Month: March 2014

Athletico Madrid vs Barcelona 1st Leg Preview

 This is the second of the two games on Tuesday night kicking off at 19:45 at the Vincente Calderon where the visitors Barcelona will want to go one up against their league rivals.

The previous three meetings this season have seen the sides share the spoils which is rather unusual taking into account the two attacking forces the possess, and only two goals in those 3 games have been scored.

Athletico Madrid

Athletico Madrid are the current league leaders by one point which is surprising when you think of the superstar teams of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Simeone has got an excellent team from front to back. Firstly at the back they have probably the best young keeper in Europe if not the world Courtois who’s future is still undecided at parent club Chelsea. Then there’s Diego Costa. The Spanish striker has been on red hot form scoring in all competitions for fun scaring the living day light of defenders.   

Barcelona

Barcelona have the ability to get themselves motivated for big occasions against big teams which will be the minimum requirement if they are even to give Athletico a game. Barcelona have masses of experience in the side which unfortunately for Athletico has won trophies meaning that Barca will know what they have to do to leave Vincente Calderon with all 3 points. With the likes of Messi, Neymar, Pedro and Sanchez Barca will find no issues creating chances it will be an intense battle to see how they come out against Courtois.

In my personal opinion, I would go with a 1-0 victory for the home side Athletico Madrid because of the hostility within the ground and the willingness to get one over the Catalans after publicy stating they’re making the UCL their main priority.

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Manchester United vs Bayern Munich 1st Leg preview

Tuesday night football returns showcasing some of the greatest talents from Europe’s finest leagues.  

Tonight features the resurgent Manchester United on the back of a 4-1 win who play host to the current holders and possibly the greatest side on the planet at the moment Bayern Munich

Manchester United

Manchester United have looked an improved side, this shows positivity going into a titan game against Bayern munich who have gone from strength to strength under Pep. Wayne Rooney has been in good goalscoring form scoring 4 in 3 games including that screamer against West Ham. All the supporters will be looking for a confident performance showing Bayern they won’t get it their own way. United have ectremely poor against big teams this year the most recent examples being Liverpool and Manchester City who both comfortable won 3-0. With the Moyes fan club showing signs of tiredness this will be the biggest test he faces to see if he really is the chosen one to take United into a new age without Sir Alex Ferguson.

Bayern Munich

Bayern have recently secured the Bundesliga title a week earlier than the previous year still being undefated and drawing only twice. Pep has turned Bayern into a fully functional machine featuring various dynamics and avenues of creating chances that have surpassed their own extremely high standards. Munich will be no pushover bearing in mind the desire they shown in the group stage to retain the Champions legaue against the odds with Real Madrid heating things up.

In all honesty, I can only see one outcome a Bayern win and anything else would be a shock result. I expect Bayern to have a comfortable 3-0 win with United putting up little resistance

Fear Factor

This season has seen Liverpool break yet another record which for us shows exactly the fire power at Brendan Rodgers’ disposal. In 11 games this season we have scored 4 or more goals a record previously held by manchester United who had 10 to their name. What signigicance does this record have and what does it mean? Liverpool are a force to be reckoned with, with a array of attacking talents who all seem to be on very fine form. Luis suarez being our marquee striker already hitting 29 goals in the premier legaue with six games remaining, who is accompanied by the second top goal scorer in the league Daniel Sturridge who has 20 goals complimenting those of his partner. Between the two they have 49 goals and are bidding to be the most lethal strike force in the premiership with a record of 55 goals still to be beaten. Obviously the strikers usually the take the head lines but with such young creative sparks assisting at every opportunity its no wonder why. Phillipe Coutinho has been an absolute class act this year helping out in all areas of the field dribbling from out wide and breeching enemy lines with delicate through balls. Raheem Sterling has been one of the best young players in the premier league this season gaining yet another man of the match against a rather lack luster Spurs side who faced ANOTHER drumming from the red men.

The fear factor is starting to get into Anfield visitors heads already putting them a yard behind the Liverpool players on the pitch. The vast majority of teams are now going to the home of the reds expecting a loss which is compliment to how Brendan Rodgers sets out his side. There are various things the other team fear about Liverpool this year but it’s mainly because of a certain Luis Suarez. With teams focussed on cutting him out of the game, other players have been able to step up and score goals taking the limelight from him which has helped him get more involvment in games. A very underrated part of Liverpool’s team, has been the importance of Steven Gerrard’s role setting up attacks. Gerrard is always in a pocket just ahead of the two centre backs which is a similar role to what he oplays for England which then allow him to pick up the ball and string play together. The passing range he has available is amazing, short, long range, outside of the foot you name it he can do it. A particular example of his ability to pass was his assist for Daniel Sturridge’s goal against Fulham at the Cottage.

BPL Contenders and Pretenders

The topic of football talk just lately has been largely around who will win the Barclay’s Premier League, up and down the country supporters have been debating who will eventually take the title. It’s time for you to have your say but first we need to evaluate the potential winners of the 13/14 season.

Arsenal

Arsenal were many people’s favorite before Christmas showing displays that could only be described as title winning. Throughout the team you could see a unity which has been lacking in previous years, this shows that the continuity within the club same staff, players and managers should be an ethos implemented by all clubs. In terms of the title challenge Arsenal have dropped off slightly; could this be due to pressure or the longevity of the season but, with no doubts in my mind will Arsenal still be pushing right to the last.

Chelsea

Chelsea under Mr Mourinho have been formidable winning at any cost, whether it be a scrappy 1-0 victory or just outclassing the opponents. Chelsea this season have been ruthless closing up shop after they managed to breech the opponents defenses usually resulting in a Eden Hazard goal. The young Belgian has been the bright spark for Chelsea who themselves have an array of attacking options. What has made them so successful this season is the partnership at the back between Terry and Cahill who have been superb stopping many of the leagues finest attackers.

