Monday, August 29, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly!

By Paul Frederickson

What a weekend of football, if only Serie A could have got its house in order! Football, creates conversations like no other sport and this weekend was no exception.


So many 'goods' this weekend, and I must be the only person who could not fit Manchester United into this section! The reason for that decision is that Manchester United have relegated Arsenal into the 'ugly' section. Honourable mentions to Real Madrid and Manchester City for their thumping wins. In the end a Brazilian Serie A goal by Felipe Soutta wins this week's good!


Losing your first three games of the season and losing one of your best players, in Brett Emerton, for no compensation would make life as a Blackburn fan pretty miserable. Then there are the players, playing terribly and even worse, they appear in their owner's business commercial, for Venky's Chicken! What a classically bad commercial.


The Manchester United 8-2 thrashing of perennial title chasers, Arsenal was a result that no-one could have seen. The magnitude of ineptitude has catapaulted Arsenal into the ugly for the second week in a row! Arsenal's biggest loss since 1896!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Liverpool's Alberto Aquilani to head to AC Milan

Alberto Aquilani, perhaps the most underrated player in the all of the Premier League, looks set to leave Liverpool yet again to Italy as AC Milan secure his services for the upcoming season.
Aquilani will head to Milan on a loan deal where he will serve as the replacement for Juventus signing Andrea Pirlo.

Last season, Aquilani also played in the Serie A with Turin side Juventus. During his time at Juventus, Aquilani made a great impact in the midfield, proving to be one of their best players in the 2010-2011 season.

However, in an absurd act, Juventus did not choose to permanently sign Aquilani, rather letting him return to Liverpool.

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli commented on the Aquilani move:
"I want to pay tribute to the way Alberto has conducted himself during these discussions...Throughout the entire process, his only desire has been to play football and he has put this ahead of any other considerations and at personal cost to himself. We wish him well for the season ahead."

Aquilani has failed to make an impact at Liverpool, mainly due to the constant run of injuries he had during his time at the club. Performances would indicate he is fit to play in the Liverpool starting XI, but it just wasn't to be for the former Roma man.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

This weekend's Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly!

By Paul Frederickson

The Good

Two months of protracted negotiations, fan forum discussions and endless media speculation came to an end at 3.15pm, on Saturday the 20th of August, 2011. Victory and some would say more importantly the FFA and A-League announced that they got their man. Harry Kewell will play for the Melbourne Victory for the next three seasons. This can only be seen as a major coup for the competition!

The Bad

The Spanish, La Liga, competition should have kicked off last weekend, but a player strike prevented matches going ahead for the first time in 27 years. In a sign of solidarity the competition is still in negotiations with the players in regards to unpaid wages and the ability to quit current contracts where money is still owing. Luckily the Supercup satiated some fans for the time being.

And the downright Ugly

In what may become a regular feature, Arsenal's seemingly downward cycle was best summed up over the weekend by an extraordinary own goal. Funny for some, Arsene not included.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Amsterdam street art

Boyhoodheroes Stefan Pettersson and Stanley Menzo.

R.I.P. High

Samir Nasri Set to Complete Manchester City Medical Within a Day

With Cesc Fabregas gone Arsenal would have hoped that they could turn to Frenchmen Samir Nasri to lead Arsenal's attack going forward. However it would seem that the attacking midfielder may just also be on his way out. In turn he would be the third major loss at the Emirates this transfer window (Fabregas and Clichy being the other two).

According to Samir Nasri is expected to head over to Etihad to complete a medical, and surely sign off on a contract. He would link up with former Arsenal team mate Gael Clichy who also made the move to Manchester.

The rumours have surfaced after Cesc Fabregas was allowed to leave Arsenal to Barcelona just day ago. Nasri went on to fuel a possible move by not re-signing his contract with Arsenal. The actions have prompted much reaction from the fans, upset at the loyalty being shown towards the club.

