Liverpool Takeover

It seems like the dark ages at Anfield are behind us as the New England Sports Ventures (NESV) finalizes its £300 million takeover of the club. Tom Hicks and George Gillett aren’t very happy about this and are trying their best to hold on to the debt ridden club. The trio on the Liverpool board pushing for the sale of the club are Chairman Martin Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre. A hearing on Friday will determine whether or not the sale of the club will go through, but for the time being we can all assume that Liverpool will have new owners and will be making major changes in the near future.

The future owner of the club John W. Henry is exactly what Liverpool needs at the moment as he’s had plenty of experience turning teams around. He helped the baseball franchise Boston Red Sox, a team that was very much in the same position that Liverpool was in, turn around and win its first title in 86 years. Liverpool’s chairman Martin Broughton has made it no secret that the new owners will be backing the club financially and help bring new players to the club. The new owners are also committed to redeveloping Anfield stadium as they have determined that redeveloping it is better than building a new stadium given then tradition of the club.

With new owners it’s no surprise that people are beginning to speculate the transfer of players to Anfield this January. One of the likely transfers is Juan Mata from Valencia for 10 million quid and Ryan Babel, who has failed to impress at the club since arriving to Anfield in the summer of 2007. The arrival of new funds and players will most certainly help Roy Hodgson and make life a little bit easier on Liverpool fans as well.

 

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Arsenal Will Only Get Stronger and Stronger

Many Arsenal fans were not happy with today’s result against the Blues. The best way to treat this defeat is to go down our injury list and that would explain why we didn’t play excellent against the strong Chelsea team.

Wenger is running out of solutions but not for long.

Arsene Wenger on the other hand wouldn’t do that. In fact, never has Wenger complained that not having Fabregas was the problem of our recent defeats in the EPL. When Wenger was asked about Wilshere’s performance he responded with the best response any manager can respond with, “he’s only 18 years old.” This phrase has many interpretations and through those interpretations, we can make many other interpretations. You see, Wilshere is a top class English midfielder FOR HIS AGE! Basically, Arsenal cannot depend on Wilshere to show leadership skills. Rather we should depend on him for his excitement and most of all, his skills. Towards the end of the game it was evident that Wilshere seemed to get tired and didn’t have the stamina to continue as Wenger wanted. The issue with Wilshere is simple yet sensitive. It’s very easy for Wenger to start Wilshere in domestic cup, EPL and UCL games but at the same time Wenger understands that Wilshere needs to mature not as a player but as a person. Example, the night club incident earlier in the season still proves that he might not be as disciplined as Wenger wishes. What is the point of this? To realize that Wilshere cannot carry Arsenal against top level teams because he still isn’t mature as a person. This isn’t to shed darkness on Wilshere fans because I am a huge Wilshere fan and I do believe that within 5 more years, he will be deadly to other teams. We must look at our problems and realize that Arsenal is not playing with a cushion behind their backs. Wenger is being forced to start Wilshere to search for answers. Fabregas, Bendter, Almunia, Vermaelen, Ramsey, Van Persie, Walcott and now Diaby are all out due to injuries. Honestly speaking, we have done great to answer the injury crisis but players like Wilshere, Nasri and Chamakh cannot handle the pressure to perform greatly in every game we play in. Yet, they still do which impresses Wenger time and time again.

Wilshere has stepped up for the Gunners this season.

With the injury crisis, today’s game was still close and Arsenal had many chances to score. Let us take the starting lineup of Arsenal and “make” it equal to Chelsea’s squad and make a lineup from Chelsea that mirrors our lineup. Arsenal’s lineup was missing Fabregas, Van Persie, Almunia, Vermaelen  and Walcott. So if Chelsea had Lampard, Drogba, Cech, Terry and Malouda all out of today’s lineup, would Chelsea have won today against Arsenal? I’m pretty sure it would have been a much tougher game for Chelsea. Many people out there believe that Arsenal doesn’t have what it takes to win the EPL title or the UCL title. That’s bogus! Throughout the entire season injuries have hit Arsenal hard and players have stepped up to not offer injuries as an excuse to our recent defeats. Arshavin has 5 goals and 6 assists in 11 games. Wilshere has shown his coming of age and showed that he is able to handle the pressure. Chamakh has done amazing, bringing us back in the Bolton game as well as this midweek UCL game in Serbia. Nasri nearly gave us a point by scoring two goals last weekend in a time of urgency.

