Robbo 10: W**kin Frankel - Click On My Face To Listen!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Gunner Be Good?

The Community Shield. It sounds like something the Americans might sell to Israel, or hand out to a veteran law-enforcer in some dodgy bit of downtown Detroit. It is in fact a meaningless piece of football entertainment which was fine when it was called the 'Charity Shield'. After all, every sort of nonsense can be passed off as entertainment if it's done for charity. Which of course this still is. So the name-change has always been a tad baffling.

Although now it's supported by McDonald's, the world's most famous purveyors of a Healthy Lifestyle.

But I'm being too grouchy about all this aren't I? It's a lovely old traditional curtain-raiser to the season. Or the last game of pre-season if you're Manuel Pellegrini. Nothing to do with the real business of winning trophies but a cheery enough afternoon in the sunshine and a chance for fans of title-winning clubs to come down to London to collectively gloat in public once more.

This Community Shield felt different though, somehow. Maybe it was the aching feeling I had for the resumption of football hostilities following that cracking World Cup. (Although that was more than somewhat sated by Boro's consummate despatch of last season's gallows-dodgers Birmingham City.)

But perhaps it was more that on this occasion one team seemed ever so desperate to win it. Wenger's men played like men whose ship has finally come in; men who have returned to the pawnshop to reclaim the trinkets they left there nine years ago. They were determined, focused and, but for Sanogo, neat and tidy.

Sanogo still looks constantly surprised to find the ball at his feet. And when he does find it, he looks like a man shaking a snarling Jack Russell off the flares of his trousers. He's very un-Arsene.

Still even his clumsy contributions worked out and the Gunners looked good from front to back... Sanchez is a good fit, Cazorla looked relieved to not be playing with that atrocious Spanish team (I mean if they were my national team I'd... I'd be bloody delighted, frankly) and Aaron Ramsey is now a fully-fledged box-to-box, heart-and-soul, midfield maestro of the type these isles very rarely have the pleasure of producing. Indeed you can pretty much chart the best bits of Arsenal's last season according to young Aaron's availability.

Citeh, meanwhile, played like a bunch of holidaymakers assembled for a beachfront kickabout. Pellegrini betrayed almost no interest in the fixture. Hardly any of the first-teamers played. (Well apart from Yaya of course, whose off-season negotiations regarding his next birthday party are in an advanced stage as I understand it.)

Lampard watched from the terraces, in order to get used to his role in domestic fixtures. Fernando looked like another of them half-bit Brazilian holding midfielders that have polluted world football recently - in fact I forgot he wasn't Fernandinho most of the time. Silva, like Santi unburdened by tacky tika-taka, prompted a bit of a revival in the second half but by then the damage was done.

As for Willy Caballero, well far from being the Mexican porn star I had assumed he was, he turned out to be a decent enough keeper who couldn't have down owt to have prevented the goals.

Citeh's central defence looked rather flaky without the comforting presence of Kompany but it was ever thus and maybe this lad Mangala will be an answer given that Demichelis can be a tad creaky and Nastasic still looks raw. Boyata's presence in the squad at all is as deep a mystery as the continuing employment of Phillipe Senderos as a professional footballer.

It was good to see Scott Sinclair and Micah Richards get a run-out but I think that might be it for the season, boys. Quite why your agents aren't hawking you from Torquay to Tallahassee is beyond me. I'm mighty pleased that Jack Rodwell has hauled his sorry ass off the Etihad seating. These two should take his advice and do the same.

But it was hard, even in what is always a redundant fixture, not to be impressed with the Gooners. Wilshere was bright and breezy but please God will the lad stop falling over? Half the time he looks less like a footballer and more like some urchin who can't quite get off a bouncy castle.

Wenger's squad looks deeper, with the Germans still to return. That might make them less prone to getting utterly tonked in the first 45 minutes of games. They might well be eyeing what Liverpool did last season and thinking: 'We too might be able to get ourselves into a winning position and utterly fuck it up at Crystal Palace'.

But can they win the title this year? Really? Well it puts them in the mix, and with Liverpool's pre-season going brilliantly, Chelsea armed with new signings, including a proper centre-forward this year, and United under the stewardship of a dastardly Dutch dictator, it might even be closer than last year.

But remember, it's very silly to draw any conclusions from a Community Shield match. Why this time last year, David Moyes was smiling contentedly at the capture of his first bit of silverware as a manager. Ha! Yes, in a way he did win something. Bless.

I'll save the full list of predictions for next week but suffice to say that regardless of what happens on an August day in the sunshine, the Premier League title will be Man City's to lose for a few years to come.


70 comments:

  1. Didn't see the game as I was busy basking in the glow of us finally winning a game live on TV.

    League codes.

