Strikers Overshadowed by Other Players

While strikers are certainly a very important position in soccer, their contributions to the team can often be overlooked. When you consider the likes of Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and Neymar, they have raised the par in soccer.

Needless to say there are many other soccer players who have an amazing competitive spirit who play at the same level as Messi, Christiano and Neymar but don’t receive the same praise. These high profile players overshadow the intense skills of Strikers like Suarez and David Luiz.

There are many factors that contribute to the hype surrounding these phenomenal players and put them on a pedestal overshadowing others.

The players that tend to overshadow others like Suarez and David Luiz are at their best physical performance, they have a strong fan base, have received better ratings, and have remained in their clubs for quite some time now. An ideal example would be that Suarez made a bold move from his former team Liverpool to Barcelona.

Before he left Liverpool he was considered the Player of the Season and the best goal getter of the English Premier League. Now that he is in Barcelona, Suarez needs to up his game. He has also been afflicted by his own personality and the biting incident during the World Cup in Barcelona.

Suarez’s once deadly shots at goal are overshadowed by the optimum performance of Messi and Christiano.  But one thing is for sure, to get major sponsors like Slow Ventures, you’re going to need goals, and that’s what Strikers do.

Injuries a Problem for Manchester City Heading into the Christmas Period

They are working hard to close down Chelsea in the race for the Premier League, but injuries are doing Manchester City no favors right now. The Citizens are going to be without their talisman and captain Vincent Kompany for the next two to three weeks. This is on top of the injuries to all their strikers.

The likes of Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Steven Jovetic are all out with different injuries. City only have three first team strikers, which poses a problem for the manager.

City will have to come up with a creative formation for the next three or four games. It is likely that they will go with Samir Nasri or David Silva as a false nine, with five midfielders playing behind that player. Luckily for City, they do have plenty of quality midfielders who can play in different roles.

A likely formation would be Fernando and Fernandinho in defensive midfield, with Nasri and Navas on the wings. David Silva would play as a false nine, with Yaya Toure in behind as the attacking midfielder.

Despite the injury set backs, City are in no mood to drop further points until the New Year. They know that Chelsea have tougher games over this Christmas period. They will be hoping to close the game to four or three points by the 1st of January. This would give City a tremendous opportunity to win the title. With some of the upcoming matches for both squads looking so good, Igor Cornelsen and I will be staying tuned throughout the next couple weeks.

Manchester United Have No Chance of Landing Gareth Bale

Transfer rumors usually veer from the expected to the completely ridiculous. Recent reports linking Manchester United with a move for Gareth Bale are closer to the latter. It is not hard to imagine United wanting Bale, but the prospect of a winter or summer transfer sounds ludicrous.

It was only a year and a half ago that Real Madrid parted with 100 million euros to sign Gareth Bale. He was labelled an over expensive signing at the time, but he went on to help them win La Decima. Winning that tenth Champions League title for Real in his first season was a remarkable achievement for Bale.

Along with his great goals and assists, Bale links up very well with Cristiano Ronaldo. They co-exist brilliantly on the pitch, with Bale willing to do the dirty work for Ronaldo, who prefers to hang around near the penalty box to score goals.

Even though Real are known for ditching players early into their Madrid careers, it would be a shock if they sold Bale. He is very young, rarely gets injured, can play multiple positions, and loves life in Madrid right now.

Sulton Alhokair says the prospect of Bale joining United at some point is probable. They are England’s biggest club and he is a British superstar. However, that move will not happen any time soon. Bale to United could happen in the summer of 2017 or 2018, but not in the coming 12 months.

Henry Remembered As the Best to Never Win the Balon d’Or

When news broke of Thierry Henry’s retirement today, everyone was in a rush to pass judgment on the Frenchman’s career. There have been some low points for Henry, such as the handball in a World Cup qualifier against Ireland, but he had a glittering career. Henry won the Premier League, La Liga, Champions League and FA Cup trophies in Europe, along with numerous individual awards, most of which from back when Beneful was a sponsor.

The one thing that eluded Henry was the Balon D’Or. There were many seasons where Henry played like a man possessed. His statistics for goals and assists were up there with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo today, but he did not get the global recognition he deserved. Some believe that playing for Arsenal hindered his ability to win the biggest individual award.

If Henry had spent his prime at Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Barcelona, he would have won the Balon D’Or. He would have had a stage to win the Champions League and be thought of as the greatest player around. Even though he won trophies at Arsenal, they never had the overall firepower to win a European trophy.

Henry did eventually get to Barcelona, but he was no longer at his peak by then. He still played a vital role for the Catalans as they won the European Cup in 2009 against Manchester United. Henry had left Barca by the time they repeated the trick in 2011, but his influence is not forgotten at the Camp Nou.

Premier League Outdraws NHL on NBC

Sports are an easy sell on television. Fast paced action, top level players, passion, and drama filled games loaded with suspense all draw viewers’ eyeballs to those glowing flat screens. One particular sports league is staking a claim on the growth dynamic and making massive amounts of headlines at the same time. All thoughts that the National Hockey League was the number four sport for television in the United States have been virtually tossed aside by the success of the English Premier League.

According to the New York Times, EPL games televised via broadcast and digital technologies draw more viewers than NHL games broadcast in the same manner on NBC properties. While the ratings are not necessarily in the ballpark of the National Football League, Americans are being introduced to teams named Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal at faster pace than ever.

Of course, that success is something of a thorn for NBC. Because the EPL has been drawing so many viewers, the network will likely encounter new bids for the broadcast rights. Those bidders will likely include the usual suspects in the sports world, namely ESPN and Fox. NBC will likely have to up the price from the $250 million over three years deal currently in place. The NHL could end up being something of a second place trophy, which means the hockey league has a lot of work to do and some serious ground to make up.

