EPL Gameweek 25 Sunday Review

2 Games left, Everton vs Tottenham and Manchester United vs Fulham

Tottenham Vs Everton:
The battle for the 4th spot i.e the champions league spot has brought out the best in them.
With Manchester united having a disastrous season as compared to their other seasons, they would be out to prove a point and score some points.
Liverpool is currently 4th and thus Both these teams would look forward to grabbing that spot from them.
The match begun at a normal note, some failed attacks, many fouls, free kicks.
The only highlights were from Leighton Baines, Steven Pienaar and then Aaron Lennon.
Rest players were average throughout the match.
Adebayor then scored a goal from a brilliant pass from Kyle Walker and thus sealed the fate of Everton.
According to me, The match should have either tied or Everton should have won.
But, its not Tottenham’s mistake.
Everton got tons of chances, but failed to convert every time.
Every forward of theirs got around 2-3 chances each.
many a times, the hots were off target.
How can you score, if you cant hit your ball on target.?
This is one question the team has to decide.
I know the absence of their first preferred striker Lukaku has affected them to a great extent.
But that doesn’t mean other players cant fulfill the deed.
The match was a So-So match where one won;t want to even have a debate on.
The attempts could have been better, but in the end the winner takes it all.
So Tottenham sit on 5th for now, with a 2point cushion over Everton and a 3 point distance from Liverpool
Looking forward for an exciting finish for the 4th spot..!!

Manchester United vs Fulham:
This match is for both the teams  to revive some pride.
You know why?
Fulham is 20th on the league table, that means last.
This is their worst season as compared to the other seasons at this stage.
So they would want 3 points to climb out of the relegation zone.

For Manchester United, this season has been extraordinary.
By extraordinary i mean, very bad.!!
Losing away matches is one thing, but losing at home very often means, the team or the strategy, one is failing.
Manchester has the team, has the strategy, but the only thing missing is, the connection of the team.

So a bit of a highlight from my side:

One of the best chip passes by Holtby found Sidwell who tapped it in to give Fulham a lead within 25 minutes…
The cross exposed the Manchester defense and thus Sidwell was clear in the field with just a tap needed to finish the task.
Yet again, Manchester conceded early. Why am i not surprised?
Later, A brilliant chance by Van Persie was missed as he mistimed his volley on the 22nd minute
Fulham’s defense was very good, they maintained a good line, clearing all air duels contested.
The team’s goal is to come out of the relegation zone.
I think, no more motivation is needed for any team then right?
Throughout, the first half, Steklenberg, Fulham’s keeper made fine saves, was aggressive when needed, kept Van persie and Ashley Young from scoring goals.
A brilliant volley by veteran Carrick near the half hour mark, almost went in but missed the target.
Manchester United had many chances but the conversion rate and the existence of players to finish the task were almost nil.
 On the 36th minute, Richardson almost got to score from a counter attack which seemed to go Fulham’s way, but the shot was hit above the cross bar.. what a bad finish.. could have made it 2-0.
2 minutes later, Manchester pressurized the Fulham defense which nearly leaked a goal, but thanks to their positioning, they just fell too short.
A corner in the next minute saw Vidic head the ball directly to the keeper’s hands.
Till half time, Manchester put a lot of pressure on Fulham but failed to convert.
Many failed crosses to be exact 46 crosses according to Star Sports, but no result, air duels were lost which meant Manchester were attempting a lot, but the end result remained the same till half time.
Next half saw the same scenario with Manchester playing crosses as their prime weapon.
One shot from Rooney on 53rd minute was smartly saved by the keeper.
Indeed the best of the match.
Manchester kept pressurizing and it felt not too long before they scored a goal..
The introduction of Januzaj, Valencia and Hernandez meant, Fulham would indeed be PARKING THE BUS for a long time.
2 quick goals from Van Persie and Carrick in 2 minutes gave Manchester the lead which they deserved..
But, in the end, Darren bent scored a heartbreak which meant that Fulham took a point away from a team that deserved everything!! Too sad for Manchester!

