Saturday, March 03, 2007

Liverpool vs United Preview

Liverpool versus Manchester United, the rivals from North-west of England, are set to clash over at the Merseyside. Forget about Chelsea. Forget about Arsenal, this is THE game of English football.

It's two of England's most decorated club, past or present. Although Chelsea have came knocking on the door and grabbed two consecutive titles over the past years, Liverpool and United are still highly regarded as the teams that 'represents' England.

And no doubt, this tie will be a very intriguing one indeed.

It's a match that sees the two teams with totally different agendas. United have come the closest to reaching the Premiership summit since the rise of Chelsea and if they manage to beat Liverpool at our own backyard, it'll stretch their lead to 12 points, albeit Chelsea having a game in hand. It's going to be a huge psychological boost for them.

Beating Liverpool at Anfield will taste absolutely sweet for them and 12 points seemed a yard too far for the Chelsea machine to catch up with, a term we're not familiar with until this season.

Whereas Liverpool have the pride to play for. Not wanting to hand the title automatically over to United at Anfield, they'll try their best to 'delay the inevitable'. The Kop faithful will rather see United winning the title somewhere else rather than in front of them.

Revenge is also on the mind, as Rafa haven't been able to defeat United in the league since his appointment. Man United have also inflicted damage to Liverpool’s pride in recent times with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford and a undeserved 1-0 win last season.

This could spark a very interesting tie and with Champions League last 16 second leg looming over the horizon, it’ll be difficult to guess what the managers will be thinking. Whether they’ll have an eye on the midweek game or putting their everything into this is hard to comprehend.

But one could suspect that both teams will give their 101% best in this game given the circumstance they’re in.

The pride of the people, the scousers against the mancs are at stake. The passion of the fans all over the world are severely testing today as well.

With this huge game only hours away, you could feel millions of eyes turning that way. Whatever the outcome, it’ll definitely be a fantastic game of football.

Drogballs' Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Man Utd. It's going to be a tight game and a close call to ensue. Sitting on the fence for this one and hopefully, a great game of football.

Expected Liverpool line-up:


Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Riise;

Gerrard, Sissoko, Alonso, M Gonzalez;

Kuyt, Bellamy;

IFFHS World Club Ranking

This is the latest table released by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics). The table is based on recent results.

1. Sevilla
2. FC Internazionale Milano
3. FC Barcelona
4. Liverpool
5. Milan AC
6. São Paulo
7. Arsenal FC
8. SC Internacional
9. Olympique Lyonnais
10. Newcastle United
11. AS Roma
12. Chelsea FC
13. Paris Saint-Germain
14. Manchester United
15. FC Rapid Bucureşti
16.AFC Ajax
17. CSD Colo Colo
18. RCD Espanyol
19. Olympique de Marseille
20. Fenerbahçe SK

For the rest click HERE.

Well, how accurate is it, I've no idea. Maybe it's just as rubbish as the FIFA World Ranking!

Movin' Groovin' With Thierry Henry

Hold your laughter and.......


Friday, March 02, 2007

Bellers You Daft Arse!

So we've been waiting for the truth of the 'Golf Club-gate' from the very mouth of the men involved in it, Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise. Today, Bellamy told The Daily Mirror everything and now, we know, there is absolutely nothing with the golf club, seven iron or anything.

He told the Daily Mirror: 'It started when we were all doing a bit of karaoke. I only sang one song and that was Red, Red Wine by UB40. That was because Jerzy Dudek was drinking it. That's how silly it all was.

'A lot of the lads wanted Riise to get up there next because he hadn't turned up at the dinner earlier and I tried to get him up, too.

'I wasn't that bothered whether he wanted to sing or not so I sat back down but he wasn't too happy about me trying to get him to sing so he let me know about it.

'The situation was calmed down then but when I was walking back to the hotel with Steve Finnan, who I was rooming with, I lost control for a few seconds.

'I went and confronted 'Ginger' and I said to him 'don't be doing that in front of the players again'.

