Wenger Labels United Tactics “Anti-Football”

August 31, 2009
Haaaaave it

Haaaaave it

Just when we thought the feud was over Wenger reopens old wounds with some choice words for Sir Alex and his team.  Now, we all know the Frenchman likes absolutely loves to whinge, but this has to be some sort of joke:

“I have seen today a player who plays on the pitch only to make fouls.  For me, this is a point that is more urgent than diving. The players who are never punished. Who get out of the game without a yellow card. I think it is more anti-football than a player who did what Eduardo did.”

Wenger also went on to say:

“But I like the stance the English take towards diving. In some countries it is a quality to dive. I’m still more proud to be part of England where they fight against that.”

Some interesting comments from Mr. Wenger to say the least.  Let’s break them down.

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United Win; Arsenal and Arsene Lose It

August 29, 2009
Wenger being petulant

Wenger's petulance delights United fans

Another United v. Arsenal clash, another exciting, drama-filled afternoon.  After reaching the break 1-0 up, Arsenal broke down and gifted United the victory.  Arsenal had a late goal correctly disallowed, and Wenger got sent to the stands for kicking a water bottle.

I think all United fans would admit the side was outplayed today, however, they would also tell you that doesn’t really matter.  What matters is the result, and the team were able to get it.  That’s why we are defending Champions: We know how to win ugly and we know how to win when we’re not the best team on the day.

Now let’s have a look at the talking points.

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Arsenal Fail First Test

August 29, 2009

Same old Arsenal: Frustrating

Same old Arsenal: Frustrating

Time for a reality check.  After notching up 10 goals in their first two premier league games (first time in history) and destroying Celtic to qualify for the Champions’ League proper, people were high on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger’s ‘project’.  They were scoring goals for fun, and looked unstoppable, perhaps this would finally be the year?

It all sounded pretty good, but let me tell you what really happened.  First, Arsenal played a severely, severely depleted Everton side.  In addition, their rock at the back, Joleon Lescott, pleaded not to be picked for the match, as his move to City was imminent.  This was ignored, and Lescott rewarded his manager’s faith by not showing up.  Two of Arsenal’s 6 were gifts from set-pieces: Vermaelen and Gallas waltzed in and got free headers right down the middle.  Wait, isn’t that where Lescott plays?  But still, 6-1 is pretty good no matter the circumstances – I can give them that.  Then they went to Parkhead and were extremely lucky to come away with a 2-0 advantage.  An own goal and a deflection off Gallas’s arse (who was trying his best to move out of the way of the ball).  Flowing football.  Then they beat Pompey 4-1.  Pompey can barely field a team, so that was nothing to get too excited about.  The return leg of the Emirates was marred by Eduardo’s theatrics, which unfairly squashed Celtic’s chances of progressing.  I’m not trying to take anything away from them, but this is what happened, is it not?

United were Arsenal’s first test and they failed it.  The Gunners outplayed the hosts but they continue to show that they have yet to learn how to grind results out.  Playing pretty doesn’t win you the title.  It was the same old Arsenal (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), so let’s hold off on the excitement for now, o.k?

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Premier League Preview

August 14, 2009

With the season set to kick off at 12:45 GMT on Saturday, 15th August 2009 (that’s tomorrow), here is a brief look at each of the Premier League’s 20 teams.  I’ll try to stay clear of the cliché-fueled drivel you may find on other sites that are just paraphrasing more ‘reputable’ news sources and their so-called experts (whom many I suspect collude with one other as to not sound foolish).  In my attempt not to sound as foolish, I will also steer clear of making outright predictions of where a team will finish. I’ll leave that to the ‘professionals’.  Nonetheless, I will try to capture where a club stands and where they may be heading.

With each of the big 4 clubs undoubtedly weakened and the emergence of a new challenger, we should be in for another exciting season.

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Cris Who? Chris Foy.

August 9, 2009
Ferge: Angered with the referee

Ferge: Angered with the referee

I know this was technically pre-season, but this defeat really hurts.  After a summer void of football (the Confederation’s Cup doesn’t quite cut it, despite Team USA’s admirable run), I was craving a full-strength United taking on proper opposition.  I wanted United to prove to everyone that they could get on fine without that what’s-his-name who went to Madrid.  Maybe it was because they proved just that and could have been up 3-0 before letting Chelsea back in with two scrappy goals and some shoddy goalkeeping.  Perhaps it was the injustice of their second goal, and the Chelsea fans’ ensuing abuse of Patrice Evra.  The poor penalties didn’t help either.  One thing is for sure though; this match was no friendly.  And if there is anything positive to take out of this match, United fans can come out knowing that Fergie will have a not so quiet word with the appropriate bodies, and Chris Foy will probably not be officiating United for a while.

I won’t bore you with any match report, because you all know what happened.  However, here are a few things I noticed.  (highlights below)

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FA Introduces a Rethink on Bans

August 5, 2009
The severity of injury should not impact the length of a suspension

The severity of injury should not impact the length of a suspension

The English FA’s disciplinary panels are to take new elements into account when deciding the severity of punishment for a red card offense.  These new elements include the severity of injury, intent shown by the ‘offender’ and force of the challenge.  These changes have come after the horrific and high-profile injuries of Arsenal’s Eduardo Da Silva and Hull’s Craig Fagan – both of whom were on the receiving end of red card challenges and in both instances, the tacklers (Martin Taylor and Danny Guthrie) were given the standard three-match ban.  This new law will allow clubs to challenge the rulings and hopefully act as a further deterrent to those Joey Barton types who like to go around kicking people.

Now, it is obvious that the FA’s heart is in the right place, but I think these new rules are flawed.  Here’s why.

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The BleacherBums Classic

August 4, 2009
Whos going to replace Ronaldo as the best Fantasy player?

Who's going to replace Ronaldo as the best Fantasy player?

With the 09/10 Premiership campaign fast-approaching, I am pleased to announce the ‘BleacherBums Classic’ fantasy football (soccer) league.  This is a head-to-head league and is open to all challengers.  Last season, yours truly ran away with the title thanks to a certain Portuguese  ‘winker’ .  However, his departure to Madrid has cast a shadow of doubt over fantasy owners.  Who’s going to step up at United?  Who’s going to be the player to join the ‘holy trinity’ of Lampard, Gerrard and formerly Ronaldo, this year?  His absence makes this fantasy season the most challenging and interesting to date.  It’s time to put away those grudges, declare your man-crushes, and reveal your sleepers.  Fantasy Football is back.

Register at:  http://fantasy.premierleague.com/

League Name: BleacherBums Classic

League Code: 54386-168793

That’s all you need.  Good Luck.