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20 October 2012 – Tottenham vs Chelsea

Tottenham-2/4-Chelsea @ White Hart Lane

47′-Gallas, 54′-Defoe//17′-Cahill, 66′- Mata, 69′- Mata, 91′ Sturridge

Chelsea used to absolutely dominate Tottenham back in the day, with something along the lines of 30+ games in succession going from Chelsea. However ever since 2005 Chelsea has had a hard time at White Hart Lane, as the Spurs have not loss to the Blues in the last 6 games there. This game is a little different, however, since Tottenham have looked strong with their new addition to their team and Chelsea are still unbeaten in the EPL before the game. So which one of the two trends would give way?

Game of the Week. EASY. A strong showing from both teams lately made this game an interesting one. However, one thing to note is that Gareth Bale was not in the starting line as reports say that his wife went into labor roughly an hour before the start of the game. Start of with some great play from Chelsea. Torres seemed to be working his magic up front as the three behind him (Mata, Oscar, Hazard) worked well to support. Obi Mikel controlled the game well and worked the team up at a good pace. 17′ minutes in Chelsea’s corner gets deflected out to Gary Cahill, who volleys a smasher right through Friedel. Not much else to report of the half other than a couple opportunities from Chelsea and something or two out of Tottenham. Mainly, Chelsea maintained control of the half and did not let the home team gain any momentum whatsoever. Going to the second half, a early set piece from Tottenham took a confused Chelsea to the tie. However, it didn’t end there as a pressing home team took the momentum of the goal to work a second one from Defoe, who was assisted by Aaron Lennon. A rapid succession of goals plus the home field advantage game Tottenham a commanding lead in the momentum, as Chelsea couldn’t come out of the back in an orderly fashion. After a long spell of pressure from Spurs was ended by a chance from Chelsea, followed by a goal from Juan Mata off a mistake from Gallas. It did not end there as absolutely amazing movement from Juan Mata tied to an amazing pass from Eden Hazard connected for the third goal for Chelsea. After that, the game seemed to go all in Chelsea’s favor as the spell of Tottenham’s momentum came to a screeching halt. More pressure from Chelsea ended up with an extra goal from the substitute Daniel Sturridge, courtesy of the trip from  Kyle Walker near the 18 yard box and an assist from Juan Mata. That would basically conclude the match, as the White Hart Lane would suffer its first Blues lose since 2005.
Man of the Match- Obviously Juan Mata. Admittedly a quiet man in the first half, but came to life after the Tottenham momentum surge in the first 20 minutes of the second half. After which Juan Mata dictated the pace of the whole game and scored a double of his own, raising his streak to six goals in five games. Second goal, however, blew my mind, as the vision of Juan Mata to make that run so much earlier than it was seen by defenders is truly the reason why he is one of the best in the EPL at the moment. This man is having no thoughts about a sophomore slump.

 

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Euro 2012 – Poland vs Russia

As I said before, I am writing this late as I had things to do this morning. But I just got to half-time and its time for my tips for these teams.

Russia- Although Russia has a great attack and Dzagoev might end up being the Euro’s top goal scorer, but Arshavin needs to step up as an attacker if they are going to go past the Round of 8. Russia’s defense is shaky as in terms of skill but solid in terms of discipline. This trait has saved the Russians more than once already, including that awkward save by their keeper. Yuri Zhirkov is playing okay, and maybe it is because he used to play for Chelsea but I expect more from him. Mainly, Russia needs another goal more than better defense to hold them up.

Poland- I am semi-surprised at the strength of the Polish attack, even though they do possess the Dortmund Polish Three (as I call ’em). Lewandowski is such an phenom of a striker and Poland needs to find a way to get him even more looks at the net. I don’t want to leave the host side’s fate in one guy’s hands but he is truly a man of power. Hopefully Poland uses their creative side to move ahead, as I would like them too. Other than that, I think that their defense will be their downfall, as the discipline that Russia has isn’t there.

First place in Group A is by far the most important place to achieve in the group stages because no one wants to face the winner of Group B. It might be the deciding factor for the Group A winner to make the semi-finals.

