30 May 2010

Aunty Football?

By Dr3

not quite parked?

This is me rendering a guess as to how a term people have been using should really be spelled. The mere fact that I actually feel it necessary to ‘speak on’ this (at some length) is testimony to just how far we’ve all fallen as far as ignorance and idiocy goes.

To suggest that there is an “anti” of anything, is to suggest that there is a right way, a proper manner, or even a prominent manner of doing something. Outside of things governed by the laws of football, there is no boundary, no ceiling, and no restrictions to the style with which any team chooses to play. Beyond that, to suggest that any bunch of players can be made to play any style of football is as foolhardy as suggesting that if brass is polished and smoothed for long enough, it will not only look like, but will become platinum.

There’s purist-talk, but then there’s delusional, ignorant and idiotic-talk.

Passing the stage of shaking my head at strange tweets, facebook statuses, blogs, blog comments, editorials, and polls, I was actually forced to refresh my web browser. “If a coach has confidence in the ability of his players, he wouldn’t play counter-attacking football”. Exactly how entrusting your players to be able to play precise one and two-touch passes, as well as having a high enough efficiency rate to score more goals from less ‘chances’, while expecting them to not concede being under more ‘pressure’, constitutes a lack of confidence is a million dollar question if there ever was one. Then there are those who feel privileged that the philosophy of ‘their’ team revolves around attacking and true football. In a world (this world) in which football is about scoring goals, it’s interesting that a team that outscores another can be accused of playing ‘anti’-football.

A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

So let’s talk brass and platinum. If I train Zlatan for long enough he will become Eto’o? If I coach Muntari enough he will become Xavi? If I coach players for long enough, their game can radically be transformed? I mean seriously the amount of ignorance that people show sometimes is quite frightening, actually not really; after all civil unrest in Angola reflects safety problems facing South Africa (last time I’ll harp on this I promise). To even half-suggest or hint at any team being able to play any one of the diverse array of tactics, is not only laughable, but quite simply stupid. You play, with what you have. To draw a parallel, inferior raw materials cannot make superior quality finished products. Being able to hone players’ talents, by choosing the right tactics and style of play, is the mark of exceptional management. Period. To suggest that this honing should always result in “expansive”, or supposedly ‘attacking’ play, for ‘big teams’ is again, ludicrous. To suggest conversely that Fabregas can play the same for an Inter as he does at Arsenal is even more ludicrous. To suggest that if Pep Guardiola goes to Stoke City, they would become Barcelona B or even further to suggest that the current Galatasaray play like Rijkaard's Barcelona is …… (exactly).

Without question a coach stamps and can stamp his preferred style of play and tactics on any group of players (the perfect example being Capello’s Real, and England). However, coaches are not magicians; it is why they spend money on players that will suite their style. The players must have the qualities needed by the coach to play a certain style. Even though a coach may have his ideal system, depending on the players at his disposal, and how compatible their strengths are, he will have to make the suitable changes to tactics etc, and again harness the players’ strengths (Fergie post-Ruud, Ancelotti’s non-Christmas tree at Chelsea, Mourinho following flopping of Mancini/Quaresma, and even Leonardo after discovering just how one-track Ronaldinho is). Not that Jose represents the divine fountain of life’s/footballs truths (me being slightly satirical), but apparently he knew that I would be in need of a quote:

One needs to know what one has and apply it in the best way to cause damage. When I had Cech who could distribute long balls with precision and Drogba who could win the ball up front, why not use a more direct style? What is the use of building play from the back? But if you have a Milito that does not have the same qualities, the style of play needs to be different. Madrid have Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka who are both very good in one on one situations with defenders. In that case, it is best to seek a style that sets up one-on-one opportunities. The principles of one's style of play depend on the footballers in one's service.

What’s good for the goose?

I have never seen a flowing, attacking, cup-final (maybe in the Intertoto Cup). Regardless of score lines, all finals are cagey simply because of how much is at stake. They always involve one team patiently building (as to not lose possession), and the other team countering. They are predominantly decided by moments of genius twinned with ‘blunders’. Barcelona-Arsenal, Brazil-Germany, Brazil-France, Manchester-Chelsea, Barcelona-Manchester…….(insert your team’s final).

