Tag Archives: Torres

6 October 2012 – Chelsea vs Norwich

Another week for the English League and I’m super excited for the week. A couple of very good games to top off a strong week for England in the Champion’s League as they win three of their games and tie one. This one will about Chelsea (of course) and finally having the time to talk about a game has made me very excited. Today’s match was with Norwich City at Stamford Bridge, and Norwich’s away games have not looked pretty. However, this is the English Premier League, where no game is easy and every match is taken with the highest consideration. Anyway onto the game.

 

Chelsea started out strong today with some good attacks starting from the two defensive midfielders today, Obi Mikel and Lampard. However, it was the Canaries who opened first, as an 11th minute goal off a counter attack gave them the lead. A strong volley off the header back, along with some view obstruction of Cech’s vision, gave none other than Grant Holt the first goal of the game. However, Chelsea were not going to stand and let that score line settle down, as 3 minutes later, Chelsea’s top man Fernando Torres buries on in the opposite corner in tremendous fashion off a expert cross from their right back Ivanovic. This opened up the rest of the game, as Chelsea continued the attack on the Norwich defense. However, a failed bicycle kick from Torres to deny his second led to Frank Lampard’s smashing volley, giving him the second goal of the game and his first EPL goal since February.  It did not seem like Chelsea was content at that point, as unrelenting pressure from the attacking force kept on striking. With little answer from the yellow side, Chelsea found their third off a counter attack, led by Chelsea’s 2011/12 Player of the Year Juan Mata, who seems to have no plans on getting second season jitters. Juan Mata, with three Man of the Match’s in a row, started the counter with Torres and Hazard streaking along side, eventually finding the Norwich gap that gave Chelsea’s Belgian a chance to expertly slot it past Ruddy. In the 31st minute, Eden Hazard achieved another goal of his EPL season. This ended most of the major tackles in the first half, as Norwich still has no answer after a strong start to the game.

Second half was much of the same. Chelsea came out with a semi-lackluster performance and did not look all that interested, with a command on the game and a lead on the scoreboard, Chelsea were flying high. However, after the 60th minute, things changed for Norwich’s worst, as Chelsea’s attack looked to be stronger. The added momentum of Oscar, who had many looks on goal, and the pace of Hazard and Mata eventually brought the Blues to their fourth, as an absolute smasher of a goal came from Ivanovic, who hit it too strong for Ruddy to keep out. Ruddy did get a hand on it, but the Serbian right back hit it too hard from too close. A giant gap in the 18 box gave Ivanovic the composure to smash a one-touch volley into the Canaries goal. After this, one or two instances of life from Norwich fell short as Chelsea continued to press on as well, as the attack did not look like it would end for Norwich. After 90 minutes of bombardment at Stamford Bridge, the game came to a unsurprising ending, as in-form Chelsea took a comfortable fixture over out-of-form Norwich.

Other notables were Oscar’s strength in attack. Oscar seemed to get a couple shots off, but otherwise contributed more as the great attacking midfielder he is.  Grant Holt’s constant ability to find openings in defense is a scary one, and a in-form team would give him the opportunity to score at a constant rate.

Chelsea- Strength in attack took over their strength in defense, as the young men up top seemed to take control of the game with the help of the defensive midfielders and the two side backs. In my opinion, defensive looked iffy at times, but the attack kept them  well into the game, as the small answers the Norwich has for Chelsea gave the attack the ability to create their own game. Playing a 4-2-3-1, and probably doing it the best in England, the formation gave the home side the chances to keep forward with strong attack, as well as the opportunity to counter for the third goal from the Blues. Man of the Match was clearly the Spaniard Juan Mata, who started attack and made hell for the Canaries. His expert passing and strong fundamentals gave Chelsea everything they needed to put attack on the opponent’s net. A good game from the home side going into the international break.

Norwich- Not much to say about a team that hasn’t looked good since the beginning of the year. Honestly, Norwich became my mini-favorites last year, with the strong attack that they had and the never-say-die attitude that they kept through the season. However, it doesn’t seem to be clicking this year, as everything is out of place. Attack is, more times than not, relatively elementary, with almost no depth in ability or teamwork behind it. If they want more  points, the attack will have to be more complex, especially on all the good defensive teams in the league this year. Defensive was an even worse issue, as they were unorganized and easily scrambled, Chelsea’s Juan Mata looked to open them up easily. Not a good game from the Canaries, but then again, they haven’t had one all year.

Last note- I’m really happy to this and I’m glad to be back and writing about football. Will hopefully commentate on the Gunners vs Hammers match, as that game proves to be interesting, especially with the form that the Hammers have been in their first season back from the tier under.

