Danny's Football Bluff

March 24, 2014

24th March 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 12:20 pm

Brisbane are the A-League Premiers! This would be amazing news pretty much anywhere else in the world, but Australia plays by American rules when it comes to soccer, meaning finishing top at the end of the season doesn’t mean you are champions (like it does in almost every other league in the world). It just means you are favourites to win the finals. So the Roar are not Champions, yet. The ones in orange will be tough to beat in the finals. Their three closest challengers are all in the middle of Asian Champions League campaigns so will be exhausted for the rest of the season. So should we just cancel the finals, hand the trophy to Roar and move onto next season where Melbourne City, nee Heart, buy the trophy with their Arab gold? Sadly thats not an option so let’s hope something interesting happens.

Something interesting happened on Saturday in England. Over a month ago this blogger was lamenting how there were no big matches in the EPL until this weekend just gone. Well finally we were to be treated to Chelsea v Arsenal. As my wife is currently ready-to-pop pregnant I am off the grog so the highlight of my weekend was to be watching this match on Saturday night (whilst slamming down glasses of milk). I got home from my gig on Saturday night having missed the first 15 minutes of play and Chelsea were already up 3-0 and Arsenal were a man down. Disappointing. The Gunners have now been thrashed by Liverpool 5-1, by Man City 6-3 and now Chelsea 6-0, meaning the EPL is now a three horse race. (Which is still two more than Australia, Scotland, Italy, Germany and France.) Given the poll results from last week’s poll it seems readers of this blog are Liverpool fans so I will write with a Scouser bias for the rest of the season.

Up next: Why The Beatles could beat Oasis in a fight, followed by a guide to a romantic dinner (clue – have chips!)

This morning the El Clasico was played and it lived up to it’s name. Barcelona went 1-0 up within the first ten minutes, only to see themselves 2-1 behind before half time, then 2-2 at half time. The second half saw more end to end action, with Barcelona finally taking the win 4-3. This rivalry is one of the best as it’s not only two separate cities, but also two different political viewpoints and football philosophies. The best way to describe it is Barcelona is MI6 – they’ve got James Bond, M, Q, all the good guys and they work as a team for good and for right. Real Madrid are SPECTRE – they’re cashed up, only in it for themselves and we should hate them, but they’re just so much fun!!!

The Champions League Quarter Finals were announced. They are:
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund
Paris St Germain v Chelsea
Manchester United v Bayern Munich
So poll time: Who do you want to win the Champions League?

Goal of the Week – there were some crackers but let’s go for home grown!

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March 17, 2014

St Patrick’s Day, 2014

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 12:23 pm

Even though we are coming to the very pointy end of the A-League season, with finals places still up for grabs, the talk is all about one man and one incident – Besart Berisha. The Albanian striker opened up the scoring in Brisbane Roar’s 1-1 draw with Sydney. That’s not the issue, that’s what he’s paid for. The issue came twenty minutes later when he ninja kicked Seb Ryall. Seriously, he jumped with both heels up in a very dangerous tackle, then writhed in agony on the ground in a performance that even Ashton Kutcher would have deemed terrible. Brisbane fans don’t have to worry though, as Berisha is on his way to Melbourne Victory next year, where his dangerous tackles and horrible personality will make him Kevin Muscat’s favourite.

Leo Messi was his usual amazing self, scoring a hat trick for Barcelona in their 7-0 thrashing of Osasuna. Barca are still trailing both the Madrid teams in La Liga but if Messi continues this run of form then Barca will be back on top Osasuna rather than later.
[I’m really sorry]

Last night Liverpool beat Manchester United 3-0. Arsenal beat Tottenham 1-0. For both United and Spurs it was classic nightmare stuff. David Moyes was seen checking if he was wearing clothes. He was. It was all too real – the loss to their rivals, Alex Ferguson scowling from the stands, and of course the fact that he is one of the most hated men in football at the moment. Thankfully he is living in Manchester so he won’t actually meet many United fans.

