Posts tagged ‘Man U’

Barcelona’s Goal Scoring Secret

Barcelona are the team of the moment.  Everyone is talking about them, and for good reason.  They are hands down the best team in the world right now and many people are making the case that they are one of the best teams of all time.  All this is based on the skill level of their players, the incredible teamwork, quick one and two-touch passing and the way they out play their opponents and dominate the time of possession.  It’s no wonder they win so many games and score so many goals.

But there is one part of their game that doesn’t get much attention, and yet it is critical in my view, and is the difference between them being a good team and a great team.  It is the difference between them winning games against the likes of Real Madrid and Man U and dominating possession or finding themselves in close fought battles…not to say that those games are not close fought battles, but take the Champions League Final against Man U.  It was as one-sided a game in the final that I can remember.  Or Saturday’s game v Man U…Barcelona had 69% v 31% of the possession.

So what is this part of the game that really makes Barcelona special?  Continue reading ‘Barcelona’s Goal Scoring Secret’ »

Do You Overreact When Your Team Plays Well/Bad?

What a game!

Your team played great.  Everything is PERFECT!

Your team played poorly.  Everything SUCKS!

The thing to remember is your team most likely isn’t as good as you think they are when they play well and most likely they aren’t as bad as you think they are when they play poorly.

Coaches, players and fans tend to overreact in both directions which causes so many people to seem to be manic depressives when it comes to their teams.

A great example of this was this past season watching Manchester United.  There were a number of times, especially early in the season, when they looked truly dreadful. Listening to the announcers, this was by far the worst Manchester United team in a few decades.  The thing that was interesting is while this team (and the players) were being condemned to the relegation zone (at least by the people watching) they kept winning.  The sky was falling (if you listened to the announcers and “supporters”) but while they might not have been playing beautiful soccer, they were accomplishing their objective.  Then they started playing well and everything was great.  They won the league and made it to the finals of the Champions League.  All of a sudden, everything is perfect.  Then, in the finals against FC Barcelona, they were “terrible” again.  The thing to remember is even when they were winning ugly (or tying games) they were never as bad as people thought.  Then when they were playing well, they weren’t as good as some thought.

When your team is playing well, realize there are still many things they can do better.

When your team is playing poorly, realize there are still many things they are doing well.

A good friend of mine, who is one of the top coaches in his sport has told me that when his team wins, he is constantly looking for ways they can play better and it’s when they are winning and playing well that he finds most of his teaching opportunities.  When they lose, he spends more time looking for what they did well because he is more concerned with the psychological makeup of his team after losses than simply dealing with the technical and tactical aspects of his sport.  The lucky thing for him and his team is since they rarely lose he has a LOT of teaching opportunities.

Be careful of falling victim to the peaks and valleys and concentrate on staying on more of an even keel and you will provide a better service to your team.

Just something to think about.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

I’ve Changed My Mind – Man U For the Title

Okay, here’s a quick quiz.  No looking online for the stats.  Just give a quick answer within five seconds.

The EPL’s top four teams in order are, Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea and Man City.

  • Which team has the fewest wins?
  • Which team has fewest losses?
  • Which team has the best goal difference?
  • Which team has scored the most goals?
  • Which team has conceded the second most goals?

If you answered Man U to all of them, you are correct.

After just five games, I was ready to give the title to Chelsea hands down.  Since then they have lost 4 of 11, which some quick math shows they have lost over one third of their games since a 5-0 start.  Now, it looks like a toss up.  All of the top four teams look like they are doing their best to give the title to one of the others.  None of them are dominating.

But I did find the Man U statistics interesting.  They haven’t lost a game.  That’s right, not one loss.  Yes, I know they have only won 8 games out of 15, but not losing is pretty important I think.  More important than drawing instead of winning at least.

So I am looking at Man drawing seven games instead of winning them as something that is positive for the future.  To me, it’s not a sign of a bad team, but more a sign of a good team that isn’t on top form yet, a team that isn’t firing on all cylinders so to speak.

