FT – Terrible week for #Chelsea. Even with a game at hand, they have to be worried about United sitting 4 ahead. [BLA 1:1 CHE]
FT – Lampard clearly dragged down in the box. It’s hard not be a conspiracy theorist when calls don’t come in crucial matches.
90′ + 2 – Sturridge comes on way too late for my liking. And now Blackburn are dallying to run out the clock.
80′ – Roman Abramovich has to be throwing chairs around in the luxury box right now. This is really a poor showing after Inter.
76′ – Chelsea need to play their game and build up patiently. There’s too much desperation here. They need to stay organized.
74′ – Lancashire crowd into it now. Ancelotti needs to make this Deco sub work.
70′ – Paulo Ferreira looked totally flat-footed on that Diouf goal. Piss poor marking. [BLA 1:1 CHE]
68′ – Kalou grounded just outside the box. Again, no call. We can’t buy free kicks right now.
64′ – Game getting chippier here as the rain falls harder. Anelka hits a creampuff on net. He’s really struggling to score.
60′ – Expected better from Malouda’s left there. He skies it way over the pipe.
58′ – Anelka ripped down by Samba, no foul. He wasn’t playing the ball at all though. At least a free kick necessary there.
55′ – Man alive! Drogba and Samba there were going the right way for a double concussion. Both seem okay though.
52′ – Strange to see Drogba and Kalou making clearances in the back. You can tell how important 3 points are here.
49′ – Lampard may not have the same pace he used to, but he sure does have a cannon for a right foot. Near miss there.
47′ – Zhirkov is johnny-on-the-spot far post there for The Blues. Good save on the header there in place of Turnbull.
HT – @laraleepalmer: half time. 1 – 0 #Chelsea. I sometimes wish they played to win by a mile – not just a win…Lackluster game to be honest. Full throttle pls.
HT – If the Prem comes down to a goal differential tie and Chelsea lose, they’ll be kicking themselves for performances like this.
HT – Plenty of chances, but only 1 goal. Ancelotti has to be hoping for a blowout second half. [BLA 0:1 CHE]
44′ – Diouf of Blackburn and Kalou having a fauxhawk duel in the corner here. Ivanovic subbing off, but walking on his own.
42′ – Ivanovic down on the pitch. Last thing we need is an injury on the back line.
40′ – Malouda looks lethal here, but still no second goal for The Blues.
38′ – Another casual header from Kalou. I think his fauxhawk is getting in the way.
37′ – Key corner here for The Blues.
31′ – The attendance here for Blackburn bolsters the idea that the Sounders can draw way more than a mid-table EPL team. #Sounders
28′ – I find it odd that Chelsea haven’t tried the left side much today. Especially with Malouda playing as well as he has of late.
26′ – Even when Blackburn have looked dangerous, they’ve scarcely been able to get the ball on frame.
21′ – Kalou looks sharp on the ball today. Anelka pissed away that sitter.
20′ – Turnbull looking more confident with every corner taken. Jumped up to get that one easily.
17′ – These dark blue kits are awful slimming for Fatty Frank Lampard.
14′ – With The Pensioners out to take heads offensively, Blackburn are going to find a lot in the transition game.
5′ – @stamfordthelion: Tidy side-footed finish from the Ivorian after Anelka did well in the build-up, perfect start for #Chelsea, who are playing well…
5′ – Drogba nets one 5 minutes in on a beautiful pass from Anelka. That didn’t take long. [BLA 0:1 CHE]
3′ – Drogba bends one wide. The Blues have come out firing – definitely a good sign.
2′ – Not sure if I like Turnbull at keeper, but he’s far better than Hilario.
1′ – Mikel put a nice through ball in, but the Blackburn keeper gets to it before Drogba.
PG – Ancelotti just looks confused on the sidelines these day. Deer in the headlights.
PG – Gonna live tweet the Chelsea v. Blackburn match. See how big the letdown is after they crashed out of the CL.
This may come off as an indictment of the game, but it certainly isn’t meant to be. I’ve already logged over 50 hours on it and couldn’t be more pleased. Think of this as more of a very pointed wishlist.
