Sunday, September 23, 2007

Goodbye Jose

19th September 2007 witnessed one the most dramatic managerial departures that the English Premiership has ever seen in its recent past. One of the most successful, yet controversial soccer managers, Jose Mourinho was an annoyingly effective Chelsea soccer club’s manager. His brute spirit and killer attitude had transformed Chelsea’s ridiculous Abramovich-investments into actual silverware – two English Premier League titles, two Carling Cup victories and one FA Cup triumph.

Jose was a colorful chap, who said the most colorful of things in the most colorful of ways. A passionate coach who would do anything to win, Mourinho was a brilliant player manager, bringing the freakishly international and disconnected Chelsea players together. The players at Chelsea loved him, but everyone else around him just hated his guts. Other managers took great offense to Jose’s verbal attacks on everything that did not go his way. Mr Benitez of Liverpool couldn’t stand the Portuguese Mourinho, and he wasn’t afraid to show his hatred. Mourinho has had spites with almost every other egoistic manager, and watching these egos clash has been a wondrous site at times.

So why did he leave? Did he get sacked? Did he quit? Chelsea say that they reached a “mutual” consent with Mourinho on his removal. But personally, I do not think it was as simple as that. I think Chelsea sacked Jose, and Jose could do nothing else but accept it. So as smart as he is, and as smart as Chelsea try to be, according to them, a picture should speak a thousand pretty words, rather than a thousand true and ugly ones. That is the only bit I think they mutually agreed on.

Sacking someone is all about a clash of egos. The billionaire-owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich couldn’t stop poking his nose into Mourinho’s job. For instance, he forced Mourinho to spend around forty million dollars on a thirty-year old striker, Andiry Shevchenko, who he really wanted in the team because of Shevchencko’s and his common areas of descent. And amidst this entire nose poking business, Abramovich’s expectations were unbelievably high. I guess, a billionaire would think that money could buy success. Money did partially bring success to Chelsea, but not as must as Abramovich wished it would. So what did the egoistic, success-hungry billionaire do? He blamed the egoistic, success-hungry manager of not being able to convert Chelsea into the best team there is. Now when two such strong egoistic similar personalities clash, what it really calls for is a “The Bold & The Beautiful” episode on their love-hate relationship.

Personally, I feel that for a manager to be successful, the chairman should have faith and patience in what he has hired, but most importantly, the chairman should enjoy a good rapport with his manager. If he doesn’t then it is not worth maintaining a combustible relationship. So Mourinho’s departure is indeed better for the greater good of Chelsea. On the other hand, he is a great loss to the cinematic entertainment that English Premier League managers are masters at.

I hated Mourinho. He annoyed me so very much, but I always respected the fact that he was a very smart soccer manager who knew how to win, even without playing pretty soccer. Quite simply, he is a passionate untroubled maniac, who always seems to be in control of himself and of everything around him. He is like this mega, huge, strong, annoying wall that cannot be pushed around – to get rid of this wall, you need to break it down with a bulldozer. Mr Roman Abramovich is quite a bulldozer. Good luck to him with him finding a new wall.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Real Ronaldo

He is by far, to me, one of the most unfortunate footballers to grace the world stage. Initially blessed with Cheetah-like pace, jaw-dropping skills, and some brute strength, our fat favourite Ronaldo proved his metal with Barcelona, where he bedazzled himself to superstardom, or more aptly to footballistic enlighenment.

Then came Inter Milan, where he won my heart, and in the early stages proved his record signing fee worthwhile. But then enter "Knee Injury 1". It sidelined him for one and a half years, and thus began the great man's downfall, from which he never fully recovered. Anyway, he did medically recover from "Knee Injury 1", and made his much awaited comeback against Lazio in the Italian Cup semifinal all those years ago. But then 7 minutes into the game, enter "Knee Injury 2". Heartbreaking. In those days this injury-filled genius was my hero, my inspiration and my love. And to see him out for another year and a half was close to devastating. The same knee, the same ligament snapped again. Unluckiness personified.

