Friday, December 23, 2011

Cole And Aquilani Regain Form Away From Anfield

Joe Cole was the flagship signing of the ill-fated Roy Hodgson era, and he was a Rafa signing that Hodgson inherited. For me, like Bellamy, Cole was not given chances to impress at Anfield. It was also unfortunate that he got sent off in his very first game for Liverpool against Arsenal. His Liverpool career seemed to go downhill since then. Hodgson clearly preferred a method of play that stifles any kind of flair and creativity hence Joe Cole watched as Liverpool faltered under Woy.

Alberto Aquilani was brought in (was it a rash Benitez signing?) in the hope of appeasing the Anfield faithful after the sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. Then from Roma, Aquaman walked into Liverpool, still nursing an injury. It took the Italian a while to get accustomed to the pace and strength of the Premiership but at the tail end of 2009/2010, Aquilani showed glimpses of why he is nicknamed "Il Principino" with some masterful performances.

Both these players have grabbed their chance for a new start with relish. Cole and Aquilani are now mainstays with Lille and AC Milan, becoming vital cogs as the two clubs chase trophies in their respective leagues.

Cole is recapturing the form which earned him 56 England caps. His telepathic understanding with Belgian wonderkid, Hazard have revitalised Lille who were struggling in the early part of the season. While Lille fans was despairing the loss of Yohan Cabaye, Joe Cole have been impressive enough to ease that pain. French football have been kind to English footballers, Glenn Hoddle was a successful export and now the classy Cole is creating a place for himself in Ligue 1.

Aquilani is now starting regularly for the Rossoneri, scoring one goal and contributing six assists in 15 games. When he reaches 25 games, Milan will be obligated to buy the classy Italian. In the much slower Italian Calcio, he has looked extremely comfortable and composed, sliding through balls to team mates with ease.

Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani, two players who would have added much needed flair to an otherwise "British-styled" Liverpool midfield.  

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