Stop being hypocritical because your team(s) was/were not involved. Stop recycling your Italian/German-football bigot-clichés. Stop grasping for meaning because your team’s philosophy hasn’t returned your desired result. Stop being a bitter purist, creating football utopias. Be intelligent enough to keep some perspective. Be mature enough to stop talking about Football’s relatives.

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23 May 2010

22 May 2010: Santiago Bernabéu

“It is a success we earned against everything and everyone"

Bravo to all Inter players, staff, and fans on creating history, by being the first Italian team to deservedly win 'the Treble', while apparently playing tennis.


22 May 2010

Melodrama: Season in Review

By Dr3

Sadly, I reduced myself to calling someone a “dummy” (dumb + eee). Sad not because I shouldn’t call people names, but more so because it was as mundane as saying Arsene Wenger has an eye for young talent. Make no mistake; if you genuinely believe Jose Mourinho deserved his three (3) match ban and fine for a gesture, then you my friend are an incredulously stupid, stupid human being. The circus provided to somehow envelope this proverbial wielding of the axe by the Italian federation, claiming that it wasn’t just his gesture but his ‘behavior’ is even more ‘Santa Babara’ than I can bare. No matter how childish his supposed antics were (as someone adequately put it he was guilty of “ROFL”), or how ‘shocking’ his gesture of ‘shackles’ were, you cannot "shouldn't be able to" punish a man for a gesture (that YOU have sinisterly interpreted), nor can "should you be able to" punish him for his personality (What of Mazzarri’s frequent on the ground antics, jacket throwing antics etc etc?).

[ Obviously we are not talking about fascist/racist/whatever-else signs, and vulgar antics, or attacking fourth officials etc.etc.]

Sadly again, for the more gullible ‘human beings’ out their (like the said dummy), the very next Serie A ‘giornata’, Fiorentina’s President very outwardly lambasted the quality of refereeing and even more overtly intimated that his team was being made victims in some ongoing conspiracy, coincidentally against the very AC Milan team that my ‘acquaintance’ supports. The punishment or fine? Non-existent. Maybe I missed the plot point in the previous Santa Babara episode.

What a difference 9 months can make

Liverpool’s season

So even without arms I should be able to swim freestyle faster than Phelps, otherwise I’m absolutely the worst ever. Now this is not to absolve Benitez of all his sins for firstly building a poor squad, and secondly spending a lot of money while doing so, but seriously; what did you expect from a team with so much injury troubles for an entire season? Arsenal lost two crucial players and their season went haywire. Manchester lost one player, and lost the race. Liverpool on the other hand should be able to overcome that and anything else, from groin injuries to beach balls. Liverpool did have a poor season, but with N’Gog and Babel playing as many minutes as they did, I really can’t muster any dramatic surprise sentiments.

Juventus’ season

Ranieri had to go. A year on and that could in fact be the worst decision ever made. Ranieri was no failure, but the expectations of the juventini was so detached from reality that anything less than an Inter shellacking in the league was unacceptable. With a transfer campaign that was initially touted as being genius, and a new coaching staff void of the poison that was Ranieri, Juve were set to return to her seat rightfully at the top of the table, or so it seemed. Great expectations, with very little in the way of objectivity, ultimately was the demise of juve. Flamboyantly skewed expectations from rookie Serie A campaigners, as well as the brat-ish behavior (from fans and the media alike) expected from the aloof ‘fans’ at Real Madrid, coupled to create the kind of tension that not even Mourinho (Mr. Siege Mentality according to Ranieri) would want on his team. Although as a Nerazzurro it was 'fun' to watch at first, it was sad seeing the "prima donna" fans and press alike, assassinate them while some within the hierarchy even played the Turin version of the Russian version of 'harakiri'.

