Monday, 24 September 2012

Week 5: Premier League Tops & Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Weekend


Jonjo Shelvey's sending off should have been yellow for both players, Jonny Evans went in with both feet too! Steven Gerrard's and Rafael Da Silva's smackers in the second half made it all level at 1-1 after 51 minutes. Liverpool's penalty appeals were all in vain, the more aggrevated they were when United won their penalty appeal and made it 1-2 thanks to Robin Van Persie's successful conversion. What a joke! Antonio Valencia went down all too easily, Glen Johnson had hardly touched him! Pepe Reina was soooo close to save the spot kick too! Double argh! To make things worse for the home side, defenders Daniel Agger and Martin Kelly ended up injured, and they had to play 9 v 11 at the end! And what about RVP's tackle on Suso?! Call me bias, but the referee's inconsistency was shocking! Liverpool were on top, dominated and outplayed United for most of the match, the visitors were poor, even against ten/nine men!


The two Red rival sides showed unity in remembering the Hillsborough victims and families, the fans holding up "The Truth", "Justice" and "96" mosaics on the three sides of Anfield for the first minute of the match whilst all players shook hands beforehand including Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra. So, both players and fans spared themselvbes from any kind of abuse or distasteful acts or chants. Great to see the legends of Sir Bobby Charlton and Ian Rush presenting a floral tribute before the match. YNWA!


It was a good turnaround by Southampton against Aston Villa, the Saints came back in style, finally getting the result and win they deserved after good displays but disappointing results previously. Some wonderful stuff from and for the Saints, especially their number 7 Rickie Lambert.
Joleon Lescott put City ahead in a competitive encounter with an easy header off a corner, end-to-end stuff. Laurent Koscielny's unstoppable hammer shot levelled things for Arsenal, deservedly so. Goalkeeper Joe Hart made some superb stops! Centre backs took centre stage in this one, leaving City the more let down after losing the lead and not closing the game down! Arsenal kept the pressure up and game competitive, it was great to watch!


One chance, one goal, clinical by Demba Ba for Newcastle beating Norwich 1-0. Papiss Cisse's penalty miss was horrendous, high, off target, nowhere near! He was smiling, I couldn't see anything funny about that though !
In the first top-flight meeting between West Brom and Reading, Jobi McAnuff kept going down, which was very annoying to watch! The referee ignored him too thank god, including his tantrums!


Spurs keeper Brad Friedel was definitely the busier! He made some brill saves! Spurs defence was weak on set pieces, Bobby Zamora making it 0-1 to QPR, after the home defence was asleep and left two players free! Sluggish performance by the home side! And own goal off a corner made it 1-1, Spurs fortunate to get back into the game. After Gareth Bale's shot came off the QPR keeper, off the post, Jermain Defoe turned the game around for Spurs with his 199th career goal! The two-minute turnaround was harsh on QPR!  Andre Villas-Boas' first home win was very lucky indeed! But QPR can and will be encouraged by their performance, but disappointed with the result.


Stoke threatened the Chelsea goal on more than one occasion even though they saw little possession. The home side's penalty appeals were ignored by ref and rightly so! It's a game not a drama show! I'm sick and tired of it and I know I'm not the only one! Ashley Cole came and scored out of nowhere to make it 1-0 and put a sickening end to a strong game for Stoke. The late two-footed scissor-challenge by David Luiz on Jonathan Walters added fuel onto the wound! It should have been a red card!

My Predictions => Actual Results
Swansea 2-0 Everton => 0-3
Chelsea 3-1 Stoke => 1-0
Southampton 1-2 Aston Villa => 4-1
West Brom 3-0 Reading => 1-0
West Ham 2-0 Sunderland => 1-1
Wigan 2-1 Fulham => 1-2
Liverpool 1-1 Man United => 1-2
Newcastle 2-0 Norwich => 1-0
Man City 3-0 Arsenal => 1-1
Tottenham 3-1 QPR => 2-1

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Liverpool's worst run continues against United

Sports - Football - Premier League - Liverpool 1:2 Man United

Ten-man Liverpool let the game slip away as Robin van Persie's second half penalty handed Manchester United a 2-1 victory on an emotionally charged afternoon at Anfield. 

The two rival sides showed unity before the match in remembering the Hillsborough victims and families. The fans held up "The Truth", "Justice" and "96" mosaics on three sides of Anfield for the first minute of the match whilst all players shook hands before kick-off, including Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra

So, both the fans and the players spared themselves from any kind of abuse and distasteful acts or chants as they were renowned for in the past. But from kick-off, the two great rivals produced a typically competitive and contentious encounter. 

