Premier League Predictions Round 11

What will happen in the London derby between Spurs and Arsenal?  Get your weekends predictions in now!

Prediction Results:

  1. David: 9pts

With 10 out of 10 matches played. Click on any username above to see their predictions.

Click here to find out how the points are calculated

Liverpool overrun weak United

Torres Scores against Manchester UnitedIt was a huge match on Sunday when Manchester United came to face Liverpool at Anfield.  If Liverpool won they could save their season, if they lost it would end their title challenge very early in the running.

The most noticeable absentee was the injured Steven Gerrard, and it looked like it could be a difficult game for Liverpool without their iconic skipper.  But as soon as the first ball was kicked it was clear that Liverpool were well up for the match.

As you are probably well aware Liverpool ended up winning 2-0 and I won’t go into a detailed match report here, but rather pick out a few things that bothered me.

I think it was a big mistake for Ferguson to play Scholes in the midfield.  Scholes is a Manchester United legend, and will always have a place in the heart of the fans, but it’s just the nature of live that players get older and lose their edge.  For me ever since last season Scholes has been on a down hill slope, at this point he rarely has a good game.  Against Liverpool he got caught on the ball many times and just didn’t seem able to keep up with the play.  My biggest surprise was that the normally astute Ferguson did not pick up on this and substitute him out for Anderson or Nani at half time.

Another issue which has started to bother me a lot for the last few matches is Berbatov and his increasingly poor attitude.  At this point you see him complaining and have a go at other players whenever Berbatov misplaces a pass or doesn’t get the ball he wants; and not in a constructive way, but more of a blame game.  I’m shocked Ferguson has let him get away with it, as his performances just don’t warrant any special treatment.  I he doesn’t get his head right Ferguson needs to teach him a lesson and let Machada and Wellbeck have a chance at starting matches.

On a plus side the defense looks a lot stronger with Van Der Saar in the net; with Ben Foster playing I’m sure the score could have been 4 or 5.

Liverpool played very well, and I have to take my hat off to them with the likes of Lucas and Carragher really playing brilliantly after being criticized for recent poor performances.

Premier League Predictions Round 10

I think most eyes this weekend will be on the Liverpool vs. Manchester United match, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest  games on the season.  Get your predictions in now.

Prediction Results:

  1. aaron: 7pts
  2. David: 5pts

With 10 out of 10 matches played. Click on any username above to see their predictions.

Click here to find out how the points are calculated

Ferguson’s chance to slay Rafa

Liverpool Manchester United Ferguson BenitezOver the years Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez have had some epic battles both off and on the pitch.  Sometimes Rafa has won, sometimes Ferguson, but always Ferguson has come away having the last laugh at the of the season.

This weekend could be the biggest match of them all;  a gleaming chance for Ferguson to deliver the final death blow, possibly sealing Benitez’ Premier League demise.

Liverpool are coming off the back of 4 consecutive losses, the worst run in 20 years.  This season they have truly become a 2 man team, with Gerrard and Torres just having to do way too much.  The knives are out for Rafa in the boardroom and now even the terraces are calling for blood.
At the moment top half of the table is looking a good result for Liverpool, let alone top four.

On the other hand Manchester United are top of the table already, despite often starting the season slowly.  They have take the loss of Ronaldo in their stride and kept winning.  Also having a 100% record in the Champions League, opposed to Liverpool’s 1 win and 2 losses.

Surely if Manchester United go to Anfield and not only deal Liverpool their 5th straight loss, but also give them a right spanking, which they could well do;  it might see Rafa being shown the exit.

Premier League Predictions Round 9

After the International break it’s time to get back to the Premier League, hurry and get your predictions in before the weekend.

Prediction Results:

  1. aaron: 6pts
  2. David: 6pts

With 10 out of 10 matches played. Click on any username above to see their predictions.

Click here to find out how the points are calculated

New Brand; KIKA

We’d just like to let you know that we’ve added a new brand name to our catalog; Kika. This brand is based in South Korea and has some really cool styles.  Some of their styles are modeled after professional team designs. They have a large number of styles, but to start with we will be added two of their kits to our collection to gauge how much people like their designs.

New KA051 Shirts!
Similar in design to Manchester Uniteds latest kit these shirts are sure to be the envy of all the other teams you play against.
View all the available colors here, and see a preview below:

Football shirt KA051 Black/Gold Football shirt KA051 Blue/Yellow Football shirt KA051 Lime Green/Black

New KA025 Shirts!

View all the available colors here, and see a preview below:

Football shirt KA025 Black/Grey Football shirt KA025 Blue/Light Blue Football shirt KA025 Grey/Red

Ronaldo Sale a Ferguson Masterstroke?

Ronaldo Ankle InjuryIt may be too early to make predictions about the future of Cristiano Ronaldo, but I have a feeling the £80 million sale to Real Madrid could turn out to be a very smart bit of business by Sir Alex Ferguson.

At the beginning of the 2008/2009 season Ronaldo missed the first few months due to an ankle injury.  After coming back and having a successful season he claimed that the injury was behind him and a one off occurrence.  Real Madrid obviously believed this when they offer United a record breaking transfer fee for his services.

However in the friendly last weekend against Hungary Ronaldo limped off the field with another injury.  After coming back to Madrid for examination the club issued this statement:

“After a clinical examination and an MRI scan, it is confirmed the player has suffered a recurrence of his injury to his right ankle, a medial collateral sprain with inflammation in the bone,”

All players pick up injuries from time to time; the real problem comes if you pick up an injury which keeps coming back.  If you are constantly worrying about a certain injury while playing it’s impossible to perform at the peak level.

Ronaldo may be able to recover from this injury and move on, but with the way he plays; relying on speed and quick turning skills this kind of injury could signal the decline of the worlds best player.

England Suffer First Defeat

Robert Green England Red cardEngland have recorded their first competitive defeat under the new management of Fabio Capello.

One thing that Capello can’t seem to overcome in the England team is their defensive mistakes and lapses in concentration.  It was not completely unexpected that England lost the game to Ukraine based on two more defensive errors.

England were dealt a heavy blow after just 14 minutes when Rio Ferdinand inexplicably let the ball run past him, not realizing Artem Milevskiy was lurking.  Rob Green went to ground and had little choice but to bring Milevskiy down, which resulted in a penalty and a red card for Green.  Aaron Lennon was sacrificed to bring on backup keeper David James. The blow could have been heavier but Shevchenko missed the penalty; hitting the post.

Down to ten man England looked seriously second best to Ukraine, allowing the Ukrainians dominate the possession.  Then came the second defensive mistake when the normally reliable Ashley Cole decided to do a little drag-back on the edge of the box and missed the ball.  The striker stole the ball away and it ran to Serhiy Nazarenko who let rip with a powerful shot; Ashley Cole finished the move off by the deflecting the shot into his own net.

In the second half England reshaped with Milner coming on for Gerrard and Rooney drop back into a wing position.  With the formation shift England played much better and looked like they could get at least an equalized, but it wasn’t to be and Ukraine were able to hold on for the win.

There were both some positives and negatives for England to take from this game; most of the negatives were defensive errors which Capello needs to somehow sort out if England are to have any chance at the World Cup.

On a positive note David James was excellent, and did not do his World Cup hopes any damage with two fantastic saves.   First he made an impressive full stretch one handed dive to deny Rakitskiy’s powerful strike.  Second he gave a lesson in how one-on-one’s should be handled when he stayed big to block Yarmolenko on the break away.

Another player worth noting is Michael Carrick; sometimes it’s so frustrating to watch him play, as you know what he’s capable of but just doesn’t seem to want to come alive.  He can pass a long ball like no one else, can unlock defenses with through balls, he’s pretty good running with the ball and can hit a good shot.  But he doesn’t seem to want to do any of those things.  The game last night was  perfect example.  He didn’t seem to want the ball at all, taking up poor positions and standing way too close to the ball carrier…almost in subconscious way of saying “don’t pass to me”.  When he was on the ball all he would play were short balls across the back line.

Barry can play short passes all day, but he can also make tackles all day, which Carrick cannot.  If Carrick has any chance of playing in the World Cup he needs to showcase his skills, not play in the manner of Barry, as Barry will win that contest every time.

More Drama at Anfield

Rafa Benitez blamed for FailureThis week the Liverpool co-owner George Gillett has come out and put all the blame for Liverpool’s poor start to the season on Rafa Benitez.  Saying that Liverpool have spent more money than their competitors but due to bad management by Benitez are failing to challenge for trophies.

Rafa has, more professionally, declined to comment on the situation; but is clearly not happy with the way Gillett has public criticized the Spaniard.

It seems like every season since Hicks and Gillett took over the club there has been bickering between the manager and the owners.

I’m not a big fan of Rafa, he has spent poorly on the wrong players, sold the wrong players, his player rotation policy is often at fault, and his tactics are sometimes overly negative.  However I have to side with him on this topic; the owners have no business publicly airing their dirty laundry.  If they have a problem with Rafa they should call a meet with Rafa, not call a press conference.

It’s clear that the owners have no loyalty to Liverpool FC and are only looking out for their own interests.  They are still looking to sell the club and are trying to make it seem to potentially buyers that the club is in good shape; they are just not winning because of the bad manager.

For all Rafa’s failings the failings of the owners are 10 folder.  They said they were going to build a new stadium when they came in…where has that gone?  They said they’ve given Rafa more money to spend than other clubs, but where is all that “money”?  This summer they sold Alonso, Arbaloa for £35m and bought Aquilani and Johnson for £37.5m (plus some other smaller ins and outs).  So that’s a £2.5m transfer budget…?  That doesn’t exactly seem like Rafa has been given a lot of cash to work with.

The fact is Gillett and Hicks have come in and borrowed way too much against the club and for a while now have been trying to sneak out the back door.  Like rats from a sinking ship they are trying to distance themselves from the lack of achievements at Liverpool.

Crap United Save a Point

Berbatov Bicycle Kick against SunderlandIt’s not often that I slag off Manchester United but their performance last night against Sunderland, especially in the first half, was absolutely terrible.  They could not string more than 1 or 2 passes together and were needlessly giving the ball away at every opportunity.

Darren Bent’s opening goal was a sublime strike and not much blame can be attached to the United team.  Normally after playing poorly and conceding an early goal Manchester United are able to elevate their game and come back, this was absolutely not the case yesterday.

Scholes looked like a liability in the midfield, almost every pass went astray.  He got a needless yellow card after just 24 minutes; I was praying he was not going to do a repeat of the Spurs game and end up taking an early shower.  Fortunately Ferguson subbed him at half time, but Anderson was not able to make much of a difference.  Giggs has a lot of life left in him, but I’m not so sure that Scholes can still perform consistently at the top level.

In the second half United did show a bit more intent, and managed to pull the score back level through a magical bicycle kick from Berbatov.  Dimitar was one of the few players who didn’t play poorly.

It didn’t take Sunderland long to recover the lead when the ball was floated into the box and Kenwyne Jones jumped over Foster to head it home.  Foster absolutely should have won the ball.  Jones is a big boy but if Foster was concerned about the power of Jones he should have punched the ball clear.  Instead he opted to catch the ball and got steamrolled by Jones.

At this point I have seen enough of Foster.  I was all for Ferguson giving Foster a chance to prove himself.  Sir Alex has given him chance after change and Foster has blown them all.  There are so many holes in his game I don’t know where to begin; every single backpass he receives he either slices into touch or gives the fans a nasty scare, he’s poor on crosses and highballs as he doesn’t have the power to collect or punch the ball away from big forwards, he’s no good on one-on-one situation, the only thing he can do is stop shots.
I for one will be very relieved when Van de Sar comes back, and I think Ferguson should seriously consider bringing in some new keepers as neither Foster or Kuszczak seem capable replacements when Van de Sar retires.

United did manage to steal a point right at the death after Sunderland were reduced to 10 men when Richardson saw a second yellow for kicking the ball away.  Evra’s shot was deflected by Anton Ferdinand into the Sunderland net.

Despite conceding 2 goals I feel that the United back four played pretty well, it was really the midfield four and keeper that let the team down last night.