We are back! Our past few weeks have been slammed with work, so we haven’t been able to post many articles except a few videos. So this single article will help breakdown briefly what we’ve missed over the past few weeks.
United vs City
The game that decided it all. The title race came down to the huge derby between the Manchester Clubs at the top of the table. In a lackluster performance from a controversial squad chosen by Alex Ferguson, Manchester United struggled to create many chances going forward. With red hot Valencia, Hernandez, and Welbeck all on the bench Sir Alex chose a conservative lineup with Giggs, Scholes, and Park all in the lineup. That left Rooney and Nani to generate all the chances. Ultimately Vincent Kompany’s header proved to be the difference at the end and catapulted them level with United with only 2 games left.
Drogba’s phenomenal scoring record in cup finals continued again when Liverpool faced Chelsea in the FA Cup final. After a great through ball by Mata, Ramires was in on goal and scored near post on Pepe Reina. Drogba then scored with 40 minutes left giving Chelsea a 2-0 lead. Within the next 15 minutes Andy Carroll, with a great run into the box, showed great skill to get John Terry off balance and put a rocket in the roof of the net. For the rest of the game Liverpool put constant pressure on the Petr Cech. Their best chance to equalize was on a cross by Luis Suarez to the back post towards Andy Carroll. Carroll put a firm header into the top corner only to be stopped by a great reaction save by Cech. After looking at replays it was clear that it was definitely a close call, but a correct one. Not many other chances were made and Roberto Di Matteo went on to win his first trophy as manager of Chelsea. Let us see if he can snag another in the Champions League Final next week.
In the Semi Finals Chelsea defeated Barcelona in an epic 1-0 nil win followed by a 2-2 draw and Bayern Munich defeated Real Madrid in a penalty shootout. Manuel Neuer blocked both Ronaldo and Kaka’s penalties followed by Sergio Ramos’ blast into the parking lot was what sunk Madrid. In the other match up Messi missed a PK that proved vital when Fernando Torres in the 90th minute touched the ball past Victor Valdes and passed the ball into the back of the net securing their place in the final. Due to suspensions the final will not include key figures for each side. David Luiz and Gary Cahill are both fighting to be back in time for the final.
After scoring two this weekend against Bolton, Dempsey hit the back of the net with a header against Chelsea on Monday. With less then 10 minutes remaining Dempsey flicked a corner kick far post past a stunned Petr Cech. Dempsey is now level with Demba Ba in 4th this season in the Premier League with 16 goals. Dempsey is now proving he is not only the United States best player, but one of the Premier League’s most lethal strikers. It has come out recently that he is delaying contract talks with Fulham to see the offers received from other Premier League clubs or if clubs like PSG will be making offers again this season. Dempsey has made it clear he wants to play Champions League football, a place Fulham would not be very likely to ever qualify for. With 5 games to play (Wigan and Sunderland home, Everton, Liverpool, and Tottenham away) it will be interesting to see what he will be able to come up with as a final tally being that Wigan is the only team in the bottom half of the table that they will play in the final stretch of the season. Already the highest scoring American in the Premier League could he be the first to finish in the top 3? Aguero is only one ahead at 17.
In a massive game for both Manchester City and Arsenal, City for its continued fight for a title and the Gunners for a spot in Champions League football for next year, a 20 yard blast from Mikel Arteta saw Arsenal take all three points. In a somewhat uneventful game until the last fifteen or so minutes, Arsenal dominated much of possession, but couldn’t do more then a handful of shots on goal. Balotelli was sent off again after two yellow cards. On a day that saw Manchester United take 3 points against QPR City really needed to win to keep their hopes of finishing at the top of the table alive. With 6 games each, United sit 8 points clear of Mancini’s men, while the Gunners are just two ahead of 4th place Tottenham.
Clint Dempsey’s done it again. Two more league goals in Fulham’s 3-0 romp of Bolton. That brings Dempsey’s Premier League goal tally to 15 this year, 21 across all competitions. He has set the single season record for an American already this year and now has scored more goals for Fulham in a single season then anyone else has. Lets see if he can manage 5 more over the home stretch of the season and break 20!
This week on Offside’s we will look over who we would have in our all free kick specialist starting XI. These XI players are players you never want to see approach a dead ball situation anywhere close to your own 18 yard box. Mine team is now listed under the Elite XI tab, under Cross-hairs FC. Surprised with the manager selection of Roberto Carlos? Any changes you would make to my starting XI?
Last season Eric Lichaj had a world class performance at right back marking one of the Premier League’s greatest, fastest, and strongest players in Gareth Bale. He had a strong 2011 Gold Cup for the United States as well and looked to find his place in Villa’s starting 11 until a hip injury put him out until recently. He then played this past weekend against a rising Chelsea and again put in a memorable 90 minutes. He scored his first Premier League goal making the game 2-2 with less then 20 minutes to go as well as took a long throw in that lead to the first goal. Unfortunately, Villa could not hang on and lost 4-2 when Ivanovic and Torres scored late for Chelsea. Keep your eye on this young right back, he has a bright future ahead of him.