Monthly Archives: May 2012

Flashback Football: England v Germany Charity Game Horror Tackle

Seeing Jaap Stam and Keano try their hardest to stay on their feet and not break any celebrities last night reminded me of my favorite charity game moment. Charity games are usually known for their lightness of tackle, but when you add England to Germany and then throw eccentric London mayor Boris Johnson into the mix, you’ve got a problem…

Best moment? About 12 seconds in when he walks away like an enforcer with Butch Wilkins only to grab his head in shock and turn back at the heinous tackle. As I recall he saw red for the challenge even though he got the ball. Got to love the man.

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A Weekend of England Wins

So England beat Norway and then England beat the Rest of the World (and disease?), a feat that sounds lovely on paper.

A quality goal from the immortal Kevin Phillips, suspect handball by Ted Sheringham, and neat finish by Robbie William’s friend was enough to overturn the first half worldy from Kasabian’s guitarist Serge Pizzorno (the guy who also did this)

The game saw plenty of wacky combinations; Paddy McGuinness shutting out Gerard Butler, Will Ferrell laying off to Mike Myers, a King Kenny team talk to Roy Keane, and a host of painful and ridiculous commentary by Clive Tyldesley (That wasn’t a Club Foot… anybody?)

Whilst watching the game I had a brainwave, one that would revitalise spectator interest in the F.A Cup.

What interest?

Team F.A Cup United would be structured in a 4-4-2 diamond with van der Sar in goal, Le Saux left back, Stam and Des Walker in the centre, Keane enforcing the midfield with Ljungberg and Seedorf wide, Hernan Crespo playing  just behind Phillips and Teddy. All that’s needed is a right back – Gary Neville seems to be able to do every job in football – and you have a brilliantly entertaining team, the cup fixtures giving them enough time to recover between games. Come on, you’d pay to see your team play that.

It was interesting to put yourself into the New Look shoes of some annoying x-factor idol boy (I don’t know who Olly Murs is but I enjoyed Stam’s tackle on him) and imagine just how much better the ex-pros are than you. Any level of league football is linked to a fair degree of talent, the real talent peak coming at international level…

… or so they say. ‘Talent’ isn’t the first word your tongue would reach for when describing the Three Lion’s win over the Norse (seriously Will Ferrell was better in possession than Barry), ‘disciplined’ or ‘clinical’ perhaps but nothing a frivolous as ‘talent’.

Touch

Hodgson’s first game wasn’t a thriller but it wasn’t a loss, and it gave us some insight into what we can feast on during the Euros. Gone was Capello’s 4-3-3, replaced with a fashionable European 4-2-3-1, a formation I said would never work with England. Well Roy, you have learned me some on that one.

There is little to discuss on the goalie and back four as most of them were just stand-ins, although maybe now would be the best to time to stop getting John Terry to hold our hand in tournaments and leave him behind, replacing him with the deserving Phil Jagielka.

No one enjoys seeing captain Gerrard that deep but at least he’s in the centre now, with Parker giving him a good license to move forwards, the Spurs player not exactly the man to link the back and front though.

Out wide was a bit baffling, seeing the madly under performing Stuart Downing under perform opposite James Milner. Milner for me is a utility sub, capable of doing a good job in the centre or on the wing, in attack or in defence without thrilling in any position. But we’ll keep our trousers done up for now because it seemed fairly clear that Hodgson was trying all wide options.

Don’t worry you’ve got all the time you need. Well, 3 weeks…

The real gem came in Andy Carroll as target man and Ashley ‘Banana Skin’ Young in the hole behind him. Who would have though two months ago that Carroll would be in the England squad let alone as a starter? But you don’t hear anyone disagreeing with it though do you? Just goes to show what an impact the press can have on player perceptions.

Anyway, the big man looked more than up for receiving the ball and, with Young constantly ready to run off him, the plan to cover Rooney’s absence looked a good one. It bared its fruit early, and with a little help from a bursting Gerrard run, England had the decisive goal. Unfortunately as the game progressed England got a touch of the Liverpools about them and seemed to forget that Carroll was still playing, but rotating door, players resting blahblahblah leave Roy alone!

On the plus side it looks like Barry might be out, on the downside Phil Jones will probably end up being shoehorned into centre-mid cover with the under-prepared Jordan Henderson, all the while Michael Carrick looks on and sighs ‘philistines’ under his breath.

