Ipswich Crest

Ipswich Crest

Several news outlets are reporting that Giovani dos Santos will join Ipswich Town FC for the remainder of this season.

If all the proper paperwork goes through in time, Giovani could play his first match on Saturday against Reading.

Ipswich Town FC confirms the signing on their web-site.

Ipswich is currently 10th in the Championship table, trailing leader Wolverhampton by twenty points.

Club Manager Jim Magilton welcomed the news, stating: “Gio has got a great pedigree having been at Barcelona and playing 30 odd games for them and…He’s played games for Tottenham in the Premier League and in Europe and he will bring some added quality to the squad. He is with us for the rest of the season and will go straight into the squad for the Reading game and be in contention to play.”

Giovani will likely see playing time considering that a key squad member, Jon Walters, has been sidelined for the rest of this season due to ruptured ankle ligaments.

For Sky Sport’s article click here.
For Setanta’s piece click here.
For BBC’s article click here.
For Vital Football click here.
For SportingLife click here.


Mexican Carlos Vela of Arsenal scored a goal against Burnley FC during the March 8, 2009 FA Cup match.

For a video of the goal, refer to:

Spanish-language news centers such as ESPN Deportes and Mediotiempo have recently posted articles on their websites discussing Giovani dos Santos’s imminent departure from White Hart Lane. According to these reports, Sven-Goran Eriksson has stated that Giovani’s move from Tottenham was definite and that it would be confirmed in “the next coming days.” Sven’s statements were made during a press conference held on March 6th in which he revealed the line-up for Mexico’s friendly against Bolivia.

Despite fielding dos Santos during Mexico’s February 11th World Cup Qualifier against the United States, Sven has reiterated that he will only call up players who see regular minutes and rotation for their respective team. While voicing discontent over Giovani’s lack of minutes with Tottenham, Sven stated that he would “not reveal Giovani’s new club” but that he “support[s] his transfer.” When asked if he had any input over the young player’s decision to transfer, he replied, “no, I had nothing to do with this” but that he wants “him to play and it does not matter where.”

Though it is still unknown as to which club will host Giovani dos Santos, Sven’s statements were made at a time in which he also addressed Omar Bravo’s return to Mexico from Spain’s Deportivo La Coruña. “If they are not starters on their respective team, it is better that they return [to Mexico]. It is not about being in Europe simply to be there without playing, especially if you are only 26 or 28 years old. It is even more crucial at 18.” With regards to Giovani, Sven alluded to the fact that Giovani may be leaving the English Premiership entirely considering that “he can not, at this moment, transfer from one Premiership club to another.”

There was much speculation that Giovani was going to be sold to Lyon during the January transfer window, so could they now be at the top of the list to acquire dos Santos on a temporary loan? Will Giovani make a move back to Spain or will he stay in England but play for a Championship league team? Is a move to Mexico a realistic prediction?

Sven-Goran Eriksson has called up the following players for next week’s friendly against Bolivia.

Guillermo Ochoa – America
José de Jesús Corona – Tecos

Óscar Rojas – America
Paul Aguilar – Pachuca
Leobardo López – Pachuca
Juan Carlos Valenzuela – America
Julio César Domínguez – Cruz Azul
Hugo Ayala – Atlas
Edgar Castillo – America
Fausto Pinto – Pachuca

Israel Martínez – San Luis
Fernando Arce – Santos
Gerardo Torrado – Cruz Azul
Leandro Augusto – Pumas
Pável Pardo – America
Luis Pérez – Monterrey
Antonio Naelson ‘Sinha’ – Toluca

José Antonio Cárdenas – Pachuca
César Villaluz – Cruz Azul
Omar Bravo – Tigres
Vicente Matías Vuoso – Santos
Sergio Santana – Toluca

The squad is comprised of the following teams:

América – 5
Cruz Azul – 4
Pachuca – 3
Santos – 2
Toluca – 2
Tecos – 1
Atlas – 1
San Luis – 1
Pumas – 1
Monterrey – 1
Tigres – 1

Gio vs. Shakhtar

Mexican Giovani dos Santos of Tottenham Hotspur FC scored a goal from the edge of the box against of Shakhtar Donetsk in the February 26, 2009 UEFA match.

