This weeks game we drew 2-2 with Elgin, somehow. I've never played a game when my team has missed 2 penalties, but just when we needed a win on Saturday it happened. We have only had 3 penalties this season, which is quite a low number, but we have missed them all now so I hope we don't have any shootouts if we make the playoffs. There was some easy chances missed and add to that a terrible goal lost on Saturday, so we have put ourselves under a bit of pressure, but I think we are good enough to get the points we need in the last 2 games to get into the playoffs. We have a good squad with lots of playoff experience, so it should hold us in good stead if we get there. It's at this time of season where it is important to be playing well and not making any mistakes, especially in playoffs where it can cost you promotion. Hopefully myself and Jordan can bag a few more goals before the season is done and get the team into League 1.
David Moyes grabbed the headlines this week again, but it was sadly the end of his 10 month tenure. Opinion seems to be split on whether he should have been given more time or if it was the right decision. For me it is the right decision, for some reason it just wasn't working. No doubt in my mind that Moyes is a top manager. For years at Everton he defied there financial situation to get them challenging for Champions League spots and competing against the best teams. Even this season I feel that Martinez is benefiting hugely from the solid base that Moyes built at Everton. Martinez is rightly getting a lot of praise, but if you look at his Wigan team, it was weak at the back, but good going forward. He has added that forward threat this season at Everton, but without the back 5 that Moyes will have coached defensively they would definitely be shipping more goals.
Sometimes a manager just doesn't fit a club, and that is Moyes at Man United. He never seemed to stamp his own personality on the team. He always wanted to try and please other people instead of being the same successful man he was at Everton. Perhaps the club was too big for him or the Fergie shadow was just too much for him to handle, but from day one, right through the transfer market, and every game at Old Trafford his team hasn't done what he has expected. Some people will blame the players who haven't performed for him. But there has to be a reason top players aren't performing and that must be down to the way they are being coached which has led to some poor results and that has bred a lack of confidence. Players have to be happy to perform, and if the training is not to their liking then the manager won't get the results he wants. I know his training must have been the same at Everton, but you have to remember that he was the main man at Everton for 11 years and therefore the players were used to it, they also knew it was successful, so they bought into it. Obviously the players at United have been trained completely differently under previous coaches and so they have found the adjustment hard, resulting in poor performances and disappointing results. Sure the squad isn't great, but they are seriously under performing and unfortunately for Moyes, something had to be done sooner rather than later.
The Weatherston World Cup Preview - Group C
Group C(FIFA Rankings)
On paper(if not the FIFA rankings) this group looks wide open, so lets look at each team and see who looks likely to get through.
Colombia- Colombia qualified for the WC by finishing second to Argentina by only 2 points in the South American Qualifiers. It shows that they could be serious contenders in Brazil with the conditions that they will be used to. The major problem they have though is Falcao. There biggest star and top scorer in qualifying(9) is a serious fitness doubt after he suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in January. It would be a seriously quick recovery if he makes it, so I doubt he will, and if he does he won't be fit. They do have 2 other strikers however that are in good form this season. Jackson Martinez has scored 27 goals with Porto whilst Adrian Ramos has 16 in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin and will move to Dortmund in the summer. Fredy Guarin is a very accomplished central midfielder at Inter and it will be his job for Colombia to pass the ball and start attacks.
Key Man - James Rodriguez. In the absence of a fully fit Falcao, his Monaco teammate will be the main threat from left wing. He has blistering pace, an eye for goal and can spot a good pass. With 10 goals and 11 assists this season for Monaco he has been in good form and will be hoping to have a huge tournament at only 22 years old.
Key Player - Giorgos Karagounis might be 37 years old, but the 132 capped midfielder is still the main playmaker in midfield. He has been a very good player for years if you can forget about his diving. His set piece delivery will be crucial for the Greeks if they are to progress. Will be interesting at his age if he can still have an impact on a big tournament.
Ivory Coast -
If any African team is going to win a World Cup this year it would potentially be this one, but I think it is asking too much to expect that. They have some top players in their squad but defensively they don't look strong enough and, as is often the case with African teams, they don't have a good goalkeeper. In attack there is no question of their quality, Didier Drogba might be 36 but he can still be a real handful with his strength and has proven he can score big goals. Wilfried Bony has been in great form for Swansea, as has Gervinho for Roma and Kalou for Lille. A big player however will be Cheick Tiote, who will be in charge of breaking up opposition attacks and getting the ball to all the threats in attack.
Key Man - Yaya Toure is one of the best players in the world. He can sometimes be quite lazy, but he has the ability to turn a game with a piece of brilliance, as he did in the Carling Cup Final this year. His strong runs from midfield with the ball can cause all sorts of problems for opposition defenses and hopefully he can produce the form he has been in for Manchester City this year. Will it be enough to take them to the Quarters and beyond though is a different question.
Japan - Japan qualified for their 5th World Cup in a row through the easiest continent to qualify by beating Australia, Jordan, Oman and Iraq in their group. They have been handed a relatively favourable draw in the groups which can give them a chance to go beyond the groups for the 3rd time. Most of their players now ply their trade in Europe, but there are still a few home based players such as 141 times capped Yasuhito Endō. They will always be hard working but they do have some quality in their squad too. Shinji Kagawa(Man United) and Keisuke Honda(AC Milan) are both really intelligent attacking midfielders who can spot a pass and know how to keep possession. Hiroshi Kiyotake(Nurnberg) is another one that can be a real goal threat from midfield. In defense they have Maya Yoshida(Southampton) at centre back and a very good attacking left back in Yūto Nagatomo(Inter). It will most likely be their hard work and attacking players that can get them into the next round.
Key Man - Shinji Okazaki is the main man upfront for Japan. He has been in good form for Mainz 05 this season scoring 13 goals, and has 38 in 73 appearances for Japan. He has good movement, is very sharp in the box and can finish. It will be up to him to finish chances created by their top attacking midfielders.
Teams to Progress - Colombia and Ivory Coast