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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Wales get Bent backwards (Wales 0-2 England)

With England's Cricket side getting knocked out of the World Cup, the pressure was on the footballers to deliver a result that would restore pride to the nation, and they did not disappoint.

The game started with England flying out the traps with the pace of Scousers elbow, and within the first 5 minutes, they already had Wales on the ropes. Young had managed to squirm his way into the Welsh box before being brought down by Aston Villa defender James Collins. Lampard calmly stepped up to send the Wales and Wolves number 1 Hennessey the wrong way, slotting well into the bottom corner. 1-0!

Gary Speed's side should have seen the signs of another England goal. They were dominant with possession and were creating more chances with corners and a Rooney header towards goal cleared by Chris Gunter, but they were outplayed for the second. A long ball from Johnson to Ashley Young was accurate, Young then ran with the ball down the wing to deliver a sublime cross to his Villa compatriot Bent, who beat Collins at the near post to blast into the roof of the net. 2-0! with 15 minutes gone.

The game then slowed down to a tortoise, with no other shots on target being recorded. Rooney's volley attempt and Bent's header both went wide of the Wales goal, whilst the home sides best chance (if you can call it a chance) was a Bellamy cross that was cleared away by the England defence. By the end, the Welsh crowd were glad to hear the whistle sound for half time.

The start to the second half wasn't much better for Gary Speed's side, Hennesseys stray ball came to Ashley Young who whipped in another dangerous cross, but to no prevail, but they were allowed to attack a few minutes later. Bellamy made two runs towards Hart's goal, both of them resulting in wasted chances for the Dragons. The game did not really have much flow this half, as England were content to just sit back, whilst Wales had no finish. Ramseys attempt went high and wide, and their four corners within five minutes elluded most of the Welsh attack.

In the final minutes, there was enough time for substitute Stewart Downing to make a run towards the Welsh area, before narrowly missing with a curling strike. Bellamy also had a half chance from far out, but it went wide for a very frustrated Wales team. The full time whistle sounded on the city of Cardiff, we must thank England for the first 15 minutes of football, because without it we would have had a very dreary game.

Wales: Hennessey, J.Collins, Williams, D.Collins, Gunter, King (Evans 66), Crofts, Ramsey, Ledley, Bellamy, Morison (Vaughan 66)
England: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Dawson, Cole, Lampard, Parker (Jagielka 88), Wilshere (Downing 82), Young, Bent, Rooney (Milner 70)

BeeTeeSports Man Of The Match: Ashley Young (9/10)

Billy Taylor

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Tottenham vs West Ham United: Preview

Today, we see the in-form (before the Stoke match) West Ham United face European chasers Tottenham Hotspur. The Hammers played the home fixture in September, winning the game 1-0 due to a Piquionne header. Of course now, conditions have changed. Tottenham didn't have the influential force of Van Der Vaart and West Ham weren't looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone.

Tottenham fans have certainly been excited in recent days, their progression through to the quarter finals of the Champions League to face Real Madrid has given them a buzz. They have decided to drop Peter Crouch to the bench, deciding to go with pacey forwards Sandro and Defoe rather than use height. Spurs are without centre-backs Kaboul, Woodgate, King and possibly Gallas, who will have a fitness test before the match.

This clearly wasn't predicted by West Ham, who have replaced the youthful James Tomkins with a taller but slow Manuel Da Costa. Also, Avram Grant will be without Piquionne, who scored in the FA Cup Quarter Final loss against Stoke and was injured in the process. Ba will be back after being rested last week.

Possible Line Ups:

Spurs: Gomes, Bale, Gallas, Dawson, Corluka, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Van Der Vaart, Modric, Sandro, Defoe
West Ham: Green, Upson, Da Costa, Bridge, Jacobsen, Parker, Hitzlsperger, Noble, O'Neil, Cole, Ba 

My Prediction:

Spurs will want revenge on West Ham. Firstly, because of their losing of the Olympic Stadium to the Hammers, and secondly, to make up for that defeat in 2010. I reckon West Ham can hold out against the North Londoners for a 1-1 draw.

Billy Taylor

Monday, 14 March 2011

Higginbotham sends Potters potty (Stoke 2-1 West Ham)

Stoke and West Ham fans could see that this was going to be a scruffy game when those numbers were drawn from the bowl, and it was, filled with poor referring decisions and tough tackling.