This fits when you consider the tear that Rooney was on this time last year compared to his below form and injury plagued start to this season.

Now the question is, will Rooney, now that he is rested and once over his injuries, be able to hit the form of the first half of last season?  And if he can, will this make the difference between Man U winning games or settling for draws?

It’s an interesting scenario but I can’t come up with any other reasons to think Arsenal, Chelsea or Man City can go on to win the title.

So as of now, my pick for the EPL is Man U.  But this could change again…watch this space.

Can Arsenal Finish Strong? Liverpool – What Problem?

Liverpool are only one win away from a European spot (3 points behind 5th place Tottenham).  Is all the hoopla about their poor start way overblown?

Will this be a different season for Arsenal?  Here’s what I’m getting at. Arsenal typically start the season playing well.  The weather is nice, playing surfaces are pretty good early in the season, players are fresh and there are not many injuries at this time of the season.

They usually are a buzz machine for the first 6 games or so and then settle into a rhythm.  Then when the weather gets nasty and the pitches start tearing up, they have sometimes struggled.  A lack of the depth of Man U or Chelsea can also play a part with injuries later in the season.

I know we are only 10 games into the season, but Arsenal didn’t start off too well in their first few games but all of a sudden seem to be getting into their stride and putting in some pretty impressive displays.

The point I’m trying to make, and admittedly it’s early to make this point, but maybe Arsenal are going to manage this season better than the last few and last longer rather than dying at the end.  Maybe they will hit their stride a little later, settle in to a good rhythm in December rather than struggling and hold things together in the new year.

It’s a long shot, but it would make for an interesting season if they could do this.

Man U on the other hand seem to be doing just the opposite.  Last year, they started the season playing extremely well.  Rooney was on fire scoring goals almost at will and playing the best of his career.  But this year they have struggled somewhat.  Their performances haven’t been great and I wonder if they made a mistake not making a major acquisition.

I wrote a blog earlier asking if the season was over when Chelsea won their first five games.  They are now five points in front and look like they won’t make too many mistakes.  Whereas Man U and Man City look like they will make more than their fair share of mistakes.  So the title race might only be close if Arsenal can finish the season strongly.

Too Early To Judge

I wrote a blog post last week about whether the EPL title race was over already.  Chelsea had won all five of their games and by big margins.  I guess it was a reasonable question to ask.  But, in my excitement at how well Chelsea had started, I didn’t give enough attention to the teams that they had played to get their five wins.

No disrespect to West Brom, Wigan, Stoke, West Ham and Blackpool, but I would doubt if any of those teams would finish in the top half of the EPL.  So I have to admit, I jumped the gun with my blog post and the question.  I should have waited until Chelsea had played a stronger team, and that’s exactly what they played this weekend with their loss to Man City.

So, now we go back to a wide open title race.  Except that the other contenders seem to be throwing away their chances.  Only Man City who beat Chelsea won out of the main contenders with Man U drawing and Arsenal losing at home.

I think I will give it a rest trying to figure out how the season will end up until more games have been played.  But for some reason, I still think Chelsea will walk away with it and Man U, Arsenal and Man City will not take advantage of any mishaps by Chelsea.  Kind of like how this weekend went I suppose…a microcosm of the season.

Maybe next weeks game between Chelsea and Arsenal will at least give us an indicator as to how things might shape up.

Is the EPL Title Race Over With Already?

Today’s blog is a simple question.

After just five games, is the EPL title race over?  Are Chelsea a step ahead of the others – Man U, Arsenal, Man City, Spurs, etc.

Yes, I know it’s ridiculously early to even think about this, but I can’t help it.  Chelsea are producing some good performances and excellent results.  Five wins from five games.  21 goals scored and only one conceded.

Arsenal have conceded four goals and Man U seven.  Yes Man City have only conceded two goals, but they’ve only scored six.  None of them seem to be on the same planet as Chelsea.

