Monday, September 30, 2013

Lukaku the loan ranger - should it be allowed?

Romelu Lukaku is a beast. He's 6'3, could push Usain Bolt over 50 yards and has already been top scorer in Belgium. And he's 20.

There's no doubt he's already a top player, but has the potential to become one of the best. It's probable he'll score 15+ again in the Premier League this year and head off to Brazil with Belgium next summer.

All of that was just to prove that the next comment is not personal, as I think he's a great talent that we should all see.

But he shouldn't be allowed to be on loan at Everton, or at West Brom last season.

It's just not fair on the other teams. I doubt Crystal Palace, Hull or even Norwich could afford his wages - and he wouldn't go there anyway as they are unlikely to compete for anything except the right to stay in the League.

He scored the winner against West Ham, has 2 already against Newcastle and is going to be one of the toughest opponents any team faces this year. Playing against Everton without him is a much easier task. Chelsea may have lost at Goodison anyway, but he couldn't play against his parent club (although no one knows why they loaned him out anyway).

Lukaku is not alone. In my opinion, a loan should be to cover injuries or to help someone get fitness.

Teams have a limit on numbers in the squad, yet the bigger teams are just accumulating all the best players. Players like Lukaku should be sold (or not bought in the first place) if they aren't going to be in the 25. It stems the growth of players in the academies, gives an unfair advantage to some teams and encourages teams to stockpile talent.

Preventing players like Lukaku going on loan would make him (and his agent/advisor etc.) think twice about signing with a team like Chelsea. This would spread the talent around more and make leagues more competitive. Otherwise, what's to stop a multi-billionaire buying everyone and then not letting them play against his team - therefore making Billionaire United play against Crystal Palace reserves?

That's obviously a hypothetical, but think about it. It's nothing against the players, but the system should be looked at.

Who doesn't like an ass goal?

It may be a reserve team game, but you have to appreciate a goal with your ass - at any level.

Especially as he meant it, not like Sunday league, where ever goal seems to go in off your ass.

Who saw that coming? Apart from Fergie

Bit of a strange one this weekend - it felt like 1989. Manchester United and City both lost, Arsenal are top and Liverpool second.

Some unexpected results in the Premier League, but United's struggles are not that shocking. It's a largely aging first team, there are a lack of creative players and they find it hard to score if Rooney or van Persie are out or off form. 

Fergie saw it coming. Giggs and Scholes are done, Rio is almost done, Young, Valencia and Nani aren't up to that level. Fellani was a panic buy and Moyes seems a bit overwhelmed. They may have an average year, but United will spend, and be back soon. 

City's loss was more of a surprise. They need to find some consistency. 

West Ham, Palace and Sunderland will find it hard going. They can't score goals, and that makes winning very hard. The saving grace for the teams below 7th or 8th is that they are all pretty average. Teams will take points off each other all year, so there are no lock in favorites for relegation....yet. 


Atletico won the Madrid derby to stay perfect. A big surprise? Yes, but no. Bale, Ronaldo etc. are still working it out. I'm glad they lost as it shows that it's still a team game and buying the best players doesn't make you a team straight away. Real will still be very strong this year and don't be too surprised if the Champions League is their number 1 priority.


Juventus won the Turin derby on an offside goal by Paul Pogba. I bet Manchester United wish they still had him. Serie A is shaping up to be as competitive as the English Premier League this year. Atletico are trying in Spain, but hopefully this year will keep us guessing the whole way. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Forget last night's dancing, it's Soccer Saturday

This could be you dancing last night, or fighting for your place in the kebab line after a few too many sherberts.

But it's Saturday, forget last night and get ready for a weekend of football.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pelotas' pondering: The most competitive league in the world?

All we are saying is give MLS a chance

OK, we get it. You're a football fan but want nothing to do with MLS. But if there was a time to take a peek at it, it'd be now.

There's only a handful of matches remaining before the playoffs but every match feels like a final (OK, maybe that's stretching a bit but still). The intensity is getting more noticeable and the American game overall, known for being scrappy, gritty and physical, will shift into another gear as the season winds down.

It's comfortable to know that there is no viable, specific candidate to lift the league cup at the end of MLS's 18th season. Whether you support America's top-flight league or not, you can appreciate the parity and, for the most part, an even competition.

To prove that, just look at the table. The Eastern and Western conferences, both of which are respectively led by the New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders at the moment before their massive clash on Sunday, have 16 sides essentially fighting for 10 playoff spots (three teams are out of the running). To put it more in perspective,  Colorado Rapids hold the final spot in the West but are only ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes by four points and FC Dallas by five. In the East, the New England Revolution are clinging to the last playoff ticket but barely; Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union are within a point while Columbus Crew are behind by two.

 There are attractive matches on tap for this latest round of weekend matches and in stadiums that will surely be at capacity and, best of all, loud. The tight table will make said matches even more competitive with about five or six matches left.

Besides the Red Bulls-Sounders game that will be nationally televised, other matches on tap include Portland Timbers-Los Angeles Galaxy in yet another sold-out match in Portland; Sporting Kansas City also will have a packed stadium for their tilt tonight against Philadelphia Union; and FC Dallas will host Columbus in a battle of two desperate sides looking for maximum points to continue their seasons.

Sure, many of the league's imports are new to the American way of playoff competition but once acknowledged, studied and experienced, those same players react positively to the structure, as Argentine legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto did to a publication in his home country years ago. Of course, this followed his MLS Cup win with Columbus Crew!

