Author Archives: samf95

2012-2013 Breakout Soccer Performances: Michu

Micchu

Hello fellow soccer enthusiasts!  For my first series as an author on this blog, I will be taking a look at the some of the soccer players, from leagues throughout the world, who stood out to me this season with breakout years.

To start things off with a bang, the subject today will be the undisputed Swansea star, Miguel Perez Cuesta, better known as Michu.  This Spanish wonder boy is partially interesting because he actually is not a boy at all.  At 27 years of age, Michu is considered to be a seasoned veteran, having already played at Real Oviedo (his local team), Celta de Vigo, and Rayo Vallecano before finally making his move to Swansea in 2012. The early portions of his career were unremarkable and, for a while, it seemed that he would finish his career as an average Spanish footballer for an average Spanish team.  Between 2008 and 2011, he scored a mere 15 goals in total for Celta de Vigo.  At the end of that period, he was hovering into the prime of his career without leaving any indication of a coming explosion.

However, the 2011-2012 season was a major turning point in Michu’s career.  After a transfer into Spain’s top division, La Liga, to play for Rayo Vallecano, Michu finally began to hit his form.  Scoring 17 goals in 38 games, he matched the goal scoring tally of his last 4 seasons combined.  At 26 years of age, things were finally looking up for the Spaniard, and his good fortune continued when he caught the eye of recently promoted Swansea.

This past season was by far Michu’s best, and the reason for his inclusion in this blog series.  As a summer addition to a Swansea team looking for more depth in the attacking midfield role, he was swept up for a very reasonably $3.1 million in American dollars.  The transfer was not a big news story by any means and there was not much media coverage surrounding it.  However, when the start of the season rolled around the next month, it was very clear that it was going to be a season to remember for Michu.  In his league debut, he got off to a spectacular start, netting two goals and providing an assist in a 5-0 romp of QPR.  Fans and players alike were startled to see such a performance from a player they hadn’t heard much about previously.  The fun didn’t end there.  By the end of August he was sitting confidently atop the scoring charts of the Premier League and the Swans were soaring.  On January 23rd, he scored to help his team demolish Bradford City 5-0, and win their first League Cup in team history.  In total, Michu finished his very first season for Swansea with 22 goals and 4 assists in 41 games.  Quite a remarkable tally when you consider his age and the general blandness of his previous seasons.

Looking back on the 2012-2013 season, Michu is the name that immediately comes to mind as a player who exploded into stardom, coming out of nowhere.  At 27, his career appeared to be over the hill, and it looked like his impressive last season in Spain was his last hoorah.  Had you told anyone that he would score 22 times in his first season in England, they would have laughed in your face, assuming they knew who Michu was.  However, with his stellar season, he clearly established himself as a player to watch for in seasons to come.

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The Economic Disaster Of QPR

Queens Park Rangers, one of London’s many professional soccer teams, finds itself in a very peculiar situation going into next season.  Having been promoted to England’s top division just two seasons ago after dominating the Championship league, they made it immediately clear that they did not belong with the super-clubs of England.  A dismal campaign in which QPR lacked a major goal supplier saw them barely miss the relegation zone at the end of the 2011-2012 season, as the Rangers desperately clung to 17th place and prayed for a better start this year.

Then something interesting happened, and it seemed as if their prayers had been answered.  The club was taken over by millionaire Tony Fernandes and was injected with massive amounts of funds.  (This is becoming more and more common these days, with many tycoons wanting to get involved in the world’s most popular sport and a potential business opportunity. ) The question is, how did the team spend its new found wealth? The answer: boy did they do a terrible job.  It was as if an impoverished young child who hadn’t eaten in a week had just walked into an all you can eat buffet.  Blinded by their wealth, they began a series of transfers in which they replaced most of the squad that had gotten them into the Premier League.

In soccer, there is a very important factor in how well your team plays, which QPR management never figured out.  It’s called chemistry!  This represents the communication and understanding that a group of players have with each other, and if none of the players speak the same language, guess what?  Their chemistry will suck.  Possibly my favorite statistic of the past season is that for most of the season, QPR had a chosen starting lineup that featured 11 players from 11 different countries.  Most of the players couldn’t even have a conversation with each other, let alone play soccer.  That my friends, is a catastrophe.  When you have Taarabt from Morocco dribbling down the middle with his teammate Park shouting for the ball in Korean, confusion and chaos is the only possible result.  The odd thing is though, the team is full of incredibly talented players because of the enormous wealth of the team.  The result of the season, however, was relegation. This brings us on to the real disaster that QPR will have to deal with as they prepare to start next season back in a lower division.

Taarabt could be off to a better team this summer.

Taarabt could be off to a better team this summer.

As it stands now, QPR has at least six or seven very talented players with the likes of Remy and Mbia heading into the summer transfer window.  They have invested millions and millions of dollars in these players in the hopes that they will catapult their team to mid- table of the Premier League.  But what happens when a group of talented players finds their team headed down a division?  They all leave!  All the money the team spent investing in these talents could very well go to waste this summer, as no great player wants to play out of the top division.  Analogy time:  Most of the time, when people hit the jackpot in the lottery, they get caught up in their wealth and they go broke.  This is exactly the situation that QPR has put itself in.  After spending so much money on players, they forgot to account for chemistry and now all those players will want to leave.

My prediction:  After a season drowned in spending,  most of the top players will realize they still have enough talent to be playing in the top level of soccer and request transfers.  There is just no way that a player like Remy is going to stay with a team destined for the Championship division.  QPR could very well find themselves empty handed and hopeless come the start of next season.

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