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Friday, September 28, 2007

Carling Cup, Leeds United and Womens' World Cup

Came across a number of moments of interest in the Carling Cup competition. Notably a sweet performance from Fernando Torres with a hat-trick, not just because he is a Liverpool player before anyone starts commenting negatively but of his handling in obtaining the goals admist the occurrences of sneaky misalignment of foot movement by Reading defenders Michael Duberry and Andre Bikey in pursuit of the ball but instead making contact with Torres' lower limbs. How the referee did not give the penalty for Liverpool was bewildering, much less how he allowed the mentioned misalignments.

James McFadden grabbed two and set up new Toffee man Aiyegbeni Yakubu at Hillsborough to overwhelm Sheffield Wednesday and I never understood why David Moyes hardly played McFadden. The player has skills and vision and complements the likes of Yakubu and Andrew Johnson almost in the same way as Mikel Arteta does. His goal for Scotland against France recently was a superb way to win a game much less a qualifier and I see his playing for Everton to be key to their season with the addition of Arteta when fit. Alongside Kris Boyd for Scotland, McFadden in such form can lead Scotland to the Euro2008 tournament too.

Man Utd fielded a completely changed side on Wednesday from that which won on Sunday, starting with six internationals in Tomasz Kuszczak, Jonny Evans, John O'Shea, Gerard Pique, Nani, Anderson and Dong Fangzhou, not to mention Chris Eagles who was loaned to Watford last season and has featured in the first team before. In front of more than 74,000 at Old Trafford, Utd were expected to parade up-n-coming players to shine but were outdone by two Michael Mifsud finishes. Wes Brown came on for the second half and Michael Carrick joined in some 11 minutes later with the score at 0-1. It was a surprise but congrats to Coventry City, they earned the scalp and proceed to the next round.

Leicester City were guests at Villa Park, the hosts featuring the much sought after Curtis Davies in his Villa debut, at home too. But the match saw Villa efforts thwarted and then the hosts going behind to a Matt Fryant effort underneath Stuart Taylor in the 74th minute. By his own admission, Davies said he was like "a pub team player", so disappointed was he in his performance. Having been on for 80mins before being replaced, Martin O'Neill must have thought differently. It is now about where Leicester go from Wednesday night. New boss Gary Megson has earned a Premier League team scalp too, away, so it will be interesting to see how Leicester take confidence from the result.

Where North London was concerned, my colleague T has written on his Gooners' showing on Tuesday, so that leaves that of Spurs. The is-it-isnt-it saga about Martin Jol being replaced continues, and so does he with his responsibilities, which include managing the team during games. Jol considered that Jermaine Defoe's efforts during the tie were not forthcoming enough and replaced him with Robbie Keane. Boos went around White Hart Lane as a result, YET Keane provided the touch within a minute or two of coming on for Gareth Bale, who rounded Brad Jones in goal and slotted in.

Inspirational substitution, no? Still worthy of Jol being booed? I don't think so. If the message was the fans were behind Jol, the boos fell way short of extending that message, so it was a good thing Keane was so influential so quickly, otherwise the knives would definitely be out for the Spurs manager. The message to Defoe is score every time you play and I expect he will get confidence from scoring to enhance his position.

A little mention about Leeds United. Well documented about their pre-season financial positioning and that within the FA, they have gone unbeaten with a 100% record since the beginning of the season. I hope they can do it, get promotion back into the Championship. If Juventus can do it, so can Leeds United.

Final mention goes to the Women's World Cup. Not the first time of watching women's football for me but I've followed the England team since the opening 2-2 draw with Japan, two superb freekicks from Japan's Aya Miyama in that opener. England went out to the USA team 0-3 in the quarter-finals, and the Americans featured yesterday afternoon in the semis against Brazil. I had the fortune to be able to watch the match from the second half and saw great playability from Brazil who tore into the 10 American players remaining after the sending off of Shannon Boxx, which was as unjust as the penalty decision at Anfield! Boxx was already on a yellow card but Brazil forward Christiane clipped onto the back of Boxx and both players fell. The referee then came over and stiffly raised a second yellow for Boxx. Christiane reacted by a clear clenched fist and a big grin which was definitely uncalled for and unsportsmanlike.

