Saturday, November 26, 2011
Daniel Sturridge scored yet again in front of AVB at The Bridge against Liverpool last weekend. What more does he HAVE to do to earn a permanent place in Chelsea frontline? AVB has so far persisted with both Torres and Drogba while only allowing Sturridge to shine as an impact substitute or on the right of a front three.
And shine is what the young lad has done and kept on doing repeatedly. He has scored six goals this season and he is the Blues second best goalscorer behind Lampard. Even when not playing in his favored position, Sturridge strike rate (43%) is better than Torres, Anelka, Kalou and Drogba combined.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Liverpool employed speed merchants against Chelsea last weekend, with Johnson, Bellamy, Maxi and Suarez all starting against the Blue Champions. It turned out to be shrewd decision by Dalglish and his coaching team as the Reds pressed high up the pitch, robbing Chelsea players of time and space to move the ball.
Charlie Adam was especially instrumental in the win over Chelsea last weekend. Though his corner kicks are yet to reach the heights and standards that he set at Blackpool, his passing against Chelsea finally resembled Xabi Alonso, the player he was brought in to replace.
In recent seasons, Liverpool has become a team feared by title contenders and this season is no different. Without any real aspirations to be Premiership champions, the Reds are still "spoilers" as evidenced by victories over Arsenal and Chelsea. Only Spurs out of the top six have beaten Liverpool. At Anfield, Liverpool are unbeaten, but has not been able to turn home advantage into wins rather than draws.
Newcastle lost their incredible 11-match unbeaten streak against Manchester City last weekend. Yet, Alan Pardew's Toon Army had played very well. Just that they were up against a superior Blues side that was world class in all department, from Joe Hart in goal right up to Sergio Aguero in attack. There is no misery or shame in losing to an awesome team like City.
However, Manchester United is a slightly different animal. Wounded after a demoralising 6-1 derby defeat, the Red Devils have tightened up, preferring to win efficiently. And with a midfield clearly the weakest among the top six Premiership clubs, Newcastle United must fancy their chances against Fergie's side.
Typically top Premier League sides do not let you get away with missing chances, and the Magpies found this out the hard way against Mancini's men. Three gilt-edged opportunity botched by Demba Ba, Ben-Arfa and Guthrie could have changed the final outcome of last weekend's match, and Newcastle must take heed of this. In Demba Ba, they have a forward with a 42% goals/shots ratio and he is the in-form striker to watch.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Once again, Liverpool flattered to deceive. At Anfield, against a Swansea that does not travel well, the mighty Reds laboured to a disappointing draw. An out-of-sorts Liverpool performance was made worse because of a superb goalkeeping display by the Swans' Michel Vorm. His two saves from Suarez highlighted his sterling performance. Another worrying observation was that a poorly performing Luis Suarez automatically meant a disappointing Liverpool.
The Reds used to be known as a two-man team when Gerrard and Torres were in Liverpool red. Now, Liverpool is looking like a one-man team with El Pistolero. When the Uruguayan performs, Liverpool performs. Against Swansea, he seemed strangely lethargic but yet was still the Reds' most dangerous player.
To be honest, Swansea passed the ball extremely well. The Swans hardly lost possession and Liverpool were made to work very hard to get the ball back. So, when Daniel Agger commented "we were like headless chickens", he was spot-on. Barcelona turned possession football into an art-form and if Swansea had Messi instead of Danny Graham. the Swans would have left Anfield with three points.
Newcastle United kept up their unbeaten run with a 2-1 win over Everton. That's eleven matches already and tongues are complimentary at the prowess of Alan Pardew in building a solid team spirit in spite of losing Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll and Joey Barton in the summer. The Magpies remain the only other team yet to be beaten this season.
Last weekend's win was a result of Newcastle's ability to dig deep and defend as a team. The collective defensive display from Tim Krul to Demba Ba secured a vital win for the Toon army, sending them into the international break sky-high in confidence.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Demba Ba almost did not make it to the Barclays Premier League. His hat-trick against Stoke ensured that Tony Pulis will continue to rue "the one that got away". But then would Demba Ba fit in at Stoke with their rugged, physical and direct footballing style? I doubt it.
The Senegalese however is excelling at Newcastle after a difficult start to the new season. Luckily for Newcastle, Leon Best did his utmost initially to allow Ba time to settle at Newcastle. And since then, Demba Ba goalscoring form has been superb. The football statisticians have listed Ba as the most efficient goal scorer currently in the Premiership with 47% conversion rate.
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