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A year in football-2008/09

WHAT a year this has been in the world of football! Broken records, shocking sackings, unexpected relegations, sad endings and the birth of an exciting trio of fearsome attackers that prepared a recipe for the perhaps one of the most memorable years in football. Who would've thought that suddenly Chelsea would become an attacking force under Scolari or that Rijkaard's days was numbered? This season has been unpredictable at all levels, all over Europe.

Take Wolfsburg for example. When Bayern Munich started the season with such a formidable side and the now sacked Jurgen Klinnsman at the helm, expectations were soaring. But Wolfsburg was the surprise package, overcoming all obstacles and reaching the pinnacle of the Bundesliga with their maiden title. 'Before the start of the season, I did not even expect Wolfsburg to finish in the top five.' DFB President Theo Zwanziger admitted. This is the team that former-Bayern coach Felix Magath built almost from scratch, creating and exploiting talent in a way never before seen. The team went on, not only to win the title, trounce Bayern and Werder 5-1, but also gave the game the most formidable attacking pair in Bundesliga. Strikers Grafite and Dzeko broke all records as they aided their team's 15-game unbeaten run at home, combining to score a record-breaking 54 goals between them.

Elsewhere Manchester United once more reclaimed the league title, shrugging off a late surge by Liverpool and putting behind early-season miseries. Chelsea may have looked like a team on rampage under Luiz Felipe Scolari, but that bubble burst after dismal performances against top teams and the match against Hull and the world-cup winning coach was soon shown the door. Liverpool's challenge met a stumbling block after an injury to talismanic Gerrard but they piled on the pressure. At the end though United managed to hold on and go on to win the title. This title wasn't Arsenal's best, but they managed to grasp the fourth place when Aston Villa, early pacesetters, fell off track. They were closely followed by the surprise package, Everton, where manager David Moyes has done wonders with a small budget. Though they scored the opener in the first 25-seconds, Guus Hiddink's revived side fought back to claim the FA cup. On the bottom of the table though, heartbreak awaited Newcastle fans as the club was relegated after 16 years in the top flight, while Middlesborough too will join them in relegation next season.

The Serie A was business as usual with Inter Milan retaining the title with the big news being their new coach Jose Mourinho and the inevitable sacking of Ranieri. However, the season will be forever remembered as the final bow for 40-year old defender Paolo Maldini. After 24-years in AC Milan's keeper, arguably the greatest defender and captain in Italian football's history has hit his swansong. The old news was the league champion and of course the dismal performance in Europe. The Spanish La Liga was where the excitement was. Under former youth-team coach Josep Guardiola, Barcelona seemed rejuvenated after off-loading former stars such as Ronaldinho and Deco. Real Madrid, on the other hand, seemed like a spent force and even with new signings such as Diarra and Huntelaar and the appointment of Juandes Ramos, nothing could spoil the Catalan's party. The attacking trio of Eto'o, Messi and Henry never disappointed, scoring over a 100 goals on their way to claiming their 19th title. Real Madrid's wounds were further salted as they were routed by the rampaging Catalan's 6-2 at home. Barcelona's superior play was incomparable and at times so heartbreakingly beautiful.

Speaking of heartbreaks, Rome set the stage for the biggest one. Manchester United's much talked about Awesome Foursome, failed to deliver and Messi came out on top of his own personal battle with the 'former' world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo. Though United started brightly with Cristiano's superb free kick almost providing the opener but after the first 10 minutes, United jaded. Their play became lacklustre whereas Barcelona continued to shine, with Eto'o finally getting the break, after humiliating 'the best defensive pair' of Ferdinand and Vidic. The Red Devils looked done with by then and failed to get back in the game and soon the magical Messi floated in the penalty area and rose to an astonishing height for a man his size, to head home Xavi's cross. It was 2-0 and Rome was painted a beautiful shade of yellow. Ronaldo blamed the loss on the players' lack of concentration, the wrong tactics and Barcelona's superior play. 'Technically Chelsea should've been here but no one ever talks about that.' He added quietly and coming from a Ballon D'or winner, that statement does have some weight despite what nonentities and Al-Mehdi's may claim. The match of the century went on to prove who the real dream team were and United's hope for a quadruple went out the window as Pep took his team to reach the great treble by winning the League, The Cup and Champion's League, in his very first season! The standout performances by Iniesta, Messi, Eto'o, Alves and Ovrebo to name a few, proved to be decisive this season in the Catalan's favour.

