Danny's Football Bluff

September 2, 2013

September 2nd, 2013

The more things change, the more things stay the same…

When David Moyes was the long suffering Everton manager he could never beat his cross town rivals Liverpool at their home ground of Anfield. However now that he is in charge of Manchester United, surely this means he will be playing the role of the Washington Generals no more… Nope! The Scousers defeated the Red Devils 1-0 in a pretty big upset. Admittedly United were without Wayne Rooney who tragically suffered a gash in his cheek when accidentally kicked in the face at training. Rooney’s face is said to be horribly disfigured, but the injury has not been able to improve that at all.

If David Moyes is Liverpool’s Washington Generals, then Arsenal are Tottenham Hotspur’s Tony Abbott. The Gunners have spent no money over summer, have a thin playing list and there are grave doubts over their manager’s ability to control the team… The Spurs on the other hand have a great young manager, have spent big and smart and are really doing everything right in their quest for the Premier League title… and yet…. Arsenal swatted them aside as easily as you can say “Stop the Boats”

**NB it appears in that last article that I am saying Kevin Rudd is a great young manager… he’s not but this blogger would pick him over Abbott any day.

The Champions League group stage draw is out and for the first time in history there is a “Group of Champions” – four teams in the one group who have all won Europe’s greatest prize. Group H consists of Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax and Celtic. With 16 Trophies together they will create a glorious feast for all football fans. My tip is Celtic will top the table. Easily. Shut up… you are.

What about the Aussies? I hear you ask, well yesterday I received a tweet from the FFA promising all the news of which Australian players did well for European clubs on the weekend… and all it told me was Mile Jedinak did okay for Crystal Palace. That’s it. World Cup 2022 could be a bad few weeks for us.

Goal of the Week!

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January 7, 2013

January 7th, 2013

Last night’s A-League match of the round lived up to its hype with the Central Coast Mariners seeing off a dogged Western Sydney Wanderers in a fast paced, entertaining match. To be honest though, this blogger didn’t get to watch the match as last night was Orthodox Christmas and I was celebrating with my Ukrainian in-laws. But through my vodka-and-borscht flavoured hangover I have read some reports of the match in the NSW media and apparently it was amazing. One leading Sydney broadsheet called it, “The best game of wog-ball in the world, the only bad bit right was when that prick Daniel McBreen scored a try in each half, which meant Parramatta Wanderers lost, but that McBreen bloke should be really good for us in Origin.”

Over in the UK and it was FA Cup weekend, meaning there were cracking matches all over the country but really people only really want to know which little teams upset Premier League teams. The only Premier League team knocked out by a lower league team were Newcastle, who were knocked out by Brighton & Hove Albion. Although it’s not that exciting considering Brighton are in the Championship, only one tier below Newcastle. The big upset came when Cardiff City were knocked out by non-league team Macclesfield Town. To explain the disparity between the two teams: you could fit the whole population of Macclesfield inside Cardiff’s stadium. As is tradition when one of the big Welsh teams suffer an embarrassing loss, rugby shirt sales have skyrocketed.

It’s transfer season – here are the latest rumours:
Lampard to leave Chelsea, possibly to a USA club
Michael Owen to Perth Glory
Mario Ballotelli to return to Milan
Cristiano Ronaldo to Paris-Saint Germaine
Shinji Ono to Manly Sea-Eagles. [Sorry… damn NSW media again]

In Italy, AC Milan have walked off the field in a friendly match against Pro Patria after the crowd chanted racist taunts at Ghanaian player Kevin Prince-Boateng. Many folk have applauded Milan for the move but not FIFA president Sepp Blatter who called the reaction ‘inappropriate’. Blatter has reminded all players that FIFA’s official stance on dealing with racism is that players ignore the racism and hope really really hard that it will stop.
The Guardian have released their list of top 100 footballers of the moment. Unsurprisingly the top two are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but what is surprising is that no Australians or even A League players made the list. To remedy this I have sent the following highlight reel to The Guardian

