Category Archives: Liverpool

What a match!!! Kudos Arsha and Fabianski

The best match of the premier league this season happened in Anfield last night when Liverpool drew with Arsenal in a pulsating 4-4 draw. The match came late night in India and I was watching it alone, sitting on every piece of furniture in my living room after every goal we score,hoping that my new position would make our team lucky and we don’t concede another goal. I was in touch with fellow Gooners on the mobile, texting them after every goal was scored or conceded. And when Arshavin scored his and the team’s 4th goal,I called up Clash and we couldn’t talk much obviously as we were stunned by the goal and by our no.23. 

andrey-arshavin-001

Arshavin is one of those signings, who brings a new dimension to the team. Creativity meets end result when this genius of a player gets going. His second goal and fourth are examples of these. It is not everyday that Wenger says,” I’ve been in the job a long time but I haven’t seen a player score four goals in a top game like that.” For his second, he stole the ball from the Liverpool defender, Arbeloa and sent a peach of  a shot past Reina for his second. For his fourth he matched Walcott on pace and cracked a wonderful left-foot shot around the other side of Reina. This guy had four shots and all of them were goals. I know that there will be matches where he will have shots wide of goal but I don’t care about it as not many score 4 goals in Anfield when Liverpool play like that.

Our other hero was Fabianski. He buried all the ghosts of the FA cup and was instrumental in keeping the Liverpool attacks at bay. He must have saved atleast 3-4 sure shot goals. And I am sure that must have given some reassurance to the back four. The fabulous Fabianski had a brave night and I am sure it is not easy keeping goal in front of the Kop. And our young keeper did a commendable job keeping Torres and co. under control.

More on this match later.

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Filed under Arsenal, Arshavin, Fabianski, Liverpool

Berba to Utd, Binho to ManC and none to Ashburton Grove

In a midnight of pounds and faxes, transfer deadlines were met and unmet with a host of transfer deals across Europe and England as some of the top Premier league clubs made last minute additions to their squad. Of the notable ones were the long pending transfer of Berbatov to United. It seems the new super rick Sheikhs of Man City wanted to hijack the bid but Berbatov stood firm to commit himself to Man Utd.

But the most interesting bit of transfer happened in the Blue Half of Manchester as City swooped on Chelsea target Robinho from Real. Now that was something that must have irked off Abrahmovic…and I like that 🙂

Here are the list of transfer dealings from the top 4 clubs of EPL…courtesy Telegraph UK

Deadline Day deals:

Player From To Fee
Roman Pavlyuchenko Spartak Moscow Tottenham £14m
Vedran Corluka Manchester City Tottenham £8.5m
Jonas Olsson NEC Nijmegan WBA £800,000 rising to £1.6m
Omar Garcia Athletic Bilbao Rotherham Free
Vitor Flora Botafogo Liverpool Free
Ryan Gallagher Blackburn Plymouth Season Loan
Ryan Donk AZ Alkmaar WBA Season Loan
Kamil Zayatte Young Boys Berne Hull Season Loan
Blerim Dzemaili Bolton Torino Season Loan
Nadim Belhadj Lens Portsmouth Season Loan
Ignacio Gonzalez Valencia Newcastle Season Loan
Mark Bunn Northampton Blackburn Rovers Undisclosed
Louis Saha Manchester United Everton Undisclosed
Steve Finnan Liverpool Espanyol Undisclosed
Peter Guloisi MTK Hungaria Liverpool Undisclosed
Sean Evans Manchester United Aberystwyth Free
Collins John Fulham Nijmegen Free
Rachid Bouaouzan Wigan Nijmegen Season loan
Andriy Voronin Liverpool Hertha Berlin Season loan
Jonathan Grounds Middlesbrough Norwich City Three-month loan
Jean-Francois Christophe Portsmouth Southend United One-month loan
Gabriel Zakuani Fulham Peterborough One-month loan
Javan Vidal Manchester City Grimsby One-month loan
Danny Higginbotham Sunderland Stoke City Undisclosed
Carlo Nash Everton Wigan Athletic Undisclosed
Daniel Cousin Hull City Rangers £4m
Antonie Sibierski Norwich City Wigan Athletic 5 month loan
Martin Cranie Charlton Athletic Portsmouth Season loan
Xisco Newcastle United Deportivo La Coruna £8.2m
Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur £30.75m
Fraizer Campbell Tottenham Hotspur Manchester United Season loan
Michael Tonge Stoke City Sheffield United £1.5m
Tom Soares Stoke City Crystal Palace £1.5m
Julian Gray Fulham Coventry City Season loan

