Catching up with the club …. just a bit

In news land, in brief:

Pep Guardiola is going to sign on for two years after a meeting with Rosell. Our coach still prefers going year-to-year, but understands the value of the appearance of stability as regards a new president. Rosell wants an even longer deal, but Guardiola will not agree to that.

The Yaya is headed to Citeh for around 30m, in deal that will be finalized in a day or two. There were many suitors, and it’s a nice bit of business for us, as we bought him for 7m. Like the decision or not, it’s also a great time to sell, since his wage demands will be significant, and his price will never be higher.

Victor Sanchez has, however temporarily, returned home from his loan. No word on his future disposition, but there is no way that the versatile mid/defender gets a first-team shot, and after experiencing A-side life at Xerez (sure, giggle all you want, but he was still starting with a Liga side), it is difficult to imagine that we’ll be able to do anything for him except sell him or do another loan deal.

Alexander Hleb will be meeting soon with new management and the coaching staff to get his future sorted. Rumors abound of interest from other teams in Italy and Germany, and if we sell him, it will of necessity be for a cut-rate price. That, and the depth that he would add to the midfield on the bench, almost argue for keeping him. At least we can give him a chance to redeem himself in pre-season, then sell him in the winter window for a price that won’t soak us as much.

–We have a new deal with MediaPro which the company’s head, Jaume Roures, describes as the best TV rights deal of any club in Europe. No numbers were disclosed, but expect rumblings from people who believe in a more egalitarian, Premiership-style sharing of TV wealth. After all, say the Deportivos and Bilbaos of the world, people tune in to watch us as well, when we’re playing you. Don’t we deserve a cut of that pie?

Juan Carlos Unzue has left us to become head coach at Numancia. This opens up the keeper coach position, and the father of Sergio Busquets, Carles, is rumored to be one candidate for the vacancy.

–Yes, it’s true and official: Alberto Botia will be a Sporting Gijon player for the next four years, as we kept our word to the defender to facilitate his move there. We have repurchase rights, should he continue to improve, and show some of the immense potential that we all gawked at those few shots that he received with the A side.

And because we can’t let anything pass without getting silly ….

–Has Lionel Messi been texting HeWhoWillNotBeNamed, saying “Come to Barca, you big dummy?”

–Incoming president Sandro Rosell has been quoted as saying to EMD that he is “confident” that HWWNBN will be wearing the colors next season. Strong words.

Sport is continuing its campaign, reporting that AC Milan’s Galliani has met with the agent of Ibrahimovic, and that we want 56m for a player who everyone has said isn’t for sale. Now, some will say “That means he isn’t for sale, so shut up.” Others will say that Arsenal are saying the same thing about HWWNBN, and yet the silliness persists. Who knows, but I do know that Torres isn’t the solution to that equation.

–“Oh yeah, we don’t like Txigrinski either,” says Sport, so they are reporting on a bit of speculation during a show on RAC1 as something approaching viability, that the Ukranian defender might return to Shakhtar, who would be happy to have him, and even pay us in return something approaching the price that we paid for him. Now, even the most logical person can see that deal making sense, right? “We sold you this dude for a bunch of money, and we’re sorry he didn’t work out for you, so we’ll buy him back at almost the same price, because we’re just nice that way. Yes.”

–Brazilian club Santos want them some Keirrison, as we continue to try to find a home for the player we bought in 2009 for 15m. Stay tuned for that one.

That should tide you kids over until the next World Cup matches start, eh?

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Euler
    June 18, 2010

    It’s a concern that Pep doesn’t want to sign for longer. He signs for the 6 year deal that Rosell has talked about that’s guaranteed money. Instead Pep is choosing less economic security to make sure he has more flexibility of leaving if he wants to.

    He’s not even signing a longer term deal with a release clause. Managers do that so that they get a guaranteed deal but still have flexibility. Pep isn’t even risking that though as I imagine Rosell would insist on an enormous release price. A 1-2 year deal allows Pep the ability to pick and choose another job if he so chooses with few restrictions.