EPL Gameweek 25 Saturday Review

West Ham Utd vs Aston Villa
Nolan was indeed the man of the match and was on prime form with 3-4 long balls during the match which almost converted into a goal..
One more thing which the manager and fans would be happy with is the partnership of the experienced midfielders Downing and Nolan. They are combining to good extent already and i expect them to be the cause for West ham to increase their position in the premier league. With Shane long looking good this team looks set for more better performances in the next few games.
Now what was West ham’s power?
The aggressiveness is what gave them an edge over Aston villa
Aston villa had tons of chances and believe me they came too close to scoring right till the end of the match.
Its one of those days in a soccer match that you have all the ingredients but the mixing is what doesn’t happen as per requirements.
The same happened with them.
They just did everything apart from scoring.
I’m of the opinion that if you cant be on target stop blaming anyone for the loss..
If you have to blame someone.. Blame yourself.. and your lack of accuracy.
They hit the crossbar twice and that’s the only consolation they can take back with them , the twin cross bar hits were one by Marc Albrighton the upcoming Aston villa star who looked good during the match, and second by Benteke who in the pre season and the first few games of the league was the top scorer of the premier league.. an injury cost him many matches and villa lost many on the way…… its high time the lad starts coming on the score sheet on a consistent basis.. because the wait is being suffered by Aston villa.. the fans are supporting the team, why wont they? But the main matter of concern is the proximity of the last 10teams to the relegation zone… One loss and little bad luck will get you to the zone. As you know they are on 10th spot pre-match and 12th post match. The cushion is gone and now only 3-5 points differentiate last 10teams.. beat that..
Surprising right? Cardiff and Sunderland who were sure shot prone to relegation are already out of it with string  of wins in their kitty thanks to their forwards.
For Aston  villa,
Unless Benteke and others sort out their goals, they will keep losing points.
Final score West ham 2 – 0 Aston Villa 

Sunderland vs Hull City
Sunderland had lost just 1 out of last 5 matches..
Riding on the form of Johnson who was adjudged the player of month, they jumped out of the relegation zone and seemed to be riding the success train. They looked favorites at home..
Hull started well in the first 10 minutes and a mistake by Sunderland defense who ended up giving a pass to Shane long who got fouled outside the penalty area by Wes brown.. Red card indeed.. as it was a last man challenge..
The free kick wasn’t converted by Tom Huddlestone, but some minutes later, a.corner headed in by Shane long gave them a goal..  an away goal.
How important was that.
Some minutes later, Shane long whose confidence was high almost scored but his effort kissed the crossbar..
Later a series of deflections almost gave Hull a second goal..
finally, another deflection gave Jelavic the ball clear from the defense who just headed it in..!!
That goal couldn’t be saved and Sunderland were indeed Unlucky to concede that.
Final score Sunderland 0 – 2 Hull city

Swansea vs Cardiff City
Without their manager, Swansea were the ones to be tensed.. but from.the word go? They showed character and played well.. a series of chances missed by Routledge and Swansea..
Finally, a ball passed to Routledge was finished well by him.
Next half, Swansea looked to play easy and Cardiff came on guns blazing,  with Craig Bellamy hitting the cross bar which was nearly a goal..
Another chance in the penalty are not converted which showed us that Cardiff was into serious business
Then a.brilliant cross by Routledge to dyer who headed it d perfectly..
Routledge passed and dint be selfish..
Again another corner which resulted bony into heading it right into the goal which meant swansea took 3 well deserved points..

Chelsea vs Newcastle
Passes by Etoo have been brilliant during the entire match..
Matic playing a good role..
Lampard taking shots
Cech saving shots well..
Ivanovic playing a good winger performance with his defensive duties..
Hazard was par excellence!!
He indeed is a legend in the making
His form is sky rocketing.
Its too early to call him a star as it needs consistency but for now, the lad is on cloud 9…
The word hazardous is definitely termed for him..
Thus hazards performance can be defined in one word..  HAZARDOUS
Chelsea were very good on the counter attack.
Willian orchestrated the play and his form has been consistent enough in recent weeks.
Brilliant one-two passing by Etoo and Hazard which resulted in the Belgian’s second of the match
A big mistake by Krul almost resulted in a weird goal as he forgot the basic rule that you can’t catch a ball outside the box..
Krul had that happy realization on time. If that would go inside the net, he would be the butt of jokes for the entire month not forgetting the different memes which would horrify him to the full extent
Lampard is back in form and he proved his worth to start games which is a good news..
Salah debuting today almost scored but was denied by Krul.
Newcastle didn’t make the most of their chances and Cech who was aggressive was partly the reason of their not scoring..
Newcastle woke up at the very end of the match which thus didn’t matter..

Apart from Chelsea vs Newcastle and Liverpool vs Arsenal the other reviews are given just by checking the highlights and post match interviews as many matches were showcased at the same time, and only 2 matches were being screened.
Do comment on how you thought the matches fared and if any facts i missed out on!

India vs New Zealand – Test Match Review 6-9 Feb 2014

New Zealand won the match on Day 5 by 40 runs!!
India’s misery continues!!
900+ days since India won a Test match abroad..!!
Why did this happen?

Lets rewind a few days back!!

Day 1:
New Zealand batted well, or you can say our bowlers just bowled poorly to concede runs
Can you believe the fact that, being a test match, they scored over a rate of 4 runs per over!!
The score they set was 500+ with Brendon Mccullum scoring a double hundred (224)

Day 2:
India well, just couldn’t do much could they?
Not only was the bowling bad, but also was the batting!!
India all out for 202… well below Mccullum’s score of 224..
Such a shame!!
11 batsmen couldn’t score what one guy did..!!

Day 3:
New Zealand gave a below par performance in their batting, Or you can say that India’s bowling found their zing back, as they rattled the home team for a total of 105..!!!
That gave India a target of  407.
India batted decently to finish the day 4 on a high note at 87/1 in 25-30 overs!
That meant India needed around 320 odd runs in 80-90 overs. Possible to win right?

Let it be known that from the time, Test cricket was born, there have been over 2000+ tests played, only 4 instances where a team has chased down a total of 400+
Will India do the impossible was the question doing the rounds!!

India started on a high note with Virat kohli scoring a fifty (67) and Shikhar dhawan regaining his lost form to score a well deserved century. (115)
After tea, the score stood at 270/5
India needed just 139 runs with 30-35 overs to spare!!
Pretty good for the team!!
The match was tilting towards India’s favour!
Now the team knew that The home team would come on full attack mode and will try to take the wickets down asap!!
The first Ball after tea saw Tim Southee, NZ’s best and most experienced bowler pick up the wicket of a settled Rohit Sharma!!
The match came back to NZ’s favour!!
With Jadeja on crease, It was a dim ray of light on India’s chances of winning!!
For what its worth, they both started hammering the home team by coming up with a partnership of 50 within 32 balls!!
Too quick right? they should have slowed down, but Jadeja had other plans. He went for another delivery to transfer it to the boundary but got caught within the 30 yard circle!! He got out for 26.
India’s hopes fell down immediately.
With 89 runs needed, Zaheer Khan came on crease.
He managed to keep Dhoni company and hit 17 valuable runs!!
Then Dhoni almost never allowed Ishant to play one delivery and kept the strike with himself.
He got out on 39 thereby completely diminshing India’s hope for a miracle!!
India lost by 40+ runs
New Zealand were delighted with their victory and their captain Brendon Mccullum was awarded the M-O-M performance of 224.

What went wrong for India:

1) Over dependency on batting is what made India’s downfall evident.

2) No depth in the bowling line up meant the same bowlers got hammered every match!!

3) Reserves were not given a chance:
Ishwar Pandey, Amit mIshra were good picks but were sidelined.. why?
In the reserves game with the home team reserves, Ishwar Pandey took 3 wickets. He is quicker than our pack too!!

4) Our bowlers are not fast enough. I don’t mean to insult but the foreign team players are far more used to playing to speeds above 140.. Apart from Vaunt Aaron and BC Kumar i haven’t seen pacers reaching that speed on consistent levels.

5) If not pace, then we all know Glen McGrath. Did he need pace?
No.. he used line and length to utmost utility. He was a delight to watch during his career.
So if our players can’t reach that speed, why can’t they bowl a suitable line and length to minimize runs!!
That’s one thing which can be done right?

6) Our team of selectors and many fans believed that youth are the future!!
I do agree, but only till a certain part.
If you all remmember, we won the World Cup, due to the experience of all our senior players!!
the youth put up their best performance, but they need a guide!!
Unfortunately, apart from the captain and Zaheer we have none!

7) The key is to bring back certain players so that the team can re-balance!!
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag..
I know they have been given enough chance, but even our opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma has failed to deliver throughout for months!!
Thus we do need a little experience on the top and let me remind you, After Sachin and Sourav, we have never had a better opening pair then Sehwag and Gambhir.
The Delhi boys have given us consistent openings with scores of 50+

8) The pack of bowlers needs to be changed.
Zaheer at 32+ is still picking up wickets consistently, why can’t our youngsters do that?
Get some players who have been playing in the Ranji Trophy.
They would be hungry enough and motivated to make their name in this game!!

9) The middle order is burdening Cheteshwar Pujara!!
That lad is good, but needs company also.

These are my views on this test.
if changes are not made, then it wont be a surprise if we loose the next test too..!!

My verdict- New Zealand are weaker than our side in actual terms, they are playing normal cricket, we aren’t… We need to strike, and connect, and I’m sure we can win the next match!

Liverpool vs Arsenal – EPL Gameweek 25

Liverpool and Arsenal..
These teams are a part of history when it comes to the world of English football..
With the list of titles overflowing in their kitty, these two clubs are a dream for many players who want to make it big in the world of soccer!!

