Jo – a Brazilian Mercenary at Everton

J--the-Everton-striker-001

George Roberts remember’s Jo’s two loan spells at Everton…

Everton’s previous forays into the world of Brazilian football had been unmemorable. Ask fans about Rodrigo or Anderson da Silva, and you’ll most likely be met with blank expressions. The loan signing of Jô in February 2009 hinted at better prospects, however. Here was a striker with a reputation: Manchester City had paid some £18 million the previous summer to sign him from CSKA Moscow. Jô himself admitted he hadn’t settled well at City and had struggled to adapt to the pace and physicality of the English game.

The early signs were certainly encouraging. Making his debut against Bolton, the striker scored a brace; three more goals followed before the season was out. David Moyes turned down the option of a £10 million permanent move over the summer, but happily took Jô back on loan when he again found himself once again surplus to requirements at City.

However, Jô’s lack of physical presence and shoddy first touch became obvious. If Everton had been a side with a genuine passing game, this may not have been such an issue. Continue reading

Brasileirão Returnees Part 1 – Gilberto Silva and Jô

aj0wkdin6xur6kwb6a7bj27rr

In the first of a two part specialTim Stillman of Vital Arsenal and Arseblog takes a look at how some of the Seleção have fared when they returned to Brazil…

Much has been written in the past around the ability of Brazilian players to adapt to life in the Premier League. It’s difficult to pontificate on the subject without lapsing into cliché – a challenge Rob Brown met manfully at the outset of this series. Rob was correct to point out cultural differences between the two countries. The punctuality of the Premier League training regime is at odds for a country for whom ‘antes tarda do que nunca‘ (‘better late than never’) is an ingrained cliché. I attended a graduation ball in Minas Gerais back in July and I was already yawning by the time we arrived at the event shortly before 1am.

Football is more of an art than a science in Brazil and its national league, Brasileirão, bears those traits for better and for worse. The league is temperamental to say the least. Not simply because of the amount of yellow and red cards you can expect to see, but the league table is capable of turning itself upside down from season to season. Most clubs are basket cases financially, which prevents any one team from dominating. Teams are generally very evenly matched; one or two astute signings can see you leap up the table. Cruzeiro, who have ostensibly fought relegation in the last 3 seasons, currently lead Serie A by 12 points.

The appointment of Marcelo de Oliveira Santos as coach and canny additions such as Dede and Everton Ribeiro has been enough to catapult them to champions elect. Yet it’s likely that Cruzeiro’s promising players will be picked off soon enough and they will have to start again. Meanwhile, Fluminense (1st in 2012) and Vasco da Gama (5th) are all in a relegation battle in 2013 due to tumultuous club politics. Again, without wishing to stereotype, the Brazilian game tends to be honed ‘na rua’ (‘in the street’) which isn’t necessarily conducive to the tactical rigidity often required in the Premier League.

Consequently, Brasileirão contains a fair sample of players who have tried their hand in the Premier League. It’s far too simplistic to say that Brazilians don’t “do” tactics, this is a nation with five World Cups after all. In truth, Brazil’s last two World Cup triumphs, in 1994 and 2002, weren’t achieved with anything close to the flair of the 1970 squad, who still leave a deep imprint on the popular perception of Seleção. Brazil has always been renowned for the flair that they have given the game. “Futebol art” and “jogo bonito” are football clichés applied to the nation. Yet Brazil are not as renowned as they ought to be for the quality of their “volantes” the Brazilian term for defensive midfielders. “O volante” literally means “the steering wheel.” Continue reading

Anderson – Manchester United’s Big Brazilian

cando_bogunited

Tom Coast, writer for Can They Score?, profiles Anderson…

“What could have been”. If there ever was a sentence or expression that is most likely to be linked with Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira, it would be that one.

When Anderson arrived at Manchester United, everyone thought Sir Alex Ferguson had signed the “next-Ronaldinho”. One could see why they thought that. Both Brazilian. Both attacking midfielders. Both very good dribblers. The only issue was Sir Alex Ferguson himself.

The man was a genius. That fact is indisputable. His trophy and medal cabinet as a manager prove that. However, when it came to fitting in an attacking midfielder in his system, he seemed a tad lost. Continue reading

Editor’s Column: Moyes, BT Sport and Referees

ad116909374manchester-engla-e1380386724995

The False Nine editor James Dutton begins his new weekly column, focusing on some of the talking points of the weekend’s football action…

So David Moyes has made the worst start of any Manchester United manager for the past 850 years. Or something like that.

