Friday, 31 January 2014

Transfer Deadline Day - LIVE Coverage:

Biggest day of the month: Today is the final day for clubs to sign players until the summer.

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have LIVE Coverage of the final few hours of this season's January transfer window in the EPL, where I cover the big deals which have and will come through by tonight's conclusion. 

Many teams have already been involved in transfer activity over the past month, with hectic deals being done in the final few hours - will we see shocks and surprises? 

17:30 - Since I have missed a chunk of today's deals, here are all of the confirmed done deals that have been completed today - in and out of the Premier League:

Lewis Holtby (Tottenham) to Fulham - loan deal until the end of the season.


Shrewd signing: Holtby is a great addition to the Fulham squad, even if it is only on-loan.

The German midfield starlet Holtby has moved across London to sign for strugglers Fulham on a loan deal until the end of the season, after a lack of first-team football matches this season.  

Adel Taarabt (Fulham on loan from QPR) to AC Milan - loan deal until the end of the season. 

The Moroccan playmaker has joined Italian side AC Milan on a season-long loan deal until the end of the season, thus terminating his current loan deal with EPL club Fulham. 
The deal was confirmed in the early hours of this morning.


Confirmed: Taarabt has joined AC Milan in Italy on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Fabio (Manchester United) to Cardiff City - 
undisclosed fee 

Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United) to Cardiff City - loan deal until the end of the season.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed the two signings of Manchester United players, young winger Wilfried Zaha and left-back Fabio. 


Zaha has gone to Cardiff for his second loan deal since his £15million move to United
Undisclosed fee: Fabio has signed for Cardiff on a permanent deal. 
Zaha has joined Cardiff on a loan deal until the end of the season, while Fabio has joined the club on an undisclosed fee. 

Jindrich Stanek (Sparta Prague) to Everton - undisclosed fee

The Toffees have announced the signing of 17-year-old goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek from Sparta Prague. 


Promising: Jindrich Stanek has signed for Everton on an undisclosed fee from Sparta Prague.

Kostas Mitroglou (Olympiacos) to Fulham - £12.4million pound deal

The Cottagers have completed their club-record fee deal for Greece striker Kostas Mitrologu, who has signed for Fulham in the last couple of hours.


Done deal: Mitrologu has signed for Fulham, with a club-record deal being agreed.
He is thought to be the replacement of Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov, who has admitted that he prefers to sign for Monaco instead of Tottenham (again) so has been allowed to travel to France for a medical ahead of a potential loan deal. 

Liam Bridcutt (Brighton) to Sunderland - £2.5million pounds

Gus Poyet has confirmed his fifth signing of the transfer window, with 24-year-old midfielder Liam Bridcutt completing his move this morning from the Championship side.


Done deal: Bridcutt is Sunderland's 5th signing, for £2.5million pounds from Brighton
Brighton had rejected a transfer request from Bridcutt earlier this month, but they were eventually unable to prevent him from signing for an EPL calibre side.  

Emmanuel Frimpong (Arsenal) to Barnsley - undisclosed fee

The 22-year-old Ghanian midfielder has finally left Arsenal, after a poor few seasons at The Gunners despite having decent potential - an injury-plagued season followed by two unsuccessful loans at Wolves and Fulham. 


Wasted potential: Frimpong has finally left Arsenal for Barnsley on an undisclosed fee.
Priority check: Frimpong tweeted this earlier today, suggesting that he will struggle to get the ladies at Barnsley

18:15 - LATEST TRANSFER DEAL:
Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton) to Juventus - loan deal until the end of the season, with an option to buy with a future fee involved of around £15million pounds. 

The Southampton striker is currently out of favour after a bust-up with defender Jose Fonte, with a 3-week ban from the club given to him as a result of his poor conduct.

19:00 - There is 4 hours remaining of this current transfer window, here is the latest news:


  • Arsenal have confirmed that solid Spartak Moscow midfielder Kim Kallstrom has completed a medical ahead of a proposed loan move to The Emirates
  • Crystal Palace have signed Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey on a three-and-a-half year contract deal for an undisclosed fee around £3million pounds, while Southampton midfielder Jason Puncheon has made his loan deal with the club a permanent move.
  • QPR have signed Fulham defender Aaron Hughes on an undisclosed fee
  • Sunderland have just confirmed that defensive midfielder Lee Catermole is "going absolutely nowhere", with some confusion between Stoke who were reportedly about to sign the English midfielder for around £5million pounds. Will it go through?
  • Chelsea have signed young prospect and defender Kurt Zouma from French side Saint-Etienne on a five-and-a-half contract deal for around £12million pounds and loaned the wonderkid back to his parent club.
  • Stoke have made a formal offer to sign Blackpool winger Tom Ince on a permanent deal
19:20 - Not transfer news as such, but Manchester City have confirmed that Argentine striker Sergio Aguero will be out for at least a month after sustaining a hamstring injury in their 5-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.


Injury worry: Aguero has been ruled out for at least 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury.
19:22 - Manchester United's new signing and midfielder Juan Mata remains the biggest transfer of the window so far, I highly doubt that any side will beat that transfer fee by the end of the night tonight but who knows? Very unlikely.

19:23 - So many hi-jacked deals this window, here's a few examples:

Mohamed Salah - agreed fee with Liverpool, signed for Chelsea
Lacina Traore - pending medical with West Ham, joins Everton
Kostas Mitroglou - about to sign for West Ham, joins Fulham

19:25 - West Ham have virtually completed their deadline day signings, with some good business being done over the past week or so for The Hammers. Nocerino is the standout of those loan signings, the club have not used any transfer money this window. 