Now, as the 2013 campaign nears its climax, the league is healthier than ever, evidenced by many of the teams playing in their own intimate stadiums with a growing fanbase in each city with teams making smart decisions on their personnel on the pitch. Dare we say, it's fast becoming one of the more competitive leagues on the planet. We have an idea who will take the title in England, Germany, Spain and Italy. With several weeks left in the MLS tournament, we're at a loss at who can be considered favorites to take home MLS Cup. Enjoy the ride!

-Tio Pelotas

What should be done with athletes facing jail time?

Hernandez facing murder charge
Ranger facing rape charge

My West Coast connection 'Necksy' has a beef. He wants to know why Nile Ranger can play for Swindon in League One (that's English soccer), but Aaron Hernandez can’t play for the New England Patriots (that's American football) despite both facing major jail time.

Ranger is facing a rape trial for an alleged incident in Newcastle, while the former England Under-19 striker was with the Premier League team.

Slightly different, but Hernandez is in prison for the alleged murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro American football player.

Yes, one is in England and one is in America; one is alleged murder and one alleged rape; one is Swindon and the other a big team; but it begs the question, should athletes be allowed to continue playing sport while facing any type of criminal charge?

This interesting article on the BBC highlights the plight of Ilombe Mboyo, a young Belgian footballer who was convicted of rape, but then missed out on a move to the Premier League after serving his time. If a player (or any person) has completed the punishment for their crime, shouldn’t they be allowed to go about their life? But what about someone who is arrested and accused of a crime?

Innocent until proven guilty? Or trial by media?

It’s obvious that Nile Ranger is no saint, he calls himself 'Da Realist' for a start, and has convictions for assault and robbery among others, but he’s allowed to play and earn as a professional athlete. Hernandez is not, but is that due to the overwhelming evidence? The intense media scrutiny? Varying image issues/standpoints across the pond?

It’s an interesting debate, and unfortunately one I think will remain in the public domain while young men are paid stupid amounts of money to play sport, the majority of whom are undereducated, overhyped and on the rise.

It's a discussion that is much bigger than a blog post, that's for sure.

Will Bale play in the Madrid derby? Does Jose miss Fergie?

Will Gareth Bale play in the Madrid derby this weekend? With help from referees, Real probably don't need him as they'll get another 95th minute penalty if the result isn't going their way anyway. Someone should let the officials know that General Franco died in 1975, so they don't need to fear being sent to a forced labor camp if they don't give Real all the decisions. Oh wait, there is money involved? Bribery and match fixing? Or you just want to be loved by millions of fans rather than the 50,000 that the smaller clubs have?

Anyway, getting off topic. Bale has already earned close to $1.5 million in his brief time with Real Madrid, and I'm sure he'll want to start showing he's worth the money. He's not fit, but he'll have to be on his game if Real are to beat Atletico. Diego Costa, Raul Garcia and David Villa have led Atletico to a perfect 6 wins form 6 to start La Liga, keeping them tied with Barcelona and 2 points ahead of their city rivals.

Should be a great game on Saturday night.

The early game on Saturday in England pits Porto's best two managers of recent times against each other. Jose Mourinho takes his Chelsea team to White Hart Lane to face Andre Villas-Boas' much improved Spurs team. The two managers have been having a little spat ahead of the game, but most of that is probably due to the face Jose misses Alex Ferguson. He's got no-one to really duel with anymore, and he's tired of calling Arsene Wenger a 'voyeur'. 

Spurs seem to know their best XI, although Jermain Defoe must be pushing for a start as he keeps scoring whenever he gets a chance. Mourinho on the other hand has a lot of options, but can't seem to get his strikers to find their form yet. I'd go with Torres, but Eto'o is likely to play (and he's due a goal)/

Steer clear of the Sunday games, there's nothing to see there. Not too much else on the Saturday either, although it will be interesting to see if Manchester City can maintain some of their recent form, and wether United can win against West Brom without van Persie or any other creative players (as Kagawa still can't get a start).


The pick of the other games in Europe for me is the Turin derby. Juventus against Torino should be a good game, and I'm interested to see Alessio Cerci who is the top scorer with 5 in Serie A so far.

Ever think Keith Andrews and Syria would be in the same sentence?

Are referees fighting back after recent abuse?

This shouldn't really count because it's Keith Andrews, and how he ever became a professional, let alone an international is beyond the Geezer.

I was hoping he just fell down at the feet of Xavi to show his respect, but it looks like he grabs his hamstring once he hits the floor.

He's probably hoping for a card, but should take one himself. Or asked to be subbed.

Maybe it's because the ref looks like the President of Syria that Andrews went down so easily - but this is a football blog, so political references are out.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Roma make is 5 from 5; Napoli slip, Balotelli scores again

I think I just wanted to add this GIF of Pjanic's goal for Roma, as I love a chip.

But Roma have won five from five and sit two points clear of Juventus and Napoli at the top of Serie A. They probably won't win it, but it's a great start to the season, and I can't get enough of Francesco Totti - hope that new contract means we get a few more years of appreciating one of the games great talents. He leads the league in assists again this year, and probably will do in 2020 the way he is going.

Napoli slipped up against bottom-placed Sassuolo, but for once I have to agree with Rafa. They can't win every game and he'll take a point from a poor performance.