The Stoke crowd was loud of voice, which seem to spur its team on to create three chances in the first two minutes. First, an ambitious backheel volley from Kenwyne Jones, which was easily caught by Green. Next, a Pennant cross was met by the head of former Hammer Matthew Etherington only to be denied by a superb stop from the away sides keeper, and finally, a wide Huth header.

It was all Stoke at the moment, West Ham's only chance from the first 10 minutes was a poor Cole header from a Tomkins throw (if only he had got lessons from Delap). But Delap certainly showed Tomkins how it was done on the 11 minute mark. His cannon-ball like throw being smashed into the net by the forehead of Stokes' top scorer... Robert Huth. There was appeals for obstruction from Hammers captain Upson, who was blocked by Walters in the process, which were ignored by the under-par referee. 1-0!

It was desperate times for West Ham United, who resorted to shooting from ridiculous distances and hoping for a Sorensen blunder. Noble and Tomkins both tried (and failed) from long range. It was not looking good. But suddenly (after 10 minutes of monotonous play) a lifeline, courtesy of the 'Arm of God' from Fredric Piquionne. A sublime Hitzlsperger ball was met by the Hammers striker, who controlled it illegally, lobbed it over the Stoke goalie and bundle into the back of the net (Piquionne was hurt in the process and  had to be replaced by Spector). Sorensen raged towards the referee with the anger of the Incredible Hulk, only for his appeal to be turned down. 1-1! 
Nothing much happened for the rest of the first half. Walters went off injured (then went back on again), Whelan, Parker and Pennant all fired wide and there was a scramble in the West Ham box, which was thankfully cleared by Da Costa.

The second half exploded into life almost immediately. Etherington ran down the pitch, twisting and turning past the Hammers defence before falling over in the penalty box. It was indeed quite a soft penalty claim, with Ethrington being felled by a push by Tomkins, but it was a penalty nonetheless. He stepped up to take it, only to be denied by a fantastic dive from Robert Green.

The match was looking at lot more evenly-sided at this point, Shawcross and Jones had chances for Stoke and Parker had a free kick from the edge of the Stoke box, but it came to nothing. West Ham were playing the long ball game, Thomas Hitzlsperger knocking hopeful balls down field to Cole, who failed to make opportunities. The game took another controversial turn, a Pennant free-kick struck off an arm in the wall, meaning another free kick was to be taken 18 yards out. Higginbotham stepped up to smash ball through a gap created by Stoke players, Green managed to get a hand to it, but failed to stop it going in off the post. 2-1!

Sorensen was doing his best to keep Stoke City in the lead. First, he saved well from a drive from Victor Obinna. Then, blocked Keane's shot from a tight angle. When the game went past the 80th minute mark, it was all West Ham. Tomkins could have easily been given a penalty after being wrestled to the ground by Walters and then Upson headed against the crossbar from a Hitzlsperger corner. From then on it was the same pattern; long ball by West Ham and clearance by Stoke.
The game ended in frustration for the visitors as they were prevented from attacking with needless fouls and good hold up play from Stoke. When the full time whistle sounded, the home fans roared in delight, they have made the FA Cup semi final and have kept their unbeaten home record for 2011 intact. They go through to play Bolton for a chance to be in the final.

Stoke City: Sorensen, Wilson, Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham, Pennant (Whitehead 80), Delap, Whelan, Etherington (Collins 90), Jones (Fuller 89), Walters
West Ham: Green, Da Costa, Tomkins, Upson, Bridge, Hitzlsperger, Parker, Noble (Hines 80), Piquionne (Spector 34), Cole, Obinna (Keane 67)

BeeTeeSports Man of the Match: Jermaine Pennant (8/10)

Billy Taylor

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Rooney gives Arsenal the elbow (Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal)

Arsenal losing 2-0 at Old Trafford? Rooney scoring the winning? Doesn't that bring back memories of 2004, when the Red Devils ended the Gunners 49-game winning streak...

It was certainly a lively start by Arsene Wengers men. In the opening minutes, Arshavin had picked up the ball on the wing, floated past Wes Brown and hit a shot that went straight down the throat of Van Der Sar. Then, on the 10 minute mark, the 40-year old devil threw the ball straight to the Arsenal strike force which allowed Arshavin to have another shot; this time going tamely wide.

