On Lucio

Uli Stielike, Franco Baresi, Fernando Hierro, Marcel Desailly are just a few names that come to mind when I think of the top central defenders of recent times. There was a period in football history when dynamic, skillful, attack-minded yet defensively sound central defenders were in abundance. Today, there remains one – Lucimar Ferreira da Silva or Lucio.

Witness his playmaking abilities in Brazil’s opening match against North Korea, when late in the game he ventured forward to set up an attack from wide left (a hint of the real meaning of Total Football, where any player on the pitch can slot in seamlessly for any other). Though the move was cancelled by an offside call, it reminded me of the aforementioned players who themselves stood out for their strength, defensive qualities, and their ability to venture forward to good effect. Witness again versus Chile circa the 81st and 84th minutes. Lucio had the stamina, the skill, and the intelligence to go forward with strength, technique, and application that neither put his team at risk or forced you to question his motives.

The other common trait among the likes of Lucio is their presence. There’s something majestic about a confident central defender going forward on a long run from the back. I miss that. Football misses that.

Ronald Koeman was good for a few of those runs too but he was never the model defender. Lucio and the guys mentioned in the opening paragraph were sound defenders who could also play football. With the exception of Baresi (which doesn’t diminish his prowess any at all) and I’ve not seen Lucio deployed in midfield by design, they’ve all played the holding role as well.

Lucio could quite possibly have been an even more advanced midfielder, such is his quality.

A man who knows the game as much as anyone I can call on once said that Rio Ferdinand is a great player. I objected then and I object now. It turns out that something was lost in translation – his and my interpretations of the word great differ somewhat.

I got the point he was trying to make, but I maintain that Rio Ferdinand was never a “great” player. That absent-minded goofball couldn’t lace Hierro’s boots much less Baresi’s. I say that to emphasize that we’ve seen the decline of the central defender to the point that a Fabio Cannavaro, a John Terry, a Nemanja Vidic, and even Carles Puyol stand out as so-called great players.

I haven’t seen enough of Carlos Marchena (Valencia and Spain) to have an opinion of him. I also would like to include Ricardo Carvalho in this discussion but he’s been injured too often. I want to say however that he has been an impressive defender when fit, even if nowhere near the caliber of player I’d consider as an outstanding, all-round center-half.

It’s important to recognize Lucio for the type of player he is. Football needs more Lucios. Somewhere between 1998 and now, the versatile central defender with the ability to rise above the rest, to make as well as break up play, to dare to be great has become virtually non-existent.

Fucking shame, really! Instead we have the English equivalent of Bill Romanowski in John Terry, the hoover himself in Rio Ferdinand, and the most over-rated defender since Alessandro Nesta in Nemanja Vidic being called great players. Great my left butt cheek! I wonder what The Informer’s cooking up. Surely there must be some news on the next Arsenal signing, be it a defender or not.

Chat later.

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Correction

– Yesterday, one of our colleagues claimed that Jozy Altidore was “born and raised in Haiti” and labeled him a “disgrace”. That information is completely incorrect. Altidore was born and raised in New Jersey, and he considered playing for Haiti but ultimately did not because he did not want to give up his American passport. Altidore has publicly helped raise charity money for Haitians who have been devastated by the earthquake.

– He may be rapidly becoming an American Emile Heskey, but that merely makes him an average footballer. Jozy Altidore is not a disgrace.

Goodbye Fatty

Frank Lampard is an overrated Paul Merson. The difference between the two is that Merson was a boozer and a druggie who gambled his wages away. He came across as a man you could have a laugh with.

I don’t get that feeling with Frank Lampard.

Here’s a man who is an arrogant, narcissist who is completely immersed in believing that he is on the same playing field as Xavi or Zidane. No doubt Lampard is a good player but world class he is not.

Wayne Rooney proved he is a good player in the Premier League, but on the world’s biggest stage he did nothing except shout profanity into a TV camera. His chances of winning the Ballon D’Or are fucking zero.

Robinho cost Manchester City 30 million pounds. The man has moves and skill like no other. To be able to get past a professional defender you have to be cunning have wit and intelligence. You need to innovate not imitate. James Milner is valued at 30 million by Aston Villa. They bought him for 12 million after Newcastle had paid 5 million to Leeds in July 2004. Milner it must be remembered has never played in the Champions League and only has a handful of England caps to his name. He has one move to beat a defender, it’s the fucking oldest in the book – you beat the full back by half a yard and then whip in a cross. This new invention by the most overrated player since Stuart Downing – who also plays on the wing for Aston Villa – is so fucking good that it was copied by Shaun Wank Phillips. Son of Ian Wright you are not. Some other bloke stuck his cock into your mum’s vage and exploded his load and then got the fuck out of town – now that’s a move that I admire when it comes to England’s version of Lionel Messi.

