Premier League Teams Struggling in Champions League

March 11th, 2014 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

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It was easy work for Bayern Munich and others against the English clubs – (Photo: Cyprus-mail.com)

For those who had expected a strong Champions League showing for the English Premier League clubs involved in the round of 16, they will have been sorely disappointed in what they saw.  Clearly there is still a large margin of talent between these clubs and the massive powerhouses of Europe like Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and that reality was clearly exposed in several dominating performances.  Meanwhile, even the supposedly softer opponents faced by some proved to be a tricky feat.  Nevertheless, England is now facing the very real possibility that all 4 teams will get booted from the tournament before the quarterfinal stage, which would be a severe disappointment for the stature of English soccer clubs and their top players.

The first beating was handed to Manchester City by Barcelona.  The blue team from Manchester has been growing in stature for roughly 5 years with big spending and now has an incredibly talented side, but the Spaniards strolled into the Etihad Stadium and wiped them clean, 2-0.  It was all pretty ugly, and manager Manuel Pellegrini was left fuming at the referee (and has since been banned for 2 matches).  They fell apart from a lack of experience in the competition.  Meanwhile Barcelona, who knows a thing or two about winning the Champions League simply took care of work and now face a fairly easy return trip to the Nou Camp where they should progress.

Likewise, Arsenal stuttered out of the gates in a 2-0 loss to reigning German champions Bayern Munich.  They were also left bemused by the referee over a red card to their goalie, but once again the continental side was able to stroll into England and waltz away with a comfortable 2-0 lead.  Heading back to Munich will be a major test for the Gunners.  They may prove to put up a bit of a fight but recent years have seen them consistently come up just a bit short.

But the overwhelming disappointment for English football was Manchester United, who succumbed 2-0 to Olympiacos in Greece.  While they have certainly had a down year, the Red Devils still boast an offensive trio of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, and Juan Mata.  For them to fail in such a game is astounding, and manager David Moyes looks to be edging nearer to the chopping block!  Fortunately, they will have a home date to make amends but I have very little hope for this team either.

If there is hope for British soccer it might just have to come in the form of Chelsea, who drew 1-1 away to Galatasaray of Turkey.  But while they took an early lead, the Blues totally let their opponents back into the game and ended up scrapping and defending for the first leg draw.  While they are the bettor’s favorites to progress at Stamford Bridge, I have some doubts with their famed opponent and former hero Didier Drogba in the lineup for Galatasaray anything can truly happen.  However, one must think that Jose Mourinho will navigate his side through.

And so you can clearly see that the first knockout round for English soccer teams in the Champions League has been a bit of a disaster.  While some of the matchups were definitely unfavorable, you really would have expected some more out of these clubs that are amongst the highest rated in the world.  While the second legs do provide hope for some dramatic turnarounds, I suspect that England will be lucky to have just one team reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League this year!

Soccer Classroom

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Is This the Most Competitive English Premier League Season Ever?

December 17th, 2013 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

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The big prize! – (Photo: O-posts.net)

The English Premier League is widely touted as one of the few major domestic soccer leagues that has more than just 1 or two contenders.  But even for such a competitive group of squads, only 3 teams have won the league in the last decade: Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea.  Although there have been some fantastic races to the end of the season, it has typically been with just these three clubs while the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, and Tottenham lag behind and battle for Champions League spots and 4th place.  But this season has taken a new life, and as many as 6 teams could realistically compete for the title!  Is this the most competitive season yet?

Usually by this general midpoint of the season there are just 2 or 3 teams that look like legitimate contenders, who have separated themselves from the pack by 5 or more points.  But right now, the top 5 teams in the EPL are just 4 points apart!  Anyone from the likes of Everton, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal feel as though this season can truly be theirs!  And while Manchester United look down and out, a full 10 points off the pace, it would be a fool who wouldn’t believe that there was a chance that they too could spark a late-season charge and contend for the title as well.  Let’s take a look at each of these contending team’s current situations:

Arsenal:  They overcame an early stumble to dominate the league, and brought in superstar playmaker Mesut Ozil.  Due to recent slip-ups, the Gunners have just a two point lead in the table, though they have already travelled to both Manchester clubs, meaning their run-in shouldn’t be too difficult.