Le voyeur comment/La Liga

The voyeur yet again was caught not minding and/or handling his own business. So instead of pondering the vast inability of his team to cope with the real ‘big games’, he instead chose to talk about the imbalance of La Liga. Instead of pondering why his team is filled with primary-schoolers, he sticks his hands into someone else’s fridge. Never mind that until this season (09-10) the Premiership could hardly boast about balance, even further never mind that your very team was made to look rather Wigan-esque (??) against a team whose stature you attempted to diminish, no Arsene, it is La Liga that is poor. I read it before and I’ll repeat it again, can we really say that Arsenal would do better in La Liga?

Platini is anti-England

Put on your rubber boots, because here comes the bullshit:

Platini hates England.

So yet again, never mind the unscrupulous business practices of ‘some’ Premier League clubs living above their means, it is Platini who like some tyrannical, witch-hunting, abusive step-mother, is picking on you for no reason whatsoever.

Ranieri – The Honorable One

They drew first blood, not me

I still haven’t found the word to describe the mob/cult mentality fused with patriotism that is the Italian ‘culture’. No matter what Ranieri says, no matter how he disparages his opponents or one particular opponent, it’s the opponent’s response that is over the top and disrespectful. Mourinho called him a 70 year old loser, and apparently everyone forgets that when Ranieri was questioned about JUVENTUS’ lack of wins, he responded with the very unveiled (not verbatim), I don’t need wins to feel secure about my work, "unlike Mourinho"(before Mourinho had ever said anything). Or maybe the most recent spat when Mourinho responded “it’s not my fault he was considered a loser”? So Mourinho makes a joke about Roma using the bonus money from not winning the cup to pay Siena (who already were being said to be receiving bonuses for playing spoiler to Inter), and Ranieri turns this into another opportunity to go at the man and not the organization. ‘Ticking bomb’ Mourinho takes the easy route creating siege mentalities instead of being an honorable and respectful man like himself. Again, is this not an attack on the man? The loser response was inevitable, but we still say Mourinho is the bad guy. Anyway, he then went on to one week later congratulate Inter and Morratti 50 times on the Scudetto without once ever mentioning Mourinho. Oh Ranieri you sly guy.

Prem verdict

The Premiership is the best spectacle in my opinion. Whether it’s because the commentary is better, the stadiums are more packed, the fact that I do speak English, the fact that you can tell Adebayor about his parents’ elephant’s-balls-cleaning affinity, or the sometimes frantic pace at which games are played is inconsequential; it is the best spectacle. It’s nice being able to watch games without allegiances. This season the football actually improved as well. For the first time in recent history the big four was shattered, and the general unpredictability level was raised by one point.

SerieA verdict

Typical flawlessness that is my wife in this world of football. Competitive, unpredictable, dramatic, beauty and beast, plot points, horrible biased dreary commentary, fog-filled cameras, big-minded small teams, loud mouthed presidents, scandals and paper bombs in the stadia adjacent to little kids. I know I love my wife.

Laliga verdict

It is admittedly the hardest kind of football to watch; reeking of inevitability. Yes, the league was imbalanced. Yes, it can hardly even attempt to boast unpredictability. Yes, Barca and Real are on their own little island outside of Spain. But no, the league is not garbage. As I said before if we are to try and use the performances in European competitions (which most do only when it favors them), then certainly if a team in 9th in an unbalanced league can still win the Europa League then it paints a scary prospect as to just how strong of a league it really is.


Sorry, I can’t watch that much football, I am ‘employed’. From the four-five matches a season that I manage to see (I do mean 90min), I must say the Bundesliga must be the most balanced league. Every season seems to throw a new team to the top, and never-ending reshuffling throughout the entire league. Just imagine, one year ago Wolfsburg were really really that good. Of course in some literary circles that only means your league is sub-par and probably can’t deal with the pace (EPL), technicality (ESP), or tactical diversity (ITA) of the best league in the world anyway (we are all guilty of shunning our German counterparts).

Castrol Ranking

Niang is better than Diego Milito......

