Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Players who should have made it into the Ballon D'Or 2012 list

The nominees for the 2012 edition of the Ballon D'Or were announced a few days ago, and I'm pretty sure everyone's seen them. We're also all pretty sure that it's going to be another case of Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi.

Without going into the details of who deserves it and who the better player is between those two, because it's an endless and pointless discussion where subjectivity rules our opinions, let's go into some of the players that are missing from the list and deserve a mention. Last year's nominees were a bit of a joke (
click here), but this year the chosen names seem more reasonable. 

Here are the ones who should have gotten the nod but didn't: 

  • Ashley Cole: If you're going to pick a Chelsea player from the side that won the Champions League, besides for Chinese man Didier Drogba, then it's got to be Cole. I hate the man, but the player is arguably the best left-back in the world and has been incredibly consistent over the last 10 years and was key to their success last season.
  • Vicent Kompany: I'm sure even the most biased Barcelona fans can tell you that Gerard Pique hasn't been in top form over the past year, but his inclusion in the list makes Kompany's exclusion even more surprising. City's league triumph last season was epitomized by him. Evidence that a player that's not in the Euro Championships will be penalized perhaps?
  • David Silva: If Sergio Aguero is on the list, David Silva has to be on it. Because not only did he win the league with City (ikh...), but he also had a star role in winning the Euro 2012 championship with Spain. Without Silva, City would have been far less threatening.
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger: I don't know about all of you, but I though he's been brilliant throughout 2012 and deserves his spot in the list. If Busquets can be in it, I don't see why Bastian can't.
  • Neymar: His exclusion just goes to show how much the powers that be in Football don't have any real regard for any of the other leagues that aren't European based. Time for his move to Europe then, eh? Go on then, Real and Barca are waiting for him.
  • Matt Hummels: Brilliant with Dortmund, brilliant with Germany, an ever-present monster at the back. Again, if Pique is in this list, it's a crime that such a good defender isn't. An unsung hero.
  • Fernando Torres: hold your horses people. Top scorer of Euro 2012. Winner of Euro 2012. Winner of the Champions League. Winner of the FA Cup. Shouldn't that be enough of a reason to include him in it?
  • Mario Gomez: 12 goals in 12 games in the Champions League last season (taking them to the final!) and 3 goals at the Euros. He should be in here. He may have his critics, but so does every other player on the list. They chose the wrong Mario I believe (though I think Balotelli's celebration against Germany alone deserves an award).
So those are the players I think should feel hard done by for not being included on the list. Do you agree? Disagree? Does it really matter?

It's going to be Ronaldo or Messi for 1st and 2nd obviously, and some other lucky player (probably a Barca one) for 3rd. Though, if there's any justice in this world - it has to be Andrea Pirlo. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chelsea vs Manchester United - discussion points

There was a strange sense of "what the hell just happened?" at the end of the Chelsea vs Manchester United game. Even as a United fan (for those who don't know that I am one), it was an incredibly tense game with some absolutely shocking United's favor. Here are some points from the game that I think are worth discussing:
  1. I'm pretty sure most people were expecting United to concede first as they have been doing all season so far but what a brilliant start to the game by United .12 minutes gone, United leading 2-0, the writing was on the wall for Chelsea.

  2. How well is Robin Van Persie fitting in at United?

  3. In the build-up to the first goal, the one-two between Rooney and Young really exposed a weakness in Chelsea's system. The full-backs don't get enough support from their midfield. At the start of the move, when Rooney got the ball, there were only 2 United players in the Chelsea half against 6 Chelsea players. Precise United finishing vs. horrible Chelsea defending.

  4. The second goal was almost identical to the first one. Again, from the Chelsea's left-back spot and a quick break by United's right hand side.

  5. Not that I rate him as a player (or a man), but how much were Chelsea missing John Terry during the match? David Luiz is still a mistake waiting to happen and a liability. Again, it's not like Terry would have done much better.

  6. Juan Mata, what a player. Absolutely unbelievable. He has easily been the best player in the Premier League this season. Anyone dare to disagree?

  7. Speaking of Mata, the free-kick that was conceded for his goal by Rooney was a sign of the hotheadedness that the England striker has supposedly lost. Some see it as a negative thing to have a fiery temper, I think without it, the player loses what makes him special...or rather, just a normal footballer.

  8. David De Gea is a beast of a shot-stopper. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool. Just keep reminding yourself, he's only 21 years old.

  9. Chelsea's equalizer to level the score at 2-2 could have been very easily avoided had Johnny Evans known the basic rule of not letting the ball drop in the box. The floated ball by Oscar towards Mata, which the Spaniard controlled brilliantly, could have easily been avoided. But instead, when it reached Oscar for his second bite at the cross, there was only one outcome - which Ramires duly converted.

  10. I haven't yet started on Mark Clattenburg, but let me just say this. Throw out all your conspiracy theories and all that nonsense that "Soccer Memes" or whoever is going to post, what happened today was a pure inadequacy of basic refereeing. Because, and if you disagree feel free to say so, up until the moment when he showed first red card, Mr. Clattenburg was having a pretty good game.

  11. Decision number 1 - the Ivanovic red card. Ashley Young is through on goal, he's been slightly touched by the defender and is tumbled over. It is a foul, and because he's the last man, the ref has no other choice, I believe. The fact that Ivanovic didn't even complain about it should be enough evidence that it was a correct decision.

  12. Decision number 2 - the Torres red card. No way on earth is that a yellow card, let alone a red card. If anything, the decision should be a Chelsea freekick because there was contact between Evans and Torres. The fact that the referee was so perfectly placed behind them makes it even harder to understand his decision.

  13. For the Torres decision, Mark Clattenburg has 3 choices. 1st was to give Torres a second yellow card for diving, the 2nd was to give Evans a red card because Torres would have been through on goal, and the 3rd one would have been to give nothing and let the game flow. He had a decision to make and for some reason, he chose the 1st one - which, regardless of who you support and all the arguments of past games and decisions (and a whoooole lot of other nonsense being posted online), was the wrong decision. Any United fan care to state otherwise?

  14. Why did Torres go down when he could have been through on goal and probably scored? It's not like the challenge was one that put him off balance. There was slight contact. Enough contact for a foul.

  15. Decision number 3 - Chicharito's goal. The Mexican was in an offside position when Rafael took his shot. It took less than half a second (watch the replay and his speed) for Chicharito to get back onside to tap in the winner. Could the linesman have spotted it? I doubt it. Have a look at the crowd of players that are blocking his view. It's almost impossible and he gave the striker the "benefit" of the doubt. Or so it would seem. It's unfortunate that referees don't have all these camera angles that we do to criticize them. Another call for videos to be introduced in Football? You bet.

  16. The minute Chelsea got the second red card, it was mission impossible. Di Matteo should have done what he did against Barca last season and stuck all of his players in the box to defend for the result. Instead, they were still going for the win at times.
  17. Do Chelsea have a plan B for when Oscar/Mata/Hazard aren't ticking?

  18. The top of the league is looking rather tight. Chelsea, United and City have it all to do, but if this weekend has proven anything, it's that the title battle is well and truly a three-horse race.

  19. Queue the Howard Webb and Mark Clattenburg jokes. People, always remember, football is entertaining. It's meant to be f*cked up.

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