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The World Game thread

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Blackstar, what do you think Real will do with Kaka? I love him, but I've really only seen him in action from the World Cup/watching youtube videos. I'm not sure who to kick out of Real's lineup if Kaka were to stay, and to come back healthy.

the like-for-like replacement is Özil, but the little German is performing in that position better than Kaka has done since his move. though it has to be said to my mind there's no comparison between the 2 players in terms of talent, Kaka on form is absolutely a candidate for best player in the world:

his flat-out speed is terrifying and his vision and technique are both superb, with a powerful shot. a more elegant player than Cristiano, a spate of recurring knee injuries kept him from establishing a real rhythm to his game after Milan's 2007 Champion's League win (Man United fans should remember him absolutely dismantling them over 2 legs), which was on his shoulders. all that said, playing in a new system under Pellegrini that was radically different from the innovative "Christmas tree" he was settled into at AC Milan he really struggled to make as big an impact and all the limelight was stolen by Ronaldo. can both of them play in the same team, or do they naturally drift into each other's areas, where they find much of their effectiveness? that's the big question, and if Mourinho can answer it he'll have a real dilemma to play Özil or Kaka in the center of his midfield 3. if he can't break into the team, for whatever reason, he'll leave; he's not a bench player at 28.

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Bale is brilliant, i almost wish we'd put in a bid for him if we didn't have the option of 3 different left-backs + Villa already. certainly a phenomenal improvement from last season and (going back to an old talking point) really how much better off would you islanders be if it was a British national team comprised of players from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England:

-Hart-

-Hutton-Jagielka-J. Evans-A. Cole

--Huddlestone-Fletcher--

-A. Johnson-Wilshere-Bale-

---Rooney---

maybe then the future maybe wouldn't look so foggy?

This is all a bit déjàvu from when giggs was the left sided midfielder we wished was English.

Shit happens. We'll make do.

The only thing making everything seem slightly less gloomy is jack wilshere. He can be a massive player for England. Which is massively encouraging for me at least, especially with other players coming in like Adam Johnson. Who is fantastic imo.

Man I'm actually making myself late for work by sitting on my

iPhone reading this thread / posting this ramble. Shit.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/oct/21/wayne-rooney-manchester-united-city

While Rooney was pondering the fall-out from several hours of high-level talks at Old Trafford, a 40-strong group of United supporters, many wearing balaclavas and hooded tops, had travelled to his home in Prestbury, Cheshire to warn him off any move to Manchester City. Witnesses reported a gathering outside his house, with a banner reading "If you join City you're dead".

shameful. absolutely shameful.

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I'm interested to see whether his form improves now, whether he's been shit because of all the behind the scenes stuff going on, or whether it makes not the slightest bit of difference. I'm also looking forward to seeing the Man U fans make an abrupt U-turn and proclaim him as the messiah once again now that he's committed to the club.

I also bet my Man U supporting friend a fiver yesterday that Rooney will be gone in the summer, seeing as this contract simply ups his value in the transfer market.

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drags the club through the mud, embarrasses Ferguson, embarrasses himself, upsets the squad....

and he gets a pay raise.

shameful.

it proves a few things.

1. first and foremost rooney is just another mercenary playing on our hearstrings and seems to think a couple more tens of thousands of pounds a week is something he cant do without...

2. the club isnt as powerful as it once used to be in terms of attracting, paying, and keeping a lot of big names and ferguson has to swallow his pride and let players get away with behaviours that would have ended with a showing of the door a few years ago.

i was kind of excited to see what the team would do without rooney, a chance to give the younger players a go of things, which is imminent considering some of the players.

but what rooney has done is, in perfect rooney sense, completely fucking backwards. he wants bigger names to come to the club to supply him, but then is taking a huge chunk out of the possible transfer money by stamping his feet and demanding he is paid more than yaya toure.

i guess they got tired of comparing the whores they shag at england away camps, its all about the fucking payroll now eh?

id be amazed if rooney ever recaptures the sentiment we once had for him, cant really see him staying either the way he's gone about all this. its all reminiscent of the ferdinand fiasco - and he never really recovered in the eyes of the fans.

football is fickle, true enough. but fans memories can also be very long

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feel sorry for City, they looked bright until Boyata got himself sent off. then it was just too much to overcome playing a man down for 90 minutes.

:: Nasri is excellent.

:: Mancini is an idiot for taking off Yaya Toure, a player who can contribute to both attack and defense as well as keep the ball, for the worthless Wayne Bridge just so they could have an orthodox 4 at the back. as a result they ceded the midfield to Arsenal, and paid the price.

:: Gareth Barry is absolutely awful; how he makes it into City's starting XI, let alone England's, baffles me.

:: Arsenal were throwing around some pretty hefty challenges through the middle, i wonder when Wenger is going to start asking for referees to better protect opposing players from his team?

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Looked bright before the sending off? Hard to gauge anything from 4 minutes.

They were still competing well up until the 2nd went in. Then the game was done.

Anyway, Hernandez's header for uniteds 1st was pretty awesome. Great improvisation.

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Looked bright before the sending off? Hard to gauge anything from 4 minutes.

a few good runs up the right, Silva's backheel forcing a good save from Fabianski, etc. etc.. certainly on the front foot.

