Wednesday, 28 May 2008

England v USA!

A battle that commenced hundreds of years ago with the dumping of some tea in a Boston harbour resumes tonight as the United States of America Football/Soccer team return to the shores from whence the Mayflower set sail to once again stick it to us, their former colonial masters!

Of course this is only a friendly although I am sure both sides will want to win, the USA to demonstrate they are continuously improving and England because their start under Fabio Cappello has been less than inspired with a laboured win over Switzerland and a limp defeat at the hands of France.

In terms of world sporting power, the USA are normally of course right at the top of the tree but in Football terms the country has never really caught the bug and so the team whilst well organised and structured has never really set anything alight in terms of success. Players of note in the USA side include Jonathan Spector, the former West Ham defender, Michael Bradley an energetic midfielder who has been trying to shake off accusations of nepotism (his father Bob Bradley is the USA Coach) and Landon Donovan, the in form LA Galaxy striker and team mate of David Beckham.

Speaking of Beckham, there are some who might wonder which side he should be lining up for tonight since his move to LA Galaxy and embracing of USA culture, Beckham is available for selection but may not start which may raise the eyebrows of some American spectators. Some have argued that Beckham's move to the USA have effectively ended his international career, of course a victory for the USA tonight would be a major irony in respect of that debate.

The last time the two met in 2005, England were victorious 2:1, the USA will take heart though from the fact that this is an England side very much in transition and a shock could be on the cards if England don't concentrate.

Hopefully an entertaining game will be had and hopefully those American rebels will keep away from our stocks of English tea!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Top Team Challenge

Written by Sarah

Originally I was going to do an entry about my Top Ten Footballers but it was a lot harder to narrow down so we now have My Top Team (with subs). So here it is...oh but have to bear in mind a few things those being that:

(1) I'm a girl;
(2) I didn't really truly get into supporting football until about 1995/6;
(3) I'm a Man U fan.

On the subs bench would be:

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Peter Schmichael
Tony Adams
Denis Berkamp
Edgar Davids

Manager/Coach - Terry Venables.

So who would be your Top Team, how would they fair against others.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Arsenal get the last laugh...

Written by Daz

It's not a big belly laugh though, more of a bit of a reluctant "Heh". The source of this is the fact that Mathieu Flamini's new club, AC Milan will only at best be playing in the UEFA Cup next season after finishing a fairly woeful 5th in Serie A whereas Arsenal of course have Champions League Qualifiers to look forward to. Not that qualification is assured or easy, in fact this being a European Championship year, it will mean a tired and fatigued group of players whilst the East European teams in particular are growing in strength year on year and represent a threat.

Still, the Flamster said that money was not his only motivation for moving. I guess a burning desire to play Racing Santandar and Motherwell was driving him on too.

Not bitter. Well, not much.

Good luck Mathieu.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Will your Celebrity fanbase save you from Zombies?

Written by Daz

It's a very important question. Picture this: Armageddon day is upon us and you have managed to save your family, maybe some of your friends, some pets (apart from your Aunts cat which smells of pee) and you have some room left on your space ship...maybe even enough room to save your favourite football team from the rampaging hordes of zombies and vampires encroaching! Huzzah! Wait are you going to do it? Popular culture suggests only movie stars can save the world, so...are your teams Celeb fans up to scratch?

As an Arsenal fan, I feel blessed that I have a strong world saving Celeb sprinkling to stop Fabregas being turned into werewolf chow, consider:

Sarah Michelle Gellar: It's Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Yeah, OK, so she is like only 3ft tall but man, those zombies are so toast and she might even bring Freddie Prinze Jr. with her as bait which equals double money!