Goal of the Week – [blink and you’ll miss it]

December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve, 2012

In the past week this blogger has been accused of having a bias against Adelaide United for my continuing negative stories about the Reds. I take my role of amateur football writer very seriously so we begin this week with a positive story about my friends from the City of Churches:

If you ever need to look up ‘sagacious’ in the dictionary [I know I just had to] there should be a picture of Adelaide United FC. Last week it looked like Adelaide, along with the Central Coast Mariners, were going to be the dominant forces in the A-League, making for an unexciting end to the season. However the boys from Hindmarsh showed that they always see the bigger picture and realise that football needs excitement. In order to make the season seem more unpredictable they allowed Western Sydney Wanderers to smack them 6-1 on Friday night. This is the true meaning of sportsmanship (or sportspersonship if you’re politically correct, or sportshorsemanship if you write for the Daily Telegraph). Here’s a tip: FIFA Fairplay award – put money on the South Australian club.

Across the border and Saturday’s Melbourne Derby was the most dramatic yet! Melbourne Heart had the better of its navy blue (and flouro green) rivals in terms of possession, shots, corners, crosses, tackles and better dressed managers. So pretty much everything except goals. Archie Thompson scored the winning goal in injury time in front of the sell out crowd, but since the ball only barely went over the line, there was confusion in the crowd as to whether it was a goal or not. Thompson then continued the confusion in the post match interview where he answered questions through a mixture of clichés and interpretive dance, before finally he admitted he had no idea what he had just been asked. At this stage I can’t find the interview on youtube so if anyone has a link please email to himself@dannymcginlay.com (would do more work but come on it’s Xmas eve, I have Celtic FC socks to wrap).

In the Premier League overnight – Chelsea absolutely thumped Aston Villa 8-0. Villa defended so badly even Fernando Torres scored. Man United could only manage a draw with Swansea and in a hark back to the old days of football, Liverpool actually won a match.

The Italian capital is a happy place after Roma convincingly beat rivals AC Milan 4-2. Roma are fast becoming the favourite team of nerdy football fans everywhere because crowd shots of the Roman fans in their red and yellow scarves look a lot like fans of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. If only they could sign a keeper named Weasley.

Staying in Europe and the Champions League round of 16 draw took place on Friday morning Australia time. Teams from Spain, Germany, England, Italy, France, Portugal, Ukraine, Scotland and Turkey are all playing.
The fixtures look like this:
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray
Juventus v Celtic
Bayern Munich v Arsenal
Borussia Dortmund v Shakhtar Donetsk
Barcelona v AC Milan
Manchester United v Real Madrid
Paris Saint-Germain v Valencia
Malaga v Porto

Although most folk will be salivating over the Man U v Madrid fixture, my tip is to keep an eye on Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund, both teams play fast attacking football but are also mortal enemies of autocorrect.

Goal of the Week: Lionel Messi. [All of his goals from 2012! All 91 of them!]

Have a great Xmas! May all your teams win. {Unless they’re Adelaide United… oh crap, quick! Delete! Delete! Shit I already hit send!}

December 10, 2012

December 10th, 2012

Last night’s Manchester Derby proved to be one for the ages with United taking the points thanks to a last minute Robin Van Persie free kick. It’s often reported that these matches are vitriolic affairs but nothing could be further from the truth. United and City are great friends! In the 16th minute the City defenders proved what generous hosts they are by letting Ashley Young give a free pass to Wayne Rooney who graciously tucked it home. If that wasn’t polite enough, the City defenders did it again twelve minutes later! The Red Devils are nothing if not reciprocally courteous, returning the favour in the 58th minute by allowing City four shots on goal in five seconds The fourth one finally finding its way into the goal. Just when the niceties couldn’t get any rosier, the City fans decided to help out United defender Rio Ferdinand with some milk money, cheerfully throwing loose change at him. Ferdinand expressed his gratitude by bleeding from his forehead. Manchester City are known for throwing money at players, but usually not this literally. It all ended 3-2 to United, and presumably with all in attendance having a lovely afternoon tea.

