Thursday, August 13, 2009

EPL 09/10

Who will win the title and the top 4?

The thing to be said is that no team has done it 4 years in a row, United has done 3 in a row before but never 4 but then the same doubts existed before United did 3 in a row, so wont put it past them. So heart and brains both say United. I also rate Arse above plucky pool and Chelsea. A fully fit Eduardo is twice the player that Adebayor is and fully integrates with the way Arsene likes his football to be played but quite frail at the back, so if the defence is fixed I would pick Arse to finish ahead of the traditional also rans and Chelsea. Pool has a great team but a poor squad and the loss of Alonso was played out too long and is a big reverse to the team and the manager. Kudos to Alonso, Rafa wanted him out last season, he fought that and stayed. Rafa wanted him this season and he fought hard and left. That is a fact! Also a fact - that they had a fantastic 2009 so will I think it’s the bronze for them this year ahead of Chelski. A great team that Chelski are, they will suffer from the Terry drama and there is no equivalent of a Pirlo in their team, they have a Gattuso in Essien and a Kaka in Lampard(in the EPL there is no better) but no Pirlo!

Top 4: Manchester United, Arsenal (with Eduardo fit), Liverpool and Chelsea.

Will little Mickey become a hit?

I will say 15 goals and he is a hit. Score the winner at Anfield and he is a hit, there is so little expected of him and that is his biggest advantage, the only thing that would make him a flop is to get injured for a very long time.

Will Liverpool cope without Xabi Alonso?

He never had a season as good as his last one, but then that goes for Pool too so whether they are inter-dependant, I am not so sure. As a United fan, I would love for it to be true but I would attribute last season’s best of the rest run to using Gerrard as a second striker than Alonso’s form. So a younger, faster Aquilani should be a improvement for them, so yes, they will cope without Alonso but I would be glad if they don’t!


What will happen to Man City?

5th at best, they have some excellent finishers but who is going to create them? I am not sure Robinho, Petrov and Ireland can be considered World class and their defence still counts Richard Dunne as its best player. They have a world class keeper and a brilliant strike force but am not convinced with the midfield or their defence and looking at how badly they were chasing Kaka and Terry, Hughes is not convinced either.

Which of the 3 promoted teams will stay up?

I surely like Burnley, they were brilliant in the cup games last year, ask Arsene, and he will tell you. They play good football and deserve to stay up. Birmingham has enough players with EPL experience to stay up although not sure of their strike force, Wolves had a great strike force but not sure Knightly can be as effective as he was in the Championship so Burnley would be the surprise amongst the 3 of them but their purchases in the close season have only shown that they are planning to be in the Championship very soon, Steven Fletcher from up North is the high profile one.

Who will be relegated?

Hull for sure, I am still surprised how they escaped the last time. I would also pick Wolves for the simple reason that other than their strikers and Knightly they don’t have anyone to draw inspiration from. The final slot will be filled by one amongst Birmingham, Bolton and Wigan.

Who will be first Manager to lose his job?

Mark Hughes would be the popular choice but for some strange reason he has been shown tremendous loyalty by the new management so I guess that is not going to change overnight although his expenditure is an excuse for the media witch-hunt on him. The Wigan manager Martinez is unproven at this level, although his resume is far better than Paul Ince’s was. Mr. McCarthy may not have the rub of the green and the same for Mr. McLeish.

Best Summer Signing?

Securing Jo for another year is a good one, Everton need a bit more quality so as to not miss Cahill and Arteta. If Lescott stays and he is happy, then I would say that would be best signing of the summer. Exciting ones like little Mickey, Glen Johnson, a fully fit Eduardo or Hargreaves can all be major players and be highly influential

Silly Mistake of the Season?

Not convinced with Valencia so there is one for a starter, Mickey Owen on the Doctor’s table would have the London Press laughing at Sir Alex. A unhappy Lescott could be a big mistake, but nothing can beat not selling John Terry for £40 million. It is too much money for an overrated Donkey. They have proved that Man City cannot bully them, kudos for that but then silly money does not come around every day.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My 2p worth on the SL Issue

It is noteworthy that Indian Tamils who were taken to the country for labour by the British and protected during the British reign were always 3rd party to what was happening. They had a sense of brotherhood and Tamils with Indian origins played their part from both sides of the border but was never considered equals to Yalpanam Tamizhs and were never accepted as one.

