Archive | December 2010

Håvard Nordtveit will Leave Arsenal

Opinion is split on the Norwegian’s departure.

It is difficult to say whether this is a loss for Arsenal. But the departure of any promising young Arsenal defender is noteworthy given the first team’s reputation and Arséne Wenger’s reluctance to buy. A player can be sent out on loan only so many times before beginning to question a future at the parent club.

Less than a month before terms were agreed for his transfer to Borussia Mönchengladbach, negotiations over a new contract with Arsenal were apparently going well although the opinions of two invested reserve team fans were split—and from the sound of it—contentious.

Posted by The Daddy, November 19, 2010

The Nord will certainly leave, hasn’t done anything with the first team the whole he’s been here.

The reply:

Posted by Jdilla, November 20, 2010

WOW what complete BULLSHIT from someone that knows NOTHING…Harvy was the captain of the reserves before he went out on loan to Nuremberg, after which Wenger said that this boy ABSOLUTELY has a future at Arsenal…SO please “daddy”…do some fuckin research before you post bullshit as the truth you twat.

When his departure was all but confirmed, The Daddy was back to wish Nordtveit well and to reiterate that he was never going to make it at Arsenal. Nothing from Jdilla…

12/30/10

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Arsenal 3—Chelsea 1

Exorcism, expectorant, purge. Arsenal finally beat Chelsea and lobby for their equality.

 

http://thefixtures.typepad.com/files/arsenal-chelsea-song-goal-edit-320.mov

Not much more needs to be said.

 

Clearing this mental hurdle invoked less the image of a runner than the pole vaulter. Everyone knew the importance of beating Chelsea if this season was to be any different from the last. Yet it becomes more poignant seeing a celebration of this magnitude after scoring the first goal. There was still an entire second half to play, but scoring first, establishing initiative, and taking control, was in the player’s minds, the missing piece, the thin single edge they had not yet acquired.

 

12/28/10

Global Expansion as Guiding Principle for the World Cup

Russia 2018 and Qatar 2020.

 

England's overwhelmingly rejected World Cup bid met with a justifiable anger. The bid was exceptional, meeting every measurable criteria for selection. But if a host nation was always chosen on measurable terms, the selection process would have a damaging effect on future World Cups.

 

World Cup Hosts best Click image to enlarge.

 

The charts highlight patterns of World Cup host nations by continent through 2022, which correspond to FIFA’s designated confederations. The international political environment, and FIFA’s personalities, relationships, and structures influence the host selection process, but are too complicated to be shown with little colored squares. Only the general trend of global expansion can be represented, which began intermittently and now has become a guiding principle and mission.

FIFA’s selection process and the secret and/or corrupt machinations are guided by this principle. There is nothing inherently corrupt in the principle of expansion until there is corruption in its application. Expansion only provides new avenues and perhaps more possibilities for the process to go astray.

The expansion of host nations has accelerated as the orange squares show. Eventually continental expansion will end with the Oceana Football Confederation (OFC) and give way to regional or interior expansion. The continent as the primary geographical category will give way. In the case of Russia 2018, Europe is now partitioned into a distinct eastern region. In the case of Qatar 2022, the Middle east emerges as a region distinct from Asia. The future geographical dynamics are already in place.

Mexico 1970 can be considered the first expansion of the World Cup host nation. Mexico 1986, the next time the World Cup was helped outside Europe or South America, can’t be considered an expansion. In these terms, U.S. 1994 is not a continental, but regional expansion, arguably the first when also taking into consideration that this was a cultural expansion.

Read More…

Why I Watch Barcelona

Witnessing the ideal has its drawbacks.

 

Barcelona cherubs 2Josep de Ribera, Earthly Trinity, 1626

 

Barcelona just beat Real Sociedad 5—0. Any surprise there? After beating Real Madrid by the same score two weeks prior, one could almost safely claim that the season was over. Exciting, ethereal Barcelona would be before, and in the end, just as dull. Instead there's a hyper-focused attention to the present moment of each game in search for signs of a wobble, a hairline fracture, a letdown, some hint of desublimation. But when could it happen? The effort to sustain these heights is put in terms of mental strength, the internal management of individual and team requires dialog and reflection. Barcelona still has to tell themselves that they can do it.

