We have seen some brilliant moments already this season. And some bad moments too. But none quite like Fernando Torres’ bad moment at the weekend at Old Trafford. His move to Stamford Bridge has been far from ideal. Only 2 goals in 25 appearances for the club, it’s hardly the form of a £50m player. However, where as last year Torres looked jaded and lacklustre, there have been vast improvements this term. Particularly in Sunday’s game, Torres looked livelier, making the runs of Torres of old, and even notched up a goal. When that moment did come in the 83rd minute when el Ninio looked every bit of a striker searching for confidence, it was indeed a crafty bent run behind the United back four that created the mass of space, and some close footwork exposed David De Gea’s goal, yet it was the finish that deserted him.
I for one am a big fan of Torres and really hope he can find his form once more to terrorise defenders all over Europe, however, I’m also never one to pass up the opportunity to look at a top 5. So here’s Fernando’s miss in all its glory, followed by 5 more of the best. As usual, you have your own opinion so get in touch if you have other suggestions.
Back to the good old days for this one. Often regarded as one of the worst misses ever in any poll, it seems only fair to start with the Israeli’s tremendous gaffe for Liverpool. He round the keeper much like Torres, and even goes one step further than Fernando by controlling the ball to compose himself, and then… oh well, I suppose no one would remember his name otherwise…
Back to the scene of the crime – Old Trafford. Often regarded as scoring one of the greatest goals in FA Cup history, Giggsy also has the honour of one of the worst misses in FA Cup history. Losing 2-0 to the old enemy, Becks has just been battered in the face by Sir Alex, but all’s well cause Giggs has eluded Keown, Seaman and Campbell, has all the time in the world, can get the game back on track….oops!
Highly regarded as one of the top strikers in the world at present, it hasn’t always been that way for the Uruguayan international. During his time at Man Utd, Forlan struggled to buy a goal, but it looked like his luck was in when Juventus defender and keeper got in a mix up and he found himself 6 yards out with the goal at his mercy… did he score? Did he balls!
It’s not just Fernando. His Spanish strike partner David Villa has a massive tendency to miss open goals. In searching for this I found a whole catalogue of Villa’s misses from two yards out, that suggest he could make his own dvd (seriously YouTube it!). So I just picked one at random. For one of the world’s best strikers you do think that maybe it’s Barca and Spain that make him look good, cause his finishing at times is questionable!
No miss reel would be complete without the lanky Nigerian. You know the one. One yard out. Needs no explanation. Enjoy.
So the transfer window has shut, all deals have been done, and now managers have to play with what they’ve got. But after a summer of gossip and speculation, now what do we talk about? Well we can start by talking about the deals that have been done. So here’s my round up team-by-team of the Premiership’s transfers, in alphabetical order, starting with the first five.
Oh what a place to start! One of the busiest clubs in the last few days, perhaps brought on by the humiliation received at Old Trafford on Sunday. Many Arsenal fans claim it was a blessing in disguise, but sorry, no 8-2 thrashing is a blessing! The summer started well, business was done quickly for Jenkinson, Gervinho and then Oxlade-Chamberlain, however Arsenal were then stunted by the embarrassing Barcelona negotiations followed by Man City’s equally embarrassing drawn out negotiations for Cesc and Nasri. This hurt Arsenal as it meant they had to wait a while for the money for reinvestment, plus they have lost arguably their best 2 players. Clichy and Eboue also left the club, but given the amount of mistakes between them, Arsenal will probably be happy to have received some money for the woeful pair. Then came the panic buys. Park Ju Young from Monaco was a funny one as he was on his way to a second medical at Lille when he was ‘kidnapped’, and it remains to be seen whether the South Korea captain can produce the goods at the top level. Andre Santos seems a good buy, cost less than what Clichy was sold for, has more international experience and has CL exp too, and can play higher up the pitch. Mertesacker was the much needed signing, and at 6’6 is a giant. Questions over his pace remain, but he did keep Rooney, Defoe et al bay in Germany’s demolition of England last term. Also experienced, his partnership with Vermaelen, with the confident Szczesny behind may rid Arsenal of their set piece weakness, finally. The last two are hit and miss really. There’s no doubting Yossi Benayoun’s talent, but is he really going to be the creative player they need or will he just drift in and out of games like Arshavin and Rosicky? Arteta is an exciting signing and an absolute steal IF he can find his form of two years ago. It remains to be seen but it certainly looks more positive for Arsenal now… if only because Nicklaus Bendtner has finally left! They will certainly be in a better position now and I think CL qualification is still a realistic target, but lord knows, Arsenal need to kickstart their season.
