Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Maybe next time I'll learn how to dive." - Thierry Henry, May 17, 2006

You've proved Aragones half right. You are a shit, Thierry. You dove to draw the winning free kick. You initiated contact between your chest and Puyol's elbow and then proceeded to act as if you'd been punched in the face. And you and your coach had the gall to lecture the world about the right way to play football last month. Enjoy being Chelsea's bitch.

(If you can't tell, my three teams have all been knocked out and I'm bitter bitter bitter.)


Tim said...

Maybe it was a bit of leftover feeling over the hacking he got at the hands of Puyol in the Champions League final.

Just a reminder... we were pulling for the same teams.

Anonymous said...

True - he didn't dive as well as Pablo, who did an Academy Award-winning performance after minimal contact, giving Spain an unwarranted PK goal.

Each team had one ref-assisted goal. France, however, had two others, while Spain couldn't come up with any.

Chg said...

If you look closely at his picture, it appears he is also black.

My adopted team lost on to the 12th man in the 93rd minute. Just as I feared, there's no one left that I feel completely comfortable rooting for.

Michael said...

Tim, I think that Marquez was more the hacker in Paris than Puyol was. My memory of Henry and Puyol in the final was Henry skinning him on the left sideline when the game was still 1-0.

There's no way that Pablo dove to get the PK; he was very clearly clipped on the foot by Thuram. It was certainly a foul. You can argue that it shouldn't have been a penalty because it wasn't a great scoring chance, but it was anything but a dive.

CHG, I'm left deciding who I dislike the least. Picking between France and Italy if they both advance is like picking between gonorrhea and chlamydia. That ought to be a 0-0 thriller just like their dreck game in '98. Come to think of it, I don't have anything against Germany, Argentina, or Portugal on the top half of the bracket, so as long as boring boring England gets knocked out, I'll be happy.

Tim said...

I meant that with tongue firmly in cheek (and you're right... it was Marquez). This tournament has been full of dives (see Italy beating Australia). I attribute it to the flurry of cards the refs feel obliged to show every match.

Does this mean I'm going to have to pull for England now? Oh that's right, there's no way they'll get by Portugal.

Jacob said...

Mike, you got the bracket wrong. Italy is playing the Ukraine for the right to play GER/ARG, and France is playing Brazil vs ENG/POR, so there is no boring as dreck game except for Italy Ukraine, which im sure most will agree in being avid blue and yellow supporters.

Michael said...

Tim, I completely agree that there has been too much diving in the tournament. I was particularly vexed to see it from Henry, who claims to be above that. (And for him to victimize my favorite player was the icing on the cake.) You shouldn't root for England because they're England. They can't possess the ball enough to get in position to dive.

Jacob, I'm guessing that Italy and France will win their quarterfinals, thus leaving me with the "Choose your STD" semifinal.

Jacob said...

But that would leave Italy vs Ger/Arg, and France vs Eng/Por, your choose your STD match would only be the final (Unless you consider France-England the same type of debacle).

Kanu said...

I am sorry to break it to you, but that was a foul by Puyol, either a foul or obstruction, or both. So there would have been a free kick anyways, even if TH hadn't done his homage to Rivaldo 2002.

And yes it was Puyol that TH14 was upset about after the CL final, plus I think he was wasn't beyond taking the piss on Aragones.

Stupid and indefensible either way, but even without it there was a foul no doubt.

As far as being Chelsea's bitch, they curretnly have the same number of EPL titles as TH. Maybe if they win an FA Cup (Arsenal 2002, 2003, 2005), win a double (2002), go an entire 38 match season unbeaten (2004), or have a player lead the EPL in goals (2006, 2005, 2004, 2002) or win a European Golden Boot (2005, 2004) or even lead the EPL in assists (23, 2003) then they could talk about being his equal. Until then, I'll say that they are his bitch, since the 700 million that Romanovich has spent on players in 3.5 years has bought him 2 EPL titles but little else.

Michael said...

Jacob, you're right. England-France would be my STD bowl.

Kanu, we'll agree to disagree on whether it was a foul or not. I think it wouldn't have been called if not for Henry's theatrics, which were clearly intended to ensure a call and possibly a card. If Thierry is still bitter about the CL Final, he might want to look in the mirror and recall the breakaway he fluffed when the game was 1-0. (And speaking of diving, let's discuss the goal that made the final 1-0...)

Abramovich has been in charge for three years, so comparing Henry's lengthy career at Arsenal with Chelski's limited existence is unfair. In the past two years, Chelsea has finished miles ahead of Arsenal and they've fortified with the best midifielder and striker in the world. In the CL and FA Cup, anything can happen. In the Premiership, there's almost no way that Chelsea can lose unless Mourinho can't handle all those egos and they implode.

Kanu said...


First off - keep doing what you are doing - I am enjoying reading your takes on soccer.

I thought it was a foul - so agree to disagree is definitely best.

And I agree that Eboue dived to get the free kick leading to Campbell's goal, and that TH14 just needed to chip Valdez to kill the game but instead fluffed his shot right at VV. Good points.

I left out anything Henry did prior to 2002 (he signed in 1999), although to be fair Roman didn't buy Chelsea until 2003. So take away the mention of the FA Cup and the double in 2002, and even the FA Cup and all time EPL assist record in 2003, and leave the rest. Even doing that I think you see my point about refuting the claim that he is Chelsea's (or anyone else's) bitch. If he is, then so is every single member of all ofhter 19 EPL squads.