Lazio – Inter vs Siena – Inter

Lazio – Inter: Shame on Lazio, you bad bad boys.
So Lazio FANS come out to play spoiler to Roma especially after the inherent classlessness of signore Purpone at the previous Roman Derby. They abused their own team when they tried to score, and openly supported and chanted as Inter came close to scoring. But what of the Lazio PLAYERS? I really hate lies. Simply put all the nonsense that has been written about that game as if it was thrown by anyone other than the fans are all vile lies. Zarate perhaps had his best game since 08/09, Kolarov seemed to be playing for Inter’s signature, while countless fouls were being committed by niggling Lazio players on Sneijder and Eto’o etc. Certainly a team that is simply playing to the detriment of another rather than their own pride wouldn’t be doing this. But the blogs and editorials emerged talking of the travesty to Italian football that it was etc etc.

Siena – Inter
I asked for parity before and yet again I was left cold and alone. I even had to deal with the unfathomable gall of some writers commending Siena for the way they played Inter. When Lazio supposedly played Inter with the intention to spoil Roma, it was a mockery. When Siena play Inter with the intention of spoiling Inter for Roma, we say bravo? Siena neither played for themselves, nor for their pride, nor for winning a football game. Instead they set up to stop Inter from winning in an attempt at making Roma champions, but that is a valiant effort? Never mind Siena fans celebrating when the news that Roma were leading filtered through such that Roma would have won the Scudetto had Inter not won, it’s bravo to Siena for a great defensive display.

I HATE fucking lies.

Chelsea – Liverpool

Admittedly I didn’t watch this game. But like the bulk of ‘fans’(usually, I'm a special one) I watched the highlights, and just as with Lazio - Inter, I must say it’s all a bunch of hogwash. Is it really that impossible for Stevie G; who has done it before, to misplace a back pass? Is it really that mind-boggling that Liverpool with their season would have a game in which they looked totally inept against THE ‘top side’? Certainly if Portsmouth could do it, Chelsea can.

Save Ronaldinho

So imagine you started watching football on January 1st 2008. Can you say you would guarantee Ronaldinho a spot on the plane much less the lineup? As a Serie A fan, I find it hard to listen to just how much crying is going on about his exclusion. For all his tricks and wizardry Ronaldinho is simply not dependable enough. I can point to many a game in this season alone in which he left much to be desired not just in output but in his determination to getting himself involved. Lack of versatility, lack of drive, no defensive work, propensity to disappearing and staying wherever he went etc etc. Where was he against Inter for example on both occasions in the league?

The saddest part of the whole Ronaldinho debacle for me is just how little respect is being shown to those who for me have earned their ticket via consistency for the Selecao. Robinho is simply outstanding in yellow. So is Fabiano, Kaka, Melo, etc etc. To drop any of these attacking players in itself is criminal to say the very least. Forgetting what we think he can contribute (based on 2002-2006), and realizing what we think he will contribute (2006-now), should really leave no doubt as to why he was and should have always been excluded.

Money can’t buy you..

Love? This season I hoped that there would be a victory for money, so that Arsene would finally stop being a miserly-voyeur. Chelsea won, but it was the Man City Champions league spot, and Real Madrid (although I despise the fantasy football like acquisitions) that were the apples of my eye. They failed, and so romantics can continue whining about the importance of homegrown this and that’s (Mes que un club, Mes que un club..). Anyway, money can buy you a page in history. Money can even buy you a history book. So while you feel privileged that your club poaches and attracts young talent based on their name, don’t disrespect those who have to acquire their talent and write their history using money.

When plans backfire........

Sorry UEFA, there isn't going to be a Barca - ManU repeat.

...And finally my darling Roonster

I’m through writing about you, you balding twenty-something. You’re great but Drogba had a better striking season than you.Period.

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09 May 2010

Maybe because I’m from the coast.

By Dr3

Dr3: So Didier, why does mother England forget you when it’s time for personal accolades?

Didier: ♪♪.. I don’t know why, she keeps on passing me by, Maybe….♪♪
(he sang the entire Jamie Foxx, how rude)

So for the umpteenth time I will be playing the anti-Rooney. I have gone from being a Rooney-hater, to a Rooney-admirer, to my current phase; Rooney-perspective-giver.

Did Rooney have the best season of his career? Yes. Did Rooney at one point this season look like the best forward of the year (in Europe)? Yes. Was Rooney the best forward this season, even in the Premiership? I really can’t say that.

