Tag Archives: Didier Drogba

End of 2014/15 Premier League Season Thoughts

26 May

The End of the Premier League season is here, meaning the only games left until August are the Champions League Final in Berlin, the FA Cup Final at Wembley, some Euro qualifiers and friendlies, and of course, the summer international and exhibition tournaments.

My overall thoughts on the season: Congratulations to Chelsea. They were the best team in the league all season, and their consistency and ability to go undefeated against top teams such as Manchester United, Manchester City, and Arsenal reflects their resilience in contrast to their performances last season.

2 clubs that exceeded expectations: 

Crystal Palace: The Eagles from South London hired Alan Pardew on January 1st, at which time Crystal Palace was in the relegation zone 21 matches in. 5 months and 17 matches later, Crystal Palace finished in 10th place, their most successful season in their 109 year history. Yannick Bolasie, the young Congolese winger, emerged as one of top talents in English football.

Southampton: They lose Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and their 24 goals combined they scored last season to Liverpool . They lose manager Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham . Many believed this club would fall apart, and finish in or around the relegation zone.

2 Clubs that fell short of expectations:

Liverpool: It was clear Liverpool wasn’t going to be able to match last years success given the departure of player of the year Luis Suarez to FC Barcelona. It was thought however, with the additions of the Southampton crew listed above, Mario Balotelli, and the continued development of Raheem Sterling, that Liverpool would manage a top 4 finish and at least do better than they did in the Champions League. Brendan Rodgers is on the hot seat, as longtime Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard takes his remaining talents to sunny Los Angeles.

Newcastle: To me, Newcastle should be what Swansea was this year, and the past couple of years. A legitimate top 10 club, playing exciting football while conquering on occasion some of the league’s best (Arsenal, Manchester United, etc). Newcastle is far from that, and staved off relegation on the very last day of the season. The Magpies have a long summer ahead of them, starting with finding a new manager.

Memories from this season: In no particular order: Chelsea winning the league handily, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and Didier Drogba Premier League exits, Charlie Adam’s Goal, Leicester’s run down the stretch to avoid relegation, Crystal Palace’s improvement after hiring Pardew, lack of success in the Champions League for English teams, Newcastle’s collapse, Diego Costa’s immediate impact…

What I look forward to next season: Changes in personnel of all of the teams, the success/struggle of the newly promoted teams, will Chelsea repeat?, changes at Anfield, the continued rise of Manchester United,

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English Premier League, Week 6 Game of the Week

25 Sep

Recap of Last Week: I incorrectly predicted a Manchester City 3-1 win, as the eventual score was a 1-1 tie. Arsenal’s center back Laurent Koscielny tied the game off a loose ball that appeared just in front of him after an Arsenal corner kick in the ’82. The powerful strike culminated a resounding Arsenal attack that seemed to overwhelm City for much of the last 20 minutes of the game or so.

This Week:

Arsenal FC vs Chelsea FC

Saturday September 29th, 6:45 AM (CST), Emirates Stadium (ESPN2)

Why This Game is Intriguing: Who doesn’t enjoy a London derby featuring two of the top teams in England? Both of these teams boast incredibly talented squads, and each is seeking to do some damage in the Champions League this year as well. Chelsea currently sits in 1st place atop the English Premier League standings, and remain undefeated through its first 5 games- its lone draw was to QPR. Arsenal on the other hand has struggled at times to score this season, but ever since the Liverpool match a few weeks ago, they have played remarkably well- including a tough Champions League group play win over French champions Montpellier. Chelsea and Arsenal are two of the most popular English teams in the world, and both have rabid fan bases that stretch well beyond the boundaries of London.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and Oliver Giroud. Both clubs look drastically different than they did the last time they played each other, primarily because of some roster overhauls that occurred during this past transfer window. Chelsea said goodbye to living legend Didier Drogba, and welcomed in players such as Belgium star Eden Hazard and Brazilian attacking midfielder Oscar. Arsenal lost Robin van Persie, and replaced him with striker Olivier Giroud, winger Lukas Podolski, and attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla. Eden Hazard has made a rather seamless transition from Ligue 1 where he played for Lille into the English Premier League. In just 4 regular season games, Hazard has 1 goal and 6 assists. At only 21 years of age, Hazard is emerging as one of the top players in England- his skill set is off the charts and he will only improve with more experience playing at this level. Arsenal so far has struggled to fill the void left by league leading goal scorer last year Robin van Persie. Santi Cazorla has looked impressive and his creativity on the ball has wowed his opponents as much as Arsenal fans, but the problem lies with Olivier Giroud. The French striker, who tallied 21 goals and 9 assists for Montpellier last season in 36 regular season games, has failed to do anything for Arsenal thus far. He has no goals, no assists, and really hasn’t shown any resemblance to the player he was at Montpellier. The pressure is on Giroud, as Arsenal, even with the 1-1 tie against Manchester City last week, has struggled to put the ball in the net.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 3, Arsenal 2

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Fulham vs Manchester City, Norwich vs Liverpool, Reading vs Newcastle, Manchester United vs Tottenham, Aston Villa vs West Brom