Thursday, 27 December 2012

My thoughts on the week gone by.

We're back. After a hectic week of holiday season Premier League football. Firstly, we should be thankful for these sportsmen who sacrifice their time with friends and family to entertain us as we stuff our faces with chicken. Then again, for 100,000 pounds a week, I'd gladly be gigolo in a nursing home. But I digress, I just wanted to make a few comments about the past week of football;

Aston Villa.(says a lot about Liverpool)

The English press and fans are so notoriously fickle. Just a week ago, everyone was buzzing about how Villa were a team on the rise owing to their performances against Manchester United and Liverpool. Now, after conceding 12 goals without reply in over 72 hours, the dissenters are back. But honestly, what did people expect? This is a team of 20 year old youngsters. And not youngsters the standard of a Neymar or a Hazard. Youngsters with names like Banaan and Benteke. The bubble was bound to burst when crunch time came. We can only pick two lessons from Villa's earlier perfomances; 1.United have a really shoddy defence(more on this later)
2. Liverpool are s**t. I know proportionality doesn't have a place in football but how do you get beat, at home, by a team that proceeds to concede 12 goals in 3 days?

Manchester United; shoddy defence, rampant attack.

Mark my words, one of these fine days United's backline is going to cost them big time. This defence is bound to dig them into a Christiano Ronaldo sized hole that even the bow legged Judas can't rescue them from. Conceeding 3 goals to the likes of Reading and Newcastle is simply unacceptable.

"Son, You'd better listen here. There's a statue of me outside. I run this b***h! I can run you out of town! Am King Kong this b***h! Go ask the FA. I bet you don't even have the balls to put this in your match report"

Can someone please explain to me how a home team manager harangues the referee and his fellow officials for several minutes before the second half kicks off? Sir Alex Ferguson managed to hold up second half kick off and rebuked the match officials on camera and no one seems bothered. I'd have loved to hear the FA's take on the situation if this case had involved a Monsieur Wenger, Rafa Benitez or a Roberto Martinez. I guess those are the perks that come with having a knighthood, a statue and a stand in one's honour at Old Trafford.

Mancini's emotional outbursts.

Man City's coach Roberto Mancini is becoming increasingly desperate and an emotional wreck. His latest quotable is claiming that the match referee in their game against Sunderland quote, "ate too much and wasn't in fine form". I think he forgets he's a foreigner and there's no Mancini stand at the Ettihad. I am sure the FA will have something to say about this.

 As I have stated on here, severally, Mancini is a poor coach. City won last year's title not because of him but in-spite of him. He is a poor man manager and a bad tactician; the finest example being putting Maicon in Christiano Ronaldo's line of fire at the Bernabeu! United are running away with this year's title and Mancini isn't the man to stop them. Only a self implosion like last season's can stop United, defensive lapses not withstanding.

Rafa the gaffer

I must confess, I am not the greatest fan of Rafael Benitez. I will also admit that, at times, towards the end of Roberto di Matteo's reign at Chelsea, it looked like he was tactically out of his depth. He seemed to hope the three amigos would bail him out of every time spot. Well, that didn't work out.

In came Rafa the gaffer. I hate to say it but he has a much better tactical understanding than his predecessor. By inserting Victor Moses into the starting line up, the team plays with more width while leaving one amigo(Hazard or Oscar) on the bench to inject a spark in attack if needed. Also the move to play David Luiz in the midfield seems to be working wonders. It eliminates the risk associated with him playing at the back; and his anticipation and eye for the pass is more than one would get from a 34 year old Lampard. Now if only the Brazilian would stop shooting from 40 yards and attempting the occasional Ronaldinho pass. 

Meanwhile Ceasar Azpilicueta seems to have found his feet in the league, under Benitez. The defence has a semblence of cohesion. Oscar and Hazard have learnt to track back. Marko Marin has got a look in and promising youngster, Lucas Piazon has made his Premier league debut. Rafa is doing a hell of a job. I still like the ring of "Rafa Out" though.

Liverpool and Tottenham

Liverpool and Tottenham seem to be two teams that have effectively swapped stations in the Premier league. Five years ago, the Reds were part of the exclusive 'Big Four' while Spurs where outsiders for whom European competition was the pinnacle of achievement. The tables have truly turned.

Liverpool's defeat to Stoke last night was a classic illustration of this.This wasn't a small team upsetting an illustrious opponent. These were two mid table teams competing on level ground, with the home side out gritting, out thinking and containing the opponent. An hour earlier, Spurs had swatted aside Aston Villa 4-0. Where Spurs has Dembele, Bale, Dempsey and Lennon, Liverpool has Allen, Suso, Shelvey and an ageing Stevie G. Food for thought, Liverpool fans; outside Suarez, does the team have any world class players? Considering that the Arsenal, Chelsea, City, United, Everton and Spurs have 3 plus world class players, how does Liverpool hope to compete?

Quote of the week.

"Gareth Bale doesn't dive. He just jumps to evade tackles and avoid injury", some overly enthusiastic commentator, during the Tottenham vs Villa game, whose name I didn't catch.

 As we all know, diving is the preserve of worthless foreigners like Drogba, Cazorla and Ronaldo, who wouldn't recognise class if it crawled up their a** and made them 'happy'. I am sure this same commentator would also claim Ashley Young goes down to avoid injury caused by defenders breathing very hard in his direction. 

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