Love him or loath him José has done it again. I said in my first report that I didn’t think PSG were that good but on that night Chelsea were worse. Well at Stamford Bridge PSG proved that they were only average while Chelsea raised their game with more energy and willingness to attack in numbers. José ‘s negative mind challenge to his attackers paid off with the forgotten striker Demba Ba poking the ball into the roof of the net in the dying minutes. This gave Chelsea an away goals draw win that puts them through into the semi’s. This means Mourinho is now the most successful manager in the champions league at reaching the semi’s with 8 to his name.
Arsène Wenger is a very nice man, he calmly sits on the bench as he watches his team get another beating…and that’s the problem! His team took another beating by the excellent Everton and the players seem to just calmly accept it. Being beaten is now in the Arsenal DNA and Arsène Wenger has to be blamed, or is it the Arsenal board? because a club of the stature of Arsenal having not won anything since May 2005 would surely have sacked the manager by now. Even Ferguson would have gone. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the Arsenal style, but where are the players with the total full-on desire to win? Where are the leaders on the pitch that don’t accept defeat, the players that really really make it happen? Finding those players and having that mental attitude comes from the drive of the manager, and I am afraid that Arsène Wenger has no longer got that. The question is have the board got that drive and the bahogies to do the deed and cull the legend, or are they just too nice also?
Chelsea let things slip in Paris as the financial new kids on the block showed them how to kill off the opposition. Up front Chelsea had less than nothing with Mourinho using the midfielder Andre Schurrle as the lonesome striker. Torres was on the bench and if he didn’t know where he stood before, he does now. To be honest PSG weren’t that good being sloppy in midfield and very shaky at the back. The difference was the strike force with PSG starting with 3 world class strikers Ibrahimovic, Cavani and the busy genius Lavezzi. Add on the sub Javier Pastore who came on and scored in the 92nd minute, he cost a mere £35 million, and poor old Jose could only watch on green with envy. David Luiz is a complete puzzle to me, he dashes around like a headless chicken but if he gets the ball he’s just as likely to pass it right back to the opposition. His decision on how to tackle or even if it is a tackling situation is so suspect it’s frightening to watch. He dives in and is constantly trying to win balls that cannot be won. He pursued a PSG striker close to the byline with the striker facing away from goal and sure enough as eggs is eggs Luiz crashed into the back of the player who gratefully crashed to the floor. If your under fourteens did this it would be press-ups all round. As if by divine retrobution the following free kick was whipped into the six yard box and the cavalry charge of attackers all just missed the ball. It fizzed off of the turf and bumped into Luiz’z shins and in the back of the net. The look of guilt on his face was there for all to see. Jose Mourinho at the press conference blamed everyone but himself, but think back to Torres at Liverpool, how can that player no longer exist? Next week could be more about saving face rather than going through to the semi’s
I firmly believe referees can’t play football because if they could they would, rather than undertake the most thankless task in football. Don’t get me wrong the referees that turn out to officiate at all games whether it’s a kids game or the top two in the premiership, do a great job. They do! if you don’t believe me try it for yourself, because there will always be 11 on the pitch bitching and moaning at you because your decision went against them. Plus their gobby bench, and then their poor old supporters who are kindly suggesting you should buy some spectacles. Believe me the mothers of the under tens can be as vitriolic and as foul mouthed as the cop as well. Without these brave and courageous people, football could not be played. Having played many a 11 a-side game without a ref it’s rubbish, there’s tons more cheating and the bullies generally rule, so at least thank them for turning up because your game would not have gone ahead without your lonely referee.
OK, now that I’ve given fair praise to the humble man/woman in black, I come to the point where the rubber hits the road, to the paid professional referee, the ones that make the multimillion pound decisions. These mountains of instant judgement can make or brake a game, a club or a managers career with just a simple blow of a whistle. The financial power of that small little wet pea is immense, so why are these people not ex professional players? People who understand what a fair tackle is, what a subtle push in the back can do, why a six foot two man can fall to the ground without physically being touched. Game in and game out I see blatant fouls missed that anyone who has played the game would be looking for and understand what is going on. A perfect example is the player running with the ball and being closely chased, the front player deliberately pauses in forward movement knowing the chasing player will bump them and hey presto the front player falls to the ground onto the ball claiming their foul. But what foul! the front player instigated the clash, and yet week in and week out the ref’s give the deviant their created prize. My belief is an ex pro would simply say play on! Surely there are many players who are injured out of the game early on who would make great refs, also retiring players, these guys are easily fit enough to become the man in black. Perhaps it’s the stigma of just being a ref that puts off ex pros, or maybe the mechanism for them to be fast tracked doesn’t exist… but I wish it did. I know I wouldn’t want my window cleaner to fly the jet I board for my holidays, and I wouldn’t want my plumber to perform open heart surgery on me, but I would want an ex professional footballer to be the ref who adjudicates my teams cup final. So come on FA work harder to keep their ‘insiders knowledge’ in the game, as I believe the game would be better for it.
