First of all, Fabrice Muamba should change his name to Lazarus. I was watching that game on March 17 and sat stunned, convinced that a young man had died and had unpleasant memories of Marc-Vivien Foe. Quite a classy move by Thierry Henry, I might add.
Okay, which is the bigger miracle in the past week: Fabrice Muamba’s survival or the fact that Fernando Torres scored two goals in the past week?
I’ve picked on Peter Crouch before, but his goal in Saturday’s game against Manchester City was arguably the EPL goal of the year.
Liverpool’s run of form in league play is contrasted by their run of form in cup competitions: The Carling Cup is already in the bag, they’re in the quarterfinals for the FA Cup, while struggling to hold on to seventh place in the league, with three wins in the last fifteen games, and no league wins since January 31.
Theo Walcott’s play in Saturday’s victory against Aston Villa underscores why he’s so frustrating: he had a terrific game, showing impressive pace and the way he brought the ball down from long passes reminded me of Thierry Henry. One merely wishes he could play like that consistently.
It’s worth noting that Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Aston Villa was the first time since 1997 that two English players had scored in the same league game for Arsenal.
Not by choice, but by circumstance (the Scottish Premier League is not usually on in the US) I saw my first entire Old Firm Derby today. I don’t know if it was typical, but it was exciting: three goals for Rangers, two late goals for Celtic, four sent off including Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Did anyone else see it?
Could Apoel Nicosia have had a worse draw in the Champions League quarterfinals? It’s 11:59 and 59 seconds in their Cinderella story. I shudder to think how many goals Real Madrid will score.
Share your thoughts on the rest of the Champions League quarterfinals matches.
Hey Randinho, shouldn’t you really be getting some contact information into the updated list at right?
I was at the qualifier yesterday between Canada and the US. Our squad really missed Juan Agudelo…
@Warren Terra: Probably, but I post here rather infrequently and on only one subject. I’ll drop a note to John.
@Bnut: I can see that. Coincidentally, the Red Bulls had a great day without him. I like him though, and I hope he recovers soon.
You should check out my soccer stats site:
A very different way of looking at the game…Let me know what you think!
aw crap, I can’t believe I ended up in moderation.
Randinho – take a look at my soccer stats site – epltables dot com…
Do you blog regularly somewhere else? I love watching the sport, and have missed quite a few games recently.
Randinho, why pick on Peter Crouch? He’s never seemed to me to be brilliant, but he’s made amazing use of limited skills and is a great low cost solution for a mid-table side to always threaten the shock goal against the big teams.
I think he’s been a bit of a victim of that “If I were 6’6″, I’d score 40 goals a season” thinking that people have when they don’t recognize that every combination of physical attributes (except for those of Lionel Messi and Charles Barkley) has inherent limitations. For example, realistically, if I were 6’6″, I’d be 285 lbs and I would be the slowest, clumsiest person on the pitch, every single day.
Theo benefits from Sagna being back in the line-up. Arsenal really does feature play from their fullbacks. Also, over the top pass from Song was sumptuous.
Also, I don’t quite know the rest of the CL draw, but I bet that at this level, all opponents are tough ones, not just Real Madrid.
@Randinho: Your ess-tsett is showing good sir. :)
@Bnut: So we’re just like the rest of the world and we import our best players?
I’m glad none of the big three this year have to face one another until the semis. As it is, I think Benfica-Chelsea is the most interesting quarter matchup. Barcelona has already proved that it’s much better than Milan this year (despite the unlucky draw in their first match). I can’t wait for the presumed Real Madrid – Bayern Munich semi-final.
I’m still in euphoria mode over the last several weeks of Arsenal climbing into 3rd in the league, and 8 points ahead of Chelsea in 5th!
Meanwhile, my Red Devils from Kauserslautern still couldn’t score in a brothel with a fistful of 100s.
Will be interesting to see if Hamburg SV gets enough points, or will be relegated for the first time ever.
@Hawerchuk: Definitely will check it out thanks.
@dollared: I was praising Crouch in this instance, although he has been known to do a bit of this (scroll down to picture at bottom) in close quarters.
@Wildcat12: You can see my own site when you click my name.
@Yutsano: Vielen dank!
@Thor Heyerdahl: Yeah that Wolfsburg game was depressing.
Arsenal have been so much better since Sagna and Gibbs have returned. I do hope that Van Persie sticks around- I am worried that Wenger is signing Podolski as a replacement, not as a compliment. They are finally looking convincing again after losing Cesc. I’d really like to see Robin play with WIlshire and a fit back four next year…
@Yutsano: I’ll take what we can get.
@Randinho: Thanks! I’ve been working in hockey for the last few years and decided I should branch out a bit…
Spurs – Chelsea was the worst match I’ve seen in at least three years. They should refund all the fans’ money. I fully expect Chelsea to get absolutely strafed by Benfica.
Arsenal were never as bad as they looked in August and September, and probably aren’t as good as they look right now, but they’re going to finish third, and Spurs are going to get a dicey tie in the last stage of Champions League qualifying.
It’s utterly unfathomable that the US under-23s lost to Canuckistan.
