Welcome to Fergie Time, a roundup/newsletter type deal that delivers news, opinion and links directly to your screen. As the name suggests, there will be some exaggeration, nsfw moments, canceled press conferences (oh, who are we kidding) and late, late, late scoring of points. You’ll like it, trust me.
THE NANI STATE:
It’s old news now, but there are two things worth pointing out about Nani’s controversial goal vs Spurs last weekend.
#1 It was Heurelho Gomes’ fault, not Mark Clattenburg’s. The Spurs keeper put the ball down to take a free kick that hadn’t been given, so only has himself to blame.
#2 Nani showed some quick thinking to take advantage and score, and is now a regular provider of goals and assists for Manchester United. But this controversy also feels like another step up the career ladder for the Portuguese winger. If Nani can attract this much attention with one kick of a ball, then he may as well change his name to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Two big questions in football: Is Roberto Mancini about to get sacked at Man City? And why have Liverpool employed Damian Commoli? Regulars Adrian Clarke, Spraggy and Macca debate this and more in episode 12 of the 3 Up Front podcast.
OLYMPIC BALE OUT:
If Nani was the big story from last weekend, then Gareth Bale was the big story of midweek. After roasting Maicon and the rest of the treble winning Inter team on Tuesday, I think it’s safe to say that Gareth Bale is the most exciting player in British football right now.
Which should have been the occasion for a nation (or four nations, depending on your politics) to get excited about football at the London 2012 Olympics. Welshman Bale will be 23 when the tournament comes around, and a perfect candidate to represent Team Great Britain. That is, if Team GB was actually Team GB, and not just Team England (because no one else wants to play with us).
No worries though, I’m sure Bale will have plenty of opportunities to compete in high profile international tournaments with Wales…
SOCCERLENS BABE OF THE MONTH:
Heather Mitts is not a WAG or a reporter but an actual proper footballer. Mitts plays in defence for Philadelphia Independence and the US Women’s national team, and looks mighty fine while doing so.
Fakest birth certificate: There is no way Pippo Inzaghi is 37 years old. No way. Because if he was, then he would have retired from football by now instead of playing for Milan in the Champions League and breaking goalscoring records.
Easily the best thing I’ve seen this week… …is Czech third division team SK Líšeň, because when their centre-half kicked the ball in the air and shouted “Kotoul!” (Roll!),all 11 players did just that, executing simultaneous forward rolls, and then continuing to play. This is the sort of thing you can only do when leading 3-0.
Ross and Rachel award for best will-they won’t-they? couple: Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi. The reported hug of forgiveness and friendship between the 2006 World Cup headbutter and headbuttee apparently did not happen. Because everyone knows that once they finally get together, the show’s over.
THE BIG MATCH:
In England it’s Liverpool vs Chelsea, in what would have been a bona fide Big Four Megamatch just eighteen months ago, but now feels more like Liverpool’s chance to maintain membership of that club. Which maybe makes this game even more interesting than usual.
Elsewhere, it’s the Rome derby: Lazio vs. Roma, where we’ll find out whether Lazio miss their lucky eagle (who’s not allowed in the stadium for this game) more than Roma miss their captain (who’s not allowed on the pitch due to suspension).
SOCCERLENS BET OF THE WEEK:
Chelsea to beat Liverpool. In both halves. Ouch.
It’s week 11 of the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game, a weekly game with weekly cash prizes. There’s no long term commitment, just a chance to turn your football knowledge into a weekly ker-ching noise. Pick your team and play this weekend.