The Socceroos have qualified for next year’s East Asia Cup! Our boys sealed their spot at next year’s tournament with an 8-0 win over traditional rivals Taiwan. Manager Holger Osieck is said to be over the moon, as it has been his dream to win the East Asia Cup ever since he heard about it last week.

Western Sydney Wanderers have piled on the misery for reigning A-League champions Brisbane Roar with a 1-0 win at Parramatta yesterday. The decisive kick came from a penalty, which this blogger thought was a blatant dive, but interestingly the Roar and the Queensland media aren’t kicking up a fuss. Perhaps last year’s Grand Final “win” from the penalty spot has rendered the “Champions” tactfully quiet.

And the winner is… everyone! Euro 2020 will be played all over the continent rather than in a host country. This new format was adopted when the only country that applied to host the tournament turned out to be Turkey. Experts have theorised that this new format is a tester for the Eurovision Song Contest which is still attempting to work out how to avoid Jedward visiting other nations.

Champions League round of sixteen will be drawn next week with the remaining clubs being Paris Saint Germain, Porto, Schalke 04, Arsenal, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayern Munich, Valencia, Barcelona, Celtic, Manchester United, Glatasaray and Spainish side Malaga, who even last year hadn’t yet heard of themselves.

Goal of the week –

March 26, 2012

March 26th, 2012

The English Premier League is turning into a chokers paradise, with three top teams all dropping points in vital matches this weekend. Chelsea & Tottenham played out a groin grabbingly dull 0-0 draw on Saturday, followed by Manchester City drawing with Stoke City. As if to prove that they are still relevant as a top team, Liverpool followed suit and lost to cellar dwellers Wigan Athletic. The winner being scored by Gary Caldwell, who holds the Champions League record for most own-goals. It’s all set up for Manchester United to claim a Steven Bradbury like waltz to the Championship. They play Fulham Tuesday morning Australian time.

Things are getting very interesting in Italy, with Juventus and AC Milan battling it out for the title. Only four points separate the two clubs, which put Milan fans in the very odd position of cheering on their arch rivals Inter when they played Juve yesterday. Inter have had a shocker of a season, and weren’t going to find form just to please their neighbours. They duly lost 2-0.

The A League final round played out yesterday, with only one real surprise. Fox Sports tried to market the last few matches as ‘Super Sunday’, but to no real excitement. Sydney FC saw off Newcastle with ease, Brisbane dismissed Gold Coast after an early scare, and Central Coast defeated Wellington. This gives the Mariners the Premier’s Plate, which is the trophy awarded to the team who finishes the season on top of the ladder. This is how the championship is decided in all the big football leagues, but not in Australia, as we need a grand final or else we don’t understand who has won. The only surprise was that the A-League forgot to take the Premier’s Plate over to Wellington, so the trophy was not awarded. However credit to the people of New Zealand who fashioned a makeshift trophy out of an Esky and Central Coast were awarded the ‘Champion’s Chillybin’ of 2012.

By the way, if you ever want to test how much of a football fan someone is in Australia. Ask them how long a league is, as in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. If they know it is about 5.5 kilometres then you know they are a fan. See every time you do a google search for A-League, it tells you how long a league is.

Here are next week’s finals:
Major Semi Final leg one – Brisbane v Central Coast
Elimination Final One – Wellington v Sydney
Elimination Final Two – Perth v Melbourne Heart

Have a look, they should be great matches. Well, except for Perth v Heart, sorry Jambos fans but I think Perth will thump you. Will be happy to be proved wrong.

