Saturday, March 9, 2013

Power Play!: Thoughts on the Football Week that Was

photo by berevia PhotoRee

Power plays are a familiar concept to Ed, who is constantly throwing his weight around the coprorate office and disparaging the other columnists:
Well, Gareth Bale scored another.  This time with his head, and Gylfi Sigurdsson did all the hard work.  That said, the guy keeps scoring and scoring and scoring.  Gone are the cheers (jeers?) of "Bale plays on the left!" as Bale is now solidly in the number 10 spot right behind Defoe or Adebayor.  Bale is a different sort of number 10, though, as he is not a distributor like Rooney or Kagawa to name a few, but rather someone who can take people on, beat them, and fire it into the back of the net.  

Someone noted that Bale's statistics are similar to Ronaldo's at this point in his career, and Jermaine Defoe noted that Bale reminds him of Ronaldo at this point in his career.  I think there is some similarity.  Ronaldo's footwork is superior of course, but Bale's isn't bad, and he certainly has more top end speed than Ronaldo.  It will be sad if and when Spurs lose him.  For some reason I'm hoping for the impossible -- that they find the money and will to keep him and he's fine with that. Unfortunately, that is a wishing against the wind.

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How about those Spurs?  They dispatched their nemises Arsenal over the weekend, and then completely dominated Inter Milan with their 3 to nothing victory.  To be honest, I'm not sure Spurs have every looked so good.  Sigurdsson continues to impress, and Scott Parker, who has been much (and unfairly in my opinion) maligned on this website had a brilliant game.  It is not simple to return from injury, and less simple to do so and have to join new midfield partners.  Dembele and Parker have both now seemed to have adjusted, and Parker played his best match of the season, completely dominating the holding midfield position.  A pleasure to watch.

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Might I suggest that the BPL started the season as the second or third best league in the world, but lately have been making the case that they are the best.  United showed it against Real Madrid even in their loss, and Spurs are showing it week to week in the Europa league.  While Chelsea is fading, they aint that bad, and Liverpool are surging lately with Suarez and Sturridge as dangerous as any pair in the world right now.  From top to bottom I think the EPL is back.

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Still not over the red card given to Nani?  Well, the rule change committee has a suggestion.  The red card in soccer almost always ruins the game.  Instead of the permanent ejection of the position, a ten or fifteen minute power play would be better.  The removal of the player and a three game suspension are definitely enough incentive to keep players from reckless red card behavior.  Add a fine if you need to as well.  However, it's almost unfair to put the refs in the position of having to make a call that will blow up the game even if it's made correctly.  Consider Nigel De Jong's karate kick in the World Cup against Xabi Alonso of Spain.  I suspect that if the ten minute power play rule was in effect then, Howard Webb probably and appropriately would have shown him red.  So do something useful for a change, FIFA, and change the rule for the good of the game.

This is farlieonfootie for March 9.

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