The top 4 clubs’ tranfer activities this year –

Arsenal

IN

Samir Nasri Marseille £12.8m

Aaron Ramsey Cardiff £5m

Mikael Silvestre Manchester U £750,000

Amaury Bischoff Werder Bremen Undisclosed

Francis Coquelin Stade Lavallois Free

OUT

Alexander Hleb Barcelona £11.8m rising to £13.5m

Justin Hoyte Middlesbrough £3m

Gilberto Silva Panathinaikos £1m

Mathieu Flamini AC Milan Free

Jens Lehmann Stuttgart Free

Kerrea Gilbert Leicester Season Loan

Havard Nordtveit Salamanca Season Loan

Nacer Barazite Derby 5 Month Loan

Armand Traore Portsmouth Season Loan

Chelsea

IN

Jose Bosingwa Porto £16.2m

Deco Barcelona £7.9m

Fabio Paim Sporting Lisbon Season Loan

OUT

Steve Sidwell Aston Villa £5m

Khalid Boulahrouz Stuttgart £4m

Tal Ben Haim Manchester C £3m

Claude Makelele Paris St-Germain Free

Harry Worley Leicester Free

Anthony Grant Southend Free

Andriy Shevchenko AC Milan Undisclosed

Ryan Bertrand Norwich Season Loan

Shaun Cummings MK Dons 1 Month Loan

Slobodan Rajkovic FC Twente Season Loan

Ben Sahar Portsmouth Season Loan

Michael Modubi Westerloo Season Loan

Jeffrey Ntuka Westerloo Season Loan

Emmanuel Sarki Westerloo Season Loan

Jimmy Smith Sheffield Wed Season Loan

Hernan Crespo Inter Milan Season Loan

Claudio Pizarro Werder Bremen Season Loan

Lee Sawyer Southend 3 Month Loan

Jack Cork Southampton 6 Month Loan

Adrian Pettigrew Released

James Simmonds Released

Phil Younghusband Released

Liverpool

IN

Albert Riera Espanyol Undisclosed

Peter Gulacsi MTK Hungaria Undisclosed

Vito Flora Botafogo Free

Robbie Keane Tottenham £19m rising to £20.3m

Andrea Dossena Udinese £7m

Diego Cavalieri Palmeiras £3m

David Ngog Paris St-Germain £1.5m

Nikola Saric Herfolge £600,000

Vincent Weijl AZ Alkmaar Nominal

Christopher Buchtmann Borussia Dortmund Undisclosed

Philipp Degen Borussia Dortmund Free

Emmanuel Mendy Murcia Deportivo Free

Zsolt Poloskei MTK Hungaria Season Loan

OUT

Steve Finnan Espanyol Undisclosed

Andriy Voronin Hertha Berlin Season loan

John Arne Riise Roma £4m

Scott Carson WBA £3.25m

Peter Crouch Portsmouth £9m rising to £11m

Danny Guthrie Newcastle £2.5m

Anthony Le Tallec Le Mans £1.1m

Charlie Barnett Tranmere Free

Besian Idrizaj Wacker Innsbruck Free

Harry Kewell Galatasaray Free

Godwin Antwi Tranmere 6 Month Loan

Adam Hammill Blackpool 6 Month Loan

Jack Hobbs Leicester Season Loan

Robbie Threlfall Hereford Season Loan

David Martin Leicester6 Month Loan

Sebastien Leto Olympiakos 2 Year Loan

Craig Lindfield Bournemouth 4 Month Loan

Manchester United

IN

Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham £30.75m

Davide Petrucci Roma £200,000

OUT

Dong Fangzhou Released

Gerard Pique Barcelona £4m

Chris Eagles Burnley £1.2m

Mikael Silvestre Arsenal £750,000

Richie Jones Hartlepool Free

Michael Lea Scunthorpe Free

Kieron Lee Oldham Free

Conor McCormack Triestina Free

Scott McManus Crewe Free

David Williams Oldham Free

Tom Heaton Cardiff Season Loan

Ferbin Brandy Swansea 6 Month Loan extension

Danny Simpson Blackburn Season Loan

Fraizer Campbell Tottenham Season loan

Lee Martin Nottm Fst Season Loan

Craig Cathcart Plymouth 6 Month Loan

Michael Barnes Released

Sean Evans Aberystwyth Released Free

Chris Fagan Released

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Filed under Arsenal, Berbatov, Chelsea, EPL, Liverpool, Manchester United, Robinho, tranfer deals, Transfer

2008-09 Season: Contenders – II

Liverpool

Having finished the league without any honours, Liverpool will once again start their campaign in the hope that they will be able to challenge for the Premiership. Rafa’s primary target was to get Gareth Barry from Villa but the owners were not keen on shelling out 18 mil on him, instead they bought a proven striker in Robbie Keane. I seriously believe that Keane and Torres would be able to provide the goods upfront with Gerrard also contributing. But if you leave out these three and to some extent Mascherano the team is hardly any quality. With Gerrard not in the team they struggled against their Champions League qualifier opponent also.

