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Smalling & Jones Step into the Light!

 Posted by on November 12, 2013 at 11:19 am  Blogs/Media
Nov 122013

Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
Robin van Persie Wayne Ro 011 Smalling & Jones Step into the Light!Beyond all the embarrassing braggadocio set forth by Arsenal’s players, managers, fans, pundits and the eternally biased London media which was the usual usual, there was the seed of doubt we knew was there at Manchester United F.C. The difficulties for a new manager and his coaches taking over from a dynasty of relentless success, two or three players kept at the club past their sell-by dates, a new chief executive and owners who know as much about football as they do about brain surgery, an unfathomable lack of passion, the Wayne Rooney soap opera, the Tiago Alcantara/Cesc Fabregas circus; and, worst of all, the recent unfathomable failure to cope of so many of our young players. Well, yesterday, over 94 minutes at Old Trafford, United’s problems did not get sorted out, per sé, but they were put in sensible perspective. Maybe nothing was ever really as bad as it had seemed. Maybe this instant gratification thing we’re addicted to is the real problem!

Yes. Perspective-wise, I always love playing Arsenal. I always make money. Their fans are so spoiled and bitter, so easy to wind up, so lacking in integrity or any kind of moral fiber: They remind me of their team. Just as I have seen and read about Dubya declaring victory in Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s line in the sand and Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich, Arsenal fans win the Premier League and the European Champions Cup every November. Aren’t they fantastic? And a betting man’s dream sucker bait!

Anyway, save for the very end of the match, during a final twenty minute stretch where a Red D team which had worked its socks off throughout began to look tired, Manchester United dominated the game. Ticky-tacky Arsenal huffed and puffed but they couldn’t blow down Old Trafford and were incapable of building up into their usual quick-tempo tsunami-style. United simply wouldn’t let them play! Then, 27 minutes in, when Rooney executed a rarity for him, a perfectly taken corner, Les Gooners were stunned. Arsene Wenger’s addiction to a policy of zonal marking meant Van Persie could make a long leaping sprint for the ball completely unimpeded. Seeing it all too late, the Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud attempted to block his path, but Van Persie was already high above him, his header zipping past Szczesny into the net.

71028979 71028978 Smalling & Jones Step into the Light!What followed–which I assume was a reaction to Arsène Wenger’s prematch assertion to the gathered ghouls of Fleet Street that RVP is still, deep down, an Arse man–saw the Dutch striker run to the touchline to embrace Wayne Rooney and his teammates before charging, arms aloft, to greet the faithful of the Stretford End. Not really a United player deep down, hunh, Arsene? You could have fooled me!71030210 71030671 Smalling & Jones Step into the Light!

The kudos and post-match awards may have deservedly gone to Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and David Moyes, but for me it was truly the night of the water-carriers. David De Gea finally put the pundit quacks who have accused him of being a pussy in the box in their place. Not only was he up there in the air laying out some muscle and brawn and punching away the ball almost as hard as he kicks, the warrior Spaniard was so totally amped and in the zone that he ruthlessly (albeit unintentionally)laid out his center-back hard man Nemanja Vidic because he was in the way of the ball. Even more impressive, however, were Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. Both have talent to burn, but have also been repeatedly guilty of lacking in concentration. energy and desire the last two seasons. This was not the case against Arsenal. Last week, it seems, some kind of epiphany took place in both of them because, in their case, ‘potential’ is no longer a valid concept. Something wonderful happened to Phil and Chris and a thousand flowers bloomed!

Interestingly, earlier in the day, the players Smalling and Jones have ostensibly replaced in the squad, John O’Shea and Wes Brown(back from almost two years on the sidelines), both had fantastic matches in Sunderland’s shock home win over Manchester City. Meanwhile Chris Smalling played his best game ever for Manchester United. Confident and brave, he committed himself totally to making tackles in the box. It’s a risky business being responsible, but Smalling had his war face on and made a number of crisp, surgically precise tackles that reminded me of a certain Bryan Robson in his pomp. Very vocal, despite owning an even tinier set of vocal cords than David Beckham, Smalling has repeatedly begged off from playing at right back previously. I’m guessing here but having disappointed rather repeatedly this season as a center-back, Smalling may well have been told by the new Gaffer that he was definitely standing in vicinity of the last-chance saloon. Whatever the reason, Smalling was brilliant against Arsenal. Indeed, beyond a number of brave, superbly timed tackles in the penalty box, Smalling made a number of fine quick runs down the right flank, Smalling even came close to firing the coup-de-grace and scoring a second goal when, left unmarked in front of Arsenal’s goalmouth, he narrowly missed making an easy-peasy header at the other end from a Patrice Evra free-kick.

How fantastic that, on exactly the same day, Phil Jones stepped forward and finally became one of United’s most important players. His versatility made him look to be of the same worth as a Touré or a Mascharano. Assigned the mission impossible task of standing mobile watch in front of his back four and smothering the probings of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and the Premier League’s flavor-of-the-month, Aaron Ramsey, Jones was the one on fire. The rubber-faced, stout-hearted big man not only accomplished his mission, but executed it impressively. Again and again, his intuitive tackling, quick ball recoveries and instinct for covering up for out-of-position team-mates repeatedly choked off Arsenal’s speedy but predictable moves before they could fully develop, making life a lot easier for his defenders. Like Johnny O’Shea, Jones can do any job he is asked to do in games. Unfortunately, until this Sunday he has never been quite up to doing it consistently and in a fully concentrated manner. After being superb in the first half, he was then required to change positions in the second half and fill in for the injured Vidic alongside Jonny Evans. Evans, who is never up to it in games where he has to take charge of the back line, was wise enough to let Jones give orders along with De Gea and came off all the better for it.

Indeed, Les Gooners only managed to get any traction on the game at all after the break due to Jones’ absence in central midfield and the substituted Cleverley’s inability to withstand any kind of sustained physical contact. As well as being great defensively, Jones made a number of powerful runs with the ball in the first half, and the biggest conundrum facing both Moyes and England’s manager Roy Hodgson from now on is just where to place the lad to receive maximum potential. The answer may actually be simple. Against lightning-quick small teams like Chelsea he needs a more stationery role. The question in fact seems to be whether, game by game, is he better assigned particular opponents to mark or in a less specific role.

A last bit of kudos for Rooney. The cliché about Wayne Rooney is that he covers every blade of grass. And as capricious as he’s capable of being, there can be no denial of just how much desire and sense of will he utilized in the little masterpiece he made of this game. Twice before the half, Rooney made decisive tackles on the cusp of his own box before galloping 75 yards into the Arsenal six yard box. Then, a few minutes later, sprinting back 70 yards to chase down a long, dropping ball, punted out of defense by Arteta. His feelings about David Moyes may be ambivalent, but the dour Scot has the Scouser playing at a level of fitness and confidence which is off the charts.

During injury time Old Trafford had a bit of bum-squeak as the pony-tail-bunned Arsenal substitute Nicklas Bendtner–looking like a refugee hit-man from an 80s Steven Seagal movie–tried in vain to connect with an exquisite Bacary Sagna cross. It was as close as they ever got on the night. Asked about it by the press, Wenger said his team was “inhibited by nervousness.” Butterflies in the 92nd minute? Pretty unforgivable, it seems to me, especially if you keep up the talk about winning the championship. To be sure, Arsenal’s five-point lead still needs to be whittled down further. United now sit fifth, after a hop, skip and a jump over Everton, Spurs and Manchester City to bring themselves within a point of Chelsea. United have not lost for six weeks now and the blogs will surely ease off on their personal attacks on Our Dour Davey.
Manchester Uniteds Vidic 012 Smalling & Jones Step into the Light!

Sep 102013

Brian Sanders, Adam Uthe, and Sean Maslin review the Champions League Group stage draw picking out the winners and losers

Click here to listen

Sep 052013

Obviously we all know about the big names, but you’d be surprised just how many good players completed transfers in the shadows of Gareth Bale and Mesut Özil.

Gareth Bale

The Welsh superstar completed his much talked about move from Tottenham to Real Madrid for a world record fee that comes out to approximately $132 million.

Mesut Özil

After spending all summer missing out on new signings, Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger landed perhaps the world’s most creative midfielder for a reported £42.5 ($66.25 million) transfer fee.


In an effort to fund their purchase of Gareth Bale, Real Madrid sold Brazilian midfielder Kaka back to Milan after purchasing him from the Serie A giants in 2009. He signs a two year deal with Milan.

Kevin Prince Boateng

The German international returns to the Bundesliga after completing a four year move from Milan to Schalke 04.

Samuel Eto’o

The Cameroon international is reunited with his former manager Jose Mourinho after signing a new one year deal with Chelsea from Russian side Anzhi Makhachakala.

Alessandro Matri

The Juventus forward completed a transfer to Milan and signed a four year deal.

Adem Ljajic

The Serbian forward completed a four year move from Fiorentina to Roma for a reported €11 million ($14.4 million) transfer fee.

Erik Lamela

And speaking of Roma, they sold the Argentinian winger to Tottenham for a reported €30 million ($39.9 million) transfer fee.

Christian Eriksen

Indeed, Spurs were incredibly busy this summer. They bought Ajax/Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen for a reported £11.5 million ($17.9 million) transfer fee.

Marouane Fellaini

The Belgian international turned out to be the only significant summer signing for new Manchester United manager David Moyes. Fellaini previously played for Moyes at Everton.

Geoffrey Kondogbia

The Sevilla defender joins Monaco for a reported €20 million ($26.2 million) fee and signs a five year deal with the Ligue 1 side.

Alessandro Diamanti

He’s not actually going anywhere, but Bologna made a huge splash signing him to a new five year extension.

Andrea Dossena

The veteran center back from Napoli completed a one year move to Sunderland in the English Premier League. He previously spent part of his career in England with Liverpool.

Romelu Lukaku

The Chelsea striker goes out on loan for the second year in a row. He joins Everton for the upcoming season.

Toby Alderweireld

The Dutch defender completed a permanent move from Ajax to Atletico Madrid.

