Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday's News and Notes

Sol Campbell is leaving Notts County after one month and one match played. Do you care? Should you? I do if only because Sven Goran's failures are only becoming more tragic by the year.

It looks like Mark Hughes is willing to let his players and their "emotions" run free. In this case it's Bellamy's behavior at the Manchester derby at issue. While I don't take issue with Bellamy's issue since fans have no place on the pitch, a manager who seems willing to simply accept what his players do spells trouble in my book. Coupled with Adebayor's incident against Arsenal, it may be discipline and control that unravels this City side.

In more disciplinary news, the FA is looking at Mascherano's swing against Leeds yesterday. The Reds can ill afford to lose Mascherano right now.

Eto'o just won't stop stirring the pot. Samuel wants 3 million euros from Barcelona that represent the 15% a player is entitled to upon transfer. Barca argues that the percentage is only relevant in sales between Spanish sides, and further, is paid by the buying club, in this case Inter. Eto'o and Barcelona are set to mediate the issue.

Accusations of racism are being levelled in Engalnd . In particular, Senegalese striker El Hadji Diouf alleged bananas were thrown his way in the Blackburn-Everton match played at Goodison Park. A Stoke City supporter also racially abused a Blackpool substitute in a separate incident.

It's not the first time Diouf has been involved in controversy though, as this compendium of bad acts shows.

Speaking of controversy, in a story that overflows with ridiculousness and possible mental infirmity, you may recall hearing that referee Massimo Busacca (who refereed last year's Champions League final) gave the finger to fans watching a Swiss Cup game. Now, reports (and video) are revealing that Mr. Busacca also urinated on the field while serving as a guest referee in a September 12th match in Qatar.

This Telegraph article posits that the EPL may be on its most exciting season yet. This is based on both the percentage of late game-winners and the sheer number of goals. The Manchester derby and Chelsea's modus operandi of late certainly speak to the late goals. Throw in that 25% of all goals have been scored in the last twenty minutes, and an current average of 2.84 goals per game, and excitement is sure to follow. Is this as exciting as the three goals per game average in la Liga? Probably not. Has this study inspired me to conduct my own study of late game goals and goal average in Spain? Absolutely. Results (and perhaps justifications) to come on FutbolNation.

Speaking of Spain, Barcelona played champagne football for a full ninety in their 4-1 thrashing of Racing Santander yesterday. Sevilla cruised to a 2-0 win against a Mallorca side that had not tasted defeat in its first three games of the season. Meanwhile, today Abel Resino's Atletico Madrid side look for redemption and survival against Almeria. Real Madrid, on the other hand, look to shift their formation to a 4-3-1-2 after a disappointingly-played 5-0 win against Xerex last weekend. To many this smells of the 4-3-3 Barcelona implement, but if that's what needs to be played, then so be it. Last I checked Guardiola didn't invent that formation.

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