Archive for the ‘Soccer’ Category


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.

 

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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!


Well, headline, I’m glad you asked because I was wondering the same thing.  As you can see below it’s still Armageddon for Arsenal as they sit in twelfth place with no goals, NO goals, NO GOALS! GOALAGEDDON!

 

Pl. Team GP W D L Pts GF GA GD
1 Chelsea 3 3 0 0 9 8 2 6
2 Swansea City 2 2 0 0 6 8 0 8
3 Everton 2 2 0 0 6 4 1 3
4 West Bromwich Albion 2 1 1 0 4 4 1 3
5 Manchester City 2 1 1 0 4 5 4 1
6 Fulham 2 1 0 1 3 7 3 4
7 Manchester United 2 1 0 1 3 3 3 0
8 Wigan Athletic 2 1 0 1 3 2 2 0
9 Newcastle United 2 1 0 1 3 2 3 -1
10 West Ham United 2 1 0 1 3 1 3 -2
11 Stoke City 2 0 2 0 2 1 1 0
12 Arsenal 2 0 2 0 2 0 0 0
13 Sunderland 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
14 Tottenham Hotspur 2 0 1 1 1 2 3 -1
15 Reading 2 0 1 1 1 3 5 -2
16 Liverpool 2 0 1 1 1 2 5 -3
17 Norwich City 2 0 1 1 1 1 6 -5
18 Queen’s Park Rangers 2 0 1 1 1 1 6 -5
19 Southampton 2 0 0 2 0 2 5 -3
20 Aston Villa 2 0 0 2 0 1 4 -3

Anyway, I currently see some Sp*rs & some Liverpoop beneath us at the moment as well, which makes me go LOL.  No goals scored & you’re still beneath us?  I guess you truly will never walk alone, dopes.

As luck would have it Liverpool is our next opponent at Anfield next week, so we get to hear that crappy Rogers & Hammerstein show tunes song prior to the match.  Hear that, Liverpool?  Your club song is a show tune.  How many Tonys do you have with all your European Cups?

And if I was still a betting man, I’d put money on El Perro Langosta winning a PK this weekend (Howard Webb is officiating the match, after all).

Luís Suárez seen here partnering giant photoshop-headed Andy Carroll

Oh yeah, we’re apparently still  on the trail of Yohan Cabaye, Yann M’Vila, Etienne Capoue, Ibrahim Afellay & every other midfielder that’s kicked a ball in France (did you know Wenger is French?) or Spain in the last 11 years.  I have a sneaking suspicion with all of our midfielders coming back soon, which Arsène Wenger made a point to highlight the other week, any signing here will be of the old “um, who? I have to look him up,” super-scout variety that Le Boss used to drop on us every summer.  Or I could be crazy.  Both are solid bets, I think.

We’re also apparently linked with Nicolai Boilesen, a fullback for Ajax.  I don’t know that much about him other than he hasn’t played too much for Ajax in his time there, but I would still trust our scouting network to know something we don’t & not only be taking a flyer on someone just because he plays for a specific club with certain prestige.

Anyway, as I’ve said before, it’ll behoove us to move people on before we get people in, so this week should be interesting since Wenger has hinted both overtly & subtly that we could be seeing two more signings.

Updated signing/departures list (updates in red):
Confirmed signings: Santi Cazorla (Málaga), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Confirmed departures (includes U21s & U19s): Benik Afobe (Bolton Wanderers- loan), Manuel Almunia (Watford), Kyle Bartley (Swansea City), Pedro Botelho (Atlético Paranaense), George Brislen-Hall (Norwich City), Alban Bunjaku (Sevilla), James Campbell (Dundee United), Joel Campbell (Real Betís-loan), Tom Cruise (Torquay United), Denílson (São Paulo-loan), Samuel Galindo (Lugo-loan), Ben Glasgow (Stoke City), Gavin Hoyte (Dagenham & Redbridge), Sean McDermott (Sandnes Ulf), Jeffrey Monakana (Preston North End), Rhys Murphy (Telstar Velsen), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş), Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan Athletic- loan), Alex Song (Barcelona), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Sanchez Watt (released- Carlisle United?), Wellington Silva (Ponferradina- loan)

Likely signings: ?
Likely departures: Andrei Arshavin (Al-Sadd [Qatar], Fulham, Galatasaray, Reading, Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Niklas Bendtner (Galatasaray, AC Milan, Inter-Milan, Spartak Moscow), Marouane Chamakh (Beşiktaş, Fiorentina, Málaga, Rubin Kazan, Tottenham Hotspur, Valencia-loan), Denílson (AC Milan), Łukasz Fabiański, Vito Mannone (Hull City), Chu/Ju-Young Park (Al-Ain [UAE], Blackburn Rovers, Celta Vigo), Sébastian Squillaci (Bastia, Olympiakos Piraeus)

