Optimism and excitement is the mood in Orlando, Florida. Not just from the thousands of families descending upon Disneyland, but because they have a brand new football team with a brand new player to idolise.
That new team is Orlando City, and that player is Kaká.
The Brazilian has put pen to paper on a deal which made him the first designated signing for the franchise, who will begin playing in MLS in 2015, with the midfielder being sent on loan to his first club, São Paulo, in the meantime.
Despite the delirium, the Kakámania, with hundreds greeting the former Ballon d’Or winner at the airport, I can’t help but shake the feeling that we have missed out on something – A player who could have become something more. Upon reading the news, my initial thought, and I assume along with many others on this side of the pond and around the world, was “what a player he could have been.”
Premier League Talking Points – Week 9
The first game of the weekend was at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace took on Arsenal in their first game following Ian Holloway’s departure from the club. Following the victory over Norwich City last week it was assumed that the Gunners would get their biggest win of the season against a Palace side that was five points from safety already.
The game started as expected, Arsenal dominated a large percentage of the possession as Palace just sat back and allowed the league leaders to pass the ball in front of them. A groin injury to midfielder Mathieu Flamini however turned the half on its head when he was taken off for Serge Gnabry.
After this, Palace began to press the ball, captain Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi the most influential players for Palace, and despite Arsenal’s far superior possession, they were unable to actually create any clear cut chances. The first shot on target happened to come from a former Gooner favourite, Marouane Chamakh. Towards the end of the half Arsenal were constantly split open at the back from set pieces and were lucky not to go in behind.
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Premier League talking points – Week 8
It’s safe to say that it was an afternoon which David Marshall will want to forget quickly. Chelsea were able to equalise via a goal which has resulted in many blowing the dust off their FA rule book to test its legality (the more technology savvy just downloaded the PDF which is available on the FA’s website) after Samuel Eto’o stole the ball from Marshall when the Cardiff keeper bounced it which should have been deemed as a foul.
On the flip side however, you could argue that Marshall should not have been on the pitch at all, after clearly handling the ball outside of his area – which shows there may be some truth in the whole “football evens itself out” spiel after all.
After missing two clear violations of the rules though, it’s safe to say Anthony Taylor and his assistants are the ones who had a bad day at the office.
The key emotion I’ve felt while watching Liverpool over the past few weeks is frustration. Since the Premier League resumed following the international break there has been a bit of a wobble in the form of a side that was, until last weekend following a 1-0 home defeat to Southampton, undefeated and on top of the league. That result was sandwiched between a 2-2 draw away at Swansea and a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the League Cup Third Round.
I wouldn’t say emergency sirens are ringing though, as the team are still performing well above expectations. I really can’t complain too much, especially considering this time last year The Reds in 14th place and already 11 points behind the then leaders, Chelsea.
However, there is still room to be slightly concerned about the performance of the side recently, especially in the midfield.
In the last three league games – the draw at the Liberty Stadium, the loss to Southampton and the victory against a newly freed from the wrath of Di Canio, Sunderland – it seemed like Liverpool struggled to deal with the pressure put upon them by the opposition’s midfield.
“I will be leaving Manchester United at the end of the season and that is it.”
It has only taken 11 years for Alex Ferguson to live up to that statement, but now, after the announcement that David Moyes will replace him during the Summer, we are finally at the end of Fergie’s dominance of English football as he draws the curtains on a managerial career that has spanned almost four decades.
Opinions about the man himself will differ depending on who you ask but it is impossible to dismiss the fact that he is one of the top managers the world of football has ever seen.
Before trying his hand at management, he played as a striker for a number of Scottish clubs including Queen’s Park, Dunfermline, Falkirk and Rangers, and although he never stayed at one club for very long, he can still boast a decent goalscoring record, scoring 171 goals in 317 league games.
“Ferguson was a frightening bastard from the start”
The words of ex player, Bobby McCullen, as Ferguson started his managerial career at East Sterlingshire in 1974. The team didn’t have a single goalkeeper at the club at the time but that didn’t stop him making a name for himself, attracting St. Mirren.
Traditionally, football has always been viewed as the mistress of the average male, and today that is still the case, only now, she’s been seen hanging around with blokes named Chauncey or Rupert – the kind of lads who claim they are the Queen’s 45th cousin, or almost definitely vote for David Cameron and chums.
Professional football is now a multi-billion pound business run by power and money mad egotists and it is ever so easy to miss the special spark that made you love this sport. From clubs extorting fans for a single match ticket to the very top of football’s hierarchy doing the bare minimum to eradicate long term problems such as racism because it is obviously lower down in their list of priorities than their continually increasing commercial interests at the minute.
Recently however, there have been some sobering reminders that football is not all about the cash, and people actually play for pride, and to give something for their fans and nations to cheer about when there doesn’t seem to be much else.
In recent times, where football is played in such a way that it is compared to works of art thanks to the likes of Barcelona and the Spanish national side, it is frowned upon when a side swims against the current and plays a more unattractive brand of football, one that sees more yellow cards than goals and intricate passing. Step forward Stoke City.
I count myself as one of those people who hates the style of football that Stoke play, but I also find it admirable as they continue to play that way despite all of the criticisms and complaints from opposition players, managers and fans alike – especially Arsenal, somewhat justifiably – and it is has brought them stability in a league where an awful lot of clubs that come up from the Football League Championship go straight back down.