Rescinded Red

Oh the media monkeys and their junket junkies will invite you to their plastic pantomime. Throw their invites away.

World Best XI for 2008/09 Season

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I find best of the calendar year lists arbitrary.  It’s difficult to assess a players’ performance across three separate competitions and adorn them with adequate weight.  So, here is my Best XI for the season thus far.

Shay Given (Newcastle) – Goalkeeper may have been the hardest position to pick.  Buffon’s been injured.  Iker hasn’t really asserted his dominion over Real Madrid’s net of late.  He faces so much abuse as Newcastle’s keeper he was soundly praised for only allowing five goals against Liverpool.  If he would move to be a bigger club, he would receive his deserved recognition.  Without him Newcastle would be relegated.

Nemanja Vidic (Man U) – United have not conceded a goal in six Premier League games.  Rio Ferdinand is considered one of the best defenders in the world.  Vidic is a primary cause of both occurrences.

Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) ­– Chiellini is the best defender in his league, which says something when you play in Italy.  He’s not the best on the ball, but one of the hardest men in the game on the back line.

Dani Alves (Barcelona) – Alves is difficult to classify as a defender.  Right Back (Brazilian) probably would designate him best.  But, he’s been an integral catalyst for Barcelona this season.

Frank Lampard (Chelsea) – In the loaded Chelsea midfield, Lampard shines the brightest.  He scores goals and can create with his passing.  He’s slightly less explosive than Gerrard, but far more consistent throughout a match.  Wearing a Chelsea shirt, he’s fantastic.

Javier Mascherano (Liverpool) – Mascherano is the rock in Liverpool’s midfield that stabilizes Gerrard’s tactical insanity.  Makelele made Chelsea into a title-winning team.  Mascherano may do the same for Liverpool this season.

Frank Ribery (Bayern Munich) – As Rafael Hoinigstein terms him, Ribery is “the last anarchist of European football.”  He’s toiled with some anonymity outside of a top three league.  But, with his combination of work-rate and technical ability, he’s a fantastic player.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)– Messi is the most talented player in the world.  If he can stay healthy, he’s the best or right there in the discussion.  He has so far this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Man U) – He’s having an off year compared to his masterpiece last season.  That said, an off year for him is still scoring eight goals in 15 appearances in the Premier League.

Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona) – Barca may have made their signing of the season not shedding Samuel Eto’o in the summer.  He’s made 15 appearances in the league and scored 15 goals.  Easy.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan) – Zlatan’s known derisively as the YouTube phenomenon, but you have to be damn good to score a YouTube caliber goal.  He has, nearly singlehandedly, kept the inaugural Mourinho campaign credible.

Are there any omissions?  Do you think you can come up with a better team?  Leave a comment below.

Happy New Year!

Filed under: Football, Premier League, Primera Liga, Serie A, Soccer, , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday EPL Result: Manchester United 1-0 Middlesbrough

berbatovDimitar Berbatov scored for Manchester United against Middlesbrough.  Undoubtedly, this now justifies spending £31.5m on him last summer and losing Carlos Tevez.

Manchester United has scored only four goals in their last six Premier League games, but have earned 14 points, with four 1-0 victories and no concessions.

Would a content Cristiano Ronaldo get chippy with Emmanuel Pogatetz?

Middlesbrough have lost five of eight and have not won in the league since Nov. 11.

Filed under: Football, Premier League, Soccer, , , ,

Captain Fantastic: Gerrard Held on Assault Charges

p1_gerrard_0324Merseyside police have arrested Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard as part of an assault inquiry.

The incident occurred outside the Lounge Inn restaurant and bar in Southport at 2:30 A.M.  A 34-year-old man went to the hospital with non-life threatening facial injuries.

Police detained six men, including the 28-year-old Gerrard.  Reports indicate that none of the other five men were Liverpool footballers.

Gerrard scored two goals in Sunday’s 5-1 defeat of Newcastle.

