09.29.07

Taylor : There’s More To Sven Than A Zipper Problem

Posted in Football at 11:31 am by


(“no, I don’t think ‘sorry’ really covers it”)

In light of this afternoon’s 3-1 home win over Newcastle, the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor is in a contrite mood towards Manchester City’s Sven-Goran Erikkson, a manager he previous characterized as “nothing more a hopeless charlatan, lining his pockets, chasing blondes and chuckling at our expense while making himself super-rich without doing anything to justify his bloated salary.”

Yes, City have been a bit lucky at times this season – and against Manchester United they surely pulled off one of the flukiest wins of all time – but who could genuinely have imagined Eriksson would have guided them to the Champions League places heading into October? And who seriously could have imagined his cosmopolitan selection of new signings would have gelled so quickly to give City their best start to a top-flight season for 30 years?

The questions are posed because it is no exaggeration to say that, for spells against Newcastle, City’s slick, first-time, pass-and-go football was as fluid as it has been since this stadium was built. Elano, in particular, was majestic, the outstanding player by a country mile, but perhaps it is time, too, to recognise some of the unsung players. Most of the praise this season has been reserved for Micah Richards and Michael Johnson, but what of the impact Dietmar Hamann has had since being restored to the team? Or what of the way Vedran Corluka and Javier Garrido have slipped seamlessly into the defence? Not one of Eriksson’s signings has let him down and he must relish the fact Elano cost roughly a third of the money Manchester United forked out for Anderson, his Brazil team-mate.

For those of us who watched Eriksson from close quarters when he was England manager and wondered how on earth this bumbling little fellow had ever got such a lofty position, that deserves an apology.

The 7-4 scoreline in favor of Portsmouth over Reading is not a typographical error. And while Marcus Hahnemann took it on the chin at Fratton Park, there was a far more flattering result for fellow U.S. keeper Kasey Keller, who presided over Fulham’s 0-0 home draw with Chelsea.

I realize Colombian soccer isn’t under the jurisdiction of the NFL, but can’t Roger Goodell fine Leider Preciado, just for the fun of it?

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