Brazil had already gone two goals ahead by then, as Formiga's corner caused panic and Leslie Osborne inexplicably nodded a low header into her own net. Then woman-of-the-match Marta cut inside from the right and slotted in from the edge of the box with veteran keeper Brianan Scurry getting two hands to the ball to no avail. Scurry was not first choice for the tournament and why she was selected ahead of the first choice Hope Solo, who had not conceded in the previous three games in the competition, is another baffling question. Coach Greg Ryan said Brazil's play meant the potentiality of plenty of shots and touches which he felt was more suited for Scurry to deal with. Sorry but Scurry was not looking credible enough for her selection.

The second 45mins it was pure Brazil. Maycon used the left wing as a landing strip every time she galloped down it to bring cross after cross into the box, Marta and Formiga used the left flank more and piled more pressure on the defence while Christiane waited in the box for the numerous passes that came her way. The third goal came courtesy of Formiga as she slotted a sweet slide-rule pass for Christiane to tee up and side-foot her goal. The USA put on Tina Ellertson to help reduce the attacks of Marta but the Brazilian forward left the USA defender with skills on two occasions. One, she did a 360-degree turn to feed Christiane to no avail but the second was where she received a pass from Formiga and then flicked it with the outside of her left foot around Ellertson and went the other way to collect. Ellertson tried to hold her up with a tug but Marta was already gone, dropping her shoulder to fool another defender as she entered the box and then fiercely striking the ball low with her weak right foot past Scurry.

The USA team had gone previously fifty-one games unbeaten. The Germans meet the Brazilians in the final, on Sunday at 1pm. The Americans face the Norwegians in the 3rd/4th place play-off also on Sunday at the earlier time of 10am. I note that when a tackle goes in on a player, there is no diving, no theatrics and players get up and get on with it. My goodness, how I would endorse the same in the mens' game.



Blogger T said...

Fantastic commentary Redsman, makes for very good reading.

I have not had the opportunity to catch the Women's world cup but having seen the highlights on the video I'm impressed by the skills and speed of the Brazilian forwards. The US coach seems to have made an incomprehensible error to drop his first choice keeper for the semi - how did he explain that?

I was glad to see the Maltese international Mifsud score the two goals against Man Utd. I have an indirect Maltese connection and for some time have been waiting fot the first Maltese national to make a footballing mark. I saw Mifsul earlier in the season and liked his energy, commitment and ability. Obviously a young coach that I really rate - Iain Dowie - similarly rates his qualities and it paid off on Wednesday night with their upset win. Mifsud is one to watch in the Championship division.

I also heard the comments made by Curtis Davies and found them astonishing because it really is the exception to hear a player be so definitive and honest about what he considered to be a terrible personal performance. Must say that I admire Davies for this: says a lot about his character that he is willing to be so openely self-critical when he considers he hasn't met required standards. Davies is an England Under 21 centre-back who has already captained West Brom before his £9m move to Villa. He is another with a bright future and I back to him succeed.

Finally, great hat-trick for Fernando Torres, excellent finishing and all-round performance against heavy tackling from the Reading defence. The big debate is whether Benitez will drop him for the third successive Premiership match. Logic says he shouldn't: Torres is on form and fully fit. But Benitez is fully committed to the rotation principle so it really is guesswork to say whether we see the Spanish striker in the starting line-up at the JJB stadium later today.

9/29/2007 9:33 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

womens football= who cares.

torres=who cares

Carling cup=who cares

Man utd= who bloody well cares

eft=who bloody well cares

Whole site=rubbish

9/29/2007 1:28 pm

Anonymous Dean Martman (AKA Foxes) said...

Hi, like the site, dislike twits that put stupid comments without no meaning whatsoever. You guys put effort into it (I know about efforts into web-sites) and it has a nice touch and theme to it all. Could do with a bit more decor, clear up the green background, add some pattern to it, something like that but its decent.

I dont particularly latch onto the girls football but it was a change from the norm. Think I'll watch the final tomorrow as it comes before the Sky game of Everton with Middlesbrough so get a comparison of the two.

I'm a Leicester fan and am concerend as to Mandaric's intentions for the club, sacking Martin Allen before he had a good chance at the helm, but we got a result at Villa Park, for all the cold and drizzle that came with it, and an earned draw against Stoke with Mattie again popping up with the goods gives hope.

So anyway, keep up the good work and ignore idiots like the anonymous lot who talk big under anonymity. Here's one for the commentor above......

Women's football = it's ok

Torres = good player

Carling Cup = I care because we are in it

Man Utd = good work by Coventry against Goliath

EFT = decent site, decent thoughts

Whole site = Interesting, need some improvement decor-wise

Anonymous people who write garbage yet call other peoples' efforts rubbish = waste of space and should get a proper life instead of being sourpusses' and provie something to the community instead of selfish comments.