I don't think he ever recovered from that. That was the time he put on weight, and then kinda betrayed the club that helped his 3-year healing, when he left for Real Madrid from Inter. For me that was his worst decision, but women and gold are similar, so...

Amidst all this pain, he did feel sheer ecstasy. This was at the 2002 World Cup were he scored 8 goals, and led his country to yet another football crown. But not one of his goals where brilliant. They were good, and it seemed that at least his finishing was back on track.

But after the world cup, nothing much happened for him. Real did what Real does best - it allowed Ronaldo to stagnate into this large-if-not-overweight deflated balloon, who could hardly ever find the goal. He struggled at Real. Everyone somehow does. There were so many stars in that over-rated team and not one of them seemed to be making sense at the club, with Mr Beckham making a close second on the list of "half-failures".

The 30 year old, however, has one last chance to prove himself yet again. The struggling Red-Milan club have almost definitely signed him, and the soft heart that I have for the ex-maestro beats for him to regain some lost glory. Completely "abused" at the 2006 World Cup and with all his injuries, this 2-time-world-player-of-the-year piece of talent should have become much bigger than he is now. Well good luck old man, for it's un-wreteched luck that can sometime turn the tables and derive the best out of you.

P.S. Dont forget to enjoy the game.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


It wasn’t a great game. Arsenal were half-struggling. A goal down, Arsenal didn’t seem to make sense. Rio and Vidic were like stone walls, nothing human seemed to get past them. Adebayor and Fabregas seemed to know what they were doing, but Henry and Rosicky were in their own different worlds hatching their own little white eggs. It was getting annoying. Flamini needed to be assassinated. There was enough tension, enough anticipation and enough passion, but chances were few and far. A decent Rooney header was currently making the difference. But then, it all changed.

It wasn’t a great game till the 82nd minute. Solksjaer-Like-Super-Sub Van Persie was brought on. A midfield scramble in which the 2 pigeons, Rosicky and Fabregas nibbled out the ball, led to a decent Czech cross, which Henry claimed to have “back-heeled”, which ultimately went on to the left foot of the Super-Sub and SLAM – top-right corner! Arsenal – 1, Man Utd – 1. I squealed, literally, for I was trying to control the sudden joy, after all we had only equalized. Suddenly the entire stadium was resonating with chants and songs. This newly revived crowd was a little too excited – they were actually gunning for a Gunner winner. Too brash right?

93 minutes after the first kick off, Eboue made a hopeful cross into the box. Up rose King Henry, seemingly awakened from his egg-filled dream world, and slotted home a powerful expert header beyond the reach of the Dutch Van Der Saar. The world then stopped, at least for a moment, along with my heart, and I no longer felt like controlling my “squeals” which were considerably not that. My sister and dad freaked. I screamed and started laughing, this weird cunniving laugh ringed in my head and in my vocal chords. My sister couldn’t take her eyes off me, it seemed as if I had gone bezerk. Joy. Pure bliss. Sublime drug-like ecstasy. Arsenal had done the double, home and away, in typical Man Utd fashion with goals, late goals – and I just laughed.

Forget the 12 points, but the sheer defeat that Man Utd received at the hands of God, i.e. Arsenal is enough to ruin any season. I just had to shove it in someone’s face. But through this I hope to shove it in your face, if, obviously, you are a Man Utd supporter. Moreover, my prediction came true, though it had a low probability, well at least one of the two did.

In the other minor match, Liverpool played well. Chelsea were unsurprisingly disastrous. Their defence was all over the place and Mourinho just irritates the living day lights out of me. I must mention that Arsenal-brewn-talent Pennant’s goal was quite a scorcher. I personally enjoyed Kuyt’s goal too, but otherwise the match was quite dull. 2-0 to the Reds. Good work.

