The Frustrated Strikers

Monday, July 13, 2009

City Do a Barca

Moments after signing Carlos Tevez for 25m, Man City make a 20m pound bid for Emanuel Adebayor.

This begs the question: are City trying to create the squad to run god's perfect formation--the oft referenced but rarely used 1-1-8?  City's possible formation: 




                 Ireland        Elano
Robinho                                    Petrov
   Tevez         Adebayor         Bellamy
                     Santa Cruz

Look familiar?  That's because it bears a FRIGHTENING resemblance to Barcelona 07-08:




               Iniesta        Bojan
    Dos Santos                Ronaldinho
Messi          Gudjohnsen           Henry

City's is a slight variation--they'll be playing 4 TRUE strikers, plus Robinho while Barca supplemented 2 true strikers (one playing out of position on the left wing) with 2 creative players (one who used to be the best in the world, one who was on his way to becoming the best in the world) and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

What I'm trying to say is that Sheik Mansour is actually Frank Rijkaard.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hull City Make Bid for Bobby Zamora

Really? Why? Seriously...why?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Frustrated Strikers Prediction Corner: Michael Owen Edition

Michael Owen, 2009-10 Season:

8 games (+11 substitute appearances), 5 goals, 3 assists.


Hamstring strain: Owen comes on in the 67th minute for Berbatov in United's season opener against Birmingham City.  He comes off 6 minutes later after twisting awkwardly under a challenge from Liam Ridgewell.  He battles for fitness for the next two months.

Sprained toe: On his return against Liverpool, Owen scores United's opener.  However, in the 39th minute, he gets stepped on by Mascherano and doesn't return after halftime (replaced by Nani).  Misses 2 weeks.

Scurvy: Following a good run in the team (2 goals and an assist in 3 starts and 4 substitute appearances), Owen celebrates by taking a trip on the 7 seas as Christmas approaches.  He returns with scurvy and misses United's Boxing Day fixture.  He returns to the bench at Wigan on Dec. 28th but spends most of the game eating oranges on the bench.

Deep thigh bruise: Owen receives a shock call up from Fabio Capello in mid-February but is forced to withdraw from the squad after bumping into Ashley Cole during a light running drill.  He misses a month.  Alex Ferguson takes the opportunity to deride international friendlies.

Temporary Zombieism: After a dismal run of form, Owen is left off the teamsheet for a critical April fixture at Old Trafford against Chelsea.  However, Owen enters the field in the 7th minute looking dazed and confused.  He picks up the ball at the halfway line and wallops it past Petr Cech from 45 yards.  As officials attempt to escort him from the field, Owen bites Howard Webb on the neck, leading to Webb becoming a zombie.  United are fined 100m pounds for failing to control their (zombie) players.

Broken Metatarsal: Owen breaks a bone in his foot in the final game of the season at Stoke City.  Everyone's reaction:  "Well, what did we expect?"

After the season, the Guardian breaks the story of the year: Ferguson signed Owen to replace Saha, says "I missed having a striker who was ALWAYS on the training table."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Bad Day for Crystal Palace's Nick Karlovic

We embarassed 5th in the league Palace 3-0. Nothing quite so sweet as thrashing your rival at home. An own goal from the headline-grabbing Nick Karlovic on 13 minutes which I thought had been hammered into the net by Alexandre Marques (who could certainly use the confidence). Kone was the architect, firing a quick, low ball across the penalty area that Karlovic was so kind to latch onto. McEwan then got into the action in the 30th minute scoring his first of the season on a perfectly placed near post cross from Sullivan Charlet (I think Charlet and Kone could be quite a formidable pair). Oduro completed the rout on 79 minutes with a screaming free kick from 30 yards that left the keeper frozen. Well done you Addicks.

Oh, and to top it all off, Nick Karlovic got himself sent off for a 2nd yellow card (I almost typed 3rd yellow which would mean Graham Poll was refereeing the match). It was sweet. Up the Addicks!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'll Be Damned if Charlton Will Get Relegated on My Watch

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008-09 Charlton Athletic Starting XI:


