Sunday, January 31, 2010

Major League Wrap Up: Manchester United Crush Arsenal and Juve and Milan Troubles Continue

What can only be described as a fantastic week of football took place, with massive matches we have seen the resurgence of some teams, and the downfall of others.

Arsenal - Manchester United 

A match which will inspire Manchester United to charge for the title no doubt, a fantastic performance by the red devils buries Arsenal's title hopes. It started with a sublime performance by Nani, on the right wing, he beats two players to enter the Arsenal penalty box, outclasses another and chips Almunia with the most graceful of touches, the Arsenal goalkeeper can only get a hand to it as he re-directs it into the Arsenal goal. Soon after a fantastic finish by Rooney cements any of Arsenals hopes of resurgence, by halftime, the match was over. But it wasn't enough, a classic counter-attack led by Ji-Sung Park led to him slotting it into the Arsenal onion bag, giving United a score they truly deserve. In the 80th minute though, a deflected shot by Vermaelen creeps into the net, but the damage has been done, the dutchman not even celebrating, we see that Arsenal are just boys getting their hopes up.
Final score 1-3

But there was plenty more action to be found in the Premiership, a fantastic performance by Birmingham earned them a 1-1 draw with Tottenham, Birmingham equalized in the last minutes of the match thanks to Ridgewell. Chelsea struggled past Burnley after a 2-1 victory away at Turf Moor, a late goal by the controversial John Terry seals the three points for the blues. Liverpool return to form after a 2-0 victory over Bolton, and Manchester City overpower Portsmouth thanks to a goal by Adebayor and Kompany.

In Italy, both Juve and AC Milan slip, the bianconeri got a 1-1 draw with Lazio after their managerial change (Ferrara was sacked and Alberto Zaccheroni replaced him). And AC Milan were only able to draw 1-1 against Livorno, with all the balls passing through a disappointing Ronaldinho, AC Milan fans will be hoping Pato can return from injury soon. Roma continue their great run thanks to a win over Siena after a great goal by Riise and an even better one by the Fulham-bound Okaka, a sublime backheel nabs the three points for the giallorossi in the 88th minute.

In Spain, Barcelona and Real continue at a steady pace, Barcelona got a 1-0 victory over Sporting Gijon thanks to the unstoppable Pedro, and Real Madrid continue the chase after a 3-1 victory over Deportivo La Coruna, an early goal by Granero followed by Benzema put Los Blancos two up, but in the 86th minute Riki scored a penalty for Deportivo putting the result in doubt, but Benzema scores in the 90th minute to put the result in the bag. Sevilla power through Valencia, both teams on great form, Negredo's double brought Sevilla closer to Valencia.

What do you think of this week's football action? Comment below!

Egypt Conquer Third Consecutive African Cup of Nations

With all the hype of the Togo team attack, the African Cup of Nations in Angola was overshadowed by accusations and fear, but a fantastic final provided Egypt their third African Cup of Nations in a row, and their seventh of all time. 

After beating their ultimate rivals Algeria 4-0 in the semifinal, they went on to play a weakened Ghana side. After having lost their World Cup spot to Algeria in World Cup Qualifying, the Egyptian team put their heart and soul in the Africa's greatest tournament. It took 84 minutes of play before Egypt found the winner, but a beautiful fast paced one-two unleashed supersub Mohamed "Gedo" Nagui to slot in the winner. But Ghana made themselves be feared, after a free kick that barely cleared the crossbar by Asamoah Gyan, and Asamoah's long range effort stopped by Egypt goalie, Essam Al-Hadary, Egypt rolled their sleeves up and re-claimed their title as African Champions.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Major League Wrap Up: Inter Crush Milan and Rooney Puts Four Past Hull

With so much football action these past weeks, what used to be just a weekend of football became more than a great match a day thanks to the FA Cup, Carling Cup, Copa Del Rey, Coppa Italia, and all the missed matches due to the bad weather. Good thing the SWU crew is here to wrap it all up for you in a tasty meal of footy action.

