Monday Soccer Insider With Kartik Krishnaiyer
Editor’s note: World Soccer Talk’s Kartik Krishnaiyer kicks off a brand-new weekly column that’ll delve deeper into many of his insights from the past weekend of world football. Look for his column every Monday.
The Football League kicked off its 125th season on Friday and the sentiment of the matches was well displayed by the league. A lot of people knock English Football’s willingness to take foreign money and allow rampant foreign ownership, but this weekend once again showed nobody has the time honored traditions, nor the traveling support throughout the professional game, that England does.
It is just one weekend and I am not Owen Coyle’s biggest fan, but his free-flowing attacking style seems to fit this current Wigan Athletic team very well. I felt that Coyle’s tactics at Burnley and Bolton showed a degree of naivety and I always felt he benefited from favorable press coverage because of his personality. When Dave Whelan selected Coyle to replace Roberto Martinez after the Spaniard’s move to Everton, I was shocked. But perhaps Coyle is the right fit for this specific set of players. Wigan maintained a lot of quality after the drop and should be one of the favorites to back go up to the Premier League regardless of who manages them.
It was especially good to see how lively Leon Best was coming off the bench for Blackburn Rovers in the 1-1 draw at Pride Park against Derby. Best was a great hope for the Republic of Ireland and I felt that when he linked up with Newcastle, the sky was the limit for him. Unfortunately, injuries and other factors limited his effectiveness but yesterday’s dynamic performance was a good sign of a recovery that Blackburn can benefit from.
Joey Barton played well for Queens Park Rangers. But I don’t want to spend too much time on him until we know who will actually be with the club after the transfer window shuts. Harry Redknapp has lots of decisions to make about his side. They have a lot of excess baggage that needs to be shed but can also help them for a few games in August in the Championship. One good sign was the return of Alejandro Faurlin, who — for my money — was the best player in the Championship in 2010-11. Faurlin was quickly discarded by Redknapp when he took over last December and the Argentine spent an unhappy few months on loan in Serie A before returning to QPR following relegation. Faurlin is the type of tested Championship player QPR needs more of instead of Premier League rejects and high wage earners.
I find it very telling that Alex Morgan is featured in the long FOX Sports 1 Happy Days are Here Again promo while no male American soccer player is featured. No question, at this point in time, her and several other US Women’s National Team players are more prominent than any of their male counterparts.
One of the most underrated transfer signings of the summer could be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Borussia Dortmund. A versatile attacking player at Saint-Étienne in Ligue Un, he should provide important cover and depth for BvB this season.
The Cesc Fabregas saga appears to be nearing an end. Or is it? All indications are that the player is not going anywhere but I still think a potential Wayne Rooney sale could force Manchester United to make an offer Barca cannot refuse for Fabregas.
We saw the return of the New York Cosmos this weekend. The Cosmos brand, still arguably the biggest in American soccer, is so big that Pele lit up the Empire State Building on Thursday and the team rang the closing bell at the NYSE on Friday. A sellout crowd saw the Cosmos defeat traditional rivals Fort Lauderdale 2-1 with the winning goal in stoppage time. Many have opted to ignore coverage of the Cosmos return and that is certainly a choice that can be justified, but the sellout crowd and general enthusiasm around New York this week for the game could not be ignored. As a side note, Fort Lauderdale took as many traveling fans to this game a 1,000 miles away as they typically do to their local derby against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. That alone says a great deal about the historic nature of this rivalry and the Cosmos return.
Congratulations to the Austin Aztex and RVA Football club, winners of the PDL and NPSL respectively. These are the fourth division leagues in the United States and a very important link in the development chain for American and other US based players. Neither league gets as much love as it really deserves in the US soccer press, and I was personally disappointed to see so little coverage of either title game this weekend among more American counterparts in the media.