Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Week 9: Premier League Tops and Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Week

Manchester United playersTop game: City's thrashing of United and QPR's shocking win against 9-man Chelsea were two results no bookie or fan would have expected. It just shows that predicting is impossible in the Premier League, you never know what is around the corner. But the more nailbiting, exciting and entertaining it is! I will definitely never forget this weekend! 6:1!!!

Vincent KompanyTop team: City widened the gap to United to five points at the top of the table. They looked worlds apart at Old Trafford, I have to say! Never have I seen United taken to the cleaners so badly and thoroughly! Newcastle need a mention as well. After their best start in 14 years, they are fourth in the league, same points and only four goals behind Chelsea in third and the team spirit is more than up and going, brilliant to watch and see.

Mario Balotelli (second left) scores for Manchester CityTop player: City's Mario Balotelli was and is the main man again this week. His two goals and provocative attitude and character leading the way in their win against United. His shirt was a sweet touch to put the icing on the cake. Harsh booking. Why always him?!

Stephane Sessegnon  who scored Sunderland's first goal in the 2-0 win over BoltonTop goal(keeping): Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon took a nice turnaround shot to make it 0:1 in his side's deserved win against Bolton. Both goalkeepers starred at Anfield with brilliant saves keeping the scoreline even, John Ruddy was the man of the match for me in the top performance by Norwich.

Top news: 11 Premier League sides in Carling Cup action this week, in the Last 16. 

Mick McCarthy (right) and Terry ConnorFlop game/fans: Wolves struggled, but then produced a vital comeback, two goals in two minutes, to show you should never give up! Swansea thought they had it in the bag, dominated most of the game, but it's not over till the fat bloke whistles! Ha to the fans who were leaving the ground at that point, like Mick McCarthy said, never give up!!!

Nicklas Bendtner (right) scores for SunderlandFlop team: It was the fifth consecutive defeat for Bolton. Owen Coyle's men didn't make much of the game and have now lost 12 and only won two of last 14 games, scoring 16, conceding 36 and taking 6 only points out of a possible 42. Worrying stats.

Didier Drogba (on the ground) is sent offFlop player: The sent off players of the weekend proved they are unable to deal with pressure. They just snapped and crashed under pressure leading to their sending off and their team's demise. Jonny Evans, Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba, shame on you!

Grant HoltFlop goal: Liverpool are still waiting for their first clean sheet this season. They only netted one of over 20 attempts, hitting the bar three times! It was one of those games you just knew it wasn't ment to be! There were and are promising signs but as long as it doesn't show on the scoreboard, it's no good!

Flop news: The John Terry race row, just when you think the top players have learnt and are more mature and exemplary and BOOM, they show they are still the same old idiots!

My predictions - Actual results
Wolves 2:0 Swansea - 2:2
Aston Villa 2:1 West Brom - 1:2
Bolton 0:0 Sunderland - 0:2
Newcastle 1:0 Wigan - 1:0
Liverpool 3:0 Norwich - 1:1
Arsenal 2:1 Stoke - 3:1
Fulham 2:1 Everton - 1:3
Man Utd 3:3 Man City - 1:6
Blackburn 0:2 Tottenham - 1:2
QPR 1:4 Chelsea - 1:0

Friday, 21 October 2011

Week 8: Premier League Tops and Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Week

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool tangles with Darren Fletcher of Manchester UnitedTop game: The Clash of the Titans at Anfield ended up being more of a cautious kickabout until the first breakthrough in the second half finally saw things kicking off.
Newcastle's hard-fought draw against Tottenham deserves a mention as well. It was a hell of a match, you did not know which turn it would take next, the last ten minutes expecially, a nail-biter-and-a-half!

James Milner scores City's fourthTop team: Manchester City proved their dominance with their 4-1 thrashing of Aston Villa at Eastlands. With top players like David Silva, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko on the bench, they showed the resources they have in place to take them through the season and all competitions, including Champions League of course, in hot pursuit of the top spot and trophies the whole line through. We will see what United will make of that in the biggest Manchester derby in decades!

David de Gea makes a saveTop player: Manchester City's walking time bomb of a player Mario Balotelli proved his control over his temperament and that he is the boss off all mind games when he scored the opener against Aston Villa. That shut the Villa crowd up. Juicy entertainment but I am still waiting and expecting him to snap and explode at some point soon... Manchester United's David de Gea had a breathtaking game creating save after save proving his position in the team.

Anthony Pilkington scores for NorwichTop goal: Anthony Pilkington's smasher which gave Norwich the lead in the first minute against Swansea was a tasty appetiser to start the show at Carrow Road as the home side bounced back convincingly and very entertaining from their defeat at Old Trafford. Steven Gerrard smacked in one of his iconic unstoppable free kicks in his first start for Liverpool since March, the only one even United's Spanish keeper could not stop.

Top news: Plenty of European action this week: Both Manchester sides and London sides Arsenal and Chelsea are in group action in the Champions League and Spurs, Stoke and Fulham try to climb up in their groups too in the Europa League.