Manchester City: In front of their home fans, the team has 8 wins from 8 matches, including thrashings of Tottenham, Manchester United, and Arsenal.  But unfortunately their away record has been equally terrible, with them just collecting just 8 points from 8 away games, losing to the likes of Cardiff City, Aston Villa, and Sunderland.

Everton:  This team has been the masters of avoiding defeats, with a league-low 1 loss on the season.  By splitting wins and draws, they are right in the thick of the action and their tough defense has been remarkable.  They have also wisely taken on loan players from major clubs including Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku.  But without a world-class squad they will probably be contending for a Champions League spot, not the title.

Chelsea: While just 2 points off the top and in full contention, this club’s issue has been consistency.  They had a big victory over Manchester City, but then they followed it up with a loss to Newcastle.  To have a shot at the title, they need to put away the teams that they should beat or it will cost them dearly.

Manchester United:  It’s been a rough start for manager David Moyes, whose team has already lost 5 times.  Key injuries to playmakers like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have left them short of options, and their midfield has been harshly criticized.  Moyes needs to fix this team in a hurry to have any hope of contending.

Liverpool:  With the hottest striker in the league in Luis Suarez, this team can score at will on their day.  The problem with them is what happens when things don’t go their way, especially against good teams.  They lost to Arsenal and have drawn against Everton, Swansea, and Newcastle.  Though if they continue to thrash the minnows of the EPL, they could contend.

And so how will it pan out?  Obviously, right now the title race is wide open.  Manchester City and Liverpool are currently playing their best soccer, yet Arsenal remains on top of the table, despite recent hiccups.  Chelsea is lurking close by and are quietly staying in contention.  I think these teams will make up the top 4 in the league, but that Arsenal will become champions in the New Year. The growth of players like Aaron Ramsey has been incredible this season, and with Mathieu Flamini providing some punch in the midfield, they can actually defend, despite their recent trip to Manchester City.  However the EPL season turns out, there is no doubt that this figures to be an incredibly competitive Premier League season next spring!  Meanwhile, Manchester United will suffer the pain of a year in the Europa League!

Soccer Classroom

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Is Arsenal a Legitimate Contender for the English Premier League Title?

November 1st, 2013 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

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Is Arsene Wenger’s master plan starting to come together? – (Photo: Article.wn.com)

Any fan of Arsenal football club will be thrilled about the way this season has begun.  After a frightening opening day loss, the Gunners turned it all around, and have won the vast majority of their games.  The sit on top of the English Premier League table and are playing fantastic soccer with flair.  Incredibly, they also dished out some serious money on deadline day, procuring German wizard Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for nearly million.  He has fit in marvelously and looks to be well worth the price.  But with some major games up ahead, is Arsenal really ready to take that next step and contend for the title?

There have already been some chinks in the armor of this team.  They recently lost at home to Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League, and lost again to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup.  While neither win was a total embarrassment, both games brought about the same frustrations that have plagued Arsenal for a full decade; Costly mistakes at the back and an inability to create chances going forward against a talented defense.

And the real kicker here is that both Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund are the first real tests to Arsenal this year.  Their schedule has been extremely soft as of yet, with victories over Tottenham and Napoli their only real wins of merit.  However, one would logically expect such victories for an Arsenal team, especially at their home stadium.  But up ahead are the major tests.

Next up is Liverpool at home, and then Borussia Dortmund away, and then Manchester United away.  These three matches will show very clearly just how good Arsenal really is, and just like old times, the Gunners head into this crucial period with a myriad of injuries.  Mathieu Flamini, who has revolutionized the defensive midfield position this year with brave tackles and a real fighting passion, is out injured.  Also missing are key forwards Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Lukas Podolski.

Fortunately, the powerful midfield of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Mesut Ozil should still be able to supply Oliver Giroud with great support, but due to the high number of games they have already played this season, any one of these guys could succumb to injury from exhaustion and are now facing their first major opponents.

But there is hope that Arsenal is for real this year.  Ramsey has emerged as a star.  Ozil is fully capable of supplying, and the team has just as many creative attacking options as anyone else, though without a strong backup to Giroud, they are desperately relying on his ability to stay fit.

