Saturday, 17 July 2010

Mid season break

There have been lots of excuses made as to why we didn't do well at the world cup.

One that is always trotted out is that the players are tired because of such a demanding season.

I'm not sure about that because Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka etc also haven't performed.

However, if we assume that we do need to reduce the burden on players then having a midwinter break is not the answer for a number of reasons:

1. The players would still have to play the same number of games but in a shorter space of time.

2. The clubs would undoubtedly want the players to keep up their fitness during the break.

3. The football on their return would not be as good as the players would all be short of match fitness.

4. Fans really enjoy their Christmas football.

5. No-one knows when the weather will be bad and so we could have a break and then when everyone comes back there could be a bad weather spell which would leave no time to finish all of the fixtures by the end of the season.

So what are the alternatives?

I think there are two that would not impact on the clubs or fans that are worthy of consideration.

1. Players are limited to a certain number of matches/playing hours in a season. Each manager would then have to manage when they play each player, staggering the games players miss. To a certain extent a lot of team do this already so by enforcing this it would ensure that each player is not overworked in the season. This would also enable more of the younger English players to get game time during Premier League matches rather than just the Carling Cup.

2. Manager have to declare a mid season break for each player. This break would be for a set period of say 2 or 3 weeks. You could put whatever restrictions you want on this period - like players are not allowed to train or they can only train for a set number of days etc and they can't play in that period either. It would then be up to each manager to manage his squad and stagger the players' breaks throughout the season. You would have to stipulate that players cannot serve suspensions during this period. The benefit of this is that players who get injured and so miss a lot of football anyway could have their break during this injury period since they won't be tired if they have been missing games anyway.

I think all of this makes a lot more sense than having an arbitrary break for a set time... it's bad enough during the close season!

This blog seems to be evolving into a less regular, less poker themed blog so I don't know whether to start bring more poker back into it.

I did play the Friday night side event at Leos last week but that was a pure crapshoot with the blinds steeper than the normal Friday night event. A starting stack of 7500 was worth only 10 big blinds by the end of the first 2 hours. I ended up going out when I was down to 4000 ish chips and raised to 900 with 77 which was called by the chip leader. I lead out for 1000 on the 6 high flop and got reraised all in by AQ for 1800 more. Of course a queen hit the river. I then had a bad couple of hours playing cash to finish a couple of buy ins down in the £1/£2 cash game after. I did meet the eventual main event winner Mark McCluskey in the cash game and had a good conversation with him over a number of things which was well worth the time.

Anyway that's it for now.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

World Cup Woes

Whilst commuting to and from work I listen to a lot of people airing their views on Talksport.

Since England's sorry exit from the World cup there has been a lot of drivel spouted by people that is absolute nonsense. One of the biggest fallacies relates to how it was all down to the primadonna players not caring.

Whilst it's true that players might not get the same buzz from winning with England as was so well described by Jamie Carragher, there is no way that the players weren't interested in winning the world cup.

Even if you genuinely believe a certain payer is only motivated by money (and I don't believe a professional footballer would make it if money was their only motivation) that player would still want to win the world cup, if only for the commercial and sponsorship opportunities it would open up!

The second issue that is annoying me is the people (like talksport presenter Adrian Durham) saying that the FA copped out by not sacking Capello.

I think I'm right in saying that he was saying before the world cup that Capello was the best manager for the job yet 4 games later he should be sacked!

Let's put that into perspective, England didn't perform to their best and there seems to have been some problems in the camp that we might have to wait to hear about in someone's autobiography at a later date.

Capello undoubtedly made some mistakes but he will learn from them.

Also, when you actually look at the results, yes we were abysmal against Algeria, and we didn't play great against a US team that beat Brazil last year and we would have won that game but for a bad goalkeeping mistake.

Against Slovakia we played well and then there was the Germany game. Look at what Germany did to Argentina who everyone was raving about before their last match! Yet we managed to pull 2 goals back (ok one was ruled out wrongly) and then we were undone by a great counter attacking team when we were pushing forwards trying to get back in the game!

Despite all of the above we still didn't play anywhere near the level we should have, and that, in my opinion, is because we failed to find a system to accommodate all of our best players.

I believe that the best team is not always your best 11 players and by trying to play Lampard and Gerrard together as he did made our team worse. Clearly he should have taken Adam Johnson and/or Ashley Young to play on the left. Even when he brought Joe Cole in, it was to play on the right instead of the left.

Against the lesser teams in qualification we coped because of the vast difference in quality of players but against stronger opposition we were exploited, especially by Germany who saw what I have been bleating on about all season which is Gerard's inability, or more likely unwillingness, to track back and Germany exposed that side of the field time and time again.

I do feel though, that Capello will learn from this and we will be better for it next time around.

What we also need to understand though, is that defeat to one team alone should not be a reason to sack a manager which is something that the Argentina team have done amazingly enough considering their good showing up until they met Germany.

Anyway, in terms of poker, not a huge amount going on but I am playing the GCBMPT side event on Friday (why the main event final is on at the same time as the World Cup Final I can't understand!)

I have another blog post in my head about mid winter breaks but I;ll do that one next week and update what happens on Friday.