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Posts Tagged ‘Steven Gerrard’

WHUFC vs Liverpool 20/09/2014 EPL 2014/2015

September 21, 2014 3 comments

Not a massive fan of late kick offs so I dragged myself down to Upton Park for this game which had been moved for our friends on the telly. Having a chat with Angry pre game, and some random turns up and gives us free beer as his mates had disappeared, so the day was looking up. Anyway the bottom line of this chat, was that for us to get anything out of this, Liverpool needed to be having an off day. But at least we have a chance after it appears that Sam’s attacking football ™ is starting to gel, following the Hull game last Monday.

So the game starts in front of a vocal full house and the atmosphere is electric. After 90 seconds it goes to 11 once Winston Reid scores from a Tomkins knock down, the put the hammers into the lead. As everyone was settling into the pattern, of Liverpool attack and WHU counter, when Sakho lofted over Mignolet from the right hand side to double the lead, within 6 minutes. Now, whether it was really a cross or not, I’ll leave for him to answer, but from the Bobby Moore Upper it looked fantastic.

Being a West Ham fan, you know this isn’t enough, so the more Liverpool got the ball, the more concerned for the final result you were. And they got the ball a lot, but Balotelli and Sterling didn’t really offer the threat of a Sturridge and Suarez. One other highlight in the first half was everyones favourite pantomime villain Balotelli, going straight through Adrian, and nearly get a hiding for his trouble, but in the end they both settled for yellow cards. Liverpool got one back just before half time, when a Balotelli shot rebounded off Cresswell onto an onrushing Sterling to fire into the bottom left corner, with a well taken strike. The half time conversation was not as comfortable as you would expect being 2-1 up, and we started the second half waiting for inevitable. Which never came. The scousers battled on and had way more ball. but there was no plan B outside of give it to Sterling. Gerrard wasn’t driving on and Henderson looked like he had regressed two years.

West Ham had the odd counter, but to be fair this period wasn’t as eventful as the first half, unless you count Lovren chasing after Valencia, because Valencia won the ball in the air, but Lovren was convinced he had been butted (he wasn’t, but he had taken a massive bang in the head in first half, so maybe can be forgiven for his reaction). With 2 minutes to go, WHU broke and an improving Downing threaded through a great ball for new boy Amalfitano to slot home the final goal of the game, and end any hope Liverpool had of points today.

I don’t say this very often, but Sam got it right today, keeping Sakho and Valencia up top, and putting in Alex Song with Noble. Alex Song. Now this guy is some player. He doesn’t do any more than anyone else, but everything he does is completed correctly, and without fuss. He makes every pass and sees balls that our other midfielders don’t. And he knows when to put himself out there to pick up a card, just to stop the game. Lets hope he stays. Also something else i don’t say a lot, Downing played well, and seems to be happier in his distribution now we have a quicker frontline. Lets hope Sam allows this midfield to continue to flourish, once Nolan is fit.

Sam also made the right call, by throwing on Collins as soon as Rodgers put in Lambert, to make sure the existing players on the pitch didn’t have to change their style to combat a new offence.

So well played Sam, well played West Ham, and well played Alex Song (MOTM). Going back to my pre game chat, I don’t think Liverpool had an off day, I think they are just at that level without Sturridge. They better enjoy the CL this year, because I don’t think they will be in it next year. Also, If Sterling and Borini would like to stop the diving, that would be nice as well.

Is Adrian angling for a move to Real Madrid. Nice kit anyway.

Is Adrian angling for a move to Real Madrid. Nice kit anyway.

Lovren getting some serious attention from the medical staff

Lovren getting some serious attention from the medical staff

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England vs Uruguay WC 2014 1st Round

June 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Anyone playing England !

Anyone playing England !

I could do a report on the game and who did what, and when things happened. But, as the whole world knows, England lost and their WC dream was hanging by a thread. Since then Italy have been beaten by Costa Rica, rendering that dream smashed on the dressing room floor.

