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Qatar host Sweden, and a relegation 6-pointer in La Liga witrh seconmd-bottom Villareal welcoming Sporting G.
They did us 4-0 at theirs on the opening game of the season so was a bit worried. Remain 7th but with about 4 games in hand. Alan Knight is doing a cracking job so far.
if so, amazing :)
It's great being a Dorch fan at the moment
stuff about Balotelli?
What does that mean? Has there been some kind of research about how people fall over in the particular scenario? It is possible to fall unnaturally but still be innocent? What a load of old twaddle.
watching the highlights yesterday who, as well as talking balls about football in general, also seemed to be some kind of posture and falling expert.
people harping on about how he's the greatest player ever. I think one day he could well be, but not yet.
Does he have to reach a certain number of hat tricks? Does it have to wait until he's retired? Not sure if Pele, Maradona were called the best ever during their careers.
I also don't buy the 'he has to do it for Argentina' argument.
which I don't know the answer to. I do think proving it on the biggest stage in football, the World Cup, is one criteria and I don't buy for a moment that the Champions League is a bigger stage.
because the quality of football is higher. Also, George Best is acknowledged as one of *the greats* isn't he?
but at a World Cup you have the expectations of a nation on your shoulders, far more pressure plus you have to do it in a team that you are less familiar with.
and a shit defence?
is its basically saying how great a player is comes down to whether they happen to be in their best form over a seven game spell once every four years. That's such an arbitrary thing that it's a silly way to judge it.
if you're to be considered THE GREATEST.
As much as Maradona is credited with winning the 1986 World Cup on his own, he still had some pretty good players around him - Valdano, Ruggeri, Burruchaga, Batista. As did Pele for all his World Cup wins.
but the quality of the current Barcelona team is ridiculous, certainly better than say Argentina in the 86 world cup or Napoli in the 80's.
I'd personally say Maradona dragging Argentina to two consecutive world cup finals is a huge achivement.
what Maradona did was a huge achievement. I just feel it's slightly unfair to equate a World Cup win with an added level of 'greatness' - Pele, Maradona, Zidane etc. all regarded in a slightly higher class than Cruyff, Van Basten, Best, Zico etc.
This Barcelona team is great, and Messi still stands out.
I think that if Messi is going to be considered either the absolute best (or perhaps in the top 3 with Pele and Maradona) then he really should be capable of achieving something with a team as perpetually talented as Argentina, particularly as he is exactly the kind of player who can take on teams by himself.
he should be able to excel at a World Cup, but if he doesn't that doesn't mean he can't be included in discussions about 'the greatest footballer'.
Much like any debate like this, what's the best film ever, what's the best album ever etc etc it is impossible to decide.
but I do think the World Cup is a silly criteria. Not just for this, but like when people talk about the world cup being evidence of who the best team in the world is. And it's pretty obvious it's not necessarily evidence of that at all 'cos it's a cup competition so luck, form, who's injured etc, play such a huge part of it. The same's true of the Champion's league obviously;
I think consistency brilliance over time's a far better judge of "greatness" than just a few games at random intervals.
But yeah, it's impossible to decide. Personally I don't think a player should be considered as the "greatest ever" until five years after they retire as everyone always remember's what's current now.
a player who is consistent in his domestic league and then on the international stage and then back to his domestic league surely has to rate higher?
The point about where you are born is also relevant, such as great players who had very poor national sides. Also connected to this is players who have always played for the same club team (Messi, Scholes, Maldini etc) there is/was no real reason for them to leave clubs but does a player who has achieved success in different leagues rate higher?
the world cup is the biggest stage.
*in Pele's and Maradona's eras.
its the biggest stage. it just is. its the world cup. the world cup.
whether it's the pinnacle of footballing excellence is another thing entirely
it still isn't really a great method of defining someone's ability as a player and historic status in the game, for all sorts of reasons.
all the 'greats' are made greater because they won it. pele, maradonna, zidane. if a 'great' player hasnt won the world cup, its always mentioned when discussing them.
The only problem would be if there was a candidate from a smaller nation (i.e. the George Weah problem) otherwise a player really should be able to inspire his team to at least a semifinal place etc.
ie scoring goals on their own. Maldini was a brilliant player, never won the World Cup though. Can't really carry a team at left-back, can you?
And while Maldini is my favourite player ever, I can't really argue he is the best ever.
And in the lists of the best players ever, how many defenders are ever included? Beckenbauer maybe, and he also played in midfield.
it was never meant to be. fate.
"all the 'greats' are made greater because they won it", which is based on nothing really. Just something that's arbitrarily assumed and passed off as fact rather than discussing someone's actual technical ability or overall influence on the game.
and all that crowd *did it*, the World Cup was the highest quality competition going, which it isn't really now.
Only using that criteria at a time when you can see the player week-in, week-out and see how good he is is just silly.
being potentially the best of all time in the hype/build up to USA '94
on a wet Wednesday at Stoke.
why a football manager who makes in the region of 70,000 per week would do that. But e definitely dunnit. Look at the replay. And e dun this kind of fing before.
so we're now 4 points adrift. Er, great.
I'm obviously relieved City are six points clear of relegation now though. We're not out the woods yet but I'm getting more confident we'll stay up.
I am sad to see Forest flirt with another spell in Division 3 though.
I mean Davies, though an odious cunt, does get teams to overperform but not *that* much. How have you suddenly dropped so far?
- We did lose a few good players over the summer.
- Billy Davies really drills his teams it seems, so they can overperform - and in the Championship a good run can take you from the lower half into the playoffs relatively easily
- We weren't *that* great under Davies, our unbeaten runs were based on a lot of 0-0s and 1-0s as I recall. We're losing a lot of games 1-0 recently, so arguably the change in form isn't that great
- The Davies team was based on very nippy, athletic players. McClaren decided to add some wheezing old men he'd had at Middlesborough and Andy 'Usian Bolt' Reid to this magic formula
- We're Nottingham Forest so we're always prone to being a bit shit if the opportunity arises.
- Hiring the manager of a struggling team who are only two points above you isn't generally a recipe for success
- I think I'm probably supposed to say DOUGHTY OUT at this point or something?
He manages to get teams to punch WELL above their weight.
but spent yesterday afternoon at a mates watching the games
he's a big spurs fan, end of that match was insane, he was on his knees on the floor head down on the carpet
Was absolutely fuming. Good thing gf has moved out.
Can only imagine what that must've felt like
They loved us at the final whistle as you can imagine. Might have been better if he'd not stood up and started cheering, forgetting where he was...
In his defence he is from Manchester, and there were way more United fans during the Arsenal-United game...
Chelsea were their usual shot-shy guff but even though the teams around them played better, they all lost, so no harm done.
Must have been some strike by Sessegnon to shoot from the North east and beat a keeper standing in goal by the River Thames.
Also, James Milner.
Not just for the 3 points, but the manner of victory.
At 2-1 I thought here we go again, but the team dug deep and Smith's winner was one of my favourite ever Loft End goals. Everyone went nuts.
The most telling thing for me was watching Akos Buzsaky, a player who QPR fans have long believed would thrive at a higher level, yet deemed by Neil Warnock as not good enough for the Championship, absolutely bossing a premiership gam (albeit against Wigan, who look well and truly done.)
Al Habsi is a brilliant keeper. Honestly could've been 6-0 but for some really top drawer saves both of the flashy dive type, and the instinct reflexes
was utterly baffling. Taarabt wants to stay now that Sparky's taken over allegedly too. Wouldn't surprise me if we saw a little more of last season's form from him when he gets back from Africa.
with my QPR-supporting mate. Buzsaky didn't play in that game, but everyone in the away end was going on about him and how he should have been involved... it does seem strange that Warnock hardly ever played him, but also fans can get a bit crazy about these kind of things. I think everyone team has a misunderstood gem who is rotting in the reserves and is definitely a '20 a season player'
that basically kept us up, a 35 yard free kick against WBA and 25 yard piledriver versus Palace.
Yet Warnock slagged him off for not tackling enough, dropped him, barely to seen again, and if he was, it was out of position.
In fact seen an interview this morning where Buz says at Christmas Warnock told him he could leave on a free!
he basically said he knows he's too shit and hughes is going to replace/get rid of him asap.
NB top tier only http://twitpic.com/8aojv9
there were some pictures of the crowd from the Wigan v Bolton cup replay last year.
I'm pretty sure our away support outnumbered the home support, and I'm not even kidding.
it must be so difficult supporting them considering the diaspora which is north west sporting support. It's a rugby town and there are divides between them and the football support. On top of that they are in the middle of teams like Man U, City, Pool and other 'top, top' teams. Even Bolton send letters to wigan postcode areas because some of them are closer to the Reebok than the JJB.
I think if they go down it would be hard to see them come back up again, ever.
Population of 90,000 or so. Average home attendance is just under 17,000 this season, not great compared to other clubs clearly but not as bad as people make out.
I get annoyed when I hear the old ."shit club no fans". bullshit peddled out about Wigan. Given the context in which they operate (both geographical and financial), what they have managed to achieve over the last 10 years is quite fabulous. Plus Dave Whelan's a top drawer fella - a model chairman (previous dodgy business behaviour notwithstanding).