Arshavin's performance has been overshadowed with much criticism.

Look for a strong lineup against Newcastle in the midweek Carling Cup matchup. It seems that our problems have forced Wenger to look at other options which is great. We can give it one more month and many of our players will be back, well rested and waiting to play some football. Chelsea, we will get out revenge the next time we meet. Watch out.

-OA

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Champions League – Group Stage 9/28-9/30

Chelsea 2 – 0 Marseille: John Terry scored early and Nicolas Anelka slotted home a penalty in the first to secure three points in a very comfortable win for the Blues that snapped their two-game losing streak (in all competitions).

Arsenal 3 – 1 Partizan Belgrade: Belgrade looked to make a game of this after equalizing late in the first half on a penalty, but a red card and goals by Marouane Chamakh and Sebastian Squillaci lead to a scoreline that does not reflect the competitiveness of the match.

Manchester United 1 – 0 Valencia: United’s Summer signing netted his first competitive goal in the 85th minute to gain the three points for a slightly off-kilter side. Valencia owned much of the possession but could not find the cutting edge.

Tottenham Hotspur 4 – 1 FC Twente: A wet and wild affair at White Hart Lane saw a red card and three penalties given to Spurs (scored on two) in an exciting and end to end match that was very exciting to watch. The clear difference for Spurs was new signing Van der Vaart as he was the creative force driving his side despite a penalty miss in the first half.

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Upset Weekend Strikes the Premiership

This round of Premier League fixtures is the first since December 13-14 of 2008 that each of the so-called “Big Four” – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United – all failed to win their match.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=manchester+city&iid=9851286″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9851286/ashley-cole-chelsea-2010/ashley-cole-chelsea-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9851286″ width=”234″ height=”167″ /]Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea: This was the first match of the weekend and it set the tone for what was to be a very interesting series of fixtures in the Premiership. Chelsea traveled to Eastlands to face Manchester City in what could be called their first real test of the season. While the Blues did not perform terribly against City, they definitely did not perform to the standard we have become accustomed to. Chelsea failed to score for the first time in 25 Premier League matches. It was only the second time they had failed to score in their last 49 Premier League matches. The previous occasion this happened was in a goalless draw at Birmingham City in December 2009 – on both occasions Joe Hart has been the goalkeeper. Carlos Tevez was the difference as he scored his sixth Premier League career goal against Chelsea, and has netted in each of his last five Premier League matches against them.The match left Chelsea still at the top of table and brought City within four points of the lead and in a possible tie for second or third pending other results.