    One gets the sense that Pep is still taking a wait and see approach about how Rosell will run the club and how much he will interfere. But a short term deal suggests that Pep may have some doubts.

    • lovelymofo
      June 18, 2010

      Well, if you think about it, Pep not signing a long-term deal also gives him some leverage. As long as he continues leading the team to victories and titles, he’ll be able to call the shots in a variety of areas, especially in regards to which players he wants. If he signed a six-year deal, what leverage does he have?

      Naturally we want him to stay as long as possible, but I understand him wanting to see how it goes with Rosell.

    • IS
      June 18, 2010

      I always got the impression that Pep, even with the Laporta era, was more interested in maintaining these short-term contracts. While job flexibility is an obvious (yet unspoken) reason, I got the impression that his reasons were a bit more selfless. First, I recall his claims of short-term contracts providing him with additional motivation to perform – maybe he simply likes being kept on his toes. Second, despite his successes in his first 2 years, I recall him claiming (at some point in 08-90) that short-term contracts would make any potential parting with the club – should the results turn sour and the board choose to release him – less of a burden to the club.

      Either case, any shape or form of a renewal by Pep is good news for us!

  2. Euler
    June 18, 2010

    On another note – Albeto Undiano’s refeering in the Germany Serbia match has been utterly, completely embarrassing.

    Also, Mesut Ozil has remarkable vision on the pitch. It’s something that can’t be taught or trained into a player. He is immensely gifted. His positional flexibility is also impressive. Klose gets sent off and Ozil is playing up top by himself now and still creating dangerous chances.

  3. Eklavya
    June 18, 2010

    Yup, after Spain, it’s Germany’s time to shine! Yay!

  4. Hilal
    June 18, 2010

    Why is it no surprise to me to that worst ref so far in the WC has been the Spanish ref. The first game to be well and truly ruined by awful refereeing!

    • poipoi
      June 18, 2010

      we have the worst refs ever and it harms our league and our national team… it even harms iniesta, he did not use to dive that much 😀

  5. Luke
    June 18, 2010

    US starting with Torres is a good start but having the same old issues. Not ability to control possession and defensive lapses already showing.

  6. Euler
    June 18, 2010

    The US defense is just horrendous. They have such little tactical understanding of how to defend or technical skill defending.

    They are horrible. How do you allow a player that much space without closing him down? They have such little understanding and feeling of space.

    And overall the squad lacks composure.

    The key word Bradley is always using for the US is “energy.” They’ve certainly demonstrated a great deal of energy along the backline as they run around with unclear purpose.

    • Luke
      June 18, 2010

      So far in this game Cherundolo has stopped and allowed two separate balls to be run down by SVN players and Onyewu allowed 8 yards of space for Birsa on that goal. SVN deserves it, US apparently deserves this for keeping Bradley as a manager.

      • Euler
        June 18, 2010

        It’s very difficult to understand. How does a team that builds it’s program around physicality, a team with limited skill in attack, have such little tactical acumen in defense? They are a team of physicality and energy that can’t defend.

        When is the last time they kept a clean sheet? But nothing changes.

        Think about how good N. Korea was in defense outside of the formation. Or if you want to compare squads with similar formations think about Switzerland. It’s very clear the U.S. must excel in their defensive organization and yet are horrific at it. It’s inexcusable.

        • Luke
          June 18, 2010

          I cannot say enough how absolutely dreadful the US defense has been, except for, surprisingly, DeMerit, who hasn’t looked awful somehow? The US finally doing something intelligent, moving through Torres and having Altidore draw fouls, there are few players in the world who are better at it than Jozy.

          I like Findley’s pace, but he has to shoot more and be more confident.

  7. Jnice
    June 18, 2010

    Germany has made me feel sick. I don’t even want to watch anymore football today.

    Ghana has to win by plenty of goals tomorrow. Fuck.

  8. Luke
    June 18, 2010

    Onyewu keeps SVN player onside and the Charlie Browns are ahead 2-0. Worst possible start. The team is done and dusted.

