Saturday, September 02, 2006
East End Tango
Both were considered likely to end up at one of the more fashionable European destinations sooner or later, probably in Spain, Italy, or West London. Mascherano’s performances at the heart of Argentina’s midfield have won him universal acclaim over the last few years, while Carlos Tevez, who exploded into prominence at the 2004 Athens Olympics (even if he has not quite hit such heights since then) has been on the aristoclubs’ shopping list for quite some time.
Enough has been written elsewhere about the suspicious nature of the deal, with the mysterious sports management company MSI apparently planning another takeover bid for the East London club, and Roman Abramovich possibly lurking in the background. What interests me is whether the Argentina pair can make West Ham into a genuine force in the Premiership.
It’s been an increasingly boring, predictable competition of late, especially since Russian oil money made its unwelcome entrance into top-level European football. Tottenham provided the second-string clubs with some hope last year, but they still failed to break into the top four, made up of clubs who have virtually made it their business to prevent smaller clubs using their best players, by the simple expedient of buying them.
West Ham have made a fairly promising start to the season. In the game against Liverpool last weekend, they lost concentration towards the end of the first half and gave away two goals; for most of the match, they were the better side, with Nigel Reo-Coker and Yossi Benayoun creative in midfield, and Carlton Cole looking dangerous in his late cameo.
And the best thing about Alan Pardew’s current side is that they always try to play good, progressive football.
A midfield combination of Mascherano and the vastly promising Reo-Coker would, in my opinion, match almost any in England. Up front, Tevez, a stocky, powerful yet skilful second striker, will surely prove a handful for all but the very best Premiership defences. It must be added, though, that at the World Cup he failed to make a particularly good impression.
A top four finish is perhaps unrealistic this season, but if they can hold on to the Argentine duo for another term (the general consensus seems to be that this is unlikely), West Ham may yet be able to create some waves in a very still-water competition.
I don't know what you mean when you say that he hasn't really lived up to expectations since the Olympics, have a look at his goalscoring record in the Brazilian league (remember he plays as a creative forward) and the plaudits he has won in Brazil since moving there.
Also, I think you're being very cruel on him when talking about his performances @ the World Cup. I think you have short term memory, Mikey :). Against Serbia & Montenegro, he scored one of the better World Cup goals and assisted another goal as well. Against Holland, he was picked as Man of the Match. Against Mexico, he was okay, and against Germany, he was picked as Argentina's best player, I don't know what you expectd, but he had a very good campaign in Germany.
As for the WC comments, I think that Klinsi was one of the few coaches to turn to youth and got his reward in turn.
Impressive, for sure, but European club defences are another matter.
...Also, I think you're being very cruel on him when talking about his performances @ the World Cup...Against Holland, he was picked as Man of the Match...against Germany, he was picked as Argentina's best player...
He didn't made much impact against the Dutch or German defences, if the hard truth be told.
...Tevez didn't have the world cup he should have had because of the general underuse of talented young players. Not just Tevez but Robinho, Cicinho and Messi off the top of my head. I'm sure there were more. The four mentioned were far better then players who had regular squad positions but because of their youth were overlooked...
I'm totally with you on Robinho (Brazil's most impressive player at the tournament), Cicinho and Messi, but I reckon Tevez was given a fair bit of game time.
Tevez is a talented, promising young player, I just don't quite see him as a worldbeater (not yet, anyway). Of those two who've gone to the Hammers, I rate Mascherano far more highly TBH.