Saturday, February 24, 2007

Analysis On Riise's Goal: Screen By Screen

Well, I seldom do this. But just by watching the replay, you'll figure that Rijkaard gambled big time by taking off Xavi and Motta for the attacking prowess of Iniesta and Giuly but left his defence horribly exposed.

Especially more so when their defence aren't even good enough.

Full Replay:

Screen 1:


The player on the ball is Steve Finnan. There are 2 players closing down on him but like Shankly used to say that when there are more than one player with you, there is another team mate of yours unmarked. Looking right in front of him is of all player, Gerrard unmarked. The player supposed to mark him is Gianluca Zambrotta but he got sucked in to Finnan's run.

The blue arrow indicates Bellamy's run, which is right across Marquez and into the space vacated by Puyol. The white line is where Kuyt will run into. So in short, Bellamy made the space for Kuyt. 4 white shirts right in front of 3 defenders.

Screen 2:


Steve Finnan did the logical thing by passing it to the unmarked Steven Gerrard. Now you could see Zambrotta scrambling back to cover his own arse and Puyol had no choice but to move into his vacated position to try and stop Gerrard. You could see Barca's defence moving downwards, leaving a HUGE gap at the top for Riise, unmarked. Now there are 3 players with Gerrard and Marquez had to track Bellamy's run.

Look at the closest player around Kuyt. All of them off the pace and were not aware of the situation at all. Now Kuyt will move into where the green arrow is and Gerrard, using his awareness and vision, will send the ball to the empty space.

Screen 3:


Gerrard sends the ball forward into the space in which Kuyt will run into and look at the three circled players. All of them in and around Gerrard, leaving a huge gap behind.

Screen 4:


Kuyt got the ball, his first touch let him down. Marquez's header was half cleared and it fell kindly for Bellamy. Composed and with fantastic vision, he spotted the empty space behind yet another THREE Barcelona defenders. That circled area is where Riise will appear and fire home the winner.

Screen 5:


I don't think I need to go in depth with this picture. Pretty self explanatory. But look at how many players in and about Riise. You got it. NONE.

So there are serious deficiencies and inadequacies in Barcelona especially the back line. I touched on it few months back when we're drawn against them that they are vulnerable to aerial threats and also, the players are tactically not aware of things around them. The need to watch their back post is important yet all the players seemed to get drawn to where the ball is.

Next thing is Rijkaard got it absolutely wrong to take off Xavi and Motta. If they're still on the pitch, I do not think that Kuyt, Gerrard or Riise will have that sort of space given to them. So much so that without them, the Barca defence were pulled out of shape by Bellamy's run and were confused. They didn't know their role and lacked the necessary composure.

From Barca To Blades

Liverpool will return to Anfield for their first home game under new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks as they prepare to take on a revitalised Sheffield United.

The Reds started the week on a highest note possible with an excellent 2-1 win over Barcelona at the Nou Camp and now, they have to show their consistency by beating the Blades.

Liverpool have gone on a 2 game winless streak in the Premiership after being held 0-0 by small club, Everton and then lost 2-1 to Newcastle at St. James' Park.

But they managed a result that deemed impossible in many people's eyes and Rafa will hope that they can build on that win. It's also important to get all 3 points for this game because the upcoming games for Liverpool will certainly be tough.

They will host league leaders, Man United next and then it's the second leg of the UEFA Champions League last 16.

But it's time to focus our eyes on this game rather than looking too far forward. Because although Sheffield United are in no ways a club in the same echelon as Liverpool, but some teams showed that with hard work and resilience, it's possible to frustrate the hell out of the Reds.

The opening day showing at Bremall Lane was abysmal and it sort of sum up the early form of Liverpool. A fortunate tumble by Gerrard and the generosity of the match referee rescued Liverpool from embarrassment but we can be sure that Rafa will not want his team to put up another performance of that calibre.

Javier Mascherano could be in for a home debut as Rafa looked set to chop and change once again after the mid-week heroics and will not hesitate to replace tired legs. Momo Sissoko suffered a knock to his shin at the Nou Camp and could be replaced by the Argentinian that is revered by none other than Benitez himself.

