Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Manager: David Moyes
Key Arrivals: Phil Jagielka, Steven Pienaar
Key Departures: Gary Naysmith
Key Returning Players: Anderson Silva, Victor Anichebe, Mikel Arteta, James Beattie, Tim Cahill, Lee Carsley, Tony Hibbert, Tim Howard, Andrew Johnson, Joleon Lescott, James McFadden, Phil Neville, Nuno Valente, Leon Osman, Alan Stubbs, James Vaughan, Joseph Yobo, Andy van der Meyde
Performance Last Season: The club from the blue half of Merseyside finished 6th on 58 points. They were 2 points ahead of Bolton and 2 points behind Tottenham, but had a vastly superior goal differential. In fact, only the big four had better ratios than Everton’s plus 16. They started out very well, particularly in their 3-0 victory over Liverpool in September, but battled inconsistency for the rest of the season. They were eliminated in the earlier stages of the Carling Cup, and at the first hurdle in the FA Cup, but this may have benefited them in the long run. Much like Tottenham in 2005-06, Everton was able to concentrate on the league without the fixture pile-up or injury woes of teams making long cup runs.
David Moyes was able to consistently use the same core players week after week in the league, as 8 Everton players made more than 34 starts, and a 9th had over 30 appearances in all. Unfortunately, one of the players that did not make 30 appearances, in Cahill, was one of the clubs most important. Much of the club’s poor form took place while Cahill was injured, and the team plays a much better brand of football when he is on the pitch. Everton was able to end on a highpoint, thumping Portsmouth 3-0 in their final appearance at Goodison, then drawing with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. European football awaits for Moyes and his lads, and hopefully this trip will last a bit longer than two years ago.
Strengths: I would say that Everton’s strength lies in their central defence. Alan Stubbs still has bit of football left in him, but the young partnership of Yobo and Lescott performed admirably last season and they have a bright future in front of them. They are also well protected in the middle of the pitch by Lee Carsley, who started every match in all competitions for David Moyes last term and has made the Goodison faithful forget about Thomas Graveson. Jagielka’s arrival will only make this area of the pitch even stronger.
Weaknesses: Everton’s glaring weakness is the lack of a true winger. The only player on the squad that really fits the bill is Van der Meyde, and after four seasons of injury and indifferent form at Inter Milan them Everton, Moyes really can’t count on him to fill that roll. That means whoever mans the wings for Everton will be playing out of position. Whether it is Cahill, Arteta, Osman, or one of the young strikers (Anichebe or Vaughn), all will run their socks off for the cause, but Moyes really must get outside help for his squad. Several players are still being linked to Everton, and it looks as if Beattie will be moving on and bringing in some funds, so the problem could yet be solved before the August transfer window closes.
If all goes right: This club finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League a few seasons ago, and that will be the ideal finish as long as Moyes is in charge. More signings will have to made, injuries will have to be avoided, and some youngsters will have to grow up very fast. It is not likely, but two weeks before the season starts optimism reins supreme.
If all goes wrong: Several extremely versatile players (notably Neville and Jagielka) allow Moyes to cope well with the inevitable injuries a club encounters during the long league season. But it is unlikely that Everton could cope with another extended absence from Cahill, and losing Johnson for more than a match or two would be tragic. If this came to pass Everton could fall back into the bottom half of the table. Relegation seems unlikely, but Everton do have a habit of following up good seasons with bad.