    982832-235069

    982832-235091

    982832-235070

    982832-235077

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    1. Why 4 different ones?

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    2. Thank you again Jacks for setting this up, not sure why I bother other than to humiliate myself each season but here goes

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  2. good stuff Robbo, in answer to your headline question, I hope not! Nor are Bolton for that matter, utter shit. 1 game in and Dog Fart is asking for patience. The sooner Big Sam gets sacked the better. What about McIlroy, eh? Up to Saratoga this weekend, the highlight of Summers in America.

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    1. That was a brilliant finish to a golf tournament (and I'm not a fan - just am forced to watch because I frequently go to my parent's house for dinner on Sundays), yet the US media continues to lament the loss of you-know-who, their sacred cash cow. Just a case of not being able to see the golfers for the Woods...

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    2. not when you live with a Labrador and an Alsation, AH.

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    3. Yes but at least you can blame your farts on the dogs, I have to blame Mr BHB

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  3. It's clear Citeh read Robbo's blog - he only had to mention their shaky defence, and they've gone and signed MANGALAR for 32 Millions from Porto. Well, it's Mangala, but I like my way better.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28280454

    Nice one, RR - I know Pellegrini iss not a Churman, but I still have the vision of Rodwell emerging from an escape tunnel outside the training ground while searchlights play over the area outside the fence, and the barking of German Shepherds can be heard in the distance. Hopefully, Sinclair and Richards can get through Dick and Harry.

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  4. Nice one RR.

    It is indeed best not to draw too many conclusions from what is basically a glorified friendly.............


    But it was nice handing out a beating to the fossil fueled mancs.

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    1. Yeah, would be like me saying, "Based on the Community Shield result, I have a really good feeling about Everton this season." Just doesn't bear examination, close or otherwise.

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  5. Well said, oh wise one. Just one thing...

    'We too might be able to get ourselves into a winning position and utterly fuck it up at Crystal Palace'.

    So they'll be out of it week one? Or did you mean February?

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  6. More Fantasy plugs:

    http://www.football-leaguemanager.co.uk
    League: Robbo Blog League
    Password: robbo
    (Still time to get in and get ahead... Seems half our players didn't start week one.)

    ---
    Also, not one I started, but...

    For a different take on the fantasy PL, try a league where the lowest score wins. Must use all £100.0m; no transfers and no subs once the season begins. You'll need a second email to play, but if you thought winning by winning was hard... try winning by losing.

    113366-33991

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  7. Jacks, can you post a link for your league website please ?
    Same with you Stephen ?

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    1. Will,

      Both Jacks' leagues and the lose-to-win league are on http://fantasy.premierleague.com; just make sure you don't join all of them with the same team!

      The Football League version is still accepting applicants, too, as noted in the post above.

      Delete
  8. UEFA Super Cup? Are they trying to rival the Sea of Japan-sized Super Big Gulp (an appallingly large fountain drink found at 7-Eleven convenience stores in the US)?

    Ah, 7-Eleven - also home of the Slurpee...

    Anyway, well done, that team! You shall be remembered in the annals of human history for as long as...as long as...oh, look! Wrasslin's on...

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  9. Won't be seeing Blogs around here for some time, dining out on his goals against Hartlepool. Looks like even the whelks scored in that one.

    Not quite 6-6 plus a win on pens for Brentford, but it'll do.

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  10. I do wish we'd play a proper team in cup competitions,instead of giving squad members a game.

    A decent cup run can do wonders for a team's confidence,especially this early in the season.

    Not even half way through August and already out of a cup.

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  11. Christian Atsu (Gesundheit), come on down! You are the next contestant in the Chelsea-to-Everton loooan pipeliiiiiine!

    I do like the way Martinez is bolstering the squad with the Europa to deal with this season. Last time Everton were there, the squad seemed quite thin.

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  12. Two years later

    What's happened

    I'm quietly optimistic that Following The Boro might stop hurting so much this year.

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    Replies
    1. eh up Terry, how are you and yours?

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    2. Surely you're not gonna get your hopes up after two games?

      Who am I kidding.....


      Ofcourse you will. ;)

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  13. Just finished the final tinkering with my FFL team. As with previous years, I am now all set to use my Wildcard on Sep-1.

    Having taken a look at all the teams, I'm putting my money on Chelsea for the PL title for the following reasons -

    1. Jose does not go 2 years in a row without winning shit
    2. They have filled in the biggest gap they had by bringing in Costa (and Fabregas too who is good for goals generally)
    3. Aging Cech replaced by the much better Courtois

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    1. For those same reasons, I would put my money on Chelsea to win the title, except for the following:

      4. Whenever I put money on something, it doesn't happen.

      In fact, I almost picked Torres for my "Least Points Wins" team, if only so he would then score 40 goals. Most likely, reverse psychology such as that wouldn't work, and he would instead have a decent season in which I shouldn't take him in either type of fantasy league.

