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.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Credit Where It's Due

There are only two people that are currently saving Chelsea from complete embarrassment. One is Frank James Lampard, who fluctuates frequently between extremely underrated and only barely overrated. At the moment, I think he's a little below properly-rated. But that's another story. The other person keeping Chelsea from becoming a laughingstock is this man:

I was one of many who called for Anelka's head after Chelsea's Champions League dreams crumbled to dust last year. Mind you, this was not out of any particular affection for the team. Often, I can't decide whether I dislike Chelsea or United more (the former I find somewhat loathsome, while the latter hatred, to be perfectly candid, is probably born mostly out of jealousy and grudging respect). So that wasn't it at all. It simply offended my sensibilities to see someone play the game with absolutely no passion whatsoever. Also, Le Sulk was completely worthless for the first few months with the club. So I saw no reason why Chelsea shouldn't sell him (along with the petulant Drogba) and move on. Now, I see why.

He's been banging in the goals. And these are no longer, as Juan once so aptly put it, "garbage time smash" goals. He's actually finishing when it's needed. For instance, I watched with glee as Watford took a 1-0 lead over Chelsea. But then a corner and an overhead finish (!) from Anelka. And two minutes later, a precise header. And in injury time, a nice turn and shoot to put the result beyond doubt. Clinical. Damn. I hope Adebayor is taking notes from his hospital bed.

PS: Two other thoughts. One, Drogba may well have a revival of his own as the season winds down. But no matter what happens, no matter how good he looks, Chelsea need to sell him. And they should sell him high, too. This should have been done last year. Second, when Ballack missed a sure goal, Roman Abramovich was laughing uproariously. (I'm praying that it's on youtube soon.) I think it's a bad sign when the owner of the club is actually laughing at how crap you've been.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

France Lose Again

Maradona showed no concern for Domenech's job security as his stacked line-up beat France 2-nil in Marseille. Messi, Aguero, Heinze, Zanetti, Gago, Mascherano and Maxi all played 80+ minutes in what would be a typical match for both sides. That is to say, Argentina set the pace, enjoyed a majority of scoring chances and even had their usual lapse in defensive assignment which in this case didn't turn out to haunt them. An asking through-ball left Le Sulk all alone to ponder his subconcious hatred for the French fans and his devastating miss would have pulled the game level.

Messi cheated as usual having tied the ball to his feet and although disjointed at times, the Argentinian offense saw its usual quota of chances. Guti's goal (beating Mandanda inexcusably near post) may appear unjust out of context, but minutes earlier Lionel was set-free and missed an easy slot home. As I like to do* - assuming everyone scores when they should, France still loses handedly.

Henry showed some real signs of life in the first half - I suspect he hates South America - but the French attack is still terribly uninspiring. With Ribery, Henry, Benzema and Nasri at their disposal it really is disappointing this talent is in squalor under Domenech. I've also completely ignored the Francais strong suit which is their back four. Under Domenech they are nothing more than ageing talent.

Maybe it's because I've read too much about Cuba recently but Domenech really reminds me of Fidel Castro. Will the man ever die? The answer is no.

*I play those mind games because that way Uruguay always wins! Seriously. We always have more scoring chances. Speaking of winning...