My Prediction: There is an awful lot of pressure on to teenage strikers to partner Johnson up front, and it looks as though most of the goals will have to come from the midfield. This makes the attack a bit one-sided, although the solid defence should keep Everton in most matches. I think they overachieved last season and will fall back to earth a bit over the next 9 months. I predict they will finish 8th, a solid season, but just short of European football.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Manager: Mark Hughes
Manager: Mark Hughes
Key Arrivals: Maceo Rigters, Roque Santa Cruz
Key Departures: Michael Gray, Andy Todd
Key Returning Players: David Bentley, Matt Derbyshire, David Dunn, Brett Emerton, Brad Friedel, Paul Gallagher, Stephane Henchoz, Zurab Khizanishvili, Benni McCarthy, Aaron Mokoena, Ryan Nelsen, Andre Ooijer, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Steven Reid, Jason Roberts, Christopher Samba, Robbie Savage, Tugay, Stephen Warnock
Performance Last Season: Blackburn finished 10th last season with 52 points. They were 2 points ahead of Villa and 2 points behind Portsmouth. They had a good FA Cup run, losing out to Chelsea in the semi-finals. They also found some joy in the UEFA Cup before Bayer Leverkusen knocked them out. Overall it was an inconsistent season though, one week the squad looked ready to challenge for a European spot, the next week they looked lucky not to be in a relegation battle.
Injuries certainly took their toll, and the first choice strike partnership of McCarthy and Roberts was seldom on the pitch together. Ryan Nelson, who had been a rock at the centre of the defence, only played in 12 league matches. Mark Hughes will certainly hope to keep the team healthier in the coming season. The club has shown continuous improvement under his leadership, and consistency will be his next goal.
Strengths: Although the squad is a little on the small side, Blackburn have quality from top to bottom. For me, their biggest strength is at keeper, where Brad Freidel has been one of the top keepers in all of Europe for several seasons now. The giant American does not seem to have any weaknesses himself, and this can be demonstrated by his fellow players confidence in his abilities.
Weaknesses: The midfield looks to be a big concern, particular if there are any injuries. Emerton looks to have settled in at right back, which leaves them with no cover for Bentley and Pedersen on the wings. Savage and Reid are coming off of injuries while David Dunn can hardly be counted on to make more than a handful of appearances. Tugay had another solid season, but at 36 one has to wonder how much longer he will be able to continue.
If all goes right: Things have started to go right early, as Rovers have managed to qualify for the 2nd round of the UEFA Cup through the Intertoto Cup. If there are no injuries and players such as Derbyshire and Bentley continue to develop Blackburn should be in the mix for a UEFA Cup spot.
If all goes wrong: As stated above, even one injury in the midfield could wreak havoc on Mark Hughes squad and leave them languishing in the bottom half of the table. Hughes saved them from relegation two seasons ago and has done a wonderful job cleaning up the mess that Souness left behind, so they are unlikely to be fighting for survival, barring an absolute disaster
My Prediction: Inconsistency will continue to be a problem, and another UEFA Cup run could stretch the small squad. I think they will finish 10th in a repeat of last season. This is a team that will beat Manchester United one week and lose to Derby the next. The supporters will be exasperated, but another cup run, maybe even a trophy, will have them happy when all is done and dusted.
Manager: Sammy Lee
Key Arrivals: Gavin McCann, Jlloyd Samuel, Mikel Alonso, Gerald Cid, Heidur Helguson, Christian Wilhelmsson, Danny Guthrie
Key Departures: Tal Ben Haim, Henrik Pedersen, Idan Tal
Key Returning Players: Nicolas Anelka, Ivan Campo, Kevin Davies, El-Hadji Diouf, Abdoulaye Faye, Ricardo Gardner, Stelios Giannakopoulos, Nicky Hunt, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Abdoulaye Meite, Lubomir Michalik, Kevin Nolan, Joey O'Brien, James Sinclair, Gary Speed, Andranik Teymourian, Ricardo Vaz Te
Performance Last Season: Bolton finished 7th last season on 56 points, 1 ahead of Reading and 2 behind Everton. They managed to make some progress in both domestic cups, but were never a serious threat to win either competition. Bolton started the season very strongly, and spent all of autumn 2006 in the top 5 of the league. Talk of qualifying for the Champions League was coming thick and fast until a 3-0 thumping at the hands of Liverpool started a horrible run of form. 17 point from the final 17 matches saw Bolton fall out of contention for the top 4 and very nearly lose their chance at UEFA Cup football. But in the end they did qualify for Europe, for the second time in three seasons, and finish in the top 8 for the 4th year on the trot, a phenomenal achievement for a club of this size.
