Tag Archives: Gerrard

2 September 2012 – Liverpool vs Arsenal

Final Score – Liverpool:0/Arsenal:2

31′- Podolski, 68′-Cazorla

 

This was definitely the match of the week as the Reds hosted the scoreless Gunners at Anfield. However, both teams were without a win and both eager to take one from the other. Brendan Rodgers obviously really wants this win to show the fans that his place on the fabled side was not a fluke. However, the experienced Arsene Wenger shows that, regardless of losing a top striker once again, will always look for the win and attempt to score. The signings for the Gunners rarely showed any life in the earlier games, while the signings for Liverpool looked to be of better prospect. With both teams desperately needing a win and both looking incomplete after the transfer window, the teams look to see if they can start the marathon regardless of the head start from teams like Swansea and West Brom.

For a general summary, I think that Liverpool should feel undeserving of the loss. With about more than two-thirds of the game played as good or better than Arsenal, the Reds will need to wonder about what to do. Without consistent scoring, its hard to see Liverpool ever seeing the top four again. Yes, some can argue that the winter transfer window will make the second half of the season much better, but needing to hold out for fifteen more games is a hassle. Arsenal, however, decided to finally find the back of the net, as counter attacks were finished off by the two new recruits of Wenger’s, Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski. Liverpool failed to do the same, although had opportunities to do so. Luiz Suarez found himself in front of the goal multiple times without prevail, while Borini looked as if he didn’t know how to make a correct decision. Regardless, Liverpool found themselves playing some great football for most of the game, including the first 25 minutes of the game. Sadly, the momentum was killed by a pair of mistakes from Steven Gerrard, who had an uncharacteristically bad game. However, the defense was not sound enough on counter attacks to carry the weight of not scoring, as both goals came of a mistake from the attacking third. While every mistake didn’t result in a counter, the “mistake” part was a key word. Rarely did the attacks for Liverpool result into a shot, and if they did, they were usually off-target. The defense did well for the most part, as well as coming out of the back line. New signing Joe Allen continued his work of spectacular passing for Liverpool but without an answer from the forwards. Arsenal, however, would constantly find themselves in their defending third. However, Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker did a good enough job of keeping the line strong, as they were called on more than once to create a strong tackle. However, Arsenal scored with the few chances they had, opening their early league drought and keeping a clean sheet simultaneously. Some other notes for the teams

Liverpool- It seems like Steven Gerrard is having a tough time settling to new manager Brendan Rodgers’ set up. I would prefer him to sit out a game or two to recollect his head as they are in desperate need of his expertise. Sterling needs to be kept as a strength. The kid works hard and is always a threat to the goal, and well-deserving of his starting role. I do believe that Rodgers is going to through a bout of bad luck. Against Manchester City, the defense was under-par, while the opposite in this match. Of course, having both is the key to a great team but Rodgers needs to find a way to facilitate both. I know he can’t decide when his strikers have bad days, but knowing that attacking options are limited, regardless of two great goals against the reigning champs, I feel like a more defensive approach should be used for the next couple games. The game will rise out of the back, as the combonation of Joe Allen and aware Stevie will prove to be a strong tool for Borini and Suarez. The 4-3-3 is a strong attacking formation, but switching to a more option based formation may be ideal. Other than that, Nuri Sahin looks like he will be of use when he gets match ready, and Reina needs to look stronger. I know he is a hero of Liverpool’s, but after giving up two easy goals, I would suggest giving young ones a try again.