Eric Traore (GK): a 22 year old Ivorian who has absolutely come alive under my stewardship
Sullivan Charlet (LB): 23 year old Frenchman. Pacey, good defender.
Brian Irish (RB): a 16 year old Irishman who is still on a youth contract (and has signed a pre-contract agreement for 90 per week) and is already worth 1m. He's been excellent down the right for us. He's mirrored on the left by Steve Perkins, a 16 year old Englishman on 55 p/w (already worth 1.4m). Perkins is currently out of the squad due to a couple sub-par performances, the emergence of Charlet and the ever harsh Stowe-tation policy.
Shane Moody (CB): 22 years old, athletic but poor in the air. Was the subject of a bidding war late in the summer transfer window (highest bid of 750k). I might have let him go were it not my first window.
Miguel Ferreira (CB): 26 years old, Portuguese, Captain. Described as a decent player for most Premier League sides and a rock at the back for us.
Yacouba Kone (LM): 18 year old Ivorian winger who is extremely explosive. On his debut this season (after a fine preseason and a trip to the Olympics), he set up a tap in for Matt Clare and scored a goal of his own. Performances have tailed off since but can be a game changer.
Allan McEwan (RM): 26 year old Scotsman playing in what is, without a doubt, our most problematic position. McEwan started the year as a starting striker, was displaced by the arrival of Clare and has since landed on the wing. The job started in the hands of our arguably our best CM Alex Foster who, unfortunately, has a bad attitude and is slower than fuck. Foster's been booted from the starting XI and this place bounces between McEwan, 17 year old Mick Austin and 20 year old John Oduro. I'd love for Austin or Oduro to stake their claim so McEwan can be our explosive super-sub.
Dragan Denisyuk (CM): 19 years old, from Belarus. Already in the senior national team setup. Mentally solid and our vice captain. Currently out for a few weeks with a hamstring tweak--Foster's been subbing in.
Zhang Hu (CM): 17 year old from China. Can play as a defensive mid or central defender. Coaches already rate him as a leading star in the Championship and believe he can be a leading Premier League DM in the future.
Matt Clare (ST): 19 year old on loan from Chelsea. Our only loan player which is a huge positive. Unfortunately, at the moment, our only attacker who looks like scoring (more on that later). Probably not the type of player we'll be able to sign permanently but taking him from a year cost us no up front fee and we're only paying half his wages (750/week). Too good to pass up.
Alexandre Marques (ST): 24 year old, Portuguese. Marques was the star of our preseason with 7 goals and 2 assists in 6 games. He's since gone cold with 0 goals in 45o minutes of competitive football and an average rating of 6.07. He's been nothing short of disappointing and I hope he can pull out of his funk soon.

Other Key Figures:
James Forrest (19 year old English CB with solid Championship potential)
Mohammed Nasir (23 year old Nigerian DM--part of our over-abundance of competent DMs)
Craig Williams (the old man of the team at 34, CM)
Joe Malone (17 year old Irish winger in the mold of Oduro and Austin)
and the aforementioned: Oduro, Austin and Foster

So that's who we are. Here's what we've been up to so far.


Matt Clare (see above, loan)
Fares Douillard (26 yr. old, RB from FC Sete 34, Free)
Paul Mizzi (26 yr. old, CM from Herfolge, 150K)
Abdelkrim Ben Younes (26 yr. old, CB from Cote d'Or, Free)
Chris Hutton (26 yr. old, CM from Hamilton, 110K)
Oscar Arens (16 yr. old, ST from Germinal Beershot, 180k)

Paul Scott (28 yr. old, CM to Cardiff, 900k)

So here's how it went down. First and foremost, the Charlton board gave me no budget. 0k. Zero pounds. Any money I wanted to spend was going to have to be raised from player sales (I got back 60%) so we started scrounging around for free players. Clare was our first deal of the summer--essentially I sent one of my scouts sniffing around Stamford Bridge and he came back with Matt. Douillard was brought in on a free to fill what was thought to be our biggest gap by my Asst. Manager (RB). He's been solid but because Irish has been a rock and Charlet can play both on the left and right, we haven't seen much of him yet.

Then came Ben Younnes. We really only have once backup center back (Forrest) and he's 19. After that, it's pulling Hu back into defense from midfield and, well, no one wants that. Ben Younnes was an attempt to bring in a good, solid backup that wouldn't cause trouble and wouldn't be upset at being fourth choice. An attempt to find my very own Alex, if you will. However, what I didn't take into consideration is that he was Moroccan and would need a work permit. Which he didn't get. It was my mistake and fortunately it didn't cost any money. He's been loaned out to Germinal Beerschot and, even if he never gains a work permit, we can still sell him off for some profit.

And, finally, the Paul Scott saga. Basically, we milked a couple of offers for Scott because, while he was a strong midfielder, he didn't play very well as a winger and he was never going to displace Denisyuk in the center of midfield. I was very pleased with the 900k and got about 600k back to re-invest. I made bids on both Hutton and Mizzi as a replacement and didn't really expect to get both. I did. Mizzi is playing for the reserves while Hutton has been on the fringes of the first team. He scored on his debut.