19:37 - Arsenal have finally confirmed their first transfer deal of the day and of the window, with midfielder Kim Kallstrom completing his loan move to The Gunners until the end of the season.

Here is the official article on the club website:
http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/club-agrees-loan-move-for-kim-kallstrom

19:41 - Chelsea's new signing (a few days ago remember) and winger Mohamed Salah has had his first training session this afternoon. 

20:00 - 3 HOURS TO GO! 

20:20 - I am still here, just not much news to report on at the moment, apart from the fact that Leeds have sacked their manager Brian McDermott. 

Their captain Ross McCormack is now linked with a last-minute deal to a Premier League club, slightly surprised as to why he is not already there.

McCormack had this to say on SkySports earlier:

"It's sad times at the club. To be honest, I'm absolutely gutted. I had a really close relationship with the manager, he's made me club captain and as I said a couple of hours ago, I was looking forward to playing under Brian McDermott. 

I'm very happy and content at the club but in my heart of hearts, it was because of McDermott. There are three hours left so I can't see anything happening. The club have said they're not going to sell me but I can't believe what's happened. It's incredible. 

I would like to thank the gaffer for his efforts and wish him well for the future."

20:40 - A deal that I did not cover earlier on in the night, with West Ham confirming the signing of Napoli left-back Pablo Armero on a loan deal until the end of the season. 

Bargain deal: Armero has joined West Ham on a loan deal until the end of the season
20:50 - Cannot help but think that Liverpool need to do some business and fast if they want to be genuine title contenders, it is probably too late now though even though they are calling out for a player on the flank and possibly a midfielder. 

20:55 - Manchester City have already confirmed earlier today that they will not make any signings in this transfer window, after talks to sign Porto duo Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando broke down earlier this afternoon when a private jet was supposed to fly them into Manchester to agree personal terms, but the flight was cancelled and both players were confirmed to be in the plans for Porto's match on the weekend. 

20:56 - Another loan deal has been confirmed in the past hour or so, with Birmingham closing a deal with Manchester United for Italian striker Federico Macheda until the rest of the season.

Remember him? I have a picture to jog your memory: 

Where did he go? Macheda was tipped for greatness at United in 2009, now he's at Birmingham
21:00 - 2 HOURS TO GO!!

21:01 - Stoke have now admitted that they are not expected to sign defensive midfielder Lee Catermole from Sunderland anymore, because the club are reluctant to sell him.

Dimitar Berbatov has virtually completed his loan deal to French side Monaco, just needs to be confirmed in the next couple of minutes. 

21:03 - BREAKING NEWS:
It has just been confirmed in the last few minutes that Crystal Palace have signed Blackburn Rovers defender Scott Dann on a three-and-a-half year contract deal for an undisclosed fee.

21:04 - Lots of clubs have been alerted to Ross McCormack's current situation at Leeds, with an apparent 6 different clubs interested in signing him before the deadline in just under 2 hours from now.  

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Why Chelsea will regret selling Mata - Review:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I review the biggest transfer of this current January transfer window, as Chelsea have confirmed that Spanish midfielder Juan Mata has signed for Manchester United on an undisclosed contract for £37.1million pounds, with manager Jose Mourinho admitting that he was "powerless" to stop Mata from leaving - as he wanted more first-team football and wants to get into the World Cup squad for June's internationals. 


Spanish maestro: Mata has won 78 international caps for Spain so far, with 32 at senior level. 

Number 8: Mata is a signal of intent for United, who want to secure a top 4 place this season.

Done: Mata met new manager David Moyes at the Carrington training ground on Thursday.
I am reviewing the transfer on how it affects the relationship between both clubs, the rest of the Premier League, the signal of intent it shows from Manchester United and the carelessness from Chelsea's part - letting their midfielder maestro and Player of the Year (twice in a row, I might add) leave to one of their rivals regardless of the form United have showed at the start of the current season. 

The reasons why I feel that Chelsea are making a big mistake in letting Mata leave;
  • Selling arguably your best player to a rival club - Mata is the whole package (skills, movement, vision and attacking flair)
  • Keeping him in the same league as you, more competition
  • When you have just recently signed wingers, in the hope that they can shift into the centre of midfield to replace Mata..
  • Even though Chelsea have strength in depth (in terms of central midfielders) surely it would make more sense to sell players like John Obi Mikel instead of Mata?
  • The midfield trio of Hazard, Oscar and Mata was irresistible, take one out and the others are not the same anymore
  • United will get stronger now with Mata in their side, a front four of; Januzaj, Mata, Rooney and van Persie
  • One of those players that is very hard to replace, no matter how much it costs
Mata was key to Chelsea's midfield and even though it was evident that he was unhappy at his treatment over first-team football, Mourinho should have let him play more often or even sell him to a club outside of England, if he was adamant on leaving the club.

For example, teams like PSG and Real Madrid were waiting patiently to see if Mata was going to get sold - fair enough they are Champions League rivals but you will not play them for majority of games, whilst United are in the SAME league.

I cannot say that I blame Mata for wanting to leave The Blues, after some poor man management on Mourinho's part who virtually froze Mata out of his first-team plans for no apparent reason, instead opting to play Oscar for the majority of games whilst the World Cup winner watched from the bench.

Oscar (centre) has the potential to be one of the best central midfielders in the game, but he should have been partnered up with Mata...
Missing link: Chelsea fans are furious at the decision to sell Mata, which is understandable.

