Monday, August 31, 2009

Great Start, Great Start

The good thing about ESPN in New Zealand is that they have the Serie A and the Spanish La Liga. Tonight I was able to watch my favorite club Valencia go up against Sevilla in the Mestalla. To tell you the truth, the groundskeeper needs to work on the pitch because there were way too many patchy areas. It looked like the pitch is in mid-season condition unlike the pristine conditions it should be in. (I guess that's what happens when you don't have money). This game was a good early examination to see if Valencia will be able to mount some sort of challenge for a Champions League spot. I'm not dismissing the title but Barcelona and Real Madrid are on a planet on their own. So getting a third place finish and getting that Champions League money will be important especially with keeping key players and such.

You would think in a game where David Villa was average that it would be a long night. However many other players stepped in tonight and did pretty well. Ever Banega had a very good game in the heart of the midfield. Mata was causing Konko, Sevilla's right fullback, lots of problems. Pablo on the other side was dangerous also. The game was flowing nicely with nice passing from both teams however everything broke down in the final third. Alexis and Dealbert impressed me at center defense. Frustrating Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute who both seemed disinterested in the game. Especially with Kanoute getting two yellows in the first half and leaving Sevilla with 10 men.

That was the difference in the game because when even it was just going back and forth but nothing was happening. However in the second half Valencia dominated much to my delight. Mata scoring two minutes after the starting of the second half. And the fluid movement of the team's front six was nice to see and a promise of something special this season (I know I might be jumping the gun a bit). Pablo Hernandez scored 10 minutes from the end to finish off the game in Sevilla's eyes. Banega was in the heart of both moves. Dribbling across the edge of the box and laying it off to Mata. In the second goal, he dashed through three players and struck a firm outside-foot pass to Pablo who finished with a first time chip over Palop.

The new signings were pretty good. I've already said that Dealbert was impressive in his first run out. He was sure-foot on just about every tackle and header against the taller Kanoute and Fabiano. I couldn't really point at any time that he made a mistake. He was solid. Bruno was okay. Tommy Smyth, the ESPN commentator, was loving him because he had grit, but he left me wondering with his touches often going out of play and didn't really get forward as he needed to. He did have to deal with Jesus Navas which is a pretty tough task for any left fullback. Then again, I didn't really have much expectations of Bruno to begin with so maybe I'm being rough on him. When Jeremy Mathieu came on for Bruno, I thought he was much better than Bruno. Got forward often and actually quiet down Navas a lot for the second half. He did make some mistakes towards the end of the game but I'll forgive him for that. In my opinion, he should be the starting option at the left fullback position. Bruno just didn't cut it for me.

I think Unai Emery has got this time on the right track right now. I'm sure David Villa will be better in the next game. I don't think that I even needed to say that because he's world-class and will probably bang in 20 goals this season. Hopefully Mata, Pablo, and David Silva can bag about 30 between them. And Emery giving Banega more freedom in that central area of the midfield will make teams nervous when they go against Los Che. It's still early and we'll see what will unravel in the rest of this season. A run in the Europa League and a top four finish will make me a happy person.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Walking Alone?

Two losses out of the first three games isn't what Liverpool supporters would have envisioned for this current side. With the likes of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, you'd expect them to have nine points out of the nine possible. However they are currently struggling at the moment and even though I have yet to watch a game, I believe I know where some of the problems lie.

Fernando Torres and who?

During this summer, it was said that they were chasing after the likes of David Silva and David Villa. Well both of those players weren't available for them and I believe only chasing after those two players probably stunted their transfer season. They did not buy a creative enough forward to match the likes of Torres. And the current strikers just aren't good enough to mount a challenge for the Premiership title. Ryan Babel has regressed as a player during his time at Merseyside. He can't even score the open net chances he has. Andriy Voronin probably wishes he was back in Germany because I don't think his game is made for England. Good player but just not Premiership material. Playing a one-man front-line with Steven Gerrard just behind isn't going to scare many. Stevie G is at his best when he's making deceptive runs into the box area or bursting runs from his deep midfield spot. This is much harder this season when teams are stacking two defensive midfielders in front of him and after he gets through there, he has a back-line to worry about, even for a World-Class player of his stature, it'll be hard even for him to break down defenses. I believe a 4-4-2 formation with a defensive midfielder and Steven Gerrard as the attacking midfielder would be much more suitable because Gerrard could come into play almost un-touched due to the center halves having to cover the responsibilities of Torres and another forward. However who is that compliment striker??

