Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Goal of the Year: Grafite vs. Gourcuff [VIDEO]

So, which one is it, then? Grafite is the more audacious of the two with that ridiculous backheel to finish off a run that meandered more than a drunk senior on a scooter. But Gourcuff's is the more purely sublime, executing a roulette to get past one, a deft touch from one foot to the other to get past the second, and a powerful finish past Landreau.

Roll the tape...

For my money, I'm going with Gourcuff. Grafite's goal may be slightly more exhilarating, but he benefitted from some embarrassing Keystone Kops defending.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When will Sunderland's Djibril Cisse horribly mangle his leg next?

Nothing against the erstwhile hairstylist, indeed I enjoy his electrifying pace, skill on the ball, and knack for the goal (such as this classy finish in the epic 2006 FA Cup Final). From Auxerre to Liverpool to Marseille, and on to Sunderland on loan, he's been no stranger to gaudy statistics to pair up with his high octane lifestyle -- movie "star", lap dancing controversies, pregnant wife beating, and so on. Considering all of these "distractions," Cisse has performed consistently well ... when fit. He's currently the leading goal scorer with Sunderland with 10, just ahead of Jones' 9. He terrorised Ligue 1 with Auxerre, and managed to leave a mark at Anfield despite his injury horrors and being asked to play out on the wing.

Which brings me to my question. Having done this and that to his glass legs (NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART), he seems overdue for his next excruciating tibia realignment. The former occured in late October 2004, the latter in July 2006. It's been three years now that Cisse has been cheating the devil. When will it happen next? And when it does happen, will that be the end of his career as a footballer of any relevance?

Perhaps we'll see him in the bargain bin for Taxi 5: Faulty Meters and Boorish Passengers.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Top 5 Most Indifferent Clubs

These five leave no imprint on our collective conciousness and are forever moribund. Even their names inspire no tingling of the soul. It's just tedium with a side of ennui. No one will notice when these teams are gone:

5. Le Mans UC72 (Ligue 1)

4. Deportivo la Coruna (La Liga)

3. Siena (Serie A)

2. FC Dallas (MLS)

1. Middlesborough (BPL)

Just posting about them bores the internet. Sorry.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FC Dallas on pace for a generous You Suck Allocation

Power (sigh) rankings for the moment:

1. Chivas USA
2. Toronto
3. DC
4. Seattle
5. Houston
6. Chicago
7. Kansas City
8. Colorado
9. Salt Lake
10. Columbus
11. New England
12. New York
13. Los Angeles
14. Philadelphia
15. San Jose

16. a huge gap

17. Bendtner's pants
18. FC Dallas

Friday, May 8, 2009

Future Almanac - This weekend's Premier League and MLS results in advance!

As I did last week, I'm going to pull out the Future Almanac to divine this weekend's results for your wagering delight. No doubt jealousy of my Almanac runs rampant, but I seem to be the only one who thought of picking one up during my apparently esoteric travels. In other words, your thundering incompetence is your problem.
Ok, here goes for this week's fixtures:

May 9
Blackburn v Portsmouth

Bolton v Sunderland

Everton v Tottenham

Fulham v Aston Villa

Hull City v Stoke

West Brom v Wigan

West Ham v Liverpool

May 10
Arsenal v Chelsea

Man Utd v Man City

May 11
Newcastle v Middlesbrough

And how about some MLS as a garnish:

May 9
Columbus Crew v Kansas City Wizards

DC United v Toronto FC

Chicago Fire v New England Revs

FC Dallas v Houston Dynamo

Chivas USA v Real Salt Lake

May 10
Seattle Sounders FC v LA Galaxy

Guaranteed to be correct!
Right to edit past results reserved.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To those who think that Chelsea was hard done by the refs today

I present you with the following...


"72 mins: Chelsea substitution: Drogba off - and he shakes his head in dismay at that decision - and Belletti on. So Hiddink removes his most effective weapon and declares his intention to hold on for the 1-0 against 10 men? It would appear so."