Now it was time for Man United to attack. Fabio stormed down the wing to deliver a wonderful ball to his brother, Rafael, who headed up and over the inviting goal. Then it was fairly usual stuff for the next ten minutes: pass, tackle, break, pass, tackle, break. The United fans broke out into a chant, telling the 9000 Arsenal fans that "Your support is f**king s**t" This clearly upset the Gunners, who allowed United to break.
The on-form Van Der Sar threw the ball out to Fabio, who lobbed it wide to Rafael. He ran down the wing and cut it back to Fabio. The younger brother then tapped it to Rooney and he crossed to Hernandez, his header bouncing off the palms of Almunia and into the path of Fabio to strike it into the roof of the net. It was a great free-flowing move that sparked the match into life. 1-0!

Two minutes after the goal, Man United were back on the offensive. Rooney crossing the ball into the waiting Fabio to head in his second goal, unfortunately he could not twist his head quick enough and instead knocked it out for a throw. The end to end match continued it's trend when Robin Van Persie had two chances to score, first of all a curling shot that was tipped by the United keeper and then a second chance when he headed wide from a corner. Arsenal were unable to create anymore real chances in the first half (apart from a near post Nasri shot) due to the defensive dominance of Chris Smalling. The former Fulham defender had the Gunners attack in the palm of his hand, blocking several shots and making important interceptions.

Second half, and Arsenal went out all guns blazing. Van Der Sar was forced to make a double save from Koscielny (what he was doing in attack... nobody knows) and then had to block Arshavins incoming cross.
 But all this attacking left the Gunners vulnerable and were quickly punished by a second goal! Rafael clipped the ball into Hernandez whos shot was blocked and deflected into the path of Rooney's bald bonce, which allowed him to nod into the empty net.

It was 2-0 to the Red Devils, and attempts on goal by Nasri, Diaby, Van Persie, Chamakh, Wilshere, Chamakh again and Rosicky all failed to get past the unstoppable Van Der Sar, as Arsene Wenger's men grew more frustrated, but it was about to get alot worse. Rooney and Hernandez broke, Rooney was found by a Giggs long ball, who cut it back to Hernandez and his shot was blocked by a combination of Djourou's body and Almunia's hand. But Djourou's dislocated his shoulder in the process and had to receive treatment on the pitch for over 6 minutes before finally being stretchered off.

During the 8 minutes of stoppage time (because of the injury) Rooney had two chances to score. The first was a weak half volley which was hit straight at Almunia, the second was a poor finish after a sublime pass from Paul Scholes. There was enough time for one last chance for the unlucky Hernandez, who was given the ball by Rooney only to shoot at oncoming Arsenal keeper.

FULL TIME! Arsenal have now not won away since mid-January and must recover from a very bad fortnight after being knocked out of 3 cup competitions and sustaining a season long injury to Johan Djourou. Manchester United go through to the semi's along with Bolton, who beat Carling Cup winners Birmingham 3-2 earlier today.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Denilson (Chamakh 59), Wilshere, Diaby (Ramsey 71), Arshavin (Rosicky 71), Van Persie, Nasri
Manchester United: Van Der Sar, Brown, Vidic, Smalling, Evra (Scholes 80), Fabio (Valencia 45), O'Shea, Gibson, Rafael (Giggs 63), Hernandez, Rooney

BeeTeeSports Man of the Match: Edwin Van Der Sar (9/10) 

(P.S. I must apologise for constant jokes about Rooney and elbows in recent article's, but the BeeTee Sports team found it hilarious)
Billy Taylor

Stoke City vs West Ham United: Preview


It was only last week that the Hammers were facing the Potters in the Premier League, that ended up being 3-0 to West Ham, with goals from Ba, Hitzlsperger and Da Costa. A similar result today would be a fantastic boost for Avram Grant and his teams survival hopes. But before the Hammers start celebrating a premature victory, they must remember that the Britannia Stadium isn't exactly the easiest place to go, just ask Man City and Liverpool.

