Posts Tagged World Cup
Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Garth Crooks made a legitimate analysis on BBC Sport’s post-match analysis of the fiery London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal on Saturday, which the Blues won 2-0 courtesy of a Kurt Zouma header and a deflected Eden Hazard goal early and late in the second half respectively.
Before the goals however, it would not have been much of a surprise if the match had gone on to finish goalless, or to have seen either side steal a win with a fortuitous goal. Arsenal were hardly at their fluid best at Stamford Bridge but nonetheless were holding their own against a Chelsea side that can probably be seen as on a resurgence having secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season, scoring six and conceding none to boot.
In another realm of reality, Zouma scoring his first Premier League goal against a rival could have been the major talking point. Another realm of reality could have chosen to ponder on whether Hazard’s so far form is on the mend having scored, albeit off Arsenal defender Calum Chambers.
Perhaps we could have been going on about how Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger managed a (rather frosty) handshake before kick-off but ‘forgot’ or were too occupied to share another at full time, with Wenger walking right down the tunnel while Mourinho, understandably, shared a warm hug with a man he still trusts completely, John Terry.
As we would have it though, in whatever realm of reality you choose to exist, the major talking point had to do with two Brazilian born players, each on either side who threw up what perhaps has been missing in a lot of so-called derby matches in the English top flight; tempers!
That happened just before halftime and imagine after such altercation, both players remained on the field for the rest of the encounter, all riled up and just itching for the other to as much as glance along their path for a proper brawl to break out and perhaps for more slaps to be served two or three involved faces.
Arsenal fans and many neutrals can go on all week about how
insert your feelings about the striker’s behaviour here disgusting, despicable, unacceptable, unsporting, irritating and appalling Costa’s part in getting Gabriel sent off was but what is a derby if neither side has at least one player being a tick in the skins of his opposition all game?
Didier Drogba held a psychological card on Philippe Senderos and Arsenal for a long time, same hold Costa seems to be having on a lot of opponents in the Premier League having previously been involved in confrontations, but somehow not getting sent off in his ‘two’ seasons so far in the Premier League.
Which is why I agreed 100% with Spurs fan Crooks, ironically riled about an injustice to an Arsenal player when he said, “We all want to see 11 against 11. It’s a great game” and indeed it was, until referee Mike Dean felt it appropriate to send off one party in the altercation and leave the other on the field with just a yellow card for his troubles. Would not have been the 11 on 11 one wanted, but 10 on 10 was not a bad option at all. Alas.
Dean’s only fault as it turns out, was not showing that red card to Costa as well when he showed it to Gabriel for if he had, we probably would be scrambling for the best resolution footage of a classic tunnel bust-up between both players and possibly their teammates off the field and bench… along with the coaching staff… and both managers, tantalisingly.
However, showing just one red card brought an imbalance to what was – to that point – a contest of two sides looking to bounce back for different reasons. Instead, we were left to consume a largely one-sided second half (inevitably) which saw Santi Cazorla get himself sent off to add a feeling of injustice for Arsenal fans and a need for justification for Chelsea fans.
Good old days, one would have had a good time or held a proper grudge (depending on what side of reality you existed) at Martin Keown for (in)famously rubbing Ruud van Nistelrooy’s penalty miss in the final minute of that match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2003.
After the incident (between Costa and Gabriel that is), Keown tweeted he would have loved to play against the Chelsea striker. That tweet reeked of an emotion missing in current Arsenal players and a whole lot at others club who have to be ‘appropriate’ or risk being farcically charged by the trigger happy FA for the comment deemed ever so slightly inappropriate.
The Arsenal manager and others of his kind should not always expect the opponent to play nice and allow the other team be the better team. That is not how the football gods (not Messi and Ronaldo but their mythical ancestors) ordained the procession to go, otherwise they would be a bunch of bored lawmakers who doze off during once-a-quarter sessions.
But all of that is for another feast of sporting battles.
Admittedly not every Mike Dean can be Pierluigi Collina great, not even Collina’s compatriot Nicola Rizzoli who saw PSV Eindhoven’s Héctor Morono get his Ryan Shawcross on and do a Ramsey on poor Luke Shaw during a UEFA Champions League encounter, which Manchester United eventually lost 2-1 with Morono scoring one of those goals for PSV.