Will Chelsea win the EPL again this year? Sure they will. But I'm not impressed. That's like me going down to the playground, beating the shit out of three 10 year olds in "21", and then going around bragging about it.

They have spent 700 million on players since 2003, and I believe Arsenal have spent 50. They operated at a loss of 140 million pounds (over $200 million US) last year alone - any real football club simply could not do this without going bankrupt & out of business. It is universally accpeted that their success in the last two years is a direct result of stockpiling a ridiculous amount of talent, and most people are not really impressed with what they have accomplished considering how much the scales have been tipped in their favor and that there is not a club in the world who can compete with them financially. I dare say that they have actually underachieved given their resources and talent.

Chelsea under Abromavich make the Yankees look like the Kansas City Royals.

Give Arsene Wenger 700 million to spend on players in 3 years and I damn near guarantee that he'll have more than 2 EPL titles to show for it.

If Roman ever gets bored and walks away, I will laugh my ass of when they declare bankruptcy the following day, sell off their entire squad, and fall down to whatever they are calling Division 2 these days.

And Sheva is great, but the best striker in the world plays for The Arsenal my friend.

Michael said...

Good stuff, Kanu.

I can't believe that my bitterness about the result last night has led me to defend Chelsea, a team that I've grown to despise in the Mourinho era. (Go back and find my posts after the Barca-Chelsea round of 16 games for confirmation.) I agree that Chelsea has spent wastefully for the past two years. As a number of pundits have pointed out, their key players all pre-date Mourinho. His buys have not yielded much, especially SWP, Del Horno, and Essien (although Essien has shown this summer that he's a very good player when unshackled). The fact that they went to the Nou Camp needing to score twice and had to resort to John Terry as a target man in the last 15 minutes was a damning indictment, as was their shell performance in Barcelona the year before.

However, they have won the EPL the past two years by wide margins and your analogy makes Arsenal, ManUtd, and L'pool out to be ten-year olds on the playground, which I hope was not your intention. Everyone in England have been their bitches for the past two years, with the caveat that anything can happen in a one-off setting. That money might have been wasted, but it has bought them depth that their opponents can't match and Mourinho, for all of his annoyance, is a good long haul coach. Whether they can win the Champions League is the big question. They have more talent than anyone else, but they don't appear to be as well put together as a team as Barcelona is. I'm sure that there's a round three around the corner in the next couple years.

As for Sheva/Henry, Sheva has scored his goals in a more defensive league and he has a better scoring record for his country, despite being surrounded by less talent.

Kanu said...

Good stuff right back at you M.

Financially Arsenal are a 10 year old kid in the park compared to Chel$ea, ManUtd are considerably older, maybe 15 to Chel$ea the 25 year old.

I think we are basically saying the same thing just in different ways re: Chel$ea.

And as far as Henry/SHeva - they are both great for sure. I agree that Seria A is more of a defensive league, but I respectfully disagree that Arsenal have had more talent surrounding TH14 than Milan have had around Sheva; I would say they are even, and some would even argue that Milan have had more. Either way, dude is great, and TH and Sheva, along with Eto'o, are in my opinion the 3 best strikers in the world hands down.

For me (an of course I am biased) what makes Henry the best striker in the world is that he, moreso than any striker I have seen, EVER, doesn't just score goals, he creates tons of chances for his teammmates and always gets lots of assists. Most strikers are varying degrees of selfish, and they are much more interested in scoring goals than also creating them.. Henry scores shitloads of goals but also creates a whole bunch for others and has assists, and generally is not that selfish (there are lots of times where a more selfish striker would try to score, but TH14 instead sets up an easier goal for a teammate). Sheva, Eto'o, nor any of the other great strikers do this nearly to the degree that Titi does, if at all(see: RVN).

The fact that in 2003 he not only led the EPL in scoring with 24 (30+ in all comps.) but also led the EPL in assists and at the same time set the all time EPL assist record with TWENTY THREE assists is just mind-boggling. That's 24+23=47 goals responsible for in 38 matches, which is up there on the insanity chart with Ronaldo's 47 goals in 49 matches during his season at Barca.

For me that's what makes him the best; not just the 30 goals a season but the other 15 to 20 that he creates for his teammates.

Finally - I corrected my horrible error of omission and added you to my WC Readers Guide where you rightfully belong.

Michael said...

Much appreciated on the link.

Regarding Henry/Sheva, I was trying to say that Sheva has produced more for Ukraine than Henry has produced for France, despite having less talent around him. I would never intentionally dismiss the talent at AC Milan. My reasons for skepticism about Henry are his performances for France. If he was a truly great striker, then why can France not score goals without Zidane? To a lesser extent, Arsenal's struggles in Europe prior to this year were further indictment of Henry. Taken together, they present a picture of a player who is dominant against EPL competition, but not so much in deeper waters. Sheva has been productive in a tougher league and for his country.

Henry does have a terrific ability to set up his teammates that a classic striker lacks, which makes him more like Ronaldinho or Messi than like Sheva, Eto'o, or van Nistlerooy. He's a great player and we might be comparing apples and oranges, but if I wanted to find the best finisher in the world, I'd look for Sheva.