The end of the season saw unrest at the club, as long time manager Sam Allardyce resigned with two matches remaining, throwing first team coach Sammy Lee straight into the fire with European qualification on the line. Lee immediately gave indications that Bolton supporters will see a very different style of football come next season. He immediately began to give youngsters who had come through the academy more time on the pitch and encouraged his players to spend more time playing the ball on the ground. While their run of top 8 finishes may be in jeopardy, the entertainment level at the Reebok Stadium will certainly increase in the coming season.
Strengths: This team’s strength lies in attack. Diouf and Anelka are both world class talents, while wingers such as new signing Christian Wilhelmsson will certainly get them the ball in dangerous positions. Iranian attacking midfielder Andranik also showed flashes of what he is capable of last season and, with a year in England under his belt, will be expected to contribute more goals, as well as create opportunities at the end of the pacey runs Ricardo Vaz Te will provide.
Weaknesses: The defense looks questionable for a squad that lived off its defensive prowess for so long. They allowed 34 goals in their final 17 matches last season, and had the worst goal difference amongst the top 12 teams in the league. Stalwarts such as Bruno N’Gotty and Tal Ben Haim have moved on, leaving a very different group in their place. Returnees Faye and Meite are prone to mistakes and inconsistency, while new-boy Cid may need time to adjust to life in England. Local lad Hunt is always an adventure at right back and an upgrade may be in the works, depending on how much cash the board will release for Sammy Lee to spend. This club will certainly score more goals than last season, but if they do not allow less, Sammy Lee may be in for some hard lessons as a new manager.
If all goes right: The new defenders will settle in quickly and the likes of Anelka and Diouf will show why millions in transfer fees have been spent on them. The Trotters could challenge for a Champions league spot, but most likely fifth place and a trophy (Carling Cup seems the most likely candidate) would be considered a dream season in Lancashire.
If all goes wrong: The youngsters don’t improve and the veterans show their age. The defence is a shambles and frustrated superstars Diouf, Anelka, and Jaaskelainen hand in transfer requests. The squad probably has too much talent to be drawn into a relegation battle, but they could fall into the bottom half of the table quite easily.
My Prediction: I think Bolton could get off to a slow start as Sammy Lee adjusts to life as a Premier League gaffer and the players get used to the new tactics he is employing. But a cup run and improves second half form will have them challenging for a UEFA Cup spot, as they have done for the past 4 seasons. I predict the club will finish 6th, which may be good enough for Europe, depending on who wins the domestic trophies.
Manager: Arsene Wenger
Key Arrivals: Bacary Sagna, Eduardo Da Silva, Lukasz, Fabianski
Key Departures: Thierry Henry, Julio Baptista, Jeremie Aliadiere, Freddie Ljungberg,
Key Returning Players: Jens Lehmann, Abou Diaby, Francesc Fabregas, Kolo Tour, Philippe Sendero, Tomas Rosick, William Galla, Robin Van Persie, Alexander Hleb, Denilson, Mathieu Flamini, Alexandre Song, Gilberto, Johan Djourou, Gael Clichy, Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Adebayor,Nicklas Bendtner, Emmanuel Ebou, Justin Hoyte, Theo Walcott
Performance Last Season: Arsenal finished 4th last season on 68 points. This was well clear of 5th place Tottenham and even with 3rd place Liverpool, but miles behind the top 2. The club also advanced to the knock-out stages of the Champions League, the League Cup final, and deep into the FA Cup. Arsenal lost any chance of competing for the league title early in the season, when the adjustment to a new stadium saw them draw several times at home. Other factors, most notably the youth of the squad, also saw them lose away from home with alarming regularity in the first few months of the campaign.