Chelsea have another rough fixture ahead of them as Arsenal travel the short distance over to Stamford Bridge. The Blues will likely be without talisman midfielder Frank Lampard and their depth was called in to question as they brought on two youngsters late in the match against City. City have an easier, and very winnable, draw with Newcastle coming to Eastlands.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=arsenal&iid=9854647″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9854647/samir-nasri-arsenal-2010/samir-nasri-arsenal-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9854647″ width=”234″ height=”180″ /]Arsenal 2-3 West Bromwich: Albion West Brom’s trip to the Emirates Stadium was clearly the biggest surprise of the weekend for the following reasons. West Brom picked up their first league win at Arsenal in 27 years, their first Premiership win in London in five years, and ended a run of 18 Premiership away matches without a victory. The first half ended without goals, but a penalty called on a rash challenge by Manuel Almunia set the tone for what was to be a disastrous game for the Arsenal keeper. The penalty was saved but the second half was all about the Baggies. West Brom took the lead at the 50th minute with a Peter Odemwingie strike and within 25 minutes, the Baggies were three goals up and seemingly cruising to three points. Only one of those goals was clearly Almunia’s fault, but he looked far from sharp. Samir Nasri was able to secure a brace and reduce the deficit for Arsenal to one goal in stoppage time but it was too little too late for the Gunners. This loss moved Arsenal in to third place ahead of Manchester City based solely on goal-difference. It doesn’t get any easier for the Gunners as they head to Chelsea next week.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=west+ham&iid=9807132″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9807132/west-ham-united-parker/west-ham-united-parker.jpg?size=500&imageId=9807132″ width=”234″ height=”175″ /]West Ham United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur: West Ham beat Tottenham for the first time in four years, and picked up their first Premier League victory of the season as a first half header by Frederic Piquionne proved to be the difference. It was also West Ham’s first Premier League clean sheet at home in a derby match in four years. This was another case of Spurs underachieving against a side that it is clearly more talented than. West Ham was the better side on the day however, and the 1-0 victory was exactly what they deserved. Hammers’ keeper and England screw-up Robert Green made a string of athletic saves, particularly one on a Luka Modric strike that will be a candidate for save of the season. Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp lost his first ever Premier League match at Upton Park since he left the club. He had been unbeaten in his previous 10 Premier League matches against West Ham since he left in 2001.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=liverpool&iid=9849558″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9849558/liverpool-kuyt-shoots/liverpool-kuyt-shoots.jpg?size=500&imageId=9849558″ width=”234″ height=”102″ /]Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland: Liverpool have six points from six Premier League matches, and it remains their worst start to a Premier League season in 18 years. Whether you chalk that up to injury, poor form, or just a lack of talent, one way or another its been ugly for the Reds. It took a late goal from their captain Steven Gerrard to secure even one point from this match despite being awarded a very controversial and questionable goal early on in the match. Sunderland’s Darren Bent scored his third Premier League penalty of the season – no other Premier League player has scored more than one. Bent added a second goal later in the match but as stated earlier, Sunderland could only leave Anfield with three points.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=manchester+united&iid=9855657″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9855657/manchester-united-owen/manchester-united-owen.jpg?size=500&imageId=9855657″ width=”234″ height=”313″ /]Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Manchester United: Michael Owen rescued a point for the Red Devils as he scored his 200th goal in English club football. He has now scored at least once in 13 different Premier League seasons. He scored 16 minutes from time as United had to come back from being a goal down twice in the match. This match featured another lackluster effort for Wayne Rooney (4 games, 1 goal) and the United defense as whole as they have already conceded 9 goals in just 6 games. They missed out on the opportunity to come within a point of leaders Chelsea despite dropping points at Everton and Fulham. United is still undefeated on the season but these holes at the back will punish them very soon as they cant expect to be rescued at the end of every match by someone like Owen. United have a tough fixture next week against a Sunderland side that has proved very resilient so far this season.

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Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Carling Cup Matchup.

This derby had to live up to some very high expectations. On one hand, you had Arsenal who is known for their emphasis on youth. This puts the pressure on their youth to perform so well. On the other hand, you had Tottenham who are overshadowed by their rivals yet they still managed to secure a Champions League spot for this season. The Carling Cup has become a tool to rest key players. In fact many pundits believe that it should be a reserve league domestic cup because we are pretty much watching the reserves of both teams play football. Wenger is well known for his philosophy of fielding his youth players when it comes to domestic cups. But his philosophy took a slight turn as he fielded the likes of Nasri, Eboue, Denilson, Koscienly and Rocicky. Some of these players are young but do receive plenty amount of first team action which make many Arsenal fans wonder, is Wenger this desperate to win anything?

As the whistle blew it seemed like a very promising game. Tottenham were pushing forward and seemed to settle down but Lansbury goal changed everything. In one quick build up, we saw Eboue, Rosicky, Wilshere and Lansbury connect for an Arsenal goal. Wilshere began to control the pace of the game which is something that Wenger wants from the youngster especially since he is the future of Arsenal FC along with many other young players. Both teams went into their dressing rooms during halftime with Lansbury goal deciding the score between the two teams.

Lansbury captured his first Arsenal goal during the Carling Cup derby.

As the second half progressed, it was evident that tide changed. Tottenham began to settle with their passes and Arsenal seemed very lost. They depended too much on Djourou and Koscienly to close down crosses and passes but they were asked to do a bit too much. As Robbie Keane sneaked into the backfield and scored Tottenham’s first goal, it was very clear that Arsenal needed to act quickly. Although Keane was offside by a yard, there should have been no reason as to why the Arsenal midfielders didn’t close down the pass.

Wenger seemed very worried as the second half progressed and as his Blackberry didn’t seem to work, he sent an Arsenal staff down to the touchline to inform Pat Rice of his thoughts. Rice acted quickly and brought in Chamakh and Arshavin to replace Rosicky and Vela. Yet, Arsenal couldn’t squeeze in a score before the full time whistle.

As extra time started, a foul on Nasri in the penalty box gave Arsenal the opportunity they needed. With Nasri scoring the penalty, the young gunners began to cool down and play the passing game. Minutes later, a foul on Chamakh in the box assured Arsenal the victory. With Nasri scoring again from the spot, Tottenham surely knew that it was over. With Arshavin finding the net, Arsenal sealed the game and beat Tottenham with the score of 4-1.

