Daily Archives: September 16, 2010

On Hating Barcelona

“What goes on behind the scenes of the beautiful game is rarely beautiful. Often, the experience of watching a beautfiul goal or combination on the pitch requires forgetting the transfer-gossip nonsense and arglebargles that allowed it to happen, or at least thinking that they are substantively less important to our experience of a match than they may actually be. For a popular example of this kind of thinking, just read Eduardo Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shadow, which suggests that breathtaking goals and legendary players are timeless components of the sport, whereas money and sponsorships unnecessarily pollute what happens on the pitch. In Galeano’s view—and in the mind of many soccer fans—the game itself is pure, but all that surrounds it corrupts our communion with the soul within.” (Run of Play)


Emirates experience leaves me jealous

“Before Arsenal’s massacre of Braga, the last time I was at a Champions League game was when the tournament was still called the European Cup. In 1992 – a couple of years before moving off to Brazil – I was lucky enough to be at the old Wembley for the final between Barcelona and Sampdoria. It is one of my happiest football memories. The sun shone, London turned into the Mediterranean for the occasion and two excellent sides served up an enthralling game, decided in Barcelona’s favour with a goal in the last minute of extra time.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)

Real Madrid 2 – 0 Ajax : Big Real makes Ajax look very small

“Ajax’much awaited return to the Champions League turned out to be a big deception in their first Group Stage match against the stars of Real Madrid. Although the final 2-0 score-line made it look like a football match, it was in fact a very one-sided affair. Real dominated all areas of the pitch, creating an impressive number of 33 goal-scoring chances and if it was not for Maarten Stekelenburg’s excellent goalkeeping, Ajax would never have come away with only two goals conceded.” (11tegen11)

The Question: Is a messiah complex the cause of England’s failings?

Fabio Capello
“One of the oddities of reading Charles Reep, the pioneer of match-analysis in Britain, is that in among the Pooterish self-righteousness, and what at times seems an almost systematic misinterpretation of statistics, you come upon the odd nugget of wisdom. ‘The maximum number of matches played in the World Cup final stages, by any one team, has been six, up to the present date,’ he wrote in his unpublished book of 1973, League Championship Winning Soccer and the Random Effect. (Even now, with the tournament expanded to thirty-two teams, it is only seven).” (Guardian)

AC Milan 2-0 AJ Auxerre – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League – 15 September 2010

“The Rossoneri started their UEFA Champions League campaign with a group stage match against French side AJ Auxerre on Wednesday, September 15, 2010.” (The 90th Minute)

Real Madrid 2-0 Ajax Amsterdam – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League – 15 September 2010
“Jose Mourinho led Real Madrid for the first time in the UEFA Champions League as they began the group stage with a home match against Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday, September 15, 2010.” (The 90th Minute)

Arsenal 6-0 Sporting Braga – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League – 15 September 2010
“Arsenal hosted Portuguese side Sporting Braga in their opening UEFA Champions League match of the group stage on Wednesday, September 15, 2010.” (The 90th Minute)

MSK Zilina 1-4 Chelsea – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League – 15 September 2010
“Chelsea traveled to Slovakia to face MSK Zilina in their first UEFA Champions League group stage match on Wednesday, September 15, 2010.” (The 90th Minute)

Kicking out the wrong offender

“Is it racist to chant ‘His dad washes elephants’ at an African footballer? And if you were at a match and complained to the stewards and the police that it was racist, would you expect to get thrown out? The Crown Prosecution Service isn’t sure they’d get a conviction because ‘it doesn’t mention a particular race or culture’ – but then neither does making monkey noises. And a 60-year-old vicar got thrown out of Wigan’s DW Stadium last season, after he complained about the chants and that his complaint about the alleged criminal offence was not being taken seriously. When he refused to go back to his seat and asked to speak to a senior police officer, he was ejected from the ground. I know – I was that vicar.” (WSC)