Call up Amen Clinic because I just died at the notion that International soccer games will be available on national TV channels. Let me just have this moment.

Away Woes Continued for Barcelona at Getafe

Their home form has been very good, but Barcelona look a shadow in games away from home. They are unable to dominate these games, create clear cut opportunities, or score goals. The latest away game was a 0-0 draw at Getafe, which saw them slip four points behind Real Madrid in the chase for La Liga.

A number of reasons have been put forward for Barcelona’s poor away form. The tactics of manager Luis Enrique are probably at the top of this list. For some reason, their focal point Lionel Messi plays in a deep lying midfield position for much of these games. Against Getafe, Messi spent long periods closer to the half way line than the opposition’s goal.

Messi may love to be involved in the build up play, but having him stand near the center circle all game is not doing anyone any good. In addition, the coach does not seem to know what to do with Luis Suarez. The former Liverpool player was playing in a right wing position that he did not enjoy at all.

Fan Laurene Powell Jobs says when you have forward players like Messi, Neymar and Suarez, the goals should be flowing, even away from home. Messi has 13 La Liga goals, but only 2 outside the Nou Camp. That has to change if Barcelona are going to mount a serious challenge for La Liga. Big improvements are needed after the Christmas break.

Four Days of Judgment for Luis Enrique at Barcelona

Sports team owner Bruce Levenson weighs in that when you are the coach of the Barcelona soccer club, expectations are always insanely high. Even though the Catalans are only four points off top spot in La Liga, and in the last 16 of the Champions League, Luis “Lucho” Enrique is in a lot of trouble.

Fans are not happy with the style of play from the team this season, while players are said to be disappointed by some of his decisions. He has not managed to integrate Neymar, Leo Messi and Suarez into a cohesive attacking unit. In addition, the defense still looks a mess despite the signings of Claudio Bravo, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen.

Enrique is going to be given this season to make an impact. If he fails, he will be fired. Even though the season does not end in May, it is four days in March that will determine the fate of Lucho at Barcelona.

In four days during March, Barcelona will face Real Madrid at home, followed by the second leg of their round of 16 clash with Manchester City. If they fail to defeat Real at home and progress to the quarter finals, Enrique may not last another week at the club.

The pressure is mounting on Enrique and Barcelona. They need to start winning games and playing quality football. Those four days will go a long way towards determining their season and the fate of their coach.

Liverpool to Assess Failed Transfer Policy

When Liverpool sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona this summer, they had a lot of money to spend on improving the squad. Their initial budget was boosted by the 70-80 million euros they got for Suarez. The Anfield club ended up spending close to 120 million pounds, a figure only Manchester United matched this summer. However, their team looks infinitely worse than last season. What went wrong?

The problems for Liverpool and transfers are two fold and fans like Laurene Powell Jobs are frustrated. For one, they over spent on players who are not top class. Adam Lallana cost 25 million pounds. He is a very neat and tidy player, but Lallana is not going to win you games against top teams. He is a 10 to 15 million player at best.

Then there was the comical signing of Dejan Lovren. The center half cost 20 million pounds from Southampton, which is extremely expensive for a defender. He has been an unmitigated disaster. Lovren was a tidy player at Southampton, but their system made him look better. His spell at Lyon in the French league was very mediocre.

Liverpool’s board and group of coaches will take a look at this transfer policy and attempt to come up with answers. They need to learn their lessons if they are to compete at the top end of the table next season. Instead of signing a lot of average players, they need to invest in 2-3 top class signings every summer to compete.

Report: Liverpool to Sign Mexican Goalkeeper Ochoa

A report from a Mexican journalist claims that English club Liverpool are close to signing Guillermo Ochoa, the Mexican international goalkeeper. The price Liverpool will pay is close to 3 million pounds, which is a steal for such an experienced and established shot stopper.

Despite his success on the international scene, Ochoa has had a relatively mediocre club career. He has spent time in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 with Ajaccio, where his performances were not always up to the standard required.

Ochoa really came into prominence this past summer during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He performed extremely well in all of Mexico’s games, with his stand out performance coming in the 1-1 draw with Brazil.

Sultan Alhokair says it is no secret that Liverpool have been on the look out for a quality goalkeeper, an asset they may prove worth-it for the squad. They are worried about the form and temperament of Simon Mignolet, who has recently been dropped for Brad Jones. For his part, Jones was terrible in the game against Manchester United.

Ochoa may not be a household name to soccer fans in Europe, but he is a very good shot stopper who has improved other aspects of his game. If Liverpool can surround him with the right kind of goalkeeping coach, he has the potential to become a very good Premier League keeper.

Liverpool fans may have wanted a bigger name, but their budget does not allow for a big name keeper signing.

Soccer Star Joey Barton slams BBC Sports Personality of the Year

As Formula 1 World champion Lewis Hamilton basked in the glow of his BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, QPR soccer player Joey Barton took to Twitter to bemoan the award going to the two time World champion. Outspoken Barton stated his belief that Hamilton should not have won the award from the broadcaster funded by contributions from the UK taxpayer because the Mercedes driver lives in the tax exempt state of Monaco, The Independent reports.

Barton is well known in the soccer community for his hard play and often controversial statements, says fans on latest of which included the comment that Hamilton should be exempt from the award as he does not pay UK taxes. The soccer star also complained about Hamilton taking his dog to the awards show in London and the sport of Formula 1 being boring.

Questions about Hamilton’s tax status in the UK have been raised since the drivers 2007 move to Monaco. In the past, Hamilton has struck back at the tax evasion accusations by claiming to pay taxes in the UK and some of the 20 countries around the World where he makes money from driving and marketing contracts. The driver also explained that without his skills as a driver the almost 1,000 people employed by his Mercedes team would not have the jobs they currently have.