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    2. my money's on Chelsea too and it's gonna be fuckin' boring (unless your a Chelsea fan) Bells will need a new cellar.

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    3. Unless we make more of an effort to score than last season, it'll be boring even as a Chelsea fan. Missed chances are annoying but generally forgivable. Not generating chances to begin with, on the other hand...

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    4. I'm waiting for Adam and/or Rod to come on here and tell us this is the best Un**ed squad ever,with the finest manager to ever draw breath and I don't know why the rest of you are bothering as we'll have it all wrapped up by Christmas.

      However,I suspect it'll be a blue league winner this season.Probably Chelsea.

      I have no problem with Chelsea (apart from John Terry,obviously) ,I just can't stand Maureen.

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    5. Yeah, but you were singing "Come On, Maureen!" back in the 80s... Why not now?

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    6. No Maureen has ever been involved in an Ipswich squad Stephen.

      Although we have had a few Fanny's over the years.

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    7. I'm going out on a rather short, broad, well-attached limb and for a lighter shade of pale (blue). It's Citeh's to lose, really.

      I know the cons - defense sometimes goes walkabout, Hart (who it looks like Pellegrini is going with) can be streaky. But they've made some moves to address these areas. As long as they can dance around/scoff at FFP, they're going to be fine.

      They're still the horse/jaguar/chupacabra of the PL, and arguably the most despised of the deep-pocketed teams, for those that despise massive foreign investment while secretly wishing it will happen for the team they support (me, certainly at times, and possibly Blogs)...

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    8. Chelsea or Citeh, hard to choose.

      I see McNulty has got Manure in third and Liverpool in fourth.

      Get your money on Arsenal then.

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    9. Trotts, it was Maureen at Belenenses.

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    10. As it happens Trotts the reason I have not been on here for a while, is I have been stocking up on my supplies of wine. That and drooling over the pic of The Yummy One in the full page Sky ads in the paper (still sadly a distinct lack of photos on here, Robbo ...)

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  14. I'll be flying into Blighty Saturday morning, managed to get a ticket for the opening game against Crystal Pulis.

    Look out London, I'm coming home.

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    1. Reports (unofficial) that Pulis has quit Palace.

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    2. Official now;

      http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28797071

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    3. Got to fear for their League survival now.

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    4. I'd have quit too if I was made to sign Martin Kelly.

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  15. Great blog as usual Robbo. I can echo everyone else's comments and say that the league winners will be wearing blue. I'd have to favour Chelsea a bit at the moment, but it's a long season and injuries and suspensions happen. Citeh have a bit more depth to cover these things, so if Chelsea suffer an injury to Costa, then Citeh could take advantage. Not that I really care either way.

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    1. and if they both fuck up Everton or Leicester can step in!

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    2. Whaddya mean, 'or Leicester?' :)

      (I like the way you think, Trotts, until I recall your unbridled optimism before the World Cup...)

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    3. i just got the year wrong, details details. The race is on though, I wonder if England will win the world cup before Boltong get back in the Prem and will I live to see none, one or both?

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    4. (Would this be a good time to reveal my uncanny clairvoyant power and wish that Trotts live until the year 2206? And should I tell him which one will occur then?)

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  16. A very good read, and an interesting sub-plot to keep an eye on this season. Crystal Palace just moved up a few places.

    http://www.offthepost.info/blog/2014/08/will-spurs-defend-their-premier-league-basket-case-title-from-west-brom-aston-villa-and-co/

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  17. I remember reading a Pulis interview, after he had just been appointed, about how he thought that investment was needed in many areas (not just the squad) and he said he signed because he was promised investment if he kept them up.

    He delivered, but the board probably played silly buggers so he walked away.

    Smart move, as his reputation is at a high point after what he pulled off last season. His will be the first name brandished around at the first sign of a stutter at any other PL club.

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    1. Idiotic move by Palace board though H2. They'll get relegated without Pulis, and that'll cost them a lot more than £30m.



      Jedi

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  18. Well its that time on a Friday afternoon to say it's wine time so have a good weekend everyone and





    GO CHELSEA!

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    Replies
    1. ..and never come back.

      Good to see you Bells, and forget to get your FFL team in.

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  19. R (Recover) IP Ross Barkley, 29 Jul 2014 (signed new contract) - 15 Aug 2014 (injured in training, possibly out 6-8 weeks).

    Well, &*$#@. Hope some of the injured players from last season have made full recoveries, or the start of the season could be brutal.