Gillian Anderson: More supernatural fighting expertise here, with Scully from The X-Files! OK, so she may only go and save Ray Parlour thanks to their ginger twin bonding but man, she probably knows loads about zombies, enough to brief our next warrior:

Kevin Costner: "If you build it, they will come" Kev once said. Possibly he was talking about the Channel Tunnel and Polish Immigrants but I like to think that Kev was actually talking about The Emirates Stadium and was just, like, really psychic. Of course you would think that Kev would be a Nottingham Forest fan considering his film history but seeing as how Arsenal (in the form of Dial Square) were donated their first ever kit by Forest, there is some nice strands of fate there. Sadly we will let the Forest team be turned into the undead though as we make our plucky escape, sorry guys. If it helps, we'll leave you Eboue as a snack.

David Soul: Not only was he the blonder, less sad cardigan wearing half of Starsky & Hutch but he also killed vampires in Salem's Lot! I'm telling you now, they shouldn't have bothered to head for the Winchester in "Shaun of the Dead", they should have gone straight to Highbury!

David Schwimmer: If all else fails, if Buffy is eaten and David Soul crushed under foot, you can throw David Schwimmer to the rampaging zombie horde and scarper, it's win/win. You may want to shout "Hey David...we're on a break!" before watching him be ripped apart and his liver digested with a nice piece of Dover Soul from the Emirates restaurant. Then run like Theo Walcott.

All in all, I'm pretty confident of the survival of the heroes from N5 thanks to their warrior like Celebrity support, how does your teams Celebs stack up?

Manchester United Vs Chelsea - a clash of styles

Written by Yas

21st May 2008 will guarantee one thing: an English team will be European champions. Will it be Chelsea, the well oiled ruthless machine? Or will it be my team, United with a style that is more pleasing on the eye?

I hope United don't try to play like they did against Barca; they simply aren't equipped to play that sort of containment game unlike Chelsea, for whom it is second nature. It's all very well to sit back on a one nil lead, and also to concede the majority of the possession but a more potent team than Barca would have unlocked our defence eventually, whereas with Chelsea I think they are the masters at protecting their lead.

This is not to say that Utd can't mix their style of play, because they can, but to simply defend completely negates our natural attacking instincts, and I hope Fergie encourages our big guns to exert themselves. After all there can be no bigger occasion for a club side.

It is time for Ronaldo to show that he can do it on the big stage (although admittedly he has done pretty well for his national side) but I think the three key players for Utd will be Rooney, Hargreaves/Anderson and Vidic.

Rooney is the embodiment of passion on the football pitch, albeit sometimes a bit
too much. If he keeps our front line ticking and has one of those days then I think it will make a big difference.

I think Fergie will go with three central midfield players to combat the major strength (and advantage) Chelsea have - their midfield engine. I think he'll go for Hargreaves over Anderson. Hargreaves is slowly beginning to show his worth and he could be THE crucial player for United to ensure victory.

Vidic is key in combatting Drogba. If he can keep him relatively quiet (no small feat) then Utd have a big chance.

All this is very easy to say but a lot harder to do. Chelsea certainly have the better of Utd in recent seasons and they will be very much up for 'revenge'.

It's gonna be tight, and it will be nerve-wracking. Those who know me won't be surprised that my instincts point towards a Chelsea victory.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Loyalty a dying breed

Written by Yas

So the latest Real Madrid recruitment drive is in full flow, and once again Manchester United's Ronaldo is the target, albeit the latest hoo hah is based on his own quotes.

Ronaldo has stated that it is his dream to one day to go to Spain but he is happy to be at United. Having seen the interview he has stated that he wants to be at United next season but nobody knows what the future may bring. This has prompted the media to question Ronaldo's commitment.

They've done the same with Adebayor (who has also said positive things about playing in Spain)and Fabregas recently.

Is it just me or does this just annoy the Hell out of everybody?

I love Ronaldo; he's beena revelation these past two seasons but is it too much to expect loyalty to the club, the manager and the fans who stood by him in the wake of the World Cup? The likelihood is that he will stay at least another season but you just don't ever expect him to commit to his full contract. His fellow teammate Rooney was accused of doing the same to Everton.

Are the days of players like Giggs, Scholes, Adams, Dixon et al a thing of the past?
Is loyalty a dying breed?
Or are we wrong to expect that a player should not feel that after 5-6 years at a club he is within his rights to consider moving on?