  9. Euler
    June 18, 2010

    In theory both the U.S. and Slovenia are playing a 4-4-2. As such the formations should cancel each other out.

    Functionally though Slovenia’s 4-4-2 isn’t really like the U.S.’s and Slovenia isn’t playing a very pure 4-4-2.

    Slovenia right now has a numerical advantage in midfield because Novakovic is dropping fairly deeply back. This is giving Slovenia three men in the midfield area compared to two for the U.S. – Bradley and Torres.

    This advantage is enhanced by the fact that the U.S.’s 4 attacking players are playing high up the pitch and wide while both Bradley and Torres are playing relatively deep. The U.S. is numerically outmanned in mid so they can’t build up play and on top of that there is no link between the deep midfielders and the strikers.

    Defensively what’s making this even worse for the U.S. is that by dropping back almost more as a false 9, Novakovic is giving the U.S. team fits because they don’t understand how to mark him in that position. Last match he was the most advanced striker for Slovenia. This match he’s playing deep and the U.S. isn’t able to pick him up numerically or mark him tactically.

    Kek’s decision to remove Dedic from the starting team and substitute Ljubijankic as the most advanced striker while withdrawing Novakovic deeper has outclassed the U.S.

  10. vicsoc8
    June 18, 2010

    The Yaya deal has a feeling of inevitability about it, and the more I think about it, the more I get the feeling that the deal has been in the works since last summer. That would certainly go some way towards explaining why Busquets was favored over Yaya for much of the season. If Pep knew he was losing Yaya he is the type of person who would try to build for the future.

    Worrisome that Pep only signed a two year contract.

    • Luke
      June 18, 2010

      I would not sign a longer deal with Rosell coming in. Pep has no idea how he will react, what he will change or do. If he’s like Laporta in management style, I am guessing Pep stays on, but still.

    • Juan On-Juan
      June 22, 2010

      Yaya has to be sold to get some money for more players. Barca are all but bankrupt. The new financial rules will kill the club in its present form.

  11. Luke
    June 18, 2010

    Here’s a fun stat, the US is the first team in history to allow a goal in 18 straight group stage matches.

    This match shows how tactically failing Bradley is as a manager by starting players who are deficient to play his schemes. Onyewu is seriously the worst defender I have seen this time around. He has been completely or partially responsible for every goal, or near goal of the US this Cup. I hate to beat that dead horse, but fuck me.

    Donovan scores to bring it to 2-1. I stand by all these statements even if the US somehow makes this comeback.

    • Euler
      June 18, 2010

      The specific outcome of this game is separate from the persistent larger issues plaguing the team. Even if they come back to win that doesn’t suddenly make their defensive lapses go away. The U.S. may be able to overpower and tire out Slovenia but that doesn’t alter the root problems.

      Their defense is terrible regardless of how this finishes. Even now it looks very shaky on the backline.

  12. vicsoc8
    June 18, 2010

    I’ve been harping on about this, but I’m going to continue.

    Don’t be surprised if Ibra is sold this summer. First of all, Laporta and Txiki have said Ibra isn’t for sale… but starting July 1st Laporta and Txiki no longer have any say in the matter. Like it or not, this is our new reality. If Rosell is going to move one big name on this summer, Ibrahimovic is the logical choice. His wages are astronomical, he is not extremely well liked by cules, and so the transfer would be popular, and (to be somewhat controversial) losing him for next year wouldn’t seriously endanger the sporting aspect of the club. Another potential clue is that when it got down to the serious business end of the season, Pep left him on the bench for four games in a row (does this indicate Pep thinks Ibra has been a failure? – He is notoriously unforgiving to new players)

    The flip side of this is of course how difficult it would be to sell Ibra. We would need to get a large amount of money for him, and most clubs are unwilling to spend that sort of money. There have been swaps proposed, but none of Robinho, Torres, or Pato are what we need (or want, in Pep’s case I assume).

    I just want to say that I’m not advocating Ibra leave, just trying to look at what will likely happen and why.