Crouch could make a start as Kuyt's stamina might be drained on Thursday. His preferred partner would be Bellamy, who showed character to defy the odds and put up an amazing performance.

Expected team:


Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa;

Pennant, Gerrard, Mascherano, Riise;

Crouch, Bellamy;

Drogballs' Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Sheffield United. I expect a tough game given that the Blades have been pretty good so far and the team that everyone deemed as relegation fodders are doing decently in recent times and they have a tendency to frustrate Liverpool with their physical game and also, discipline in defence.

Neil Warnock's side will surely go on a 'park the bus' tactic to hold out Liverpool like Everton did but I feel that the home team's morale is on a high and will have the necessary quality to break down a resilient Sheffield Utd.

Did Ronnie Bottled It?

Yea, of course. In the back pocket of Momo Sissoko. Nahhh....

Anyway, this is spotted on eBay few days back according to Who Ate All The Pies:

Sauce? Source? HERE.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Carra The Way To Go

They say behind every successful man, there's a supportive woman. Bring this analogy into football and you'll get 'behind every successful teams, there is a player who worked so hard for the team but never gets the credit.'

The name Jamie Carragher is seldom found on newspapers for an obvious reason that he's never controversial and doesn't enjoy being in the limelight. But to me, that's a quality that many of the football players in this age doesn't have.


But his name is always on the lips of Liverpool fans. The song, 'We dream of a team of Carragher' speaks a lot about the adoration of the Liverpool fans of this one club man. Here is a story of a player that went from a mediocre utility player to a world class centre back through hard work and determination.

We often say he's priceless not because nobody wants him but more to the fact that no matter how much money they throw at Liverpool for him, they know it'll end up a vain attempt.

A no-nonsense defender who puts his every single ounce of energy into matches week in week out, who can doubt the commitment of this Liverpudlian, who grew up supporting a club that's on the wrong side of Liverpool. If there is a player that will give his life to the club, it will no doubt be this man.

Reminisce of his performance against AC Milan in the '05 Champions League are still fresh on some people's mind. It might be the other players who got the Reds back into the game but the way Carragher defended Dudek's goal despite the cramps and ailment getting on him, he continued to toil on and became the ultimate unsung hero.

With John Terry looking mysteriously injury-prone in recent times, is it time for Jamie Carragher to step up and given the chance to shine for England just like he did for Liverpool. Like they say through difficult times, hero will rise, I believe it is time the England management team take a serious look on Carragher and give him the chance to be the man to replace Terry in the centre back role.

The Israel trip will call on England to put up a brave act and it will no doubt be a test of character for the Three Lions as their European qualifications hung in the balance. This is where I think Carragher will slot into the England squad perfectly and as a stalwart of the back line, the players will draw inspiration from Carragher, who is never afraid to get stuck in.

He doesn't oozes the class of Beckenbauer of even Rio Ferdinand. Neither does he have the pace of Alessandro Nesta. But when tough times is ahead, this is the type of player everyone will want in their team.

Often overlooked as nothing more than a utility player, he's been called up to the England squad time and again to be played out of position or even to say, treated unfairly. He's a cover for all the 3 positions across the back while also played as the holding midfielder in Sven's reign.

His treatment on the day England got knocked out of the World Cup by Portugal was particularly infuriating for many as he was substituted on just to take penalties. Incidentally, he scored but was asked to be retaken. His misery was compounded when Quim saved it.

I think it's about time they show respect to the man that gave his all even though he's often jeopardised. Even when he's overlooked, he never once complained like many footballers would and this is why I say that England has the asset that they never knew.

Time to show him the respect.

Just for laugh:

Team of Carraghers1

We dream of a team of Carragher. But matches will most likely end up 0-0.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

For All The Right Reasons (Afterthoughts)

It's a fairy tale of how two footballers who got the majority of the media attention throughout the week, went from zero to hero. John Arne Riise and Bellamy's name were all over the newspaper world wide after they reportedly did something out of this world during their training camp in Algarve, Portugal. It was reported that 'Bellers' went berserk and used a golf club and attempted to hit Riise's leg after the Norwegian declined to sing in a karaoke session.