The summer didn’t start brilliantly for Villa with the surprise announcement that Alex McLeish would cross the Birmingham border to manage the club, which was not met well by fans. Which is a fair shout, given he relegated Villa’s blue rivals twice, most recently last year, despite cup success. And considering the money at St Andrews and the players, it was a pretty impressive feat to do so. It was followed by 2 of Villa’s best players in Young and Downing leaving the club, although it must be said, given the fees, Villa definitely came out of the deals well. Then McLeish pulled off a cracking signing in Shay Given. Arguably one of the best of the summer, and the big Irishman more than showed this straight away with a cracking debut against Fulham on day one. Charles N’Zogbia was next in, and given he was half the price of Downing, for effectively the same player, it is again a great example of good business for Villa. The only other players through the welcome doors at Villa Park were seasoned underachievers Jermaine Jenas and Alan Hutton both from Spurs. I thnk the move could be good for Hutton as the right back played well under McLeish at both Rangers and for Scotland, which is what prompted interest from down south. However he has never really done it at Spurs and with Harry’s impatience, which almost saw him sell Gareth Bale a few years ago, Hutton never stood a chance, never getting consistent football. With Luke Young leaving for new riches at Loftus Road, Hutton will have the confidence of his manager, and a regular spot to try and find his form again. Jermaine Jenas joins on loan, with the chance to try and find the promise which almost lead to moves to Inter Milan and Real Madrid, apparently. Although for Jenas I think actually playing again consistently would be a good start. Could be a good move for him, but given how he spectacularly fell off the face of the earth, he will have to work hard to get back to his best. All in all, I don’t think even McLeish could get this side relegated, and a good run of form could see Villa pushing into the top half this year.
Ah the Venky’s! After a fantastically appalling advert was released featuring many of the first team, one wonders what exactly their vision of running a football club is. Sack a proven manager last year when he wasn’t doing too bad. Put a complete tool in his place, and watch as the club make bids for Ronaldinho and other high profile names, only to narrowly avoid relegation on the last day. On to the summer and they again punched above their weight, launching a bid for Spain legend Raul, which was laughed off, and then spent the summer chasing no-name players, despite the club’s ‘riches’. Phil Jones was the big name to leave, but one can hardly blame him, and he was followed by a string of squad players. I personally think Steve Kean should have followed them out the door, and the longer they keep him the worse it will be for Blackburn. He did raid Aberdeen and Dundee Utd for Anderson and Goodwillie, but that’s hardly going to set the world alight, and it also remains to be seen if Vukcevic and Petrovic can play at this level. To me it seems like Kean would be more suited to managing an SPL team, where Scottish talent and unknown players are the only option, but given the financial backing, he hasn’t realised that proven talent is probably what is needed so that another Kalinic doesn’t happen. But then came Scott Dann, easily Blackburn’s best signing, and given that they held off Arsenal to keep Chris Samba as well, they now have a solid, no-nonsense, centre back pairing. However, with Kean still in charge and given the rest of the squad, I still have Blackburn to go down or flirt with relegation for most of the year. Could change with a new manager and better signings in January, but looking ahead that far already is never a good sign.