Excuse me while I do a Crooks complimenting Dean before slating him, Rizzoli is a top official otherwise he would not have been named Serie A Referee of the Year in 2011, 2012 and 2013 nor would he have been chosen to officiate the final of the 2010 UEFA Europa League, the 2013 UEFA Champions League final and the 2014 FIFA World Cup final.
But in the Champions League group stage match in Eindhoven, Rizzoli covered himself in all the aforementioned adjectives for Diego Costa when he (for the benefit of doubt) forgot to book Morono for his rash challenge on Shaw. Had he done so, and given the player the red card he deserved, would PSV have won?
So, one must disagree with Crooks when he implied that referees should not try to be in the spotlight. In fact, they should have the spotlight right on them as much as the one beaming on Costa’s [insert adjectives] behaviour in order to make the referees realise how much their decisions actually impact on results.
Punkenstein: ”With the World Cup under 48 hours from kick-off, I’d like to write on something else.”
_num: ”If you had a thousand people listening, you just lost 998 of them.”
Illuminatish: ”When all he does is listen to Eminem!”
Leksyd: ”Are you minding the air-head?”
_num: ”Later you’ll bring your phones to my room to charge right? It’s cool… ”
Leksyd: ” … *cough*… what has brought Eminem to this matter?”
Illuminatish: ”f*****g b***h *a** c***! Changing mouth because of cheap watts? F*****g a** kissing g** b*****d!”
_num: ”Oshey Naomi Watts. Homo-erectus b****u!”
Leksyd: ”Someone can’t even pull your legs in peace. N****t primadonnas!”
OmoAfonja: ”Ibinu yin wa gbona ju Mercury, ahahn!”
PaGe: *censors imagery*
Mikho: ”The Avexers!”
_num: ”The what?”
Illuminatish: ”Ignore the f****t… or not.”
_num: ”I’ll let that slide.”
PaGe: *pauses imagery*
Alcohorlick: *sigh* *smh*
d_oA: ”She hasn’t even posted what she’s going to write about instead though, ogbeni estimator.”
Mikho: ”He too de Beletti, that guy.”
PaGe: ”Why is a scorpion calling a snake poisonous?”
_num: ”Tu es malade Mihko? Qu’est cet tout?!”
Mikho: ”Kindly **** out of here, three of you!”
PaGe: ”Kindly have some painkillers… or not.”
OmoAfonja: ”Ta lo ko ni French?”
Alcohorlick: ”… wrong French at that!”
Punkenstein: ”Must your brain always live up to the homonym of your name?”
PaGe: ”Eternal Rock of Ages!”
OmoAfonja: ”Mercury o!”
d_oA: ”Oh my days… definitely not me!”
Illuminatish: ”Mehn… a rhyming insult… ”
_num: ”Punke, me? It’s cool.”
Mikho: ”It’s always cool.”
OmoAfonja: ”Awon Arctic Monkeys l’omo!”
Alcohorlick: ”Especially now that Breezy’s… nevermind”
Illuminatish: -_____- ”Dunce!”
d_oA: ”Don’t call my bro a dunce, cretin!”
Illuminatish: ”That was for the other dunce, you dunce!”
_num: ”The dumb twin is obviously hurt.”
d_oA: ”Please rest, numb head!”
OmoAfonja: ”Mà da French Montana loun jere.”
PaGe: ”Mikho’s not used the painkillers by the way… ”
_num: ”Someone’s daughter needs a leash!”
Punkenstein: ”Please use the one holding your sense!”
PaGe: *cackles The Wall down*
Leksyd: ♫ This is way too much, I need a moment ♫
Illuminatish: ♫ No one man should get all these in-sults ♫
d_oA: ”My… wow… goodnight abeg!”
Alcohorlick: ”That’s how we won’t know what Punke wants to write about instead?”
Punkenstein: ”Bless you. Bucketlists. I’d like to write about everybody’s bucketlist.”
PaGe: ”So who’s kicking things off?”