Arsenal played 57 matches in all competitions, and this proved to be too much for experienced players such as Henry (27 appearances), Ljungberg (26), and Gallas (29). This forced Wenger to select what was essentially an under 23 side for many matches, with Lehman in goal and Gilberto in the midfield being the only notable exceptions. On a positive note, all of the experience gained by Arsenal’s absurdly talented youngsters will serve them well in the future. Scoring was down at the Emirates last season, but I suspect the Arsenal faithful will have much to look forward to in the future.
Strengths: This team’s strength does not lie in a particular part of the pitch, but in the raw talent that their squad possesses. Top to bottom of the roster I do not believe there is a more talented club than Arsenal in the entire world. Watching this team play football is a joy, as Wenger has them passing the ball around like no team since Brasil in the early 80’s. As the saying goes, this is a team I would pay to watch.
Weaknesses: Despite the phenomenal talent they possess, most people’s general impression of Arsenal is that a fair portion of the squad is not old enough to legally consume alcohol in the USA, never mind show the poise and experience necessary to compete at the top levels of international football. As is usually the case in English football, perception is taking years to catch up with reality. While there are several youngsters in the first team, such as Theo Wolcott, who is 18, Denilson, 19, Song (who was very impressive on loan at Charlton last season), only 19, Djourou, 20, and Diaby, 21, there is also a very experienced core, still in, or just entering their peaks. Fabregas is only 20, but one can hardly argue that he is a typical 20 year old. Beyond that, every significant returning player is older than Wayne Rooney or Christiano Ronaldo, who led Manchester United to the league title last season. Clichy is 22, Van Persie is 23, Adebayor is 23, Flamini is 23, Eboue is 24, Hleb is 26, Toure is 26, Rosicky is 26, Gallas will be 30 soon, and Gilberto is 30. If youth and a lack of experience is Arsenal’s only weakness, the rest of the league is in trouble, now, and for years to come.
If all goes right: Wenger’s lads will end their silverware drought with a league title, and perhaps even a double. All it will take is for a few young players to mature and the older players to stay injury free.
If all goes wrong: Injuries could ravage the squad, as they did last season, forcing Wenger to play reserves and youth team players who are just not ready for the top flight mentally, as well as put other players out of position. As great a player as he is, Gilberto just cannot play centre half at the Champions League level. Given the improvement of other sides in the top flight, another slow start and injury problems could see Arsenal fall out of the top 4, although this is unlikely in my opinion.
My Prediction: I think Arsenal will crash the Manchester United/Chelsea party and compete for the league title for most of the season, ultimately falling short at the end, especially if they have a cup run, or runs, distracting them. I think some of the youngsters will struggle at times, while others will become truly world class, and there will be just enough experience in the squad to help turn some of last year’s losses into draws, and draws into wins. In my opinion, Arsenal will finish 3rd, but will have at least one trophy to show for their troubles.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Manager: Martin O’Neill
Key Arrivals: Marlon Harewood, Nigel Reo-Coker
Key Departures: Juan Pablo Angel, Steven Davis, Aaron Hughes, Gavin McCann
Key Returning Players: Thomas Sorensen, Olof Mellberg, Martin Laursen, Gareth Barry, John Carew, Marlon Harewood, Stiliyan Petrov, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Wilfred Bouma, Ashley Young, Liam Ridgewell, Gary Cahill, Luke Moore, Patrik Berger, Shaun Maloney
Performance Last Season: Aston Villa was comfortably mid-table in the 2006-2007 season, finishing 11th on 50 points. They were 4 points ahead of Middlesborough, and their Goal Differential was better by 7. Despite a roaring start to the campaign under new manager Martin O’Neil, Villa was never a serious threat to push further up the table and contend for a UEFA Cup spot.