Aquilani? Is he the answer from the departing Xabi Alonso?

I've read a blog on ( The blog says that the transfer of Alberto Aquilani is more gain for AS Roma than it is for Liverpool. The blog also goes in depth with the fact that he was suppose to be the next Totti of AS Roma and is suppose to be Italy's next best thing. However Roma gave him away for fish and chips (well not exactly) and you know why? Umm I haven't seen Aquilani in any of the three league matches that Liverpool has played in. Oh that's right he's injured. AGAIN. Roma gave him up because he cannot stay off the treatment table and now he's out until sometime in October. Xabi Alonso was the protection that Steven Gerrard needed, even though Mascherano is a suitable defensive midfield. He still cannot provide the threat that Xabi does and I don't think that Aquilani would be enough also, I mean if he cannot handle the Serie A game, what's going to happen when he plays against a Wigan or a Bolton side who loves nothing but to run into you and hurt you.

Does Benitez really want to be there anymore?

With the lack of huge signings and the money he got from the Xabi Alonso deal not being used at all. One may have to wonder about Rafa Benitez's commitment to this current side. I do not know if truly believes that he can win the Premier League with this club as currently constructed. He's always complaining in the media about why money isn't being used to sign the players that he wants to sign. I believe he's growing tired of the English game. Having to deal with the American owners who don't want to give him a dime and managers in this league getting under his "use-to-be" thick skin (i.e. Sir Alex Ferguson). I think he just wants to enjoy the nice warm weather of Spain and have full control of his club like I'm sure he was use to. I don't think Real Madrid will be a club he could go to, especially with the things he's said about Xabi Alonso even saying that Aquilani is a better passer and creator than Xabi. That's not going to go well with the current Galatico.

However it could be said that he isn't placing huge priority to the Premiership. He wants to stay in the top four so they can get a Champions League spot, but maybe he doesn't have the desire to win the Premier League like Chelsea does or Manchester United every year. Every year he eyes the Champions League as his trophy that he wants and we'll find out in the next few weeks whether they can mount a challenge for it. If he feels like he can't win that this year, I won't be the least bit surprised if he ponders about leaving. Even though I said he might be tired of the English game, he might think that Manchester City (if City don't come up with the expectations of this season) could rejuvenate him. Think about it, he will have good players to his disposal plus he could jab a knife into his most hated rival Sir Alex by moving across the street. You never know with football.

I don't know what's going to happen with this current side. Last season, I was saying that they would probably win the Premier League and look what that got me. Maybe this is just a start of the season slump that they will hope to get out of in tomorrow's game against Bolton. But with Manchester City and Tottenham playing very well and the rest of the top four looking good at the moment, I'm not liking their chances at a top-four finish.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's a beautiful Friday afternoon, I might as well blog

It's always the Friday afternoon that I sit myself down on an internet cafe and just ponder things. Well not really ponder, I just sit here mindlessly going on facebook every other couple of minutes. I guess I should update you on my life or just update you on what's going on around me.

All the team's preparation for our Sunday afternoon Chatham Cup semifinal match is pretty much done. It was a pretty productive week of training. Our possession training has been intense and the 11v11 work has been going well. I don't want to leak anything out but all I want to say is that we are going to be well-prepared and ready.

I got terminated from my job the other day. It's not a big deal, it was going to happen since the company was going out of business anyways and they just needed warehouse workers to pack up things and send it elsewhere. Once there wasn't anything else to send out, I guess our jobs were over. Well I guess I should look for another job or something. I just got to figure out if I'm going to be here past October or am I going to be in Auckland for the summer (I'll speak on that later).

Things are alright on my end. I have the rare day off on Saturday. I don't know what I should do for it because we are usually on game mode from about 12 to about 5pm. Now during that time I'll have the time to enjoy the day and hopefully it'll be a nice sunny day for me to enjoy.

Oh my September 13 return date is possibly going to change to sometime in October at the earliest. I'm sure I've said that earlier but I just wanted to say it again even though I truly doubt anyones listening. So yeah, if all of you planned on meeting me at the airport, then you can postpone that. As if I was holding my breath for that anyways

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The new season has arrived!!!

