Tag Archives: Fabio Capello

Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City – Manchester is a City not United

The noisy neighbors earned themselves the respect they’ve been yearning for; at last. There would have been no better way for the citizens of Manchester to claim full authority over the city and the league table than the thrashing of Manchester United in Old Trafford by 6 goals to 1. It was like how Micah Richards described it: “It’s what dreams are made of.”

The two teams took the field with Manchester City leading United by two points. Pundits, fans, and the world were expecting a tight game (although I disagreed earlier and mentioned it will be humiliating for either side). What happened on the field was totally amusing. Manchester City held their nerves and were organized in the back trying to take charge of the game gradually. Judging Mancini’s starting lineup, the inclusion of Milner instead of De Jong raised some questions about the Italian’s intentions. De Jong was also spotted frustrated sitting on the bench. Yet, with the display that Milner put on the day Mancini was hailed as a genius. He opted for a more attacking formation with Milner rather than a defensive one with De Jong.

Manchester City’s growing confidence into the game was directly translated into their first chance and first goal. Silva, City’s messiah, cut United’s right flank and provided a ball back to the edge of the area where Balotelli threaded a pinpoint sidefoot into De Gea’s net. The first half ended 1-0 for the citizens and both teams’ dressing rooms were filled with mixed emotions. Then came Evans red card at the beginning of the second half and Manchester United were doomed.

Balotelli Why Always me?

It will always be you, until you stop collecting traffic fines and setting houses on fire, refrain from dealing with the mafia and using your iPad during games, and many other million reasons.

Manchester United held their nerves for the first 15 minutes of the second half after the Evans incident but couldn’t hold on more. Balotelli scored the second and Aguero the third. Fletcher reduced the damage on minute 81 but City scored 3 more goals in the dying minutes of the game; thanks to a Dzeko brace and a Silva trademark. (You can find here a minute by minute report on the match)

Now, what really happened in the Manchesteer Derby? What went wrong? Is Manchester City that powerful? Is money triumphing over history? Well, here are the thoughts and comments:

  • A “derby” has no rules – hold your horses and don’t start celebrating Manchester City’s league title yet
  • Balotelli has proven to be an opportunist with capabilities of being a great – he jumped into the front line when Tevez was done
  • Ferdinand is way past his best – Capello is proving right
  • Anderson is not a Scholes – and certainly not a Keane
  • Evra should concentrate more on captaining the team and defending his flank better – and forget about the media outburst and racism claims
  • Mancini is growing up – even his quotes are maturing “United are still one yard above us and we can only change this if we win the title”
  • Sir Alex may change his mind and spend some money in January – he admitted “It was a bad day, our worst ever day”
  • Manchester City fans may now start attending upcoming games with passion – no need for phone messages to beg them to attend (check the audio in this link)
  • Manchester United still need that missing piece in the middle – if they were thinking of “glory glory…” by the end of May 2012
  • Money can buy titles and build teams – ask Chelsea and question Wenger
  • England has a real chance in Euro 2012 – Capello is the luckiest coach to finally see players like Richards and Milner flourishing just in time
  • The English Premier League proves once more it is the best in the world – Arsenal vs Manchester? Need more to say?

I can go on and on with thoughts and lose myself into useless analysis because what has been done is done. Manchester is now a City not United. The only match I want to watch in the coming days is that of Aldershot Town F.C. in the Carling Cup on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 against Manchester United. I know that Sir Alex will field his “B-Team” for such an encounter but I want to see the anger of the United players translated into another feast of football and goals.

Full Time Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City

Spot the difference between the two images


Should Fabio Capello Take Wayne Rooney to Euro 2012?

England striker Wayne Rooney has received a three-match ban from UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body following his sending-off in the Group G qualifier against Montenegro. (Full Article)

The decision means that Rooney will not be able to play in any of England’s group stage games of the Euro 2012 tournament, to be held in Poland and Ukraine from June 08 to July 01, 2011. He will only be eligible to play in the knockout stage if England qualified.

Now Fabio Capello, England’s coach, will have almost 8 months before he chooses his 23 man squad for the Euro Finals.

The question is: Should Fabio Capello select Wayne Rooney for the England Team of the Euro 2012, when the time comes for a decision to be done?

wayne rooney red card

Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking an opponent in England's 2-2 draw against Montenegro

p.s. Check the YouTube Video of the incident here

Gabriel Batistuta – The Last Number 9

With the recent forms of the world’s best known footballers and with the trend set by some scoring an incredible number of goals each season I was triggered to redefine the expectations. Football has become a faster paced game, and a player who is expected to score and fails in doing so in consecutive games is deemed a failure. Even more; a player who is expected to score a hat-trick every game and scores only one goal is considered a mediocre performer.

I am not here to judge who the best player is and not willing to compare statistics, so I created a poll (check here). The poll was a mere reflection of my thoughts on what a striker is. The results of the poll put a smile on my face because football fans have decided on the best description: A striker is a Batistuta.

Batistuta's Famous Celebration

The Machine Gun: The Batigol famous celebration

Back to the basic definitions of football positions, and blaming it on my old school mentality and attachment, a typical striker is the one responsible for scoring goals only. There are many formats of how a striker can be deployed but there is only one task assigned to a striker: get the ball in the net.

My personal definition of a striker: Is a number 9 – Is NOT a centre forward – Is selfish in front of goals – Has deadly finishing skills – Is clinical in the box – Needs one chance in 90 minutes – Is powerful against defenders – Ends a team maneuver with a thrust – Is not the most talented – Can score with any body part frequently

One Ball is enough

As dull as this may seem, one pass, one ball, one chance can define a striker

You might not agree on the above definition or simply think it is lame and plain. You might be right while I strive trying to segregate between: False 9 – Center Forward – Striker – Attacker – Poacher – etc. These name tags and positions are just the result of the normal evolution of football tactics, but the last typical striker I have seen is Gabriel Batistuta aka BATIGOL.

The Typical Striker (

The perfect positioning of a striker comes even after a forward's

In the words of Diego Maradona “if you gave Batistuta a rugby ball he’d score with it” “He’d go 80 minutes without touching the ball and in the last 10 he’ll score a hattrick – That’s exactly what a goalscorer is all about.”

Batistuta did not win all the titles throughout his career and did not manage more than 30 goals in one season, but he defined what a striker should be. In his own words: “One title with Fiorentina is worth ten with Milan or Juventus.” In the Summer of 2000, Fabio Capello asked the management to sign him Batistuta to win Serie A. Capello got his man and AS Roma won the title with Batistuta scoring 20 crucial goals in 28 league games.

Messi, Rooney, Ronaldo, and many others are maybe greater talents with an awesome hunger for goal. They can score 30 and 40 goals in every game but none is the typical striker I am searching for since the Batigol retirement. As of the time of writing this post, Batigol sits among only four players who scored two hattricks in the World Cup history and is the only one who managed to do so in two different consecutive tournaments (1994 and 1998).

Batistuta is the last striker in a generation of a rare breed throughout history; and the likes of Marco van Basten, perhaps.

Batistuta Statue at Fiorentina

Fiorentina fans set a life-size bronze statue of Batistuta in 1996, in recognition of his performances for Fiorentina (not even titles)

p.s. The following links are some of my favorite Batistuta goals: Goal against BarcelonaGoal against Manchester UnitedGoal against ArsenalGoal against JuventusGoal against Fiorentina

If you do not want to use Google or Wikipedia to research
Gabriel Batistuta, you can always check this blog post
that I stumbled upon in April 2011
by Joe Sharratt (@fiveinmidfield):All-Time Great – Gabriel Batistuta

%d bloggers like this: