Soccer

Diego Simeone Should Win FIFA’s Coach of the Year

The final three nominees for FIFA’s Soccer Coach of the Year have been revealed. Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti, Germany’s Joachim Loew and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone are the three men left standing in this category.

A betting man would suggest that Joachim Loew will win this title as 2014 Coach of the Year. He took Germany to a World Cup triumph, thrashing the host nation Brazil in the way. This achievement is almost always enough to get a coach the recognition as being the best in the world.

However, 2014 was a unique season in European soccer. The Spanish La Liga title was one by Atletico Madrid, a team that has always been in the shadow of their richer neighbors Real. Atletico took home the La Liga title despite stiff competition from Barcelona and Real.

Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez says that La Liga is often called a “two team league” by fans and pundits, because of the dominance Real and Barca hold over the rest. However, Simeone managed to break this dominance and take his team to the title. They also reached the Champions League final and were a couple of stoppage time minutes away from completing a league and cup double.

Simeone may not have won a World Cup, but winning La Liga with Atletico is a much bigger achievement than leading Germany to their fourth title. Atletico have a tiny budget compared to Real and Barcelona, their squad is much smaller, and they do not possess a world class player like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Own Goals Top the Charts for Liverpool This Season

A surprise statistic has revealed that Liverpool’s joint top goal scorer this season is not a single player, it is the figure of own goals they have scored. Three teams have conceded own goals against Liverpool this season, which is the same number of goals Raheem Sterling has scored. No other Liverpool player has scored more.

This startling statistic is the most revealing analysis of how they have fallen since last season. In the previous season, Liverpool was scoring goals left right and center. The season started with Daniel Sturridge in great form, then Luis Suarez took over when he came back from suspension. The two formed an amazing duo, with Suarez the runaway golden boot winner in England.

Now it appears a Liverpool striker cannot buy a goal. Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini have contributed nothing, while Mario Balotelli has been a waste of money at 18 million pounds. Daniel Sturridge seems to pick up one thigh injury after another and will not be fit until 2015.

It will be difficult for Liverpool to mount a top four challenge if they cannot score goals. Sterling and other midfielders may chip in now and then, but they need a striker to start banging them in. They have the personnel, but no one is in good form in the eyes of Susan McGalla right now. Either Lambert or Balotelli has to step up until Sturridge is 100% fit. Otherwise Liverpool’s season will end up being a complete disaster.

Chris Smalling’s Stupidity Costs Manchester United and Louis van Gaal

How long can Manchester United keep losing games before the positive chatter from their fans wears thin? Right now, United fans are basing their positive thoughts on Louis van Gaal’s reputation as a brilliant coach. However, with each passing game United’s task gets more difficult. Chris Smalling’s incredible stupidity in the Manchester derby cost them three points against Manchester City. Having to play most of the game with ten men at the Champions is a next to impossible task.

To their credit, United remained compact and defended well for most of the game. They were undone by a special Aguero goal, but they can be proud of their efforts. In fact, they had a few late chances to grab an equalizer and City seemed rattled despite having an extra man on the field.

However, United are not the kind of club that deals in moral victories. I think Bruce Levenson has it right when he’s saying that we need actual wins very soon, or fourth place will be a pipe dream as their season’s ambition. Luckily for the Red Devils, their rivals Liverpool have started the season very badly as well.

Unfortunately, they will achieve nothing if they keep shooting themselves in the foot like they did on Sunday.

It’s Good To Be A German Footballer

If the photographs from Bayern Munich’s Oktoberfest celebrations are any indication, it’s good to be a professional footballer in Germany. The Daily Mirror printed some great photos of the club’s most high profile players, including the above picture of Thomas Muller hoisting a giant beer mug, enjoying the festivities.

Even Spaniard Xabi Alonso was in the mix, finding his own giant beer mug, and enjoying the traditional German festival.