Jose Mourinho is getting a fair amount of credit for what Chelsea did to Tottenham while Daniel Levy and Man City are defended. Oh and there are more penii...
Is it a sacking offence if Arsenal don't win the FA Cup from here? Is it the players, the manager or the board who should go at Spurs? We have a bumper mailbox...
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Ramires just does not get enough love on these pages but I'm here to right that wrong.
When he joined Chelsea, I was unsure whether it would work out. He looked very thin and weak and this was proven by the number of times he lost the ball and was easily shrugged of it by opposition players. The nadir of this period of adjustment was his role in Manchester City's opening goal at the Etihad where one of Yaya Toure or Nigel de Jong (can't recall which one of them specifically) stole the ball from him and fed Tevez who scored. His passing ability did not seem to be up to the standard required with stray passing gifting the ball to opposition players.
Even then, what was evident at that time was that he was fearless and had an unmatched ability to run, run and run for the whole game. No matter what the size of the opponent he would be nipping at them throughout the game. Happily, this period of adjustment was very short. He became a vital component of our team in the second half of the season, scoring a beauty against Manchester City.
The 2011-12 season is where he truly blossomed into one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. He realized that if you can't beat the opponent with strength, you can beat them with persistence. His passing, crossing and dribbling improved massively. He also added a wonderful knack of scoring crucial and excellent goals. His goal against Liverpool in the FA Cup final (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rybrqNJAFH4) was excellently taken, while doing a wonderful job of making Enrique and Reina look foolish.
This was not his highlight of the season however. The game against Barcelona. When it looked like everything was lost. One man down. Two goals down against the best team on the planet with Bosingwa playing in central defence. Things were looking bleak. Then this happened (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7FdqIthU0s). This was the defining moment of our Champions League victory for me. Not Torres' last minute equalizer, not Drogba's header against Bayern and not even the Drogba's winning penalty. This goal, coming just a few minutes before half-time, gave us the belief that we could hang on and so it came to be.
Just like Arsenal would be screwed if Giroud got injured, Chelsea would be lost without Ramires. His versatility allows us to play the way we do. The Oscar/Mata conundrum, the Cech/Courtois situation...all of these overshadow the fact that Ramires is the one player in the team who is truly irreplaceable. He makes up for Lampard's lack of mobility and Mikel's averageness. I can't even begin to imagine what we would do without him.
Nikhil N, CFC
Au Revoir Anderson
Wonderful tidings this morning!
Thank you F365 for making my week brighter than any clever metaphors could actually describe.
ANDERSON FOR SALE!!
The sheer weight of relief at this intention...well it's like dropping last night's slightly over-spiced mutton curry, over a gloriously quiet fifteen minute period of peace in the office before everyone else gets in.
Manc in SA (if it makes Rooney happy, it can't be bad)
Some Arsenal v Chelsea Thoughts
10 thoughts on Arsenal v Chelsea:
* I own polyester shirts that look more threatening than Nicklas Bendtner.
* If there was a variation of football were the aim of the game was to slow your own team's momentum as much as possible, John Obi Mikel would be the world's highest paid player.
* I couldn't tell whether Kevin De Bruyne was very hot or very cold last night but he was very, very red.
* Speaking of temperature, I was going to put a line in here about all of Arsenal's players wearing long-sleeves last night...then Ramires came on wearing gloves.
* Azpilicueta's goal surely cements Chelsea's position as the league's premier long ball specialists.
* I still have no idea what to make of Willian but he's certainly on message with this newfangled 'tracking back' malarkey.
* I would love to put the boot in to Thomas Vermaelen but, frankly, I think he's got enough problems.
* The only thing Spanish looking about Nacho Monreal is the bit above that big '17' on his shirt.
And On Birmingham Stoke
The Birmingham vs Stoke game truly had everything.
After weeks of seeing footballing world fixated by autobiographies, I'd thought I'd let everyone know some incredible actual football happened last night.
Stoke's screamer of an opening is met with Blues slick interplay culminating in an equaliser, before a off-the-ball altercation between Blues' Wade Elliot and Assaidi sees the Blues man sent off. If there was any doubt Championship Birmingham were the underdogs they certainly are now.