Mad Mario scored again for AC Milan, but is facing a 3 game ban for his tirade after their defeat to Napoli at the weekend. There's only so many chances a player gets, regardless of talent. He has it all, but there's a reason he's been at 3 clubs already and is only 23.

A big game for Inter and Fiorentina today. Both are unbeaten and can join Juve and Napoli on 13 points with a win. Again, both may struggle to compete for the title this year, but this game is the first big test of how competitive they will be - and potentially show the areas they need to strengthen before the January window.  

Not to accuse referees, but this needs to stop

Aston Villa are denied a penalty when Vertonghen dragged Helenius down by his shorts, then Real Madrid are awarded a spot kick in the 97th minute when it looks like Elche may hold them to a 1-1 draw.

Two decisions that changed football matches, points, participation in cups and ultimately, money and success.

Spurs probably would have beaten Villa anyway, but Real Madrid couldn't beat newly promoted Elche, who had been out of the top flight for 24 years.

It was no surprise that Pepe 'won' the penalty, as he's used to getting his own way, or kicking out until he does. Losing to him would have been a loss of face, so it was either a red card, or cheating to win.

But there are plenty of players that cheat (Ashley Young is back in the spotlight), but we need stronger referees.

Just because Manchester United, Real Madrid etc. are expected to beat the smaller teams, referees can't have different sets of rules for different teams/players.

We deserve consistency, honesty and professionalism. There is more than money and success on the line. There is integrity. There is no doubt that Real Madrid win is tainted. And while they will still finish in the top 2, Elche could get relegated by a point and have to wait another 24 years to play in La Liga.

Let's pay the referees more, make them (and the cheats) more accountable, and make it an even playing field.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Will Suarez do something stupid if he scores?

With Luis Suarez expected to start in the League Cup against Manchester United tonight, you have to wonder whether he'll do something stupid if he scores.

Bruce Grobbelaar says they should have sold him , while Robbie Fowler says he's on his last chance, and you could agree with both.

He has previous. Not just for biting, but for not reacting in a more mature way after a situation (that he has gotten himself into). He memorably refused Evra's hand and also performed the swan dive (above) after David Moyes accused him of cheating in the Merseyside derby.

So he's not popular with Moyes, is hated at Old Trafford and is walking a very thin line even with his own fans and manager.

Don't pretend you're not interested to see what he does. I hope he scores for that very reason.

This free-kick seems a bit too choreographed

Watch this clip below.

Konstantin Fring scores a quality set-piece for Rot-Weiss Essen in the Bundesliga.

But all it made me thing was, 'It's a great free-kick, it would have gone in anyway, without all that drama.'

A little confusion/distraction is fine, but nobody bit, the wall and keeper didn't change. Trust your tekkers, cos you're going to look stupid when 3 of your teammates run into each other and you blast the ball into the stands.

Fans will celebrate anything - extra points for accuracy

I am by no way condoning throwing things at the linesman (assistant referee/flagboy/benson/whatever), but it seems these fans hadn't had anything to celebrate for a while - apparently you can't insert Arsenal jokes here anymore because they have Ozil !

And fair play to the fan. It's a great shot. And the linesman didn't roll around on the floor like he'd been shot, he just didn't flag for offside again, but it was worth it.

Just imagine if these fans got to celebrate winning a trophy.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Who doesn't miss Robbie Fowler's goals? Brummies maybe

There's something about Robbie Fowler that makes you want to have a beer with him. I can see why Liverpool put their team together in the 90s - they seemed like a team that could have a good time (even without success on the pitch). Apart from Jamie Redknapp, I'd have a beer with any of that team.

And with Round 3 of the League Cup in England today, why not show this goal from the 2001 final? It's not that I can't remember who won it last year (it was Swansea), I just can't remember any memorable goals over the last 10+ years in this competition.

So here's Robbie, another goal against a team from Birmingham - only Arsenal got more punishment than Villa and Brum, although Fulham and United took some punishment. I don't know, he seemed to score against everyone!

Neymar may want to remind himself of this

Neymar's start to his career has been slow by his standards. A few assists in a couple of Barcelona appearances - but seems to be fitting in nicely in a team that has won every game so far this season.

Gareth Bale's move to Real Madrid seemed to get more hype, even tho a lot of people would take the Brazilian over the Welshman.

But he's got fantastic talent, and it won't take long for him to start performing. Check out some of his goals on the Internet, or just watch this Bergkamp-esqe goal from his days with Santos.

UPDATE: He scored his first Barca goal less than 3 hours after this was posted - Neymar must follow the Geezer!

When is the right time to fire the manager?

Paolo Di Canio only lasted a handful of games this season before being fired by Sunderland.

There's no doubt he's a egomaniac, nutcase, passionate, crazy Italian, but surely the owners of Sunderland knew that when they hired him. He was able to save them from the drop last year and was given free range, and a massive budget to sign new players. He then imposed his strange, unpredictable, overwhelming style of management.

He called out players for being lazy, unfit, unable to speak English, eating too much junk food, drinking too much soda. Di Canio called out his players for their poor performances, abusing individuals and embarrassing the team and club. But we all knew he would.

So why was he fired? The players weren't happy? I'm sure the fans haven't been happy for a long time, but they don't get to fire the manager or sack the players. They don't get to change things or demand better.

