Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Demba Ba arrived from Hoffenheim full of promise and boasting a great scoring record in the Bundesliga. However there were skeptics out there who laughed at the wisdom of West Ham to bring in a striker who failed a medical at Stoke and therefore deemed questionable. Still 40 goals in 103 Bundesliga appearance meant that this was a striker who could make a difference at goal-shy Hammers.
Eyebrows were raised when Yaya Toure swapped Barcelona for super-rich Manchester City. After all, Barcelona was the best club in world football and Manchester City was...well, Manchester City. Labelled as a football mercenary, his much publicised wages surely did not make the Ivorian out to be anything but. And yet, he has been the most outstanding player on Mancini's City. Once he understood the rigours of the Premier League, he has been awesome. The "Tower of Power" showed that he is the best box-to-box midfielder since Patrick Vieira in an Arsenal shirt.
And so, when he scored the winning goal in the weekend's FA Cup final, he repaid 100% of his monster transfer fee and wages to the owners of Manchester City.
It has been a season of two halves, definitely for Liverpool fans. The first half was full of woeful, embarassing and most times, disjointed performances. The second half of the season was packed with joyful, eventful, spirited and without a doubt, title-contender performances.
Liverpool over the autumn and winter period of this season had a manager, Roy Hodgson who clearly was ill-fitted considering the traditions and pedigree of the historical club. Match performances suffered due to archaic and timid tactics more suited to middle of the table football teams. Come January 2011, King Kenny took over the reins and everything changed. Kenny's second coming brought back the old attacking verve and imaginative play, Luis Suarez being the catalyst of all that was exciting about the Reds in the second half of the season.
After the disastrous start to the 2010-2011 season, who would have thought that Liverpool will finish the season 5th or 6th in the Premier League table?! Just to put things into perspective, a 5-6th place finish is higher than the 7th place achieved in 2009-2010. One would have figured that it's been a successful end to a troubled season but 5-6th placing only looked good on paper.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Under the management of Kenny Dalglish and Steve Clarke, Jay Spearing has enjoyed a consistent run in the Liverpool's first team. His displays have earned plaudits and excellent reviews both from Kenny himself and from others in the football world. The continued absence of Steven Gerrard has propelled Spearing into a key man for King Kenny. Well, the lack of depth on the Liverpool bench may have something to do with that but generally Jay Spearing has grabbed his chance with both hands and made a strong case for himself.
For someone who started out as a centreback in youth football, he has exceptional passing ability. In the games that he has started, he has been composed on the ball and passed intelligently. In Liverpool's best run of form this season, the Spearing-Lucas partnership have controlled the middle of the park against the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Joey Barton, Danny Murphy and Craig Gardner.
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