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.

Becks Gets 100

David Beckham finally received his 100th cap today in France. England ended up losing 1-0 on a PK. Nevertheless, Becks is the man again in England. Congrats Mr. Beckham and best of luck to him, England and the LA Galaxy.

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

What is going on with Fulham?

Fulham United FC are in a serious spiral. I don’t really see them staying up. I really enjoy watching Arsenal play football. If I had to be pressed into a corner I’d probably say they are my team. I just love to watch football and with Fulham having Brian McBride for these past few years they have really held my attention too. I love watching McBride. In my opinion he’s top five all time if not the all time best striker to play for the US. It really bums me out to watch Fulham spin their wheels so much. I understand what is going on at the team right now. They are sifting through all of their players to see who they have and who they are going to want to keep around in the coming years. Its amazing to watch them stockpile so many players. There is no way they can really maintain this 35 or so man roster. I hope they can trim things down by the end of this transfer window. Maybe they can bring in enough talent to keep the team up in the Premiership? Presently I just don’t see it happening. They are going to have to rattle off five or six wins to pull out of the danger zone. Right now I’m not sure who they can beat in league play. They midfield is just way too under-powered. They need an out and out striker and a right back wouldn’t hurt either. I’d love to see a calming presence brought to their midfield. If I had to guess they are going to try to add a creative play-maker. Presently they have four or five creative play-maker types. Its just they don’t have enough possesion to really create. Bullard coming back into the club can’t hurt. McBride coming back soon couldn’t bee soon enough. Even if McBride is able to regain his form and add five goals in the second half of the season he’s 35 and he’s not the future. Hodgson seems to be trying to spend them to safety. I hope they land a player or two who isn’t presently in the decline of their prime. If not let’s hope the David Healy and this cast of characters find their “A” game and start bringing home some victories.

Arsenal V Fulham

Fulham still suck

Fulham came out punch-less and toothless. I didn’t like the line-up they trotted out. Soel Ki-Hyeon? Look if I was ever to score four goals in one season in the EPL I’d be blown away and so would the EPL for that matter. The fact that he’s getting a run-out for Fulham says a lot. Is David Healy on the outs or what. They are bring in what twenty strikers, all with more pace and size then Healy. For the record I love Healy. I love the passion and the flair he brings to the pitch. If Fulham are done with him then QPR should snap him up instantly. To me Fulham need a stalwart in the middle of the pitch. Arsenal were never stressed. Nor did Arsenal need to make any changes. Fulham had six mid-fielders on the pitch and they couldn’t run anyone off doggedly. That speaks to Arsenals fitness, ability and Fulham’s lack there of. I really hope Fulham are able to stay in the top league. Brian McBride will be back soon, and there are reinforcements in-toe. Let’s hope they find a decent second half worth of form. They need help across the entire pitch. Davis and Davies need to play to their abilities. Dempsey needs to be utilized. They need to find a back-line pairing that works at ;east slightly better then a funnel.

For the record I think Marlon King was good at one point in time. That point in time was probably before his last injury. I think he will be a five million pound waste. It might not even happen with the current hang up on his medical report. Let’s hope Fulham are not just throwing their resources away. That much cash on a full-back would make more sense to me.

I like Johnson as I have stated before. I like him with Dempsey. I like the element he brings to the game. I like the flair he showed this past summer in the MLS. I like his attitude towards “proving” himself as worthy of all the hype he received coming up through the US ranks. I think he can prove a worthwhile buy. Will he be able to fit in straight away? Johnson’s fitness could be lacking straight away. After a few weeks his match fitness should be up to snuff. Johnson has never proven himself with the US on their travels abroad. I’m expecting the second half of the season to be a learning period for Johnson. The rub their is that Fulham need a spark now. That need is going to see Johnson pushed into the starting XI earlier then need be.

Arsenal are the real deal

Straight away they had this match. I’m not totally sure if they needed to walk out of the dressing room. Wasn’t this supposed to be a derby? Where was the flair? Where was the passion? Where was Fulham? Fulham are on their way down and Arsenal are showing their pedigree and look like true title contenders. I don’t think they need to bring anyone in to the team. I could see them adding a back-up keeper and possibly depth at the left-back position. They are stocked in the middle of the pitch and they have plenty of options up-top. RVP is out for a little while with his niggling hamstring, but once he is back in the squad there are going to be issues getting all of their starting strikers enough starts and enough balls. Eduardo is looking solid. Adebayor could take home the golden boot in the EPL this year. Arsenal also haven’t lost a match when Adebayor has found the scoring sheet. Let’s hope the strikers are able to accept a rotation slightly better then some of the promising young mid-fielders.

