30 October 2006

Burning questions from this weekend

In the Premiership:
1. Arsenal: gay team or gayest team?

2. Steven Gerrard's new strategy: pout until you score?

3. Liverpool: why haven't they been playing like this all season? Rafa fielded his 99th consecutive different lineup, but they didn't really seem to do anything all that different in terms of formation or strategy, except for the strange switch of Carra and Hyypia for the first third of the game. The real question from that game for me is how Villa survived that long as the only unbeaten team in the league. Baros and Angel were completely invisible (even before they were taken off), and it looks like they've been owing a lot to Gareth Barry. Win the midfield and you can close down Villa, looks like. Even with that, though, that was by far the best performance Liverpool have put in all season. Here's hoping we can get the defense solidified and qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds tomorrow with a game or two to spare.

Outside the Premiership:
4. What the hell happened to Sociedad? They're my Spanish team, and this is pretty sad. I hate to see any team do a Sunderland, but especially one that has such an interesting history as Sociedad.

5. Did anyone know Tomas Rosicky has a twin brother playing in MLS? I've been sort of lackadaisically following the MLS playoffs (though now that Chivas and Jonathan Bornstein are gone, my interest may wane, because I am just that shallow). So I had New York/DC on, and was pretty surprised to see a mini-Rosicky running around in a Red Bull kit. Anyone else foresee a Parent Trap place-switch kind of thing going on here? Just me? Okay.

6. How many ways can Mourinho be a douche in one interview? I tried to count, but then I ran out of fingers. God, I'm usually a "cheer for the English team" girl, but I hope they get stuffed tomorrow.

18 October 2006

Matchday 3 -- Liverpool/Bordeaux

Reina's socks are bothering me. Why don't they match the rest of his kit? It was incredibly distracting, but in this case, being distracted from the game wasn't entirely bad. Liverpool didn't play badly, exactly, but they sure didn't play as well as they could have. And it wasn't sloppiness out of desperation or desire to score, either -- it just mostly looked like they couldn't really be bothered. Luis Garcia did his Luis Garcia thing and missed a couple of easy, easy chances. Crouch again demonstrated his amazing ability to be nearly seven feet tall and no good in the air. Really, the only area where Liverpool did well, I thought, was the left side. I continue to be a big fan of Mark Gonzalez, and he and Riise linked up well for the most part. I'd like to see that pairing in the league on a more regular basis.

Also. Boys. How long have we had zonal marking for corners? A couple of seasons, right? Okay. In that case, y'all should be a lot better at it. Like, a LOT. There's no excuse for almost giving up two incredibly soft goals like that. I'm not sure why this is still such an issue for them, but at this point, it really shouldn't be anymore.

Gah. They won, so I should be happy. But the same issues they had last season aren't going away, and they've picked up a lot of defense problems and general malaise to go with them. Here's hoping they finally show up for the season against Man U Sunday. If they don't? Honestly, there goes their chance of challenging for the title, I think.

14 October 2006

It's not still Friday the 13th, right?

Something's not right here. I've been critical of John Terry in the past (and will most likely continue to be so), but credit where it's due, this was pretty awesome of him. Footie Girl and I were talking about it, though, and we wondered -- how did everyone know that Terry was going in goal? Did they practice what to do if both keepers are knocked out and all the subs are used? Either they plan for pretty remote contingencies over at Stamford Bridge, or John Terry is just the jack-of-all-trades down there. You know, driving the bus, taking the kits home to be cleaned, walking Mourinho's dog and getting his morning lattes. Playing keeper's all in a day's work, then, really. I wish Reading had been able to press their advantage better after Mikel got sent off, but That was still the most entertaining game I've seen from Chelsea in a long time, so I'll take it. And Cech and Cudicini are both okay, so it's all good. (One of the news reports I read called him "Czech keeper Cech," and I've been giggling and saying that to myself all night. Yes, I am five. But it's fun!)

Less fun? Liverpool 1 - Blackburn 1. I'm not sure what the big problem is, but there are a couple of little things that I'm noticing. First, now that they have wingers, Rafa seems afraid to use them. I know Pennant played today, but what about putting Gonzalez on as more than an impact sub? Garcia's had that role for the past two seasons, but it's time to admit it -- Garcia only works in the Champions League (or against Chelsea). Give some of the new boys a chance, especially the ones specifically brought in to provide pace and width. It's great that they have them, but the team won't unless they start getting some playing time. Second, Steven Gerrard needs to score. The thing is, though, I don't think a goal will come until he quits trying to force it. He was completely anonymous today, except for the few times he showed up to do his Lampard impression and take bad shots from a long way out. That's not what needs to happen. Right now, it seems like he's so desperate to score that he's taking shots when he should be passing. It's not pretty, much like the ski-jump he's got on his head. (Yes, I'll continue to harp on that till it goes away.) Boy needs to relax.

As for England? I'm just pretending it never happened. 3-5-2 what?

11 October 2006

I thought it was paper-rock-scissors

This is not the most confidence-inspiring picture I've ever seen.

After that, they played Red Rover and then Steve gave them their morning snacks and they took a nap.

08 October 2006

Sven hate and Carra the psychic

Materazzi has written a book about "what he might have said to prompt Zinedine Zidane to head butt him." The article only quotes a couple of the 249 (?!) responses. But, dude, if he had actually said "Since Foucault died, French philosophy has sucked," that would clearly have been the most awesome insult not only in the history of soccer, but in the history of the entire world. I might be giving Materazzi a bit too much credit, but come on. Soccer players talking philosophy? That's almost as funny as "Jamie Carragher, penalty specialist," SVEN.

And that leads nicely into my next topic, which is "England: the hell?" It's strange, because they didn't play all that badly, really, but they just could not get anything going up front. No matter what Rio or John Terry says, Wayne Rooney is completely in a slump at the moment, and Crouch hasn't been getting the games at Liverpool to be as sharp as they needed him to be, I think. Lampard still sucks (no surprise), and I totally think that Steven's hair (as seen here) has cursed him. He can't score, he keeps running inside instead of staying on the wing, and he gets questionable yellows that keep him out of crucial games. AWESOME. They just weren't gelling for some reason -- are we back to the old midfield issues? -- and that's bad news with Croatia on Wednesday. (Also note in that link: Jamie Carragher can kill you with his brain. And he will, too.)

I'm not even going to talk about Spain, really. Just, I know they're a team of choke artists, but don't you have to get to Euro 2008 before you can choke there? They're fifth in their group now, I think, but I guess that's what happens when you make Cesc Fabregas your midfield general -- I love him to pieces, but he's 19! -- and start three players I've never even heard of. It's not like they were playing San Marino; this was a need-to-win match. I don't get it. And I don't get the vote of confidence in Aragones, either. Meh.

Dear US Soccer: yes. A thousand times yes. Anything's better than Arena or Sven.