The Premier League is really a four horse race now. Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City could all claim the title. Who do you want to win? Check the poll below! Personally I have no allegiance in the EPL* [I support Celtic] so I’m curious as to whom the general public wants to win.

*I used to live near West Ham so officially that’s my team, but I’m not that passionate about them. As an Australian with Scottish and Irish parents it’s against my DNA to cheer an English sports team.

Goal of the Week

February 17, 2014

17th February, 2014

It was FA Cup weekend in England so only a sixteen teams played but it included some big familiar names. Arsenal got a small amount of revenge on Liverpool defeating them 2-1 at Emirates Stadium. Manchester City knocked out fellow cash cow Chelsea, proving that Arabian oil is stronger than Russian gas. The interesting thing is we could have a Steel City Derby in the quarter finals. Sheffield United will play the winner of Charlton Athletic vs Sheffield Wednesday. This blogger doesn’t know any Sheffield fans of either team but my research has shown me that a famous Sheffield United supporter is Sean Bean, which means somehow they must be the villains of the piece. Go Wednesday!

Melbourne Heart continued their run of great form, recording their highest ever win, thumping Wellington Phoenix 5-0! David Williams scored a hat trick, which is another first for Heart. The A-League’s cashed up underdogs have won four of their last five matches which has seen them climb up the ladder to… remain in last place. They could leapfrog Perth if they defeat ladder leaders Brisbane next Sunday. But that’s highly unlikely.

The Socceroos launched their world cup kit this morning – here it is:
http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/news-display/2014-socceroos-team-kit-revealed/86266

The logic clearly being the more we look like Brazil the more chance we will play like them. Or perhaps we’re hoping short sighted football fans will watch us thinking we’re Brazil so we get more ratings? Who knows? I know I’m not a fan of a collar on a football strip. Unless we play one match with ties, then thats fine.

This Wednesday Barcelona v Manchester City promises to be a very entertaining match. Cashed up English vs The soul of Catalonia. Is it enough for me to get up at 6.30am to watch? Hell no, I’ve got a baby coming in two months, I need all the sleep I can get. I’ll tape it and watch when I get up. What are you mental?

Goal of the week – from Saturday night’s Asian Champions League. Despite this amazing goal Melbourne Victory won!

October 28, 2013

October 28th 2013

People say that when a club is bought out by a billionaire it loses its soul. This myth was absolutely busted last night when the two richest clubs in England played last night. Chelsea v Manchester City, Russian billionaires v Arab billionaires. Or if you will James Bond villains v Jack Ryan villains. These two clubs are hated by football purists by buying their success, however last night they showed how friendly they can be, with Chelsea making it easier for their opponents by only having shots on goal from offside positions. Manchester City were not to be outdone though, and thought it only fair that their goalkeeper Joe Hart should run halfway across the field so Fernando Torres could score the winner in injury time. What great sports. Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

The weekend’s big game in Australia was the Sydney derby, played to a packed house on Saturday night. Sydney FC showing the great defensive acumen that manager Frank Farina is known for, as their centre backs stood completely still for Shinji Ono to score the opener. It brought back great memories of when Farina lead the Socceroos to an inspiring 3-0 thumping by Uruguay to end our World Cup dreams. Sydney FC 0-2 Western Sydney Wanderers

It wasn’t the only big derby played over the weekend, Sunderland beat Newcastle in a victory for animal rights everywhere. Last time these two rivals played the big story was an angry Newcastle fan punched a horse in the face. Reports that after this 2-1 defeat some ducks were molested have gone unconfirmed…

The Glasgow Derby used to be one of the biggest matches on the football calendar. However since the death of Rangers FC in 2012 there hasn’t been one, until last night, and it was a classic. A lot of people didn’t think that Celtic v Partick Thistle would reach the heights of the old Celtic v Rangers matches but they were wrong! Celtic triumphed 2-1 in an epic battle for bragging rights! Firhill Stadium’s home support was silenced by Amido Balde’s 75th minute strike. Although that was because one of the home support had gone to the toilet but the other five were pretty gobsmacked.