Florian Thauvin

The French starlet was purchased by Lille from Bastia in January, loaned back to Bastia for the remainder of the season, and has now been sold to Marseille without having ever played a match for Lille. Thauvin factored in the French U-20 side that won the FIFA U-20 World Cup this summer.

Josua Guilavogui

The Saint Etienne midfielder completes a €10 million ($13 million) move to Atletico Madrid.

Ezequiel Schelotto

The 24 year old Inter midfielder joins Sassulo on loan for the upcoming season.

Jaroslav Plasil

The veteran Bordeaux/Czech Republic midfielder joins Catania on loan for the rest of the Serie A season.

Christian Atsu

The Ghana international was purchased by Chelsea from FC Porto and then subsequently loaned to Vitesse in the Netherlands.

Duvan Zapata

In an effort to replace the production of departed striker Edinson Cavani, Napoli signed former Estudiantes striker Duvan Zapata.

Mamadou Sakho

The former Paris-Saint Germain center back has completed a permanent move to Liverpool.

Tiago Ilori

The 20 year old Sporting Lisbon center back has also completed a move to Anfield.


The highly rated Portugal winger completed a €10 million ($13 million) move from Sporting Lisbon to Galatasaray.

Makoto Hasebe

The Japanese international completed a permanent move from Wolfsburg to Nurnberg.

Libor Kozak

The leading scorer in last year’s Europa League competition has completed a move from Lazio to Aston Villa.

Vlad Chiriches

The Romanian center back moves from Steaua Bucharest to Tottenham.

Emiliano Viviano

The Palermo goalkeeper joins Arsenal on loan for the entire season.

Marko Arnautovic

The Werder Bremen forward completed a permanent move to Stoke City.

Teemu Pukki

The Finland international completed a four year move from Schalke 04 to Celtic.

Alvaro Vasquez

The Getafe center forward joins Swansea on loan for the entire season.

James McCarthy

The former Wigan winger is reunited with Roberto Martinez as he completes a £13 million ($20 million) move to Everton.

Gareth Barry

The Manchester City holding midfielder joins Everton on loan for the entire season.

Fabio Borini

The Liverpool striker joins Sunderland on loan for the 2013-14 season.

Oussamma Assaidi

Assaidi also departs Anfield on loan and will suit up for Stoke City this season.

Angelo Henriquez

And last, but not least, Manchester United’s young striker joins Real Zaragoza on loan for the season.


Until next time!



Jun 272013

As always, these deals have been confirmed by multiple outlets…

Carlos Tevez

The controversial Argentine striker has completed a three year move from Manchester City to Juventus. Much to the chagrin of some, he will wear the No.10 starting next season.


The Spanish U-21 international midfielder has sealed a five year move from cash-strapped Malaga to Real Madrid. Madrid are battling speculation that Cristiano Ronaldo could depart while Malaga have been hit with a European competition ban for their financial woes.

Andrei Arshavin

The Russian winger has completed a two year move from Arsenal to his hometown club of Zenit Saint Petersburg after a tumultuous spell in London.

Andre Schurrle

And speaking of London, Chelsea have signed German winger Andre Schurrle to a five year deal from Bayer Leverkusen of the Bundesliga.

Andy Carroll

The English international forward departs Liverpool after a big money move from Newcastle and joins West Ham United for a new six year deal. Carroll spent the entire 2012-13 season on loan with the Hammers.

Iago Aspas

Liverpool have made several moves this week, starting with the signing of Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas for a reported £7.7 million ($11.75 million) transfer fee.

Luis Alberto

The Reds also purchased Sevilla forward Luis Alberto, who is capable of playing anywhere across the front three of Brendan Rodgers’ preferred 4-3-3. Alberto, who spent last season on loan with Barcelona’s B team, cost Liverpool a reported £6 million ($9.1 million) transfer fee.

Simon Mignolet

Liverpool’s third and final signing this week came in the form of Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. He arrives at Anfield from Sunderland amid speculation as to whether or not current Liverpool No.1 Pepe Reina is departing England this summer.

Dries Mertens

Speaking of Belgium, Dries Mertens has completed a move from PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands to Napoli in Italy’s Serie A where he signs a five year deal.

Giulio Donati

The Inter Milan right back has sealed a move to Bayer Leverkusen and signed a four year deal with the German club.

Royston Drenthe

The 26 year old Dutch winger, who spent this past season on loan with Everton, has seen his contract expire and will join recently relegated Reading on a free move. He signs a two year deal.

Leonardo Bittencourt

The 19 year old midfielder departs Borussia Dortmund after just one season and will join Hannover 96.

Sead Kolasinac

The German U-21 international and Schalke youth product will remain with Schalke after signing a four year deal with the senior team.