Next season also holds plenty of excitement but we must wonder when we'll see a season again, which will be as close, drama-packed, exciting and shocking as this season as been. Once more to The Pensioner's fans, have faith; Ancelloti is coming.

By Osama Rahman

Living the super market life

LIFE is getting so easy that if you have a cell phone, a TV and a certain amount of cash you can have everything. Thanks to the endless 30 minute ads that come in every channel now a days. You can find the weirdest things that can happen only on your imagination in these advertisements. You want some, and it is just a phone call away. Or may be it is the other way around.

What if you are an inventor and you've created some thing that actually sucks quite a bit more than the ones people are already using. It is your destiny to change everyone's life with your golden invention. But how do you sell it? Why not by creating a “TVC skyshop” ad that portrays everyday tasks as being next to impossible without your product. Let's take a look at these unlikely inventions.

MagneScribe Pen
The MagneScribe is a magnetic pen which attaches to a pendant that's a combination digital clock and mirror. If you are a fan of Flava Flav this is definitely the THING for you. Magnet to magnetize everything, mirror to check your eyeliners or a good differentiator of whether someone is a vampire or not, digital clock to support “Digital Bangladesh” all these things come with this pen.

What the hell? We couldn't sleep for three days after we saw that. We kept picturing ourselves saying, "Man, I sure could use a MagneScribe about now.” Oh, don't bother ordering the MagneScribe. It will find you. And once you bough it you CAN NOT lose it. The MagneScribe pen can't fall out of your hand; if you drop it the pen will come flying back through the air and re-attach itself to the magical pendant.

Easy Toothbrush
Easy Toothbrush, an ordinary toothbrush with bristles organized so as to form a rounded surface, making it similar to several dozen toothbrushes you can buy at the grocery store.

Now imagine if you will that you are a woman with dyed blonde hair and you have advanced gum disease due mostly to the fact that you have never seen, let alone used, a toothbrush. You now have some insight into "brush-chick," the star of this commercial. Fun begins when brush-chick recoils in pain from incidental bristle contact, as if she were brushing with a steak knife. The point is hammered in several times as the voice-over repeats the word "hurt… hurt…hurt." And the "easy toothbrush" receives an appreciative head nod.

Their entire concept is that because your mouth is round, your toothbrush should be round. Interestingly, this is the first time I came to know the grand truth about tooth brush.

Five Minute Power Shaper
This is the terminator of everything related with FAT in your body. Look out LDL and cholesterols, your doom have arrived. This device apparently works out every conceivable part of your body striping your body out of fat for ever.

For many movements, the device seems to be interfering with the natural resistance provided by gravity. In those instances, it is clearly worse than having nothing at all. Also, you're going to use that thing for about five minutes before it slips off your foot and smacks you in the face. So I suggest just take a walk everyday and you will definitely see the change. And this does not interfere with any natural forces.

Miracle Blade III
And finally it is Miracle Blade III. Something that Jason Voorhees really needs in 21st century. Or you can have it too. It is a knife set, shown cutting various objects that you want to destroy, disfigure, or eat. In this ad we are shown a guy dressed like a construction worker cutting some meat with a hacksaw. Yes, there is a thousand ways to chop the chicken. According to the reviews, the only complaint is too much of a good thing because you can end up in the emergency room with stitches. They are really quite sharp.

By Zabir Hasan


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