The Thrill of the FA Cup

Written by Daz

Cup Final day, what a marvelous occasion! A day when collectively, men all over the land hog the television set for hours whilst shouting demands for re-fills of their drained beer mugs to any wives/girlfriends/children/passers-by in earshot. It is even a Royal occasion with some in-bred member of the Royal Family turning up and pretending to care when shaking some random footballers’ hand whom on any other occasion they would have had sent to the Tower if they had dared to speak to them.

Cup Final day is more than just a game, it’s a tradition handed down from Father to Son or Uncle to Nephew or sometimes as was my case, Future Step-Mother to Unruly Surley Child. Every household has it’s own preparations and rituals, In my home, the television would go on in the morning and we would watch the whole thing from start to finish much to my football hating Father’s despair; the fans arriving, the teams arriving on their coaches (I always felt that one year they should have changed this, like maybe they could have all turned up on scooters or in Mini’s like in the Italian Job) and laughing at the team that had made the tragic fashion blunder on the very expensive suit and tragic tie combination (or in the case of Liverpool FC in 1996, when they turned up dressed as Boyzone).

Then the sheer wonder of the players walking around on the pitch and absorbing the atmosphere. Stirring stuff!

If you have ever been lucky enough to attend an FA Cup Final in person (I have, watching my beloved Arsenal) then you know that it is a match like almost no other, steeped in history and somehow almost a serene coming together of football tribes and cultures, a bit like a Cocoa Cola advert where everyone joins hands but you don’t contract diabetes by overindulging.

Then the anthem – “Abide With Me”, a soaring hymn to which nobody actually knows the words to the verses which sort of get mumbled until the chorus bit which gets shouted out. Of course, the words are normally printed in the program but it’s a bit much to expect excited football supporters to be able to read anything on Cup Final day. It’s lucky if they remember how to keep hold of their bodily functions.

So to this year and a strange match-up, Cardiff vs. Portsmouth. Cardiff City are one of those teams who insist on making everything about their Nationality instead of their club, even if Cardiff were playing in the Welsh Boyo Cup against an equally Welsh team their supporters would insist on shouting “We are more Welsh than you!” across the terraces like this was actually a good thing. Then you have Portsmouth, who are made up of an odd collection of players that no other Premier League teams seem to want with a sprinkling of African players that ‘Arry Redknapp picked up at a Nigerian Boot Sale. Still, strangely, it all sort of works. Who will triumph? It is the lap of the FA Cup gods but I feel he may smile on the Men from Fratton Park, not least because I can imagine that ‘Arry has already promised to make it worth his while if his team gets some divine help.

Good luck to both and may the best team win – i.e. Portsmouth.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

St Totteringham's Day

Written by Daz

There are many fine days where we celebrate the glorious feats of ancient old saints. St George's Day where he slayed the Dragon, St Patrick's Day where he drove the snakes from Ireland, St David's Day where he... well actually I have no clue but it probably has something to do with sheep. However the greatest Saint's Day of all is that of The Totteringham. It falls upon variable dates of the year (and sometimes in extreme circumstances not at all) but it is always a cause for celebration.

So what is St Totteringham's Day I hear you cry? It is the day upon which Arsenal Fans celebrate the fact that it is mathematically impossible for Tottenham Hotspur to finish above them in the league. We have been blessed with many St Totteringham Days over the last years (in fact the last time it did not happen was in 1996) but this year amid the other disappointments of a Premier League campaign that came so close but yet was so far, we can celebrate the fact that St Totteringham's Day occurred on the 9th March, a Premier League record!

So, rejoice Ye Gooners, we may not have any trophies, we may not be in the Champions League Final next Wednesday but some things are always a constant comfort; like the fact that no matter how much money they spend Spurs are always ripe to give us a St Totteringham's Day Treat.

All Things Football

Written by Sarah

That is what this blog will be about, well it may well ramble on about other stuff but it's main AIM is football. It will be written by a group of us that hang out on the internet and take part in a yearly fantasy football group. Hope you like what we post.