2008/09 Soccer Thread in Shock £50m Chelsea Switch! (And Other Ludicrousness)

ARSENAL IN CRISIS
Gallas dropped and stripped of captaincy - Report
By Soccernet staff

William Gallas has been dropped and stripped of the Arsenal captaincy, according to reports.

Gallas: Dropped and stripped of captaincy?

France Football claim that the outspoken defender has paid the price for his verbal attack on his Arsenal team-mates and will not appear in Saturday's trip to Manchester City and will be forced to relinquish the armband to either Gael Clichy or Manuel Almunia.

While the reports have not been confirmed by the Gunners it would not come as a surprise if Arsene Wenger had run out of patience with the 31-year-old after a series of incidents have brought Gallas' leadership qualities into question.

!!!!!!! hopefully its true and that didn't take long for my prayers to be answered.

davet010 wrote:

Just have to instruct Richard Dunne to hammer a couple of those kids off the pitch early on. He's scored 3 own goals this season, so City will be better off if he gets sent off anyway, so he might as well put in a few 'reducers' (as Big Ron would put it) beforehand.

I've seen him against Poland (2-3) this week, he passed a ball straight to our striker, only to make forty yard run after him and end this with perfect tackle.

UCRC wrote:
davet010 wrote:

Just have to instruct Richard Dunne to hammer a couple of those kids off the pitch early on. He's scored 3 own goals this season, so City will be better off if he gets sent off anyway, so he might as well put in a few 'reducers' (as Big Ron would put it) beforehand.

I've seen him against Poland (2-3) this week, he passed a ball straight to our striker, only to make forty yard run after him and end this with perfect tackle.

He has taken up Titus Bramble's mantle this year, that is true.

And hey, we're playing pretty nice this fall. Shame that there won't be any group matches until March

Well that was ugly.

Hopefully Gallas as a result will say more stupid things and really make sure hes out come Jan 1st.

Just back from the game, and to be honest, that was more like the Pod People than Arsenal. City should have had at least 5, despite Wenger's increasingly desperate statements about City having created nothing (other than the 3 goals, penalty that should have been awarded, the disallowed goal and the one kicked off the line, eh Arsene?).

He also thinks that they were 'quite in control of the game' ? o_0

Based on that gutless performance, not top 4 this year (Villa, probably) and Arsene's gone next summer.

Well good thing the rest of the season wont be that bad as Cesc will be back from his suspension and Jan 1st Wenger will sign someone.

4th is safe and Wengers job is also.

4th is safe - don't think so. They've got no decent striker, no decent ballwinner, and worst of all, no leadership on the field.

As for Wenger, I agree that Arsenal would never get rid of him, and nor should they, but he just looks and sounds like he's tired of it all. Arsenal haven't got a great deal of money after completing the Emirates (good luck with selling all those flats in a recession..), their squad isn't particularly big, and there are 3 or 4 other clubs now with the funding to attract big name players (City, Spurs and Villa in particular).

5th or 6th this year, and if they buy in Jan, it will only be one player, and not the 2 or 3 that are needed.

I cant argue much about a ball winner or current leadership but if you don't even rate a player who scored 29 goals last year as a decent striker then I'm not sure if its really worth arguing about.

Not going to get hysterical like the talking heads who don't actually follow Arsenal top to bottom that they will finish 5th. They are at their absolute bottom right now and fielded a team we wont see again this year. The Walcott blow is going to really hurt but Ade, Sagna will be back soon and Cesc was only suspended. Pretty sure Kolo and Eboue were also hurt which forced Gavin Hoyte to start which didn't help either. One wild card in Eduardo as hes training again but its impossible to say if he will be the same.

I'll start worrying if its neck and neck come April.

ARSENAL IN CRISIS
Fabregas replaces Gallas as Arsenal skipper

By Soccernet staff

William Gallas will line up with his Arsenal team-mates when they face Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, but not as captain.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the 31-year-old has been permanently replaced as the Gunners skipper by 21-year-old Cesc Fabregas.

Boyaa! Its what the fans wanted and now every hater on the intranets can stfu that Cesc is off to Barca.

jowner wrote:

I cant argue much about a ball winner or current leadership but if you don't even rate a player who scored 29 goals last year as a decent striker then I'm not sure if its really worth arguing about.

