Chelsea 1-1 Tottenham

A point. A measly point. That’s all we get from Three Point Lane. Oh, wait, Three Point Lane has been more of No Point Lane over the past several seasons; so, to walk away with a point is no small thing.

We came out and nearly lost the game in the first 5 minutes. I think the Spurs scored at the eighth minute. Okay, that was not good. But, we managed to turn things around and take control. We equalized before the half. Mata to Drogba, Drogba to Cole (hand ball?), and Cole to Sturridge; goal. Congrats to Sturridge for getting into double digits before anyone else this season. Too bad there weren’t more goals though. We could have had three points. Drogba hit the bar. Ramires went one on one with Friedel and did not finish. Ramires went unmarked for a free header but knocked it wide of the post. Okay, well, we could have had 3 points, but, come on, we played really well after the first 10 minutes of the game. And this performance admidst muscle injuries for Ivanovich and Mikel before the half. Yes, that’s right. We had to use two of our three subs before the second half started. Yikes. And, yet, we walked away with a point. AVB did well in his tactics; the players performed well barring the initial 10 minutes. John Terry? Would you know that he is under a lot of heat right now? Now by his performance tonight. Meireles did well, too. Turned into a strong workhorse today. Liked it.

Well, enough rambling from me. KTBFFH!

Goals:

  • Anelka: 1
  • Bosingwa: 1
  • David Luiz: 1
  • Drogba: 5
  • Ivanovich: 1
  • Kalou: 3
  • Lampard: 8
  • Malouda: 1
  • Mata: 4
  • Meireles: 2
  • Sturridge: 10
  • Ramires: 5
  • Terry: 4
  • Torres: 4
  • Goals for: 49
  • Goals against: 27
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Inter 4-1 Lecce

Inter won 4-1 today against Lecce despite having conceded first. The first half finished 1-1, but Inter found 3 additional goals in the second half. Pazzini, Milito, Cambiasso, and Alvarez all found the back of the net.

I don’t recall if we were ever positive in goal difference this year, but we haven’t been for a while if not from the start, until now. We find ourselves mid-table with 26 points and +3 in all competitions.

Up and Up! Forza Inter!

Goals:

  • Alvarez: 2
  • Cambiasso: 4
  • Castaignos: 1
  • Coutinho: 1
  • Forlan: 1
  • Lucio: 2
  • Maicon: 1
  • Milito: 5
  • Motta: 2
  • Nagatomo: 2
  • Pazzini: 5
  • Ranocchia: 1
  • Samuel: 1
  • Sneijder: 2
  • Zarate: 1
  • Goals for: 31
  • Goals Against: 28

Real Madrid 5-1 Ponferradina

Los Blancos won the second leg of their Copa del Rey pairing with Ponferradina, this time 5-1. Callejon earned another brace. Sahin, Varane, and Joselu all got a goal a piece. Unfortunately, no clean sheet, but we went +4 on the day, so not bad!

Goals:

  • Alonso: 2
  • Altintop: 1
  • Benzema: 13
  • Callejon: 9
  • Di Maria: 5
  • Higuain: 14
  • Joselu: 1
  • Kaká: 4
  • Khedira: 1
  • Marcelo: 2
  • Özil: 3
  • Pepe: 1
  • Ramos: 2
  • Ronaldo: 25
  • Sahin: 1
  • Varane: 2
  • Goals for: 86
  • Goals against: 23

Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer

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I have just “finished” the Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer experience for Xbox Live. I have not really finished it, since it has no end, but what I have done is get the highest numerical value in rank before starting over or what is called “prestiging,” in case you are new to this Call of Duty franchise. Since I have in essence finished it, thus having spent many hours focused on this experience, I would like to give my two cents on the game. I like it, but I don’t love it.

