Two Tuesday Bullets….

"Mini-Essien": What up TSG?! I came to play at least.

Some Tuesday thoughts that came from walking to work and listening to a little Mason Jennings and Watsky.

• I’m writing this little blurb before the Manchester United-Manchester City Carling Cup game was postponed today.

If I have to read–nay, be subjected to–one more piece rehashing the vindication of Leeds or another sensationalized headline of Jermaine Beckford being transferred to Mars….well…my point here is different and it has to do with moving furniture.

My expectation is that Manchester United should they have battled away at Manchester City today in the Carling Cup match, would have won 2-1 or 2-0….and not because Fergie threatened them or they are embarrassed about getting bounced in the FA Cup.

Now, I may be wholly wrong, but I’m sure everyone here has moved furniture at some time…maybe up a few flights of stairs? Let me introduce you to the “Moving Furniture Effect” of seasonal soccer.

You take up a big dresser up and then maybe you take some pillows. You take a box of books then you take some towels. You look at the annoyingly cumbersome TV stand and you keep avoiding it. There’s also that massive couch lurking in the corner, but that’s going last.

So you say, okay, let me get that TV stand out of the way first. You bang the TV stand against the walls, maybe you drop it a few times and it breaks a little, then you go downstairs and have some Sunny D before you carry up up the massive couch.

Well for Man United that TV stand was Leeds– they didn’t want to carry it up the stairs though it wasn’t hard and they ended up breaking the thing. The couch a Champion’s League game.

You can’t–and NBA Lakers coach Phil Jackson is a professor of this as is Chris Carmichael who trains Lance Armstrong–you can’t stay “up” at peak performance for all games of a season or stages of a race. Your body (and collectively a team) accepts a normal ebb and flow to their intensity and performance level. The prospect of moving the TV stand is not a daunting one, but I can’t rally behind it like the satisfaction of getting that couch up there. (Some may suggest the youngster–Obertan, Gibson, etc.–should have carried the game, but that’s hard when vets like Rooney and Neville–my goodness Neville–are playing so listlessly.)

The ebb and flow of moving and game play is natural.

So I just hate hearing about how Sir Alex Ferguson is losing it or the Red Devils have fallen from their lofty perch. Ain’t the case…it’s true they’ve lost some talent in Ronaldo. They’re a shade under their performance of the past few years…and a larger haircut from a few year’s back when the midfield was patrolled by Giggs, Scholes, Keane and Beckham. (By the way, does Elder Giggs, Fletcher, Carrick, Valencia have the same ring? Think not.)

That being said, they’re still the class of the class. Today, they now get to rest up for some more moving.

• Smokescreening!

Does Stu Holden head to Bolton now? I’m attempting to kick myself in my *ss with my heel this morning. Why didn’t I question why Stu Holden would turn down a guaranteed MLS contract and not have a guaranteed EPL contract waiting and risk injury. It sounded fishy and I just glossed over it.

Can Stu Holden not get a contract from an EPL team or worse a team (Aberdeen) in a lower division? I don’t think that’s the case; I’ve seen his game.

Must have been–and I might be kicking myself again tomorrow–the tenuous position that Owen Coyles was and is in. Sorry TSG community–I’ll step it up. Consider my first review of Holden’s Burnley move–albeit over leftover egg nog–my Leeds.

17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/05 at 11:44 AM

    Got a note in the TSG mail hatch that said we didn’t explain that Stuie thing well. Here’s another go:

    You would think that Stu is going to get a contract gauranteed or not move when he has $350K on the table (and presumably an out clause). At the least, when he’s not under contract he’s not going to risk an injury.

    It’s the manager who gets to pick players; gets him out on the pitch.

    I’m sure Owen Coyles saw this Bolton thing coming. He’s not going to lock up a player (who is cheap) at Burnley that he wants to put out on the pitch for his team if he’s moving to Bolton.

    Again, I may have egg on the face tomorrow on this one….


    • Posted by Dylan on 2010/01/05 at 11:55 AM

      So does this mean Stu might stay at MLS? Or you think he’s making the move w/ Coyles to Bolton?

      I heard that the Galaxy want to take a look at him to play next to and learn from Beckham.
      (Just kidding in a dreaming sort of way).


    • Posted by MichaelN on 2010/01/05 at 11:56 AM

      I totally agree with how goofy this situation is….you can never be sure about the rumors – but various sources made it seem like he had solid offers from Aberdeen and/or Blackburn (not to mention the Houston deal). Suddenly, he’s on a trial with a club that doesn’t even have the manager that brought him in…..yikes. Please tell me this thing resolves itself and Stu gets his chance somewhere, we’ve all discussed at length how important this move is for his whole career


    • Posted by Matt B on 2010/01/05 at 12:18 PM

      On the Burnley discussion board that was linked to this page a few days ago, one of the commenters mentioned that their friend’s uncle (or something like that) was a cab driver, who was told by Owen Coyle to take Stu straight to Bolton. I wonder if he has it in mind to take Iceman with him to Bolton, or if this was just ridiculous hearsay.


