Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We Need to Talk...

About a lot of things. Starting today, I'm recommitting myself completely to this blog. Let's work backwards, so on today's agenda:

1. England. I know a girl (who shares the majority of her first name with that of Arsenal's Fabregas) with dual English and American citizenship. Her uncle happens to be the English teacher and translator for a certain Fabio Capello. And the next time I talk to her, I'm going to ask her to tell "Uncle Pete" that he's done a hell of a job. Whatever Capello is telling the England team seems to be getting through loud and clear.

Going to Croatia, almost every sportswriter and blogger in England was hoping for a defensive approach. Which makes sense, given England's recent history against the Croats and the hostility of the environment. Instead, Capello put out a lineup with Heskey and Rooney up front and Joe Cole and Theo on the wings. Amazing decision.

Of course, this took guts. But thus far, Capello has been rewarded for his attacking mindset, primarily by the two wingers. Walcott in particular has been absolute dynamite in his last two starts. When was the last time England scored a goal like this? The answer, I believe, may be never.

2. France. Jesus Christ. What do you think Domenech has to do to get sacked? Burn down the Louvre? Knock over the Arc de Triomphe with a bulldozer? Shoot Sarkozy in the face with a shotgun? They just lost 3-1 TO AUSTRIA. And today they had to be rescued by Thierry and le Sulk after falling behind to Serbia. Somebody please fire this man.

3. Essien. Apparently, he's done for the majority of the season. Too bad Chelsea don't have any depth in midfield. But in all seriousness, that's a big blow; if you asked me to name the player currently in England I would most want on my team, his name would be near the top, if not number one.

4. Manchester City. Apparently, life is now imitating art, as the English Premier League becomes Football Manager 2009. Part of me hates that this has happened, but the other part of me is secretly enjoying it for a few reasons. First, I like to see Chelsea uncomfortable. And they clearly are after being outbid for Robinho. Second, I like to see United uncomfortable. And when your crosstown rival pulls a stunt like this, you should be worried. Third, I wouldn't mind seeing a shake-up of the Big Four. I can hear it now: "But Jim, aren't you an Arsenal supporter? Your club will be the first to go!" Maybe so, but I happen to think that because Wenger has never relied heavily on the high-stakes pissing contest that is the transfer window, this won't make much difference. And finally, wouldn't it be kind of fun to see Cesc Fabregas lay a perfect through ball for Cristiano Ronaldo, who beats two defenders and then gives it a cheeky backheel flick for an onrushing Fernando Torres? I know, I know. But still.

5. King Kev. It seems like only yesterday Juan and I were laughing hysterically and screaming "long may he reign" every time the camera cut to a justifiably irritated Keegan on the sidelines of the Arsenal-Newcastle game. And though we were mocking him then, I have to say that I respect the man as a a manager and that things must be really bad inside the Toon boardroom for him to up and resign like that. Owner Mike Ashley seems like a cool dude in some ways (for one thing, he sits with the fans and routinely does things like this), but methinks he's made a big mistake in alienating the King.

6. The Serie A. Juan's analogy was dead right. I'm still waiting for my phone call from this chick. The only thing I took away from the opening weekend is the fact that Alberto Gilardino looks to be playing with a major chip on his shoulder. Which makes Fiorentina a very unpleasant opponent for the other Italian teams and a potential sleeper for success in the Champions League.


Jim said...

Just to be clear, I'm the one who has believed England will qualify for the World Cup.

I say this now not because their dismantling of Croatia is very promising, but also so that I can be held up for ridicule when their inevitable collapse occurs. It's only fair.

Ben said...

While England should qualify, I think we should pay more attention to group 2. Greece has 2 wins against two shitty sides. Which is what they need to do. Israel tied Switzerland, coming back from 2-0 in the late second half. But, the biggest surprise is after tying Israel, the Swiss lost to Luxembourg!

Clearly, the three top teams need to kick the crap out of the shitty teams, and at least draw the other two, and hope you sneak a win somewhere.

The swiss may have lost out unless they can beat Israel and maybe also Greece. That's two wins that is never easy in qualifying.

Also, the US won, which is nice, now let's hope they play the younger, better players here on out. But i just wish we could score goals like that in real games against real teams. I know better teams make it harder, but I dont' even see those quality of free kicks in big games. They usually shank it too high, or something shitty.