic?’  Cunning linguists still aren’t impressed, however.  Anyway, eating grass got rid of smoking grass all the while the grass in Tiger Stadium got soaked for Hurricane Isaac.  So you can eat your grass, cut your grass, soak your grass & I think even lay your grass (another double entendre) but you just can’t smoke it.  Speaking of things that are smoked, that will be the Huskies as the Mettenchrist still looks spotty but LSU has too many horses in the stable & too many Mastodons that bring Blood & Thunder on the D-line that offset LSU’s concerns in the secondary.  But 24 points?  I don’t know about 24 points… hope I’m wrong.

LSU 30, Washington 17

This is the kind of song that should be put as highlight music, not that dance-sounding crap

USMNT
The US national team faces Jamaica tonight/tomorrow night… damn it, on Friday.  There.  The mighty US of freaking A plays Jamaica away in Kingston on Friday night in their third CONCACAF second round group World Cup Qualifier & currently lead Group A on goal difference after two matches.

The US has never lost to Jamaica enjoying  an 11-0-9 overall record, scoring 34 goals & allowing 12 in those 20 matches.  The USA’s largest win ever was a 5-0 in a friendly against the Reggae Boyz on May 16th, 2002.  Josh Wolff with 2, Clint Mathis, Landon Donovan, & DaMarcus Beasley were the goalscorers on that day.

The US also enjoyed a 5-1 win in 1999 but a draw is usually on the cards when the US travels to the isle of Jamaica & with key players Landon Donovan & Michael Bradley out with injuries & Clint Dempsey having not yet played in the EPL following his holdout with Fulham & subsequent transfer to Lasagnaham, I think I smell another draw.  A draw wouldn’t be bad at this stage of qualification but if a draw is what’ll happen then that definitely means it is in the USA’s interests to get the full three points in the return match with Jamaica in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday.

I couldn’t tell you who plays for Jamaica these days so I had to go to their wiki page just to even get a name.  And looking at their recent roster, it’s no wonder I had trouble recalling any names.  Only two players play in England & only one of those, Adrian Mariappa, plays in the Premier League for Reading.  Although the other player who plies his trade in England, Nyron Nosworthy, has Premier League experience when he was at Sunderland.

But a national team in their home country, even in CONCACAF, is never to be taken lightly, so hopefully Jürgen Klinsmann will have the Yanks ready to play.  I still think this match has 1-1 written all over it.

Prediction:   Jamaica 1-USA 1

ARSENAL
Finally, a few Arsenal tidbits to end this post.  We’ll start off with Andrei Arshavin turning down a move to Dinamo (or is it Dynamo?) Moscow.  The Russian transfer window closed yesterday, so it looks like Arshavin will be staying with Gunners unless a domestic loan is worked out with somebody.  Hey, doesn’t Liverpool need attackers?  Get those knuckleheads on the phone & tell them we have a hot tip on a diminutive Russian attacker named Kennady Dalglishikov & then plop Arshavin down on their doorstep & get the hell out of Liverpool before we’re forced to hear Beatles songs.  Ahhhh, the Beatles.  Just like Liverpool- once great & completely overrated in my book.

On a curious note, Arsène Wenger has blocked a loan move for reserve/U21 player (that U21 thing will still take a little getting used to), Conor Henderson.  The young Irish midfielder is coming off a knee injury that made him miss all of last season but there were several clubs that interested in his services on loan.  However, Wenger has stated he wants to see Henderson’s development continue at the club but to the slight annoyance of Henderson.  Henderson wants the chance to play first team football/soccer, a chance he obviously won’t get at Arsenal, so to keep him at the club & stick him in the reserves is a bit odd, even for Wenger.  I’m not sure what to make of it really.

Finally, those who want some good news, here’s some about Steve Bould where Wenger is singing his praises for the defensive work we’ve done so far this season.  The Arsenal blogosphere, myself included, has definitely noticed the how much better we look as an actual cohesive unit in defense these days & to a man have pretty much thought it was at least in part due to Steve Bould coming in as Wenger’s right hand man.  The defense is so far the overlooked part (because “Arsenal can’t score anymore!” sells more papers) of the season & we’re the only club in the league, the entire football league not just the EPL, to have not conceded yet.  Long may it continue & the likes of Adrian Derpham can sing the old “boring, boring Arsenal” songs all they want.

And, of course some “bad” news.  Apparently Bacary Sagna might be the next Gunner to leave.  Or not.  Or maybe so.  Or maybe not.  He apparently made some comments in L’Equipe that can be construed as him being upset.  Whatever.  If he goes, he goes & if he stays, he stays.  It ain’t rocket surgery.  If he goes I’m sure we’ll just get some other right back from France or maybe move Francis Coquelin there permanently or promote Nico Yennaris from the reserves.  I just can’t be bothered with this kind of shit anymore.  If you want to go join the silverware parade at the Mancunster clubs or €hel$ki than go do it.

Anyway, hopefully my sinuses get better since Anchorage has a Mardi Gras fest in the fall tomorrow, er, this evening.  Tonight.  The 7th.  Damn it.  Friday evening.  Whatever.