Arens is one for the future. He's already been tearing it up for the U18s--two goals and a MOM in his first game. He looks to be a good talent.


Essentially, the game scheduled a bunch of scrubs to which I added two decent friendlies against FSV Frankfurt and Dundee United (both at home). Scores:

@ Bournemouth 4-1 (Storyline: Marques runs riot, Charlton concede one in the 90+3)
Goals: Kone 1, Marques 5, 48, 63

@ Welling 2-1 (Storyline: We give one up from a corner, then show some character)
Goals: Marques 61, Kelly 84

@ Oxford 4-1 (Storyline: What's the deal with us giving up the first goal? We win anyway.)
Goals: Clare 49, 51, Marques 60, Oduro 90

@ Glentoran 2-1 (Storyline: Another early goal. Another Marques masterpiece)
Goals: Marques 45+1, 56

FSV Frankfurt: 1-1 (Storyline: Clare shows flashes of brilliance, smashing against bar from 28. Oduro cleans up. We give up a scrappy goal from a corner to blemish our perfect preseason)
Goals: Oduro 47

Dundee Utd.: 1-3 (Storyline: 15 minutes of shambles at the top. Then we pepper them unsuccessfully)
Goals: Own Goal 29

So, not brilliant but not bad either. For putting together a squad for the first time, I was pleased. The young players were starting to emerge, despite the fact that I was not coddling them. Marques looked like he had the chops to be the division's top scorer. Clare looked great value. Oduro and Kone had showed flashes of brilliance. It looked to be a good year.


Carling Cup:
@ Barnet 1-0 (Perkins 89)
Nott. Forest 2-0 (Clare 46, Kone 51)
Next Up: Chelsea (damn)

@ Coventry 0-0 (currently 21st in the league)
@ Southampton 1-3 (11th, Goal: P. Scott 16)
Burnley 1-0 (16th, Goal: Austin 10)
Doncaster 1-1 (17th , Goal: Moody 90+1)
@ Watford 4-1 (7th, Goal: Hutton 35)

I think you can see our problem. 4 goals in 5 games won't win us many points. We currently sit 18th in the league with 5 points from 5 games. It's not terrible and we've obviously yet to hit our stride. I'm upbeat about our possibilities--we're young and we're only going to get better as the year goes on. A couple of guys have picked up short term injuries--including Denisyuk--which may make the coming weeks tough. Up next: a derby against Crystal Palace.

Up the Addicks!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lessons from a Half Season with the Villa

So, while waiting for my full version to arrive from Amazon, I've been spending a season in Birmingham at Aston Villa. Or, rather, a half-season as that is all the demo will allow. Some highlights and low-lights so far:


1. Signing Jozy Altidore on loan for no fee and half of his salary a week (something like 2k/week)
2. Winning our two UEFA Cup qualifiers 4-0 and 5-0 on aggregate
3. Carrying a 1-0 back to home from Stetua in the first knockout round of the selfsame second-rate European Cup

1. Losing 5-2 to Newcastle
2. Having to play Zat Knight--a lot. And realizing I kind of like him as a player.
3. Being bottom of the table after 5 games, having only gleaned 1 point (a draw at home to Hull)

Needless to say, it's been up and down. Mostly down. I've learned some things, not a lot of things and I'm definitely far away from being the best manager in the world. But Jose Mourinho wasn't born a genius. And Alex Ferguson wasn't built in a day. Or something like that. Lessons:

--I will be playing my full career with fake players. When I signed Altidore, I kind of sealed my fate on this one. I have a soft spot in my heart for Jozy and, as a business deal, it made a fair amount of sense. But it always felt kind of dirty. Like I probably could've found a better player out there if I had just tried a little harder. Like I was giving him a shot only because I knew who he was. It just felt lazy and, while fake players will be harder, at least it will feel more real.

--Gareth Barry is a twat. No doubt about it. He undermined me from the day I arrived (despite the fact that I gave him the captain's armband), put in dour performance after dour performance and, worst of all, I couldn't leave him out because he was far and away my best player. The Nige was sadly disappointing as well.

--It is incredibly easy to give up goals right after you score. We had a glimmer of hope when we won a penalty against Chelsea to bring it to 2-1 but gave back a goal to Michael Essien six minutes later (we did end up scoring another which could've lead to us splitting the points). Against Newcastle, we fought back from two down through Marlon Harewood (goals: 45+1', 63') and then got hit by an avalanche started by a Geremi goal (65'). We lost that one 5-2. How do you guard against this? I'm starting to believe that I might be better laying off tight marking and/or man marking and going to a zonal system. We all know how well that worked out for Big Phil Scolari, right?

