Liverpool Move Into Fifth

May 10th, 2011 by Henry No comments »

Liverpool beat Fulham by 5 goals to 2 in a thrilling encounter that sees King Kenny’s men move into 5th place in the Premier League, putting them in the qualification spot for a Europe League place next season.

The goal-rich clash saw Maxi Rodriguez bag an amazing second hat trick in three games as the Merseyside squad swept aside the Cottagers to overtake London club Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table.

Rodriguez opened the goalscoring after just 32 seconds, following swiftly by volleying home a second goal before Fulham goalkeeper Schwarzer allowed a poor effort from Dirk Kuyt to slip through his waiting fingers to bring the score to 3-0 as the clock showed just 16 minutes. Later on, a further goal from Rodriguez and one from Luis Suarez racked up 5 goals for the Reds, with goals for Fulham from Dembele and Steve Sidwell proving to be little more than a consolation in a match where Liverpool dominated the proceedings.

Liverpool were rejected a penalty shout in the 14th minute, which could have gifted the Reds a sixth goal, making the win even more impressive. Striker Luis Suarez was pushed over by Brade Hangelande, but the Merseysider’s penalty appeal was rejected by the referee.

The game showed the improvement in Liverpool’s performances over the past months, bringing to a head their display of sensational form that has seen them score 13 goals in their last 3 games. The team now sit two points clear of Tottenham, and are yet to play the side in a match which will decide who is to play in the Europa League next season, the sister tournament of the more prestigious Champions League.

However, it remains to be seen whether a Europa League place will prove to be a blessing or a curse for either club, with many fans and pundits speculating that the amount of games that qualification to the tournament would bring could prove too many for both clubs, who are still improving and may benefit from a development season.

Hernandez Hailed by Giggs

May 10th, 2011 by Henry No comments »

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has praised young striker Javier Hernandez’s debut season at the Premier League club.

The 22 year old goal poacher has been an absolute revelation for the club this season, after he was signed from CD Guadalajara in April last year for around £7m, in a move conducted by Sir Alex Ferguson and shrouded in secrecy. The player then made his debut in the 2010 MLS All Stars match, coming on as a subsitute for Nani and scoring his first goal for the club in that game.

The rest of the season he has impressed, scoring twenty goals across all competitions in a stunning first season for the club. He has featured more heavily towards the end of the campaign and has proved to be an  effective striking partner for the talismanic frontman Wayne Rooney.

Veteran winger Ryan Giggs heaped praise on the young Mexican, saying, “He has made a fantastic impact, on and off the pitch. His English is perfect, which has helped, and his goal just sums up his season.

“Sometimes those chances can come a bit early for you. You are not quite up to speed. Thirty seconds, he gets a chance, he scores.

“He deserves everything that has been said about him.”

Hernandez also impressed in Sunday’s crucial Premier League clash against Chelsea, when he scored inside the first minute of the game to score the first goal in a 2-1 victory that has almost certainly sewn up the title for the Red Devils. Of his fantastic twenty-goal score tally, Giggs commented, “Twenty goals in his first season is unbelievable.”

“You are always in with a chance when you have a goalscorer like Javier in your team.

Sir Alex will be looking towards the young striker to continue his terrific run of form in the final Premier League matches of the season, and more importantly, in the teams upcoming Champions League final against Pep Guardiola’s much feared Barcelona side.

Bale Out For Season

May 10th, 2011 by Henry 2 comments »

Star Tottenham winger Gareth Bale will miss the rest of the season after the results of his ankle injury were revealed today.

The PFA Player of the Year sustained the ankle injury in Saturday’s Premier League clash against Blackpool, after a rash challenge from Seasiders midfielder Charlie Adam.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp had spoken about his fears for the player yesterday, but insisted that nothing was certain until the scan results were revealed. However, a statement released on the club website today stated that an MRI scan had confirmed that the player had suffered a ruptured ankle ligament that would prevent him from taking part in Tottenham’s remaining fixtures this season.

The news comes as a blow for Spurs, as they enter the final stages of their Premier League campaign desperately chasing Manchester City for a fourth place Champions League spot. Their qualification for the top European tournament already seemed unlikely after their frustrating draw against Blackpool on Saturday and will now seem even further from grasp with one of their star players missing.

Bale has enjoyed a fantastic season with Tottenham this year, with highlights including his stunning hat trick against Champions League holders Inter Milan in their European campaign. He also fought off stiff competition to claim the PFA Player of the Year award.

With just three games remaining of the team’s Premier League campaign, the club will miss Bale in crucial fixtures against Manchester City, Liverpool and Birmingham. However, the club hopes that the player will not be out of action for too long, with the official statement going on to say, “Following consultations with an ankle specialist, Gareth will remain in a protective boot for up to 12 days before beginning rehabilitation with the player expected to be fit for the start of pre-season.”

Fergie Says Man United Can Win

May 10th, 2011 by Henry No comments »

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that his side have what it takes to beat Barcelona to claim the UEFA Champions League cup.