A return of seven points from the opening five fixtures was below-par, but by no means a disaster. The way those points were won though, was hardly a sign of encouragement for the season. United were by no means rampant in their opening-day win at Swansea, merely clinical in the opposition’s penalty area and solid in their own.

In the middle third there was little that was excellent though, a shortcoming that Ferguson was able to paper over for years but which Moyes is struggling with so far. The insipid 0-0 with Chelsea lacked the typical Ferguson tour-de-force, and the performance in defeat at Anfield was little better.

Their dispatchment of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League was impressive, but has been followed up by three performances which have straddled between lacklustre, indifferent and diabolical. Continue reading

Wayne Rooney’s Legacy Marches On Against His Own Will

rooney-moyes

Following another drawn-out saga, Jon Wilmore comments on the Wayne Rooney situation…

If he’s happy, he’s got a funny way of showing it. But for Wayne Rooney, happiness does not appear to be an essential quality. Its absence from his working life has done nothing to neuter his rampant return to form. It’s a curious contradiction for a man so heralded as the archetypal lover-of-the-game, but perhaps that’s just it – so great is his love for football that he is utterly ambivalent as to where he’s playing it. Continue reading

Manchester United Fans Discover Mortality On Deadline Day

£££75-Marouane-Fellaini-poses-with-David-Moyes-after-signing-for-the-club-2246839

As the dust settles on a frustrating first transfer window for David Moyes at Old Trafford, Chris Francis believes the fans will have to get used to an aura-less future…

The last week has been enlightening. If you are a supporter of a team that is not Manchester United you will have noticed a change. It’s like the Wizard of Oz. We’ve been walking along the Yellow Brick Road for all these years, and instead of finding the Great Oz living in the Emerald City there is a mere mortal behind the screen. Where once was the greatest of all managers, Sir Alex Ferguson, who corralled the best out of his players and was able to convince the most explosive talents to join Manchester United, there is instead David Moyes.

Moyes of course has many excellent attributes on which he is able to draw. He has proven that he can find value in the transfer market before. He has moulded teams with superb work-ethic and togetherness. He has made consistent teams, ones on which he is able to rely. He has also found excellent leaders from within his squads, and got more out of some players than perhaps they imagined they had.

But he, and the ranked United masses, have seen that while the club structure is in place for a new manager, he is still just that; new. He is inexperienced at this level, and without the huge track record of making stellar signings. He has made big signings for Everton before – Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Beattie – to varying levels of success. But he is finding already that the next step up, to manage the biggest club in the country, brings its own difficulties. Clubs feel they can drive a harder bargain in the knowledge that you have deep pockets. The players you are in for will almost certainly play for other big clubs or are the stars of the teams they are at. Other big clubs will want these same players.

United ended the transfer window in a manner that we are not used to seeing. Yes, there have been close calls before but in the most obvious case of Dimitar Berbatov, he was at least the man they wanted all along. Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera, and Leighton Baines drifted through the open window and on in to the night’s sky, like the mere dreams they turned out to be.  Continue reading

David Moyes, Sir Alex Ferguson and 5 other successions from football’s past

Who will replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United? - video

With the dawn of a new era breaking over Old Trafford, Greg Johnson looks back to some of football’s most famous (and infamous) hand overs of power between dynasties, empires and icons…

On July 1, David Moyes will enter the manager’s office at Manchester United’s Carrington training complex for first time, not as a visitor but as its reigning incumbent following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

The club’s selection of successor to follow in the footsteps of their outgoing leader has been widely discussed online and off. Is Moyes capable of lifting the team to the precarious heights many argue Jose Moruinho would have been certain to deliver? Why was the capture of Jurgen Klopp, with his exciting, direct football and evangelism of youth talent, not priotitsed? How important will Moyes’ domestic experience and strict management of Everton be in ensuring transition at the top runs smooth?

Having recommended Moyes for the post himself, Sir Alex clearly believes the Scotsman to be capable of building on his work, but are such handovers of power, with their ceremonial baton passes, effective at protecting a footballing empire?

Below are five examples of successions from football’s past for United fans to mull over. Continue reading