Posts Tagged ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’

Weekly Photoshop – Sam Allardyce

28/09/2010

You may have heard Sam Allardyce spouting lots of rubbish recently. Apparently he could win the double at Real Madrid or Inter every season, easy. In his saved game on Football Manager perhaps. Somehow in real life I don’t think lumping it forward to emergency striker Chris Samba is quite going to cut it at the Bernabeu. Naturally he was this week’s Photoshop them in the Guardian.

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Sam Allardyce is always going on about his use of the latest football trends and innovations. One has to assume he would start taking C-Ron's beachwear advice too...

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More here. An easy target really.

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Weekly Photoshop – World Cup Memories

13/07/2010

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a Photoshop entry but  it’s back to normal now. This week the theme was memories of the World Cup. There’s this Ronaldo effort, which is nothing to write home about and there’s also a Mark van Bommel one which I’m now going to hold back as it has become next week’s theme.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Nike Write The Future

Someone may want to update that Ronaldo statue now that little Cristiano is upon us.

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More here.

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Archive.

World Cup Bet Of The Day – Day 19

29/06/2010

Running Total: -2.8 units

The last tip before I left didn’t win as Spain shockingly lost 1-0 against Switzerland but plenty has happened since then. Lots of my each-way top scorer bets are potentially looking good (Klose, Suarez, Fabiano) while Germany have reached the quarter finals thus putting some money in the bank.

Back to the matter at hand and it’s two tricky games to call today – Paraguay v Japan and Spain v Portugal. I didn’t see much of the first two teams while on holiday so I think I’ll leave that game well alone (though over 2.5 goals @6/4 would be the choice if forced).

The evening game looks like a potential classic, though Spain are heavy favourites at 11/10. It’s tempting to put a small bet on Portugal given they’re as high as 10/3 to win the match, however I think their lack of a proper striker will be their downfall again. David Villa is the man in form for Spain and you could back him to score but I’ll take a risky bet and go for Spain to be winning at half-time and full-time.

Bet of the day:

Spain to beat Portugal at half-time and full-time @ 9/4.

T.

World Cup!

08/06/2010

World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! Are you excited? I am!

Shake it.

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Watch him.

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Definitely not on cocaine...

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The Divine Ponytail no longer.

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Listen to the mental Dutch commentary!
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Remind me where the ball hit him...

Oh yeah, here
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That haircut!
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I love how indignant the panel are.
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Your sister is a...

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To think that’s just the last 20 years.
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T.

Seven To Replace Number Seven

18/06/2009

Right, there was only so long I could keep the Spurs badge as the first thing you see when reach the blog – time for some new posts. Since we last wrote, it seems the great primadonna himself is on his way to Real Madrid for the princely sum of £80 million.

Ronaldo practices his amateur theatrics...

Ronaldo practices his amateur theatrics...

Just who will Man Utd buy to replace the tantrums, the diving, the stepovers and the occasional 40 goal seasons? Let’s take a look at some potential replacements.

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1. Antonio Valencia – Wigan – £14-18million

Valencia

Valencia

Last season: League – 31 games/3 goals.

This is the most likely deal to go through just due to who the selling club are. Valencia has impressed at the JJB though perhaps doesn’t yet score enough (or indeed assist with only five last season). It appears some move have already been made to sign him but if I’m honest I’m not sure he’s good enough for a team like Man Utd. He is only 23 so has plenty of time to improve but Wigan will have done very good business if they get £18m for him.

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2. Karim Benzema – Lyon – £30million+

Benzema

Benzema

Last season: League – 36 games/17 goals. Champions League – 8 games/5 goals.

The highest rated French player still playing in Ligue 1. Benzema has scored 54 goals in the past two years and would be a great addition up front. Pacy, strong, good with both left and right foot as well as decent in the air, he could add the pace that has been lacking from Utd’s forward line in the past few years. He’s still only 21 so has yet to completely fulfil his potential. I could see him forming a terrific partnership with Rooney or indeed Berbatov and he could well follow in the footsteps of Utd’s last great French number 7. Needless to say, Lyon chairman Aulas would drive a hard bargain as usual.

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3. Sergio Aguero – Atletico Madrid – £40million+

Aguero

Aguero

Last season: League – 37 games/17 goals. Champions League – 8 games/3 goals.

The youngest player to ever play in the Argentinian league, Aguero has starred for Atletico in the past two years. Maradona’s son in law has formed a great partnership with ex-Utd striker Diego Forlan and is capable of plenty of assists to go with his goals. At 5’7″ he probably lacks the power that Ronaldo brought to the side and he make take time to adapt to English football but he has the ability to produce the unexpected. Still only 21, his age couple with his buy out clause means it would take big money to prize him from the Vicente Calderon.

4. David Silva – Valencia – £20million

Silva

Silva

Last season: League – 19 games/4 goals. UEFA Cup – 3 games/1 goal.

