Monday, January 18, 2010

Ugly Americans 4 the Beautiful Game fantasy league standings


Goalfatha 27-15-20 96
Alt Nathan 26-13-24 91
Kid Slumber 25-16-23 91
Trout 25-16-23 91
SCA 20-18-24 78
BILB 20-15-26 75

Happy MLK DAY! Freezing temps and postponements in the UK have reeked havoc with the table as some owners have played, while others have missed many games. Chaos or not, the new year has brought a dogfight to the table as ALT has continued his acsendancy with FUL and ARS continuing to impress, while KSFC and TROUT maintain with big guns CHELSEA (note their 7-2 SUND victory) and MANU respectively. Meanwhile, SCA has finally overtaken the bumbling BILB FC who is simply out of answers for the complete failure of his 3 squads. (ctsy BILB aka "The Commish")

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Berbatov v Robinho: A Tale of the Tape

Has any Premiership player been more criticized over the past eighteen months than Dimitar Berbatov? When he came to Manchester United from Spurs at the start of last season, he had never scored more than 15 league goals in either of his two plus seasons for Tottenham. His career best is 21 league goals, for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, in the 2005-06 season. Obviously his 9 goals in 32 league games last year was a big disappointment for United supporters, but it's not all that surprising to me. He came into a squad that featured the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. I think any player would find it tough to outshine those two stars.

At 32.5m pounds, Manchester City's Robinho came into the Premier League as the most expensive signing of the 2008 summer transfer window. He was the first piece in what was hoped would be a transformation in to the next super club of European football...a stepping stone to bringing even bigger names to the blue side of Manchester. Looking back, that may have been a bit too much to ask of a man who had never scored more than 15 goals in three seasons at Real Madrid, where his supporting cast included Raul and Ruud van Nistleroy, two of the more prolific strikers in all of football. Robinho went from a medium fish in a big pond to a big fish in a small pond.

Ultimately, I think a bit too much was expected of Berbatov and Robinho. They didn't negotiate their overly inflated transfer fees. They simply agreed to switch clubs per an agreement on wages. Is a player going to double or triple his output because of a huge wage increase? Unlikely.

Are numbers a true measure of a player's productivity and worth? Well, I believe that depends on the type of player. Are they a skill player? A specialist? Injury prone?, etc. Statistics can be deceiving and are subject to interpretation in my mind. So let's compare Berbatov and Robinho's "contributions" over the last season and a half.

Dimitar Berbatov

Transfer fee: 30.75mGBP

Wages: 100-110k wk

2008-09 games: 40

2008-09 goals: 14

2009-10 games: 17

2009-10 goals: 7
(all competitions)

Shots/Goal ratio 0.185(better than avg @ Spurs)


Transfer fee: 32.5m GBP

Wages: 160k wk

2008-09 games: 31

2008-09 goals: 15

2009-10 games: 11

2009-10 goals: 0

Shots/goal ratio: 0.12

These numbers are just that, numbers. A player's contribution to his team is not measured by statistics alone. It's his work off the ball, his versatility, attitude, fitness, and much more. So judge for yourself which club got the better deal. Manchester United, with the unassuming and oft perceived lazy Dimitar Berbatov? Or Manchester City and the flashy showman Robinho?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Has Big Sam lost the dressing room?

Sam Allardyce's recent post game comments, along with Blackburn Rovers form over the last few months, leads to me wonder if Big Sam has lost the players. A 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City Monday night was followed up by a dressing room tongue lashing from Big Sam, which apparently saw some of the senior players hit back following his outburst.

Sam has had no problem criticizing his squad this year and I just wonder if it hasn't started to take a toll on his players, especially the veteran members of the squad. It's no secret Allardyce and Benni McCarthy aren't on the best of terms and the likes of Morten Gamst Pedersen and Jason Roberts don't appear to be buying in to Sam's system either. And now there are reports that David Dunn has rejected a new contract offer from Rovers.

Rovers currently sit 13th in the Premier League table, 3 points off the drop zone, but more worrisome is the recent run of form. 1 win from their last 10 league games and Allardyce was on medical leave for that victory.

