Monday, September 23, 2013

Di Canios sacking the silly season begins.

For all of his faults and Sunderland's poor start to the season Paola Di Canio did not deserve the sack. His poor start is not what allegedly cost him his job it was infact after one too many arguments with his own players they were the ones who said to chairman Ellis Short than the game was up less than six months and thirteen games into his Sunderland tenure it was over.
A lot of people have said that including Hull boss Steve Bruce is that Di Canio's methods were outdated and the modern player does not react favourably to them. The other reason is that Sunderland transfer regime was all wrong in the summer. The clubs director of football Roberto De Fanti made all the signings and signed a whopping fourteen players which was asking for disaster from the start. Of those 14 players only five had previous Premier League Experience and thirteen were foreign and it always takes a bit of time for foreigners to settle into a new league and culture. There was too many signings and the one player Di Canio really wanted Tom Huddelstone ended up at Hull and has made a great start for them.
Player power did win this battle as Di Canio gave one tongue lashing too many but Ellis Short should have realised this could have happened the day he made the appointment back in March. If the results were better at the start of this season and this came up from the players Short probably would have backed the manager and let him continue on but instead the results were poor and the players had had enough of him, Short pulled the trigger and let him go.
Sunderland are in a mess now at the moment and it is their own fault for causing it. Who will take over? Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet are early favourites for the job and neither would be a bad choice. Whatever happens whomever comes in now needs to find a settled team quickly and stamp their authority on the side. Also encourage De Fanti to be patient and try and get the right signings in Quality rather than Quantity in the January transfer window to save their season.

Manchester City laid a marker down in their 4-1 victory over Man. Utd. They look a different team when their leader and Captain Vincent Kompany is in the team and he was simply magnificent on Sunday. People are already starting to question David Moyes as his early big game record has been poor. He still needs time and the other thing is when Manchester City are on song they are simply better than Manchester United in most areas. United were always more consistent but that might change this season if Moyes can't figure out how to win the bigger games. They were also missing Van Persie and that was huge as well.

Arsenal top of the league. Mesut Ozil settling in nicely and provided the three assists at the weekend and the continued goalscoring form of Aaron Ramsey is great to see as well.

Brendan Rogers had a day to forget as his action of playing four centre backs backfired and also Liverpool lacked creativity with Coutinho missing. At least for Liverpool Luis Suarez will be back in the Capitol One Cup against Man. Utd. which will lift the Pool again no doubt.

Tottenham were very good against Cardiff and somehow did not manage to score until the last kick of the game but the goal was worth the wait with Paulinho's finish for the eventual winner. Former Spurs keeper Erik Thordvest came up with a great line saying we might have sold Elvis but we bought the Beatles. It is a huge season for Spurs and they definitely have the squad to deliver not just the Champions League Qualification but quite possibly the league itself.

Last but not least the most amazing thing happened, Yes Mario Balotelli finally missed a penalty in Milan's two-one home defeat to Rafa Benitez' Napoli. It was a mixed night for Mario as he missed the penalty also hit a stunner against the crossbar scored Milan's goal that nearly got back into the match late on and finally got sent off after the match for dissent and totally lost the plot by kicking, screaming and taking off his shirt after abusing the ref incessantly. Napoli under Rafa though are a very good side who bought well in the summer and have a hundred percent record so far in the league along with Roma. It has the makings of a good season in Italy.

PL Results: Norwich 0-1 Aston Villa, Liverpool 0-1 Southampton, Newcastle 2-3 Hull, West Brom 3-0 Sunderland, West Ham 2-3 Everton, Chelsea 2-0 Fulham, (Sun) Arsenal 3-1 Stoke, Crystal Palace 0-2 Swansea, Man City 4-1 Man Utd, Cardiff 0-1 Tottenham

I will eave you for now with the two free kick crackers Everton's  Leigton Baines scored against West Ham. Ronaldo eat your heart out!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Last Trap

So Giovanni, Marco and Manuela have gone and the dust has settled since the back to back defeats against Sweden and Austria with the announcement that Trapattoni has left by mutual consent in this brief blog I want to delve into whether his reign was a success, where the national team is now after he leaves and what does the next manager need to do to try and take Ireland to the next level and qualify for Euro 2016.

