No blog last week due to busy times – I was interviewing Chiqui Arce about his plans to be the Brazil of South America (errr…you get the point), you can see a write up here.
This week we’ve got Diego Maradona kicking people, Romario scoring with his eyes closed and if the Premier League adopted the Argentine relegation system who would be heading for the drop?
This week’s stories
Maradona kicks a fan
You would think Diego Maradona is used to people trying to get a glimpse of him but he just couldn’t control himself when a fan kept ruining his photo opportunity by lifting up Maradona’s banner. Check his well aimed (naturally) left footed kick here.
Joe Cole on song
Not only did he give his new Lille teammates a rendition of “Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner” but he also went on a mazy run for a great assist in his first game, all rolled into this video clip here!
A game of better halves
In Turkey, Fenerbahce have come up with a novel solution to the hooligan problem in their stadium. After a ban was imposed for a pitch invasion by Ultras – Fenerbahce proposed they only allowed women and children under 12 to attend the game. An estimated 41.000 women and children attended the league match with Manisaspor in a move that is expected to be repeated by other clubs who suffer a similar problem. What an excellent solution to the persistent problem of hooliganism.
Cavani calling shots
Cavani’s hat trick for Napoli was, according to FIFA.com, the first scored against AC Milan since Gabriel Batistuta in 1998. It was Cavani’s fourth hat trick of 2011 and takes him to four goals in the season having scored the equaliser against Man City last week. Of course, Cavani’s hat trick exploits are no match for Mario Gomez in Germany, he managed consecutive trebles in his last two league games, actually getting four in the second game against Freiburg.
Bad week for USA on the continent
A quartet of American sides played in the CONCACAF Champions League this week and all four slumped to defeat. On Tuesday Seattle Sounders were undone at home by Costa Rica’s Herediano 1-0, despite having beaten the Central American’s last week in Costa Rica. On Wednesday it was the turn of Dallas, who are now on a five game winless streak, beaten by Mexican champions Pumas 2-0 in Texas. Colorado Rapids also crumbled at home to Honduran’s Real España with Gary Smith’s side losing 2-1 thanks to a double from veteran Carlos Pavon who netted his 100th goal for the club with his opening strike. Finally David Beckham’s LA Galaxy suffered a surprise defeat in Costa Rica to Alajuelense by the smallest of margins, Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane but it was Pablo Antonio Gabas of Argentina who got the solitary goal his 2nd of the season.
U17s get going in Asia
The AFC U17 championships qualifiers have come to and end (except for one group) and last week saw some big wins – Indonesia steamrolled Guam 17-0 after South Korea had won 8-0 against Chinese Taipei. The hapless Guam outfit then got hit for 10 by Australia and after four games had conceded 42 goals. Thailand and North Korea are the only two sides to have 100% records after the first four games.
Romario scores with his eyes closed
The old adage says ‘I could do it with my eyes closed’ and that is often applied to instinctive strikers but until now I’ve never seen somebody put their money where their mouth is (or blindfold where their eyes are) – Romario has, and he really can score with his eyes closed, thanks to 101 Great Goals for this video which is also where I bought you Maradona’s outburst!
FIFA Rankings released
Although they don’t make sense collectively, I think the FIFA Rankings are pretty useful for looking at an individual side’s performance. For example Uruguay are at their highest position (4th) since the rankings began and that makes sense, they are probably enjoying their best period since the 1950 World Cup final. Other teams at their highest ever position are Bosnia (22nd), Hungary (27th), Armenia (44th), Estonia (58th) and Belize (133rd). The big losers were Moldova who dropped 34 places to 122nd, they lost three on the bounce to Cyprus, Finland and Hungary in the last month.
Goal of the Week
There have been a few good ones owing to the midweek games, my favourite has to be this freekick from Santi Cazorla, a player I love watching anyway
Stat of the Week
72 – the number of Brazilian players who started in UEFA competitions last week, the most of any nation. For a full list check the excellent Spirit of Mirko blog.
Top Ten of the Week
With Paraguay well into the Clausura the pesky ‘Promedio’ is being mentioned, this is the strange relegation system of ranking sides by points garnered over the last 3 seasons. Of course if a team has recently been promoted only games played in the top division count. This is also the system used in Argentina which famously relegated River Plate earlier this year. If the promedio system was applied to the Premier League this is who would be in trouble.
10. Stoke City – (81 games 101 points) – 1.25 average
9. Fulham (81/98) – 1.21
8. Blackburn (81/97) – 1.20
7. Sunderland (81/96) – 1.19
6. WBA (43/50) – 1.16
5. Bolton (81/88) – 1.09
4. Wolves (81/85) – 1.05
3. Wigan Athletic (81/83) – 1.02
1. Norwich City (5/5) – 1
1. Swansea City (5/5) – 1
The average starts by this year’s three promoted sides mean two of them are staring at the drop but a few wins will pull them off this list quickly enough, it is Wolves and Wigan who really would be in serious danger if this system was imposed with Bolton not far away. Top of the list is of course Manchester United with a 2.22 average, Chelsea (2.06) are the only other side to average more than 2 points per game while Man City and Arsenal make up the Top 4 with 1.8 and 1.81 points respectively. Tottenham are a touch behind in fifth.
By Ralph Hannah