For a video of the goal, refer to:





The US celebrates a goal against Mexico.

The February 11th, 2009 match against the United States was a continuation of Mexico’s performances during the past twelve months. The hard truth is that the squad has been a tad bit dysfunctional and out of form as of late. Mexico was less than impressive during the previous qualification round, and if it had it not been for Canada’s shoddy defense or Jamaica’s inability to score, it’s doubtful that Mexico would have made it into the current Hex. The 2-0 loss against the US should not be so shocking to Mexican fans – not because of recent history against the US – but because Mexico has failed to make crucial changes where they have been needed most. These points of discussion were present against Jamaica, Canada, and Honduras and they were even more evident against the US this past month .

So what are Mexico’s continuing plagues?

Mexico’s central midfield is in serious need of a rejuvenation.

Pavel Pardo is a great player but he is quickly aging and losing the form he once had. He can connect his passes and put up good free kicks, but his legs are no longer as fast as they once were. His greatest trait is that he is a great team leader. Rafael Marquez often gets the badge because he’s critical in organizing the back line, but Pavel is often the one organizing the offense. Pavel’s return to Mexican club football amidst a great season with Stuttgart has been overshadowed by a shaky start with Club America.

Leandro Augusto is a great club player, but he has failed to impress at the national level. He typically has great accuracy in his passes and is a great marker, but it seemed as though only 10-20% of his passes connected against the US. He simply seemed lost on the pitch. Both he and Pavel Pardo are in their 30’s and though they will hardly be ‘too old’ to miss out on 2010, Mexico will need to start transitioning young guys into the fold.

The younger Gerardo Torrado was forced to miss out on the match due to suspensions, but he too has been plagued by a recent stint of bad form and performances not just at the club level but on the national stage as well.

Mexico’s forwards are having a confidence crisis.

It has been clear for a while that Carlos Ochoa and Matias Vuoso have had favorable assessments from Sven-Goran Eriksson but they have shown little to the general public in the way of being the answers to their prayers. Carlos Ochoa was called up for the national team selection during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers under the direction of Javier Aguirre, but after several dissappointing performances he fell out of favor and missed out during the World Cup stage. These two forwards add much to their respective clubs but their talents and traits have yet to carry over well at the national level.

While many fans (and foes) were undoubtedly happy to see Jared Borgetti‘s reign at the national level end, it is becoming abundantly clear that Mexico dooes not have a central forward of his caliber. He was never the greatest player to suit up for El Tri but he, at the least, consistent and dependable with 46 goals in 89 caps. The bright side is that Mexico holds promising, if only budding, talent in likes of Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos, Nery Castillo, and Omar Arrellano.

Whom to keep as the keeper?

As far as Mexico’s keepers go, previous entries will show you my personal sentiment regarding Oswaldo Sanchez: he must go. His time is over. He served Mexico well but the feeling shared by many fans is that he is no longer welcome.

For a re-cap of my thoughts on Mexico’s depth at the goalkeeping position, I encourage everyone to read my entry from January 12, 2009.

Jose de Jesus Corona has been a decent keeper for quite some time and though he has been called on for the national team since 2005, he has yet to be given real time on the pitch. He currently plays for Tecos of Mexico’s Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, who have recently been heavy favorites for regulation from Mexico’s top flight division. He has not been the most consistent keeper for some time now and this fact has only further pushed him away from the starting line-up. Some will argue that if there ever was a time for him to land the starting role, his best chance would have been during the 2006 World Cup process.  Oswaldo Sanchez, perhaps rightfully so, overshadowed him then as he does now. Fortunately for Corona, the season has started well for him and his club. In the five matches he has played in, he has only allowed three goals, allowing his team to start the season with a 3-1-1 record.

