Saturday, January 25, 2014

Juan Mata Joins Manchester United

It had been coming for some time, Juan Mata has left Chelsea. Where he went no one saw coming. Instead of being sold to a team outside of the Premier League he was sold to "rivals" Manchester United.

Mata had a great 3 seasons at Chelsea, 18 goals in 82 appearances, a Champions League title, FA Cup, and Europa League title. The arrivals of Oscar, Hazard, Willian, and Schurrle saw Mata forced to the bench for most of this season. There were talks that Mata didn't fit Mourinho's system and that might be right, but I personally feel he wasn't given enough time in the first team to fully adapt to the system.

Mata going to United is a sign that the club is committed to at least finishing in the top 4, splashing a club record 37.1 million pounds on the Spaniard. Mata will surely be hoping that going to United and playing regularly will land him a spot in the Spain squad that heads to Brazil for the World Cup.

Fans of the club will surely be hoping he will have a Mesut Ozil like effect, where his signing reinvigorates the fan base and players and lifting them into form.

Where Mata will play in the team is another mystery as his preferred spot is the number 10 role that is currently occupied by the teams current number 10, Wayne Rooney. My prediction is Mata will play on the left or right and drift into the middle.

The signing of Mata will likely see the talk that David Moyes can't sign world class players subside, but unless he signs 1 or 2 more world class/quality players those talks will again start up.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekly Videos on YouTube

My friend Nate and I have been producing weekly (usually) videos where we discuss the topics that interested us most in the soccer/football world. If you'd like to have a look here's a link to our channel:

And here's the link to our most recent video:

Please subscribe to our channel or at the very least, leave a like on the videos!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Equalizer YTC Podcast

The first episode of the podcast featuring myself and my good buddy Nate Enthuxiasm is up and you can listen to it here! It's the audio only version of our weekly soccer talk series!

Subscribe to us on youtube:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My World XI for 2013

At the Ballon d'Or ceremony the FIFA World XI was unveiled, and many felt there were some huge snubs. I was among those people. The FIFA XI was as followed:

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
Defenders: Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves
Midfielders: Xavi, Iniesta, Franck Ribery
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi

Amongst those chosen I felt too much praise had been given to the two La Liga giants again. Here is my World XI:

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer; No argument here. Neuer was far and above the best goalkeeper in the world last year. He was a huge part of Bayerns historic trophy haul.

Defenders: Philipp Lahm, Thiago Silva, Dante, David Alaba; Removing the La Liga duo and replacing them with two Bayern players. Dante stepped right into the Bayern starting line-up and helped transform them into a team that was near impossible to score against, just ask Barcelona. David Alaba moves into the team after basically solidifying himself as one of the top 2 left backs in the world, and he's my age.

Midfielders: Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Gareth Bale; No more Barcelona favoritism people!!! Xavi and Iniesta shouldn't have even SNIFFED the world XI. I replace them with Schweinsteiger and Bale. Schweinsteiger was by far the best box to box midfielder in the world last year and he was the heart of the 5 star Bayern team. Bale is the most debatable here. While having a great season it would be easy to leave him out and throw someone else in, but just by the eye test Bale was quite possibly the best player in the world not named Ronaldo or Messi towards the end of last year. His health was an issue, but his quality is nothing to scoff at. 

Forwards: Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Messi; I mean, c'mon. 

So there you have it, my World XI. We need to acknowledge that last season the spanish teams weren't the best in the world and don't deserve to have a crazy amount of players in these teams! Let me know what you think of the replacements. Who deserves to be in it, who doesn't, and why should your player be in instead!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Michael Bradley And Jermain Defoe To Toronto FC Could Be The Start Of A New MLS Trend

The news of Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe reportedly being close to finalizing their moves to Toronto FC from Roma and Tottenham (respectively) has been the top transfer buzz regarding MLS. With both set for "big" money moves from Europe to MLS we could soon see other clubs breaking the bank to bring in some quality talent from Europe.

The Jermain Defoe to Toronto rumors have been going ever since the end of the summer transfer window and really amped up again around October 2013, but with a series cryptic videos released by Toronto FC on their YouTube channel called "It's A Bloody Big Deal" it seems sure that the Englishman will be unveiled as a Toronto FC player on January 13, 2014.

If the news of Jermain Defoe coming to MLS was widely known, the recent breaking news of Michael Bradley being close to a MLS move was the exact opposite. Bradley who has fell out of favor at Roma should complete his move to Toronto any day soon now according to reports. This is a semi big deal for the United States soccer scene. On one hand, one of our best and brightest players is leaving a top european club for MLS, on the other it shows that it's possible our top US players can't handle the biggest stages in Europe. Just recently we have seen Clint Dempsey join Seattle Sounders after an okay season with Tottenham.

What does the potential move of Michael Bradley mean for MLS? Some may argue that it shows that MLS is a destination for players that are in their prime, and maybe the players it attracts aren't "World Class" players, but they are still good players nonetheless. Others may argue that it shows a weakness. If you aren't cutting it at your current club you can run back to MLS and be embraced with open arms because it seems that you are returning home to grow your sport. I honestly believe it is a mistake for Bradley to move to Toronto, and that he should have tried to force a move to another club playing in a top european league.

Regardless, Toronto FC may just be laying the foundation for the future when it relates to MLS clubs. Spend big, bring in talent from overseas, and expand your brand...or at least create a media buzz around you.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo's Ballon d'Or Deserving Year

We are about 2 weeks away from the football world giving their most prestigious award out, the Ballon d'Or. The MVP award of the football season. The final three nominees for the award were no surprises: Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

All three players had spectacular years, but only one player was truly deserving of the award when voting closed.

Ronaldo should win his second Ballon d'Or on January 13th.

Now the stats don't back up my claim really. Messi finished the calendar year with more trophies and goals than the Portuguese star. Ribery led Bayern to the first treble season by a German club and was part of the most dominant team in 2013. But when you look at what Ronaldo did in 2013 there should be no question as to why he should win it.

Stats are one thing, but the eye test is another. Just watch CR7 play. In 2013 he was the single most unstoppable force every time he was on the field. It didn't matter who he was facing, he showed up. When we talk of MVP awards we usually talk about a MVP moment. In college football you have the Heisman trophy, and usually when a player wins it everyone has the "Heisman moment" to point to as to why they did win. When you look at Ronaldo, almost every game he gave us a MVP moment. His goal against Manchester United in the Champions League in his return to Old Trafford, his superb 2 goal performance against Barcelona, his header against Manchester United, and we can't forget his one man show in both legs of the playoff round against Sweden to propel Portugal into the World Cup.

Yes, Ronaldo is selfish, he isn't the best team player, and maybe he does care a little more about his looks than others, but in 2013 Ronaldo was undoubtedly the best player in the World. I expect it to not even be close when the final results are revealed, but we all know FIFA love them some Messi. My only hope is when he walks up to accept it and the crowd is cheering he does his "calma, calma" thing to the crowd.

With that said Ronaldo was undisputedly the best player in the world, and it wasn't even close.