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The tactics lesson from Abramovich to Essien would have been worth paying to see. And England's Lionheart captain doesn't come out of it too well, does he?


Clearly had access to Mourinho for this article, too. The reference to the £5m bid he wanted to put in for Micah Richards is in there entirely to make him look like a great spotter of talent...
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"... the Russian billionaire decided to hand out an impromptu tactics lesson to Michael Essien.
Employing striker Andriy Shevchenko as translator, he instructed midfielder Essien, player of the year last season, to hit passes wide rather than through central areas where the Norwegians had compressed play."
Blimey! I wonder if that's true.

"Grant's first match comes at Old Trafford this afternoon, but he did not work yesterday for religious reasons"
That's ridiculous.

Can't wait for the game. I hope Utd bury them and the wheels come right off.

"He must also wait for his Israeli coaching qualifications to be cleared by Uefa before he can be formally approved as a top-flight manager. Chelsea insist the process will be trouble-free.
Though Grant claimed that he had no 'plan to be the manager' until the appointment came about, he had begun requesting clearance from Uefa a fortnight ago."
Hmmm, that's strange, almost as if... no, surely not.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Well, 2-0 for United, not exactly inspired but completely closed Chelsea out of the game after the sending off as you might expect. United up to second and not playing that well, looking very ominous for the other teams. Hopefully this could be the start of Chelsea's slide to mid-table mediocrity....
Guess it's all about the sending-off though right? To me it was a harsh decision but not necessarily the wrong one, it was one of those challenges that's kind of somewhere in-between a yellow and a red. If you're unlucky you have to walk, if you're lucky you get yellow. He was certainly reckless.
 

tom pr

New member
Guess it's all about the sending-off though right? To me it was a harsh decision but not necessarily the wrong one, it was one of those challenges that's kind of somewhere in-between a yellow and a red. If you're unlucky you have to walk, if you're lucky you get yellow. He was certainly reckless.
One of the worst reffed big games in years I thought. The Mikel tackle was never a red, and once he'd sent him off he then only gave Giggs and Joe Cole yellows for tackles that were just as high. He didn't give a penalty where he should've (Joe Cole on Evra), gave one where there wasn't (Saha's ridiculous dive - which they should administer post-match floggings for), and then he let United score two and a half minutes into the one minute added on at half time. And something I didn't see at the time because I left the pub after the second goal, Wes Brown (already on a booking) clattered Kalou as the final whistle went, injuring him, and Mike Dean does nothing!
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"Isn't it Yom Kippur? It's not really ridiculous; Benayoun didn't play for Liverpool on Saturday for the same reasons..."
I think it's ridiculous for Chelsea to be in a situation where they are in turmoil after losing their manager, they need points and they are playing the champions but the new manager can't even train with them the day before the game - whatever the reason. If I were a Chelsea fan I would be well and truly pissed off. Remember, it's not life and death, it's more important than that.
 

tom pr

New member
I think it's ridiculous for Chelsea to be in a situation where they are in turmoil after losing their manager, they need points and they are playing the champions but the new manager can't even train with them the day before the game - whatever the reason. If I were a Chelsea fan I would be well and truly pissed off. Remember, it's not life and death, it's more important than that.
I've been a season ticket holder there for a decade, and I've been pissed off all week. Just not over the holiday thing... ;)

Something I saw on BBC today that is simply bizarre, about Mikel's sending off: Chelsea submitted a claim for wrongful dismissal on Monday and a regulatory hearing will decide on Tuesday. The red card cannot be reduced to a yellow by the FA's commission. So if the hearing deems Mikel's tackle worthy of a card of any colour, the sending off will stand. Who thought up that bit of legislation?! I'm sure bans for yellow-worthy tackles that have got reds have been recinded before...
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"I've been a season ticket holder there for a decade"
Oh, you have my commiserations.

