Thursday, December 28, 2006

I was expecting more fisticuffs on Boxing Day

Ashley Cole fucking up + Chelsea dropping points = sweet, delicious schadenfreude.

So much for Jose Mourinho's prediction that the Blues would be on top of the table by Boxing Day. Manchester United are still safely in first place, after beating Wigan 3-1. As I said over on OleOle, I've been happily surprised by how well they're doing this season, and I think a lot of it is because of Cristiano Ronaldo. I don't know if Sir Alex smacked him around after the World Cup or what, but whatever he did, it's working. Well done, Ronniecakes.

(Despite how much I love seeing United ahead of Chelsea, I can't get a lot of enjoyment out of the injury to John Terry. It's not that I like him -- I think he's kind of a dick, frankly -- but I know how much it sucks to be injured and not be able to play. And something chronic like a back injury, where you don't know how long it'll take to be back to 100%, is probably the worst kind. I was going to say, also, that I'd rather beat Chelsea in such a way that it gives Mourinho absolutely nothing to complain about, but on second thought that's not really possible. There's always something with him.)

As for Liverpool... *sigh*. They dominated the match against Blackburn, but they've gone back to being unable to score. A lot of those missed chances fell to Peter Crouch, which has revived the debate about why, for a big man, he's so bad at headers. Here's my theory, for your enlightenment: He's too tall.

I know, that seems counterintuitive. But bear with me. Crouch has probably always been the tallest player on the pitch, right? That means that he didn't really have to learn how to fight for the ball or focus on putting power on his headers. For most of his time as a footballer, it's been enough for him to just stand there and let the ball bounce randomly off his head. So now, coming up against more quality players when height alone isn't enough of an advantage, he doesn't have the instinctive reactions of somebody who's genuinely good in the air.

Why none of his coaches have figured this out and gotten him trained properly is another story, but I assume it's something along the same lines as Arsenal never doing shooting practice.

Boxing Day results:
Blackburn 1 - 0 Liverpool
Bolton 2 - 1 Newcastle
Chelsea 2 - 2 Reading
Everton 0 - 0 Middlesbrough
Manchester United 3 - 1 Wigan
Sheffield United 0 - 1 Manchester City
Tottenham 2 - 1 Aston Villa
Watford 1 - 2 Arsenal
West Ham 1 - 2 Portsmouth
Charlton 2 - 2 Fulham


Anonymous said...

Crouch - hah, nice... I gotta say, as a 6'4" midfielder myself- somtimes, waiting for the ball to bounce off my head is a valid strategy! Given.. the Prem isnt exactly the league for a strategy like that.

SM said...

it's a funny thing with the really tall players... kanu was absolute rubbish in the air for the arsenal (not THAT much better at pompey).

jan koller has never looked really convincing in the air, and in fact has come out and openly said that he is much more comfortable with the ball on the ground.

then there's crouch, and also adebayor.

nikola zigic, the giantest of them all is another keep-the-ball-on-the-ground big man, althought he is shit and good, on and off.

they are all just footballers who happen to be tall, but i guess more is expected out of them because of their height.

still maybe there's something more to it... maybe being TOO TALL is not good for heading?

drogba is an exception i guess, but he has only scored one head this season.

then look at someone like kolo toure, 5'10" winning every header of crouch.

amber said...

Yes injuries does cause worries not only to player's body but also to their mind.

It hurts to see other plat while we sit inside.i hope terry makes his way back in the team soon.

But then man utd would have had a undominatable lead