Being bottom of the league in September won't get you relegated. Sure, the form is not good and the players haven't gelled yet. But a new manager now has to deal with that, and will surely request his own players at even more expense once the January window opens.

Maybe managers should get a window, the same way there is for transfers. I'm not saying Paolo did a good job, but he didn't really get to do the job at all. Fans deserve better. Chopping and changing can work, but there has to be some consistency. A quarter of the season minimum? 20 games? The owners have the right to change all they want, but I'd like to know how many times it works - because getting a quick fix guy isn't the solution if you fire him as soon as he loses a couple of games.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Coaching from the sidelines - what are the tactics?

Coaching from the sidelines can be tough. There's only so much you can get across to your players out on the field - most of them probably don't even speak the same language.

So here's two different approaches - who knows what they are trying to say! 3 up front? Short corner? Pick up the big man? Tea and biscuits later?!


The Sunday morning football plan actually works

In the dressing room before a game (or in your car, under a tree or anywhere else you can get changed on a Sunday morning before the game), there's usually a discussion something like this.

Bang it forward early, put them under some pressure, see what they're like at the back.

Usually people are too hungover to want the ball, so smashing it up their end means you have 30 seconds more to get used to the alcohol sloshing about in your stomach.

But it seems they do it at the top level too, just probably not for the same reasons!

How to tackle...with your head !

We search the world for these clips (or spend too much time on YouTube!), but here's a great challenge in the Argentinos v Boca Juniors game this weekend.

He picks up a yellow, but brain damage may be the issue.

So much for the Balotelli video

So this internet phenomenon is over - now they just need to #FreeShinji (Kagawa) !

Mario Misses, City Maul United, Geezer Wrong Again

Mario Balotelli bagged 26 in a row before missing his first ever penalty this weekend. Milan went down 2-1 to Napoli, with Rafa Benitez's team on a tear. They look the real deal and will really push Juventus this year. As I was reminded this weekend by an Inter fan, Serie A is very open this year. I think he just wanted to celebrate the face that Diego Milito is back and grabbed a brace in a 7-0 win, but there is some truth to the statement. Roma look good after winning the derby against Lazio, Inter are revolutionizing systems, playing 3-6-1, Juve look very strong, and Napoli may even be the favorites. And then there's AC Milan and Fiorentina - a very competitive league, although I think the only thing stopping Juve or Napoli winning the title will be their participation in the Champions League. A strong run for either will test the strength of their squads, but they should be able to handle the price of success.


City gave United a proper schlapping in the Manchester derby, with Yaya Toure looking back to his best. Rooney worked hard for United, but they seem to have a lack of ideas right now. Yes, van Persie missing was huge, but surely Kagawa instead of Valencia or Welbeck would have created a few chances. Young is also much less effective without someone to cross for - and partly because Welbeck is a decent link player, but he's not a leader and doesn't really trouble defenders from crosses, or in behind.

Paulo Di Canio sacked? Surprise? Of course not. Just a surprise someone gave him a high profile job and loads of cash, then expected him to be a success after just 13 games. Strange decision all around. 

Great free-kicks by Rooney and Leighton Baines this weekend. Everton were by far the better team against West Ham, but it shows what a help a dead ball specialist is. And after I predicted a bunch of home wins, it was tough on Cardiff, but nice finish from Paulinho...Newcastle hard to work out again....Villa win, but Benteke could be out. Lots of subplots in teh Premier League, and I didn't even mention Arsenal, then Chelsea were top of the league, or that Liverpool are back to their unpredictable best!


Also, Falcao and Ibra both scored in the 1-1 draw, with Monaco keeping their two point lead at the top of Ligue Un... Barca and ral both won (shock)... Bale is injured already (another shock)... Bayern and Dortmund are joint top of the Bundesliga again... and PSV spanked Ajax 4-0. 

Monday morning punch to the face

Heavy weekend as always.

Lots of football and beers, perfect for the Geezer.

Not sure if one of these would wake me up, or knock me out - probably the latter.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Funday

It's not real, but it will make you smile - and you need those on a Sunday when there's work the next day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A blessing for the weekend's football action

This picture was taken on a Sunday morning - you would have thought the Archbishop/Priest/Cardinal (whatever he is) had something better to do.

But much more importantly, why is he giving the ball back to the opposition straight from kick-off? If he's shooting, he must have been praying a lot if he thought he was going to score from the half-way line. With his instep too, who's he kidding?!

I don't think much of the Church's away kit either.

Friday's debate - penalty or not?

Here's a great piece of skill from South America - quick feet, bamboozled the defender and was in on goal.

But then he goes to ground.

Penalty? Dive? Play on? Don't care because you're still trying to work out how to do the trick?


Manchester derby, Rome derby and PSG V Monaco - a great weekend ahead

I wasn't sure I'd ever type this again, but Liverpool can extend their lead at the top of the table when they play Southampton at home on Saturday. And they still have Luis Suarez to come back. I think Liverpool will contend this year (maybe not for the title, but for the top 4). I'm predicting lots of home wins in the Premier League this weekend, and  yes, that does include City winning the Manchester derby on Sunday.

Yaya Toure is in beast mode at the moment, with Sergio Aguero starting to find some form. United weren't that convincing in Europe in midweek despite their 4-2 win. Rio Ferdinand is off the pace a little, Fellaini is still finding his feet (they could be lost in that afro) and, although I think they'll score, they just don't look solid at the back.

