Tonight there's a rarity...a Footcer Socblog post on the same day I post it in LiveJournal. :)
I just finished watching "High Tension" and the last half hour or so reminded me that NANOWRIMO is a bit over two months away. How that movie saw the light of day with an shoddy tying together of all the events, I will never know. But, the name doesn't lie. I was frozen to my seat the entire time I was watching it.
That movie was the equivalent of if Arsenal had been given a penalty kick in the 86th minute and had tied Manchester City this weekend.
It was that shitty an ending - sorry, I can't mince words about it.
But in reality, I am on cloud nine after this weekend's EPL action since Fulham and Manchester City both got big home wins. Of course Fulham's isn't as big an accomplishment. Sheffield United is pretty far from Arsenal (even though, shockingly, they're tied in the standings) but if the pundits are to be believed, that was a six pointer.
Well I haven't said it yet this year but now I will (for the third year running)...FUCK THE PUNDITS, FULHAM ARE NOT GOING TO GET RELEGATED!
See, again this year they've done what they do every year. Every year they lose a key player and every year a new player emerges to take their place and lead Fulham to their version of the promised land - mid-table. :)
I'm sure I said this earlier but it bears repeating - Jimmy Bullard is the best signing Fulham has made in ages!
Or, to put it the way that I did on the Fulham FC account on my space...Who the f*ck is Steed Malbranque? Did I not say Bullard was the best signing ever back in the spring? Though the whole Pascal Chimbonda is the answer thing. I can back off that one. ;)
Pascal Chimbonda is not the answer as evident by the fact that he's Wigan's Steed Malbranque (or William Gallas).
Come to think of it, the problem seems to be widespread among the French national team pool. Steed must be trying to get on the team by acting like one of the starters. Though a French speaker - Samuel Kuffour - may actually be the answer. Fulham are rumored to be competing with Espanol and Borussia Monchengladbach for the Ghanian's signature.
The question is, will Brian McBride be able to play on the same team as a Ghanian? Actually I think the answer is yes since McBride would play with pretty much anyone despite water under the bridge.
Now Fulham just have to keep Luis Boa Morte for three more days until the deadline and everything will be alright. Fulham's always able to replace one of their big stars but two may be asking too much.
Me, I just rode Jimmy Bullard to 30.50 fantasy points on Yahoo. Kind of like I did for most of last season. He may just Fulham his way onto the England team if he keeps that up (much like Wayne Bridge did).
Speaking of predictions, I have come to believe that Newcastle United is cursed. Obafemi Martins, who midweek was given a standing ovation at St. James Park for just showing up for the Barcode's UEFA Cup match was taken off from his EPL debut on a stretcher.
So now Newcastle is left right back where they started - looking for a second striker before the transfer deadline.
Hey, I bet Eddie Johnson's available.
No, I shouldn't even say that since there's still hope that he could figure in the next World Cup and a career ending injury wouldn't be very good to wish on him.
Though reports state that he should be back after the international break against, you guessed it, Fulham.
Finally, one last footcer note about the northeast of England. In what could prove to be the funniest story of the round, Middlesbrough had two of their backup goalkeepers sent off withing two minutes of each other
For those keeping track, Middlesbrough plays the Monday night match against Pompey tomorrow.
The miracle of not playing and yet having two players get red carded comes from loan deals. The goalkeepers of both Sheffield Wednesday and Oldham Athletic are on 'Boro's books and were both sent off.
And a "bonus" - Thursday's entry:
So my little world just got turned upsidown. First the world astronomy body decides that Pluto isn't a planet and now I find out that New England Revolution is now considered Chicago Fire's biggest rivals
I guess this change has been in the offing for some time (at least since last year's Eastern Conference Finals and the Sharlie Joseph incident) but I never expected it to reach fruition.
Well now I'm just split. I guess I have to side with the Fire since I live here in Chicago and not Boston. *sigh*
But at least there's one thing that both team's sets of fans agree on...I really hope the Fire absolutely demolish D.C. United in the U.S. Open semi-finals to take away their treble opportunity!
And I will certainly be at Toyota Park on September 6 since I forgot how much fun the U.S. Open Cup was. I forgot because I can't remember if the Fire even played a home match in it last year. This year they were rewarded the semi-finals. What a difference having your own stadium will do.
I especially loved the fact since only 5,000 showed up and it was general admission that you could choose your own seats.
I chose to sit near the corner since I could sit in the second row and, in theory, get lots of pictures (of course, knowing full well that my camera hates night photography). Though I made the mistake of not buying more batteries, which made my camera even more crappy, and this was the best picture I got:
While it wasn't the best picture I've ever taken, it was a meaningful one since it was Calen Carr in the penalty area after drawing the penalty that turned out to be the game winner when Andy Herron knocked it home.