Goal of the week is the winner from the El Clasico on Saturday night. I was trying to write about this match but really it was too good to make jokes about. I love these matches. Apologies about the quality of the video, any decent ones are geoblocked or some other computer term I don’t understand.

September 16, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 10:47 am

This weekend in the English Premier League all eyes were on the Arsenal debut of Mesut Ozil. Some crueller pundits have suggested that Arsene Wenger’s reason for signing the German was that Ozil is the only person on earth with bigger eyes than Wenger. Even if this was the case those big eyes worked a dream, setting up Arsenal’s first goal with a brilliant through pass to Oliver Giroud that mere mortals with regular sized peepers would never have seen. The Gunners defeated Sunderland 3-1, although it is worth reminding you that Sunderland are managed by batshit mental Paolo DiCanio, who claimed the referees helped Arsenal to victory but it won’t happen next time as he has his tin foil hat at the ready.

South a bit and Gareth Bale made his long awaited Real Madrid debut and scored an impressive goal, however Real are still slowly working Bale into the Galactico way of football and made sure he still felt like he was at Tottenham by conceding a late equaliser.

Over at Barcelona, they are just scrambling to prove how much they are the good guys of football, when it was revealed Brazilian left-back Dani Alves offered to donate his liver to teammate Eric Abidal. Mark Bosnich immediately contacted Alves to ask if his hair was on offer but has not heard back as yet.

Millwall. You heard of them? They are the team in England with the most violent, bigoted, clichéd fans. They were the villains in Green Street Hooligans. Things have got so bad they’ve signed Scott McDonald as a striker [booo!! Cheap gag McGinlay!! Boooo!!]. Anyway – one of their fans ran onto the pitch on Saturday as they lost 5-1 to Derby County, shoved the rival coach and the ran back into the stands. It was an impressive piece of efficient hooliganism.

But who won on the weekend? Nobody exciting, there was a lot of 0-0 draws. Everton upset Chelsea but that’s really all worth mentioning. See you next week.

Goal of the week – sure it’s from an indoor match but it’s pretty sweet!

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!

August 19, 2013

19th August 2013

Welcome to the Football Bluff for another season. Over the next few weeks your workplace conversations will be dominated by Oval Ball Finals/Federal Election/Breaking Bad [really depends how nerdy your work is] so you will only need a simple understanding of the Round Ball Game, but that’s why I’m here.

The English Premier League kicked off on Saturday night – who started well?

Not bloody Arsenal! Although the Gunners were up 1-0 within six minutes, Aston Villa gave the North London club a rude awakening as they piled on the next three goals. As the fans booed, the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger surely was doubting his summer signing policy of going to Mars and sitting in a cave with his eyes shut and his fingers in his ears.

Manchester United began the David Moyes era with a 4-1 win over Swansea. Danny Welbeck & Robin Van Persie both scored with amazing individual efforts. Wayne Rooney played the final half hour of the match, but quite begrudgingly. Rooney has made no secret his desire to leave the Red Devils, however post match teammate Michael Carrick said “Wayne is still one of us”, whereas Rooney was quoted as saying “Shut up, you’re not my real dad”

Chelsea returned to Jose Mourinho’s style of play like a duck to orange sauce. The Blues eased back into the sit-back-and-wait-for-the-opposition-to-make-a-mistake game plan seamlessly as they defeated Hull 2-0. At times the strikers even played like proper team mates, but I’m sure those little mistakes will be ironed out.

Barcelona won their first match of the Spanish season 7-0. If you’re a Real Madrid fan, apologies, it’s gonna be a long year.

Yes but how did the Australians go? I hear you ask, with the World Cup happening at the end of this season, this blogger will try and keep you up to date with how our Socceroos are going at a club level. Mile Jedinak played well as he lead Crystal Palace to a gallant 1-0 loss to Tottenham… and…. um… oh Lucas Neill signed with a Japanese club… apart from that…. um…. I think Mark Schwarzer got to finally meet Jose Mourinho, that would have been exciting for him.