I know in the past teams have started the season looking invincible and ended up faltering along the way.  Am I getting too far ahead asking if the title race is over, or can one of the contenders make a push?

EPL – Top Four Predictions

It’s that time of year again to figure out who will take the top four spots in the English Premier League. Let’s start with a few questions.

1. Will Totenham repeat their feat of last season with a fourth place spot?

2. Can Liverpool be considered one of the Big Four anymore?

3. Are Man City now one of the Big Four?

For what it’s worth, here are my predictions.

Champions - Likely between Man U and Chelsea. I can’t see Man City being strong enough or consistent enough – yet. I love watching Arsenal play and when they are “on” they are incredible. But I think things will be a little unsettled with Fabregas and they might be a bit too young to make a long enough run. I don’t see anyone else really competing for the top spot.

Top Four – One spot will definitely be taken by who doesn’t win the title, so either Man U or Chelsea. That leaves two spots being fought out by Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Totenham, Everton and maybe another suprise team like Fulham or Aston Villa. Arsenal and Man City would appear to be favorites.Liverpool are a bit of an unknown after last season’s disappointment and with a new manager. They could do well or struggle so they are hard to predict.

So let’s hear from you. Put your predictions on the line where everyone can see them. Make your comments below and we will take a look at things around the New Year and the end of the season to see who was close and who was way off.

My picks are:

1. Chelsea

2. Man U

3. Arsenal

4. Man City

5. Liverpool

6. Everton

7.Totenham

Can MLS Teams Compete With EPL Teams?

Last night I watched (on TV) the KC Wizards (my home team) v Man U game.  Over the years I have often wondered how to put into perspective the results of these exhibition games and I still struggle with it.

On one hand, the Wizards played well and deserved to win…a tie at worst.  From the Wizards perspective, it was an incredible opportunity to play against one of the biggest clubs in the world.  They are in the middle of their season, in tip top shape, and motivated like crazy to give it 110% for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

On the other hand, Man U look at it from a total opposite perspective.  It is pre-season for them…and early in the pre-season at that.  They are not in great shape and are still building their fitness.  The majority of the starting 11 are back home resting.  They never play a game in 90F humid heat back in England.  The 11 players are a mixture of first teamers, reserves and young players who deserve a look.  These players are pieced together and play these exhibition games.  The players certainly don’t have the motivation that the Wizards players do and basically end up doing as little as they can get away with while still trying to win the game, which sometimes bites them in the butt like it did yesterday.

The bottom line is, the games shouldn’t be taken seriously from either perspective, yet they often are by the supporters of the MLS teams.  Man U, Man City, Tottenham and other European teams really only come to the U.S. for the financial implications.  It pays well.  But most of all, I think they have realized the vast untapped market that the U.S. is from two perspectives.

1.  They can create a new fan base…lots of replica jerseys to sell.
2.  I think they are starting to see the signs of a potential market for young players.

I think they would have better options in Europe in terms of pre-season preparation.  The climate would be better and they would have better options of opponents to play.  Years ago, the pre-season games at this stage of the pre-season were usually played behind closed doors.  And I’m sure, the big name teams struggled and lost some of those games to motivate, lesser opponents.  But being behind closed doors, there was little or no publicity.  But now, the opportunity for these pre-season games to be monetized brings along with it, the hyped up publicity.

So with this said, and New York Red Bull’s win over Man City yesterday, it brings up the question that I raised in a blog a couple of months ago.

How do MLS teams compare with the teams in Europe’s top leagues…specifically, the EPL, Italy and Spain?

If the Wizard’s and Red Bull can beat Man U and Man City in exhibition games, is there hope that they can compete at that level for real?

To try and answer these questions, try and imagine how an MLS team would do in the EPL or Serie A for a complete season.  Or try and imagine how a team like Man U or Arsenal would do playing in the MLS?..let’s imagine a Champions League spot is theirs if they win the MLS.

So, what do you think?