He admitted from the start that Mata was not going to be in his immediate plans unless he showed that he could defend with the rest of the team, but not all CAMs are expected to track back and help the team on the backfoot. Mata was one of the players who did his job, not exactly known for his defending but did help out when he was required, yet Mourinho wanted to move his position which would not work. 

Mourinho left Mata on the bench for the majority of matches, unsurprisingly he got frustrated and left.  
I have a good feeling that Mata will settle in quickly and well with the rest of the Manchester United squad, I do not see why he cannot produce some great attractive link-up play and help The Red Devils to secure a top 4 finish by the end of this season.

That is arguably Mourinho's biggest mistake. Selling Mata, to a team that could quite easily challenge them for their own position in the league table. 

We will see... can't help but think that Mata will be a great signing for United and Mourinho will be kicking himself for failing to realise the talent at his footsteps. 

Done deal: Mata has already signed an undisclosed contract with United.

Midfield gem: Chelsea supporters will be kicking themselves as they see this picture...

Friday, 24 January 2014

FA Cup 4th Round, Arsenal vs Coventry - LIVE Commentary:

Friday night football: Arsenal host Coventry in the first FA Cup 4th Round tie of the weekend.

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have LIVE Commentary of the first FA Cup 4th Round tie, between EPL league leaders Arsenal and League One side Coventry.

The neutrals will be hoping for a big upset from the underdogs, with The Gunners having the opportunity to seal their place in the 5th Round with a comfortable win at home tonight. 

Here are the team line-ups:

Arsenal: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Gnabry, Podolski and Bendtner. 

Subs: Viviano, Sagna, Monreal, Zelalem, Flamini, Cazorla and Giroud. 

Coventry City: Murphy, Christie, Webster, Seaborne, Adams, Baker, Thomas, Fleck, Daniels, Moussa and L.Clarke. 

Subs: Burge, Willis,  J.Clarke, Haynes, Phillips, Barton and Slager. 

20:00 - 15 minutes played at The Emirates so far, and unsurprisingly it has been the hosts who have been dominating in possession, passing and chances. Jenkinson and Gibbs have done well to create many chances on the flanks, but Bendtner and Podolski are yet to take any of their chances. 

15: GOAL! And as soon as I say that... Podolski breaks the deadlock! 1-0 to the Arsenal, a good assist by midfielder Mesut Ozil who fed Podolski with a lovely weighted pass into the centre, two Germans linking together well before the striker goes around Murphy and slots from an acute angle into the bottom corner of the net. 


Home comforts: Podolski celebrates opening the scoring in the 15th minute from an acute angle. 
FACT: Arsenal have now scored at least once in 27 of their last 29 home FA Cup matches.

17: Coventry happy to keep hold of the ball, even if it is just for a few minutes as they try and get their breath back from having to constantly chase for the ball.

19: CLOSE! Coventry show they are not out of the tie yet, with captain Baker getting past two markers before using a bit of skill to turn Mertesacker inside out and his strike on target forces Fabianski into making a solid diving save.

24: CLOSE! Arsenal do well with some patient build-up play, before a ball is whipped straight to Gnabry who gets past a defender near the 18-yard box before having a strike towards goal, but his shot keeps rising and curls over the bar. 

26: Arsenal have a corner, whipped into the box by young German winger Serge Gnabry towards the back post, hitting Mertesacker on the back of his head before Podolski nods the ball into the back of the net. 2-0 to the Arsenal, and they are looking a bit more comfortable with a 2-goal cushion now. 

30: Arsenal supporters applaud as Cardiff start a protest holding up white pieces of paper (and banners) with the word "Why?" in bold - they are protesting as to how far they have to travel to play home games. 


Why? Coventry supporters protest as to why they cannot play home games - at HOME.

35: GREAT CHANCE! Arsenal could have made it 3-0, with Gibbs whipping another inviting ball into the box for someone to connect with - Jenkinson and Gnabry both see the ball, run towards it and try to hit it at the same time, with the strike flying over the bar. Should have got the shot on target, regardless of who hit the ball. 

38: CLOSE! Podolski almost completed his hat-trick! He has a strike towards goal from inside the area, but the shot goes over the bar... still 2-0. 

41: Wilshere is caught on the ankle in a nasty-looking challenge, and looks uncomfortable clutching the same ankle on the ground. The referee calls the physio, who assesses Wilshere and even though he limps to his feet, he is okay to continue after an asssessment from the physio.

45: The fourth official has signalled for 2 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the first-half at The Emirates. 

45+2: The referee blows his whistle to signal the end of the first-half of action at The Emirates. The hosts are unsurprisingly going into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead, thanks to a double from Podolski. 

20:45 - The players are emerging from the tunnel, and kick-off is just minutes away. Second half about to start. 

20:48 - The referee has blown his whistle, to begin the second-half of action with Arsenal leading by 2 goals to nil so far. No substitutions for either side at the minute. 

46: Coventry have a corner after some effective pressure, forcing Fabianski into making a poorly controlled touch in-front of goal. The corner is whipped into the box in a dangerous position, but the Polish stopper catches the ball comfortably to make up for his mistake. 

47: The visitors are starting to play a high line, they want to make it difficult for Arsenal - putting pressure on the defence and trying to retain possession when they can.

49: CLOSE! A great through ball in the midfield sets striker Leon Clarke up, lurking in behind the Arsenal defence beating the offside trap to see him one-on-one with Fabianski. Clarke runs towards the near post before having a strike parried away by the 2nd string keeper. 
Coventry starting to take the game to Arsenal now...