Rafa Benitez is never known to make any sensible buys except for lets give it to him, Torres. But in Reina they have one of the best goal keepers in the league. And he has kept them in contention in a lot of matches, including their last competitive fixture. They have bought Philipp Degen (Borussia Dortmund – free), Andrea Dossena (Udinese – undisclosed), Vincent Lucas Weijl (AZ Alkmaar – undisclosed) Diego Cavalieri (Palmeiras – undisclosed) and David Ngog (PSG – £1.4m) other than Robbie Keane. But honestly how many of them will finally make us sit up and take notice, needs to be seen.

Prediction: Finish 4th

Arsenal

When you get beaten in the Champions League by some controversial penalty decisions and you finish 3rd in the league, you wonder if the team did very well despite some stars leaving the team and some very crucial injuries. Eduardo, Robin van Persie, Tomas Rosicky and Bacary Sagna were among the injured for most of the season and except for Eduardo and Rosicky everyone will be fit once again. Though at the start of the season the players on the injured list include Cesc Fabregas, Rosicky, Diaby and new signing Bischoff. the other one missing is the Olympian, Alex Song.

There has been many a comment passed on why Arsenal is not buying a defensive midfielder to replace Flamini and a central defender as cover for Toure or Gallas. Wenger probably believes that he has the back up for the defensive part and has made his intention clear in getting a holding midfielder before the next leg of the Champion’s League encounter with Twente FC. There are just three new signings – Aaron Ramsey (Cardiff – £5m), Samir Nasri (Marseille – £11m), Amaury Bischoff (Werder Bremen – undisclosed) of which Nasri is probably the only proven player, bouhg to replace Hleb. He has Carlos Vela back from loan who has experienced the La Liga last year. But Wenger will probably be thinking that Persie and Rosicky are back from injury and are like two new signings. Walcott’s biggest problem has been his inconsistency and he will get more starts than last year hopefully. Bendtner would be waiting in the wings to pounce on any let off from Ade or Persie. The team is strong once we buy a new holding midfielder and I cannot wait to see the match against West Brom though Fabregas is not starting.

Prediction: 2nd place in the League and probably Champions League winners 🙂

My team for this season

Almunia

Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy

Walcott New-signing Fabregas Rosicky

Adebayor Persie

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Filed under 2008-09 season, Aaron Ramsey, Adebayor, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Champions League, EPL, Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Gerrard, Liverpool, Rafa Benitez, Robbie Keane, Song

Transfer news and new kit

With the Euros over,time for some transfer news.

Manchester United – Ferguson has come out in the open and has said that he is looking for only one signing this season to strengthen his team. The position has not been specified but I presume it should be in the forward line given the injury prone Louis Saha might leave or get injured again. Lets not talk about Ronaldo and his impending transfer to Real Madrid. I feel United should just cash in as much as they can over him and pay off their debts. Will they go for Berbatov needs to be seen.

Chelsea – With Scolari coming in at Stamford Bridge,the playin style of the club is sure to change. And on his first day in office, he got Deco on board, something that Jose Mourinho could not do. Now this latest addition to the midfield means Lampard and Ballack are going to have competition for the second place. Does that mean Lampard will leave the club, again a debating point. Scolari is also strongly rumoured to get Robinho from Real as well. Now that should be interesting. Will Drogba be their come the start of the season, remains to be seen. Arshavin is the latest one who is tipped to be heading to Stamford Bridge this season.

Liverpool – Rafa is not good at buying players and to make it worse his hands are tied this time around with the transfer funds. The Gareth Barry tussle with Aston Villa is really sad, infact it is worse than the continuing Ronaldo saga. Barry has been asked to train on his own and Martin O’Neil has made it clear to Liverpool that they should pay 18 million if they want to see Barry in a red jersey next season. Fair enough. Do they have the money to buy David Villa??? No I do not think so.

Arsenal – Nasri is in. I hope he plays better than his Euro performance in an Arsenal jersey. Hleb stories have become silent and Adebayor stories on the rise in the last few weeks. Ade’s salary demands if it is true is showing him in a poor light. It is strange how one good season can make a player think so highly about himself. If he had made this demand at the end of next season after scoring 20 goals, it would have looked better.