Second half. Crouch nods home. Arnautovic makes it 3-1. Crouch attempts a spectacular overhead-kick that cannons off the bar and would have truly put the game to bed. The Stoke fans prematurely sing of Wembley. Blues sub sees Peter Lovenkrands (yep, he's still going) enter the action as the game heads into the final 10 minutes. 85 minutes: Lovenkrands pokes home. 3-2. 5 minutes added... The home fans roar into life whilst the Premier League support is, uncharacteristically, silent. Last chance. The ball bounces to Lovenkrands again. Back of the net! Euphoria!
Extra time. Stoke score. Second half of extra time. Blues equalise once more! 4-4 and going to penalties! The spot kick lottery sees Stoke through, but the sprited display and not least the incredible game of football sees the Blues fan go home happy.
You can write in all you like about your team not winning anything or playing well, but sometimes it's not about winning, it's just about enjoying a beautiful game of football.
Chris (At £1 per goal I can hardly complain) Lissaman BCFC
A Fan Of Jenkinson
Carl Jenkinson looks every bit the proper English right back at the moment, except not as good going forward.
Ross, AFC London
Not A Fan Of Jenkinson
Can anyone tell me how I managed to miss the competition run by the Premier League to win a multi-year contract at your favourite club AND actually get to play some matches AND win an England cap?!
Carl Jenkinson is a lucky, lucky boy.
In all seriousness, how did anyone actually want him to play ahead of Sagna last season? He is absolute toot.
Sit on the fence:
- not to take sides in a dispute; not to make a clear choice between two possibilities.
- to delay making a decision when you have to choose between two sides in an argument or a competition
One thing (it's not the only thing) that's bugged me about football pundits and their predictions is the use of the idiom "sitting on the fence" when predicting a draw. For me this is wrong. While the definitions above states you have an option between two clear choices/possibilities, in football you have three - The Home Win, The Draw and The Away Win.
Predicting a draw for me is not a cop out/sitting on the fence so you don't hurt either team's feelings. Its a measured prediction after taking into account the strength of the teams, current form, head to head history, suspensions and injuries, who's playing at home etc.. It's too hard to separate the two teams on paper so you predict a draw. It's a prediction and its your opinion after expert (cough, cough) analysis and you clearly have made a decision on how you think the match will pan out.
Actual sitting on the fence
Friend one: Chinese food???
Friend two: Nah I want Mexican, what do you say?
You: I don't care you'll decide (Sitting on the fence)
I wonder why some stadiums are referred to by their sponsor's name whereas others, even though they have sponsored names, are spared this ignominy.
For example, Sports Direct Arena for St James' Park was met with huge protests (and rightly so) while no one seems to complain about The Emirates the same way. Wouldn't the Arsenal fans prefer Ashburton Grove?
I'd really like to know the answer to this.
Stanger Hates Villa
I would just like to respond to Matt Stanger's Winners and Losers list. Apparently Aston Villa put in another inept performance worthy only of Championship football. I concede that the defending on the two goals was terrible, and they deserved to lose the game. Disappointing? - Yes. Inept? - No. If you had bothered to watch the game, instead of just the highlights, you would have seen that Tim Howard pulled off three great saves (including a penalty) in the first half which would have changed the game.
Now I have already written in about how on earth Villa managed to beat City, but I'd say it has to do with their simple game plan against superior teams, consisting of winning the ball in midfield and pumping it forward to our pacey strikers.
It doesn't always work, it isn't always attractive. Does Matt Stanger have a grudge against Villa? Or does he really think that they deserve to be in the Championship?
You Pronounce The 'J' In Portuguese...Next
Is every commentator, pundit and reporter in this country under some kind of agreement to call José Mourinho "Josie"?
I'm pretty sure he used to be called José, pronounced with the Iberian soft 'J', a courtesy which they manage to extend to Juan Mata and Javier Hernández.
Oh, look. We lost to decent opposition. Again.
At home. Again.