Shaky legs can’t happen of their own doing. Osasuna was next. They fit some criteria of foil: unassuming; a good home record; and the feel of soft relegating sand underfoot. Osasuna could show up with stiff hair and scrappiness. In turn, Barcelona could have looked beyond them to a thorny Rubin Kazan, last year’s Champions League troublemakers. A club from the coldest climes, much colder than a cold day at Stoke, Ruben Kazan had become masters of the draw against them. But there was no letdown, not against sleepy Osasuna.

This year’s Clássico marked the thirteenth league game of the season and Barcelona were now 11-1-1. The Mourinho-effect, those preternatural and incessant waves of light and sound, carried an additional intensity into the fixture. Two games, so highly anticipated that one wonders if the other thirty-six matter beyond their role in delaying gratification.

Read More…

Manchester United 1-Arsenal 0

Arsenal lose again to a top team, but again lose differently.

Both teams converge on the margin of difference in the match.

Aside from the loss, the most painful experience of the game for an American Arsenal supporter was the acceptance that ESPN has provided a platform, equipped with microphone and satellite, for Steve McManaman to talk. The game he was announcing began with the banal talking points of the recent narrative of this fixture, game notes plucked from headlines and highlight reels, possibly compiled by a wonky young production assistant ashamed to be dropping twice-chewed tidbits down McManaman’s gullet.

One may have expected McManaman to stick to these talking points and dramatic arcs as a clumsy attempt to be easily digestible to a new U.S. audience, as well as compliment Ian Darke, the anointed voice of the Premier League in the US. The subtle pandering is not his fault.But nonetheless, one expects more. McManaman isn’t so green. His daily in-studio presence during the World Cup offered him a summer intensive course, a diploma conferring the right to pass through proficiency and into confident color announcer with opinions and heart-of-the-matter criticism (this was the same degree awarded to Alexi Lalas, whose absurdity by the late rounds of the World Cup was comedic*). As a player and nonprofessional broadcaster, McManaman would have been much more effective contributing anecdotes about the two teams from his experience as a player.

By the second half, the depth of McManaman’s analysis plunged the level of repeated summary: Arsenal was mediocre on the night. Technically, this would be considered as having conveyed zero information content. Anyone watching the game could see that Arsenal was not having a good game. Andrei Arshavin played poorly and was substituted; no Arsenal player shot from the outside, except Arshavin, who launched two limp rollers wide; Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, and Robin van Persie were late substitutions, and had too little time to break down United’s fibrous defense; and with a congested middle, Arsenal didn’t get the ball wide to Clichy and Sagna with any consistent threat. But this is irrelevant since no Arsenal player was positioned in the penalty box to receive crosses.

Read More…

Balancing the Second Eleven

All talk that Roberto [Mancini] has lost the support of the players is being based purely on the word of a group of players that have no future at the club and their hangers on.-Unnamed Manchester City source

The relationship between Mancini and Tevez may be tumultuous, but underneath there is some kind of real understanding.  

Manchester City is widely criticized for collecting temperamental and entitled players who are later surprised to learn that they are not starters. Any player joining a new club should keep this in mind, but as far away [with little influence] as possible. Yet this would require at least some relationship with reality.

Do Manchester City signings assume they will start by right or was something conveyed to them that proved insincere? The club is drawn to players performing at the top of the market as well as players with discipline problems or ones with tarnished reputations for the way they left their former club.

Once forced to join the club’s second eleven, there is the grumbling at practice under the breath and later on the phone with wife or agent, followed by bitching—mostly over the phone. There is an anger phase and agitation to leave the club, which is snuffed out when the situation stagnates and the player is left to pout and stew. Why this very real possibility doesn’t cross the players’ minds before signing is hard for one understand.

Allowed to fester, disaffection can become a disruption, and once it begins seeping into the public can be a sign of unrest or a precipitate for it. Those on the outside can smell the outgassing of a bubbling mutiny. Manchester City contains high levels of swampy discontent that could hinder their push into the top four.

Read More…