Silva is a less obvious choice and may be someone to target if Valencia isn’t signed. A diminutive winger/number 10, he was an important player in Spain’s Euro 2008 win before ankle ligament damage meant a truncated 2008/09 season. Tricky and creative with a sweet left foot, aged 23 he can still improve. He is another who maybe too slight for the Premier League but at the same time if Rafa Benitez is after him, why shouldn’t Fergie try and gazump him. One of the cheaper potential targets too, given Valencia’s financial troubles.

5. David Villa – Valencia – £35 million

Villa

Villa

Last season: League – 33 games/28 goals. UEFA Cup – 5 games/1 goal.

The most coveted striker in Europe at the moment having had his best season yet for Valencia whilst also still basking in the glory of being top scorer in Euro 2008. Strong, powerful and pacy, Villa is a complete striker at a peak age (27). Competition will be fierce in the race to sign him and to be honest it would be a surprise if he went anywhere other than Real Madrid.

6. Arjen Robben – Real Madrid – £7-20million.

Robben

Robben

Last season: League – 29 games/7 goals. Champions League – 6 games/1 goal.

A bit of curveball this in light of his injury record but there’s no doubting Robben’s ability when he’s fit. A pacy, direct winger with the ability to go past a man, Robben has always been susceptible to injury but the plus side is that he has Premier League experience with Chelsea. For two years he was a key player in their title winning sides, before Mourinho got fed up with him missing games. Fergie wanted to sign him before he went to Chelsea so what price a cheeky bid now. Still young (25) even though he looks 35 and his price should be relatively cheap given Real’s clearout of all things Dutch.

7. Franck Ribery – Bayern Munich – £50million+

Ribery

Ribery

Last season: League  – 25 games/9 goals. Europe – 8 games/4 goals.

The best player in the Bundesliga and one of the best players in the world. This is the man I think would be able to replace Ronaldo most in terms of goals, determination and overall impact. He can play both left and right as well as behind a striker and has ferocious striking ability, not least from distance. With the fees that Kaka and Ronaldo have gone for his price tag will be big, though if reports are to be believed he already may be too old for United. To be honest I think he’s still worth pursuing, just as out of all the suggested targets he is the one most at his peak. A big game player for a club who have plenty of big games.

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Champions League Semi Final Preview – Manchester United vs. Arsenal

28/04/2009
Sitting comfortably gentlemen

Sitting comfortably gentlemen?

Wednesday night’s meeting between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford will be the first time the two sides have faced each other in European competition. The all English match-up of the past few years – Liverpool vs Chelsea – ,failed to inspire the European audience until the cracker of a game two weeks ago. This time around we have the two teams that have been playing the creme-de-la-creme of Premier League football for the past 10 years. In Wenger and Fergie you couldn’t have two different managers, yet both respected as the best in the business by pundits, fans, players and peers across the world. This is the all Premier League fixture the world has been waiting to watch.

As a Gooner, I must say I feel both the excitement and sickness that comes whenever we are about to face Man U in a big match. I nearly forgot how much I dislike Rooney & co. following the past few seasons of playing second fiddle to a top class Man U team that were superseded in my distaste by those bunch of shit bags over in West London. But then I remember Van Nistelrooy cheating us, Giggs showing his carpet chest, Yorke embarrassing us and the brute rubbing salt in the wounds. The satisfaction of  beating a team that has caused me such pain (1999) and is arguably the best in the world has reminded me how much we must beat them and make sure Cristiano Ronaldo cries. Amy Lawrence over at the Guardian has a decent article looking back on the hate-filled meetings of the past between these two. I doubt we will see anything like the Vieira versus Keano or Keown versus Ruud anytime soon.

Both clubs’ familiarity with each other’s players, style and tactics will make the home and away nature of the tie less important. Arsenal have recently won at Old Trafford and United have got good results at Highbury, then the Emirates, over the past few years. It is always better having the second leg at home because at least you know what you have to do in front of your own fans, but if I am honest, I will not be confident of qualifying for the final even if the Gooners take a one-nil lead from the first leg.

Tactical Analysis – Arshavin-less Arsenal

Regular readers of this blog will know how much we rate Andrei Arshavin. He has made a much bigger impact than even we could have hoped, defying Arsene Wenger’s belief that it takes foreign players at least half a year to adapt to the Premier League. Arshavin has brought much needed creativity, hunger, experience and as we saw against Liverpool – top class finishes. But come Wednesday, Arsene will have to alter the side to compensate for Shava’s cup-tied status. Here are some of the main tactical considerations for Arsene:

 

Angry Cesc

Angry Cesc (on a sidenote doesn't the guy behind look like a white Rio Ferdinand?)

