Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Real Madrid Humbled In 5-0 Clasico Defeat to Barcelona

David Villa scored a double assisted twice by Messi
Going into El Clasico both Barcelona and Real Madrid looked dangerous and confident as they swept through La Liga with few difficulties. To say the truth, Real Madrid was the team which was full of momentum going into El Clasico, especially considering that they'd won their last seven matches and hadn't lost in La Liga yet before they travelled to the Camp Nou. But Barcelona changed all that, while Jose Mourinho was focusing on getting the media's attention by making comments about the referees, Josep Guardiola was teaching his side how to dismantle a seemingly powerful Real Madrid side.

What happened on Monday night was a lesson for everyone taught by Barcelona and their silky passing. Although the first few minutes were slightly frenetic with both sides getting to grips with each other and the phenomenal crowd, Barcelona eased into their rhythmic passing quickly. After showing us all how to maintain possession, Barca then began to verticalize up the field with astounding velocity, sending Mourinho's defence into all sorts of disarray, and after just ten minutes, they had scored. It was a quick look from Iniesta who picked out Xavi in front of Casillas, a lucky bounce, a backheel flick, and the Spanish midfielder had popped the ball over Iker Casillas and into the back of the net.

Unhappy Mourinho scoffing as Guardiola cheers.
Wild celebration ensued from the Barcelona players, staff, and fans which surrounded Jose Mourinho and his disappointed men. Real Madrid kicked off a goal down, just ten minutes into the match as Barcelona continued with relentless pressure. It didn't take long for Barca to pierce through Real Madrid again, and this time it was Pedro who scored finishing off a pass from David Villa. What happened eight minutes ago after the first goal repeated itself; wild celebration from the Blaugrana, Jose Mourinho looking at his team like a girlfriend he's ready to dump, and Iker Casillas yelling at his teammates in a humiliated fury.

Cristiano Ronaldo pushing Guardiola on the sideline
If there was ever to be a period of time where Real Madrid seemed less lifeless than a rotting corpse it was now. The team slowly eased out of their shell and began to get a few minutes of possession, but they were still relatively disheartened and lacking in ideas. When Cristiano Ronaldo decided to push Guardiola for not giving the ball to him after it went out for a throw, the Camp Nou hailed whistles and boos at the Portuguese winger for the rest of the match. Real Madrid's feeble attempt to have a reaction to Barcelona's supremacy in the first half was halted then and there, with the home crowd galvanizing their team in hope of more humiliation for the arch-rivals.

And more humiliation came, just ten minutes into the second half it was David Villa who scored the third, finishing well after being served by a delightful pass from Lionel Messi. And so we saw Iker Casillas yet again scream with fury at his defence which couldn't cope with a well-oiled Barcelona side. Just three minutes later, Casillas's wrath was unleashed yet again when David Villa slipped through the Real defence, to receive another pass from Messi and poke it through Casillas's legs.

Puyol falling after Ramos's push
4-0 for Barcelona and Mourinho looks as angry as anyone had seen him in a long time. Real Madrid was pulverized by now: Ronaldo completely ineffective, Di Maria completely isolated, and the defence disorganized and sloppy, which is unusual for a team coached by Jose Mourinho. The final minutes of the match, and Josep Guardiola decides to rub a few youngsters into Real Madrid's face. Bojan and Jeffren came on, and the couple combined for Jeffren to score a tap-in, a reminder for Real Madrid that Barcelona are constantly creating talented and skillful youth.

But the match ended on a sour note, it was Sergio Ramos who caused plenty of discomfort in the final moments after hacking at Messi's legs needlessly, and almost causing a fight. The Spanish fullback was obviously frustrated with his team's situation and he lost his head when he pushed Puyol to the ground, and then shoved Xavi in the face. He was promptly sent off by Iturralde Gonzalez, and the final whistle sounded as soon as play resumed.

Sergio Ramos being given a direct red card
An epic, exciting, and historical Clasico which will remain in all of the Barca's players memories. Right now Josep Guardiola hasn't lost a Clasico, and Mourinho has lost his first, so you could say that while Jose is getting used to the Blaugrana's Spanish domination, Josep is as happy as ever with his team's performance. This win raises Barcelona above Real Madrid, giving Barca a two point lead above the rivals. Will La Liga end this way? Will Mourinho concoct a revenge plan to win the next Clasico, and win La Liga? And is there a possibility for a drop in form from Real Madrid? Share your comments below!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Manchester United And Inter Milan Thrive With Goals Aplenty

Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers (7-1) Premier League 27/11/2010 The scoreboard tells the story Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
This weekend might be slightly overshadowed with El Clasico coming up, but Manchester United and Inter Milan made sure to hit the headlines with goalfests in their league matches. Manchester United go top of the table with this win, especially after Chelsea only managed to draw 1-1 away against Newcastle, and Inter Milan rise up to fifth in the Serie A after their 5-2 win over Parma. Here's a look at both teams, how they're doing, and how they'll do in the future.

