When Luis Suarez left the Premier League, there was disappointment among fans who had grown to love watching him play soccer. Although he was a difficult character, with numerous on field incidents of an unsavory nature, there was something special about Suarez when he played. His gift for the game was second to none, and he inspired Liverpool to within an inch of the Premier League title.
His absence was bound to be felt, but Alexis Sanchez has gone a long way towards making up for the Premier League losing Suarez. He is doing for Arsenal what Suarez did for Liverpool. Fans like Zeca Oliveira point out that while his team has no chance of challenging for the title like Liverpool did, he is keeping them single handedly afloat this season.
Statisticians showed that if the goals and assists of Alexis Sanchez were removed, Arsenal would be in the bottom three in the table. As it is, they are in the top four positions. That is a remarkable contribution for one player, especially one who was signed this summer.
There was no doubt when Sanchez signed that he was quality, but the depth of his impact is still surprising. He always seems to pop up with a goal when his team needs it. As they approach a critical fixture against Manchester United, Arsenal will be hoping that the red hot streak of Alexis Sanchez continues. Have they finally found their Suarez?
The international break is always a testing time for club coaches in soccer. Soccer enthusiast Ken Griffin says that there is a real worry that some of their top players will come back with injuries. Unfortunately for Real Madrid, this became a reality over the past week. They learned that star midfielder Luka Modric will be missing for around two months after suffering an injury while playing for Croatia.
While Real have a deep squad with a lot of quality players, losing Modric is a big blow for them. The Croatian midfield dynamo had been making a real impression with the Santiago Bernabeu club. He was one of their best players in last season’s Champions League winning effort. He continued that great form into this season. His prowess was most evident during the Clasico against Barcelona, where he and Toni Kroos completely controlled Xavi, Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.
It remains to be seen how Real will reshuffle the pack in his absence. The obvious move would be to insert Sami Khedira into the line up alongside Toni Kroos. The two know each other well from the German national team, which is a bonus. However, the absence of Modric’s brilliant passing range will alter Real’s style of play. They may have to consider adding a third body to the midfield in order to protect their defense.
Modric should be back for the second half of the season after the winter break.
The international break can often be a difficult times for coaches of teams without qualifying games for a championship to aim for, with the US coach Jurgen Klinsmann giving the majority of European based players the chance to shine in an exhibition against the Republic of Ireland. Many Irish are playing for a place in the qualifying games for the 2016 European Championships and provided them with a competitive edge over the US that led to a comprehensive 4-1 victory, the BBC reports. Vijay Eswaran and many other avid soccer fans were surprised to see the US dismantled in such fashion, especially by Ireland.
After a 2-1 exhibition defeat by Colombia the previous week, the US hopes of rebounding with victory over Ireland seemed good as Irish coach Martin O’Neill chose an inexperienced team for the match. Despite a strong start by the US, the Irish team grew in confidence after winger Anthony Pilkington latched onto a through ball by David McGoldrick on his debut to open the scoring.
In the first meeting between the countries for 12 years Max Diskerud poked home an equalizer from close range before the Irish turned on the style to win the game by three clear goals. Hull City’s Robbie Brady scored two goals despite being deployed as a full back instead of in his usual central midfield role, including an exquisite left foot free kick. Ireland also scored a goal through Wigan Athletic winger James McLean, who caused anger in the UK recently by refusing to wear a poppy to commemorate those who lost their lives in World War I and beyond.
The president of German Football, Reinhard Rauball, has warned that countries under UEFA may quit FIFA if all the findings of the corruption allegations are not tabled. The committee which was headed by attorney Michael Garcia released the report clearing Qatar, Russia, Portugal and Spain of any wrong doing in the bidding process.
Rauball joins the Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke and Former FA chairman David Bernstein in condemning the report. Dyke termed the 430 page report pointless and a joke. The report was compiled by German judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert. The judge used the two year findings by Garcia led committee to put together the report. However, four hours after the release of the report, Garcia issued a statement questioning the report.