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  20. Didn't think it'd be long before Cliff got involved in this Yewtree stuff (I'll just put the word allegedly in here somewhere, for my lawyers).

    Seems all the police have to do is investigate 'entertainers' who the Queen likes and have been knighted. Allegedly.

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    1. According to newspapers, following the raid on Sir Cliff's house, more alleged victims are emerging from the shadows (sorry) !

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  21. So has everyone got their FFL teams sorted and finalised? Just over 7 hours until lockout. Do I captain Paul McShane or Carlton Cole?

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  22. Went on mine to double check everything Noel,and found I had 2 definite non-starters and 2 doubtfuls.

    Also made 5 football league transfers so I'll hopefully have a full team this week instead of the 6 I had last week.

    Must apologise in advance to Blogidy as I've picked a Valiant player.

    Sorry Blogs,Pope's buggered now.

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    1. I made four transfers. I think I did better last week when fewer players started.

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  23. BT Sport love a project, don't they? First Owen, now Scholes. Neither sound like they should be allowed to speak on air during a match. Nearly fell asleep while they showed the back of Scholes' head as he mumbled.

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  24. Not the best of starts for lvg. However, add any two of Vidal, Di Maria and Reus, and they're still very much in the mix.

    Also proves how much pre season results mean.

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  25. Is van Gaal David Moyes in disguise? Have they ever been seen in the same room together?

    Hilarious. Their defence is championship/England international standard.

    Top 6....

    1. Chelsea. Mourinho is the man. He had seemed a bit low key though this season...even if he's lost his mojo, they still look like the team to beat, to me now they've got a) a striker and b) shot of luiz who single handedly demolished Brazil's reputation for cool languid devastating footballing talent. £47 million wtf?

    2. Man city. Money talks. Unless you're spurs or psg. Then it gibbers.

    3. Arsenal. Progress. Another ten years and the #2 slot is they're for the taking

    4. Liverpool. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows. 4th or relegation.

    5. Everton. The anger of Lukaku well see them right.

    6. Spurs/man u. Depending on who they buy.

    7th etc. Who gives a shit. Port vale for promotion though.

    Pope was a bit average last year, Jack's. Year before he was on fire though and so shall he be again.

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  26. India being absolutely demolished by a transitional England team in the cricket. We still need an opener and a reliable back up seam attack. With a billion people you'd think they could find 11 better players than this bunch of fakirs

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    1. I wonder if the Andersongate incident effected India more than England? Certainly, I have not seen such a gutless performance since, er, the last Ashes series. India looked as if they couldn't wait to get on the plane home - apart from the fact that they are staying for the one day series where they might actually start to look like a cricket team again.

      Spider

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  27. It was such a firkin brilliant season last year + that bizarre world cup I just hope this one isn't the shit cart after the show. Unlikely. Well arsenal put on a genuine challenge? How comic well van gaals efforts prove? Well man city buy every other club out and make them play their under 12s? Will the lesser Neville finally prove the last nail in the coffin of motd. Well Mourinho crack and kick abramovich on the erse? The drama of the answers will as always confound the banality of the questions.

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    1. a) Yes, as long as they are allowed to exchange any two midfielders for a world class central defender.
      b) Robin Williams-esque. Manic, alien, rarely intelligible, but entertaining. Not the ending one would have wanted.
      c) Yes. Port Vale?
      d) Er... How many of them are there? Which one is which?
      e) Yes, but only after Torres misses. Terry will claim credit for it.

      That's sorted...

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    2. Terry after Torres missus - why am I not surprised?

      Spider

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  28. Will I remember to sub Ross Barkley out of my FFL squad after posting about his injury? That one's already been answered. Wah. Wah. Waaaaaah...

    Just lulling everyone into a completely warranted sense of security. Sort of like Van Gaal, who has been at it again, reminding everyone of his slow starts at other clubs. Maybe that's what makes a great manager - the ability to trowel out bullshit. First time ManUre have lost at home on opening day since 1972.

    As for Everton, pretty sublime stuff the first half, pretty crap the second half. Yep, equaliser for LC. Deserved.

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  29. Good thing I started Bojan and Taylor instead of Sigurdsson and Vlaar...

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  30. Can't believe we won. Saints had us on the mat almost the entire 90 minutes. It's going to be a long season.

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    Replies
    1. Well, at least you won't be doing what this lad has done. Shocking.

      http://babb.telegraph.co.uk/2014/08/is-this-the-worst-fan-in-football-history/

      I mean, I know it's hard being an Everton supporter sometimes, but I'd never - would I? No. But I'm American, I could just say, "I didn't know any better all those years ago." Would I? No.

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  31. I predict that there is a new blog up.

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