Wank-Phillips cost Chelsea 24 million pounds. They then sold him back to Manchester City for 9 million pounds. That’s a lot of money for a man whose main skill is using his speed to beat a man and then cross the ball straight to the fucking goalkeeper. When Wank Phillips really wants to show the world that he’s worth 33 million in transfer fees he saves his best trick of all – using his speed to latch on to a pass and shoot straight at Tim Howard.

The heart of England’s defence was a man of 40 that played sporadically for a team that finished bottom of the Premiership. In front of him was a man that played for nearly relegated West Ham. A lot of Arsenal fans a few months ago were screaming at Arsene Wenger to re-sign this slow, clonker, footed cart horse known as Matthew Upson. If these Gooners were in charge of my life, I would be living on Skid Row begging to suck your cock so that I could suck on my crack pipe. You would look at my scabby lips, clotted hair and blotchy nuclear infested skin and ask how did I fuck up my life so badly – it’s called the Upson effect – leave clueless cunts in charge of something like Arsenal and they will turn it into fucking AIG. If I see these cunts – one of whom text my friend yesterday, going on about Rule Britannia – I will torch them with a flame thrower.

If James Milner is worth 30 million, Shaun Wank Phillips 24 million then what would Ray Parlour be worth today? Parlour never made the 98 World Cup squad even though he destroyed teams during that 98 Double season because of Eileen Drewery. This old tart was a faith healer that Glenn Hoddle used as part of his medical team. She cured hamstring strains by putting her hands on your head and chanting some Christian shit that the born again nut Hoddle swore by.

Parlour had a groin problem. Hoddle sent him to Eileen. As she stood behind the seated Parlour, closed her eyes and put her hands on top of his head, Parlour said “A short back and sides please love,” and then burst out laughing. Hoddle never picked Parlour for England again.

England are out because they are shit. They have average players that earn excessive amounts of money and who are transferred for egregious sums. England are not out because of a goal that never was. They’re out because they will always produce players like Emile Heskey, Stuart Downing, Kieron Dyer, Carlton Palmer, Gary Neville, or Gareth Barry.

Gareth Barry – the man who caused so much transfer gossip about his proposed move to Liverpool in August 2008 and then again in the summer of 2009. The man who earns 100,000 pounds a week. Then we have Gilberto Silva – the rock of the Brazilian team who would never commit such a basic error as losing the ball on the edge of his opponents penalty area – for Germany’s third goal – knowing that he was the last midfielder. Gilberto earns two-thirds less than Barry, yet is playing in yet another World Cup quarter-final – his third.

I’m glad England have gone out. It’s a team of over-paid cunts that is supported by the likes of Stoke and Cuntburn Rovers fans. It has some of the most detestable human beings playing for them. Cunts who kiss the Three Lions badge as if they are Knights of the Templar: John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole – men who would stick their cock in their grandmothers mouth just to get a laugh with their mates after they filmed it on their mobile phones.

US fans have set up a website to get rid of Bob Bradley. They have reason to be upset but at least they don’t have overpaid cunts representing their country. England and the US have average players but at least the American’s recognize this and make the best of it. This is summed up by Steve Cherundolo – a hard working but effective attacking full-back who put James Milner to shame.

Jozy Altidore, however, is a disgrace. Here is a man born and raised in Haiti – who turned his back on his homeland – who had one assist and zero goals in 4 games, playing against over-the-hill defenders such as Jamie Carragher and Bougherra. Then we have the tennis looking, politician sounding, fore-headed Landon Donovan who is every Sarah Palin loving Midwest soccer mom’s dream. US Soccer is too sanitized and Disneyfied. It needs to break down more class and social barriers before it can go to that next level. No-one wants to play a sport played by goofy looking cunts called Jozy or Landon.

The arrogance of the English – who claim to have the best league in the world so therefore they have the best players – is replicated by contemptuous so-called football experts like Alexi Lalas.

Before the Ghana match this Ginger haired fool starting talking about the US meeting Brazil in the semi-finals. Fuck me, this is a man who claims he turned down Arsenal for fucking Padova.

Fuck You!

Keep It Arsenal

Don’t Forget To Adjust Your Clocks

This has been an eventful weekend. We saw South Korea, Uruguay, the US, and Ghana play tense matches. We saw England and Germany produce the tournament’s most controversial moment. And then, we saw Argentina roll on in defeating Mexico.

