Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Catching up

A busy weekend of football just past; Saturday was the fantastic clash between Arsenal and Man United, which is by far the best "Big Four" clash I can remember in recent years, as both teams properly went at each other for 90 minutes as the match ebbed one way and another. In the end, the result was probably fair as Arsenal made the most of their chances, and United squandered most of theirs (both sides were woeful in front of goal for much part), in a match that shows why Chelsea are probably favourites for the league this season as they cruised to a victory over Blackburn on Sunday. If Arsenal were to play with this much fire week in, week out, they'd mount a serious challenge; one feels another Stoke or Hull is only round the corner for them.

Morecambe got through to a home tie in the next round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Grimsby, in a match which they dominated from start to finish despite having plenty of players out injured. The cynic in me says Grimsby were as awful as Morecambe were good, but since our change in formation, we've lost against Port Vale with a last minute goal, drew with Accrington and then won against Aldershot and Grimsby (ignoring a defeat in the JPT), and things look rosier. Keep playing like this and we'll even begin to trouble mid-table, which is preferable to looking over our shoulder and watching the teams with points deductions catch us.

On Sunday, I watched Inter against Udinese whilst trying to not fall asleep. One of those matches that gives Serie A a bad name, but not for boring defensive play, just plain ineptitude as passes were misplaced and shots sailed over the bar. Each were as bad as each other, and Inter bundled on in at the end to steal the points and to stop Mourinho getting a pasting in the papers. Over to Germany for Schalke vs Bayern which started like Arsenal vs Man United, before petering out in the second half as Bayern held on to a 2-1 lead, inspired by Franck Ribery. The Bundesliga appears to be the place for goals this season, with high scoring matches abounding. I still haven't managed to catch Hoffenhiem yet as their matches don't seem to coincide with what gets shown live, but hoping to see them soon.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Coppa Italia live on SportsXchange

SportsXchange (Sky Digital Channel 456), will be showing live coverage of the Coppa Italia starting with the Udinese vs Reggina match on 12 November.

While it'd good to get some Italian football back on UK TV, it's a shame it's a competition played in front of empty stadiums with reserve teams. Still no word on Serie A joining it on any station.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


No doubt many will have seen the "challenge" on "Stevie G" in the Liverpool match last night. I'm annoyed about the dive, but I accept that sometimes players cheat and sometimes the ref gets things wrong, that's life.

What I am struggling to accept about last night is the blatant bias of the commentary, who were up in arms about the marginal penalty Liverpool were denied, dismissed out of hand the claims for Atletico, and then called Gerrard's penalty "soft", whereas if it had been given the other way, they would have been apoplectic with rage.

I know it's a pro-English rather than pro-Liverpool thing, but it really winds me up. It doesn't help when ITV summarise the night with:

"Liverpool's famous fighting spirit shone through."

Just for the record, what does Stevie G think? (thanks to Football365 for these quotes)

"There's nothing worse than diving and trying to get other players booked...if a team-mate did it I would definitely have a word" - Steven Gerrard, April 1, Daily Mail.

"It's your own team-mates like Steven Gerrard who don't like you using those tricks" - Fernando Torres, October 11, Daily Mirror.