Manchester United

I've always said that Manchester United would be good this year, and I predicted that they'd win the title. Sir Alex Ferguson has an excellent mix of young and energetic players along with expert veterans to guide the team during tough times. And while some say that the team is missing a creative presence in the center of midfield, even if it's needed, Sir Alex Ferguson can splash some cash in the January transfer market to strengthen the team.

Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers (7-1) Premier League  27/11/2010 Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) is congratulated by Wayne Rooney Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via NewscomThe 7-1 victory over Blackburn was easy for Manchester United, with Berbatov being assisted by the Blackburn defence's incompetence. And while Berbatov scored five, some will notice that Wayne Rooney scored zero, but you have to put things into perspective with the England international. Rooney assisted two goals, was part of some excellent build-up play, and instead of taking a crack at goal many times, he decided to be selfless and pass the ball for teammates. Just like Berbatov scored five, if this match was replayed Rooney could've scored just as many.

So what's next for Manchester United? They'll be travelling to West Ham on Tuesday for the Carling Cup and Blackpool next week in the Premier League for a couple of "easy" games, and after that they'll host Arsenal at Old Trafford, and then travel to Stamford Bridge to play against Chelsea. They also have a midweek game with Valencia at home squashed in there, but as long as Ferguson's side manages not to lose, they'll qualify for the knockout rounds in first place. So can Manchester United win the Premier League this year? It's a big question which I think has the answer, yes, but share your thoughts below by commenting!

Inter Milan

Inter Milan have been recovering from a spell of poor form, and a 5-2 victory against Parma is probably the best way to announce that you're on the way up. Rafa Benitez has been heavily criticized in Italy because of his defensive style which scored few goals in the past, but this weekend everything seemed to click for the Spaniard.

Inter Milan's Thiago Motta (R) celebrates with his teammate Dejan Stankovic after scoring against Parma during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan November 28, 2010. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)While the 5-2 win is interesting in itself, the more interesting thing is that Inter Milan had to play without a proper striker, and while Goran Pandev could be a supporting forward, he's certainly not a target man like Diego Milito, or a striker like Samuel Eto'o. But this way of playing seemed to free up Sneijder, Stankovic, and Biabiany, and all three players were excellent in this match, especially Stankovic who scored a hat-trick.

But Parma were dangerous to Inter, and they went ahead first with the former Inter player Hernan Crespo scoring aganist his former side. Inter would then go on to score three goals to make it 3-1, and then have Crespo score again to make it 3-2 at halftime. But in the second half substitute Thiago Motta scored along with Stankovic who finished off his hat-trick to make the final score 5-2, and earn Rafa Benitez three important points.

Tottenham Hotspur v Inter Milan, Champions League Group A 2/11/2010 Inter Milan Manager /Head Coach, Rafael Benitez  Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
This win helps raise Inter up to 5th in the Serie A table, and they're seven points behind first placed AC Milan. But Inter have some tough matches coming up: next week they travel to face 2nd placed Lazio, and then they have a midweek Champions League match in Germany against Werder Bremen before they have to travel to Fiorentina next weekend. And if that wasn't hard enough, the week after they have to host 4th placed Napoli at the San Siro.

If Rafa Benitez can get his team to win all of these matches, he'll be a king, but if his team begins to crumble yet again, he could be facing unemployment soon. While I don't think he'll manage to win all of the matches, I think he'll be able to make it through this tough run with some positive results, and from there he'll be able to focus on regaining the top spot of the Serie A. What are your thoughts on how Inter will do? Share your comments below!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Matches to Watch This Weekend: El Clasico

Apr. 11, 2010 - 05748657 date 10 04 2010 Copyright imago BPI Gerard Pique of Barcelona Battles with Marcelo of Real Madrid PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN Football men ESP Primera Division Madrid Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd Football.
Pique and Marcelo fighting for the ball in last season's Clasico

What bigger match is there right now than El Clasico? While the Milan derby was interesting, El Clasico is where the best of the best face each other. While it's not technically "this weekend" (El Clasico is taking place on Monday this season), it's still going to be probably the biggest club match of this season. But it's not all about La Liga this weekend, there's a massive match in the English Premier League between the Champions League qualified Tottenham Hotspur, and a resurgent Liverpool. In Serie A, Ibrahimovic and his magic will strike fear into a Sampdoria team which relies on Giampaolo Pazzini to score goals. So here are three matches that I recommend you watch over the weekend!