After being on the end of an offensive chant from the Arsenal fans in the Newcaslte game, perhaps Nasri does not feel as though he is wanted at Arsenal anymore. Although one would question, where would Nasri fit in at Manchester City. With Aguero making his apparent mark on the English Premier League, David Silva playing extremely well and Dzeko coming into form, there is really no room for Samir Nasri.

Nasri was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year last year, and his loss would leave Arsene Wenger with a great deal of money to be spent before the conclusion of the transfer window. That is, if Arsenal want to realistically challenge for the English Premier League title.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Juventus and Notts County an Encounter with History

It is no secret that the inspiration behind the legendary stripes of Juventus came from English club Notts County. Since 1903, the stripes have become identifiable with the Old Lady.Amidst European Glory, Italian triumph and even during the lowest points of the club the stripes remained the backbone of the club.

With Juventus set to mark a new chapter in their history as a club, they will relive a bit of history with a friendly clash with Notts County to officially open their new stadium. The "Juventus Arena" as it has been termed will mark the beginning of a new era at Juventus. It is set to seat 40,000 people and prove to be the first stadium ever independently owned by any one club in Italy.

With  the new Financial Fair Play being introduced in Europe the stadium will ensure that Juventus still have a healthy income for future transfers. The steady money received from sales will offset any losses and signings, meaning that Juventus would be able to easily meet standards set by FIFA and UEFA.

According to the Juventus website  Marco Balich, organiser of the event, said “Having those players who represent the oldest club in the world directly on the pitch further enriches the programme of the Opening Ceremony, which will be revealed just a few hours before the actual opening of the stadium. When we’ve found out the detail about the ‘white & black’ shirt which replaced the old pink shirt, we’ve had no doubts: it’s a fundamental part of a narrative, emotional path which will involve all Juventus fans attending the event at the stadium.”

The ceremony to open the new stadium is set to be a memorable one. With so much secrecy surrounding the construction of the stadium it is set to be one of the most anticipated openings in recent memory. For Juventus tifosi everywhere, there is hope that the Old Lady may just return to the pinnacle of Europe!

This weekend's Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly!

By Paul Frederickson

Every week I will look at the weekend's football and bring you the weekend's, Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly! With the start of the EPL and the majority of the European leagues commencing, there should be plenty of choice!


There are many leagues in Europe outside of the English Premier League, yes I know, it is true! Before Barcelona, had the Barcelona way there was Ajax's total football style. Two games into the Eredivisie and Ajax are two wins from two games, not total football yet, but starting to get their fans excited. This weekend's 5-1 win against Heerenveen had plenty of highlights including the goal below!


The London riots would definitely make the bad and the ugly last week but on the weekend it was left to Australia via the Twitter debate between Michael Cockerill and Mark Schwarzer. Michael Cockerill started the debate by quoting from a recent Schwarzer interview published in the Football + magazine. "Read this very carefully, and weep: ''I have seen too many players go back home, and it has not worked out. The biggest example is John Aloisi, and how he was treated so badly by people. You are up there to be shot down very, very quickly. I don't want to give anyone the opportunity to do that to me.'' (1)

Schwarzer counted with a number of tweets, one such tweet showing the hurt that Cockerill's article had caused him.

"I wanted to be honest, what happens I get called arrogant and that I'm slapping fans in the face! I thought you new me better"

The A-League needs all the publicity it can get, perhaps infighting between key stakeholders in the game should be the exception. This pre/post season has been way too long!


Joey Barton has been in the press for many wrong reasons over the years. In recent times, his forthright tweets have garnered him new respect from many quarters, excluding Newcastle United management! His reaction to what was a barely a tap on the weekend has to be this week's 'Ugly'!

Joey Barton And Gervinho Incident During... by FootballVideosHD

What do you think?

(1) Michael Cockerill, Schwarzer's slip a slap for fans and own goal for Australia's No.1, Brisbane Times, August 12, 2011.