So what went wrong.? This is easy. Against Italy, England attacked and looked fresh and even though they eventually lost, they made a good account of themselves. The England that turned up last Thursday, reverted to type, and were poor going forward with little transition from midfield, relying on long balls from Gerrard. Once or twice, Sterling showed his skills in the first half, but not enough for me. You could argue, that the Uruguay captain should of been dismissed for a chop at Sturridge’s neck, post a previous yellow, but he wasn’t, blah, blah. Read more…

Liverpool vs WHUFC EPL 07/04/2013

April 7, 2013 Leave a comment

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Not having won here for 50 years, I wasn’t expecting WHU to tear up any trees here today at Anfield.

We started minus Andy Carroll for loan condition reasons, and drafted in Carlton Cole to lead the line. It was telling that after 10 minutes the commentator pointed out that WHU were playing with a back six! We were defending a constant stream of Liverpool attacks. This seemed to get even more intense when Sturridge replaced and injured Downing after 25 minutes.

Collins and Tomkins (in for the injured Reid) seemed to be blocking and tackling everywhere.

Diame for WHU was making to odd forage forward but Cole’s lacks of recent games seem to be showing with poor touches and non-existent passing. Towards the end of the half a loose pass from Liverpool led to Cole being straight on goal and his shot rebounded from Agger when it should of at least made the goal. WHU made some reasonable attacks towards half time but it was Liverpool on points at half time.

The second half was more of the same, but with WHU having a little more of the ball. Collins seem to have moved man to man on Suarez, which worked most of the time.  Jarvis was seeing a lot more of the ball and seem to be breaking down the Liverpool defence, especially  Carragher. Liverpool had countless attacks repelled, and a good shout for a penalty when Gerrad was taken down by Tomkins. The replay to me, showed it was a blatant pen.

In the last 10 mins Pogatetz had to come on for the now injured Tomkins (get well soon Reidy 🙂 ). Collison had a great header cleared off the line by Lucas for an unlikely first goal. In the absence of Tompkins, James Collins was immense in the last few minutes of the game.

No one will deny that this game was Liverpool’s to lose, and with a point today they will feel they have. However it is another step for WHU towards premiership continuity, which is needed even more with the extra money coming into the league next year and the impending move to our new stadium.

James Collins gets the nod for MOTM as he was immense, but Jussi, Diame, Jarvis, O’Brien, and Tomka all put a shift in.

All in all a frustrating game for both sides fan’s to watch, but for different reasons.

England vs Brazil Friendly 06/02/2013

February 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Growing up as a football mad kid in the 70’s, the Brazil national team was a thing a fantasy. Pele, Rivelino, Carlos Alberto and Jairzinho were in the pantheon of world football in an age where global travel was sparse and the Internet was the property of the US military.

Yesterday, although an occasion, was England against 3 blokes from Chelsea, QPR’s keeper and the fella who scored against England last in 2002, and had just been recalled.

So the key point was, are Ramirez, Ruiz and Cesar and co up to the mark on the international stage. Before anyone thinks I’m taking the piss, i do understand that between them, there were at least 5 champions league winners in the squad, and the fella on the way back has 2 Ballon D’Ors ! Also playing was the latest wonder kid off the samba production machine, Neymar.

The England team look refreshing with Walcott allegedly starting up top with Rooney and Wellbeck. Ashley Cole made his 100th appearance which meant that with Steven Gerrard, history was being made, as the first centurions to ever play together for England. Jack Wilshere started in the middle edging out Frank Lampard.

There was a minutes silence for both Munich and Bobby Moore prior to kick off which was observed by about all but 5 imbeciles out of 87000 + people.

Silence ! Please !

Silence ! Please !

Once kick off got under way it was apparent that Walcott and Wellbeck were pushed out onto the wings. Talking of Wellbeck, there was one other weird stat. He had scored for England with every shot on target !

