Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Been there before - Joe Hart is NOT that good

I remember last season I wrote this post (click here) stating that Joe Hart was not THAT good. Not sure how many of you recall it, but I also remember receiving a lot of criticism for daring to say anything wrong about England's number 1. Well, 50 weeks later, we're back with the same topic but this time thankfully, it seems it's becoming something that everyone else is now seeing as well.

In the past 10 months Joe Hart has made more blunders than any other top goalkeeper I can think of. His form seems off and his errors have been proving it time and time again. Below are a few clips that simply justify what I said a year ago. To say I'm pleased is an understatement.

There are two common traits every single time he makes an error:
Firstly either the shot is being directed straight to him and he makes a mess of it or secondly he runs like a headless chicken out of his goal needlessly and players take advantage of his horrible decision-making.

James Morrison - Scotland vs England - August 2013

Frazier Campbell - Cardiff City vs Manchester City - August 2013 (apologies for the poor color, but please check Cardiff's 2nd goal, Campbell's first one of the game).

Andreas Wiemann - Aston Villa vs Manchester City - October 2013

All goals - Manchester City vs Bayern Munich - October 2013

All goals - Southampton vs Manchester City - February 2013

Fernando Torres - Chelsea vs Manchester City - October 2013 

Will England have the time to find a replacement before the World Cup in Brazil next year? Or are they going to go to yet another World Cup with yet another farcical goalkeeper? The latter seems very likely. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Letter of apology to Juventus fans from Carl Ethan Kingston

Dear Juventus & Serie A fans,

Some of you might still remember me and the article I wrote approximately 1 year ago on this very blog about Juventus and the Serie A. For those of you who don’t, click on this link to refresh your memories.

Moving forward, I am writing this article in order to apologize for the lack of professionalism in the way the last article was written. It was done very quickly, it lacked depth, it was not credible and quite frankly it was pretty amateurish. Henceforth, I am now writing this virtual letter to officially apologize for that last article I wrote. It contained sarcasm, humor and was supposed to be funny, however a lot of Serie A and Italian football lovers were quite offended and understandably so.

Therefore, I repeat, I am writing to you once more to say I’m sorry. I really am. I am terribly sorry……for you lot that have to watch this horrible league called Serie A! It is a punishment to the eyes! The vintage cameras, the 90’s advertisements on the billboards, the horrible stadiums, the horrible teams (like Chievo Verona), the horrible kits - I really truly am terribly sorry that you are either brainwashed or naive enough to actually watch a whole season of all that!!!

I do realize that name calling is not the answer to my frustration. Quite clearly there are many things in life that we have trouble understanding. Things that are far more important than us like the Universe, God, Pogba and Vidal’s hair, I myself also have difficulties understanding how people can actually put pickles in their mouth, but I digress. Moreover, I really cannot understand how Italy’s National Side does well in tournaments and I find it hard to believe that the Serie A still exists despite all these organized crime scandals we hear every few months. These are existential questions for me. I really do not know why Juventus are still a professional entity following Calciopoli? It’s hard to grasp this because Juventus fans are oblivious to so many things in the football world. For example, here’s what a discussion between a Juventus fan and another random person goes like. Let’s call the guy Jeff, shall we?
(we’ll keep it in English)

Juventus Fan: Ahhh Fuck Off!!! Pogbaaaa! 31 titles! Take that you c*nts!!!

Jeff (Hesitant): Erm… 29, they took off 2 titles because of the calciopo…

Juventus fan (Interrupts): What?! Please shut up and check the articles on Google!! Everyone was doing it! Everyone was speaking to referees before the game Jeff!

Jeff: So… why were they the only ones that got relegated? I mean there must be something else that had happened? Something that we don’t know has happened…

Juventus fan: I don’t know Jeff, has it? Has something else happened? (Sarcastically) Ummm maybe it’s just because Inter Milan control everything in league?! Maybe it was a conspiracy against Juventus?! You tell me Jeff, how many titles can you count with your hands? Bring them out and count them! Etc…

Jeff: (at this point of the conversation, Jeff begins imagining sticking a shotgun, or something else, in his mouth to shut him up, but decides to change the topic). So, anyways, do you want to go to the movies. Perhaps we can watch “Gravity” or something?

End of discussion.

