Archive | January, 2011

Life is busy and Andy Gray is a moron

25 Jan

I have sucked at blogging lately and I’m sorry. I have been ridiculously busy as I am in the middle of moving to a new apartment, coaching lacrosse (another sport I love, so sue me), attempting grad class and oh yeah, working full-time.  I hate not having time to write about soccer and I miss it, but hopefully after the chaos of the next two weeks, I will be back at it.

On the positive side, I now have TV again in the new apartment, which includes FSC (in HD!) as well as GolTV (also in HD).  Huzzah!  So expect much more coverage soon!  I can’t wait to start posting regularly again (and I’m sure there will be rant about the continued incomptence of Sepp Blatter in there somewhere)!

P.S. Andy Gray is a dumbass. His assinine comments about lineswoman Sian Massey were ridiculous and uncalled for. I believe he was rightly fired as it became apparent this was not an isolated incident. Seriously? We live in the 21st century. Women are more than capable of doing a lot of things just as well, if not better, than men. It’s time to get off the high horse of male superiority and deal with reality.

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Messi wins Ballon d’Or

10 Jan

Lionel Messi won the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or today.  The award merged the FIFA World Player of the Year with France Football’s Ballon d’Or.  It was voted on by national team coaches and captains as well as one media member from each country.  Messi beat out Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi for the award.  This is his second straight FIFA player of the year award.

I thought the fact that Andres Iniesta and Xavi were both on the World Cup winning side would allow either of them to leapfrog Messi in the voting.  Apparently, I thought wrong. (For the record, Iniesta was second and Xavi was third.)  Messi’s outstanding play for Barcelona outweighed his World Cup performance.  The Argentine scored 58 goals in 54 appearances for Barcelona last season with many of those goals making you think ‘how the hell did he get that shot off?!’ (At least that’s how I responded.)  Messi is truly a stunning player to watch. The crazy part? He’s only 23 years old.  Here’s hoping he can keep up this same level of play forever?

On the women’s side, Brazil’s Marta earned her FIFTH straight player of the year award.  She’s also only 23. Ridic.  Jose Mourinho was named manager of the year after leading Inter Milan to the treble.

The World Best XI was also announced today and Barcelona dominated this too (shocking, I know).  Of course, Messi headlined the squad and was joined by teammates Xavi, Iniesta, Carles Puyol, David Villa and Gerard Pique.  Spain and Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas and teammate Cristiano Ronaldo also made the team. A trio from Inter’s Champions League winning squad also made the best XI – Lucio, Maicon and Wesley Sneijder.

Babel faces FA action over tweet

10 Jan

Liverpool’s Ryan Babel has been charged with improper conduct by the FA after criticizing referee Howard Webb on Twitter. Babel posted the following on his Twitter account following Liverpool’s controversial 1-0 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup:

“And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke. SMH.”

Webb awarded Manchester United a penalty in the first minute (!) after Dimitar Berbatov was supposedly taken down by Daniel Agger in the box.  If it takes you three steps to go down, you’re diving. Just throwing that out there. Check the clip out for yourself.  Webb also sent off Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard half hour into proceedings. Again, I think it was a dubious call as both Gerrard and Michael Carrick were sliding in for the ball from the same angle and both players went in with studs up. 

It’s a little absurb for the FA to take action against Ryan Babel for what he tweeted, especially after he apologized (via Twitter of course).  Babel removed the offending tweet and posted ”My apology if they take my posted pic seriously.  This is just an emotional reaction after losing an important game. Sorry Howard Webb.”  Why can’t the FA take it at face value for what it was? Doesn’t the FA have better things to worry about than Twitter? Like diving?

Hodgson done at Liverpool, Dalglish in

8 Jan

Roy Hodgson’s tenure at Liverpool is officially over.  Hodgson’s six-month reign ends with Liverpool in 12th place and only four points clear of the relegation zone, not exactly a stellar record.  The Reds have only managed one away win this season and taken only five points from 10 away matches.

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish will take over the team until the end of the season.  Dalglish was a fan favorite as both player and manager and led the squad to three league titles.

Hodgson was never a good fit at Liverpool. He was put in charge as a safe choice by owners that everyone and their mother hated. He’s not a bad manager, but his unwillingness to change his style and alienation of loyal fan base showed he was not a good match for Liverpool.  Hodgson’s squad played inconsistent football and without much passion.  It was clear that the players never really felt a strong bond with Hodgson.  The highlight of his short tenure was a 2-0 win over Chelsea, but even that isn’t as impressive as it seemed at the time given that Chelsea has only won twice since then.

Under Hodgson, the Reds have relied more on the long ball than short passes up the field.  This is not the kind of football that sees players like Fernando Torres succeed.  The defense has also been surprisingly shoddy.  Of course, Liverpool misses Jamie Carragher, but that’s no excuse for the poor defensive performances.  Paul Konchesky, who Hodgson brought over from his former club Fulham, has been a disaster and despite his clear shortcomings, continued to see extensive playing time.  Raul Meireles and Joe Cole have been okay at best, but Christian Poulsen, along with Konchesky, is a joke.

As the interim manager, Dalglish has his work cut out for him.  He inherits a team and fan base low on confidence.  There is a lot of work to do to get the team back in contention for a spot in Europe, although the team is only five points out of that seventh spot.   The team’s first game under Dalglish comes against Manchester United in the FA Cup tomorrow.  Dalglish also is tasked with keeping players like Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard invested in the club.  If Liverpool continues to falter, it is not out of the question to see both players hand in transfer requests. On the other hand, it would be helpful to the club to be less reliant on that duo.  It would also be beneficial to look to strengthen the squad this January, but we will have to wait and see if the funds are made available.

While I would love to see Liverpool get back on the winning track and make a charge up the table, I’m keeping my expectations tempered.  What’s important to me is for the players to start playing with some passion.  Even if they lose, I want to be able to say that they played hard.