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2011/12 Team of the Season

After what was probably the best Premier League season ever ended with what is definitely the most exciting ending ever, we’re left with one question unanswered; who were the best players? Look no further…

N.B I’ve kept the team based on the Premier League only but the players best moments are from all competitions.

GK – Petr Cech: Not a guy you’re gonna see on many of these lists, Cech is a forgotten master. In among the young pretenders such as Hart and de Gea, who are immediately redeemed of their errors because they are inexperienced, it is a joy to watch Cech dominate the box, read 99% of situations correctly, never make mistakes, and show the kind of footwork that many Prem players would dream of.

Best Moment – F.A Cup Final Save:

DF – Fabricio Coloccini: Colo was once a bit of a joke among the league’s defenders, no longer though. As the Senegalese strikers kept the goals flowing up front, he kept the Toon regimented and strong at the back, keeping 15 clean sheets. He possesses a great turn of pace as well a real solid strength.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 0

Best Moment – 122nd Minute Winner in Carling Cup

DF – Martin Skrtel: The big Slovakian made the transition this season from good to great with a frequent supply of towering headers and intelligent challenges. Where he used to seem eager to go to ground, Skrtel now appears a much more refined product even pushing the accomplished Carragher out of the starting lineup.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 3

Best Moment – Equalising Goal in Carling Cup Final

DF – Vincent Kompany: All the attributes I just applied to Coloccini and Skrtel apply to the Man City captain in a greater magnitude and then some. A leader that keeps his head and is always in the perfect place to block that shot or intercept that pass, he blends the tough qualities of a traditional English centre half with the more intelligent qualities of the continental defender.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 5

Best Moment – Only Goal in Manchester Derby

DF – Micah Richards: For me, Richards has it all. Great strength, great pace, endless stamina, good shot, and good deciding make Micah a nightmare to take on and to be taken on by. A player capable of turning defense into attack in seconds, Richards would be capable playing in most positions on the field.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 7

Best Moment – General Consistency when Played

MF – Alex Song: Perhaps one of the most impressive players this season, the Abel Xavier impersonator has developed into a truly world class talent. Song will remain positionally responsible all game, taking the ball off opponents, drawing fouls, playing simple but effective passes, and then blam! He’ll stroke a masterpiece of a pass through or over defenses, exploiting the smallest mistake or finding the slightest hint of a run.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 12

Best Moment – Assist in the Champions League:

MF – Yaya Toure: Dominant in the air – Check. Overpowering strength on the floor – Check. Unbearable turn of pace – Check. Clinical finish – Check. Tika-taka ability – Check. I had Yaya all wrong; thinking he was a defensive mid at Barca was an impression that was put to rest pretty early on as he raced to being one the best players City have.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 14

Best Moment – Brace Against Newcastle

MF – Juan Mata: Since his debut game against Norwich yielded a goal, John Kill has looked more than at home in the Prem. A brand of player that we just don’t have natively in England, Mata creates space comfortably between the lines and is devastating in that space. Other teams need to learn quickly how to deal with him.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 19

Best Moment – Equalising Goal Against Arsenal

MF – David Silva: His influence has waned towards the end of the year, perhaps due to the intensity of the Premier League, but we cannot forget the way he began the season. In typical Spanish fashion he has eyes all over his head, a perfect short pass, and insane close control that just leaves you wondering how an earth you tackle him.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 23

Best Moment – Assist for Dzeko Against Man United:

MF – Theo Walcott: Very Narrowly pipping Valencia, little Theo has demonstrated he has the powers that we all bestowed on him years ago. His pace is unbearable and he is never afraid to take a player on – this is as it’s always been, it’s the end product that Walcott has added to his game that gets him on this list. Now he finds his man, and seems to have an uncanny ability to finish inside the near post.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 18

Best Moment – ‘Never Stop Going’ Goal Against Chelsea

FW – Robin van Persie: Obviously. RVP is scooping all the plaudits currently, and rightly so. I decided to go with only one striker in my XI because there really isn’t anything between Aguero and Rooney this season, but there is something between them and Robin. A fantastic striker of the ball, he is powerful enough to play up front alone and never goes missing in games despite this. As unselfish as he is clinical, Batman’s sidekick is happy striking a dead ball, curving one in, chipping, and seems to have mastered the volley. If he can stay fit I don’t see why he won’t do it again next season.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 40

Best Moment – The Volley

Thanks to the fantastic myfootballfacts.com for the statistics.

Knowing the nature of football fans, I’m absolutely sure that you agree with this list.

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