Luis Ernesto Michel has been one of the more consistent keepers in Mexico for some time now but he too has failed to prove to his coaches (including LaVolpe, Hugo, and Sven) that he is the replacement Mexico is in need of. He has also been plagued by injuries recently and this has only worked to add more distance between himself and the starting role.  Unfortunately he might experience what other keepers did during the era of Jorge Campos where the name and fan appeal of one keeper – in this case Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa – might win over actual substance. But one can also look at it from a statistical point of view and argue differently:

Memo Ochoa: 157 games with Club America’s senior squad, 16 starts with the senior national team, 6 starts with the sub-23. Clausura 2005 Champion.

Michel: 73 games with Santos and Guadalajara’s senior squads, 0 starts with any of the national teams.

One of the biggest criticisms against Memo is that he still makes a lot of rookie mistakes. When he was younger and being hyped by the press, they said he was not starting material because he was a rookie making rookie mistakes. Today he is a bit older and more experienced but people are still saying that he is making the same rookie mistakes as before.

The following are just personal assessments and those of you with more keeping experience may disagree with my comments, but to serve as examples:

0:40 Deemed an ‘easy’ save by many.


0:50 He fails to close down the space, pressure the rushing forward. He simply stands there, awkwardly, for a second or two.
1:19 He fails to come out and sticks to his line.


Note: The video referenced are from Mexico’s qualification bid during the 2008 CONCACAF Pre-Olympic tournament.

Sven-Goran Eriksson:

Since taking over the Mexican national football team, Sven-Goran Eriksson has managed the team to four victories, one loss, and three draws. While the situation could be much better, at least it’s not any worse than it could be. Now that the third round of the 2010 CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers is behind us, let us analyze Sven’s progress with the team over the past few months.

Depth Chart:

Before one can properly criticize or analyze Sven’s selection of players, it’s best to establish a depth chart to review his recent selections:

Oswaldo Sánchez – Santos Laguna
Guillermo Ochoa – América
José de Jesús Corona – Tecos U.A.G.
Moisés Muñoz – Morelia
Jonathan Orozco – Monterrey
Luis Ernesto Michel – Guadalajara

Right Backs
Ricardo Osorio – VfB Stuttgart
Diego Martínez – Tigres U.A.N.L.
Israel Castro – U.N.A.M.
Mario Méndez – Toluca
Óscar Rojas – América

Center Backs
Rafael Márquez – Barcelona
Jonny Magallón – Guadalajara
Aarón Galindo – Eintracht Frankfurt (*Guadalajara)
Héctor Moreno – AZ Alkmaar
Édgar Dueñas – Toluca
Leobardo López – Pachuca
Francisco Javier Rodríguez – PSV Eindhoven
Juan Carlos Valenzuela – Tecos U.A.G.

Left Backs
Carlos Salcido – PSV Eindhoven
Fausto Pinto – Pachuca
Édgar Castillo – América
Jorge Torres Nilo – Atlas

Right Wingers
Fernando Arce – Santos Laguna
Carlos Esquivel – Toluca

Center Defensive Midfielders
Pavel Pardo – VfB Stuttgart (*América)
Gerardo Torrado – Cruz Azul
Leandro Augusto – U.N.A.M.
Jaime Correa – Pachuca

Center Attacking Midfielders
Giovani dos Santos – Tottenham
Sinha – Toluca
Francisco Torres – Santos Laguna
Luis Ernesto Pérez – Monterrey

Left Wingers
Andrés Guardado – Deportivo La Coruña
William Paredes – Monterrey

Carlos Vela – Arsenal
Vicente Matías Vuoso – Santos Laguna
Omar Bravo – Deportivo La Coruña
Omar Arellano – Guadalajara
Guillermo Franco – Villarreal
Carlos Ochoa – Monterrey
Francisco Fonseca – Tigres U.A.N.L.
Nery Castillo – Manchester City
Arnhold Rivas – Tecos U.A.G.
Enrique Esqueda – América

* Denotes recent winter transfers

General Assessment:

While many praises can be lauded left and right, the truth of the matter is that the FMF player pool has been lacking in recent years. It seems as though the days of entertaining, fast-paced football are over, and instead, we now have a slower paced game that is less technical, more sloppy, and less creative. With this mind, it’s no surprise that the Mexican league based players have been unable to produce much of what is expected from them.