Nevertheless, Arsenal looks the strongest that they have in years, and their defensive strength looks solid too.  I’m looking forward to this great challenge and fully expect the squad to get at least a few points from this tough stretch.  Although it will certainly be tough going without several key ingredients, the team seems to be stronger and more determined than they have in years past.  They also have the luxury of being on top of the table and looking downwards on their opponents, a rarity in recent times.  This fosters confidence, a trait that Arsenal really needs.

While they may be beaten in this stretch, I think that Arsenal will remain competitive throughout the run and will solidify themselves as Premier League contenders.  Once they have their full squad back, this team may just be able to beat anyone!

Soccer Classroom

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How is Jozy Altidore Adapting to the English Premier League?

September 22nd, 2013 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

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Jozy Altidore is under immense pressure to succeed in England – (Photo: Footandball.net)

American striker Jozy Altidore made a big move to Sunderland of the English Premier League this summer, and it will certainly be a major test of his skills.  While Altidore is coming off a career year with the Dutch team AZ Alkmaar (where he scored 39 goals!), Sunderland was fortunate to be the last placed team to avoid relegation in the Premier League, placing 17th.  Unfortunately, the current season has begun pretty badly for Sunderland as well, but how has Altidore performed?

Jozy Altidore looks to have all the tools necessary to be a physically imposing striker in England, but he was on the wrong end of a terrible refereeing call last weekend.  Still looking for his first Premier League goal, Altidore held off a strong challenge from world-class Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna, and smartly placed the ball past the goalie for what looked to be a crucial equalizing goal against the Gunners.  Inexplicably, referee Martin Atkinson had blown the whistle for Sagna’s foul, not allowing the advantage to play on, and Altidore and Sunderland were robbed of a vital goal.

Sunderland now sit dead last in the Premier League standings with just a draw and 3 losses to show for their first 4 games.  However, Altidore’s non-goal displayed the kind of game-changing talent that he possesses.  In holding off Sagna, Altidore displayed his impressive strength, and his smart finish showed that he can relax and place the ball in the goal too, both key characteristics of successful strikers.

The problem for Altidore in Sunderland will boil down to the rest of the team.  Few players have done much to suggest that the American striker will be getting the support he needs to really add to the goal tally.  There are several aging Premier League stars on the team that can help guide him like Wes Brown and John O’Shea.  Winger Adam Johnson should be able to send in good crosses to Altidore if he can rediscover his great form earlier from his career.  Also, Scottish striker Steven Fletcher has years of Premier League experience to share with Altidore.  Manager Paolo di Canio has talked about how he is looking forward to Fletcher and Altidore developing a strong partnership up top for Sunderland, and hopefully they will start scoring soon.

Following Altidore’s unfortunate disallowed goal, we will see how strong his character is.  While he needs a goal to build up confidence and belief in his abilities, the event will have proved to himself that he is capable of scoring against the top opposition.  We will find out soon how he responds as Sunderland travel to West Bromwich this weekend.  Although away matches are tough, West Brom lie just a single point ahead of Sunderland, and the team would do well to get their season back on track with a first victory.

The jury is still out on whether Altidore will successfully adapt to the English game of soccer, but his non-goal showed that Altidore is fully capable of becoming a Premier League star.  Let’s hope he builds off of that occurrence and gets a bit luckier next time a goal-scoring opportunity comes about!

Soccer Classroom

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Champions League Group Stage Commences

September 19th, 2013 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

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The thrill of the Champions League gets underway today! – (Photo: Dailymail.co.uk)

Europe’s most prestigious and exciting tournament gets underway today as the Champions League group stage matches are set to begin.  Putting together all the best squads in Europe leaves fans worldwide with tantalizing fixtures between major clubs and the common goal of European soccer club glory.  However, while the biggest knockout matches will take place in the spring, the group stages provide equally enticing matches as the teams compete for entrance into the playoff rounds.  Additionally, the intense nature of the games will often lead to several heavyweights tripping up against lesser opponents, creating high drama and fun games.  But who will actually be among the tournament’s contenders this year?

The usual suspects are always the ones we expect to win the Champions League.  Major club teams like Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United will surely be among the contenders, but other talented squads like Arsenal, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, PSG, AC Milan, and Manchester City will also expect to do well and could possibly challenge for the title if fortune falls their way.