50: Clarke is limping uncomfortably, and goes to ground in some discomfort after his strike. Replays show that he was tackled instantaneously when he shot, with Koscielny doing well to sprint back and tackle the striker with his trailing leg and knee. 

52: The Coventry physio helps Clarke off the pitch, and they are currently assessing whether he will be able to continue or not as they prepare a substitution just in-case. Meanwhile, the game restarts with a Coventry throw-in.

55: Penalty appeal waved away by the referee, after winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is pushed off the ball near the touchline by defender Christie - the referee felt it was too soft to give a penalty and the ball rolls out for a goal-kick. 

56: CLOSE! Leon Clarke hits the outside of the post with a well-struck shot which swerved away from Fabianski, who was rooted to the spot and could only watch as the ball flew past him but the striker was denied by the post.

2-0 to Arsenal, but Coventry have started the second-half well and I would not be surprised if they scored the way they are currently playing. 

The manager has probably told his players at half-time "We are away from home against Arsenal - losing 2-0 but have nothing to lose. Give it your best shot, 45 minutes to play."

59: Another chances goes begging, again for Bendtner after some patient build-up play between Gnabry, Ozil and Wilshere, with the latter passing the ball straight to the Dane - who lashes at the strike and the shot goes well wide of the goal. 

65: A pitch invasion temporarily halts play, the referee picks up the ball and the players wait for the stewards to escort the half naked fan off the pitch. 

67: Goal-kick for Arsenal after a Coventry counter attack goes wide of the goal. 

69: Arsenal preparing two changes, with 16-year-old German- born wonderkid midfielder Gideon Zelalem and Santi Cazorla getting ready to come on. 

70: Arsenal SUBS:
Nicklas Bendtner OFF
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain OFF
Gideon Zelalem ON
Santi Cazorla ON

Fresh legs for The Gunners as they look to see out the tie against a rejuvenuated Coventry side who have looked impressive in the second-half, unlucky not to have scored earlier.

FACT: Zelalem becomes the first player to make his Arsenal debut, being born after Wenger started managing The Gunners in 1996

78: Arsenal making their last substitution of the game, with goalscorer Podolski being replaced;
Lukas Podolski OFF
Olivier Giroud ON

Giroud gets a 10-minute run-out, could he score a goal? 

81: Coventry make something of nothing, with young right-back Christie running down the flank beating Ozil before his delivery into the box is low and hard into no-one but Koscielny, who makes a last-ditch attempt to clear away the danger and ends up making it go out for a corner. 

82: The corner comes of nothing, as Coventry are penalised for a foul from an aerial challenge on Koscielny. 

84: GOAL! I said it didn't I?! Olivier Giroud scores 5 minutes after coming on replacing Podolski, thanks to a good cut-back on the flank by left-back Kieran Gibbs whose low cross into the box was failed to be cleared away and the Frenchman hit the strike low and hard into the bottom corner of the net.
3-0, and The Gunners have virtually sealed their place in the 5th Round (unless they concede 3 goals in 5+ minutes)

Super sub: Giroud comes off the bench to score as Arsenal cruised to a comfortable victory.
87: Cazorla hits a 60-yard ball out to the flank, before a ball is whipped into the box for Giroud to hit towards goal but the delivery is too high for the Frenchman to control properly whilst being marked by a defender, and he hits the ball first time - but it goes over the bar!

88: GOAL! Santi Cazorla takes advantage of a rebound after a save by the Coventry goalkeeper to hit the ball on the half-volley into the back of an empty net with the keeper out of position. 

4-0 up, and a little harsh on Coventry who have tested the Arsenal defence well at times, especially in the second-half when they have looked likely to score.

90: The fourth official has signalled for 4 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the match at The Emirates. Arsenal currently leading 4-0, and will be the first name in the draw for the 5th Round of the FA Cup. 

90+2: CLOSE! Mesut Ozil almost makes it 5-0 for the hosts, after lurking dangerously in the box before shaping to shoot and having a strike hit the post before bouncing out for a goal-kick.

90+4: The referee has blown his whistle to end the match, with Arsenal being the first team to qualify for the 5th Round of the FA Cup. Coventry played remarkably well in the second-half, showing courage and bravery to take the game to The Gunners at times - unlucky not to score. 

Encouraging: Debutant midfielder Gideon Zelalem played well for the 20 minutes he was given.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Chelsea vs Manchester United - LIVE Second Half:

Clash: Two of the best teams in England go against each other in the final match of the weekend.

Interesting encounter: Managers Mourinho and Moyes go head-to-head for a vital 3 points.
Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have LIVE Commentary in the late afternoon kick-off between 3rd placed Chelsea and 7th placed Manchester United. 

Both teams are desperate for a win, with The Blues looking to put a massive dent in United's title aspirations with a comfortable home win against the defending champions - even though United have been playing inconsistently, Chelsea have not yet reached top quality form but are easily able to finish off opponents with one or two flashes of attacking brilliance. 

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances I have been unable to commentate or publish any of the first half of the game - but I will be able to have analysis and commentary of the second half...

Here are the team line-ups:

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Luiz, Willian, Oscar, Hazard and Eto'o. 

Subs: Schwarzer, Cole, Lampard, Torres, Mata, Mikel and Matic. 

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Vidic, Evra, Jones, Carrick, Valencia, Januzaj, Young and Welbeck. 