Overall, I think it was some of the grittiest performance by the Fire all season. In the first half, New England was running roughshod over them but the Fire got a goal against the run of play to take a 1-0 lead. However, Clint Dempsey and Taylor Twellman decided to put on a 1-2 show (as they tend to do on occasion) and I think only a few huge defensive clearances stopped Twellman from scoring a first half hat trick with his head.
As it was, Chicago witnessed what may have been Taylor Twellman's last goal in U.S. Open competition on a corner kick to knot it up at 1-1. Since Taylor has joined the "I hate MLS and they can suck my contract" club along with Dempsey (rumor has it that Twellman got into a verbal war with Steve Nicol before the match), chances are he's going to be either plying his trade in the Colaship or with a lower half Premiership team come the January transfer window.
Or if not, he'll be in Denmark. But he isn't going to be playing in the United States any longer (except for the national team).
Same goes for Clint Dempsey. It was so frustrating seeing him playing for New England. I almost shouted to the strangers next to me, "he should have been playing Manchester United [with Charlton Athletic who offered him a contract] this afternoon not the Chicago Fire tonight."
And probably Sharlie Joseph as well. Though he's said he wants to become a United States citizen so he's going nowhere until that happens. But with the Revolution dismantling itself, he's not going to be around there much longer.
Irony would be if he ended up with the Fire. Though that's not going to happen.In short, it was nice to see the final game the current Revolution "could have been a dynasty if they bothered playing a whole season played" in the U.S. Open Cup. :(
Oh, but on a bright note - CALEN CARR
Holy sweet man jimminy! That man child flat out was the best player on the pitch for good portions of the match yesterday (which is saying something since New England started pretty much the entire United States B-Team). He was absolutely everywhere on the pitch at all times including pretty much taking the game into his own hands when it was knotted at ones and outbattling everyone.
That and at the end of the first half, he went crashing into the Revolution's goalie, did a nearly double flip and landed on his back. It was really, really, really, scary but he was obviously fine to continue. Maybe it knocked something right in his game. :)
Though with all my thoughts centered on the chilling reality of the end of the Revolution, my only thought was, "oh great, if he plays like this all of next season the Fire are going to lose another player to Europe."
Oh, but there was such beautiful footcer news yesterday on the other side of the pond that no matter what happened in the U.S. Open Cup, I was going to be happy.IT ONLY TOOK CHELSEA TWO GAMES TO LOSE THEIR FIRST MATCH OF THE SEASON!
I mean, I'm not Middlesbrough fan but I think they deserve to be put up on a pedestal for beating "the champions" (well it's a fact but I hate when they're called that) two years running. Even Manchester United hasn't done that (at least in regular competition).
This remedied a horrible situation which I like to call my personal table hades. That is the top three being:
1. Manchester United
19. Manchester City
Thank goodness it was the first week of the season and not the last
that had the three teams I hate the most at the top of the table and my two teams propping the rest of the table up.
Manchester City did a good job of controlling their own destiny by tying said Pompey 0-0.
But of course Portsmouth had to take some joy out of it by calling in a complaint against City defender Ben Thatcher for a mugging he had on Pedro Mendes during the match
(I was listening to Fulham/Bolton so I didn't hear it live). Now, sure, he probably deserves a suspension but calling the police?
This just makes me hate Portsmouth all the more.
Oh, and Bolton can suck it. Bunch of time wasting, bad penalty getting asshats. Well, I guess a draw's a draw. Thank goodness for makeup calls. ;)
Speaking of hatred and Chelsea, I'm now a temporary fan of Werder Bremen as they can be the upstarts who keep Chelsea out of the knockout phases of the Champions League.
Chelsea drew Barcelona in their group which is just a thing of beauty. I would just love it if they went out in the group phase. Let them compete in the UEFA Cup and win the thing. It would still be so wonderful for them to have gone out and spent even more money only to have a lesser result in the Champions League.
Other Champions League thoughts: Manchester United got the easiest draw imaginable. Celtic, Benfica, and FC Copenhagen. Is that a UEFA Cup grouping?
Alright, to be fair it's not as easy as AC Milan (you know, the team that shouldn't even be there) with Lille, AEK Athens, and Anderlecht.
Meanwhile, PSV actually got a bit of a favor this year as they got Bordeaux and Galatasaray along with Liverpool. They didn't draw AC Milan again which is always nice.
Valencia better hope their new signings come through quickly or it's going to be a short (if four months is short) Champions League for them. They are in a tough group with Roma, Olympiakos, and Shakhtar Donetsk.
No group, however, is as tough as Group B with Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Sporting Lisbon, and Spartak Moscow. Though you couldn't pay me to sit through any of those matches. Final average goals for: 8, final average goals against: 8. And that's for all four teams.
Meanwhile, my fantasy strategy would have worked fine, had I kept it. But, no, I had to diversify and it ended up costing me a shit ton of points. Oh well, at least it's game week #1 and not game week #38.