Wilshere was looking industrious from the off, but so did Brazil. The way they naturally move the ball around was great to watch but not a lot of end result. England were more direct with Wilshere tearing forward when he had the chance. On 19 mins Ronaldinho tried to cross a ball after some more 1 -2’s but the ball  got as far as a jumping Wilshere, hit his arm, and a penalty was given. This was similar to the Ryan Giggs ball to hand incident here and not in my opinion a pen.

So up steps big Ron, up against someone a little more agile than Dave Seaman this time, and takes his best. Joe Hart gets down to his left and makes the save, but the ball bounces out in the path of the incoming Brazilian. Hart stops again, and then Cleverley clears the ball and was lucky not to give away another pen in the process. Great work Joe, as he adds another chapter to the CV.

Will he be this calm in a WC Final ?

Will he be this calm in a WC Final ?

This deflated the visitors a little, and England started to push on . They finally took the lead just after the half hour mark, when Wilshere (again) burst through, slid a great ball through to Walcott, whose blocked shot came all the way out to Rooney, who smashed it home. England went into the break still on top.

Half time brought the usual subs so the game should die off, but Brazil didn’t read that script, and came out all guns blazing. Within 3 minutes, due to a rare Cahill error Fred pull off a screamer to equalise and nearly did the same thing about 3 minutes later, just clipping the bar.

England dipped hugely after this, but held on. Some further subs brought on Lampard. Who slotted in the Cleverley’s position but seemed to be more natural at moving the ball about.

Walcott hit some fierce form in the middle of the half and seemed to be roasting the Brazilian left back at will. But instead of coming into the middle as he was he just hit the line and got the crosses in. Rooney went close with a header for his second, and you could sense the tide was turning. On the hour mark, following a pass back from Rooney, Lampard showed every bit of his experience to volley past Cesar, off the post, for the winner.

Rooney hits bar and his backside !

Rooney hits bar and his backside !

So to sum up, Wilshere is definitely one for the future, and just needs to learn to shoot, or at least take on the responsibility. Scott Parker has had this issue as well, and it should be easy to fix. That said he was still MOTM. Hart’s penalty save was brilliant. Rooney was swashbuckling, Lampard seems to be beginning an Indian summer of his career.  I will say the jury is out on Cleverley and Wellbeck. One last thing, Glen Johnson, good as you are, you are not Roberto Carlos, get back and defend, and stop leaving your position uncovered.

Half time random unannounced Samba dancers !

Half time random unannounced Samba dancers !

WHUFC vs Liverpool 09/12/2012 EPL

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment

After last weeks amazing result against Chelsea, my return to the Boleyn after missing a couple of games, was full of promise. I was under the assumption that bearing in mind the form Liverpool found themselves in, we should be more than favourite to take all 3 points and cement our position in the top half of the table.

I should counter this with my record, which is following me into this season,of missing all the good games and witnessing the throwaways and boring old nil nils in the cold.

The cold was in attendance and the first 10 mins followed suit with Liverpool dominating the early exchanges. Hammers old boy Glen Johnson seemed to have a free reign down the Liverpool right. He capitalised on this in the 11th minute with an absolute cracker of a shot into the top corner to put the Scousers in the lead. A bit like last week against Chelsea, this seemed to wake West Ham up and  the midfield of Nolan, Noble and Diame started to carve apart Gerrard, Lucas, and Allen. Diame again was dynamic in his running.

Demel seemed to be getting the better of Liverpool on the right and in an uncharacteristically forward move, had a shot hit Allen on the arm and WHU got a penalty. Noble stepped up and put it Reinas right to equalise. Then WHU really piled on the pressure and were rewarded (!), when Sir Steven Gerrard of Huyton headed a WHU corner into his own net, like Shearer in his pomp.

To be up at the break was probably a fair score even if the goals were from strange sources.