Inter Milan - AC Milan

What seemed to be AC Milan's perfect chance to reopen the title race in Italy turned out to be a nightmare for the rossoneri, right at the beginning Sneijder flicks the ball up and from 25 yards out blasts a venomous volley that shaves the post. Soon after, a great lift over the Milan back line by Pandev provided Diego Milito the perfect chance which he put a away with a great diagonal. Sneijder also had a great chance to double the lead but was stopped by Dida in the six yard box, the dutchman would not stay on for long, when Lucio was yellow carded for simulation, Wesley Sneijder applauded the referee sarcastically and was subsequently send off with a straight red. The ten-man Inter squad held on well to Milan who seemed to be imprecise and without confidence until the end of the first half. In the second half, a very strange story to tell, what should've been Milan's time to shine turned out to be Inter's greatest moments, although Borriello had some great chances thanks to fantastic crosses by Beckham, Julio Cesar was rock solid and stopped everything towards the Inter goal. Mourinho decided to keep the two strikers and was rewarded with great play from both of them, Pandev and Milito tracked back to help the squad defend, and were deadly on the counter attack, with multiple opportunity's created which weren't put away. When Pandev and Milito combined to get Pandev on a 1v1 with Dida, the Macedonian chipped it beautifully over the keeper only to see it hit the inside of the post. But a minute later, Maicon is brought down, and Pandev scores a brilliant free kick to put Inter out of Milan's sight. At the end of the match, Lucio was sent off for accumulation of yellow cards, but the neroazzurri dominated Milan, even when they were two men down, keeping Mourinho's home undefeated streak intact.
Final Score 2-0

Manchester United - Hull City

This was a solitary match in the premiership, and with the recent debt that has been revealed about the United owners, the red devils needed a win to go top of the table. What can only be described as a simple game, in the beginning minutes of the match, a shot by Scholes was parried by Myhill but Rooney was there for the followup. With a great start, the next goal would come much later in the match, in the 82nd Rooney rocketed a shot past Myhill, about four minutes later, a delicious ball by Nani is headed in by Rooney at close range, and finally in extra time, Rooney between two defenders squeezes a shot that completes his poker and puts United on top of the table.
Final score 4-0

In Italy, Spain, and Germany, it seems that Ferrara is hanging onto his job only because there is no replacement in line, after a 2-1 loss to Roma, Ranieri proved a point to his old team, they are too weak. With a dramatic late winner by John Arne Riise in stoppage time, Roma glide into third position, only two points away from AC Milan who have a match against Fiorentina they need to make up.

In La Liga, Barcelona demolish Real Valladolid 3-0 thanks to a fantastic Xavi and a wild Dani Alves, Xavi scored a half bicycle kick half volley, and Dani Alves blasted one in from the wing. Messi completed with a third thanks to a great pass by Ibrahimovic. Meanwhile Real Madrid are a one man team, from scoring goals to committing fouls, Cristiano Ronaldo did it all against Malaga, with a tap in and then a fantastic rocket which went into the top corner, in two minutes Real had the game wrapped up. But in the second half, Ronaldo was sent off for whacking a player with his hand viciously while dribbling, from hero to zero, Madrid hang on to be 5 points away from the Catalan giants.

The Bundesliga had a crucial match  between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen, the match ended 3-2 for Bayern thanks to Muller, Olic, and Robben, but Leverkusen stay on top after a 3-0 victory over Hoffenheim with even ex-Liverpool defender, Hyppia, scoring. But what continues to be the revelation of the season is Felix Magath's Schalke who drew 2-2 with Bochum, putting them firmly in third, two points behind Bayerm

In the FA Cup, Leeds were able to keep a woeful Tottenham side to a 2-2 draw, Tottenham also lost to Liverpool 2-0 in the Premier League, putting doubts over whether they can really challenge for the fourth spot. Manchester City defeated Scunthorpe United 4-2 with a goal from the unhappy Robinho who seems to have already signed a deal that will take him to his old Brazilian club Santos soon. Stoke City defeated Arsenal 3-1, knocking the gunners out of the competition, and Everton lost to Birmingham City 2-1, putting all of Merseyside out of the historic trophy. Chelsea had no trouble defeating Preston North End 2-0, Portsmouth got past Sunderland 2-1, and West Bromwich Albion were able to defeat Newcastle 4-2, in a fantastic game of football

In the Carling Cup, Manchester City pull off a win against Manchester United at Eastlands, with the great ex, Tevez scoring both goals, while Villa get through to the final after an epic match against Blackburn which ended 6-4 for Villa. With only the second leg of the semifinal between both sides of Manchester left until the final, Tevez will be looking to make an impact against his former side at Old Trafford.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Major League Wrap Up: Snow Slows Down Arsenal and Manchester United

This week was full of Italian and Spanish action, but with many matches postponed in the premiership, it seems that it affected Arsenal and Manchester United, both drawing with opposition that they would normally expect to get a win.

Birmingham City - Manchester United

Manchester United drew 1-1 with a fantastic Birmingham, sound in defence and deadly when going forward, Birmingham are now in a fantastic eighth place, proving that working as a team is more important than throwing big money players on a pitch. Manchester United on the other hand were slow and unable to break down Birmingham's tough defence, with the recent financial troubles revealed, we could see the beginning of the end for Manchester United. Especially since their deal with Sporting Lisbon expired (a deal that brought players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani to Old Trafford), United could be losing their power in european football, and on an interesting side note, who did Sporting get a new deal to replace the United deal with? Manchester City.