A very likeable team Wigan, especially with Martinez at the helm. The problem is - for how long will Martinez build a career on being likeable and trying to get his teams to play good football? His neglect of the Wigan defence is absolutely mind-boggling...
Their achievement in getting to and staying in the top flight for so long is staggering.
that's all i can be bothered to say about united arsenal.
That Defoe miss will haunt my dreams for weeks. IMAGINE if he'd scored.... We'd be 2 points off top and 13 points ahead of Arsenal! Them's the fine margins in football though. What was Ledley thinking?!
Defoe actually did well yesterday. VDV's form recently has been patchy at best - I'd like to see us give Defoe-Ade a few games together just to freshen things up.
This Balotelli debate is pretty boring. There's no way anyone can definitely say whether or not it was a deliberate stamp. I still love the guy.
Lescott's elbow on Kaboul, however, looked pretty naughty to me.
Great game for the neutral. Utterly depressing for me.
Who'd have guessed that a couple of years ago?
Not in a horror tackle way, more in the lack of application of basic footballing skills and knowledge
That wasn't even a tackle, he literally went to kick the ball and didn't even know Bent was there. It was pure Chuckle Brothers
It looked like Berra didn't even know Bent was there whilst King did a very clumsy scissor challenge that was never going to win the ball in the last few seconds of the game.
He just underestimated how much quicker than him Bent would be.
Like he knew this was his chance to prove he could lead the line and he couldn't deal with the pressure. Took his goal brilliantly though.
Alessio Cerci (Fiorentina) to Everton
Willian (Shakhtar Donetsk) to Chelsea
Leandro Damiao (Internacional) to Man Utd or Spurs
Giovani dos Santos (Spurs) to Bolton
Vedran Corluka (Spurs) to AS Roma or Lyon
Joe Allen (Swansea) to Spurs
Ismael Bangura (Al Nasr) to Bolton
Mauro Formica (Blackburn) to Olympiakos
Ben Foster (Birmingham) to QPR
Nikica Jelavic (Glasgow Rangers) to Liverpool
Peter Odemwingie (West Brom) to Fulham or West Ham
Brian 'Rambo' Brown (Rusea's High) to Aston Villa
Nigel De Jong (Man City) to Juventus or Galatasaray
Nedum Onuoha (Man City) to QPR or Everton
not having that
even, according to the Jamaican press
One of the few areas where we actually have some quality.
Interesting fact - Paddy Kenny didn't register with a club until he was 19 so he doesn't count as a home grown player
Why would we replace a keeper who's been quality this season and kept 25(?) clean sheets in the league last season?
Club record in fact
isn't he actually good?
I'm signing for Villa!
dear mr. wenger, please get back all our loan people. we need them.
i wonder if any of the players actually knew who he was
Plenty of technically gifted but fragile attacking midfielders though, should start playing them as wingbacks.
So many crackers - 3 incredible goals just at the QPR Wigan game.
And to round it off, there was Lescott's which was one of the least graceful goals I've ever seen
as was bales. thought nasris was pretty handy too. had a lot of time for van persies placement and rodellagas free kick was superb.
Where the ball loop up in the air from a deflection towards the edge of the box. He flicked it up then hit it on the half volley going into the top corner and just kept up.
Rodellaga's goal got a ripple of applause in the home end. Pretty special
i was saying to my dad how we'll probably never even hear of the guy again, but for saturday at least, he was a hero.
crossfield ball by SWP?
Dempsey's first goal and Goodwillie's goal.
Not just a rebound, either. Multiple arse touches.
Last night they referred to Mauro Formica as "Formika" and Michel Vorm as "Vurm". Is that how you actually say those names and the memo only got sent around the BBC now, in fucking January?
For-MI-ka. Stress on the second syllable and a hard c. I think.
Julian Lescott. David de Silva and BOLOCELLI ffs
when he started cry wanking about what a good player Scott Parker is after his off-the-ground lunge on Micah Richards
wouldn't be surprised if he's playing champions' league football in a couple of years.
must say I did spend alot of time on Saturday chanting at Chelsea fans that they were all racist (is that racist in itself?)
mark it down in your collective memories/planners NOW this is huge...
SUPER SUNDAY indeed
I'm literally salivating at the thought
with some thissing:
but I do not understand why Wenger did not substitute him instead of Oxlade-Chamberlain, and indeed I do not understand why there was a need for Andrei Arshavin to be anywhere near the football pitch at all
if Oxlade-Chamberlain was completely knackered (which he didn't look!). Even if he was, we had the momentum, and just rest him for a week if playing the full game knackers him out, or wait until we bang in a second and bring on a defender. He would have run his socks off until the final whistle, the kid was loving it.
