Posts Tagged ‘Oguchi Onyewu’

EPL Week 3: Now We’re Rolling

"Hey TSG, if I get into the EPL can you throw some press my way?" Damn right Jay!

"Hey TSG, if I get into the EPL can you throw some love my way?" Sure Jay!

(As last week, each Thursday we’ll try to give you our insights on the English Premier League primarily and other global leagues with analogies and dialogue favoring Americans Abroad.)

Wow, we’re at week 3 already in the EPL. This is the week that you discover if data points from the first two week are part of a growing trend or if they are put out to pasture as isolated instances.

Let’s get right to it.

ESPN’s Saturday Game of the Week: Chelsea vs. Burnley

Chelsea is coming off a convincing away win against Fullham at Craven Cottage after clubbings of Hull and Sunderland to start the term. Nice segway here in that Burnley have proven to be 2009 version of 2008 Hull City Tigers who took the EPL by storm and we’re sitting in the top half of the Premiership through December of last year. Burnley can boast wins over two of last year’s top five teams in “Premiership champ” (they should just make that their official nickname now) Manchester United and Everton. Admittedly Everton was in disarray, but nonetheless impressive wins for the recently promoted squad.

I think Chelsea will keep the duo of Anelka and Drogba up top so they can continue forming their partnership, it’s possible you may see Kalou given a start though and also see munchkin Deco as well.

Here’s how I would watch this game. Tune in for the first 15 minutes and get a read on the game. If it’s back-and-forth, grab your oatmeal. If Chelsea looks dominant, check back in at the 30 minute mark of the 2nd half. If Chelsea are not on top by more than 1-0, you’ll know Burnley are for real and the next 15 minutes or so will merit a look-see.

The first heavyweight fight of the season: Manchester United vs. Arsenal (on FSC, 9:30 PST I believe)

Now, this is the game you want watch. Arsenal visiting Old Trafford. Arsene Wenger’s squad has been lights out to start the season, raking both Everton and Portsmouth over the coals the past two weeks. However, they are facing a renewed Red Devil squad after their 2nd half massacring of Wigan last week. If not for that 2nd half, I think you would have had a completely different storyline coming into this week of Man U’s season on the ropes or endless discussion on Ronaldo’s absence. (Alas, Rooney was near the equal of Ronaldo from a focal point perspective).

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There is a rivalry going on right now….

I have to be honest. I’m like a kid in a candy store this morning.

It’s an overcast dawn here in SF (nothing new really); justification to stay in side.

It's old timers day....

It's old timers day....

Man U and Man City are playing…..on different channels! I am pressing the “last” button on my remote more than if the Superbowl and World Series were on at the same time. I never had Setanta just Fox Sports so this is the first time this was possible for me.

I’m mostly watching the game at Old Trafford this morning. I want to see how the AIG’ers play without Ronaldo.

Some observations this morning across both games:

At the City of Manchester Stadium, Man City is already up 1-0 on a Adebayor poke 20mins in about.  Watching a few minutes of this game against Wolverhampton (another idea for my first son’s name), it’s clear to see against lesser competition this year Man City might just start pouring in goals. Today they are featuring Adebayor, Tevez and Robinho–Wolverhampton looks a second late to where the ball just was on the pitch.

Over at Wigan’s DW Stadium, your eyes are not deceiving you, this is not 1999, those are relics Paul Scholes and Gary Neville being featured by Sir Alex.

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Compelling Story Lines Waltzing into Week 2

Just a fun August for TSG and soccer in general.

We’ve got transfer rumors up the wazoo and we’ve got swine flu scares. By the way, is anyone else sick of this swine flu-Altidore-Hull story?

Don't worry Phil, Jozy's about to suit up.

Don't worry Phil, Jozy will suit up.

I am, it’s over-reported and it is what it is. Worse, how about reporters asking for commentary on the story! Like I know the first thing about Jozy having swine flu. Everything else is conjecture. TSG just hopes he doesn’t have….whatever.

If you want to learn the latest on Jozy’s situation, just click here and make your own judgments.

or

Just check-in with Jozy’s latest Twitter: Finally on the plane to england :) I just want to play. Once again thanks for all your support guys”

Let’s get back to soccer and transfer buzz and stop being the secondary or tertiary source of rumor-based “news.” It’s like this story is sitting at the grocery checkout counter and running next to Rachael McAdams (hottie) is having an alien baby or World Cup 2010 cancelled. Enough already.

Apologies for the diatribe. Here’s some of the soccer-based and factual things that TSG unearthed this week or will keep tabs on this weekend:

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Another look at an American in Italy

Onyewu plies his trade at Newcastle ('06)

Onyewu buddies with Bramble at Newcastle ('06)

Not since Alexi Lalas rushed back from a relegation match near Venice in 1994 to play for the U.S. near the city of Angels World Cup game, has an American defender made quite a stunning news splash as the Gooch, Oguchi Onyewu, did this past week.

Yes, we’re late to the news and commentary here, but for those that missed the episode, Mr. Onyewu is going to Milan, not to play for The Special One, but to rub elbows with Pirlo and maybe Beckham, et al at the San Siro.

While the move might have been financially motivated by A.C. Milan–Gooch came at no transfer price because he was out of contract–it’s an interesting selection by both to say the least.

Gooch’s game, aerial disruption of hopeful crosses and set pieces and man-on-man marking in the box, seems to be best suited for vertical game of the EPL. However, if you recall, Onyewu was not up to the challenge just a few years ago playing with the Tynesiders.

For Milan, while Gooch’s 18-yard box prowess might have excelled in South Africa, the 2nd half of the Brazilian game had him falling asleep on defenders making runs in the seams and failing to cover on the 2nd Brazilian goal. Apparently, Milan’s decision was made after the 1st half.

At Milan, Gooch will be forced to rely a bit less on his physical domination and more on skill. Sure, he may not start for a bit in AC Milan, but remember he’ll be going up against the likes of Pato, Pirlo and Ronaldhino in training on a daily basis.

What the U.S. should get out of this is a more well-rounded central defender that will be forced to contend with and improve his game against niftier strikers and more cohesive offensive units.

Beyond a big win for U.S. soccer and U.S. soccer players–Charlie Davies is rumored headed to La Ligue–the USMNT will get a more experienced player who can better defend against the type of strikers they’ll see in the World Cup 2010.

Right on.

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