Arsenal - Everton

In the beginning of the year, this fixture ended 6-1 for Arsenal at Goodison Road, but with an assist providing Donovan, Everton put Arsenal to the test. The final score (2-2) does not show the difficulty that Arsenal had breaking down Everton, and with both goals being deflected shots (one in the 90th minute), Everton could be considered the better side. A header by Osman and a chip/scoop by Pienaar over Almunia should have been worthy enough for a win.

Manchester City - Blackburn Rovers

Manchester City continue their domination lead by Roberto Mancini, Tevez scored a hat trick and Micah Richards could be revitalizing his career after his goal scored to make it 4-1 for City. With two of Tevez's goals being identical right foot instep curls from the top of the box, Richards tapped one in after the ball ricocheted off the post. A great win for City, which will now be thinking of challenging for the title thanks to three straight wins under Mancini.

In Spain, Sevilla were outdone by a fantastic Racing Santander, 2-1 for Racing, both goals scored by a fantastic Sergio Canales who is attracting a lot of interest from foreign clubs after his four goals in three starts. Barcelona pound Tenerife 5-0 with a fantastic treble by Messi, Tenerife were the better side for the first hour of the match, and had three or four great scoring opportunities, but Barcelona woke up and put on a show for everyone watching. Real Madrid get past Mallorca thanks to Granero and a fantastic goal by Higuain, Mallorca's goalie Aouate had some fantastic saves that kept Mallorca in the game. Atletico Madrid find their form with a 4-0 win over Real Valladolid, while Valencia continue their great run of results with a 3-1 win over Deportivo Xerex.

In Italy, Inter Milan play terribly but show heart and power with a 4-3 win over Siena, Maccarone scored two fantastic goals, putting Inter under pressure, but a spectacular free kick by Sneijder and Diego Milito's venemous diagonal ball across the box kept them in the game. But once Ekdal scored, it seemed over for Inter, at 3-2 down, in the 88th minute Sneijder strikes another fantastic free kick which goes in off the post, and then in the 93rd minute of stoppage time Walter Samuel scores the winner, giving Inter a fantastic result. Juventus and AC Milan also didn't play very well, but Milan was much more sound defensively,  and with three goals, one by Nesta and two by Ronaldinho, it really seems that Juventus might be crumbling and Milan might be rising. Napoli win 1-0 over Sampdoria, taking the fourth Champions League spot in the table, and Parma lose to Livorno after a great run, 2-1.

What do you think of this weekend's action? Comment below!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Togo Team Attacked, City Sign Viera, Five EPL Matches Postponed, and More News

Lots of news has occured lately, and with a weekend of action coming up, five Premiership matches were postponed, here is a list of the matches postponed:

Hull City - Chelsea
Burnley - Stoke City
Sunderland - Bolton
Fulham - Portsmouth
Liverpool - Tottenham

Togo National Team Attacked on way to ANC Cup

The Togo National team bus was attacked by gunmen on their way to the African Nations Cup, the driver was killed, and two players were hit by bullets, goalkeeper Obilale Kossi, and Serge Akakpo. The two players seem to be in stable conditions, and the Togo and Manchester City striker Adebayor is not hurt. The bus was under fire for more that 20 minutes, and now it seems that Togo may decide to boycott the African Nations Cup due to security concerns. Hopefully events like this will not happen again.

City Sign Vieira and Napoli Sign Dossena

Manchester City have made their first signing of the winter transfer window, Patrick Vieira, formerly of Inter Milan, has joined Roberto Mancini in his conquest to claim Champions League soccer for Manchester City. Vieira seems happy to have joined City and returned to English football, and although some say he is old and unable to keep up with todays game, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger and Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp, both say that it is a great signing.

Liverpool have also offloaded their Italian fullback Andrea Dossena to Napoli for 4.25 million euros, with the extra money, Liverpool may be able to put the finishing touches on the Rodriguez deal that could bring Maxi Rodriguez to Liverpool from Atletico Madrid soon.

Owen Coyle Leaves Burnley for Bolton Job

Owen Coyle has taken over at Bolton after Gary Megson was sacked, the Burnley manager was doing great things with Burnley, and it seemed that they would escape relegation. But once Megson was sacked, Coyle was determined to go to Bolton because of the resources the club might have over his former club.

Latest Quote of the Week Out!

Also remember to check out SWU's latest QOTW, this week it is controversial Newcastle player Joey Barton who said, "Most footballers are knobs" a bit ironic that it's Joey Barton saying this, but we accept the news happily, thank you Joey.

What do you think of the latest soccer news? Comment below!


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