    On a different note, if we succeed in signing Fabregas we may see Iniesta moved to the left flank again next season. I’m of the opinion that a Iniesta – Fabregas – Xavi midfield would be effective for at least half of our league games. When we hold near to 70% possession it seems a waste of a player to play someone who is solely a destroyer. When we play tougher opponents I wouldn’t be surprised to see Iniesta moved to the left wing again. He has been successful there in the past, and even though he didn’t shine there last season, he didn’t really shine much at all last season.

    • Blow-Grenade
      June 18, 2010

      If we get Cesc we have a central striker. We can get rid of Ibra. Cesc is excellent in front of the goal.

  13. Euler
    June 18, 2010

    Wonderful combination play from the U.S. and a great run from Bradley. Great cross and fantastic header down from Altidore. Exactly what a target man is supposed to do. And a great touch by Bradley.

    The U.S.’s two goals have come on tremendous plays. Two of the best finishes in the cup.

    Now the U.S. just needs to stay composed defensively.

    Slovenia looks like they are tiring and losing their shape.

  14. Luke
    June 18, 2010

    Goal by Edu disallowed on a phantom offside call.

    • Anony
      June 18, 2010

      I am so pissed right now. I went into a meeting for work 15min into the second half. The US was down 1-2. When I cam out of the meeting the game was over, tied at 2-2. I was stoked that they made a comeback and were able to keep in the running, however my optimism was smashed by that TERRIBLE offside call. That should have been a goal. The US should have won. What could have been one of the best games of the tournament was turned into a disgrace.

    • Vj
      June 18, 2010

      It was a foul inside the box it seems.. definitely no sign of an offside..

  15. ooga aga
    June 18, 2010

    whats wrong with the bradleys’ hair?

  16. Kxevin
    June 18, 2010

    Turns out the offside call was in actuality a foul call. It could be argued that the precipitating dive by Altidore that earned the free kick was bogus anyhow. So things even out, right? But yes, that call was pretty seriously bogus.

    On another note, if we sell Ibrahimovic, we are stupid. Not because we won’t get value, since I can’t imagine we would ever consider accepting less than 50m, but because it would mean that somebody has the crazy-ass notion of Villa leading the line, a notion that is misguided, and wouldn’t augur well in Champions League, where there are actual big people, rather than wee Liga ones.

    Torres? Ha! Pylon in the box. “Give me the ball, dammit!” Our very own Keyshawn. To Euler’s point above, Guardiola always likes a year-to-year deal. He even offered his resignation to Rosell, because that’s what you do with a new president. It’s pro forma. Rosell of course laughed at him. The two-year thing is actually a good sign of how Guardiola views what Rosell talked to him about. It’s also a nice gesture. But note that he can bail at any time, pretty much, which speaks to the uncertainty that surrounds any regime change such as this one.

    • Luis
      June 18, 2010

      Why is it you dont think Villa can lead the line? Honestly.
      Sure he is not a pivot player who can hold up the ball, but with such mobility up front our attck doesnt have to be like that. It certainly wasnt with eto, and I see Villa significantly more versatile than eto. Villa is a great number 9, for us and any other team.
      Having said this, I do not want Ibra to leave, simply because the thought of an Villa-Ibra_Messi frontline has me drooling. IN theory, the most potent and versatile frontline we’ve ever had.
      Also, even if we could splash on a left winger, i dont know any wingers who would truly elevate our game who are available

    • vicsoc8
      June 18, 2010

      I respectfully disagree with the notion that Villa can’t lead the line.

      He can’t lead the line in the style that Ibrahimovic can lead the line, but that might not be the best style for our team (and Ibrahimovic can’t lead the line in the way Villa would).

      • Kxevin
        June 18, 2010

        I think that Villa can lead the line in the Liga. But if you watch the Switzerland match and the way that they played him, it wasn’t until someone arrived to deflect attention from him that he became more of a threat. It’s nothing against Villa, it’s just that the way our game is played, which is roughly the way that Spain’s game is played, tika-taka only works if the striker can get the space necessary to do his thing. That means that he can’t be double-teamed, or a winger has to create space that the striker can move into. Eto’o thrived because of that space.

