Haven’t done a Tuesday notes/thoughts column in a while. (Note, I have your questions for our first “The Shinbox”…it’ll take a longer to write out answers).
• Didn’t think the through ball could make it?
The 5-0 shellacking that Real Madrid took at the hands of the Nou campers yesterday was certainly unexpected. While we tweeted about a number of things (beyond Messi, Xavi, etc.) that Barcelona had going for them–like David Villa being a perfect complement off the ball to Xavi and Xabi Alonso failing to demand the ball–were trumped by one tactical error by the normally spot-on Jose Mourinho.
The Special One bet that against a flat five-man backline, protected by three midfielders tucked in, that Barcelona (in something they failed spectacularly at against Mourinho’s Inter last year) would be forced to the flanks and then forced and baited into the over-the-top ball (sans Zlatan Ibrahimovic).
Didn’t work and Real Madrid got shredded. Xavi, for one continually found Pedro and Villa for through balls that compromised that tactic. And that, my friends, is the main story in this one.
• Beyond Appeasement
While many suggest the potential MLS schedule change to conform to the FIFA schedule is merely kowtowing to Sepp Blatter prior to Thursday AND that the schedule change has no chance of succeeding and further of being successful, consider this writer discenibly not in that camp.
I won’t go as far to say it will work, but consideration should be given and here are some reasons. One, it does make player movement that much easier and would push MLS into the player discussions that are going in May and August, etc.
Two, while some suggest it would be near death to go up against the NFL season at the start of the campaign, conversely, take the case of the Colorado Rapids who received nearly zero local attention in their playoff lead-up because of the Denver Broncos. It’s a double-edged sword.
Three, it’s not like the TV ratings have really been ablaze. If Fox and ESPN are not going to push the league in it’s current seasonal slot, might want to change it up there.
Again, I’m not a promoter, I’m just saying it’s worth consideration.
A Bundesliga report has West Ham sideline statue Jonathan Spector headed, possibly to FC Cologne, in January.
Excellent! Nearly anywhere for the US rightback would a be a good move as it’s hard to sell, “Multiple continuous DNPs for a relegation-bound EPL team” to other English suitors.
Carry on Johnny S.
• Trembling hands await Thursday
The big World Cup bid(s) announcement is Thursday.
Consider me in the camp of those that don’t put too much merit in the Qatar bid. Perhaps I’m wrong, but a country that rules out libation, has serious issues with “other nations” that might attend, sits in the desert during the summer (regardless of stadium plans) and has known ties to terrorism just doesn’t have, say, the right cache for me.
I think the Qatar push is likely one that pays a lot of football-associated officials up until bid time and pushes the US bid (and Australia bid–my 2nd favorite) to the most possible concessions and offerings.
• J.J. jonesing for playing time
US international Jermaine Jones has been sent to the reserves by manager Felix McGrath. McGrath has been at odds with the American-German star through his entire tenure that started in July of 2009.
With Jones having the never-ending shin injury last year, McGrath has never really seen him play at his best AND was forced to bring in his own type of players–Peer Kluge–to cover for Jones last year.
Let’s see where this heads.
• Probably for the better?
Stu Holden is scurrying to heal his injured thigh before this weekend’s match with Manchester City. Uh, Stuie, might want to sit that one out and make sure you’re 100% before being subjected to another Nigel De Jong tackle.
• Gary Smith, rightback converter
Marvell Wynne re-ups with Colorado. Awaiting terms…
That’s now two rightbacks, Drew Moor and Wynne, that Gary Smith has successfully pushed inside.