Yes, it’s early days, but our very own BANGS, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is co-pichichi with Valencia’s David Villa. Each are on 7 goals. But did you also know that he was 4 of 4 with his shots vs Zaragoza, every last one of ’em being on target? This is very different from our performance against Rubin Kazan, in which some might have been buoyed by the fact that we had more than 20 shots, but I think you’ll find that their keeper will say that he had an easy night of it.
Which means what?
That our big Swede is making a liar out of some people.
When he arrived, the knocks were two-fold. “Yeah, he scores goals, but he doesn’t score them at important times.” That one remains to be seen, but the other, “He won’t score as many goals as Eto’o,” appears to be in dire threat. I’m not a big fan of statistics, and it should be noted that Eto’o had 10 goals in the same stretch of matches last year (2 were penalties). So the deal was a failure, right? 😀
What excites me more about the Ibrahimovic presence is the assists. Why? Because great players make everyone around them great. Michael Jordan wasn’t great because he dropped 60 points on people. He didn’t become great until he started passing the damn ball. Thierry Henry isn’t just good because he scores goals. His crosses and passes are excellent. Xavi is a deity because of his selfless devotion to everyone else’s excellence. Lionel Messi’s best matches of the season feature him as an attacker and distributor of the ball. No, I don’t think it’s news to anyone that Ibrahimovic is good. I think that the news is in how he’s been good. If it continues, we could be in for one hell of a ride this season, folks.
Oh, and Ibrahimovic credits Sinisa Mihajlovic, who he worked on free kicks with at Inter, for his prowess in taking them. Let’s hope for more of that.
–Nothing makes by blood boil like arrogant BritPress rags. What we’re getting now are Carles Puyol headlines such as the one in the Daily Mail, “Puyol hints mega Manchester City offer almost tempted him to leave the Nou Camp.” First of all, it’s Camp Nou, unless it’s also Trafford Old. Now here’s the derivation of their foolishness: Captain Caveman said to Sport “Barca’s offer was very good from day one. The club has always been very good to me but I would be earning more if I had left.”
So one of their ink-stained wretches says “See? Who wouldn’t be tempted by money, and the majesty of the Premiership.” And voila, the absurd story. Because the truth exists in the words “During the whole process I never imagined I would leave.”
–In a bit of mirth-inducing blather, Thong Boy has said that even if he could, he wouldn’t sign any players from our squad to the Evil Empire. Now, we all know why he said it, but does anyone else find that as funny as I do? Yes? Good.
–And for those who might have missed it, the Liga awards were handed out earlier this week and no surprise, we won every one of ’em except for best goalkeeper, and I would argue that we should have won that one, as well, particularly if you base the award on sustained excellence rather than “Kept his club from being even further down the standings.” We nattered about it in some comments, but here it is, for the record:
Best Player and Striker: Messi
Best Coach: Guardiola
Best Defender: Alves (I demand a recount!)
Best Midfielder: Xavi
Best Attacking Mid: Iniesta (They ginned this one up by awarding Messi Best Striker as well as Player.)
Best Breakthrough Player: Busquets
–PM Jose Luis Zapatero will not be able to travel to see his favorite club, Barcelona, after all, due to “meetings and scheduling committments.” Does anyone else smell politics? As Cesc Pistol noted in the Cultural preview, the Prime Minister was geeked about the chance to see Barca play in person, from a nice seat in the wee Cultural Leonesa stadium. But this isn’t to be. Oh. His favorite player is said to be Iniesta.
—Thierry Henry is back, and will be given the medical okay to play against Osasuna on the weekend. It goes without saying that the timing of this is perfect, since I fully believe that had a fit Henry been in the side, we wouldn’t have lost to Rubin Kazan. Now he has the chance to prove my theory, as we roll into the return encounter with them after facing off against Osasuna.
–Finally, what would the day be without silly transfer rumors. Despite Citeh supremo Mark Hughes’ best efforts, the Robinho stuff will not go away. And look for David Villa natterings to resume, now that a Valencia boss has admitted that barring anything unforeseen, it will be difficult for them to hang on to their big two (Villa, Silva) again during the upcoming transfer windows. And Christian Poulsen? No. Just. No.