Liverpool dominated possession and play giving United hardly any look into the game. Even after being reduced to ten men, the home side did not give up or way that easily. 
The sending off incident was controversial when after Jonjo Shelvey and Jonny Evans both went for the ball, clattering into each other, the prior seeing red for it whilst the latter played the victim and got away. 

The 20-year old Liverpool midfielder showed his discontent with the decision to the referee and Sir Alex Ferguson on his way down the tunnel. 
The Reds held their heads up high and skipper Steven Gerrard volleyed them ahead second after the restart. But only five minutes later, Rafael Da Silva smashed in a spectacular equaliser with a sweet left-footed curler over Pepe Reina and in off the far post. 

United took over the last 20 minuted and when Antonio Valencia raced clear 50 yards into the area after Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson collided, the Ecuadorian made the most of the latter's comeback challenge, the referee pointing to the spot. 

It was clear, luck/justice/goals/points were not on Liverpool's side that afternoon. From the spot, RVP drilled home the winner even though Reina was oh so close. It was a much more encouraging display by the Reds, hopefully the results will and must follow, eventually!

Liverpool Goals: 45:49min Steven Gerrard (8).

Man United Goals: 50:29min Rafael Da Silva (2), 80:11min Robin van Persie (20).

Liverpool: 25 Reina (bkd 77.); 2 Johnson, 5 Agger (23 Carragher - 80.), 37 Skrtel, 34 Kelly; 33 Shelvey (s.o. 39.), 24 Allen, 8 Gerrard; 31 Sterling (14 Henderson - 66.), 7 Suarez, 29 Borini (30 Suso - HT). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Jones, 3 Jose Enrique, 4 Sahin, 11 Assaidi.

Man United: 13 Lindegaard; 3 Evra, 6 Evans, 5 Ferdinand, 2 da Silva (19 Welbeck - 89.); 11 Giggs, 16 Carrick; 17 Nani (22 Scholes - HT, bkd 58.), 26 Kagawi (14 Hernandez - 81.), 7 Valenica; 20 van Persie (bkd 84.). 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 1 De Gea, 8 Anderson, 23 Cleverly, 28 Buttner.

Sky Stats: Liverpool-Man United
Attempts: 14-8
On target: 6-3
Offsides: 0-1
Corners: 7-3
Free kicks: 7-14
1st half Possession: 63.1%-36.9%
2nd half Possession: 41.2%-58.8%
Possession: 52%-48%
Passes: 459 - 420
Passing Success: 84.7%-85%
Tackles: 23 - 29
Tackling Success: 69.6%-72.4%

Referee: Mark Halsey
Man of the Match: Steven Gerrard

Friday, 21 September 2012

Reds win eight-goal thriller in Switzerland

Sports - Football - Europa League - Young Boys 5:3 Liverpool

Jonjo Shelvey scored twice as a young Liverpool side beat Young Boys 5-3 in their opening Europa League group match in Switzerland. In a topsy-turvy, roller-coster-ride encounter, Brendan Rodgers saw his side twice ahead in the first half, before coming from behind to start Group A on a winning note.

Rodgers left most of the big names back on Merseyside, and saw his side take the lead in comical fashion when Stewart Downing's cross from the right found Christoph Spycher's head to deflect in off his own team mate Juhani Ojala.

But Liverpool's lead did not last long thanks to their own defensive frailties. Jose Enrique took the ball past an oncoming Brad Jones handing it to Raphael Nuzzolo instead of clearing it, the Young Boy curling it home gratefully to make it 1-1. 

Spycher and Ojala got in each other's way again when Andre Wisdom headed a Red corner into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal, a textbook conversion to make it 1-2 at half time. Ojala got his second goal of the night when he headed in Raul Bobadilla's cross like in slower motion to make it 2-2 on 52.
The home side then took the lead when Bobadilla beat Jamie Carragher to pass the ball to Gonzalo Zarate who tipped the ball over Jones and in, a sweet finish to a nice counter attack after a Liverpool corner. The defensive nightmare continued when Sebastian Coates headed in a corner to equalise for the visitors and super-sub Shelvey netted twice in the last 15 minutes, both similar and neat finishes set up by Fabio Borini and Jordan Henderson.