As the division grew and Yalapanam Sri-Lankan/Tamixhs felt oppressed in their own land. In the 70’s, the Communist influence and the western education of the Yalpanam Tamizhs, who had by now migrated and settled well in the west came rise to a few movements that wanted to fight for their cause. Exploiting schemes created for Indians to return to their homeland, these rebels set up bases and trained in India. Premadasa and Rajiv Gandhi colluded to set the IPKF on the LTTE, by far the only movement that survived the cull. LTTE were establish and well supported until they fell under terrorist umbrella after they ignored the Geneva Peace Talks, Colombo Airport Bombing and then the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. 2005 saw the arrival of Rajapakse and his determination to end all drama, no matter the cost. We all know how that finished.

Personally, I feel that the Tamizhs who belonged to the land went down fighting for a just cause of equality. Thanks to some misguided actions of the Indian Government and the LTTE, the Singhalese gained moral high ground and the Tamizhs who for long have suffered are now left at the mercy of the Singhalese. This is wrong because they are not foreigners. I expect this lot to seek refuge with those who have been lucky to escape and seek better live elsewhere but no one should be denied the right to their own land and funny that the joke that the UN is now and the democratic super-powers who have fought silly wars shouting the same but with ulterior motives got away with paying nothing more than lip service against this injustice and this cull by the Sri Lankan government is now complete. Painfully sad

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

EPL Preview - Teams


Who will win it then?

United.

This season for one will be quite difficult and will be a 70-80 point season. There is a list of 6-8 teams that cans surprise the top 4 on their day, and I expect that to happen quite frequently this season and the team amongst the top 2 that skips around this minefield successfully will win, hoping United’s and Fergie’s experience to save us.

Something that the London press have made it a point to ignore to build up Chelsea is the transfer of ‘rock-solid’ Makelele out of Chesea! Deco is not the answer, the one person who can step into that role is Essien and Mikel would be a good back up but it would take both of them put together to make up for one Makelele. United will miss Ronaldo’s goals and there is a big question mark on whether he can match last season, least improve on it. This long break and all these pressure will fire him up for sure, that’s what the last 2 seasons have taught us about the boy.

Will it be a 2-horse race?

It will be, but I expect the other ‘competitors’ to push them very close this season. Liverpool and Arse are not favourites for the Champion League slots, the Torres-Keane-Gerrard Combination is being built up, as good as it sounds, the backup again is lacking. Provided they qualify for the CL proper, they need more for their Alonsos and Benayouns. Same for Arsenal, the defence is very suspect, when your best defender is William Gallas, that’s says everything does it not? So it’s a 2 horse race yes, but a very tight one.
Relegation

Any 3 from Boro, Fulham, Hull and Stoke will do down.

Boro – All depends on Alves and his goals, Wheater should improve with an extra year under his belt but again, Arca and Downing alone cant save a team and are inconsistent and injury prone.

Fulham – Some clever purchases and a very experienced manager means that I could very wrong with this, but again when you buy players like Zamora and Pantsil who cant get into a struggling team like West Ham, it does not show a lot of promise

Hull & Stoke – Unknown and for me don’t have any names that inspires any confidence. Trusting the same players who took them into the premiership is heartening but not clever!

UEFA cup slots

Arse, Pool, Portsmouth, Everton (provided the impending transfers do come), Villa and of course Spurs.

Amongst the list above, the team that gets out of the cups including the UEFA cup the earliest will nick the UEFA Cup slot. Due to the fixture list because of the no of teams in Europe this year, we can expect another season of cup upsets in the FA Cup and the League Cup.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Does your name define you?

Vanity has reached new heights with people starting to give 'stylish' names to their children, moving away from tradition where you could identify the area and culture of a person, given the name. Conversely, this only shows that people are in a way ashamed or their roots and want their children to be someone they wanted to be but ‘could not’ be. I come across few Tamil children with Tamil names, with a good majority scouring the Internet for ‘fancy’ names and complex meanings.

My name was judged upon recently and the mere mention of my name had instilled doubts on whether I could speak English. To be frank, yes, my spoken English was never any good until I had been to Singapore but that was the case across my school for everyone who had not read anything more than Hardy boys and Nancy Drew along with Archies and Tin-tin. There was a time I had to seek my friend’s help to talk to a counsellor just because I was not confident about my verbal skills. But then, the situation is a lot better now and that’s not because I had changed my name is it? I had my circumstances and my good friend Rajiv to thank for that.

What irks me is that this is not the late 80’s and early 90’s where the people from the South aped the people from the North and people from the North wanted to be ‘Americans’ with all their first names becoming Christian names, this is the era where ‘on-site’ opportunities has enabled everyone to roam the world and by now people should realized the people that we pray to actually spend half the time and money in getting darker and spending their holidays in ‘exotic’ India and the other Asian countries. Seriously, to an outsider (Non-Indian) what difference does the name ‘Shanmuga’ and ‘Deepak’ make? Zilch! Both are names that they can’t relate to anyway. So its just us who has a problem and its time we grew up and not generalize. A ‘Subbulakshmi’ can wear a short skirt and can have an American accent, she does not have to change her name, and all she has to do is join a call centre!

If you think that who you are is a disadvantage, prove yourself and set it right, do something great and your name, whatever it is, will relate to greatness and will be ‘cool’. Remember it’s the underdog that the world roots for, not the favourites

Monday, July 28, 2008

Handwriting Analysis.....

Wrote a letter and got my handwriting analysed recently. The person was quite generous and claimed thats what the analysis said about me. Firstly, the handwriting suggested that I extremely generous person, probably bordering on the extravagant. Quickly, to the stunner, 'stickler for detail , probably a bit too disciplined', say that to my parents and they will faint. Moving on, 'not a very friendly person- but take care of the ppl u r friends with already well' - will let you guys to be the judge of that. I would do well in Business but am confused sometimes, just sometime?? hmmmm.....

To a bit more about things I like talking about, 'optimistic & ambitious', this I would agree. I will like to lead India one day, as the Prime Minister, my portfolio might include managing the Indian Football team, so guess this would fall into both categories. Finally, the part I shall shamelessly admit to be happy with - 'the most striking thing is ur individuality, ur self worth is probably the most important thing'. Ah, admit it, everyone likes a bit of that, don't we? But just as I was about to wave to the crowd and take a bow, it was followed with 'so individualistic that u may be seen as overbearing'. Oops, a quick getaway via the back door was in order :(

Saturday, June 21, 2008

From little Niki to me :)

Dear mama,
I do apologise for the communication gap that exists between you and me. I hope you do appreciate that I am still not quite in your league (not sure whether to be unhappy about it though, with all due respect). Please give me some more time, and things should look up.Assuring you that your intent has always been appreciated.
Kind regards,
Nikhil

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Communication is not about what is being said...

Well the so called magnum opus, Dasavatharam released this week, and like everyone else, albeit a Rajni fan, went to see the very first day. I should say I was disappointed because the whole purpose of the movie seems to be to create this world record of a single man playing 10 different characters, even though the make-up for most of them seems way too elaborate and absolutely unnecessary.

If you have started to think this is just another Rajni fan having a go at another much hyped let down from Kamal Hassan, then you are wrong. The man is a genius, an acting god. I will give it to him, but then when you put so much of another person's money at stake, and try to reach to the people of tamil nadu with a story, then you have to pay some attention to what the common man understands. We all seem to assume that a movie is done for the so called educated city crowd, but then these are not the people who pay for the movies, they watch it 'on the net' or with cheap pirate DVDs, the real money comes in from the poor chap who 'labours' over 8 hrs a day for paltry sum as compensation and then passes the same to the man over the counter at the cinema, a good majority of that amount to let him and his family in, so that they can have a good time.