The interesting thing about this year’s Champions League is that so many of the major teams have experienced a change in leadership with new managers taking over the helm.  While this may not be the defining alteration in many team’s quest for the Champions League, such changes can result in periods of struggle as the new manager tries to inject his new style of play into the team.  We have already seen some early domestic struggles for teams like Manchester United, Manchester City, and PSG.  Therefore, expect some big upsets in the group stage matches!

Travelling becomes especially difficult in the Champions League group stage.  Not only does a team have to travel distances far greater than they normally do within their country for domestic matches, but the home fans of smaller clubs involved are extremely intimidating.  For many clubs, these games are the marquee fixtures of the entire season, and to spark an upset over a club like Barcelona or Bayern Munich is a monumental achievement.  Such upsets actually do occur quite often in the group stage, and can cost teams vital points and managers their jobs.

Several big teams are hitting the road this week and it will be fun to see how they perform in hostile, foreign environments.  Real Madrid head to Turkey to play Galatasaray in a major early matchup, PSG head to Greece to take on Olympiacos, Arsenal will take on Marseille in France, and Borussia Dortmund will face Napoli in Italy.  What makes these games very intense is that the home teams are Champions League regulars, and they have the experience to take these major clubs head on.  I am convinced that several of the visiting teams will drop points, which will put a great stress on their early season.  Luckily for the fans, these trips should provide great fun and also showcase the differences between the European soccer leagues and show off where these leagues stand in contention with one another.

Needless to say, the Champions League showcases soccer at its highest level, and fans should get excited about some tremendous matches coming up ahead, starting today!

Soccer Classroom

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Get Ready for the Upcoming English Premier League Season

September 3rd, 2013 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

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The Premier League is great fun! – (Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org)

For young soccer players, watching the English Premier League should be a requirement.  Not only are the games incredibly exciting and action-packed, but this is where the world’s best soccer players compete week in and week out.  Additionally, it provides a wonderful cultural display of England, where soccer began as a sport.  Fortunately, the Premier League is set to begin this weekend, and the Saturday matches will commence once again.

For a youngster, watching soccer is an important teaching device.  Yes, the more time you spend on the ball the better, but there is so much that can be learned by watching the best players of the game.  The British soccer clubs work extraordinarily well as teams.  They pass the ball effortlessly around and have brilliant insight on how to organize attacks and defend.  When you watch these players play soccer as it was meant to be played you will improve, especially if you can adapt their skills to your own game.

The other great thing about the EPL is that the games are fun.  Although the major clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea often dominate and win most matches, upsets happen all the time.  Additionally, road games are often quite tricky with all the ruckus home support while the fields can be severely rugged, especially in winter.  Therefore, there will surely be plenty of excitement.

As a young player watching these games, you should take note of the momentum shifts and watch how players deal with it.  Teams are pushed to the brink in every match, and have to maintain a resiliency and focus in order to come away with wins.  Watching the players go through these tests will make you better prepared to handle such events in your own games.

The nice thing about the English soccer season is that matches are often broadcasted in the USA during Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Although your own soccer league may happen on Saturday, you can still catch a game on Sunday or record the game that happens and watch it later.  Additionally, many channels will show replay matches throughout the following week (just be careful to avoid seeing the score beforehand!).

This way, you can begin to learn from the best and be prepared to be the best soccer player that you can be.  While the World Cup still represents the single most glorious soccer occasion for any player, club soccer often provides the best displays of teamwork and is the highest level of the game.  Squads are assembled with a clear plan in mind, and the players know each other extremely well since they train together and play so much with one another.  International soccer games are very entertaining as well, but aren’t as polished, since managers are bound by the players available from their country and there is little time to put together a strong game plan.  Additionally the immense pressure of the World Cup often restricts players.

But in the English Premier League, players take off their shackles and play soccer with passion and intensity.  This is truly the highest level of soccer around, and any young player that dreams of a career in soccer should take a look at what professional soccer is all about.  Therefore, be sure to catch some Premier League games this year and start taking notes!

