Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Crystal Balls

Two matches into the Premier League, 2010, we have had some sparkling play with lots of goals:
In week 1, Blackpool, newly-promoted, thrash Wigan 4-0  (but get thrashed by Arsenal 6-0 in week 2). Chelsea start with a 6-0 win against WBA and a hat-trick for Drogba. Man U win 3-0 against Newcastle with an uninspiring Rooney. Spurs and Man City draw 0-0.

In the second week of the season there were three 6-0 wins:  Chelsea against Wigan away, and Arsenal at home against Blackpool, plus Newcastle at home against Aston Villa. Drogba, by the way, doesn't score this week but laid on three goals for Anelka (2) and Malouda (1).

Chelsea top the league as the only team with two wins! They do have easy-looking fixtures to begin the season: WBA, Wigan, Stoke, West Ham, Blackpool  .....till Man C in the sixth week.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

No good at all!

England won last night's friendly (v Hungary) thanks to an inspired piece of passion from captain Gerrard with two goals, a lively performance from Adam Johnson plus solid goalkeeping from Joe Hart, but again nothing from a surly Rooney. And the opposition were ranked 72 in the World
In the pre-match television footage of news and comment, the England manager managed some English to describe his own performance in last month's World Cup in South Africa - "not so good" and his comment on Rooney's  performance last night - "he's not in a good moment". The first quote is witheringly weak as a summing up of two years' work with the English team. The second means that Rooney did not play well, or was having a nervous breakdown, or in a huff, or belligerent, or off form, or needed the toilet, or pissed off. Any or all of these!

How many of us in the early stages of trying out another language end up using the word for 'good' or  'well' (as in 'doing well) to excess? It is a classic sign of lack of more exact words but can be admired in some circumstances as 'at least trying to communicate'. It is a sign that you are in the early stages, a beginner.

In Capello's case, in a job which requires clarity and depth in explaining what he wants, his performance is 6 million pounds from being acceptable - his salary is reportedly £6m. Surely, he should do 'gooder' than he does in this most important part of a manager's job. And after two years!

And here's how the Telegraph described his handling of David Beckham's England career. 

And here's the match report England v Hungary, friendly, from the Guardian

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

What went wrong for England in the World Cup, the story continues

This piece by Jim White in the Daily Telegraph discusses Capello's change of status with players and  public just before a friendly match against Hungary tonight at Wembley. The crowd is expected to boo the England World Cup team members but there are lots of new faces in the squad .......let's see what happens in this unneeded match 3 days before the start of the Premier League's season, 20010-11. Let's see what more comes to light to explain the difference between England's strong qualifying performance leading up to South Africa and the team's dismal doings in the final 32 when we got there. England failed to reach the final 16.


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Too much Baggage: a new approach to selecting the England team

At England's pathetic exit from the World cup in the round of 16 in South Africa last month I wrote:

The debate or investigation into what went wrong will go on for some time. Was it the manager's fault in sticking rigidly to 4-4-2 or the players' fault for some inscrutable reason like incompatibility as personalities? I suspect there is a lot more to tell about this. Were they bored living and training together for 5 or so weeks? Is that relevant? Wouldn't it make them more eager and enthusiastic to be actually playing?

Well, things are not being investigated and all we may get is bits of gossip and speculation.  

It is time to change to the kind of player who would be better suited for the task. The England team should be chosen from the Championship, the league below the Premier League, plus the under-21s in the Premier League. Both of these categories have talented players who would relish the opportunity. They do not play as many games as those playing for teams in the UEFA competitions (Premier League teams) and would therefore be the fresher to play in the World Cup and European international tournament. Plus the fact that teams with 'stars' do not necessarily do well in these international tournaments: too much baggage!