'And that was really about it. I didn't want to cause a scene in front of everybody else. I just wanted to talk to him about it alone.

'John has been great about it. Straight away the next morning we were training together. There's no problem now.

Want a quick way out of Liverpool especially after the takeover? Do something like this. Guaranteed on your way out faster than Cronaldo drops on the floor.

Here's The Answers To The Quiz

1) Which English team is the first to compete in Europe?

A: Birmingham City. In 1956, the Blues became the first English club side to compete in Europe as they took part in the 1955-58 season.

2) Name the only 2 players who have scored in every season of the English Premiership.

A: Gary Speed and Ryan Giggs. Since the English First Division was named the English Premiership back in the 92/93 season, this two players have been on the score sheets without fail in ever season.

Speed played for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and currently at Bolton Wanderers while Ryan Giggs is a one club man with Man United his first and perhaps, last club. He has 496 games under his name and scoring 98 goals in the process.

3) Which player scored the most number of hat-tricks and how many of them?

A: Alan Shearer with 11 hat tricks in total. One of the greatest English striker of all time, he scored a grand total of 283 goals in 553 appearances for Newcastle, Blackburn and Southampton.

He's also a prolific goal scorer in international football, scoring 30 goals in 63 caps with England.

4) Who is the most successful goalscoring goalkeeper of all time?

A: Rogerio Ceni of Brazil. He plays for Sao Paulo and I don't think Liverpool fans will be unfamiliar with him. He played 704 games for Brazilian giants and scoring 68 goals in the process. Free kicks, penalties, you name it.

5) Who holds the record for most under 21 international caps? (Hint: Not English!)

A: Christian Dailly of Scotland. I bet many of you are surprised by the answer but he holds the record for the most number of U-21 caps. He appeared for Scotland Under 21 at a young age of 16 and promptly made 34 appearances for the Scots.

As they say, showing early promise doesn't mean anything. Now he's just a mediocre to average footballer over at West Ham.

Anyway thanks for taking part in the quiz, giving answers and trying out. As I've mentioned, we learn something new everyday and hopefully with this quiz, you learned something today!

2 Links To Share

With websites and blogs being such a trend nowadays, easily accessibly by absolutely anyone, it's not surprising to find a few good websites with very unique focal points. Today, I was clicking about (finally, I found some time to) and came across this website called

As the URL suggests, it's about ugly footballers and there's even a First XI for year 2006. Sorry Peter Crouch fans out there, your hero is on the list.
Here's the LINK

"MySpace With Pants On!"

I was sent an email regarding an invite for me to join an online community called ISporty. The closest description for this website is written above. It was what the sender said anyway. So you could set up your account there, create a profile, set up fan clubs or join them and then post your thoughts.

I'll encourage anyone interested to sign up over there ESPECIALLY if you have let's say, an amateur team playing football. You could very well open an account for your 'club' and ask your members to join and therefore, creating a little space for you and your team mates.

The sender of the Email mentioned that there's a certain Terry Venables on the site as well and why not, since it's always good to be in a huge community of football lovers and perhaps, sports lovers.

Do give it a try! Because perhaps we might get a chance to interview Steven Gerrard. (Cross fingers, pray and hope)

Okay, lads. Now I want to know if there are people interested to join up and if there's enough people, I just might open up a little 'fan club' and we could all be in it! Well, just drop a comment if you're interested.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Football Turning Into WWE?

As we plow through the websites and newspapers for the latest in the world of football, sometimes you wonder if it's all turning into a huge fracas, or should I say, into WWE. We all know the World Wrestling Entertainment are just there fore entertainment and what you see on TV are all made up for show. Is football in danger of turning into one of those sports where people can no longer be serious about?

Similarities between football and wrestling:
- Constant whining and 'talking big, does little'
- Inept referees. Or, just pure cr*p.
- Divers and actors as the protagonists of the game
- Violence

I'm not the biggest fan or in fact, I stopped watching it after I found Liverpool. Although I was young at that time, perhaps 9 or so. But I wasn't naive. I was adamant that it's just an entertainment show because I don't believe humans that big of a size can be made to look like such an utter buffoon.