May 012013

Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United
Robin van Persie Arsenal 008 1 Arsenal: If it Wasnt For No Class, They Wouldnt Have No Class At All! The story behind the story. My dream. Friday at the Arsenal training ground. Theo Walcott is staring at his opened locker door. Scotch-taped to the door is a carefully cut out newspaper photo of Rio Ferdinand. Theo is making his war face.
“You talkin’’ to me?” he says in his thin Berkshire boy-soprano mockney. “Are you talkin’’ to me?”
Rio just stares back, which makes Theo madder and madder. “Are you talking to me?”
He feints and then throws a left hook just short of the photo. Doesn’t want to dislocate his shoulder again, does he?
“We-ell I don’t see anyone else in this room,” he says real Yardie-like. “So I’m gonna have to kick your arse.”
Next to him, on the left is Gervinho, his funny, string and real hair toupée-cum-extention do making funny noises as it taps against his forehead while he swears in French at a photo of Jonny Evans. To his right, Per Mertesacker, lovingly referred to as “Der Meatsack” by his teammates, keeps staring at Wayne Rooney and calling him “Shkausser Schweinhundt!”
Meanwhile, behind them, an old skinny Alsatian named Arséne is smacking a riding crop against a bench while his even dourer assistant sucks his teeth. “Zey got our little gift on Sunday, right Steve?” Steve Bould, nods repeatedly.
“Venez sur mes garçons de poupée lttle. Montrez-leur ce qui, dans le coeur d’une poupée, est un guerrier.!” *
Theo does not know what his silly French boss is talking about. He never knows what his silly French boss is talking about. But he does know he’s going to beat that bloody Rio Ferdinand all the way back to Pinner or Peckham, or wherever he comes from.
A dream? How else can one explain Sunday’s comic draw? Arséne Wenger, Nick Hornby and Piers Morgan with their simpering platitudes about their team being on its best behavior proved to be about as sincere as a pregnant nun. One more desperate, tragic attempt to seize an early advantage. Sure, the crowd booed at Robin Van Persie and, sure, the Dutchman looked sad. The full human comedy had to be played out, however, and, at the end of the game, Robin Van Persie had scored 25 league goals for Manchester United, 29 in all competitions, and taken over the lead for the Golden Boot from the hungry one, Luís Suarez of Liverpool. Arsenal fans went home even more miserable than they had when they arrived

Nevertheless, the goal he scored against Arsenal may turn out to have a truly resonant impact. Should Les Gooners miss out on a top four place in the Premier League and thus the Champions League next season, it will be the first time they have gone without the most lucrative of cash cows for the first time in fifteen years. Let me reiterate. You know the cliché–the one that says revenge is a dish which tastes much better when served cold–it was one Arsenal fans had to swallow in a state of deeply deserved anguish on Sunday. Having booed their former hero throughout the first half, they got their comeuppance. Yes, irony was well noted on all sides as Robin Van Persie stepped up to rocket home a well deserved, icily dispatched penalty in the 42nd minute while the fat lady sang.

United versus Arsenal matches are by their very nature ugly affairs. Not ugly in the vicious sense of United’s tactically ugly matches with Liverpool are. They are, rather, emotional, slapdash, petty, often badly behaved matches on both sides, full of sneaky off-the-ball encounters, relentless speed races, shocking mistakes and always always always too chock full of drama for mortal referees to handle. In this case, with Howard Webb’s favorite assistant Phil Dowd running things, veteran United fans were all well aware that if anybody was going to make sure He was going to be the star of the show, it would be Phil himself. And so it came to pass!

Arsenal were shockingly dominant for the first half hour. Testing Dowd with every single tackle, ankle-tapping and rabbit-punching off the ball, the Arse were the 2005 team temporarily reincarnated, minus the purity of talent and finesse, though. Much quicker to the ball, playing with width, sprinting to fill every space, repeatedly taking turns kicking Wayne Rooney as if he were a sort of Scouse Guy Fawkes dummy, they kept United pinned back while repeatedly, relentlessly daring them to retaliate for a series of cheap shots. Yet United did not retaliate. It all being part and parcel of a season of ridiculously good behavior. Yet the crew of officials seemed to blow everything Arsenal’s way. It became pretty clear once they’d received their fifth yellow card in a row after Rooney collided 50/50 with Arteta and Rafael Da Silva took umbrage after receiving a throw-in in the mush, that Phil Dowd was not in a state of empathy.

The one goal Arsenal did score came in the second minute and was so clearly offside that United actually took it well, seeming to sort of collectively shrug their shoulders. Ironically, Van Persie was the culprit as he carelessly gave the ball away to the thieving magpie Rosicky. The Slovak schemer was quickly off to the races before firing a fine pass into the box which Walcott sped onto from an offside position before firing a finish at an obtuse angle past a stranded David De Gea, who had no chance.

And from then on, until about the 40th minute, Arsenal played well. Still, led by Lucas Podolski in place of the suspended Olivier Giroud, although they attacked relentlessly, they were mostly ineffective. In spite of the relentless energy displayed by Rosicky, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazoría and, later. Wilshere, they were simply never looked capable of executing that effective last ball in United’s third of the field.

