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Liverpool Ruin Great Chance to Deny Champions

Liverpool played their first home match of the season at Anfield yesterday against the defending EPL champions, Manchester City.  Although they played an inspired match that featured two moments of pure class, they also wasted a glorious opportunity to make a statement this season and look to be of a similar of mold as last season, when silly mistakes cost them numerous points in the table.

Manchester City started the match brightly, as Carlos Tevez was a dangerous figure who made a few decent runs on the Liverpool defense.  But then City sort of fell asleep and the Reds took over the game creating the majority of first half chances.  The crowd got behind the team and you could feel that Liverpool was on the brink of a glorious upset.

Martin Skrtel headed in a wonderful goal off a corner kick and the Anfield faithful leapt with joy.  He made a powerful run inside to meet the ball and simply banged it into the net.  Manchester City looked hopelessly lost but managed to see the half out down 1-0.

Liverpool’s errors came to the light in the second half.  In the 62nd minute, Carlos Tevez played in a cross that really ought to have been cleared, but Martin Kelly couldn’t control the ball and it fell dangerously in front of goal to Yaya Toure who managed to equalize the score.

Yet Liverpool managed to take the lead again moments later from a brilliant Luis Suarez free kick.  The shot bent perfectly around the defenders’ wall and dropped into the bottom corner.  Goalkeeper Joe Hart didn’t have a chance at saving the shot, and again Liverpool benefited from a moment of offensive genius from a set play.

But Manchester City played the game smart and waited like snakes for their opportunity.  David Silva was substituted on for the final 15 minutes and helped inspire the Blues.  His incredible ball control was on fine display as he helped orchestrate attacks late in the game.

But his skill was not to be the determining factor in the match.  No, it was Liverpool’s shaky defense that threw away the win.  All game the defense had been playing dangerous passes back to goalkeeper Pepe Reina, but these had fortunately been just out of reach of the Man City forwards.

Skrtel played another silly pass back to goal in the 80th minute.  This time Tevez pounced upon the drifting ball and was able to circumvent Reina and score the second equalizer.

Tevez had said during an interview showed before the match that he didn’t care what types of goals he scored, as they all only count as one goal.  This was clearly evident on the day.  Liverpool scored two sensational goals compared to Manchester City’s two that were created from defensive errors.  Liverpool had fought hard and should really have claimed all three points, but there was a definite mark of resiliency for Man City who was able to muster up a draw in a match where they were clearly outplayed.  Liverpool will need to correct their defensive mistakes if they are to again become a force in the Premier League.

A Whopping 7 New Styles Added!

We have just updated our catalog before the big pre-season rush.  We’ve added three new Diadora kits and four new EGO soccer uniforms; with the EGO styles coming in both children and adult sizes.

Here is a picture of the new DA1532 Lime Green style shirts.

Checkout the Diadora Soccer Uniforms

And take a look at the EGO Soccer Kits

EPL Season Starts off Just as it Finished Last Year

Anyone hoping for great changes right off the bat in the EPL will have been disappointed to see the first round of matches continue in much of the same fashion that last season ended.

Arsenal got off to a lackluster result with a 0-0 home draw with Sunderland.  In typical fashion, the Gunners held the majority of possession and passed the ball around without creating more than a handful of chances.  Arsenal began last year terribly before improving to a 3rd place finish thanks to the exploits of Robin van Persie and Alex Song, but without those players their replacements couldn’t break the deadlock.

Liverpool fell flat on their faces with a 3-0 loss to West Bromwich.  The team looks resoundingly similar under new manager Brendan Rogers, and although they faced a few questionable decisions in the match, there really is no excuse for such a one sided score-line for what was once such a proud club.  It has been several long seasons of finishing outside the top 4 for Liverpool and this result suggests the trend is set to continue.

Manchester City had a more positive afternoon that featured a comeback victory 3-2 over Southampton, recalling memories of their stunning final day last year when they won the league at the death with a similar comeback of the same score over QPR.  Although they were able to stage the comeback more comfortably with ten minutes remaining in the match, their ability to find late game heroics will make them a force again in the Premier League.

Chelsea found success as new signing Eden Hazard earned an assist and drew a penalty in their 2-0 win against Wigan Athletic.  After their two early goals the team didn’t look very strong though, and striker Fernando Torres was largely ineffective at producing chances.  At least they were able to get a win though which is something they struggled mightily with during last season’s 6th place finish.

Manchester United will play against Everton tonight in a match that Red Devils fans would like to forget from last season.  During that April match, Manchester gave up two late goals in a 4-4 draw that saw them drop two points that would have won them the league.  Based on the other recurring themes from the last two days, I suspect that this match will be another hard fought draw, as Everton has the home advantage.

So it appears as if this season is starting off in a familiar manner, but with 37 games remaining for each team, surely there will be some twists and turns as the EPL season develops.

Sceptical about Van Persie Transfer

It has just been announced that Manchester United have agreed a £22 million transfer deal with Arsenal for Robin Van Persie.  RVP will receive a staggering £200,000 per week for his services!

A lot of United fans are hailing this as a fantastic signing, but personally I’m not so sure…I can see another Berbertov on the horizon.

Van Persie is a great striker there is no denying that; winning the Premier League golden boot with an impressive 30 goals last season, however this is a player with some “baggage” attached.

Firstly he is extremely injury prone, since joining Arsenal in 2004 he has been injury an incredible 27 times, and has meant an average of only 26 starts per season.  Based on his history, and the fact that he is already 29, I can’t see him even making it to Christmas before he picks up his first injury at United.  See a complete list of Van Persie’s Arsenal injury list at the bottom of this article.

Secondly he has a bad attitude, he has shown with both the Dutch national team and with Arsenal that he likes to stir up dressing room discontent, play the blame game when the chips are down, and give unauthorized interviews airing the teams dirty laundry.  He will quickly find that at Manchester United this kind of attitude is not tolerated at which point he will either change, which seems unlikely, or follow Berbertov on the fast-track to no where.

Hopefully Van Persie will prove me wrong by staying injury free and continuing to bang in 30 odd goals a year; but I think it’s more likely that he will be continually injured until he slowly fades into the history books.

Robin Van Persie Injury Record List

Groin Strain 2012 February 29th
Ankle/Foot Injury 2011 August 7th
Knee Injury 2011 February 28th
Hamstring Injury 2011 February 22nd
Flu 2011 February 8th
Ankle/Foot Injury 2010 August 28th
Ankle/Foot Injury 2010 June 1st
Sprained Ankle 2009 November 14th
Knee Injury 2009 September 13th
Groin Strain 2009 April 18th
Groin Strain 2009 March 30th
Hamstring Injury 2008 October 6th
Ankle/Foot Injury 2008 August 31st
Thigh Muscle Strain 2008 May 2nd
Thigh Muscle Strain 2008 April 4th
Thigh Muscle Strain 2008 January 11th
Thigh Muscle Strain 2007 December 24th
Knee Injury 2007 October 18th
Metatarsal Fracture 2007 January 22nd
Ankle/Foot Injury 2006 November 19th
Hip/Thigh Injury 2006 September 14th
Ankle/Foot Injury 2006 February 10th
Ankle/Foot Injury 2005 December 22nd
Knee Injury 2005 October 17th
Ankle/Foot Injury 2005 February 5th
Sprained Ankle 2004 November 26th
Sprained Ankle 2004 August 27th

Brazil Must Become a Team to Win 2014 World Cup after Olympic defeat to Mexico

Brazil was stunned to lose the Olympic final against Mexico. All tournament long they had comfortably defeated opponents and featured a host of stars like Neymar and Hulk.  The road was paved for Brazil to win their first Olympic gold medal, but reality struck hard when the players decided to play like individuals and not as a team.

The style of play was evident throughout the game but started when Peralta of Mexico scored a brilliant goal just 30 seconds into the match.  The goal completely deflated Brazil and they never recovered.  Everyone took it upon himself to be the hero, and no one was really able to manage the feat.

Hulk was brought on after half an hour and began to show some nifty moves, but the selfish spell overtook him too, as he repeatedly got ahold of the ball and managed only to wiggle his left foot a few times before kicking a ball off a defender or losing possession.  He had a nasty long range shot in the first half but Mexico’s goalie, Jose de Jesus Corona, was able to save.

Similar things happened in the second half as Neymar also took to taking speculative heroic efforts that missed the target.  This wasn’t the “Joga Bonito” we expected from a nation like Brazil, who are supposed to pass the ball into the net with flair and ease. This was desperate schoolboys trying to do it all by themselves.

I attribute much of this problem to all the transfer news and stories surrounding the players.  Oscar is a striker who performed well in the tournament and just secured a big money move to Chelsea of the EPL.  Midfielder Lucas Moura had been courted by Manchester United throughout the Olympics, but apparently changed his mind last week and opted for a mega-move to PSG, the big spenders of French Ligue1.  His move was announced just three days before the gold medal match.

Similarly, Hulk and Neymar have been rumored all summer long to be headed to major clubs the likes of Real Madrid.  With players’ minds elsewhere, is it any wonder that they couldn’t come together in the final?  All these 20 year olds think they are the greatest things ever after earning these massive transfers, so naturally they all tried to be the hero, and naturally the team suffered and they lost the game.

So where does the team look to for hope of winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?  Most of these players mentioned will likely be in the full adult squad, and will need to be on their best for the tournament.  Pressure will be immense for the team to succeed.  Throw in the likes of Spain and Argentina’s Lionel Messi in his prime, Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal, and Brazil might just implode at the World Cup.  This nation needs a serious reality check, and the defeat to Mexico will have provided just that.  Clearly Brazil has the talent to succeed, they just need to come together as a real team if they expect to win a trophy of real significance like the World Cup.

Tim Cahill to Provide Henry and Red Bulls with Support

2012 has so far been a very successful season for the New York Red Bulls.  They sit near the top of the table of the Eastern Conference of the MLS, and could regain their poll position if they can beat the Houston Dynamo this week.  They have established a great start in large part due to their prolific striker pair of Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper, despite their midfield shortcomings.

The recent signing of Tim Cahill could change all of that.  Cahill is a true playmaker in the advanced midfield position.  He holds the ball well, makes smart passes and runs, and can even surge into the penalty box and add to the goals.  For a team with two great strikers, Tim Cahill’s arrival will make the Red Bulls favorites to win the MLS Cup at the end of the season.

Tim Cahill has been a star for quite some time at Everton in the English Premier League.  As skilled as he is, the Australian also has a relentless burst of energy that is vital to orchestrating attacks and keeping defenders off balance.

Surely, the opportunity to play with legendary former Arsenal man Thierry Henry will have played a role in Cahill’s decision to make the move to the MLS.  At age 32, he could have stayed at Everton, but clearly he wants this new opportunity.

The transition will be a challenge at first.  We already witnessed a rough outing for Cahill when the Dynamo beat the Red Bulls 2-0 in Houston to take the top spot in the standings.  Cahill played well, but the Texas summer heat and lack of form looked to catch up with him as Houston dominated the entire match.

I fully expect New York’s newest international star to gel with the side soon, however.  Given that the MLS Cup tournament is still three months away, Cahill will have plenty of time to grow accustomed to his new surroundings.  Additionally, the weather will cool and become more in tune with what he had in Liverpool.

Tim Cahill’s arrival presents an excellent opportunity for the New York Red Bulls this season and beyond to establish themselves as a force in the MLS.  Already stocked with world class Henry, and the capable Kenny Cooper, the addition of Cahill simply means that defenders across America are set to be heavily tested throughout the year.  Cahill has a solid five years ahead of him before he may retire, and chances are that he will add an MLS Cup or two for the Red Bulls during that time.