Its obvious these teams have a history with each other..
Overall, these two have had fierce meetings and many a times the games have been high scoring!!
Both have won some what equally, thus making this encounter a fierce one!

Today, Liverpool who are trying their luck with fate to enter the champions league spot, i.e 4th spot by defeating Arsenal who are sitting on the top of the premier league with a 8 point cushion over Liverpool.

Liverpool, finally had their best forward combination in a decade i.e Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge who have an average of 80 minutes per goal in this season… That’s magnificent..!!

Arsenal had their worst injury struck campaign as Aaron Ramsey and  Theo Walcott, their prime players out for a couple of months!!

The match was an early kick-off 12.45 London time, and Arsene Wenger said that he expected Liverpool to go guns blazing on them!!
That surely happened, as from the word GO…, Liverpool ran for a superb attack which led to a foul within 40 seconds of the match.
The result, Steven Gerrard, the play-maker takes a free kick, which is met by Martin Skrtel who scores a header within a minute!!
Imagine.. going 0-1 down within a minute.. what impact does it have on a team?
Their morale goes down, doesn’t it?
It did happen, as Arsenal kept losing the ball at regular intervals, and within 10 Minutes, the same scenario repeated again.
A Stevie Gerrard corner kick led to an amazing header from the one and only Martin Skrtel who yet scored again!!
Now, Arsenal players were to be blamed completely as the defense was badly organized and it felt like they had already given up for the match.
Every time, Liverpool got the ball, it felt like an attack sure to hit the net.
Then 3 minutes later, another goal.
The defense exposed, a ball put through from the right flank by Luis Suarez which was met by Rahim Sterling who just tapped the ball into its place!!
Scoreline after 15 minutes: ARS 0 – 3 LIV

Then, the same scenario for the next few minutes kept happening as Liverpool were toying around an Arsenal side whose Midfielders were defending better than the defenders!!
On 20th minute, another goal..!!!
A brilliant ball from Coutinho which beat the defense and was well placed to Daniel Sturridge who didn’t hesitate to tap it in..!!
The expression on Arsenal’s keeper Szczesny said it all. he shouted on top of his lungs , but the dejected players were all but broken!!
Score after 20 minutes ARS 0-4 LIV.


4-0 after 20 minutes.. everyone was spellbound..!!
No one expected a fight back from Arsenal, let alone score 1 goal for a consolation.
The next 25 minutes was evenly played out, with Arsenal keeping more Ball possession and trying to attack.
So late, but still a decent effort could be seen by the lads who just got smacked badly..!!

As the first half got done, the pundits gave their verdict that a 7-0, 8-0 is any day possible and that Liverpool will surely play with ease!!
That did happen, as when the second half went underway, Liverpool took not more than 10 minutes to score a goal.
Rahim Sterling was upto it again, the young midfielder took a shot and got the reward.!!
Liv 5- 0 Ars
What a scoreline!!
Arsenal fans dejected..
Before the Hour mark, a string of 3 substitutions were done by Arsenal.
Oliver Giroud was replaced by Lukas Podolski
Mesut Ozil being replaced by Tomas Rosicky
Nacho Monreal being replaced by Kieran Gibbs

A string of off sides for Liverpool didn’t allow them to score more!
Then after an hour, Gerrard’s foul on Alex Ox lade Chamberlain gave Arsenal a penalty which was well converted by Mikel Arteta.
LIV 5- 1 ARS.

Further in the last 20 minutes of the match, both sides tried to evade each others attack and ended up not scoring!!
Liverpool 5- 1 Arsenal..

Things learnt in the match:

1) When Liverpool has started Suarez and Sturridge together, the chances of scoring turn higher!!

2) Steven Gerrard played deep in his own half like a defender not going ahead, just anchoring the play from behind showing youngsters and other players the dedication a player must have towards his team.

3) Arsenal defenders were very poor right from the start.
The combination of The center backs was not upto the mark.

4)Lukas Podolski should be given more playing time, For the time being, Arsenal should play 2 forwards increasing their chances of scoring!!

5) Jack Wilshere was good in the team’s defense too which is an add on to the team!!

6) Arsenal managed more passes  than Liverpool in the entire match which goes to prove that the ball was more with them, but the conversion rate of Liverpool ended up on a high note!!

7) Finally, Arsenal will have to gear up to their Plan B as they have now lost the top spot to Chelsea who are a point ahead thanks to Eden Hazard’s Hat trick which gave them a 3-0 win over Newcastle United.