1. De Gea finally at the end of his rope?
De Gea has been a huge disappointment in goal for the Red Devils. After 6 seasons of Edwin van de Sar it’s been tough to stomach the ineptitude of the Spaniard. Van de Sar once set a record by not conceding a goal for over 1300 minutes! In 15 league games this season De Gea has given up 16 goals. It’s just not acceptable for one of the world’s premier clubs. Despite being only 22, he just makes too many mistakes for a first team goal keeper on such a high level. Sir Alex is certainly looking for relief.
This season will conclude the David De Gea experiment. While he has tremendous reflexes and can pull off a hand full of highlight reel saves, it is his inability to adjust to the English game that has doomed him. He excels against teams that are comprised on mostly foreign players (Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal) as these teams tend to play more possession football. Against traditional English teams (the Stoke Cities of the league) his short comings are evident. He cannot handle being barraged with corners and crosses. While he is not a small man (6’4″ 180lbs) his frame is slender and his physical presence in the box even smaller. I wish him the best as he most likely returns to Spain
2. Pep to Bayern is a huge deal, but good timing?
A great situation for everyone involved. Bayern has been the “sleeping giant” for the past few seasons. Able to attract the top talent, and making it to multiple Champion’s League Finals. Next to Pep’s former employer, Barcelona, Bayern has the highest passing percentage of all teams in the major European leagues. While this will not guarantee instant success, Pep has signed on for 3 years as opposed to the year by year contracts he had at the Camp Nou. Allow him to bring in some of his own talent, implement his system, and Bayern are poised to dominate Europe
Pep going to Bayern wasn’t such a shock, but to announce it in the middle of a quality season and the Germans still in the Champions League was. I can’t imagine the shame that current Manager Jepp Heynckes must have felt. In his third stint at Bayern and at 67, i can imagine he was hoping to go out with his pride intact. Yet, now he is coaching the remainder of the season with the knowledge that his replacement has been hired and the media will fancy the Pep story over his actions for the next several months.
3. Eden Hazard kicking the ball boy…deserving or not?
An ugly situation all around. Swansea were well on their way to tossing the European champions out of the League Cup. They didn’t need any assistance with. But the actions of an overeager boy and an impetuous and arrogant player have overshadowed that feat. 10 years ago, Swansea were in the Fourth division of English football. Now they are into the final of a major English tournament. That should be the story. The boy was wrong in his actions, but he is a boy. Hazard was incredibly stupid for his actions and should know better. With the FA having charged him with violent conduct, he will now get used to watching games from a luxury box
The ball boy was ridiculous. First off, he’s 17…so the whole ball boy thing becomes creepy when there are guys his age on Premiership rosters. Then, in a tense matchup, he grabs the ball, laughs, and then rolls on top! He deserved to be punched in the noggin, but Hazard has to be the professional. He allowed his emotions get the best of him. He could have easily asked for another ball scattered around the pitch, but insisted that the ball under the young man was the only one available! Hazard deserved his punishment, but the ball boy is the villain in this situation.
4. Swansea vs Bradford in Capital One League Cup final…good or bad for major soccer?
I love the underdog story but when two underdogs meet in the Championship of any major competition, it hurts the cause. The championship match will not find a lot interested viewers outside of the fan bases and avid fans of the sport. The league would have been done a huge favor if a big club had made the final to face either Swansea or Bradford. I will check out the final score, but have little interest in watching the final. I do hope for a Bradford victory over the top division Swansea.
A battle of two fairy tale teams. Nothing but good for English football. For so long, every trophy has been dominated by the “Big Four” of England (Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool). Newcomers Manchester City are now added to that mix. It is truly refreshing to see the minnows rise up and get their time in the spot light. It is a great time for the players, the clubs, and the always passionate fans
Buffalo Darryl is co-director and lead trainer at CG Soccer Camps
Follow George on Twitter at @StraitSportsG