Ochoa, Sanchez, Michel, and Orozco all stand at about 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in ), Muñoz tops the list at 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in), and Corona bottoms at 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in). Since we’re not comparing these keepers to say, for example, Jorge Campos who stood 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in), we can’t make height into a key criterion. Oswaldo currently holds the most caps from the group, and at 35 years of age, the most experience as well. However, Memo has shown to have impressive reach, dive, and positioning [the latter of which Oswaldo lacks], and both Corona and Michel have shown great judgment and anticipation, while also proving to be impressive during penalty shots.

So even though Oswaldo Sanchez undoubtedly has the most experience in this position, at this point his prime is now in the past and at 35-years of age, he is hardly a top choice for the 2010 World Cup [providing Mexico advance]. This coupled with the fact that he has underperformed in recent matches lead me to believe that his role with the team should be critically reduced.

Ochoa, Corona, and Michel are all viable candidates for the position yet their presence has been severely overshadowed by Oswaldo Sanchez. Whereas Sanchez typically resorts to shouting and yelling at his teammates, Memo’s calm and cool approach appears at times to translate well with the rest of the squad. If Sanchez is to be kept on the squad, he deserves to only be third or fourth on the pecking order.

Carlos Vela vs. Wigan

November 12, 2008

Carlos Vela added his fourth Carling Cup goal in Arsenal’s match against Wigan.

Carlos Velas Goal Against Wigan

Carlos Vela's Goal Against Wigan

On Sven-Göran Eriksson:Sven-Goran Eriksson

It’s the dawn of a new era and Sven-Goran Eriksson is here to greet us.

Well not quite yet, but pretty soon he’s expected to greet us as the new manager (in it’s full capacity) of the Mexican national football team. So what can we look forward to with Eriksson at the helm?

A fully loaded squad:

At the moment, there are absolutely no friendlies scheduled for the Mexican squad prior to the World Cup Qualifier against Honduras that is scheduled for 20 August, 2008. With that in mind, Eriksson will have at his disposal the full list of European based players that have donned the national jersey including:

Antonio di Nigris (Ankaraspor), Carlos Salcido and Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven), Héctor Moreno (AZ Alkmaar) Ricardo Osorio and Pavel Pardo (both at VfB Stuttgart), Aaron Galindo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Rafael Márquez (Barcelona), Andres Guardado and Omar Bravo (Deportivo de La Coruña), Guillermo Franco (Villareal), Nery Castillo (Manchester City), Giovani dos Santos (Tottenham), and Carlos Vela (Arsenal).

In addition to the European based players, domestic players such as Guillermo Ochoa, Jonny Magallón, Gerardo Torrado, Óscar Rojas, Fernando Arce, Antonio “Zinha” Naelson, Jared Borgetti, Israel Castro will also be seen as the strongest and most likely contenders for a spot on the squad.

Andres Guardado compilation

A new approach to competition:

It may not seem like much at first, but Sven’s approach seems to be that of controlling and focusing the present while also keeping notes and tabs regarding the future. He says that one must think in grander terms, that one should take advantage of the situation and look ahead. Rather than waiting to see if Mexico qualifies before taking any action, one must get the upper hand and think in terms as if Mexico were already qualified. With this mind, he has sent Guillermo Cantu and Fernando Cerrilla to South Africa in order to scout locations for the Mexican squad. Locations in terms of hotels, training facilities, and practice fields.

The Future of Chucho Ramirez:

It is being reported that Chucho Ramirez has rejected an offer to be a member of Eriksson’s coaching staff, citing instead, that he believes his role as manager of the youth squads to be his calling at the present time. His main objective will be the formation and preparation, specifically, of the under-17 squad as it prepares for the 2011 under-17 World Cup and the under-20 squad as it start making its way toward the 2009 under-20 World Cup.

