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Could Agger still do a job?
As it’s an international week and news is slow I was going to write a witty and insightful ’16 conclusions’ on the LFC Legends vs Real Madrid Legends match I went to see today featuring comments on those thighs of Roberto Carlos, John Thompsons girth etc. The problem is there was only one real conclusion I came to: Jurgen Klopp needs to re-sign Daniel Agger. Based on the season so far, and on his showing today, he would go straight in to the squad as third choice and would be pushing Lovren for a starting spot.
The only other thing to note was that a certain S. Gerrard had a half decent game. Liverpool scored four – he set up the first two, won the penalty for the third and scored the fourth. And he hit the woodwork.
Carl (not even joking about Agger) the Welsh
Ireland v Wales conclusions
A poor nil nil, an international derby, this was something that you rarely see in modern football, an all out dirty game.
The tactical side of this game can be easily summed up. Ireland shorn of McCarthy, Brady, Arter and Hoolahan had a midfield without invention and creativity. Wales had Bale, Ramsey and Allen. This was flair v force.
Ireland were not short of commitment and aggression. Not often will you see so many interceptions and slide tackles, but once in possession Ireland were clueless, long balls for Walters and Long seemed to be the only option.
Wales, to their credit, came to play football – but they still failed to create a decent opening. For all the crossfield balls and switch plays, the lack of a decent central striker was obvious.
With one true world class player on the pitch, at times Bale looked like a sixth class kid playing with Junior Infants. A mistake from Richard Keogh on the halfway line gave Bale possession with half a pitch and five players between him and the goal. He came within inches of a breakthrough.
A word on James McLean. After a traumatic week for the Derryman he was clearly determined to honour his late friend Ryan McBride. While some of his play was rash, he did not allow his aggression to spill over, and the man of the match award was deserved. The same cannot be said for others.
Ireland started it. Long on Williams, Whelan on Allen. Both could have ended up with stricter punishments. This injury ridden side were taking no prisoners. Wales presumably decided they were going to react at half time.
It was, in effect, a derby match. Both sets of players knew each other, and as is often called for in derby matches the referee was decidedly lenient. There were no soft frees, cards could have been more common.
Gareth Bale should have received a red card for his tackle on John O’Shea. He only received yellow and a later foul could have been a second. If the referee gives a red card there, the Neil Taylor incident does not happen 55 seconds later.
None of that excuses Taylor’s assault on Seamus Coleman. It was one of those rare occasions when the referee, the players, the crowd, the TV audience- everybody knew instantly that a red card must follow and that Seamus Coleman’s leg was broken. RTE decided not to show replays. None were needed.
The game was ruined after that. Both sides had chances to win it. Aiden McGeady was introduced far too late and added much needed invention to Ireland, but the appetite was gone. Coleman’s sickening injury was foremost in everybody’s minds.
Someone was going to say it, on this occasion it was Dean Saunders. He did it Dean, so he’s exactly that kind of player.
And so Ireland stay joint top and Wales must face Serbia without the suspended Gareth Bale. It remains a fascinating group, let’s just hope for more quality and less aggression as it winds on.
Not that kind of player
What does “not that kind of player” even mean? If I had never shot anyone and then one day I did shoot someone, could I use that excuse in court?
It was a shocking challenge and the fact that Taylor hasn’t broken anyone’s leg before is meaningless.
Challenges like that really should have a much bigger ban. He will be getting the same ban as Xhaka did for tripping up a player on the half way line in the match against Taylor’s team, Swansea, which is quite frankly ridiculous.
I don’t except FIFA, UEFA or the FA to do anything about this though because they are too busy worrying about image rights and giving yellow cards to players for celebrating or taking their shirts off.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
Ireland-Wales was fairly feisty first half yesterday. Ireland tend to do this against physically larger teams, thinking that a bit of niggle is the only way they can compete on that front. Still, all the niggle in the world doesn’t justify the horrendous Bale and Taylor tackles on O’Shea and Coleman in the second half.
I always wonder what the effect would be if such tacklers were condemned by their own manager, not lads on Twitter. Would it help eradicate it? Condemnation is not even necessary, just acknowledgement – “It’s a horrible, unacceptable tackle and we’re all sorry for it. But in the end he’s my player, he’s made a mistake and deserves my support”. There’s no contradiction there, just an assumption of two responsibilities, to the protection of your team and the larger game.
If Taylor can go into the Irish dressing room afterwards and apologise – an apology being the admission of wrongdoing and the asking for forgiveness – why can’t a manager act similarly? Even a geographically challenged manager like Chris Coleman plotting his great “British derby” might find it within himself. But instead he spent the post-match press conference saying that none of the Irish players had “halos above their heads”, “it’s a contact sport” and, “we’ll see it one way and Ireland will probably see it another”. Also that people are “making a big deal” of the Bale tackle only because it’s Bale and – drumroll, please – that “(Taylor) is not that type of player”.