--It's easy to give up goals late. After leveling the score against Rovers late on (73'), we gave back a goal to Matt Derbyshire (88'). And after struggling all game against Hull we grabbed what looked like a sure winner through Stillian Petrov in the 89th only to concede to Caleb Folan in the 91st. Heartbreaking. Partially this has to do with changes in tactics and not getting greedy (as we certainly the case in the Blackburn game).

--Injuries are a killer. I suppose that's intuitive. But I'd never really had to cross that bridge in a video game. I mean, in Fifa, I could compensate for the loss of a star with my wealth of skill. Perhaps I will develop strategies to combat losing players to injury. But, as of now, lengthy injuries to John Carew and Marlon Harewood (the former for five months) as well as niggling injuries for James Milner, Gabby Agbonglahor, Ashley Young and Craig Gardner crippled us. When I started Jozy Altidore and John Fleck (a sixteen year old prospect I signed from Rangers who could be good but not yet) in a league cup game against West Ham, I knew we were in trouble.

--International duty sucks too. I had to deal with losing Gabby and Ash while Altidore was away at the Olympics. Pavel Pardo made his merry way to Mexico for a while as well.

--Scheduling friendlies seems like it could be very key. Being new to the game, there's a lot tactic-wise to figure out. And it's hard to trot out a brand new tactic in a game that actually means something. But it's hard to continue losing games because you're too scared to change (and you're hoping that soon something magical will click). Whoever I choose next time around, I hope to have a system in place by the top of the season that I can be reasonably happy with. This may mean scheduling like 8 friendlies which I'm kind of okay with.

--I'm starting to believe I should read this: Tactical Theorems and Frameworks. Brian at the Run of Play recommended it and I'm not sure when to do what, why and when. Right now, sitting at the bottom of the table with one point from five games, this thing has got me beat. Beat to the point that I'm completely obsessed with it and the idea of reading fifty pages about it seems not only reasonable but enjoyable. More on that (if it happens) soon.

I'm off to try and battle my way off the foot of the table. Up the Villa!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Let the Great Experiment Begin

The rejuvenation of this blog is thanks to Brian Phillips at The Run of Play. Thanks to his excellent series on being the greatest football manager in the history of the world (his words not mine, which can be seen here), we at The Frustrated Strikers have been inspired to forgo the world of real football for a more excellent virtual world. We too are ready to test ourselves to see if we might become the world's greatest football manager. It won't be easy and it won't always be fun but, if I know anything, I know that we will succeed. League titles, domestic cups, European glory--here we come. Watch out world; you've been warned.

**It should be noted that despite the fact that we live in North America, we will not be referring to the game as "Worldwide Soccer Manager." Because, fuck that.**

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Like His Moxie

I don't care that City signed Robinho (okay, a little bit I do. I mean, come on Kenyon. That transfer could've been wrapped up for the start of the season if you'd bucked up (Bruce Buck-ed up?) and paid 30m...but whatever). I don't even care that they took my dear Shauny back. His future was never at Chelsea. And now this:

Manchester City plan audatious 135m bid for Cristiano Ronaldo

That's awesome. Their new owner went on to say, "Real Madrid were estimating his value at $160m (£90m) but for a player like that, to actually get him, will cost a lot more; I would think $240m (£135m). But why not? We are going to be the biggest club in the world, bigger than both Real Madrid and Manchester United. Ronaldo has said he wants to play for the biggest club in the world, so we will see in January if he is serious."

This guy is my new best friend. I've always said that my favorite thing in football is crazy bullshit. Not step-overs, not trophys, not goals...bullshit. But this isn't crazy. This is absolutely batshit insane and AWESOME and wow. Just wow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Fine Editing from The Guardian

This is actually a really good article from Sachin Nakrani which makes this small blunder stick out all the more:

"The 32-year-old has plundered 41 in 61 starts for Madrid and is showing no signs of slowing down - he scored again in their 4-2 Super Cup victory over Valencia in the Super Cup on Sunday."

