Monthly Archives: October 2011

Chelsea Must Embrace A New Era

 The seasons of mediocrity should have been noted, and the revolving door management policy condemned for its manifest instability.

This week’s Stamford Bridge crime sheet spares no one. Culpable most obviously for Van Persie’s second goal, captain John Terry was at the forefront of the Blues’ defensive collapse; his slip reminiscent of that penalty in Moscow three and a half years ago. Despite scoring, Lampard was overrun in midfield by an effervescent Ramsey – the Welshman’s dominance at the root of Arsenal’s second half goal rush.

The cracks were showing long before kick-off, though. John Terry has looked sluggish since the 2010 World Cup, Lampard this season a slower, more sterile version of his former self and Petr Cech distinctly inferior to the goalkeeper who won two Premier League titles pre-concussion.

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Balotelli Is Starting To Define The New City

While failed bathroom experimentation may have condemned his pyrotechnic career to the realms of lazy humor, Mario Balotelli’s footballing talent has finally found the greenery most conducive to its belated blossoming.

The frown so intrinsically linked with his controversial endeavor failed to disappear, but in this culmination of careful improvement Balotelli showed that he’s more than just a troublesome ornament.

After years of almost constant indignation, it was easy to sympathize with the forward’s celebratory message. “Why always me?” read his undershirt – revealed just after the first of six Manchester City goals.

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Football Doesn’t Need This Side Of Luis Suarez

 The pint sized striker who broke African hearts in 2010 has elevated flirtations with controversy to a bawdy first move.

With the memory of his devilish handiwork on the goal line fading into the distance, Luis Suarez yesterday reminded viewers of the moral impotence that comes with his dynamic craft.

A clash with the already riled Patrice Evra midway through the second half was initially written off as a show of derby day frostiness, but post match accusations of racism now threaten to overshadow what was an intense, if at times incoherent, spectacle.

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INFTH Book Review: Morbo

Morbo. In the passionate world of Spanish football, where pigs’ heads fly from the stands and clubs take on quasi-political roles in the lives of millions, it is an undefinable source of intrigue which keeps the masses coming back for more. In his book, Phil Ball admits early on to the impossibility of clear translation, but nevertheless places the force at the center of his arguments. It is morbo, he writes, that is the essence of Spain’s national pastime. Morbo; the self-perpetuating, ever evolving creature which forms the hub of rivalries across the peninsula.

This view of the game – through the vitriolic, morbo ridden inter club relationships that make up Spanish professional football – is a novel one indeed. It treats football not so much as a tool for higher political wrangling, but as a phenomenon deserving of appreciation in its own right.

An expert in his field, Ball is an authoritative guide, one that understands the context of his subject. While consumption takes an appetite for basic politics, a sense of fun continually pervades; the one that keeps fans interested in football and readers interested in reading.

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Retrospective: The Week That Destroyed A Season

When the bards sing of deeds gone by or poets write in remembrance, memory is always airbrushed. As an eager, fresh-faced boy desperate to fill my mind’s expanse of blankness, I noticed, interested, the holes in Manchester United’s rich history. The period for instance that some call the 1970s, is one afforded only a cursory sentence or two in all the unofficial accounts I read, seemingly, football hadn’t happened between around the time George Best lifted the European Cup and the day Ron Atkinson cleaned out his office.

What with decades disappearing, to misplace a week might seem a trifling matter, but here I seek to preserve one of the worst. Observed through the lens of glories since, the first seven days of April 2010 lose poignancy – victory’s narcotic effect blurring our understanding of what it means to lose. Pain, all too happily sedated.

The weather was nice, early Spring temperatures in Germany complementing early spring moods in Manchester – moods dictated by a script long since memorized.

Adjustment had been an overarching theme that year. The departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez kicked off a period of change. In came Antonio Valencia and Michael Owen, as a goalscoring burden of titanic proportions shifted onto the shoulders of Wayne Rooney.

Read more at Man Utd 24.

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