Posted by Devang Desai under Counter Attack Podcast on Nov 10, 2013
Posted by Devang Desai under Counter Attack Podcast on Oct 28, 2013
Devang Desai, Sean Keay and James Bigg sit down to talk about Jose Mourinho’s celebration game, a crazy weekend in MLS and André Villas-Boas’ taking shots at Spurs supporters.
Posted by Devang Desai under The Football So Far on Oct 28, 2013
“The way we lost the game was incredible. I think Chelsea, Cardiff and Aston Villa did not have chances during the games, but we conceded stupid goals.” – Manuel Pellegrini on City’s calamitous collapse at Stamford Bridge
Five Things We Unlearned This Weekend
1. Joe Hart has put his past struggles behind him
The headlines say it all. Joe Hart made another egregious mistake that cost his team the game. To be clear it was bad, but Matija Nastasic should shoulder some blame. City was the better team for the majority of the match until Hart’s fatalistic sojourn out of goal. England’s number one cannot be blamed for riding low on the confidence chain, but dear god, man. Get it together. It sounds like Pellegrini is leaning towards the Pantilimon option will next week against Norwich City. Perhaps some time on the sidelines will do Hart some good.
2. Roma are a flash in the pan
Michael Bradley, the Brooklyn version of that band you like but no one else likes so they’re cool, has done it again, leading 10-man Roma to another victory. Bradley’s first touch of the game was the difference as Roma continue to spit in the face of normalcy. Rudi Garcia’s decision to swap Marco Borriello for Bradley was an excellent gambit. Also, this Morgan De Sanctis celebration is the tops.
The 36-year-old spent eight years with Udinese. I prefer this sort of celebration over the ‘respect your former club’ jab that goes on these days. It’s only a game, after all.
3. Gareth Bale is experiencing a minor blip in the road
The Classic, for all you English ghouls, went as expected in Barcelona. The Catalan giants took an early lead thanks to a superb strike from Neymar and rode the game out till things got hairy. Substitues Karim Benzema and Jese were difference makers for Carlo Ancelotti. Barcelona held on thanks to Alexis Sanchez’s chip volley, but the shots of Gareth Bale mean mugging on the bench will be the takeaway from this one. Gareth Bale will never justify the price Real Madrid paid for him. It’s unfortunate, because the weight of expectations allows us to make these dubious claims after one bad performance. Unfortunately it’s not hyperbole to suggest Bale was the last thing Madrid needed. Seeing Jese carve up Adriano made the question worth asking. Gareth Fail, and so forth.
Gareth Bale seems to be enjoying his dream move to Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/VevpayT64Y
— Feint Zebra (@feintzebra) October 26, 2013
4. Manchester United has mastered the art of public relations
Branding. Marketing. We all know what is at stake when it comes to these buzz words. Buy in or be left behind. It’s hard to separate yourself form the hordes of mouth breathers looking to push the latest gimmick on you, I get that. But you’re Manchester United. You’re arguably the biggest club in the world. This is hilariously terrible.
New Order plus symbol vaguely resembling a swastika wasn’t the best idea, was it. The Club has apologized for sending out an email with the above image. Here’s David Sternberg, their head of media, saying ‘my bad’. ”The creative is completely inappropriate; we apologise unreservedly and are taking appropriate internal action.” You’d think the ‘head of media’ at a club would oversee mass scale emails like this, but I guess not. Woof.
5. A win is a win, idiot
Speaking of United, they managed to scrape out a 3-2, come-from-behind-wow-win over Stoke on Saturday, ending the doomsday talk for another few days. While the win had to of been satisfying, it would be mad to suggest David Moyes doesn’t see the problems he faces. Nani had another howler of a game and the defence continues to perform terribly. Take the three points, but seriously, United will do well to qualify for the Champions League when the year is done. Meanwhile Tottenham managed to get past Hull City thanks to a late penalty call. After the game AVB randomly selected the fans as the target of his ire. ”We didn’t have the support we should have done. There was much anxiety from the stands, the players had to do it alone.” That’s hilarious and sad at the same time. Most reports from White Hart Lane indicated the atmosphere wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Strange time to pick a fight with your supporters.
El Clasico brings out the best of the best. Michael Cox’s recap of the game was superb, as always. Here he is on Xavi, the ageing talisman that keeps on grinding.
“For all the (reasonable) talk that Barcelona are playing a less possession-orientated game because of Xavi’s declining influence, the central midfielder was a huge force in this game – rarely venturing into the final third, but dominating the game from a deep-lying role.
He completed 81 passes, which isn’t a particularly high total for Xavi – but it was 31 more than any other player, a staggering dominance of the passing statistics. This was partly because he spent long spells completely unoccupied – at the start of the game, Real tried closing him down with Modric, but his pressing dropped very quickly.
Xavi is very clever at finding space – consciously or unconsciously, he always drifts away from the player tracking him in the direction he know his opponent doesn’t want to move in. So when Jose Mourinho used Mesut Ozil on him during the 5-0 Clasico, Xavi pushed higher up, where Ozil was uncomfortable. Here, Modric was occupying him so Xavi moved deeper – Modric couldn’t push that high up, because Fabregas and Messi were buzzing around in that space behind him, and also because Real were sometimes letting Alves fly forward down that flank too.”
The new Xavi, more concerned with making sure things remain in the right place rather than leading the attack is a sight to behold.
Goal of the Weekend
Alexis Sanchez does the damn thing at Camp Nou:
Interesting Read of the Day
I was about to get into the whole Piers Morgan – Jeremy Clarkson twitter spat and then I realized I’m only filling in for Richard today and ruining this blog is not my intention. I digress, the read of the day comes from Sports Illustrated. The beautiful game in Afghanistan is one of the best long reads I’ve come across in recent time.
“When the Afghan national team steps on to the AstroTurf, the fans rise to cheer. They do not stand for the Afghan national anthem, however, when it plays on a tinny sound system. Patriotism, at least for now, remains a western concept. Many of the supporters traveled hours at great personal risk or closed down shops at the loss of daily income to attend today’s game. For the national team, this will be their first game in the motherland. A U.S. Black Hawk shears the sky in half.”
May Jeong’s piece is terrific. Give it a read over the lunch hour.
Posted by Devang Desai under Counter Attack Podcast on Sep 04, 2013
Devang Desai, Sean Keay, James Bigg and Dustin Parkes answer your questions on Mesut Ozil’s shock move to Arsenal, the return of Suarez, choosing to support a big club and picking a hipster Champions League team. As always, thanks for the questions and we’ll be back on Monday!
Posted by Devang Desai under Counter Attack Podcast on Aug 08, 2013
Sean Keay, Dustin Parkes and Devang Desai answer your questions on why more English players don’t play abroad, what MLS needs to boost television ratings and whether this has been the zaniest summer transfer season yet. As always, thanks for the questions. You guys rock.
Posted by Devang Desai under Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid on Aug 07, 2013
Real Madrid and Chelsea are vying for the Guinness International Champions Cup final in Miami tonight. Cristiano Ronaldo used the game to showcase his other worldly talent. Wowza.
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