The official jerseys are on sale from today. Here is the home jersey

And here is the rumoured to be away jersey

Also the 2008-09 Arsenal first team squad numbers have been finalised few weeks back. Notable ones;

12 Carlos Vela

14 Theo Walcott – ya he gets Henry’s number. Now only if he could play like him 🙂

16 Aaron Ramsey

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Filed under 2008-09 season, 2008-09 Squad numbers, Aaron Ramsey, Adebayor, Alex Ferguson, Arsenal, Arsenal Away Jersey, Arsenal Home Jersey, Arsene Wenger, Arshavin, Berbatov, Carlos Vela, Chelsea, David Villa, Deco, Drogba, EPL, Gareth Barry, Liverpool, Manchester United, Robinho, Ronaldo, Samir Nasri, Scolari, Theo, Walcott

Season Review 2007-08

The season is dead and buried now. It has been a good season for Arsenal given the fact that, Henry’s exit and a new bunch of players playing together for the first time were written off even before the ball was kicked. The Gunners did a creditable job finishing 4 points behind Manchester United and 2 points behind Chelsea, when you take into perspective some refereeing decisions which could have gone either ways and the 8 games without a win that they went through post the Eduardo injury.

Manchester did the double and have grown in strength and look firm favourites for next year already. Chelsea had a late surge towards the end and Arsenal lost steam after being in the front for a long time last season. Here is a list of some of the best of the season in EPL

Team of the year

David James

Sagna Rio Ferdinand Vidic Clichy

Flamini

Ronaldo Gerrard Fabregas Petrov

Torres

David James has been consistent and his presence under the bars was assurance to Harry Redknap’s team. Vidic and Rio provided the stability at the centre of defence which was responsible for the less goals in the Goals Against column on the tables. They complement each other very well. In Sagna and Clichy Arsenal had the best full backs in the league. Sagne was good in the air as well as surging back to defend while Clichy was an engine with energy left to do a run even in the 90th minute.

I am going in with a 4-5-1 combination as the defensive midfielder role has become one of the most important roles in any team. Players like Flamini, Mascherano, Carrick/Hargreaves have got that ability to cut down moves from opposition by coming down with the tackles at the right time. They break moves and win back possession. And in that role Flamini excelled beyond compare.

If a player scores 30 goals in a season and he operates in midfield, that is a performance worth many awards and hence Ronaldo makes his way into the team without any doubt. He along with Gerrard will be the attacking options in this team. Gerrard had a consistent performance and his attitude is one of the best in the league when it comes to leading the team by example. Fabregas added a few goals to the most number of assists in the league and was again the most creative midfielder in the league. On the left wing I am going with Petrov from Manchester City as he came out as a person with an awesome left foot. I wonder why he did not get mention in any other team of the years. He had some lethal crosses throughout the season and looks like a good introduction to the league.

With all the attacking options in the team I think the lone guy forward would be good enough for this team. And if that lone forward is Torres, nothing like it. That guy doesn’t miss many chances and his finishing has been impeccable. Great to see him play in EPL.

Players who scored the most crucial goals

Jamie Bullard – Like Tevez last year for West Ham United, Bullard scored the most crucial goals towards the end of the season when Fulham needed it most to keep their premiership hopes alive. His freekick goals were as best as any that you will in the league and all those goals made for points which saved them relegation.

Carlos Tevez – He was the most important goalscorer for Manchester United this year as he scored in getting some vital points in drawn matches as well as some victorious matches.

Best new Signing

Torres – He was expensive but he has justified every bit of it. He doesn’t miss many chances and his finishing was brilliant. He has got the power and doesn’t go down that easily to challenges

Sagna – He was one of the most stable players in Arsenal this season and he was good with tackles as well as on the air. He complemented Eboue well on the right side and was playing some really good football till he got injured towards the end of the season.

Roque Santa Cruz – When Mark Hughes bought him from Bayern Munich there were many doubters but fifteen goals in the season is very commendable froma player who cost much much less than someone like Torres. He is only 26 and expect more from him next season.

Best match of the season

Manchester United vs Arsenal – This match played in April was a very keenly contested match and Arsenal showed their class. They dominated the match but gave away a dubious freekick and suffered a defeat. Great display from Arsenal and if they had won that match, then it would have been a different end to the season.

