Saturday, 16 June 2012

England 3- 2 Sweden

Can England Go All The Way?

After watching the England v Sweden game I have to say it was the first exciting match I have seen England game play competitively in a long time.

When Hodgson was appointed manager the masses myself included though that it would be typical boring sit-back tactics and try to hit teams on the counter and from set pieces. That England would sit back and try to pass the other team to death.

This as Spain and Barcelona have shown can be very successful but only if you have the technically gifted, quick footed and quick witted style of player to make it work.

Now English players posses many talents but no one can really argue they posses the same technical ability skills the likes of Spain posses. What they do posses is determination, speed, strength and a plethora of individually talented players.

The trouble has always been adapting these players from many different clubs into a cohesive and solid unit. Now I believe after Hodgson's first 4 games in charge he is trying to and at least partly succeeding in realising that vision.

If he can make England work as a team, stay solid defensively and exploit the oppositions weakness then they have a chance of progressing to the latter stages of this tournament.

However at times a mediocre Sweden team were allowed to get free headers from set pieces and given needless free kicks in dangerous areas. Its this familiar frailties that England need to address as well as their inability to hang on to a team.

It has been said that great teams can win when they don't play well and this is the habit and the knack that England must learn. If you are solid as a unit and can attack and defend as a team you will win more often then not, even if you don't play particularly well.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Lies, damn lies and newspaper rumours

If the rumours were to be believed about the vacant managerial spot at Anfield then we would have been talking to everyone from the ghost of paisley and shanks to yours truly (no I have not been approached but in case there's any reporters out there im officially declaring myself in the running)

There has always been a history at Anfield of doing it the "Liverpool way" that is behind closed doors and out of the media. However in today's instant Twitter, Facebook and smartphone world that's not really going to happen. We have managers ruling themselves in and out via the press and social media. We have owners of other clubs discussing approaches for their managers and we have lazy journo's wanting to make a name for themselves.

I recently heard one Wolves fan saying that when they were on the hunt for a new manager they kept it out the press but the truth is outside of the West Midlands would that really sell any papers or more accurately advertising? I don't think its very likely.

So what is the solution to talk about approaches towards other club's managers publicly I hardly think so. To keep your cards so close the chest that no one knows what's going on including the potential candidates themselves? not much better. So what can a club so? pretty much what they have been doing, say that they have a list of potential candidates they are in the process of interviewing and sounding out, until they have something more definite to announce.

They say nature abhors a vacuum and that certainly is the nature of the beautiful games and its somewhat less beautiful fans/journo's and players. So a little news often is the best way to keep the press and fans placated. At the very least it will keep them busy and give the rumour merchants less room to wriggle.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Why does the better team lose major footfall finals?

After watching the champions league final between Chelsea and Bayern a thought struck me this is another final where the better team lost.

Is it because the wight of expectation is on the better team who then proceed to play their heart out for 80+ mins only to fall at the final hurdle when the opposition somehow gets themselves back into the game.

Is it because the weaker team has nothing to lose so they can put it all on the line knowing that no one expects them to lose.

I suspect its a combination of expectation, how much energy they have had to expend in getting to the final and throughout the season and also a certain sense of complacency. People believe football like life is inherently fair. That the better team/person wins the cup/gets the job/ secures the promotion but that is not usually the case. Normally all these things can hinge on something as innocuous as sloppy penalty, being in the right place at the right time, who you know not what you know or just plain dumb luck.

As humans we are programmed to search for meaning in the meaningless but at the end of the day you just have to say trying to predict football is like trying to predict life. It is not going to happen so why not just go with the flow and enjoy the ride while you can.