Premier League unplugged [10]

It’s the return of the…

RoostersBFA

 

As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a former Cardiff City manager and Manchester United player returns to the Cardiff City Stadium as the temporary Manchester United manager. Most of the locals probably wished he had stayed in a Norwegian fjord for a week longer…

1545257933_405_The-power-behind-the-baby-faced-assassin-amp-39-Ole-Gunnar-Solskjaer

Until we speak again, this Christmas will be enjoyed more by the baby-faced assassin than the cadavers of Cardiff! The less said about the final score the better [1-5].

[Acknowledgements to ‘the beer boy blogspot’ for the can image, and whatsnew2day.com for the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer photo].

Confused systems

Whack Job 1 Whacked Assassin 0

“4-4-2, 4-3-3 OR SIMPLY AN UNORTHODOX CRANIO-RECTAL FORMATION?”

Until we speak again this is Pundit Juno bringing you all you need to know about football in less than 10 words.

[With thanks to Sky Sports website for the posted image].

Vanishing Point

The Premier League season comes to its closing day, and just as architectural designs disappear to the horizon at the vanishing point so my resident ‘delusional desperado’ is about to disappear up their own passageway of dreams. They join the local tribe of dedicated panhandlers for the final time in their current Premier League existence, patiently wading through oceans of guano in the hope of the occasional pearl-laden oyster. But it is only the dark clouds rolling in that offer a genuine backdrop to the final contest. But even this final fight is more of a vanishing point, as two pugilists step into the ring for an event without a purpose, other than fulfilling a pre-determined contract. The home team are already relegated, and the away team end a season with their own disappointment of not being able to win anything.

  V.  

The locals persistently question the colour of the corners, but on this occasion the reality is that in the red corner we have ‘The Baby Faced Assassin‘ and in the blue corner we have ‘The Special One‘, as Ole visibly ageing and Jose progressively greying square up for hopefully anything but handbags at 10 paces…

   V.     

The potential pre-match hype stirred up by a street-fighting Mourinho, if his team had a heavyweight title depending on the contest, is all but missing. Snarls are replaced by the anodyne smiles of combatants with minds more firmly fixed on a summer of business in preparation for fights to be won in the future. If there is any real match day animosity it is all in the home camp as the fans make it very clear to the owner ‘they will always be blue’:

City v Chelsea [1]

The bell sounds for the first round, it is 3.00pm on a Sunday afternoon, and the home pugilists look deep down to their boots for some inspiration for the fight ahead:

City v Chelsea [2]Is this to be the mis-match of the century, as the heavyweights from the capital of England dominate the ring of the lightweights of the capital of Wales. The visitors certainly begin fleet of foot as they dance around the ring constantly probing for the opening to land a decisive punch. However, underestimate the lighter opponents at your peril, as on 15 minutes the Chelsea defence is opened up with a Craig Bellamy shot that produces a classic sucker punch as it deflects off a Chelsea defender to leave their last line of defence wrong-footed. A further 30 minutes of trading punches produces no further potential knockout blows. At the end of this round a shock is set up as the home fans witness a lead on points… Cardiff City 1 Chelsea 0.

The bell sounds for round two, but can the sleek arts of the pugilists recover against the early lead for the street-fighters?

City v Chelsea [4]The gulf in class is beginning to show as the delicate footwork of previous champions mesmerises their brave hosts. The home team cushion a few blows, and offer limited glimpses of the search for their own killer punch. On 72 minutes and 75 minutes the decisive combination of hook and upper-cut are applied, and the home fans are left on the floor. With the absence of Gary Medel, their iconic pitbull, they struggle to find the street-fighter spirit that would give them a chance of getting back into this match. The vanishing point duly arrives, as it is time to throw the towel in and slip off back to Championship football.

Final score of the final game of the season… Cardiff City 1 Chelsea 2.

My very own ‘little dot on the horizon’ arrives back with surprisingly measured temperament, but surely punch-drunk, as they evoke the spirit of many a defeated pugilist claiming that a comeback is on the cards, and it all starts here. Some people are just born masochists. Until we speak again I will be a Juno trying to discover what sense underpins the spending of billions of pounds on a few youngsters kicking a ball around a patch of grass.

[Some images have been gratefully borrowed from google images to illustrate the story, and are used with thanks to those who originally placed them].

 

 

Canaries in a Coalmine

I have been so obsessed with food of late that I have forgotten my responsibility to mock my resident ‘grieving fan‘ on their local team hitting rock bottom in the Premier League. What makes matters worse for the poor soul is the clash of sports, with Cardiff City at home to Norwich City at the same time as the rugby international at the Millenium Stadium with Wales hosting Italy. From what I can see the wallet has triumphed over the heart, as the use of a pre-paid season ticket to watch the tedium of two teams who can hardly score a goal, yet both seem happy to let them in (surely a nailed-on 0-0) triumphs over the possibility of watching pure passion for free on the TV.

The Cardiff City Stadium prepares to ramp up the levels of boredom to new heights, with Norwich taking about 30 attempts on goal without scoring, in the corresponding match at their ground earlier in the season. Though they did get the ball in the net by cheating, which was fortunately disallowed. The match promises as much excitement as watching a canary slowly choking to death in a coalmine… a fitting analogy, as Norwich City are known as the Canaries, though God only knows why (actually it is after 16th century European refugees); and South Wales is known for its coalmines, though finding one these days is a bit like witnessing goalscoring chances for the Bluebirds.

Tantalisingly for me, it’s yet another footballing ‘battle of the birds’, and all I get is to comment from afar. Let me at them and there just might be some excitement at the match today. But for now it is 3.00pm on a damp February Saturday afternoon, and the Bluebirds are wondering where to find any Canaries, whilst the disguised canaries stare perilously into the coalmine:

City v Norwich [1]

 The Bluebirds have new faces from the January transfer window are flocking all over the place without seemingly working as a team.

