Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

March 30, 2010

Sticky Feet …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:24 am

Was watching Arsenal vs Birmingham, and one of the highlights for me was watching Abou Diaby`s work in the middle of the park.  His ability to keep the ball under pressure is pretty impressive.  The ball kind of sticks to his feet, and he shields the ball well and can turn away from defenders with ease.

I remember one Newcastle game where Da`Puzzo was playing central midfield, and at times showed sticky feet.  Calmly kept the ball under pressure and never looked in danger of losing it, even though several defenders were nearby.

I can`t really remember too many other moments like that in the A-league games I watched this season.  Who else in the A-league has sticky feet?

March 29, 2010

Some thoughts on Winning

Filed under: Football, Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:27 am

Once a month I teach a kindergarden class.  I had been teaching them how to play “paper scissors rock” in English.  The game originally comes from Japan, and seems to be used by kids to resolve any and every dispute.  They quite seemed to enjoy playing it in English.

I got the whole class of 30 something kids to play a Paper Scissor Rock tournament.  And a champion was found.  I held up his hand and cheered him.  But holding up his hand, I thought “well, someone had to win”.

Reading through Jonathon Wilson’s “Inverting the pyramid”, one of the people he quotes talks about this feeling – how winning of itself doesn`t mean much, cos soccer, like paper scissor rock, is designed to crown someone the winner. The opposing view is also supported by some quoted in the book – that winning is all there is.

The last winners of the WC – could feel great pride in meeting their potential and adding to their tally.  For being there at the end when “better” teams fell.  But to the neutral, this was not a team that will be talked about down the ages, this was a “last man standing” rather than a “first among equals” kind of winner.  Like the kid in the PSR tournament.

The neutrals will be hoping that this year`s tournament finds more than just a winner.  But whoever wins it is gonna feel happy anyway.

March 25, 2010

Kawasaki vs Melbourne

Filed under: Uncategorized — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 8:55 am

What can you say?  A lot has already been written about this one.

Butter.  Hot knife.

Me turning it off after 30 minutes.

March 23, 2010

Making sense of that Grand Final

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:10 am

Maybe that heading should be “not making sense of that grand final”?

Not sure if I enjoyed watching this one.  Twas quite gripping though in the end.

Was that a poor field?  Or have I been watching too much J-league lately (where fields are only used for football and most look imaculate)?

Did the ref have a good game or a shocker? Did SFC get away with too much?  Can a team with Muscat and Leijer at the back be bullied?

Not many chances, so every chance took on heightened importance.  Leijer`s free header (why did he seem like MVs most likely to score?).  Payne`s shocker of a miss.  Vargas putting it in the net from off-side.

Kruse did some nice work, but needs company – somebody needed to surge in from midfield to meet some of the crosses he made.

Now onto the ACL matches and the WC!

March 19, 2010

More money than sense …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 5:12 am

My sky perfect satellite dish should arrive in about 5 days.

I (someone who is staying in Japan for another 5 months or so) have signed up for a satellite tv service for the sole intention of watching the WC.  And bought a $180 hard disk to record the games that are on when I am working or asleep.

Now I just need a downstairs bar fridge …

March 15, 2010

Understanding why it has taken Keisuke Honda so long to get an NT Debut …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 7:16 am

In the recent Japan vs Bahrain Asian Cup game, Keisuke Honda got his first start in the NT.  Captain of a European club team at a young age.  Helped them stay up when they got into the Eredivisie.  A move to CSKA in the Russian league.  Has started Europa league matches. 

And has watched from the bench as lesser players took the field for the NT. 

I could be totally wrong on this … but I got to thinking about the powers that be in Japanese soccer.  They have gotten a lot right – the J-League is going well.  Players consistently coming through the ranks … why would a player like this be sitting on the sidelines?

Thinking back to 2006, not only were there bad results.  There was also a very disjointed team – Coach Zico gave the Euro-based players preferential treatment, and the locker room was split.  I think that the only thing that the powers that be fear more than another round of bad results is another disunited squad.  This is Japan – conformity and fitting in are very important here apparently. 

And then I got to thinking about young Morimoto – 24 appearances and 5 goals this season … not worldbeating, but WE dont have any young strikers playing in Serie A atm.  Seems like he has been kept at arms length from the NT. 

Could it be that the powers that be in Japan PREFER for Japanese players to be bad travellers?  That they fear the J-league turning into a feeder league with the best young talent going to Europe ASAP? 

Some of the guys that have played ahead of Honda and Morimoto were either plain bad or just plain anonymous.

