Education Education Education

3 things we learnt from last night’s Carling Cup action

We watched it so you didn’t have to

Look at me, I scored against Barnsley
1. Michael Owen should never have signed for Manchester United:
Look at the company he was keeping last night; Obertan, Macaheda, Wellbeck – all clearly reserve players. And this is the category Owen now falls into at United. Ignored when the big games come around, his chances to impress now only arrive in insignificant matches, so the clamour for Capello to pick him is no less ludicrous than expecting Marcello Lippi to give Macheda a call.
Had Owen swallowed his pride and signed for a lesser club, he might be seeing some action in the Premier League, in the process testing himself against international-calibre defenders. When he fails to make Fabio’s 23 in June, he has his own pride to blame.
2. Goalkeepers should stop guessing in shoot-outs:
Following his heroics in the Peace Cup Final penalty shoot-out in the summer, a friend of thespoiler went to interview Brad Guzan to suss out his penalty-saving secrets. Guzan revealed that he has never understood why many keepers merely guess where the penalty is going, and hurl themselves in that direction before the kicker makes contact with the ball. His own preference was to wait, and rely on natural reaction to make it in time.
This worked to extraordinary effect, saving four penalties, bringing to mind Mark Bosnich’s awesome performance against Sunderland in the same competition 16 years ago. So is Guzan right? Are keepers bottling it at shoot-outs?
3. Michael Laudrup is spending today sitting by the phone:
For those who didn’t get their copy of Marca delivered this morning, Real Madrid got soaked 4-0 by 3rd division Alcorcon in the Copa del Rey last night. Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini described himself as, “very embarrassed”, although “very sacked” may soon prove more appropriate.


14 responses so far
  • Ricky // October 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    This is nonsense. Bents banging them in at a lesser club and hes still being ignored on the same level as owen by capello. Owen will get his chance as soon as Fargie realises Berba is the biggest waste of space since Cornwall

  • Darren // October 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Point 1 is utter codswallop, and I’m really pleased that I had the chance to use that word again. You’re suggesting that playing for England in a tournament that they won’t win is somehow the pinnacle of a player’s career. What about the vastly increased chances of winning a trophy at United? Is going to the World Cup and not winning it in some way better than maybe coming off the bench in the FA Cup or European Cup final and having the chance to turn a game of that magnitude? Is scoring 10 league goals while Hull battle to finish 17th adequate recompense for dragging out your international career for a few more games?

    We want the old editor back again. he wouldn’t have printed shite like this.

  • Eliot Pollak // October 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Hello Darren

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I think you’ll find that international football is the pinnacle – and its why your idols Best and Giggs will never be mentioned in the same breath as Cryuff, Maradona, Pele etc – players who did it at World Cups.

    All the best

  • Darren // October 28, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    So what you’re saying is, George Best and Ryan Giggs weren’t as good as, for exampe, Jimmy Nicholl and Gerry Armstrong, simply because they appeared in a World Cup and Best/Giggs didn’t? The man that Pele said was the best player ever and the most decorated player in the Premier league? That’s an interesting point of view.

  • krug // October 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    One of Ryan Giggs’ greatest regrets is never having appeared in the World Cup………
    And I think you will also find that Mickey has already won the FA Cup so he won’t be that fussed about winning it again.

  • MwepuLlunga // October 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Darren – The fact that owen would have more chance being picked if he was playing reguarly is beyond argument. And I think you’ll find that Pele has bestowed similar sentiments on just about every professional footballer born since his retirement. His more recent(ish) England shout outs have included Nicky Butt and Danny Mills!

    One minor point about the article – Is Real’s loss and subsequent pressure on Pellegrini really a lesson learnt from the Carling Cup!?

  • David // October 28, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Darren sounds like that guy that bitches and moans about the two week international breaks because his beloved club players might risk injury playing for their country. Nothing like a good ol’ self-loathing Englishmen.

  • Squelch // October 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    4. Nobody is fooled by Portsmouth’s win over Stoke’s B team.

    P.S. Let me see your take on Portsmouth’s latest debacle.

  • Andy // October 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    While not one to break up a good argument i just wanted to agree with Brad Guzan

    I’m of the opinion that if it’s a good penalty the keeper stands no chance, guessing or not

    But if it’s a bad penalty by guessing you’re putting the odds back in the favour of the taker

    Keepers make instinctive saves from closer than 12 yards, they don’t guess on those!

    They should rely on their ability a little more – we see too many bad pens go in purely because the keeper was guessing

  • Eliot Pollak // October 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Great point Andy

  • Joseph // October 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Owen went to Utd because he thought he could be afforded the best of both worlds – playing for club glory and opening himself back up to England consideration (which may be a lower priority at this stage of his career). He had belief in himself that he was good enough to achieve both – I see nothing wrong in that.

    If he was meant to swallow his pride and accept that he was not up to scratch – then what makes you think that playing regularly for relegation scrappers and Championship teams (who were the main clubs after him before Utd swooped in) would have better served him? Not only is the profile of these lower level teams off the radar of Capello, but he would likely get nothing like the service required for him to impress much anyway.

    Utd came calling – he woulda have been foolish NOT to accept it – he probably even chose them over more lucrative deals elsewhere. The fact is, if he couldn’t cut it with the chances he got at Utd – he wasn’t going to cut it anywhere. The jury is still out.

  • kathmcp // October 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Wow. This new editor really knows how to suck the joy out of football huh. I gave it a few weeks to see how he went but the fun has gone out of it. His posts always seem to be kind of negative, critical, very definitely banal and have a touch of the insufferable know-it-all about them. None of the enjoyment there used to be on this site anyway. So even tho I have been a loyal Spoiler reader for a long long time, it is over and out from me now. Adieu.

  • Ronnie // October 29, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Eliot, your hatred for Owen really comes out in your posts. Owen isn’t just playing in the Carling Cup games. He is a squad player. Whilst he isn’t the first name on the team sheet the importance of a handful of decent strikers can’t be underestimated over a season.

    In 1999, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were by enlarge the starting pair but the importance of Solskjaer and Sheringham over the season – and not just in the Champions League Final is without debate.

    “his chances to impress now only arrive in insignificant matches”

    Owen has already scored the winner against Man City this season – one of the biggest games in a season for United. And when Rooney or Berba gets injured he will be thrown right in there to get goals – whether it be in Europe, the Champions League or the cups.

    To join United wasn’t the easy move. As an ex-Liverpool player he knew too well the kind of reception he’d receive. He also knew that he wouldn’t be guaranteed a first team place whilst at Hull he would have been.
    To go to United and to try to prove to himself and everyone else that he is still one of the best finishers around takes more courage than joining a lesser club who would have paid him more.

    Anyone who saw his goals in pre-season or his finishes against City and Barnsley know he is still a class act.
    He may have lost some of his pace that the likes of Agbonlahor can offer but 0-0 in a World Cup Final (or probably quarter finals) with a minute to go who would you rather the ball fall to in the box?

    And to say George Best will never be mentioned in the same breath as Pele or Maradona is probably the most idiotic football comment I have ever heard.

  • MwepuLlunga // October 29, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Ronnie – He may have lost some of his pace that the likes of Agbonlahor can offer but 0-0 in a World Cup Final (or probably quarter finals) with a minute to go who would you rather the ball fall to in the box?

    Unless Owen’s confidence sharpens up I’m not sure I’d want Owen anywhere near that chance. You can see from the way he plays he desperately needs more games and more goals. Let’s hope either Berb or Rooney get a bit of knee-knack soon to give him a chance.

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