Nakrani went on to say that "Real Madrid's Ruud van Nistelrooy has played outstandingly for Real Madrid in all of Real Madrid's games during this Real Madrid 2008-2009 season.  Real Madrid."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Non-Sequitur/Comment of the Week

From Paul Doyle's article on the end of the transfer window madness, a comment on Manchester City.  A comment which was completely unwarranted because City aren't even mentioned in the article and are so far from the article's focus (which is, in fact, the spree that Berbs moving from Spurs to United will cause) that this comment is not only awesome but truly excellent.  From commenter bettyforddropout:

"Manchester City are the best football team I have ever seen."

It's great because it's true.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just a Quick One

Roy Keane must be an idiot. Exhibit A:

Healy Heading Keane Wishlist


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stop Being Assholes

Hey Barcelona, Shalke 04 and Werder Bremen,

Stop being assholes. We all know it's important to get off to a good start to your season. We all know you don't want your players trotting off to the Olympics (specifically your players Leo Messi, Rafinha and Diego) if you don't have to. It's one thing to stop by FIFA's offices and say, "Hey everybody! Are you sure we have to let Messi go? He's really good and stuff and we've got a Champions League qualifier that we'd like to win. I mean, it's like the difference of 20m euros if we lose." But, when FIFA say, "Yeah. I mean, we know it sucks but, c'mon, it's the Olympics. They're pretty important. And, because we feel your pain, how bout this for a compromise. You only have to release U-23 players," you should probably let it go.

You definitely shouldn't appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. And, if you do appeal and win, you definitely should take the players. You shouldn't cause everybody trouble and then just say, "Fuck it." Don't be that guy. If you're going to be an asshole and go to court to take Leo Messi, you better take Leo Messi. Don't be like Bremen and Shalke, that's all I'm saying.

Also, FIFA, you guys should stop being assholes too. You don't have the Olympics on your official calendar? They come every four years, you can set your watch by it. There's some more on 2012--see if you can sneak them on the office calendar next time.

And, in a story that has nothing to do with anything, Franck Ribery just won German Player of the Year. Like just today--it was announced today, August 6th. Didn't the season end three months ago? I mean, what the hey, am I right guys?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

In Your Face: Dan Creamer Edition

Hey Dan. Remember that time that you called me delusional because I thought Drogba was going to stay?

Drogba Set to Sign Chelsea Deal

Lalalala Didier Drogba Lalalalala!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why I Hate Max Bretos (and MLS)

Our good friend Max just dropped this knowledge on us re: Dynamo keeper Pat Onstad:

"He hasn't been in Major League Soccer as long as you think. He did get his 500th save back on May 17th, only the 9th goalkeeper to do that. He's well on his way to 600 with a couple big ones in the last few minutes here."

First of all, I don't have any sense of how long Pat Onstad has been in MLS. My guess would be that he's been in the league for at least 65 minutes as this game is now approaching the 66th minute mark.

Second of all, that's not a stat. That's not even close to a stat. Max Bretos, you should be ashamed of yourself because you know that's not a thing. I used to think you were stupid and kind of a shit-eating grin-wearing asshole but you're not. I've heard you talk about Argentine soccer--you clearly know something about the sport. And yet, here you are, touting this stat as if it's something that every good soccer fan should know. Who can name the other 8 keepers with 500+ MLS saves? If you can't answer that, then fuck you. All I'm saying is, Max Bretos, you're the reason people hate soccer.

And then, after Onstad made a beautiful kick save on a shot from 8 yards out, Bretos informed us that he was "about to stand on his head." He's an MLS keeper that's actually making professional level saves (I was wowed)--he's been standing on his head for a LONG time.

Deja Vu

Hang on:

Chelsea lose on penalties because an underachieving striker missed the decisive penalty in sudden death? And a long-serving defender could've sealed the win with the fifth and final penalty? In Moscow?

I feel like I've heard this joke before and I didn't like it. Mr. Shevchenko, kindly buzz off.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why Do You Need Andrei Arshavin?

Mr. Ramos,

Hi, my name is Stowe and I think you have a problem. You've been doing a lot of signing and selling this summer and, well, some of us are worried about you. You've already signed Luka Modric, John Bostock, a keeper from Brazil who's not Dida, Geovanni dos Santos, David Bentley and some dude named Paul-Jose Mpoku. You've spent almost twice as much (46m) as Chelsea (24m).

You've got 11 midfielders. You've also got Dietmar Berbatov and Darren Bent. Here's a question--why do you need attacking midfielder Andrei Arshavin? Are you going to play him in place of a second striker? That could work but you'd probaby have to leave Luka Modric out. Maybe you could slide Arshavin out onto the wing? Nope, got Bentley and Lennon (who are both right-sided players, nice choice). Maybe slide him in the center? Jenas'll be mad.