Stoke City are well known in the Premier League for two reasons. The first one being Rory Delap, who can make a team crumble by using his bare hands (which he uses to throw footballs into the oppositions 16-yard box). The other reason is their staidum; the Britannia. It is regarded as a fortress by many clubs and a only a select few teams can outplay Stoke at the ground. This is shown by the fact that no-one has won there in 2011 (except for Stoke...obviously). The Potters will put Thomas Sorensen in goal instead of usual Number.1 Asmir Begovic and they will also might be without Jermaine Pennant

West Ham are well know for kidnapping small Argentinians from third party companies and making them play for their team in order to prevent relegation (I'm joking, he wasn't kidnapped, only Neil Warnock believes he was and look at him now, being docked points for cheating). The Hammers are a rejuvenated side. Thanks to the works of Thomas Hitzlsperger, they have won their last three matches, scoring 11 and conceding only two goals. Grant has now been able to restore some winning mentality into the club after they came back from three goals down to draw with West Brom 3-3. They will welcome back Obinna and Parker from injury, but Robbie Keane is still 50-50 to play.

KEY BATTLE: Carlton Cole vs Robert Huth

Believe or not, these two players are the top scorers for their clubs this season. Huth has scored 7 goals in all competitions and is tied with Johnathan Walters and Kenwyne Jones. Carlton Cole has scored 11 goals in total for the Hammers, but will have to be on form to get past former Chelsea defender Huth. Both of the players pose an ariel threat from set pieces and will be provided chances with some crisp crosses from Hitzlsperger or Ethrington. Carlton Cole is indeed a slippery character to mark, ask Jamie Carragher, who was knocked over by his strength and made a mockery out of as Cole drilled in the third goal against Liverpool.

Possible Line Ups

Stoke City: Sorensen, Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Pugh, Whitehead, Delap, Pennant, Walters, Jones, Carew.
West Ham:  Green, Da Costa, Tomkins, Upson, Bridge, Parker, Noble, Hitzlsperger, Cole, Piquionne, Ba.

My Prediction

Stoke will definitely want the victory more as they plan to seek revenge after last weeks thumping, but I can't see West Ham losing with this rich vein of form they seem to have developed. I'm going to predict 2-1 to the Hammers, Hitzlsperger and Cole grabbing goals in the first half before Walters gets an equalizer half way through the second, leading to a nail biting finish.

Billy Taylor

Friday, 11 March 2011

Manchester united vs Arsenal Preview

F.A cup Quarter Final

Arsenal travel to Old trafford after a terrible week for them, crashing out of the champo by a glistening performance from F.C Barcelona. Manchester United have also had an abysmal week as they were well beaten by a rejuvinated Liverpool side. However both Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson will definitely want to forget about the past by defeating their title rivals in the F.A cup quarterfinal showdown.

Both teams are without key players as Arsenal are without talismanic midfielder Cesc Fabregas and under-par goalkeeper Wojciech Szcezsny. Manchester United will have to work without their playmaker Nani and injury-hit defender Rio Ferdinand. Other than that, both managers have a strong side and will walk into the theatre of dreams to surely produce a scintillating battle between free flow with fluid passing and quick counter attacking play ( not a battle between Rooney's elbow and the Arsenal defence).

Manchster United have indeed got the upper-hand against Arsenal with a crisis situation now looming for Wenger's team with only one senior goalkeeper in Manuel Almunia and you can't help but feel sorry for him as out of the 4 goalkeepers he has,"Spill the beans"  Almunia is the one he must now rely on. However, Arsenal have won the F.A cup 10 times and they are not a team to be ruled out completely, well unless their playing Barcelona in the Nou camp.

Key battles

Dimitar Berbatov vs Laurent Koscielny

Berbatov has been the most prolific striker in the premier league this season after scoring 19 goals in which in undoubtedly his best season with Manchester United. His deadly finish and quick turn of pace would surely trouble Koscielny who is at the moment a walking time bomb (well he is french). His blunder cost Arsenal the Carling cup and even though he was solid against F.C Barcelona, he seemed rather depleted and definitely did not have the character we have sometimes seen from him which an experienced striker like Berbatov can take advantage of.

Jack Wilshere vs Michael Carrick

What can be said about this teen sensation that hasn't already been said? His moves, his vision, his voice? No were not talking about Justin bieber, its of course Jack wilshere who has already been dubbed as " the prodigy of England". His slick style and passing makes him one of the best young players in the planet whose own father is questioning whether jacks real dad was spanish or not. Michael Carrick on the other hand is now being hated by his own fans as his lack of confidence and match time has definitely taken part in his horrendous display against Liverpool where he just let them walk right through him and if he does do that again tomorrow and not hold onto Jack Wilshere, he may if possible be hated more than he is now.