Walcott had a stinker. I don't think he's had anything approaching a good game since we beat Chelsea. His performances against the "weaker" teams over the Christmas and New Year period were appalling.
He was also ill during the week.
watch Ox's interview after the game. watch van persie's reaction. he wasn't struggling in the slightest - the sub came mere minutes after he set up the equaliser. the hostility of the arsenal fans was a bit overboard all the same, i'd have to say as someone who's not wenger's biggest apologist these days.
surely he'd have done the little roly-poly hands gesture at the bench?
It's pretty soon isn't it?
in the hope he'll carry you into the Champions League before leaving on a free, or cut your losses and try to get as big a transfer fee as possible?
to sign a new contract to keep him at Arsenal.
So it all depends how he performs for the rest of the season and at Euro 2012.
Undoubtly, Man City will offer to treble his salary and give us 50+ million so that's where he'll end up next. Possibly.
Last time I was at the Reebok we scabbily took all three points thanks to the scrappiest Maxi goal ever. It felt amazing but also hugely undeserved and cruel to Coyle.
So them dishing out an ultimate batty-spanking is fair enough really.
Even so, just as you're starting to become angered and frustrated with the squad, your manager goes and says exactly what you want him to. In hammering his dreadful signings, he said precisely what the fans wanted to hear.
As tepid as Liverpool are right now, I genuinely think we will ditch both sets of Mancs out of the cups this week. I'm also very confident that if we do, we'll go on to lose at Wolves straight afterwards.
NB. Just as I thought other people's matchdays couldn't get any more embarrassing (after experiencing the City empties and 'Thank You Sheikh Mansour' signs and the Blue Moon spotlight etc.), Bolton might have actually pipped them. About halfway through the first half, out of nowhere, the big screen suddenly shows their lion mascot doing a set of dance-moves, to which the fans all chant along to. I felt embarrassed for them, even despite the fact that I was supporting the team that had Andy Carroll playing for us. All in all - :'(
of course we have no shame.
The lion does that during the game all the time. Never seen it on the screen though.
You boys were proper, proper poor btw. Surprised.
Without him (or Spearing for that matter) holding the midfield together Davies and Reo-Coker were able to wander unchallenged as far as the 6 yard box. It's all very well saying that someone else should be playing there (as the surprisingly unannoying ESPN commentators pointed out) but Adam, Gerrard and Henderson are all much of a muchness and can't really slot into that position at will.
Shouldn't let that distract from a diabolically bad performance though. With the exceptions of the Reina, Bellamy and the centre backs every single Liverpool player should be thoroughly ashamed of that performance. No drive, no spark, no creativity, nothing. We deserved nothing, which is precisely what we got.
Goal-music is obviously indefensible, and to be expected from the majority of clubs.
But the dancing lion on the screen was literally number 1 on my list of worst things I've ever seen at football.
he'd do a move and the fans would go "HOOO!" then another move and "HAAA!" then something else and "HOO!" again.
It prompted a "what the fucking hell is that?" because it was just during the game, not after a goal or anything. mind-boggling.
is it the one where he flexes muscles and that?
but on the screen.
though i guess i've been watching 'him' do that for about 15 years.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon is reserved for when Al Fayed makes his way out of a shed and into what looks like a shark diving cage on the other side of the pitch, pre-match.
In all fairness I think it's to be expected from everyone from about 8th down-wards. Which is why City's gimmicks are extra-cringe and why stuff like this is begrudgingly hilarious: http://tinyurl.com/7th5qqm
doing the poznan when we equalised against City - best moment of the season
Well spoken you say? Whatever next.
If ever there was a name designed to be suffixed by ."...and I'm reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics". it's his.
I find it hard to believe that he's completely uncontrollable and an irredeemable character at the age of 18. He's clearly a first rate dick but surely not beyond redemption. Just send him to live with Kevin Nolan, that clearly works wonders.
some horrible stories about him, and now he isnt bothering turning up to training.
he doesn't seem to want to sign a new contract. if we had another year left i think shipping him somewhere on loan might work, but there's not much point.
There's no reason to disbelieve anything in that article really. The kid is a grade-A cunner, beats girls up, beat his Mum up (allegedly) and is regularly missing training and reserve games. I think the fact he has only made a couple of first-team appearances is what speaks volumes the most though. He is definitely good enough and would be on the bench regularly at least if it wasn't felt that he's just an irredeemable bad egg.