9/29/2007 7:57 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks Dean, appreciate the constructive comments about the site.

We've had this decor since starting the site in early 2005 - so probably it's time for an update. Thanks for the idea.

As for the anon comments - thanks for your back-up. For me if they are just looking for confrontation they lack all merit and are instantly dismissable.

I haven't seen Leicester this season. Liked the look of Matt Fryatt when at Walsall and thought it was a good buy for the Foxes' when he moved. Mandaric had his run-in's with managers at Portsmouth but for me showed good insight in recruiting Harry Redknapp to get them into the Premiership and he has a long background in football so I tend to trust his judgement. I hope your team has a good year.

9/30/2007 9:24 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

All that which Anon (1.28PM) stated above I have an interest in, including Man Utd as they continue to follow behind Arsenal with others in the league. If you, Anon, feel that way then its your perogative. If anyone had seen the Women's World Cup thus far I beg you differ as to its merits.

I suggest you get to know the site well before commenting. If anything we are keen to opinionate, factually. Just seems to be something for a few to snipe.

Dean, ditto that of T in thanks. Villa had beaten Chelsea, with Mourinho, at Villa Park and came from beating Everton likewise at home so to grab an unexpected win in the competition could bode well for the Foxes, recalling the time of Steve Walsh, Emile Heskey and Steve Claridge as winners in 1997 and another win in 2000.

As for behind the scenes at the Walker Stadium, it could also turn out to be nothing of concern. Mandaric thought good enough to want Redknapp back at Fratton Park and then left for new pastures. Maybe Mandaric felt Allen did not have the ummph of personality like Redknapp and/or felt he was being undermined by Allen.

I would suspect the former, whether Gary Megson has that ummph is yet to be thoroughly seen. But the win on Wednesday was a good start to what could have been a bad beginning for Megson at Leicester.


9/30/2007 9:58 am

Anonymous Striker said...

Hi guys, Great reading as always.

As for the mentally handicaped (idiot)reader & his comment contribution...anyone hiding behind an anonymous tag is a coward, a real piece of human crap whos writings lose meaning. Good one mate! sure you have outdone yourself.

10/02/2007 12:49 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Hey, Striker. Thanks for your comments, though describing that writer 'mentally handicapped' insults the mentally handicapped. The mentally handicapped have a physical condition that renders their mental capability at a much weaker strength than the average person, yet they display themselves in a far more accommodating and natural manner. I think people like that commentor suffer from diminshed responsibility over the internet, to be so sided that they see nothing else apart from that they wish to.

Anyhow, I've been wondering how Sevilla has been since the season began. They were hit awfully, as we all were in football particularly, by Puerta's passing and they have, if my knowledge is correct, two wins and no draws out of five, leaving them nearer the bottom of the table than the top. They seemed quite reduced against Arsenal as I fancied Sevilla for the Champs League since their UEFA Cup escapades and league form, but I wonder if they can pick themselves up right now.


10/02/2007 4:54 pm

Anonymous Striker said...

Agree on the moron.

But back to Sevilla. I believe they will soon be back to their level, if yesterdays Champions League display is a sign. They have been weakened with injuries with their regular central defenders, plus the Puerta incident would have played its part.

We should see them soon up there back in form.

10/03/2007 1:59 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks Striker, always good to have you on EFT...

I put down Sevilla's recent run as understandable given Puerta's sad passing. The impact within the squad would obviously be tangible and they need to settle again. Their win yesterday is eveidence that their quality will prevail - and I personally anticipate quite a game when my team travels down to Seville in late November.

10/03/2007 6:11 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, didnt expect such a reaction! Your site is dopey, been said before and will be said contiuously until such time as you disappear or shape up. I think you'll disappear. Mentally retarded? Hiding behind what exactly? Nothing to hide from on here. Talk football is nothing else but talk crap, so what you got to say? Sod all. Redsman, up yours, dim what? bet you're the one whose mad and sore from the shafting the French gave you hahaha so funny and you are what goign for the title?? hahahahah Joke. 4th place if you're lucky and Blackburn dont take it!! Whose this crap foxes shite Championship team coming up and giving the biggun hahahaha youre out the cup next time fella so swig on that for a laugh hey t merit and what?? What you want a badge?? No wonder your sad a Goner shite thinkt your al that cause you aint met anyone else

god, crap site crap shite you want go to football and watch it then talk mateys not no uni bollocks nothing about football wants a degree want to live it mateys had a good one!

10/04/2007 10:55 am


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