Soccer Classroom

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5 Exiting Matchups For the Champions League Group Stage

September 1st, 2013 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

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The Champions League provides the highest quality of soccer matches on the planet! – (Photo: Cyprus-mail.com)

The UEFA Champions League group stage draw was conducted today, giving fans a glimpse of what lies ahead for the next several months in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.  With the groups arranged, some clubs will be celebrating seemingly easy paths to the knockout stage while others will be reeling in their very own “group of death”.  But although the draw makes some fans happy and others nervous, each team will play 6 games and have every opportunity to progress, regardless of what teams they face.  Here are the 5 most exciting matches lined up for the Champions League group stage:

1.  Arsenal vs. Borussia Dortmund – On the face of it, Arsenal appear to be a struggling side devoid of any substitutes while Dortmund were Champions League finalists last season.  But both teams play a high-energy, offensive style of soccer, and that makes for two enticing matches.  With quality sides like Marseille and Napoli in their group, Arsenal vs. Borussia Dortmund could become a desperate game for either side, leading to extreme intensity!

2.  Galatasaray vs. Real Madrid – These teams met in last year’s quarterfinals, resulting in a dramatic match in Turkey where Galatasaray nearly overcame the odds and battled back before Cristiano Ronaldo finally quelled those hopes in stoppage time.  The Turkish side has a full host of international stars including Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, giving them a legitimate opportunity to contend.  With Italian powerhouse Juventus also in this group, these matches should be very heated, especially with the revenge factor playing a big part.

3.  Bayern Munich vs. Manchester City – This is a big year for Manchester City.  Made of money, the club has struggled in the competition recently due to drawing “groups of death”, but now have an opportunity to progress.  However, reigning champions Bayern Munich will be a major challenge, and this match figures to be a showcase of many of the world’s best players.  This will be a soccer match of supreme quality.

4.  Celtic vs. Barcelona – The pair met last year, resulting in a win for Barcelona in Spain and a shock historic victory for Celtic in Scotland, resulting in a crying Rod Stewart!  Celtic play like a team possessed at home, and their fiery manager Neil Lennon will make for another great spectacle.  Will Celtic be able to manage the feat twice in two years?  It’s doubtful but I do expect them to put up a fight in Scotland.

5.  Chelsea vs. Shalke 04 – Chelsea under Jose Mourinho will always be an exciting affair, and after he procured Samuel Eto’o today (with whom he won the Champions League at Inter Milan), Chelsea are in great shape to contend.  Shalke 04 is no pushover though.  They topped their group last year after beating Arsenal, and were only eliminated in the group stage by Galatasaray after a tragic meltdown in the last five minutes.  The German club has many good players including Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and American midfielder Jermaine Jones. They will compete in this match and could surprise Chelsea.

Soccer Classroom

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Champions League Qualification Building Suspense for Top London Clubs

May 11th, 2013 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

The English Premier League Season is on…The Line! – (Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org)

The three clubs of Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal are the finest clubs that London has to offer on the soccer field, and they are currently engaged in an epic battle for the two remaining spots in the Champions League next season.  For any club, the Champions League represents the pinnacle games of the season, with matches against European super-powers like Barcelona or Bayern Munich providing mouth-watering fixtures week in and week out.  Just as important for these clubs is also the money that comes from such matches and the allure to potential new summer signings who want to play on soccer’s biggest stage.

American Clint Dempsey’s summer transfer to Tottenham last summer was made in large part to fight for Champions League play, but as yet nothing is assured.  The three clubs are separated by a mere 3 points, meaning that the door is wide open for the last 2 matches.  One thing is clear though:  One team will not make the cut, and historically that team has been Tottenham.

Arsenal and Chelsea have usually been the team’s that come out on top each year, but this year may be different.  Tottenham’s Gareth Bale has been awarded the Player of the Year award and has made a habit of scoring sensational goals in crucial moments of matches.

Both Chelsea and Arsenal have more talented teams, but they do lack the kind of impact player that can simply take over a game in the manner that Gareth Bale can. The recent matches have been exciting and nail biting for the fans across London, as teams know exactly how vital every single point is at the moment.

Last night Chelsea and Tottenham battled out to a 2-2 draw in a fantastic match that has set the stage for the season’s run-in.  With everything on the line, the two clubs showed that the fight will continue and it surely will heading into the final weeks of the season.