And hey. Van Persie, for God's sake. But I know, he's not as amazing as Jo.

Yeah, pity Arsenal have to rely on Nicklas Bendtner.

Anyways, nice 2-0 away win at Schalke tonite, no bother at all. Roll on the Forces of Evil on Sunday.

davet010 wrote:

4th is safe - don't think so. They've got no decent striker

I love you
btw: Interesting story to this game, clear offside on first Arsenal goal, two red cards for Ivanovich and Terry not given, but we've got lucky anyway. I was surprised at how ineffectual Chelsea was in the second half. I might be wrong, but it seems that Almunia wasn't called to make a save even once during those 48 minutes.

I'll take it but it was far from deserving.

Denilson was shocking all game. Pred must be loving it as a neutral though as its been exciting open football win or lose. I love RvP the guy we were missing down the stretch last year when Ade hit a dry streak.

Burnley on Tuesday! cant wait to see what the kids can do.

jowner wrote:

Denilson was shocking all game. Pred must be loving it as a neutral though as its been exciting open football win or lose.

It has been fun to watch. The derby was a bit dire at times, but it was pretty much one-way traffic. City only put one shot on target. Honestly, I can't wait until next week, when Arsenal inevitably lose to an inferior side. 1-0 to Wigan on Saturday, i'm calling it right now.

Meanwhile, Sunderland are into the relegation places after getting spanked by Bolton, who seem to be making a concerted "don't get relegated" effort this season.

Oh, and Real Madrid lost. Again. To Getafe.

As a fellow football fan, and make no mistake it IS football (even my American wife has been forced to admit this), how could I skip over this thread?

I'm a bit sad to notice in my admittedly scandalously brief skim-read of the thread that nobody has mentioned the real football league, the Coca Cola Championship, and my own beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers. I will rectify this... If anyone shows any interest (which is highly unlikely, I grant you) that is.

So, now that's out the way, yes Chelsea is the source of all evil nowadays, but genuinely do you think there's a challenger this season? Liverpool's form has been pretty much awful, but they're managing to scrape results somehow, so there's steel in them, or some sort of devil-bestowed luck. I do think Arsenal are out of it already, unless they get really lucky with January purchaases coming in and storming the league and Man Utd don't seem to have mustered quite the spark people usually expect from them this season... Is there time for a Villa league win? God I hope not.

At the other end, who are people's tips for relegation now that we're approaching the last few games of 2008? Personally, I'm seeing that Newcastle (with no buying power), Sunderland (with the prospect of having no manager looming) and West Brom (just because I'm a Wolves fan, and they're bottom currently) won't be able to last the tight scrap near the bottom over the Christmas period, and will probably crumble in the new year with no solid squad to bring forward.

Any challengers to Chelsea winning the league? Depends how long they stay in this funk. They have lost 2 games at home after going undefeated at home for a very very long time.

Honestly I think Liverpool have been riding some luck pulling out games narrowly and they wont be able to keep that up over the course of the season. Man U has been playing the whole time with a game in hand and is going to fall further back in the schedule when they have to go to Japan so they will have a real test of dealing with a fixture pile up and Ronaldo clearly is not all there this season. Arsenal we talk about enough already and they are obviously miles back. They will probably follow beating Chelsea with a draw with a last minute goal.

So yea 1-2 weeks ago I would agree Chelsea looked unstoppable. Only 4 goals allowed a 100% record away from home. Now? I think some of the Scolari magic is wearing off and as someone who followed him while he was in charge of Portugal when the magic starts wearing off and his squad selection/tactics start getting confusing it can get ugly quick. I think one advantage though is at the club level where your playing every week the manager is forced much quicker to realize hes doing something wrong and adjust whereas at the national level he can take his bad tactics/squad to a tournament and only realize after hes been punted out his mistakes. So yea wide open for any of the current top 3 to win and Arsenal on the outside with a prayer. I think by Feb 1st it will be much clearer when we see who buys what and if Liverpool can keep barley winning games, Chelsea can get back on track, how Man U are dealing with so many games and if Arsenal are still running the trend of beat anyone lose to anyone.

