Sunday, January 30, 2011

FA Cup Thrashing!

Well, Fulham V. Tottenham just happened in the Fa Cup and I must admit, as a Fulham fan, I am pleased with the outcome. I mean, how could I not be? 4-0 to The Cottagers against a strong European side that is pushing for another Champions League bid? Well done, Whites!

4th round FA Cup matches are a bit of a crap shoot as far as squad selections go, but with a pairing that pitted two Premiership sides against one another, you'd expect something close to full strength from each team. An early penalty tends to change the dynamic of a match, especially when awarded to the visiting team, but Fulham won the penalty and Alan Hutton cannot be aggrieved. His challenge on Dempsey in the box seemed pretty cut and dried and Murphy finished well. Having said that, and again, as a Fulham supporter, I have to say that the second spot kick and Dawson's sending off was crap. His brief shirt tug did not effect Dembele's run at goal and, were I a Yid, I'd be feel hard done by to be 2-0 down and a man short so soon in the match. I say this in spite of the fact that I was pounding my chest, waving my scarf, and singing "Take Me Home Al-Fayed" at the top of my lungs as Murphy finished his second PK.

What Spurs can't feel hard done by are Fulham's second and third goals. Hangeland finished far too easily off Duff's corner and Dembele's goal, Fulham's fourth, was something out of a beer league Sunday match. Dribble, dribble, dribble, shoot, goal. From midfield. Seriously, Tottenham?

I expected the second half to provide a bit more drama, but Tottenham never found their groove and Fulham were unlucky to not have gone up 5 or 6 nil. How much would this game have changed if Tottenham would have hit back for two goals and found themselves chasing the math at 4-2? Chalk it up to the magic of the FA Cup, I suppose.

Now it's on to Wigan or Bolton. Where's the justice in that? Arsenal scrape by with a win against Huddersfield and ManUre escape with a win against Southampton. Their next round matches? Leyton Orient and Crawley Town respectively. Whatever.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

All Ugly Team

My friends and I have discussed many a dream Premiership side. If funds were no object and egos no issue, who would be in your best XI and how would they play? This appeals to the barstool manager in all of us because there's no right answer and everyone gets to have his say regarding the merits of his players and how their unique skills would conspire to create the perfect juggernaut team, sort of like that one Transformer who was made up of all the other little neon yellow construction equipment Transformers. Or maybe they were Decepticons. Whatever. No one wins, but everyone gets to pretend he's just that much brighter a football mind than those around him. It's all very self-satisfying...and everyone does it, which makes it boring.

New game. Pick your Best XI All Ugly Premiership players. Here are mine:

Goalkeeper: Scott Carson

Scotty's not really THAT ugly, fair enough. But that gap toothed smile! $10 says he could kill a man at 20 paces with a toothpick blow gun style.

Celebrity look alike: Michael Strahan

Minus the black part, of course.

Right back: Jose Bosingwa

Poor, Jose. He really is a good right back and gets in to the attack well, but that unibrow is rather unfortunate. Bosingwa surely makes ridiculous wages given that he plays for Daddy Roman and I find it hard to believe that there's not a single waxing salon in the West End. You can lead a horse to water, but...

Celebrity look alike: Bert

It's uncanny, really. Thank God Bosingwa doesn't play for Newcastle or Sunderland. Those vertical stripes would put him over the edge.

Center back: Martin Skrtel

If there were an All Vampire Team (There's a thought!), Srktel would surely be in that side as well. The lack of vowels in his last name is enough to give one pause, but the shaved head, pointy ears, and gloriously pasty Eastern European hues send him over the edge.

Celebrity look alike: Bat Boy

Why do I feel like there's probably more than one Scouser who bears a striking resemblance to Bat Boy?

Center back: Younes Kaboul

Younes Kaboul looks like a Bond villain. Or a North African pimp. Is there a Bond villain who was also a North African pimp? I feel like Kaboul has a career in the cinema after football...provided that Bond villain North African pimp thing happens. Note to everyone: crimped hair is never a good look. *Ahem* Louis Saha.

Celebrity look alike: Jaws

Would I lie to you!

