Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ali G interviews the Beckhams!

This is an old video clip of Ali G interviewing David and Victoria Beckham but it's absolutely hilarious. Do check it out!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Maybe Malaysia will finally get to beat Thailand now

Thailand unfortunately has been in the news the past few years for all the wrong reasons. Coup de tat's, frequent change of governments and the closure of its main airport due to the higher number of protesters there in comparison to passengers. But all of that pales in comparison when up against today's headlines that read: Bryan Robson appointed Thailand national team coach.

It's no secret that in Asia, specifically Southeast Asia, people who speak with English accents are held in high regard, more so when the subject they're talking about is football. You can call it post-colonial mental syndrome or something else but there's no doubt we sometimes feel as though these individuals who can speak with an English accent must know something about football. Perhaps it has to with the dumb logic that all Englishmen are experts on English football.

As such, we find yet again another Southeast Asian nation appointing an Englishman who knows nuts about coaching to the top coaching position of its national team. This time the country is Thailand and the Englishman is Bryan Robson.

To be fair, unlike some of the other English duds who've managed our teams, Robson comes with a very impressive playing career on his resume. His coaching CV however is almost as bad as Mick McCarthey. The fact that Robson hasn't coached a premiership side in years should have been enough for the Thais. Sure, former coach Peter Reid didn't have a brilliant CV either but that shouldn't have been justification in keeping the bar low and hiring Robson.

Worse yet is that the Thais, unlike Malaysia, actually have a pretty decent football team and if there's any Southeast Asian country that's going to be featuring in the World Cup sometime in the next decade, the odds are on Thailand.

Oh well, at least now we know for sure Malaysia will have a chance at beating Thailand the next time we play them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What was Adebayor thinking?

Emanuel Adebayor could use a class in the art of lying. You don't classify running down the length of a football field just to celebrate your goal against thousands of fans whose misery you've just contributed to as an act in the heat of the moment.

The fact that Adebayor couldn't even come up with a decent answer as to why he would want to celebrate in front of the small section of Arsenal fans instead of the City fans that occupied the remaining 65% of the seating capacity in the stadium adds further proof that the City forward seems to have later on realised that his actions were perhaps not the brightest.

I mean, he could've said he wanted to stick it to the Gunners fans and left it at that. Sure, the hate mail would've instantly tripled and North London would be out of bounds for the Togolese international for at least two years. Three to be safe.

From the FA's point of view, Adebayor's actions threaded on the fine line between being an asshole and complete stupidity. It's one thing to take the piss at people you despise but another thing altogether when you've nearly incited a riot. Perhaps he needs to view footage of the chaos that ensued at the Millwall-West Ham match to refresh his memory on just what English football fans are still capable of.

As for his alleged stamp on Robin Van Persie's face, some replays online (especially ones edited by Arsenal fans) clearly show the Togolese international's boot making contact with the Dutch striker's face in a somewhat deliberate manner. I'm not too sure only because I don't think Adebayor would've been dumb enough to have done something that against his former club and expect to get away with it. Then again, people say I'm a little too optimistic at times. Check out the video below to judge for yourself.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Is there a witch hunt on BPL clubs?

When Chelsea was first slapped with a ban on new signings, I wondered if FIFA was taking itself a little too seriously by punishing the Blues for something that we know is being done by just every top flight club in Europe.

Well, it turns out, for some unknown reason, FIFA is extremely serious and has undertaken what can only be described as a witch hunt on the top teams in the BPL. After Chelsea, reports say Man Utd, Man City and now, Liverpool are said to be the subject of further probes by football's governing body on the "poaching" of underaged footballers by English clubs with huge financial muscle.

Still, I can't but feel that there's something akin to double standards being dealt here. Does FIFA really want us to believe that the Italians, Spanish, Germans, Dutch and French are just as guilty of stealing youngsters from small clubs?

If we remove the so-called ethics violations that FIFA has charged Chelsea with and intends to do so with the rest of the BPL's best clubs (by the way, why haven't Arsenal been charged yet? If anything, you'd think they would be guilty of this kind of activity), it is quite clear that the bigger picture behind FIFA's probes has to do with the financial disparity between big clubs and small clubs. The real argument is that small clubs can't do a thing to prevent big clubs from signing players they help develop and nurture.

But wait a second. Isn't that the same thing when a club like Real Madrid spend EURO80 million on a player like Cristiano Ronaldo? Let's face it. The Portuguese winger is certainly a gifted footballer but does anyone honestly think he would have blossomed into the player he is if it wasn't for Sir Alex Ferguson and Man Utd? And for that matter, there's this other player named Xabi Alonso who was but an unknown prior to joining Liverpool. He too became a world class player after Rafa Benitez and Liverpool spent years developing his talent. But then came Real Madrid knocking on the door.

In fact, both Ronaldo and Alonso's cases have a distinct similarity in that both players forced their respective clubs to sell them because of some supposed lifelong ambition to play for Real Madrid (and to to make a million euros a month).