Every week is a big week, but you feel West Brom and Sunderland both need to win to get their season's started. It's still September, but this already feels like a 6-pointer. Palace also need a win - a game against Swansea isn't an easy one, but after a away trip in the Europa League, now may be as good time as any for the Eagles.


More than a couple of huge games in France and Italy this weekend. PSG v Monaco on Sunday night at the Parc de Princes is huge. Cavani, Ibra and Falcao all on show. Probably the best 3 forwards in the world once you take Ronaldo and Messi out of the equation. This already seems like a title game, and Zlatan tends to step up when he's needed. A relatively slow and incident-free start to the season for the big man isn't really his style. He'll either notch or get sent off. Take your pick.

Then there's the Rome derby (with Totti just signing a new deal, he's bound to score) and Milan v Napoli. Rafa Benitez has had a perfect start to his career in Naples, but Balotelli & Co will be a real test, although Hamsik and Higuain are going to score a lot of goals this year. 


Nothing too interesting in La Liga this weekend, although I'm sure Messi will get 4 if Cristiano gets another hat-trick. It's just the way they compete. Shalke 04 v Bayern is the big one in the Bundesliga. I have a feeling Pep may drop some points there. Not sure why, just have that Friday feeling. And don't forget Ajax v PSV too - the DVR is getting punished this weekend!

The whole week has felt like this

It's Friday, it's been a slog this week.

Champions League, Europa League, the Jonjo Shelvey show on Monday.

And guess what, there's more to come this weekend. So even if the week has been a puzzle (there's my tedious link to this odd picture), it's time for more football.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

INTERVIEW: Peru's Number 1 Still Learning His Craft

Raul 'Superman' Fernandez looks forward to tough task in Metropolis

Peruvian National 'keeper speaks exclusively to FootballGeezer

Raul Fernandez has enjoyed the sceneries that his football life has taken him from his hometown in Peru to France and to the U.S. He points to the passionate atmospheres of Seattle, Portland and Kansas City and is at peace with his family in Texas. 

But this weekend, as he descends upon the New York metro area for his first MLS match here against the New York Red Bulls, the FC Dallas goalkeeper is pure business and speaks of the need for three vital points.

"We're looking forward to playing against a top team but, truth be told, the pressure's on them, as they're at home," Fernandez, 27, said in a phone interview with FootballGeezer. "For me personally, it's going to be fun since it'll be my first time (at Red Bull Arena) and both teams will be fighting for a win. It'll be an attractive match."

The Peruvian international, who signed with Dallas from Nice in France in January, said he didn't think twice about coming to MLS when he heard of the opportunity and was happy to see firsthand its stature of a growing league.

"I was pleasantly surprised by its physical aspect," he added. "There is much to say about this league and more and more people will be talking about it because it's very competitive."

After being named an MLS All-Star this past summer, Fernandez soaked it all in, even having his pictures taken with Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan before the game against Roma.

"The All-Star game was a new experience for me, which I enjoyed immensely," Fernandez said. "It was such a positive experience to be on the field with players of that quality but it was a personal motivation for me to strive and be there again next year."

Aside from the All-Star festivities, Fernandez touched on the playoff system here but was generally humble about it.

 "Truth is, one needs to adapt overall to any changes or customs that every country has," he reflected. "I had culture shock in France and it was very rough in the beginning but once you accustom yourself, everything works out on its own."

Is he now a full-fledged Texan then?

"Well, I'm very happy here and I hope to stay for years," Fernandez added. "We're in a family-oriented environment and my family is at peace here. To me, that's first and everything else is second."

But Fernandez realizes everything isn't etched in stone. The goalkeeper strives to fight for his place every week and said he wants to continuously impress his manager. He takes it game-by-game but his near-term goal is to help Dallas get into the playoffs.

"As I've learned my whole life, no one is assured of their position," Fernandez said. "I work and train hard all the time whether it's with Dallas or the National team."

But with a long-offseason that most players around the globe aren't accustomed to, Fernandez is asked whether or not he'd consider a loan move after this year's campaign ends.

"That's something I actually haven't thought about," he paused. "But, yes, of course I'd like to have continuity so I can't rule it out. Obviously, that's something that has to be worked out. However, my objective right now is this season and that's to be a champion. After that, we'll see."

- Freddy Sebastian

FC Dallas at New York Red Bulls,
Red Bull Arena
Harrison, N.J.
Sunday, Sept. 22 5pm ET

©FootballGeezer, Freddy Sebastian 09192013

Write to FootballGeezer at @FootballGeez or

Cech blames weather for Basel loss

OK, so not technically true, but there are always stupid excuses after a loss. You lost, move on.

Basel weren't necessarily the better team, but they took their chances, played very well away from home, and proved that you can't instantly buy success.

But more than that, I just wanted to post this picture!

Was Kagawa scared to let go when Klopp hugged him?

And we all thought Jurgen Klopp was such a nice guy. He talked about how him and Shinji Kagawa cried in each other's arms when Kagawa was sold to Manchester United, he likened Bayern Munich to a James Bond villain, and turned down loads of big clubs as he was interested in the 'special project' at Dortmund.

But he's an angry man (although issued a very genuine apology accepting all the fault).

The fourth official did well to not react, although various reports suggest he changed his shorts at half-time.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cristiano ends the debate over who's better

It's not because he got a hat-trick and Lionel Messi matched him the very next night, it's because he's had enough of the comparisons and is taking the ball home so no one can play anymore!