This game was a load of fun to watch, had plenty of action to talk about, very entertaining!  From defensive fiascos, farces and chaos to crucial, important and decisive substitutions and neat finishes, this match had anything and everything in it. 

Rodgers will come away from this with a smile but plenty of headache with it too! The Irishman can be glad with the win and his gamble to play the youngsters and leave out the main men did not backfire on him!

Young Boys Goals: 37:38min Raphael Nuzzolo (29), 52:03min Juhani Ojala, 62:28min Gonzalo Zarate (19).

Liverpool Goals: 3:17min Juhani Ojala (3) OG, 39:52min Andre Wisdom (47), 66:23min Sebastian Coates (16), 75:36 & 87:03min Jonjo Shelvey (33).

Young Boys: 1 Wolfil; 23 Sutter, 22 Veskovac (bkd 80.), 3 Ojala, 16 Raimondi (bkd 17.); 13 Zverotic (20 Frey - 81.), 17 Spycher, 19 Zarate (2 Gonzalez - 65.), 8 Farnerud, 29 Nuzzolo (14 Schneuwly - 69.); 9 Bobadilla (bkd 85.). 4-5-1
Subs not used: 27 Benito, 7 Vitkieviez, 10 Constanzo, 33 Lecjaks.

Liverpool: 1 Jones; 47 Wisdom, 23 Carragher, 16 Coates, 3 Jose Enrique; 14 Henderson, 4 Sahin, 30 Suso, 11 Assaidi (33 Shelvey - 67.), 19 Downing (31 Sterling -77.); 12 Pacheco (29 Borini - 62., bkd 82.). 4-5-1
Subs not used: 42 Gulacsi, 22 Wilson, 36 Yesil, 49 Robinson.

1st & 2nd half stats: Young Boys-Liverpool
Attempts: 4-3 & 7-8
On target: 1-1 & 4-4
Offsides: 1-2 & 0-1
Corners: 1-4 & 3-2
Free kicks: 7-5 & 3-8
1st half Possession: 38.9%-61.1%
FT Possession: 44%-56%
1st half Passing Success: 83%-91%
FT Passing Success: 83%-88.9%

Referee: Michail Koukoulakis (Greece)
Man of the Match: Jonjo Shelvey

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Week 4: Premier League Tops & Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Weekend



Finally, over two decades late, the liars have come out and the Hillsborough victims have been recognised! Football and fans held together, it was great to see every team's thoughts and condolences - forget about a couple of chanting idiots! Football together forever! YNWA! Please show Rio and Anton Ferdinand, John Terry and Ashley Cole what it's all about and maybe they'll wake up, appreciate life and the game, forget their little stupid issues and handbags, grow up and shake hands!!! See what Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra will do next weekend! Please walk on with your head held high and don't slip over old stones that should have been thrown away and resolved ages ago!


Arsenal crises? Where? They absolutely swept away newly promoted Southampton who had impressed with their display against United the previous week! The Gunners' buildup impressed, the goals were from formal to gobsmacking and there could have been more! After beating Liverpool at Anfield and this comfortable home win, Arsenal will feel more than confident heading to the champions' City ground next week.


Tottenham, United and Arsenal all impressed with their performances. Whilst Spurs climbed up into the top half of the table thanks to a comfortable win at Reading, easing pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas, the latter two jumped up into the top three with two thrashes against Wigan and Soutampton respectively and ten goals between the two, heating up the title race by closing the gap to league leaders Chelsea who only drew at QPR.


Southampton and Liverpool are till waiting for their first win. Brendan Rodgers' men were condemned to their worst league start in over a centurs after having to settle for just a point at the Stadium of Light which takes their total to two points out of four games so far. It was a much better display for the Reds than against the Gunners last week, but once again, they will rue the missed chances and with United next on the list, they will have to learn to convert, FAST!


Suarez saved a point for Liverpool after gleefully smashing in Titus Bramble's deflection off Raheem Sterling's cross from the right. Dimitar Berbatov impressed for Fulham. The Bulgarian striker worked hard for his new team and proved his quality with a couple of goals for the Cottagers, the opener being a curling beauty into the top corner.


Red cards, bookings, penalties underlined inconsistencies by the officials once again this week, Suarez' yellow and Danny Welbeck's penalty being just one example! Both players have and are adding to their reputation of drama queens, but referees should be professional enough to take on and decide about every situation individually by what happens right in front of them rather then going by their thoughts and prejudices!