Drogba had a better season than Rooney statistically, and even on a wider analytical basis. Testament to his improved in-the-box presence, Rooney was less Rooney than usual; less assists, less running back to RB to help Gary, less of all that stuff, but substantially more goals. But was he better than Drogba?

Drogba even with the interruption of the ANC (cup of Nations, which coincided with the period in which Rooney was in peak form), was able to resume his duties even while Ancelotti did his Tinkerman impression, omitting the Ivorian sporadically. Prior to the ANC it was a four horse race for ‘golden’ boot; Torres (remember him?), Bent, Wayne, and Didier. After it, there was a sole candidate, and even the shoe started taking the shape of Rooney’s ‘Nike total 90 laser III’. Maybe, again testament to how much of a mainstay he has become in the Premiership, Drogba’s performances went unnoticed and unsurprisingly all the accolades have gone to the Englishman for his blistering form for 3 months (this is not a sideswipe). Drogba will be in the PFA’s team of the year, he will win some other shoddy magazine prize, maybe even some BBC ‘personality’ award, but does he not deserve more?

Prior to this season, he faced the competition of THE metro sexual forward/ (winger) (depending on how much of Fergusons tea you’re drinking), and again predictably and justly, played second fiddle. But, (beyond stats)Drogba has been one of the poster-boys for the Prem barring his first season and one other. He is a symbol of both the power, and lethal decisiveness that made the Prem the “best league in the world”, for the last 3 seasons. While Serie A, and La Liga teams faltered at getting results, the Drogba’s, Torres’, and Cr7’s, continuously set the standard for European strikers/forwards (Eto’o too but this about the Prem). He is the opponent that gives coaches and defenders alike headaches as just how to keep him ‘quiet’, yet he will most likely finish his Premiership career without a single personal PFA or FWA award. Why? Maybe the coast is just a little too far; they can’t see him. Not to be too melodramatic myself, but the lack of awards even at the Prem level for Drogba, feels a bit too much like the misadventures of Thierry Henry (you know the guy that should have won at least a Ballon D’Or being French and all).

This is about perspective, and ‘trying’ to be fair. So, could should a striker whose goals were almost solely from inside the penalty area (a la V’Roy), while scoring less than a more ‘complete’ striker, be rated as better than the said complete striker? It certainly isn’t the significance of the goals; since both strikers have a knack for the decisive. Why hasn’t the improvements on Drogba’s game been noted just as those made to Rooney’s (Drogba now willingly plays wide to set up his teammates). Why doesn’t Drogba ever receive recognition from his own league? Being part of the ‘team of the year’ is like scoring a hat-trick while losing 10-3, to Trinidad and Tobago
( ....I know, unpatriotic..tsk tsk sad smileys).

Dr3: So Didier, now that you’re 32 and have played your best season and still haven’t received any awards, what do you think about the PFA, FWA, and the Premiership in general?


Dr3: ........

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07 May 2010

When in Rome...

By Dr3

I’ve waited in vain for parity. I held my tongue (really fingers) as I didn’t want to preemptively lambast a racist press, in a racist country, for what is now very clearly racism. The events in the ‘Roman capital’ and the underreported and veiled summations are really quite eerily unfunny, and exasperatingly sobering.

Had there been a role-reversal and Balotelli (the black guy) had kicked out at Er Purpone (the white guy) and further prodded him on the floor, before verbally abusing him in some final dignified rant, the bandwidth in Italy would have been exceeded by the share volume of metaphors likening Mario to Satan himself. At nineteen, he is already supposedly the worst player we have ever seen at that age and at any age, period. He’s too cocky, provocative, lazy, and wayyyyy to dark to be a true ‘champion’ (his blackness is ludicrous!!).