        But there’s no reason to think that double-teaming of Villa won’t be any less effective than double-teaming of Ibrahimovic, which was very effective once teams figured out “Hey, they don’t have a left winger!”

        Eto’o is stronger and crazier than Villa, despite Villa’s better touch, shotmaking skill and creativity. And a striker playing that Eto’o role has to be house-sized, or batshit crazy and ox-strong. If we run at teams with Messi and Villa and no effective left winger, the results would be worse than this season, I think.

        • vicsoc8
          June 18, 2010

          My perception of the Switzerland game was that Villa became more of a threat when Spain finally added some real width to the field in the form of Navas (and maybe Pedro). I thought Villa was largely ineffective to that point because he is the type of forward who depends on his movement, but with all of Spain’s attacking players always in the same corridor his movement was stifled. It’s easy for two defenders to mark a forward out of the game when the defense doesn’t have to worry about width and can collapse into the center of the field.

          You make a good point about lacking a left winger. With Messi playing more centrally last year we lacked width on one wing or the other. This was especially prevalent when Ibra was playing as he is less comfortable moving out to one of the wings (either that or wasn’t quite sure when to move out) and this is why people claimed Ibra and Messi got in each other’s way. When Bojan played the front line looked better not because Bojan is better than Ibra, but because Bojan is willing to get wide and provide width when necessary, even when he’s playing as a striker.

          I think Villa and Ibra can both lead the line, albeit in very different ways. Whoever is leading the line, we need to find a way to not lose our width. I think it’s best to afford Messi a free role, which means our other wingers/forwards need to be comfortable interchanging and moving wide.

          I personally think the way to combat big, strong, physical defenses like say Inter’s or Switzerland’s is to rely on guile and movement and interchanging from the front line and behind, but that’s just my .02

  17. poipoi
    June 18, 2010

    oh my… will the US make it? 😀

    they have to win their game vs argelia and wait for england to win both games its not that hard

    • Spencer
      June 18, 2010

      I don’t know poipoi… Argelia might be a pretty good team.

      • poipoi
        June 18, 2010

        well, it can be done, remember you kicked our asses in the confed cup. AND england only has to win vs slovenia, not both games 😉

  18. June 18, 2010

    im so glad for you guys(american posters).
    what a match! ive been supporting US team ever since I started watching football in 1994( yeah, was only 9, didn’t know too much, all I know was that US was the best country so automatically I thought they were the best team in football too hehe).

    it was definitely not an offside, was a stupid foul.
    btw did you guys notice walter samuel doing his typical rugby tackles when heinze scored the goal in their 1st match?
    how wasn’t that a foul and the one in the US match a foul?

    • Kari
      June 18, 2010

      Yeah, by law, the Argentina goal shouldn’t have happens (FIFA already came out and said it shouldn’t have been a goal * ), but ref missed it so it stands. That sort of thing always happens, it just that the referee caught it in the US-Slovenia match and missed it in the Argentina match.

  19. ooga aga
    June 18, 2010

    noon eastern (US) sunday 2nd leg barca atletic contra sant andreu

  20. Kari
    June 18, 2010

    That Germany penalty miss was disgusting (as in horrible. Podolski, why?!). I forget to set my alarm clock so I missed the match, but from what I’ve seen on the highlights and comments, the ref had a shocker.

    It’s just been a horrible start to the WC for the Spanish, hasn’t it? Although the loss I believe is a good thing. Imagine if what just happened to Germany (winning 4-0, then losing 0-1) happened to Spain. At least now, Spain won’t count their chickens before they’re hatched.

    As for Ghana, maybe this will motivate them more-so now and they can take control of the group. I want to see a good performance from the Black Stars!

    Now that the second matches are being played, the WC is getting more and more interesting. I really felt people were just putting too much emphasis on the first matches, which are always cagey because no-one wants to lose.