Barcelona are sure to be the favourites in the upcoming final (which will take place at Wembley on the 28th of May), with many football fans lauding them as the best footballing club in the world. But, while Barcelona have proved they are a more than formidable force, sweeping aside quality teams such as Arsenal and Real Madrid on their journey to the final, Sir Alex believes that to underestimate his team would be a grave error.

His team are riding high on victory at the moment, after beating London rivals Chelsea 2-1 yesterday to all but secure the Premier League title this season, barring a major error.

And, despite criticisms that this years United squad lacks the star quality it has often featured in the past, the team has remained unbeaten in their entire European campaign this season. They have also scored the most goals, and will secure a historic 19th Premier League title by gaining just one more point from their remaining games.

However, the pain of 2009’s Champions League campaign will remain fresh in the veteran manager’s memory, when Barcelona beat Manchester United in the final to become European champions.

“In the final last time, we started off really well, then gave away a bad goal. After that Barcelona kept the ball very well, as they always do”, the manager said about their last final encounter with the Catalan side.

When asked about the tactics in the game, he added, “What we have to do is find a solution to the Xavi-Messi-Iniesta problem.

“Everyone is searching for that because they are outstanding footballers. We have our share too.

“We have players who can cause any team a lot of bother and hopefully those attacking players will give Barcelona problems that everyone thinks they are going to give us.”

Martinez Calls West Ham Match a ‘Final’

May 9th, 2011 by Henry No comments »

Next Sunday’s relegation clash between Wigan and West Ham has been compared to a cup final by Wigan boss Roberto Martinez.

The Hammers sit at the bottom of the table after what has been a dismal season for the club by all accounts. Wigan sit just three points above the struggling club, and with just two games left to play, the game will be a hard fought showdown between two clubs earmarked for relegation next season.

The Latics scraped a point yesterday as they drew 1-1 with Aston Villa. A stunning goal by striker Charles N’Zogbia gave Wigan the lead before Ashley Young managed an equaliser in the match yesterday at Villa Park.

The Wigan boss was pleased with the performance, saying, “Overall, coming away from home we wanted to win and we always want to win and I think we showed that.”

“I’m extremely pleased with the performance. The points are coming very slowly but it’s fair to say the least we were going to get at Villa was a point.”

Martinez showed respect for the West Ham side his team will take on next week, saying “They have a great tradition and they’ll be ready for that game. It is a final within a league competition.”

Both teams have struggled all season in the Premier League, and have spent most of their time either in or around the relegation zone. Relegation would be devastating for either club after spending a lot of time in the top flight. The stats do not look good for relegated teams either, with none of the clubs relegated last season looking at achieving promotion back to the Premier League after this season’s Championship campaign. Hull, Burnley and Portsmouth were all relegated last season, with none of the three clubs currently sitting any higher than 8th place, putting them out of the play off positions for promotion next season.

Redknapp Not Hopeful For Top Four

May 9th, 2011 by Henry No comments »

Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp has admitted that he is no longer expecting a top four finish for the London club, in what looks to be a disappointing end to the season.

The side drew 1-1 on Saturday at home against struggling Blackpool, which leaves the club in fifth place in the Premier League, with just three games left to play. However, the club sit 6 points adrift from fourth placed Manchester City, and the Tottenham boss has been forced to admit that Champions League football looks unlikely for the club next season.

Only the top four placed clubs in the League are eligible to qualify for the prestigious European tournament, and after an encouraging performance in the competition this year, a campaign which showed touches of brilliance, Redknapp will have to face the fact that his team are unlikely to feature next season.

Getting the points necessary to qualify could be made even harder for the club, as it looks likely that star winger Gareth Bale will be out with an ankle injury picked up in yesterday’s match. The Welsh international was taken off the pitch on a stretcher after a rough challenge from Seasider’s midfielder Charlie Adam took Bale down. He will now have to await the results of a scan, with a possible long term injury a worry for the club.

In any scenario, Bale will almost certainly miss the clubs midweek encounter with Manchester City, who sit just above them in the table. A win at Eastlands would cut the difference between the two clubs to just 3 points, a margin which fans will be hopeful the club can beat. Redknapp will know that the match is a crucial one, and the news that Bale, a key player for Spurs, will miss the match will be another blow to the club.

Manchester United’s Nani Enjoys Premier League

May 9th, 2011 by Henry No comments »

Manchester United’s Luis Nani has spoken about his love for the Premier League and the more physical demands of the game here in England.

The news may come as a surprise for some fans, many of whom regard him as a weak player physically. However, the United winger insists that he enjoys the physical ‘rough and tumble’ of the English game. The creative player has found himself on the receiving end of many a rough tackle since his Premier League debut, and many defences have resorted to rough tactics in order to contain his modern, skilful style of play.

“The opposition defenders realise if they kick they can get a yellow or red card. So they don’t kick like they did a couple of months ago, but it doesn’t matter because this is football in England”, said the 24 year old Portugal international in an interview with The People.

“I enjoy playing here and you get kicks all the time. This is proper football, strong football and the tackles make football in England beautiful.

“You have to have the tackles in the game otherwise it is nothing.”

With a crucial clash against Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League due to take place today, Nani’s next challenge will come at the hands of a strong and physical Blues defence, namely dangerous new signing David Luiz.

Luiz has proven to be a revelation at Stamford Bridge, playing well in United’s last encounter with Chelsea, and boss Carlo Ancelotti will look to the full back to keep United’s wide style of play contained.

The game will surely be a strong match physically and Nani will be prepared for this after his comments.

“I don’t like the tackles but it doesn’t scare me,” the winger went on to say.

“A lot of the defenders don’t know me, my attitude, how I think about my football, how I think about the way I play the game.

“I am strong and I like to play. I like the defenders to come to me because I can beat them. I know I have the skill to do that.

Nani is likely to feature with Antonio Valencia in United’s midfield today as manager Sir Alex Ferguson will hope to overrun Chelsea with an excellent trademark wide game.

Fergie To Stay At United

May 9th, 2011 by Henry No comments »

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has announced his intention to stay at the club whether they claim their historic 19th title or not.

Speculation has been rife this season that the long time Red Devils boss could be planning to step down and retire at the end of the season if the club win the Barclays Premier League.

The Red Devils are now three points clear at the top of the table and have reached the UEFA Champions League final, meaning they have the chance to pull off a historic Double.

A 19th Premier League title would mean the Manchester club had won the title more times than any other club, as rivals Liverpool currently are level with them on 18 titles apiece.

However, Sir Alex has dispelled rumours that stated that he would retire if United surpassed rivals Liverpool as the most successful English club by saying , “I will be here next season”.

The manager has been of the verge of retiring before, when he announced his intention to step down in 2002, before changing his mind at the final hour. He now claims that he has no intention of repeating that decision this season.

“I was in agony, absolute agony. My wife made me change my mind and she was dead right.

“I think she thought she would soon be fed up with me around the house”, the legendary manager said.

The long time United boss has been hugely successful over his many years with the club, with his finest hour being in 1999, when he led the Reds to a landmark treble victory, claiming all three major trophies that season. A 19th Premier League win would add to his list of accolades, as would a win in the Champions League final against Barcelona, a side whom many consider to be the best footballing club in the world.

Manchester United v Chelsea Live

May 7th, 2011 by Henry No comments »

Watching Man Utd v Chelsea Live should be a tense affair, because this is simply the game of the season. At one stage, it seems Chelsea were too strong to be stopped. Then, came United’s fine run, which at one stage saw them having a 12 point lead over Chelsea. However, a recent dip in form, has seen Manchester United’s hopes of landing a record 19th premier league title suffer a major blow.

Manchester United remain in command of the premier league and are 3 points clear of second placed Chelsea, going into the weekend. This 6 pointer will most certainly decide the destiny of the premier league title. Chelsea know a win will take them top, courtesy of a slightly better goal difference. Manchester United on the other hand know that a win will all but guaratee the premier league title. Indeed, should Manchester United win the game, they would have to lose their final 2 games to lose their grasp on 1st place-something unconceivable really.

With a Champions League final beckoning, Alex Ferguson will be looking to wrap up the title by next week. But, they know that they must avoid defeat against Chelsea at all cost. A conservative approach at The Emirates cost Manchester United dear at the end. They most certainly went to Arsenal aiming to earn a draw. A win was not necessary for United. Their negative approach helped Arsenal, as United lost the game, and rarely troubled the Gunners.

Sunday will be a different game though. Chelsea know they must win the match and United know they cannot afford to lose it. It remains to be seen whether United will attack Chelsea or go with the same negative approach that saw them lose at Arsenal. Man Utd v Chelsea Live should be the most explosive and controversial game you will ever watch this season.

Stoke v Arsenal Live

May 7th, 2011 by Henry 1 comment »

Tony Pulis has made Stoke a premier league side you would not fancy playing every weekend. He has also ensured The Britannia has become a fortress. Arsenal visit Stoke on Sunday, still holding some faint hope of finally ending the season with a trophy. Stoke v Arsenal Live coverage starts at 1405.

Arsenal fans will be buoyed for this encounter, especially after getting the better of Manchester United last weekend. Aaron Ramsey’s winner at the Emirates last Sunday, has ensured that Arsenal could be within 3 points of Manchester United and Chelsea with just 2 games left at the end of the weekend. Indeed, should Chelsea win at Old Trafford, the premier league title which since the turn of the year, seemed destined for Manchester United, could go to right to the end of the season, with 3 sides still in contention. In fact, goal difference could prove an important factor this season.

Stoke meanwhile know that they are virtually qualified for the Europa League next season, after reaching the FA cup final. Stoke currently lie in 10th position and could even finish as high as 7th this term. Added to that, they have a chance of laying their hands on some silverware, albeit, they will be underdogs for the final. Arsenal will know better than others how difficult it can be to be favorite for a final, having lost to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final.

Stoke have been synonymous with Rory Delap’s long throws in their first season in the top flight. However, Tony Pulis side have shown this season that they can also kick the ball around. The 5-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at Wembley serve as a perfect example of Stoke’s form right now. Stoke are a difficult side to play, especially at home, while Arsenal will aim to keep their title dreams alive. This is why you should watch Stoke v Arsenal Live.