The game picks up where Modern Warfare 2 left off. However, it has inherited some of the Black Ops aspects that I do not like. So, on the one hand I appreciate the third volume of the Modern Warfare series, but on the other it just doesn’t impress me as much as its predecessor. Here are some various aspects that set MW3 apart from the earlier games:

  • Scavenger and Blind Eye perks can’t be simultaneously used, as they are now part of the same perk class. This change prevents campers, such as myself, from making camp with an endless supply of ammo and simultaneously being carefree of choppers and the like.
  • Ninja pro doesn’t offer silent steps; such a perk has been given its own class, preventing campers to be off the radar and silent altogether simultaneously unless the gamer so chooses. But the marksman perk competes with silent steps, and it is very useful for long range attack. Snipers, such as myself, must choose, unlike in the previous game in which we could have our cake and eat it too.
  • IMS–it’s way cool. Imagine having numerous claymores in one spot, but they are smart enough to track the person who triggered it. Yeah, it’s useful. This item becomes available after five kills in a row using the assault kill streak package.
  • Support and specialist packages are a welcome addition. Kill streaks before only rewarded the best kill/death ratio players. Now, different options are available for rewarding individual play. In addition to kill/death ratio, which is called assault package, which resets upon death, there is the support package. This killstreak rewards the gamer for total kills irrespective of death, so it does not reset upon death. This package is helpful and geared towards aiding the team, whereas the assault package is meant for getting more kills. Remember the IMS from the assault package? Contrast that with the SAM turret, obtainable after five total kills in the support package, which is an anti-air assault turret that shoots down enemy helicopters and the like. See the difference?
  • Weapon proficiencies are new for Modern Warfare. We saw it before in some perks, but now they are seperated out into this new thing. Want impact penetration theough walls? It isn’t a perk anymore, but it is a weapon proficiency. You can use one weapon proficiency for your main weapon, ranging from impact to kick or even focus or stability.
  • The maps are well designed for optimum game flow. Unfortunately, this fact means that it has been designed to reduce camping. In the same way as Black Ops, there are nearly no brush or bush cover in which to hide. The maps are seemingly open and circular, largely leaving the gamer vulnerable from any angle. There are no fortresses to be taken up.
  • Kill confirmed is a new game type that strongly encourages movement and discourages camping, because one does not get full points for a kill unless the gamer or a teammate goes and picks up the dogtags of the victim before the tags disappear or before the opponents pick them up for their own point value. It is a fun gamerype, but it requires extra work.
  • Hardcore is now hardcore ricochet, but this is a new development as of this week. Previously, last week and earlier, it was regular hardcore without ricochet. I don’t mind ricochet.

There are many other differences, but I will stop there. Moving on, I would like to talk about the maps and my personal strategy. First, here is a list of the maps:

  • Seatown: a sandy town
  • Dome: a sandy military post
  • Arkaden: a mall
  • Bakaara: a sandy village
  • Resistance: an area in Paris
  • Downturn: a destroyed subway
  • Bootleg: a dark but sandy market place
  • Carbon: a sandy and hilly industrial work place
  • Hardhat: a sandy construction site
  • Lockdown: a destroyed city capital
  • Village: a sandy village
  • Fallen: an overrun village
  • Outpost: a snowy military post
  • Interchange: a destroyed freeway intersection
  • Underground: a destroyed train station
  • Mission: a destroyed mission

I don’t do well with a fast-paced shooter. Therefore, I camp, which helps me to stay consistent and prevent myself from becoming a liability to my team. As a result, I am at a disadvantage in this game, since it has been optimized to prevent camping. But, I have found areas where I can camp. I won’t describe them all, but I will mention a few of them.

Mission was the first map in which I found a place where I can camp. This place offers no brush or bush to hide in and conceal myself. The color of my virtual body blends in with the broken pile of bricks rather well; assuming a low profile, I can usually stay there for 2-3 kills before dying.

Dome is a sandy military post. There is an area in the middle of the map that has lots of bushes, one of the few spots in the entire multiplayer experience, in which a sniper can camp. It is not a fortress, as it is easily visible from distant onlookers from the Dome’s scaffolding, and there is very little to hide behind. Yet, it can be a great place for me to camp and reduce my deaths while trying to get at least 2 kills per death.

Arkaden is a shopping mall, and it has an area on the outside that is on the second story–a display case it seems. I like to go in there and assume a low profile, where I can get several kills before dying. However, I admit, it sometimes backfires, because I will be outside and pin the opponents inside, preventing them from coming outside, and then I end up with very few kills. When they are persistent in beating me, then I usually do well; if they are smart and essentially take me out of the game by refusing to come outside, then I do poorly. Oh well. At least I am not a major liability.

Carbon is a sandy industrial work place. While there is very limited brush about the maps to hide and conceal myself whilst camping, there is one little bush that is somewhat advantageous on this map. Top of the hill, just outside one of the doors, there is a bush on the outskirt that I can hide behind and conceal myself for a few kills. Usually the opponents come looking for me, so I have to relocate often.

Village offers one real good patch of brush to hide and conceal myself just on the outskirt by a wooden bridge. I have to shoot without clarity, but it works well. Admittedly, I usually don’t get many kills this way, since it is indeed on the outskirts of the map, away from the main action, but the stragglers that come that way usually get frustrated by me. I have spent several games there in that brush and have not died once, but I only got five kills. Again, at least I am not a liability.

The rest of the maps I primarily stay indoors. I use a sniper, the RSASS, and a pistol. I opt for the claymore, so when I am indoors I set a strategically placed claymore to watch my back and use the pistol for close encounters, but when I scope down range I switch of course to my sniper. Since I play hardcore only, the pistol is effective. Indoors, it is all about the mind games, which I find to be fun. I have begun to use the assault package, set to the IMS at 5 kills, the attack helicopter at 7, and the AC-130 at 13 kills. I’ve not yet earned an AC-130. I am thinking of switching it out for something else. Some games I get the IMS-attack helicopter twice; other games not at all. The IMS is great for camping, since the scavenger perk doesn’t allow the gamer to pick up additional claymores; as a result, I use blind eye instead, but, now that I think of it, since I mostly spend my time indoors, I might not need blind eye as much as I thought, but I digress. I use ninja pro and marksman pro in addition to blind eye. I have not yet earned blind eye pro as it is difficult to destroy 70 turrets when they are infrequently utilized, but I am currently about half-completed. Ninja pro makes the gamer completely invisible to all ground war except for the IMS, claymore, or bouncing betty explosives. Marksman pro gives me the ability to look farther down range and be able to identify my enemies while also enabling me to hold my breath for longer, which is an essential need for any sniper. I have chosen reduced kick for my sniper, and I have coupled that with a silencer to prevent me from appearing on any map or radar, which works well with my ninja abilities. My pistol is equipped with the tactical knife, which is useful for those close encounters where knifing is preferred to shooting.

Well, enough of my rambling. I like Modern Warfare 3. It is fun, but I do think it is not as fun as Modern Warfare 2. In any case, I shall play it. Soon I will finish the campaign. All in due time.

What do you think of Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer? Is it better than Modern Warfare 2? Worse? What do you like about it? Dislike?

@jgelements on @FOXSoccer “Goals on Sunday”

I responded to Fox Soccer’s Twitter request for who is the best striker currently between Messi, Ronaldo (CR7), and Robin van Persie (RvP). My reply made it onto the show, Goals on Sunday. It was the last of 3 tweets that were featured. And it received a lot of criticism.

I am a Madridista. I favor Ronaldo above the other two. But there is no denying that he fails to produce in big games, such as El Clasico. Messi has won numerous accolades as of late, most notably now the FIFA Club World Cup. Yet, his team recently lost to Jetafe 1-nil, in which he could neither score nor assist in scoring. Up until today against Man City, RvP has been unstoppable: he has scored or assisted scoring in every game for the past 10 games or so. Currently, and the key word here is currently, it seems that RvP is the one who steps up to the plate despite the pressure, and most consistently produces. I’m not denying Messi’s talent or influence; I’m not saying CR7 is not great. I am just merely saying that RvP currently has the better form.

Did we not see that RvP scored today against Man City, but it was called off incorrectly? The assistant referee said he was offside, but on replay it was revealed that his body was in fact onside. He scored. He rose to the occasion. The fact that the referee ruled it out should not detract from his performance. He did well, and he remained consistent.

KTBFFH! ¡Hala Madrid! Forza Inter!

Inter Milan 1-0 Cesena

Today’s game saw Inter go up to 23 points with a 1-nil win over Cesena. Our goal came from a set piece, and Ranocchia, the tower that he is, headed it home.

As a result of this clean sheet as well, we are now even on goal difference in all competitions this season. Can we please start going positive? I think so.

Goals:

  • Alvarez: 1
  • Cambiasso: 3
  • Castaignos: 1
  • Coutinho: 1
  • Forlan: 1
  • Lucio: 2
  • Maicon: 1
  • Milito: 4
  • Motta: 2
  • Nagatomo: 2
  • Pazzini: 4
  • Ranocchia: 1
  • Samuel: 1
  • Sneijder: 2
  • Zarate: 1
  • Goals for: 27
  • Goals Against: 27

Real Madrid 6-2 Sevilla

Game Comments

First Half

Too bad GolTV isn’t in HD with Comcast. But I digress.

Ronaldo is playing central mid. Sort of.

Ronaldo earning his keep dropping back for Sevilla set pieces.

9:00 Benzema and Di Maria got a couple of chances on goal but still scoreless.

9:30 GOAL! Di Maria feeds Ronaldo who slots it home! 1-nil, Real Madrid.

11:30 Casillas with a legendary save! Sevilla looked like they were about to score, but Casillas lept across the goal mouth completely outstretched and sticks his hand out to push it against the post and away from the goal.

16:30 Casillas again! Astonishing! Sevilla get a good shot off low and farpost, but somehow Casillas gets down and outstretched to deflect the ball out for a corner.

30:00 Pepe yellow. Ensuing set piece caught Real Madrid sleeping, but the cross and shot just couldn’t find the back of the net.

32:30 Ramos yellow.

34:00 Sevilla score as result of offsides. Still 1-nil, Real Madrid.

36:30 Callejon scores! Or is it Di Maria? Well, Callejon distracted Sevilla’s keeper, so Real Madrid are now 2 goals up.

40:00 Ronaldo! Goal! Wow! Center of field, 25 yards out, outside of right foot to upper right corner! Beautiful! 3-nil, Los Blancos.

42:00 Benzema scores but it is ruled off as result of handball.

43:30 Pepe sent off, double yellow to red; protests of Real Madrid on Pepe led to yellow for Arbeloa. Callejon subbed off for Albiol to come on.

Second Half

51:00 Ronaldo with a great run, taken down 25 yards out.

52:30 Lass yellow.

53:30 Casillas punches the Sevilla cross away but gets knocked in the process.

54:30 Sevilla get an open and clean shot off, but Casillas is up to the task.

59:30 Ronaldo again with a run but his shot way, way wide.

62:30 Ronaldo shot is low to near post corner, but easily caught.

65:30 Di Maria goal! He got released by Benzema, I think, and went one-on-one with the keeper, using the outside of his boot and scored far post on the ground.

67:00 Di Maria off; Khedira on.

68:00 Sevilla scores low on the ground farpost under Casillas. 4-1, Los Blancos.

73:00 Straight red to Smanu of Sevilla. Players level, 10 v. 10.

82:30 Lass shot wide and low.

83:30 Ronaldo feeds Benzema into the box, but he is taken down; spot kick awarded.

85:00 Ronaldo takes spot kick. Goal! Low and right, the keeper was all over it, but it still found the back of the net. Ronaldo with a hat trick.

87:00 Ronaldo taken down in the box, but no penalty awarded.

88:00 Altintop scores! 6-1! Courtesy of Ronaldo’s setup.

90:00 Casillas beat, Sevilla scores second of match. 6-2, Los Blancos.

Summary

Well, this game was a thrashing, and it didn’t matter that Pepe got sent off. Once both teams were reduced to 10, we really took off with the scoring. Ronaldo scored a hat trick. Di Maria scored and had a positive influence throughout. All around good game.

Goals:

  • Alonso: 2
  • Altintop: 1
  • Benzema: 13
  • Callejon: 7
  • Di Maria: 5
  • Higuain: 14
  • Kaká: 4
  • Khedira: 1
  • Marcelo: 2
  • Özil: 3
  • Pepe: 1
  • Ramos: 2
  • Ronaldo: 25
  • Varane: 1
  • Goals for: 81
  • Goals against: 22

Chelsea 1-1 Wigan Athletic

Game Comments

First Half

Field slick: both Meireles and Romeu slipped in quick succession (1:30).

Things quiet, too quiet (4:00).

Bosingwa fails sending in a good cross; in fact, it went straight towards the goal (7:30).

Sturridge easily gets to the biline but ensuing cross is blocked (9:00).

Cole gets to biline but ensuing cross is blocked (9:30).

Bosingwa stops Wigan from taking advantage of Ivanovich’s poor clearing (11:30).

Meireles early cross headed away (12:30).