Liverpool

Liverpool have been the the surprise package this season bearing in mind previous disappointments since the departure of Rafa Benitez. The allure of striking ability in the squad is unquestionable with possible the best strike partnership in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Liverpool have already surpassed their goals scored in one season with 7 games remaining which is proof of this seasons mantra “you score 4, we’ll score 5”.

Manchester City

City have been undeniable one of the most attractive teams to watch this season with captivating performances throughout exemplifying the importance of the league to the club. City easily have the most depth in their squad which is shown via 3 strikers all passing 20 goals in all competitions. City are in pole position with 2 games in hand over Chelsea and are 3 points behind meaning; if they win the games in hand they will go 3 points clear with all still to play.

Now it is time to cast your vote and let us see who you think will win the league.

Liverpool vs Sunderland Preview

Tonight Liverpool will be facing Sunderland at Anfield after a series of trips away from home for the reds which has seen them go on an unbeaten streak which has coincided with Daniel Sturridge’s rich vain of form and Luis Suarez’s return to his goal scoring ways after 5 games without a goal which is a drought for him.

Sunderland will be going to Anfield with a weakened side with the loss of Fabio Borini who is on loan from Liverpool which is unfortunate as he has been a good source of goals for the black cats who are in struggling times fighting it out towards the bottom of the table.  Sunderland have had a difficult season with the loss of a manager who bought eleven new players who still seem not to have settled in the league yet, especially considering it takes a season or two to aclimatise to the pace of play in the premier league.

The game will be an intriguing encounter bearing in mind that both sides have their own motives for winning the game. Liverpool will want to extend their unbeaten run which will help them in the title challenge with a game in hand closing within one point of the league leaders if they get a win. Despite Liverpool’s intentions to win the league Sunderland will be looking to the spoil the party and wheel away with a point which will take them one step closer to securing their premier league status.

My prediction is a 4-0 home win for the reds putting them within a point of Chelsea at the top.

Are Liverpool Real Title Contenders?

The question on many football supporters and pundits lips are can Liverpool really sustain a real title challenge with the remaining games they have to play.  With the continuous denial of the 3 main contenders managers it is becoming a very frustrating time as a Football follower to make any real sense of the interviews that particular managers give. According to Jose who is as ever playing mind games with everyone Chelsea are not the favourites for the title despite the extensive wealth of title-winning experience in the team. Jose has on numerous situations shifted the attention of the media towards the other blues in the title race. Manchester City currently have 3 games in hand and have a much superior goal difference in comparison to Chelsea but also face a less so tolerable time when you look at the fixture list with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool still to play. Despite the games in hand Jose will still be a lot happier than City boss Pellegrini as he currently has the points on the board which only puts more pressure on the City players who are not strangers to such pressure winning their first ever Premier league title on the final day with a final flourish from Aguero.

In and amongst all of the back and forth claims between the two financial heavyweights of the league, Liverpool have been the dark horse going under the radar winning games and beating their total goals scored in a season already with 7 games still left to play. Liverpool on 17 occasions this season have scored 3 or more in 20 of their wins which is a ridiculous amount of goals for a team who last year didn’t lack creativity but the final part of the game hitting the back of the net. The obvious difference being this season that Liverpool have got the prolific strike force of Sturridge and Suarez who between them currently have 47 goals which has significantly contributed to the team. The two front men for Liverpool can go out and win games themselves which is a considerable difference between them City and Chelsea’s forwards they are consistently scoring and winning games for the side without needing the aid of goals from other areas of the field,

Are Liverpool real title contenders, I would say so but the pivotal games coming up like Spurs, City and Chelsea will probably decide who the champions are.

It’s a Red New Year

For my future blogs I’ve decided based upon feedback on twitter to make the blogs shorter and brief. This will be the first of the new format.

It’s a Red New Year

Since the turn of the new year Liverpool are undefeated excluding the loss in the cup against Arsenal at the Emirates following up the 5-0 thrashing of them in the previous week at Anfield which was more than embarrassing for the Gunners. That game was a prime example of the ever improving side under the stewardship of Rodgers showing the arsenal of attacking options available to the red men. Liverpool have been superb home and away with great displays like the Arsenal victory, the Merseyside derby and most recently showing how the squad can adapt to swift formation changes the 3-0 victor at St. Mary’s.

With the mentioning of the Southampton victory previously and also it being the most recent, it would be more appropriate to talk about that with regards to Liverpool’s rich vein of form this year. Liverpool as they have done throughout BR reign pushed high and forced Southampton into mistakes and a faster tempo which meant passing errors would be more frequent allowing Liverpool to capitalise with the unbelievably fast attack they have on the counter. The story of the first half was with both team not having much luck in front of goal.

The second half got under way with another one of Liverpool’s explosive moves going forward with the usual end result a Luis Suarez premier league goal which left Southampton stunned like it has other previous red’s opposition. Normally after the first goal it becomes an onslaught on the opposition teams goal leading to further key chances being created by the little Brazilian and his majestic jinking in and out of defenders waiting for the ideal time to slide in a delicious pass to a member of the SAS. Strangely this time at St. Mary’s it took slightly longer than expected to double the lead, it took the introduction of the dynamic flair Raheem Sterling with his first touch to help the red men put real separation between them and the The Saints. As the game was about to come to an end Suarez ran his man down into the ground with a final cut back in side on to his left foot forcing the Saints defender to take him down and the leaving the ref with no choice but to point to the spot where Gerard ended any hope of a dream come back.