August 14, 2013

Season 2013/14 Preview!

Hi folks, welcome to my blog. It’s about football and it’s aimed at people who don’t care that much about football but want to stay informed. The good folk at The Project have published my season preview, but in case you missed it, here it is below:

Enjoy!

On Sunday the English Premier League and many other European Football Leagues kick off for the year, and the A-League season is just under six weeks away. So you know what that means – that guy in your workplace who is OBSESSED with the round ball game is going to start boring you to death with opinions and facts about it all.

I know that guy, because I am that guy. I am, however, much more self-aware than most of the other ‘that guys’ and I know most of Australia does not share my passion, so I am using my powers for good. I know you don’t mind soccer, {see I even call it soccer, I am aware that other codes use the name football, so to avoid confusion, I call it soccer, already I’m less of a dick} and with the World Cup in less than a year you probably want to bone up on your knowledge a bit, but who has the time? I do!

So this is my guide to surviving a conversation with that soccer nut and knowing more than your friends in preparation for the World Cup. These easy opinions and fun facts on the upcoming football season will you have sounding like a true fan, but with minimal effort.

The English Premier League.

What big things happened in the off season?
1. Manchester United have their first new manager in 27 years! They replaced the angry Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson with a slightly more googly eyed angry Scotsman, David Moyes.

2. Jose Mourinho returned to manage Chelsea. Mourinho is football world’s Bond Villain. He’s maniacal, egotistical, not afraid to ruin matches with dull defensive tactics, but at the same time so ridiculously charming. I would have loved to have seen him at Man United, in the same way I would love to see a real bull in a real china shop.

3. Arsenal promised their fans they would bring in some big name players during the off season, but haven’t. Unless you count Yaya Sanogo as a big name**.

**You don’t.

Three handy phrases
A] “With all the new managers it’ll be the closest season in years.”
B] “I can’t wait for the first Manchester derby! Or the first North London derby! They’ll be fascinating!”
C] “If Rooney moves to Chelsea, it’s game on!”

Don’t say – “I’ll be interested to see what hairstyle David Beckham plays with this year.”

My prediction – Chelsea to win the league, but only just.

The A-League

What big things happened in the off season?
1. Central Coast Mariners won the grand final, and since then have lost five members of that team. It’s well known the Mariners are in financial trouble, but that hasn’t stopped the fans flocking to see the winning trophy proudly on display at Gosford Cash Converters.

2. Harry Kewell returns to the A-League! But not for his old team Melbourne Victory, for their rivals Melbourne Heart! This has enraged the Victory support, but brought no end of joy to all the Heart fans, both of them.

3. SBS managed to claim the right to broadcast one match a round on free-to-air. This will be a ratings bonanza for the network, especially if they get all matches commentated by Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang.

Three handy phrases
A] “It’ll be great for football if the Western Sydney Wanderers can repeat their amazing season.”
B] “Adelaide’s new Spanish manager seems exciting, but can he adapt to the more physical A league?”
C] “With the salary cap in place, you never can predict A League matches let alone seasons.”

Don’t Say – “Did you know A League is about 4.8 kilometres?”

My prediction – Melbourne Victory to win the league.

The rest of Europe

1. Bayern Munich won the Champions League last year and now have signed Pip Guardiola, widely regarded as one of the best managers in the world. So they seem like an unstoppable German machine!
2. Barcelona signed the Brazilian wonderkid Neymar, widely regarded as the next Pele. Considering they still have Lionel Messi on their books, they seem like an unstoppable Spanish/Catalan machine!
3. Carlos Tevez transferred over to Juventus, widely regarded as one of the most corrupt teams on the planet. Considering a lot of these allegations have also included links to the mafia, this blogger thinks they are all wonderful gentlemen and wishes them all the best, as he fears their unstoppable Italian machine guns.