Subs: Lindegaard, Giggs, Smalling, Hernandez, Cleverley, Fletcher and Kagawa. 

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire) 

HALF-TIME:

Chelsea 2 Manchester United 0 
The favourites to win this match are comfortably ahead at half-time, when they probably should not be. A brace from former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o gives the hosts a 2-0 lead going into the break.

Deflected strike: Eto'o scored with a deflected strike to make it 1-0 in the 17th minute. 

Tap-in: Eto'o made it 2-0 just before half-time after a pass across by Gary Cahill
FACT: Eto'o has now scored 5 goals in the EPL this season, and 7 in all competitions.

Under-fire opposition manager David Moyes will be pondering what exactly has gone wrong with his team today who have not played badly so far but have been taken advantage of on the counter attack.

17:03 - The referee has blown his whistle to kick-off the start of the second half at Stamford Bridge, with no substitutions for either side. 

50: GOAL! Sloppy marking and poor defending from United yet again from a corner sees Eto'o take advantage to tap past De Gea after he parries.. to make it 3-0. 

Chelsea supporters go completely mad with excitement as their team go 3-0 up against the defending champions.

51: It goes from bad to worse for United, with left-back Patrice Evra being forced off with an injury knock that he is unable to shake off;

Patrice Evra OFF
Chris Smalling ON

56: Valencia is booked for a cynical trip on full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, while Hernandez replaces Ashley Young in an attacking move to try and get United back into the game. 

63: Chelsea looking dangerous on the counter attack, with Oscar and Hazard running at the United defence with the latter having a deflected strike fly over the bar for a Chelsea corner. 

64: Nothing comes of the corner as United clear the ball out only for Chelsea to box them back into their own half.

66: Chelsea are preparing a sub, with defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel recieving instructions from Mourinho and the fourth official as he inspects his boots and shirt before he is allowed to come onto the pitch. 

67: Chelsea SUB:
Oscar OFF
John Obi Mikel ON

A case of fresh legs for Chelsea, with Oscar being given a warm reception after working hard both on the counter attack and defensively to shut out any potential United threats throughout. 

68: United get lucky with a corner, after Cahill's attempted clearance hits the back of Ramires and bounces out for a corner, which Adnan Januzaj whips well into the box for Welbeck whose attempted header is wide of Cech's goal. 

70: The visitors starting to press Chelsea for a goal again, with good link-up play on the flanks between Smalling and Januzaj either side, troubling Cech and Cahill while Hernandez gets in-behind the defence to press Cech who luckily keeps hold of the ball with a neat but bold piece of skill.

Lucky: Cech does well to keep the ball as Hernandez presses, close footwork for a goalkeeper! 
77: GOAL! A well-worked United goal with just over 10 minutes to play, with super sub Javier Hernandez scoring a tap-in from 6 yards out after good build-up play between Jones and Welbeck on the far side. Some of the Chelsea players put their hands up for an offside call, but the linesman kept his flag down and the goal counts.
Chelsea look slightly worried now... 

FACT: Hernandez has now scored 7 in his last 10 appearances against Chelsea.

78: Chelsea almost instantaneously make a substitution:
Samuel Eto'o OFF
Fernando Torres ON 

Warm reception for Eto'o, who has done well making the most out of virtually no chances - a hat-trick out of nothing... decent game.

82: United continue the pressure, with Januzaj drilling a cross into the box, but goalkeeper Petr Cech jumps highest to comfortably catch the ball and stop the danger. 

85: Chelsea SUB:
Willian OFF
Nemanja Matic ON 

Matic makes his second debut for Chelsea with 5 minutes to play following his £21million move from Benfica, replacing Willian who has caused havoc on the flank for the United full-backs.


88: Striker Fernando Torres limps off the pitch uncomfortably with the Chelsea physio with a knock, the hosts down to ten men momentarily...

90: The fourth official signals for 4 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the match, 4 minutes for United to score 2 goals... can they do it? 

90+1: Hazard goes on the counter attack with close control dribbling near the centre circle with many United players not back - Vidic goes in for a challenge and it is strong... Hazard goes down and looks in pain.

The referee runs towards Vidic, takes a card out of his pocket and it's a STRAIGHT RED CARD! United down to ten men for the remainder of the stoppage time period at the end of the game, as if it could not get any worse.

It was a reckless challenge from the United skipper, but with such little time left you would have thought it would be a yellow card at worst... Vidic looks in disgust and surprise as he walks down the tunnel with some Chelsea stewards.

90+4: Yet another reckless challenge from United, with full-back Rafael going in two-footed on Gary Cahill near the touchline, Jose Mourinho is not happy while Rafael is given a yellow card.

Replays show he was late and did not win the ball - probably should have been a red card if Vidic's challenge was a straight dismissal.

FULL-TIME:

Chelsea 3 Manchester United 1

90+5: The referee blows his whistle to end the match at Stamford Bridge, with 3rd Chelsea capping off an impressive display to beat the defending champions 3-1 at home, keeping pressure on pace setters Arsenal and Manchester City. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Sunderland vs Southampton - Analysis + Review:

Early kick-off: Sunderland hosted Southampton at home on Saturday afternoon.
Hello and welcome to my analysis and review of the early afternoon match in the EPL between Sunderland and Southampton, where 20th-placed Sunderland looked to move off the bottom of the table with a good result at home against an impressive Southampton side, who are currently in 9th place. 