Truth or not, we're not sure. But judging by Craig Bellamy's goal celebration last night, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that all is well in the Reds camp and also, he did it sarcastically to have a dig at the press.

I even joked that the golf club hit Riise on the right foot and now, it made it work! I've never seen Riise shooting with his right foot and with that sort of accuracy!

Most importantly, they're the catalyst of a seemingly impossible job over at the Nou Camp. To defeat Barcelona at their own back yard. And I must say, I'm very proud of the players and their efforts despite the fact that we didn't play well at all. It's one of those awkward feeling after you watched a match.

It was quite painful to watch as Liverpool seemed an echelon below Barcelona in terms of technical ability. We're unable to hold on to the ball and the passing was dreadful at times. I even thought we've allowed far too much space for their attacking minded players to exploit. Thankfully, they were not in their best as well.

Fluid, fast paced and precise. Those words are used to describe the way Barcelona plays. With players like Ronaldinho, Deco, Saviola, Messi and Xavi, they're supposed to be the team to beat. But last night, only their physical body turned up. They were complacent, lacklustre and simply, not hungry enough.

They went ahead through Deco's header after they finally settled down at their home ground and only some desperate defending kept them at bay. But gradually, Barcelona became slow and insipid. They're just stroking the ball to and fro without any purpose and directions.

Maybe they thought by keeping the ball, they'll ease through. How wrong were they?

Remember, this is the Liverpool team that have the habit to come back from behind not once but on many occasions. We might not be as clinical as most of the top sides but we can be sure we HAVE the quality to punish people.

We scored a really soft goal that we didn't really deserve to be honest. I was really surprise it went in because we didn't give them any sort of problem except for the opening few minutes. Perhaps, a lack of concentration from the Barca defence gifted it. Valdes continued the trend of dodgy Spanish goalkeepers.

Reina was the other example of how his inexperience could've cost us the game. Twice in the last 10 minutes, he flapped and we're plucky to survive. But don't take the credit away, he made some crucial saves and a brilliant interception after Saviola was put through.

Tactically, I think Rafa got it right but the team didn't really performed up to his desired standards. I'm sure he wants the team to keep it tight and compact at the back and hold them for as long as they could. But once again, we saw how Rafa out-thought his opponent Frank Rijkaard. He was careful with his selection and very detailed.

Placing debutant, Alvaro Arbeloa on the left seemed a little puzzling but we saw why. He was there to nullify Messi's threat as the Argentinian whiz kid loves to cut in with his stronger left foot. That will ensure he gets into Arbeloa's strong side as well. Although he had his thumb print on the first goal with a poor positional play, he regained confidence and saved our arse with that crucial block on Messi's shot.

Another play that deserves the plaudits will have to be none other than the half man-half machine, Momo Sissoko. The criticism of his lack of technically ability especially passing, are well documented and last night, we saw how wasteful he was at times. But it's his defensive quality that we should all be impressed with.

He was all over the pitch. Deco got the ball and you'll see his shadow. Ronaldinho got it and he won't be far behind. He covered almost every blade of grass at Nou Camp and deserves the man of the match award given by UEFA.

It was an unexpected result even for the most optimistic fans. A draw would be a good result but we know, as Liverpool, we should start to remove the tag of the underdog and show everyone who we really are. The standards of that glorious 70s-80s Liverpool team are hard to surpass but I believe that with Rafa, we could go all the way from here.

Of course, this is only half time. We should not get carried away. Players will now need to stay focus for the second leg a fortnight away and get a good result. Knocking Barcelona off the competition will no doubt feel great. Now Rafa will have to mastermind yet another great result at Anfield.

Bad display but excellent result. That's championship form, I tell ya!