The new boss used the season, particularly the January transfer window, to re-construct the team after the disastrous tenure of David O’Leary. As the season went on, the side became something of draw specialists, sharing the points 17 times, easily the most in the top flight. This was no fault of Gabriel Agbonlahor, whose emergence showed O’Neill can still develop young players, despite his penchant for playing only seasoned veterans at Celtic. The youngster led the club in goals, and would have been a key performer for the England under 21’s this summer, had he not dropped his mobile in the bath, or some other such excuse that Martin was more than happy to hear. There is also no truth to the rumour that Psycho will be fitting the lad with a GPS tracker before the next international break.
At the end of the campaign, Villa supporters had a lot to look forward to. Martin O’Neil had made several good signings, and would have the summer transfer window to build the squad in his own image, wit the help of new owner Randy Lerner’s deep pockets.
Strengths: At this point it looks to be the attackers. Carew and Young were both good buys in January, and should be rearing to go after having a full pre-season to settle in. Maloney is less of a talent, but a nice player to have coming off the subs bench. I think they may have overpaid a bit for Harewood, as he has still never proven he can be a consistent threat in the top flight. Moore and Agbonlahor both have bright futures ahead of them, and it will be interesting to see how O’Neil gets all of his pacey youngsters on the pitch at the same time. Perhaps it will be Carew and Moore up front to start, with Young and Agbonlahor on the wing. However he does it, it should be a joy to watch, even from the Doug Ellis stand (Really, who names a stand after themselves?).
Weaknesses: Villa are still looking for a right back, Mark Delaney is injured, while Aaron Hughes has moved on and Phil Bardsley has gone back to Manchester United, but perhaps even more defensive cover than that is needed. They let in 41 goals last season, and only 5 clubs let in less, but Gavin McCann is no longer there to patrol the midfield and protect the back four. It is likely that Petrov will step back into the holding role, as Reo-Coker has always been more of an attacker. The Bulgarian started out well last season but was very inconsistent, putting in several poor performances. If he has not yet come to terms with the premiership, Villa’s defence could be quite vulnerable up the middle, particularly to attacking midfielders.
If all goes right: Aston Villa will challenge for a UEFA Cup spot. Reo-Coker returns to his form of two years ago, Barry and Agbonlahor continue their form from last season, and the Villans re-establish themselves as a top 6 side. Champions League qualification is a step too far, but with Lerner’s dollars and another year or two of smart buys from Martin O’Neill, the future could be very bright.
If all goes wrong: The club is still looking to make more signings, and they have over a month to do so, but right now the squad is very small. Injuries could leave the club very thin at the back and in central midfield. The young attackers could wilt under the pressure to score more goals and regress. Considering the talent on display, and O’Neill’s record of grinding out results when necessary, relegation seems unlikely, but a bottom 5 finish would be considered a step backwards by Villa supporters.
My Prediction: The defence will be a problem all season, and McCann will be sorely missed. But the attacking flare on display at Villa Park will be a pleasure to watch. The club will spend parts of the season amongst the UEFA Cup challengers, but fall short in the end. I think they will end up in 9th place, an improvement which should keep the supporters happy for one more season. Of course, if Mr. Lerner decides another mid-table finish is unacceptable, some big purchases in January could push the club into the top 6.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
I could have done without so many sideline shots of Beckham, but that is what we are going to get for the foreseeable future. Eddie Johnson looked good, and I think there is a decent chance he will go to Europe within the next month or so. The league should have sold him two years ago when Benfica was offering $5 million, as they will not get nearly as much for him now, and the likes of Derby are not as good a situation for the player, as far as development goes.