Saturday Rumors Gone Rampant

  1. Will Jozy move? The rumor of the day has him in Spain with a possible first team run-out with a solid showing today
  2. Eddie Johnson only has played in 72% of the US National Team matches over this past year. With the regulations standing at a minimum of 75% for an automatic work permit in England. All signs point to him receiving a conditional working permit.
  3. Sweden are bringing their “b” or “c” team to face a mixed US National side. The US are going to bring some of their top flight players but look for a bit of an “a” team/”b” team mix.
  4. Fred’s move the England has hit multiple snags. Mainly due to his outlandish contract demands.
  5. Michael Owen isn’t happy in New Castle…could a possibly move to Chelsea be in the works?
  6. Liverpool are in flux in ownership, management, and that has led to their players general unrest.
  7. Charlton are sellers and seem to be readying for the drop in the coming season.
  8. QPR are looking to add studs across the pitch. Jonathan Woodgate is a possibly target. Would Woody be interested is the only question?
  9. If Owen is for sale QPR have the resources to put their names in the hat. Woodgate and Owen would be a major coup. Would it be enough to make QPR contenders next year?
  10. Reading need to add a midfielder. Michael Bradley has blipped on their radar. Could a solid showing over the next week and a half lead to a move?
  11. Goochi is in club hell. The giant American has a reputation for bad yellow cards. After a short spell at New Castle last season he hasn’t been able to find a sniff from any clubs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a move back state side.
  12. CSKA Moscow have a number of players catching the eye of EPL teams. Is this due to EPL owners ties to Russia or is it due to actual talent level? Is CSKA willing to part with any of their talent for large cash returns?
  13. The LA Galaxy have be stock piling salary cap space for the coming season. They have a number of attacking options but they are said to be looking for another European threat in the midfield. Could Figo truly be a target?

tracker

Lawrie Sanchez is Axed

Fulham United axed their manager Lawrie Sanchez today. Who’ll be in to fill his shoes next? This really isn’t the greatest gig in professional soccer let-alone English soccer but it is in the EPL.

The papers are all reporting John Collins will be the next in line. Sanchez hasn’t even been with the club for a year. Sanchez arrived on scene last April as a caretaker boss, replacing Chris Coleman, and once he stepped down as Northern Ireland manager became the full time manager of Fulham in May.

There have to be other canidates. Slaven Bilic has declared he’s not interested. I like the current rumor that Jurgen Klinsmann is possibly interested in taking over the helm. I’d love to see Fulham bring in a seasoned manager. It seems they should have the finical wherewithal to bring in a “super” manager. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Jose decided to come back to London?

That’s the rumor that I’ve been hearing. Jose Mourinho is interested in possibly joining Fulham. The interesting part is that he’s interested in working at a club that doesn’t have the huge finical clout of a Chelsea or a Barcalona but that is still in a top European League. Think about it if Jose truly is the “Special One” he’ll have Fulham playing in at least the UEFA Cup within two seasons. I can only imagine that within four season’s Fulham would be in the top four if not contending for the EPL league title. Can it be true? I think over the next few days this rumor is going to play itself out. On multiple levels it makes sense. Being back in London Jose can rub his success in Roman Abramovich’s face. Chelsea are a natural rival. Jose’s family would be able to stay in London, where his wife wants to live. Who wouldn’t love to see this. Is Jose that cocky? Is Jose that good? Can Fulham pull off bringing him?

I’d sort of like to see Bruce Arena get a shot at Fulham. Arena already knows Dempsey, Bocanegra, Keller, and McBride. Arena also knows a few solid American prospects that are currently available in the January transfer window. If Arena were brought in they would have to make a play for Landon Donovan and possibly Josie Altidore. Fulham needs a stiker or a midfielder to give them an extra push. A right back wouldn’t hurt and a keeper for the future would be nice too. All things that can readily be found in the States. If a new striker is brought into the club Dempsey could easily move into a creative midfield role, that’s a place where he’ll make a much larger contribution then up-top. Arena is an interesting candidate because he doesn’t fit the mold of the EPL, he’s not well known, but he has the credentials to pilot this ship.

I imagine that Fulham will have a new manager by the New Year if not by Thursday. Let’s sit back and see who it turns out to be. 100-1 on Jose is my call, but man that would be great.

Friday Night Brief

A) What are the LA Galaxy doing?

B) I like Fulham but is it a great ploy to stock pile this many strikers? Especially when none of them are out and out proven top flight scoring threats?

What are the Galaxy Doing?

The Galaxy are done in my mind. They are going to have to make some moves to really get me excited. David Beckham is undoubtedly the best player in the MLS. Landon Donovan was at one point in time the best player in the MLS. Now, I’d probably rank him in the top ten for sure, but maybe the top five…if I were drunk and hanging out with him top three.