  2. Posted by Mark T on 2010/01/05 at 12:01 PM

    It is certainly not easy for a team to stay “up” for all-comers, but it isn’t impossible. We all just saw Barca win all six (I think) campaigns / tournaments it played in during 2009.

    Usually when a team loses to an inferior opponent the coach is the first place you look. That being said, teams have bad games, a keeper can have an off night, a double-handball can put a team in the lead, etc., but it remains the coach’s responsibility to get the team ready to play.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/05 at 12:02 PM

      I knew you were going to bring up Barca…and I have no rebuttal. I think that is a testament more to Barca being the classiest team since Arsenal 2003-4…..


      • Posted by Mark T on 2010/01/05 at 12:12 PM

        Did you see that article from Pep’s father speculating that he may “take a break” after this year due to the stress of the past year? He admitted he had no real info from Pep to say that, but if nothing it is a testament to how hard it accomplish what Barca did.


  3. Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/01/05 at 12:20 PM

    Calling Anderson a mini-Essien is a total insult to Essien. Anderson where as he might have tried was pretty useless and in fact his enthusiasm often resulted in a poor pass or terrible control. As it is often said about him…”he was woeful”. What makes Essien so great and others like him is that they can combine hard pace, tough tackling with precision, calmness and can take hold of the game with authority.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/05 at 12:24 PM

      Come now Shaun — I would never ever insult Essien.

      I think Anderson is in the wrong system…and you and I both know that system has a lot to do with it.


  4. Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/01/05 at 1:13 PM

    maybe…but sir alex is a very good manager and he has had many many many opportunities to shine. Regardless though, true class and talent will shine no matter what system you are in…just take you and how we on CGNU make you play defense when you’re a natural born playmaker:). You still shine like a diamond in the rough…so where as Anderson might have talent, he’s more of a “mini-matthewsf” than a mini-essien


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/05 at 1:15 PM

      Ha! I don’t know if that was a compliment, an insult or I’m being benched for next game.

      What say you to Gerrard on the International scene then given these comments below? Or (to a much lesser extent) Messi with Argentina this year?

      Touche! I think.


  5. Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/01/05 at 2:27 PM

    Confused as to what you mean by comments below…but am assuming what you mean by Gerrard and Messi and to an extent Dempsey is that they don’t perform for the their country as well as they do for their club given the system they are in. Where as i regard that as true they certainly do perform for their country…just not as dominant for them as club…which furthers my argument that class shines through. I leave Messi out of this as i haven’t followed Argentina in a while but both Gerrard and Deuce still score and set up goals for their country but they are not as dominant as they are for club (this written as Deuce sets up a goal with a gorgeous, intelligent pass to Dunn).

    Gerrard has scored 16 goals in 77 appearances for country (4 less than Lampard with the same amount of appearances). Thats one goal out of every 5 including some important ones which is a pretty good return for a midfielder (remember he has never really played in the withdrawn striker role). You mention that it seems he doesn’t care but he has a much more confined role for england than liverpool, so does not run around like a man possessed.

    Problem with all three players is that they are so important and so dominant for their club, that people expect them to do the same for country and that’s not easy. Most countries try and cram the best 11 players in a team versus trying to get the best man for each position. Capello has done a pretty good job at accommodating both lampard and gerrard (notice how both shine when the other is not their) but at the expense of joe cole. Saying he, dempsey and messi don’t try for country is ridiculous. they all play in a system they are not used too BUT all three have scored very important goals and played important roles for country.

    So, class does come through regardless of system…anderson is just not that good.


  6. Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/01/05 at 2:32 PM

    and as i hit submit…Dempsey scores AN UNBELIEVABLE goal…a wonder strike as described by the commentators. I know Donovan’s press conference was cancelled for today but i will be very curious as to see how he performs for Everton. I believe that Deuce is the US’s all round best player. Seeing how they both perform at the EPL will be a good gauge to see who is better…no?


  7. […] Well now Xavi, Pique, Iniesta and company will have time to replenish. It’s the Brazilians (Lucio, Cesar, Maicon–who was knocked around) who may need to be concerned about exhaustion. And a note, here. It’s more exhaustion of the mind, not the body. It’s hard to “get up” for one “championship” after another. Maybe an interesting read here. […]


  8. […] storyline in North London that also involves their archrival, Tottenham Hotspur. Shocking, “moving furniture” defeat to Wigan aside, Spurs are set for Champions League play and are certainly good enough, man […]


  9. […] only the league trophy a possibility after talk of winning four, Arsenal too often couldn’t handle what we at TSG call the “moving furniture” fixtures, losing to sides such as West Brom Albion and Bolton and drawing sides such as Wigan Athletic, […]


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