Goal of the week –

March 19, 2012

March 19th 2012

It was an unhappy day for Scottish Football yesterday. Not only because Celtic lost to Kilmarnock in the League Cup Final. No really, it’s fine, it’s good for football. I’m not mad, honestly. Just stop asking okay? Sheez. However the joy for the Ayrshire team was short lived after midfielder Liam Kelly’s father Jack collapsed at the final whistle and died of a heart attack. The feeling in the Killie rooms was described as ‘despondent’. This, combined with Bolton Wanderer’s Fabrice Muamba suffering cardiac arrest during his side’s fixture against Tottenham, has made it a sobering weekend of football. For the record, Kilmarnock’s keeper Cammy Bell played the game of his life making nine saves and ruining Celtic’s treble dreams. Now can we talk about something else?

Who can still win a domestic Treble for season 2011/12? Well, Liverpool would need a mathematical miracle to win the Premier League but they could do a League Cup/FA Cup double after they swept aside Stoke City. Barcelona won the Supacopa de Espana and is in the final of the Copa Del Rey, however they are eight points adrift of Real Madrid in La Liga, so they’re unlikely. In France Paris St Germaine may also go two out of three, as they are on top of the Ligue 1 and in the semi finals of the Coupe de France. In other leagues it is only possible to win the double – in Italy Juventus and AC Milan are still alive in all contests, same for Borussia Dortmond, Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach. So come on glory hunters! Pick a team and get bandwagon jumping before the season’s over!

In England, where there are about eight matches remaining, things are heating up for the pivotal relegation/promotion race. Realistically the five teams that could drop out of the Premier League are: Wolverhampton, Wigan, Queens Park Rangers, Bolton and Blackburn. Eager to take their place are championship contenders: Southampton, Reading, West Ham, Birmingham, Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Hull, Cardiff and Brighton. You may think that in the A-League we don’t have relegations but think again. Last year’s cellar dwellers North Queensland Fury were dissolved after finishing last, a fate that may await Gold Coast United as well. Although that’s not so much ‘relegated’ as ‘disappeared up Clive Palmer’s arse’.

On a more positive note the A-League finals begin in two weeks. To remind you 1st and 2nd play each other over two legs for the right to host the Grand Final. 3rd play 6th as well as the 4th and 5th, these are knock out comps, the winners play each other for the chance to play the loser of the 1st v 2nd matches in the preliminary final which is played over two legs, the winner advancing to the grand final. Confused? Understandable – to be brutally honest, just enjoy the football and wait for the inevitable Central Coast v Brisbane grand final.

Embarrassment of the week – there are many times to fake an injury, I’ve just never seen it done after celebrating a goal. [At the 3.44 mark!]

Goal of the week –

March 12, 2012

March 12th 2012

For the first time in almost five months, Manchester City is not on top of the English Premier League. The blue half of Manchester is very much in panic stations as the familiar story of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory seems to be playing out. Their cross town rivals United are more than happy to play the role of pantomime villain and take the top spot. In footballing terms City fans are right to panic, the team are lacking fluency and seem out of sorts; however the Sky Blue fans can take solace in the fact that they are playing to perfection the role of the Mighty Ducks. It’s the classic tale – Multi Millionaire Arab Sheik collects ragtag group of misfit top-rated footballers. At first they don’t get along but then things finally begin to gel… things go bad before the end of the season to set up a plucky heart warming victory at the end. Trust me City fans, it’ll all be okay when Carlos Tevez and Mario Ballotelli learn the true meaning of friendship…

Unless of course the rumours that City are about to snatch Robin Van Persie from Arsenal are true. Then the overly rich bastards can keep losing, serves them right. Stop trying to buy trophies and try and bring a positive culture to the club.

On a less ranty note – for the first time ever in European club competition it seems there will be no English teams in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League or Europa League. Chelsea are England’s last hope but they trail Napoli 3-1 going into the second leg. Danny’s Football Bluff favourites Apoel from Cyprus continued their fairytale run by defeating French giants Lyon. They have joined Barcelona, Benfica and AC Milan. For those unfamiliar with Apoel their last trophy was the 2010 Cypriot Supercup – a basketball trophy.

