New Castle’s Three-Headed Dragon

New Castle United are on the prowl. A few months late but nevertheless they are super exciting to watch. Martin’s goal early on was excellent. Owens goal was possibly offside but he did crush on it big time. Viduka was in the right place at the right time for a good old fashioned ugly-greasy goal. I’m not even done with the match but New Castle are totally crushing big time. Too bad that Reading seem to have rolled over or maybe they just suck?

Champions League V. UEFA Cup

Its hard to beat the Champions League, its on ESPN stateside, but I’ve been watching the UEFA Cup these past few years and its still great soccer. This past weeks Champions League matches were untouchable. Chelsea falling to a “lesser” team in Turkey was awesome. Liverpool v Arsenal was super tight. Sure there might have been a bad non-call again Dirk K but it doesn’t matter now and the return match in Liverpool is going to be killer. You have to wonder how Chelsea are going to show-up back in London? Lampard looks like a player who wants out period. Chelsea are just as talented at Manchester United and Arsenal but it sounds like their back-room has fallen apart. Who is going to be left come next season? I think Drogba and Lamps are gone. Wouldn’t surprise me if Joe Cole, Essien, Wright-Phillips, and pretty much any of their defenders sans Terry fly the coup. Who doesn’t sound frustrated at Chelsea right now? The drama is just so rich and that’s why the Champions League has over the UEFA Cup for me. I don’t really care if Tottenham have to tear up their roster because of a fall from grace in the UEFA.

Shut up and let the man Work.

I watched the friendlies on Wednesday just like everybody else. I split my time between the US’s drubbing of Poland, England/France and, a bit later, Italy/Spain. All were interesting affairs as far as friendlies are concerned. For me, they’re only worth the first half. When the managers begin to experiment, it’s over as entertainment–if you want to know how to change a game, make six simultaneous substitutions! There designed to be learning experiences, anyway. I understand that so I can’t fault the manager if he screws up a perfectly good game in the name of future greatness.

In the wake of the friendlies, the biggest talking point seems to be surrounding the English disappointment at there 1-0 loss to France. OK, I understand England and France don’t exactly have a history of hand holding and pattycake and don’t like to lose to one another, but let’s not overreact. It was only a penalty kick. It wasn’t like they got beat 3-0 (like we beat Poland… did I already mention that?). Furthermore, this is only Capello’s second game in charge of England. The man’s got to familiarise himself with the players. He’s got to figure out what tactics to use. He’s got to find a good leader–his leader–and to do this and win every single game is asking a bit much. To not take the time with experimentation during a FRIENDLY is suicide.

So, what’s my point? I’m just asking all the McNulty’s out there to please SHUT UP and quit your moaning. It’s not helping your beloved England improve, that’s for sure. Anybody can sit around and find negative points in a friendly football match (even if you happen to win 3-0, away). What England need to do is remain positive and remind themselves that they only lost on a penalty and that they looked rather good in the first half, playing with 5 midfielders to boot. OK McNulty? Sit back, shut up, and let the man work.

Again its Arsenal’s Year…or so I hope

Sagna goes down but Arsenal can still pull it off. They lost to Chelsea but it was a decent match. Chelsea took it to the Gunners in the second half, but they’ll just have to rebound in the coming weeks. Sagna’s injury probably means that Eboue is going to have to move back to the right-back position. Hleb, Fabergas, Flamini, Diaby, Silva, Denilson, and Song should be able to cover for the team in the midfield. I think Arsenal can cover. Nevertheless, this is a great run up to the end of the season. I’ll be watching this weekend but I just wanted to post my thought that I still think Arsenal can pull off the title.

Ronaldo To Retire?

With the devastating knee injury that Ronaldo suffered this past week I just can’t see him playing at a competitive level anymore. Ronaldo was already on the decline so there is no way he can sit out a year to two rehabbing and expect to come back at any level near that which he is known for. Its a sad way for such and amazing player to end his career. With his greatness in mind here is a great highlight reel of Ronaldos.

Quick Thoughts

The transfer window was huge this year. Tons of money was spent. Big time players moved. From a show glance Chelsea look to be big time winners. Anelka is an amazing player, so far he’s looked good for the Blues. Portsmouth also could come out big winners. Once the Benjani situation gets sorted out they could be clear winners in the EPL’s midwinter spending spree. DeFoe has already notched one, Barros looked to be finding himself and with the added funds from Benjani transfer Portsmouth could see themselves sliding back into the top six.

I’m still not sure what is going on at Fulham outside of losing. They have decided to try to make a last second push back out of relegation. One could also argue they are setting themselves up for a Championship Campaign. Honestly their young players would probably be served to season themselves in the Championship for one season. A one year drop could really help Fulham resort their squad and ready themselves for a strong push towards relevance in the EPL.

Its interesting that Chelsea are the only one in the big four to make moves this January. I was looking for something at Liverpool. I would have loved to see them add to the midfield. I guess in a way they did by sealing Macherano’s deal full-time. Sissoko is a stud, he wanted out but they’ll miss him for sure.

More to come