One thing that turns me off regarding wrestling is of course the predictability of it. It's so predictable that it's laughable. I don't think I want to bother to write about it because anyone who watches more than an hour of it can tell. It's not rocket scientist's job.

Managers whining. How predictable. Every week you'll get at least 3 managers going to the media slamming the officials and the FA. Then you'll get news of the FA punishing the manager which cost peanuts. Rinse and repeat, that certainly made the job of a football journalist a lot easier.

Wenger did have a point in his argument regarding last night's FA Cup replay, where he saw his Gunners crashed to a 1-0 defeat to a very unaesthetic Blackburn side. But does he really think that by saying all those words will make the referee change his decision or does anything to help the state of football? It's obviously not and it just makes football manager look rather foolish and short sighted.

Then again who can blame him when the referee in the spot light is none other than Mr. Graham 'Three Card' Poll. It's even more apt for me to mention football and wrestling because the similarity between the two are that the referees are rather useless. I'm not saying ALL the football referees are rubbish but the standard of refereeing is really shambolic. Might as well revert back to amateur football where the players themselves are referees.

Mark Hughes did himself proud as well by mentioning that his Blackburn side deserves everything to go through to the next round as they managed to stop Arsenal over 180 minutes. And they say 'Comical Ali' of the former Iraqi regime is gone. I think not, his spirit lies in every manager. Self deluding and often, their quotes are so laughable that it stinks.

Last but not the least, Spanish football is not my forte but I think it's worth a mention because it seriously concerns me when it comes to violence and it seemed like the violence have escalated in the game and something must be done.

Italian football was hit by the death of a policeman and now, someone nearly murdered Sevilla's manager, Juande Ramos, during the Copa Del Rey match between Seville and Betis. After Sevilla took the lead through Freddy Kanoute, someone from the crowd sent a bottle flying into Ramos' head and he went down, unconscious. Good thing to know he's alright now but are football fans still such a rowdy and barbaric bunch despite better education in those countries?

A sad state of affair and nothing done. With this going on, it'll be from football to wrestling and then circus.

I Failed To Mention...

Less than a month from the 1st Year anniversary of The Red Cauldron, the hit counter shows a number of 20,000 visitors to the site. Although it's only a modest number and I don't think it's anything like a major blog (I think) but I'll still like to thank you people for regularly coming back to this blog, showing your support and giving me feedback.

This place is almost nothing without you people. Give yourself a pat on the back and say....


Just kidding. Thanks for the support.


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The 2008 Oscars Best Actor Award

And the winner is...

Alberto Gilardino of Italy

Fantastic acting skills. Just pure class. He acted superbly even though he knew he could've scored the goal. That's professionalism from the man and he deserves everything.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pub Quiz & Football Trivia

Well, I love to keep in touch with you, my readers and would like to hear from you regarding a new segment on here. It's going to be like a football trivia where I will be posting around 5 questions and hopefully, I get as many attempt from you, my readers, as possible.

So let's just take this as a trial and I'll see if there are enough readers who contribute here.

1) Which English team is the first to compete in Europe?

2) Name the only 2 players who have scored in every season of the English Premiership.

3) Which player scored the most number of hat-tricks and how many of them?

4) Who is the most successful goalscoring goalkeeper of all time?

5) Who holds the record for most under 21 international caps? (Hint: Not English!)

Well, I'll see hows the response on here before making another of these quizzes. Go try it out and post it under comments. The answers will be revealed this Friday. What are you waiting for! Go do it now! I plead you.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Epitome Of Pot.Kettle.Black

I love Jose Mourinho when he shut his gob and does his job. I was even a little sympathetic with him back then when Chelsea were going through some tough times (very minor ones, mind) and he looked really shabby.

But here comes the return of the 'Special One'.

Can't accept the fact that Man United are 9 points ahead of his beloved Blues and deservedly, he came out calling United lucky and are fortunate to be ahead of Chelsea.