Here are Balotelli’s sins (after all this isn’t about deifying him):
  1. Shushing a racist crowd, and showing his tongue to an opponent who tried to stop him from shushing said racist crowd
  2. Sarcastically applauding racist fans (for which he was fined mind you).
  3. Diving and clutching his face when he was intentionally elbowed in his chest by Felipe Melo
  4. Not showing the drive ‘expected’ of a 19 year old in training sessions
  5. Having a falling out with his egomaniacal coach for reasons still unknown, and facing subsequent exile from the team
  6. Having the “swagger” of someone who believes they are larger than life (because he doesn’t celebrate goals, and ‘sags’ his pants, and struts around nonchalantly, which is very provocative; Bad Mario!!!).
  7. Being petulant and tripping players and getting involved in tiffs with players who are mostly at least 5 years his senior, resulting in him getting naive cards, and suspensions (is this where I should mention him being provocative for gesturing at divers’ and at people who ‘foul’ him?).
  8. Donning a Milan shirt.
  9. Disowning the Inter shirt before overtly disowning Inter fans in his grandest display of petulance, after being berated for misplacing a pass and hitting a shot wide from the said ‘supporters’ while being on the pitch for a mere 15minutes(In the aftermath he was rightly scolded by his more senior teammates for his stupidity).
  10. Being a ‘black Italian’
As far as Mr. Totti goes though, I will only say that compared to him, Mario is as Godly as Kaka dining on bread and water with the Pope.

But where’s the parity?

Dear Balotelli was written when Mario while playing to the tunes of the Jueventini hit “There’s no such thing as a Black Italian”, showed his disgust for what he believed was a Caceres dive. Now this is not to single out Miss Susy Campanale as some racist band conductor (maybe just part of the orchestra), but where’s the parity? As quickly as she/they were able to churn out more anti-Mario drivel, it’s strange then that their respective computers and internet connections all get hit by the y2k bug when it involves the ugliness that makes Balotelli relatively pretty. Totti in being as innocent as a mouse has suggested that Mario insulted the "Roman people" and in him being the champion and “roman soldier” (thanks goal.com) that he is, he simply had to make a stand against the enemy at the gates. FootballItalia has even gone so far as to mention that it was a “reaction-foul”, but I take it Balotelli is not allowed to react to the explicit racism in the stands.

I take it that Totti, CR9, and every other player that has told off a player for diving, every other player who has dived EVER, every other player that has shushed racist fans, every other player that has aspired to be the best, every other player who has had a proverbial 'chip' on their shoulder, every other player who has complained about not receiving a call, every other player who has been nonchalant at training, every other player that has shown petulance, should be kicked in their (trying to keep my dignity) MUCKING head..right?

The ‘lazy’ janitors use the rug as a bin and claim that it cannot be racism because Eto’o and Seedorf are not abused regularly; akin to comparing Cristiano and Kaka’s personality and subsequent fan reception. Now although that would seem to suggest then that it is not his color but his personality, then why are people with the very same and severely worse personalities being afforded respect? Was Cassano ever a hate figure in Italy (it’s rhetorical)? Has Totti ever been a hate figure in Italy? Has Camoranesi ever been a hate figure in Italy (I won’t talk about Camo but his list borrows and expands from Mario’s..even the spat with 'home' fans)? It’s as if the racism is both ‘subtle’ and ubiquitous such that they denounce it, yet revel in it inherently.

'Balotelli provokes'

Never mind Totti spitting, stumping, punching, slapping, kicking, celebrating in the face of opponents, being petulant and offensive for 18 years as well as giving his rendition of the “Pollice verso” to the LAZIO fans; it’s Mario who is provocative, the worst we've ever seen such that we paint the monster picture, and somehow kicking him is justifiable.

I shouldn’t have to look beyond my regular RSS feed to find someone condemning Totti for what he did and for what it is. I shouldn’t have to hold my breath in hope that someone (my regular websites etc.) would write about how shameful the display of the Romans and their leader was (Inter were bullies in November they said, but only one team was wedgie-d at the Olimpico). I shouldn’t have to wait in vain for a female analyst to ring out the “what’s good for the goose/gander” talk (this time it’s you Susy). I shouldn’t have to pretend that Chievo fans were not abusing Balotelli. I shouldn’t have to pretend that it is even half-justifiable to punish a man for responding to racism. I definitely shouldn’t have to pretend that the judgment against a black teen is just and not incessantly ridiculous and skewed.

I love the Serie A, but “this racism is killing me inside”. Intellectual Prostitution?

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