Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Finally Kenny Dalglish have Steven Gerrard back and in time for Derby day! Couple that with the excellent showing of Andy Carroll against Wolves and the Reds are looking capable of beating Everton this Saturday. The right back position is now solid once more with Martin Kelly back from injury and though Carragher and Skrtel are still weak links in central defence, Everton's lack of bite upfront will suit Liverpool as they sought to make it back-to-back wins.
Young Jordan Henderson should make way for the Liverpool captain and Luis Suarez must be preparing to prosper from Gerrard's passes this weekend. Thus why the magical Uruguayan was upset, he wanted some playing time to forge an understanding with Steven Gerrard. Instead, El Pistolero will need to work on developing that telepathy with Stevie G on the training ground.
Since the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo to the Spanish La Liga, the Premier League was searching for a new world class player who could be as brilliant as the phenomenal Portuguese. Fernando Torres threatened briefly until he started sulking more than scoring, Didier Drogba could never be that star face as he is all brute force but Carlos Tevez could have been that world class marquee player that the Barclays Premier League needed.
Instead for all the important goals he had scored for West Ham, Manchester United and City, he will forever be remembered for refusing to play in last night's Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich. Carlitos' two-year stay at Manchester City has been an ongoing saga. This latest episode has all but hasten his exit.
It's easy to forget the talismanic effects of Carlitos for City, after all the well documented problems he had faced. For West Ham fans though, this man can do no wrong, forever remembered for singlehandedly keeping the Hammers in the Premier League in his first season. No other player is more closely associated to conjuring up a miracle relegation escape as the effervescent Argentine star. Here's how he did it.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Arsenal has long been associated with impregnable defences. Superb organization and fantastic man marking defenders were the hallmarks of many an Arsenal triumph over the years. To watch Arsene's defenders during the last two seasons have proven to be quite painful. Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn must all be wondering how it has gone so wrong. Two own goals in one game is more dismal than watching a Jamie Carragher own goal!
Since the departures of William Gallas and Kolo Toure, Arsenal have been short of defensive steel and it has showed. Last season, Arsenal were in the leading positions until they famously capitulated defensively at Newcastle (4-4) and Spurs (2-3 and 3-3).
And yet, Arsene Wenger did not sign a top defensive midfielder nor did he splash the cash for Gary Cahill. Thomas Vermaelen threatened briefly to be that defensive stalwart but he is now the new "Sicknote". Per Mertesacker for all his experience, could be found out in the hustle bustle of the Premiership. Furthermore, an English spine is desperately needed if Arsenal plans on winning trophies.
Amazing, amazing, amazing. A truly awe-inspiring display of swift attacking football by the Red Devils killed off any hopes Chelsea had in gaining three points at Old Trafford. Let's face it, Manchester United is not afraid of any team in the Premier League. It may be an inexperienced defensive lineup with Smalling, Jones, Evans and Evra and a weak central midfield with Fletcher and Anderson but yet, the champions despatched an expensively assembled Chelsea team with ease.
When Chelsea saw the line up, the Blues must have felt they had a chance to take the game to United. And so they did. But Chelsea just could not cope with the pace and quickness of the United passing. The Red Devils passed the ball with intent, always moving forwards with the ball and so Chelsea lumbering defence could not cope. By half time, the game was sewn up in front of the Stretford End faithful.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Andre Villas-Boas is trying hard to change the way Chelsea has played over the past six years and mini-Mourinho is getting closer with every game. In all aspect, it was an aging team that AVB inherited at the Bridge.
Ancelotti started the rejuvenation process, bringing in David Luiz and Fernando Torres. Villas-Boas signed Raul Meireles and Juan Mata. Along with Sturridge and McEachran, these players are the future of Chelsea and they will be part of a newer improved Chelsea.
Daniel Sturridge proved again with that eye-catching backheel goal why he is a striker that Chelsea cannot afford to leave out of their starting lineup. He has what Torres currently lacks - goalscoring ability. But that does not mean that Torres have no part to play in the Blues' pursuit of Champions and Premier League glory.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
These are exciting times to be supporters of either Manchester United or Manchester City. The two Manchester clubs are currently slugging it out at the top of the Premiership. Whatever City can do with their expensively assembled superstars, United are outdoing them with their expensively acquired youngsters!
You just have to raise your hat to that legendary statesman, Sir Alex Ferguson. Just how does he do it is the question I want to ask. Credit must be given to the Red Devils coaching team. Phil Jones, David De Gea and Ashley Young are talented players but they aren't mentioned in the same breath as City's signings of Aguero, Nasri and Silva. And yet, Young, Jones and De Gea are contributing to the best start that United has had to a Premiership season.
Manchester United are traditionally slow starters in the Premiership. The coaching staff at Melwood have done such a great job with Fergie's Fledglings Mk II that the Red Devils have been nothing short of explosive in their Premiership matches. West Brom, Spurs, Arsenal and Bolton could not keep up with the movement and pace of this young team. Not many in the Premiership can, in actual fact.
Wayne Rooney's transformation from sulky star to United's only superstar has been more telling. Eight goals in four games including two hattricks represents a complete turnaround to a player who wanted to leave United a year ago. His goals should dry up eventually as he is a notoriously streaky striker. When that happens, Rooney will simply thread killer passes to Hernandez in order to maintain United's goal scoring threat. Such is his importance to United that Rooney must already be regarded as one of United's greatest ever players.
International matches are proving a bona-fide bane to Liverpool. It has been so since the Benitez days. Charlie Adam came back from Scotland international duty with a slight injury concern. That clearly hampered his performance at the Britannia last weekend. Even the hardworking Dirk Kuyt looked very lethargic and contributed little at Stoke.
Still it wasn't a completely insipid performance. 24 shots on goal and 72% possession time on the ball typifies another solid Reds' performance under Kenny Dalglish. Liverpool must show lots of heart and combative spirit whenever they go to a fortress like the Britannia Stadium. For the first time, no one shirked their duties, and everyone in a Reds' shirt fought hard. Going behind early to Walters' penalty goal allowed Stoke to effectively park the bus and they did that expertly with Shawcross a key man defensively.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Well, it's hard to refuse when a team like Chelsea comes knocking at your door. Even harder when possibly the best Portuguese coach in the business wants you. Extremely irresistible when Chelsea can offer you first team playing minutes and Champions League football. Thus, Raul Meireles weighed up his options and decided to join the Andre Villa-Boas Chelsea evolution.
While watching the Chelsea-Norwich match, I had argued that Chelsea needed a playmaking midfielder. Little did I know that Chelsea was tracking Liverpool's 2011 PFA Fans Footballer of The Year. To be fair, Meireles is the second best option after Modric. His energy and intelligent footballing skills will be perfect for the Blues once he is fully fit from injury. Fernando Torres must really be licking his chops now knowing that he will soon have the service he craved to become a Blues legend.
The transfer day deadline was a flurry of activities and I loved it! Sitting down sifting through TFB4's twitter page, there was a feeling of major surprise signings and it did take place albeit in small measures. I compiled The Flat Back Four's top five most intriguing transfer signings.
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