So, when you consider the facts, both players, just like those young footballers, jumped the first chance the biggest club in the world showed an interest. Maybe both Alonso and Ronaldo have always wanted to play for Madrid or maybe they just want more money. Either way, neither one of them was satisfied where they were at.

And isn't that what's happening with those young footballers? Who in their right mind would reject an offer to play for Chelsea if the team you're currently attached with is targeting a qualification into Division Two of the Championship. And while the monetary amount of signing someone from Crewe and Man Utd are world's apart, it has to be noted that these transfers happen for the same reason. And there's nothing FIFA or Michel Platini can do anything about it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chelsea banned from signing new players until 2011!

Just as Chelsea have been enjoying a great start to the current campaign, the London club has been hit by possibly the worst thing any club challenging for honours could face: a ban on signing new players until January 2011. And the worst part is that the punishment was meted out on the Blues for an incident back in 2007 when they signed, get ready for this, some young French footballer named Gael Kakuta!

Yes, Chelsea, who were involved in all sorts of other illegal dealings like clandestine meetings with Ashley Cole when the latter was still an Arsenal player, is being punished over the signing of a footballer none of us have ever heard of. Karma's certainly got a weird sense of humour.

Of course, Chelsea have been given the right to appeal the verdict and like most high profile clubs, the Blues might just get away with a hefty fine. But seeing as to how this ban comes directly from FIFA, there's a possible chance the Blues are not going away that easily.

So, while we await the verdict of Chelsea's appeal, let's assume the worst happens and the ban stays. What's to become of the club?

For starters, despite the Blues being extremely quiet during the previous transfer window, the inability to sign new players for the remainder of this season and the first half of the next is a huge blow to any club, more so one that wants to win the Premiership, the Champions League and everything else in between. With the likes of Real Madrid and Man City buying pretty much anyone with an ounce of talent, clubs like Chelsea need to expand their squads with more quality footballers to remain competitive. Gone are the days when a club can win titles by just fielding the same squad year-in year-out.

Then there's the danger of injuries. Should too many key players end up in the sick bay, Chelsea will have to dig into their reserves for replacements instead of being able to scout the market for some adequate replacements. Besides injuries, let's not forget the age factor. With key stars like Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Ricardo Carvalho all above the age of 30, the Blues could end up in a real tight spot should any of these players succumb to lengthy injury spells..something common with players in that age category.

Still, all this is speculative at this point, and Chelsea's appeal may be successful and the ban will be lifted. Furthermore, as far as I can see, the ban doesn't say anything about loaning in new players so all may not be lost for the Blues.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Are Chelsa back at their best?

Now that two weeks of Premiership action has gone past, I suppose its safe to say that no team, with the exception of Tottenham, has had a better start than Chelsea. Written off by the pundits in pre-season, the Blues under Carlo Ancelotti seem reborn. With Didier Drogba and Nico Anelka back to their best and aided by an in-form Frank Lampard, Chelsea have so far looked the strongest of the Big Four (and are the only one not to have lost a game yet).

What's perhaps most interesting is that Chelsea's fringe players like Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda (and to a certain extent, Deco) are playing some of their best football in recent memory. Without a doubt, the Italian's impact on the club has been nothing short of amazing. And to top it all off, the former Milan boss has been able to excel where Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Scolari and Guus Hiddink failed; as in getting Michael Ballack to do the things he used to do with Bayern Munich at Chelsea.

But despite the perfect start to the season, I believe its still too early to say if Ancelotti's Chelsea will bring the Premiership crown back to Stamford Bridge. After all, the Blues did pretty well under Scolari in the beginning.

As for the other so-called Big Four, let's just say their flaws have been revealed a bit too early on in the season. In Man Utd's case, one could argue that the Devils have generally been slow starters. But the league is a little different this year with the likes of Tottenham, Man City and Aston Villa all itching to break into the top four.

United have at times looked like their best and at times looked like a side sorely missing the creative genius of Cristiano Ronaldo. Against the Gunners last weekend, the Devils were outplayed and out thought at times but their determination held up and it took a contentious penalty and some help from Abou Diaby's misguided head to give Utd the full three points.

As for the Gunners, after a sterling start to the season, Arsene Wenger's boys were once again defeated due to what I believe is a lack of mental strength and experience whenever the going gets tough. Once the score was evened out at 1-1, United threw everything against the Gunners who then subsequently buckled under pressure and began making juvenile mistakes (no pun intended). The Prof can say what he wants but his boys were certainly deserving of those yellow cards.

And there's Liverpool. For a team that believes it was the best in the league last season, the Reds look like a side that's about to implode on the pitch. I've already spoken about the wonders that is Lucas and Voronin before so I won't waste anymore kilobytes on the two. But the fact is, Liverpool are sorely missing the services of Xabi Alonso. Case in point: the Reds most recent fixture against Bolton where the Reds had to slog it out to gather all three points. And victory only seemed certain once Bolton were reduced to 10 men. One wonders if Liverpool would have gone home with three points of Bolton had all 11 players on the pitch throughout the match.

The bigger question of course is whether any of the other big four would have had to huff and puff to beat a side like Bolton.