  The Canaries celebrate with a simple goal against a ragged Bluebirds defence. An inconsequential first half ends CARDIFF CITY 0 NORWICH CITY 1.

City v Norwich [2]

The home birds start the second half with a Norwegian flea in the ear (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the new manager), and the proverbial ‘game of two halves’ is about to unfold.

  You can’t miss from there, and on 49 minutes local boy Craig Bellamy obliges with an equalising goal.

      Nice goal celebration Craig. Yet a mere minute later and it’s new boy Kenwyne Jones showing the fans a different perspective on the Cardiff City StadiumKenwyne Jones

As the match enters the final 20 minutes an all-too-familiar pattern emerges for the home fans as their team sits back and invites the opposition to launch wave after wave of attacks.

  With the help of a tiring home team, the Canaries seem to have found renewed energy from somewhere.

  My resident ‘panic merchant‘ tells me it only takes a short memory in these parts to remember Bluebirds on course for a nasty collision if they don’t sustain their need to attack. But on this occasion they desperately hold out, and with great home sighs of relief…

   … it is the away team that has to look at its frequent inability to take their chances. As the final whistle blows, it is a time for Bluebird celebrations, and for Canaries to hang their heads in defeat.

   2 v. 1   

So much for my prediction of 0-0. Until we speak again my ‘desperate optimist‘ will hang on to any morsels of success, but I have been a frustrated Juno… so many birds on display and all I can do is observe from a distance. In the meantime, my ‘anti-stereotyping consultant‘ just congratulated me on a post about Norwich City with not a single mention of Delia Smith, Colman’s Mustard or that everyone looked the same… oops!

[Some of the images in this post just might have been copied from google images (and BBC Sport)… many thanks to those of you posting images that support my stories].

Guns & Hammers

[A number of pictures have been retrieved from google images, and I offer my thanks to all the cool cats who have created and shared them]

After the recent visit of the Black Cats I am once again left conflicted with this football tribal allegiance thing… the arrival of West Ham United tugs on my coat. It’s a reminiscence thing taking me back to the kitten years, as I emerged this wonderful in the less than salubrious Republic of Newham in East London. My more recent elevation to Cardiff via a brief sojourn in Blackheath even began in a cat sanctuary down the road from West Ham’s Old Boleyn ground. I must admit I fell off my throne laughing when I heard that they are about to move into the Olympic Stadium… that’s a triumph of ambition over ability if I have ever heard of one.

Should I be supporting the ‘Hammers‘ on their brief trip into foreign territory? The question soon fades into obscurity when my ‘in-house sports correspondent‘ tells me the home team really did dispense with the Malky god-like character, but have replaced him with a Norwegian Gunnar.

Compatriots of my superior species are quick to remind me of the power of the gun over the hammer:

What’s more these hammers seem to be arriving in wilting rubber mallet mode, having lost 5-0 & 6-0 in the last week:

Sam Allardyce  My resident ‘wishful thinker‘ tells me that things come in 3’s. Yes, I say, you have had one very good manager sacked, only two to go! As long as Looney Tunes remains the dominant soundtrack at the Cardiff City Stadium it will be difficult for the home fans to build confidence through a triumph of hope over nut-job-ery.

It is 3.00p.m. on a sunny January Saturday afternoon, and the Ole’s armoury are setting their sights on any old East London iron (the hammers are also known as the ‘ironsiders). However, it seems that 11 home team players haven’t read the script, as they set about a recently familiar trait of not bothering to turn up for the first 45 minutes… a peculiarly Welsh trait shared with the national rugby team, only their illustrious rugby counterparts have a track record of barnstorming second half success not yet learned by these naive Purple Dragonbirds. After a long delay through serious injury to one of the bubble-blowers (West Ham fans never tire of singing I’m forever blowing bubbles’… though I am not aware of bubbles’s thoughts on the matter!), their average but dominating team score. The home team play a familiar laid-back game with slow passing and often beating an ignominious retreat when they should be pressing forward in attack.

Half-time arrives 10 minutes later than planned to resounding boos from home fans. Cardiff City 0 – 1 West Ham United. Surely the second half must see something of a response for the long-suffering home fans.

City v West Ham

True enough, the home side come out fighting, pushing for an equalising goal, and with 30 minutes still left to go they gain a dubious reward of seeing their opponents reduced to 10 men as their captain is sent off for a second yellow card (not a dubious decision, more a dubious idea of it being a reward). Over 30 minutes are played out with Cardiff almost entirely in the West Ham half and do at last get some shots on target, but nothing to trouble an average goal-keeper. Some urgency is injected by their oldest player on the pitch, but others still seem plagued by a need to play slow methodical passes around the pitch with little end product.

Those of you who know something about these types of matches will not be surprised to hear that West Ham had a solitary second half attempt on the Cardiff goal in time added on… and score! Cue a mass exodus by the home fans, with various comments along the line of ‘the ref is *&$%er’, ‘we was robbed’, and ‘it’s a mess’. In the words of the Coen Brothers (from No Country for Old Men) ‘if it isn’t a mess, it will do until the mess turns up‘.

For the record the final score is:

       0 – 2          

So, it transpires that the guns were largely silent, and the ‘iron‘ did enough to secure all the points without threatening to appear solid or imposing. As for my ‘heap of domestic despondency‘ there seems to be a triumph of reality over hope, as the local team have now managed to draw and then lose to a couple of the very few teams that were below them in the table. I dare to mention the ‘R’ word (relegation), but heads are bowed in dark contemplation.

    

Until we speak again I am probably going to be ‘suicide watch’ Juno, and all belts and laces have been removed!.