Of course, it would be very difficult for managers to blame their players, if they were in fact responsible for sending out the players with a certain mentality to hit their opponents hard – something I suspect was the case here.
As a final note I can’t be the only one who noticed Aaron Ramsey and his haircut protesting the Taylor sending-off. Ironic and and just… irritating.
Stephen O’S MUFC
John Hartson, Dean Saunders, Chris Coleman.
Aside from being Welsh, what do these three men have in common?
All three declared Neil Taylor is “Not that type of Player”.
Meanwhile Seamus Coleman is lying in hospital, leg broken in half, season over, career might never be the same (Luke Shaw anyone), but these 3 knuckle draggers brush it off because Taylor is not that type of player. He got a red and will serve a ban. Doesn’t seem right.
60 seconds earlier John O’Shea was lucky not to suffer the same fate at the hands (feet) of Gareth Bale. He got a yellow and Wales are planning to appeal!
The only appeal should be from the FAI that his yellow should be upgraded to a red. Not sure if this is possible but our president John “Can we be the 33rd team” Delaney will try anything.
All of this has made me so angry. After the Euros I quite liked the Wales team.
All that’s gone now. Coleman’s comments, Bales actions and comments, and Taylor’s tackle have all left a sour taste in my mouth.
Get well soon Seamie.
Lost all respect for Wales tonight. Neil Taylor is simply a thug. Chris Coleman is as big a coward by saying Taylor is ‘not that type of player’ then showing even less class by saying Irish players didn’t leave the field with halo s either. The 11 Welsh players that started left the field with both their legs intact.
Speedy recovery for the legend Coleman. The Welsh Coleman deserves the non qualification him and his team are about to receive.
Oh, alright. So Neil Taylor is “not that type of player”.
Should be a massive consolation for Seamus Coleman who won’t play any further games in this campaign – if he ever plays again – because he doesn’t have that type of leg.
Spare a thought for Taylor
It’s a poor tackle, make no mistake, but there’s probably a tackle this bad (or worse) made every weekend in the Premier League which fades from the memory unless someone sustains an injury. The ball was there to be won, no question. It was a 50-50 and Taylor has lunged desperately to get something on the ball, he’s gone over the top and it’s a bad one.
Not many pundits seem to have mentioned this, but the damage is done by the fact that Coleman himself is coming in at pace. Compare that to the challenge Delle Alli made in Europe a few weeks back- an absolute shocker. Alli’s opponent is fortunate to escape serious injury, but does so because of the fact that he’s not met Alli with any force going against the challenge as Coleman did.
If Coleman’s foot isn’t planted he escapes injury and we move on. A really unfortunate incident in my opinion- spare a thought for both players, Coleman most of all of course, but I’m sure Taylor is suffering today as well.
Credit to the Wales fans
Amidst the negatively surrounding this international break after the England fans behaviour and the injury to Seamus Coleman, I thought I’d weigh in with something a little more positive.
I attended Friday’s game in Dublin and upon arriving in the city, the first thing I noticed was that the place was absolutely teeming with Welsh fans. They had completely packed out the well known Dublin tourist area of Templebar, as well as many other pubs that I’d frequent in the city centre and near the ground. Most noteworthy of all though was that they were absolutely brilliant.
They sang and chanted but at no stage was it provocative or aggressive in any way. I was sat in the Irish end at the game and two Welsh lads were there in front of me, singing about shagging sheep and just being a good laugh in general. One of them in particular was really nice to a young lad beside him of about ten years of age. They even joined in with us when we were doing our own “Stand Up For The Boys In Green” and “Ole Ole Ole.” At the end I shook hands with both of them and we all wished eachother well. Later, one Welsh fan I was chatting to was even kind enough to buy me a round.
The best part was that it all reminded me of the wonderful atmosphere at the Euros and the fun we had with other nations supporters. I was lucky enough to be at all of our games in France but was only in the Irish end for our game against the French. In the group games, I was sat around and talking to Swedes, Belgians and Italians who were all lovely. After we beat Italy, one Italian man of about fifty turned to me and kindly said “This is my best ever loss” which had me blubbering like an idiot.
If anything, all of this just indicates to me that segregation at football matches should be something we look to try and move away from, certainly at international level. Maybe it’s just an Irish thing as all of our big GAA matches have always had shared seating, no matter how great the rivalry. However, many other nations have a positive reputation and I’d love nothing more than meeting interesting people from other countries who love football as much as I do. And yes, that includes the English, any of whom I met in France were great to talk to about the game.
Personally, I don’t believe it will happen, but after the negativity in midweek, it’s nice to know that there are plenty of good aspects to being a football supporter which, in my view, will always outweigh the bad.
We’re all USMNT aren’t we?
Wonderful stuff tonight (Friday) from the US tonight against Honduras. We’d lost our first two matches in the Hexagonal (CONCACAF’s bizarre World Cup qualifying system) and fired Jurgen Klinsmann for it, and then decided to bring back Bruce Arena, our best ever coach. So both he and the team really needed the win, and got it in emphatic style–6-0!
