Friday, 22 February, 2008.
A very good morning to you, dear Soccerlens readers. Got an email this morning from Hugo telling me that he was emailing a few organisations to see if he could find some slaves for us. Or something to that effect. I’m pleased, of course, but a bit concerned Hugo – are we going for this or this?
Anyway, on to the real stuff.
1. Capello wants England stars to give 100%
Insightful comments from Fab Cap – England players regularly underperform and were in fact at 80% in their 2-1 win against Switzerland. Capello isn’t shooting for the stars though – instead of asking for 110, 120 or 130%, he’s just asking for 100.
Cap’s also dismissed rumours that England’s players are tactically challenged:
“…English players are tactically fine, they know how to move tactically.”
Oh wait, weren’t they technically challenged? Damn…
Still, a 20% improvement is a lot more than it seems – it would have meant a 4-0, 5-0 win against Switzerland, and even the anti-Capello brigade would have been satisfied with that result.
On to France then, and here’s hoping that Capello’s men perform to 100% of their potential – that in itself is more than they’ve done in last few years.
2. Chelsea are richer than Arsenal – or are they?
On one hand, Chelsea’s turnover in 06/07 (thanks to their consistent performances in the domestic cups, the Premier League and the Champions League) is more than Arsenal’s (making the Gunners look silly for going on and on about their ‘financial strength’ early in the season). On the other hand, Chelsea made a £74.8m loss in 06/07 and despite Peter Kenyon insisting that they’ll break even by 09/10 (the new TV deal will certainly help, but how much), you feel that Chelsea still need a bigger stadium (and more time at the top) if they want to compete with Arsenal and Manchester United.
Also…the Sun reports that Rom’s spent 578m on Chelsea already. They make it sound like a crime, but frankly if I had the money to buy Manchester United I would have spent everything on it, regardless of whether I had to sell my soul or my house or not.
3. Spanish police too strong-handed?
Another Uefa Cup tie in Spain, another English club complaining of their fans being baton-charged by the police. I feel for the Bolton fans, but these incidents are wholly avoidable and both sides – the fans, for not adjusting to the local situation and the police, for not showing more sense – are to blame.
4. Bayern thrash Aberdeen
And the fairytale comes crashing to a halt. Kudos to Bayern Munich for progressing (and props to Everton for their big win as well), and Alan – so much for this 🙂
5. Ronaldo attacked by laser-wielding maniac
During the Lyon-United game, the first time Ronaldo picked up the ball and ran at the Lyon defence before firing a shot wide, you could see light from a laser from the crowd behind the Lyon goal bounce off Ronaldo’s shirt (I’d forgotten about this until a reader emailed to mention the same incident).
While it’s not something to get worked up about (just like Gallas’s kick on Nani – while deserving of a yellow card – isn’t worth getting worked about), I kind of enjoy the officious way Manchester United behave in such situations. Complaints to Uefa and to the FA and all that. Pisses the hell out of the ABU brigade, so keep it up Fergie 🙂
6. Coed Football – YAY!
If anyone missed it, here’s the excellent guest post from the award-winning Sniffing the Touchline author, Gavin:
7. The True Fan
We’ve had vicious debates over time on Soccerlens about the ‘definition’ of a ‘true fan’. Finally, the answer has been presented to us thanks to the following video clip:
How the hell does the referee deal with that? Does he give the goal? Does he give a penalty?
In any case, you’ll notice that this requires the fan to be present in the stadium, so I guess all of us non-local fans can bugger off now.
Although…I’d willingly spend a night in jail to do what that man did in the video.
8. Lord Triesman will hurt English Football
I’m not required to be politically correct here (the wonders of a blog, eh?) and as things stand, the FA chairman is a spineless coward. The moment Sepp Blatter threatened to sideline England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, Lord Triesman bent over like a drunk cheerleader and refused to do anything, absolutely anything, to anger the dark lord of football. It doesn’t matter to him (and the FA in general, it seems) if the Game 39 proposal has any merit or not. At a time when the English FA needs to be strong within and without to present a strong case for their 2018 bid as well as make drastic changes at all levels of the game, Triesman is absolutely the wrong person to be chairman.
Scudamore goes to meet Blatter next (along with Triesman) and the popular consensus is that Blatter will knock the proposal out of the park without listening to any reason. More on this later, but for now, shame on you Lord Triesman.
9. Usmanov is largest shareholder at Arsenal
24.2%. That’s gotta suck. This should be a lot more interesting by May, because eventually you know that Usmanov and Dein want to take over Arsenal, and by the end of the season there should be more activity on this front.
Who are you rooting for? My heart says Spurs, the mind says Chelsea, the gut says to bet during the game to minimize my losses 🙂
Back to your regularly scheduled programming.