Man Utd v Aston Villa
Man Utd really have to win or David Moyes must be packing his bags.
Aston Villa must be going to Old Trafford thinking they really have a great chance with their superb counter attack pace.
Swansea City v Norwich City
Swansea are never out of the game and this will be one they hope to get points from and move away from danger.
Norwich City try keep things tight away from home, but the Swans have a battering ram that’s always ready to bash the door down.
West Brom v Cardiff City
Pepe Mel really needs his first win at home
Cardiff City could produce the performance that rocked Liverpool in the first half, this is the classic 6 pointer
Stoke City v Hull City
Stoke City look to be at full power with a blend of quality football and physical competativeness
Hull City are one win away from Premier football next season, but today they might find it a bit tough out there.
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Tony Pulis has probably eked out everything the Eagles have to offer and today they have just two fit strikers.
Chelsea could probably field a whole team of strikers, today it’s just a case of how many times the old onion bag will be filled.
Southampton v Newcastle United
Southampton have lots of injuries but are nice and safe so they have no need to do anything silly
Newcastle are also safe but missing keeper Tim Krul, It could easily be a draw or just one in it.
Arsenal v Manchester City
Arsenal have lots of injuries and look very thin, I can hear their knees knocking from hear.
Manchester City are tough up front, in the middle and tight at the back. They could make Arsene reconsider retirement
UEFA have announced a ‘Nations League’ to be played in the odd years of the footballing world. Apparently it will replace those meaningless friendlies that no-one really cares about, especially all the club managers who watch their prime stock get kicked or crunched for nothing. Of course these title chasing heroes of our favourite teams are insured, and if injured their clubs would be compensated for their loss, but would they really? If Liverpool lost Gerrard and Sturridge their real chance of a title would surely dissapear. Maybe the club would get their wages covered, but how much would Not winning the title cost? How can you possibly compensate for that? Ask Arsen Venger if he is missing Jack Wilshere? who knows how much that active midfield dynamo would have influenced the games that have destroyed their season.
Michel Platini is the mastermind behind this vote grabbing idea. Oh am I suggesting it is politically-driven? well yes, as the 54 member states of UEFA all have equal voting rights, so that football powerhouse of Gibraltar has the same voting power of Germany. Plus in 2015, hopefully Sepp Blatter retires and Platini is kissing cheeks to get the votes he needs, a case of dumb and then even dumber. Platini’s ideas include increasing the European Champion ships from 16 to 24, so a competition of the very best, to a competition of the very average. Another of his master strokes was to put two guys dressed in official’s kits to stand by the goals with cattle prods in their hands, what these people do no-one has any idea. They look like little boys waiting to use the toilet, and that’s exactly where all his ideas should be flushed.
We’ve all seen that scary old dog that’s chained up in the back yard, you know the one where you can go up to it and taunt it, knowing that it just can’t reach you and bite you. It just growls and paces from side to side and back again, well that’s how Man Utd play under David Moyes. I’m sure the Old Trafford faithful must go home with neck problems due to the fact that United’s attack consists of playing the ball from one side of the pitch to the other side and back again and again and again. What happened to the forward pass in behind defenders? to the wingers driving behind their fullbacks and whipping in a cross? Think of Beckham to Van Nistelrooy…goal, think of a long throw to the halfway line from Schmeichel to Ronaldo, who drives forward and cuts back a cross for Rooney to drive into the bottom corner (normally around 6 seconds). United’s attack was so dynamic, strong and quick that it meant the opposition were scared to death to attack for the gaps in behind meant certain punishment. Today under David Moyes the build up is so slow that the slowest old war horse can get back. Teams with their two banks of four can watch United try to tippy tappy the ball through endless re-cycling phases all played out in-front of them, not much harder than a training session for the opposition. Of course United’s players are just carrying out Moyes’s instructions, but it’s boring the pants off of the spectators and the players also, who clearly have lost the faith in their managers philosophy. Barcalona of course created the endless passing game, but watch around the player who has the ball and he is spoilt for choice as 2,3,4 or 5 runners give him options behind defenders. We are loving the new Liverpool, who under Brendan Rogers turn defenses inside out with driving passes from Steven Gerrard to the direct runs of Suarez or Sturridge who actually commit defenders. It’s the one thing all defenders hate the most ,being attacked head on, because if they are beaten they are often forced into a Yellow or Red card situation, and don’t the SAS attack of Liverpool know that. United’s wingers need to go back to basics…beat your man and deliver the ball into the box. Rooney , Wellbeck and Mata need to drive into the box and commit defenders and create openings and pressurize players instead of this endless side to side routine. David Moyes did a great job with Everton as he built a team that was always difficult to beat, but United aren’t a team that is difficult to beat, United is a team that beats teams. It is a different mentality and one that is not in his DNA.
I couldn’t stand it any longer, so the world will now know what I think about football, teams, games, players, rule makers and rule breakers. This is only my opinion, and if you agree great, if not that’s what makes the world go around. I’ll say my piece and people are free to leave comments providing they are not personal or offensive, if they are you will be destroyed. So here goes…
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