Arsenal- For some reason I do not remember Diaby ever being this powerful. His midfield presence was felt on a constant basis, as his quick decision making and speed gave trouble to the defensing Reds. More of Diaby like this and Arsenal can see top four finish, despite my predictions. Both center defenders did their job well enough, and the first goal for Lukas and Santi should only mean more from them later. Oliver Giroud had a tough game today, but looked deadly at some parts of his attack. The strength of the Arsenal attack was something of a sight, as the absence of Robin van Persie almost seemed as if it didn’t matter today, regardless of Santi Cazorla’s goal being of some keeper mistake. Santi, in general, was strong and commanding in the midfield. He always found space and constantly gained much ground per attack. Jenkinson, subbing for the injured Sagna, looks like he is still working on his bearing, but some strength was shown in parts of the match. Overall, the Arsenal side was never too commanding of the game, but did score when they needed to. To some, that is all that matters. But this is a short-term solution to the non-scoring issue, as stronger teams will not allow easy counter attacks like Liverpool did. Arsene may need to be a bit more clever in order to topple the stronger teams.

Overall, great match to watch. I am excited to see how Liverpool evolve and whether the Gunners will continue to score. Regardless of the negative things I have said about the team, the strength can take points away from all who aren’t wary.

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Euro 2012 – England vs Italy

What started as a crazy first ten minutes resulted as a game of strength on strength. Italy, obviousy playing just a bit better than England. There isn’t much to say but I’ll bring up some halftime notes!

England-I think their main problem on the right side is James Milner. He slows down the game considerably and messes up in crucial times. I say throw Theo in there and let him do his magic. Other than that, Welbeck hasn’t seen much of the ball, so I say throw in Andy Carroll and get some width into the team. Other than that, I do not see anything other than the solid defense and strong will of John Terry saving there butt once again.

Italy- Other than the lack of finishing quality, I say don’t change anything and make sure that you get more opportunities to have more shots on goal.

Final Score – England:0/Italy:0(win by PK’s)

Although I can’t say that the extra time was surprising, the game was definitely an exciting match. Italy played very well and tested England’s defense for a solid 120 minutes without prevail. That’s not to say that England was parking the bus, as they had a decent amount of attacks but nothing as dangerous as the attempt early in the match that Buffon magically stopped. For most of the game, Italy attacked with pace and strength, showing anyone who said they didn’t deserve to be there a thing or two (I’m on that boat). No game should end by penalties, and I hate to see like England leave because of my ties to the Barclay’s Premier League but the game must be decided. Some notes for the teams, even a little for England and Roy.

Italy- After this game, Italy has shown is offensive teeth, as England was forced to play defense for most of the time. The attacking power of Balotelli and Cassano was definitely felt hard by England, as the support threat of Pirlo was always lurking. Buffon was top notch as always, showing a bit of youth and expertise at the same time. The one worry I have is Italy’s ability to score, which has not been prevalent this tournament. If they want to beat Germany, scoring is gonna have to be something the get down over the break. Other than that, making sure that Schweinsteiger doesn’t create and Mario Gomez doesn’t get free looks on the net are on top priority goals. Also, playing with the same style and pace as they did today will score them a goal on the weaker defense of Germany.

England- Defense was solid enough to hold a Italian onslaught but the offense was terribly poor even with the Rooney addition. Andy Carroll showed more life and worth than Rooney and Welbeck, and that is a major worry for them. Rooney did not have a good tournament show, almost comparable to Robin van Persie. Two players who both had amazing seasons in the Barclay’s to show up and not do anything for their countries. Maybe not having Lampard was a bigger issue than thought, but the bottom line is that Roy needs to think of something for the offense if he is still here by 2014.

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Euro 2012- England vs Ukraine

Final Score- England:1/Ukraine:0

48′-Rooney

The co-hosts take their exit in an exciting fashion as they give the supposed favorites a run for their money. On the other side of the of the headline, Wayne Rooney makes his entrance and leaves his mark as his goal was the deciding factor in the match. Ukraine beating down on England in the first half with strong shots and quick ball movement were surprised not to have one end up in the back of the net, partly the fault of Joe Hart. He was not the only player of note in the white shirts as Steven Gerrard played unbelievably well. He was the heart of the attack today, on top of his pinpoint accuracy.  Although John Terry had a great game today, including causing the miscall from the 5th referee on Devic’s attempt on goal, but more on that later. Regardless, it was an exciting match and I felt like Ukraine deserves more than to be sent out this early. Of course, winning is just as important as playing well, and with the array of opportunities that the Ukrainians acquired it is hard to sympathize too much with the home team. Great game to watch and a great conclusion to the group stages.

