Tag Archives: Swansea City

A B C D E F G H I Jesus Christ, how many groups does the Europa League need!

With 12 groups in total, just comprehending the size of the Europa League requires you to have paid close attention during those Sesame Street episodes as a youth. L is for Ludicrous.

As someone who likes to think of himself as fairly knowledgeable on football in general I have to admit I have paid little to no attention to Europe’s second competition this season and it all just seems a little over complicated for me.

With one eye on Forest’s attempts to climb the Championship table and the other on the more traditional fair of top flight football and Champions League action, games such as Dnipro V Pandurii, and Kuban Krasnodar V St. Gallen have unfortunately slipped me by.

The suits at Uefa, led by Mousier Plattini, have cobbled together the competition out of the ashes of the Cup Winners cup and the Uefa cup format and created a monster.

With big teams fielding weakened sides and blaming their involvement for lapses in league form, and other teams struggling to see the economic value of flying half way across the world to battle out for a 0-0 draw to secure third place in the group, the tournament continues to pail into insignificance. Ever increasingly in the shadows of its much more successful and better looking sibling, the Champions League, teams such as Swansea are seeing the harsh reality of having to play on a Thursday night somewhere in the midst of Europe affecting their league form so far this season.

Another issue. The teams that fail in the Champions league should not be allowed to enter the next stage of the Europa league. Like poor quality hand me down’s these teams shouldn’t be automatically sent to the Europa League for a second chance in the sun. All this does is clog up an already congested system. Plus many of those teams don’t really want to be in the Europa League anyway.

Jon can’t bear to think of a Thursday night kick off

Take Chelsea for instance. Even as they were on their way to winning the competition a couple of seasons ago, they didn’t want to be there. There fans didn’t want to be there. Abramovich didn’t want to be there. And their players certainly didn’t want to be there. With Chelsea about to take part in the showpiece final against Benfica, Jon Obi Mikel came out and lamented the fact he had to “play on Thursday nights in front of Channel 5 cameras”. And bless his little heart, he didn’t know the Europa League song and missed the “prime time” of Champions League football.

While having an AC Milan or Chelsea in the draw might look good on paper, in reality these teams only serve to dilute the respectability of the competition and with 48 teams already making up the group stages it is counter-productive to then add a further 8 at a later stage.

Undoubtedly having a second European competition is key in order to prevent the chasm between Europe’s elite clubs and the rest growing even further but I can’t help but feel a simpler version which keeps itself to itself without accepting cast off’s and winners of fair play tables would be more rewarding; both for the teams taking part and for those of us seeking a competitive enjoyable tournament.

Because at the minute all the Europa League seems good for is giving Jermaine Defoe a run out.

Sporting Week in Pictures (Oct 28 – Nov 5)

Another look at sports people posing for the cameras during the past week…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2487856/Tiger-Woods-hits-golf-ball-Europe-Asia-tees-Bosphorus-Bridge.html

Since his off field antics came to light Tiger Woods has failed to find the form that made him the king of golf and this shot has got to go down as out of bounds. Woods was actually attempting to become the first person to hit a golf ball from Europe into Asia (Finally! We’ve all been waiting for that moment I know) as he hit the drive on Bosphorus Bridge in Turkey. I’m not sure local commuters will have been quite so happy with Woods taking over half the bridge to complete the feat mind.

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/photos/sports-photos-slideshow/melbourne-cup-day-20131105-044303-192–rah.html;_ylt=AgKcNNZXnNI4ybCLwabKkp_4VpEB;_ylu=X3oDMTNrdnFtZWszBHBrZwM2MzQ3YTFhNS0wODY4LTM4MTYtYjIzYS0wMmEyNWQxNmIzOGQEc2VjA01lZGlhQ2Fyb3VzZWxQaG90b0dhbGxlcnlDQVhIUgR2ZXIDYzFlZDYyMzAtNDVkNC0xMWUzLWI1ZmYtMTBiZDkxNzE1N2Rh;_ylg=X3oDMTBhY2IwdWc5BGxhbmcDZW4tR0I-;_ylv=3

Fiorente won the Melbourne Cup horse race this week leaving the trainer and family visibly delighted as he passed the finishing post. Although by the looks of things the guy at the back might have gone a little overboard – much to the shock/delight of the lady in purple and green. With the prize money standing at over $6.2 million (Aussie dollars)  you can understand them getting a little over excited I suppose.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-2483149/Steve-Thompson-scores-80-metre-try-England-legends-victory-Australia-Stoop.html

The current international teams played out a tight Autumn test on Saturday which saw England come out on top. But as you can probably tell this isn’t a picture from that game. It is nearly 10 years since Jonny Wilkinson slotted that drop goal through the posts to seal victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final against Australia in their own back yard and in honour of that occasion some of the band got back together to take each other on for charity last week. The highlight of the game was undoubtedly hooker Steve Thompson’s 80 metre sprint/waddle to the line which was quickly followed by a pint.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/gallery/2013/nov/03/south-wales-derby-cardiff-swansea-pictures

On Sunday afternoon Cardiff City overcame their fierce rivals, Swansea City, 1-0 in torrential rain to secure the bragging rights over their Welsh neighbours. With police on high alert and potential for trouble always likely this fan resorted to old school playground tactics to mock the travelling Swansea supporters. You see you don’t need flares (the pyrotechnic not the trousers popular in the 1970’s) or missiles to intimidate your opponents, all you need is a pasty white beer belly and your thumb up your nose.

http://galleries.nba.com/gallery/Game_Action%3A_Oct._30#.Unlfgfm-2So

The NBA got under way last month and the New York Knicks’ Iman Shumpert has clearly spent the off season developing some new defensive tactics. That or he just really wanted a game of leap-frog with the Milwauke Bucks’ Caron Butler. I have to admit I have no idea what happened in the seconds after this image but I’m going to predict at least one of these three ended up on the floor.