Closer to home and the Socceroos’ road to Brazil was revealed as the final round of World Cup Qualifiers was announced on Friday night. Our lads will play Oman, Japan, Jordan and Iraq. Australia is the favourite to progress to the finals, however we might not be guaranteed of that until June 2013. In the meantime we have friendlies lined up against Denmark for the Frederick-Mary Cup and Scotland for the Liver Cirrhosis Shield.

Yesterday I watched Brisbane Roar play Adelaide United with a friend from England who had not watched A-league. After reassuring him that the Australian competition was not as bad as he imagined, we were then treated to the most inept finishing in the history of sport. A team of blind amputee donkeys would have had better finishing. Even after they’d been shot.

To distract from this horror show – here is proof that other competitions have shockers too:

Goal of the Week – [Forgive the music]

February 27, 2012

27th February, 2012

Liverpool claimed its first piece of silverware in six years overnight when they defeated Cardiff City to claim the Carling Cup, sometimes called the League Cup, more accurately called the least-important cup. The match started well, with the Reds’ Glen Johnson firing a cracking shot off the crossbar in the third minute and then Joe Mason, with a nifty run beating the offside trap, gave Cardiff City the lead after eighteen minutes. From that moment on it became a titanic arm wrestle to see who could make the most howling errors. Shots sprayed wide, players passed directly to their opponents, this was slapstick football. Dirk Kuyt accidentally gave Liverpool the lead when he tripped on a deceptively flat piece of grass and the ball bounced from his foot into the net. With seconds remaining though Cardiff City equalized by falling for a classic nobody-touch-the-ball-when-defending-a-corner manoeuvre executed brilliantly by the Reds. In the deciding penalty shoot out, Cardiff proved they were more committed to their trophy drought, and duly aimed for the crowd, giving the Scousers the win.

This next story is not for the romantics. For years Arsenal have dominated the North London Derby and their arch rivals Tottenham have played second fiddle for the best part of forever. Last night though, a change was in the air. Hotspur are having a fantastic season under Harry Redknapp and Arsenal are going from crisis to crisis. The match was running to script with Tottenham taking a 2-0 lead in the first half. Then, depending on your allegiances, the worst capitulation in the history of the game occurred or the most groin grabbingly delicious comeback happened. Arsenal piled on five unanswered goals and broke the hearts and souls of the Spurs. Wenger completely out-coached Redknapp, and as an Australian with Irish heritage I proclaim – HARRY FOR ENGLAND!

The Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer vs the FFA saga continued this week with both parties mudslinging through the media. United broke A-League rules when they covered their sponsors logo with the words FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Presumably Palmer feels he is being stifled. The richest man in Queensland who is a life member and former spokesman for the Liberal-National Party, who capped attendances at GCU matches at 2,000 to save money is being hard done by and apparently having his human rights violated. As we said last week – Weapons Grade Dickhead.

NB – If next week GCU play with their shirt sponsor covered with the phrase RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS then all is forgiven Clive you comedy genius.

In Italy the battle for the Serie A has heated right up with the top two sides AC Milan & Juventus playing out a controversial 1-1 draw at the San Siro. Both sides had perfectly legal goals disallowed and the gap at the top of the table is only one point. Tensions may rise between the two sets of fans, and somewhere in Milan or Turin, we would be set for the most well-dressed fan brawl the world has ever seen.

This Wednesday Australia takes on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a World Cup Qualifier. The Socceroos have already progressed to the next round so this blogger is expecting a light hearted atmosphere at Melbourne’s AAMI Park. Am already working on some chants about how women can vote and drive cars.