Jeff changed the subject because the bottom line remains that despite it all, these fans do love Juventus, they do love Italy (most of them), they do love the Serie A. We probably don’t understand them, we try not to judge them, just like we don’t judge people that are bipolar (except behind their back)…it is a condition that we have to accept. We’d rather end the conversation before it leads to something vicious and we keep the hatred in our hearts for Juventus, Italy and the Serie A in general.

Let’s face it, the Serie A has lost its charm. What once was the pinnacle of European football in the early 90s is now nothing but a horrible league. You cannot compare it to the Premier League for example, where despite the 80% of foreigners you have non-stop action and entertainment, or La Liga where you’ve got skillful masters showing off every week or even Ligue 1 where the big bucks and stars are beginning to head. The fact is that the Serie A is currently the worst league among the big ones in Europe. The strange thing is that some people still debate about the Serie A not being the worst. I’ll never understand it, just like I’ll never understand people who don’t think that ‘The Usual Suspects’ is one of the best movies of all-time. I just can’t.

Best Regards,

Yours faithfully,

Carl E. Kingston

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wilshere is wrong and England are slacking

I'm not a fan of Jack Wilshere. I believe there is nothing special about him as player and even less as a person (from what I can assume). He's petulant on the pitch, he's always moaning, he's only 21 and has a child already (he was a father at 19 and you must be an idiot to be a father at that age - as most footballers are) and worst of all he thinks he's the real deal, especially since he was given the number 10 jersey at Arsenal (previously worn by legends such as Dennis Bergkamp and Paul Merson).
As a midfielder who has played almost 120 professional games he has only scored 6 goals and provided 19 assists in his young career which is a poor return for any player in that position having played that many games.

But most annoyingly of all, he talks a load of nonsense. So w
hen Adnan Januzaj of Manchester United was linked with being able to represent England, Wilshere said the following:

Now aside from the fact that obviously Januzaj never spoke publicly about this and was approached by the FA (and not the other way around), this sounds like Wilshere is obviously threatened by competition for places in the English squad and went on to make some quite ridiculous statements:

"If you live in England for five years it doesn't make you English". 

Wrong Jack. If a person has been living for 5 years in England, he may apply for naturalization. You know what that means? It means he can hold a British passport, have the same rights and privileges as any other British citizen and yes, it makes him, by law, English. Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure Jack was celebrating when Mo Farah (Somali-born) triumphed at the London Olympics for Great Britain. Or does Jack feel like telling Mo Farah that he's not English as well?

"We have to remember what we are. We are English. We tackle hard, are tough on the pitch and are hard to beat".

What? England are hard to beat? Of course against San Marino you'll be hard to beat. But against top opposition like Spain, Italy, Germany or Brazil, England are about as easy to beat as any average European side. The fact that any English player or supporter is disillusioned into believing that England have a great side is the biggest part of the problem.

"We have great characters."

Yes. Wayne Rooney. Ashley Cole. Lovely characters. Every child's dream must be to shoot someone at a training ground, cheat on his wife publicly, or hold their club to ransom for a new contract. The word you're looking for Jack is "players" not "characters". England have some great players. As characters they are as despicable as cockroaches, as players very few of them are often pretty damn good.

"You think of Spain and you think technical, but you think of England and you think they are brave and they tackle hard. We have to remember that."

Wrong Jack. You think of Spain, you think of the World and European Champions. When any regular football fan (who isn't stuck in the EPL propaganda) thinks of England, they think of penalty failures, lack of tactics, no skill, underachievement and overhyping things before any major tournament.

Where's the problem with Jack's words?

Well, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and many more international countries have been naturalizing players to play for them, why don't England take that path? If a talented player like Cesc Fabregas (back when he was younger) was given the option of playing for England, would it have caused this much fuss? I'm sure all of England would have gladly added him on their ranks and rightly so. English society has accepted change for the past 30 years or so and this is evident in the Premier League more than anywhere else (67% of the league's players are foreign), so why is it that the English National side just doesn't want to evolve? Whether it's by sticking to being "hard" rather than becoming more "technical", or by refusing to naturalize any other players, England's National Team are proving to be one step behind the rest of the world when it comes to evolution in Football.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Foolish predictions for 2013/14

Whenever anyone makes predictions, they're opening themselves up to the ridiculous criticism that may follow. So I'm about to give you all the chance to mock me at the end of the season as I'm going to give my take on the way I predict the season will end in all top leagues and the Champions League. Prepare yourself the biggest load of nonsense you might read this season.