Themes abound – ‘never say die’, ‘coming of age’, ‘what goes around comes around’, ‘too much of a good thing’. You’re probably wondering how they all fit. I’ll explain but first I must say that El Cunto has had a very moving few days. He texted me to express deep sorrow for the US and England…yeah, and I’m the third Boateng brother.

Never say die – South Korea dug deep to get one by a stern Uruguayn defence. They fell short in the end but credit to them. I salute them for their contribution to the tournament.

Coming of age – Ghana looked poised and in control when it mattered most. They did not lose their nerve, become frustrated, or resort to unsavory tactics when it looked like the US were in the ascendency. Credit to the Black Stars and to Mr. Rajevac, their coach. I believe we could be witnessing another chapter in the evolution of African football. Time will tell. Think about it, they’ve reached the last eight without Michael “The Bison” Essien.

What goes around comes around – 1966 is best remembered by football fans for the goal that wasn’t. England’s victory over West Germany on home soil was no less controversial than Germany’s in South Africa. Poetic justice? I’m not sure but one thing is certain; it’s no longer five past Kahn, it’s four past James, and Terry, and Upson, and Johnson.

How bad is Glen Johnson? He looked lost at times. At others he looked like an extra on a movie set who’s been asked to take on a larger role. That guy is England’s best right fullback? Pathetic!

And John Terry, you can go home now. It seems that you (and Wayne Rooney) bully your way through teams in the EPL but can’t get it done against stiffer competition. The English went to South Africa with very high hopes. They went with a world class manager – a man who’s won things for fun. Is it Capello’s fault that the goods were counterfeit? Is it Capello’s fault that Gerrard and Rooney were shit?

I think not. English football must look at itself and ask some serious questions. The core is rotten. The problems are deep-rooted.

Think about this for a moment; ten minutes into the 2nd half, I received a text from a friend who was watching with a group of hard core England fans. He said that they were pleading with the big screen for Capello to sub Rooney. I understand the frustration but on all evidence prior to this tournament, any half-wit could have told you that Wayne Rooney is good enough to change a game on his own.

He is England’s best player since Paul Scholes.
He is ever a threat to any defender.
He is better than Crouch and Heskey put together.

Reading that text, it dawned on me that the England fans wanted to bring on Crouch (or Heskey? Really???) so that they could play route one football. They wanted to “have a real go”. What else could it have been?

I might be jumping to conclusions but regardless of how poor his tournament was, Rooney was England’s best chance to do the unexpected and change the game. He just didn’t show up. Don’t blame Capello.

Too much of a good thing – FIFA selects referees as representative of its many confederations. If they don’t, there’ll be accusations of imbalance and bias. The downside is that many of the refs are not up to it. Moreover, even refs from the bigger footballing nations get it wrong too. After all, Graham Poll gave out three yellows to the same player in the same game in 2006.

The argument that football should embrace the available technology and eliminate the blatant mistakes that keep occurring continues. It is a fair argument. I will address it on a different day. I’m not entirely against it. What do you think?

A few notes:

– Miroslav Klose wanted that ball more than anybody in South Africa on Germany’s first goal.
– When Heskey came on, it was as if Capello had thrown in the towel.
– Michael Ballack has never impressed me. That has not changed. He is not missed.
– Germany got a break with THAT goal but they also have some very good players.
– Barry and Terry went into tackles pretty hard and with intent late on.

As I suspected, the last eight will be interesting. What will also be interesting is El Cunto’s next post. I understand he has a few choice words for a certain “American” striker.

Chat later.

A New Champion

– With Italy and France being knocked out, there will be a new World Champion.

– Observing how Italy and France advanced to the finals the last time around, a scintillating group performance is not necessary to achieve the ultimate goal. Instead, momentum needs to be built and carried through the tournament.

– Today, Uruguay heads into their match against South Korea as a force to be reckoned with. Loaded with gifted strikers, Lugano and the defense has not conceded a goal. South Korea are exciting to watch, but their defense is liable to be split open at any second.

– The United States, fresh off their exciting victory that propelled them to be group winners, face Ghana, the only African team left in the tournament. This is a bit of a revenge match for the United States, as Ghana beat them four years ago. However, that’s of no real relevance. These two teams can both win, this one is a coin flip.

– Ah, the World Cup knockout games, don’t you just love them?

Special Guest Post

Because of Rooney’s miss and England’s inability to muster a second goal today, they will play Germany followed by (if they beat Germany) either Argentina or Mexico. On the other hand, the US will play Ghana followed by (if they win) Uruguay or South Korea.