Heidar Helguson scores for QPRFlop game: QPR's 1-1 home draw against Blackburn was nothing to write home about, apart from Heidar Helguson's 100th league goal in English football, which snook in, squeezed in somehow. The calls for Steve Kean's head will have certainly not been turned quiet after this disappointment.

Robin van Persie scores his secondFlop team: Blackburn remain at the bottom of the table, giving Steve Kean not much to lean his confidence on. Arsenal have snook into the top half of the table for the first time this season but will have to do a lot better than they played against Sunderland to make sure it won't be the last time with an everything else but convincing performance at the Emirates.

Sir Alex Ferguson shields his eyes from the sunFlop player: Luis Suarez was once again in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Every week I mention him for his temperaments and antiques. This week Manchester United Patrice Evra accused him of racism, which is nothing to laugh about! Kenny Dalglish is trying to keep on a strong face backing the Uruguayan striker against accusations of racism and diving by Evra and his manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but I'm afraid, looking back at the season so far, the profile and evidence is mounting against Suarez. Hopefully it /he will be sorted out in time and won't escalate!

Thumbs up for Bolton's fans from manager Owen CoyleFlop goal: Three mistakes meant three goals conceded and ended up a 3-1 home defeat for Wigan against Bolton. After keeper Ali Al Habsi saved former team mate Kevin Davies' penalty kick, you would think it should have given Wigan the confidence booster they were looking for. But no such thing happened. Bolton were able to hold firm, weathered the storm and were gifted a third goal in injury time to seal the win.

Flop news: The Tevez story is still bubbling on with the disciplinary hearing on Friday and him being charged with refusing to warm up against Bayern Munich. In every other job under similar circumstances and situation, he would have been sacked weeks ago!

My predictions - Actual results:
Liverpool 2:1 Man Utd - 1:1
Man City 3:0 Aston Villa - 4:1
Norwich 2:1 Swansea . 3:1
QPR 1:1 Blackburn - 1:1
Stoke 2:1 Fulham - 2:0
Wigan 2:2 Bolton - 1:3
Chelsea 1:1 Everton - 3:1
West Brom 0:0 Wolves - 2:0
Arsenal 2:0 Sunderland - 2:1
Newcastle 2:1 Tottenham - 2:2

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Week 7: Premier League Tops and Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Week

This weekend saw 34 goals, 30 bookings, 1 sending off, 3 penalties, 1 missed penalty, plenty of referee controversy, missed chances and opportunities. So, I had loads to choose from, here are my top and flop picks of this week:

Jack Rodwell is sent off for EvertonTop game: The Merseyside derby definitely lived up to its reputation, all the action, controversy, rivalry, heart and soal in the game every football fan can desire - well, maybe not Everton fans. A crucial and controversial decision went against them with Jack Rodwell's sending off, Luis Suarez being the controversy in person once again and making the most of the show, and panned out to Liverpool's advantage. That's the cruel world of football.

Andrew Johnson scores for FulhamTop team: Fulham will be the happiest after their 6-0 thrashing of QPR, their first win this season came in style and it was also the first time they had taken the lead this term in the Premier League. Before the game, Fulham were the only Premier League side still without a win this season. Talk about relief! Another team celebrating and worth a note are Newcastle after their controversial win against Wolves made this their best start to a season in 17 years being unbeaten in their last 10 PL games.

Frank Lampard celebrates his Chelsea goalTop player: Everyone who had started to write off Frank Lampard should be ashamed and laugh/write themselves off! With his third hat-trick in the Premier League, the Chelsea man overtook the 1930s legend George Mills as Chelsea's fifth highest league goalscorer, with 119. I think that should be enough to silence his critics. Hats off to Andrew Johnson, too, the first Premier League hat-trick scorer for Fulham.

Mario Balotelli scores Man City's secondTop goal: Manchester City produced some beauties after a forgettable first half at Ewood Park: Adam Johnson's opening strike, a sweet curl into the top corner, and Mario Balotelli's fine volley from close range into the bottom left corner of the goal to make it 2:0 against Blakburn. That's more I like it.

Top news: Time out from the Premier League sees the Euro 2012 qualifiers conclude the coming week, England looking for a point against Montenegro to take them to Poland and Ukraine.

Linesman with his flag up at WolvesFlop game: Newcastle's win against Wolves was marred by controversy after the homeside were denied a penalty AND a goal for offside, with referee Mark Halsey judging Steven Taylor's foul on Jamie O'Hara to have been outside the area when it was inside and the assistant referee deeming Adam Hammill's cross to have gone behind before it was headed back for Kevin Doyle to net it. It made it Wolves fourth defeat and they have claimed only one point from a possible 15. Is it more than just bad luck?

Kean Out signFlop team: After the 5:1 thrashing defeat at Stamford Bridge means this is Bolton's worst league start for 109 years. Their sixth defeat keeps them at the bottom of the table, one point behind under fire Steve Kean's Blackburn and two behind Wigan and West Brom, the prior two also recording defeats 4-0 v City and 2-0 v Villa respectively, whilst West Brom recorded a draw and point against Sunderland. It is going to be a sour crunch at the bottom of the table, that's for sure - Arsenal only two points safe of the relegation places after their defeat against bitter rivals Tottenham.