Read more:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Contender for Worst Dive Ever? (Peter Wisgerhof of FC Twente vs Ajax Amsterdam)

By Marcel Abboud

In many parts of Europe, the football season has just commenced and everything that comes along with it. The excitement of the games, the goals, the passion of the fans and of course (the worst element of it all) diving.

In what can be only described as theatrics at it's finest, Peter Wisgerhof of FC Twente executes the biggest dive so far in the 2011/12 football season against Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam. He even has the audacity to complain to the referee why the call hasn't gone his way.

Could this be the worst dive? Judge for yourself...

City Vs Swansea: Predicting the Starting 11

By Adrian Meta
City take on Swansea in the Blue’s Premier League season opener. The match will be at the Etihad Stadium, and with new signings potentially coming into the 11, here’s how I expect City to line up.
The back pretty much picks itself with the exception of Aleks Kolarov. I’ve given him the nod over Gael Clichy purely because Swansea are lightweight opposition and Kolarov will be given freedom to bomb forward, knowing he will be covered. He will give City an extra advantage.
Moving to midfield, I’ve picked Milner over Barry because recent fixtures indicate that he is ahead of Gareth Barry in the pecking order, and for me, he’s the better player.
Up front, Balotelli ahead of Aguero. Why? Aguero won’t be completely fit and should be given as much a rest as possible, with a view to a 15-20 min debut appearance. I expect Dzeko to start most games this season. No Tevez because he’s only just came back to training.
There it is. Hopefully I’m right, because with this lineup City should fairly easily overcome Swansea.

Northern Irish Wonder Goal Sinks Lowly Faroe Islands

By Marcel Abboud

Here's a cracking effort that many would have missed...

In the recent round of 2014 FIFA World Cup UEFA qualifications Northern Ireland defeated Faroe Islands 4 - 0, with thanks to a spectacular solo effort from Celtic FC midfielder Paddy McCourt.

Who could argue with a stunning effort like that?

The Faroe Island remain bottom of their group following their loss to the Northern Irish and have no chance of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Pride of Manchester

Manchester United FC-Manchester city 3-2. Community Shield, Wembley. 07-08-2011.

Farewell to another United hero, Scholsey!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Wesley Sneijder Says He Is 'for Sale'

Wesley Sneijder has fueled a possible move away from Inter Milan after stating that he is "for sale if the right offer comes in." The statement made by the Dutch superstar followed Inter's narrow loss to AC Milan in the Coppa Italiana where he had a brilliant free kick.

His comments are expected to refuel interest from Premier League clubs Manchester United and Manchester City as they had inquired about Sneijder earlier in the transfer window.

According to Sneijder said that Inter were willing to sell him if the price is right because the club needs money. Just how much money do they need? Well earlier in the transfer window it was reported, also by, that Sneijder would be allowed to move with a bid in excess of €40 million.
Sneijder was linked strongly with a move to the Premier League after Manchester United apparently approached the player. Suggestions of such a move were cooled by Sir Alex Ferguson when came out and said they were not interested. Nevertheless, reports in the media continued to suggest a move away from the San Siro.

Manchester City also got themselves involved with Sneijder, but with the signing of Sergio Aguero, Sneijder would most likely oust an already competent player out of the squad. City manager Roberto Mancini also insisted reports of interest in the Dutchman are not true. "He is an Inter Milan player. We never spoke about him," he stated after his team's Community Shield loss.

After their strong performance against Manchester City, Manchester United did not look like a squad in need of a player of Sneijder's calibre. The attacking combinations of Ashley Young, Nani, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck seemed to push forward well against Manchester City. And creativity was definitely not lacking, something which Sneijder is renowned for.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Supercoppa Italiana: AC Milan vs. Inter Milan Player Ratings

In what was a great curtain raiser for the upcoming Serie A season, I will take a look at how I think the respective players from each side of Milan performed. All scores are out of 10, with a perfect 10 denoting the best individual performance I have ever seen in a football match.