The new season has started (well the Premiership and the Serie A has started) and of course this is the most exciting time of the year for me. Unfortunately living in New Zealand, I have to either stay up or wake up at early hours to watch matches. I made an attempt to watch the West Ham and Tottenham match at 12:00am NZT on Monday and about 30 minutes into the game, I passed out. Not because the game was over more because I was just tired and couldn't watch it. I wanted to watch Juventus' first game against Chievo and I couldn't muster the strength to wake up at 6:45am.

Also during this time, I usually make predictions of what's going to happen in this season. Well I'm deciding not to do that. Because I usually get them wrong and look foolish when I review previously posting and seeing the ridiculous predictions that never came to true. So I'll wait until about a couple of months into this 09/10 season to make my bold predictions.

I haven't been able to watch much of the opening round of the Serie A but it's about the third game of the Premiership and a couple of teams look very good. Tottenham have been looking pretty good in beating Liverpool, Stoke, and West Ham. I'm guessing I made that prediction a year too early. The money-machine of Manchester City is rolling too with Emanuel Adebayor leading the attack and also Arsenal with their free-flowing scoring are close to the top. The next couple of games are going to be a true test to see who are going to be challengers for the Premier League when Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United all play each other within the next couple of games.

I'm waiting for the La Liga to start and seeing how my team (Valencia) fare in this new season. Hopefully we can get into the top four this season and challenge for a Champions League spot. I'm sure that it will help eliminate some of the debt that is currently on the team's head. Also with the likes of David Villa and David Silva back for this season, I'm liking the team's chances. I think next week's clash against Sevilla will be a good test to see whether we deserve to be challengers or not.

I'm wishing that I will be able to catch all the big games that I can possibly see. I enjoy watching my football and rather be watching this than the stop-and-go of American football or ass-grabbing of Rugby. The creativity and flair keeps me interested in the beautiful game.

The Big Week Arrives...

This isn't any signal of me leaving or anything. I'm talking about the week leading to the big Chatham Cup Clash against Mirmar Rangers of Wellington. According to all the pundits (or the one or two that are in New Zealand I guess) they are the favorites to win the tournament. However they still have to go up against us. And we are going to make it hard on them with our free-flowing football. We are coming into the game with confidence due to our 5-0 victory against streaking Onehunga-Mangere. So hopefully we'll have a good week of training before next Sunday's clash.

Miramar will be a hard team to crack. They have a number of NZFC (New Zealand Football Championship) players on their squad and a couple of players who either have or still are playing for the All-Whites. Luckily we have the home-field advantage and the nice pitch of Keith Hay Park's No.1 Field on our side. We'll be prepared with the training that we are going to do. If we have last week to go to, then we'll be just fine.

I wonder where exactly am I going to be playing on Sunday Afternoon. I may be playing at center back or left fullback because they have pretty good wide-guys. And there is a tall forward that we have to deal with. I mean I understand since I may be a few inches smaller than the guy but I believe I can hold my own against those players. Use their height against them in some way and just keep them uncomfortable when they have the ball or about to get the ball. However I won't mind playing at left fullback either. I think I am physically fit enough to handle that position for 90 or 120 minutes. The real test is getting my positioning correct and keep my mind on the task. Usually when I play at the fullback, I would like to make more plays and I'm usually antsy about it. After playing it during the Lynn-Avon game, I felt more comfortable about what I was doing because I wasn't antsy about making plays and I thought it was the best I played in that position so I know I could play it. If you were to ask me, obviously I'd rather to play in the center but I'll do whatever is best for the team.

Other than the training, I'm probably just going to relax. I thought about going for a run during the day or going to the weight room but I think I should just keep my body relaxed for the week, maybe doing some stretching to keep my body limber. I'll probably just walk around this suburb taking pictures of spring coming in to New Zealand and just enjoying the warm weather. Then again, I won't be the least bit surprised if it rains tomorrow. It would be my luck....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Some Retropsect

It's been 13 days since I last wrote on my blog and believe me I've been trying to cook up things to say or be ridiculous about. However I haven't been successful and I don't know whether I'm losing the feel to blog or I was blogged for the wrong reasons before. I was so use to ranting and raving about my life that maybe some people (the people that read this thing) know more about me than they really should and might think that I'm emotionally unstable.