Barcelona's Lionel Messi vies for the ball against Ceuta's Juan Antonio Zamora (L) during their King's Cup soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona November 10, 2010. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)
The unstoppable Lionel Messi
Barcelona - Real Madrid

Who isn't interested in seeing the two best footballers of our generation, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, go head to head, supported by their magnificently talented teammates? El Clasico is probably the biggest club match which will take place in a long time, and it looks like one of the most even match-ups too. With Jose Mourinho and his tricky ways on one side, and Josep Guardiola's beautiful football on the other, it's almost impossible to predict the result. Although it's not my prediction, the Spanish prime minister, Luis Rodriguez Zapatero predicts a 4-2 win for Barcelona. Make sure to tune in to this match on Monday!

Tottenham Hotspur - Liverpool

Tottenham Hotspur v Werder Bremen , Champions League Qualifting Gp A 24/11/2010  Luka Modric of Tottenham celebrates scoring the 2nd goal with Gareth Bale of Tottenham Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International 07783 913 777 Photo via NewscomTottenham have been playing wonderfully this season, and having just qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, the team will be looking to defeat Liverpool at home this weekend. Liverpool on the other hand have been blowing hot and cold, the team hasa played fantastically at home, but whenever they travel away, it's a different story. So at first it seems like a Tottenham win, but the team could be tired after having just played in the Champions League, and Roy Hodgson's well drilled Liverpool team will be able to take advantage of this. While I predict a tight 2-1 win for Tottenham, I think that Liverpool will cause problems for Spurs, but not enough to end their fantastic form which has been a constant this season.

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (top) celebrates after scoring against Fiorentina during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan November 20, 2010. REUTERS/Paolo Bona (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Sampdoria  - AC Milan

Sampdoria have been without their star forward Antonio Cassano for some time now, and it looks like the team is beginning to adjust. Last weekend it was Giampaolo Pazzini who took Cassano's place scoring a hat-trick to help his side defeat Lecce 3-2, away from home. But Sampdoria are still relatively shaky, and an in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic could tear their defence to shreds. AC Milan qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League in the midweek, and the week before they defeated Fiorentina, both games had fantastic goals by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The big Swede seems unstoppable right now, so I certainly expect AC Milan to score, we'll just have to see how many. I expect a 3-1 win for AC Milan, with Ibrahimovic and Ronaldinho sharing the goals.

I hope you've enjoyed this little weekend preview, and in case you don't know, Soccer Wrap Up now has a Youtube channel! The videos will mostly be about soccer cleats, whether it be looking at ones which I already have, or previewing cleats which are coming out in the future. Here's a video of ours below, previewing Adidas's 2011 cleats. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Eto'o goes Zidane on Chievo Player

From this weekend's action, there were many things to take in. While Tottenham's 3-2 comeback away against Arsenal was epic and surprising, what was even more surprising to me was Eto'o's Zidane-esque head-butt against Chievo defender Cesar.

What surprised me first is that Cesar is Slovenian, and what surprised me secondly was the fact that Eto'o lost his cool and decided to head-butt him. Eto'o's always been a fantastic player, while at Barcelona he was a little arrogant, I never thought that the Camerun had this side to him. And some will certainly point out that this headbutt is a metaphor for the tension and general unhappiness in the Inter team.

Why the unhappiness? Well, Inter lost the match 2-1 to Chievo, and this loss is just one from a bad streak which is endangering Benitez's job. It's Inter's second loss in a row, and out of a possible twelve points, the side has only taken two. The injury list is expansive: Diego Milito, Maicon, Samuel, Thiago Motta, Chivu, Julio Cesar, Mariga, and Coutinho. And all of them are key players, or players which would've been replacements for the key players.

So what do we have to learn from Eto'o's head-butt? That while the team is devastated by injuries, playing badly, and getting terrible results, losing your cool and head-butting an opponent will only make the situation worse. Mainly because after the FIGC reviews the incident, the forward will most likely receive at least a two game ban, hindering Benitez further.

So with the coach's job hanging by a thread, players either injured or losing their cool, what's the president, Massimo Moratti thinking? For sure Benitez will get until the midweek Champions League match against Twente, but what if the Spaniard were to lose again to the Dutch side? Share your comments regarding the situation below!

Here's the head-butt below:

That's something I'd expect someone like Gattuso, Joey Barton, or Ibrahimovic to do. And regarding Ibrahimovic, the big Swede scored a fantastic goal over the weekend. A ball crossed into the box, with his back to goal Zibra juggles, and then bicycle kicks it into the back of the net. His fantastic goal was the only one of AC Milan's 1-0 win over Fiorentina.