Either that or he had a few too many kebabs in turkey last night. Either way, he's still not as heavy as the 'proper' Ronaldo.

Anyway, Theo Walcott just scored a volley for Arsenal, so he must be in the top 3 now.

Tricks of the trade - Weiss nutmeg counts for nothing

Although another replay shows his shot got a deflection on the way in, we have to give it up for Vladimir Weiss.

If a defender opens his legs that wide (insert any joke you want, probably something with Graeme Le Saux), then nutmeg him, show your quick feet to beet another man and slot it home.

If the man you embarrass is Thiago Silva, who cost about $50 million, then all the better. If your team then goes on to lose 4-1 to PSG in the Champions League, then the goal doesn't count for anything!

Sorry Vlad, I'm sure you're just happy to get away from Manchester City and Joe Hart's 'quality banter'.

Rooney and Robin are still no Ronnie Rosenthal

Manchester United for 4-2 yesterday in the Champions League, but apart from some dubious refereeing decisions and some shambolic goalkeeping, there were a couple of awful misses.

Wayne 'Mr. Loyalty' Rooney scored his 200th goal for United, but also managed to do a Torres, rounding the keeper and somehow missing the target from a few yards. Was he shooting or passing? Who cares, he earns a  fortune and can't pass it into an empty net from 4 yards? Maybe the Robocop headband blinded him.

Then there's Robin van Persie. Don't tell me it was an amazing volley to put them 2-1 up. Good technique, but the goalie was scared of the ball. You're the keeper. Use you hands, don't push the ball into the net. Chocolate wrists? No, just shit goalkeeping.

And that's before I mention van Persie's miss. It came at him fast is the excuse. He was 3 yards out with an open goal and it came off his heel. Imagine either one of these chances would have had an impact on the game. Imagine Wayne was playing for his country - all grannys would refuse to sleep with him, and the nation would have petitioned for his wife to be banned from Primark, forever.

But every miss from that close always reminds me of Ronnie Rosenthal - not sure why, it's just a classic miss.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Should we support different teams in Europe?

My team is never making the Champions League, not unless a Middle Eastern or Russian billionaire wants to become a legitimate British 'businessman' and fancies investing in East London (it worked for Roman).

So should we support other teams from our country in European tournaments?

Should Newcastle fans support Manchester United? Lyon fans support PSG? Inter fans support Juventus? Bilbao fans support Real Madrid?

Think about it. Some of these fans don't want to be part of the same country, others won't allow family members to marry someone who supports another team at the weekend. I don't buy the whole 'patriotic' argument. I'd rather be known as a fan of my team, than be labeled as a nationality - I at least got to choose one of them - controversial? Maybe. Bothered? Not at all.

Pretenders or real challengers to Bayern's Champions League title?

Bayern Munich start the defense of their Champions League title today against CSKA Moscow, in a group with Manchester City and Victoria Plzen of the Czech Republic. Bayern and City should advance, with not too many wild cards expected to get out of the group stages. But the knockout stages should be really exciting this year - the usual suspects should be joined by teams like Napoli, Athletico Madrid, PSG and Shalke 04.

Napoli have the toughest group, with Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Marseille, but they have looked fantastic in Serie A so far, with Gonzalo Higuain and Marik Hamsik bound to be a handful for any of Europe's top defenses, let alone Arsenal's.

It's hard to look past Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but the English teams may prefer the underdog tag after years of being the teams to beat. Juventus and Napoli have really strengthened over the summer and should compete at the latter stages, and PSG really have to reach the last 8 to even begin to justify the money they have spent.

And here's the beauty of the Champions League. All these big teams expect to advance. Their Chairmen pay huge salaries and transfer fees to reach this stage, and anything less than the knockout stages is a huge failure. But they can't all get to the last 4, and it usually means a manager will lose their job, and even more money will be thrown at the 'project' the next year.

It can't survive the way it is without someone going bust soon. But that's a story for another day.

Today, let's sit back, enjoy the music and see some top quality football. Bayern may have a tough task ahead to try and defend their title, but don't rule them out - they have to be the joint-favorites along with Barcelona, for now.

A little music to start the Champions League day

Listen to this at any point of the work day, and you know that you have something to look forward to later.

Gets me every time.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Jonjo's had a rough night, but that's nothing new

Jonjo Shelvey scored one and had 3 assists in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool - he could be forgiven if it was a one off (after all, he does love his glasses celebration and may genuinely be confused as to what team he was playing for).

He gave Alex Ferguson some abuse last year after he was sent off - something he blamed on Fergie's badgering of referees - so we can't hate him.

Plus, it's not like he hasn't had issues in front of goal before...

Liverpool just waiting for Suarez to ruin it for them.

Interesting match up in the Premier League tonight - and it's only been pushed to Monday as the league wanted teams that never qualify for the Champions League!

Calm down, I want to keep my rims and tires next time I go to Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers is going back to Swansea with his team having won 3 straight, and Daniel Sturridge scoring the solitary goal in all three of the 1-0 wins. He's back in the team after missing England duty with a 'really serious' injury as Liverpool seek their best start since 1994-95.

Swansea are a very good team and play some nice stuff under Michael Laudrup, but I think they're going to struggle to score goals as Michu won't get the space he did last year. They'll be annoyed Kolo toure is out tonight, as he guarantees you at least one chance a game.