Leksyd: ”Well, I’d love to tamba in Tampa.”
Leksyd: ( ‘,’)
Mikho: ”I’m sure we know what tops _num’s list though… ”
d_oA: ”Haha! You like trouble sha… but… ”
Leksyd: ”… it’s cool!”
Mikho: ”… it’s always cool!”
*_num has left the group*
Admin: *sigh* ”You guys ehn! That’s enough for the night.”
d_oA: ”Haha! But, bucketlists… ”
At club level, England boasts of some of the world’s best football teams such as Liverpool and Manchester United, alone with eight European Cup wins to their name along with the London duo of Arsenal and Chelsea while Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City should probably have their ambitions of breaking the Big-Four’s monopoly taken more seriously based on both’s improvement over the last few seasons, culminating in Spurs reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter final in only its first appearance last season and City lifting the last FA Cup, defeating city rivals United along the way.
The rest of the British Isle lies well behind the English Premier League both competitively and lucratively with the closest competition, the Scottish Premier League, being a standard golf course apart from matching the EPL’s prowess and global appeal with some yards to spare.
While the biggest clubs from the other nations of the British Isle have been unable to match their English counterparts, those nations have actually produced quality footballers that have reached the heights, some of whom are Liverpool’s Scottish manager Kenny Dalglish who is part of Celtic’s greatest team of all time along with fellow Scot Jimmy Johnstone. Other fine footballers these nations have produced are Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Gareth Bale from Wales, Darren Fletcher, Craig Gordon, Kris Boyd and Allan McGregor from Scotland as well as Irishmen John O’Shea, Ian Hart, Roy Keane and Robbie Keane among many others.
Unfortunately, most of these footballers along with their English counterparts have achieved naught in their international sojourns despite their potential being capable of earning such acclaim as evident with their individual successes at club level.
Hence, the British Olympic Association’s move to have a Great Britain football team participate at the London Olympics of 2012 rather than the individual nations with the logic being to afford footballers from each nation of the Isle such as those aforementioned; and the individual nations on the side, the chance to have a taste of success at the international level.
It should be noted that the closest international success came to any nation of the Isle was at the European Championship of 1996 with England only able to reach the semi-final stage. A decade and half of underachievement at four FIFA World Cups, three European Championships and three Olympic Games have since been endured.
This gives credence to the BOA’s idea of a Great Britain football team representing at the Olympics London will host. The manner the Association has gone about bringing the team to fluid fruition may however have put the dream in jeopardy with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations claiming that the BOA only approached the English FA with the idea, and therefore cannot be seen to be in agreement with creating a football team for Great Britain.
The trio also stated that being a part of the proposal will confuse the individual identities of the nations. This is despite that FIFA has assured the BOA of each nation’s identity remaining intact in the aftermath of them contributing to the cause.
I strongly believe both sides should drop the egos and reach a compromise on the matter because in reality, none of the nations in the Isle can put up a commendable showing, let alone win Olympic gold come 2012; England’s U-21s a typical reason as to why. Having the best of each nation however may see Great Britain put up a commendable performance in front of the cheering faithfuls on home turf.
As it is now, should BOA go ahead with its plan of having a Great Britain football team for the first time since the Rome Olympics of 1960 without reaching a compromise with the trio that are being initially stubborn, then such team will likely predominantly compose of English players. Any success achieved then would not be shared!
Just a day after Arsene Wenger made known his intention of adding at least one signing before the close of the transfer window, news is filtering in that 30 year old Sevilla defender Sebastien Squillaci is set to have his medical at Arsenal ahead of a move to north London.
Squillaci was part of the embarrassing France team at the World Cup back in June though he was helpless to the implode that took place and only played the final game when the damage had been done. At Sevilla, he was a constant starter for the Andalucians except in last season that saw him play just over a dozen games due to injury.
Will Squillaci, who only cloaked three decades just over a week ago, be a good signing for Arsenal? Is that the end of Wenger’s foray in the transfer market or should we expect one more? Speaking of new arrivals, why was Wenger’s second bid for Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer the same as the first? Clerical error?! And what do you make of Arsenal’s other new boys so far, Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny?