Tim Howard, Porto and a (further) Redemption

June 16, 2010

I didn’t see many people note that Tim Howard could probably identify very strongly with England goalie Robert Green.

Manchester United bought Tim Howard in 2003, and was named best goalie in the English Premier League for 2004. However, this gaffe in March 04 Champions League caused him to eventually lose his spot.

Howard has certainly shown up Alex Ferguson for dumping him so quickly in 2004 with his Everton performances and his Confederations Cup and World Cup showings.

Interesting thought though: if Howard hadn’t made the error, it is highly unlikely that Jose Mourinho (Porto’s then-manager) takes the same route to being considered one of the best managers in the world…if he ever arrives.

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Thoughts on Barcelona v Inter

April 21, 2010

1.  The bus ride from Barcelona to Milan made a difference.  Barca didn’t seem to have any energy the whole game.  It was sorta weird to watch, but they won very few loose balls and their off the ball movement was languid.

2.  Mourinho is a tactical master, so they say, and it certainly looked that way.  They pressured the ball extremely effectively up front and had Barcelona playing some uncharacteristic longballs from the back that never hit their target.  At the end I saw that Barca had 68% possession, but never was there a less impressive 68%.

3.  Diego Milito made a pretty strong case for getting playing time with La Seleccion de Argentina.  If Maradona doesn’t like what he saw as manager of the national team, he must be crazy.  Milito made more of an impact than Messi, by far.

4.  It’s very weird to say that the ref had a huge, huge impact on the match when there were no absolutely egregious calls.  And yet he did.  Milito was a touch offside on the 3rd goal, Inter’s 2nd goal started with a foul on Messi, Dani Alves deserved a penalty kick, not a yellow card.   The ref was awfully quick to book Barcelona players and awfully slow to book Inter players.

5.  Balotelli will go for less on the transfer market than he should.  I would be in line to buy him.  It’s hard to believe that Inter really attacked one of their own players after a massive victory.  Bizarre.

6.  With all that said, Inter deserved the victory.  They created more chances.  At one point when it was 1-0 Barca (and the Barca goal was entirely against the run of play) I said to myself, “to be honest, this game could be 3-0 Inter right now.”

No doubt Barcelona has a big hole to climb back from.  They have to win by 2 goals against an Italian team.  It remains to be seen how many men they keep in the box.  Mourinho isn’t Italian, so at least that weighs towards an interesting game.


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