I think Wenger will finally spend on 3-4 quality players this off season. All of Arsenal’s commercial contracts (Kit contract with Nike, shirt sponsorship and stadium name with Emirates) come up for negotiation in 2014. Arsenal locked into 10 year agreements just before starting construction of the stadium, so they had that money banked for the build, but those contracts are well under market value now.
For purely business reasons, they need to be challenging for the title and going deep into the CL in the 2012-13 season to maximize their negotiation position on those new agreements, i.e spending 50-60 million pounds now, could mean 100s of million pounds in those agreements.
At least, that’s what this Gunner is hoping…
Um, LFC is in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and have drawn the winner of the Sunderland / Everton re
Liverpool have made it to the semifinals of the FA cup, not the quarters. In addition, they will play the winner of the Sunderland/Everton replay. I would assume that they make the final at this point. I think that Daglish was right to concentrate on domestic cups this year given the injuries to Gerard and Lucas. Top 4 just wasn’t going to happen. Might as we’ll concentrate on the silverware you can win and enjoy the Europa League next year.
btw, I should have posted this link – the stats are more interesting than the blog posts so far:
My long-held opinion of Theo Walcott’s ultimate abjectness is not altered by his occasional display (a goal scored, a cross completed) of the competence one should expect from a veteran member of the starting IX of a squad of Arsenal’s pedigree. Fleet as he is, there must be some reason why his services are never desired by any other club.
The near-miraculous revival of Arsenal’s fortunes this season remain dependent on the health of RVP’s ankles. Stan Kroenke and Ivan Gazidis will have to loosen the pursestrings this summer to attract other players of Lukas Podolski’s caliber if they wish to retain van Persie, particularly if his form in Euro 2012 bears any resemblance to that which will likely earn him the Premier League’s 2011-12 player-of-the-year.
The stability of Thomas Vermaelen’s oft-fragile limbs is also essential for Arsenal’s campaign this season. And my goodness, who is that player wearing Tomas Rosicky’s jersey? Who knew that a new contract could have such a restorative effect (though I believe Arshavin’s departure is the real tonic.)
I would love to hear from BGChi or others who “never walk alone” on the future of King Kenny. Will the hoisting of the lesser cups satisfy the Americans who are paying such an enormous (and enormously ineffectual) payroll?
Burnspbesq above was spot-on in his appraisal of the travesty between Tottenham and Chelsea. Was it a matter of timidity, exhaustion, or the two gaffers thinking about their respective futures?
My own health is certain to require that I remain at home this coming Wednesday. A prescription of watching Champions League matches between Marseilles and Bayern, then Milan v. Barcelona will be necessary. Bayern is the one club that I think could challenge the adjective-disabling Catalans from repeating as Champions in May.
I would like to ride my hobby horse here and propose a better way to settle draws than the penalty shootout: put it in the hands of referees or off-field judges, like boxing matches which don’t end in knockouts. Judges would be instructed to give the win to the side which had significantly more scoring chances, or (if that doesn’t apply) committed significantly fewer fouls, or (if neither of those two apply) spent significantly more time in the opponent’s quarter of the field.
That rule would, I think, put an end to sides stinking up the match in an attempt to salvage a 0-0 draw and then catch a lucky break in the penalty shootout, as the Netherlands tried to do in the last World Cup final.
@bad dad: For some reason I had quarterfinals on the brain. You’re right, of course.
Re: the old firm
Rangers have the most bigoted fan base outside of Lazio. Utter filth.
The comparison of the War in Glasgow to the game of Patty Cake in London this weekend could not have been more stark.
Don’t forget Zenit…
@Jeffrey Kramer: That bus belongs to Jose and no one is taking the keys away!
Here’s the question:
Though he’s denied it, Jose would love to coach England. If he delivers LaLiga and the CL to Real, I say he’s out of there. Does the FA go with Pearce for Euro 2012 and tell him the team is his for good in 4-6 years after Jose’s turn?
No voetbal news?
pseudonymous in nc
It was atypical in that Celtic had a chance to take the league title at Ibrox and shove it up their rivals’ (blue) noses. Other than that, it was perhaps only slightly more intemperate than the typical Old Firm match, a fixture that offers very little that’s positive to the game.
@dollared: There are many reasons to pick on Crouch. Caught cheating on Abby Clancy. The robot. Getting sent off in 30 minutes at the Bernabeu. Or better yet, Peter Crouch Can Do Anything. Plus, contrary to expectations, he ain’t even cheap. SCFC paid the ungodly sum of GBP 10m for a striker who has maybe 3 league goals.
@handsmile: I can never understand why the cult of Vermaelen persists. He contributes his share of goals to be sure and has a great warrior mentality, but his defending and even more so his positioning leave a lot to be desired. Watch the Newcastle game again and try to figure out how the hell he way playing LW in advance of Gibbs when Ben Arfa shot up the other end to score.
As for LFC, just go read some threads at Red and White Kop. His wasting of GBP 100m on crap, insistence on playing certain players, and constantly embarassing interviews and overall surly demeanor are no longer being excused by LFC fans. Their form and poor quality play are causing a rare spell of enlightenment amongst the self style ‘greatest fans on the world’. The seige mentality only works when you’ve got the results to back it up. Othereise you just look like an ass. I cannot see how he stays manager next season, even with a cup double.