Possible signings: Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (RSC Anderlecht), Nicolai Boilesen (Ajax Amsterdam), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Tongo Doumbia (Rennes), Omar El-Haddouri (Brescia), Cheikh M’Bengue (Toulouse), Stéphane Mbia (Olympique Marseille), Philippe Mèxes (AC Milan), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Mbaye Niang (Caen), Steven Nzonzi (Blackburn Rovers), Paulinho (Corinthians), Jese Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Cheick Tioté (Newcastle United), Kenneth Udjus (Sogndal), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)
Possible departures: Daniel Boateng (loan), Johann Djourou (Napoli), Conor Henderson (Charlton Athletic-loan), Henri Lansbury, Ignasi Miquel (Brighton & Hove Albion- loan), Aaron Ramsey (Fulham), Theo Walcott (Liverpool, Southampton)


Ajacied defender, Jan Vertonghen, has agreed a deal to join the mightily, massive mind-the-gappers of Lasagnaham Hotsp*r & their revolution under Andre Flavor-Of-The-Month-Boas.  There was some hope The Verminator’s former central defensive partner would join us at Arsenal but obviously Fartonghen an affinity for shitting his pants & letting gaps get closed.  Fartonghen would rather join the greatest Sp*rs team in 50 years instead of the worst Arsenal team under Wenger that still finished ahead of Gappenham.  It’s ok, Jan, I wouldn’t want to compete with hunky Olivier Giroud for groupies either.

Here’s to hoping Fartonghen enjoys lots of delicious lasagna & maybe some niggling injuries or two during his time at Lasagnaham Gapsp*r.

Graphic representation of Sp*rs missing out on the Champions’ League platform

Not too big of a loss since Fartonghen to Arsenal was more rumor than any actual deal but I generally do hold Ajacied players in high regard.

So, not really Arsenal news at all but I didn’t feel like writing about Arsenalgeddon/Boardroom Civil War again.  So there ya have it.

In American soccer player news, Charlie Davies is moving to Randers of Denmark & Michael Bradley might be on the cusp of joining Serie A’s AS Roma.  With RvP gone, maybe Wenger can go out & get Clint Dempsey then?  MAKE IT HAPPEN, WENGER. LOL.  If Arsenal buy Clint Dempsey, I’ll buy my 1st official Arsenal jersey customized with Deuce’s name & #.  Believe dat!

PS Machine Head has several albums that just blooooooooowwwwwww.  Geez, a very overrated band.  I’m listening to some of their stuff as I type this b/c I thought they were supposed to be a decent band.  They’re not.

Updated signing/departures list (updates in red):
Confirmed signings: Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Confirmed departures: Manuel Almunia (released), Geroge Brislen-Hall (released), Alban Bunjaku (Sevilla), Joel Campbell (Real Betís-loan), Denílson (São Paulo-loan), Gavin Hoyte (released), Sean McDermott (released), Jernade Meade (released), Rhys Murphy (Telsar Velsen), Sanchez Watt (released)

Likely signings: ?
Likely departures: Andrei Arshavin (Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Niklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh (Fiorentina, Valencia-loan),  Łukasz Fabiański, Vito Mannone (Hull City), Chu/Ju-Young Park, Sébastian Squillaci (Bastia),  Robert van Persie (Juventus/Manchester City), Carlos Vela

Possible signings: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Victor Moses (Wigan Athletic), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Kenneth Udjus (Sogndal), Jan Vertonghen (Ajax Amsterdam), Emiliano Viviano (Palermo)
Possible departures: Benik Afobe (loan), Johann Djourou (Napoli), Conor Henderson (Charlton Athletic-loan), Henri Lansbury, Ignasi Miquel (Brighton & Hove Albion- loan), Aaron Ramsey (Fulham), Theo Walcott (Chelsea, Juventus, PSG)


1st off, Arsenal received some bad news yesterday morning with the news that Jack Wilshere will miss the start of the season due to a setback following his rehabilitation course after his recent double operation on his ankle injury he picked up in pre-season last season.  Obviously, this is disheartening news for us Arsenal fans & with our history of long-term, serious injuries (Abou Diaby, Eduardo, Aaron Ramsey & now Jack Wilshere), you couldn’t be faulted for expecting the worse for Wilshere’s recovery.  Neither Diaby or Eduardo were the same following their injuries, & Ramsey has at times struggled for consistency though whether that’s due to age or his injury is yet to be determined. To be fair to Diaby, Eduardo & Ramsey, their injuries were far more serious than Wilshere but Arsenal haven’t had much success with a long-term injury since Robert Pirès returned from a fairly serious knee injury in 2003.

