Thursday, 31 May 2012

Should Chelsea Keep Torres?

It is looking very much like Chelsea will have the attacking options of Hazard, Mata and Hulk. The only question that will remain is the center forward or central striker position. The options available to Chelsea right now, after the release of Drogba, are Fernando Torres, Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku.

My thoughts are the following: if Chelsea want to stay in the mold of Roberto di Matteo style of football, then they will need to buy a striker who can be big, hold up the ball, as well as combine well with the wingers. Torres is not really a play who can play with his back to goal.

Center forwards out there: Ibrahimovich, Cavani, Llorente, Falcao, Adebayor, Ba, Kone, Remy - the list is long. I think that Llorente, Falcao and Cavani would be the most likely buys for Chelsea in terms of age/price/willingness to sell.

If they go the Guardiola route then he will mots likely want a technical center forward and not put too much stock into size and hold-up ability - which means they may as well keep Torres.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Chelsea Sign Hazard - My Thoughts

Surprisingly, one of the more annoying summer transfer dramas has managed to quickly play itself out to conclusion. Eden Hazard seemed to be going everywhere in Europe and finally he has landed himself on Chelsea for a nice payday to play for the champions of Europe.

This is a great move for both club and player.

Chelsea desperately needed a world class attacking player. Kalou, who was merely an above average winger, is gone and is not good enough for a team of Chelsea's stature. Sturridge is not necessarily reliable game-in game-out as a starter - and even if he is Malouda isn't the greatest option on the left hand side.

This gives Chelsea the option of using Juan Mata and Eden Hazard as wingers/attacking midfielders - giving them versatility in the final third - assuming Chelsea play again in the 4-3-2-1 formation you'll have Torres as the lone striker with Lampard in attacking midfield and Hazard and Mata on the wings. Then, if Lampard needs a break, Hazard or Mata can go central and you have the services of Sturridge or Malouda off the bench - not bad bench options at all.

Rumors are abounding that Chelsea are close to picking up Hulk as well.

I would not be too shocked if Abramovich is getting ready to spend out of his mind again (another 100 million pounds) to get his club to be the first back to back winners of the European Cup in the UEFA Champions League edition.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Breaking Down Group B

The "group of death" in this tournament is the opposite of Group A - there aren't going to be any easy games for any team.

Many people will probably be picking Germany to win the group with a squad that is world class almost top to bottom, but in my mind they aren't anywhere close to being a lock.

The only achilles heel that the Dutch will have is there perceived inability to defend well - however, it is not like Germany is much better than they are, although Germany are certainly deeper at central defense and also more experienced at fullback.

Offensively the Dutch are the best in the world with Robben, Sneijder, Van Persie, Van der Vaart - they were the main reason this squad made it to the FIFA 2010 World Cup finals. They are my pick to go top on the group.

Portugal are no offensive slouches either with Ronaldo and Nani on the wings, and the Real Madrid defensive trio of Carvalho, Pepe and Coentrao on defense. They'll have to hope for production at striker and staying injury free in midfield to have any chance of advancing.

Sadly for Denmark they don't really have a chance because of the group they are in - they would've fared better in Group A.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Breaking Down Group A

Group A has to be the least remarkable of the four groups in the Euros this year.

Poland seems to have a handful of top players like Szczesny (bless you) from Arsenal, Pisczczek, Blasczykowski, and Lewandowski from German Budesliga champions Dortmund. I won't name the rest because there names are too difficult to type.

Greece actually won the tournament about a decade ago, but it is hard to see them doing anything except maybe advancing from their unremarkable group with their mediocre squad. Russia and Czech Republic fall in the same boat again with very average sides for this tournament.

My pick for this group is Poland to take the top spot and then Russia to grap the second spot. To be honest though, I don't know much about these groups other than a handful of Polish players.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Euro 2012 - Engalnd with The Best Back 4?

With the way that Chelsea won the European Club Competition, I think it has been easily demonstrated the importance of a solid back four and having great defenders who can stay compact in the defensive third. Granted, Chelsea played with more of a back 9 than anything to be honest, but Terry, Cahill, Ivanovich and Cole were absolutely vital to the European Champions' success.

Chelsea's success in the Champions League has led to a lot of people believing in England's chances at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. To be honest, England actually do have a top defensive unit to put out there, although they are weak in midfield and at center forward with Rooney out for the first couple of crucial matches.

The favorites for the tournament, Spain and Germany, both have questions in their back four. Per Mertesacker is not good enough to play at the top level in my opinion (not starting caliber at Arsenal, a poor defensive team) and he will be starting most likely for Germany. Spain are without Carlos Puyol and will have to rely on a recently-concussed Pique along with Sergio Ramos probably sliding in at right back, with Arbeloa and Alba as the full backs. One injury and they are in a precarious situation - if they are not already with a couple of second choice selections already starting for them.

The two strongest defensive units in the Euros are probably France and England. The FA missed out on Richards in my opinion, but will still be able to carry a squad of Terry, Cahill, Cole and the chance to choose from Phil Jones, Leighton Baines and Glen Johnson - having Lescott as a back-up center half isn't too bad either.

France have the luxury of a great fullback pairing - probably the best in the world - of Bacary Sagna and Patrice Evra (Gael Clichy), along with a half dozen center backs playing for top European sides. France, in my opinion are the most complete European side with no weaknesses at any area on the pitch.

Monday, 14 May 2012


As a Canadian, I always enjoy watching hockey. However, I do like basketball. This always creates a conflict of interest for me, especially now that the Canucks have been knocked out. I think I'll have to flip back and forth. The Lakers game tonight should be interesting to watch though.

Friday, 11 May 2012

My Name is Bill Akleh

Welcome world! My name is Bill and I live in Vancouver, British Columbia. I run a small business and I love what I do. I especially love the city I live in, the province, and most of all... the greatest country on earth: Canada!