I've decided to post the goal below, mainly cause it's something that only Zibra could do:

Something else which caught my eye was Mallorca's 2-1 win away against Sevilla. For any side, travelling away to Sevilla is no easy task, and when Mallorca went a goal up, the travelling fans went wild. But it was not to be, and in the 88th minute, a wonderful ping-pong passing move was finished by Luis Fabiano, giving the home support an epic equalizer to relish. Rarely do you see such fantastic last-minute equalizers, and what's even more fantastic is when a team manages to score a last-minute winner. Mallorca did just that, with Webo nodding in a free kick, and earning his side three important points, away from home against Sevilla.

REFILE - CORRECTING TYPO IN FIRST NAME  Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his third goal from the penalty spot against Athletic Bilbao during their Spanish first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid November 20, 2010. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)
In La Liga we also saw Real Madrid spank Athletic Bilbao 5-1, with Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick. But what I find interesting from the match is that the man who scored Bilbao's goal was Fernando Llorente. And Llorente has been closely tracked by Mourinho and Real Madrid as a possible January transfer target. Maybe now after seeing the boy score against them, they'll decide to invest in him, and get rid of Benzema who isn't playing his best right now. We'll just have to wait and see in January.

Another hat-trick in La Liga was scored by Lionel Messi in Barcelona's 8-0 win over Almeria. Yes, you read that right, Barca won 8-0 away from home! But these matches are nothing compared to what's coming next weekend, El Clasico will take place in the Camp Nou. Sadly the match is taking place on a Monday, and I (like many others) most likely won't be able to see it.

I missed almost all the Premier League action, and I'm sorry for leaving it out this week. Next week I'll be sure to write a bit more about the state of English football right now. Please comment below regarding any of the weekend's action!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nike Bomba Finale Preview

As all the weekend action is taking place, I've ordered a pair of Nike Bomba Finale turf shoes, and I'll be reviewing them when they arrive. In case you're interested, I've ordered them from Kitbag, it's the first time I try them out, and so far they've been excellent!

While I've never had or used a pair of turf shoes, considering that my team will be practicing on turf for the rest of the season, and we often play on the artificial surface, I thought it would be a good idea to invest in some proper footwear!

I'm really looking forward to trying them on, mainly because of their really cool looking features, like the pass pad (inspired by the CTR 360 range), and the shot shield (inspired by the T90 range). The pass pad looks really cool with the hexagonal design which is supposed to allow for a better first touch, by dampening the impact of the ball. The shot shield on the other hand is supposed to help keep your shots low and hard, so that you don't blast the ball into the stands next time you're in front of the goalkeeper.

The upper's main material is the synthetic Kanga-Lite, which mimics Kangaroo leather's soft moulding capabilities while being lighter and waterproof. I'm expecting a great cleat from Nike, and I really can't wait for them to arrive.

If you have any experience with these cleats, or turf cleats, please share your thoughts by commenting below! And what do you think of the cleats? Do you think the pass-pad and the shot shield actually make a difference, or are they just gimmicks? I'll find out in the review which will be up sometime soon!

Here's a video of me unboxing them, they've just arrived, and I'll have the review up in a couple of weeks!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

FIFA Puskas Award 2010 Nominees

Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas, the inside-left of Real Madrid FC, December 1959. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The legendary Ferenc Puskas
FIFA recently announced the nominees for the FIFA Puskas award, which is basically the best goal of the year award. There are ten nominees, and all ten are fantastic goals! If you're interested in voting, FIFA's voting page is the place to go,

This is how FIFA decides the nomination and awarding process:

"The final list has been drawn up using the following criteria: aesthetics; the importance of the match; the absence of luck or an opposition mistake as a factor making the goal possible; fair play; and the date, with only goals scored between 1 January and 15 October 2010 counting.
You will find every conceivable type of goal in our top ten, from solo efforts and long-range strikes to audacious lobs, unstoppable volleys and gravity-defying scissor-kicks."

The scorers of the goals in competition for the award are Hamit Altintop, Arjen Robben, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Kumi Yokoyama, Linus Hallenius, Samir Nasri, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Matthew Burrows. I've found all of the goals on Youtube, and you can watch them below.

My favorite is Linus Hallenius's goal, it has technique, grace, and power. Which one do you think is the best? Comment your favorite below! 