Should be an interesting weekend of matches as well. I think that is the best the MLS can hope for at this point, that fans like myself, who are mostly interested in the European leagues, find enough intrigue in MLS to watch some games, and at least keep tabs on what is happening in the league.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The game itself was a bit of a disappointment, as Brasil won rather easily. Argentina just seems to choke when they get to the knockout stages and have to face good teams. And it is not the players, it seems to be the tactics. Klinsman left Peckerman for dead at the World Cup last summer, and when Brasil set up defensively to contain Tevez and force Riquelme to drop deeper to get possession, the Argies never changed their tactics. No adjustment was made to attack what Brasil was doing! Make whatever excuses you want, their is no way a team with Argentina's talent should ever lose by 3 goals to anybody.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
July 2nd was my last day in San Sebastian. For lunch I went into the old town and had a few farewell pinchos (tapas), then headed to the coach station. It was an uneventful seventy-five minute ride to Bilbao. From Bilbao City Centre it is another thirty minutes to the airport. I checked in for my flight and all was well.
I had a snack and checked the departures board at about 8:30 PM. My flight had been scheduled to leave at 9:15, but the board said it was running about twenty-five minutes late. I thought that would be no big deal, flights to Stansted are often a little behind schedule. My flight to New York left from Heathrow the next day, and I was booked in a hostel in London for one night.
At about 9:30 the departure board changed and announced that my flight would be leaving at 11:40 PM, two and a half hours late. Now I was concerned, so I went online to check the news. Sure enough, a mysterious package had been found at Stansted, and the airport had been closed for several hours. I checked with the Easyjet service desk at about 10 PM. The airplane that I would be flying on had not yet left London. A good night's sleep was looking less and less likely.
The flight finally left Spain at 2 AM. It is only a two hour flight to London, so when I arrived it was "only" 3 AM.
Of course, Stansted Airport is nowhere near central London, so I had an 80 minute bus ride in front of me. It was sometime after 4 AM when I finally reached my hostel. Of course, it was a hostel, so I was in a room with twelve other people, all already asleep, many snoring. Not exactly fresh as a daisy, I had about 4 hours to sleep before braving the new security measures at Heathrow.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
It was quite a short pitch, not a lot of space, so my philosophy was to shoot as soon as I got sight of goal. Only problem was the keeper kept making brilliant saves on my shots. And I mean world class saves. At least as far as you know. People who have seen me play are shaking their heads and smiling right now.
Anyway, one good thing about San Sebastian is that it stays light really late. Our game started at about 9 and went until 10:30 at night, which of course was the perfect time to hit the bars for some sangria and calimocho. It was a good day in Spain.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
How representative is it of this administration that while 1,500 people sift through the remains of their tornado destroyed town in Kansas, unable to get help because most of the Kansas National Guard's disaster repair equipment is in Iraq, President George W. Bush hosts a white tie dinner for Queen Elizabeth II, a monarch representative of an Empire expelled from this country over 200 hundred years ago on the basis of the radical idea that all men are created equal.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Sunday, April 8, 2007
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
A couple more days and I am off to the Big Island. I haven't seen my girlfriend in a few weeks, so I am very excited to get to Hilo. It is spring break at HPU next week, although this will by no means be a vacation. I have several research papers to write, and anyone who knows is well aware that research is not something I enjoy doing. I should have a bit more time to run though, I hope to increase my distance and decrease my time (don't we all). Mostly I will just be happy to see Erin.
In other travel news, in two months I will be leaving Hawaii to do a Summer intensive course in Spanish at a language school in San Sebastian, Spain. Basque Country is one of my favorite places in the world, and anyone who has been there knows how beautiful Donastia (San Sebastian in Basque) is. This will be another great adventure, and with any luck, an excellent learning experience. So if anyone reading this will be in, or near Spain this summer, let me know.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Bolton play Manchester United this Saturday at Old Trafford. I fear disaster will strike. United have been just about unstoppable lately, and Bolton have been far from it. A Champions League place is probably now beyond our reach. We are relatively secure in fifth place at the moment, but that can change rather quickly. A few teams are within four points, and we still have to play Chelsea (At Stamford Bridge) and Arsenal (At the Emirates). I just hope we can keep the match close against Man U. Although I must admit that at these moments, when I have just about lost faith, Bolton usually manages to surprise me. It may be a bridge too far though, especially when one watches Cristiano Ronaldo play this season. If he is not the player of the year, I don't know who is.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
This is what I would call a modified Pantun, as I did not strictly follow the rules for writing a Pantun, but I did stay pretty close to them. The Pantun is a Malay poetic form which has existed in its current state since about the 15th century. It involves repeating lines from each stanza in the following stanza.
