Tag Archives: Glen Johnson

Tremendous Torres Helps Liverpool Upset Chelsea’s Title Run

Fernando Torres has struggled for much of the 2010 campaign for Liverpool and his work ethic has come into question. But no one can question his hunger after he scored two goals against the toughest defense in the Premier League, Chelsea. (Courtesy Myo Kyaw Htun)

By Kevin Koczwara

Liverpool was suppose to just roll over for Chelsea like it did for Blackpool and Northampton at Anfield earlier this year, but it didn’t. Liverpool played with a passion and will to win that has been missing for much of the season to upset English Premier League reigning champions and current leaders Chelsea.

“I think the intensity’s been there in a lot of games but people notice results,” Roy Hodgson told Sky Sports after Liverpool beat Chelsea, 2-0.

The Red’s boss hasn’t had an easy time getting Liverpool on the right track or living up to the fans’ high expectations. Just a few weeks ago the team was in the relegation zone, but now, after beating Chelsea, the Reds are in ninth place, just two points behind fifth place Newcastle and only five points behind Manchester City.

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FIFA and English football still in the Dark Ages

By Mark Duckworth

Fabio Capello is one of the most successful managers of the past decade. He was successful in Italy and Spain, but now his CV is blotted by his time managing the England national side. And it’s not just an insignificant blot, it’s England’s heaviest defeat in a World Cup and a last 16 knock-out. Even Sven made the quarter-finals. So, is it all Capello’s fault or has he just become another victim of the English game and the false promise of talent and success?

Everyone seems to know the score, they’ve seen it all before, and in Bloemfontein Fabio Capello realised what it means to be the England team manager as Germany ran riot over his sorry side.

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Keys for USMNT Success Against England

Courtesy Alison Ciarleglio of APC Studios

By Kevin Koczwara

It is almost impossible for me to go anywhere and meet anyone who isn’t at least a little interested in the United States Men’s National Team’s opening game against England in the World Cup this Saturday.

I have taken part in countless arguments, discourses and friendly discussions about the Yanks chances on Saturday — almost always trying to find keys to success for both sides. All of the discussions have allowed me to fine tune my thoughts. I have come up with three keys to the Yanks success against England.

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Capello Finalizes England's Squad

By Cameron Dickinson of The National Game

All the speculation finally ended at 3 p.m. yesterday when Fabio Capello put the nation out of its misery by naming the 2010 World Cup squad.

Gone were the shock call-ups of the past (Theo Walcott in 2006 anyone?) as the manager appears to be placing his faith in those that have experience at the international level, rather than those with fewer caps.

Already some are willing to write off the tournament as they do not agree with some of the choices made by the Italian, but then this would be the case no matter who was in the final 23. At least the questions can stop for now, and we can now look forward to the greatest event in the world — which kicks off in just nine days.

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England Beats Mexico But Capello Still Has Questions That Need Answering

Courtesy The National Game

By Cameron Dickinson of The National Game

A typical English friendly performance saw Fabio Capello’s side secure victory, but in unconvincing fashion, throwing up more questions than answers.

Goals from Ledley King, Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson were enough to see off a spirited Mexico side that showed enough craft to cause the home side’s shaky defense problems.

The technically proficient Mexicans highlighted England’s shortcomings when faced with a good passing side and showed how much they need a quality ball-winning midfielder in the squad. When faced with a side who can really take advantage of their dominance of possession then England could really come unstuck.

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Injuries Plaguing World Cup Hopefuls and EPL Top Teams

By Kevin Koczwara
There is no substitute for depth in professional soccer. Skill can overcome some hard-ache, and hard-work can definitely make up for a lack of skill, but nothing can make up for a deep bench in the long grueling seasons of soccer. Many teams in the English Premier league are seeing some of their European aspirations heading to the training room instead of to the field, and some players are seeing their World Cup dreams shattered.

This year is different than most because players are training harder, playing harder, and have played more often in the past year or two than regularly. Why is? Simple, the World Cup is coming up and just about every player dreams of putting on their countries uniform and walking onto the grass of a World Cup Final. But they must show their worth in club matches and in international matches. And the wear and tear is showing.

Let’s look over a few teams and players that have been hit enormously by the injury bug, and let’s see who will definitely be sitting out the World Cup because of an injury.

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Battle for North London

Manuel Almunia returns to Arsenals goal just in time for the North London derby against Tottenham. (Courtesy Tim Snell Flickr)

Manuel Almunia returns to Arsenals goal just in time for the North London derby against Tottenham. (Courtesy Tim Snell Flickr)

By Kevin Koczwara

Arsenal and Tottenham will face-off Saturday at the Emirates Stadium to lay claim to as who is the best club in North London right now. It is a match-up that looks to be a barn burner because the two teams have high octane attacks and sub-par defenses. The game also has implications to set apart the two teams and give themselves room in the top four (Champions League qualification) on the Premier League table.

Both Arsenal and Tootenham have 19 points coming into this weekends match-up and are only set apart by goal differential — Arsenal at a +16, Tottenham at a +9– and Arsenal’s one game in hand. And both need this win to keep pace with table setters Chelsea (who play a Bolton side  they beat 4-0 in a mid-week Carling Cup match), and to avoid being bumped down by a confident Liverpool side who beat Manchester United last week and is playing a stingy Fulham side that looks tired from all the extra competition that the UEFA Cup has brought. And Manchester City and Aston Villa should surely wrap-up at least 1 point this weekend in their competitions keeping them in the hunt for a top four finish and jumping over the loser in North London.