So I got away from writing about the ultra-personal things in my life because it's not your business what's in my head at all time. I don't think you knowing that I'm mad is going to change much. And I should just control my feelings and whenever things go wrong I should be more mentally stronger to handle it than I have before. And that would help wonders in my life and possibly others who have things go wrong for them. In the last year, I've heard from the newspapers and internet sites of people killing themselves because they couldn't make payments to their home or cars. Those people just weren't tough enough inside to handle the reality and may the Rest In Peace, they can't deal with rough situations that were brought to them. Granted in each case other things might have happened to lead them to the edge, however when it gets tough that's when the real person comes out.

Where was I again?

Oh why I haven't been writing on the blogs, well I have been trying to think of ways to redefine my blog. And to just to keep the personal feelings of myself out of it. I've been tempted to write two to three posts about my situation here and why I think staying here or going might be a good idea or bad. I stopped short from publishing because it sounded more like a crying baby rather than a young man trying to make decisions for his life. I may revisit those post and "grow it up" a little bit but now I'm just going to enjoy each day that I have and not worry about the next because it may or may not be coming.

Otherwise I'm fine today. I've gotten the day off from work just to rest a bad quad muscle for tomorrow's game. Hopefully nothing happens to it so we can win tomorrow's game leading up to our big Chatham Cup Semifinal game against Miramar Rangers (Wellington). I may walk around just to see how it feels. Other than that nothing huge is going on. My return date has been postponed until early October at the earliest. We have a couple of more league games to make up due to our cup committments so hopefully we can win the cup and the league and be greedy.

I'll be back with you guys later. I'm just glad I was finally able to complete a blog, it's been hard with this writer's block going on in my head.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Boxes, Boxes, and More Boxes

Yesterday, I woke up at about 7am, hmm I mean at 7:30. By the time I got dressed our ride was waiting on us to come out as we go to work for the day. We were working in the warehouse at Line 7 today. Line 7 is a clothing company in New Zealand that is current going out of business. So our mission for the day was to take apparel from their A1 collection (which is basically racing gear) and put all the boxes into a big container that was downstairs at the loading area. The thing was that there were hundreds and hundreds of boxes that we needed to put on palettes and take them down. Of course all the boxes were on the third floor, so we had to take the shady old elevator that we had to close ourselves and put the boxes on the palettes, take them downstairs, then we had to put the boxes in a huge container.

I'm sure it was sweet revenge for the boxes because a couple of weeks ago we had to take them up to the third floor and just toss them to the side with no thought of ever using them again. I was thinking that especially since the company is going out of business and our supervisior Woody said to just toss them wherever. So going back over picking up boxes that we just stacked was a real pain, especially with most of the boxes being torn in the first place. It was a real long day.

This was definitely an all-day operation. Looking at some of the gear I was thinking of who actually would be dumb enough to buy some of the stuff in here. I mean a Czech Republic A1 Racing Polo? I don't think there are many Czechs in this country to buy the gear. It was stupid some of the things that were in there. There was a toy racing car which I thought was cool but I couldn't take it. We were putting the boxes in the container because Line 7 is having a big sale at the Fairgrounds next week. It's just irritable that I don't think that any of the A1 gear will be sold. Oh well, I'm not paid to think just to throw boxes into a container.

By 4pm we were done with all the packing of that gear into the container. I honestly didn't think that we would get done with all of it but it happened. We started at 8 in the morning and emptied out most of the 3rd floor of those boxes. We felt relieved about it and tired at the same time. After that we mucked around for a hour until work was finally finished. Me and Greg walked around trying to find the right bus to get on. It was easier when we lived in the hostel because we knew what bus to take. However this time, we didn't have a clue which bus we needed to be on. So we were just walking and walking and walking, don't forget that I have a hurt quad at that and of course we were walking up hills also. We finally found the right bus and made our way home.

I wanted to do some extra thinking so I took an earlier stop and went walking around Dominion Road and such. I grabbed a bite to eat and then headed home. It was about 7:45pm when I got back and I just laid in bed and watched internet tv for a few until my laptop inexplicably turned off. So instead of trying to go through the trouble of turning it back on, I decided to go to sleep. And the nightmares of the boxes haunted the night.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time flies when you're having fun

On August 8, it will be a year since I first started my blog. I would talk about the type of evolution that I've had over this year. However I don't know if I've evolved too much. Obviously the random emotional outburst have subsided and I've learned to live by myself (um sorta). But for the most part, my blogs take on the personality of myself. The random and crazy thoughts of a ridonkulous person who is trying to grow up. And honestly I'm glad to have an audience for it (the three or four of you that actually read this excluding my family who usually get to see it everyday when I'm at home).