Speaking of Aaron Ramsey, he was selected by Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce to represent Great Britain in the 2012 Olympic Games.  This means Ramsey will miss Arsenal’s Asian tour in pre-season & possibly the Nigeria match in Nigeria.  The tournament certainly doesn’t come at an opportune time for Ramsey & Arsenal’s pre-season preparation but such is life at a club with players with talent- they’re going to get selected to represent their nations (in this particular case treat Britain rather than Wales) provided they’re fit & healthy enough to play.

It wouldn’t be a recent Arsenal post without some Olivier Giroud news in it.  Just be thankful it isn’t news that your girl left you for him. Yet… B/c the man is quite handsome.  Nay, the news is just the full video from his inaugural Arsenal interview.  Knuckleheads, please note, there is no such thing as a “first annual” anything. A “first annual” something is actually inaugural.  But I digress…

Here’s more info on the supposed techy exit of Alban Bunjaku from the club to Sevilla.

Arsenal 2nd year scholars, Hector Bellerin (one of the Barca babies) & Kristoffer Olsson have signed professional contracts & join Samir Bihmoutine, Reice Charles-Cook, Philip Roberts & Jordan Wynter in turning pro.  All will likely get fair amounts of time in the reserves this coming season.

And apparently Juventus have gotten into the good drugs.  They have apparently bid a paltry €10 million for Robin van Persie.  La Vecchia Signora is batshit crazy if they think we’ll sell for that.  I guess they’re no called “The Old Lady” for nothing.  Since in this case they’re like the cooky grandma that gives you $5 for your birthday… even though you’re almost 40.  Because, well, $5 is a lot of money for somebody who grew up in the 20s & 30s.  So, La Vecchia Signora should be re-nicknamed La Nonna Pazza- “The Crazy Grandma.”  Of course, Man City are snooping around for RvP too b/c, well, they buy everybody.  PSG is supposedly interested too but no way van Persie goes to France.  Personally, I don’t think there’s any way who goes to €iteh either but I’m an optimist… of sorts.

 Well, I guess we should be glad she didn’t bid an Indian nickel,
some thread & a bottle of sasparilla for van Persie… La Nonna Pazza!

On to a player who definitely looks like he’s moving out for the season, but this time just another loan.  Joel Campbell who spent last season on loan at Lorient in Ligue 1 looks to be heading to Real Betis of La Liga on loan for the upcoming season.  I half-thought Campbell might be coming into the 1st squad this year as a bench player & that it might even signal a possible exit for Walcott after the season but a loan looks to be on the young Costa Rican’s cards.  Not sure if this is due to the lack of a work permit or not or if Wenger has just gone ahead & decided that he won’t feature much in the 1st squad & shipped him out to hopefully get some games in Spain.

Finally, some last bits of Euro 2012.  Here’s a slideshow from the BBC of the final & a bitchin’ vid of every single, EVERY single, EVERY. SINGLE. GOAL. from Euro 2012…

Now, go wash behind your ears before La Nonna Pazza says no cookies for her little bambino/a!


In Euro 2012’s final today, Spain were in a word, magnificent.  Dominating.  Ok, granted that’s two words but that’s what Spain were.  For all the flak they’ve recently caught for playing with a “false 9” or with no real strikers in their formation, La Roja came out today & put in an absolute masterclass performance & handed Italy a big-time whoopin’.

Spain handed Italy the demolition job, that Italy’s statistical superiority over England deserved but unlike Italy vs. England, Spain took their chances & in reality, the scoreline could’ve been even bigger.  Italy threatened on a handful of occasions but saves from a well-placed Iker Casillas & some wasteful finishing from substitute, Antonio Di Natale, sealed Italy’s fate.

Spain’s 1st goal was scored by David Silva with a header on a neat little cutback by Cesc Fàbregas following a spell of Spain’s obligatory possession where it’s near impossible to get the ball off of them.  Italy had been playing okay at that point but Spain’s 1st goal saw Spain seem to just turn a switch on & kick their play up a gear.  Or two.

