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.

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?