Danny's Football Bluff

March 4, 2013

March 4th, 2013

Western Sydney Wanderers are sitting atop of the A-League ladder! The league newbies defeated the Central Coast Mariners and are now favourites to finish the season in top spot. Despite the loss, Mariners manager Graham Arnold was upbeat claiming his team were in finals form, “We’re ahead of schedule, it feels good, normally we have to wait til at least the semi finals to choke so this is nice…”

Real Madrid defeated Barcelona 2-1 in a spiteful El Classico on Saturday night. Barca defender Gerard Pique was absolutely outraged after the match, complaining that Real get all the big decisions. Pique then stated he wasn’t that mad, as Barca are still 13 points clear and he still gets to have sex with pop star Shakira.

Arsenal’s season is going from worse to even worsener. The Gunners were defeated by fierce rivals Tottenham last night, but there may be some saviours. According to London tabloids, some “Middle Eastern Billionaires” want to buy Arsenal, but American owner Stan Kroenke has stated he will not sell. Kroenke has stripped Arsenal down to its most basic squad in years and still charges it’s fans more for tickets than any other club. Speculation that Kroenke is a Tottenham fan is still unproven, but highly likely.

In continuing our “Why you should support….” series of guest writers, this week we are joined by The Age writer and Bolton fan Luke Morris…
Why you should support… Bolton Wanderers.
Manchester. It is shite. Have you been to Manchester? It is shite. Leave Manchester well alone. Half an hour north-west and there’s Bolton. A happy-go-lucky town with so little concern about cash that we pay players to lose. Not on purpose, we just overpay horrible players. It’s part of a three point plan to stimulate the economy. 1) Exit the Premier League, 2) Stay in the Championship, and 3) tour the country’s regional areas, lose, and boost celebratory goodwill. It’s an altruist and emphatic approach that we all could learn from. Bolton. Support them to the betterment of the world.

Luke Morris is the Robbie Cornthwaite of writing, a Bolton Wanderers supporter, and head honcho at http://www.st-r.com.au.

Goal of the week:

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 –

April 30, 2012

I take a week off from writing about football and a cavalcade of shit goes down. Chelsea will meet Bayern Munich in the Champions League final after knocking out Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, which resulted in the resignation of Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. Then just to prove we do things differently in the Southern Hemisphere, Brisbane Roar win the A-League Grand Final with the most laughable “penalty” ever which results in Ange Postecoglou announcing he’s becoming the manager of Melbourne Victory.

Sydney FC have announced they have poached Graham Arnold as manager! The country’s second biggest club are expected to make an official announcement in the next couple of days. Arnold is best known for leading the Central Coast Mariners to two losing finals campaigns and his disastrous stint as Socceroos coach at the 2007 Asian Cup.

In a similar move, England look like they will sign Roy Hodgson as manager for the Euro 2012 finals campaign. Hodgson has managed more clubs than Tiger Woods and seems a perfect fit for the English side, as he has not won any silverware in over ten years.

One of football’s biggest and most famous rivalries possibly came to an end last night in Glasgow. Celtic and Rangers have been bitter enemies for over one hundred years, but with Rangers facing probable liquidation over the summer the old foes battled it out one last time. Celtic ran riot with an emphatic 3-0 win. Who will take Rangers mantle of Celtic’s biggest rivals? Aberdeen? Ross County? North Kilt-Town? Only time will tell and even less people will care.

Chelsea Captain John Terry will miss the Champions League final after receiving a red card in the semi final against Barcelona. Terry made the unprecedented move of apologising to the fans in the official match programme of last night’s win over QPR. Terry said “I’m big enough to man up when I make a mistake”. Good to see Terry is aware that intentionally kneeing an opponent from behind is a mistake, Now we just need to teach him about sleeping with teammates’ girlfriends and racism.

Reminder – City v United Tuesday morning Australia time. Should be a very exciting match, which means it probably won’t be.

Goal of the week – Luis Suarez v Norwich. [Not bad for a racist]

April 10, 2012

10th April, 2012

And then there were three… Perth Glory knocked out a feisty Wellington Phoenix whilst Brisbane Roar secured a home Grand Final. This weekend sees a preliminary showdown between Central Coast Mariners and the Perth team. The Mariners have been the best team this year but the Glory are on a hot streak… Who will win? Who will choke? And much more pertinently, considering the oval ball footy codes are in full swing, will the A-League get any coverage at all? The answer to all these questions is an emphatic “Huh? Sorry I was checking Ablett’s dreamteam points.”

In England it has become depressingly apparent that Manchester United are to be the Champions of 2012. A few weeks ago this blogger called United’s season the Steven Bradbury of the EPL with all other teams falling over at crucial moments, but considering the cataclysmic results for all other top clubs, I vote that this be known as the Jonestown Season. Mass Suicides all around, with the Red Devils the only ones to not drink the Kool-Aid.

The only interesting angle for the EPL season now is who will get into the Champions League, both Man City and United have their places stitched up. The other clubs battling it out are Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle and Chelsea. Logic would suggest that the Spurs should claim the final spot, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for Newcastle to sneak in for something different. How brilliant would it be to see them take on a Scandinavian or Baltic team and watch their Geordie fans still refusing to wear coats?

North of the border and the league is even more one sided, Celtic stitching up the Scottish title in spectacular fashion thumping Kilmarnock 6-0. It’s the first title since 2008 for the Bhoys in green. Were Celtic the best team in Scotland due to their inspired and gruelling pre-season campaign against A-League teams? Definitely not, but expect Craig Foster to claim it in his column this week, as soon as he works out how to spell Celtic.

An absolute treat for all football fans is coming up with Real Madrid having the opportunity to win the Spanish title at Barcelona’s home ground. This will take place on April 22nd Australian time, same day as the A-League Grand Final. The two biggest football matches on the planet on the same day, what a treat! All fans will be excited to read about these games the day after, right after seven pages about Ablett’s dreamteam points.

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]

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;

December 12, 2011

December 12th, 2011

Manchester United were astonishingly bundled out of the UEFA Champions League by Swiss side FC Basel. It’s the first time United have not qualified past the group stages in six years. To the delight of sub editors everywhere the headline “BASEL NOT FAWLTY” was bandied across the globe. United rebounded from the midweek ignominy by thrashing Wolverhampton 4-1.

Barcelona defeated Real Madrid in the first ‘El Classico’ of the season. Madrid were favourites moving into the match but Barca outclassed their rivals 3-1. This is despite Barca keeper Victor Valdes feeling sorry for Real and handing them a free kick at goal at the twenty second mark…

The unthinkable happened at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night with Melbourne Heart upsetting Brisbane to inflict their second straight defeat. The highlight of the match being Jonatan Germano’s goal celebration, producing a Santa hat and delighting the travelling fans. [both of them] Raises the question, what was the greatest prop related goal celebration that never occurred was? What treasures have players had hidden in their shorts and never scored?

Adelaide United and sometime Socceroos keeper Eugene Galekovic played one of the games of his life on Saturday when he kept out Melbourne Victory all but once. A European call up might not be out of the question… especially when you consider the competition is this:

What happens when oil rich Arabs take on the richest man in Russia? Find out tomorrow morning when Chelsea take on Manchester City in what pundits are calling the “Everything-that-is-wrong-with-football-today derby”

GOTW – Robin Van Persie

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