However, Italy fought back well with better possession (Italy actually enjoyed the majority of possession in the 1st half, believe it or not) & a handful of long-range efforts but this was all undone with a delicious, swift maneuver that saw Barcelona’s new signing, Jordi Alba, score after latching on to a through ball by Xavi with a barnstorming run from his fullback position.  It was an awesome little move & Jordi Alba finished with coolness & with that 2nd goal, Italy knew they were in trouble.

Italy could’ve made it a match a few minutes into the 2nd half when Antonion Di Natale headed over with pretty much a free header from 10 yards or so out but he got under it a bit & the ball squibbed over the bar.

Italy’s afternoon went from admirable albeit overmatched to inevitably dominated when they were reduced to 10 men following substitute’s Thiago Motta hamstring pull with over 20 minutes to go after he had only been on the pitch for about 10 minutes.  It’s hard enough to play a team like Spain with a maddeningly, possessive passing style with 11 men much less face them with less than a full compliment of players.

Spain had to wait until the 84th minute for their inevitable 3rd goal & it was scored by Fernando Torres.  Torres has been much maligned since his €50 million move to Chelsea a couple Januarys ago but the striker received a perfect little through ball & kept his cool to slot home past Buffon inside the far post despite Shady Ross Geller getting a slight hand to the effort.

Maybe they lookalike maybe they don’t, but I’m still going with Buffon = Shady Ross Geller

So when Torres is scoring, you know Spain is having a good time & just 4 minutes later Torres won the Golden Boot with an unselfish assist (I know, I know) to Cuntski teammate Juan Mata who had been on the pitch for just a couple of minutes in a cameo. That made it 4-0 & pundits were hurriedly ascribing Spain’s place into the pantheon off all-time great times like Brazil 1970 or The Magic Magyars from the mid 50s.

I won’t try to get into that argument or debate because I never saw Brazil 1970 (usually accepted as the best national side of all-time) but Spain is certainly the best national side I’ve seen in my lifetime.  It’s hard to argue against winning 3 straight major world tournaments (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012) & it’s hard to argue with the fact that Spain won this tournament by often playing without a “true” striker and doing it without their best forward, David Villa, & arguably their best defender, Carlos Puyol.

So, love them or hate them for their tippy tapas style, I’m pretty sure they won’t care & will just point to their trophies.  Although I would like to think one of them would quote the late MCA from the Beastie Boys’ “Professor Booty:”

Well, I’m badass, move your fatass because you’re whack, son.

So, to conclude, an ode to Spain:

Fart stinks like a motherf*cker!


As it is with big marquee matches between like-minded teams sometimes, the Iberian Derby contested between Portugal & Spain was played to a nil-nil draw with Spain winning on penalties.  Two great passing teams, two teams that work hard in defense & you get a match where the teams cancel each other.  Although Spain looked to certainly be in the ascendancy in extra time as Portugal looked to have tired a bit.

Spain went on to defeat Portugal, 4-2, in penalties, which of course included a Panenka which is as hot on the streets in shootouts as Seven Nation Army is for fan chants.  Former Arsenal player, Cesc Fàbregas, squeezed home the winning penalty leaving Cristiano Ronaldo, the diving queen, to look on in despair as once again Cesc gets the better of his former ManU adversary at the international level.  As much as CR7 got the better of Cesc at club level, Cesc certainly has the upper hand in international play.

gif1 Gif: Sergio Ramos panenka penalty & Cesc Fabregas winner (Spain) v Portugal

Panenka PKs are all the rage these days…

And not that I’m complaining but why would you have arguably your best penalty taker in Cristiano Ronaldo taking penalties last (fifth)?  It’s a strategy I certainly wouldn’t adhere to as the player may never get to take the penalty, which is what happened today.  Personally, I would put my best taker in the 1st or 3rd spots of 5.  I like the best PK taker in the 1st spot because you want to start the PK shootout by getting on the board or either in the 3rd spot to either continue putting pressure on the opposition takers by hopefully converting the 3rd PK in a row or to regain some composure by slotting home a PK after one of your players might have missed.  Anyway, I’m glad CR7 never got to take his kick because, well, screw that former Man U player, that’s why. BOOM…

Cesc Fabregas Gif: Sergio Ramos panenka penalty & Cesc Fabregas winner (Spain) v Portugal

Cesc says “CR7, you ain’t gotta go home, but you gotta get outta here!”

Hopefully tomorrow/today’s other semifinal between Germany & Italy is a better match that includes goals.  I’d also like to see a red card or 3.  Players have been too well behaved in this tournament for my liking! 😉