Terry long shot but goes wide and low (13:30).

Sturridge cheeky control gets him down the sideline but couldn’t thread the needle at the biline (16:30).

Bosingwa cross knocked out where Romeu strikes it one time volley, saved by keeper (22:30).

Mata early cross knocked out (28:00).

Bosingwa cross to no one in particular (29:00).

Bosingwa very early cross to no Blue but to Wigan (32:30).

Mata cross to no one, knocked away (34:00).

Drogba outstretched header just wide of the goal (38:00).

Bosingwa crosses towards Drogba for once; Drogba shies away; ball cleared to Meireles for one time volley, but it was off target (45:00).

Second Half

Romeu off, Kalou on.

Kalou steps over once, twice, and ensuing cross is knocked out for a corner (46:30).

Wigan keeping Cech in check (48:30).

Bosingwa with early cross at Drogba, but Wigan flick it out of Drogba’s reach (49:00).

Sturridge shot doesn’t make it past Wigan’s defensive line (50:00).

Kalou gets biline but Drogba’s shot just wide (54:00).

Sturridge collects the ball out of the air and puts it farpost! Goal! 1-nil Blues! (58:00). Great pass from Cole.

Mikel on for Mata (65:30).

Sturridge got into the box with a lot of space, but he sent a pass without a purpose towards the spot to be knocked away (70:30).

Ivanovich messed up in a major way but Cech did well to keep it out, but it fell to the defensive line to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line (75:00).

Sturridge off, Malouda on (79:30).

Wigan scores (86:00). Bosingwa fails to drop back and lets Wigan in. The ball escapes Cech, and Wigan capitalize. 1-1.

Game over (94:00).

Summary

First half was very unproductive. Biline and early crossing either inaccurate or supremely locked down by Wigan. Unfortunately, the tactics didn’t change at all; the Blues did not adapt. First half goalless.

Second half was boring at first. AVB’s tactical change seemingly backfired. We lost control of the game without Romeu. Lampard was as ineffectual as ever, and it was when he stepped off the pitch for medical attention that Cole launched a brilliant pass across the pitch to Sturridge to collect and score. AVB’s tactical changes backfired yet again when his taking off Mata and Sturridge found chelsea lacking offensive genius after Wigan equalized. Wigan’s goal was a collaborative Chelsea defensive failure: Ivanovich dived in; Bosingwa didn’t drop; Cech didn’t hold onto the ball; the rest of the defense sucked over, leaving Wigan open to clean up the teash; with no Blues from midfield dropping back, Wigan were free to score. Ivanovich had a rephrehensible game overall. Bosingwa was his usual distasteful self. Sturridge looked good. Mata was silent. Drogba was seemingly absent. As a team, we simply did not rise to the occasion, and we dropped points, walking away with 1 instead of 3.

Goals:

  • Anelka: 1
  • Bosingwa: 1
  • David Luiz: 1
  • Drogba: 5
  • Ivanovich: 1
  • Kalou: 3
  • Lampard: 8
  • Malouda: 1
  • Mata: 4
  • Meireles: 2
  • Sturridge: 9
  • Ramires: 5
  • Terry: 4
  • Torres: 4
  • Goals for: 48
  • Goals against: 26

A Christmas Carol

I just finished A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Since it is Christmas time, I felt it right to read this classic. The last three chapters were the best. It was in the second spirit stave, I think, that Scrooge’s heart began to change, and the development from there was engrossing.

The book makes a great point: Christian living is about compassion and generosity where able. This generosity is not but once a year; it is a lifestyle that carries about all year long. Christmas is a reminder and a celebration of such compassion, and it ought to be a wakeup call for any scrooges in this world.

Psalm 119:113-120

All of these verses begin with samek (ס).

I have hated the disunited
But I have loved your law.

You are my refuge and my shield
I have waited for your word.

Turn away from me, evildoers,
So that I may keep the commandments of my God.

Sustain me according to your word, so that I may live
And do not let me be put to shame in my hope.

Sustain me, so that I may receive help,
So that I may gaze on your statutes continually.

You reject all who stray from your statutes
For a breach of faith is their deceit.

Dross you have removed, all of the wicked ones of the earth
Therefore, I have loved your decrees.

My flesh has goosebumps from trembling
And I am afraid of your judgments.