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25 August 2012- Chelsea vs Newcastle

Final Score- Chelsea:2/Newcastle:0

22′-Hazard(PK), 45’+3, Torres

 

Chelsea’s first true test had arrived, and it looked as though that Chelsea might be up for the task this year. The addition of Eden Hazard was never more prominent then it was today, as the absence of Frank Lampard showed that Hazard was able to take control as the main man when Frank isn’t. Him, along with the seemingly re-budding Fernando Torres, were able to acquire both goals together to give Chelsea the dream start it needed. However, this was no walk, as Newcastle able to fend off Chelsea for most of the second half and attempt some attacking, while the opposite was true in the first. However, other than the shot from Demba Ba off a weird scramble in the box, Newcastle were never too deadly in the attacking end, as Cisse was uncharacteristically quiet.

First half, I was incredibly impressed by the Blues. At the beginning of the game, the lineup shook me quite a bit, as Chelsea did not fair well against Newcastle last year, even if losing that game is the reason why Di Matteo decided to put all chips into the trophies. However, everybody’s favorite Blue Eden Hazard stepped up today. He was clearly the main to dictate the pace, as his ability to find the correct pass and to hold the ball under most circumstances showed that he deserved to be on the first team. In the beginning of the game, Hazard was sitting a little too far back, leaving Torres all alone up front. Realizing this, Hazard and Mata brought the game to Torres. After that, the opportunities started rolling in, and Chelsea put two away before the half ended. Newcastle did little but pass and defend for most of that half. However, the second half did not have the same effect. A slow start and little connection between the Chelsea players’ game allowed Newcastle to gain some possession and attack as much as they can. Cisse and Ba both moved well, but even with the majority of the possession in the second half they were not able to find the back of the net. The deadliest opportunity for Newcastle came late in the game, as a whiff and a shot amount passed Cech in the mist of the scramble. Cech’s quick reflexes kept a clean sheet, and the Chelsea defense regained their footing midway through the second half and only built momentum from there. The build was slow, but some great looks from youngsters Ryan Bertrand and Eden Hazard made Newcastle’s defense take note. This momentum would take us to the end of the game. A semi-comfortable game for Chelsea put them on the top of the board, giving the other big teams something to strive for.

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19 August 2012- Wigan vs Chelsea


Final Score – Wigan:0/Chelsea:2

2′-Ivanovic, 7′-Lampard(PK)

Being  a Chelsea fan, it’s going to be hard talking about my fixtures. I am a huge fan but also a huge critic, and I will be the first to see my teams faults. Regardless, Chelsea did not get handed the win today, but it did seem that the game was decided in six minutes. After that, Chelsea was never too close except for the clearance from Ramis after Torres barely beat the keeper and an attempt from Oscar early after his entrance. Wigan never looked that threatening, but Victor Moses did give Ashley Cole some issues in the first half. The main note, for Chelsea fans anyway, is that both signings, Oscar and Eden Hazard, has very impressive games today. Hazard started and assisted Bran’s goal in the second minute with a beautiful turn in the midfield, and was also the cause of the penalty due to his speed around the defender. Oscar would replace him in the second half, with a great show of talent and pace. He is a hard worker and is always working off the ball, as well as getting back to play defense, whether it is in the midfield or the defensive third of Chelsea.

As for Wigan, I feel like Victor Moses does not have the midfield backing to make him a major threat. I don’t say that because Chelsea is linked with him, but it is something that Wigan is seriously lacking. The team’s defensive line is solid at times, making sure that the mistimed runs of Torres would result in a flag in the air, but otherwise did not seem like they had an answer for Chelsea counterattacks.

Chelsea looks good, but this is not the team that will beat Newcastle United next Saturday. Reading shouldn’t be a problem, but Di Matteo is good at prioritizing and taking the season one step at a time. In my honest opinion, I think that Chelsea is a major top four contender and will be consider one of the most volatile teams all season. 

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Euro 2012 Pre-Final Write Up

What an exciting tournament this has been. I’m so glad I moved all engagements and events away from the game times to watch all of them without issue. Every four years, we are blessed with the best in football to come to one tournament and battle it out for the trophy of dreams. I just loved this whole tournament, through all the good times and bad, the upsets and bad referee calls. Doing a Euro rap-up will be hard, but I am thinking about it. But we are here to talk about the finals! The test of the best has whittled the contestants down to two teams. I will say that I am semi-surprised that Spain got here, as I thought that the weaker team because of the injury issues would cause too many chemistry issues. As for Italy, I didn’t think they would make it out of the group stages, as Croatia looks much tougher than Italy did in the qualifiers. But they have proved themselves and more, having a tough road to the finals and overcoming all the obstacles, as they are also yet to lose a game. On paper, this game would seem to go to Spain hands down. However, the back to back showings of Italy against England and Germany have proven themselves of a final spot and worthy of giving the defending champions a fight for their trophy. Just a quick game breakdown on what to expect and the main keys for these teams to take their trophy!