Reds Triump In Spain

Riise & Bellamy Puts Dispute Behind To Score

UEFA Champions League
Last 16: First Leg

Barcelona 1 - 2 LIVERPOOL


BAR - Deco (14 min);
LIV - Bellamy (43 min), Riise (74 min);

Match Highlights:

Countless of teams were slaughtered over at the Nou Camp in recent times but Liverpool did the near impossible by coming from behind to beat the overwhelming favorites, Barcelona over at their own backyard. The Reds inflicted Barcelona with their first defeat in 21 home games and now, the only British team to defeat them twice at the Nou Camp.

Touted to be the 'tie of the round', the two former champions of the European Cup slogged it out for a full 90 minutes which saw a poor Liverpool side defeat Barcelona, who have been out of form and looked like a shadow of their former selves.

The Barcelona we saw last night was mind-boggling poor and some shocking defending gave Liverpool the chance to take the advantage in the two legged clash. Now with the 2-1 aggregate, Rafa and his men will surely feel they have every right to believe that they can kick the Catalan giants out of the competition.

After Sunday's defeat to Valencia, Barcelona made changes to their side. They welcomed back Thiago Motta in the defensive midfield position and switched Rafael Marquez back to partner Carles Puyol in defence. Argentinian Javier Saviola replaced Eidur Gudjohnson in the starting line up to add the extra pace up front.

The man that Barcelona marked as the dangerman, Peter Crouch, was surprisingly left on the bench as Rafa preferred Kuyt and Bellamy up front. Both added mobility upfront while Gerrard was moved away from his preferred central midfield role to play on the right.

This move was a bold one as we all know he mentioned in the autobiography that playing on the right flank is like a 'grave yard shift'. Perhaps Rafa wanted him to neutralise the threat coming from Ronaldinho and Zambrotta on the left. But the skipper was partly at fault for Barcelona's first goal.

Zambrotta looked to have been stopped in his tracks by Gerrard but somehow, he missed the interception and the Italian left back was able to float in an inch perfect cross for the shortest man on the pitch, Deco, to head home from 6 yards out. Alvaro Arbeloa, making his debut at the left back slot, moved inwards to the centre far too quickly and leaving Riise exposed at the back post.

The goal came after Barcelona finally decided to step up a gear and you could see they managed to unsettle the Reds defence, marshalled by Jamie Carragher. Deco nearly added a second minutes later after he was clean through on goal. But his shot was saved by Pepe Reina.

Meanwhile, the difference between the side was fairly obvious as Liverpool struggled to keep hold of the ball and letting the Spanish side roam around freely. There was no support up front for Kuyt and Bellamy as they huffed and puffed their way through.

But how the face of the game change after a lapse of concentration on Barcelona's part allowed Liverpool back into the game with a soft goal. A quick free kick taken by Gerrard was spread out to the right to Steve Finnan. His fantastic cross was well met by Bellamy and Barcelona goalkeeper, Victor Valdes, made a mess of it. He managed to saved it but he was unaware that he carried the ball over the line.Despite pushing the ball mindlessly out of the goal, Kuyt was still there to finish it. The goal was later awarded to Bellamy.

Bellamy, silencing his critics with a cheeky goal celebration, imitating a golfer playing golf. He was previously accused to hitting team mate, John Arne Riise's leg with a golf club. This goal was the turning point of the game as Liverpool going into the half time break on a high.

Barcelona seemed shell-shocked as they conceded a very unnecessary goal at the most inappropriate time.

Liverpool came out for the second half more organised and played with more sense of purpose. They kept themselves compact and difficult to breakdown while Barcelona pushed more people forward in search of a killer goal.

But as the clock ticks away, the more comfortable Liverpool got and the home side were frustrated to no end. Their fans were eerily quiet while Frank Rijkaard signaled his intention to finish the tie off by making two tactical movement that unsettled the home side rather than adding firepower upfront.

Xavi was taken off for Giuly while Iniesta replaced the more defensive minded Motta. It was a classic show of the more the cook spoils the soup as Barca was unable to organise any sort of good attacking move that will penetrate through that thick red (or green) line.

