Tag Archives: Martin Skrtel

Tottenham Fight Back Again, Lennon Seals Victory

Jermaine Defoe came off of Tottenham's bench after Rafael Van der Vaart picked up in an injury in the 11th minute. Defoe has been moved to the bench since the arrival of the Dutchman, strenghthening the Spurs bench. (Courtesy Darren Walters)

By Ryan Fleming

Even when not at their best, they continue to find ways to win, putting the struggles in the match behind them. Essentially, Tottenham Hotspur always look forward.

When Rafael Van Der Vaart left Sunday’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the 11th minute, the Spurs lost a real talent. Since the Dutchman’s arrival at White Hart Lane, the midfielder rose to the platform of one of Spurs’ best players, some say the best. Instead of panicking, Tottenham, along with Van Der Vaart’s substitute Jermain Defoe, continued to press deep into the Liverpool showing their opposition that even without one of their best players, they still field a quality side.

Only 25 minutes later Younes Kaboul picked up a knock and was substituted off for Sebastien Bassong. Last weekend’s hero, Kaboul gave Spurs the go-ahead goal, completing a miracle, two-goal comeback in the season’s first North London Derby with Arsenal at the Emirates.

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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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World Cup Preview pt. 4: Group F

By Kevin Koczwara

I know I have been away for a long time and I am sorry for that. I was busy, very busy, with a job I had in the month of December. But, I am back and ready to go. So let’s start this column off with predictions for Group F.

Group F is a tough group with 2 defensive and strong-minded teams, one virtual unknown and a squad that won their group in European qualifying to many people’s surprise. Continue reading

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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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Giants Stumble in Europe

Daniel Agger is finally healthy. His addition to the Liverpool defense will surely be a lift because right now it is struggling to keep opponents from scoring. (Courtesy Wikicommons.

Daniel Agger is finally healthy. His addition to the Liverpool defense will surely be a lift because right now it is struggling to keep opponents from scoring. (Courtesy Wikicommons.

By Kevin Koczwara

Liverpool Lose in Florence

It is a staggering scoreline: Liverpool 0-2 Fiorentina.

Rafa Benetiz cannot explain it. Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard cannot understand or defend it. As for the defense, they have looked like Babe in the Big City all year long–they have one clean sheet, a 5-0 win against the struggling attack of Stoke. And they can’t explain their struggles.

Liverpool went into the match confident, and Fiorentina had had a few “sleepless nights” after seeing the Reds put up six easy goals against Hull in the weekend. But none of it mattered on the pitch on Tuesday as Fiorentina scored two goals in less than 10 minutes, putting the visiting Reds on their backs like a hapless turtle.

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