To say United took a long time to get going is a copious understatement. The boys were obviously hungover, many said. But these young millionaires really are quite fit and surely young enough to shrug off what might well hinder lesser men. Yet how did Rafael da Silva and Phil Jones both end up passing the ball to an invisible teammate and out of touch under no opposition pressure? Sure we expect De Gea to drop a clanger under pressure, but how did he simply drop a corner kick he caught cleanly and make a bollix out of a subsequent clearance? Wayne Rooney was fine in the second half, but in the first half he seemed to spend a lot of time admiring the hue of his boots. Nani and Valencia were more or less invisible beyond passively absorbing cheap shots from Arteta and Ramsey. With Ferguson letting loose a very audible string of invectives at the fourth official and a grinning Phil Dowd, United’s ‘hangover’ seemed to be more of a case of narcolepsy. The kind of body-snatched stupor associated with absinthe, not champagne!?

Yet, as bizarrely un-United as they so often seemed early on, they still created a couple of opportunities of their own before Van Persie’s equalizer. Phil Jones, as cumbersome and awkward as he seems, was a more and more of a menace in midfield as Arteta and Ramsey’s off-the-ball bullying upped his ire. Well set up by Evra and Rafael Da Silva, he headed two gaping sitters wide of the goal. Then, having botched a series of half-chances, Nani sold Arteta an exquisite dummy, lifted a breathtaking cross into the path of Van Persie as he sprinted into the box. How Szczesny saved his shot is hard to know.

But, minutes later, Van Persie shrugged off the cobwebs again. In fairness to Dowd, his judgment was impeccable for the penalty because, at the speed the actual play was made at, it was anything but a straightforward decision. Picking up a Valencia pass, Van Persie took off at speed down the left-hand channel, leaving right back Bacary Sagna flat-footed and humiliated. Having made a mistake, Sagna swiveled and gave chase. In an attempt to make up for his mistake, he slid in on Van Persie’s ankles and threshed him down well inside the box. Dowd, who had already forgiven an identical foul by Sagna on Evra earlier, grinned back at a caterwauling Ferguson, blew his whistle and pointed at the penalty spot. Many in the crowd were amazed. A wall of boos accompanied that penalty, but Robin Van Persie is made of strong stuff. His shot, a piece of raw, pure, beautiful left-footed power, beat Wojciech Szczesny easily.

Whatever did go wrong on the day for United, I think none of us or them have any idea of what it was. Absinthe drinking offers up as silly a reason as any. The sad reality is that they had a fine opportunity to set a record and overtake Chelsea’s 95 points, from José Mourinho’s first title-winning side in 2005, but that chance is now gone. The game could have gone either way in the second half but it was an erratic performance from the champions. Indeed as monentous as some of the bad moments have been this season, it’s rare occasion when they look as disheveled and disoriented as they had in the opening 40 minutes.

I don’t mean to belabor this issue again and again, but, really, how is it that, despite being so close to London, the ruling class at the F.A. and by virtue of always having their noses up in the air and always out of joint, and thus, by implication, closer to God, why do Arsenal have no dignity or class? Poisoning Spurs’ buffet on the night before a crucial last match of the season over fourth place in 2007 typifies how they operate. Their willingness to form a guard escorting the champions on to the field was, their manager said, a sample of just how sportsmanlike they were. Yet any good will ended there as, clearly having noticed what everybody else has also clearly taken advantage of this season, that this current United squad, although massively talented, is both physically and emotionally the weakest Manchester United have fielded ever. Indeed, having been beaten up plenty this season, winning the championship surely is even more of an achievement. Taking one’s lumps goes with the territory. We understand that. Nevertheless, the petty acts of sly, underhanded , off-the-ball skulduggery perpetuated by Les Gooners and willfully turned a blind eye to by Phil Dowd should be duly noted by United fans. No matter what, I pray that Sir Alex Ferguson buys at least one player who is familiar with the dark arts of the game for next season. Those who doubt me might tune in to Bayern’s Champions Cup steamrollering of Barcelona. The natural toughness and adaptability of a certain Javíer Martinez they bought for 50m euros from Athletic Bilbao had made a world of difference to them which the Gaffer shouldnote

And so, finally, picture Theo in his parents basement in Compton, Berkshire. Still staring at the same newspaper cutout of Rio, only now it’s attached to a mirror and he’s wearing boxing gloves.
“You talkin’’ to me? You talkin’’ to me, Rio? Offside? Rubbish.” He throws a combination at the mirror. “Is there anyone else in this room?”
Arsenal v Manchester United Premier League 1858663 1 Arsenal: If it Wasnt For No Class, They Wouldnt Have No Class At All!

*”Show them that inside the heart of my doll-boys is the heart of a warrior!”

Feb 052013

Doesn’t matter how hard I try

Half the words don’t mean a thing

And I know that I won’t be satisfied

There’s a lot of happiness out there among Liverpool supporters after several 2-2 draws with Arsenal and Manchester City. But much like this song’s lyrics, I feel nothing but teenage angst right now.

Both matches were very entertaining. For the first time, we saw Liverpool carry out Brendan Rodgers’ true vision. They possessed the ball with short, smart passes. They moved the ball forward with pace and zeal. Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez looked like they were capable of great things. And mixed in there was some throwback Captain Fantastic as well. Everything was coming together. Life as a Liverpool supporter was great.

And then leads were squandered. The back line faltered. Pepe Reina briefly lost his mind. Just like that, six points became just two. Had Liverpool won both matches and all other results remained the same, the Reds would be just five points out of a Champions League spot.