My Predictions => Actual Results:
Norwich 0-0 West Ham => 0-0
Arsenal 6-1 Southampton => 6-1
Aston Villa 2-0 Swansea => 2-0
Fulham 3-0 West Brom => 3-0
Man United 4-0 Wigan => 4-0
QPR 0-0 Chelsea => 0-0
Stoke 1-1 Man City => 1-1
Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool => 1-1
Reading 1-3 Tottenham => 1-3
Everton 2-2 Newcastle => 2-2

No, I'm not that good in predictions! Just forgot to put in my scores this week! Ups, typical! ;-P

Monday, 3 September 2012

Week 3: Premier League Tops & Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Weekend 

This weekend ended a window/month/week/day of transfer madness and saw only nine Premier League games as Chelsea played Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Friday. But still, all these games had plenty to shout about with 28 goals, 243 shots, 88 corners, three penalties (two scored, one saved), 177 fouls, 24 bookings and two red cards! Here are my best and worst picks:


What a goal to equalise for Newcastle!!! Centre-half Cieran Clark scored opener for Villa, what a comeback for his side after seeing red last weekend and serving his suspension in midweek. It looked too easy, no defender was anywhere near when Barry Bannan's cross from the left was headed in.
Hatem Ben Arfa then produced a sensational right-foot rocket, stunning smacker from outside the box to equalise for the Toons after Demba Ba went down, claiming fowl play. What a hit!
And United's comeback was a classic. But even for them it's a record, it was the first time since 1996 the Red Devils came back from two goals down after 85 minutes!


The Saints were superb against United! They will have been gutted to find themselves pointless at the bottom of the table at the end of the day. The results have been harsh on the promoted side, their performances impressing and encouraging much in contrast to the scoreboard and results so far. I am sure things will turn for the better for Southampton and they will not have to worry about the drop if they continue this way and style of play.


It was a contrasting weekend for the top three Chelsea, Swansea, West Brom - the league leaders and Champions League winners were shamed and thrashed by Atletico Mardid in the UEFA Super Cup.
Neil Taylor went off injured and Chico Flores was sent off for the Swans in their 2-2 draw against Sunderland. Steven Fletcher's double for the visitors was levelled thanks to the fighting Swans, Wayne Routledge with a smacker and Miguel Michu with a header. It was a point hard fought for.
Shane Long gave West Brom the lead off Peter Odemwingie 1-0 and Gareth McAuley made it 2-0 off a corner, fine times for The Baggies.


McAuley: Celebrates Albion's second goalThe two clubs from Merseyside will be very frustrated after this weekend, both going back home pointless and a lot to scratch their heads about! They will be glad to have the international break to be able to go back into the training room and put chalk and changes to the board.


Robin van Persie - whoever had their doubts the Dutch striker would be able to fit in and produce at United, well, they can eat their words and throw their predictions out the window! A hat-trick later, who said anything after he missed the spot-kick??? Not me, no, never... :-P
Tottenham's Brad Friedel created a brilliant double save against Robert Snodgrass, earning his side a draw against Norwich. Breathtaking stuff!


Liverpool will mourn missed chances and missing players once again! And Pepe Reina slipped and flopped AGAIN! What's going on with the Spaniard! Brendan Rodgers will have been fuming at the end of deadline day, Andy Carroll out on loan and Liverpool unable to fork out the money to strengthen their attack. Stats speak for themselves... weekend analysis
Tottenham's Tom Huddlestone's sending off for his two-footed tackle on Norwich's Jonny Howson was very harsh as it did not look intentional or with any force. Unlike Chico's stupid kick into Louis Saha's head! Swansea can't have any complaints against that dismissal!


Over £480 million were spent by all Premier League clubs counted together, Chelsea being top spenders with nearly £80 million whilst West Brom finish the list at the bottom after having only spent £3 million. Tottenham, Man City, Man United and Arsenal complete the top five, the Gunners having spent not even half of Chelsea's shopping total! Full table => Totaliser table

My Predictions => Actual Results:
West Ham 2-2 Fulham => 3-0
Swansea 2-0 Sunderland => 2-2
Tottenham 1-0 Norwich => 1-1
West Brom 1-0 Everton => 2-0
Wigan 1-1 Stoke => 2-2
Man City 3-1 QPR => 3-1
Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal => 0-2
Newcastle 2-0 Aston Villa => 1-1
Southampton 0-2 Man United => 2-3