Samir Nasri - Arsenal vs. Porto

Lionel Messi - Barcelona vs. Valencia

Linus Hallenius - Syrianska FC vs. Hammarby

Matthew Burrows - Glentoran vs. Portadown

Hamit Altintop - Kazakhstan vs. Turkey

Neymar - Santo Andre vs. Santos

Arjen Robben - Schalke 04 vs. Bayern Munich

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst - Netherlands vs. Uruguay

Siphiwe Tshabalala - South Africa vs. Mexico

Kumi Yokoyama - Korea DPR vs. Japan (womens)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Portugal Crush Spain 4-0 in Friendly

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) fights for the ball with Spain's Sergio Ramos during their international friendly soccer match at Luz stadium in Lisbon November 17, 2010. REUTERS/Hugo Correia (PORTUGAL - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)Incredible. I was left speechless by some of the international friendly results which I saw today, and probably the one which will get the most attention is Portugal's 4-0 victory over the newly-crowned World Champions, Spain. A true demolition job by Portugal which made fools of Spain. Spain suffered the quick counter-attacks of the Portuguese, and they only created one notable chance with a header by David Silva, which the Manchester City winger flashed wide. A total shock to me, I thought that Spain weren't going to have much trouble against Portugal, but I admit, I was very wrong, but who guessed this result?

There was also France which defeated England 2-1 at Wembley, with Karim Benzema playing well, and scoring for them. England played poorly for the first half, letting France score with Benzema and then Valbuena, both who played very well. But Capello's side picked it up a little, and they scored a late consolation goal marked by Peter Crouch. A bad result for England, but a very good result for France.

Argentina's Lionel Messi (L) scores against Brazil during their international friendly soccer match at Khalifa stadium in Doha November 17, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad (QATAR - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
And finally, there was Argentina which defeated Brazil 1-0 , and who could score the goal other than Lionel Messi? It was a late goal in injury time by the Barcelona forward, and Mano Menezes will be seriously evaluated by the Brazilian press as the Copa America soon approaches for them. It was a brilliant goal by Messi, who weaved his way all the way to the top of Brazil's box, to then coolly finish into the bottom corner. Both sides created chances, but in the end, Argentina scored the goal to win the match.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Matches To Watch This International Break

Being lazy and full of things to do, I wasn't able to post about this weekend's action. So many things happened at once, Ray Wilkins being forced out of Chelsea, Chelsea losing to Sunderland 3-0, Manchester United scoring two late goals to equalize against Aston Villa, Real Madrid grinding out a 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon, Barcelona and Villarreal both playing a fantastic game of football, and of course, the Milan derby. There were so many things to write about, I ended up writing about nothing. But I'll try and redeem myself with this flurry of international matches being played, so I've decided to compile some "Matches to Watch" during this international break.

04293813 date 10 02 2009 Copyright imago Ulmer Lingria Ronaldinho Brazil PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxITA Vdig horizontal Close premiumd Highlight Friendly match 2009 try out trial National team National jersey London Football international match men Team Single pessimistic Action shot Highlight Human Beings Photo via Newscom
A return for Ronaldinho against Argentina
Argentina - Brazil

Is there a bigger rivalry in international football than Argentina/Brazil? Right now, I can't think of any, so that's a reason to keep your eye on the scoreline of this match being played at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. With Diego Maradona out, and Sergio Batista in, this Argentina team will be much more balanced than the wild and attacking side which El Diego tried to utilize. Meanwhile Mano Menezez's Brazil side is a much more creative and attacking side than Dunga's was at the 2010 World Cup. With Ronaldinho getting a call-up, Pato won't be playing because of a thigh problem, but Brazil still has Neymar and Robinho up front. This looks like it's going to be a very exciting match, full of attacking football, along with the usual fight which comes with the fierce rivalry between these two nations, my prediction is a 2-2 draw.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo heads the ball during a training session at the Luz stadium in Lisbon November 16, 2010. Portugal will play a friendly soccer match against Spain at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on Wednesday. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante (PORTUGAL - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
We'll see what Ronaldo can do against Spain
Portugal - Spain

Spain are at the top of the world right now, having played beautiful football to win the 2008 European Championships, and the 2010 World Cup, it'll be interesting for how long they continue to dominate international football. While the chances are slim that Portugal manages to upset the current world champions, I still think that it'll be an entertaining match. Hopefully Portugal will manage to play as a team, not just through Cristiano Ronaldo, and hopefully Spain continue their brand of attacking football. A game which in my opinion will end with a high scoreline, I'm predicting a 4-1 victory for Spain.

England - France

Arsenal v Newcastle United (0-1) Premier League 7/11/2010 Andy Carroll (Newcastle United) rises above Fabianski to score winner Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Andy Carroll scoring against Arsenal
There's been a lot of media attention in England regarding Fabio Capello's side which will face France at Wembley Stadium. The Italian coach picked Newcastle striker, Andy Carroll, along with Championship player Jay Bothroyd, and some youngsters like Sunderland's Henderson, and Arsenal's Gibbs. Can Capello's relatively young side manage to do something against Laurent Blanc's France team which is rebuilding its reputation after a disastrous World Cup? Two teams which haven't been going through the best of times are going to battle it out, and in my opinion it'll be a really tight match. England's defence is a little sketchy with no John Terry, and maybe no Jagielka either, but if England manage to provide Carroll with good support, they'll certainly score goals. My prediction for the match is a 2-1 win for England, with Carroll the goalscoring hero.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Matches To Watch This Weekend: Barcelona - Villarreal

Not sure what matches to watch this weekend? Well, I've decided that before every weekend I'll be writing a little preview post entitled, "Matches To Watch This Weekend" where I try and find enticing fixtures for you to watch. I hope you enjoy it.