Given the history of success of Argentina and Germany in this competition, versus Uruguay (so they were good in the 30’s, so what?) South Korea and Ghana, it goes to show how important it is to win your group. England failed miserably to capitalize on this golden opportunity to have a very doable route to the semis. Plus they’re playing in a cool climate etc. so have been gifted every possible advantage there is to have a successful tournament.

You don’t get much more of an “easier” path to the semis than what could have been for England this summer. But as usual, this so-called “golden generation” (which I think refers to the thieved gold in their pockets rather than being a comment on ability) waltzed into South Africa thinking they’re so special and were shown to be an over-hyped bunch of losers. Typical.

Having said that, if they can beat ze Germans and then exorcise the ghost of ’86 and drive that fat little druggie into a late grave, then and only then they would deserve to win it all.

That’s my two cents.

Brazil 2014: Try and Tell Me That You’re Not Going

Some mug with a snide German top – the cunt wasn’t German – said to me that he won’t be going to the World Cup in Brazil four years from now, because the crime rate is too high and he heard a rumor that Brazilian bathrooms don’t have any toilets.

I laughed and thought about the women and parties that I will be eating out and snorting my way through – not caring if I got mugged or had to crap in a bush.

You have two choices for Brazil 2014 – watch games with drunk, fat, bores, in a fake, darkened Irish bar or go and ‘slut it’ as if you have 10 days left on this planet.

By 2014, Brazil may well have a new head coach. Their 2-1 win over North Korea didn’t go down too well with the Brazilian press and Dunga isn’t out of the fire yet, even though Brazil beat Ivory Coast 3-1 in their last game.

Today’s game is about results. Dunga’s Brazil are better tactically but less pleasing on the eye. Dunga is not seeking to win aesthetic approval for intricate midfield interplay; he’s more concerned with launching the counter-attack than playing a style that resembles a Barcelona/Arsenal tickle-fest.

Dunga’s Brazil sit deep, with defense and midfield close together, drawing opponents forward. For this to work, Dunga plays two defensive midfield players: Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo.

Melo is the younger, more aggressive of the two and was on the verge of signing for Arsenal last summer but instead joined Juventus, where he had – by all accounts – a mediocre season.

Gliberto, now 33 years old, was part of The Invincibles and is held in high regard by many Arsenal fans. Some Gooners think that he left a season too soon when he transferred to Panathinaikos in 2008, for just over 1 million pounds.

Arsenal fans affection for Gilberto were so high that eyebrows were raised when William Gallas was handed the Arsenal captaincy over the loyal and quiet Brazilian – a decision that some point to as the catalyst for Arsenal not winning the Premier League in 2008.

Wenger felt that Gilberto was past his best when he sold him to the Greek champions. He felt that Gilberto was unable to accompany the pass and move game of Cesc Fabregas and was also vulnerable when drawn into open spaces.

Gilberto’s response was that he wasn’t given enough games to play himself into form. Dunga supports his midfielder, saying that Arsenal have become a “timeco” (poor insignificant team) since their former player left for Panathinaikos.

Gilberto, however, has become the symbol of the Dunga regime much to the chagrin of some Brazilian supporters. Over half of his Brazilian caps have come after his 30th birthday – the majority of those with Dunga.

What Brazilian fans dislike about Gilberto is that he is a centre-back playing in midfield. Gilberto started his career as a defender but was converted into a defensive midfielder shortly before the 2002 World Cup, where he replaced the injured Emerson. Brazilian purists are upset that both of the central midfield positions are held by defensive minded players with both Gilberto and Felipe Melo not creative enough with their passes – instead usually playing the ball out wide or to the side.

Both Gilberto and Felipe Melo are powerful, strong midfielders with height and strength to form a tight midfield barrier. And with Gilberto’s defensive awareness, he is expected to organize those around him – at times slot into the back line to free right-back Maicon to bomb forward.

In this current World Cup, this tactic by Dunga is effective, especially when faced with teams that are grinding out results through determination and team spirit rather than class and skill. Brazil still have the creativity and flair to turn on the style when required, especially with players such as Robinho and Elano.

The more interesting aspect of Dunga’s Brazil team is that it will be replicated by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the upcoming 2010/11 season.

Wenger realizes that teams like Stoke have lots of determination and team spirit. To beat them, especially at The Brittainia Stadium, you have to match them for effort and determination in order to combat and break them down.

This Dunga style of play – flair backed by experience and defensive solidity – will win Arsenal the Premier League next season and Wenger knows that. Harry Redknapp understands this as well. That’s why he signed the Brazilian defensive midfielder Sandro, who will be joining Spurs this summer to form a midfield partnership with the work-horse Wilson Palacios.

It’s why Alex Song is so vital to Arsenal

Keep it Arsenal