WHU started the second half with Demel off for McCartney, presumably to counter Johnson. This seemed to change nothing, as WHU were easily on top in the early exchanges. Carlton Cole was playing a blinder, accepting passes from everywhere and bringing people into play. Maybe all that time on the bench, has made him study the best parts of Carroll’s game.

With about 20 mins to go, disaster struck. Diame pulled up on another rampage down the right. His substitution was always going to affect WHU, but it also seemed to provide impetus to Liverpool, as the main WHU threat / blocker was leaving the field. Within 3 minutes Joe Cole (ex Hammer) pounced on a ball from Sterling to pull the Pool level.

They then pushed on and got the job done, as Shelvey and Collins got stuck in, and the ball came off Collins to make it 3-2 Liverpool. Turns out Shelvey was a WHU schoolboy as well. Great.

That was that.

Whether they deserved the win or not, I’m probably not the best to comment, but my opinion is no. They were all over the place at times, but fairs fair, they smelt blood and went for it.

So Diame then. Talk about the club shooting itself in the foot. He has a good game that makes the headlines (Chelsea), and all of a sudden our best secret is leaving for Liverpool, Newcastle or Arsenal. And the club are the only ones discussing it. Surely a simple no, would be better than bandying around contract details. This all might be mute though, as he might be out for 12 weeks , easily seeing out the transfer window (thanks to T-C for my ricket regarding the ACN).  Apparently he came to WHU for the contract, so up it and get a resign, simples. Irrespective of Diame leaving we need more midfielders in Jan, as Tomkins cannot keep filling in, in this league.

In other news, another WHU old boy was in the headlines, as Rio got coined in the Manchester derby. Bearing in mind how slow he moves these days, you could of hit him with a fiver from 30 yards !

Todays MOTM, purely for taking his chance back in the first team, and having about the best game i’ve seen him have in over a year, was the cult hero of Upton Park, Carlton Cole. Talk about a confidence player, 2 weeks ago I wanted him out of East London ! Fickle football fan, me ?

PS We also this week, won some Olympic thing or other. More news on that in about 5  or 10 years when all the legal wranglings stop !

Nobes puts away his penalty.

Nobes puts away his penalty.

England VS Ukraine WC Qualifier 11/09/2012

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

After the easy win last week, this game was always going to prove a little more tricky for Roy’s boys. The close 1 nil win against the hosts of the Euros showed that the Ukraines were no push over and England would need to be on their best.

Without their Talisman, Mr Shevchenko, Ukraine started a little cagey. With our untried midfield (Gerrard and Lampard, lol) we did too. Seriously, these guys have had nearly 10 years to get it right, and just fail  every time. It has to be egos, but that has no place at this level, either they were both too far forward or too far back, normally back. How we think we can punish teams at home when both our central midfielders are in our half, i really dont know.

One other surprise was Mr Cleverly at no 10. Number 10 says to me, Maradona and Cryuff (Rooney ?), not someone who hasn’t yet scored for his club. This is not his fault, but when Sturridge was on the bench does suggest some odd thinking from the manager.

Defoe had a stunner disallowed after an alleged misdemeanor, and that was about it for England’s first half, outside of Cleverly missing two sitters. The Ukrainians, although equally as drab scored a sreamer just before half time to go in 1 up, thanks to Konoplyanka.

For the second half no subs were made and England carried on as usual with no one utilising Defoe and trying to play around the back. The Ukrainians just held up and moved it on (albeit to nothing).  Cleverly was finally put out of his misery on the hour mark, and some small gains were made as Wellback started to run about a bit and cause trouble. Then Sturridge replaced the Ox (who was very inefficient) , and once again England stepped up. Wellbeck had already tried to claim one penalty when he got the second, and Lamps put away his 27th goal  in 93 appearances for the national side.

Then with hardly any time left England press on for victory, until Mr Gerrard capped off a poor performance with a very mistimed tackle in no mans land to get a red and seal the game at 1-1.