Now, we really ought to be beating Honduras, but this match stood out for two things. First, Clint Dempsey scored a hattrick of really good goals just a few months after an irregular heartbeat threatened his career, in his first appearance back with the USMNT–not a bad way to get back into things.
Second, everything on the night for us came through the vision, perfectly weighted passing, and fearless dribbling of an 18-year-old kid who’s already cleared the (admittedly fairly low) bar of being the best player in our national team. Barring injury, Christian Pulisic is going to be the first real American football superstar, and it’s both excellent and strange every time he plays with the national team. On the one hand, I’m proud that there’s finally an American who can excel at the highest level of the sport; on the other hand, given that our footballers are mostly runners-about, hard tacklers, and high jumpers, it’s clear we’ve stolen him from somewhere. Thank goodness his grandfather was Croatian so he could go play in Germany instead of having to stagnate at some MLS club.
Anyway, if a Premier League club can get him away from Dortmund they’re gonna have to deal with a bunch of casual American fans, so be careful what you wish for.
Winston, Connecticut, USA
More cult teams
Damn mr Storey
I have to give you mad props for the cult teams
Can I add just a few comments
* that Inter side also had the divine ponytail right just before his redemption in France a young Pirlo and that ridiculous shirt fiasco involving Zamarano and Taribo West’s hair
* even though they didn’t make the top ten list can i still extol the virtues of that chelsea team of the late 90’s basically from the Hoddle era to the aforementioned league of nations. That, was a great evolution and it was interesting to see a legend like Guilit sharing the stage with John spencer and Gavin Peacock
They also had other interesting elements like a toothless Craig Burley(before he became an annoying pundit) and Frank own goal Spencer. In addition they had that cool celebration were they would all run and fall to the ground and pose for a group photo
Then Bosman happened and they became even more cult heroic,rubbish in the league but good in cups with a likeable bunch of foreign players in an era that culminated with the 2nd to the last cup winners cup .They were actually likeable.
*the last cup winners cup champions Lazio 98/99 weren’t bad either for a cult team they were managed by a pre England Sven Goran Erickson and contained non scoring forward allen boskic , little Buddha Ivan de la pena Pavel nedved, dead ball specialist Sinisa Milhaljovic ,Marcelo Salas A young Nesta A returning Attillo Lombardo and Christian Vieri
Damn the 90’s had Good Football Memories
Your final fan chants
John, THFC (heavy mailbox that was) was certainly speaking the truth about Toby Alderweireld’s name being difficult to fit into a song. I attempted it myself one night while under the influence of a variety of intoxicants (using the Hunter S. Thompson creativity method) and the best I could muster was Lisa Stansfield’s “Been Around the World” using only the chorus (“Toby Alderweireld and I-yai-yai…”). Then I passed out.
I suppose you could also shoehorn his name into other “Around the World” songs from Daft Punk or ATC. Sir Toby deserves a chant in his honor but upon a second, sober review I think I’m gonna leave this to the professionals.
Dan J- THFC, Los Angeles n
Alex G makes a great point about Spurs fans’ chants, they’re often uninspired. It’s frankly shocking that there aren’t any for Toby yet, it surely can’t be that hard! I thought of two right after reading his email. First one is very very simple, you just say “Al-der-wei-reld Al-der-wei-re-eld” to the theme of Around The World by Daft Punk. See? How hard was that?
The second one is slightly less punchy but I quite like it. It goes like this
“Heyyyyyyyyy! Hey Toby! OOHH! AHHH! I wanna knoowwwwwwwwww… How to pronounce your name!
Pete C, THFC
For all the Spurs fans wanting to celebrate Toby Alderweireld and his defensive majesty, how about a bit of Quo. “And I like it, I like it, I like it, and I like it. Rocking with Toby Alderweireld.”
John Mac (sitting in the dock of De Gea) Limerick via Loch Gorman
Alex G THFC’s point about Spurs fans’ chant-writing abilities being dogsh*t got me thinking about the funniest ones I’ve heard. The best has got to be traveling West Ham fans away at Anfield making Jonjo Shelvey run for his Horcruxes singing, “He’s coming for you! He’s coming for you! Harry Potter is coming for you!”.
I’m sure there are tons of contenders in other languages in other countries, but this one sprung to my mind. What’s the funniest you’ve come across/been a part of?
-Adi Chicago MUFC (He comes from Serbia, He’ll f**kin Murder ya!)
Responding to Andy G regarding footballer names and their songs. I can’t hear anyone refer to Lassana Diarra without singing his name along to “La Tristesse Durera” by Manic Street Preachers. It’s been an affliction of mine for the best part of 10 years!
Rich CCFC (scream to a sigh-igh-igh)
Let’s all have a disco
Ronaldo, Bale and Isco