Robin Van Persie vs Nemanja Vidic

Van persie may still be reeling from a questionable decision made by the ref at the Camp Nou but he definitely has the character to get passed that and show everyone in Old trafford that he is the best in the premier league. His finesse and control has helped him see to a rich form of late but if there's one man in the Premier League that can stop that, It's Vidic. The serbian centre-back is regarded as one of the best defenders in the world dominating strikers using his strength and well-controlled aggression. He is without a doubt, the best person to contain and isolate Van Persie and with him on form, Manchester United can see their way through.

Possible line ups

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Nasri, Wilshere, Rosicky, Van Persie

Manchester United: Van Der Sar, Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Giggs, Carrick, Fletcher, Scholes, Rooney, Berbatov

My Predictions
I think that Manchester United want it more and will work more as a team and with the home advantage you can visualise them seeing the game through. I'll go for a comfortable 2-0 win here with Berbatov scoring early on and Hernandez doing what he does best, scoring in the last 10 minutes.

By K-Dot (AKA Hanif Kabir)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Spurred to Victory (Tottenham 0-0 AC Milan)

It was a game of terrible tackles, dramatic acting, and some football managed to feature.

It was nervous times for Tottenham halfway through the first half. Gomes wandered blindly into no man's land and could only watch as Pato's goalbound shot struck Assou-Ekotto and deflected into the path of Gallas' powerful foot which managed to clear off the line. It was pretty much all AC Milan at this point. White Hart Lane then turned into some sort of Judo arena, with high foots flying everywhere and Kevin Prince Boateng falling over every 2 minutes when he approached a white shirt. The half ended with Assou-Ekotto blasting from far out and missing the target.

Second half came. Crouch immediately had a chance to finish a minute gone, but chose to knock the ball down to an empty space, who failed to finished. This is what Spurs chose to do for most of the second half, just hit the ball to Crouch and hope he could do something with it. This caused the centre-forward to commit constant fouls (7 by the 59th minute) against the frail AC Milan defence as he jumped ontop of them in attempts to reach the ball.

65th minute came, a shot rifled in towards the edgy Gomes who managed to scramble it away to safety. The constant threat of Milan was beginning to take it's toll on the defence, but they were getting more fustrated. This was shown by Flamini (who was being booed due to his former career at Arsenal) as he continued to make reckless tackles, despite being on a yellow card.

After a brief penalty shout for Spurs after a handball, the AC attack was back on again. Lively substitute Merkel had a dangerous shot towards goal, but it was blocked by the head of Sandro, who was Spurs best player during the game. A minute later, Pato threatened Gomes' goal again, narrowly missing from the edge of the box.

Flamini was then taken off, to be replaced by Rooney (not Wayne 'eat-my-elbow' Rooney, I mean Rooney Strasser: AC Milan striker) and at 90 mins, Robinho's deflected shot just went over the bar after a Gallas block.
FULL TIME! An English manager has finally made it through to the quarter finals and the Tottenham fans can breath a sigh of relief. They have shut out AC Milan for 180 minutes and deserve to go through to the last 8.

Tottenham vs AC Milan Preview

Good Evening Bloggers! Today, we shall either watch Tottenham triumph to complete an amazing victory over another Milan side or AC complete a comeback and begin the journey to retain their 2007 trophy, (or we could see Joe Gordon running towards Gattuso at the final whistle and giving him a right hook).

Tottenham have a clear advantage over Milan, they are playing with a goal advantage at the fortress which is White Hart Lane, but it would be foolish to underestimate the 11 time finalists.

Good news for the hosts, Gareth Bale might return to full fitness and retain his place on the wing, ready to rip up an aging Milan side, or he could have one of his quiet Premier League performances. Van Der Vaart could also come back into the line up to play a killer through ball to Crouchy, who will probably score with a menacing finish.

Most of the Milan side should be able to hobble onto the pitch with their zimmer frames. Except for Pirlo and Ambrosini, who are stuck in the retirement home. But AC Milan aren't all OAP's, they have the youthful attack of Pato, Robinho and Ibrahimovic, who will cause the Tottenham defence problems if let loose.

My prediction: Spurs to battle it out for a 1-1 draw and advance to the quarter-finals.