Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Everton vs West Ham Head to Head Stats - Preview

As Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke get back to the serious business (with owners' backing) of avoiding relegation, let's have a look at some key Everton stats at home and the head-to-head information.

Everton Key Stats:  
  • played last 3 matches with less then 3 goals.
  • won last 6 matches at home.
  • average number of goals 2.9 per match, scored 1.6 and 1.3 conceded.
  • played 11 home matches with at least one goal scored in a row. 

West Ham Key Stats:
  • lost last 6 matches.
  • lost last 3 matches at home.
  • lost last 4 away matches.
  • average number of goals 2.8 per match, scored 1.2 and 1.6 conceded.
  • played 6 matches with at least one goal conceded in a row.
  • played 5 away matches with at least one goal conceded in a row. 
Want to know who has scored the most headed goals since the 2005/06 season? It's an Everton player...care to guess?

The Boy's Done Good!: Manchester United's Park Ji-Sung

Manager Alex Ferguson rejected the theory that midfielder Park Ji-Sung was signed merely to increase Manchester United's popularity in the Far East. Ji-Sung arrived at United for £4 million in 2005 but until this season rarely looked like establishing himself as part of Ferguson's first-choice XI.

Undoubtedly, though, Ji-Sung's United connection has brought the Red Devils huge commercial spin-offs, with a million club credit cards currently in use in South Korea and two hugely successful pre-season trips to Seoul helping to cement them in the country's affections. However, for Ferguson, this was a peripheral issue.

Even though he left Ji-Sung out of his squad completely for the 2008 Champions League final, Ferguson always felt the energetic player - who first came to prominence with his performances in a Champions League semifinal against AC Milan for PSV Eindhoven in 2005 — had a major role to play for his team.

Reactions On West Ham's Losing Streak

Here are some quotes after the Stoke City defeat...

Ricardo Fuller had a mesmeric moment for Stoke against West Ham.

David Sullivan and David Gold.
Ever since they bought half of West Ham, the porn kings have had it in for Gianfranco Zola. But they have stopped short of sacking him. Could it be that they were trying to get him to resign to avoid paying him his dues? As his famous novelist namesake Emile put it over another frame-up: J’accuse (I accuse).


West Ham Down And Out?

Everything that need to be said has been said. Everything that need to be analysed has been analysed. And there are just no more excuses left. Gold & Sullivan had done their ownership part and tried to give the club's playing staff a kick up the backside. They have tried to put fire under the manager's and players' bellies in order to give them that motivation and desire to succeed in a relegation scrap. Unfortunately all that is in vain and the efforts have been futile.

Five successive losses were hard to take, especially losing to Wolves. That opening day away win must have felt totally unreal after that loss. It gets worse. Having that streak extended to six against Stoke has really knocked the stuffing out of the fans, players, managers and owners alike. The morale in the team must be feeling like a morgue right now.

And so three high profile striker signings on, West Ham are still within the spectre of relegation. The worst thing is the nagging feeling that West Ham will never get themselves out of this slump.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Chronicle Of Paul Scholes' 100 League Goals

Paul Scholes is now a football centurion. The one-club man finally scored his 100th league goal in his 16th season as a top flight footballer. He is the 19th Premier League player to have reached this milestone.

The Artful Dodger as Scholesy was sometimes called, has been an integral part of the most successful period in Manchester United history. Part of the young team that defied all odds and the famous declaration, "you'll never win anything with kids", they emerged Premier League champions in 1996. Fergie's fledglings were born and they went on to capture a historic treble in 1999.

Paul Scholes 100 goals are listed here:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How Will West Ham Beat Chelsea?

After a terrible performance against Bolton, West Ham visit troubled Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. We have seen everything from West Ham this season, so much drama on and off the field. Even so, there was never doubting the commitment of the players....until the Bolton game last week.

In reality, there is only one way forward after an uncharacteristically disinterested performance by the Hammers and so we should expect a vastly improved performance this Saturday. Still, I don't think that West Ham can overcome Chelsea simply by displaying a more spirited performance.

Chelsea also have a point to prove after falling to Inter and Manchester City in the Champions League and Premier League respectively. At home, Chelsea have the best record in the Premiership, averaging 2.93 goals per game while conceding 0.86 goals per game. At least, they will not be attacking West Ham from the flanks like Bolton did.