    The drama starts now!

    • Vj
      June 18, 2010

      Speaking of a German penalty miss, the last time it happened was way back in Spain ’82..

      Spain HAVE TO get their act together in these next few games.. They might have to face Brazil if they go through?

    • Luke
      June 18, 2010

      The ref in Germany-Serbia was all over the place. First half he was calling it so tight, but Klose’s second yellow was deserved and Serbia’s goal was well taken regardless.

      The issue with Podolski’s penalty shot wasn’t that he hit it poorly, he slotted it well, but the keeper got a great dive in, guessed right, and stopped it.

      Vidic should have been red-carded for a handball in the box that would have made any keeper proud, but only got a yellow somehow.

    • Jnice
      June 18, 2010

      “As for Ghana, maybe this will motivate them more-so now and they can take control of the group. I want to see a good performance from the Black Stars!”

      I hope so.

  21. Ramallets
    June 18, 2010

    Great article Kxevin. Just a little correction. The Yaya was signed for €9m and not €7m. There was also a €3m in variables included in the deal.

  22. vicsoc8
    June 18, 2010

    Am I the only one who is wholly unimpressed by England?

    • Jnice
      June 18, 2010

      Definitely not. My eyes hurt from watching them.

    • Blow-Grenade
      June 18, 2010

      I am ready to puke after watching the game. Capello got his tactics all wrong.

  23. Euler
    June 18, 2010

    Algeria is playing 3 in the back and 4 in the middle. That’s allowed them to do well in the middle of the pitch in terms of dictating action.

    England needs to make better use of their flanks. But perhaps even more than that they need to be able to be able to use space wide to do more than simply send one cross after another into the box. They need to use width the open up space for Rooney and Girard in the middle. But their wingers aren’t particularly strong.

  24. Euler
    June 18, 2010

    Also – where exactly is Ashley Cole in all of this? He should be able to get up the pitch effectively and get behind the Algerian wing backs with his pace. Girarid is making runs in central opening up a lot of space for him.

    • Luke
      June 18, 2010

      England has a terrible time with 3-5-2 and 3-4-2-1 systems like Algeria runs. Egypt befuddles them to no end with it and Algeria is more technically sound in the back than England.

      Heskey has been utterly useless up front, so has Rooney. Basically the only England player who has done anything useful is maybe Barry?

      • Euler
        June 18, 2010

        It’s just simple stuff and Capello obviously is aware of this but by playing two strikers Algeria always has an extra man back as they are playing 2 v 3. It’s made even worse by the fact that Heske is so one dimensional and limited.

        In addition the Algerian wing backs are doing a very good job getting back to their third to defend. I’m surprised they haven’t collapsed from exhaustion. Belhadj has been very good.

        Agreed Barry has played well. Not sure why they are so convinced Rooney can’t play up top alone. A single striker formation against a 3 man backline would have helped them do better with their possession in midfield.

        • Luke
          June 18, 2010

          It is made even more strange by the fact that MUFC put him up by himself for a lot of the time toward the end of the year and Rooney played spectacularly. Capello is far too solid a tactician to not understand this. I am wondering what is going on with him and why he sticks with Heskey?

          MOTM thus far has been Boughera (sp?), he has been a rock in the back. Algeria’s keeper has been stellar as well.

          • Euler
            June 18, 2010

            Rooney was great up top alone. But all over in England they felt that Rooney was best in a two striker system. Given the choices of that second striker however I don’t see the trade off as working.

            As far as Capello – I’d guess that perhaps he doesn’t feel he has the right creative distributor to play behind Rooney as a single striker?

  25. Jnice
    June 18, 2010

    I’m loving the way Algeria move the ball.

  26. Euler
    June 18, 2010

    England are just a very limited squad technically. In particular, they pass the ball very poorly as a collective.

    There is no creativity in the middle and that’s why Rooney gets so starved. Lampard is a horrible passer who is very one dimensional. Gerrard isn’t particularly creative.