"The red card cannot be reduced to a yellow by the FA's commission. So if the hearing deems Mikel's tackle worthy of a card of any colour, the sending off will stand"
Seems a bit stupid and I guess it aint going to be cancelled because there is no doubt that was a yellow. The only rationale I can think of is that they deem a mistake in the colour of a card an error too small to be retroactively corrected ie to complain and say "yeah it was a bad foul but not quite as bad as the ref said" isn't really worth doing.
 

tom pr

New member
Seems a bit stupid and I guess it aint going to be cancelled because there is no doubt that was a yellow. The only rationale I can think of is that they deem a mistake in the colour of a card an error too small to be retroactively corrected ie to complain and say "yeah it was a bad foul but not quite as bad as the ref said" isn't really worth doing.
They might as well just call off hearings altogether if they're going to surround them in this much silly legislation though. It's like the rule that if you've already been sent off that season you can't appeal, and it's an instant four game ban. I just can't fathom how a bunch of grown men getting paid that much money can actually sit in a boardroom and think that something like that is a good idea.

You might have already said earlier in the topic, but who do you support?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"You might have already said earlier in the topic, but who do you support?"
Man Utd

"I just can't fathom how a bunch of grown men getting paid that much money can actually sit in a boardroom and think that something like that is a good idea."
Yeah. It aint just football where that happens though...
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Couple of interesting European games featuring uk sides this week.
Man Utd v Roma tonight, potential needle-match on the pitch and potential trouble off it. Could be interesting.... don't think they will get seven again though. Roma aint going to like this either

Ronaldo, who marked a sublime display with two goals, said: "When we were 6-0 up, one of their players said 'don't do any more dribbles', almost begging. I won't reveal his name as these are comments brought about by the game."
Also, Chelsea away in Valencia tomorrow, after Drogba's hilarious comeback, Terry's injury and the general lack of inspiration on the pitch and on the bench on Saturday they need a good performance and a win but Valencia are unlikely to be too obliging - especially given that Chelsea knocked them out last year.
 

tht

akstavrh
the current barcelona side is something else, with iniesta displacing ronaldinho as a left sided playmaker, messi as right wing-forward killing everything in sight and henry subbing for eto'o up front, the two best fullbacks, a good disruptive midfield player in yaya toure, a rejuvenated deco and two possible next level kids (krkic and dos santos) for end of game subs

nobody in england would get in their front 5 except maybe fabregas, although given he is like an aggregate of xavi, deco and iniesta, if he stayed in barcelona he would probably be covering for them as necessary

comparing with united who have maybe the next best individual forward line (a big drop still) where there is no tactical intelligence and two withdrawn forwards and a wing forward swarm around without purpose hopefully coming together at some point early next year
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"the current barcelona side is something else, with iniesta displacing ronaldinho as a left sided playmaker, messi as right wing-forward killing everything in sight and henry subbing for eto'o up front, the two best fullbacks, a good disruptive midfield player in yaya toure, a rejuvenated deco and two possible next level kids (krkic and dos santos) for end of game subs"
Barcelona, awesome strike force, terrible defence and who do they buy? Henry, at eighteen million or something. Then they wonder why they don't win stuff, absolutely moronic. Football is a game of so many parts and a good team has to have them all.

"nobody in england would get in their front 5 except maybe fabregas"
Ronaldo?
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I suggest a permanent Jol/Grant/Mourinhocam on Sky Sports/Match of the Day, showing the three protagonists' facial expressions change according to the minute-by-minute changes in critical games. I suggested a Svencam to the BBC for the last World Cup (whcih would have let us observe his overemphasised gestrues in minute detail) but was told to leave before they had to call security.
 

tht

akstavrh
Barcelona, awesome strike force, terrible defence and who do they buy? Henry, at eighteen million or something. Then they wonder why they don't win stuff, absolutely moronic. Football is a game of so many parts and a good team has to have them all.
there were 3 signings apart from henry (£16m is fuck all for barcelona anyway, they've recouped that already in swag sales)

yaya toure (defensive midfield) ~£6m
abidal (left fullback) ~ £10m
gabriel milito (central defence) ~ £13m

the summer before was a complete fuckup where they neglected their defence excepting thuram/zambrotta from the juve firesale and forgot about getting a good dm entirely (also signed eidur gudjohnsen their now 7th choice forward on a very lucrative contract and can't get rid of him - see saviola)

