Tag Archives: London

Premier League, Week 34 Game of the Week

20 Apr

Recap: Chelsea beat Manchester United by a dull score of 1-0, thanks to a goal in the 1st half by Eden Hazard. Chelsea “did what it had to do to win”, playing a very defensive 2nd half and limiting the Red Devils’ attack.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, April 26th, 10am CDT, Emirates Stadium

Why this Game is Intriguing: Because these two clubs are not only the best two clubs in London, but the best two clubs in English football. Chelsea has just about sealed their fate as the winners of the Premier League, as they currently lead the 2nd place Gunners by 10 points. Even with a Chelsea loss here, it’s hard to imagine the Blues dropping points against some of the remaining opponents on their schedule, including Leicester City, Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Sunderland. Coupled with the fact that Chelsea has been knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup, these remaining matches after the Arsenal game will be taken incredibly seriously by Jose Mourinho and company. Chelsea has a way of creating a wall (or as many call it, a bus) in front of their own final third, and it will be incredibly difficult for Arsenal to have its chances.

Other Reasons to Watch: Arsenal is gunning for 2nd place. While the Gunners have all but secured another top 4 finish and Champions League bid, they remain just 1 point ahead of 3rd place Manchester United, and 2 points ahead of 4th place Manchester City. Arsenal have had a fantastic season despite major, long term injuries to key players including Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, the Ox, Jack Wilshire, and more. Arsenal would hate to finish 4th, because that would mean that they would have a play-in series, and thus 2 more key games to even qualify for the Champions League group stage. While it is impossible for the Gunners to overcome Chelsea in the standings, a victory over the Blues, and a victory for Arsene Wenger over arch nemesis Jose Mourinho, would do wonders for the pride in red based in North London.

Prediction: This one remains tight, and low scoring. I’ll go with 1-1 draw.

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La Liga, Week 12 Game of the Week

17 Nov

Recap: Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao ended in a 0-0 draw. Athletic Bilbao is, for now at least, comfortably out of the relegation zone, while Valencia is in 3rd place, just 3 points behind league leaders Real Madrid.

This Week:

FC Barcelona vs Sevilla FC

FC Barcelona vs Sevilla FC

Saturday, November 22nd, 1pm (CST) Camp Nou

Why This Game is Intriguing: Sevilla is just 2 points behind 2nd place FC Barcelona, and will be looking to jump them in the standings with a win over the Catalans at the Nou Camp. Sevilla has 7 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses thus far in the La Liga campaign, and is led by Colombian striker Carlos Bacca (who had a goal against the United States in a friendly last week in London). Bacca is a terror in front of goal, and an extremely talented forward capable of scoring from anywhere. Sevilla also has a nice infusion of youth from Barcelona loanees Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulefeu. Sevilla is a club capable and talented enough to push for a top 4 finish and Champions League bid, so it is worth keeping an eye on them as the season progresses.

Other Reason to Watch This Game: The Catalans, despite an easy win over Ajax a couple of weeks ago in the Champions League, appear to be struggling. They are just 1-2 in their last 3 La Liga games, including an ugly 2-1 over Almeria, and losses to Real Madrid and Celta Vigo- the latter at the Nou Camp. While it is understandable that it will take time for the likes of Neymar, Messi, and Luis Suarez to all get on the same page- frankly, no amount of practices can simulate and garner chemistry like minutes on the pitch in a competitive, meaningful game- this team can’t seem to get their defense straightened out. There are real issues at the back with Pique not playing well, with Bartra’s inconsistency, and with Mathieu’s injury woes- the centerback position is a revolving door for the Catalans, and that is their biggest achilles heel.

Soccahaus Prediction: Barcelona 2, Sevilla 1

English Premier League, Week 6 Game of the Week

29 Sep

Recap: Chelsea rocked 3rd place Aston Villa 3-0 thanks to goals from Oscar, Diego Costa, and Willian. Chelsea continues to look the part, as they are the class of the English Premier League. Their depth and goal-keeping continue to be points of consistency.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, October 5th, 8:05am (CST) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: A London derby featuring 2 of England’s best clubs. Chelsea comes off a 3-0 drubbing at Villa Park- while not unexpected, the result seems to have catapulted Chelsea into what we already knew they were- the best Premier League team at present time. Arsenal on the other hand comes into this game after a less than stellar result, a 1-1 draw to North London arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal scored the game tying goal late, as young English star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found the back of the net in the ’74. The Gunners were playing without injured captain Mikel Arteta, and Welsh star Aaron Ramsey had to be substituted at half due to a hamstring issue. It is also important to note that both of these clubs have Champions League matches earlier in the week: Chelsea travels to Portugal to face Sporting Club Lisbon on Tuesday, while the Gunners host Turkish Champions Galatasaray at the Emirates on Wednesday.