What they kept Gary Cahill? Score! I do have a lot of love for Owen Coyle and I think he’s had another great summer. Not just because of the Gary Cahill thing, although that is huge, for now. No doubt Bolton will be hoping he doesn’t get injured before January as that will be the only time they will get any money for him now. But Coyle also has Bolton playing good football; they walked through QPR, and put in a good show against City too. In the transfer market Bolton trimmed the deadwood from the wage bill, although may have felt a bit disappointed that they lost Johan Elmander to Galatasaray given the Swede was finally showing real promise in the top flight. A striker seemed to be top of Coyle’s wishlist, especially with Daniel Sturridge ending his successful loan spell at the end of the last campaign. And Coyle has attempted to fill the void with 3 new strikers. Tuncay has experience at this level and can still put in a shift, although one would argue he’s not going to get you bags of goals. David N’Gog could turn out to be a good signing given that he won’t have the pressure on him like he had at Liverpool and will play more consistently. Only time will tell how good a signing that will turn out to be. And Gael Kakuta from Chelsea looks like a good player and maybe Coyle can do for him what he did for Jack Wilshere a few years ago. Despite these signings I still feel Bolton are slightly weaker up top than last season. Elsewhere Coyle raided former club Burnley for Chris Eagles and Ty Mears. Eagles could be a good signing as he has been a big fish in a small pond for a while at Burnley, however one feels for Mears given that he broke his leg before the campaign even begun. Dedryck Boyata on loan from City will help to mature the player who showed a lot of promise when thrown in at the deep end last year, and Reo Coker and Darren Pratley make up Coyle’s signings. The former, like Jermaine Jenas, showed great promise early in his career and I hope he can find that form at Bolton, although I think his time has passed. As for Pratley, he was a key player at Swansea so it remains to be seen if he can make the step up, although his pace is questionable. I don’t see Bolton going anywhere near relegation this year, and back Coyle to put in another successful campaign, looking solid in mid table.
A solid first transfer window for Villas Boas, who was a great signing himself at the start of the summer. Chelsea trimmed a lot of squad players and reserves, and I was happy to see Michael Mancienne move to Hamburg to get more football, maybe because I always like to see English players play abroad, and the Bundesliga is a good place to develop. Yuri Zhirkov was the other notable departure although I don’t think he’ll be missed, and there’s no sympathy for a player going to money-rich Anzhi in Russia! On the buying front Villas Boas was very quiet to begin with, then came through with some absolute gems. Young goalkeeper Thibault Courtois seems a good buy for the future, and immediately loaning him out to replace David De Gea at Atletico Madrid is a great move to build up his experience. Oriol Romeu was next in from Barcelona and this youngster seems a bargain at just over 4m. However Barcelona, as they did with Bojan at Roma, have put a buy back clause in should Romeu turn out to be a little star – shrewd business. Then comes the big boys. Romelu Lukaku has been courted by the top clubs for years with Chelsea at the head of the crowd. And they got their man for around 18m if reports are correct. Dubbed as the next Drogba, Lukaku is very physical and will prove a real handful in years to come. Chelsea may have wanted to loan him out this year given that Torres, Anelka, Drogba, Sturridge and Kalou are all at the club, but I look forward to seeing him at some point, if not just what to see what the fuss is about! Then came one of the best buys in my opinion this summer. We all thought Juan Mata was destined for the Emirates a month ago, and seeing him make his debut, Arsenal fans may be a bit gutted the club didn’t stump up the 23m to buy the Spanish starlet. He will be great for years to come and one couldn’t help but feel Chelsea had turned their attentions away from Luka Modric when this guy came in. Great player, good price. Funny I should mention Modric, and one really should feel for the little Croatian, given that Chelsea unsettled him all summer, put him well out of favour with Tottenham, put him in a bad mental state, and then just ignored the playmaker when it mattered. He must be wondering what’s going on. Oh to be Luka today! And Chelsea seemed to dwell on the Modric talk all day yesterday, before launching successive bids for Raul Meireles until in the eleventh hour the player handed in a transfer request and the deal was done. Easy! At 12m it is very good business again, and although Liverpool fans have been bleating on about how they don’t need him, in their heart of hearts they will miss him. Meireles was the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal when he came on at the Emirates the other week, and I’m surprised Kenny let him go for that fee, especially considering what the Reds have paid on players this summer. I think Chelsea have certainly strengthened, if just in depth, and will probably relish the hype around the two Manchester clubs as they may be able to sneak in to take the title. Either way they will definitely occupy the top of the table for me.
Well that’s the first 5 teams rounded up. Stay tuned as the next lot will follow shortly…
As the football league season got underway at the KC Stadium on Friday night, it brought an end to pre-season, and has given purpose back to our lives. A great weekend in the football league was topped off with the Community shield and a chance for the big boys to warm us up for the Premier League campaign which begins next week. Normally this is quite a dull affair in which two teams poke around for a bit before the odd goal is scored, or we wait out for penalties.