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Filed under Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Barclays Premier League, Blackburn Rovers, Cesc, Chelsea, Clichy, Cristiano Ronaldo, David James, Eduardo, Eduardo Injury, England, EPL, Fabregas, Flamini, Fulham, Gael Clichy, Gerrard, Gunners, Hargreaves, Jamie Bullard, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United, Mascherano, Petrov, Premier League, Rio Ferdinand, Ronaldo, Roque Santa Cruz, Sagna, Tevez, Torres, Vidic, Wenger, West Ham

So it is United and Chelsea in Moscow

The predictions came undone as Manchester United and Barcelona played out two uninspired legs with just one goal to show while Chelsea and Liverpool played out a 7 goal thriller over the two legs. So it would be Manchester United who will take on Chelsea in Moscow on May 21st.

Manchester United played a very drab affair at Nou Camp and Barcelona did not take advantage of this at home. And in the return leg at Old Trafford, Scholes, who was the star performer for the defensive United team at Nou Camp, scored the winner from a wonderful right foot volley. And then it was back to a well oiled defensive play for the rest of the 75 minutes. Messi was the only inspiration for the Spanish team but he could not get that all important goal for his team. Ronaldo as usual did not come good in the big match for his side. Barcelona did not look like a team that has dominated Spain and Europe lately. A big operation is needed for this side to prove serious contenders for La Liga next year.

Chelsea rode their luck against Arsenal in the quarterfinal, but it ran out against Chelsea as Chelsea got a lucky break at Anfield,courtesy Riise’s own goal. The return leg at Stamford Bridge was a thriller especially in the 30 minutes of extra time played out. Drogba came good against strong statements made before the match by Rafa Benitez on his diving skills. His power and precision was always trouble for the Liverpool back four, Skrtel who had to limp off coming off a strong tackle from Drogba. Essien’s goal was disallowed which meant that Rafa’s luck was back, but Ballack earned a penalty and Lampard converted a high tension penalty coming back from a very emotional weekend. Anelka came on and his speed and movement got Drogba his second goal of the match. Drogba yet again proved that he was the big match player that every manager dreams of. Babel came on for Torres(god knows why) but justified his presence by a late goal which made the last 3-4 minutes of the match to be more tense than necessary.

Chelsea seems to be the team which is peaking at the right time. Ferguson will have a lot to think about come the final at Moscow.

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Filed under Ballack, Champions League, Chelsea, Drogba, Essien, Lampard, Liverpool, Manchester United, Messi, Moscow, Nou Camp, Old Trafford, Rafa Benitez, Riise, Ronaldo, Ryan Babel, Skrtel, Stamford Bridge, Torres

Champions League Semifinals preview

Liverpool take on Chelsea at Anfield on Tuesday night in the first semifinal and Barcelona play Manchester United at Nou Camp on Wednesday night in the second. Would it be an all English Final at Moscow in May? For that Barcelona will have to be beaten over two legs by Man Utd. Well anything is possible, though United look the stringer team on current form.

Talking about the first Semifinal, these two teams have met before in the semifinal stage before and played one of the more boring matches in the history of Champions League seminfinals. Both the teams approach an away match as a match not to concede and play and score at home and then defend. Liverpool are masters at this and they realise that this tie is decided over two legs and the make the most of the home advantage at Anfield. The only difference this time is that the second leg is at Stamford Bridge this time.

There is a very interesting read about how these two teams play by former Real Madrid coach and World Cup winner Jorge Valdano;

Chelsea and Liverpool are the clearest, most exaggerated example of the way football is going: very intense, very collective, very tactical, very physical, and very direct. But, a short pass? Noooo. A feint? Noooo. A change of pace? Noooo. A one-two? A nutmeg? A backheel? Don’t be ridiculous. None of that. The extreme control and seriousness with which both teams played the semi-final neutralised any creative licence, any moments of exquisite skill.

If Didier Drogba was the best player in the first match it was purely because he was the one who ran the fastest, jumped the highest and crashed into people the hardest. Such extreme intensity wipes away talent, even leaving a player of Joe Cole’s class disoriented. If football is going the way Chelsea and Liverpool are taking it, we had better be ready to wave goodbye to any expression of the cleverness and talent we have enjoyed for a century.

I will not say anything more than that 🙂

While the second semifinal should be a display of attacking football. I cannot see either of the teams sitting back and defending, home or away. Manchester United have firepower in Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez (who has been scoring some very important goals for his team lately) while Barcelona will have the livewire Messi, Bojan Krkic, Henry and Eto in their ranks. This match would be worth waking up at 3 and watching!

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Filed under Anfield, Champions League, Chelsea, Eto, Jorge Valdano, Liverpool, Messi, Nou Camp, Ronaldo, Rooney, Stamford Bridge, Tevez