The 2010/11 Premier League Previews 1 – Arsenal: How Long Is Too Long?

July 28, 2010

“It’s that time of the season again, and we have time this year for a pre-season piece on all twenty of the clubs in this season’s Premier League. First of all, since we’re doing this in alphabetical order, Arsenal, where the big question over the next nine months may turn out to be what they can do to end their run without a trophy and how long supporters’ patience with M. Wenger will last.” (twohundredpercent)

Newcomers boost Arsenal’s hopes
“By the time defender Thomas Vermaelen had played just four games for Arsenal after last year’s $13 million move from the Dutch club Ajax, coach Arsene Wenger already knew he had a bargain on his hands. It was after that fourth game, a Champions League-qualifying victory against Celtic, that Wenger spoke of the Belgian’s “football intelligence,” an intangible quality he had also spotted in Alex Song, the young midfielder written off by many who had his breakout season the previous year. Against Celtic, Vermaelen was marshaling the defense, even telling the more experienced William Gallas where to position himself on corner kicks.” (SI)

The Premier League 2010/11 Previews 2 – Aston Villa: Becoming A Single Issue Party
“Aston Villa’s summer thus far can be neatly condensed into two words, and the second of those is “Milner”. Their own supporters will be thoroughly sick to the stomach of the constant pas de deux that has been going on over the last couple of months between their most-prized asset and a team which they last season regarded as rivals for the final Champions League place, and it is starting to become a little wearing for the rest of us, too. Consider, for example, the front page of The Guardian’s section on Villa. At the time of writing, eleven of the fifteen main articles on the site concern the long, drawn-out saga. Aston Villa Football Club are at the point of becoming a single issue party.” (twohundredpercent)

Celtic and Rangers – Life in the Glasgow Goldfish Bowl

July 28, 2010

“Ask anyone in Glasgow who they support and 99% of the time you will get one of two answers – Celtic or Rangers. Everything separates the pair. Their foundations, with Rangers formed in 1872 by an English rugby club and Celtic in 1888 to raise funds for Brother Walfrid’s Charity whom fed the poor Irish Catholic section of Glasgow. Religion, with Rangers’ support predominantly Protestant and Celtic’s support Catholic. Also on-field matters, with Celtic being the more multi-national side while Rangers possess a more Scottish based team. For all their differences though, they have one thing in common. They both have to win at all costs.” (Just Football)

Diego Maradona pays for his controversial tactics

July 28, 2010

Diego Maradona
“Late on Tuesday afternoon, the Asociación de Fútbol Argentino (AFA) finally announced, as we all knew they were going to, that Diego Maradona’s contract as national team head coach wasn’t going to be renewed. When a small child falls over quite softly in the street, you can count under your breath to three or four before they start bawling. To anyone in Argentina, this was as predictable as that.” (WSC)

Maradona Loses Showdown With Grondona Over Argentina’s Future
“Diego Maradona is out as coach of Argentina, according to the Associated Press. The Argentina Football Association announced it would not renew his contract after almost two erratic years in charge. Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, spokesman for the team, said that differences between Maradona and Julio Grondona, the A.F.A. president, ‘were impossible to resolve’.” (NYT)

An End To Things

July 28, 2010

“I’ve searched online for the 31st minute of the U.S. versus Ghana game, the moment Ricardo Clark is pulled and then held by his coach. I do not know precisely why I was searching, but standing in a bar in Hoboken witnessing the scene live I felt something, and, post-World Cup, I’d like to try to feel it again. I’m dangling the scene, or maybe the recollection or recreation of the scene. I should have TiVO. I should just have a friend replay the damn thing for me. I should give this up. But I remember it like this: Rico plays defectively, commits an egregious error, is yanked. The unremitting game even stops for his error. Slumping off the field he looks at the least like a boy ready for admonishment.” (This Is American Soccer)

The king is dead. Long live Ronaldo!

July 28, 2010

“It’s a fairly testing task for the folks at Marca to hold just one coherent thought in their tiny little minds at any one time, never mind two. But that’s the contorting conundrum in the complex realm of Raúl that has been on the paper’s journalistic agenda ever since Florentino Pérez came back to the club last summer.” (Four Four Two)