Rocky green expanses stood their ground
Ground carved in St. Anthony’s Cathedral six hundred years ago
Ruins would not turn away from the past
Rocky green expanses stood their ground
The wind could only steal pebbles from St. Anthony
Ruins would not turn away from memory
Erosion is the ally of memory
The wind could only steal pebbles from memory
Arthur’s Seat remains
Erosion is the ally of the wind
Pushing down on St. Anthony’s as if it had lost something
Arthur’s Seat will remain
I lay on grass hundreds of feet above Edinburgh
Glaring down at St. Anthony’s as if it had stolen something
Seeing not what Arthur saw but what he built
I lay on grass hundreds of feet above Edinburgh
Seeing sky and stone and rain
Seeing not what Arthur saw but what others have built
Present came crashing down when Arthur and I stood together
Seeing grass and stone and rain
Seeing and remembering Camelot
Future came crashing down and only Arthur remained
I will return someday
To finish the Epic
Friday, March 9, 2007
Well, the quarterfinals are set. Some interesting match-ups came out of the hat. I would say the biggest is AC Milan versus Bayern Munich, although the most entertaining match to watch will probably be Chelsea versus Valencia. If I had to pick those two right now, I would say Milan and Valencia will go through, but I could change my mind in the next few weeks.
The other two matches are somewhat easier to predict. It is hard to see PSV Eindhoven getting past Liverpool. I thought they were a bit lucky to get past Arsenal. And while AS Roma are better than they have been given credit for, this looks like it could be Manchester United's year.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
But Eidur Gudjonson may as well have been. He was the only Barcelona player who appeared to care if they won or lost against Liverpool. And he only played the last 20 minutes. That had to be the most indifferent performance I have ever seen in the knockout stages of the Champions League. It's sad really. Barcelona just has a tremendous amount of talent, but they can't seem to put it together as they did last season.
Inter also has a tremendous amount of talent, and have looked as if they were finally going to round a corner they have been waiting to figure out for years, but they fell apart at the worst possible moment. So we have Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Roma in the final 8. Sets up some more cracking matches.
Monday, March 5, 2007
Another setback for Bolton, although we probably deserved a point. We gave away two penalties, both silly. It looked as if Gary Speed may have got the ball on the first one, but even if he did, he got quite a bit of the man. The second one was just stupid, I don't know what Faye was doing. And he should have scored the equalising goal as well, but he was off side. How do you line up offside on a free kick? Anelka's goal was well taken, and we should have had another along the way even before Faye's disallowed header in stoppage time. I think the squad will rue the missed opportunities. Champions league seems out of reach now, and the teams below us are catching up. If we are going to find some form, now is the time.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
So I went to Sports Authority today to get a new pair of track suit bottoms for my marathon training. I bought a black pair from Russell Athletic. They were a boys large, and, predictably, they are too big. Has some giant race of humans overtaken the earth and demanded clothing sizes be altered accordingly? Seriously, I am not an exceedingly large individual, but I don't think I am extraordinarily small either. I see men smaller than me every day. I just can't believe that I am nearly thirty years old and have to shop in the boy's section to find athletic gear that fits me. Am I alone in this? Anyone?
