Tag Archives: Paul Scholes

Manchester City has to wait for next season to challenge United for EPL

By Kevin Koczwara

Roberto Mancini had Manchester City in prime position to challenge for the English Premier League title, but he couldn’t find a way to shut down Manchester United and Wayne Rooney in one of the most anticipated derby’s of the season. The loss will ultimately be his team’s shortcoming in the race for the league. The league looks unrealistic now, even in the boldest of dreams for City fans.

Old Trafford was the place to make the mark. To settle the score. A chance to put league leaders United on the back foot. It was a chance to hand the Red Devils their second loss in a row after starting the year undefeated until a loss to Wolverhampton a week ago. City could have cut the lead to two measly points — Manchester United with a game still in hand — and delivered a devastating mental blow to United.

“I like to play this game. I like to play at Old Trafford because it is better to win there than at home,” Mancini told the press on Friday before the game. “Because when you win away in a derby it is more important for our head and our personality.”

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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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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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Cattermole and Cana Can

By Kevin Koczwara

Lee Cattermole played under Steve Bruce at Wigan last year. This year, he plays under Bruce at Sunderland, and he is thriving as the holding midfielder for The Black Cats.

The 21-year-old center midfielder was a hot commodity this summer transfer window with the likes of Liverpool rumored to be interested in the England U-21 International. But, Bruce got his man. Snapping up the youngster for a reported £6 million (Wigan made a £2.5 million profit), and in getting his man he has got a skilled, ambitious and strong midfielder.

What else did he get this summer in the signing of the youngster?

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