While they went forward, their rear guard went to sleep and Liverpool pounced.

Gerrard played a brilliant ball to Kuyt, who was left unmarked by Barca captain, Puyol. His first touch let him down and Valdes was able to half clear the ball. But the rebound fell kindly to Bellamy, who putted the ball nicely in the path of Riise. The Norweigian who is famous for his left foot, stroke the ball into the top of the net with his right.

Now, both the players who have been under intense media scrutiny were the masterminds of Liverpool's success in Barcelona.

Argentinian superstar, Lionel Messi almost grabbed the equaliser after weaving through the Liverpool defence but his shot was brilliantly blocked by debutant, Alvaro Arbeloa. In the late game, they put further pressure on the Reds while goalkeeper, Pepe Reina, flapped twice during set plays and nearly cost Liverpool dear.

But the Reds held on to a famous victory in Spain as they surely feel they have ever right to believe that they have a chance to be in the draw for the last 8 or perhaps even winning the prestigious European Cup for the 6th time.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Battle At The Catalunya

It's Champions League time and it'll be a clash of the titans, although Liverpool will surely go into this tie as an underdog. Don't listen to Barcelona players saying about how they're the underdogs. Because on paper, the difference is there for everyone to see.

It's the 2005 European champions taking on the champions in 2006.

Played at the intimidating Nou Camp, which could pack a total of 98,000 fans, this tie will be a fascinating one indeed. Barcelona won't forget the way Liverpool bored them to tears back in 2001 UEFA Cup when Liverpool went there and parked not only a bus, but several bull'dozers' and trucks as well.

Liverpool eventually knocked them out of the competition and surely, the Barca fans will feel this is the perfect time to avenge that heart break 6 years ago.

But now, Liverpool have undergone major changes and with Rafa's Spanish armada flying the flag high over at Merseyside. It'll present a totally different challenge to the European champions as they embarked on the journey to retain the crown, which is deemed impossible thus far.

Rafa Benitez himself plotted the downfall of Barcelona and Real Madrid 4 years ago when he took over Valencia and knocked the 2 Spanish giants off their perch and won 2 Spanish La Liga title with them. He also has a pretty good record against Barcelona while he's at the Mestalla and the one reason which will give the Liverpool fans some confidence would be the fact that Rafa knows Spanish football well and he knows Barcelona inside out.

This could present Barcelona with some problem as they haven't been at their best for quite some time. Perhaps the pressure of retaining the La Liga title and European crown are taking it's toll on Ronaldinho. & Co.

The Samuel Eto'o's public spat match with coach Frank Riijkard and Ronaldinho was well documented and one could question whether the unity in the squad is taking the heat. Liverpool got some bad press off them as well just last week, when tabloid newspaper reported incidents where the players didn't behave themselves and the headlines were splashed across the front page of the newspapers.

Off the field problem aside, it'll be an intriguing tie between two heavy weights. I foresee this game to be a very cagey one at the beginning as both teams wouldn't want to throw away the tie unnecessarily at such an early stage. Barcelona knows that they would need to get something out of this game and at the same time, stop Liverpool from scoring the all important away goal.

Drogballs' Prediction: Barcelona 1-1 Liverpool. A very tight game to call. I'll sit on the fence for this one. But I have complete faith in the team that they'll put up a decent performance and get something out of this game.

Football Dipped To New Low?

Rejoice football fans! The long awaited Champions League is finally back after the draw was been made back in December of 2006 and fans and neutrals alike were anticipating this week for quite some time.

But the return of Champions League was marred by controversies and things that should never happen in a football ground.

Of course, we're talking about the match between French side, Lille and Man Utd. A match that seemed so harmless and looked like an easy walk-over for United turns out to be an ugly one and of course, it exposes the flaws of the game and that we all still need to take a serious look at stadium security and how the authorities handle the fans.

Because what happened yesterday could've been another disaster like Hillsborough and Heysel.

It might not be serious as there were only some victims with minor injuries. But it serves us as a warning that even till this day, there are stadiums around with security problems and UEFA will have to investigate and football should not be something which take the lives of people away.