The game could not have started any better for the visitors, who went 1-0 ahead after just 4 minutes thanks to a well-drilled shot by striker Jay Rodriguez, who hit the ball powerfully past a few defenders who were marking him into the bottom corner of the net past helpless goalkeeper Vito Mannone who could just watch as Sunderland trailed early on in the first-half. 


Early opener: Rodriguez celebrates his strike to give Southampton the lead after 4 minutes.
It then went from bad to worse for the hosts, with defender Dejan Lovren converted a half-volley strike in the 31st minute from a corner set-piece which fired into the bottom corner out of Mannone's reach as Southampton pressed on for the 3 points against a fatigued Sunderland side who were being simply dominated in the first 25 minutes. 


Just like a striker: Lovren doubles Southampton's lead with a half-volley strike. 

Lovren celebrates with highly-rated teenager Luke Shaw and manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Luckily for Sunderland though, they pulled a goal back just a minute later thanks to on-loan Liverpool striker Fabio Borini who could not believe his luck after going through on goal unmarked before lashing at the strike, which span past Boruc who could only flap at it while off-balance to make it 2-1.


Lashing at it: Borini got lucky with a strike to make it 2-1 before half-time. 
Boruc should have comfortably saved the shot, but Sunderland did not mind. 

It was 2-1 at half-time, with Southampton deservedly leading at the break despite only being a goal ahead even though they could have quite easily been 3 or 4. Sunderland on the other hand knew that they were still in the game, despite playing poorly and failing to mark or press their opposition to make a mistake for the majority of the first half, much to their fans' discontent.

Sunderland came out for the second half with a different game plan, making substitutes along the way as they searched for an equaliser in a game they probably should not have got a result out of in the first place. 
Southampton were doing well defensively, with Lambert and Rodriguez both missing chances for the visitors as The Black Cats continued to press for another goal. 

Sunderland eventually equalised to make it 2-2, with English forward Adam Johnson finding a way through on goal - getting the ball from a switch of the play pass before running into a yard of space to smash his strike past Boruc at the near post into the roof of the net.

The equaliser: Adam Johnson was patient, finding space to strike past Boruc to equalise.
The match ended 2-2 in the end, with the last few minutes marred by two worrying injuries for Southampton with substitute Gaston Ramirez and Dejan Lovren being forced off just before full-time (Ramirez with a nasty-looking injury from Wes Brown's mistimed challenge, while Lovren was injured in a 50-50 challenge for the ball)

Nasty: Wes Brown was late with a challenge on substitute Gaston Ramirez.
Ouch: The cameras showed the full extent of the tackle, which left Ramirez in a heap
Unfortunate: Southampton drew the game, and ended up losing two of their players to injury
Concern: Lovren and Ramirez were both taken to hospital for their respective injuries. 

(MORE TO FOLLOW - SOON) 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

EPL: Manchester United vs Swansea - LIVE Commentary



Hello and welcome to my latest blog post where I have LIVE Commentary of an EPL match being played today - with 7th placed Manchester United hosting Swansea for the second time in a week at Old Trafford, this time in a league match where they hope to win their first game in 4. 


The earlier results in the EPL:

Hull City 0 Chelsea 2
The Blues moved top of the table (at least for now..) with a comfortable 2-0 away win against Hull in the early afternoon kick-off. 

Cardiff City 0 West Ham United 2

Everton 2 Norwich City 0

Tottenham 2 Crystal Palace 0 

Fulham 1 Sunderland 4

Southampton 1 West Bromwich Albion 0

LIVE Coverage: 

17:30 - The referee has blown his whistle to kick-off the match at Old Trafford, here are the team line-ups: 

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Valencia, Kagawa, Januzaj and Welbeck.

Subs: Lindegaard, Cleverley, Buttner, Hernandez, Giggs and Lingard. 

Swansea: Tremmel, Rangel, Amat, Williams, Ben Davies, Britton, Canas, Pozuelo, Shelvey, Routledge and Bony. 


Subs: Taylor, Chico, Cornell, Vazquez, Richards, Donnelly and Lucas. 

17:45 - 15 minutes played at Old Trafford, and it's been an interesting start to the game.. United looking lively but not pressing which gives Swansea time to counter attack despite not having much ball possession.

Young Belgian midfielder Adnan Januzaj has hit the crossbar with a 20-yard swerving effort from a free-kick, and Swansea could have broken the deadlock also but have failed to test de Gea as of yet. 

16: Swansea are being forced into making an early substitution, with defensive midfielder Jose Canas limping with a knock that he cannot shake off. 

17: Swansea SUB:
Jose Canas OFF (injury)
Chico Flores ON

Flores is a solid replacement for Canas, which will make it slightly harder for United to break down if he slots into defensive midfield or plays as a centre-back. 

20: A Swansea corner comes of nothing as a nice one-two move between Pozuelo and Shelvey near the touchline does not find any Swansea player in the penalty area.

24: Swansea comfortable to hold ball possession looking for space, occasionally getting tackled in midfield but happy to control the tempo of the game as they look for the opener. 

27: Good build-up play by United, with the attacking move culminating with left-back Patrice Evra having a strike just inside the box caught comfortably across goal by Tremmel.

30: Swansea doing well to hold off any United counter attacks, with the defence holding out. Januzaj and Welbeck are trying to push Chico and Williams back. 

34: United with another chance as a delivery by Evra into the box ends up at the feet of Scottish midfielder Darren Fletcher, who hits the ball with power and swerve, but the strike keeps rising and flies over the bar into the crowd. Unlucky.

