Archive for May, 2007

Lalas Tells Us It Was Never About Football

Alexi Lalas

It sickens me when these supposed football “analyst” come on ESPN and try to force feed me the fact that Beckham’s arrival to the MLS would be great for American football(or soccer) and how the game would improve with his addition…..bollocks!!!

It was always about tickets and merchandising sales for the MLS and L.A. Galaxy. Why the f**k else would Lalas be bitching about Beckham’s inclusion to the England side that would be facing Brazil and Estonia. We’ll put aside asking how the heck he got the galls to be warning others about future Beckham England selection, or how the hell he is a GM after his shit job at Red Bull and tackle what he means by “inappropriate friendlies”. Such comments show the level of ignorance on his part to football outside of the Northern American borders. When is a friendly inappropriate? Never! Teams are constantly trying to achieve the right blend of starting eleven, the right tactical adjustment to place during key situations and even evaluate the development of players before key tournaments. With England in such a disarray with their form every friendly game is crucial to deciding which player is to be among the starting eleven. These games are even more crucial to David Beckham who desperately wants to prove his worth (and quite possibly attain his 100th cap for the Three Lions).

One would think Lalas should understand the importance it is for a player, who many believe is way passed his prime, to be called to represent his national side. But Lalas isn’t a footballer anymore but a businessman, a businessman who realizes that a lot is riding on the two foot of his most prized asset. The MLS, along with multiple partners also footing the bill, paid a shit load of money to bring this guy to northern America and are hoping he will pay dividend by increasing popularity of the sport by way of bringing in more television advertising and increased ticket sales to the stadiums he visits. All these would therefore become a pipe dream if to say Beckham were to sustain an injury that would keep him out from his season opener with the Galaxy or even worse keep him injured past the season opener.

I was never a huge fan of Beckham’s call up but Lalas can be rest assured that his prized possession’s call-up is only temporary and would be over after the second game against Estonia for the Euro qualifiers. Plus once he’s finally in a Galaxy uniform Lalas should even breath more easier as I doubt any more future Beckham selection. Why you ask? The MLS doesn’t provide the level of competition and intensity as other leagues do and such quality are essential to a player staying at the top of his game. Case in point, Paulo Angel who couldn’t sniff a goal in the Premiere League has racked up 3 goals in his 3 starts for the New York Red Bulls in the MLS. People see such cases and think the level of competition isn’t that great. Further proof is evident in the minimal number of international players in the MLS representing their respective national teams.

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Season’s End

It should be a no brainier that my first post would be on United, specially their finishing of the 2006/07 season. United began the season’s campaign with a lot of uncertainties, how will they fill the void of Ruud’s departure? how will the back four hold up? how will Glazer debt affect their ability to participate in the transfer window? and how will the side survive the injury bug through the season?. On top of that many were ignorantly questioning the gaffer’s ability to coach and some ludicrously were asking for his firing.

I thought Manchester United needed a lot to wrestle the Premiership trophy from the clutches of Chel$ki but after the Chel$ki’s summer signings of Ballack and Shevchenko I pretty much handed the title to the Blues. So if you had walked up to me before season’s kick-off and told me United would win the EPL, reach the Champion’s League semis and FA Cup finals I would be asking you to pass along whatever you were smoking so I too could reach that same hallucinating high with you.

But by season’s end the Red Devils proved all their critics wrong and answered many of the questions asked of them at the beginning of the season. When the gaffer left go of his conservative tactics the lads played the kind of football that was a joy to watch and left many of their opponent marveling at their display.

The Joyful Surprises:

Christiano Ronaldo superb form

United’s goal downpour on the EPL, especially as everyone contributed to it

The old guards (Gigsy & Ginga Ninja) return to form

Carrick’s impact on the midfield

The emergence of Evra and Vidic at the back

The Wretched Surprises

The gaffers utilization of 5-4-1 formation

The continous faith being shown for Kieran Richardson

None purchase of a central striker along with the loaning of Rossi to Parma

The 2007/08 season looks to be a bright one for the United side. With the youngsters (Lee, Shawcross, Gray and Rossi to name a few) looking ready for first team action coupled with a few good signings to come, I see united as a side ready to battle on all three fronts for silverware.

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