Friday, May 09, 2008
Goalkeeper of the Year:
David James has put in some sterling performances this term which has been an undoubted key element in Portsmouth's fantastic season. A season in which he could yet win an FA Cup Winner's medal. One of his defining moments came in the FA Cup, back in the fifth round at Preston North End. Preston have a penalty and James seems to just fill out the goal before glowering menacingly at the ball. It does the trick and Preston's penalty taker Simon Whalley hits a tame effort to James' right. Easy save. Pompey play on.
Defender of the Year:
It pains me to say it, as a Chelsea fan, but Ferdinand has been impressive at the back. I thought it was partly to do with the presence of Vidic but even when Vidic was injured Man United have barely flinched. Ferdinand has matured this season and as long as he puts his petulance, which rose again at the end of the Chelsea game, behind him I will be a grudging admirer if he gets the England captaincy.
Midfielder of the Year:
There can be no arguments here. Forty goals for a midfielder is beyond sublime. Part of the reason why Man U are in the position they are in. His free kick against Portsmouth summed up his incredible season. Skill, desire, goals in abundance.
Striker of the Year:
Again, no argument here. 32 goals in his debut season having moved from his home country and a different kind of football is phenemenonal. One wonders where Liverpool migh have been but for his goals this season. His goal against Arsenal in the white hot atmosphere of an Anfield Champions league night was arguably the pick of the bunch.
Player of the Year:
Okay. Now the arguments start! Everyone else has plumped for Cristiano Ronaldo. As a self confessed detester of .... no, not Ronaldo, but hyperbole, I decided to attempt to make a case for Torres. Do not forget, I support Chelsea and am sick to the sight of Liverpool as well. Here goes:
Player of the Year is an individual award in a team sport. As such I believe it is more than just goals which should define the Player of the Year. Indeed, this consideration saw a goalkeeper picked in the actual shortlist. I believe it should be about contribution to the team, work ethic and one or two other considerations.
As mentioned above, imagine Liverpool without Torres. Indeed, Jamie Carragher has pointed put Torres did not actually miss that many games. But it FELT like Torres had. Why? When he was not playing he was missed by Liverpool and thus the media immediately. Now, imagine Man U without Ronaldo. Yes, they would have struggled a bit more admittedly. Not by much though, it is hard to see Man U struggling at the worst of times, but with a team boasting Carrick, Hargreaves, Rooney, Tevez, Giggs, Nani, Andersen, Scholes etc, Man United would have almost certainly been up there. Again compare with Liverpool, of the players at such a high level week, in week out, only Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso could come close. Babel is still too young and the rest are too inconsistent. Voronin anybody?
Which team is likely to afford a player more space? The one where the opposition cannot focus on one or two players. In this light 32 goals in Torres' first season I would suggest compares favourably with Ronaldo's 40. Remember the service Torres is relying on compared to Ronaldo for some of those goals? Mostly one man, Gerard. Ronaldo has a whole outfield ten. Torres has also played two games less. He was unlikely to score four in two but his tally may have been slightly closer still. In addition two of Ronaldo's goals were against an abject West Ham side who, for his first, almost begged him to waltz through and tap it in.
Coming to the next plank of my case, I refer to the fact that Torres is in his first season at a new club, in a new country, playing a different style of football. Ronaldo has been here several seasons already and is following on from a stellar season last year. Torres had everything to prove and everything to lose. As evidence I would call Witness A, Andriy Shevchenko, Witness B, Michael Ballack as well as several others who have not exactly shined in their first season in the Premier League. Some still have yet to rediscover their previous world class form and are contemplating an embarrasing withdrawal. In such a case I would suggest the greater pressure was on Torres to prove himself. Ronaldo, even more so next season, could relax, in the knowledge that regardless of how he plays, he can be forgiven for not reaching such heights every season.
You are, of course, welcome to still support Ronaldo. I just hope that an appreciation of Torres has been restored amongst the swamp of ink spilt over the man from Portugal.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
.....and other matters.
This was meant to be added to a few weeks ago but my computer, which in human years is just about ready for a pension and a bus pass, had a fit and descended into what is known as DLL Hell.
For those that do not know and have not experienced this form of computer illness-less virus or worm but rather akin to electronic alzheimers, I shall explain.
DLL hell is a colloquial term for the complications that ensue when working with dynamic link libraries (DLLs) in Microsoft Windows.
It takes a number of forms, the most common often shows up in a Windows alert window that reports: "A Required DLL File, xxxx, was not found" when users try to run an application.
Well, mine was slightly more serious. My DLL problems started on logging into Windows. Therefore, it was not a case of just removing some rogue applications. The whole registry had to go. Which meant reformatting my C drive. A bit of a pain in the proverbial but it was overcome. After some pianful hours reloading the base OS, Windows, programs.... you get the picture, last week
VISA HELL AVERTED.
Since the DLL Hell problem and its repair Chelsea have made it to Moscow. Which posed a problem. With the current political situation between Russia and pretty much everybody else from its western border outwards to say I was concerned would be putting it mildly. Throwing in the wait and cost of trying to get hold of a VISA was also somewhat vexing.
Well, take it from me, the whole army of supporters marching on the Luzhniki stadium has breathed a whole sigh of relief, contributing to our carbon emissions significantly, when the Russians made a pact with UEFA that as long as the fans are in, out, not shaking it all about within 72 hours, the match ticket will be our VISA.
I'll toast some Dovgan to that.
Hopefully not so much that I cannot add some more thoughts on football tomorrow. Luzhniki Stadium Picture Source: Flickr User: Sauri
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