 And don't forget, it's not long until a certain Mr. Luis Suarez is back.

Is the season already over? Perspective people.

Arsenal and Spurs are first and second, Barcelona, Athleico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli still have 100% winning starts to the season. I'm sure fans of those teams want the season to end now (maybe not Spurs fans finishing behind Arsenal), but let's have some perspective.

Just because Real Madrid spent a billion euros (or whatever it was) on Gareth Bale, then failed to win the next game, doesn't mean they are suddenly awful. Even though Newcastle won and Man City didn't, it doesn't mean the Geordies are now title contenders. West Ham haven't scored for 3 games, yet it doesn't mean they never will again - not sure on that point actually, it could be Christmas before Kevin Nolan decides he needs some goal bonus money to buy an extra turkey or two.

Although we are about a tenth of the way through the season already, let's get some perspective. Teams are still forming, players are getting used to each other and managers are trying to find the right system. It doesn't mean a manager won't get sacked before the end of September - that's just football.


Neymar grabbed another assist for Barcelona as they made it 14 goals in 4 games. Critiano Ronaldo signed a new contract as he didn't think 50 million euros a year was enough to pay for his spray tans and hair cream. Rafa Benitez is killing it in Italy - there is a real chance we'll never have to watch him play chess on a BBC Football interview again. The Derby d'Italia finished 1-1, with Inter looking a much better team than they did last year. Dortmund won 6-2 with Lewandowski looking back to his best - Pep is going to have a tough time at Bayern Munich. It's not that his team aren't one of the best in Europe, it's just impossible to really improve on what they did last season.


Oh, and Falcao scored again as Monaco remain top of Ligue Un.

In other news, Kaka is already he wishes he had a pal like Dani Alves, who apparently offered Eric Abidal part of his liver to aid his recovery....Mario Gomez is out injured again, those 2 yard tap-ins are going to miss him. 

Could Lee Cattermole be unleashed on Ashley Young?

He's a cheat. We know it, his manager knows it, and I'm pretty sure he knows it.

No, I'm not talking about when he tweeted pictures of his junk when on England duty, I'm talking about the consistent diving to try and win penalties and get people sent off.

Ashy Young had already been booked for diving against Crystal Palace on Saturday when he went down again under minimal contact. It may have been a foul and possibly even a penalty (although I think it was outside the box), but the issue is the way he plays for them.

Clicking your heels, flicking your legs up in the air and rolling perfectly to catch the referee's eye as you come down isn't something you do on the fly.

He practices cheating, it's the only way he can produce the same trip, flip and landing so effortlessly.

No, he's not the only one, but it got a man sent off, effectively won the game and even his manager knows he's doing it. Fine him, ban him, or get someone like Lee Cattermole to properly smash him.

Fans everywhere know it's Monday

This image is from Burkina Faso against Ethiopia - maybe not a game that will long in the memory, but it does always remind me that it's Monday.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Funday

Watch out, the sniper is coming for you....

When you're through on goal and playing mind games with the keeper, don't forget there could be a sniper with you in his sights.

You're giving our game a bad name - and Marky Mark is after you!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The most excited football fan ever?

Maybe it's the new signings, or the fact that it's not boring International week anymore, but this fan is really excited about this weekend's action.

It could be from Gareth Bale's unveiling, Mesut Ozil's first shirt signing or maybe even at Hull's Friday training session - who knows, but this fan is ready to go.

The other Willian rolling with Cruzeiro

A Raposa is top of the table and seeks a seventh win in a row

Willian--no, not the one that was just picked up by The Special One over in London, the other one with Cruzeiro--had a brace against Goias Wednesday to give the current leaders (43 points) a sixth consecutive victory, entering the 21st round of the Brazilian championship.

The club hosts fourth-placed Atletico Paranaense (35) tomorrow and are riding an 18-match win streak at home in the Mineirao stadium.

Meanwhile, down south from Belo Horizonte near the coast, living geezer legend Clarence Seedorf and his second-placed side Botafogo side (39) will be away to Santos (28), a difficult but not impossible task to snatch three points. 

If all goes well for Cruzeiro and Botafogo this weekend, then it should be a cracker of a match between these two on Wednesday at the Mineirao.

Hitting a small target; Just the tip

Feyenoord were 2-0 up at home to NAC Breda, so why not have a laugh when you're kicking off.

It couldn't have hurt that much, and makes you wonder why a player can miss a penalty if they can hit a target that small.

Should have smashed it at him - no reason really, just would have made me laugh.

Weekend preview - A few new signings, and the Derby d'Italia

Can Arsenal forge a German connection like the Inter team of the 90s?

There are plenty of new signings that I'm looking forward to seeing this weekend - Mesut Ozil, Cristian Eriksen, Samuel Eto'o and potentially Gareth Bale. Most of them are injured or lacking match fitness, which makes you wonder what they were doing during the International break. (I didn't want to mention it, but there you go - and that's all you're getting).

The Geezer can be match fit in 14 minutes, and most of that is because I can't tie the laces on my boots and drink a can of Stella at the same time.


In Serie A this weekend is the Derby of Italy - Inter and Juventus have both won their opening two games, but this should be a real test for Inter. Juventus have spent all the money and brought in some quality players, but Inter have a chance and may even see the return of Diego Milito - maybe not a huge fan favorite, but he knows how to notch, and that's all you can ask.