Now what I have planned for this anniversary. Well first of off, my club has a big league game against Fencibles on that Saturday so most of the focus will be on that. But obviously I have to write something on this special day. Will it be about my experiences here in New Zealand? Nah. Will it be an overview of my life this year? Meh Nah. Will I explain the my "fifth year of college life." (three of you know exactly what I'm talking about). I'll pass on that. I want to go further back. Way back. I've been trying to go to sleep tonight and a single thought has crossed my mind. I don't know where it came from. It's been hiding in the distant past. However I shall bring it to light or explain myself to this person (who probably doesn't even pay my blog any mind). I'll intro it for you...

"I've called this person up and told them that I would be in town for the weekend and just wanted to grab a coffee and talk for a little while. I'm not really looking for anything, I'm looking more for some closure. Well I've left this subject open for about a good 10 to 11 years and there should at least be an explanation. I was more surprised when you picked up the phone and said that you would indeed have the coffee with me and just talk for a little while. It's more of a surprised since the fact that we haven't really talked in person before. Now here's my chance, just to close the subject and at least let you know why. I don't even think you've gave it a second thought and to be honest I didn't either until now..."

I'll see you guys in about four days or so. Peace!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Uhh I guess a NZ Update

I should be doing much more updating on my experiences of New Zealand however I don't really think that there is much to update you on. The only real thing I could update you on is of my trip to Dunedin however I was sick for most of it and I couldn't even play in the game a couple of saturdays ago. Dunedin is in the South Island. It is in the region of Otago (wikipedia it) and it is famous for Speight's (the beer company) and it's wild university life. Now I didn't get to experience any of it because on this occasion however all the other guys made it a point to me that they had a good night.

On that Sunday, me and a couple of the guys went site-seeing before we headed on the plane going back to Auckland. It was cool, we walked around the university a little bit. It looked like your typical university except for the fact that the buildings looked more like castles and such. We also got to see the proclaimed "steepest street in the world." (seen above). We walked up the street and it was pretty steep I have to give it that. I would never want to drive my car up that street. I don't know if I would want to drive down it, I think I would lose control of the car or something.

Once we got on the top of the street, you could almost see all of the town. It is a beautiful town seeing it from the top. I'm glad I was able to go around and take pictures of it. We were going to go to the only castle on the Southern Hemisphere and take pictures unfortunately we didn't have time and we had to pay to get into it. That's the end of my experience in the South Island.

Other than that, I mean I can count the memorable things on one hand. All I do nowadays is play football and walk around this city. I've gotten to the point in my walking that I could pretty much lose myself and then get back to where I am going. Sometimes I walk 5 to 6kms (you do the conversions, I don't feel like it) and then just walk back like it is nothing. Most of the time I walk to see anything interesting but only some of the times I see anything worth interest. Just lots of mounts, even though I hardly get to see back home, I'm quite sick of it really.

Football? It's the same story. I got to play the full 90 against Papakura City on Saturday. This was after I could only manage 30 minutes in the Chatham Cup Quarterfinal game in Dunedin. So I miss out on the chance of playing in a big Cup game in the South Island and then I'm able to play in dreary conditions in South Auckland on a muddy pitch. I swear all the best things happen to me. Anywho, we won our league game 1-0. I don't really think that the game should have even been that tight. They did all they could to make us as uncomfortable as possible. I mean they weren't even worried about winning the game. They were celebrating the fact that they were tied with us at halftime. Even their coach said that they game probably should have been a tie. Are you having a laugh? Fortunately we put the game away with a single strike in the second half. It would have been pretty miserable leaving that field, playing that team, and tying the game, I wouldn't really know what to do. I feel like in this league a draw would be considered a lost because most of these teams aren't good at all. I mean the colleges in North Carolina (UNC, Wake Forest, and Duke) would all do well in this league, probably would be second behind us of course.

I think that's about it from my end. I don't know what else to really tell you. If I get time to explore more of this country then I would most definitely fill you in. However with the time that I'm playing football, it's highly unlike that I would have the time to do so. I'll continue to try and draw up more nonsense for you. Unfortunately there hasn't been too much nonsense in the bag lately. I think I'm drying up. Or I'm being too lazy to write up anyting. I'm choosing the latter.

Those darn imaginary readers