Friday, March 07, 2008

Reason Why English Football Is So Popular In Asia

I was asked by a German football writer about the reasons why English football is so popular even over at this part of the globe. It took me quite some time to think it through and here's the reasons I gave:

One reason why the Premiership is so popular is because the way English football works, which is the 'blood and thunder' style, compared to most continental leagues such as Serie A and La Liga. It is fast paced and intense, making it a joy to watch for many. Serie A in comparison, is much more tactically disciplined and slow and therefore, not as often entertaining as the Premiership.

There is also a diversity in styles between the teams even though they all play at break-neck pace. You have the technically gifted Arsenal to the gritty Bolton, unpredictable Tottenham and somehow, laughable Newcastle United (at the moment it seems :P). Therefore it makes viewing a pleasure at times because even though the 'top 4' dominates the league, it still makes individual matches interesting and intriguing.

Lastly I believe that it has got an advantage over other leagues because the Premiership is made into a marketable product which makes it look 'tasty and delicious' on the outside. It is marketed well and with the number of stars currently plying their trade in England, it makes it even more engaging and attractive. Just look at the amount that each clubs receive from TV revenue yearly. I don't have the figure with me but it surely is much much more than the La Liga or Bundesliga.

Look at the shenanigans going on in Spain regarding the TV rights and you'll understand why the English league is the preferred league. It's much more well-run and more presentable than the rest.

Do you agree with my view on English football, especially those over in Asia? Do you share a common reasonings as me or do you have other reasons? Do drop a comment or an email is always welcomed!

Torres: It's Hammer Time!

Spanish Striker's Red Hot Form - 2 Consecutive Home Hat-tricks!

English Premiership

LIVERPOOL 4 - 0 West Ham

LIV - Torres (9, 60,81), Gerrard (83);

You know, I don't really know how to write this match report because all you need to do is to just watch how Fernando Torres scores all his three goals and then watch how Gerrard planted that ball right into the top corner.

Like they say, action speaks louder than words. As Gerrard said, want to get the fourth place? Show it! And the 4 goals says it all, really. If we could perform at such standards with consistency, I don't see how we won't get the 4th place.

Torres (1-0):

Torres (2-0):

Torres (3-0):

Gerrard (4-0):

Monday, March 03, 2008

Jussi Clanger

English Premiership

Bolton 1 - 3 LIVERPOOL

BOL - Cohen (79);
LIV - Jaaskelainen (12 og), Babel (60), Aurelio(75);

Liverpool's bid for fourth place received a massive boost after Rafa Benitez finally exorcised the hoodoo at Reebok Stadium with a well deserved 3-1 win over Bolton Wanderers. It's the first time the Spanish manager tasted success against Bolton, a side renown for their physical approach to the game.

Off the field uncertainties continue to plague Liverpool but with 4th place being the be all and end all for the season, Rafa knows that a victory at the Reebok will propel the team back into Champions League contention, albeit for only a few hours.

On the note, Liverpool probably breezed through this game unlike the uncountable times when they huffed and puffed and got nothing away from their north east neighbours. It has been 5 years since the Reds have got all 3 points from their 'unhappy hunting ground'.

But it's obvious that this Bolton team is a shadow of what they were once, under the management of Sam Allardyce. His replacement, former Anfield favourites, Sammy Lee, got them into the mire earlier on and now, Gerry Megson managed to stabilise the ship. Only just.

Bolton started off brightly enough and looked confident that they will get the result. Former Anfield misfit, El-Hadji Diouf was unlucky to see his free kick come off the cross bar while Bolton continuously threatened from set plays.

Martin Skrtel is preferred at centre back alongside Sami Hyypia, pushing Jamie Carragher out to the right. Though uncertain at set plays due to new idea of zonal marking, the Slovenian international excelled throughout the game with nicely timed tackles and interceptions.

Then against the run of play, Liverpool took the lead through an unfortunate mistake by the usually reliable Jussi Jaaskelainen. Skipper Steven Gerrard's shot was inches away from the goal but the Finnish goalkeeper haphazardly dived for it and the ball went in the net, off his head.

Liverpool couldn't believed their luck but after years of questionable refereeing decisions at the Reebok including Reina's alleged handball outside the penalty box and also Luis Garcia's wrongly disallowed goal, it's probably time for Lady Luck to switch side.

Bolton continued to threaten through diagonal crosses, with Kevin Davies perfectly made as a target man. The centre forward had a fantastic chance to draw level, only to be denied by Pepe Reina. His header 6 yards out was miraculously kept out by the Spanish goalkeeper.

The game drew on into a chess-like affair with Liverpool playing more cautiously. Yet the game was somehow, wide open after the break as both Bolton pushed forward and leaving huge gaps in their defence.

Liverpool grabbed their opportunity in the 60th minute as Ryan Babel took his chance well and put the visitors in the driving seat. Kuyt turned Carragher's cross against the post and a poor clearance from Bolton enabled Babel to get hold of the ball before slamming it past the hapless Jaaskelainen.

They then extended their lead through a marvelous strike from Brazilian full back, Fabio Aurelio. He was known to score goals from free kicks but this time, he took his chance fantastically and finds the net for the first time in the red shirt.

Gerrard's corner was headed clear but Aurelio was on hand to chest it down nicely before sending a half volleyed shot into the net, with aplomb. Bolton should've closed him down sooner but at that point, the home side were already losing hope.

A consolation came their way though, through a corner. Not a surprised as Liverpool struggled every time there is a corner and this time, they were punished through their former player's son. Tamir Cohen, son of Avi Cohen, eluded his ball watching man markers and slammed it past Pepe Reina.

The visitors held on for an important and crucial win as Rafa would finally breathe a sigh of relief for finally defeating an old nemesis. The 3 points lifted them into 4th place until city rivals, Everton, defeated Portsmouth 2 hours later with the same scoreline.

The race for the title is heating up just as it is for the race for the final Champions League placing. Rafa previously admitted that Everton and Aston Villa are 2 teams that will most likely wreck the team's chances to qualify for next season's Champions League but now, he should be quietly confident that his side can take the all important 4th place.