However this year, the match took on a different twist with a Manchester derby and a chance for City to prove they’re not just the ‘noisy neighbours’ anymore and in fact the real deal.Mancini put out a relatively strong squad, bar the exclusion of Carlos Tevez and not-quite-match-fit Sergio Aguero, it is the strongest side he could have put out. Fergie on the other hand, gave youth a chance with Danny Welbeck given the chance to prove his England call up, and Chris Smalling given the chance to shine at full back. It was also a chance for David De Gea to show why he is the answer to Van Der Sar’s retirement, something he failed to do. In fact he was at fault for both City goals which saw them lead 2-0 at half time. But City were way too defensive, raising the same questions as last season about their ambition, and United ran out very deserved 3-2 winners. The relevance of all this to pre-seasom and goals? Well, although technically an official game, one can be forgiven for suggesting the Community Shield is still a season warm up. And we saw one of the great goals, which inspired me to put together a list of some of the best pre-season goals I have seen.
First up, the delightful team goal which gave this blog post inspiration, as Nani rounds off a clever move to pull United level on Sunday. Oh, and why not have it in Arabic…
So to my top 5 goals that history forgot, as usual its just my opinion based on what I’ve seen, any other entries are more than welcome, just let me know…
5) Questions may remain over Luka Modric’s future at White Hart Lane, but a bit more of this from Niko Kranjcar and Spurs fans may not miss the little magician…
4) Seems to be the norm for teams to fly across the pond and partake in a US tour, and the LA Galaxy fans were treated to this gem from the Portuguese winger as he danced around defenders and fired in from an acute angle…
3) A new Belgian striker through the doors at Chelsea, and Fernando Torres seems to have found some of his form during pre-season. However let’s not forget Didier Drogba and the beast he could be, with this stonker against AC a few years back…
2) The forgotten playmaker of Israel. Step forward Yossi Benayoun and this fine bit of ball juggling. A back heel finish as well, may have to amend my highlight reel from last week. Quality.
1) I’m not sure if it’s the fact Phillippe Senderos completed a pass that wasn’t over 10 yards that makes this goal great?! But then what follows is sublime, complete control a precision volley from 20 yards, the ball doesn’t even touch the floor. Enjoy…
This week Mario Balotelli caused a fuss by trying (and failing) to score with an audacious back heel. Although having an argument with your manager isn’t best advised, I don’t get why everyone went mad. It was a friendly. It’s where you try things out. If he had scored then I’m sure people would have been saying how clever it was!
Anyway, I don’t really want to dwell on thhat, but I figured it could set up this week’s highlight reel quite well. So here are the top 5 backheel goals I have seen. I know I may have missed some obvious ones but nevertheless here’s my pick of the bunch. If you have any other suggestions of ones I have missed or ones you think should be considered, why not let me know!
5) Thierry Henry Vs Charlton
Jonathan Fortune probably thought he had done enough. Tight on Henry, back to goal, nowhere to turn, the only thing Henry could do to score would be… oh wait, he did it.
4) Djimi Traore Vs Liverpool?!
Bit of a cheeky one, but as own goals and back heels go, this is one of the best. Poor Djimi got his feet in one hell of a mess, performed a lovely pirouette, and sadly for the full back it’s probably what he’s most remembered for.
3) Gianfranco Zola Vs Norwich
The little wizard did some outstanding things whilst he was at Stamford Bridge, and this one’s up there. The jury’s still out on whether Graeme Le Saux whipped in a great cross or just duffed it, but what followed was a magic piece of improvisation from the pint-sized Italian. Reaction and execution – perfection.
2) Corridon Vs Porto
To be honest prior to seeing the goal on Champions League Weekly one night, I had no idea wh this guy was. And I’m not sure what he became. Rafa Van der Vaart scored a similar one in his Ajax days, but this one was from the edge of the area, and the audacity for him to perform a flying overhead kick gets him second spot in my book. Bien joue!
1) Matty Burrows Vs Portadown
In my book it deserved to win the Puskas Award last year for goal of the year. Either way, amazing tekkers from Burrows scoring from a cross, with his back to goal, from 18 yards out. And to top it off it was the winner in the 92nd minute. Glentoran’s never had it so good.