Friday, 17 September 2010

Biiiig weekly round up!

Happy Friday!


On Monday I still had a headache after the outrageous Saturday afternoon behaviour at direct footy towers. The jeff stelling soccer Saturday drinking game claimed many victims. It is quite genuinely an outrageous way to spend an afternoon and I payed for my foolishness.

This week has been pretty hectic with the football, work and emplyment (will explain in a minute), so must apologise for the lack of blog and podcast this week!

Back to the football from last Saturday though and I think we have to start with the lunchtime kick off. Tempting to say it was a great game but in reality it was a meandering tie with a fabulous finale. I mean, half the reason why the ending was so fantastic (for anybody but Man United - and some Liverpool - fans) was because it looked so secure an sewn up once they went three nil up. It was an excellent United performance until the last two minutes and if the media has convinced me that I know fergie (it has) then he would surely have been getting his ol' blow dryer out for the dressing room! Everton have done well to paper over the fact they were largely poor and still have a terrible record this season. The toffees must improve sooner rather than later.

So onto the 3 o'clocks from Saturday and both Arsenal and Chelsea strolled to victories, although Johann Elmander did give arsenal a scare. Cesc Fabregas' match winning contribution went largely unnoticed (three excellent assists) as those who predicted he wouldn't perform after being made to stay at Arsenal bury their heads in the sand. To be fair most of the concentration was on the refs terrible decision to dismiss Gary Cahill. Most obvious yellow card I've ever seen. Bolton Have since appealed and I hope he gets off.

Spurs came unstuck again as the reality of European midweek games and injuries to their English players caught up a little. West brom should probably have won in the end but Roberto di Matteo was honest enough to admit he was delighted with a point nonetheless.

Fulham beat Wolves but lost bobby Zamora to a nasty broken leg in the process. Karl Henry has instantly jumped on the defensive after the furore surrounding his sending off at Arsenal last year shortly after the Ramsey incident (and the media attention following his foul display against Joey Barton last week). To be fair it wasn't a bad tackle on Zamora. "Silly" I think it is called - no need to go to ground from behind, but in no way obviously dangerous or dirty.

I've heard very little actually accusing Henry of foul play. However a few weeks ago on the direct football podcast we did pick up on people praising Henry's style and commented that it shouldn't be praised, claiming instead he should be coached to know when and how to tackle. His tackle on Zamora wasn't dirty at all but why he was going for a challenge from behind I'm not sure. If he stays up, there is no broken leg. I repeat, not his fault but also not a coincident that honest but technically poor tacklers are the ones breaking legs.

Man city also slipped up with a drab home performance against Blackburn. Some awful goalkeeping from man of the moment Joe Hart allowed Kalinic to score and only Paddy Vieira rolling back the years got City level. Hasn't been a top start for City either and they will have to improve to threaten the top two.

A team who need no improvement whatsoever are Blackpool. I tipped them to stay up and I'm not going to shut up about it until they are down. Great win for Holloway's side at Newcastle and capped off by a great Dj Campbell goal!

The only other game saw Sunderland squander three points at an uninspiring Wigan. Lee cattermole was sent off again for an unbelievably shot tackle on rodallega when he was already booked. Bad coaching is a blight on the English game and Cattermole is suffering as much as anybody.

On sunday I fell asleep infront of Birmingham vs Liverpool. Partly because of Saturday's behaviour but also because it was a generally dire affair devoid of much quality. Monday's offering was far more exciting, Stoke picking up a just about deserved first win of the season at home to Villa courtesy of a last minute Rob Huth goal.

As the week rolled on, the footy didnt stop! Spurs should be delighted with their opening day away point at Werder Breman. Werder could, maybe should have won it in the end but Spurs were well worth the point. Points away from home in the Champions League are rarely a negative thing. However, Manchester United were poor by comparison as they laboured to a 0-0 draw with Rangers. Gibson looked the main threat as he tried to be the new Paul Scholes (sorry, but he wont ever be) and there was another unfortunate break-injury, this time for Antonio Valencia.

Again, there was no intent and it is a shame for Valencia to be out for such a long time after such an inocuous looking incident. A bad night all round for Fergie, who bought Rooney back into the team to little effect. Perhaps he was saving himself for the big'un against Liverpool think weekend!

On Wednesday Arsenal pissed all over Braga. There was the usual silly view that it was "only Braga", who are a darn sight better than Rangers by the way, but that is a compliment to Arsenal that people are so no responsive to such impressive results. Braga had two options, come and play a brilliant game to cause an upset, or quaver under their naivity and the size of the occasion. They emphatically acheived the latter. Cesc Fabregas was magnificent again, an unstoppable performance from the captain, supported by Jack Wilshere who had, in my opinion, his best game for Arsenal.

Chelsea were similarly unstoppable away at Zilina, leading from the front through Micahel Essien's third in two games and ending up 4-1 victors. Well played Chelsea - my tips for this season European prize. The other big results in the Champs League were Barca's magical dismantling of Panathinaikos (wasn't "only" Panathinaikos though...), FC Twente holding holders Inter Milan in Holland (not sure if this is good or bad for Spurs) and Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid winning the clash of the old titans at the Bernbeau - 2-0 against Ajax in a dissapointing fixture on Wednesday night. Bayern Munich, many pundits tip for the prize, saw off Roma 2-0 courtesy of England terrorizers Mueller and Klose.

Thursday there was a load of rubbish Eurpoa games. Boring! Sorry Liverpool fans.

And sorry to anyone who was listening for a cast Wednesday (nobody was). We were going to do one as we watched the Arsenal game but my colleague was offered permanent employment and went for a drink to celebrate - screw doing a solo cast! There will be one up next week though looking back at this coming weekend (can I say that)

What I can say is lets look forward to THIS weekend!

But first...There has been some interesting stories this week. The debate about tackles, broken legs, refereeing etc. has rumbled on. Some say there should be more protection and less players with the attitude that being "committed" is a valid substitute for being a good tackler. Others argue that the commitment (spirit, tenactity, desire, whatever) is a great part of the game so it doesnt matter if you get the odd one wrong - it is all done with the right "intent".

I'd argue that if a striker kept intending to score a goal and kept fucking it up because of poor technique, timing and decision making he'd be criticised - no matter how commited his intent was. Defenders and midfielders who similarly fuck up, miss-time, tackle poorly even if they intend to get the ball should rightly be criticised, and if they do it consistently punished.

Sam Allardyce thinks Wenger is trying to make Arsenal players "untouchable". Fuck off. How many times does Wenger have to say he loves a great, well timed, perfectly strong tackle as much as a beautiful goal? What he doesn't like is players tackling badly because they are told to. If you tackle badly, you are dangerous....this all came after Paul Robinson injured Abou Diaby in an incident completely ignored by Match of the Day etc. Wenger said it was a bad tackle, there has been uproar.

The media have a big part to play in this. They cant decide whether they want to sit there and chuckle as Karl Henry goes around kicking players up in the air, whether to insist you "have" to play Arsenal the way many teams do OR whether to condem players for bad challenges, use phrases such as anti-football. They cant make up their minds and until they do nothing will get done. Sad how much the media can effect things!

So my summary would be: problem is not with "commitment" or even with destroyer tactics that teams emply against teams of greater technical ability. Problem is with how many young players are coached. They are not coached to make excellent tackle with fine technique and precision, or to stand up and not dive in. They seem to be coached - if the ball is there just go for it, win it "at all costs", be...committed.

Anyway, to THIS weekend:

There is a decent line up....Everton v Newcastle, Tottenham v Wolves and Arsenal v Sunderland stick out on Saturday. A full set of prediction coming up. But first there is the big one!

United v Liverpool. Love this fixture. If I am honest I cannot see anything more than a United wi. They should have too much in midfield for Liverpool, who would require a real underperformance by United and a turn around in fortunes for Torres and Gerrard going forward. This could be provided by some decent service but Joe Cole hasn't really got going yet. He returns on Sunday and it is his moment to shine at Old Trafford. But I'm not sure he will.
3-0 United for me!

Will do a double update next week on the kingy vs lawro vs Buttsy predictions table. Here are this week's:


Stoke 1 v 1 West Ham
Aston Villa 2 v 0 Bolton
Blackburn 2 v 1 Fulham
Everton 3 v 1 Newcastle
Tottenham 2 v 1 Wolves
West Brom 1 v 1 Birmingham
Sunderland 1 v 1 Arsenal
Man United 3 v 0 Liverpool
Wigan 1 v 3 Man City
Chelsea 5 v 0 Blackpool


Stoke 2 v 0 West Ham
Villa 1 v 1 Bolton
Blackburn 2 v 1 Fulham
Everton 3 v 0 Newcastle
Tottenham 2 v 0 Wolves
West Brom 0 v 0 Birmingham
Sunderland 1 v 2 Arsenal
United 0 v 0 Liverpool
Wigan 0 v 4 City
Chelsea 6 v 0 Blackpool


Stoke 2 v 0 West Ham
Villa 2 v 0 Bolton
Blakcburn 2 v 1 Fulham
Everton 3 v 1 Newcastle
Tottenham 2 v 0 Wolves
West Brom 1 v 1 Birmingham
Sunderland 1 v 1 Arsenal
United 0 v 0 Liverpool
Wigan 0 v 2 City
Chelsea 3 v 0 Blackpool

Cheers, look out for podcast next week! Enjoy the weekend!


Saturday, 11 September 2010

Prem Predictions!

Here are the direct football predictions for this weeks round of premier league games:


Everton 1 v 2 United;
Arsenal 2 v 1 Bolton;
Fulham 2 v 1 Wolves;
Man City 3 v 0 Blackburn;
Newcastle 2 v 1 Blackpool
West Brom 1 v 3 Tottenham
West Ham 0 v 3 Chelsea
Wigan 2 v 2 Sunderland
BHam v 1 v 2 Lpool
Stoke 1 v 1 Villa


Everton 1 v 1 United
Arsenal 3 v 1 Bolton
Fulham 2 v 1 Wolves
Man City 2 v 0 Blackburn
Newcastle 2 v 1 Blackpool
West Brom 1 v 1 Tott
West Ham 1 v 1 Chelsea
BHam 0 v 2 Lpool
Stoke 2 v 0 Villa
Wigan 1 v 2 Sunderland

The other lad's predictions are available on the podcast and i cannot be arsed to wrwite them up - results monday!


Friday, 10 September 2010

Hello hello!

So here we are on the brink of another premier league weekend following a pretty boring, but fairly harmless international break.

Now I say harmless....but not of you're Arsenal, Spurs, Wayne Rooney and family or worldwide relations between Christianity and Islam...Or you bowl no balls on purpose. And lots of other topical stuff.

England played twice this international break. Last time I wrote they beat Bulgaria 4-0 and well done!...they won twice. This time they made it trickier but still got a cozy three points against Switzerland, who they beat 1-3. Darren Bent grabbed his first England goal. Good for him. What with Defoe now crocked he may have a chance!

And enough about that, although much of what there is to talk about touches on international footy.

Let's start with the injuries sustained by the North London clubs this week. Arsenal have lost Walcott and Van Persie for six weeks apiece while Spurs have lost Michael Dawson for two months and Jermaine Defoe for a full three months. It is a shame for the English players (dont get me wrong I'm still cheering the Spurs injuries) as they are/were all in excellent form, a shame for Van. Persie because it is now at the stage where he will never, ever reach his full potential because of his injury record.

I mean these injuries don't ruin either clubs season by a stretch but the Defoe and Van Persie ones are particularly unfortunate and damaging for their teams. Good news for United (who have suffered in this area as bad as anyone in recent years) and Chelsea, who's English players just sit out internationals unless they have a major tournament to completely underperform at....unless your Ashley Cole in which case you have to play - the only other option being mulling over your shitty divorce. Cunt!

Talking of divorce - how long does he have eh?! How ling till Coleen Rooney decides she is bored of suckling greedily from the "I still love and forgive him" udder of the media cash cow and decides to jack it in for the lovely alternative - the "I'm better off without him" divorce story.
I can't blame her. If I knew that all the dumb cunts in the country (there are lots) were willing to pay to hear about my sad life then I might go for it.

Rooney isn't bad for what he's done. He's just a fucking idiot - every body alive is capable of it, some just find it easier to be a prick than others do. Wayne obviously finds it really fuckin easy. Or he's just naturally dumb - the likely answer. If I'm honest, anything that disrupts united's season is fine by me. Can't believe I spent so long on that topic. Sheesh I'm angry this evening!

Back to footy and there and a load of games this weekend the best of which is the early kick off between Everton and Man United. Always competitive that one, and with everything from Rooney-gate this week there will be a nice bit of spice to it too, no matter what the managers might say!

Then there is West Ham v Chelsea on Saturday and a couple of good games later in the weekend - Bham v Lpool in the clash of the abbreviated cities and Stoke v Villa in a cruncher of a game on Monday.

Love real football.

In podnews, there was a new cast up Tuesday which I couldn't make the recording of - thanks to tommy for filling in! There will also be one up tomorrow afternoon which is a Champs League special to celebrate the return of the great tournament! All are available on iTunes or - just search for directfootball.

Keep happy and have a good weekend!

Saturday, 4 September 2010


Hello everyone,

It is 15:50 on a Saturday afternoon. I should be relaxing during half time in the 3pm kick offs, looking forward to a second half of action. Instead I just did some washing up, and spent 5 minutes looking at my back garden, wondering if the grass seeds we laid in the week are ever going to grow.

Fucking internationals.

Cannot stand them, just as the Prem was getting into the swing of things - along come Euro qualifiers. England won 4-0, an easy victory capped by three Jermain Defoe goals. Unfortunately for Jermain, he had to see his team-mate Michael Dawson get stretchered off with what looked like a bad knee injury. Shame for Dawson, he was a great signing on Championship Manager a few years back.

The game it self was pretty uninspiring and England eventually brushed aside a mediocre Bulgarian side. Meanwhile, Both Northern and The Republic of Ireland scored 1-0 victories, the former against England's world cup foes Slovenia. However, Wales and Scotland both had disappointing results. Wales were beaten by Montenegro whilst Scotland only drew with Lithuania.

Turning attention back to the league and the transfer window came to a close this week. For a full run down of our opinions on all the transfers listen to the direct football podcast by downloading it from the itunes store for free right now! Or you can listen to it here:

However, we were unable to address Spurs' signing of Rafael Van Der Vaart as it went through as late as Tuesday. For me, he is a good player. However, a good player does not always make a good signing. He may prove to be a steal at 8 million, no doubt. But if anything would worry me as a Spurs fan it was the speed (some might say desperation) with which the Dutchman was bought. I mean, what kind of management is deciding to sign a player two hours before the window closes? There is no planning here, no considering how he will fit in, no thinking about the reality of signing a player just because of his name. Harking back to Champ manager - it was exactly that kind of signing....

However, like I say, he might prove to be great but that is not how i would go throwing money about, just desperately and blindly after a Real Madrid bench warmer.

Other than that there were some good signings.... For me Hleb sticks out at Birmingham. Great player with a lot to prove and he will be hungry to succeed. Newcastle also secured Hatem Ben Arfa on loan and Tiote (Ivory Coast international). Could be a couple of very good signings.

Most impressively for me is Liverpool's signing of Raul Merieles. Looked like a fantastic player at the World Cup and at 27 he is coming into his best years. A step up from Aquilani no doubt.

And thanks to the international lull there is not a lot else to discuss today/this week (I've been so lazy/busy).

We can look at the updated standings in Kingy vs Lawro vs Buttsy vs Haddow though...By the way the fucking football focus show nicked my idea! The shits!

The standings were -

Buttsy and Lawro 4
Kingy 3
Haddow 1

It is 3 points for a perfect score, 1 for the correct result and zilch for anything else. Add them up, winner gets 3 points, second gets 2, third and fourth get 1. Anyone who finishes more than 6 points behind the winner that week gets 0 for the week.

This week Kingy (myself) scored 6, Buttsy came home with 6 too whilst Lawro continued a strong start with a lovely 10. Haddow didn't participate, so he is falling behind now.

The standings, after three weeks, are:

Lawro 7
Buttsy 5
Kingy 4
Haddow 1

Hotting up eh?

No predictions this week because of the internationals but we will be back with more on Tuesdays podcast!


Monday, 30 August 2010

Back from Scotland, weekend thoughts, tomorrow's podcast.

Hello everyone.

I'm back from bonnie Scotland - It was aiiiggght.

No it was really good. Go Edinburgh before you die, it is well worth a visit.

The football from this weekend kept up the good start to the Premier League season with some drama, talking points and entertaining games.

All the big points will be looked at during the Direct Football Podcast which should be up on itunes and on the net for download tomorrow night.

Looking at things game by game we will start with the big shock result on Saturday which was Wigan defeat of Spurs at White Hart Lane. I was over the moon as I hate Tottenham and relish in seeing them suffer. The match of the day highlights didn't show us much and I get the impression that Spurs just never really got going until the last ten minutes. On the other hand Wigan seemed dangerous - due mostly to Spurs' shambolic defence - and deservedly took the three points. For Spurs there was a lot of talk about 'reality checks' and 'first European hangovers'. Naivety is what I would call it. You spank somebody in the Champions League and assume your next opponents are there for the taking. Well Spurs have got to realise quickly that these 'hangovers' wont get any easier. They will get a lot, lot harder. Hosting Young Boys on a Wednesday, followed by a home tie with a confidence shot Wigan on a Saturday should not be difficult.

Try travelling out into Europe - Russia or the Ukraine on a Wednesday night then having to go away up-norff on a Saturday afternoon. Everton, Sunderland or Newcastle. That is hard. They need a slightly bigger squad, and I'm sure they will add in the last few days of the window.

Arsenal are still going for Mark Schwarze and they got a solid result against Blackburn on Saturday. First half was very entertaining - end to end, competitive and a couple of good goals. Myself and Buttsy discussed Theo Walcott on last week's pod. I'm not going to say his goal proves anything, but it was a fucking good finish.

United and Chelsea got expected and comfortable home wins. That leaves the top three looking pretty familiar....but it is very, very early.

Liverpool also picked up a win against West Brom which I have absolutely nothing to say about. Nothing. Actually....good goal by Torres. That is it. Oh, and it wasn't a red card....

City lost. Makes people who were saying they could win the league last week look a bit stupid eh?!?!?! Nah, like I say, nothing to read into that. Interesting that City drew a blank - with the attacking talent they have they should be getting goals. However, therein lies the issue - who is the best combination up top? It was a stupid pen to give away and it was poor defending by Toure...

Villa got a very valuable win against Everton after a terrible week. The toffees have had a terrible time at the start of the season (thanks mostly to me saying that they wouldn't do so). Meanwhile on Sunday morning, Bolton and Birmingham played out an entertaining game which ended in a fair point in my view.

Newcastle and Wolves gave us plenty of food for discussion in Salgado Watch for tomorrow's podcast. Was a 'bruising' game and a point both teams would be happy with. And Blackpool opened up their account at Bloomfield Road by grabbing a point from Fulham. Well done them, was a good game that.

That was about that - there were some big talking points, red cards, pens and discussions all to be addressed tomorrow evening in the podcast. On top of that we will have a run down of Capello's England squad for the Euro qualifiers and just generally rambling about football things.

So for now I shall leave you with another recommendation, to follow up from the Edinburgh one: listen to the podcast on itunes or tomorrow night!


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Podcast, Predictions and Weekend away

Hello Everyone,

Yeah, so the direct football podcast is up now to download from itunes, so do have a listen. This episode we look at every game from last weekend, take a closer look at the new match of the day title sequence, wrap up all the movers from the past seven days, and reveal our premier league predictions for this week.

Other than itunes, you can listen to it here:

Now to the results from last weekends predictions....

Now that we are four strong, the rules are changing to 3 pts for 1st, 2pts for 2nd 1pt for third and fourth - but of course anybody who scores 6 pts or more less than the winner than week gets zero, even if they finished second overall that week.

I scored a magnificent 3, Buttsy got 2, Haddow picked up 2 as well while Lawro scored himself 6.

So that is 3 pts for Lawro this week, 2 for me and 1 a piece for the other three.

The standings are

1. Buttsy and Lawro - 4
3. Kingy - 3
4. Haddow - 1.

Check out the blog over this weekend for predictions and reactions, listen to the podcast and that and will try to keep it up the next few days but I'm up in scotland for the fringe so may be a little sketchy!


Monday, 23 August 2010

Podcast Up tomorrow, L'pool v City, Quick round up.

Hey guys, Tuesday podcast will be up tomorrow night, reviewing all the big stories from the weekend andhaving a laugh as we go!

Of course the major story of the weekend was Newcastle's enormous victory over villa. Truely incredible. Arsenal and Chelsea also registered 6-0 wins and after tonight's game there is a new record ammount of goals over the first wo Premier League weekends. Big whoop eh? I also enjoyed Fulham v United on Sunday, great game and a nice result for an Arsenal fan early on in the season. Tune in to the podcast, which will be available via facebook, this blog, and of course itunes!

Tonight's game was Liverpool v City. I didn't see the whole thing but it wasn't quite as comfortable as the scoreline might suggest. Joe Hart's save from Torres at 1-0 was fantastic. Was definitely a pen, definitely not a red card (whoever was asking for one) and that second goal was DEFINITELY not Tevez'!

Fair play to City, great result for them and the top four looks ominously familiar for the likes of Pool, Everton and Spurs. Saying that at this stage in the season is fucking stupid to be fair though, but its going to be like that in the morning.

Right - there isn't much to round up! England's 2018 big has been described as 'unbeatable' - will believe that when it happens - hope it is successful though. That would be fucking awesome. Arsenal look set to sign Squillaci from Roma (will go into that tomorrow) and Javier Mascherano was left out of the pool squad today. He's on the way it would seem!

Have a lovely Tuesday, and do download our podcast tomorrow night or Wednesday!