As for regulation. West Ham! If any of the other reg teams are smart they identify that West Ham are in serious financial trouble and they take a run at poaching a couple of their XI or depth players. West Brom because they are already at the bottom and atleast 1 of the new teams has to go back down! Last I'll say Blackburn but I have a feeling they might just sack Ince before it gets too ugly and then whoever comes in gets enough out of their 2 strikers to stay up. The race at the bottom is going to be exciting though. Just comparing our picks we both only have the 1 same promoted team and 4 others and honestly they are all plausible. The only team I would say with confidence that is not going down outside the top 4 is HULL CITY TIGERS!

Don't follow the Championship as much as I would like as it doesn't make it on TV enough but nice to see Wolves top of the table. I think it was many many years ago when I was watching Joleon Lescott play for them in the playoffs? thinking he looked like a great player. They use to show the playoffs here in Canada and I have to say that has to be some of the most intense exciting football to watch. Also seeing Doritos as the sponsor was funny as hell. Currently actually managing them in my FM2009 game and its not going so well as I picked up the job after the manager was sacked in October for being in 20th. I'm not faring much better as it looks like I'm going to finish around 12th and might get sacked also :/

This season's results are definitely going to be among the most hotly contested, both at the top and the bottom of the Primiership and Championship, that anyone's seen in a good long time. That's refreshing and certainly makes for a nervous time for fans of the dozen or so teams involved. I agree that it's plausible that the relegation battle can still fall to any three of almost anyone in the bottom half right now, I just have a gut feeling (which will inevitably turn out horribly wrong come May) over those three teams.

It's really sad to see Paul Ince under so much pressure at Blackburn. It may have been too early for him to walk into such a big job, but I simply can't stand how some idiot fans call for the sacking of managers mid-season, when they know full-well that a replacement manager is only a temporary band-aid fix, and repeatedly doing so will end up with a team made up entirely of sticky plasters and subsequently leave you with a giant rubber man that spends ten seasons doing the relegation/promotion shuffle... Or they pull a Leeds and collapse under their own weight. That's partly why I see such a bad state for Sunderland and Newcastle in the relegation scrap though, this sort of restless uncertainty about the mangers positions and the authority that the players end up being without at the helm.

Hull City though... Wow. Who honestly predicted something like that could happen? Not anyone I know for sure, but there's something magical about it that's really making me root for them (and winning them many fans too). Good for them, for coming up a division, for spending soem money, for having a solid manager and for showing no fear. They've gotten result after result and they deserve to be well up there!

jowner, whatever you do, pleae just keep us up. Without you the Doritos are doomed!

You just knew this was coming.

Personally, I enjoyed the game immensely. Always fun to root for the underdog.
Despite some flashes of quality, Arsenal was out-muscled and out-hustled, and Burnley fully deserved to win it. The Beast made some great saves.

Yea Burnley was great. Credit to them that they came out and played and the game was fairly clean. If anything Randall had the worst tackle just at the start of the 2nd half.

Might be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal. With no games to feature the kids in Wenger might allow some of them to go off on loan. Merida still looks very raw and would do good with a loan in the Championship. If he can cut it there atleast we will know hes tough enough for the Prem. Bendtner though is proving he isn't going to cut it at the top level. I think he was through on goal 4 times yesterday with 1 on 1's and couldn't finish any. Wenger with his post match pretty much summed up that's why Arsenal lost because with a total of 6 breaks on the goalie we couldn't even put 1 past the beast!

I'll be cheering for Burnley the rest of the way but I won't lie I doubt I'll remember to watch. If the draw breaks for them right they could find themselves in the final vs Man U and that would get them a UEFA cup spot and they might even get promoted this year as they are sitting in the playoffs right now.

jowner wrote:

Might be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal. With no games to feature the kids in Wenger might allow some of them to go off on loan. Merida still looks very raw and would do good with a loan in the Championship. If he can cut it there atleast we will know hes tough enough for the Prem. Bendtner though is proving he isn't going to cut it at the top level. I think he was through on goal 4 times yesterday with 1 on 1's and couldn't finish any.

Bendtner seems to be something of a curiosity among strikers. He's done magical things with the ball in games and when he first drew attention he was some darling of the up-and-comers, yet in other games he just seems to play without any flair and drift around being very mediocre. He rather reminds me of Wayne Rooney in that regard. He could be polished, he needs to be polished really, to raise his performance in average games up a lot, but I think to say he just won't cut it at the top level isn't quite accurate. Yet.