Good luck, Mr. Ramos.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No You Don't

Fabio Capello declared today that he has the hardest job in Europe. Why?

"I'm worse off than Lippi, than everyone. I have Welsh players, Scottish, Irish. In the Premier League only 35% of the players are English. In Italy it's about 72% [Italians]."

First of all, I don't know what the Welsh, Scottish and/or Irish have to do with it. Did no one explain to him that he can only pick dudes from England? Perhaps someone should explain to him that Gareth Bale is, sadly, not available to be called up. (Sidenote: when are we going to make "Bale for England" t-shirts?)

Second of all, no you don't. Mr. Capello, no you don't. I can think of like 50 jobs harder than yours. I think the guy who manages Belarus has a pretty tough job. What about Estonia? Or Cyprus? That shit would suck.

The problem is not that we should keep England English. That's stupid. The real problem is that they don't have a proven striker who can lead the team (I'm looking at you Rooney) and their goalkeepers are, collectively, crazier than a box of rocks. England, however, have a wealth of wide players, a solid defense and a number of impressive holding and attacking midfield players. Just because they didn't qualify for Euro 2008 doesn't mean that Capelllo's job is suddenly incredibly difficult.

I'm actually going to take it a step further though. What if the problem isn't that the Premier League is too heavily foreign--what if the problem is that not enough English players go abroad? England haven't called up any foreign based player of note since Owen Hargreaves moved back to England from Bayern Munich (and, yes, I know they've called up Beckham but, stop being a smartass, we all know playing in America does't count). Look at how many players in top European teams play abroad (based on players who played in their final game of Euro 2008):

Spain: 3 of 14
Italy: 3 of 14
Germany: 3 of 14
Netherlands: 10 of 14
Croatia: 11 of 13
Czech Republic: 13 of 14
Portugal: 10 of 14
France: 7 of 14

So, yeah. While it makes sense that countries whose domestic leagues are traditionally weaker (i.e. not Italy, Spain or England) would pull more foreign based players, even the Spanish and Italians have found some value in pulling in players who play abroad. So perhaps Capello should encourage some of his players to move abroad (Frank Lampard to Inter, anyone?) instead of bitching about all the dern foreigners in the league. It's likely that having to adapt to new styles of play would allow English players to adapt more readily to the challenges of qualifying for an international tournament. Maybe then they could beat Macedonia. At home.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The Guardian headline read:


A chorus of football fans responded:


The Guardian's article read:

The Anfield club described the forward as "one of the brightest young talents in French football" and "lightening quick"..."

A chorus of football fans read on:

"...although Ngog, the cousin of the former Newcastle defender Jean-Alain Boumsong, managed just one goal in 18 matches for PSG last season." (Sidenote: I'm not sure which is worse, only managing one goal in 18 matches or being related to Jean-Alain Boumsong)

Liverpool responded:

"But we also signed Philipp Degen, Andrea Dossena, Diego Cavalieri, Vincent Weijl and Emmanuel Mendy!!!!!!"

A chorus of football fans responded:

"Who? We think you're just making people up."

Liverpool responded:

"No, they're for real. We promise. Rafa says they're going to be gr8!"

Liverpool fans sighed to themselves:

"Rafa, we hate you."

(This morality play was made possible by a generous grant from the Max Bretos Foundation for the Idiotic)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chelsea's 25, 24, 23-Man Squad

Big Phillip says he wants to cut Chelsea's squad from the current 35 down to "23, 24 players, maximum 25." Sir Alex says we're to old to challege for the title but, frankly, fuck him. So who would be my 23-25 players, you ask? Well, I'll tell you!

Petr Cech (just signed a new 5 year contract)
Carlo Cudicini

Ricardo Carvalho
John Terry
Ashley Cole
Jose Bosingwa
Wayne Bridge (just signed a new 4 year deal)
Paulo Ferreria
Branislav Ivanovic

Michael Essien (just signed a new 5 year deal)
Michael Ballack
Frank Lampard
Joe Cole
John Obi Mikel
Shaun Wright-Phillips

Didier Drogba
Salomon Kalou
Franco Di Santo
Andriy Shevchenko


Already OUT:
Steve Sidwell
Claude Makelele
Khalid Boulahrouz

Juliano Beletti
Tal Ben Haim
Florent Malouda
Claudio Pizarro
Nicolas Anelka

That's 23 established(ish) players remaining and, after sending the three of them off on loan through December, I'd add Sinclair, Sahar and Mancienne to the mix. But 23 is more than enough.