Despite what you think about his brand of football, Allardyce has had success with it in the past, most notably at Bolton in the 2004/05 season, where he led them to European qualification. But it just doesn't appear to be working at Blackburn. There's a decent mix of youth and proven Premiership players, but things just aren't clicking on the pitch.

Many Rovers supporters feared these kind of days when Allardyce was hired to replace Paul Ince a little over a year ago. Big Sam was able to win the fans over last term by keeping Rovers in the top flight, but I'm not sure how much longer the Ewood Park faithful will remain in his corner. A victory over Aston Villa in the Carling Cup on Thursday would certainly help his cause.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

African Cup of Nations starts superbly...on the field

Following Friday's ambush on the Togo national team bus, which has left three dead to this point, could this tournament have bounced back in a better way. We should never forget Friday's horrific attack, but let's not let it take too much away from a terrific opening match between the hosts Angola and Mali.

Gerrard & Torres up for sale

Rafa admits that offers are welcome for Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Why the Togo shooting shouldnt be a surprise

Anytime major events are held in volatile areas, it should come as no surprise when tragedy follows. I'm sure many more details will surface over the coming days, but it seems to me the groundwork was already in place for a incident to occur. That's not to say we should run from fear or bow down to opposition, but organizers should definitely take the proper steps to ensure the safety of all those involved. It's a little early to fully blame those at the top, but the info in the following article should've raised some eyebrows.
Togo National Team Ambushed

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Fox Soccer Plus"

EPL Talk has been all over the rumors that Fox Soccer Channel is in negotiations to purchase struggling Setanta USA. The ? is where do they go from there. I, as well as many others, will be hoping Fox keeps Setanta's programming on air and/or expands it in to a bigger and better entity.
Well, once again courtesy of EPL Talk, we have more info on the situation. It appears Fox has done some trademarking of names for a possible new football channel. On the surface this seems like positive news. Let's hope so.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Goodbye Max

Max Bretos has given his resignation to Fox Soccer Channel and will be moving to ESPNews. I'm sure we'll never know exactly why he's making the switch, but he seemed to have a pretty "cush" gig at FSC, often going weeks without making an on-air appearance.

He seems like a nice guy and all, but I certainly hope the suits in Bristol are not lining Max up for their World Cup coverage. His work with Christopher Sullivan at Fox was often painful to listen to, including the random outbursts that launched through his vocal chords.

Best of luck to you Max. You're still more watchable than Christian Miles.

Stoke hold off Fulham

Three first half goals saw Stoke City get their first league win since November 22nd. The win also sent them in to the top half of the Premier League table. Boss Tony Pulis will be far from pleased with their second half performance though, including Clint Dempsey's wonder strike in the 85th minute. The 3-2 defeat is Fulham's ninth consecutive away game without a victory.

Carling Cup semi-finals postponed

Tonight's Carling Cup ties from Ewood Park and the City of Manchester Stadium have been postponed due to surrounding weather conditions.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Premier League has confirmed that the transfer window will close on Monday February 1st.

Bye Bye Burnley?

It looks as though Owen Coyle's rumored move to Bolton is in the works.

Viera to City???

If there's one position Manchester City don't need to solidify it's the holding midfielder role. Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry are two of the best, but it seems as though Roberto Mancini is keen to bring his former Inter Milan midfielder back to England.

Monday morning's latest transfer news

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The window is open!

Note to football executives around the world: It's January 3rd. The transfer window is open. Let's get cracking!

Half the fun of this great game is the countless transfer rumors that swirl throughout the footballing world 365 days a year. The majority of these never come to fruition, but it's fun to envision "the next big thing" coming to your club. If you follow the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, or Real Madrid you'd like to think you can buy any player you want no matter the price.

Although the January window is not known for it's blockbuster deals, that could change this time around. Real Madrid are looking to offload big wages and Man City are looking to scoop up world class players. And as always, Chelsea have been linked with their share of big names.

Invariably, the majority of business usually gets done in the final week or so of the window. This often hurts the selling club because they aren't able to adequately replace the player they sold. So my request to owners and the like is to get the checkbook open early and get your business done. This is the best thing for all parties involved...players, clubs, and most importantly the supporters.

Hiddink bound for Serie A?

Bolton contact Burnley over Coyle,19528,11095_5829999,00.html