You can find all the excuses in the world. It’s only pre-season. These games don’t matter. The screw-ups, in general, aren’t even first team regulars. Etc… and so on.
The sad truth for fans of English football though, is that their stars have failed badly over the last few days. Followers of Championship football should be especially concerned.
With just a week to go before the English Football League kicks-off its 2010/11 season, Derby fans were given plenty to worry about in their friendly with Birmingham on Saturday. After conceding a first half corner, Rams goalie Stephen Bywater covered himself in buckets of shame by refusing to clear his lines at the opportune moment, allowing the onrushing Sebastian Larsson to make a slide tackle with the ball ending up in the net.
Norwich fans also were left fearing the worst after their 4-2 home hammering at the hands of Everton on Saturday, with new keeper John Ruddy making few East Anglian friends with a terrible performance against the Toffees. Fortunately for Ruddy, while England goalie Rob Green will be berated for his World Cup cock-up for a long while yet, few will remember his copycat error fromÂ Saturday by the time next weekend rolls around.
Liverpool were the next team to suffer humiliation. Playing at Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday, it only took seven minutes for reserves Diego Cavalieri and Daniel Ayala to make a horrible impression on new manager Roy Hodgson as the pair combined to balls-up royally and allow Karim Matmour one of the easiest goal of his career.
At least Liverpool fans can comfort themselves knowing that their screw-ups won’t be near the first team when the season starts. Such a luxury isn’t available for Chelsea supporters for whom Petr Cech will miss the opening of the new campaign through injury.
After watching Ross Turnbull’s horror show at Ajax just over a week ago, this weekend it was Hilario’s turn to prove his numptiness. The stand-in keeper ridiculously tried to dance his way out of trouble on the edge of his box at Eintracht Frankfurt, and Patrick Ochs (pictured) made him pay with the simple finish into the open net.
While the English had more than their fair-share of cock-ups, Germany and Holland also had their losers too.
Saturday’s meeting between Schalke and Hamburg proved rich in mistakes. First, experienced Schalke centre-half Christoph Metzelder sold keeperÂ Mathias Schober disgracefully short with a dumbass, no-look backpass, and Ruud van Nistelrooy was only too happy to punish the error with a goal.
The joke, however, was soon on the other foot. As the second half rolled into action Hamburg keeper Frank Rost became the latest pillock to join the Rob Green fan club as the number one completely missed Jermaine Jones’s strike to an all-too-familiar ending.
Lastly, the Dutch SuperCup proved that even World Cup finalists can go from heroes to zeroes in a matter of weeks.
Only eight minute had gone in the Ajax-Twente match when Amsterdam keeper Maarten Stekelenburg was faced with the daunting task of taking a goal-kick. He had all the time in the world. No pressure whatsoever. This was bread-and-butter football in the extreme.
To see what happened click here.