Now that's what I call a perfect example of a pot calling the kettle black. Or to put in context, hypocritical. Because I believe that the Chelsea that have won the title for the past 2 consecutive seasons are in no way different from what United are in now.

He mentioned "This is a season in which United have had no injuries and every player is fine to play."

These words coming out of the man who manages a team that seldom gets any sort of major injuries and had all the resources in the world to put things right. No Drogba? Then there's the 30 million Shevchenko. No Lampard? There's always Michael Ballack.

I think Chelsea have been extremely fortunate for the past two seasons in terms of injuries and we're only focusing on injuries. Only in recent times we saw John Terry getting a little injury prone and Cech suffering that horrific head injury. But for the last two seasons, they don't have any major injury that are able to derail them from the title chase.

United themselves are fortunate as well, but not as what we all made them of. They do have some players like Smith and Solksjaer who are victims of long term injury earlier this season and Saha who is in and out of the team faster than the speed of sound (not very fast, but still...).

I wouldn't go on about his mentioning of the Lille and Fulham game where United didn't looked deserving but got their wins because I'm someone who doesn't believe in what a team 'deserves' but you get what you work for. You grind out wins when things are going tough and call it day light robbery, it's the points that matter.

The point of the game is to put the ball in the net, score the goals, defend well and with a bit of luck, you'll be off to the Premiership crown. Man United have proved to us that without their top scorer, van Nistelrooy, they could handle it and boy, did they do it in some style.

Goal scorers in every position especially so from the flanks. Ronaldo have been by far, the best player in the Premiership while Giggs seemed to have found his hunger for the game and although he doesn't possess the speed in which he terrorises opponent's defence, his football intelligence and experience are invaluable. Vice versa for a certain Paul Scholes in the middle of the park.

They defence have been solid this season with van der Saar adding experience in the back line and the addition of Nemanja Vidic proved to be vital. Even the requisition of Henrik Larsson is said to be a masterstroke from Sir Alex.

Sir Alex himself also found the hunger and desire to 'knock Chelsea off the f**king perch', the same motivation for him to do what he did to Liverpool back in early 90s.

Luck is something that is hard to define. But I think fortune favours the brave and you reap what you sow. United have been by far the best team in the league and nobody could doubt that.

You could see the hunger in the team and the desire to bring the title back to Old Trafford. From the very start, the game in which they mercilessly killed Fulham off in 20 minutes, I kind of knew where the title will be going. Not Stamford Bridge, not Emirates, not Anfield.

Teams that won cups and trophies over the years shows that there are many factors contributing to their victories and luck is certainly within consideration, albeit only a small portion in my opinion. The best team might not win but at the end of the day, it's the result that counts.

So, Jose, just admit it. They're destined for the Premiership and nobody are going to stop them. They have been steamrolling teams from day one and played fantastic football at times. Time to be gracious in defeat.

Inside The Mind Of A Football Manager

'Russia football manager Guus Hiddink has been handed a six-month suspended sentence and fined £30,000 after being found guilty of tax evasion. The Dutchman was accused of evading more than £900,000 in Dutch taxes by falsely claiming to be a resident of Belgium in 2002 and 2003.'

So you'll get fined 30k GBP for evading almost a million GBP. Calculate it and he is only paying around 1/30 of it although you'll still need to add in the 6 months jail sentence.

Looking at it, a well taken risk from a shrewd tactical master. It was a masterstroke and pulled off well. With all the possibilities in mind, it's all worth it I guess!

How Low Can It Go?

I sat through my dinner time watching Sports Centre and when it focus on football, it's either a bunch of big boys punching each other or some French team that refused to surrender. Oh the irony.

There seemed a distinct lack of positive football news and it's as if football is no longer the game about passing the ball about and scoring the goals but perhaps, we have put too much focus on the unnecessary things like those 'handbags' on the pitch.

Have the beauty of the game evaporate into thin air? Will all these turn people off and will all these breed a new group of armchair football supporter that only knows the stuff that were presented in our eyes through the mass media?