Let’s look at the front end of the LA’s line-up, just for fun. Of course you have Donovan, but there really have to be questions about him. Donovan’s got a great creative thrust, amazing pace, fairly good vision and a knack for getting PK’s. Does that make Donovan a forward? Or is he a creative midfielder-the 10? Carlos Ruiz is coming back to LA. I can’t say I’ve been keeping close tabs on Carlos. He’s got talent and he was pretty good his first time in LA. Then you’ve got Edson Buddle. Really that’s probably about all I need to say. Buddle had promise. Operative being had. Last year was his worst year in the past four. Playing an entire season with Beckham could be just what the doctor ordered. Edson had difficulty scoring last year, he couldn’t seem to find the back of the old onion bag. I hope Edson finds some form, otherwise who knows this could be his last year playing soccer at this level? Quavas Kirk is only 19. Kirk has thrown up two doughnuts these past two years. Kirk has speed, a powerful shot, could use more/better touch and he seems to need a little magic. Kirk just hasn’t been lucky in my opinion. The rest of the guys they have are more or less deep cover in case two or three guys are injured or suspended. Who here with the exception of Buddle can turn their back to the net, with real success? Donovan and Ruiz are both undersized, speed players that really need space to create goal scoring opportunities. Ruiz is more of a clinical finisher who finds ways to be dangerous around the net, despite his size. Donovan knows how to score but he’s a freaking head case. They seem to have enough options, to me it’s just going to depend on who shines through.

Having Beckham in the midfield shores up the middle of the pitch. Who is going to play with him? Mathis is past whatever prime he had. Simply put I’d like to see the Galaxy add someone to the middle of the pitch.

Xavier is the heart of the defense. That says a lot, a lot. They need people on the back-line. This might be a good place for them to add foriegn talent.

Joe Cannon is gone. What are they going to put in goal. Maybe they’ll put up a clean sheet at the beginning of each half?

LA has attacking options. They have a ball controlling, slick passing all world mid-fielder. What else do they have? Sold out matches. That might not sound like a lot but having Becks sells tickets. Selling tickets makes you money and makes you more appealing to players. LA should be able to recruit and they should be able to pay new players. Who will they bring in? In all fairness I’m not a Galaxy fan. I am a fan of the MLS and I think its extremely important for the MLS that the LA Galaxy and David Beckham do well in the coming season.

To Fulham’s Woes

Fulham is adding Eddie Johnson. I’ve been asking for someone, anyone in the EPL to add Johnson. Eddie has such amazing pace that it’d be great to watch him in the wide open EPL. Plus Eddie had a good season this past summer. Eddie needs to develop a back to the net game a little more. Playing with Brian McBride can’t hurt that development. Marlon King, like Johnson, adds size and height. Will he or won’t he be coming to Fulham. Healy, Kamara, Bouazza, McBride, Kugi, and Dempsey make a fairly long list of “striking” options. I put striking in quotes because most of these guys have played up top and in the midfield for Fulham. I am excited to watch McBride return. Moving Dempsey back into the midfield is going to allow him to show his creative strength. This team has 34 players with out their additions from this week. They are going to need to move a few players out of the club. I’m going to watch their match tomorrow and I’ll compile some more thoughts.

For England

Dear England:

I’ve been watching you play a lot over the past five years. Its hard to not be amazed with the talent you have across the entire pitch. True your keepers have hardly been able to hold the jocks of any of your field players. I mean come on you have an amazing everything else so a slightly suspect goalie should be more then easily covered up with all of the other talent. That’s not why I’m writing. I’m writing because I want to see beauty not just brawn. England need not be thugish or brutish in your style. A lighter airy style would suit you just fine. I know I’m a blasted yank, but I was just sort of wondering if you are going to keep with this ugly football?

Fabio doesn’t have a reputation for beauty, but he does for success. I’m not sure I want just pure success. I want the best soccer possible. Not long ball after long ball while you grind it out in the midfield with a high trap. I’m sure the boys will be more fit. I’m sure the boys will be more mentally prepared. If it too much to ask for a few brilliant passes? I know that Frank Lampard can carve up defenses so why not let him? Let’s see some style, some beauty and some brillance.

I wish you the best of luck England. I know that I don’t have to wish Fabio anything, he wouldn’t be listening anyway. Now, that you have a manager who can actualy manage you should be able to make a run another major trophy. As always time will tell.

In the coming week I plan to look at Fabio’s record in depth. I want to run through the EPL and speculate on the transfer window. I’ll try to give a quick run down on the Champions League. Till then enjoy the season…