Now that deficit is nine.

This is why I can’t get as excited as most fans. Yes, it was great to see Liverpool take the fight to Arsenal and Manchester City. They played two of their best matches of the season. And yet that still was not enough to get the job done. If the goal is in fact a Top 4 finish (and it should be) then results like these last two cannot be considered acceptable. And yes, it is okay to have such high expectations. We’ve seen what this team is capable of. Now it’s time to start capitalizing on the team’s good form and grab as many points as possible.

In my last post I spoke at length about how Luis Suarez could depart for Bayern Munich this summer. Regardless of who could be purchased for such a transfer fee, losing Suarez would be a huge step back. Suddenly the expectations cannot and should not be Top 4. They become Top 8 as was the case this season.

I’m not all “gloom and doom” though. I look at the schedule and I see a lot of winnable matches the rest of the way and very few that are cause for concern. Daniel Sturridge isn’t wrong when he says making up nine points isn’t impossible.

But it’s a much more difficult task than it could have been with two wins instead of two draws.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”

Jan 312013

Mario Balotelli

The controversial striker has completed a move back his native Italy with AC Milan. Balotelli has signed a deal for four years worth 4 million Euros ($5.3 million) per year.

Didier Drogba

The former Chelsea striker has completed a move to Galatasaray in Turkey for the next 18 months from China’s Shanghai Shenhua. The Chinese club, however, is disputing the move. Stay tuned for more on this one.

David Beckham

Arguably the world’s most famous footballer, Beckham departs MLS and will sign a five month deal with Paris-Saint Germain. It’s being reported all of his wages will be donated to charity.

Nacho Monreal

The Malaga left back has completed a move to Arsenal for a reported 8.5 million pound ($13.5 million) transfer fee. The move will be hailed by Arsenal supporters after recent poor performances from Andre Santos.

Jack Butland

The highly rated English goalkeeper will join Stoke City from Birmingham City for a reported 5 million pound ($7.9 million) fee.

Philippe Coutinho

The 20 year old Brazilian attacking midfielder joins Liverpool from Inter Milan for a reported 8.5 million pound ($13.5 million) fee. The youngster has chosen to wear the number 10 on his jersey.

Chris Samba

Queens Park Rangers have agreed to sign the former Blackburn defender from Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala for a reported club record fee. Samba will also reportedly earn 100,000 pounds ($158,000) in wages per week.

Mohamed Sissoko

The out of favor Paris-Saint Germain defender will join Fiorentina on loan until the summer.

Anton Ferdinand

With the arrival of Chris Samba, Ferdinand will depart Queens Park Rangers and join Bursaspor (Turkey) on loan for the remainder of the season.

Alan Hutton

The Aston Villa left back joins Mallorca (Spain) on loan until the summer. There is an option in place to make the move permanent.


The FC Porto (Portugal) defender joins Napoli on loan until the season ends.

Danny Graham

The Swansea striker who has taken a back seat to Michu will join Sunderland for a reported 5 million pound ($7.9 million) transfer fee.

Issaac Cuenca

The 21 year old Barcelona winger initially rejected a loan to Ajax, but has since changed his mind and will join the Dutch giants until the summer.

Urby Emanuelson

The left footed Dutchman will join Fulham on loan from Milan for the remainder of the season.

Yassine El Ghanassy

The West Bromwich midfielder will depart for the Netherlands and join Heerenveen on loan until the summer.

Dani Pacheco

With the arrival of Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool’s young Spanish winger will join Sociedad Deportiva Huesca on loan for the rest of the summer.

Yun Suk-Young

The South Korean defender joins Queens Park Rangers for a three and a half year deal.

Rob Hulse

A veteran of the lower divisions in England, Hulse joins Millwall on loan until the summer from QPR.

Srdjan Lakic

The Serbian midfielder joins Frankfurt on loan until 2014.

Lionel Scaloni

The Lazio/Argentine fullback joins Atalanta on loan until summer.

Andy Najar

Najar highlights a trio of MLS moves made as he joins Anderlecht for a reported $2.5 million. Najar is the first MLS Homegrown player to complete a transfer to Europe.

Brek Shea

Not to be outdone, the towering left footed winger from FC Dallas has completed a permanent move to Stoke City. Last week Dallas and Stoke had come to terms on a deal, but MLS headquarters scuttled the deal in an effort to raise the fee.

Kei Kamara

And finally, it has been announced Sporting Kansas City’s powerful forward will join Norwich City on loan until the summer with an option to make the move permanent this summer.


See you in the summer folks!

Jan 202013

No rest for the weary who try to cover the transfer beat!

Theo Walcott

The Arsenal winger’s future had been in doubt, but now we know he has signed a new three and a half year deal. Reports say Walcott will earn close to 100,000 pounds ($158,000) per week in wages.

Loic Remy

The French forward completed a move from Marseille to Queens Park Rangers last week for a “club record fee”. The deal is good for four and a half years.

Djibril Cisse

As a result of Remy’s arrival, QPR’s other veteran French forward has joined Qatar’s Al-Gharafa on loan until the end of the season.


