Danny's Football Bluff

May 5, 2014

May 5th, 2014

So, being a new Dad takes up a lot of time! Thankfully there’s only one more week of club football for the season. So I’ll attempt to write an update for you all.

Brisbane Roar defeated Western Sydney Wanderers to win the A-League Grand Final. The Wanderers went 1-0 up in the second half but Besart Berisha equalized with minutes to spare. Then, in injury time, Henrique put the Queenslanders in front 2-1. Berisha is now hated by all clubs, as he is leaving Brisbane to join Melbourne Victory, where he and Kevin Muscat will battle it out for the title of most despised man in Australian soccer. Events include punching kittens, climate change denying and writing more “I bought a Jeep” commercials.

In England it all boils down to the last week. Manchester City and Liverpool are both locked in equal first place with 80 points each with two matches to spare.

If they both win, then City claim the title as they have a superior goal difference [unless of course Liverpool wins one of it’s matches 10-0]. It’s extremely tense: Manchester v Liverpool. Money vs History. Blue vs Red. We hate United vs We hate United more…

Tomorrow Morning 5am EST – Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Wednesday Morning 4.45am EST – Manchester City v Aston Villa

Sunday night midnight [technically Monday morning, don’t be a pedant] – Liverpool v Newcastle, Manchester City v West Ham United.

There’s other matches on as well but trust me, nobody really cares. Sunderland, West Brom & Norwich are trying to avoid relegation… yeah I thought so.

Oh – the Champions League final is Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid. The Aristocrats vs The Rebels! Go Atletico! Even though Real does stuff like this: [Goal of the Week]

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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!

September 30, 2013

With the oval shaped football season finishing in Australia, people will slowly be realizing that the round ball game is happening in Europe, and things are certainly getting interesting over that side of the planet. In England, both Manchester teams are playing really badly with United losing to West Brom at home on Saturday night. Normally that would be cause for great celebration for Man City, but they were beaten 3-2 by Aston Villa. Now it’s easy to pick on the struggling teams, not to mention fun, but who’s playing well?

Tottenham – who bought a cavalcade of great player on the off season.
Arsenal – who only bought one.
Chelsea – who bought in some great kids and of course, Bond villain manager Jose Mourinho.
And finally Liverpool – who are setting themselves up for their traditional good start to a season then choking magnificently against the struggling clubs. Sadly for Liverpool though, it looks like the struggling club this year will be their arch rivals from Manchester.

In Scotland the ladder is topped by Inverness Caledonian Thistle, usually only famous for being the home of Scotland’s biggest celebrities, Nessie and James Bond.

In Italy, perennial underachievers Roma sit at the top of the table, what’s next? A Pope that embraces homosexuality? Oh.

In Spain the Madrid derby was played out on Saturday night and Atletico upset Real 1-0! In the French leagues, Monaco are playing exciting attacking football, FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven are making the Dutch league a great contest, Porto and Benfica are taking the Portuguese title down to the wire it is all happening! Such a pity daylight savings starts this week and now all games will be played at stupid o’clock and Australians will lose all interest.

Goal of the Week –

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!

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.

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:

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:

February 4, 2013

Feb 4th, 2013

The Melbourne Derby played out to an almost capacity crowd on Saturday night and the Victory once again took the honours. It was a battle of the goalkeepers and both Nathan Coe and Andrew Redmayne put on brilliant performances. The only negative of the match was the damage done to some seats at Docklands Stadium by the Heart “away” support. The AFL has demanded payment for the damage until they remembered that Docklands is home to the Western Bulldogs and no one was going to be using those seats anyway.

David Beckham has signed for Paris Saint-Germaine! What’s more he’s donating all of the money to a children’s charity. What a guy! Our David, who can barely afford to feed his twelve butlers, donating all his cash to needy French kids! Bugger me, what a bloke! I’m sure it’s absolutely nothing to do with the French income tax rate of 75% on people earning over 1 million euros. Not at all. It’s just that he’s a top notch fella.

There was a bit of embarrassment for Fulham on Saturday when their floodlights went out during their clash with Manchester United. Craven Cottage is a beautiful old stadium but it’s powered by badgers on treadmills under the pitch. The electrical fault was attributed to the badgers being frightened when they caught a glimpse of Wayne Rooney.

The floodlights going out was pretty much the only moment of darkness for United this weekend as their two greatest rivals, Liverpool and City played out a 2-2 which could cost both dearly in the course of their seasons. Steven Gerrard scored a cracking long range shot in the 72nd minute but then Sergio Aguero equalised with an absolute squeaker over the head of the out of position Liverpool goalkeeper. This renders the Premier League all but gone to Man Utd. So now we can focus on the bigger stories – who can take out the mid table honours? Stoke or West Ham? Tune in next week!!!

Clearly Cristiano Ronaldo can’t bear the thought of me not writing about him. Last week I claimed I would not report on the Spanish League as it was too repetitive. Well, Ronaldo has turned that around by scoring a winning own goal for Granada against Real Madrid. The match finished 1-0 and has shocked the Spanish football world. However I will not be bullied by players and I am now stating unequivocally that I will not be reporting on Ronaldo until he signs for Melbourne Victory.

Goal of the Week:

January 14, 2013

January 14th, 2013

Two big blockbusters were played out in England overnight. In London champions Manchester City defeated Arsenal 2-0. It was a fiery affair, with two men being sent off. Edin Dzeko continued the trend of City players showing messages on their shirts when they score. ‘Za Moje Mahalce’ sent fans googling like crazy and apparently means ‘For the people in my neighbourhood’. Sadly the Bosnian striker didn’t score again so it’s unclear as to whether it was a tribute to his hometown or if he was just doing references to Sesame Street jingles.

Up at Old Trafford Manchester United beat old rivals Liverpool 2-1. Predictably Robin Van Persie scored the opener and even more predictably, Liverpool offered no real resistance or fight. This fixture has been quite controversial in recent years but this time it had nothing, no red cards, no fights, no racism. The match was so polite Danny Welbeck even decided to tackle himself – http://www.101greatgoals.com/gvideos/gif-danny-welbeck-falls-on-his-arse-v-liverpool/

Staying in England and Reading have been involved in a few epic matches this year, most notably cocking up a 4-0 lead against Arsenal, but finally they have won a dramatic match. Reading trailed West Brom 2-0 with eight minutes remaining and then somehow managed to win 3-2! Manager Brian McDermott claimed it was the ‘fantastic fans’ who ‘got us over the line in the last ten minutes’. McDermott seemed to have forgotten that the same fans booed him off the pitch at half time.

Sydney FC’s fans have been through a lot this season and yesterday the ones that braved the cold and rainy conditions were rewarded. The Sky Blues robbed Melbourne Heart, with two late goals. There was some debate on how many people were actually at the Allianz Stadium, with the media claiming about 13,000 but others saying there were far less. The one thing people can agree on is that the number would have been much smaller if Melbourne Heart’s away support hadn’t both shown up.

Real Madrid appear to have hit a new low with a 0-0 draw with bottom of the table team Osasuna. The Spanish media is already calling for Jose Mourinho to leave the club, with many newspapers hoping it happens this week so they can run the headline JOSE LEAVES OH-SO-SOONA!

Save of the week – what an effort

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!}

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