I desperately hope he can get his head sorted and focus on his football because he's a ridiculous talent but I don't think he will at this stage.
he's had enough chances. maybe if he moves abroad he'll be away from all the extra curricular shit that he seems unable to avoid in manchester. he seems like a lost cause now though.
Fucking hell he must be rolling in it
All-time Gabonese top-scorer Daniel Cousin doesn't even make the starting XI
I'm hoping for a goalfest
the algerian gk last time was my favourite.
That was good, I can't remember who he was playing for though.
best tournament for refs and keepers.
it was better than i remember.
1)ridiculous showing off diving saves
2) gets angry when egyptian scores a penalty past him after a clear dummy/pause in the run up
3) ref gives him a yellow for arguing.
4) he headbutts the ref. NO CARD.
5) second half, comes FLYING out for a 1v1 and wallops the striker in the shins with a happy gilmour like kick, concedes pen.
6) second yellow, he's off!
(all the while whilst covered in what looks like bright blue duck tape.)
hero. he's wearing trousers, obviously, because that's what mental keepers do.
I'd forgotten about him, he was great
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJP7b60h2ck (also features high quality Crooksisms)
Sounds like an all-round 'character' (lunatic) :D
And in that clip at 1:36 the commentator decides to name his least favourite person in the Beatles story.
Wanna see Adel tear shit up
He's a maniac
celebrating that goal with his wife. His name is – no joke – Ali Bongo.
As gutted as i've felt after a spurs match in a long time. Regardless of balotelli's stamping (what a loveable rogue he is), City should've been down to 10 after Lescott's forearm smash on Kaboul. We should've defended better for both city goals (Kyle Walker, i'm looking at you), and our 'big' players should've played better (VDV and Modric i'm looking at you) but our comeback was superb and probably shows how far we've come in recent months/years. Also, Bale's goal and second half performence was a delight.
Hopefully yesterday will convince levy (if needed) that we need to sign a replacement for Adebayor when he leaves, and not just extend Pav's contract...(as has just happened...). Defoe did pretty well in places - his goal was well taken - but he's not a lead the line striker that will take us any further.
With regards Messi (i.e. the greatest player of our generation), are we all agreed that any one of the following isn't not the best player ever:
/make sure we don't lose him on a free. It was a unilateral decision on the part of the club; he didn't have any say in it (from what I can tell). And I don't think any of the defence covered themselves in glory for Nari's goal. I'll have to watch it again, but once a winger comes that far inside, the full-back is entitled to expect some help from one or both of his centre-backs.
but walker wasn't even close to nasri in the end. Killer through ball mind.
Best doesn't belong anywhere near that list.
pele, puskas, di stefano and maradona (to a certain extent), we have to rely on folk who were around at that time to inform the debate as much as anything, and Best's name seems to come up an awful lot. He's also the only one of those whose been on top of the pops.
Tier 1 - Pele/Diego
Tier 2 - Zizou
Tier 3 - Best/Zico/Di Stefano/Cruyff/Garrincha
Tier 4 - Beckenbauer/Charlton/Ronaldo (the real one)
Tier 5 - Some olden day chaps
Have I missed anyone?
nb - Messi will be judged at 35. plus, aint done shit in the wc, which is the true test of a great
nb2 - Best obviously didn't get an oppo at the wc
Wowsers, what does he think this is, rugby union? Dirty boy.
Yago Falque playing tonight? Might keep an eye on the game...
I've seen that dog being walked. Harry had with him, in descending order of general usefulness, a battered old football (held in his hand silver service tray-like) and Jamie.
which six months?
Adel isn't even starting. Fuck this shit.
Very surprised by this, especially if Lescott gets away with trying to break Kaboul's jaw.
charge both or neither
and so obviously media-led it's not true. An incident in which it's impossible to tell the intent in is a 4 match banning, whilst a blatant sending off offence is just ignored? What a fucking circus.
should be joining him.
kevin "zinedine" kilbane
he was very good in this division for huddersfield last season, and would instil a bit of leadership now james o'connor's departed for orlando. that, and he'd be a much better option on the left than julian bennett and daniel jones.
leicester looking very strong against southampton. 2-0 inside the first half hour.
Pretty clear that we don't have the squad depth to win this division. Without our best defender, midfielder and striker and it really showed. Don't like hearing the crowd get on the players' backs either.
Seems confident on the ball, couple of moments of great skill, got himself in some space a few times. Screwed up in front of goal at least once that I remember, but he was by no means alone in that regard...
we could get a pasting. carroll might even score :s
And he won't.