Spain- As one of the favorites for this tournament, it isn’t that big of a surprise that the defending champions are up to make history as the first team to do a three-peat, which will probably secure them as the greatest international team in history. However, I have a major issue with what I saw against Portugal, something that Italy might have noticed to use against Spain. Like I said before, the Spanish defense is great, but lacks in the actual defenders area, means very few amounts of players know how to defend. Unfortunately, this is a team that cannot afford to defend, as their goal chances come from having the ball for long bouts of time. This is what Spain has to do in order to have a shot at taking this before penalties. Spain has to get in the rhythm as fast as they can and get the passing going. I really don’t need to say more about that, as everyone knows that after that, they know not to overextend themselves and make sure the pace is there before the finishes commence. If Spain plays their normal game, they will have more chances to look at the goal than they did in Portugal. But the counter that Portugal displayed in the semifinals is very obvious and very simple – keep Spain out of the 18. Without David Villa, Spain is left to use Xabi Alonso to take shots from outside. Having only one to two people able to take shots is almost useless and may as well be banned from their style of play this year. Portugal showed that keeping Spain away with numbers and the strong defending of Pepe and Bruno Alves proved to work as a defensive strategy, something I believe Italy will adopt. De Rossi is more than capable of filling that crucial center defense role the relied on Pepe for the Portuguese. The solution to a turtle is patience. You must stretch a turtling team to diminish the numbers in the box and then work accordingly. As good as Italy is defensively, they are not as strong as Portugal in that area and are instead a more attack based team. What I mean by that is Spain needs to not get frustrated and work their magic, as once they realize that they are getting the ball for massive periods of time, they can take their time with their attack. As for individuals and formation, I feel like Spain is at their strongest in a 4-5-1 with a true striker up front. The two times Del Bosque tried to do the six midfielders approach, they both ended with no goals until that ideal was changed. I would say throw Llorente  up there, being a phenomenal striker, but he hasn’t played all tournament. Therefore I think the solution is Torres. I might be a bit biased being a Chelsea fan, but Torres scored the winning goal four years ago after not scoring any in the tournament games before that. As much as people downplay him, he is deadly. He knows how to score and seems to get better and have more confidence with every goal he scored. The rest of the team should stay the same, but I say the addition of Fabregas should come earlier than 60 minutes if no progression has occurred. Other than that, Casillas will have to be on point as always and save his team here and there.

Italy- Like I said before, I did not expect Italy to make it here. But they have proved themselves with their strong offense and withstanding defense that they deserve to be here instead of the failing Germany. As I said before, I think that the key to winning this match will be similar to Portugal’s key and Italy’s key to Germany in the semifinals- keep them away from the 18. This is not a very easy thing to do against Spain, being that they have all the best passers in the world. But this is key to keeping it scoreless, which is key to winning the game. Trying to come back against Spain is difficult, and the second you commit more to offense you will lose more possession. That’s kinda of a death sentence against a side like Spain. But if they can stay tight and play strong defense, they will have a backbone for the offense to build on. Once the offense is built, the main idea will be the same as against Germany-keep the ball as long as possible. Like Germany, Spain is a very flow-based team. Their momentum dictates how dangerous they will be. They are a snowball rolling down a hill, but if you never let that snowball get big, it is easy to deal with. That will mainly rely on the mastermind Pirlo, who is up against a couple of others for my player of the tournament. With his expert precision and experience on the field, I’m sure that Italy will know what to do with the ball. Playing the same way the played against England and Germany, I do believe that they can put one in the net during regulation. Of course this means holding the ball, something that Portugal did expertly and it works for them fairly well as a tactic. If you keep the possession of Spain under 62%=ish, you are crippling a major part of their game. They will feel like the need to take with the time that they have and rush their build up unnecessarily, something they did against Spain. Most people will say that defense is the way to go against Spain. As much as I agree with that, I believe that an all-out offense is even better. If you can get the first blow and put them on their backfoot, they hits will just keep coming. Eventually, like Germany, a goal will happen. I absolutely loved the 4-1-3-2 idea that Italy used against Germany, and if executed again I believe it can work well. Something that Italy has that Spain does not is outside 18-shooters. Cassano, Balotelli, and Pirlo can all shoot very well and with precision. This will worry the defense of Spain and make them push out of the 18, farther than their comfort zone. This is where Pirlo needs to strike, getting Balotelli and Cassano behind the line with the ball. This is something that this pro knows how to do and can beat this defense. As amazing as I think Casillas is, I think is weakest point is being out of the goal. When he needs to step up far, he moves very little from his position, making any ball out of his reach possible to pass. Getting behind the 18 should do that just fine. The main players for Italy is Pirlo and Buffon. Pirlo for the reasons stated above, but Buffon will have some mess to deal with. He was a little shaky in the beginning of the Germany game, but with World Cup Final experience, I think this will be something old for him. He will have shots on goal against him, and his amazing keeper skills will have to bleed out in this game.

That’s all I have to say. Good luck to both teams, and what a great tournament it has been!

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