With the football season finishing for some at the weekend it was extended for us as we managed to make the playoffs after a 4-1 win at home to Clyde. We went into last nights game on the back of 5 wins and a draw, and I felt our confidence really showed. The first half performance was as good as we have played this season, so we take a 2 goal lead into the 2nd leg on Saturday. I managed to get another 2 goals which makes it 7 in 7 games, and hopefully I can keep scoring to help the team. We know it won't be easy on Saturday, but if we go down and play with the same intensity as last night we will be hard to beat. We have some good playoff experience in our squad, especially from the lower division. I managed to get up through the playoffs in 2007 with Queen's Park in a team that included Mark Ferry and David Crawford, also at Stirling. It would be nice to add another promotion to the CV, even though it is League 2, it is still a good achievement and very nice to be part of a winning team.
Jose Mourinho: The not so Special One
The man divides opinion like no other manager, with his touchline antics, strange interviews and defensive(sorry, counter attack) tactics. There is absolutely no doubting the fact that his CV is excellent in terms of trophies, but I personally don't really like him as a character, or with the way he sets up his teams.
Mourinho is an extremely bad loser, which is normal for somebody in football, but even worse than that is that he is a bad winner. His lack of humility in winning is something that really annoys me, constantly running on to the pitch celebrating, sliding on his knees, poking fun at other managers and taking full credit when they win. He seems to have the respect of his dressing room, which is something that all his teams have been built on and no doubt it is an extremely important part of his success, but whenever something goes wrong he is always first to shift the blame on to someone else. This season it has been Torres, Eto'o, Ba, Hazard, Mata, and anyone else that he has decided will take the blame for his latest loss. Also Sam Allardyce has been on the receiving end for his 19th century tactics. In the past it has been referees, who he seems to forget give his teams decisions too.
At Real Madrid he was seen poking then Barcelona boss, sadly now dead, Tito Villanova in the eye after a tackle on the pitch led to a touchline argument, showing his lack of class. He might dress well and look like a class act from a distance but, when you see his actions, it is all a front.
On top of all this, and to get back to him having a go at Allardyce for his tactics(admittedly they are boring), his tactics in big games are exactly the same. Defend deep in numbers and hope to steal a goal at the other end by playing long balls to a big striker. He has employed these tactics for years, and I am sick of watching them ruin big games. I know people will say they get results, but it is boring and not the football that people want to watch. It speaks volumes when Brendan Rodgers came out after the game 2 weeks ago, a man who worked under Mourinho, and was scathing in his attack of the defensive tactics set up. Against Atletico Madrid away from home was the exact same, they played 3 holding midfielders in front of a narrow 4 in defense, with Willian and Ramires playing as wing backs. The problem is that the media praised their performance so he will keep doing it, but in reality it is easy to defend with so many bodies in the area. Thankfully they lost the 2nd leg(Hazards fault, not Mourinhos, obviously) and therefore we will actually get a decent final to watch.
To see a genius on the ball like Hazard being made to track all the way back to his goal line, just because Mourinho wants his full backs tucked in so much, is hard to watch. No wonder Cahill and Terry get so much praise, they are so well protected by quality full backs whose only job is to defend the box and leave wide players to their 'wingers'. It will be interesting to see how Cahill gets on when he has to defend for England at the World Cup.
|formation v Liverpool|
I for one am sick of the British media falling over their feet to praise him, and hopefully they are just starting to turn. He has failed this season bringing no trophies to a Chelsea team that is very strong on paper and probably has the 2nd highest wage bill. I'd be surprised if Abramovich is happy to watch this style of play, and also win nothing, so if it happens again next year he will probably get sacked. But as Mourinho does, he will get a job in another country with a club who has a huge amount of money to spend, massive wage bill, and are the favourites for their countries league title. PSG anyone?
The Weatherston World Cup Preview - Group E
Group E(FIFA Rankings)
Group E looks like a nice group for France and Switzerland judging by the rankings, but with the heat in Brazil, will it be the Central and South Americans who enjoy the conditions more and can take the game to the two favourites?
