Daily Archives: June 24, 2012
The sad smiley on that tweet painted the picture vividly for everyone.
I really like Laurent Blanc and his exciting Les Bleus outfit but a part of me knew that yesterday’s fixture against Spain was the end of the line for that lot. The tactical set-up employed by Blanc at the start of the game was baffling to say the least and no eyebrows were raised when Mathieu Debuchy was left for dead before Jordi Alba’s inch-perfect cross was met by Xabi Alonso, the centurion.
Yohan Cabaye rifled in a free kick from quite some distance but Iker Casillas was on hand to make a good save despite being a peripheral figure all game long. At some point, @mayorbaze asked if he was wearing a swimsuit because he hadn’t seen him for a large chunk of the game.
Franck Ribery was a tireless worker on the flanks but Karim Benzema failed to be on the same wavelength with the elf with a scar. I have a hunch that it was the Barca Effect that took its toll on young Karim. Late on, Revelliere’s clumsiness in the box cost his team dearly, as Xabi Alonso stepped up again to dispatch his spot kick past Hugo Lloris.
The first semifinal will be an Iberian affair and we can only hope for a great game of football. Some credit must go to Vicente del Bosque for his astute tactics that has been more than a handful for teams in the tournament. Despite missing out on a key striker like David Villa, his 4-6-0 tactical set-up with a “false No. 9” has kept teams on the back foot so far.
From an Arsenal perspective, Laurent Koscielny deputized for Phillippe Mexes and made a good account of himself. He kept his bearings in check and made some vital interceptions in the course of the game.
The final quarterfinal fixture takes place tonight and I’m bracing myself for a dose of some boring football, but I’ll live. Italy hasn’t lit any fireworks in the competition, but Cesare Prandelli gave the football world a hint on how to contain Spain. It’s unfortunate to know that his fellow football managers failed to follow suit.
The 3-5-2 formation is an innovative tactical outlook that has its pros and cons. However, it clearly works for teams that have the personnel to employ it.
Daniele de Rossi was immense in the game against Spain playing as a libero, and he had Giorgio Chiellini and Leandro Bonucci to offer him protection while he distributed play via his inch-perfect long passes. Christian Maggio and Emmauele Giacherini worked tirelessly as wingbacks while Thiago Motta, Claudio Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo interchanged well in the middle of the park.
It would be interesting to know who starts upfront alongside Antonio Cassano tonight. The veteran striker, Antonio di Natale, has bellied the years in this tournament with a well-taken goal against the defending champions, but the volatile maverick, Mario Balotelli, also staked his claim with the peach of a goal against Ireland.
The celebration of the great goal was quite awkward with Balotelli aiming a barrage of words on the Italian dugout, but Bonucci did the right thing by covering his pile hole. However, the picture of that scenario has taken a new outlook, as shown below.
Moving over to Arsenal news, Robin van Persie has earned a place in the spotlight yet again, with his future being the bone of contention. With Juventus out of the way, fresh reports are emerging that Manchester City are bracing themselves up to make a bid for Arsenal’s talisman, and a swap deal with bad boy, Carlos Tevez, could be on the cards.
The speculation regarding van Persie’s future is rife but a swap deal with a player like Tevez will not be in the club’s best interests. Tevez’ ability on the pitch is unrivaled but his shenanigans off it will be a thorn in Arsenal’s flesh. Besides, he earns a whooping £200,000 per week and I’m pretty sure that a mercenary like Tevez won’t take a pay-cut to play for Arsenal.
There’s also some bullocks of van Persie looking at Chershire properties ahead of the proposed move but its articles like this that gives me pride in calling them “media Vultures”.
However, Arsene Wenger has defended his star striker in the wake of Holland’s shambolic showing the Euros. Like his teammates, van Persie came under serious criticism from the media, as he and his egotistical Dutch folks failed to step up in Group B. Wenger stated that van Persie deserves more credit for his performances because he was Holland’s “best striker”.
Le Boss added:
“Van Persie makes sure that a team plays football. I’ve analysed his performances and if you watch really closely, you will see that he made some brilliant moves and runs.
At crucial stages he didn’t get the ball. On the times he did not score with the chances he had can be put down to fatigue. But he’s the perfect striker.
“If you want to reach a really high level as a team, you must pick Van Persie. He’s an example for every striker. He’s an exceptional football player and more than just a striker.”
Andrey Arshavin and his Russian teammates have also come under some stick from the Russian hierarchy, as proposals might be put in place to ban star players like Arshavin, Roman Shirokov and Alan Dzagoev from moving to foreign clubs as well as to prevent them from starring in TV ads.
That’s a bit extreme if you ask me.
Russia was knocked out of the competition because of Michel Platini’s indulgence in adding the head to head rule in the Group stages. Even with a loss to Greece, the Russians had a better goal difference but like Sepp Blatter, Platini can’t keep his hands in one place.
I heard that Euro 2016 might have 24 teams.
A fixture between Russia and Germany would have provided a better spectacle but we can’t change what has happened.
Finally, the world’s best striker, Nicklas Bendtner, has been linked with Malaga and we all hope that move materializes because those folks know how to spend some money. I’m pretty sure that Arsenal won’t mind a few quid or two from the greatest striker that ever lived.
For those that care to know, Lionel Messi turns 25 today. He has scored 281 goals, made 70 appearances for Argentina, amassed 21 trophies, 77 individual awards and he currently holds 19 world records.
I’ve stated that Messi came from Krypton with Clark Kent. He has successfully invaded Mother Earth and he’s currently colonizing us.
Where’s Chuck Norris when you need him.
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