This game is more than just a derby this weekend, it is a match that will make one of these teams a serious contender for Premier League silverware come May.

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The Only Derby: Liverpool vs United

Rafa will need to lead Liverpool a win on Sunday against hated rivals Manchester United if he hopes to keep the clubs championship hopes alive. (Courtesy Nigel Wilson Flickr)

Rafa will need to lead Liverpool a win on Sunday against hated rivals Manchester United if he hopes to keep the club's championship hopes alive. (Courtesy Nigel Wilson Flickr)

By Kevin Koczwara

Manchester United head to Anfield this weekend to hopefully put and end to Liverpool’s title chances. A win for United would be the knockout punch for Liverpool, putting them down for the count with little to no chance at winning The English Premier League for the first time in 20 years.

A Liverpool loss would be their fifth in a row and could the final straw for Rafa Benitez — especially with rumors of Jose Mourinho filling his shoes swirling (he isn’t loved in Italy by any measure). Benetiz needs his side to perform the level that everyone expects of them, because it is believed he is at fault for the poor play of recent.

The way the match-up is working out right now is the efficient United are going into a floundering Liverpool–hampered not only by form but by injuries. That scenario could lead to one of two things:  A United blow-out, or a tightly contested game with a lot of cards handed out, and physical play.

Let’s look at all the factors coming into this game:

Injuries

Liverpool have the bigger question marks here.

If Torres isn’t fully fit come Sunday, then Liverpool are dead in the water because they don’t have another striker on their bench who can put the pressure on Nemanja Vidic, and any fear at all in the United back-line. If David Ngog starts, then surely Liverpool will be reaching for some attack and praying to the heavens.

Their best option to fill-in for Torres if he isn’t fit to go would be starting Ryan Babel on one side outside midfield position and Albert Reira on the other, with Voronin and Kuyt playing off one another. Kuyt, despite his stature, wins so many balls in the middle through hard work, can gain possession. And Voronin (I hate that I am saying this) is maybe the best option they have the bench for this situation. He is quick, and assertive. He doesn’t hold onto the ball too long and is looking to show the manager what he is made of. So he is a better fit than say Ngog or anyone else on the bench for this game.

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Champions League: Liverpool Done? AC Milan Miracle Turn Around?

Anfield is a fortress and has been known to intimidate opponents. It has a rich soccer history, and passionate fans, but that didnt scare Lyon on Tuesday night. (Courtesy Wikicommons)

Anfield is a fortress and has been known to intimidate opponents. It has a rich soccer history, and passionate fans, but that didn't scare Lyon on Tuesday night. (Courtesy Wikicommons)

By Kevin Koczwara

This match week in Champions League play saw some miracle wins, disastrous losses, and some thumping wins from struggling sides. Overall it was just another match week in Champions League play, and just another poor week in fantasy sports for me.

Let’s Start With Liverpool and Lyon…

Liverpool had a remarkable streak broken on Tuesday, their streak of 22 years without 4 consecutive losses was broken by French powerhouse Lyon. To top off the 2-1 defeat at the hands of the French club, was that the loss happened at Anfield, a fortress in the footballing world.

Anfield has been Liverpool’s home field since 1892(after Everton left for Goodison Park) and Liverpool has had 7 undefeated seasons of home league games there. Last year (2008-09) saw the team go unbeaten at home, which helped them come close to winning their first league title in 19 years.

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Champions League Live Blog Experience

By Kevin Koczwara

Today The Soccer Guys are going to do something unprecedented. I am not going to write a column, a news wrap, or anything of the sort. I am going to Live Blog the Liverpool vs Debrecen game and (this is a bold and) update the scores of other games that are being played. Lots of computer screen watching, television watching and the likes today for a few hours. But it will be done.

So check back in around 2:20 p.m. (est) for all the news and happenings before the game. Should be a doozy of a day.

2:30 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel has an interview with Lucas…don’t know why. But it is good filler.

2:35 Line-ups announced:

Liverpool Debrecen

25 Pepe Reina (G)                   (G) Vukasin Poleksic 1

37 Martin Skrtel (CD-L)       (CD-L) N Meszaros 17

23 Jamie Carragher (CD-R)       (CD-R) Adam Komlósi 16

22 Emiliano Insua (LB)          (LB) Marcell Fodor 21

2 Glen Johnson (RB)                (RB) Laszlo Bodnar 10

21 Lucas (CM-L)                      (CM-L) Zoltán Kiss 30

8 Steven Gerrard (CM-R)    (CM-R) Luis Ramos 6

11 Alberto Riera (LM)            (LM) Péter Szakály 55

15 Yossi Benayoun (RM)                 (RM) Peter Czvitkovics 77

9 Fernando Torres (CF-L)            (ST) Adamo Coulibaly 39

18 Dirk Kuyt (CF-R)        (RCF) Leandro 4

2:40 Cesc Fabergas is starting in the Arsenal game. Big news for Arsenal Fans, but no Arsharvin yet.

2:45 Notably no Mascherano on the Liverpool side. His fitness for this weekend’s game is now in question.

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