Final Score- Poland:1/Russia:1

Dzagoev-37′, Blaszczykowski-57′

The tie in this match has made Group A a do or die. All four teams have the ability to move on, and everyone but Greece will move on with a win. Greece will need a win and a better goal differential, which is possible but tougher. As of now though, I will talk about this game.

Poland and Russia really duked it out today and the game was a really fun game to watch. I enjoy ties in group stages because it makes the whole group more interesting. The game was well paced and back and forth. Poland came out stronger in the second half with a beautiful build up and goal from the Polish side in the 57′ minute. Russia still looked dangerous, but arguebly not as dangerous as the first half or even the Czech Rep. game. The Polish defense was stronger in this half as they needed to be, and the strength of Poland’s offense came through. I will talk about why this was a tie, and what these teams need to get out of this group stage.

Russia- Lost the lead on a well executed counter attack, and, let’s face it, a unstoppable shot. But this is the least of their worries as the strength of Russia is not doing was Russia has the most of, which is strong attackers. I believe that Russia needs to go all offensive against the Greeks. Czech do not really have a strong attack or defense, but I would be worried about counter attacks. I also think having an Arshavin-Pavlyuchenko-Dzagoev line up top will do wonders for them, but I have a soft spot for Roman since 2008. Playing a 4-3-3 against Greece will work if you force them to attack in small numbers and make sure you have the ball +60% of the time. If and only if. Another thing to take note is that Russia will move on with another tie, and are also in the best spot for winning the group, both can be used to their advantage. Although I believe the Polish are the strongest side in this Group, with the addition of home field, Russia seems like they will take group A.

Poland- Who I believe was the stronger side, Poland looks like they have all the ideals of a good team without the execution 100% of the time. That counter attack that gave them the equalizer in the 57’th was spot on and flawless, and if they can find a way to replicate this on a more consistent level, then this team will be much more deadly. Defense is still okay, sadly I think it will be their downfall in this tournament. I do believe that I will see them on the opposite side of the group stages, but it will be something special to go any further. Poland will need to play a strong attacking  formation against the Czech, and making sure that the Czech do not get far into their half will make for a sure win.

 

I’m sorry for the late write-up, I had a couple things to do. But I will try to do a pre-game analysis before Group B’s games as I know these teams very well.

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Euro 2012-Portugal vs Germany

It’s half time in the Portugal vs Germany game. Just a few points

Portugal- Needs to switch to a 4-2-3-1. They have a strong defense. Fabio Coentrao is playing better than he does for Real Madrid and they should take advantage of this. Sub out Postiga for Hugo Almeida and throw him up top. Other than that, a tie against the favorites is not a bad turn out.

Germany- Do not look convincing on either side of the pitch. Neither their offense or defense is doing what they need to do, and it’ll take one chance for Ronaldo to break that line. Line up is fine, but they need to start thinking of solutions for other strong defensive teams like Denmark.

End Game -Portugal:0/Germany:1
Mario Gomez -72′

Germany- In my opinion, still unconvincing and this kind of play will not work against teams with midfields(see below). The midfield for Germany and their forwards need that connection that makes champions, which will lie in the crafting hands of Bastian and Khedira. Not to let the strikers off the hook, Muller has a poor show and Gomez, although making the goal, missed many opportunities that would of made the win more convincing. The good news is that the 3 points are theirs and will make their next games a tad less stressful.

Portugal – Who I thought was the better show of the match, Portugal sadly failed to find the net, despite a convincing second half and multiple healthy looks on the frame. The two play makers, Ronaldo and Nani, were on opposite sides of the pitch, and being the only two players who showed any life from the Portuguese side, its hard to create anything separately. If Portugal would like to see themselves out of this group, the midfield needs to make a stand. Sadly, the midfield of the Portuguese is not filled with the likes of the old genius Deco, but that is no excuse for that poor show. Defense and offense was disconnected by a shabby midfield, and even If they don’t have too many big names there, the pace needs to be fixed. It’ll be surprising to see this side come out of the group stages without support for the stars of this team.

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