Crowd trouble once again rings the alarm bell of the football governing body as only recently, Italian football came under scrutiny for the way they handled the death of the policeman during the Catania - Palermo game.

The modern game should not be marred by this sort of things already. It's time the authorities have a good look at things and ensure the safety of the tens of thousands of fans within the stadium.

Next major talking point in the game would have to be Ryan Gigg's quickly taken free kick that resulted in a goal. Lille felt unjust and rewind to a month ago when the Thai players walked off the pitch after they felt they're treated unfairly by the referee, it was like a deja vu feeling.

When did footballers became such a bunch of unsportsmanlike 'sportsmen'?

To me, I'm never for the idea of taking free kicks quickly. They're seemed to be used only in amateur football games but the thing now is that it's the gray part of the rule book whereby it's not entirely clear whether when is taking a quick one right or wrong.

But that's beside the point now. Although we do need clarification as to when is a quick free kick allowed and how do we all know whether the referee of the game will allow, the main point will be the way the Lille players reacted after that.


But we know all humans shows emotions and it was when the emotions ran high, adrenaline pumping and knowing that your team have lost a game that they're so capable of winning. Peter Odemwingie thought he had put them ahead just before the incident but he was adjudged to have pushed Nemanja Vidic before latching on the ball with a header. It was ruled out for a foul.

Very soft if you ask me. Vidic is built like a brick sh*t-house and I don't think a little hands on his back will cause any sort of problems for him to stay on his feet.

It's disappointing to see the return of the so called 'biggest' league in the world with the most concentration of football stars marred by incidents that shouldn't even have been part of football. And to think that FIFA are looking into things like restricting players to some 'celebration styles' rather than the safety of the supporters and players behaving like kids throwing toys out of the pram, it just saddens me a little.

The Lille players should be punish heavily for their unsportsmanlike behavior while stadiums across Europe should conduct a thorough check and make sure they pass the standards set by the governing body. Or even better, review the safety standards of the stadiums.

Picture Of The Day

Riise: Now, my left leg's worth around 5million while my right is not worth a penny. Take it if you want. Meanwhile, I put up a really cheesy smile to distract those pesky photographers.

Bellamy: *evil laughter* Let me have a look.....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dudek Speaks Out - 'We Betrayed Rafa'

Sounded apologetic, isn't it? Finally, one of the players spoke out and although I'm still not entirely convinced that this is the 100% of the story, we can be quite sure the media have blown the story out of proportion again. Surprise?

According to a report written based on Liverpool goalkeeper, Jerzy Dudek's website, they admitted that the players let Rafa down but they have seriously done nothing wrong, except for making too much noise at ungodly hour and returning back to the hotel 'few minutes late'.


Obviously, I've mentioned that what you read on newspaper are not always 100% accurate and comparing this article to those published few days back about how Robbie Fowler and Jerzy Dudek were handcuffed after they went on a rampage after having too much of a drink, it's certainly seemed like heaven and earth.

Percentage of news over-blown: Around 120%.

Serves a warning, that not everything you read are the absolute truth. There are always people and reports out there to step on people when they're down and out and stir up unnecessary tension among people.

And you wonder why the England national team is in it's current state. It's hard to to pull in this very example as to how a team can be absolutely destroyed by tabloid newspaper. I'm not pointing the full finger at them, but you should be aware that they're part of the problem.

They'll always be the first to hype up a certain someone and when that player starts to do something they deemed not proper, they'll always be the first to cast their stone.

The tabloid culture in England is seriously harming the game in an indirect way and I think we could all see it. Major stories, blah. They're just usual marketing ploy. What's new?

Truth? Or Lies?

Prior to Liverpool's crucial Champions League visit to Barcelona's Nou Camp, news broke out that the players went wild at their training camp in Algarve, Portugal. Sounds like a movie eh?

Few days back there were reports coming in about how Dudek and Fowler got drunk and smashed 'telephone boxes and other stuff' on the streets before getting handcuffed by the police.