Well, rant over. So let's watching something funny.

Er...I think they're all trying to outdo each other for the Oscars but sadly, they didn't know the nominations were over. Good job anyway, could make it for the 2008 Oscars.

Martin Palermo!

A classy name with a classy goal just recently in the Argentinian league. I guess people will always remember him for missing a hat trick of penalties during the 1999 Copa America and perhaps, 'CM' players won't be too unfamiliar with him.

The Peter Crouch Story

Peter Crouch required stitches and was stretched off the field on Saturday's win over Sheffield United. He is said to have a nose injury and could miss the important clash against Man United. However, the incident is more than meets the eye....

Peter Crouch's account: Oh, I saw the corner coming in and it was near the goal post! But I ran so fast that I went head on with the crossbar!

Of course it's not true. He's not that tall and I think I shouldn't laugh at his injury. Get well soon, Two Metre Peter!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Drogballs' Weekly Thoughts

Fowler Still 'The One'

Robbie Fowler scores a penalty for Liverpool

His time at Liverpool might be up really soon after rumours of him joining up with Steve Nicol over in the United States but he showed us last Saturday that he still have something to offer. Two calmly taken penalty and a brilliant assist capped a good outing for Fowler, who always seemed to be on the score sheet no matter who he's playing and under what circumstances.

One can argue that it's just two penalties but the mental strength and courage to step up and slot it into the Kop End especially the second is commendable.

Spurs Finally Finds Form

The team from North London at long last, proved to us why they managed to occupy the 4th spot for such a long period of time last season after a 4-1 demolition of Bolton at White Hart Lane. The catalyst of the thrashing is without a doubt, Dimitar Berbatov, who was involved in all the goals and showed great touches and excellent understanding and team work with his team mates.

Spurs, meanwhile, learned their lesson after they're beaten by Sheffield United at Bramall Lane 2 weeks ago before going on with their current 3 games winning streak. Goals were scored while their back line looked like they're back to their normal standards. Even Paul Robinson looked good.

Robbie Keane scored two for them before getting sent off for a hand ball on the line. It was rather harsh to my liking but it's not without a bit of logic in the sending off. His instinctive reaction was to stopping the inevitable, which is ball in the back of the net but referee deemed it was an infringement. But it did little to stop Spurs from running away with the 3 goals lead.

Going Down, Going Down, GOING DOWN!

West Ham's Nigel Quashie sits dejected as Charlton celebrate Jermone Thomas's second goal

Although I've chosen this picture to suit the title, it doesn't tell the full story. West Ham United, once again got onto this part of the weekly thoughts post with yet another humiliating defeat at the hands of Charlton. Yes, you got that right. A relegation candidate losing to another relegation candidate and a match with so much hype going on about how it'll define the two team's season was all but over at half time.

Going 3 down at an aptly named, The Valley, Alan Curbishley and his men are certainly walking through the valley alone. It's a story of how a club crumbled and all the problems just snowballed inexplicably into one huge chunk and the time bomb is about to set off.

They got into to UEFA Cup this season and it sort of put the players off focus and also, off the ground as well. Players thought they're already made it big, player who had every desire to jump ship yet given the captain's armband and as well as the failure to integrate the Argentinian duo, it went all awry right at the start of the season.

Then when trouble sets in, everyone wants a quick way out. Get a millionaire in and money MIGHT just get you to safety. But how wrong was that. He sacked the then manager, Alan Pardew and handed it to Alan Curbishley, a man not known for his spending and relegation catfight skills.

He splashed on players freely and thinking that with those 'qualities', they're surely 'too good to go down'. But the sad fact is he failed to integrate the lot of them and does that line of words ring any bell? There is not such thing as 'too good to go down' and if the players continue their 'fine' form, they'll be down without a shadow of doubt.

How ironic is it that a former manager that was called a 'cancer' instigated a mauling over the clarets and blues so comprehensively.

