soccer

How the mighty have fallen

Manchester United has had a sub-par season based on the clubs history. Sir Alex Ferguson led the red devils for more than 26-and-a-half years and is currently the longest serving manager in the history of the club.

Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-2013 season, winning yet another English Premier League title to add to his already impressive haul of trophies.

Ferguson helped appoint his successor at Manchester United. David Moyes was selected to carry on the United Legacy. It was always going to be difficult to fill the shoes of the most successful united manager. The end result Manchester United had their worst season, the club is currently 7th with a chance to climb as high as 5th place with three games remaining.

Disappointed with the teams performance in both domestic play and international tournaments, the club decided to part ways with Moyes, with just four games left in the season.

United haven’t sacked a coach since before they hired Sir Alex 26-years ago. The club is looking to bring in a proven winner to manage the club and hopefully attract world-class players, the only problem with this plan is united will not be competing in the prestigious UEFA Champions league which would have been the main selling point to any potential recruits considering playing at Old Trafford.

BALE……..D OUT

bale

Spain comes to a stand still when Real Madrid and Barcelona play against each other, every game between the two giants is dubbed the Clasico. The two met in the Copa del Rey final Wednesday, with Madrid edging their archrivals 2-1, thanks to Gareth Bale’s amazing solo goal.

The Welshman, who was signed from Tottenham Hotspur in September 2013, produced a stunning solo strike to give Real their first trophy under Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti. Much has been made on the amount the Los Blancos paid for Bale’s services.

The first goal of a tense contest at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium arrived on 11 minutes after a rapid Real counter attack.Bale set Angel di Maria racing free and the Argentine composed himself before firing a low shot through goalkeeper Pinto and into the corner of the net.

Barcelona bounced backed in the 68th minute,young defender Marc Bartra chose the perfect time to score a rare goal as he powered a firm header beyond Iker Casillas from Xavi’s corner.

With star strike Cristiano Ronaldo missing due to a hamstring injury, the stage was set for one of the other Madrid stars to step up. In the 85th minute with extra time looming, Bale took matters into his hand. The Welshman produced a magnificent solo run, out-running Bartra on his way to giving his side the lead just before the end of regulation.

Bale has yet to live up to the money spent on his transfer fee, but with more performances like that, those echoes of money ill spent may disappear.

You’ll Never walk Alone 2

Liverpool fc

Liverpool Football club have been relentless this season in the English premier league. They defeated Manchester City earlier today 3-2 at Anfield, in what coincided with the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Liverpool have a chance to win the clubs first ever league title if they can win out the rest of the season.

With the potent attack combinations of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, Liverpool were able to see off Man city with goals from Sterling, Martin skrtle and Coutinho. Liverpool opened the scoring just six minutes into the game and doubled their lead at the 25th minute of the game.

A 2-0 lead is the most dangerous score line in a soccer game, and Man City proved that theory by storming back in the second half with goals from Spanish mid-fielder David Silva and an own goal from Liverpool left back Glenn Johnson. The game seemed to be heading for a stale mate until the clever Brazilian Coutinho wrapped his magical right foot around the ball and bent it into the bottom right corner beating the outstretched arm of Joe Hart.

With the win Liverpool are in the drivers seat and control their own destiny in the title race. Chelsea are keeping the heat on the reds as they’re only two points behind the leaders and scheduled to meet each other in what could prove to be a title deciding game. This by far has been an entertaining season, at this point I can’t bet against Liverpool to win its first EPL title in the clubs illustrious history.

102 days till the World Cup

Brasil 2014

We’re exactly 102 days away from the 20 world cup in Brazil. Considered the worlds game and one of the most largely viewed sporting events in the world, this years world cup will prove to be one of the most intriguing. The groups have been drawn with some of the world powers in soccer ending up in the same groups

The tournament is set to begin June 12 and end July 13. The host country and record world cup title winners with five, Brazil headline group A with Croatia, two-time hosts Mexico and Cameroon. Group B includes the number one ranked and current WC champions Spain, Chile, Australia and perennial underdogs Netherlands, 2010 world cup runners up. Group C is led by the Colombians currently ranked fifth in the world, Greece, a very talented Ivory Coast and 2002 co-host Japan. Group D features inaugural tournament hosts and winners Uruguay, 4-time champions Italy, Costa Rica and 1966 World Cup champions England.

Switzerland are the top seed in group E, joined by Ecuador, Honduras and 1998 champions France. Two-time champions and powerhouse Argentina spearhead group F, joined by Iran, new comers Bosnia and Herzegovina and current African Nations cup champions Nigeria. Group G considered the “group of death” 3-time world champions Germany, Portugal currently ranked fourth according to Fifa rankings, African power-house Ghana and the United States ranked 13 in the world. Last but not least group H features the Belgians who are currently ranked 13 in the world, the Russians who rank 22 in the world, Korea republic and the Algerians who are ranked 26 in the world.

The likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Germany are going to be considered the front runners however, my dark horses for this tournament are the Belgians. They have a unique blend of youth and experience. With players like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Christian benteke, Vincent kompany and Thomas Vermaelen it’s highly possible the Belgians can possibly lift the trophy this summer.

Back to winning ways

Giroud and Cazorla Giroud and Cazorla

The Gunners got back to their winning ways this weekend by defeating Sunderland 4-1 in the Barclay’s Premier League.

The past couple of games have been rough for the North London side, this is exactly what they needed after coming off a mid-week defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the champions league.

Olivier Giroud notched a brace for the home side after being left out of the sides previous two matches. A third goal was added by the Czech play-maker Tomas Rosicky, after the intricate and beautiful passes the gunners are know for, before a fourth was added by French defender Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal needed the three points, as Chelsea and Manchester city both managed to squeeze 1-0 victories against their opponents this weekend. The road will get tough for the gunners as they will face Bayern Munich again, Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham and Everton. With just a hand full of fixtures left in the season the gunners need to find the form that saw them top of the table for more than half the season.

Title Talk

It’s been eight long years and counting since Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal side have been able to lift a trophy. The North London club have remained competitive throughout their trophy drought, finishing in the top four securing them a place in European soccer’s most prestigious tournament.

They’ve made it to two cup finals once in the champions league (2006) and in the league cup (2011) both resulting in losses for the club. Usually by now the gunners as they are so affectionately called by their fans would be out of the title picture. In the past eight season the gunners have always gotten off to a strong start but by half the ( December)  season they would have fallen behind the usual suspects Chelsea, Manchester united and recently Manchester city. This season can see arsenal shake the proverbial monkey off their back as they are still in every cup competition available to them except the Capital One Cup. Much has been  made of Wenger selling some world-class players to other clubs and rivals, most recent being Robin VanPersie to United. In addition his strict spending policy on players has also been scrutinized, in a shock move this past summer the manager paid 40 million  (a club transfer fee record)  for the services of Mesut Ozil a German international who no doubt galvanized his team.

They currently hold the top spot in the table, with the tough portion of their schedule coming up, which will see them play Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool (2) and Bayern Munich (2). This is where Arsenal will need its new-found grit and determination to solidify their claim to the premier league’s top spot.

With key players returning from injury at the right time. This could help Arsenal in their bid to secure the league title for the first time since their undefeated season in 2004.