May 02, 2010 - Villarreal, Spain - VILLARREAL (SPAIN) 01/05/2010.- FC Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic (L) fights for the ball with defender Joan Capdevila (R) of Villarreal CF during their First Division soccer League match played at Madrigal stadium in Villarreal, Spain on 01 May 201.
Barcelona - Villarreal

With two weeks before Barcelona and Real Madrid clash in "El Clasico", Guardiola's team will have to face Villarreal. Villarreal, the team with the nickname "The Yellow Submarine", has done a fairly good job of keeping up with Barcelona and Real Madrid this season, and they surely intend on continuing their good form. Right now the top of the La Liga table looks something like this:

Real Madrid     26
Barcelona        25
Villarreal          23
Espanyol         18
Valencia          17

And while last season Barca and Real were in a league of their own, they're being followed by Juan Carlos Garrido's Villarreal side. So the question is, can Villarreal manage to slow down Barcelona this weekend? Probably not, although the newly-promoted side Hercules managed an epic 2-0 win against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, I don't think that the Catalans will let something like that happen again.

But, no matter how improbable it is that Villarreal manage to get a positive result from this match, it's still one you should watch. The main reason is that watching Barcelona weave their beautiful football, while Villarreal try to squeeze a result with their formidable attacking duo of Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar, will be exciting without a doubt.

Jan. 24, 2010 - Milan, Italy - epa02004014 Inter Milan's Javier Zanetti (L) struggles for the ball with AC Milan's Ronaldinho (R) during their Italian Serie A soccer match at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 24 January 2010.
Inter Milan - AC Milan

This match has to be included, it's my favorite derby of the world, mainly because it always has meaning, and there's always a fierce rivalry between the two sides. Right now AC Milan are top of the table in the Serie A, while Inter Milan is in fourth place, but if the nerazzurri manage to win this match, they'll draw level on points with their rossoneri cousins. That also means that this match is the perfect chance for AC Milan to increase their lead on last year's champions to six points, so it's without a doubt, an extremely important fixture for both sides.

If you're interested in a bigger and better preview, with info on which players will manage to play,  make sure to check out my preview here.

Juventus - Roma 

Another big Serie A game, and this is probably the most unpredictable match which is taking place this weekend. Both sides have been doing very well recently, and this clash will probably determine who can go on to challenge for the Serie A title. This match features plenty of tension and rivalry with Ranieri coming back to his old club's stadium with his new and energetic Roma side.

I'll certainly be watching this match because I think that this match will have goals in it, but for which team the goals are, I don't really know. And if you're interested in a more in-depth preview of this match, you can click here.

Jan 09, 2010 - London, England, UK - Premier League: Arsenal 2 v 2 Everton.Arsenal's TOMAS ROSICKY and TIM HOWARD of Everton.
One of the most epic images I've seen in a long time...
Everton - Arsenal

Arsenal have a tough match to play at Goodison Park, and next week they'll be hosting their long-time rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium. If Arsene Wenger can manage to get his side to churn out a good result this weekend away from home, they'll be able to carry the good form into next week's crucial derby.

But this match is probably more important for Everton, mainly because they haven't been doing too well this season, and defeating the Gunners could be the perfect springboard to get back on track this season. I'll certainly be watching to see how Arsenal play, whether they go for defensive possession, or if they go out there to win the match. Meanwhile I think that Everton will have to play to win, because another loss could seriously impact the club's morale.

I hope you liked this little preview, make sure to share any thoughts by commenting below!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adidas F50 Adizero Review Coming Soon!

Leather Adidas F50 Adizero, Black/Sun colorway
Instead of writing about all the midweek action which took place today, I've decided to write about my next Product Review! I have managed to get my hands on a pair of "gently-used" leather Adidas F50 Adizero, yet I could only find them in a US size 12 (I'm a US size 10), but I went for them anyways.

I played around with them a little at the end of practice, and so far the results are wonderful! Although they're a little big, the feeling of lightness is astounding. But I'll tell you more in the review which will be posted sometime next week.