The Brazilian winger will join Cisse at Al-Gharafa but on a permanent basis. Nene had been a regular for years at Paris-Saint Germain.

Martin Petrov

Bolton’s veteran winger will join Espanyol on loan until the end of the season.

Ruben Olivera

The Fiorentina midfielder joins Genoa on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move in the summer.

Louis Saha

The veteran French forward has been released by Sunderland and signed by South Africa’s Wits University.

Maurice Edu

The United States international will join Turkey’s Bursaspor on loan until the summer with an option to buy. Edu joined Stoke City last summer after leaving financially unstable Rangers.


The Dynamo Kiev attacking midfielder joins Schalke on loan until the end of the season in Germany.

Robert Tresche

Hamburg’s midfielder will join Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan until the season ends.

Joel Robles

The Atletico Madrid goalkeeper joins Wigan Athletic on loan until the end of the season.

Vegard Forren

The Molde (Norway) center back has been signed by Southampton for an undisclosed transfer fee. It was widely reported that Forren was highly sought after by Liverpool as well.

Matias Campos 

Granada’s Chilean fullback joins Udinese and has signed a four and a half year deal.

Thomas Rogic

The Australian attacking midfielder has completed a four and a half year move to Celtic from his native Central Coast Mariners.

Carlos Aranda

The Zaragoza forward has completed a permanent transfer to Granada.

Nicola Pozzi

The Sampdoria striker has joined Siena on loan until the end of the season.

Roland Lamah

The Belgium international joins Swansea City on loan from Osasuna until the summer of 2014.

Danny Wilson

Liverpool’s center back joins Hearts on loan until the end of the season.

Lucas Piazon

And finally, Chelsea youngster joins Malaga on loan until the end of the season.


Dec 072012

It’s always bothers me when rankings are done with No.1 up high. Well we at Global Football Today do not encourage laziness, so you’ll have to start at No.16 and work your way down!

16) Galatasaray

The Turkish giants currently sit atop the table in Turkey, but only by a single point. They finished second in Group H, just two points behind Manchester United, by the skin of their teeth over Romania’s Cluj. After losing their first two matches against Manchester United (away) and Portugal’s Braga (home), they managed to earn at least a point in each of their remaining group matches. Burak Yilmaz quietly tied Ronaldo with six goals to lead all goal scorers in the group stage.

15) Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk are currently running away with the Ukrainian top flight title, but needed some help from the tiebreaker to advance out of Group E with Juventus. Many will point to Chelsea’s struggles, rather than Donetsk’s triumphs for an explanation as to why the latter advanced over the former. They’ll need to shore up their defense a little bit if they want to make a run at the quarterfinals.

14) Celtic

Despite the financial meltdown of their crosstown rivals, Celtic are locked in a battle for the top spot in their domestic league. The Hoops played very well in both matches against Group G winners Barcelona to help them beat out Portugal’s Benfica for the runner up spot. One has to wonder if they have enough left in the tank to reach the quarterfinals though.

13 FC Porto

Porto are currently neck and neck with Benfica in their domestic league, but advanced out of Group A thanks to some lackluster performances from Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Zagreb. Even group winners Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) haven’t exactly looked like world beaters in this competition. Porto may be battling for a domestic league title, but they’ve yet to be tested in their European campaign so far.

12) Paris-Saint Germain (PSG)

And speaking of the Group A winners, PSG haven’t looked like the superpower they were projected to be after their summer spending spree. The French club paid a hefty price for the services of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the team has struggled to gel under the direction of Carlo Ancelotti. There are questions being asked about Ancelotti’s ability to get PSG to play to their lofty expectations and rightly so considering they are currently sitting fourth in Ligue 1.

11) Malaga

On the field, Malaga impressed many after winning Group C without losing a single match. But there are off the field issues surrounding their spending spree that goes back to 2011 creeping up at the worst possible time. They have the talent, but they’ll need to be mentally prepared to deflect the controversy surrounding the club’s financial state if they are to progress to the quarterfinals.

10) Valencia

Valencia are having a bit of a crisis in La Liga as they currently sit mid-table. But despite such a poor domestic campaign, they finished tied with Bayern Munich on points and only failed to win Group F because of tiebreakers. Their defense was solid, conceding just five goals in six group matches. Their desire to use this competition as a saving grace for their domestic struggles could make them a very dangerous opponent in the Round of 16.

9) Milan

Yes, they’ve struggled mightily in Serie A and they only advanced out of Group C by a single point. But this Italian side still has a lot of talent and plenty of pedigree in European competition. Anything can happen in a two leg series and nobody wants to have to visit the San Siro with a berth in the quarterfinals at stake.

8) Arsenal

Arsene Wenger’s squad are in the middle of a really poor domestic campaign. However, they still managed to finish second in Group B comfortably and Wenger can also approach the Round of 16 with a loose team that has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

7) Schalke

Schalke won Group B comfortably without losing a single group match. Their domestic struggles are not as worrisome as those of Arsenal, Milan, and PSG and they have some momentum going forward thanks to their impressive performances against a well rounded group. Klass-Jan Huntelaar had an excellent group stage run with four goals scored in six matches. The German side will lean heavily upon him to try and advance to the quarterfinals.

