Monday, August 30, 2010

Torres Goal Sinks Baggies

Liverpool 1 - 0 West Brom

Liverpool, under the new regime of Roy Hodgson, finally bag all 3 points after an uncomfortable 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. They were uninspiring for majority of the game until Fernando Torres came up with a magical strike.

The Spanish forward has been utterly out of form and woefully underwhelming ever since the start of the World Cup and after 3 games into the new season, things doesn't seemed to have change.

Presented with an early opportunity, he cooked his touch a wee bit too much and could only manage a tame shot on goal. That was Scott Carson's only save for 65 minutes of the game until the former Liverpool goalkeeper was beaten by a moment of magic.

Liverpool had little imagination and lacks penetration throughout the game. There was a distinct lack of match sharpness and could not string a few passes together to actually organise an attack on West Brom.

Passing in the final third were poor while West Brom learned their lesson after the 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea in their opening game by compacting their play and frustrating Liverpool with the 5 man midfield with Peter Odemwingie proving a constant threat down the flanks.

The best chance of the game actually fell to West Brom, who failed to convert. Immediately, Pepe Reina launches an ambitious throw to Dirk Kuyt, who combined nicely with Torres and it was the Spanish hotshot who was at the end of the move by volleying home.

Scott Carson had no chance.

Liverpool should have had a penalty later in the game when Torres' goal bound effort was blocked by Gonzalo Jara's arm. On normal circumstance, it would've been penalised but Lee Probert, who has had an underwhelming game, waved away the appeal.

But he showed no hesitation in showing James Morrison a straight red after a dangerous lunge into Torres late in the game.

Conclusively, Liverpool still looked like a team in transition and much has to be done if they were to challenge Man City or Spurs for the Champions League spot. In terms of offence, Liverpool still needs gelling upfront, while the overall fluency of the team needs some working.

It was a game that Liverpool were banked on to win and they did, albeit unconvincingly. Much work has to be done or the game against Man Utd in a few weeks time could prove to be much more than a daunting task.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup Day 11 Report

Portugal 7 - 0 DPR Korea

Who would've thought? The Korea DPR was brought back down to earth after a performance which made many sat up and took notice. Up against Brazil, the North Koreans looked well-organised and managed to frustrate the hell out of Dunga's Samba stars until Maicon came to the rescue. Still, they managed to find the net and losing the game 2-1 seemed to be an encouraging result for DPR Korea as they faced Portugal last night.

But lo and behold, they were torn to shreds by the Portugese.

Many likens this tie to be as exciting as the 5-3 win by Portugal back in 1966 where Eusebio came to Portugal's rescue after being 3-0 down. But the only similarity this time round is it being a high scoring game. DPR Korea had no answer to Portugal's play style and with a goalkeeper who looked shaky and a defence that was non-existent, Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. showed no mercy.

7 goals and 6 different scorers. On the hindsight it might seem like a case of DPR Korea totally losing it rather than Portugal playing really well. Put this performance in comparison with the one they had with Brazil a week ago, many must've wondered if it was the same 11 who was on the field.

The North Koreans were battered. With relative ease. The Portugese never seemed to get out of gear 2 yet took full control of the game and by the 75th minute, it seemed as though the players were already queuing up for the shooting gallery.

Jong Tae-se, dubbed the Rooney of Asia had a fantastic chance but failed to capitalise. It turns out it was the only one he had and after Simao put them to the sword, the rest was history. A cakewalk which I do not think the Glorious Leader back home will be happy about.

For Portugal, it's one step closer into the last 16 with a comfortable +7 cushion. They'd be delighted to see their captain finally on the score sheet as well. A huge morale booster for the team, no doubt.

Chile 1 - 0 Switzerland

A header from former Liverpool winger, Mark Gonzalez, was all that was needed for Chile to take a huge stride towards the last 16. A match marred by overzealous refereeing and torrents of yellow cards, the game was tense and at times, out of the referee's control. 

After some brilliant defensive work and a tinge of luck against Spain last Wednesday, the 'Swiss Alps' faced the Chileans knowing that another win would propel them into a comfortable position. But the plan was in tatters early in the game as referee, Khalil Al Ghamd, sent West Ham's Valon Behrami to the showers.

With 10 men, the Swiss showed little innovation in attack and had very little control of the game. The Chileans took advantage and the only thing that kept the scoreline at 1-0 wasn't down to the goalkeeper of Diego Benaglio but of poor finishing from the Chileans, namely Esteban Penedas.

With this win, Chile is within touching distance of the last 16. Up against European Champions, Spain, in the next game, they'll have full confidence that a point is all that they need for them to advance. But just like Spain, they'll need to work on their finishing.

Spain 2 - 0 Honduras

Barcelona-bound striker, David Villa, struck twice as Spain shrugged off their disappointment in their 1-0 loss to Switzerland last week. Yet Spain's profligacy and at times, over-elaborated play, seemed like their biggest problem. Villa himself could have gotten a hat-trick from the penalty spot but he squirmed the shot just wide while Fernando Torres seemed subdued and when called upon, disappointed.

The Liverpool striker was clearly out of form or more likely, lacking sharpness and match fitness. A couple of chances were presented but he was unable to put Honduras to bed.

Spain controlled the game with Xavi and Alonso whipping passes and dictated the tempo of the game well. Yet with majority of the possession, Spain was unable to do what their fellow Iberians did earlier with the 7-0 thrashing.

At times, Spain looked just like how Arsenal played in the Premiership. Nice passes and fantastic movements. But they seemed to miss the main point of the game, which is to put the ball in the net.

Thankfully, David Villa showed all of us why Barcelona are willing to pay €40 million for his service. Cutting in from his favourite left flank position, he skillfully skipped past 2 defenders and managed to put a shot into the top corner of the net.

Again in the 2nd half, prowling around in the danger area, he unleashed an unstoppable shot, making it 2-0.

Then, he was presented with a golden opportunity for a hat trick through a penalty but fluffed it wide. The Spanish striker could've joined Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina at the top of the scoring charts.

Despite this win, Spain will have a difficult task at hand against Chile. With much expectation on their shoulders, Spain needs to be sharper and have no room for mistake. Offensively at times, all style no substance while defensively, seemed abit flimsy.

The Chile vs Spain match will be quite a spectacle indeed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PRESENTING: Spanish Away Jersey for World Cup '2010

It's only 17 days away!

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa is just round the corner and in partnership with SoccerPro, an online football apparel store, I present to you the beautiful away strip of the Spanish national team.

I picked this jersey personally because of the colour and the trim of this jersey. It's dark blue in colour with red and gold trims on the shoulder.
What makes it stands out is definitely it's V-neck design and also, the attractive embroiled Spainish national team logo on the chest. It makes the jersey looks vintage and different from all the other jersey which is changing its look into a more modernistic style.

I got myself an 'M' size and I have to say, the jersey definitely makes me look better as well! With its V-neck design and the new Climacool fabric, it's comfortable for both a kickaround or just casual wear down the shopping strip.

It's really that good! Quickly head down to SoccerPro for this jersey now! Look how good my friend and I look in it!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Diaby Ended Red's Run

It's been a long time and I'm proud to say, I'm back writing again!

Finally managed to catch a match proper, on a weekday at an ungodly hour of 4am. Liverpool up against Arsenal, who've slumped to defeats at the hands of Man United and Chelsea.

And their respond to the defeats came just in time. On a night when Man Utd drew and Chelsea lost. In a surprising turn of event, Arsenal managed to claw their way back into title contention while Liverpool could only watch as the top three teams surging further and further away from them.

After a good run of results including 6 clean sheets in 7, a game at the Emirates still proved to be a challenged. The Reds have an abysmal record against Arsenal whether is it a home or away game and just the mention of 'Andrei Arshavin' would have many of you cringing already.

Once again, another visit to the Emirates and another empty handed trip down south. A lapse of concentration from Liverpool's defence was enough to give Arsenal the win. At the highest level of football, that was all that is required. A mistake and a reaction that is milliseconds slow.

Tomas Rosicky was able to provide after a good move down the right and his cross was met by an unmarked Abou Diaby in the 75th minute. He rose unchallenged in the Liverpool penalty box after evading some slack marking from substitute, Philipp Degen.

The Swiss, honestly, doesn't impress me at all for the longest of time. He replaced Jamie Carragher midway through the second half and there I thought 'Oh no, disaster waiting to happen'.

Sure it did.

He's not the fastest and prone to some niggly fouls throughout. He's constantly out of position due to his 'attacking' sense and 'just-run-forward' mentality. There was an occasion where Liverpool was nearly punished due to him running blindly forward leaving a huge gap behind.

Well let's be honest, Degen wasn't the only one who was bad. I guess I'm still not impressed with the performance of Maxi Rodriguez but I shall give him a benefit of a doubt due to his recent arrival and the need for him to acclimatise and familiarise himself with the team.

David N'gog proved to be a spectator throughout and when he's called into action during that one-on-one situation, he panicked and William Gallas was able to make a last ditch tackle. That was probably Liverpool's best chance.

Steven Gerrard, though posed some threat but wasn't able to impose himself. His attitude didn't help either. Don't know if it's me or he just struts around expecting perfect passes for him. One stray pass and he just flings his arms with disappointment like a kid with his toys taken away from him.

To be honest, a draw will be a fair enough result as both teams didn't look threatening at all and were not at their best. But Arsenal was able to compound on the slip-up in Liverpool's defence and made them pay. Who said Arsenal weren't clinical? This was a show of them playing not as beautifully as they always do and yet still win.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Liverpool Back In The Hunt?

Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer promoting Irish racing and racing tips for today. 

Tuesday night’s win over Aston Villa may not have been the best game of football ever played but on that particular night the result was all that counted. Neither side played particularly well and the closest we came to a goal in normal time was probably a couple of penalty shouts that were waved away.

However, deep into stoppage time Fernando Torres popped up with a crucial goal and wrote himself into Liverpool folklore. His 50th Premier League goal saw him become the fastest player in the Reds history to reach that mark in the Premier League (72 games) and gave Rafael Benitz and co a massive boost in terms of a Champions League place.

The festive period overall was a decent time for Benitez. The loss to Pompey was as upsetting as it was shocking but since then Liverpool have recorded back to back wins over Villa and Wolves and have closed the gap at the top. The Reds now lie four points adrift of Tottenham in fourth, who are the next league opponents on January 10. Following the victory over Villa the game against Spurs is now massive and Liverpool have a great opportunity to push on and break into the Champions League places.

Another bonus has been the emergence of Alberto Aquilani. The Italian has now played in the last two games and against Wolves especially looked a quality player. He perhaps hasn’t set the world on fire just yet but it can take time to settle into the Premier League and with time he could be a massive boost for Liverpool’s European hopes.

Steven Gerrard has had his fair share of criticism so far this season but he did put in a great display against Wolves. No one, aside from Torres, shone against Villa in all fairness but for a team to play badly and still beat one of their nearest rivals is not necessarily a bad thing. Captain Gerrard believes it will be difficult but remains confident the club can secure a top-four spot.

He said: "We've virtually got everyone back fit now so there are no excuses now. We need to go on a run of winning games.

"Can we secure a top-four spot? It is going to be difficult. There are a lot of fantastic teams about. I am sure teams will spend in January.

"It will be a race to the very end and we've got to make sure we are in it."