Here we go:

The English Premier League:
The title is going back to London this year. But where, I have no clue. The top 4 will be divided between Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United. Yes, that's right David Moyes' boys will finish in the top 4 but won't win the league. I believe the 2 exclusions will be Manchester City and Liverpool.

Bundesliga:Dortmund will run out of steam. This is Bayern Munich's title again, especially considering that Lewandowski might be joining them in January or at the end of the season. It can only damage Dortmund's morale and chances. I obviously would prefer seeing Klopp winning it, but Guardiola's boys are just too good in Germany.

La Liga:With or without Messi, Barcelona are too strong for the rest of Spain. Tata has imposed his style and they're looking pretty damn good yet again. It's Barca's title to lose. Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid will obviously follow, but it won't be enough to take over the Catalans.

Ligue 1:Monaco may have spent millions, but when it comes down to it, so have PSG and they have got the experience and know-how to win the league title with this current squad. They'll do it again with Monaco breathing down their necks.

Serie A:Sorry Juventus, but it's not your title this time around. Napoli and Roma have strengthened considerably, and I believe that Juve will muster such a good run in the Champions League that it will affect the defense of their league title. It's going to Rafa Benitez or Rudi Garcia's title.

Champions League:This is a tough one. I can't see Bayern winning it again because nobody's ever done that since the new format of the CL. Barcelona look great in Spain, but are not unbeatable in Europe. Chelsea will probably self-implode under Mourinho. Moyes will keep learning his ways the hard way. Pelligrini will take City far (quarter-finals?) but their 'inexperience' will bite them. Wenger's squad is too thin to go the distance domestically and in Europe, he'll have to sacrifice something. Dortmund can't repeat their feat twice in a row. Juventus will go far (semis maybe?), but I just can't see an Italian team winning it yet with the squads that some of the other teams have.

This leaves me betting on 2 clubs to win it. PSG for the simple reason that I believe the draw was fair to them in the group stage and that it will continue that way as the season carries on, not because they are spectacular by any means; and Real Madrid because they have a certain Carlo Ancelotti who knows how to win this competition more than anyone else. The "decima" is eating the whole Bernabeau alive and he'll put an end to that.

Those are my predictions. Foolish, I told you. What are yours? 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What was Jose thinking?

During the summer months Jose Mourinho made his intentions to sign Wayne Rooney from Manchester United very clear. Chelsea were ready to splash the cash, United weren't ready to bulge and as the transfer window closed, the move never materialized. Chelsea's need for a striker became obvious. But in truth their chase for a striker wasn't a necessity as much as it was a luxury they felt they could afford.

On their ranks at the end of August they had Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku all vying for that one spot as their target-man up front. All 3 strikers are very good and, on form, could walk into almost any top team in Europe. The options were there for Jose to choose from. 
However what I'm failing to understand is why did Jose Mourinho allow Lukaku to go out on loan to Everton and why did he replace him with the ageing Samuel Eto'o? 

Fine, the Wayne Rooney move never happened but that doesn't mean he had to dig into the market for a front-man who has been playing in Russia for the past 2 seasons whilst letting go of one of the most prolific young strikers there is out there. 
Knowing that Chelsea play with 1 striker and that they have an array of talent in midfield ready to provide the chances for their frontmen, Lukaku would have benefited immensely. Instead, 2 months into the season the stats in the league go like this:

- Samuel Eto'o: 153 mins played, 0 goals, 1 assist.
- Fernando Torres: 234 mins played, 0 goals, 1 assist.
- Demba Ba: 65 mins played, 0 goals, 0 assist.
- Romelu Lukaku: 176 mins played, 3 goals, 1 assist.

This is not to say that Chelsea's strikers won't end up performing well. It's just to point out that Jose got it wrong when he let Lukaku leave on loan. The guy is tailor-made to be the replacement of Didier Drogba that the club has been craving for and they should have made use of him this season especially knowing that it is a world cup year and Lukaku will be desperate to prove that he's ready to be the main man for Belgium up front. Chelsea's loss is Everton's gain...for now.