For now, Chucho has flown to Spain in order to join the Mexico under-15 national squad as it competes at the “Santa Orosia 2008” football tournament.

The following two groups make up the competition at the tournament:

Group A: Jacetano CF, Laredo de Cantabria; Adepo Palomeras de Madrid, SD Gernika, La Floresta de Tarragona

Group B: Mexico under-15 National Squad, Girona FC, Romo FC, La Salle Mallorca, CD Valdefierros

Today was the first day of tournament action and the Mexican squad found much to celebrate as it gained two victories:

Mexico 3 – 0 Girona de Cataluña

Mexico 11 – 0 C.D. Valdefierro

The squad will play two additional matches tomorrow, the 28 of June:

08:45 Mexico vs. Romo F.C.

17:15 Mexico vs. 2nd Place from Group B

While it had been reported earlier that a club team in Saudi Arabia had expressed interest in Chucho Ramirez, it doesn’t look likely that he’ll be heading out any time soon. He’s a trusted and beloved coach by the youth squads, and what better way to secure his job as the future senior manager? He’s bound to come back sometime. (Thankfully his time isn’t now).

And what’s left to say about Hugo?

Well there’s plenty to say about Hugo, but why bother rehashing the troubled past?

While evidently he wasn’t the greatest tactician or strategist, at least we can say that he was able to select players when their time was right. His biggest achievements include bringing Nery Castillo to the Mexican squad, incorporating Israel Castro (arguably the better right-back defender), giving Aaron Galindo another opportunity, and finally, giving Fernando Arce the shot he deserved.

For this, we can thank Hugo.

Nery Castillo – Mexico vs. Brazil – Copa America 2007 – Arabic Lesson of the Day


Guardado and Vela TrainingMexico is set to face Belize in the second leg of Round 2 in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. Although this is early in the qualification process, it’s been a rough and shaky time for many on the Mexican side.

Mexican soccer has been under pressure the last few months for a number of reasons. Hugo Sanchez was ousted as manager shortly after failing to clench a spot with the under-23 squad for the Beijing Olympics. By June 3, Sven-Goran Eriksson was named successor to the chagrin of several key players. Sergio Amaury Ponce and Jose de Jesus Corona were both recently removed from the squad due to injuries, we’ve recently witnessed Oswaldo Sanchez get on the wrong side of the law in Chicago, Gonzalo Pineda is claiming that he won’t be making the move to Atlante from Chivas even though all the higher-ups seem to want the move, and to finish it all off, tomorrow will be Chucho Ramirez‘s final match as manager before passing on the torch to Sven. Once the torch is passed, it’s anyones guess what fate Mexico will face.

But with tomorrow on the mind of most people, perhaps it’s best to leave the speculation of the Eriksson era for another time.

Jorge Vergara, owner of Club Deportivo Guadalajara in Mexico, was rather blunt with his expectations for tomorrow’s match:

“There is still much for the Mexican squad to give, much more. [Chucho Ramirez] has been very inconsistent; the results from the recent friendlies and the 2-0 win against Belize have not been flattering at all…It’s very clear that Chucho is not prepared to be the manager to lead Mexico into the 2010 World Cup…Chucho must first ensure that the squad gives a convincing win against Belize…it is obvious that we must improve considerably. Mexico is superior to Belize in all respects as was evident at the away leg [in Houston], and Mexico must have a crushing win – at least 6-0.

For the Belizians, however, the response was a bit more humble. Belize’s keeper and team captain, Shane Orio commented:

“The team is very excited to play in a country with so much tradition as that of Mexico. We watch Mexican television, Mexican league matches, and many of us dream of being able to play in their stadiums, with their people. [As far as the pressure for Mexico to have a decisive victory] They have wanted to do it since the first match, but we showed that we can play well, organized, and with great attention. We want to win and qualify. It may sound like a dream, but we can not think of anything else.”

While I hope that Belize is able to put on a great performance tomorrow, I see them falling short, but not without forcing great frustration and grief to the Mexican side. I’m predicting a 3-0 win for Mexico.