Update: The altercation may have occurred between Gerrard and a DJ who refused to allow him to play his favorite songs.  

Filed under: Football, Premier League, Soccer, , ,

Sunday EPL Results: The Deuce Runs Loose on Chelsea

156202256_22681c61afNewcastle 1 – 5 Liverpool: Liverpool emphatically guaranteed they will be title leaders by Christmas.  How bad does your defense need to be for a team playing two holding midfielders and leading the line with Dirk Kuyt to score five goals?  That is with Shay Given’s brilliance maintaining reason.

Fulham 2 – 2 Chelsea: Clint “Deuce” Dempsey played up to his nickname, dueling Frank Lampard to a stalemate in the West London derby.  Chelsea had more chances, but did not use them.  Scolari’s men have taken just 10 of their last 21 possible points.

Blackburn 2 – 2 Manchester City: I flipped this one off with about five minutes remaining.  Oops.  Daniel Sturridge and Robinho in injury time spoiled a competent performance from Big Sam’s boys.  City are two points above the relegation zone and Blackburn are two points below.

Arsenal 1 – 0 Portsmouth: It was one-nil to the Arsenal, but there wasn’t much to sing about.  The Gunners managed just one goal against Portsmouth’s porous defense, and that was from a defender.  Far from the beautiful game, Arsenal’s current group plays with neither invention nor competence in any facet of the game.  Relegation candidates Portsmouth have lost four straight.

West Brom 2 – 0 Tottenham: Tottenham succumbed from two late goals, but West Brom’s victory over the ten-man side was deserved.  Harry Redknapp, bizarrely, questioned the ref’s competency while admitting the penalty call. 

Everton 3 – 0 Sunderland: Without a healthy striker, Everton needed goals from midfield.  Fortunately, that midfield contains Cahill, Fellaini and Mikel Arteta, scorer of two early goals in this match.  Ricky Sbragia’s deal at Sunderland is now permanent.  Unfortunately, his salubrious effect may not be.

West Ham 2 – 1 Stoke City: West Ham scored a resilient victory, coming back from an early goal.  They were aided by Stoke City, who dropped to ten after Ricardo Fuller saw red for taking a shot at his own captain, Andy Griffin.  

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Wenger Whines About Refs, Ignores the Obvious

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has accused Aston Villa’s coaching staff of pressuring referees during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Friday.  Wenger believes this badgering may have influenced referee Lee Mason’s decision to award a crucial penalty against William Gallas in the second half.

“I know how it works here,” Wenger said.  “At half-time the referee gets stick and in the second half every little 50-50 decision goes the other way.  That’s what happens.  I waited at halftime to see what happened and I was disappointed.  There is nothing to explain more than that.”

Villa manager Martin O’Neil admitted sending assistant John Robertson to speak to Mason at halftime, but to get an explanation for why Gabby Agbonlahor did not receive a free kick leading up to Denilson’s opening goal.

The whine of sour grapes helps little.  Having a squad where Alex Song is not starting in central midfield in the most crucial fixture of the season with an overmatched 18-year-old deputizing would benefit Arsenal far more.

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Boxing Day Premier League Results

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Boxing Day is rough for all and, generally, Premier League defenders are not excepted.  With lapsed concentration get slapped haphazardly around the area, with goals raining in from every direction to the delight of spectators (See Chelsea 4 -4 Aston Villa).  This year, alas, only Manchester City and West Ham received the memo.

The Citizens stormed out of the relegation zone, beating Hull City so badly they looked as if they had met Joey Barton outside a McDonalds.  Robinho was fancy, but effective bagging a brace and imposing his flourish on an overmatched Hull defense.  The drubbing was so bad, Phil Brown refused to let Hull return to the dressing room.  Mark Hughes retrieved some of his pride after the loss to West Brom, but dousing the burner under his bottom after one match would be hasty.

West Ham won just their second Premier League victory in their last 13 matches, but it was impressive.  Carlton Cole and Craig Bellamy penetrated the casual and sloppy Portsmouth back line.  How does a team coached by Tony Adams concede nine goals in three matches?  Perhaps, they were too busy packing.

Arsenal drew Aston Villa 2-2 in the tastiest tie of the day, leaving Villa a three-point advantage for fourth place.  Martin O’Neill’s men comprehensively outplayed every Arsenal partisan on the pitch, except the goal post.  Arsenal then, inexplicably, went 2-0 up.  William Gallas gave away a legit penalty in the 65th minute, and Zat Knight, of all people, knocked in an injury-time equalizer.  Both sides could have won.  Both could have lost.  It was the fairest result.

United were big in Japan, and Carlos Tevez was just big enough to score the late winner against Stoke City.  United have scored just three goals in their past five Premier League matches, however they have not conceded and earned three 1-0 victories.  Given Liverpool and Chelsea’s inconsistency of late, Man U could be title favorites if they pick up their games in hand.

Liverpool’s Robbie Keane can be dangerous on a hot run, which he appears to have hit.  His two second-half goals in the 3-0 win against Bolton, as well as his equalizer last weekend against Arsenal have kept Liverpool on top of the table, shocking since this was their first December victory in all competitions.

The other contenders, Chelsea, earned their first home victory since Nov. 1 with their 2-0 defeat of West Brom.  Drogba received the central role, and scored his first league goal since March after three minutes.  Trim, reliable Frank scored in first-half injury time.  Chelsea put the game away.

Wigan vanquished Newcastle 2-1, with Ryan Taylor again tormenting the barcodes.  Approximately 80,000 combined people witnessed Tottenham – Fulham and Sunderland 0 – Blackburn 0.  They went home profoundly bored.

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Merry Christmas from Rescinded Red

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Everyone have a wonderful Christmas.  After a brief respite, Rescinded Red will return.  Possibly after the Boxing Day Fixtures.  Cheers, Tyler.

Filed under: Football, Soccer,

Arsenal Reeling: Captain Cesc Out for Four Months

cesc_fabregas_victory_650949Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will miss four months, after partially rupturing his right MCL during the club’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.  Spain teammate Xabi Alonso injured Fabregas, during a robust, but fair challenge at the end of the first half.

The 21-year-old will miss a minimum of twenty-five Arsenal matches.  Should the club be in contention, he could return for the FA Cup Final and the semi-finals and finals of the Champions League.

Arsenal fans were pondering how the season could get worse.  It just did. 

No replacement exists for Fabregas.  Arsenal have few options, given they are already jamming central midfielders into wingers positions on the left and right sides. 

The most obvious, but uninspiring, stopgap solution would be to plug Nasri into Fabregas’ play-making role and to bring Diaby to play on the left wing.  Another option could be playing Robin Van Persie on the left and bringing Carlos Vela to play off Adebayor.

With the current squads, objectivity would now tip Aston Villa as favorites for the fourth Champions League place.

Arsenal already needed, at least, a defender and another midfielder.  They now may need to incorporate three to four new players, and quickly.  Many potential replacements will be cup-tied for the Champions League.

The club faces an imposing debt on the new stadium.  Missing the Champions League next year could be an unaffordable £40m mistake.  January is not the time to be bargain hunting.

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Beckham Isn’t a Farce. Only People Who Pontificate About Him.

david-beckham-airport09David Beckham, to lukewarm fanfare, moved to A.C. Milan on loan for two months, upsetting many in the American Soccer Community.  The Beckham experiment has had its problems, but, surely, it’s not worthy of shortsighted vitriol like this.

Mr. Gardner terms Beckham a “farce” and “on every count.”  He deems this so obvious “there’s no need to labor all those points.”  Nevertheless, he manages to do so for nearly 1,000 words.

First, we have the topic of Beckham’s loan to AC Milan.  His justification for the loan was clear.  He wants to play for England.  Fabio Capello would not select Beckham unless he was playing football.  He had the opportunity to go to a top-level European club during the interim.  He went.  Does this make Landon Donovan a “farce,” as well?

Beckham, like most players, enjoys representing the national team.  Offered the chance to play a useful role, he chose to do so.  There’s nothing “relentless” or “sycophantic” about it.  Selfish, maybe.  But how is it servile?  

He does miss MLS time because of it, but so does every MLS player who plays internationally.  It’s not Beckham’s fault that MLS does not follow international breaks.  It’s also not his fault that FIFA favors the country in club versus country disputes.  Beckham has flown cross-country and played immediately, despite fitness risks, on occasion, to mitigate that effect.

David Beckham has the right to play for England, if he chooses.  If called up, he should play.

Then we move to Beckham’s broader role in MLS.  His primary task was to make the league money and increase its exposure.  He has done both.

Mr. Gardner dismissively mentions “marketing and shirt-selling.” These aren’t savory aspects of the sport, but, unfortunately, professional leagues are a business and salaries aren’t paid in good will and fairy dust.

Beckham is not just selling shirts.  He’s sold about half-a-million shirts, more than any other athlete in the world, in any sport.  It’s probably safe to assume LA Galaxy wouldn’t be moving that kind of product without him.  Neither would they have the $4-5 million per year shirt sponsorship deal with Herbalife.

He’s raised attendance both home and away, allowing the Galaxy to sell out games and guaranteeing over 10,000 tickets sold on the road.

Viewership ratings haven’t been great.  However, ESPN’s ratings spike 150% when Beckham plays.  ESPN also now pays MLS for the rights to televise games, and the league just sold foreign TV rights for a ten-figure sum.  No one would pay that unless the league’s exposure, popularity and interest abroad had increased.

The Galaxy also profits from using Beckham as a wedge to play lucrative friendlies in foreign markets.  Australians and New Zealanders probably wouldn’t be jazzed about seeing a Beckham-less Galaxy.

The club made an estimated $13 million, more than his MLS salary for the first two seasons, before he had even arrived.  He’s making the league money, increasing its value and exposure.

Regarding his play on the pitch, he’s still one of eleven players.  Beckham didn’t hire Alexi Lalas to run the Galaxy.  The team had a failed coaching hire and a dearth of talent, outside Landon Donovan, supporting Beckham.  If anything, it is a testament to the league’s quality that one player, alone, can’t dominate it.

Finally, Gardner argues that Beckham is “actively damaging MLS” by not praising it enough.  The apparent evidence is that Beckham said he missed playing “at the highest level” when he was unveiled at Milan.  

What is Beckham supposed to say?  MLS is obviously not the highest level of world soccer.  Anyone who argues that it is on par in quality with the top European leagues is, to be frank, a dumbass.  He’s shaken hands, done interviews, kissed babies and done everything MLS asked him to do.  He would do more “active damage” to the league by being effusively dishonest in his praise of it.

Beckham hasn’t been happy losing at LA Galaxy.  What right-minded player, particularly one who played for the world’s two biggest clubs and won seven domestic titles and the Champions League, would be happy?  He hasn’t demanded a transfer.  He hasn’t whined to the media.  He’s been a good soldier.  He stated publicly he will return for the start of the MLS season.  What more can be asked of him?

David Beckham’s move to America has not been what it was hyped to be.  But, much of that hype was irrational and stupid.  

It’s foolish to term Beckham’s move a complete success.  But, it is equally foolish to deny the good things he has done for the league.  In order for MLS to become a stable, long-term presence and develop into a player internationally, it needs to be profitable.  There is no doubt that the increased revenue and exposure from David Beckham, has prodded MLS toward that goal.

Just because you don’t like David Beckham does not mean you can credibly call him a “farce” and impose sinister motives on him without justification.

Filed under: Football, MLS, Soccer, , ,

John Terry’s Red Card Against Everton

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