Watford is already condemned in my opinion and with West Ham player's fighting spirit in tatters, I wouldn't be surprised the 'Academy of Football' is going down and the bubbles they're blowing might burst anytime.

Carling Cup Handbags

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor had to be dragged off the pitch after he was sent off

It was the incident which marred the otherwise exciting and intense cup final which saw Chelsea slightly edging past Arsenal with Drogba providing the ammunition. 2nd half substitute, Jon Obi Mikel slid in with a terrible tackle from behind and a full fledged handbags ensued.

It's disgusting yet amusing to see two groups of players running into each other, pushing and shoving, in a game played by 22 adults. Even old men like Wenger and Mourinho had to jump in to defuse the situation

In the end, Mikel was sent off along with captain, Toure while Emmanuel Adebayor was dragged off the pitch after shown the red. I didn't get to see the replay but I was adamant that Fabregas should have walked while Lampard shown a yellow as well.

Cesc Fabregas, however talented he might be, have been acting like a petulant kid at times and his cockiness gets into me sometimes. The referee failed to spot his raised arms on Lampard and we can only hear from the FA about their verdict of the incident. But why on earth did the Spanish wunderkid get involve in something that's not of his business? Why Lampard?

Perhaps, it's teenagers nowadays. Get into the big stage and already walking with his head tilted 45 degrees upwards. He might need a good few years before he can humble down and only then, I'll class him as a truly world class player.

However good you might be, a lack of class and character makes you look poor.

Only Choose One Player From Each Premiership Teams XI

Saw this on Football 365 and thought it'll be interesting to do it myself based on my own preferences. Let's see:

Goalkeeper: Ben Foster (Watford)
Starting off from the goalkeeper position, the young English goalkeeper certainly impressed me enough as well as Steve McClaren, who gave him his first cap for England in the friendly against Spain earlier this month. A fantastic all round goalkeeper who is an excellent shot stopper and seldom flap at important moments. He's at Watford to keep the scores down, that's about it I guess.

Left Back: Gareth Barry (Aston Villa)
Another of those under-rated players around in the Premiership. Although his performance didn't really set the world alight but he certainly showed that the English players CAN take penalties. A capable and reliable captain for Villa, he gets my pick at left back.

Right Back: Micah Ricards (Man City)
Highly rated by the whole of England and touted to take over Gary Neville's place at the right back slot of England, he's an enthusiastic player who is versatile and never afraid to stick his foot into challenges. He gives Man City the extra physical presence in the team and also a tourniquet for them.

Centre Back: Ivica Ingimarrson (Reading)
Reading have been the surprise package of all surprise packages this season and their excellent run in the Premiership is not only their potency in front of goal but also the fact that they have a proper backbone. Like Wigan last season, who had the experience of Arjen De Zeeuw, Reading had this Icelandic at the heart of defence and he performed reasonably well, putting a few balls into the opponent's net as well.

Centre Back: Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea)
You must be wondering why I didn't pick John Terry. To me, I thought the Portugese performed far better than the England captain in recent times and just watch his performance against Arsenal last night. Although he was caught out by Walcott for that goal but he stepped up his performance after Terry went off and made some crucial interceptions and his reading of the game has always been immense.

Left Midfield: Morten Gamst Pedersen (Blackburn)
One of the best free kick takers around, Pedersen has a lethal left foot. But his contributions go beyond just striking powerful free kicks into top corners but also helping his team mates with good passes and he's in charge of the Creative Department of Blackburn.

Right Midfield: Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd)
A winger who swapped flanks so often yet it never hamper him from scoring fantastic goals. The number of league goals this season from his winger position just showed us what a quality player this young Portugese can be. If he could do away with his diving antics, he'll be more well respected by the English. This man was transformed into what he is now after the WC '06 controversy and have been at his top of his game.

Centre Midfield: Mikel Arteta (Everton)
Another Spanish centre midfielder that can walk into most national team but can't with Spain purely because of the number of quality midfielders in the same position. The Basque play maker is an integral part of Everton and without him, they looked bit part and an apparent lack of quality. Could argue that Cahill is a better goal scorer, but I pick Arteta for his overall contributions.