Fabregas

Since the Spanish general has come back from injury, Arsene has for some reason been determined to play him in an advanced position just behind the lone striker. In his first game back Cesc assisted two Adebayor goals in this position but since then he really hasn’t convinced me. He had a pretty anonymous game against Villareal in Spain and spent huge periods of the Liverpool game being anonymous. Cesc’s two goals against Boro at the weekend will probably confound Wenger’s belief that he should remain playing there but for me that is a waste of his talents. Fabregas is at his devastating best when collecting the ball from deep utilising his full range of passing. Further upfield he can be dangerous playing in that crucial through-ball but is also more likely to see the game pass by him should Arsenal struggle to dominate possession. However, with Van Persie missing out and Arshavin cup-tied, Arsenal don’t have any better options to put in the ‘hole’ of a 4-5-1.

 

But mum, I am so excited!

But mum, I am so excited!

Ronaldo versus Gibbs

Kieran Gibbs has done fantastically well for the Gunners since coming in for the injured Gael Clichy. He managed to get a few Carling Cup and FA Cup games under his belt before being called on to replace Clichy and I am sure that has benefited him. Gibbs, like Ashley Cole, has moved to full back from a more advanced position (formerly a left winger) and his strengths going forward are obvious to see. His crossing is certainly better than Clichy’s, although that isn’t saying much. Defensively he hasn’t done too badly but I fear that Fergie will do the obvious and deploy Ronaldo down the right hand side. That will be a big ask of Gibbs, especially in a Champions League semi final. If he takes note from Cole’s good performances against Ronaldo, he will keep his nerve and avoid doing anything rash.

The key for Arsenal keeping Ronaldo at bay should be to attack United down the left hand side as often as possible. It looks likely that Rafael will play, who like Gibbs has an abundance of talent, yet also suffers from a lack of experience at this level. Nasri, who will start on the left, loves to come inside so Gibbs will be the threat going forward. This might leave Arsenal exposed but may force Fergie to deploy Rooney on the right to give more defensive cover.

Walcott versus Evra

Pat Rice Evra is a very good player and probably someone the likes of Gibbs would look up to. Neverthless, I think Evra is someone that can be exposed if you take him on. Walcott (Theo, Theo) is coming of age and has looked extremely confident and decisive since returning from injury. My theory is that Theo charges up like a Duracell Bunny every time he is injured and then comes back at least two times  better than he was before. Anyhow, Theo has the opportunity to a) provide Arsenal with a real threat down the flanks; b) make Evra look like a chump; and c) become such a legend that we will even consider let him grow that bum fluff beard that he likes to connect up with his sideburns to look like a proper rudeboy.

 

Will Nemanja be able to handle the kids?

Will Nemanja be able to handle the kids?

A test of defensive resolve

Arsenal have a defensive injury crisis that sees Gallas, Sagna, Clichy and Fish Face all sidelined. However, the last time Arsenal got to the Champions League final they were playing a midfielder at left back (Flamini), Eboue at right back, Toure and the liability formerly known as Philip Senderos. Maybe, just maybe, Arsene can replicate a similar kind of lineup with the current crop. Although Djorou’s timely return is a boost in place of Fish Face, the biggest boost is the recovery of Manuel Almunia from injury. Fabianski has had a torrid few weeks and clearly can’t handle the pressure. This has reinforced my belief that sub keepers should be experienced ageing keepers. Fabianski should be out on loan and Arsenal’s sub keeper should be someone like Cudicini.

Regardless, United are back to scoring ways and Wednesday night will be a big ask for Arsenal defensively. Song will provide much needed protection and I expect him to excel in his role as he has over the past couple of months. If the Gunners can restrict United to just a goal at Old Trafford, they can build on that defensive solifity for the second leg.

As for United, despite seeing the formidable duo of Vidic and Ferdinand return, they looked anything but solid against Spurs at the weekend. Adebayor will stretch the centre backs with his runs and Ferdinand has remarked before that Togonator is one of the trickiest players he has come up against. United’s best bet will be to snuff the Arsenal midfield out by deploying the highly charged duo of Fletcher and Park while allowing Carrick to marshal Fabregas and provide distribution. Chelsea put this tactic to great effect in the recent FA cup semi final, drawing Arsenal into their own game.

The Call

United haven’t been playing well, Arsenal have. Does that really matter? Who knows? Arsenal have a good record against the top teams this season but these two sides won’t fear each other. I hate making predictions for my own team but I reckon this will be a score draw or could be edged by United, 1-0 or 2-1. Regardless, I think it will still be all to play for in the second leg at the Emirates. The less I say the better.

What’s left to ponder?

Will Wenger and Fergie share a glass of wine after the game?

What will be Arsenal-player-that-shall-remain-unknown’s food of choice when confronting Fergie?

Will Ryan Giggs be a proper gentleman and give back his undeserved PFA Player of the Year award?

Will Fish Face Silvestre come back to haunt his former employers by coming on as last minute sub and scoring with his eight inch gills?

Will Wayne Rooney be identified as the carrier of the swine virus and be promptly put down at the half time interval?

rooney-fitness-doubt-for-world-cup-2

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