35: A long ball finds Bony from 20 yards out, and the striker heads the ball straight into De Gea's comfortable gloves. 

37: A glorious chance for Welbeck to break the deadlock there! Good passing across the box finds the young English striker open in space with only Tremmel to beat, but the finish was not powerful enough or accurate enough - the ball fizzles out for a goal-kick. 

39: Swansea's young Spanish starlet Pozuelo does well to beat two United defenders with close dribbling on the ball, before feeding Shelvey with a through ball across the box but the Englishman's strike does not trouble de Gea and trickles away from the post.

45: The fourth official signals for 2 minutes of stoppage time to be added on, while Swansea continue the goalmouth pressure on their hosts.

45+2: The referee has blown his whistle for half-time at Old Trafford, with the scoreline still goal-less despite United dominating in terms of goal-scoring chances. I doubt it will stay 0-0 though....

18:34 - The teams are running out onto the pitch, ready for the second 45 minutes. 

45: The referee blows his whistle, and United instantly go on the counter attack with Januzaj trying to cross the ball into the box despite being pressed by a Swansea defender near the area.

46: GOAL! United have broken the deadlock finally, and it was coming! Regardless of whether it was a lucky or easy goal, winger Antonio Valencia opens the scoring straight after the restart with a rebounded shot after Tremmel parried away Kagawa's header at the far post. 


Advantage: Valencia smashes the rebound into the back of the net from Kagawa's saved header.

Surprise scorer: Valencia celebrates with relief as he puts United ahead after the break
47: The opener comes as huge relief for United, having so many chances and no goals to show for it. 1-0 to the hosts, will they defend their lead or go for more? Swansea aren't out of the fight yet, don't count them out. 

58: GOAL! United make it 2-0!! striker Danny Welbeck finally gets his goal, with a cheeky flick from a strike by Evra which deflected off his heel and beat Tremmel into the bottom corner of the net. United comfortable now with a 2-goal cushion but Swansea will feel hard done by that they are 2-0 down..


Flick and in: striker Danny Welbeck celebrates his back flick to make it 2-0 to United.
60: It will be harder for Swansea to get back into the game, manager Michael Laudrup needs to make a few changes if he wants anything out of the game now.

61: The United fans are in full voice now as Swansea prepare for a substitution.

62: Swansea SUB:
Jonjo Shelvey OFF
Alvaro Vazquez ON

Vazquez comes on as an attacking option for Swansea (with Shelvey having a decent game) to help Bony in the middle of attack - can he contribute to the team and help them get back into the game? 

65: Another chance for United as Kagawa does well to feed a drilled cross into the box for a darting Smalling to tap towards goal... but he doesn't get his foot through the ball and his strike misses the target and flies over the bar. Could have easily made it 3-0 there... 

70: United look comfortable to hold this 2-0 lead now, Swansea need to conjure up something to even get back into this game let alone salvage a point.

80: Manchester United SUB:
Patrice Evra OFF
Alexander Buttner ON

Buttner gets 10 minutes of football after starting during midweek's 2-1 loss against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg - a case of fresh legs.

83: Yes, I said it - United are happy to keep the ball with good interchanging play by Fletcher and Januzaj, who can blame them... they want a comfortable win and a clean sheet is a bonus.

86: Manchester United SUB:
Danny Welbeck OFF

Javier Hernandez ON

90: The fourth official has signalled for 3 minutes of stoppage time to play at Old Trafford, with United virtually sealing the three points and playing down the clock. 

90+2: Swansea have a free-kick from 25 yards out, with striker Wilfried Bony stepping over the set-piece wanting to have a strike... and the strike stays in the air and goes over the bar with De Gea watching it go over his head and narrowly over the crossbar. 

90+3: The referee blows his whistle to end the game at Old Trafford, with United winning at home thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over Swansea. 

My Man Of The Match:
Adnan Januzaj 


The young Belgian was a pest for the Swansea defence to deal with throughout the game, almost scored a great free-kick from 20 yards out in the first-half and created many chances for the rest of his team-mates to take advantage of.


Pest: Januzaj is my MOTM, as he created many chances and almost scored for United today.
Was involved in both goals, crossing the ball into the box for Kagawa's header (which Valencia smashed into the net) before finding Evra's darting run into the box (which Welbeck flicked into the bottom corner of the net) 

He has a lot of potential to fulfil, at the tender age of 18 he could become one of the best creative midfielders in the world in a few years, as long as he focuses on his development, makes sure he stops diving and does not let the hype get to him. 

Thank you for reading my blog post today, I should have more LIVE Commentaries tomorrow afternoon as Newcastle host Manchester City (2.05pm) and Liverpool play against Stoke City (4.10pm)

I appreciate all of the support from daily views and my followers - it means a lot to me and helps motivate me to continue publishing consistent and quality football content. Do not forget to click on my other pages on the blog (transfer news, football news, updates and the latest done deals) for more content :)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Manchester United vs Swansea - LIVE Coverage:

Interesting tie: United host Swansea at Old Trafford in the early evening game in the FA Cup.

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have more FA Cup 3rd Round action from EPL teams on a Sunday afternoon for all to enjoy. Today's featured game for me to cover is the match between Manchester United and Swansea at Old Trafford. 

Here are the results (including EPL teams only) from earlier matches being played today:

Nottingham Forest 5 West Ham 0 
Sunderland 3 Carlisle United 1
Derby County 0 Chelsea 2
Liverpool 2 Oldham Athletic 0

Here is the LIVE Coverage, enjoy:

17:42 - The second half has already begun at Old Trafford, where the scoreline is currently 1-1. Goals from winger Wayne Routledge and super sub Javier Hernandez in the first-half of action has made this game interesting, going into the last 45 minutes of play in the FA Cup this weekend. 