I generally believe that with a few quibbles which I will mention Trapattoni did well in general as manager of Ireland in his five  and a half year spell at the helm of the national team. Ireland were a Thierry Henry handball away from qualifying for the World Cup in South Africa and then brought us to our first international competition in ten years by bringing Ireland to Poland for Euro 2012. Unfortunately this is where things started to wrong for Trap as his team floundered in what was admittedly a very tough group but in the way we surrendered matter of fact in the defeats to Croatia, Spain and Italy caused a lot of the Irish Public even then for Trap to go. Ireland in this world cup qualification campaign have been essentially a disaster , a team which have no ideas and have meekly surrendered to teams who in essence are not really that much better than us (with the exception of Germany of course) and that if Ireland paid more to their full potential we instead of Sweden would be sitting pretty second in the group.

Trapattoni's critics, me included have said things like the negative play, falling out with certain players, not going to games to see how certain players were doing and all things he should be doing while earning two million a year on his contract which was reduced to 1.2 million by the time the job was finished. My biggest criticism of him as well as the above points I have stated was the fact that he never bothered to learn English properly. I cannot imagine what it would be like on a training ground with all the players speaking English and the coach does not speak perfect English. Team talks would have been more difficult to come across than they should have and I would like to think if the team were struggling in a match how would Trppattoni get across his instructions to the team as to how to come back into a match tactically more than anything else. It was a big failing in my view. Overall though he did get us to the Euros and for that I would like to thank him as it gave me personally my best holiday ever in Poland which will probably never be replicated. Thanks Gio.

Who comes in and what needs to be done? Well there are players that were exiled under Trappatonis reign like Anthony Stokes and Andy Reid that can come into the side. Surely they are better options then for instance Simon Cox or Glen Whelan? The team the new manager will inherit though is not one that would exclude confidence. Shay Given and Damien Duff have retired and there is nothing much behind them. Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne surely are playing their last games for Ireland as well and it is up to the new manager to see who can be unearthed. Of the players that who are there at least Seamus Coleman has made the breakthrough which should have probably happened eighteen months earlier. James McCarthy can flourish at Everton under his boss which he had at Wigan Roberto Martinez and hopefully then can replicate that in the Irish side. A lot to prove from him for sure but it is probably the best we got in that position unless Andy Reid does get that recall. He definitely deserves his chance again after playing really for Nottingham Forest the past twelve months. Wes Houlihan deserves his chance as well. Why Trapattoni stubbornly stuck to his guns and not pick him when it was obvious he should have been in the first team is beyond me but he should get a chance under whomever gets the job. Others like Robbie Brady, Shane Long, Anthony Stokes, Anthony Pilkington, Ciaran Clark and Kieron Westwood and there is still a good basis for a good team that can play decent football is well which would be the other thing that the fans would want if possible as most of the football under Trap's reign was terrible to be fair.

Who is going to get the job? Martin O' Neill is the favourite to get the job and if nothing else O'Neills greatest asset is his man management skills and to convince the team that they can beat anyone and play without fear although the flip side to that is that his Sunderland reign ended in tears and some of the football they were producing was quite frankly terrible,. I would welcome his appointment but would approach with cautious optimism as well. Roy Keane has been mentioned but could he get on with the F.A.I. after their past? Probably not I would reckon. Mick McCarthy has also been mentioned and most Irish fans would welcome Mick back in the fold as apart from the Saipan debacle Mick mostly did do a good job first time around and has experience of getting Ireland to a world cup while playing some good football as well. Brian McCdermott and Chris Hughton are definitely future Irish managers but too soon for both as they have big club jobs at the moment with Leeds and Norwich but their time will come down the line. The bottom line is the team definitely is not as good as it one was but there are still enough good players for Ireland to be a threat to qualify for Euro 2016 and it does help that 24 instead of 16 qualify for the tournament and fans are hoping that we can go to Germany in three years time for another big tournament and to do it in a style that is somewhat pleasing to the eye. Over to the F.A.I. to appoint the right man.

Ill leave you with a montage (of sorts) to Traps reign: