What a Dreary Dish to Set Before the Fans

September 25, 2009

“Sometimes even the Champions League takes the fans’ money under false pretenses. Wednesday night at the San Siro was meant to be a classic, and turned into a goalless stalemate between Inter Milan and Barcelona in front of 77,321 customers. The same 90 minutes in Belgium provided five goals in which Arsenal came from two down in the opening minutes to beat Standard Liege, 3-2. Goals, it’s true, do not by themselves denote quality. But they are the purpose of the game, and as much as Liege has nothing to show for it by way of points, its players at least sent the fans home with the knowledge that they tried, they dared to take on superior foes, and they just ran out of stamina and luck in the end.” (NYT)

Case for the defence

September 25, 2009

“With players at the peak of fitness and apparently expertly drilled, early-season encounters are supposed to be cagey affairs. That theory, however, may have been destroyed by results such as Everton 1 Arsenal 6, Bolton 2 Liverpool 3 and Manchester City 4 Arsenal 2. Not to mention the most recent: West Ham 2 Liverpool 3 and Manchester United 4 Manchester City 3. It means that, at this embryonic stage of the campaign, the Premier League is providing an average of almost three goals per game.” (ESPN)

Five paths to salvage Argentina’s road to the World Cup in 2010

September 25, 2009

“With Argentina on the brink of elimination from the 2010 World Cup, which would be the first time it missed out on the finals in 40 years, immediate measures need to be taken. Diego Maradona, who will remain the coach for Argentina’s final two qualifiers versus Peru and Uruguay next month, will need to pick up positive results to avoid the embarrassment of elimination.” (SI)

Liverpool found severely wanting from set-pieces

September 25, 2009

“A Spain goalkeeper who plays for one of Europe’s top clubs was recently so disappointed with his team’s defending from set-pieces that he told the press: ‘If you look at the goals we have conceded, it’s true you could say we are a disaster at dead-ball situations.’ With Real Madrid having shipped four such goals in their opening La Liga fixtures, it was easy to understand why Iker Casillas was so displeased. What Pepe Reina, his compatriot and fellow goalkeeper at Liverpool, made of the comments is anyone’s guess, but the chances are that his opinion is not too dissimilar after conceding nine times from set-pieces this season.” (TimesOnline)

Genoa-Juventus: Controversy at the Marassi Over Shared Spoils

September 25, 2009

“The highly anticipated clash between Juventus and Genoa promised to be both entertaining and intense. The expectations were high as the crowd watched the two of the most in-form teams of Serie A walk out onto the pitch of the mighty Stadio Marassi.” (Bleacher Report), Juventus: This Week In Black and White (Bleacher Report)

Nicaraguan children eye football glory

September 25, 2009

“Every day, Victor is out football training in the centre of Managua. Like many, he dreams of representing his country, the small Central American nation of Nicaragua, in South Africa next year. But Victor will not be playing for an adult team in the Fifa World Cup due to start in June next year.” (BBC)

The Damned United

September 25, 2009

“I’m tempted to say it was dark, but it wasn’t; it was just darker than I expected. The book was dark. The book was a kind of mildewy cave of rhetoric that, like Brian Clough himself, could have happily contained your wine collection. The movie was…well, it was a celebration of friendship. Only it was a celebration premised on the fact that one of the friends was an asshole. The other friend, who seemed to exist largely as a giant, floating source of love for the first friend, was cuddly and morally infallible. Like I said. Not dark.” (The Run of Play)


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