Friday, August 10, 2007

Robin van Persie in for a big year...

What a class goal! The angle doesn't get much more acute than that and the footwork was outstanding. Gunners supporters' hope he can show more of this class in league and cup play...

Week 1 Preview of the EPL...

Thanks to That's on Point (who inspired this Yank to make this blog in the first place) for the legwork. I've added my thoughts as I felt necessary:

Sunderland v. Tottenham -- (Live on Setanta USA/Broadband, 7:45 EDT)
Will Sunderland run through walls for Roy Keane? Can Tottenham finally crack the top 4 and can they play any defense? With no Gareth Bale and not many fit defenders Sunderland could be in for the upset.

Bolton v. Newcastle United -- (Live on Setanta, 10 a.m.)
Who of Newcastle's famous strikers will Allardyce roll out on their front line against his former side? Will Anelka be in top form after the transfer rumors? Can Ivan Campo please get a haircut!

Derby v. Portsmouth -- (Delayed, FSC 2:30 p.m.)
Derby's first step towards relegation in spite of picking up top Yank prospect Benny Feilhaber. Feilhaber won't appear in the lineup as the transfer won't be completed prior to the deadline. Why Feilhaber made the move that Eddie Johnson rejected is beyond me; for Feilhaber's sake I hope he plays well enough this year that the Rams will transfer him back to a premier league side after they go back down (sorry Jay DeMerit). Chalk up another clean sheet for David James.

Everton v. Wigan Athletic -- (Not shown in the US)
With Tim Cahill out and not much depth up front Everton would be in trouble against a more formidable side but Wigan appears to be headed to the bottom of the table. Should result in 3 points for Everton and a clean sheet for Yank keeper Tim Howard.

West Ham Utd v. Manchester City -- (Live on FSC, 10 a.m.)
How will West Ham respond from their tumultuous summer? Their summer transfers of Ljungberg, Bellamy and Parker should be much better suited for league success than Man City's attempt to form a Bulgarian international squad.

Aston Villa v. Liverpool -- (Live on FSC, noon)
Match of the weekend but I will be supporting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when this is shown (I know it's meaningless presason matches but I can't help myself) and will have to catch this on replay. Villa skipper Gareth Barry is targeting a top six finish and this will be a tough test to start out league play. Our first chance to see if Liverpool's summer spending spree were wise moves or not.


Arsenal v. Fulham -- (Live on FSC, 7 a.m.)
Judging from the Emirates Cup, Van Persie and the Gunner's are on top form, while Fulham would be better off playing against Scunthorpe United. Anything less than 3 points would be disappointing for the Gunners.

Chelsea v. Birmingham City (Live on Setanta, 8:30 a.m.)
Good thing Chelsea has so much depth as they struggle with their fitness. Chelsea should get 3 points and see what kind of form they are in before their big match against Liverpool next weekend.

Manchester United v. Reading (Live on FSC, 11 a.m.)
Tevez won't be in the line-up yet but still... Man U in a romp.
I know I'm not the only one looking forward to the start of league play but the activity this summer really has piqued my interest.

FIFA VP sticks foot in mouth, England responds...

FIFA VP Austin "Jack" Warner decides to let his feelings be known about England and didn't really hold back:

In an interview to be broadcast tomorrow on the BBC's World Service, Warner dismissed England's chances if FIFA's rotation policy brought the finals to Europe in 11 years' time.

"If by chance, in 2018, the World Cup were to go to Europe, I'm quite sure, with the English luck as it is, they won't get it," Warner said.

"It'll be Italy, Spain, or it might even be France. Nobody in Europe likes England. England - who invented the sport - has never had any impact on world football. England at no time has had the love and support of Europe. For Europe, England is an irritant."

Warner is president of CONCACAF, which runs the game in north and central America along with the Caribbean. He was highly critical of former Scottish Football Association president John McBeth earlier this year, accusing him of racism.

McBeth, speaking after his election as vice-president of FIFA (a post he would never fill due to his remarks), said African and Caribbean football associations were tainted by greed. Ironically, McBeth was also scathing of England's standing in world football, stating "the rest of the world hates their guts".

Warner was scathing in his condemnation of McBeth in May, calling on FIFA to "send him back to Scotland where he belongs".

Aware that England has some support for a bid to host the World Cup for the first time since winning it in 1966, Warner has vowed to fight their bid.

He said: "There are moves to give it to England. I must fight that."

First of all Mister Warner, the British colonization of your country, Trinidad and Tobago, ended years ago, so get over it. Second, those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones so keep your personal grudges to yourself. How this guy got re-elected as CONCACAF president is beyond me?

Obviously the English couldn't turn the other cheek on this one and FA Chairman Geoff Thompson and Englands World Cup ambassador came back firing:

England's 2018 World Cup ambassador Richard Caborn also responded to Warner's comments. "That is Jack. He will fight to the death to get it to Concacaf and I understand that," said Caborn. "We will put a strong case, along with the Football Association, to get it. What is unfortunate is that Jack has attacked England and particularly the FA - and the FA has done a first-class job.

"They have got 30 schemes running around the world, education programmes, on six continents. Indeed in Trinidad, for the last seven years they have had three workshops running which have been incredibly well-received by Concacaf, so it's not quite true what Jack's saying."

Next time you have something brilliant to say about English football Mr. Warner, just keep it to yourself.

Tevez deal finally done...

United supporters can breath easier as the Tevez transfer is finally complete:
A mere 35 days after it was announced that he had agreed personal terms with Manchester United, Carlos Tevez finally completed his transfer to Old Trafford today. United officially confirmed this afternoon that Tevez has joined on a two-year loan.

Though he has been training with United throughout this week, he is extremely unlikely to be involved in United's opening game of the season, against Reading on Sunday. United are instead aiming to give him his debut in next weekend's derby with Manchester City.

After adding Tevez to a line-up that already featured phenom's Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, Man U seem to be the odds on favorites now to top the tables.