Wednesday, February 25, 2015

One of the eight best in Europe

What happened to Arsenal? They lost 1-3 at home to Monaco in a match that all Arsenal fans probably expected would give them a comfortable victory before the away match. No Arsenal fan could have imagined that Monaco could defeat them, and perhaps that is what happened: the players were infected by this underestimation of an opponent that may not be among the fashionable cream of Europe, but is surely a competitive side! They all seemed to ignore that, and perhaps most of all Arsene Wenger who should, if anyone, know Monaco.
Arsenal is out. They are still a strong team, but whether they are among the eight best teams in Europe is more than questionable. On the other hand, Monaco is.
Who in Arsenal would have thought?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pellegrini's punishment

Manchester City are not that much worse than Barcelona, although in the first half of tonight's Champions League clash they appeared so: on two goals by Luis Suarez, the Catalonians were winning 0-2.
Only one person is to blame of the dismal first half performance: Manuel Pellegrini. His 4-4-2 lineup could have been genius, but after the first half appears reckless and ignorant of how Barcelona play. On top of this, Edin Dzeko in attack was a gamble that didn't work on a day when the high balls into the area were rather random, and when Dzeko seemed tired. And that is Pellegrini's second failure: while improving in the second half, his players seemed sloppy and not believing in themselves! How can a coach not motivate his players for such a match!?
Sergio Aguero's splendid goal and Joe Hart's penalty save gave Manchester City some meager hope that they might be able to progress. However, it is hard to believe that Manchester City have any chance whatsoever of progressing in the tournament.
In the meantime, it is getting more and more exciting to see the Messi-Suarez-Neymar Triple Alliance in action for Barcelona!

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The African final I will miss

I have traveled to a Colombia where all the football discussion is about James Rodriguez' injury and about Chelsea's signing of Juan Cuadrado. As Colombians hardly know Africa, the interest for the African Cup of Nations is hardly noticed. As I left Liberia Ghana had strolled to the semi-finals to face the Equatorial Guinean hosts. I had been telling some Colombians about the exciting tournament, but I am now embarrassed to have praised it: while Ghana were great and beat the hosts 3-0, the Equatorial Guinean hosts were a disgrace to football, causing riots and attacking the Black Stars and their fans. 
Another disgrace to African football.
Ghana are now in the final of a tournament that they have been favourites to win for more than ten years, but have failed to since 1982. They will face the mighty Ivory Coast, another side that has been steadily disappointing for a decade or longer, and who won their last African Cup of Nations in 1992; against Ghana!
So whatever happens on Sunday, one side will emerge from the sea of disappointments, while another will need a life vest.
In the meantime I will not be able to watch it, as I enjoy beautiful Colombia, but with my heart supporting Ghana!