For those that are new to the ‘Beautiful Game’, January is a special time. Not only does it bring about a highly congested fixture list (at least in England), but also a month-long period in which clubs across Europe may buy, sell and loan players. Potential purchases can save a club from relegation to the lower divisions, or bring a club glory for years to come. But by the next the next transfer window, supporters call for many of these same players to be shipped off to far-away lands, never to be heard of again. This should be a time of great excitement for football fans.
College basketball fans at Trinity have good reason to be excited. This season, students will be able to watch a young, exciting and potentially top-tier team up close and personal at their home away from home, the XL Center in downtown Hartford. And no, I am not talking about the Uconn women, although they too are well worth the price of admission.
Last night’s Champions League Group Game between Real Madrid and Ajax ended in farce, as two Madrid players were sent off in the game’s dying embers for time-wasting, despite leading 4-0. Xabi Alonso took seemingly forever to take a free kick, pointlessly stepping up and then back from the ball. Minutes later, the Ajax crowd found out that Sergio Ramos is apparently unable to play without his socks being very specifically adjusted. Both players received their marching orders and as a result, will miss Real Madrid’s next Group Game against French side Auxerre. However, this match is essentially meaningless, as Real Madrid have already qualified for the tournament’s Knockout Stages.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has called for the creation of a task force charged with making the next World Cup “more attractive” than the last. FIFA’s primary concern is that of ‘quality’. When the most exciting moment of a tournament is when a particularly gifted octopus predicts the outcome of the final, you know it’s a pretty poor World Cup. And let there be no mistake about that.
This was the message Wayne Rooney received from balaclava-wearing ‘fans’ (if you can call them that) gathered outside his Cheshire mansion last week after it became clear that the England striker was unwilling to sign a new contract with Manchester United. Rooney cited the club’s lack of ambition as his primary reason for wanting to leave, presumably a reference to the obscene amount of debt the Glazers (the club’s American owners) have loaded onto the club. This opened up the door to negotiations with Manchester United’s mega-rich neighbors and hated rivals, Manchester City. However, in a sensational U-turn, Rooney recently agreed to a 5-year extension, which could earn him up to £200,000 a week if his play meets certain standards. Too bad for all the City fans who got tattoos of Rooney’s face and replica no. 10 shirts.
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.
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.