Goal of the Week – Cristiano Ronaldo

February 20, 2012

Feb 20th, 2012

You read it here first! [Provided you didn’t read any other football media] Glasgow Rangers Football Club are in administration! The penniless club owe, amongst others, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs over 9 million pounds in unpaid VAT and other taxes. Not to mention another possible 75 million pounds depending on the outcome of a court case due to be ruled on in the coming weeks. This has caused celebrations for supporters of rival clubs and a variety of emotions for the Rangers fans, from stoic resolve to blatant rage. On Saturday the Glasgow club played their first match since going into administration at home against Kilmarnock. The rallying cry from manager Ally McCoist was “We don’t do walking way”. This was proven false as the majority of fans left when Kilmarnock took a 1-0 lead in the first half.

Although not quite as bad as it was for Rangers, it was a pretty awful week for Arsenal. The North London giants were thrashed in the Champions League 4-0 by AC Milan, and then the Gunners were bundled out of the FA Cup by Sunderland. Manager Arsene Wenger has been told he will ‘never be sacked’ as coach, but since Arsenal’s most famous fan, Queen Elizabeth, is celebrating her diamond jubilee this year, she may wish to celebrate by the traditional way – by executing a few Frenchies. Stay tuned…

Keeping with royal football fans – Prince Charles this week revealed himself as a Burnley fan. This didn’t help the Championship side as they lost 1-0 to Reading, a team ironically nicknamed ‘The Royals’. Prince William is an Aston Villa fan, and Harry is an Arsenal fan, although he prefers rugby, like his father James Hewitt. It was a bad week for almost all the celeb owned teams in England. Delia Smith’s Norwich were defeated by Leicester; Elton John’s Watford lost on the weekend to Crystal Palace but Robbie Williams’ Port Vale enjoyed a 2-1 win over Gillingham.

Gold Coast United are seemingly at death’s door after their chairman Clive Palmer admitted he doesn’t even like soccer. Coach Miron Bleiberg has quit the club following internal turmoil. The high turnover rate of players is blamed mostly on Palmer who is a weapons grade dickhead, offering only one year contracts, timeshares and Dreamworld tickets as payment.

This happened a few weeks back but due to technological incompetence I can only publish it now – Chelsea misspelling their own website.

Goal of the week –

January 16, 2012

January 16th

Brisbane Roar achieved a small sense of revenge against Sydney FC on Saturday night. Sydney FC were the first team to defeat the Roar this season, ending their unbeaten run and beginning their catastrophic string of defeats, however in the rematch Brisbane scored two injury time goals to snatch victory 2-1. Roar striker Besart Berisha was so excited to score the winner he accidentally grabbed the shirt of his opponent Pascall Bosschaart and attempted to celebrate with him. This misunderstanding was sorted out with a traditional all-in melee.

The A League transfer window begins tomorrow, with rumours abounding of trades and deals. Apparently the strong Australian dollar is being dangled as a carrot in front of many big names, although the Fox Sports website is taking ‘big names’ rather literally, naming both Bryan Bergougnoux and Julio Cesar Dailey Leon as possible A League signings.

Arsenal & Liverpool continue to frustrate the hell out their fans by not being able to win matches against smaller teams. Liverpool have a forward line worth over 100 million pounds yet could not score against Stoke. Arsenal lost to newly promoted Swansea overnight with the returning prodigal son Thierry Henry involved in an altercation with a fan after the match. Henry was quoted afterward as saying, “Why would fans abuse us? We have won every trophy possible in the last few years and yet they abuse us… Merde! I meant to go back to Barca not these losers!”

Inter Milan took the honours in the first Milan Derby of the year. If AC Milan had have won they would have taken top spot in Serie A. However Juventus remain on top despite dropping points against Cagliari. This blog doesn’t follow the Serie A too closely, but often goes with the assumption that Juventus are on top as they have the horrible cheating Fabio Grosso who dives his way to victory. Maintaining the rage since 2006.

Goal of the week: from the Egyptian league;

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