Arshavin strike sinks Liverpool

December 14, 2009

Astronomers Studying an Eclipse, Antoine Caron
“Liverpool suffered their second home embarrassment in five days as Arsenal grabbed a 2-1 victory in a game which was supposed to be a new beginning for the Anfield men. Manager Rafael Benitez had insisted the season started again for his side after their midweek Champions League defeat to Fiorentina. But he did not get his wish even though Liverpool led at the break through Dirk Kuyt and should have had a penalty when William Gallas felled Steven Gerrard.” (ESPN)

Lee Dixon’s analysis of Arsenal’s win at Liverpool
“In the six years I played under Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger I only once saw him lose his rag in the dressing room. Just like Sunday’s game we were 1-0 down to Liverpool at half-time. Wenger came in, threw a cup on the floor and started ranting and raving. The players were all wondering what was going on but the funny thing was he threw the cup and got a reaction, but then, being the nice bloke he is, bent down and picked it up because he had missed the bin.” (BBC)

Rafael Benítez powerless as Liverpool’s emotional energy ebbs away
“When all else failed, Rafael Benítez could cling to the belief that sheer desperation would galvanise his Liverpool team. Their backs against the wall, with the enemy’s knives at their throats and their manager gesticulating from the touchline, his players sprang to life. It was a response that fuelled their famous win against Milan in Istanbul in the spring of 2005 and it was effective against Manchester United as recently as late October. For Benítez the most worrying aspect of defeat by Arsenal was that the emotional energy ran out at half-time.” (Guardian)

Liverpool fall away as Andrey Arshavin re-ignites Arsenal’s charge
“The contest for the Premier League is more of an enigma than a spectacle. A fortnight ago Arsenal were 11 points off the top of the Premier League, with a game in hand, following a jarring 3-0 loss to Chelsea at home. Now the Stamford Bridge club are merely six points in front of Arsène Wenger’s team. It would still be a mistake to speak of resurgence or transformation just yet.” (Guardian)

Benitez calls for Liverpool passion
“An exasperated Rafael Benitez has pleaded with his players to show backbone as Liverpool’s crisis worsens. The Anfield chief witnessed another distressing display as his side lost 2-1 at home to Arsenal, having been ahead at the break on Sunday after a vibrant first-half display. Benitez was clearly shocked by the Liverpool capitulation when a Glen Johnson own goal wiped out Dirk Kuyt’s early goal before Andrey Arshavin cracked a stunning winner and the Anfield men crumbled under the pressure.” (Independent)

Henry Winter: Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas can give a Spanish lesson
“At a time when the Football Association commendably employs more and more skills coaches to teach children the techniques already learnt by their continental counterparts, Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Arsenal will highlight the gifts of two special Spaniards. English fans will admire the power of Steven Gerrard and pace of Theo Walcott but it is the subtlety of Torres and Fabregas that could light up Anfield.” (Telegraph)

Jamie Carragher praying for reversal of Liverpool’s fortunes
“Jamie Carragher has admitted he ‘prays to God’ every night to help Liverpool win some silverware this season. The 2-1 defeat by Arsenal at Anfield leaves Liverpool five points adrift of Aston Villa in the fourth Champions League qualification spot, while the FA Cup or the Europa League remain the club’s only realistic chance of winning a trophy.” (TimesOnline)

Stages and Phases

December 14, 2009

“A few weeks ago I subtly hinted at a new project that was going to revolutionize the site, bring the planets into harmony, and redeem all the time we’ve wasted on cheap North Korea jokes. It’s still a few weeks away, but I’m toiling away in the background getting all the parts in readiness. Sadly, this means the foreground is going to continue to be a bit sparse for a while, but don’t worry.” (The Run of Play)

The biggest stories of the decade

December 14, 2009

Marc-Vivien Foe
“Over the past decade, football has thrown up its fair share of controversy, comedy and tragedy, so here are ten of the decade’s most noteworthy events.” (ESPN)

Can Estudiantes redress balance of power between continents?

December 14, 2009

“One of football’s strongest characteristics – often a blessing, occasionally a curse – is that the best side does not always win. One example of this weekly phenomenon came 10 years ago, when Manchester United met Palmeiras of Brazil in the annual match then played in Japan between the champions of Europe and South America. A moment of Ryan Giggs magic set up the only goal for Roy Keane – one of the very few chances United had. Palmeiras created many more, but the only time they got the ball into the net the goal was disallowed.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)

Fabio Capello And The England Goalkeeper Debate

December 14, 2009

“On Sunday’s BBC 606 Football Phone In, co-host Gabriele Marcotti made an interesting point that I believe Fabio Capello has already considered. Baring match fitness and current form, the starting outfield ten for England will mostly pick themselves for the group stages of next summer’s World Cup, and more importantly for now, the June 12th clash with the U.S.A.” (EPL Take)

Spanish Football – La Liga

December 14, 2009

“FC BARCELONA defeated RCD ESPANYOL 1-0 with a controversial penalty on Xavi that was converted by IBRAHIMOVIC.” (Spanish Football Sports)

FC Barcelona vs Espanyol Highlights on 12/12/09
(All About FC Barcelona)