Luis Suarez reacts to missing a chance for LiverpoolFlop player: Off the field, Sunderland defender Titus Bramble caused most turmoil and has been suspended after he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and possession of a Class A drug. On the field, Suarez has been the man of controversy once again after his drama antiques led to Everton man Rodwell seeing red. It just spoilt which looked to be a promising juicy derby encounter.

A dejected Adam BogdanFlop goal: The goals that weren't leave the most sour taste: Wolves disallowed equaliser and denied penalty. But Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan, making his first Premier League start of the season in place of the injured Jussi Jaaskelainen, had an afternoon to forget. Two bloopers, one easy save fluffed and one strike parried, gave Daniel Sturridge and Lampard an extra tick on their and Chelsea's scoreboard and turned an already bad enough afternoon for the Wanderers even worse.

Flop news: Aaaaaaand there has been another delay on introducing goal-line technology. At this rate I'd call myself lucky if I'll get to see it in my lifetime!!!

My predictions - Actual results:
Aston Villa 1:0 Wigan - 2:0
Blackburn 0:3 Man City - 0:4
Bolton 1:3 Chelsea - 1:5
Everton 1:1 Liverpool - 0:2
Fulham 1:1 QPR - 6:0
Man Utd 4:0 Norwich - 2:0
Sunderland 3:0 West Brom - 2:2
Swansea 1:2 Stoke - 2:0
Tottenham 2:1 Arsenal - 2:1
Wolves 1:3 Newcastle - 1:2

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Liverpool grab controversial derby win

Sports - Football - Premier League - Everton 0:2 Liverpool

Liverpool beat Everton 2-0 in an eventful Merseyside derby at Goodison Park after seeing Jack Rodwell being sent off for a challenge on Luis Suarez, Dirk Kuyt missing a penalty as Suarez was brought down by Phil Jagielka before Andy Carroll slammed home his first Premier League goal for the Reds and the controversial Uruguayan striker wrapped things up eight minutes from time.

Jack Rodwell is sent off for Everton

Everton had started the brighter with Tim Cahill pulling out an athletic save from Pepe Reina who had to tip the Australian midfielder's shot over the top.

Referee Martin Atkinson hogged the limelight when he showed Rodwell the red card halfway through the first half for what replays showed was hardly a tackle on Suarez, giving Liverpool the advantage of an extra man and the Evertonians a very sour apple to bite on.

Dirk Kuyt hits a penalty for LiverpoolYou could say justice was done when Kuyt's penalty was saved heroically by Tim Howard after Suarez once again fell down dramatically on the corner of the penalty area brought down by Jagielka just before half time.

Charlie Adam hit the bar with a strike from 20 yards out before Atkinson finally blew the halftime whistle, giving Everton the chance to regroup.

The homeside started the second half strongly under the circumstances, Louis Saha clearing Carroll's shot off the line on the one side and keeping Reina on his toes with a low effort from distance that ended up wide on the other side.

Howard had to save another Carroll attempt low at his post with more and more chances coming off set pieces and corners early on in the second half.

Andy Carroll celebrates Liverpool's opening goalKenny Dalglish rang the changes after 66 minutes replacing Adam and the subdued Stewart Downing by Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy as his side still seemed unable to take advantage of the extra man on the field.

The changes seemed to have their effect when with 20 minutes left Bellamy played in Jose Enrique whose cross was avoided by a ducking Kuyt and netted by a grateful Carroll from eight yards.

Ten minutes later, Suarez sealed the deal when he was able to take advantage of a mix up between Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines to advance into the box and shoot low past Howard to make it 2-0.

Luis Suarez scores Liverpool's second goalThe game finished with Everton furious and deflated, Liverpool the happier and more grateful for it. Dalglish said he did not see the red card incident, David Moyes feels understandably angered, it should not have been.

In the end, the incident spoilt what looked like a promising, competitive derby encounter and instead ended up a controversial, negative clash of opinions, incidents and referees' decisions. Shame.

Everton: Howard; Hibbert (Vellios 78), Baines, Jagielka, Distin; Coleman (Drenthe 59), Cahill (booked 27), Osman (Neville 69), Fellaini; Rodwell (sent off 23), Saha.
Subs not used: Mucha, Bilyaletdinon, Barkley, Stracqualursi.

Liverpool: Reina; Jose Enrique, Carragher, Kelly, Skrtel; Downing (Bellamy 67), Lucas (booked 50, Henderson 88), Adam (Gerrard 67), Suarez; Carroll, Kuyt.
Subs not used: Doni, Coates, Flanagan, Spearing.

Sky (& BBC stats:)
Attemps: 9-12 (& 12-15)
On target: 3-6 (& 4-6)
Offsides: 2-1
Corners: 5-9 (& 5-9)
Free kicks: 10-15 (& 9-15)
Possession: 36.3%-63.7% (& 40%-60%)
Passing Success: 76.4%-84.8%
Tackles/Success: 15/86.7%-17/52.9%
Territorial Advantage: 49.4%-50.6%

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: Jose Enrique