January 27, 2005

Blue shadow over Ferguson: . With Last night's Carling Cup final going to Chelsea, Alex Ferguson has now failed to beat the Chelsea manager Mourinho in 5 attempts. Has the balance of power shifted in the Premiership?

posted by BigCalm to soccer at 03:57 AM - 18 comments

More importantly, has Ferguson resorted to stealing Times columnist Simon Barnes' analogies for his programme notes? "I think he sees himself as the young gunslinger who has come into town to challenge the sheriff who has been around for a while." Which sounds very much like he might have read this article on 14th January. But let's not get into the "balance of power" debate. As a Liverpool fan, I find such discussion distasteful, primarily because I've very little to say.

posted by JJ at 04:26 AM on January 27, 2005

oops, should have been Semi-final not final, must learn to proofread. JJ - how's the olympic thing coming along?

posted by BigCalm at 05:26 AM on January 27, 2005

As much as I hate to admit it, I have to admire what Chelsea are managing to do this season. That won't stop me from pulling for Liverpool in the final though.

posted by trox at 08:28 AM on January 27, 2005

what is more impressive - Arsenal's undefeated run last year or Chelsea's impressive form this year? (I'll defer to somebody else doing the analysis for me) Chelsea have dropped 11 points of 72 and their pursuers will need to improve their own performance and count on Chelsea to drop at least 10 out of their next 42 possible points... January isn't even over and that looks like a pretty serious hold on the top spot.

posted by gspm at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2005

I'd have to go with Arsenal's run last year. Not to take too much away from Chelsea right now, but not losing a single game and then running the streak to 49 games is pretty damn impressive. If Chelsea stays on track for four trophies (a grand slam, or some English equivalent), I'd probably have to revise that statement somewhat.

posted by trox at 11:42 AM on January 27, 2005

gspm, dare I ask the popular meaning of 'knobby'?

posted by garfield at 01:05 PM on January 27, 2005

i dunno, i'm sure it means different things to different people. doesn't mean anything beyond "something possessing qualities of or like a knob" to me though (with knob being another discussion i guess). maybe the guy whose site it is has other ideas. looks like it might be a decent carling cup final. at least two high profile names are matched up, not that I would expect liverpool to have much of a chance. but there is a reason they actually play the games.

posted by gspm at 01:25 PM on January 27, 2005

Liverpool all the wayyyyyyyy!

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:27 PM on January 27, 2005

After yet another freaking injury! Pongolle set for 'lengthy' absence. So now the Reds top at least one table, though one of little use in restoring former glory and showing where something like GBP30 million of recent spending is sitting. I know we added Anthony Le Tallec back from his loan at St. Etienne but "Le Tallec scored one goal in seven appearances" so I don't see much help coming from him. Heck, St. Etienne is in the relegation zone in Ligue Une(sp?) and the kid couldn't break their starting lineup.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:36 PM on January 27, 2005

More on topic, if Chelsea can pull off the Quadruple and considering that Arsenal's squad is largely unchanged (other than the recent change in goal) from the players who made the unbeaten run, I'm slightly inclined to give Chelsea the nod. Certainly all four trophies would top the three to which Sir Alex lead the Red Devils in 1999.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:39 PM on January 27, 2005

bill, the big difference for Arsenal this year is the rash of injuries they've faced. Ljunberg, Campbell, Lauren, Bergkamp, Edu, Gilberto, and Reyes have all missed significant time (more than a couple of matches) due to injuries this season, and they don't have much depth especially at the back (Cygan? Yikes!) and defensive midfield. I think they are really missing Gilberto and Edu (and he's probably off to Valencia) particularly. Viera hasn't looked much like himself until recently either. Last year they were remarkably injury free. I'm not using this to make excuses (Fabregas has looked great for one)--their showing at Man City and Bolton was pathetic--but merely pointing out that the squad that actually steps on the field is not largely unchanged from last year's. There's a reason it took well over a hundred years to have an undefeated season occur. But a quadruple would defintely put Chelsea in rarefied air. Has it ever happened in any of the European leagues? Or does it even apply? And finally, is the Carling Cup even that important these days?

posted by trox at 02:58 PM on January 27, 2005

The Carling Cup is more important now that it has its European qualifying place back. Even so, it's still not that important to clubs or supporters. I can't even remember who won it last year...

posted by afx237vi at 03:26 PM on January 27, 2005

I'm sure the Carling Cup is only important to the Chelsea if it comes as part of a four pack, or simply to increase the silverware count for the new era. trox, I'll give you the injuries but you have to add back Fabregas, van Persie, Flamini and Almunia and account for Chelsea's injuries (Drogba, Robben, Bridge, Kezman are the ones I can think of). Though Campbell, he could be the biggest difference for Arsenal the way Rio's return made a huge impact for ManU.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:54 PM on January 27, 2005

I think Robben it the main injury to have any effect on Chelsea this year. Before he returned, I actually heard chants of "boring, boring chelsea" while watching matches. He's just scary.

posted by trox at 09:09 AM on January 28, 2005

Yes, without Robben i don't think Chelsea would be anywhere except fighting for 4th.

posted by StarFucker at 09:31 AM on January 28, 2005

Big Calm - It's going quite well. I'm more focused on organising than participating at the moment, but I've completed 8 events so far, so only another 120 or so to go. All the latest news etc. here: www.ultimateolympian.blogspot.com [/self-promotion] afx237vi - Middlesborough won it, didn't they? First major trophy for them... ever, I think. Although, like you, I'd have to question its description as a "major trophy" Nice work those of you who tried to hijack this thread in the name of yet another Liverpool love-in - booooooo to the level-headed topic retrievers.

posted by JJ at 11:13 AM on January 28, 2005

There are too many Liverpool love-ins hereabouts. Right now, I'm turning my attention to the FA Cup games this weekend.

posted by trox at 11:20 AM on January 28, 2005

Which should comfortably exclude any and all Liverpool fans from further comment.

posted by JJ at 11:41 AM on January 28, 2005

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