Quick Thoughts:

  • The more and more I watch Koscienly, the more and more he impresses me. He is one quick learner, very tough against opponents and seems to be very calm when there is pressure. Again, Wenger got what he needed at one hell of a price.

  • Djourou hasn’t played in a full 90 minute game for almost a year and he looked very promising. His size, strength and skills can really help our first team only if he can stay healthy.

  • After watching this game, I came to the conclusion that Tottenham is a team you don’t joke around with. When they have the opportunity to score, they will try their hardest to score. They have great depth in their squad and many young players who look very promising.

  • As Arsenal scored their 3rd goal of the game, we saw many Spurs fans leave the stands. We also saw many fans stay, chant and were proud to support their club. Those are true fans, ones that stick with their teams during times of hardships.

  • Many people think that it’s time for Gibbs to be a first team regular. He played very well today but when Clichy came on, you could tell that Clichy is much more skillful than the two. In other words, just trust Arsene when it comes to exposing his young guns to first team action.

  • Redkanpp’s comments taunted him today after stating that Wenger needs to focus on “winning” rather than exposing his young players to some playing time. I think at some degree we can agree with Redknapp’s comments, Arsenal haven’t won silverware for quite a while and they need to start winning. But with all due respect Mr. Redknapp, you fielded a very young squad and lost today while Wenger fielded an experienced one.

  • Also, EPLInForm does have a Twitter account! @EPLInForm. Follow us to stay updated on our articles. Also, feel free to leave any comments and give us feedback. It something we highly appreciate and would take into great consideration. Also email me at ooahmad@gmail.com if you have any comments. Everybody has an opinion and everybody’s opinion is put into consideration.

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Wenger Fined For Misconduct

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=arsene+wenger&iid=9791801″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9791801/arsene-wenger-arsenal-2010/arsene-wenger-arsenal-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9791801″ width=”264″ height=”285″ /]Arsenal seems to be the center of attention in the Premiership courtesy of manager Arsene Wenger. Wenger has been charged by the FA for misconduct for mockingly patting the referee on the back after Sunderland’s late goal. Honestly as a Gunner supporter, it makes me proud. It’s only pocket change for him and it shows that Wenger is willing to fight for his club no matter what the situation is.  It makes any Arsenal fan realize that Wenger loves the club as much any Arsenal fan/player/employer loves Wenger. In Arsene we Trust.

In other unrelated new, Tottenham midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart has labeled Spurs as a bigger club than Arsenal. Typical of a Spurs player to get much too excited over the idea that his club is in the Champions League. It is a good accomplishment of course, but Spurs has much to  do if they want to be like the Big 3. Former Arsenal skipper William Gallas is much smarter the Van Der Vaart because he knows the truth. He knows that Arsenal is a larger club but instead of attacking it, he glorifies Tottenham, which is of course normal for any player to do at a new club. I personally think Tottenham is good side to watch and that every Arsenal fan should have a level of respect for other squads but in no way is Spurs a bigger club.

Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott are all out due to injuries, which comes as no surprise given Arsenal’s recent history. Fabregas will most likely be back in two weeks, much earlier than the arrivals of Van Persie and Walcott. Fabregas is Arsenal’s most important player and the only way we can beat Chelsea is by having him healthy, without him we will have a tough time beating Chelsea. Of course to win the league you must beat the teams ahead of you and without beating Chelsea we will have a tough time winning the title.

-OA

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Premiership Week 5

Week 5 of the Premiership

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=chelsea&iid=9813279″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9813279/chelsea-blackpool-2010/chelsea-blackpool-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9813279″ width=”264″ height=”318″ /]Chelsea 4 – 0 Blackpool: I’m running out of synonyms for the word “dominate” to describe the way Chelsea has just been steamrolling through opponents so far in this campaign. The match against Blackpool was no exception as the only time the Tangerines looked threatening was after Chelsea was four goals up. A fully rested Didier Drogba, who missed the Champions League tie due to suspension, was his usual self and was the genius behind both of Florent Malouda’s goals and notched one himself. Malouda leads the Chelsea score sheet with six goals in five Premiership games with Drogba a close second with five. The match was never in doubt as Chelsea jumped out to a 2-0 lead after just twelve minutes gone. The Blues looked ready to lay another six or seven goals on this hapless Blackpool side that insisted on playing attacking football but four was the magic number today. You have to give due credit to Blackpool for sticking to their guns against the champions but there would be no famous victory today. The first real test of the season for Chelsea comes up next week with a date at Eastlands to face Carlos Tevez and Manchester City. City haven’t gotten off to the start they expected, having dropped points on occasion, but they are still a dangerous side with the potential to score a ton of goals. Manager Carlo Ancellotti’s goal was to go in to that draw with a perfect record and his players have delivered. It will be Blues vs. Blues at 7:45ET and the match will be televised in the U.S. on ESPN2.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=manchester+united&iid=9812254″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9812254/manchester-united-berbatov/manchester-united-berbatov.jpg?size=500&imageId=9812254″ width=”264″ height=”353″ /]Manchester United 3 – 2 Liverpool: The much maligned Dimitar Berbatov has been one of the lone bright spots as the Bulgarian continued his brilliant form with a hat trick at Old Trafford against Liverpool. Berbatov scored twice with his head and once on a phenomenal bicycle kick that will be surely be up for discussion for goal of the season. That aside, United showed once again its defensive and possible mental weaknesses by allowing Liverpool back in to the match. The two goals scored by Liverpool were more of a gift from United than signs of a genuine comeback. Jonny Evans’s rash tackle on Fernando Torres allowed Steven Gerrard to slot home a penalty for the first goal. Not five minutes later John O’shea made a foolish (and red-card worthy) tackle to set up the free kick that the Liverpool skipper slammed home to make it level. Berbatov, the only United player worth mentioning in a good light, had other ideas and nodded home a cross from O’shea to seal a hat trick and a victory.

In any other season, once United was two goals up there would be no chance for the opposition to fight its way back in to the match. However this year there is a great degree of fallibility in this United side that keeps their title credentials in doubt. If they are to make a serious push against Chelsea and Arsenal, they have several issues that must be rectified.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=tottenham+hotspur&iid=9808976″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9808976/tottenham-hotspur/tottenham-hotspur.jpg?size=500&imageId=9808976″ width=”274″ height=”202″ /]Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: In what could be dubbed as the “battle of the long names”, Spurs were clearly the better side but couldn’t exert their influence until the second half. Harry Redknapp handed Robbie Keane his first start of the season and the results were far from spectacular. Tottenham was in search of their first home win of the campaign but gave up a goal at the stroke of halftime to give Wolves a shock lead. Spurs grew increasingly frustrated as they missed from close range on several occasions. Thirteen minutes from time, substitute Alan Hutton was brought down in the box and Rafael Van der Vaart slotted home the resulting penalty to notch his first goal for the club and make things level. The comeback was officially on for Spurs as Russian striker Roman Pavluychenko made it 2-1 in the 87th and Hutton put it beyond doubt with a goal in stoppage time to secure all three points. Luckily for Spurs, they were able to avoid the Champions League hangover they suffered last week at Wigan as they look for another top four finish.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=sunderland&iid=9808885″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9808885/arsenal-head-coach-wenger/arsenal-head-coach-wenger.jpg?size=500&imageId=9808885″ width=”264″ height=”391″ /]Arsenal 1 – 1 Sunderland: There was very little good for Arsenal to take from this draw with Sunderland, besides the single point of course. Arsenal took the lead off a freak goal from a deflection nearly fourty yards away from goal that Cesc Fabregas will be given credit for though all he did was stick a leg out in front of a clearance. The match was very physical particularly on the Arsenal side and Gunners defender Alex Song was sent off for collecting two yellow cards on two rash challenges. Tomas Rosicky was a surprise choice to take a penalty won by Samir Nasri late in the match and the Czech Republic midfielder skied his attempt over the bar in embarrassing fashion. Sunderland striker Darren Bent made it level with a finish from close range in stoppage time and sent Arsenal home with a point that I dont think they deserved. There was some controversy to this goal as it was scored after 94 minutes when the referee had only awarded four minutes of stoppage time. However most of the controversy created is from Arsene Wenger as he can’t have really expected the referee to blow the game dead as Sunderland is attacking in the Arsenal penalty box. This match was one of those instances that make it clear that the Gunners still dont have the players or pedigree to win any titles. They were unable to exert their influence over this match and fell victim to a quality Premiership side, though one undoubtedly less talented than themselves.

-KA

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