And yep, that's right. I'm keeping Shaun Wright-Phillips. But you guys already knew that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm Watching MLS

Yep, it's gotten that bad. Almost a month after Euro 2008 and I'm bored enough to watch MLS. On FSC. That's doubly bad.

Wanted to share this bit of lunacy from the guy who's not Christian Miles. 25th minute, Beckham setting up for a free kick in a central position 20 yards out. Non-Miles shares this little gem:

"If the wall jumps, he could also drive this ball, put it under the wall. It's very difficult for a keeper to react to a low shot."

Yeah, because that's a common, easily-executed move. I've seen it done only once, by the magical Ronaldinho back when he was at his most magical. So yeah, Beckham can definitely pull it off. I mean it's a once in a lifetime goal for a player (even a player of his caliber) but I'm sure he just saved it for this magical July night at Giants Stadium.

Beckham, unsurprisingly, smacked it into the wall.

It was followed shortly by some shambolic defending by the Red Bulls and Ruiz got on the end of a Buddle cross that most high school defenders could've cleared. MLS!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

America Kindly Requests that you Suck It

The Times composed a list of 50 football moments that you wish you'd been there for. The Miracle on Grass made the list:

"25. The United States beat England, 1950

One of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, as England somehow lost to a team of part-timers (many not born in America) in Belo Horizonte, the only goal coming in the 57th minute."

Okay, Times Online. I don't want to argue. I know this was probably your least favorite moment to write about, being Brits and all. You know, we Americans don't have much when it comes to this "football" thing. We've got a semi-final appearance in the first ever World Cup and a win over Engerland in 1950.

So you could at least take some time to do some research. For example, if you went over to Wikipedia, you could learn in three seconds that Joe Gaejtens scored the only goal in the 38th minute (so you weren't even close). You could also find out that "many not born in America" is a crock of bullshit--8 of 11 were American born. So shut the fuck up.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'd Make that Deal (Edition 2)

This is absurd:

"Frank Lampard's future remains uncertain after sources in Italy claimed Internazionale are preparing to offer Chelsea a part-exchange deal of £15m plus the Brazil striker Adriano."

Maybe I wouldn't make this deal. But, at the very least, I'd have to strongly consider it. Inter, you just bid 8m for Frank Lampard who has one year left on his existing contract. 8m is good value for a player who's going to peace out with no compensation when the season is over. Now you're offering twice that value plus Adriano? Adriano is worth no less than 10m (he's a Brazillian, he's a striker, he's 26...if 27 year old Peter Crouch can fetch 11m, surely Adriano's worth at least 10) so, essentially you're offering 25m for a dude who's 30 and, although I've defended him all these years, who has a negligible amount of value. I know I just posted 2 days ago about how much more valuable Lamps is that Gerrard but, come on--when both Lampard and Ballack were hurt, Shaun Wright-Phillips ably performed Lampard's role. He was able to muster some impressive performances and it was a damned shame when he was pushed out of the side. Dealing Lampard makes room for Mikel in the side and creates a space for SWP to slide onto the bench. I can get excited about a lineup that looks like this:


Bosingwa Terry Carvallho A. Cole


Essien Ballack

Deco J. Cole


With a bench of: Hilario, Alex, Wright-Phillips, Kalou, Adriano

That's right, I'm advocating for a 4-1-2-2-1. Or, if push comes to shove, a 4-1-4-1. Down 1-0 at half, tell me you wouldn't be excited to be able to mix in Kalou, SWP and Adriano to push for a winner. Or Anelka. I'm Big Phil and I'm already excited about that idea.

All I'm saying is 25m is damn hard to turn down for a 30 year old. That's all I'm saying.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grammar Lessons for No One in Particular

What's that you say? This isn't a grammar blog with a soccer theme? You wouldn't know it from the content of this post:

"While he has no complaints with the new manager at Stamford Bridge, Luiz Felipe Scolari, relations with Kenyon appear to have broken down, leaving the midfielder with three options: sign a pre-contract agreement with Inter to join under the Bosman ruling next summer, or relax his stance and sign the four-year deal on offer at Stamford Bridge. The third path - to leave under the Webster ruling - would be the most complicated, and most inflammatory in terms of his relationship with the club's supporters."

Dear Guardian writers, why not just write "...sign a pre-contract with Inter, relax his stance and sign the four-year deal at Stamford Bridge, or leave under the Webster Ruling. Without a doubt, the third path would be the most complicated...". If you're going to precede your list with a clause which includes three options, you should provide each one of the options within the parameters of that sentence. Otherwise, I say to myself, "Shit, the Guardian totally left out one of Lampard's options" until I read the next sentence and realize you're all idiots.

