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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fiesta de futbol

Yes, football is back. TDH wasn't overly excited by the Olympic tournament - heck, not even the Argentines were. It's not as though they all flooded towards the Obelisk in the center of Buenos Aires to celebrate every victory. Nope, they didn't even show after the final. Nice timing, though - a 1 a.m. kick-off was just about perfect for locals finishing up their Friday dinners.

More heartening for TDH were a different pair of Argentine-related developments. First, Coloccini and Gutierrez seem to be admirable additions to the side - good on you, Keegle. We still lack creativity in midfield, but perhaps Guthrie will grow into the job. TDH personally feels that Milner should play the creative role in the center with Gutierrez and Zog or Duff on the wings, then two of our better strikers up front. It's nice to see Martins and Owen on the scoresheet so, ahem, early in the season. (So long, Shola, it took too long to unload you.)

The second development was directly linked to the first. Every Toon match now appears on Argentine television. Yes, even the Bolton match was there for the taking... if only TDH had known, perhaps TDH might have caught a few minutes, rather than sleeping through the usual vitamin-and-ibuprofen-mitigated hangover. And why should we be surprised? The Magpies now have more Argentine starters than any other team in the league.

More even than Manure, which, to be frank, looked rather toothless even against a misfiring Pompey. You can see why Sir won't let Kiki Ron go easily. To be honest, TDH can't imagine the pretty boy being as influential at Madrid, either. A couple more months without him is going to hurt the Red Mist. With Arsenal in nursery school and Liverpool's defense a bit suspect, bet on Chelsea for the championship.

Friday, August 08, 2008

More pre-season musings

A few more random thoughts to keep us all buzzing before the season starts:

First, let us hope that the words Northern Rock emblazoned across our shirts do not act as a harbinger of similar fortunes. Rather, let us hope that team and sponsor follow a path of stabilization and resurgence! Past performance is no guarantee of future results! Amen!


A friend recently said of Argentine politics, "How come we always have to add a little pepper to the mix?" The same is true of Argentine football. It's as though coaches feel they need to avoid the obvious, safe options in order to distinguish themselves somehow.

Just look at this Olympic football tourney; Argentina should win it in a walk. They can start with a team that includes Ustari, Garay, Mascherano, Banega, Gago, Riquelme, Aguero and Messi - all top quality players. They can play a nice 4-4-2 with the two dimunitive strikers at the top, followed by Riquelme, then Gago and Banega giving some width and Mascherano sweeping behind.

But no. An idiot named Sergio Batista has decided to play some kind of weird Christmas tree with a nobody named Lavezzi at the top, two of the best forwards in the world inexplicably sitting behind him, and Riquelme behind them. In fact, Riquelme spent much of the game against the Ivory Coast sitting behind the midfield line. Explain this to TDH, please.


If there was one thing you could say about Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, it was that the team played consistently. It didn't matter where or when they played, the odds were probably better than even on a 1-0 victory. Not so with Big Phil, at least so far.

Sure, he's trying out different stuff. But one day, they lose on penalties to Locomotiv in a carbon-copy of the Champions League final (even the sequence of the last kicks was exactly the same, amazing). And the next day, they crush Milan 5-0. Even TDH is afraid to analyze what happened overnight.

Kudos, by the way, to the RRC folks for putting together a better website than Euro 2008's for a two-day, four-team tournament. That's what TDH means by going the extra kilometer. Choo-choo!


Arshavin says Juande Ramos really convinced him that coming to Spurs would be a great idea. TDH thinks Barcelona's lack of interest may just have something to do with it as well. My, how the mighty $40 million transfers have fallen. Actually, TDH wouldn't pay anywhere near that for Arshavin. Sorry, the kid seems to be a tantrum-prone two-year-old just like dear old Dimitar. Speaking of whom, we'll soon see if Sir can do something about those snits.


Coloccini is nowhere near the best Argentine central defender. (And no, TDH is no great fan of Milito, either.) But he's probably better than most central defenders who have recently made their way to Tyneside. Asi que bienvenido, Colocho, TDH espere que sigas bien, la verdad es que te necesitamos.