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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Sometimes in football you have to score goals."

What, loyal readers, did TDH tell you about Real Madrid only a few days ago? Four goals, you could have taken it to the bank. The Merengues fell just short of overturning their 6-1 first-leg deficit against pesky Zaragoza. Thanks to excellent service from Becks they had their chances to win, including more than one flubbed by Zizou. But Zara also missed out on a clear penalty.

And so, the jajalacticos can only look to Europe for high-quality silverware this season. Raul was in a skybox, wearing glasses (!) and looking like a graduate student in comparative literature. It was hard to imagine him returning to the pitch alongside the ancients and the young bucks, but perhaps he's the missing link.

As TDH was watching the desperate attempts by the visiting side to stop the white tide, thoughts reappeared of Valencia's successful outing against Barca at the weekend. It was no accident. The Valencia offside trap was a thing of beauty. On more than one occasion, the slow-motion camera captured an absolutely straight line of four white shirts, across which the lone Barca offender was caught helplessly red-and-blue-handed.

Meanwhile, The Goon Show are now within goal difference of being the fourth best team in London. Who would have thought it? Suggestion for Arsene: call up Florrie in the summer and offer to take Shrek off his hands. Gravesen has the kind of presence hapless Highbury needs, and he's a misfit at Madrid.

Finally, for those in need of a L'il Ron fix, TDH has finally located some video of those crazy back-heel lob passes. It's here. Mesmerizing.


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

Is Becks the most under-rated player in Sven's side? I know I've been critical of him in the past, but it really has seemed that he's sometimes been the only thing at Real keeping their heads above water. Now that they're apparently on the up, we could see a renaissance that might propel him back to the world player of the year frame.

I've only watched a couple of his Real games this season, but in both he's been by far the best player on show. His passing has been excellent, and he shows more energy and fight than any other player.

How Arsenal wish they had someone with that kind of attitude in their side now. Their performance this season amounts to a damning indictement of Thierry Henry's leadership skills. his ability goes without question, but I think he makes his team worse when things don't go well. It's the same for France. They don't have a captain on their books, but perhaps Lehmann should have it. He might be a petulant prick, but at least he's got passion, and tries to gee up the team. Henry seems unconcerned with helping his team-mates. He just jumps up and down and gets stroppy if team-mates don't play to high standards.

7:02 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

You can never succeed if the senior guys on a team believe that the best days are behind them. I think that's the way Henry and Bergkamp feel right now. If they can't achieve something in the Champions League this year, Henry will certainly leave.

There are so many disaffected players in The Goon Show right now: Campbell, Cole, Bergkamp.... Rebuilding may be just what they need. Of course, it's all endogenous.

In the meantime, you're right, Lehmann might just be the best choice for captain. But I'd also consider Ljungberg and Toure. Many coaches - to my surprise - have had success picking a young, charismatic player as captain; Kolo could be just the man.

And yes, Becks is a tireless and impassive worker for Madrid. He's matured as a person as well as a player. Now, if he could only control Wine Hrooney....

4:33 PM  

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