In the 62′ minute, Devic from Ukraine made a break in the box and hit it over Joe Hart towards the box, just to be cleared by John Terry at the last second. Replays show that the ball was, in fact, in the goal and Ukraine deserved the goal. In the moments before this play, however, a clear offsides on the Ukraine team was not called and therefore allowed the continuation of the play up until the controversial call. Up until now, the refereeing has been remarkable, omitting the first game, of course. But this call was missed by the 5th referee, a solution that UEFA came up with in order to make a secondary solution to miscalled goals in crucial times. This officially negates this idea and brings back the idea of goal line technology, which Micheal Platini has been actively avoiding. On that note, I’ll make a different write-up about the pros and cons of goal line technology, as well as my personal thoughts on it.

Also, I will do a pre-quarterfinals write-up tomorrow on what to expect in the coming games.

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Euro 2012 – England vs Sweden

HALF TIME! Time for some notes. To be honest there isn’t going to be much said.

England- Great goal from the Liverpool pair. I couldn’t have saw that coming even if I was on the pitch. Regardless, the goal has put them in a favorable spot to win the crucial three points to level themselves with France. Scott Parker needs to keep shooting from far and that Liverpool connection needs to happen more often. On the defensive end, the Ibrahimovic situation needs to be sorted out because if he is shrugging off defenders, he will surely break someone in the wrong area for England. Keeping the defense solid and making sure that Parker and Gerrard have their looks, along with a little something  from the young guns like Welbeck and Young will surely secure the win.

Sweden- Surprisingly playing better defense then they usually do, Sweden needs to take advantage of this and push at the beginning of the half. Ibrahimovic is still the key to the Swedish offense, and it seems like every touch he has on the ball is dangerous. He is playing too far back in order to create for his team as well as attack with numbers. Finding a way to let him push out even further will be key to tying or winning this game for the yellow shirts. Only one goal down, they are definitely not out of it yet.

Final Score- England:3/Sweden:2

23′-Carroll, 49′-G.Johnson(OG), 59′-Mellberg, 64′-Walcott, 78′-Welbeck

After a heart-stopping game, the Swedes will take their exit. This game was unbelievable, with attacks back and forth and with every attack being deadlier than the last. In the end, England was out on top, finishing the yellows off with a beautiful redirection of the ball by Danny Welbeck. Assisted by none other than Theo Walcott, he made an amazing impact the second he got on the field, taking Milner’s place and immediately making results. Questions have gone up in the England manager’s direction as whether Walcott should be starting over Milner, but I guess that is for a different time as the next game, England will have their main striker back, Wayne Rooney, to help them in the last game of the group stages and beyond.

Sweden- Taking a dagger to the heart, the expertise of the masterful Theo Walcott ended Sweden’s rally, which seemed like it was going to upset this England side. Ibrahimovic had some amazing looks at the net, just none that ended where he wanted them. In the end, there was only a few things that could of been done to have helped rally this team through, but the counter attacks were the main problem. Two attacked with a weakened defense, Walcott knew what to do on both occasions to help his team rise to the top. Although the main problem being the defense, it wasn’t the only problem, as both goals came off set pieces. While this might say more for England than it will for Sweden, we bid the Swedes farewell, as they gave the world such an entertaining game. Being a massive fan of Ibrahimovic, it is sad to see him go, but this tournament is about great teams, not players.

England- Some heart from a team that has been criticized day after day, England really showed the amount of superstars that are present on this team. Although both goals came off preventable fouls, England found a way to push through conceding two goals in a row and score two of their own. Theo Walcott was the man of the match, in my opinion, coming on and scoring and assisting within fifteen minutes of his entrance. Carroll today had an amazing goal, but was a part of the goal against his side, creating the free kick that paved the way for one of Sweden’s goals. The other foul, conceded by Milner, makes me question his start. After an under average game today and missing the goal that would of put England on top in the France match, Milner may have become more of a liability than a help. Obviously, not all the blame goes to the fouls, as England’s terrible defense today almost spelled the demise for them. Even against a side like Ukraine, England will need to step up the defense, starting with John Terry, who must learn how to control his defense like he does with Chelsea. With the addition of Rooney to the line-up, England can have a bright future ahead.

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Euro 2012 – England vs France

Half-time in the match. Pointers

England- The idea that Roy had for his team was a sound idea. Play good defense and counter attack in numbers. But looks like it got unraveled after the goal at the 30′ by Lescott from Manchester City. Milner’s chance was almost too good, and sad to see it go to waste and this might end up kicking England in the end. Roy Hodgson needs to make sure that Parker and Gerrard get up and out of the defense, which is very uncharacteristic of him, and make sure that he can support Welbeck and Young, both phenomenal strikers that only need one chance to fix a match. The main thing to note is after the goal by Lescott, England played defense for 15 minutes. This cannot be done against the French side, as they have too many players in form and too much attacking power, regardless of the strength of the England back line.

France- Honestly, I cannot say too much about this side. Blanc is a veteran manager and player and has been to many tournaments as both. He looks like he knows exactly what he is doing with the team. Of good note, however, France is currently sitting on the perfect balance of possession and attack. They are not straining too many opportunities and finding one good look after another, with Nasri finding a great slot and possibly catching Hart off his toes. The main criticism I bring up for them is their defense, which needs to be stronger on set plays and fast attacks in order to come out with points today, because England is looking for a good counter, luckily without the likes of Rooney or Lampard.

On another note, Ian and Steve are quite entertaining as always.

Final Score- France:1/England:1

Lescott-30′, Nasri-39

Very exciting match. Loved the paced back and forth attacking, as it was engaging the whole ninety minutes. It seemed like a textbook football match. Some notes to make for both teams in the future.

England- Although I do believe that this defensive mindset was for France and other strong attacking teams, I hope they don’t make a habit of it. With so much attacking force, it will be disappointing to sit back like that against teams like Sweden, who aren’t known for their defense at all. This side will also be missing Rooney for another match but after that I think that England will feel the confidence surge a bit to carry them into the knockout rounds. Not much to say about this other than Gerrard needs to get out even more than he did the second half, but obviously will feel better about it with Rooney in the back. Sadly, this injury-struck team could do more with the likes of Lampard and Cahill (bias?). I do question the reason of not starting Theo Walcott, but maybe Roy has realized that. Sadly, like I hoped against, the game came down to Milner’s miss.

France- I can say even less about this side. They played some very pretty football all the way through the game and were, in my opinion, the stronger team on the pitch. Samir Nasri played like a big name should, but France needs to see more from Ribery and more importantly, Benzema. I am a true Benzema fan since his Lyon days, and he has been doing so well for his club, almost making the other veteran striker Higuain look like he was a novelty item. He did have some strong looks and looks promising, but I’m glad that he found his footing against England and hopefully he can take that into the rest of the tournament. By no means did Ribery play poorly, in fact I think he did a wonderful job, but a little more would propel this team to the semi-finals in this tournament. I do not agree with the Malouda choice over Ben Arfa, even as a Chelsea fan, but maybe that experience was needed on the pitch. Ben Arfa is one of France’s more creative players and giving that asset to Benzema could be vital. On a positive note, I loved Cabaye’s pace and prowess on the field. I truly believe he is a player to watch so as long as France is in the tournament. After this game, I believe France will be coming out on top of the group and exceeding England in this tournament.

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