March 13, 2010

Mr Kennedy – Nagoya Grampus

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 10:59 pm

It`d be easy to come to the conclusion that Jesus made a mistake coming to Japan.  He had started games in the Bundesliga.  Had had some injuries, but was still in the prime of his career.  He was giving up on the challenge of a top league in Europe and settling for an easier life in Asia.  Against people half his size.  In a league that is nowhere near as good as the Bundesliga.

Fair call, there is a lot of logic in that.

But I was watching the second half of JC`s Nagoya vs Kawasaki  Frontale (a team that was in the title race last year, tonked CCM at bluetongue), and here is what I noticed.

Jesus was a big contributor to his team.  With such nice surfaces (the joys of football only stadiums) teams are tempted to keep it on the carpet more often.  And sometimes he contributes with some decent linking up play work.  He wins a fair bit in the air, but not everything. And he can use his height to protect the ball when it is on the deck.  A good player.

But he wasn`t the best striker on the pitch.  That would be Chong Tese, the Japan born and raised North Korean NT player.  Won the game when he made the most of a low percentage chance.  A striker`s goal.  A rocket into the top corner on the turn. With a couple of defenders for company.  My guess – if a coach could choose between JC or Chong, they`d choose Chong.

I think Kennedy has found a place where he can be happy – appreciated, own a starting berth.  But I wouldn`t call it slumming it, or going too far down the levels when the competition for best striker in the league is as strong as it is.  I`m expecting Kennedy to have a good season, but not make the end of year Best Eleven / MVP discussions.

March 12, 2010

Better than the Domestics …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:45 pm

How many Aussies overseas are better than the players currently turning out in the A-League? Clearly better.  Head and shoulders better than their A-league based compatriots.

The difference in quality between a FIFA date Socceroos and a non-FIFA date Socceroos is pretty stark … but I think the A-league boys aren`t as bad as many people think.  For all their faults, there are only 11 guys Overseas I would consider as “clearly” better.  Wilks, Grella, the Schwartz, Timmy, Neill, Bresc, Kennedy, McDonald, Emmo, Harry and Holman.  

A Chippers might come home and contribute to a side, but probably wouldn`t be Johnny Warren medal material.  Jedi has probably improved, but is he better than a Culina?  The guys that have come home with experience in the Scandinavian leagues – that striker at CCM (the name escapes me), Steffanuto (prior to the injury), Dave Williams … they haven`t exactly set the league on fire.

March 7, 2010

You say to “may” to, I say to “mah” to?

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 4:01 am

Loving this Welly vs Newc game.  Full house, and a fast, full blooded cup game.

Cup game?  NO!  ITS THE FINALS!  EVERYONE MUST CALL IT THE FINALS!

Well, yeah, but isn`t a finals series just a cup that happens to start at the end of the regular season?

As fans, I think we find our own meaning and interpret things as we like.  Is a player “thuggish” or “combatative”?  Is team X “boring” or “pragmatic”?  Don`t get me started on “who deserved to win” etc.  We do it all the time.

So, you think the Finals is where the best prove themselves?  Call it the finals, grab a beer and enjoy the game.

You think the League is where the best prove themselves (I do)?  Call it a cup, grab a beer and enjoy the game.

PS.  It is to”mah”to.  Anything else is wrong.

March 6, 2010

Random thoughts – 3 times running J-league champs Kashima vs Matthew Spiranovic`s new club Urawa Reds …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:25 pm

Well, no Matt.  Injured apparently.  The commentators seemed quite excited about him.

Onto the game itself – a 2 – 0 win to Kashima.  Players shaking off the start of year rust, slipping over on a very nice, but very wet surface.

I think Matt is joining a team that has talent, but lacks cohesion in the final third.  Or maybe it just looks like that when they are playing the current champions, who don`t seem to have changed their personnel.

Is the Centre forward Edmilson a dud, or was he just well marshalled by should be starting in the national team Mr Iwamasa?  I really think this guy should be taking either Tulio Tanaka or Nakazawa`s starting spot.  Because he keeps it simple, owns any crosses that comes into the box (excellent header of the ball) and generally looks a half step faster than the current centrebacks.

Heard about the Kashima central midfielder Ogasawa before, but hadn`t seen him.  2009 MVP.  Directs things from the middle.  Never quite became a core part of the national team.  Well, he plays calmly, sees things well, good defensively and has “presence”.

Kashima just seem like a smooth running machine.  Disciplined.  Patient.  Their defenders stay back usually, they rely on their attackers to do the job without the extra man.  I guess this is similar to what SFC are aiming for.

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