Monday, September 23, 2013

World Power Rankings 9/23

Recently on the latest episode of the video podcast my friend Nate and I gave our takes on the top 5 teams in the world right now. This was based off of the Power Rankings done by ESPNFC. We both had the same 5 teams in almost the exact same order. My list looking like:

  1. Real Madrid
  2. Bayern Munich
  3. Barcelona
  4. Manchester United
  5. Arsenal
With his list looking like:

  1. Bayern Munich
  2. Real Madrid
  3. Barcelona
  4. Manchester United
  5. Arsenal
I think it's time to revise the list after Manchester United got totally dominated by Manchester City and I'll tell you why my list is the way it is.

  1. Bayern Munich - Now in the upcoming episode I said Bayern Munich would only move up to number 1 over Real Madrid once they set a lineup, well this weekend against Schalke they played so well and dominated the game that I can't justify making the only reason they get to move up being a set lineup. Bayern played almost perfect football, controlling the tempo, passing crisply, attacking and defending with ease, and just making Schalke look completely inferior. Bayern are catching fire at the moment, with 7 goals in their past 2 games. Can anyone stop a fully realized Bayern side? Probably not, and early in the seasons of world football it looks increasingly likely the European Champions will repeat for the first time ever.
  2. Real Madrid - Real Madrid get bumped down to number 2 on my list for really only one reason, the quality of the team they beat this weekend wasn't enough to keep them from holding off Bayern. a 6-1 win at Galatasaray in the Champions League followed by a 4-1 win over Getafe have Real Madrid flying right now. They are my picks to win La Liga and make a Champions League final unless paired up with Bayern in the Semis.
  3. Arsenal - This is going to be the most controversial spot on my list, but Arsene Wenger's side are playing as well as any team on the planet right now. A great 2-1 win in Marseille was followed up by a good 3-1 win over Stoke City this weekend. Mesut Ozil leads the EPL with 3 assist and has only played 2 games in the league. Olivier Giroud is looking reliable, Flamini has added some fight to the midfield, and their back four are playing in top form. 
  4. Barcelona - Now some might call me crazy for placing Arsenal ahead of Barcelona in my power rankings, but right now I feel that there is just something missing at the Nou Camp. Again, you might think I'm crazy after back to back 4-0 wins, but I just feel like Barcelona aren't playing to full power. Their back four is suspect, and that right now is my main concern with the Blaugrana. 
  5. Napoli - Big spending Napoli make an appearance in my top spot this week. A win over AC Milan where Pepe Reina became the first keeper to ever save a Mario Balotelli goal and a good win over Champions League runners up Dortmund have Napoli in good form, and Gonzalo Higuain looks the deadly striker that many knew he would be. How long Napoli can keep up their great form remains to be seen, but they're my wildcard pick for the Serie A title this year. 

And there it is, my top 5 in the world as of September 23rd. What do you think? Am I crazy for putting Arsenal ahead of Barcelona? Should Man City be in the list after decimating Manchester United? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @theinformsoccer.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Boot Room Video Blogs

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know you can check my buddy Nate and I out on YouTube at making our weekly video blog for The Boot Room, my more professional site!

Here is this weeks video, if you like it please thumbs it up, subscribe to the channel, comment, and share the link!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mesut Ozil: The Pressure is On

Arsenal fans were crying out for a signing, and it seemed as though the club were going to have another disappointing transfer window. And then it happened.

Soon after Gareth Bale completed his world record move to Real Madrid there were grumblings about what stars Madrid would be willing to sell to cover the cost of Bale. Di Maria, Benzema, and Ozil were all names thrown out as potentially expendable. One club linked to all of the names was none other than Arsenal. Arsene Wenger's lack of spending was the butt of every transfer market joke this summer, and then he broke the club record transfer fee.
Ozil was announced with less than an hour left in the transfer window, and though Ozil wasn't the signing that was needed, he's the signing every fan of the club wanted. A marquee, big money move by a club being slammed for not being able to attract top talent.

It seemed Ozil saw the writing on the wall with the transfers of Isco and Bale. That coupled with the fact he was regularly not finishing games and being subbed off with a good portion of the games he started remaining made it most likely an easy choice. Fans of every other team in La Liga should be rejoicing right about now, according to Squawka Ozil created 91 scoring chances last season. He is arguably the best playmaker in the world right now, and his ability combined with the likes of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, and the other attackers on the team could be deadly. Not to mention he will likely make Olivier Giroud look even better than he has already this season.
Now, as amazing as the signing of Ozil is, it doesn't completely make us forget what Arsenal lack. They still need a box to box midfielder, another center back, and a second striker. But we can't dismiss that Ozil will make the Arsenal attack something that has to be looked at closely and feared by all defenses.

Does Ozil make Arsenal a title contender this year? No, not at all. As amazing as he is he won't make up for the deficiencies the club still have. But, he will invigorate the clubs fans with a feeling of, "this is the start of something special." A player like Ozil is the perfect building block for Arsene Wenger, and maybe the first real step to Arsenal finally ending the silverware drought.

For a more tactical look at how Ozil will effect Arsenal check out this post.