Tuesday, December 02, 2008

La Liga

Managed to catch some Spanish football on Saturday. Astonishing how those guys go to stadia that late into the night. Leave the pub to go to the football.

Two things stuck out. How Real were shown dust. Devastated. Kind of the way Russia shocked Holland in Euro 2008. Amazing to watch. How inadequate Real's defense seemed to be. Didn't know Salgado still plays. But to be fair, Real's defending has always been suspect. It's why Casillas works so hard every game. Every single game. But it was the way the players couldn't believe what was going on. It was right in front of me and I couldn't believe they were losing either. Fabulous stuff.

Immediately after, Barcelona came on. Didn't know it was possible for the big 2 to play on the same day. What struck me in that game wasn't the fleet footed nature of Messi. Although the guy has fast feet. I needed a couple of replays to see how he worked his feet to score his goals. There's nothing more terrifying for a defender than a guy who is quick. I always hated guys who used their speed. Make you work so hard just trying to keep up. You're completely finished when it's over. But one needs more than just pace to be a good striker. Like Owen. Pace fades. One needs more all round qualities.

Even speed demons like Henry slow down with time. Or with different managers and teammates. And he was the second thing that caught my attention. It's no wonder the guy seems depressed over there. I wanted to point out to Guardiola that if one wants to [unsuccessfully] convert strikers to wingers, one should go to Liverpool. Benitez has perfected the art. He actually converts all types of players to wingers, not only strikers. No wonder Benayoun wants to leave. No clue why Babel is still there. Never looks happy, or comfortable on the wing. Every time Henry got the ball on the left wing, he cut back inside. That's what happens when you get a guy who is not a winger and who is right footed, playing on the left. It's not unique to him, nor his fault, but if I was a defender I would be pretty pleased with that kind of setup. He doesn't quite run at people anymore so the predictability of it all was quite saddening to see. He must have been muttering to himself, grumbling all the time the ball came to him. Not again. Here I go. Stop the ball. Take it back towards my right. Try to cross or something. Oh crap. Another move that's come to nothing.

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