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The sending off killed the game somewhat, but I think that City made a good go of it in spite of the disadvantage. Joe Hart only serves to increase my man-crush on him every game he plays.

In unrelated football, did anyone see McGugan's free kick for Forest's second goal yesterday? If you didn't, I strongly recommend tracking it down, it is one of the goals of the season, no doubt.

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Balon d'Or 23-name shortlist out today:

Xabi Alonso (Spain), Daniel Alves (Brazil), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Cesc Fábregas (Spain), Diego Forlán (Uruguay), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Júlio César (Brazil), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Maicon (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Müller (Germany), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Carles Puyol (Spain), Arjen Robben (Holland), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Holland), David Villa (Spain), Xavi (Spain).

of those, i'd say Xavi, Messi and Sneijder are the biggest contenders in order. i hope desperately that Xavi wins it, if only because his type of player is so unheralded in modern football; Messi is clearly the best player in the world but this being a World Cup year Argentina's crash in South Africa doesn't help him; while Sneijder's Inter did the Treble and his Holland got to a World Cup final. in terms of trophies he's got the best resume, but in a World Cup year the award almost inevitably goes to a player on the winning team.

i'd put Iniesta down as an outside shot but his being injured for much of last season should count him out, which is too bad because he's been brilliant this season.

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feel sorry for City, they looked bright until Boyata got himself sent off. then it was just too much to overcome playing a man down for 90 minutes.

:: Nasri is excellent.

:: Mancini is an idiot for taking off Yaya Toure, a player who can contribute to both attack and defense as well as keep the ball, for the worthless Wayne Bridge just so they could have an orthodox 4 at the back. as a result they ceded the midfield to Arsenal, and paid the price.

:: Gareth Barry is absolutely awful; how he makes it into City's starting XI, let alone England's, baffles me.

:: Arsenal were throwing around some pretty hefty challenges through the middle, i wonder when Wenger is going to start asking for referees to better protect opposing players from his team?

I'm surprised you of all people would make an issue out of this. Wenger has seen 4 skillful players with broken bones in 3 years. Two of them were severe/career threatening. I didn't see any dangerous tackles from either team in the City game. Wenger has no problem with tackling, its dangerous tackles that he has a problem with... studs up, from behind, etc. Of course every player will mistime a tackle or two, I don't think anyone denies that. What Wenger has a problem with (and I'm sure Guardiola does too), is teams who go out to try to rough up our players and not play football. We lost to West Brom, Wenger praised them and held up his hand. Stoke kicks us to bits every time, and you saw what happened to Aaron Ramsey. We dont want to keep losing talented skillful players to dangerous tackles... thats all Wenger is saying, and I think he's right. Even if he's a hypocrite, which I dont think he is (the man sticks to his principles) he was still right with what he said. The english press flipped out at him and Danny Murphy, but they twisted what he was saying. Tackling is fine, but some players do go out to hurt other players because they cant keep up, and thats wrong. We dont want to see people karate-kicking Xabi Alonso, or going in late on someone's shin with studs showing and snapping their leg. Injuries will always happen, but the english mentality of "a full blooded challenge" is getting outdated. Wilshire's red was deserved, it was late, it was dangerous and he held up his hand.... but he's 18 years old and it was in the 90th minute, he's not going around flying into tackles all the time like Nigel De Jong.

Also... Yaya Toure was injured.

Anyway, I think we deserved to win. City fucked up by leaving Boyata one-on-one against Chamakh, and his tackle was a definite red. We bossed the game, and its diffiicult to play against 10 men, especially against the biggest team in the league in City. As for the Ballon d'Or. Sneijder deserves it. Spain have a collective game, but Sneijder dragged holland kicking and screaming to the final, and was brilliant for Inter.

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tbh I kind of secretely love the fact we are tackling harder this season. Have spent the last 5 seasons watching little kids being bossed around by Stoke and Bolton hacks.

And on the Rooney matter: Alex Fergusson used him as leverage against the Man Utd owners so they would increase the transfer kitty in the next window. If Rooney's wage has gone up then it increases the base amount needed for every other player (which will include new prospective players)

It was all planned. Rooney was never going to leave.

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5-0 Sevilla. magnificent. Pep's new 3-4-3 is starting to click, and Villa's coming into his own; he and Messi each got 2 tonight. according to Sid Lowe, Messi has 41 goals in his last 42 La Liga games. any questions as to the best player in the world?

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"world's best (most expensive) player" Cristiano Ronaldo has had 41 shots in 3 games in La Liga and scored... zero goals.

what a cartoon.

He's rockin' everything right now. Just sayin'.

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Ronaldo is the best in the world for my money. He's been an absolute beast so far.

But the margins between are so fine it doesn't even seem worth bringing it up. Would like both at arsenal.

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Ronaldo is a flat-track bully and always has been. look at the competition for his goals: Depo, Malaga, Racing and Hercules account for 10 of them. those teams are 20th, 17th, 18th, and 13th respectively.

Messi, meanwhile, scores against Athleti, Mallorca and Sevilla. the day Ronaldo puts 4 past a club anywhere near Arsenal's caliber, or scores a hattrick against the likes of Valencia or Barca, maybe i'll start to buy that "best player in the world" assertion. until then he can sit in Gerard Pique's pocket and keep getting passed over for that title.

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