Friday, March 13, 2009


Objectivism is stupider than Marxism. Whereas Marxism was a philosophical and political response to the social inequalities brought about by industrialization, Objectivism was an emotional response to privation and the loss of social privilege caused by extremists, tarted up with pseudo-intellectualism.

One day this may become common knowledge in America.


I know this is a heretical concept, but there is nothing particularly special about cheese made in Wisconsin or Vermont.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Villa to Barcelona?

Apparently the rumors are that Barcelona is trying to snap up David Villa from a cash-desperate Valencia. Potentially, Barcelona will loan out Bojan and Cacares as part of the deal.

Valencia are in a world of hurt right now, with over 400 million euros in debt. So it is not a question of whether they will sell David Villa and David Silva, their two best players (both exceptional), but to whom and for how much.

My concern is what effect Villa would have on Barcelona should the transfer go through. Villa is an out and out striker who plays best in a forward position. Barcelona play a 4-3-3, with Henry and Messi as wingers and Eto'o as their power-forward. Eto'o is a large and gifted striker, who despite a slight lapse in form over the past few games makes for a great pass/cross target and is a deadly goal-scorer. I expect Eto'o to end the season strongly and with a vengeance.

So where would Villa play? Eto'o seems happy with the team and manager and generally loves the way Guardiola has been having him play. Is Villa a possible replacement for Thierry Henry?

Henry has had to adjust to being a winger again -- he was happier at Arsenal when Wenger converted him to a true forward. He runs much more than he ever used to. And while his play hasn't always been consistent, he remains a true scoring threat. There are rumors that Barcelona want to sell Henry at the end of the season, but while Henry has been losing pace and is getting old (for a footballer) he remains one of Barcelona's best scoring outlets and can still dazzle with the ball.

Would Villa play well in Henry's position? Would Eto'o? I doubt it. I seriously doubt it.

I also do not see Barcelona switching to an attack-minded 4-4-2, à la Manchester United (two central midfielders, two midfield-wingers, and two strikers (although Manchester United has actually been playing more with 4-2-3-1, with Berbatov dropping back into the second-striker slot)). Barcelona is a team that is very reliant on midfielders to defend and to set up the offense. There has to be room in the midfield for a Yaya Toure and an Andres Inieste and a Xavi. Otherwise, Barcelona becomes unbalanced.

This is why I am a bit skeptical of Barcelona reaching for Villa -- if Villa comes into the team, Barcelona would either need to restructure or sell Eto'o -- and basically Barcelona would be trading a tall player (and good target for passes) for another short player. Not sure that would be a good move.

David Silva on the other hand... wow. He could be an awesome addition to the Barcelona team. Barcelona's largest weakness over the past three weeks has been inconsistent play from the midfield (please sell Hleb! sheesh). Silva is a play-maker and goal scorer and could make an excellent addition to the team.

Enough rambling from me.

Sanguinity... lower

I am less sanguine about Manchester United's chances than I was yesterday.

The Rock Obama


Monday, March 9, 2009

Tim Vickery makes another astute observation

One of the best footballing bloggers out there, Tim Vickery makes an astute observation while looking at the changes in Brazilian football:
According to Moracy Sant'anna, one of Brazil's most respected physical preparation specialists, in the mid-70s it was generally true that players were covering around 5,000 metres per game. By the mid-90s that figure had doubled, and now some are even reaching 12,000.

So the physical intensity of the game is greater than ever before, and with the growth of the Champions League and the crowded modern calendar there is no respite. It is match after match, physical challenge after physical challenge.

This twin dynamic - greater rewards, greater sacrifices - helps explain why we are seeing so much inconsistency at the elite level of the game.

Manchester United looking forward to hosting Inter

This is a good overview of the FA Cup victory over Fulham and the upcoming Champions League match against Internazionale.

I am a fan of both teams. That said, I think Manchester United is the better of the two teams -- the Red Devils pass with fluidity and confidence and are good at creating chances. They know that they have to play better than they played in Milan if they want to go through, but their defense will be more cohesive than it was in Milan. Inter has good players, but they do not have the cohesiveness that Manchester United have -- they have been carried by Mourinho's tactical mastery of the game and the players own talents. But Inter have yet to demonstrate the magic, the spark that marks all great teams.

I worry about Mourinho, because I sense he is ambivalent about his position at Inter, that he is not completely committed to the project of making Inter a complete team. In part this is probably due to the lack of control he has in making executive decisions. He has inherited a bloated team with too many players, many of whom have a sense of entitlement that is perhaps undeserved (Inter's recent success is more the result of the fallout of scandal involving AC Milan and Juventus than good play on the field). I do feel that Mourinho could remake Inter into a European contender, but I do not think that this year is Inter's year: the team needs to cut its roster and perhaps bring in a few younger players and rebuild for next year.

The best comment ever

Kid Bitzer goes squiddy on Watchmen (warning spoilers).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Special One

Sometimes I wish Jose would shut up.

Sometimes I don't.

He is a great tactician. But I question his man-management skills. I do not think he gets the most of his players in the long term.