Edition 1 January 28th 2011 01/28/2011
Welcome to this new aspect of TheSetPiece, an opinion piece to be written weekly by writer Stephen Flanagan aka Flany. It will simply be an opinion based rant of sorts. Probably biased in nature, it’s just simply a commentary on the week’s goings on in the sport we all love. Here’s the first edition.
Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa going down for the season is a huge blow to surprise runaway leaders Borrusia Dortmund. The German side is so far ahead it could not matter in the grand scheme of things, but without the elusive and goal scoring Kagawa they are not the same team. It will be a race to the finish to see if they can hang on. Two ties in a row show the impact the player has had, as he did not play because of National team duty in the Asian Cup (which is where he was injured and lost for the season).
Bayern Munich is back and getting healthy at the right time for a Champions League run, with Mario Gomez banging home goals left and right, and Dutch winger Arjen Robben finally getting healthy, they could look to save this season from underachievement (for their standards)
Messi and Ronaldo are simply a cut above the rest right now. The form they’ve shown this season has been incredible, and if you don’t want to miss out on watching history happen, you should watch as many Real Madrid and Barcelona games as possible. Ronaldo’s stats appear more impressive to the naked eye, but you must keep in mind he is the only one scoring consistently for Real right now. Messi on the other hand also has 2 more goals than games this season (has played a few less games) but has dominated as far as getting assists, with Barcelona teammates Pedro and David Villa both in double digits for their goal tallies on the year as well.
Real Madrid were lucky this week to escape with a 1-0 victory at Sevilla this past week as another controversial call saved them from going into the 2nd leg of their Copa del Rey tie all tied up with the Andalucian club. Luis Fabiano rounded Iker Casillas and appeared to put the ball into the goal, only for it to be cleared “off the line” by Madrid defender Raul Albiol. Replays show the ball crossed the line (in my opinion) however, and it begs the question why not goal line technology? Sepp Blatter is a corrupt self centered greedy ______ (insert noun of your choosing here) that’s why, and he knows controversy creates attention, and would rather have controversy than fairness in the sport. This philosophy is disgusting, and I hate that he’s still in charge of FIFA.
Barcelona continue their spectacular ways winning 5-0 against Almeria in their Copa Del Rey tie, and doing so in spectacular fashion. A Messi double, capped off by a gorgeous assist to Seydou Keita added another impressive performance to his growing resume. If Barcelona is not the best team I will ever have the privilege of watching in my lifetime, then I cannot wait to see the team that bests them.
English Premier League:
Transfer season is in full swing, and today was an incredible roller coaster ride of emotion for me as a Liverpool fan. It started with euphoria, reading that Liverpool had signed Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, one of the top young strikers in the world. Fans were hyped about the possibilities of him partnering superstar Fernando Torres, until the latter handed in a transfer request tonight. It is a very disrespectful thing to do, handing in a transfer request now, as there is no time left to sell the player and buy a replacement within this window. After just 3 weeks ago stating he was a “professional” and that he planned to “honor his contract” and that his “head is in Liverpool” this was a shocking turnaround for a player I had defended to other fans. It just goes to show that the modern football way of doing transfers has removed most loyalty in the game. It’s sickening to me, both what Torres has done, and what Chelsea has done. If any other “talisman” was approached by a direct rival it would be considered disrespectful, especially when the player still has a long time left on their contract, but Man City and Chelsea both (the big spenders who have completely destroyed I mean changed the transfer market) do it regularly, without regard for their opponents. It’s also disrespectful to wait till there’s only 3 days left in the market to make the offer, knowingly crippling the other team. Chelsea fans will argue its good business; I will argue that though Torres is equally at fault, it is not a positive for the game we love.
Yanks continue to have an impact throughout the Premier League, and that is incredible for our sport. Clint Dempsey scores a brace, Stuart Holden continues to receive accolades for his performances in the center of Bolton’s revolution, and newcomer Jermaine Jones has impressed at Blackburn after joining from Schalke in the German league. We’re stacked at CM, and it’s a good problem to have. For the first time my lifetime the US will be spoiled for choice on the field. I am happy with this, and look forward to a bright future.
Watch for the USA Egypt friendly to be moved with violence and a revolution erupting in the African Nation.
The US were unimpressive as a whole against Chile, but that’s to be expected with a young side hoping to earn individual recognition to further their chances with the team. Dax McCarty may never get to be a full national team player due to the surplus of quality midfielders, but I am excited to have him on my hometown team this upcoming season with DC United. YouTube “McCarty bicycle kick” and just look at what the Ginger Xavi did in training with the national team. A ridiculous goal scored, and so much swag he got up like it was nothing. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0_B5ExD9Wo ) credit to user 723footballfilms aka Rob Usry for the video
Swag is back for Team USA as well as #TeamAgubury has set the world alight with its great displays playing together in 2 international games. Better known as Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo, the future is bright for the US, with both players being 20 and 18 years old respectively.
Finally a call to arms of sorts:
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