The Champions League is back! If you’re into watching millionaires stay in shape while competing against other millionaires, the UEFA Champions League is as good as it gets. But before you huddle in front of your illegal stream that’s frustratingly lagging two minutes behind just to watch Manchester United play out a limp 1-1 draw at CSKA Moscow, let’s dive into the dumpster together.
Falcao’s Nan is Upset
For reasons beyond my understanding, Falcao’s grandmother was interviewed on Colombian radio this week. Abuelita Tigre called out Falcao’s coaches—specifically Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho—for not having confidence in him, saying, “You have to give him time to do what he does best.” However, what Falcao does best at this point in his career is not quite as clear as his dear granny would have us believe. His biggest skill may be in reminding us of how cruel injuries can be to a once brilliant talent. Whenever I get too caught up in soccer, I watch Falcao amble about like a lame racehorse that escaped the shotgun to remind myself of the fragility of the human body.
Falcao is clearly and irreversibly finished at the top level. Having to be defending by his nana—bless her heart—is just the latest indignity to be suffered by the soon-to-be-former Chelsea striker. It would probably be best for all concerned if he returned to Monaco in January to collect his massive wages and do his poor impression of his former self in front the 300 people that go to his home games every week. If nothing else, he’ll always have those world class years at Porto and Atletico Madrid to look back on. That, and his massive walloper.
Sherwood Out, Brendan In
Aston Villa might be in trouble. Its record in the league so far this season is dismal: just one win in nine. With three of its next four matches coming against top 8 opposition, The Villains could find themselves adrift at the foot of the table if something doesn’t change soon. Tim Sherwood, the Bantersaurus Rex™ himself, has probably been found out. He’s a fraud, and we all knew it all along, but we went along with the charade because he’s amusing and because it’s cute to let the English believe that they are still capable of producing talented managers.
Aston Villa’s squad isn’t nearly bad enough to make them doomed for relegation, and a half-decent manager should be able to turn them around without too much fuss. And who better than a half-decent manager who—in his own words—”almost won the league.” Brendan Rodgers almost surely thinks that he is too good for Aston Villa (he isn’t), which would make him a perfect fit. Tactically, Rodgers may fancy himself as the anti-Sherwood, but they’re both charlatans, and that’s all that matters. Just imagine the kind of nonsense he’ll come out with when Villa dominate Bournemouth at home, playing a 3-4-3 with inverted wingers or whatever. Make it happen, Soccer Gods.
Louis van Gaal is still on drugs. Allegedly.
We’ve explored this theory in some depth before. Several months later, and the evidence continues to mount: Van Gaal is absolutely high off his tits. How else to explain his opinion after Manchester United’s win over Everton at the weekend that Wayne Rooney was “outstanding”?
Rooney may have scored, but his performance was fairly typical of his standards over the last two and a half years: a diabolical mess from top to bottom. That Van Gaal was seemingly the only person in existence who thought otherwise surely points to some sort of hallucinatory effect at play; the kind produced by mushrooms, for example. Or so I’ve been told.
Van Gaal’s peculiar behavior extends beyond his blind spot for our dear Wazza. There’s also his stubborn refusal to play his best players in their best positions unless injuries and suspensions make it unavoidable. And his weekly demonstration of how to make the least effective and most maddening substitutions possible. So the next time the mad Dutchman starts a left winger at right back or forces two old people to play a high pressing game in midfield, don’t shout obscenities at the bar TV. Remind yourself that he may have dropped acid just before kick-off. Suddenly, everything will make sense.
Arsenal. Arsenal? Arsenal!
It’s happening. Here it comes. The hope. Arsene Wenger’s boys just went ahead and beat the best team on the planet, and they did so by following a formula that many teams have used successfully against Arsenal itself in recent years. They defended stoutly, hit Bayern Munich on the break, and capitalized on mistakes at set pieces. How is this the same clueless side from a few weeks ago? Arsenal is Schrödinger’s Club: simultaneously brilliant and embarrassing.
It would be very Arsenal if the Gunners were to get another result against Bayern, but still fail to qualify when they lose to Olympiacos again. But it would be even more Arsenal if they were to somehow find a way to secure the needed results to make it out of the group stages, only to be bounced out of the next round by some underdog. We may be rapidly approaching peak Arsenal. We even got an Aaron Ramsey injury. All the pieces are neatly falling into place for another marvelous failure of a season.