6) Manchester United

It wasn’t pretty, but Manchester United managed to win Group H despite a pair of ugly losses. Still, Sir Alex Ferguson has depth at the forward position and knows how to tactically dictate a two leg series. It’s hard to bet against the Red Devils in any major competition, especially if they can get a favorable draw.

5) Real Madrid

Real Madrid finished second comfortably in this year’s “Group of Death”: Group D. Unfortunately, they’ve struggled in La Liga and currently sit five points behind local rivals Atletico Madrid for second place. Still, Jose Mourinho has plenty of talent to work with and it’s hard to see them crashing out in the Round of 16 regardless of who they draw.

4) Borussia Dortmund

The surprise winners of Group D, Dortmund have relied heavily upon young, up and coming German talents like Marco Reus and Mario Goetze to get the job done in the group stage. Currently they sit in third, 11 points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga but that speaks more to Bayern’s success than Dortmund’s shortcomings. With so many young, highly skilled players many would think Dortmund can make a run at the European title, but there’s no telling how they’ll react to the pressure of a two leg series.

3) Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich got off to an incredibly hot start in the Bundesliga by winning their first 11 matches. That success has carried over to their European campaign where they beat out Valencia on tiebreakers to win Group F. Yes, they had a bit of a mental meltdown against Chelsea in the Champions League final last season, but they still got to there by beating great teams like Real Madrid along the way. There’s no reason to think they can’t duplicate that run, especially if they continue to maintain such stellar form in the Bundesliga.

2) Barcelona

Lionel Messi gave everyone a massive scare after he came on late against Benfica in Barcelona’s Group G finale and was promptly carted off. However, he was back at practice the next day and with a six point cushion on Atletico Madrid in La Liga, they won’t feel the need to rush him back right away. Look for the Catalans to be right there in the thick of things leading up to the semifinals and possibly the final.

1) Juventus 

Like Bayern and Barcelona, Juventus currently sit in first in their domestic league and they won their group (Group E) with relative ease. Andrea Pirlo has picked up where he left off at the Euro 2012 competition with Italy and Sebastian Giovinco is quickly turning into a reliable goal scorer alongside Fabio Quagliarella. Right now Juventus look like a team that cannot be beaten over the course of a two leg series and until someone does so they have to be considered the favorites to win the whole thing.


We’ll have to wait until December 20 for the draw, but until then be on the lookout for a special Global Football Today podcast recapping the group stage results!





Weekly Transfer Update

 Posted by on August 25, 2012 at 9:25 am  Breaking News, Global Football Today
Aug 252012

Alexander Song

The former Arsenal midfielder has joined Barcelona on a five year deal for a 19 million Euro ($23.4 million) transfer fee.

Swap Deal

Two Italian rivals completed a rare swap deal as Antonio Cassano joins Inter and Giampaolo Pazzini heads to the San Siro in Milan. It’s being reported that Inter also received 7 million Euros.

Walter Gargano

And speaking of Serie A, Inter have also acquired the services of Napoli defender Walter Gargano on loan for the 2012-13 season with an option to buy for 5 million Euros ($6.25 million) next summer.

Aly Cissokho

The former Lyon left back has agreed to a four year deal with La Liga’s Valencia.

Danny Welbeck

The English striker has signed a new four year deal to remain with Manchester United even though the Red Devils recently added Dutch striker Robin van Persie to their ranks.

Emmanuel Adebayor

The Togolese striker has completed a permanent move from Manchester City to Tottenham after spending the 2011-12 season on loan with the north London club.

Jose Bosingwa

The  former Chelsea player has left Stamford Bridge and joined Queens Park Rangers for a three year deal.

Kevin Mirallas

The Belgian striker has completed a four year move from Olympiakos to Everton for a fee of 5.3 million pounds ($6.6 million).

Cesar Azpilicueta

The 22 year old Spanish right back has completed a move from Marseille to Chelsea. No terms of the deal have been disclosed.

Josh McEachran

The 19 year old Chelsea prospect will join Middlesbrough on loan for the 2012-13 season.

Kyle Bartley

The former Arsenal defender has completed a three year move to Swansea City.

Matt Jarvis

The former Wolves winger has completed a move to West Ham for five years and a club record 11 million pound ($ 17.4 million) transfer fee.

Adam Johnson

After failing to hold a spot in Roberto Mancini’s first team at Manchester City, the winger will join Sunderland on a four year deal.

Alexander Buttner

The Vitesse Arnhem left back has completed a move to Manchester United for five years.

Nuri Sahin

After transferring to Real Madrid last summer, the Turkish international will join Liverpool on loan for the 2012-13 season.

Joseph Akpala

The prolific Nigerian forward has completed a move from Club Brugge in Belgium to Werder Bremen of Germany’s Bundesliga.

Anthony Annan

The holding midfielder from Ghana has completed a loan move from Schalke to Osasuna.

Robbie Rogers

The American wide midfielder will join Stevenage on loan from Leeds United for the 2012-13 season.