Although Manchester United has already wrapped up the title, this battle for 3rd and 4th place will set the stage for great entertainment as these teams push for the end of the season.  Although Chelsea is currently the safest of the group, they also have a major Europa League Final match against Benfica before their final game against Everton.

Everton’s David Moyes is widely expected to be the next in line to manage Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson’s announcement of retirement, and one would presume that he and his team would be eager to send off their manager in style.  Should Everton win, Chelsea could be usurped by Arsenal or Tottenham or both, which would probably end the likelihood of Jose Mourinho returning to manage the team next season.

Arsenal meanwhile have two matches against teams on the verge of relegation, and will surely be facing two massive tests against Wigan and Newcastle, who are both fighting for Premier League survival.

All this leads up to one thing: drama!  With so much on the line in these last few games, players, managers, and fans will be desperate for victories.  For the casual soccer fan, any games featuring Tottenham, Arsenal, or Chelsea will be very fun to watch!

Soccer Classroom

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Manchester City Edges United in Potential Premier League Decider

May 5th, 2012 by Admin

This article originally appeared at Soccer Classroom

The Premier League Trophy – (Photo: Qehb.org)

There are still two games to go in the English Premier League, but there are now eight reasons to believe that Manchester City will be champions.  The two clubs in Manchester are level on points, and one is assuming they will play out the season in fine form with two wins.  But a season-ending tie between the clubs means the league would be decided on goal differential, and City has an eight goal lead.

Such is the result after a fine performance against Manchester United, where they easily won a 1-0 match.  Although tense, the match was all one way traffic.  United didn’t have a decent look at goal all evening and though Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure missed chance after chance, a Vincent Kompany headed goal off of a corner kick sealed the three points for City.

United appeared to have played for the 0-0 draw, such was their defensive presence and strain.  In the first half, Rio Ferdinand tried to ease the clock along and even drew jeers for being too casual and slow in taking a free kick from his own half.  Manchester City propelled forward time and time again, coming so near on little one-two combinations in the box.  Everything was just a slight pass or pulled shot away from being decisive.

Then City captain, Vincent Kompany, got on the end of a corner and banged it right down the center of the net!  Right before half time, the Citizens were joyous and the statement was said!

For much of the second half, the tables were turned.  Manchester United began to press, and brought on Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young, and Antonio Valencia to provide a spark.  Manchester City could take their time, and often did. As one recalls, a goalkeeper by the name of Joe Hart spent a good deal of added time receiving assistance from the City medical staff.

But City were brave on the counter attacks, nearly doubling their advantage on several occasions.  Samir Nasri was seen pounding his angry French fists into the ground as he blew an extremely good chance in the twilight of the match.

Arguments were brief but constant throughout, from the pitch to the touchline.  In the second half tantrums escalated as yellow cards came flying out, and managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini hurled words at each other from across a group of men holding each back.

Manchester City held on for the vital win and the Premiership crown is in their hands now.  All they have to do is win their next two games against Newcastle and QPR.  That’s all that is standing between them and righting what has, for their fans, been wrong in Manchester for the past 44 years!

 

Soccer Classroom

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Manchester United and Man City Dominate League Play

November 25th, 2011 by Admin

The English Premier League Soccer is all Manchester early on with the Manchester City Blues leading the league with 34 points and the Manchester United Red Devils right behind them with 29 points. Now with the MLS season over in the states many of the teams in the league will be looking to add talent to their rosters including MLS Cup champs from the Los Angeles Galaxy.

David Beckham is now free and clear after the Galaxy won the MLS Cup and he will be heading overseas any day now along with his teammates, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane to name just a few players who will test their mettle in the English Premier League.

The Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United Magpies, Chelsea Blues, Liverpool Reds and the Arsenal Gunners are all within three points of each other just behind the leaders from Manchester. Tottenham is a team that can improve fast with an influx of available talent from the MLS.

The Newcastle United Magpies need to pick up the pace to move into the upper echelon of teams in the league. Newcastle United is tied with Tottenham with 25 points but they are in a precarious position just out of second place by four points and just out of sixth place by a mere three points.

Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are in a three-way tie with 22 points each and all three teams have the stars to muster a drive to the head of the standings with a few short-time additions. MLS players will play through March when the MLS season begins.

Premiership Betting

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