European Football: Three Conclusions

Will Evertons new star Bily help Russia shine in South Africa?

Will Everton's new star 'Bily' help Russia shine in South Africa?

After a full midweek’s worth of Champions and Europa League action, we should have plenty to talk about. Unfortunately, most matches involving English sides went… pretty much as planned. Still, I’ve drawn a couple of conclusions from this little lot of results, do let me know what you think…

1. Russia are going to have a cracking World Cup.

We all remember just how well Russia played at Euro 2008. I watched an awful lot of that tournament when I wasn’t moping around and wishing England were there, and the Russians were brilliant. Not only were they technically good, but they just seemed to run and run and run and then, for a change, run some more. They work incredibly hard, have great discipline and are a very effective team. Plus, they were managed by Mr. Magic himself, Guus Hiddink.

Click through for the rest of this, plus two more conclusions…


WDKF Wednesday: The Professor Proves Us Wrong?


WDKF Wednesday Topper

It’s Wednesday again (they do seem to come round very quickly) which means that I’ve posted my weekly article over at We Don’t Know Football. This week I’ve taken a look at the goings on at the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal were almost completely written off before the season but are now being heralded as the country’s form team and genuine title challengers.

By having a wee look at their new tactical set up and analysing the mentality of the squad I’ve tried to get past all the media hype and determine whether Arsenal are the real deal or not. I even went to the great lengths of creating an animated .gif image for the post, but it seems that something went wrong so if the words get boring (never!) you can sit and watch a tactical diagram move. I fear I’ve built it up too much already.

Please do click on through and have a read though…

Salient Article: Champions League Final


Champions League Final: The Battle for Footballing Supremacy

Salient Article Topper
G’day all, just to let you know that my article for this week’s issue of the Victoria University of Wellington student magazine Salient is now available to read online (click the header to check it out) or if you’re in the Wellington area grab yourself a free copy and read it on good old fashioned ink and paper. It’s a reaction to last week’s Champions League final that also takes a wider look at the current state of European and World football as a whole – all in six hundred words. Woah.

Click on through to check it out…

Guest Blog: Tabloid Dramatisation


Evening all. It’s 11.35pm and I’m pretty exhausted. For some reason though, I didn’t fancy going to bed and so I’ve just written a guest blog over at Soccer Fan Base, inspired by a couple of absolutely nonsensical rumours I’ve picked up over the last day or so.

I will concede that it turned into a little bit of a rant, but I think I make some valid points along the way, and so if you’re fed up of the constant over reaction of the media with regard to any little fraction of a story, have a read and you might find something you can agree with. Of course, I run the obvious risk of over-reacting myself, though if someone tried to turn the tables on me and suggest that I was “over reacting media”, I’d probably just be flattered to be called “media”.

It’s certainly not my best post ever, but it is my third of the day (inc. one that one be published until Monday, in Salient), so consider it a bonus. You know what they say, it’s all about quantity, not quality…

Click through to have a read.

Champions League Final: Reaction


Carlos the hedge Puyol holds ol big ears triumphantly aloft.

Carlos "the hedge" Puyol holds ol' big ears triumphantly aloft.

Well I have to say, the game itself perhaps wasn’t the classic that everyone had hoped for. It was entertaining, don’t get me wrong, and Barcelona certainly treated the millions of viewers around the world to some delightful football, but after Samuel Eto’o put the Catalan side ahead in the tenth minute the game effectively ended as a contest. United never quite got going and in the end it was won at a canter by Barcelona, who rightly earn the right to call themselves Europe’s best team.

It was strange though, in that United started so brightly. Cristiano Ronaldo was shooting from everywhere and looking dangerous and they were playing with the speed and intensity that we expect of them. However, once Iniesta got the ball, surged through the middle of the park and slipped Eto’o through to beat Ferdinand and poke past Van Der Saar, United never recovered. They were left reeling after Barca’s first attack left them a goal down and they never got back into their stride.

Click through for the full article…

Champions League Final: Allegiance & Patriotism


Champions League Final
With the Champions League final fast approaching, there will be many neutral fans struggling to decide their allegiance for the match. I know that a lot of English fans will forsake the old fashioned notion of supporting the English team because Manchester United really aren’t very popular amongst the neutrals, and given Barcelona’s current status as the exponents of the beautiful side of the game, Man Utd fans are likely to be heavily outnumbered even in England.

However, despite myself and my ususal dislike of the Red Devils, I have to say that I’ve been overcome with a bit of national pride over the past few days, and I am tempted to support United. To make myself feel a little better about this, I’ve done a little bit of thinking and have come up with three reasons why English fans should support Manchester United against Barcelona in the Champions League Final.

Click through to find out what they are…

Microphones: A Refereeing Solution


Referee Ovrebo is surrounded by outraged Chelsea players at the final whistle.

Referee Ovrebo is surrounded by outraged Chelsea players at the final whistle.

Having watched the great Champions League semi-final 2nd leg between Chelsea and Barcelona this morning, I was pleased to see that the standard of attacking play was as high as we had hoped for, and I was gutted for Chelsea, to come so close after playing so well, only to see it all slip away at the very last second, was harsh. Worse though, was the refereeing, and both sides can feel hard done by after another shambolic refereeing performance, following on from yesterday’s game.

It is such a shame that such a good game of football will ultimately be remembered not for two great goals, not for some heroic defending from Chelsea, some persistent attacking from Barca and for the result, which is of course always remembered, but instead for the tragic refereeing that plagued it. It’s becoming an all too familiar trend, and it needs to be addressed. Fear not though, for (as Baldrick would say) I have a cunning plan…

Click through to find out more…