I’m sure EA has already planned out the changes it wants to address in FIFA11 and I wish them well, but maybe these qualms will help fuel improvement in FIFA12.
- Assistant Coach Isn’t Smart Enough
- Negotiating With Free Agents Is Ridiculous
- Injuries Are Pointless
- Board Reputation Change Is Fickle
- Dirk Kuyt Is Way Too Good
I still can’t figure out why this feature was created. The purpose is to get the CPU to swap out your starting eleven and substitutes for players with more energy between games to keep everybody fresh and in form. Sounds good in theory. In practice? Horrible.
Let’s say I’m Newcastle United and I’ve been promoted to the EPL. I’ve built a decent group of starters over two seasons, but still wouldn’t trust my reserves farther than I could throw them. (Bear with me, I actually did this in FIFA10.)
I play my main guys – with ratings in the high 70s to low 80s – in 2 difficult league fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal. The starters play well and get results, but are gassed afterwards.
My next fixture is an early round Domestic Cup match against Queen’s Park Rangers or whatever. This is where the Assistant Coach (in his infinite wisdom) throws my auxiliary balloon squad lineup on the pitch – you know, the third-string water boys.
I’m subsequently thrashed and the team board of directors wants me fired.
My point is: I’d rather have my 81 rated striker out there running on fumes than my 62 rated striker on his best legs.
Look, I get that they’re skilled soccer players and they won’t Hancock-up with just any old third-rate club, but why – with a good negotiator, mind you – do I have to offer a free agent double their market price and a 15% per goal bonus to sign them?
I’m not trying to sign Xavi for god’s sake. Just be real with me here, FIFA10.
My star midfielder accepts a pass, turns upfield and is mowed down by two goonish defenders. He rolls around, clutches his ankle and doesn’t pull himself up off the turf for a full minute.
I sub him out, play the rest of the game without him and wait for the bad news.
The medical staff tells me I’ve dodged a bullet: he’s only out for 2 matches with a stubbed toe. Phew. I’d feel a hell of a lot more fortunate, except this happens with every. Single. Injury.
EA, if you’re going to include injuries in the game, make them challenging. I’d prefer to scramble and sign a new guy to replace someone who had a season-ending knee blowout. Missing my top center back for 3 matches with a rough case of whiplash isn’t my idea of a managerial challenge.
Lose 2 games in a row against mediocre teams and my head is on the guillotine.
Win 5 games in a row against ridiculously good teams and I’m on a pedestal.
I know I’m playing on Pro difficulty, but something is wrong with this picture.
In real life, Kuyt has scored 6 goals for the Reds this season. In FIFA10, he scored 6 goals in 2 games against me.
Look, I know one of you guys that worked on the game is a huge Liverpool fan, but I’m calling bullshit. Kuyt couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn this season and yet he’s netting goals from 35 yards out against me in FIFA10? Puh-lease tweak his stats next year so he isn’t a golden god.
Berg Goal Puts HSV Through In UEFA Europa League
Despite their nightmarish form in Bundesliga, Hamburg SV are still cruising in Europa League play. With big home-and-away results against Scottish powerhouse Celtic, and now this win against Rapid, HSV have cemented their place in the knockout stage.
23-year-old Swedish striker Marcus Berg has brought the firepower in the 5 Europa League matchdays thus far, scoring 4 goals for Hamburger. Several of these strikes have been downright clinical, including the insurance marker against Rapid Wien on Wednesday night.
Check out the 0:55 mark in this video. He plays a brilliant volley to himself from the cross (with his back turned to the goal) and whips a shot to the near post leaving the Rapid keeper stunned:
Dempsey Continues To Roll
Clint Dempsey doubled his pleasure and fun with two goals in Fulham’s 3-0 win over Blackburn on Wednesday. That pushes his goal total to 5 this season before Winter. His career high for an entire EPL season is 7 and he’s certainly on pace to smash that mark.
Meanwhile, Tim Howard and the Everton defense continued their struggles in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool. The Toffees fell victim to an early own goal – which Howard had no chance on – and never recovered.
If any questions remained that Jozy Altidore is out of Phil Brown’s dog house at Hull City, his recent playing time as a starter should silence them. He’s running tremendously hard in the last few weeks and has factored into some key goals that are temporarily keeping Hull clear of the relegation zone.
Stade Rennes’ Carlos Bocanegra took a yellow card against French league titans Lyon, but it was worth is as the American defender’s side earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw.
Chelsea Drop Arsenal, Lead Premiership by 5 Points
The Blues passed another big test against Arsenal today with a resounding 3-0 away victory. Despite missing Dutch striker Van Persie to an extended injury, Arsenal has been in tremendous form leading up to the match – so Chelsea’s win resonated all the better.
Didier Drogba led the way with two goals: the first on a beautiful flick to the top right corner of the frame, the second on a blazing free kick around the Gunners’ wall.
This performance came after Carlo Ancelloti declared to the press that winning the Champions League was their top priority this season – they clearly aren’t letting up in the EPL though.
Hamburger SV Tie Mainz; League Winless Streak Hits 6
HSV somehow stayed in fifth place despite another disappointing performance on the road against recently promoted Mainz. And though the German side has been slaughtered by injuries, yet another player got hacked down in the 1-1 tie on Saturday – this time, Eljero Elia.
Elia’s injury now brings the total number of injured Hamburg starters to an astonishing 10. If they make it to the Winter break without slipping out of Europa League contention for next year, it’ll be a miracle.
Nicolas Anelka Buries Header, Porto
Anelka stepped up in the suspension absence of Drogba, carrying Chelsea to two sluggish victories in the early-going of this 2009 UEFA Champions League campaign. But the French striker hasn’t let up since Didier’s return.
Nicolas now has 3 tallies in 5 champions league matches – all 3 of them game-winning goals. And the Portuguese champions must think Anelka has it out for them, because 2 of his 3 game-winners have come against Porto.
Last Line In A Stingy Defense, Čech
Sure, the finishing has been clutch from his teammates, but when you win enough 1-0 games, most of the credit has to be given to the tremendous defensive play. The last bastion for Chelsea has been Cech this season.
The Czech Republic keeper has conceded just 0.4 goals per match in Champions League play.
Yesterday’s win was no different. Cech faced 14 shots from Porto, 8 of them on frame and he dealt with them superbly, even in dire circumstances. Porto’s Fernando Belluschi hit the crossbar on a shot that looked sure to find net, but on every ball within his reach, Cech was marvelous with diving saves.
Next Up, Arsenal
Chelsea have been rolling of late, in English Premiership and Champions League play. But this weekend, they get their biggest test of the season against the gunners of Arsenal – the only other team in the EPL (save maybe Tottenham) that’s been healthy and consistently in form all season.
Rally Man of the Match:
Petr Čech (1)
“It is important because now we have to think back to the Premier League and it was our objective to get first in this group. It’s not easy to win here. The team didn’t play fantastic – just good. We took some risks in the first half, but the second was much better and we deserved to win.”
Le Toux Takes Sounder Heart To Philly
The lanky, hard-working Frenchman that stole all our hearts is moving on. Sebastien Le Toux will play for the expansion Philadelphia Union next season. But he will live on in Sounders lore forever.
He was the offensive centerpiece on the USL-1 Sounders, winning USL Most Valuable Player in 2007 and leading Seattle to a championship in the process.
On the MLS side, he became a roleplayer, providing energy up front off the bench. His performances in the 2009 U.S. Open Cup were particularly memorable. In the final, his tenacity and well-touched assist resulted in the game-winning goal – possibly the most important goal of the Sounders’ inaugural season.
Undoubtedly, he will play well in Philadelphia and get more minutes as a starter in Nowak’s 3-5-2 formation – but it’ll be odd not seeing the French flags at Qwest next year or the “Allez Le Toux” tifo.
Cheers, Sebastien! We’ll miss you.