So the honeymoon is over for Hodgson and the real work starts. He has had a favour with Gerrard being out for at least one game as he can make a new captain, and feel easier about dropping Gerrard if he feels the need. Who’s it to be?, probably Lampard, as the best of a bad bunch. Hart seems obvious but i’m never too sure about keepers being captains, but he has done it before at U-21 level.

Rooney is needed, if fit, and Wellbeck should step up as a starter. There is still a place for Defoe, but only as part of a two up top. This leaves Tom Cleverly. Just too old for the U-21, but definitely out of his depth in this company and especially near the front of the team. Also the Ox needs to to improve after blasting onto the scene.

In short Roy needs to hand out some hairdryers and get the team focused again. I feel he has spent the summer blowing smoke up them, to encourage a team rather than building one. Thats OK for one tournament, but we now have a campaign to manage.

San Marino next. No surely not. Stranger things have happened………………………………….

Obligatory Wembley Photo. Ukraine in Blue !

Moldova vs England 07/09/2012 WC Qualifier

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment

England beat Moldova 5 -0 last Friday. This in itself is not a big deal (lets face it, it was against a team who didn’t even have names on their shirts, and none of those names had they had been there, were  household).

England played well, and showed they had the talent to comfortably beat a weaker team. Great. There was one interesting event that seemed to be downplayed though, and that is my subject today.

Mr Steven Gerrard.

Stevie G has for the last 10 years been once of the best players in Europe, without a doubt. He scores consistently , and seems to be able to play anywhere in any system, much to the relief I imagine of his boyhood club Liverpool FC. This is a guy that single handedly (alleged) won the European Cup and FA cup for Liverpool. The FA cup win against West Ham being the only time a player for the opposition has really broke my heart, as he had no right to score “that” goal in a game we dominated. Anyway, move on.

In the lead up to the Euros, he was in and out of club and country teams with injury. In the Euros he was England’s best player, and a stand out leader. This season however, he looks a shadow of himself, and I’m wondering if we are now seeing a quick decline, a la Michael Owen, Ian Wright, etc. On Friday he came off at half time, and left Lampard on his own. A Lampard, who has won the European cup this year (as Captain), and didn’t play in the Euros through injury. Who also put his stamp all over the game, with and without the armband on.

For many years, people have said Gerrard and Lamps cannot play together. This is utter nonsense, they can, it just their egos cannot.  For too  many years Gerrard has been told he is better, because of his swashbuckling around in a red shirt. All those years of carrying a team are now showing, as they did last year on Jamie Carragher, and are also starting to show on Reina this year. Whereas Frank has just got on with his game of keeping Chelsea ticking along. Don’t forget, Mourinho wanted the two of them together at Chelsea, and he isn’t usually wrong.

“But Gerrard is England Captain!”, i hear you say. By default says I. Terry was too much of a liability to be captain, Ferdinand was too absent through injury, and for the Euros, so was Lampard. This left a lad who has experience of being a leader at the highest level. Not a bad shout at all. And so he played his heart out in the Euros knowing it was potentially his last chance. And now can make half a game, in a situation where he wasn’t stretched at all.

Now, Hodgson is in an situation, does he drop his captain, who in essence has done nothing wrong, for a guy who is about the same age, and the same may happen to him soon. Its a problem all round. The answer lays in the future, but there is no stand out candidate, except maybe Joe Hart, but goal keepers and armbands is a whole new debate ! I’m sure he would rather not drop him to save face with the captaincy, which has been a fiercely debated theme over the last couple of years, for one reason and another.

Watching Liverpool so far this season, its obvious that Shelby is being preferred, and Sterling and Joe Allen will soon be as well. These are average players who maybe taking over G’s place in the team. The lad is knackered, plain and simple.

So from world class to back of the class. Its a shame to see, but a reality. The key question is will he be around for the World Cup? Who knows ?

Take this armband Frank, it’s slowing me down !

I’m off to the Ukraine game tomorrow, from which I might be able to spread some more light on the subject.