    There are no ideas in their midfield. Rooney is going to get blamed. But the problem is that the other players on England – Lampard and Girard don’t feel don’t understand or play in a style that leverages what a multidimensional player like Rooney can do.

    Girarid is used to playing with a classic 9 in Torres in front of him. That’s not Rooney. He’s also used to playing with a strong passer behind him in Alonso. Lampard just doesn’t do much besides shoot the ball.

    • Vj
      June 18, 2010

      I’m loving it..

      Reporter: Steven what was missing today?

      Stevie G: Goals!

  27. vicsoc8
    June 18, 2010

    Consolation Prize for USA fans. Win the next game and we go through.

    • Vj
      June 18, 2010

      DRAW the next game and you go through if England-Slovenia ends with a result or it doesn’t end in a high scoring draw..

      • Vj
        June 18, 2010

        Scratch that.. I thought Slovenia-Algeria ended in a draw.. silly me..

      • vicsoc8
        June 18, 2010

        If we draw the next game we go through if:

        England loses.
        England – Slovenia draw with up to one goal more than we draw with.

        For example, if we draw 0-0, we go through if England – Slovenia draw 0-0 or 1-1.
        If we draw 2-2, we go through with up to 3-3 England Slovenia.

  28. Jim
    June 18, 2010

    As a Scot I want this post match analysis to go on forever 🙂 Just watch them tear themselves apart over the next few days.

    After Rooney’s comments about the fans booing as he left the field he’ll be fired up beyond belief and will probably draw a red card in the first ten minutes of the next game.

    • inNYC
      June 18, 2010

      I was thinking that too, wouldn’t be surprised to see Rooney completely lose it. England looked really lame there…what I’m looking forward to is the post-World Cup post-mortem…never mind the matchday wailing and beating of chests.

  29. jordi™
    June 18, 2010


    Heh, serves them right.Heskey’s “dribble” attempt was hilarious, even Puyi would put that to shame.Algeria were much better technically than England, and with a real target in the box they couldve nicked it.

  30. Kxevin
    June 18, 2010

    What’s funny is that Slovenia, as group leaders, could still not qualify if they lose to England and the U.S. beat Algeria. Which would be profoundly unfair, but that’s our great game, folks.

    England look dire. So dire. I love that teams are in groups that feature one team that tests their weakness. Spain doesn’t like big, fast, physical teams …. let’s give ’em Switzerland!

    I also think we’re seeing the lack of practice time, because of players professional obligations, which kinda isn’t the case with the likes of Slovenia and Algeria.

  31. Ramallets
    June 18, 2010

    If only the England players could managed to make 3 passes before losing the ball, they would maybe stand a chance.

  32. Ciaran
    June 18, 2010

    As an Irishman, bitter at the fact that we are not there… watching England play so pathetically is both funny and frustrating.

    The terrible effort by their players makes you wonder how they are considered ‘world class’???
    I think that the EPL makes average players look good.

    • lovelymofo
      June 18, 2010

      But the EPL is the best league EVER! They’re so physical! And play volleyball with their heads!

      Seriously though, I didn’t expect England to lose today. It is funny though.

      • Ciaran
        June 18, 2010

        I’m sorry but Emile Heskey is their no.9. Maybe all the Ibra-haters should be counting their blessings.
        Rooney, their star player, had no first touch whatsoever.
        There have been ridiculous rumours that we are interested in Steven Gerrard and he can’t even pass the ball and has no tactical awareness.

        But Capello is not as savvy as everyone give him credit for.
        He plays a very odd 4-4-2 when he doesn’t have the players for it. He plays a mediocre right winger, no left winger. A hopeless brute upfront and no one knows what to do.

        • Luke
          June 18, 2010

          I must disagree about Capello. He has taken England from a side that is perennially in a malaise to one that ran away with their group in qualification and played very well. His reliance on Heskey is confusing, but his track record is good.

          The bigger issue is the pressure on the players. They look so tense, like they have no outlet and really cannot function out there. Everything is a tremendous weight because of the English press and all of the EPL bullshit.