Anyway some weekend huh? Enjoyed it! The Arsenal-faithful, please share your joy with me. Muhahahahahahahahahahaha!

P.S. 2 things, the first being "who said Henry can't head?" and second, "I know this is a little irrelevant, but I am going to be a hypocrite tomorrow. Hopefully, I will let you know!"

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Battle Of The Giants

Probably the most anticipated weekend of the premiership this season, it’s time to unwind, enjoy and worry the hell out of yourself. The top four are knocking on each others' doors, and a more crucial time in the premiership race has not yet been witnessed.

Liverpool V Chelsea: Obviously this one is the less anticipated game of the 2 highly anticipated games.

Chelsea: Chelsea are somewhat struggling. With painstaking displays against Wycombe, Villa, Fulham and Reading, and the recent “big question mark” on Jose Mose, Chelsea look a little shaken up. But, their hopes will be bolstered with the Return of the Jedi, Cech. Maybe the holes in their floodgates will now be cemented. The old “Shevy” needs a lot of oiling up, but his ego never seems to subside. His undying faith in himself, almost exudes over the public, after-all his resume is one to be proud off. There’s no denying his talent and skill, but maybe the English game is too ugly for his liking. But Liverpool, be wary of the “hot-on-fire” wimp Drogba – a supremely strong and skillful player with an annoying habit of “falling over”, he is the best ‘back-against-the-goal” finisher. However with Carvalho (ill), Belharouz and Terry still missing, maybe the floodgates are not that patched up. To add to the injury woes, the club seems to be tearing itself apart by a civil war. Roman and Jose ain't getting along, and their egos are coming in the way. Not good, but hey, anything can happen on the field.

Liverpool: With a midfielder-scarcity, a confused manager and a knack of not-performing-against the giants, Liverpool already seem to have lost this match. Though their recent victory against Watford was half impressive, their consecutive, embarrassing defeats at the hands of the Gunners, are more worrying. What’s to be noted is that they have lost every single match against the big guns of England. So Rafa, prove me wrong! It will be interesting to see whether Bellamy, Kuyt & Crouch will start together upfront, and lets hope they don’t miss Luis Garcia too much. Rafa wants the Chelsea scalp, but it’s easier said than done. Good luck old man!

Verdict: It’s impossible to predict a football match, and in doing so I would be doing injustice to the game, for the unpredictability of football is the beauty of the game. But if it was a computer generated result:
Even though Chelsea are away and in deep waters a predict a half-dull draw.

Why the negativity? Both teams ain’t in the best of forms, and both team quite frankly don’t play the most attractive of football. I hate Mourinho’s “do anything to win” attitude, and Rafa, I feel, is over-rated. But personally, I am supporting Liverpool today! Anything to help Arsenal!

Arsenal V Manchester United: Now we are talking. Both teams are in blistering form, hold your horses folks, this is going to be one hell of a battle.

Arsenal: Looking the most impressive they ever have all season, with the return of Henry and his form, with Adebayor, Rosicky, Fabregas and Baptista buzzing, and the recent recaptulation of form at the Emirates Stadium, Man Utd have all the right to be worried. Though Van Persie is a big doubt, and the great Gilberto is suspended, Eboue and Adebayor are back. But I hope Wenger doesn’t start with the annoying Flamini in the hole with Fabs. Hleb and Rosicky are buzzing on the flanks, and the team looks fresher than ever, with more depth then ever, with more youthful potential then ever and with more class then ever. Aliadiere, Walcott, Clichy, Denilson and Fabregas are frigging young, and it’s in these mammoth contests, where the young have nothing to lose, they blossom.