France - The last 5 World Cups have been a mixed bag for France with their 1998 triumph followed by failure to make it through the groups in 2002 and 2010, and a penalty defeat to Italy in the 2006 final. After the South Africa World Cup controversy with the player boycotting training due to Anelka being dismissed from the squad they have rebuilt under new manager Didier Deschamps and appear to have a team that are much stronger and more likely to compete in Brazil. They have good competition in defense with Sakho(Liverpool), Varane(Real Madrid), Koscielny(Arsenal), Mangala(Porto) and Rami(AC Milan) all vying for central defense spots. With Clichy and Evra, Sagna and Debuchy very capable full backs and Premiership regulars it looks like a strong defense will line up for France with top goalie Hugo Lloris in behind. In midfield, Paul Pogba(Juventus) has improved greatly the last 2 years and will be an important part of the midfield with Matuidi and Cabaye(both PSG). They also have fantastic wide players with places up for grabs for players like Nasri(Man City), Ribery(Bayern Munich) and Menez(PSG). This is a France team with a real chance of going far in the tournament.
Key Man - Karim Benzema is a top striker and has found his goalscoring form at Real Madrid the last 2 years. He will be crucial to the French team up front in providing the finishing touch for their creative players mentioned above. Olivier Giroud and Loic Remy are good back ups as well in case Benzema can't last 90 minutes in the heat and humidity.
Switzerland - Switzerland qualified for the WC by comfortably winning an easy looking group that Iceland were runners up in. They have qualified for the previous 2 competitions, making it to the second round in 2006. They have a better looking squad now than they did back then, but I still think they will struggle to get out the groups. Josip Drmic(Nurnberg) and Admir Mehmedi(Freiburg) are good young strikers and regulars in the Bundesliga, both scoring goals for their clubs. Xherdan Shaqiri at 22 has been getting plenty games at Bayern Munich this season and will be an important creative player from wide left and right. Diego Benaglio(Wolfsburg) is a good goalkeeper but I think the problem will be in front of him. Arsenal rejects, Senderos and Djourou, now at Valencia and Hamburg respectively, will potentially line up at central defense and that will be a weak point. Valon Behrami and Blerim Dzemaili have both been involved with Napoli this season and add some quality to the midfield alongside the key man...
Key Man - Gokhan Inler is a strong central midfielder also from Napoli that can have a big impact on games with his ball winning and strong runs from deep. He will be a crucial player in breaking up play for Switzerland and getting it to the creative players.
Ecuador - The Ecuador team qualified by edging out Uruguay on goal difference in qualifying and will be hopeful the conditions help them in Brazil. Their squad is very much made up of home based players and players in Mexico, with only 4 or 5 players playing in Europe. Felipe Caicedo, formerly of Man City, now at Al-Jazira, will be the main striker. He is very strong and can bring others into play, but he will need to score more goals and add to his 15 for Ecuador. Christian Noboa(Dynamo Moscow) is about as well known as they come in this squad, I can't pretend I know many of them. Noboa is a quick, creative player who can play anywhere across the midfield and will be important part of the team for creating chances.
Key Man - Antonio Valencia is the captain and the top player in Ecuador. He has lightening pace as we all see for Man Utd, but he will have to be at the top of his game to lead this team into the latter stages.
Honduras - Head coach Luis Suarez(not that one) has managed to qualify Honduras for their second successive World Cup and their squad contains quite a lot of familiar, if not top quality, players. Izaguirre(Celtic) and Peralta(Rangers) are the Scottish based contingent in the squad. There are 4 players playing in England, with Hull defender Maynor Figueroa(102 caps) and midfielder Wilson Palacios(Stoke) both regular starters. Roger Espinoza and Juan Carlos Garcia both of Wigan are the other 2 in what doesn't really look like a strong squad. I'd be surprised if they get a win in their 3 games even though they did out qualify Mexico.
Key Man - Carlo Costly, not just for his quality name, but the striker who plays for Real Espana in Honduras has 30 goals in 68 caps for his country, which is a very good record. He will be the main goal threat in a team that doesn't have many.
Teams to Progress : France and Switzerland
World cuts wouldn't be world cuts without Carlos Valderrama making an appearance. Everyone remembers him in the 1994 World Cup for his hair more than anything. He was a very good midfielder for years in Colombia, winning 111 caps. I have no idea how he managed to get his hair like this, maybe the humidity in USA, but he looks fantastic, and he would definitely put you off facing him.