The point is, does this majority who pay good money to have a decent time understand complicated words and a dull plot to glorify a single man? NO. Does this crowd set out to critically evaluate the cinematography or the message? NO. Do they wonder if what they see on the screen can be replicated in their day to day lives? NO. So, if the customer, who is king does not understand a complicated fare dished out, why bother? Which is why they say, communication is not about what is being said.. but what is being understood. So my dear friends, stop having a go at people who make the impossible possible on screen, if the person paying wanted sorry reality, a mirror is a lot cheaper and losts longer!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

4th in the Fantasy League (League of 17)


Finally, after a gripping climax to the fantasy league, I managed to finish a disappointing 4th. After leading for most of the season, that is really sad! It was just 22 points that seperates me and the top dog :( There was one week I had 26 points sitting on the bench! Anyway congrats to both Ramanan and Bala for nicking it from me at the finish!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kumar's EPL Awards

Player of the Season
1. Ronaldo - Well he did better than Alan 'Its your job to make me score' Shearer, and Thierry 'I am God' Henry... all that playing most of the season on the wings.
2. Roque Santa Cruz - Tops Torres for the simple reason that he cost Blackburn 1/7th the price of Torres
3. Fernando Torres - Avoided the blushes for Liverpool single-handedly. Sorry even Gerrard could not have done this.

Manager of the Season
1. Avram Grant - Although the London press a.k.a. English Press did their best to belittle him, managed to sneak behind everyone's back to challenge United.
2. David Moyes - Arsene Wenger should stop moaning about Money and learn from this man.
3. Sir Alex Ferguson - What can you say, won it 10 times and yet immediately talks about the 11th. LEGEND!

Goal of the Season
1. Ronaldo's free kick against Portsmouth at Old Trafford - Magical
2. Ronaldo's back heel shot against Aston Villa at Old Trafford - Cheeky
3. Adebayor's against Tottenham at the Emirates - Good skill for such a tall man ;)


Flop of the Season
1. David Nugent - Should have worked with Keano, atleast would have become a man.
2. Kaboul - Scapegoat? - no way, took away a good man in Jol away from the EPL
3. Florent Malouda - Could have done a lot better, definitely not French player of the year material.

Surprise of the Season
1. Julian Lescott - 10 Goals - says it all, so many of them crucial for their 5th position
1. Nwanko Kanu - Great start, faded away but still a great return.
2. Elano - Find of the season, carried Man City on his shoulders but then ran out of steam.



Buys of the Season
1. Distin at Portsmouth - What a signing! Great partnership with Campbell and he is going to get someone better to play with next season
2. Ashley Young - Great talent, good value for money
3. Santa Cruz - Look above!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Apostrophe after the "s"

Place an apostrophe after the "s" when you are dealing with a possessive plural case that has an "s" at the end (e.g., book to books, tree to trees). But if the word is plural without an "s" at the end, this rule does not apply; add an apostrophe and an "s" as if the word were singular.

  • "Look at all of the sailors' boats!" The boats belong to the sailors (plural: there is more than one sailor).
  • "The children's dresses were pink and frilly." The dresses belong to the children, but since the word children is already plural without having to add an "s" at the end, this is an exception.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Who says what....

A person that I know very well manages opinion in a different way. He always asks himself the question, is this person who has shared his 'opinion/comment' qualified enough to comment on that particular subject? In the heat of the moment thats a very difficult thing to do! He always smiles whether its  a compliment or of the opposite kind. If he then thinks that the comment has come from a person worth his salt, he takes it on board, otherwise just chucks it just like the thousand other things you hear every day from the time you get out of bed to the time one gets back into bed.

Pushed for an example, he explained how a couple, one half does not know to drive and the other just learnt, yet they assumed that they were in a position to comment on his driving style and this is in a foreign land where he has been there longer than this couple! It was funny when he explained that he will have glorified them if had reacted to it :)) 

I have an example of my own, relating to cricket fans. Almost 90% of the Indian population, irrespective of age and sex have an opinion on how the Indian Cricket team should be selected, how the players should play but in the end, who does the newspapers  pay for his/her opinion?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What should we aspire to?

Looking at how much we celebrate the defaults (Our country, our parents, our language, our religion) that our birth has given us, I wonder if its more appropriate that we strive towards all these celebrating our existence instead of the other way around? What I am trying to say is that if we genuinely believe that things like the country that we are born in, the family we are born into are indeed a privilege, then first recognise that we did not work to earn or sacrifice anything, it was GIVEN. So lets put that bit of effort into doing something worthwhile to show the person (open to interpretation as per your religious views) who gave you this that you acknowledge the gift and have done this good thing to show your appreciation. Who would you rather be, the ferrari engineers for whom the Italian National Anthem is dedicated to or the rest of the Italians who are on their couches feeling 'good' and 'proud' about the Italian National Anthem being played?