Left back: Carlos Salcido

Lest anyone accuse me of being biased, as I do support The Cottagers (COYW!), I have to throw Salcido under the bus here. Early in the season he was quite the revelation for Fulham even though some people claimed he was past his sell by date. Hopefully the injury bug can be put behind him and his obscene ugliness will once again rampage up and down the left flank.

Celebrity look alike: Stripe

DO NOT feed Carlos Salcido after midnight.

Right wing: Dirk Kuyt

I once read an article that suggested that human facial attractiveness was based on symmetry. The more even the left and right sides of the human face the more attractive that face was considered to be. Dirk Kuyt's face is not that face. His industry is beyond doubt, but I feel like he's a Van Gogh painting come to life.

Celebrity look alike: Sloth

Perhaps Sloth from Goonies is a bit unfair, but I feel like Dirk Kuyt can secretly move the tips of his ears independently from one another.

Holding midfielder: Jay Spearing

It's a shame that Javier Mascherano is no longer in the Premiership because he would have been a shoe-in for this position. Oh well. Liverpool has done a stellar job of replacing his...err...looks with young Jay Spearing. He's not yet the tackler Mascherano was, but he's well on his way to competing for his All Ugly berth. Side note: does he look the least likely professional athlete you've ever seen? It's like God reached out with a giant hammer and bonked him on the head.

Celebrity look alike: Ram Man

Ok, ok. Ram Man and Jay Spearing bear little facial resemblance, but the lack of a neck thing is too much to pass up. If only Jimmy Bullard was still around I could have used Skeletor!

Left wing: Yossi Benayoun

Granted, Yossi is not a true left winger, but he can play there and sometimes seems most valuable in wide positions. What I don't get about this guy, and I think he's a great player, is why he continually goes to clubs where there are better players at the positions in which he serves most useful. Kills me. What does not confuse me is that Yossi is truly an unattractive man. Remember that pedophile mustache he rocked when he was at West Ham?

Celebrity look alike: Steve Buscemi

This is the most attractive Steve Buscemi head shot I could find, which is a little like saying I found the tallest midget.

Attacking midfielder: Luka Modric

Tricky. Plays with both feet. Sublime touch. Breaks mirrors.

Celebrity look alike: David Guetta

David Guetta. Talented. Spins with both hands. Sublime beats. Breaks mirrors.

Striker: Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez is one of the class acts of professional football. He's principled, he scores wonder goals, and he is legitimately the only forward I've ever seen work as a box-to-box player. Is there any doubt he always leaves everything on the pitch? Unfortunately, he also looks like someone shook up a handful of teeth and threw them at his face.

Celebrity look alike: Blanka

Streetfighter was such a badass game. I bet if Tevez had been raised in the Amazon he could pull off Blanka's crazy electricity attack as well.

Striker: Tuncay

The Turkish international is finding playing time hard to come by these days. I figured I'd give him a run out on the All Ugly Team. His competition for the last spot on the team sheet was Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, and Peter Crouch, but they all seem to be getting plenty of minutes. Go on, Tuncay. Be a hero.

Celebrity look alike: Gollum

Goals! My preciousssssssssssss!

I must say, my All Ugly Team isn't half bad. Granted, Carson often looks like he's fending off a swarm of bees when he's attempting to make a save, Spearing is green to say the least, and Tuncay isn't what we'd call a proven goal scorer, but there's some class in the side. Now, who to manage this menagerie of lookers? Too bad Ian Dowie hasn't gotten another chance yet.


So this is kickoff, then? Welcome to it.

This is a blog that has been begging me to be written for some time now and I'm finally motivated (bored?) enough to make it happen. Yes, this is a blog about soccer or football or calcio or footy or whatever the hell you want to call it. The important thing here is that we're talking about the same game, I could give a toss what you call it, and really, if the name is that important to you, you're probably a douche anyhow.

I've been all over the world and even in countries where mine wasn't the most liked nationality, the ability to competently play the game and talk about it did more than any political apologetics could have ever done. So here we are. Will it be a hammering? A dull draw? A frenetic affair? PKs? Time will tell. Enjoy.