Can West Ham outmuscle and outfight Chelsea in midfield and attack?
No. Chelsea has possibly the biggest and strongest players in the Premiership. Players like Ballack, Obi Mikel, Terry, Carvalho, Alex, Ivanovic, Drogba and Anelka all relish the physical challenge. Intimidation will not work and besides West Ham is not the most physical of teams.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2009/2010 Barclays Premier League Week 28 Review: The Weekend's Three Best Footballing Moments

Only four Premier League matches were played but there were significant matches indeed. Significant because both Arsenal and Manchester United took full advantage of Chelsea's involvement in the FA Cup. The Red Devils now top the Premier League table with 63 points and Arsenal ensured that the race to the Premiership title becomes a three-horse race.

West Ham's disappointing loss to Bolton and Wigan's superb win over Liverpool meant that both the Trotters and the Latics have leapfrogged over the Hammers. Kevin Davies, Jack Wilshere and Hugo Rodallega have shown why their respective managers treasure and rate them so highly.

These are the weekend's three best football moments,

  1.  Paul Scholes 100th league goal for the Red Devils

Liverpool in Europa League: 10 Things You Need To Know About Lille OSC

Liverpool have had a mixed month of football prior to their Europa League Round of 16 match against French Ligue 1 side Lille. In between beating Unirea Urziceni, Liverpool have displayed their best (against Blackburn), their worst (against Wigan) and their most boring (against Man City) performances. They are probably the most underperforming team in the English Premier League. Having a "safety-first" and pragmatic manager like Rafael Benitez does not help the situation, of course. The pressure is growing on Rafa and his band of players to make it to fourth place in the League and consequently secure that final Champions League spot for next season. If anything, a Europa League match at this stage might shake off any lingering after-effects from that terrible Wigan match.

Here are 10 things about Lille OSC that could help Liverpool's quest for potential European glory.
  1. Lille OSC is the highest scoring (50 goals) team with the best goal difference in the French Ligue 1.
  2. Among the best talented teenaged footballers in the world today, Eden Hazard is the star playmaker of Rudi Garcia's Lille side. He has six assists and four goals in all competitions.
  3. Goalkeeper Mikael Landreau has 8 clean sheets this season from 17 starts and is an extremely good shot stopper.
  4. Lille have players who are very competent and comfortable on the ball. In terms of possession, Lille retains the ball 54% in their matches. Technically gifted players like Hazard, Balmont, Cabaye, Adil Ramli and Frau move the ball quickly and with dangerous intent.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another False Dawn For West Ham United!

Boy, West Ham needed a win against Bolton but Bolton, being our bogey team, it was all going to be difficult, wasn't it? If not for two early goals, we could have made a good stab at winning but now we go into the next two matches against Chelsea and Arsenal, knowing that West Ham could end up once again in the bottom three.

Once again, West Ham were let down by terrible defending. Every cross from Bolton's wingers seemed dangerous and Kevin Davies was a massive influence for the Trotters. A typical Diamanti goal, curled in superbly, reduced the arrears and helped protect our goal difference margin. He has done his fair share of helping haul West Ham out of relegation danger.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Wenger Gyrations, Cristiano Worshippers And Rafa Benitez Is A DVD Pirate And "Silhouette"?

The horrendous pictures of Aaron Ramsey's broken tibia and fibula continued to haunt my weekend's memories. The best part of the weekend's matches was that West Ham United stays 13th, three points above the drop zone with all rivals playing the same amount of games. A good home win against Bolton will further consolidate the Hammers' position in the Premier League table.

Hilario and Obi Mikel combined to gift Manchester City two goals as Mancini's men overcame a lethargic Chelsea. Manchester City have now lost the least games among the top six clubs chasing for Champions League position.

Arsenal moved to within three points of leaders Chelsea with a gritty 3-1 win over Stoke. The Gunners have an easier fixture run-in than both Chelsea and United and as such, must be considered a serious contender for the title. Andrew Weber writing in the excellent Arsenal FC blog will be happy to note that the Gunners faces ball-playing sides  rather than bruising sides in this crucial late stage of the Premier League title race.

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