Evra the Comedy Man

And finally, in my late tribute to Patrice Evra, a link to some of his weirder moments at Manchester United:

It’s official. After weeks of speculation, Patrice Evra has finally joined Juventus after eight years of service in Manchester. Much will be written about his loyalty, ability and devotion to his club but, to paraphrase Homer Simpson, what we’ll mainly remember is the laughter. So long, and thanks for all the lolz. Joking is for Evra and here are his greatest hits.

From Darren Richman at Project Babb.

Patrice Evra’s Message to Manchester United after Joining Juventus

Paul at 101 Great Goals, quoting Patrice Evra’s farewell letter:

“My biggest thanks go to the fans. We have had some fantastic times together, we lifted all of those trophies together and that night in Moscow will live with us all forever. Every single time I stepped out in that shirt I knew I was playing for the badge and for a very special club. My passion for this club will live on and I know you guys will go on to enjoy more success in the coming seasons.”

Classy, as he always was towards Manchester United and their fans.

Patrice Evra’s Legacy at Manchester United

Chris Fleming for Bleacher Report:

“Hated, adored but never ignored,” goes the United fans’ mantra.

It’s also a fitting way to sum up Evra’s career at Old Trafford. He was hated by many opposing fans, adored by United ones and, after eight wonderful years, cannot be ignored as one of the club’s best-ever players.

In an earlier piece I posted, “United’s problems are chronic – and Evra’s at the heart”, I argued that his left sided play had made up for Manchester United’s lack of midfield for a number of years. Even when his defensive part of the game worsened, he was always a capable playmaker and dribbler on the left side.

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 2

My weekly Fantasy Premier League preview piece has been published over at AllThingsFPL.com:

ATFPL’s Captain Foresight by Pepin, highlights potential captain picks:

  • Diego Costa is the pick of the bunch due to his pre-season form, debut goal, great fixture, and the security of minutes.
  • Edin Džeko should start against Liverpool following a fine display against Newcastle. Given Liverpool’s defensive frailties they should not be able to keep a clean sheet against the best attack in the Premier League last season. With 10 goals attempts against Newcastle the City attack still looks the best.
  • We’re all aboard the season’s first bandwagon in Icelandic attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurðsson. His instant impact at Swansea together with a home game against a Burnley side that looked out of their depth in the Premier League last Gameweek makes him a viable choice.

Check it out. I’ve also covered the Team News from a Fantasy Football standpoint at the same site.

New Signings and Injuries

With the slew of signings and injuries I haven’t kept up with reporting them one-by-one. So here’s a list of both:

Signed:

Injured:

A Host of International Retirements

After the World cup a number of players and managers have retired from international football. In addition to Lahm, Klose, Xavi, Hitzfeld, and Karagounis the following have announced international retirements:

Dick Advocaat Is New Serbia Manager

Ilija Trojanovic for World Soccer Talk:

A wide and tasty variety of players to select doesn’t mean Advocaat’s new job will be a bed full of roses. Off-the-field, the Dutchman will have to deal with a nation whose soccer is deeply entangled with politics, and more importantly, which has a fan base that is unlike anywhere else he has coached before. True, Advocaat may have coached Zenit St. Petersburg, whose fans have an important role at the club, but despite their opposition to the signing of black players, their power never amounted to being able to dictate the national side’s affairs. Advocaat can attest to that because he was also head coach of Russia from 2010 to 2012. But in October 2010 when Serbia faced Italy in Genoa, the match was called off after only six minutes because of rowdy crowds and the usage of flares. Why did this happen? Because Red Star supporters did not want to see Vladimir Stojkovic, who once played for Red Star but made the doomed decision to sign for eternal rivals Partizan, start as goalkeeper.

First, that’s insane. I’ve experienced passion at a football field, but never anything like that. Second, Serbia have a lot of good players. Advocaat’s team will be competitive.

Napoli 1-1 Athletic Bilbao

Kevin McCauley for SB Nation:

Athletic set out to play for the clean sheet from the start of the second half, and they might have been successful if it wasn’t for a piece of individual brilliance by Gonzalo Higuain. In the 68th minute, he touched down a lobbed pass from Marek Hamsik, beat two defenders with his second touch, then got a step on a third defender. He was running away from goal and didn’t look like he was going to be able to score, but he placed a perfect shot to the back post, and there was nothing Iraizoz could do about it.

FIFA Rejects Barcelona Transfer Ban Appeal

Nick Akerman for Bleacher Report:

FIFA’s official statement confirms the Blaugrana cannot sign any player at “both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods,” meaning any Camp Nou arrivals after this summer will need to wait until January 2016.

Besiktas 0-0 Arsenal

Keith Satuku for Off the Post:

The game was even for about 80 minutes with both sides getting chances and moments of control in the game.

Both sides only made significant tactical changes after Ramsey got sent-off. The hosts tried to push for a late winner by turning to a 4-4-2 formation, while Arsenal protected their clean sheet with a 4-4-1 formation.

Arsenal should edge this but an early Besiktas goal would be interesting.