Centre Midfield: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Not having a stormer of a season like the last but certainly did his job well after being moved back to his favourite centre midfield role. He's the player that will walk into any team in England, or perhaps, even Europe. He's got goals, guts and guile. He'll certainly be the man to conjure up some magical moments and a must have for any sort of XI except for perhaps 'Best Hairstyle'.

Striker: Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham)
The big man from Bulgaria was brought in to be a target man and his performance must have been an enriching lesson for all the target men in the Premiership. Just watch his performance last night against Bolton and you'll get the jeez. He has an excellent touch, big, strong and physical. The type of player that will fit in the Premiership well and also, he's hardworking, he scores the goals and also set up for others. Might turn out to be one of the signings of the season.

Striker: Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
The icon of English football is ironically a French. But one could understand why. He have been troubling the Premiership defence since his arrival from Juventus few years back and many Arsenal fans and neutrals didn't look back from it. Setting the world alight consistently throughout his Arsenal career, he scores the goals, leads by example and the symbol of Arsenal's artistic, aesthetically pleasant but often over-elaborating play. The only doubt will be how he'll work together with another striker from their North London rivals.

Sub 1: Brian McBride (Fulham)

Sub 2: Jussi Jaaskalainen (Bolton)

Sub 3: Obafemi Martins (Newcastle)

Sub 4: Phil Jagielka (Sheffield Utd)

Sub 5: Yossi Benayoun (West Ham)

Picture Of The Day

Gerrard: Robbie! You finally found your scoring 'touch' !
Fowler: Well, you can have a 'feel' of it, then.

Probably funny, most definitely wrong! I hope this is not a marriage wrecker though. :p

Chelsea Victors In Carling Cup Final

Carling Cup Final
Chelsea 2 - 1 Arsenal

In a match which saw the two Premiership giants came to blow, the youthful exuberance of Arsenal was unable to hold out the guile, craftiness and experience of the Chelsea side. A double from Ivorian, Didier Drogba, was enough to settle the game which extended beyond 90 minutes after several stoppages including the sickening John Terry injury which saw him getting a boot to his head and needed to be stretched off.

Arsene Wenger kept his promises by sending out his young guns as a reward for them getting the Gunners into the final. Although the side consists of mostly under-23 players, there are still many familiar faces in the side and cannot be underestimated.

But in the opening exchanges, it looked like the Chelsea side were complacent and underestimated what the young guns were capable of. The Blues looked disjointed and were unable to string passes together while the longer it took, the more confident Arsenal became.

And to many's surprise, Arsenal took the lead through Theo Walcott. His deft touch took him away from Ricardo Carvalho and John Terry before lifting it over Cech for his first ever goal for Arsenal. What a way to open the record!

It looked like the Chelsea players were disinterested and seemed like going through the motions. There was no spark of brilliance from any of the multi million superstars and they're too predictable when it comes to attacking. Kolo Toure and Philippe Senderos were able to deal with them easily.

But when Plan A doesn't work, Jose Mourinho didn't hesitate to change and send out Arjen Robben to life his side and give them a little more options on the flank as well as some pace to their attacks.

It was a bold move, as Jose had to take off Claude Makelele, the work horse of the team. But we all know the Portugese never take a second look to make an important change that was the turning point of the match.

But ultimately, it was Drogba's clincal finishing that won the game. In the 20th minute, he latched onto Ballack's through ball and although replays showed that he's in an offside position, he was given the benefit of doubt and who could stop an on form striker like him from smashing the ball past the hapless Manuel Almunia.

But Chelsea had to toiled on until the last 10 minutes before finding the winning goal when Robben's intricate cross was well met by Drogba's head and once again, Almunia had totally no chance.

Although there was the incident which promptly made referee Howard Webb hand out 3 red cards and 2 yellow, it should never overshadow the fact that it has been a fantastic match with good football played. The quality of football was brilliant at times and both teams showed their intent on winning the game.

