How about a quick round-up on football news and rumours? I used to do such round-ups before on this blog where I’d pick on the top football news and add my tuppence to them. Either I felt like doing one today or I want to start this as a feature. I’m so fickle I don’t really know which one of these and if it would stay that way! Anyway, I do consume a lot of football news and rumours and of course, have my reactions to them. What better place than this blog to capture them all?
We need to remind ourselves that the transfer window is open because there’s hardly any business. Yeah I know, the big transfers don’t happen in January. Only that Chelsea have made transfers worth £100m or more in the last three winter transfer windows. So far the big transfer news is the re-signing (resist your temptation and don’t read it ‘resigning’) of Thierry Henry with Arsenal. No doubt he’s a great premier league player. He’s also a player I love to hate. Huge respect for him but never liked him. I’m sure he will be useful at Arsenal this time around too.
But consider this: Arsenal FC have gone and installed a Theirry Henry statue in the stadium and Henry re-signs for Arsenal. So he will be walking past his statue as he comes in for another session of training. How odd is that? There is already some fears among the fans of Henry that if he fails in this stint the last memory of a spent force or a fallen giant that cut a sorry figure. I’m guessing he will do well if he has a very clear role – a role that will support and not lead the attacks.
@StupidFootball “Wow. It looks exactly as I left it!”- Thierry Henry on seeing Arsenal’s trophy cabinet.
We have also been waiting for Harry Redknapp to sign David Beckham, haven’t we? Looks like Beckham was going to PSG to unite with Ancelotti but that has died down. He’s still a free agent though. Just wondering how will Chelsea operate with someone like Beckham with that crossing and longpassing ability! Meanwhile, Ganso was rumoured with Spurs but Redknapp has quashed all that with a strange rebuttal. Harry says he doesn’t know who Ganso is! He’s quoted saying “Ganso? I have never heard of him. I don’t know him, where does he play? What position? I don’t get to Brazil much. We got Sandro from there but other than that, no”. How sad is that?
Couple of strange rumours this week – one on Rooney leaving Man Utd (again) and Man Utds’ desire to sign Frank Lampard! I don’t think these stories are equally absurd. There’s always something or the other about Rooney. Though this could be a fall out of the punishment for his Christmas night-out, I get a feeling that Rooney could be off their books sometime sooner than later – as in a couple of seasons. As regards Man Utd looking to sign Lampard, it was like the ‘now trending’ topics on Twitter. You get any nonsense on Twitter and if you’re lucky you could see that trending on Twitter by millions of people. This Utd-Lampard story was like that. It was nonsense and it was trending.
In Europe, Madrid have notched another big win. This time a 5-1 over Granada. It’s fair to say nobody expected Madrid to be as free scoring as they have been. 61 goals in 17 games. To put this in perspective, when Madrid won the title 5 seasons back, they had scored a total of 66 goals in the league – a tally they would surpass in just half the league this season. It’s particularly interesting because not many expected Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid to play like this. You only need to pull out the articles during this appointment on how they expected Madrid to play under Mourinho. Now, if Madrid keep this goal scoring form, they will create a la liga record for maximum number of goals in a la liga season. Still, the big challenge for Mourinho is to beat Barca – for the title and for the champions league. With Barca at their terrific best, there’s no bigger challenge in world football than to take them on and there’s no one better to go at them than Jose Mourinho. For the record, I’d love to see Barcelona’s era come to an end.
The money is on Barcelona and Real Madrid to win the champions league. They are the hot favourites. But then, the third in the list of favourites is Bayern Munich. Yup, it’s not Chelsea, it’s not Milan, it’s not Inter, it’s Bayern Munich! They are a great team for sure but I didn’t expect them to be ahead of the other teams in the betting odds. I’ve not been following their progress this season. Are they really that good this season?
In Chelsea transfer news/rumours, the Gary Cahill deal has not progressed further. Fee has been agreed between the clubs it’s just that the personal agreements are not done yet. If that’s because of his wage demands, it’s crazy. I don’t think he would get more than what a Paulo Ferreira gets to be in the Chelsea squad. He’s a good player but not the one that might get £80k per week. He’s not in that league yet. I don’t see Chelsea budging to his wage demands. He needs to show that he can be a regular starter and a key player before getting into the £80k bracket. By the way, Bolton are ‘resting’ Cahill for this weekend’s cup match which only confirms that it’s only a matter of time before he signs for Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Marek Hamsik has said that he would be open to move to top clubs and has explicitly included Chelsea in that definition (Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea). Time to print the shirts then!
FA Cup games today. The big Machester derby is back. Wouldn’t it be fun to watch Man Utd get knocked out by Man City again? As a Chelsea fan, these Manchester derbies are turning out to be great shows to watch. For me, any result from the Manchester derby pleases me. If Man Utd are beaten, I go “eat that, you bastards” and when Man City are beaten, I go “aha! you thought you could win everything”.
Later today, we have Chelsea vs Portsmouth. It’s not on TV in India. The manc derby is. Will have to make do with some streams. Now, AVB can play whatever formation and deploy whatever tactics – this is a game we need to win. Given how the league has been going, we need take the FA Cup pretty seriously. De Matteo says this in the club website:
We will play what will be our strongest team, looking at the fitness level of the players. This club has been very successful in the last decade in this competition and we would like to continue this. We are still in three competitions and we aim to go as far as possible and to win these competitions. People maybe think the FA Cup is the best chance but we are still in the Champions League, unlike some English teams, and in the Premier League we have a couple more points than at this stage last season, so we look at it from a positive side and we still have everything to play for.
“Unlike some English teams” – Ha ha! By the way, that was a good spin by di Matteo on the current situation. Since we will be looking at the fitness levels of our players, I’m guessing we will not play our strongest team (on paper). I’m okay as long as Josh McEachran plays. Josh always gets seen on laggy streams, youtube and highlights. Hoping that he gets promoted to high definition TVs soon. Chelsea to beat Portsmouth 3-0. Catch you at BC Shout!