Monday, December 31, 2012
The Soccerholic365 blog site will permanently be moving to Unfitreferee.com.
Daily content has been increased. trending news and video--plus, original features and analysis.
Everything begins on January 1st, 2013.
Here's the link, and see for yourself....
Despite how badly Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway wants to keep Wilfried Zaha at Selhurst Park, the likely-hood of losing his star player in January has become all the more real. Four-clubs are already being linked to a reported eight figure swoop--a day before the window has been opened.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are allegedly on the brink of a bidding war for Palace's 20 year-old winger. The asking price would be in the region of £15-20 million, with Eagles chairman Steve Parish insisting upon the highest fee. Both, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are huge admirers of the talented English international—albeit a six-minute substitute appearance against Sweden in a friendly.
Holloway has said the right things, insisting on Zaha stay with the club at least until the end of the current campaign, and concentrate on his football. It's proper advice, especially with Palace currently residing in fourth place in the Championship table, and in the fight for promotion.
United has been suspected of having a £8 million projected bid turned down—it could very well be only a rumour.
We all know how this time of the season goes, with more fake stories than real ones. But, if he does make the jump into the Premier League, is it a bit premature? Zaha believes the time is right, having played over 100 games in the Championship, and very badly wanting to prove his quality at the top level.
"To be honest, if I had the chance in January and Palace agreed, it's something I'd want to go for," admitted Zaha.
Reports claim that £10 million is the cut-off point, and Palace wants to wrap up any potential sale within the first week.
Let the auction begin.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Whether it be his rant on adding sex appeal to women's football through skimpier outfits, or a good old handshake being the remedy for discriminatory behaviour on the field. When Mr. Blatter chooses to comment on matters pertaining to the beautiful game, it's safe to say, his judgement is not ideal.
Corruption in FIFA? That's an absurd notion. Future World Cup hosts Russia and Qatar are both shining examples of a squeaky clean image. Discrimination and Human rights violations are apparently of minimal importance. Not to mention his initial stance to goal-line technology.
But, that's another issue all together.Uncle Sepp was at it again over the weekend--having a dig at Major League Soccer.
"There is no very strong professional league (in the U.S.)," Blatter said. "They have just the MLS but they have no professional leagues which are recognized by the American society."
And here I thought that a consistent rise in attendance proved otherwise--increasing from approximately 15,500 in 2006 to almost 19,000 last season. Add into account an additional seven new franchises in the same time period, including expansion into Canada.
The final statistic that disproves Blatter's ridiculous claim--13 franchises from a possible 19 have erected soccer specific stadiums. More proof of continuous growth and development of the sport in North America.
Adopting a league schedule that mirrors Europe is the only argument of Blatter's that has some merit. Although, it's a concept that is difficult to implement by MLS commissioner Don Garber--considering some of the venues have to put into consideration the demands of the NFL and MLB schedules.
"They have to play and adapt themselves to the international calendar," Blatter has previously stated. "If they do that, they can have success.
Judging by the numbers, and the exposure gained through David Beckham's arrival onto the scene, which has been followed by a good number of European football's biggest names--the MLS is laying down a solid foundation into the American professional sport's market.
Proving once again that Blatter suffers from a strong case of foot-in-mouth disease.
It took under a half hour for Liverpool to earn a convincing 3-0 victory at Loftus Road on Sunday.
Within 16 minutes, Luis Suarez had scored a brace through two splendid individual efforts, and Daniel Agger sealed it with 63 minutes left to play off a decisive header from a short corner kick.
Another painful loss was the inevitable outcome despite over an hour left in the match--the fans knew it, and judging by their performance after conceding the opener, embarrassingly, the QPR players knew it as well.I would love to have been inside the Rangers dressing room at the break--a gutless performance that lacked any passion or urgency, definitely earned the players a famous Harry Redknapp obscenity fuelled tongue lashing.
Liverpool were without Brendan Rodgers on the sideline barking out orders, due to illness, but, the team responded with a convincing 90 minutes of dominating football. The passing game was superb, and more importantly, the Reds were clinical in front of goal, finishing early chances to put the match out of reach.
Without taking away from Liverpool's positive display, the dismal performance by Rangers on their home ground needs to be mentioned. They offered up zero resistance to their opponents relentless charge--practically ball watching and allowing Liverpool to take 4-5 touches on every possession. It was utterly disgraceful at this level, playing as if they are already relegated.
