Daily Archives: June 21, 2012
The European Championships took a well deserved break and the action begins tonight with the tie between Portugal and Czech Republic. The Portuguese started the tournament on the wrong foot with a narrow loss to Germany but they found their footing with two subsequent wins against Denmark and the Netherlands.
Like the Portuguese, the Czech Republic team also began the tournament on an all-time low, as they were spanked by Russia but two wins on the trot put them in pole position at Group A.
Both sides have their fare share of household with Portugal having the most expensive player on the planet as well as a handful of overhyped folks. Czech Republic are sweating over the fitness of their captain, Tomas Rosicky, but they’ve been offered some hope as he trained lightly.
He’s still odds on to miss tonight’s match though.
France made things difficult for themselves by losing to a very determined Sweden side, thereby booking a date with the world and European champions, Spain. As expected, many skeptics have written off Les Bleus because as exciting as they may be, they may be no match for the juggernaut called Spain.
After enjoying his best ever season in Arsenal colors, Laurent Koscielny rightly earned a call up but he has failed to make an appearance in the European Championships because of the Phillippe Mexes-Adil Rami combination in the heart of the French defense.
Laurent Blanc has acknowledged Koscielny’s ability and good form, but he stated the need for experience in the centre-back position as well as players that work together in terms of instinct. It’s fair to say that the Mexes-Rami combination has been “solid” but there have been some loopholes that has been exploited by the opposition.
Mexes is a quick defender that reads the game well but he never hesitates to make a tackle and he has earned himself a suspension for the crucial tie against Spain, paving the door open to Koscielny. A few folks at France have labelled Mexes’ suspension as a blessing in disguise because the world is braced to a great defender in the form of Koscielny strut his stuff.
Koscielny’s ability to read the game and anticipate a forward’s move is second to none. His pace is a good factor and his recovery instincts are top-notch as well. He also offers a threat up front from corner kicks because he has a decent heading ability and he can also back-heel the ball into the net if the chance arises (West Brom fans can attest to that).
I believe that Koscielny will forge a strong understanding with Rami and there’s no better game to prove your worth than against the best team in the world. His concentration levels are high and he has shown from this concluded season that he has a strong mentality.
He and Wojciech Szczesny attained pantomime villain statuses after their cock-up in Wembley but he has won the hearts of the fans 10 times over with his performances last season.
In the build-up to the game, Koscielny has urged his teammates to be fearless against Spain:
“It will be a stimulating challenge playing against the defending champions, we have nothing to lose. I do not see why we would have to fear them, rather we should be taking fun from it.
I think that Spain resembles the current Barcelona team. I know Fernando Torres well because I have played against him in England.
Nevertheless, they are a collective team. He will not be their only threat, but we will prepare ourselves to be there on Saturday.”
He was also asked about Mexes’ suspension and he termed it as “unfortunate”. He stated that the game against Spain will be a great chance to prove that he deserves a starting berth.
The match between Spain and France promises to be a mouthwatering prospect and I truly hope for a good game of football.
At Arsenal, things have been having dull with transfer speculation dominating the proceedings.
The news pulling some weight involves Arsenal’s vice-captain, Thomas Vermaelen. He was seen in Ibiza with Carles Puyol having a good time, but the media Vultures wasted no time in linking the defender to Barcelona.
These vultures tend to forget that Vermaelen signed a new deal last season and reiterated his desire to stay at Arsenal forever.
There’s also some news on Carlos Vela. The Aztec Warrior has declared that he wants to remain at Real Sociedad but it seems as if Arsenal are complicating things. Real Sociedad are having issues meeting Arsenal’s evaluation for the player but I’m sure that both parties will reach something concrete in the near future.
Of course, you can’t mention transfer speculation on player departures without including Robin van Persie somewhere in the mix. Arsene Wenger has dismissed talks on his potential move to Juventus and he promised a reporter some ice cream if van Persie joins the Bianconeri.
He openly ‘mocked’ the Serie A as he stated that there’s no reason why a top player like van Persie would want a move to Serie A – in terms of the prestige of the league, the level of play or financial consideration.
That must have been a low blow on Juventus and their league but I’ll let you know when I give a fledgling f*ck.
That’s today’s lot.
Giving a special birthday shout out to a good friend and a massive Gooner, Mayowa Martins Oni, or @mayorbaze, as he’s known in that realm called Twitter.
Have a blast bro, not a Boko one!
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