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
islands remain intact two weeks after the earth shook
Scandinavian women discuss American politics in fluorescent light
maybe Hawaii has too much light
but the days are short
my birthday gets shorter as my life gets longer
29 years and people wish me well
it is not my accomplishment
I give them my mother’s phone number
she deserves the plaudits
I am just a product
a continuation of evolution
a solution to a practical problem
a manner in which fore-limbs can be freed
can build tools
can find answers
my birthday last year featured an Irish pub in Honolulu and a technical writer from Kentucky
my 22nd birthday featured an Irish pub in Bolton and a computer programmer from Holland
the cake was like a brick
hurled through a window
into my world
my world then and my world now share no windows
passed back and forth between winters
theorists and experimentalists
life and something just like it
emotions and sensations
one is physical
for all of my studies I never took a physics class
never saw a true demonstration of gravity
I thought Dr. Holt had gravitas
until I saw him get drunk and try to pick up a 17 year old girl
what else can one expect from a man named after the Greek god of wine and fertility
Neruda was responsible for MSN’s quote of the day
I will never share this honor with him
but I hope to share a glass of Chilean wine with my companion
her eyes may be the color of love,
or the color of Hawaiian beaches
and her body is not far away
she is closer to me than Neruda
or his mermaid
will ever be
Monday, February 26, 2007
gray squirrel ran across the walking path on the north side of Kensington Palace Gardens
I looked at his fat hind legs
swaths of brown fur mixed in with the gray
I never much noticed squirrels growing up
they were everywhere
I never bothered them
they never bothered me
It is odd living on an island in the south Pacific
eighty degrees the whole year through
sunny the whole year through
devoid of squirrels the whole year through
living on an island in the south Pacific has made me appreciate
fifty degree day
an island in the north Atlantic
and a fat
June 1, 2006
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
As most of you know, I am a follower of football (soccer), and the club I support is the Bolton Wanderers. Important match this weekend against Tottenham for the Trotters, and I must admit that I am rather pessimistic about our chances of getting a result. If we do get three points though, we will keep the pressure on Arsenal, and to some extent Liverpool, as we still remain within striking distance of those clubs for the ever more prolific fourth spot in the table.
That's all for now, but check back next week, depending on how the match goes, I may have quite a bit to say about events at White Hart Lane over the weekend.
She was leaning over the wash basin, brushing her short brown hair. She had her trousers on. I admired the arse, remembering it from hours before. She doesn’t know I’m awake, watching her through one eye. She finishes, and gathers her kit from the floor. I close my eye, sensing she is about to look at me.
When I look again she has a white jumper on, but no bra. I know this because I can still feel it next to my leg. I wonder if she’ll get it before she leaves. Will it hold sentimental value for her? Will she tell her mates? “This is the bra I almost left behind in the hostel in London where I shagged the American whose name I didn’t know, then left before he woke up. Almost left the bra wrapped around his right knee. It was quite dear though, and I would have been gutted to lose it.” Then they’ll giggle, tell stories of similar encounters and brush each other’s hair.
She’s back at the wash basin, trying to get her hair sorted. Her arse is sorted. Round like an apple. I wonder if she’ll be back here again tonight. I don’t know her face, it was dark, but I could pick that arse out of a line-up. Testify against her in front of the magistrates if I needed to.
My eyes were closed when the door slammed. I reckon she’s coming back. She left the bra.
20 December, 1999
Thursday, February 22, 2007
The administration is trying to claim that the impending withdrawal of British troops is a positive development which reflects the improving situation in Iraq. Yet they neglect to mention that 1,700 departing British soldiers will be replaced by 21,000 American soldiers, most of them embarking upon their third or fourth tour of duty in this particular war zone.
How has this president not been impeached? They don't even attempt to tell the truth anymore.
Hawaii just needs to secede from the United States. It was illegally annexed anyway, so secession shouldn't be a problem. Most Americans seem to think it is a different country already, so there would be no public outcry. Somebody should at least do some research into this.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Other than that, have a good weekend.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
I haven't written anything this week, but I hope to post some fiction and/or poetry relatively frequently.
Don't move backwards. In life, progress is paramount.