Opener: Routledge broke the deadlock with a delicate chip past Lindegaard in the 12th minute.

Swansea celebrate their goal while United walk back to the centre circle with disappointment.
That was quick: Hernandez slots past Tremmel into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-1. 
60: 30 minutes left of play, with both sides looking desperate to score again to put intense pressure on the opposite side - Januzaj is recieving instructions from the United coaches as he prepares to come on for Manchester United. 

62: Manchester United SUB:
Antonio Valencia OFF
Adnan Januzaj ON

Fresh legs for United, as they look to Januzaj to provide more playmaking ability in the midfield which they have lacked in the first hour of the game. 

63: Swansea SUB:
Jonjo Shelvey OFF
Jose Canas ON

A case of fresh legs and a slightly more defensive approach for manager Michael Laudrup's side - Shelvey looks tired having worked hard in the hub of midfield and Canas can do a job for Swansea. They would probably take a draw and a replay at this stage. 

65: Manchester United are yet to really test second string goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel apart from the goal, he has not seen much of the ball and you feel that if they could get Januzaj and Welbeck on the ball more to test the goalkeeper then perhaps they could score again. 

70: 20 minutes left to play, and now suddenly the balance has changed again... United are struggling to find the final ball while Swansea are pressing well and keeping hold of possession.

71: United have a free-kick in a dangerous position after left-back Buttner goes to ground easily after a push by a Swansea defender near the touchline. Cleverley takes the set-piece but nothing comes of it and United are lucky to have a corner.

73: The corner comes of nothing, but United do well with a counter attacking one-touch move between Kagawa and Cleverley. 

74: Defender Rio Ferdinand goes to ground looking uncomfortable after a clash of knees with Swansea striker Wilfried Bony, looks sore as he clutches his knee.

75: United forced into a substitution, as Ferdinand cannot continue as a result;
SUB:
Rio Ferdinand OFF (injury)
Fabio ON 

76: Looks like a precautionary measure as Ferdinand hobbles down the touchline with a member of the United physio staff.
The game restarts as the referee blows his whistle.

77: The game is halted once again as Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman accidentally puts his studs into left-back Alexander Buttner's arm.. Looks painful yet again.

79: Bony working hard for Swansea down the flank, but is unable to have a strike on goal after running 35 yards and being tackled by Buttner who literally runs as fast as he can from being treated on the wing with a last-ditch tackle.

80: RED CARD! Full-back Fabio slides in recklessly with a lunging two-footed challenge on midfielder Jose Canas, with a high and late tackle. Referee Mike Dean has no choice but to send the substitute off, with United now looking vulnerable with 10 minutes plus stoppages to play. 

82: Canas is on the touchline clutching his ankle in pain, with the physio giving him treatment - while defender Chico Flores is given a yellow card for a silly trip on Hernandez.

85: Swansea SUB:
Jonathan de Guzman OFF
Alvaro Vasquez ON 

88: Swansea going all out for a late winner at Old Trafford, with the game now going end-to-end, both sides having chances. 

89: GOAL! It was coming..... Swansea go on the counter attack yet again, this time winger Wayne Routledge goes down the wing before beating his marker with electric pace and crosses the ball into the box for striker Wilfried Bony to head past a helpless Lindegaard who can only dive and watch as the strike flies past him into the top corner of the net. 


History in the making: Wilfried Bony heads Swansea into the lead with minutes remaining at OT

Clinical: Bony celebrates his 13th goal in all competitions this season to give Swansea the lead.
90: The fourth official signals for 4 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the match at Old Trafford, United desperate for a late equaliser now, trailing with minutes to go. 

90+3: Bony and Vasquez have strikes towards goal, but both efforts are off target and United players' tempers are certainly flaring now - they are getting easily frustrated and are wishing for more time as they can see the inevitable.

90+4: The referee blows his whistle for full-time at Old Trafford. United lose their second consecutive home game in less than a week (against Tottenham and now Swansea), for the second time this season (against Newcastle and Everton) while Swansea progress to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup after playing a good game of football away from home against the defending champions. 

FACT: This is the first time that Swansea have beaten United away at Old Trafford.

FACT: This is also the first time that Manchester United have not progressed past the 3rd Round of the FA Cup since 2010, when they lost to underdogs Leeds.


And here is the official FA Cup draw for the 4th Round Fixtures, to be played on the weekend of the 25/26th January:

Sunderland vs Kidderminster/Peterborough
Bolton Wanderers vs Cardiff City
Southampton vs Yeovil 
Southend vs Hull
Arsenal vs Coventry
Stevenage vs Everton
Wigan/MK Dons vs Crystal Palace
Chelsea vs Stoke City
Blackburn/Manchester City vs Bristol City/Watford
Bournemouth vs Liverpool
Birmingham/Bristol Rovers/Crawley vs Swansea City
Sheffield United vs Norwich/Fulham

Thank you for reading my blog post today, I appreciate all of the daily support from my readers and followers on both Twitter and Google+. Long may it continue!

I am striving to get out more and more football content in a busy month of football ahead, and I apologise ahead in advance if I am inconsistent in my publishing times. I will make up for it, and don't be afraid to comment down below (and the bottom of the post) with critisicims or any comments/opinions on football.