File this one under pedantry.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

You're Kind of an Asshole

Hey Frank Lampard. It's me, Stowe. Big fan. Loved that goal you scored against Liverpool in the Champions League semis--what a moment for you and what a moment for Chelsea. Truly inspiring. You're a real Chelsea legend.

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to tell you to stop being such an asshole. Nothing personal, you've just been kind of an anus over this whole contract thing. I mean, the club did offer you 130,000 pounds a week for four years. That's pretty generous. It'd make you the best paid Englishman in world football (better paid than even $tevie Me!). Let's face it--you're 30, Frank; you're not getting any younger. And it's not that we wouldn't love for you to celebrate your 35th birthday at Chelsea but, hey, let's cross that bridge (or that STAMFORD BRIDGE HAHAHA!) when we get to it. I'm pretty sure we won't want to pay you 130,000 pounds a week at that point but maybe we can work something out. Maybe you can even slide into a coaching role--Scolari has said he only wants to work five years, maybe you could slide under his wing for a year before your old pal Mourinho came back. Huh? Huh?

Oh, you're going to continue to be an ungrateful bitch? Cool man. Cool.


From commenter Sé on the Times Online article about Lampard:

"Lampard is grossly over-rated. This is a guy who failed to score in the World Cup finals despite his much renowned shooting skills. Crouch, by contrast, scored two. What does the not so special one, the one who spend lots of Russian money, see in him anyway?"

First of all, you totally nailed Mourinho. I mean it's not like he ever won anything without Russian money, am I right fans of FC Porto?

And yes, Sé, you're totally right. Lampard is overrated. I mean, what kind of asshole can't score in a World Cup? I've scored three World Cup goals and I've never even officially played a game. Too bad Lampard can't be more like his super-awesome compatriot Steven Gerrard. He scored two goals in the World Cup finals. Take that Lampard, you un-clutch son of a bitch!

What's that little rhetorical device birdy that just whispered something in my ear? You mean to say that Lampard is better than Gerrard at scoring goals and generally doing attack minded things? I don't believe it!

2003-2004: 58 games, 16 goals, 7 assists
2004-2005: 65 games, 20 goals, 16 assists
2005-2006: 51 games, 20 goals, 10 assists
2006-2007: 67 games, 23 goals, 16 assists
2007-2008: 39 games , 17 goals , 11 assists
Totals: 280 games, 96 goals, 60 assists
Averages: 56 games, 19.2 goals, 12 assists per season

2003-2004: 47 games, 7 goals, 7 assists
2004-2005: 56 games, 13 goals, 5 assists
2005-2006: 52 games, 22 goals, 12 assists
2006-2007: 55 games, 14 goals, 10 assists
2007-2008: 49 games, 20 goals, 17 assists
Totals: 259 games, 76 goals, 51 assists
Averages: 51.8 games, 15.2 goals, 10.2 assists per season

So, essentially, he's been worth an extra 4 goals a year (and 2 assists) over five seasons. No wonder his team has always finished above Gerrard's over the course of this period. Yep, overrated. Sé, you should probably stop being such an asshole.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'd Make That Deal (Edition 1 of Many)

Famously, Dan and I once decided that we would NOT have sold Benjani to City for 7.6m, thereby making us more qualified to run Portsmouth than their chief executive (we would've sold David Nugent and maybe Pedro Mendes to raise funds for Defoe--thereby creating a pretty impressive mid-table strike force of Benjani and Defoe supported by Utaka and Kranjcar). Ever since then, we've been asking ourselves, "Would we make that deal?" Welcome to the Frustrated Strikers first edition of I'd Make that Deal.

Spurs have decided that they absolutely gotta have Blackburn's bald-headed winger David Bentley. Their offers:

Offer 1: Bentley for Aaron Lennon + 7m
Offer 2: Bentley for Darren Bent and Paul Robinson
Offer 3: We've also got Anthony Gardner and you can have him if that makes any difference!!!!

Me, I'd take Offer 1 or Offer 2 or, hopefully, a combination of 1 and 2 that gives me Lennon and Bent and leaves Robbo as far away from my team as possible (I mean you just don't want that shit anywhere near your training ground). Lennon is younger and faster than Bentley and Bent is pretty unabashedly awesome and thrives when clubs rely on him (which Blackburn would no doubt have to do after they let Santa Cruz go). I think I speak for Paul Ince when I say, "Make it happen."