Manchester United: With Larsson’s bang of an entry, and Ronaldo’s near perfect form, Manchester are in no way underdogs even away at Emirates. Scholes’ consistency, and the strong defence in general is all too good to question, even away from home. With Louis Saha, who I feel has the most immaculate control in the whole of the premiership, combined with the sheer brilliance that Rooney can unleash, Man Utd are friggin’ strong. But then, follow the following equations…

Henry = 1.5 x (Saha)

Rooney = 1.5 x (Adebayor)

Scholes = 1.2 x (Fabregas)

Ronaldo = 1.5 x (Hleb)

Rosicky = Giggs

Toure = Ferdinand

Clichy = Evra

Neville = 1.2 x (Eboue)

Vidic = Senderos

Lehmann = Van Der Saar (though the former is explosive).

Emirates = +1 (Arsenal)

Victory @ Old Trafford = +1 (Arsenal)

(any additions to this list of equations are welcome and open to debate)

With all the above factors in question, the teams cancel each other out, almost, and that’s why this match is going be one hell of a contest.

Verdict: It’s impossible to predict a football match, and in doing so I would be doing injustice to the game, for the unpredictability of football is the beauty of the game. But if it was a computer generated result:
2-1 to Arsenal. I feel they are buzzing too much to not win, and recently at the Emirates they have burst into life.

But hey I could be wrong, and that’s the beauty of it!

Enjoy the football extravaganza of a weekend!

P.S. The image is self made. It's not that great, but none the less...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Becks In The States

" It's tantamount to a semi retirement isn't it? "
-Gary Lineker on Beckham's move.

Totally. It's an escape, with a hint of exploration for Becks, and family. Obviously, Becks’ PR agent is brilliantly diplomatic, for all his public statements are a hundred percent politically and “for-good-image”-ly correct. Apparently he is in it only to raise the "soccer-bar" of the USA. Right. But credit to David on that. How much ever he does get the stick, there is this general radiation of genuineness in Beckham which must be appreciated. But his wife? Well let’s just leave that bit to the “Insider”.

Let us first understand the enormity of this contract – 128 million pounds of 5 years – yes 128 with 6 zeros, to play for an American “Soccer” Team, in country which calls the age-old game of football, “Soccer”! All in all, the moneys adds up to about 26 million pounds a year, and about 490,000 pounds a week, which is about 70,000 pounds a day. Yes I know everyone can do the math, and everyone knows the “figure(s)”, but I need to reiterate – It’s a bloody large sum of money! All I am saying, Mr Beckham, is that, being Godly is all good, but a sum like that would attract even Him. So it wouldn’t be all that bad to admit the fact that, well yes, the money is a ‘fair’ factor, and along with that, “I can also bring about some growth in the MLS, and take American “soccer” to another level” and the other rot. A good counter on that statement of mine would be that Becks has enough already with all his endorsements, so more of these “paper-notes” wouldn’t make that much of a difference to him, but humanity and Posh are different. We humans spend a lot if we can and so does she, maybe her a 'little' more than we can, and when you have 3 mouths to fill, you need that much money now, don’t you?

Sorry, that does sound a little harsh, but sometimes it’s so glaring that we debate only because of the severity of the situation, which goes beyond reason. Let’s not do that. I feel the money is one of the major factors to David's departure and a sum like that will always be - just accept it - no one’s going to kill you. Another "factor", according to me, is Posh. The Hitler-Beckham would love to go the States right, and to Los Angeles? Jackpot!Well to put it nicely 'the family' would love to spend time in one of the most livable places in the world. Now if one women could get a reward for the highest amount of ‘influencing-of-a-man’, it would be the spicy Victoria. From the wackiest haircuts that sometimes even the most open minded people found horrendous (though some were actually good), to the wrongly spelt Hindi-‘Vhictoria’ tattoo, Posh has shaped the pink-man that David is today. Well she is his wife, so it’s not all that bad, but ever since the one thing he is half-good at, “football” has gone no where. His hair, his tattoos, the children, the money, some more hair and so on have been the center of his life. But then, we shouldn’t take anything away from David, after all the best men are the family men. But Davy-boy, let's leave all that apart, just tell us gossip-hungry sadists the real reason for your new pursuit - that’s all I want.