The always attack-minded Rafael Benitez has started with 2 wins as well, and keep and eye out for Marek Hamsik at Napoli. He's by no means a new signing, but he's got 4 in 2 and Benitez said he's "priceless" is Bale is worth 100 million - can't really disagree as the Welshman is never worth the fee paid for him.


In England, Mesut Ozil should destroy Paulo Di Canio's Sunderland team. Put your money on an Arsenal win. Sunderland lost to their own under 21s team, so can't see them beating Arsenal. Looking forward to seeing how Spurs gel, and whether Jose Mourinho can somehow fit Willian and Eto'o into the starting lineup. Typical bad luck for Romelu Lukaku too - can't get a game at Chelsea, so goes on loan to Everton, only to be unavailable as the Toffees play Chelsea this week! 


Not too much that really jumps out in the Bundesliga, France, Portugal or Spain this week. Bale may play for Real Madrid, but I doubt it. He's not fit, with speculation he may get the last 15-20 if they are 4-0 against Villareal. But all in all, I'm glad European club football is back - as I need to enjoy a beer, not cry into one.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Women's football and futsal in one post?!!

Someone sent me a link to this, and I was initially hesitant to open - but then realized I open far more treacherous emails and links and it couldn't hurt to check it out.

I've never seen a goal like it at any level, but it's futsal, so doesn't really count !


Will Smith's 'penalty' made me go to the Carlton dance

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was funny, some of his films are good (struggling to name any tho) and he always seemed like a nice enough guy, but Will Smith just blew his credibility.

How hard is it to kick a ball? I'm not asking you to put it in the top corner or find a teammate from 50 yards - just kick the ball. Toe punt it, sidefoot it, or just practice before turning up at an event and making a fool of yourself.

Carlton would be laughing and dancing at your embarrassment now (so here's his video to cheer me up!)

Arsene Wenger no longer throwing coins

Following the acquisition of Mesut Ozil, it's hard to to accuse Arsene Wenger of being tight with the cash.

It only took 8 years of signings like Gervinho, Park Chu-Young, Sebastian Squillaci and Francis Jeffers to force his hand.

But regardless, no one will remember any of that information after seeing this...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pink eye? Crying? Partying? Landon's eye even has a twitter account!

The US did it! We're headed to Brazil! 

Many questions were answered last night: how would the US fare against El Tri without the injured Michael Bradley and three suspended players (just fine), would they beat Mexico 2-0 once again in Columbus (they did), would Honduras send us through to Brazil (also, yes).

But the one question that we still don't have a clear answer for is what in god's name happened to Landon Donovan's eye?!?

I mean look at this thing! 

The picture made the rounds over Twitter and the rest of the Interwebs last night during the match. It became such a meme that someone came up with that oh-so-clever thing of having his eye tweeting in the first-person from a single-serving Twitter account. I wonder how soon that thing will go dormant.

While ESPN's Roger Bennett said Donovan had an eye infection, I came up with my own theories as to why Landon looks like he went toe-to-toe with Floyd Mayweather. 

From least likely to most likely:

5) He's been possessed. With qualification still up in the air, Landon took one for the team and sold his soul to the devil to ensure a trip to Brazil. But since selling your soul is a high price to pay, I'm sure Landon got his money's worth and the US is guaranteed to take home the gold trophy next year.

4) He got punched in the eye at Friday's. Now hear me out - the night before the match, the boys went out to the local pub to enjoy a few beers and watch some Monday Night (American) Football. (In Columbus, the place to go is TGI Friday's.) Hailing from California, Landon probably supports the San Diego Chargers, so naturally he was sporting a Phillip Rivers jersey. 

Right before he bit into a jalapeno popper (his favorite), some drunk local started jawing at him over his taste in quarterbacks. (Unsurprisingly, Rivers cost the man a fantasy football championship the year before) Landon defended his QB's rep, things got heated and a few punches were thrown. Landon took a fist to the eye. (He deserved it as Rivers stinks.)

3) He's wearing fashion contact lenses and one fell out. He wanted to look intimidating so he bought a pair of those awful lenses. You try finding a tiny, clear plastic lens on a giant green pitch.

2) He's been crying over his breakup with his wife. Yes, his split with actress Bianca Kijilic happened way back in 2010, but I could see why he might still be upset.

and the most likely scenario...

1) He has pinkeye because he doesn't wash his hands properly after wiping / or someone farted on his pillow. Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, is the swelling of the mucus membrane between the eye and eyelid and it can be caused by allergies, bacteria or a virus (such as herpes!). Hands can become contaminated by coming in contact with infectious tears, eye discharge, fecal matter, or respiratory discharges, according to the CDC.

If pinkeye is indeed the case, it's probably because Landon was in such a hurry to get back on the practice field to ensure US domination that he skipped a step or two while utilizing the training facility commode. 

Or maybe someone just farted on his pillow. It could have been a prank gone horribly awry by one of his puckish teammates (my money is on Eddie Johnson) or a revenge stunt by the hotel staff in Costa Rica. We may never know for sure.

What we do know is that pinkeye is pretty contagious, so I'm surprised he didn't find himself in open space more often last night. And while it hasn't been confirmed if beer helps with conjunctivitis, I doubt anybody was in a rush to hold his bottle for him.

- Nick 'The American' Hatcher

Tricks of the trade - Robinho

Great footwork - no if only he could find his way into the starting XI of a team.

A bit of a Denilson for me - great talent, but wasted.