Three handy phrases:
A] “Gareth Bale could be brilliant at Real Madrid, provided they play him in the right position.”
B] “Paris Saint-Germaine are a team of champions, but nowhere near a champion team.”
C] “I hope the headlines coming out of Italy are about football for a change.”

Don’t say – “I thought European football was cancelled after Lance Armstrong was found to be a drug cheat?”

My prediction – Juventus to win the Champions League. I like my thumbs.

May 27, 2013

May 27th, 2013

And there we go – that’s club football over for another season!
On Saturday night Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to be crowned champions of Europe. The all German final, which was nicknamed “The Sausagefest” by certain bloggers, was decided by a bit of Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben magic in the dying minutes. Munich has not celebrated this hard since… well, last October.

What to watch during the off season? Well there’s the Socceroos’ final World Cup Qualifiers, against traditional rivals Japan, Jordan and Iraq. We should be okay. Don’t listen to the panic of the mainstream media. For calm analysis just follow me on twitter @dannymcginlay where I also RT funny jokes.

Keeping with international matches, the Confederations Cup will play out in Brazil next month. This is a dress rehearsal for next year’s world cup and is played out by all the great sides – Brazil, Spain, Italy, Nigeria, Mexico, Uruguay, Japan and of course Tahiti. This blogger is completely on Team Tahiti as all of Australia should be! A phrase you will hear a lot over the next month – Tahiti’s On! [Say it aloud… still don’t get it? Neither did my wife. But English isn’t her first language.]

To end the year I leave you with my three favourite moments of the 2012-2013 season.
#3 Celtic 2-1 Barcelona.
The Glasgow club were celebrating their 125th birthday, and they did it by defeating the greatest team in the world! Fairytale stuff. The only thing that ruins the memory of that night is the music in this video – I really tried to get better highlights. Sorry.

#2 Victory 2-1 Heart
For some reason the Victorians always struggled to beat their cross town rivals Heart, and at the Christmas Derby it looked like the boys in red had scored an unlikely draw – but Archie Thompson had other thoughts –

#1 Cute Kid 1-0 Desire to not have kids.
The Chelsea reserve goalkeeper Ross Turnbull’s two year old son takes over the end of season speeches by scoring the cutest goal in the history of everything.

April 29, 2013

29th April 2013

This is a weird time in football, especially here in Australia as all the popular leagues have been decided. Central Coast won the A-League, Manchester United won the Premier League and Celtic claimed its second straight Scottish title. So what’s happening everywhere else? Well – in Spain, Barcelona are eleven points clear of Real Madrid so that’s pretty much over; Juventus are dominating Italy; Bayern Munich have already won Germany. Where can we look for footballing interest?

Well the Champions League Final is looking to be an all German affair. In the two semi finals; Borussia Dortmund are leading 4-1 over Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich are similarly trouncing Barcelona 4-0, both with return matches still to be played. Although this seems quite dull there is hope for all of us for the following reasons –

If the return legs do not provide us with epic comebacks, then May 25th will be Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund. Then we are all given an excuse to host German themed parties! Lederhosen, schnitzels, and large steins of beer! [Very important, they dull the pain of over enthusiastic slap dances, which will happen if Bayern win]

A much more attractive solution is if Real Madrid & Barcelona stage great comeback wins, then not only do we get an ‘El Classico’ Final [That’s the nickname of a Barca v Real clash], but then things will become even more interesting due to…
Mario Balotelli! AC Milan striker, an absolute talent who also happens to be bat-shit crazy. Balotelli has publicly declared that if Real Madrid make the Champions League final that his girlfriend will publicly sleep with all of Real Madrid. Now some voyeuristic fans might like the idea of watching such an outcome, but surely the more fun end product will be Balotelli’s girlfriend – a Belgian model named Fanny Neguesha – publicly slapping her nutjob beau, because who knows, maybe Balotelli will bleed confetti, at this stage nothing would surprise us.

Yes you know it’s an awkward time in football when the most exciting prospect is an argument between a lunatic and his attractive ladyfriend. Tune in next week and I’ll have found something else midly interesting.

Miss of the week:

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