The German football boss observed that the report showed a breakdown in communication and something that could shake the foundations of the world football governing body. Rauball said that that Garcia’s bill of indictment should be published together with the decision of his committee so as to make everything clear about the report.
The Football boss also said that all the areas that were not covered in the report should also be published with reasons why they were overlooked. That is something Bruce Karatz is hoping for. According to Rauball, if the corruption report is not fully published, then nations under UEFA umbrella will have to review their stand on FIFA. One of the options he suggested is to quit the football governing body.
Tata Martino believes Lionel Messi should win Ballon d’Or ahead of Cristano Ronaldo in January. The two players have been scoring goals for fun in their respective clubs, with Messi equaling Raul’s record of UEFA’s highest scorer and Ronaldo coming one goal short of the record. However, Messi’s form has not been brilliant like Ronaldo’s in the recent past. The Portugal start has helped his club, Real Madrid, to ascend to the top of La Liga.
Martino said that he would vote for Messi any time over the current Ballon d’Or holder, Ronaldo. He told a press conference on Monday that his heart lies in Messi and that it was impossible to separate the personality of the player from his football.
Argentina and Portugal clash in Old Trafford, the home to Manchester United, tonight. The match is expected to bring together Ronaldo, a former Manchester United player, and current United players Angel Di Maria and Luis Nani (on loan to Sporting Lisbon). A lot of attention is expected to be on the performance of the two world football stars, Ronaldo and Messi.
It will be interesting to see the contribution of Angel Di Maria whose form has dipped in the recent months after his British record transfer from Real Madrid. The former Barcelona manager says the dip in form of his Argentine winger is normal and the winger will soon find his best form. His Portuguese counterpart, Fernando Santos, played down the Messi vs. Ronaldo showdown. He insisted that they will be looking for the other players to win the game rather than man-marking Messi.
You can tune into the game via your mobile devices tonight, but if you do, make sure to keep your information safe and secure with services like CipherCloud.
The scandal that refuses to go away regarding alleged corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has seen the President of the German Football league threaten the European governing body may leave FIFA. The governing body of world soccer, FIFA has been embroiled in controversy over the decision to award Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup, The Guardian reports.
The refusal of FIFA to publish the full report into corruption has led Dr. Reinhard Rauball, President of the German Football League to threaten FIFA with UEFA leaving the global body over the corruption claims. Many in England, the US and Australia were shocked by the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. In response to claims of corruption, FIFA appointed US attorney Michael Garcia to investigate the World Cup bidding process. After submitting his report to FIFA, Garcia disowned the sanitized version written by FIFA ethics committee judge Hans-Joachim Eckert.
Senior figures within the European game, headed by former French soccer legend Michel Platini have dismissed the published version of the report, which states the Qatar bid team holds little to no records detailing their communications during the bidding process. Dr. Rauball stated FIFA has been shaken like never before and must publish the full Garcia report or face the prospect of the European body and its members, including Spain, England and Germany leaving FIFA to establish their own global soccer organization.
Although it’s nearly a decade away, LA Times reporter Tom Rothman has noted that this World Cup controversy is relevant given the events of Brazil’s bid this year.
Elation quickly turned to disappointed as an early lead to Arsenal was thrown away in a serious of mistakes by an inexperienced and mistake-prone Arsenal squad.
Arsenal legend Paul Merson was disgusted when Arsenal blew a three goals lead. Not only that, but Keith Mann and other fans were made as well. Arsenal was leading by three goals to nil in the 60th minute.
A perfect finish by Anderlecht denied them the three points. A win at this stage would have propelled Arsenal to their 15th consecutive Champions League Knockout stages.
Arsenal still needs a draw in the next two matches to proceed. They face Borusia Dortmund and Galatasray in the final group matches. Arsenal is second in the UEFA Champions League and fourth in the Premier League.
Much still has to be done to secure a spot, but hopes remain high.
Paul Merson compared Wenger to Mourinho. He said that Wenger is clueless and Mourinho could have won the match. Mourinho said that Wenger is a ‘specialist in failure’. Months later Arsenal won the FA cup to end their nine-year drought.