Player Rating Goals + Cards Minutes Played
Christian Abbiati 6 0;0 90 minutes
Gianluca Zambrotta 6 0;1 yellow 90 minutes
Alessandro Nesta 6 0;0 90 minutes
Thiago Silva 6.5 0;0 90 minutes
Ignazio Abate 6 0;0 90 minutes
Clarence Seedorf 7 0;0 90 minutes
Mark van Bommel 6 0;0 90 minutes
Gennaro Ivan Gattuso 5 0;1 yellow 75 minutes
Kevin-Prince Boateng 7 1 goal;1 yellow 82 minutes
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 7.5 1 goal;0 90 minutes
Robinho 5.5 0;0 62 minutes
Urby Emanuelson >10min 0;0 8 minutes
Massimo Ambrosini >10min 0;1 yellow
15 minutes
Alexandre Pato 7 0;0 28 minutes

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Very quiet in the first half, except for a header that ended up hitting the post. In the second half however, he was on fire. He played brilliant interchange passing with the likes of Robinho, Seedorf and Boateng. Ended up scoring the goal to equalise, eventually taking Milan to victory. Great start to the season for the Sweedish International

Player Rating Goals + Cards Minutes Played
Julio César 6.5 0;0 90 minutes
Cristian Chivu 5
0;0 90 minutes
Walter Adrian Samuel 6
0;0 90 minutes
Andrea Ranocchia 6 0;0 90 minutes
Ricardo Gabriel Álvarez 7 0;0 63 minutes
Thiago Motta 6
0;0 90 minutes
Obi 7
0;0 82 minutes
Dejan Stankovic 6
0;0 74 minutes
Javier Adelmar Zanetti 5.5
0;0 90 minutes
Eto'o 6
0;0 90 minutes
Wesley Sneijder 7.5
1 goal;1 yellow 90 minutes
Marco Faraoni 6 0;0 27 minutes
Giampaolo Pazzini 6 0;0 16 minutes
Luc Castaignos >10mins
0;0 8 minutes

Wesley Sneijder: What a free kick! Sneijder looked to be having a phenomenal game in the first half. Seemingly untouchable as he guided Inter around the park. At times he had up to five Milan defenders on him. A little quieter in the second half, but still a force to be reckoned with. Don't be surprised to see Inter add an extra few million euros to his price tag after that goal.

Final Score: AC Milan 2:1 Inter Milan
Still much work to be done by both sides but positive signs on both ends.
What did you think of the ratings? Did you agree with them?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Champions League Playoff Ties Released, Arsenal Have Drawn Udinese

In what was a draw that produced a number of enticing play-off matches, Arsenal have drawn Udinese in their clash for a place in the group stage of the Champions League.

Matches to be played include:

Arsenal vs. Udinese
Bayern Munich vs. FC Zurich
FC Twente vs. Benfica
Odense vs. Villarreal
Wisla Krakow vs. APOEL
Maccabi Haifa vs. Genk
FC Copenhagen vs. Viktoria Plzen
BATE Borisov vs. Sturm GrazDinamo Zagreb vs. Malmo

With a number of contenders from last year's European competitions all vying for a place in the final 32, it will be a nervous few days leading up to match day. Arsenal will face a depleted Udinese, a team that has sold off stars Alexis Sanchez and Gokhan Inler to Barcelona and Napoli, respectively.
Bayern Munich will get more than they bargained for, as they face Zurich, a team that caused some trouble for Italian giants Milan in the group stage last year. Elsewhere, Villarreal will look to make a return to the Champions League after failing to qualify last year. The Spanish side will face Danish club Odense, a team looking to make club history, as they have qualified for the Champions League for the first time.

The fixtures will set the scene for what is looking to be an electric Champions League for 2011-2012.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Edwin van der Sar's testimonial. 03-08-2011. Amsterdam Arena

Click on the pics to enlarge them.
The games were:
AFC Ajax D1 (U13)-Manchester United FC D1 (U13) 2-2
Ajax 1995-Holland 1998 1-0
Ajax-Edwin's Dream Team (including: Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville and Louis Saha) 1-2