Maybe I am making a big deal out of the family factor and the female-Hitler, but hey how deceiving is what appears? We will never know. So for my selfish pleasure, I write this half-sadistic post and try and ridicule the living day lights out of the Beckham family.

David Beckham’s right foot is legendary in its own way – but then, that’s it. His time at Manchester is also legendary, but since Madrid, it’s been downhill battle for him, and Posh hasn’t really helped. Will Beckham do any better in a “Galaxy” far, far away? Will he “revolutionize” American soccer? I really don’t think so.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement: "David transcends the sport and is a cultural icon. David is clearly one of the most recognizable athletes in the world”.

I say: "David is clearly one of the most recognizable male-fashion-icons of world, beyond the little football he can play with his right boot.” But then who the hell am I?

P.S. I superficially apologize for the harshness, but my views stick.

Arsenally Arsenal - All You Can Breathe!

Just a quick one:

This site offers the most exhaustive coverage of all possible (latest) Arsenal goals, incidences and hell, full matches. It's updated more than regularly and you can find free live streams on the site when the match is going on.

So for all those Harishchandra-like people who don't get to watch the team they love, here's a mini-escape. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Red Tide

Watch out, the Arsenal tide is racing in. Rosicky is back, and so is sublime, poetry-like football that Arsenal are known for. A 6-2 thrashing of Blackburn is enough to prove that, undoubtedly, Arsenal are the best and the most fluent attacking side in the premiership and probably the world, when they are in gear. They can entertain like no one else can, they can create football like no one else can, they can tap talent like no one else can and thank you Mr. Wenger for all that.

Adebayor was bought for 3 million pounds, and so was Van Persie. Apart from Rosicky, Arsenal’s first 11 is lesser in value than Chelsea’s struggling Shevchenko. And to still play such exquisite football is one hell of an achievement. Fine, the Red Tide did have some obstructions in the form of a doubtful defensive display, but hell, they should have scored 10 goals today.

3 minutes into today Arsenal-V-Blackburn game, Arsenal went behind thanks to a Nondo penalty. The Arsenal-brewed talent Bentley looked dangerous for Blackburn, but Gilberto scored an unlikely corner header to put us level. Hleb then added a brilliant second after going past a couple of players, after being put through by Adebayor. Adebayor then got a deserved goal, even though it was through a penalty to make it 3-1 to the Gunners. The Arsenal midfield was purring, and the Red Tide was pushing forward as if Osiris was commanding it to. A brilliant one touch move which ended with Rosicky putting Hleb through would have been finished only if the Belarusian had been a little selfish. The irony of it all!

2nd half – Arsenal were as dominating and when Rosicky hit the bar, you felt as if the poor Czech’s first goal would never come. He deserved one for his excellent display, but Fate continued its curse on him. Emirates stadium has to go through a panic-stage. It went through one when Nondo scored his second, and then Blackburn suddenly took the leash for 10 minutes. But then, enter Van Persie. Thankfully Wenger put him on the right, where I think he plays much better. He proved my point with the goal of the game. Some typical Van Persie fakes (as all Van Persie lovers would know), and a sublime left foot finish, which seemed guaranteed as soon as the Dutch-men switched to his left foot, helped the Arsenal-faithful to breathe a sigh of relief. Then what followed was another brilliant team goal, finished once again by the left foot of Van Persie. It was then Fabregas’ turn to get into the mix. He went past Savage making him look like an idiot, and then indirectly set up the lucky Flamini for Arsenal’s 6th. Wow.

It has been a long time since I have thoroughly enjoyed an Arsenal match, and to get such enjoyment without Henry, says a lot. Footballism’s God prophesizes that Arsenal is going to go on a rampage and this Red Tide is going to sweep the living daylights out of the Premiership. Beware.

P.S. Over-excitement often leads to predictions that are over-enthusiastic in nature, but they are prophesies none the less.