"(Final thoughts): tactical genius Guss Hiddink's masterplan was to take off his most effective striker, and replace him with a defensive midfielder, against 10 men. "

"67 mins: RED CARD FOR ABIDAL Drogba flicked on a long ball, Anelka set off in pursuit and Abidal collided with him, preventing him from entering the box. Not sure how intentional that was, or even if the contact was sufficient to send Anelka crumpling. The replay suggested Anelka's trailing foot connected with Abidal's accidentally. Harsh on Abidal."


"67'Everyone seems to agree that was harsh. Toure may well have got across before Anelka got onto the end of his touch anyway. Still, Barca are down to ten and need a goal.
66'Abidal sees red after Anelka takes the ball from a Drogba flilck on. He may have inadvertently clipped Anelka's heels but there didn't look much contact."

"(Post-whistle): 98'Drogba's behaviour there was utterly disgraceful, pushing away security guards to try and get at the referee. Tell you what Didier, it wouldn't have mattered had you not slotted that brilliant chance in the second half. I hope they throw the book at him."

"(Post-whistle): Chelsea will point to two decent penalty shouts, but they had enough chances to win it during the game."

Sky Sports:

"66 Anelka falls to the ground after trying to race away from Abidal in order to reach Drogba's flick-on. The referee awards a free-kick to Chelsea and decides to send-off the Barcelona defender. It looks like a slightly harsh decision from the official."

London Times:

"95 mins: Ballack booked for desperate and ridiculous penalty appeal. "

I'm not saying that Chelsea didn't get denied at least one clear-cut penalty (Pique's handball in the 82nd minute), but those penalty claims they did have came after Abidal's very questionable sending off. When you're playing against a 10-man side, it's only natural that you will produce more opportunities than otherwise, and that there is a higher probability of a penalty being called or asked for. Considering that Barcelona was hard done by to go down a man to begin with, I'd proffer that the officiating was equally bad going both ways, and that it comes out in the wash. Ultimately, the match came down to two incredible goals, and Drogba's horrifying miss in the 52nd minute.

What do you think?

Monday, May 4, 2009

What will Thierry Henry do?

Should he stay at Barca or move on? He appears to have adapted quite well to the left flank this season, and his current form is absolutely torrid. 2 goals in El Clasico, 19 in the league, and 25 overall on the year. Roughly 60% of his shots on frame leading to ample poaching oppportunities for Eto'o and co. On the other hand, he continues to age like the rest of us mere mortals and this summer will probably be the only chance the Barcelona FO will have to recoup anything close to what they paid for him. Messi will be around for some time to come, and Eto'o, if his heart remains with the Catalans, still has a few years yet to contribute to the side's efforts. Any cash from an Henry sale could be applied toward purchasing Benzema, Villa, or even the breathtaking Aguero, and moving Messi back to attacking mid. The shape of the squad need not be substantially altered through the loss of Henry, nor should it be considering the results garnered.

As for Henry, does he want to stay with Barca or move back to the Premier League? He's still got too much in the tank to start considering MLS or even a return to Ligue 1. Italy seems anathema to his style of play (his time at Juventus was mercifully brief) and I doubt that Trezeguet would do much to recommend it given his own recent struggles with the Old Lady. The Premier League would be modestly enticing as the former stage for his greatest feats, but he has repeatedly argued that his soul is Gunner through and through. I can't see him suiting up for Man City, and I don't see the ever-pragmatic Wegner breaking with his youth movement to offer Henry the security of anything more than a 1-yr deal.

In the end, he'll probably stay and start his evolution into a super-sub role, particularly as the Copa del Rey, Champions League, and La Liga schedule conspire to wear him down in the latter stages. It'll be at the end of next season that he takes his leave of Barcelona, sent off with honor by the club and its fans, and tests new pastures elsewhere.
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