I'd love Arsenal to throw a few of those youngsters out on loan, Wolves in particular have been doing a lot with young players and they've been nothing short of spectacular successes through the years. Just count the Premiersihp stars who were first-teamers at Wolves before they progressed up and think on the number of under-21 England players in the Wolves side right now and you'll get the idea that it's a massive boost to every side involved to allow this sort of loan system. The combination of a broad-based academy system and first team football is bound to bring the best out of a lot of fringe kids in premier teams regardless of which Championship side they have a spell at.

I find it amusing that the Reading manager (whose name I have forgotten right now) was moaning his wooly hat off at the loan system, saying it was unfair... I think just because his team is so far behind Wolves and Birmingham right now and can't get any good loan signings. Such a silly man.

As for the cup game, Burnley fully deserved the win. they played with more strength, more determination, more pace and zip in their passing and just more will to win. Burnley challenged for more, they hustled and chased and played the game absolutely superbly. Arsenal seemed not to come out with a will to win in the first half, and short of the clean on goal chances, I don't recall many other goal attempts, which really seems to me to suggest they weren't willing to press and go forward until late in the second half. I'm just watching the Spurs vs Watford game on DVD now, and honestly I hope that Spurs go through and reach the final (perhaps with Burnley!). I've always had a big soft spot for Harry Redknapp and Spurs has been my "I follow this team in the Premiership so long as they're not in the same division as Wolves" team for as long as I can remember. Plus, I think with the confidence and the level of performance that Harry's squeezed out (compared to Mr. Ramos, of whom I have nothing nice to say) of the team since arriving, he really deserves something from the season and the League Cup's about the only thing really possible to be won now.

I find it amusing that the Reading manager (whose name I have forgotten right now) was moaning his wooly hat off at the loan system, saying it was unfair... I think just because his team is so far behind Wolves and Birmingham right now and can't get any good loan signings. Such a silly man.

I will not have you impugning the name of the man whose team I blog about. Also 3-0. :p

And yes, Steve bitches a lot. About everything. It's his natural state of being.

Anyway, what does Mr. Tevez have to do to get in Fergie's good graces? Does four goals mean anything (albeit against Blackburn)?

Eamonn Dunphy, he of the "DEAR JESUS SOMEONE NEEDS TO HAVE A CONTRARY OPINON DELIVERED LIKE A SELF-IMPORTANT TOOL" invective has said that Mr. Keane has "lost the plot" at Sunderland. Now, I still think Sunderland will stay up, but it cannot be argued that Keane has wasted a ton of money with his shotgun approach to the transfer market. I remember seeing an article addressing it a long time ago, but if there's anyone in the Premiership who desperately needs a solid #2 to cuff him every now and then and set him to rights, it's Roy.

Meanwhile, in other Championship news, a salary cap?.

I'll be honest. I think something along the lines of will have to come for the lower tiers of English football. Too many times over the past ten years have clubs come teetering to the edge of utter liquidation (or falling over the precipice, in some cases) and while player salaries aren't the only problem, it's a symptom. Of course, some of this could be mitigated if 9/10ths of the money produced in the game in England wasn't being shunted directly into the Premier League's coffers, but that's a whole other thing.

Prederick wrote:

[
I'll be honest. I think something along the lines of will have to come for the lower tiers of English football. Too many times over the past ten years have clubs come teetering to the edge of utter liquidation (or falling over the precipice, in some cases) and while player salaries aren't the only problem, it's a symptom. Of course, some of this could be mitigated if 9/10ths of the money produced in the game in England wasn't being shunted directly into the Premier League's coffers, but that's a whole other thing.

It's possible, but don't rule out continuation as is. It is quite remarkable that the English League has managed to maintain 92 fully professional teams as long as it has - if you have a look around Europe, usually divisions below the second tier are stuffed with amateur teams or the 'B' teams of first division sides. It's also fair to say that certainly the facilities of League One and League Two sides are the equivalent of the bulk of the teams in Serie B or La Segunda, or whatever Spanish div 2 is called now, although it's equally fair to say that they probably aren't the equal of Bundesliga 2 sides.