And while you're waiting for the review to be posted, be sure to visit the Product Reviews page, and read up on other awesome products I've already reviewed! Alternatively, if you're interested in soccer cleats, especially lightweight soccer cleats, I suggest you go over to read my review comparing lightweight soccer cleats, and how they compare in weight, price, and quality.
There will be better pictures (with better lighting) in the review!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Messi To Win Ballon d'Or?

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates his second goal against Zaragoza during their Spanish first division soccer match at La Romareda stadium in Zaragoza, October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Will the Argentine be celebrating his second Ballon d'Or?
Having put up a poll some time ago regarding who will win the Ballon d'Or, I've decided to do a little update on what the results are so far. If you haven't voted yet, don't worry! The poll will be up until December 6th, when FIFA announce the winner of the award, so make sure to vote on the right sidebar for who you think will win the Ballon d'Or.

Right now Lionel Messi is sweeping up the competition in our poll, with almost about 27% of the votes going his way! In the first couple of days, there were many votes for Cristiano Ronaldo, but now the tide has slowly evened out to Messi.

Behind Messi is Cristiano Ronaldo with about 20% of the votes. I don't think he's going to win it this year, especially because of his mediocre performance in the World Cup.

And following the two wingers we have Wesley Sneijder, with about 15% of the votes. I think that the Dutch midfielder is the worthy winner for this year's award, having guided Inter to the treble, and then he helped the Netherlands all the way to the World Cup final! In my opinion Sneijder deserves the award.

Bayern Munich's injured Arjen Robben sits on the bench during a friendly soccer match against a selection of winter Olympic sport stars in the Allianz Arena in Munich August 8, 2010. Robben was selected as Germany's best soccer player of the last soccer season. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER HEADSHOT)
Arjen isn't happy...
But what has surprised me the most about this poll is the fact that David Villa is last! The Spanish striker who was the key goalscorer for Spain in their World Cup is last in the poll! I truly can't believe it, I expected many more votes for him. And another underachieving player in the poll is Arjen Robben. This Dutch player helped Bayern win the domestic league and cup, and then he took them to the Champions League final where he lost to Wesley Sneijder's team, Inter Milan. Robben also had a fantastic World Cup, scoring plenty of important goals to help take the Netherlands to the final where they lost to Spain.

So I hope you vote in the poll if you haven't already, and here's a funny little blog that I'm running as a little project, it's Poetry about soccer. It's titled Poetry Wrap Up because I couldn't think of a better name, and so far I've done a little haiku about soccer, along with two poems about Barcelona and Real Madrid. So if you're an artistically inclined fan of the beautiful game, or you've got some time to burn, check out Poetry Wrap Up for soccer poems.

And a last random link/video for you to check out! Watch this video below showing the latest Brazilian samba move called, "The Broken Step". It's half elastico, half chop, but to understand it you should see it yourself.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Liverpool Defeat Chelsea with Torres Brace

A week literally full of action! Two fantastic derbies in the Serie A and La Liga, and then a wonderful match between Liverpool and Chelsea. Funnily enough, all three of the matches ended 2-0, and all three of them were entertaining.

Liverpool - Chelsea

Liverpool's Fernando Torres (C) celebrates after scoring his second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)While some people think that Chelsea will just run away with the title (I think that it'll be Manchester United who wins it this year), the blues have been halted, by Liverpool! Carlo Ancelotti's team travelled to Anfield to face Roy Hodgson's side which had just defeated Napoli 3-1 in the Europa League in the midweek.

The first half wasn't dominated by any of the two sides, it was more just Chelsea being surprised by Liverpool's intensity and work-rate. These two factors, along with the home crowd spurred the reds to score within the first eleven minutes. Kuyt lifting a good ball for Fernando Torres who controls, stays standing with Cole and Ivanovic on his back, and promptly does the business in front of Cech, giving Liverpool the lead.

There were a couple of okay chances for both sides, but nothing notable as Liverpool played with heart, spirit, and intensity not letting Chelsea get into their stride. And when Fernando Torres scored for a second time for Liverpool, right before halftime, Anfield exploded with joy. The Spaniard received the ball out on the left wing, he cuts in, and then curls a delightful shot onto the far post, unsavable for Cech.

But the second half had Chelsea display more conviction, and Liverpool suffer from the Blues's constant attacks. Reina was forced to make a great save from Zhirkov's close range shot towards the near post, and then Reina pulled off a mind-blowing parry against Malouda who thought he'd tapped in a goal from about a yard from the goal-line.

Liverpool's Fernando Torres celebrates with Raul Meireles (R) after scoring his second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)
But Cech had to make a couple of great saves as well, he had to stop Dirk Kuyt's close range volley from a corner by spreading his legs to inhumane lengths. Yet Chelsea continued to push, forcing Liverpool on the back foot, and the reds had some luck when Anelka's low rocket bounced under Reina's body and onto the bottom of the crossbar and back into play. Liverpool finished the match with a counter-attack which ended with Maxi Rodriguez one on one with Cech, but the Argentine gets the ball flicked away from him by Cech's fingers as he tries to earn a penalty with a desperate dive.

And so Liverpool pull off a fantastic result with the team playing with an intensity unseen before this season. Torres is a player reborn as well, a fantastic performance by him is what truly helped Liverpool gather these three important points which raise them up to 9th in the table. Is this the rebirth of Liverpool? And where will Chelsea go from here? The Blues are still top of the table, but Manchester United are just two points away from them. Comment your thoughts regarding this game below!

Atletico Madrid's players jump after Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo takes a fault during their first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabue stadium in Madrid November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Felix Ordonez (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Real Madrid - Atletico Madrid

And now onto a derby, the Madrid derby! First of all, a quick link to my good friends over at Madrid Atleticos, my favorite Atletico Madrid blog, and certainly one of the best La Liga blogs there is. So if you're looking for an Atleti point of view, go visit them there.

But now onto the game which ended 2-0 for Jose Mourinho's team. They started with a goal in the 13th minute, with Ricardo Carvalho played through into the box and the center-back finishing like a veteran striker past David De Gea. The second goal arrived about six minutes later with Mesut Ozil drilling in a puzzling free kick from the right of the penalty area.

But Aletico Madrid created opportunities as well, first Forlan sent an tap-in wide, and then Casillas had to produce a fantastic save from a corner. After that the Real goalkeeper had to save a curling shot from Reyes which seemed destined for the back of the net.

In the second half Higuain hit the post with a rocket volley, and the Atletico goalkeeper David De Gea was rooted to the spot, only able to watch the ball smash his far post. But minutes later Forlan hit the post as well with a volley from the top of the box, and although Casillas dove to save it, he was about half a meter from the ball when it hit the post.

While there were more opportunities for both sides, in the end Real Madrid created many more dangerous moments for the Atelti faithful. A fantastic win for Jose Mourinho's side, and with El Clasico against Barcelona coming up in a couple of weeks, Real Madrid are looking very powerful at the top of the La Liga table.

AS Roma's coaco Claudio Ranieri gestures before their Italian Serie A soccer match against Lazio at the Olympic stadium in Rome November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Max Rossi (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)Lazio - Roma

There was another derby this weekend, the very exciting Rome derby! And it was all the more exciting with Lazio top of the table, and Roma being on a winning streak. But the match was slightly disappointing, while there were plenty of chances created by both sides, the 2-0 scoreline was marked by two penalties for the giallorossi.

The first was at the beginning of the second half, and Marco Borriello stepped up to take it. Lazio's goalkeeper guessed the direction, and even got to the ball, but unluckily for him, it slipped underneath his body and trickled over the goal-line. The second penalty was awarded in the 87th minute, and this time Mirko Vucinic took it. Muslera didn't get it right this time, and Vucinic scored the penalty easily sending the young Uruguayan keeper the wrong way.

But Lazio fans will be severely disappointed, they had a chance where a player was blatantly brought down in front of goal, but no penalty was awarded. If the two penalties for Roma were penalties, then this chance for Lazio should've been awarded with a penalty.

What are your thoughts regarding all these derbies? Did you expect Liverpool to beat Chelsea? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Soccer Wrap Up 8th in Wikio Rankings for November!

I recently received some good news from the people at Wikio, they emailed me to inform me that Soccer Wrap Up has risen in their rankings dramatically, again. While a while ago I posted about SWU reaching 11th in Wikio's Soccer Blog rankings, the good news doesn't stop there. Soccer Wrap Up has risen to 8th place for the month of November!

Each month Wikio (a blogging search engine) releases the top 20 blogs (regarding football/soccer). Wikio will be releasing this November list on their site sometime this week, but they contacted to let me know that I can exclusively release a little early it for you readers to look at.

Soccer Wrap Up is 8th in their November rankings, and I can only thank the you, the readers for this rise. Thank you for following the blog, reading, commenting, and I hope you continue.

Here's the top 20 Soccer/Football blogs for November ranked by Wikio:

1EPL Talk
3The Offside Rules
4Serie A Talk
5The Soccer Daily
6Free Soccer Highlights
7kenn.com blog
8Soccer Wrap Up - The Latest Soccer News
9Down the Byline
10WVHooligan - Soccer Blog
11Soccer By Ives
13Champions League Tickets
14inside World Soccer
15The 90th Minute Soccer Blog
16du Nord
17Premiership Talk
18Oh, You Beauty...
19The Global Game
20Soccer Insider
Ranking made by Wikio


Related Posts with Thumbnails