Welcome to Fergie Time, a roundup/newsletter type deal that delivers news, opinion and links directly to your screen. As the name suggests, there will be some exaggeration, nsfw moments, canceled press conferences (oh, who are we kidding) and late, late, late scoring of points. You’ll like it, trust me.
CHUNG GETS BLATTERED:
I don’t want to say anything that might get Soccerlens in trouble. I certainly won’t be using the words “corrupt” or “pre-arranged”. I’m just going to lay out the events as they happened and let you draw your own conclusions.
October 2010: FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon announces he may challenge Sepp Blatter for FIFA presidency in May 2011 elections.
December 2010: FIFA awards World Cup 2022 to Qatar, to worldwide surprise.
January 2011: Chung Mong-joon is voted out as vice-president, after 16 years on the FIFA executive committee. His replacement is Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein. In addition, Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam, of Qatar, is re-elected unopposed. Bin Hammam had earlier confirmed that he would not stand against Blatter in the May 2011 election.
Say what you like about Sepp Blatter. But never, ever question his handshaking, dealmaking survival skills.
ASIAN CUP 2011:
Speaking of Qatar, the Middle Eastern emirate is currently hosting Asian Cup 2011, which kicked off today and goes until January 29th. It’s maybe too early to use the Asian Cup to judge Qatar’s World Cup hosting capabilities, especially as most of Qatar’s World Cup stadium currently exist only as wistful watercolours. But four of the five Qatar 2011 stadiums are in Dohar, and only one has capacity over 25,000. Just saying.
It’s not all bad though, because plenty of decent players will be involved. There will be seven Premier League players in the Asian Cup, including Tim Cahill, Park Ji-Sung and Mark Schwarzer.
Also worth keeping an eye on, Japan have a 21-year-old attacking midfielder by the name of Shinji Kagawa. This Maradona-esque little dribbler is currently top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund after scoring eight goals in 16 games.
Is anyone else sick of seeing footballers pretending their foreheads are glued together?
If Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna and Man City’s Pablo Zabaleta want to fight, then they should fight. Bit if they want to just pretend they’re going to fight by pushing heads back and forth like demented bulls, then they both deserved their red cards.
Unnecessarily rough tackle of the week:
Came in a friendly between Milan and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli when Zlatan Ibrahimovic tackled captain Hassan Ali so reckleslly, it got Al-Ahli manager David O’Leary up off the bench and ready for a fight.
Most unexpected hat-trick of the week:
Newcastle’s Leon Best. I thought only people named Alan Shearer, Andy Carroll and occasionally Kevin Nolan were allowed to score hat-tricks for Newcastle. Not random blokes bought from Coventry City. Still, three quality goals, and he’s only 24.
Biggest breakthrough in football tactics this century:
Comes from Sergio Busquets, the first man in the world to figure out how to tackle Barcelona’s metronomic midfielder Xavi. Turns out you have to play on the same team has him for your entire senior career, then, when he’s least expecting it, take the ball off him.
The 3 Up Front gents wonder who’s next for the soon to be vacant Liverpool and Chelsea jobs, decide whether Manchester City’s tactics are an embarrassment or not, and pick their best players outside the Big Six. Also, they tell us who the Big Six are. Listen to 3 Up Front‘s first show of 2011, and then subscribe via iTunes for more.