Prederick wrote:

Anyway, what does Mr. Tevez have to do to get in Fergie's good graces? Does four goals mean anything (albeit against Blackburn)?

Tevez's fate isn't in his hands. Until people get sick to death of seeing Berbatov's lazy arse walking around the pitch unless he's directly involved in trying to score, Tevez's huge workrate and still pretty damn fine goal rate (when he's actually PLAYED) just won't get the spotlight it deserves.

but if there's anyone in the Premiership who desperately needs a solid #2 to cuff him every now and then and set him to rights, it's Roy.

Keane's got the biggest, fattest ego out of all the managers in any division right now. I can't imagine him accepting anyone telling him he's doing things wrong. He'd just pull a Keegan and walk off like a spoilt, angry child. He does need a cuff though, but perhaps my idea of cuff meaning "stick beaten around his head until he gets it" is the same as your idea of cuff.

Meanwhile, in other Championship news,

a salary cap?.

I'll be honest. I think something along the lines of will have to come for the lower tiers of English football. Too many times over the past ten years have clubs come teetering to the edge of utter liquidation (or falling over the precipice, in some cases) and while player salaries aren't the only problem, it's a symptom.

I'll answer briefly with:

the article wrote:

Coventry chairman Ray Ranson added: "A salary cap should not limit individual players' wages, but restraining wages to a proportion of turnover would be a good thing and, in today's climate, people should think seriously about it."

What he says makes a lot of sense, and for many of the clubs in the championship who don't go stupid with the finances in general (like Wolves) this sort of response to bad financial times can only be a good thing. there's going to be lots of people that complain though, but I get the feeling those people exist only because of manic levels of investment from wealthy owners, else they'd end up like Leeds and (oldschool) Wimbledon. Apply this to the crazy financial psychosis that has engulfed the Premiership, or otherwise balance the financial leverage that they have from TV deals and so on and hopefully you'll end up with a healthier league system overall, from top to bottom.

Not sure about your examples - Wolves were bankrolled for years by a wealthy benefactor (Sir Jack Hayward, from memory), and Wimbledon were primarily nobbled by their incompetent Norweigan owners and the lack of a home ground to generate much in the way of income.

Oh, and Keane has done a bunk now - the gutless arse. He's a big hard man when people aren't expecting it (viz Alf-Inge Haarland), but bottles it out when someone has a go back. I was really surprised when Niall Quinn employed him, as the two of them famously hated each other, and Keane ran off rather than face Quinn in a rather fractious City - United cup tie in the mid 90's.

davet010 wrote:

Not sure about your examples - Wolves were bankrolled for years by a wealthy benefactor (Sir Jack Hayward, from memory), and Wimbledon were primarily nobbled by their incompetent Norweigan owners and the lack of a home ground to generate much in the way of income.

There's always Leeds to turn to, then...

But I dunno, Sir Jack never put in vast amounts of cash into the team itself. He largely funded ground redevelopment and facility upgrades (and if you've ever been to Molineux you'd see some of the best facilities in the country, including some Premier sides, in my entirely biased opinion) but I don't recall vast millions going into team procurement and payroll - all that came from within, including our rather famous method of selling off our best academy players year after year.

But yeah, I heard about Keane doing a Brave Sir Robin about noon today on Sky. I pretty much agree with your appraisal of the situation. I disliked him as a player, being little more than a thug and a bully and nothing like the grand playmaker some people seemed to make him out to be, and I disliked him as a manager but respected him to some small degree for having had success though his championship promotion. After this crybaby escape that's all gone entirely. I sincerely hope no other poor sucker boardroom thinks he's the man for their job. He needs a serious reality stick-beating.

In other news... Huntelaar to Real Madrid.

UCRC wrote:

In other news... Huntelaar to Real Madrid.

Wonder if his price is reflective of the current state of the economy driving prices down.

If so I really like the odds of Wenger signing someone come Jan because he must have atleast one target who's price has dropped.

Kinda funny Keane went for 20m, Berbs for 31m, Robinho for 32.5m and just over 3 months later Huntelaar goes for 17m after being rumored all summer to be leaving at 24-26m.

Then again maybe 17m isn't the exact price anyways.