Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Friday, 14 August 2009
The first weekend of the new Premier League will start in familiar fashion then – a bundle of points for Frank Lampard and talk from John Terry about the “massive, massive difference the manager’s brought here” – but for the most part this weekend is a little more difficult to call. As always, if I get above three of these rights I see this as a moral victory
Aston Villa v Wigan: Hmmm… just how big a difference will Gareth Barry’s absence make? How big a difference will Lee Cattermole’s absence make? How many more question marks before I plump for a 3-1 win to Villa? Just that one.
Wolves v West Ham: It doesn’t look like Kevin Doyle will make the 90 minutes for Mick McCarthy’s side which is a blow as the rest of their strikers aren’t proven at this level (is Doyle in fairness?). West Ham were often excellent last season but Zola is bedding in a few new players and some of the younger stars who made an impression last year may get a dose of second season syn… Oh fuck I hate that phrase, they may be shite this year as opposed to decent last year. There, that’s easier. Eh… 1-1.
Man Utd v Birmingham: 3-0, Owen to score and Rooney to cause all manner of wild headlines by outwitting Liam Ridgewell. Satan will be happy.
Join the ODF league using the details below and have a season decrying teams who get ‘consolation goals’ against your defenders, fretting over whether Danny Shittu makes it into Bolton’s first eleven and petitioning the FA’s dubious goals committee in favour of a deflected Frank Lampard strike for the sake of 10 points.
Get on board…
The details: Register here and then once you have logged in and entered your team, click on the 'Leagues' link on the right hand side of the page. Enter this code - 37329-128664 - to join the ODF league and if ye have any problems joining up just send on an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Til the next time, vote Clay Davis partner!
Being roughed up by a bunch of uncouth louts in the middle of Limerick may be a common occurrence for normal folk (at this point ODF stands back and waits for accusations of lazy stereotyping following… well, lazy stereotyping) but the Irish team could hardly have expected the battering they got alongside the Shannon on Wednesday evening.
Press reaction has been interesting, the softly-softly approach to the management of Giovanni Trapattoni has prevailed in most quarters while Eamonn Dunphy on the other hand got his knickers in a twist earlier than usual this season by saying we have no chance of doing anything meaningful under Trapattoni’s guidance. Dunphy is, as per usual, over-reacting. We are well on the way to World Cup qualification, and for a nation that has qualified for four major tournaments in 70-odd years that represents achievement.
A three-nil defeat can never be seen as a positive but in the context of what the former Juve and Bayern manager is trying to do with the side he will have gone home reasonably content with what he gained from his few days with the squad.
For one thing, if the point of a friendly is to learn something about your side then Trapattoni has certainly done that. Aiden McGeady looked confident once more, while Stephen Hunt was bursting with energy as always when he came on, though this time it was a little more controlled than the rambling idiot role he played against Bulgaria last time out (his free kick to set up Richard Dunne’s goal the exception). Both would do well against Cyprus but, bizarrely despite the above descriptions, I hope Trapattoni goes for Hunt.
The logic? Well, the big downfall of the Irish in Cyprus on the last two occasions we went into the ramshackle Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, is the obvious lack of energy in the performance. Okay, Stan Staunton’s even more ramshackle management style also had something to do with the second poor performance, but I’d back Hunt’s energy against the Cypriot defence, with McGeady coming on for him or Duff later on in the game to pick holes in a tired back four.
Elsewhere, Kevin Kilbane can’t have failed to notice that both Tim Cahill’s goals involved gaping holes for the Irish at the left back position. Damien Delaney’s name was mentioned heavily by Trapattoni during dealings with the press during the week and perhaps he may get a chance next time out. In reality, while it’s doubtful that Trapattoni will drop the Hull player for such a big game at least Kilbane is on high alert to improve his concentration. Delaney too will be pushing hard for a call up over the next few weeks just in case. Healthy competition then that will hopefully have a good knock on effect.
Also culpable for Cahill’s first goal was Darron Gibson’s lack of tracking the Everton man’s run from midfield though far better midfielders have fallen for that trick. Trapattoni can feel safe picking Keith Andrews now as most will agree that while he lacks the firepower or passing range of Gibson he has the discipline that may be needed on a hard night in Cyprus. Elsewhere, Sean St Ledger looked steady enough and will most likely keep his place while Kevin Doyle should hopefully be up and running come three weeks time.
Overall, I’m leaning towards the softly-softly, ‘let’s back Trap’ approach for now as he’s got Ireland results when it matters. He knows his team, his team trusts him and when it matters they’ve gotten results (failing to close out the game against Bulgaria at Croker apart). A team on the verge of an achievement that will, for several of them, be the peak of their career, I’d back them to do the business when Group 8 resumes next month.
The next round of games sees that visit to Cyprus along with Italy playing away in Georgia before welcoming Bulgaria to Turin. By the time those games finish up I doubt anyone will remember much about last Wednesday except for a decent PR exercise for the team and yet more battering for the FAI’s nonsensical ticket prices. The latter should be the target for Dunphy’s vitriol, not a manger doing a very decent job thus far.
PS:Will have a predictions blog up later for the weekend by the by.
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
What with David Nugent and Irish under-21 international Marc Wilson getting in a bit of bother involving a fight which sounds nearly as dumb as the duelling scene in Flash Gordon (only involving wardrobe rails), I thought it was time to throw out a quick request to name the biggest scobes in football.
There’s got to be some out there beyond the obvious skangers (Joey Barton, Craig Bellamy et al) and frankly it can be based on nothing more than a random dislike you may have. I, for instance, have the sneaking suspicion that, after a few pints of Stella, Paul Scholes is a right bastard. I kind of respect him all the more for it too.
Elsewhere, I always had the feeling that both Muzzy Izzet and Paul Telfer liked to beat up those with less money than them and talk far too loudly in restaurants. I have a strong feeling that majority of the Scottish squad import Class A drugs to boot. Of course, I’ve no evidence to back up any of the above, because well it’s all untrue; the lot of them just get on my nerves so they’d make it onto my skanger list.
Anyway, get your suggestions in – myself and Mark are doing a podcast over the weekend so we’ll try and piece together the ODF Scumbag 11.
Thinking caps on folks, send us your biggest scobes operating today along with classic skangers of yesteryear (not to mention random libellous allegations that might amuse) all are welcome.