Then again yesterday, there was news about how Bellamy went insane and used a golf club and chased John Arne Riise and actually hit his legs!

Now we have another report saying that it's a trap to make Craig Bellamy the scapegoat of these entire saga. Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out why it's Bellamy and not the others. Simple, because of his previous record. It's always easy to point your finger at the blackest sheep and Bellamy's notorious past isn't going to help the case.

When it comes to these sort of 'reports', I'll always read it with a little cynic and filter out only certain parts of the reports and take them seriously. The rest, just take it like a pinch of salt. It's like eating meat. You always take away those bones and skins before you eat the real stuff. And those rubbish usually takes up 70% of everything.

Take a wider perspective and look this way. Why does these reports only appear when Liverpool are preparing for the most important match thus far this season. Nice timing, isn't it? And noticeably the players named where never in the good books of the newspapers, namely Bellamy and Fowler.

Reading Robbie Fowler's autobiography will help you understand a lot about these footballer's life. Although you won't believe everything they say in the book as well, but you'll get the jeez of it pretty quickly. They're always set up for the newspaper to put up new stories and stuff they did that are common among the lads but got blown out of proportion by the tabloid newspapers. Sensationalism is the word for these stories.

But then again, I'm not saying I don't entirely believe the reports. To be honest, I'm quite worried about it as well. It affects the club's reputation and hey, you're playing for Liverpool FC. Show some pride while you're at the club and behave.

And I hope Rafa will have a serious look into this matter and if anyone is to be found guilty of ruining the club's name, they should not be spared. Footballers or not, they're liable for punishments and I seriously hope this saga will end soon and will NOT affect the performance against Barcelona on Wednesday. We'll be the underdog and I have full faith we'll get something out of Nou Camp. But we need the player's to remain focus and concentrate on their task ahead.

Still, truth or not, it's up to you to decide.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Road To Wembley........NOT

"Road to Wembley", proclaimed the FA Cup organisers. They promised that the FA Cup final for 2007 will be played at the new Wembley stadium. But surprise, it will NOT be ready.

So the Road To Wembley is officially off tracked.

According to government reports, the Wembley Stadium will not be ready in time for the FA Cup final in May, despite the promise by the English FA to hold the finals at the stadium that cost 793 million GBP.

"Alternative arrangements are having to be made. The building work will be finished, but the critical issue is the safety certificates.

"The FA are going to have to announce it in the next couple of weeks. That will mean the Cup Final will be played in Cardiff again."
First and foremost, it is important to consider that this stadium had been touted to open in 2006 and at the same time last year, the FA too, said that the stadium will be ready for FA Cup 2006. Rewind it a year on and it's still the same.

You know, the FA just kind of mirror the England national team. Clueless and disorganised.

A so called 'world class' stadium that got delayed for more than a year and paying that sort of money for it. You're having a laugh. A normal stadium would cost 200 odd million GBP and how on earth did that cost skyrocket to almost 800 million GBP is beyond me. Wasteful. Now throw those money back into the youth academies and perhaps, people like Terry Venables won't have to say anything about it anymore.

Of course, it's not recommended for the stadium to be used for the FA Cup finals when you're jeopardising the lives of the people if the stadium is deemed not safe enough. Now, it seemed like the FA bigwigs really have to bury their head in the sand. Broken promises, sounds like the England team as well!

Anyway, I could never comprehend why they bother to build such a massive structure with absolutely stunning interior for a team that's so dull and colourless. Talk about irony. Wembley, the perfect example.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Latest Transfer Rumour

Amidst all the New Year celebration, I'm here to present you with the latest news. According to The Daily Mail, we're set to sign a Ukrainian international by the name of Andrei Voronin from Bayer Leverkusen.

By the looks of how the forum people from reacted to the news, not looking good. Might as well give up next season's Premiership now*.

*Knee jerk reaction.


Well, to all you readers of The Red Cauldron, especially the Chinese, Drogballs here wishes you a fantastic new year and 'Gong Xi Fa Cai'.