      • Helge
        June 18, 2010

        Hey, they did not lose 🙂

        It’s really scary to see Lampard and Gerrard play for the national team if you know what they are capable of for their club teams. I counted England to the absolute favourites for winning the WC before the tournament, I still believed in them after the Rob Green howler, but now they’re definitely out of the potential WC winners.

        Oh, and in the super star debate, Lionel Messi is already several levels above his challengers (Crynaldo, Rooney, Drogba or add whoever you want:D )

        • Jnice
          June 18, 2010

          Lampard is a robot who gets the bulk of his goals through penalties (I believe he had 9 this year) and deflections. I think he would get injured if he actually tried to take on a player.

          • June 19, 2010

            Why were we so interested in him in the Rijkaard era?
            I always shit in my pants whenever i read reports that we wanted to sign Lamps( didnt have internet back then)

  33. Kxevin
    June 18, 2010

    Holy crap! Daily Mail has the number for The Yaya at around 33m! Dayum. They will make him the most expensive holding mid in Premiership history. Gadzooks! For 33m, I will personally bundle The Yaya in swaddling clothes and deliver him to Citeh. 😀

  34. June 18, 2010

    busi’s dad, carles, an ex-gk, might join the coaching staff next season.
    this would look quite bad for busi. at first he was given many chances because he is a catalan and a youth product and how his dad is friends with pep.
    to make matters worse, now it seems that his spot will be for granted since his dad will be in the coaching staff.
    i know maldini had the same thing with with his dad cesare before. paolo’s inclusion in a squad will never be questioned.

    • Jnice
      June 18, 2010

      Let’s not get it twisted. If Busi is on the team, he’s there on merit. He obviously can play and Pep having worked with him in the B team, knew what he could bring to the team, therefore he was given a chance. Same as Pedro.

      Same goes for his father. He is the goalkeeping coach of the youth team and if he is given the job, it is because he was 2nd in line behind Unzue. He obviously has his qualities as a coach.

      • Kxevin
        June 18, 2010

        Agreed. Let’s not forget that with the increased playing time that Busquets got this past season, we were statistically better, and set a Liga points record.

        Guardiola does not strike me as a coach who does anything for “legacy” reasons. You can see the skill set that Busquets brings to the club, and if that is preferable, then it is. And Busquets Sr. was a hell of a keeper. If he has the stuff as a coach, what’s the biggie?

        • June 19, 2010

          but even before this some people were questioning pep decision of busi over yaya. some said that it’s because busi’s dad was an ex barca gk or cos pep is friends with busis’ dad.

          • Bundy
            June 19, 2010

            But what is actually wrong with Busquets? he isn’t a bad player, what makes people so suspicious of him?

            there will always be controversy, but the bottom line is the team is run by professionals, Pep is not a yes man, he makes his own decisions, the only reason for Busquets to be in the team because Pep decides to, not because he is forced to, secondly, Pep’s job is always on the line, more so then the players, Pep won’t make stupid decisions to play someone because he knows people, Pep uses what is best for the team.

            I could so easily speculate that Yaya was unfit this season and thus why he didn’t play as much, technically he missed a few weeks from injury and he played in the ACN during his holidays. Why can’t they be a reasonable explanation?

            It is just Illogical to believe these certain things. Even Ibra leaving seems Illogical.

  35. June 19, 2010

    I didnt watch the england vs algeria match cos im not bothered to wake up at 2am to watch english players playing volleyball. but Luke mentioned that Boughera was the MOM. We were reported to be interested in him a few months earlier.
    Is he better than chiggy? Their style is different right?
    With boughera being more of a direct player.

  36. June 19, 2010

    the price is not bad to sell our DM. ibra should go as well, we have messi,villa,pedro.bojan+any play that will be swap for ibra btw pato,torres. any news about titi leaving?

  37. June 19, 2010

    damn it. eljero elia didnt get a start for holland.
    hopefully he’l feature at some point later on.
    many people were calling for v.d.vaart to be dropped for elia in Holland

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