Heads will roll, especially with Redknapp as manager. Unfortunately, errors from the previous regime has left the team bloated with personnel, with virtually no room for new blood to be purchased during the winter window. Redknapp must find a way to sell at least a half dozen players, most being on fat contracts that are undeserving of their qualities and output this season--making them practically impossible to offload in January.
What makes things worse is the majority of players on massive contracts have no relegation clause written into their deals. Should they drop down to the Championship--which is looking more likely game by game--The long term sustainability of the club comes into question.Owner Tony Fernandes spent heavily to keep his clubs Premier League status, backing his manager almost to a fault, having no experience in running a football club--it's a tough lesson learned.
The best example of this irresponsible behaviour is by looking at Jose Bosingwa's ridiculous wage packet--earning more money than every player currently under contract at Redknapp's former club Tottenham. And the list sadly goes on and on.
Redknapp has pulled off miracles in the past, but, looks set-up and destined to fail at Loftus Road
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Turns out referee Mick Russell booked the wrong man. Sheffield Wednesday's Jeremy Helan was adjudged to have made two bookable offences in the match against Huddersfield Town on Saturday--at least that's what Terriers manager Simon Grayson had thought when the incident occurred 25 minutes into the first half.
However, a red card never followed.
The official later admitted to have written the number of Helan's teammate Michail Antonio for the initial foul early in the match. Even some of the players were fooled, thinking Antonio was booked for a dive, not Helan for a challenge.
Either way, A mistake was made, and Russell accepted responsibility. Unfortunately, the admission of guilt doesn't change the result, which ended 0-0. But, having an extra man for 65 minutes could have made a difference.
Even at the professional level, nobody's perfect, though it was a bush league error and Russell deserves some sort of punishment. Huddersfield must take it on the chin and move on.
Emirates Stadium was treated to an 10 goal thriller on Saturday, with Theo Walcott taking centre stage in a 7-3 victory over Newcastle.
Arsene Wenger handed Walcott the responsibility of leading the Gunners front line--his favoured position--and the response was electric, scoring a hat-trick and earning man of the match honours.
It was the perfect ending to 2012--a complete performance by the hosts, showing great determination to make sure all three points were secured, despite a valiant effort by the Magpies.
Arsenal held the lead on three separate occassions, only to see Newcastle battle back each time. Judging by the history between these two clubs--remember the four goal comeback by the Magpies in February 2011--the mood was tense inside the Emirates.
But, Walcott turned out to be the saviour by scoring his second of the match in the 73rd minute to ease Wenger's anxiety. Another three goals followed before the final whistle, with Walcott collecting the match ball with his third tally--also adding two assists.
As Thierry Henry cheered from the stands, watching his successor produce one of his best performances of the season, the importance of Walcott signing a contract extension were heightened. Wenger successfully transitioned Henry from a wide-man to one of the Premier League's best strikers, and hopes to do the same with Walcott should he convince him to stay in North London.
After Saturday, clubs might test Arsenal's resolve and table a significant bid for Walcott in January. In his last seven league matches, Walcott has scored six goals and five assists--having netted 14 times total in all competitions with eight deliveries.
Wenger must act fast to avoid losing yet another one of his top players in the summer, but, this time for free and without compensation.
Nottingham Forest shocked their supporters and some of their players with the firing of manager Sean O'Driscoll last Wednesday. The manner in which the sacking took place was tasteless to say the least, following a 4-2 victory at their City Ground that lifted them to within a single point of a playoff place in the table.
The Al Hasawi family lost patience with O'Driscoll after a poor run of form that brought with it two wins from the teams last six matches—the Kuwaiti owners expected to be in the race for automatic promotion at this point of the season.
The decision to sack the manager was largely unpopular among Forest fans, and the owners found a way to make things even worse by appointing Alex McLeish as O'Driscoll's successor.
Considering the rumour mill was throwing out the names of Mark Hughes, Roberto Di Matteo and Forest hero Roy Keane—ending up with McLeish was a shot in the gut.
McLeish had a disastrous run with Aston Villa last season that earned him the axe last May, playing a brand of football that was unappealing and more importantly ineffective. The Scotsman is confident of winning over the fans with victories, but, that remains to be seen.
Currently, McLeish is a lone wolf in the Forest despite his optimism.
The Reds hosted Crystal Palace on Saturday, with McLeish sitting in the directors box and assistant coaches Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Rob Kelly in temporary charge of the first team for the match.
Forest ended up earning a hard-fought 2-2 draw, with Billy Sharp scoring an injury time equalizer. McLeish was able to witness first-hand his new team's determination and never-say-die attitude after coming from behind twice to avoid defeat.