Arsenal looked a little hard done by after all the good work in the game were cancelled out by a brilliant Didier Drogba but they should be proud of themselves. They didn't looked nervy at all or not even out of place at the Millenium Cardiff Stadium, where previously, many mega stars set their foot on it.

Cesc Fabregas looked really class while Theo Walcott silenced his critics with a well taken goal.

Chelsea spent all their millions on the players but at the end of the day, it was their experience and guile that won them the cup and Jose will most definitely be pleased with the 2nd League Cup in 3 years.

Oh Frankie Lampard...Dah Dah Dah Dah!

That's why foreign commentators are always more entertaining than Andy Gray...

'What ar hit son! What ar hit!'

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fowler On The Double

Liverpool Breaks Record With 9th Consecutive Clean Sheet @ Anfield

English Premiership

LIVERPOOL 4 - 0 Sheffield United

LIV - Fowler (pen 20min, pen 25min), Hyypia (70min), Gerrard (73min);

Match Highlights:

If Neil Warnock thinks that by putting a 'Fortune Cat' at the sidelines will help his side to come away from Anfield unscathed, then perhaps he should turn away from it and looked upon the countenance of 'God'.

Of course, the pun intended opening line is a little tribute to none other than Anfield's prodigal son and 'God', Robbie Fowler, who stepped up twice to score from the penalty spot. He showed great composure and courage to do it twice but was unfazed with the challenge.

It's a match in which Liverpool didn't really step up a gear from the start and yet comfortably beat a shell shocked Sheffield United side. The opening day fixture in which the Blades held on to a draw must have inspired the players for a revenge.

Looking at the statistics, it shows 4 shots on target and 4 goals. It shows that perhaps Liverpool CAN be clinical if they want to and with all the worries about how the midweek European game will unsettle the side, Rafa made sure that there were no tired legs out there.

He chopped and changed like his usual style and made 7 changes to the squad that came home with a heroic victory at the Nou Camp. Dudek went in goal for Reina while Hyypia took this chance to partner Carragher. But all focus were on the Argentinian holding midfielder, Javier Mascherano as he make his debut at a strangely subdued Anfield.

Liverpool started the game decently but were unable to find any gaps in a disciplined Sheffield United side. Hyypia's constant long ball to the front doesn't help the team and the home team were not able to push the Blades back against the wall. The game was played at a very slow pace from the start to the end.

But the game sparked to life after a penalty was awarded for some handbags in the United penalty box. Incidently, Crouch's head met with Rob Hulse boots and had to be taken off after the blood on his forehead can't be stopped. Kuyt took over his place and up steps Fowler, who placed the ball beyond Paddy Kenny's finger tips.

Then Steve Bennett had his whistle to his mouth again. Kuyt headed the ball into the path of Gerrard, who was once again pulled back by defender, Montgomerie and this penalty incident is the more obvious of the two.

It's Fowler again, who calmly stroked the ball into the Kop End and Liverpool comfortably in front at that stage although not playing at their best.

And to be honest, the rest of the match are like going through motions and nothing eventful really happened until Hyypia scored from a corner in the 70th minute. It was an instinctive finish from the experienced Finnish rearguard. Reminsce of his volleyed goal against Juvetus came to mind.

Then it was all over when Steve Gerrard scores from an acute angle for his first goal since New Years Day. Again, it was down to Fowler's fantastic vision and technique. He lifted the ball over the defence and Gerrard's first touch took him away from the defence before placing it into Paddy Kenny's right bottom corner.

Liverpool can now prepare for the next game against Man United with confidence sky high. They'll go away from this game with a couple of positives. Javier Mascherano had a decent debut in the middle of the park and showed hunger and is not afraid to put his foot into challenges.

It's always nice to see Fowler scoring goals and looking sharp. Two goals and one assist from him actually tells us that he still have something to offer to the team. His experience is invaluable.

Last but not least a good result albeit a unconvincing performance. But when Liverpool stepped up their gear, they threaten and they score the goals. That's the most important thing in a football match.