this summer they did a lot better and it shows, gabi is a bit slow and cumbersome and was a second choice after chivu's agent fucked up, abidal is awesome and toure looks like he may well be the same, and cost less than a midtable english side would spend on a nothing player like parker or reocoker

the last few games (without ronaldinho, eto'o, puyol) they have been amazing, a level beyond arsenal now or utd v roma last season, messi is unreal and the defence seems fine
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
"the last few games (without ronaldinho, eto'o, puyol) they have been amazing, a level beyond arsenal now or utd v roma last season, messi is unreal and the defence seems fine"
Messi is on fire but I was watching them on the telly the other day (Thursday I think... or maybe it was the week before) and they leaked silly goals even though they had the ball the whole time. Looked like the same old Barce to me, every time Messi got a goal the defence tried to give it back. Time will tell of course but I just see the same old story of blitzing the smaller sides and getting done by someone like Liverpool who know how to defend. The forward line is frightening though of course and beautiful when it all clicks.
 

tht

akstavrh
their last few games were

4-1 levante
4-1 zaragoza (excellent goal from zapater setup by aimar, nothing else all game)
3-0 lyon
2-1 sevilla (consolation goal in injury time thanks to oleguer)

the first choice defence of abidal-milito-puyol-zambrotta hasn't even played yet, though i'm not sure how useful a direct comparison with a normal defence is since they play so high up and the primary defence consists of retaining ~70% possesion at home (a little less away) with xavi's superb interceptions as important as toure's hurting

suppose my reason for proselytizing is that this side could play sublimely and win, and that this has only be seen in glimpses thus far ~

the cl winning side of 05/06 was a lot weaker, oleguer as a regular starter, crappy edmilson/motta/van bommel as 2/3 of the midfield, the aged larsson and limited giuly getting playing time ahead of messi, and although half of that was improved last year there were several limiting factors- long term injuries to eto'o and messi with inadequate subs and commensurate dependence on ronaldinho, who only turned up to training half the time

now they can negotiate a little with ronaldinho - they don't need him and they will probably come to see their interests coincide - if he still wants to play football then chelsea is discounted (not enough similar players around, still predominantly industrial footballing climate and too fast and violent for him) and if the taxes in italy are unfavourable so milan is still unlikely

even if they fulfill their promise, i'm not sure how useful it will be generally in effecting an impovement in the aesthetic level of other teams cos most sides don't have the allure of barcelona even if they can afford to buy players like henry and deco - arsenal are a much better examplar by combining economy and skill
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
their last few games were

4-1 levante
4-1 zaragoza (excellent goal from zapater setup by aimar, nothing else all game)
3-0 lyon
2-1 sevilla (consolation goal in injury time thanks to oleguer)
Yes, you're right, I was trying to find out what it was and I asked the guy who was with me - he thought it was Real Zaragoza. Saw it go 1-0, 1-1, 2-1 and then I thought it went 2-2 but my friend tells me that I was basically imagining things. Sorry.

"suppose my reason for proselytizing is that this side could play sublimely and win, and that this has only be seen in glimpses thus far ~"
Could happen I guess. It will certainly be interesting to see.

the cl winning side of 05/06 was a lot weaker, oleguer as a regular starter, crappy edmilson/motta/van bommel as 2/3 of the midfield, the aged larsson and limited giuly getting playing time ahead of messi, and although half of that was improved last year there were several limiting factors- long term injuries to eto'o and messi with inadequate subs and commensurate dependence on ronaldinho, who only turned up to training half the time
They were certainly the weaker team in the final although Arsenal got the run of the decisions. Overall though, compared to Real Madrid or Milan or Liverpool (which are the teams they would compare themselves to) Barcelona have underperformed both historically and in recent years because of an over-emphasis on attack. Maybe they have the balance right now.
I really like the way that football is about all the different ways that you can win though. Every now and again I enjoy seeing a defeated Wenger moaning about how Bolton don't play football - yes they do, they just play it differently from you and it can be quite effective.
 
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