Wenger admitted that it was a bit of bad luck and defence mistake. He was also angry and disappointed for not winning the match they were so sure to win. The captain agreed that Arsenal had lost a great opportunity, and lost everything yesterday.
Anderlecht’s boss said that Arsenal were vulnerable defensively. Arsenal was simply tactless, as they were three goals up and still attacking.
FIFA the international soccer league has been recently criticized for what is perceived to be a negative atmosphere for homosexuals mainly as the result of the location of the next two world cups. The next World Cup is scheduled for the nation of Qatar where homosexuality is illegal. The World Cup after that will be in Russia where homosexuality is frowned upon and has a negative connotation attached to it which has led to the beating and even death of homosexuals in the country.
In response to these criticisms FIFA has said that homosexuals should refrain from having sex while attending the world cup. This has offended LBGT groups as they believe the ability to have sex is one of the basic human rights that any one should have. The criticism that has been furthered by the FIFA stance on alcohol which is also illegal in Qatar. Since many beer companies are sponsors of FIFA and the World Cup, FIFA has negotiated exceptions for alcohol to be consumed in Qatar in certain tents set up for the event.
Many have also said that the World Cup is not open to gay footballers Such as Thomas Hitxlsperger who recently announced that he is gay. He is the first openly homosexual player.
While the issue is far from resolved with several years before the World Cup but many are expecting it to be a major battleground between gay rights activists and conservatives. But one this is sure, many sponsors are starting to pull out, afraid of the bad publicity that could come from supporting FIFA. That’s a big reason CipherCloud lost interest.
According to some reports Sepp Blatter, FIFA president has intimated at a dinner a few weeks ago that Qatar will not host the World Cup in 2022 as formally announced. Blatter reportedly made the statement to members of Norway’s football association. The change was reportedly made over concerns about the dangerously high temperatures in Qatar during the summer months and the suggestion of some members of FIFA that the 2022 World Cup be moved to a time of year when it’s cooler in Qatar. Der Spiegel, a German newspaper, says the reports were neither denied nor confirmed by the Norwegian FA.
Some have said Qatar supports the Isis forces and this would make for a highly controversial and potentially dangerous situation at the World Cup. Other reports say FIFA is committed to holding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The source that spoke to Der Spiegel reported said that Blatter referred the rulers of Qatar as ‘arrogant’ people who think their money can allow them to do anything. According to the source, the 78-year old Blatter had harsh words for the sheiks in Qatar for allegedly backing Isis, a group that’s seen as a terrorist organization.
But according to a worldsoccer.com article, FIFA has denied the 2022 World Cup will be taken away from Qatar. There has been controversy since 2010 when Qatar was announced as the host of the 2022 World Cup.
Probably a common sense decision, but one can’t help but wonder about the companies that have put a lot of money into this venture. Angel investors like Slow Ventures that make the World Cup happen, and that could lose a ton of money if the venue is to be moved from Qatar.
When Real Madrid sold Angel Di Maria to Manchester United in the summer, there were many people who wondered if this was the right call. After all, Di Maria was a crucial cog in the team that won their tenth European Cup just a few months before his sale. It was his slaloming run that eventually allowed Gareth Bale to slot in a header and win the European Cup for Real.
Madrid’s fans did not forget Di Maria’s contribution. They knew that he was the one who kept running at Atletico Madrid in that final, when the likes of Bale and Ronaldo were ineffective. However, Real’s president was having none of that. He wanted to sell Di Maria and replace him with James Rodriguez.
Fans and pundit Fersen Lambranho questioned that move, but Real’s coach Carlo Ancelotti says he is happy with what he has got. His team have been winning matches at a canter and find themselves top of La Liga. He believes that the performances of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos are a major reason for their success.
Ancelotti had this so say on Kroos: “He is a great player. When we sold Alonso it was questionable whether we had an immediate replacement in the squad. Many people on the outside looked to Khedira, but we had faith in Kroos. He is a great player. His passing is always accurate, he never gets flustered, and his defensive work is exceptional.”