Other Reason to Watch this Game: Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea. The Catalan midfielder will play his old club, the club he played at for 9 years, for the first time as a Chelsea player. Cesc was the captain at Arsenal for many years, and was without a doubt, along with Robin van Persie, their best player. Now, Cesc is the focus of the Chelsea attack, leading the league in assists with 6. Cesc was an important player for Barcelona too in between his spells at the two London-based clubs, but opted to return to England to receive more playing and in the hopes of winning his first Premier League title- something he was unable to achieve at Arsenal.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 2, Arsenal 1

English Premier League, Week 31, Game of the Week

17 Mar

Recap: I thought that the magic of White Hart Lane would be enough to catapult the Yids to a victory over their North London counterparts Arsenal. Unfortunately for them, it was Tomas Rosicky’s goal just a minute in a half into the match that was enough to seal the deal for the Gunners. The goal was class, but Spurs ought to be disappointed with their missed chances, particularly in the 2nd half.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Saturday, March 22nd, 7:45am (CDT) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because this match features 2 clubs from London who are 1st and 3rd in the Premier League standings. 1st place Chelsea is coming off a 0-1 loss to Aston Villa in Birmingham this past week, while Arsenal is flying high after beating their hated North London rivals. Not only is Chelsea coming off of a loss, but Chelsea also must play Galatasaray at home this week as they look to fend off the Turkish champs in order to advance to the round of 8 in the Champions League. Chelsea has a lot on their plate, but Arsenal still must compete in order to ensure themselves of a top 4 finish.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Because this game features arguably the most gifted attacking player in the league (Chelsea’s Eden Hazard) vs the best defensive player in the league (Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker). While some may label Eden Hazard as slightly overrated, I definitely don’t, as his 13 goals and 7 assists lead this 1st place Chelsea team. Is he as good as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?- frankly he isn’t in that conversation- but his production, consistency, and creative flair in attack are the reason why Chelsea finds itself in the position they are currently in. Anyone who has watched an Arsenal game this year will tell you that Per Mertesacker is the Gunners’ most consistent and important player. With injuries to key players Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, and Jack Wilshire this season- it has been Mertesacker who has been standing tall in front of goal the entire season- largely unscathed.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 3, Arsenal 1

Other Games this week worth Watching: Manchester City vs Fulham, Cardiff vs Liverpool, Everton vs Swansea, West Ham vs Manchester United, Tottenham vs Southampton

English Premier League, Week 36 Game of the Week

6 May

Recap of Last Week: I incorrectly predicted the winner of the game, and I definitely overestimated the amount of goals that were scored in this game. Chelsea beat English champs Manchester United away at Old Trafford by a score of 1-0 thanks to a goal by Juan Mata in the 87′. This game was not without controversy, as Manchester United defender Rafael was unjustly sent off- David Luiz received a minor elbow from his fellow brazilian, and video clearly shows Luiz was just fine, faking an injury.

This Week: 

Chelsea FC vs Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea FC vs Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday, May 8th, 1:45pm (CST) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Tottenham Hotspur needs to win or draw this game, plain and simple, if they want to finish top 4 and participate in the Champions League next season. This might be, for all intensions and purposes, one of the most important matches in the history of Tottenham Hotspur football. The Spurs are currently in 5th place with 65 points, while Chelsea is currently in 3rd place with 68 points, and Arsenal is in 4th, just in between these two clubs, with 67 points. Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham- 3 London based clubs with tremendous followings both in England and around the world, are fighting for the final 3rd and 4th place spots- and there will be one loser who misses out. It’s not just making the prestigious tournament- it’s all of the added bonuses that come with being a Champions League club- most notably all of the revenue and exposure the club attains for an entire year and beyond.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: A rematch with much larger stakes. These clubs last met on October 20th at White Hart Lane, where Chelsea won 4-2 thanks to goals by Juan Mata in the 66′ and 69′ minutes. This time around though, the Champions League is staring both of these clubs in the face. Chelsea is playing some outstanding football as of late both in England and in the Europa League, and the Blues have a roster deep enough and capable enough to handle the rigors of winning both in Europe and at home. A loss here for Tottenham would be absolutely crushing- if the Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League, there is a very good chance Welsh star Gareth Bale and Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas leave and go elsewhere.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 3, Tottenham 1

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Sunderland vs Stoke, Manchester City vs West Brom, Wigan Athletic vs Swansea

La Liga, Week 29 Game of the Week

29 Mar

Recap of two weeks ago: In what was an exciting Galician derby between the two worst teams in La Liga, I managed to accurately predict the winner in Deportivo, although my predictions was off by 1 goal. Deportivo won the game 3-1. Deportivo la Coruna scored the first 3 goals of the game, while Park Chu-Young notched 1 in the 80′ to get Celta on the board.

This Week: 

Atletico Madrid vs Valencia CF

Atletico Madrid vs Valencia CF

Sunday, March 31st, 2pm (CST) Vicente Calderon

Why This Game is Intriguing: After going a couple of weeks without a victory, Atletico righted the ship Sunday the 17th against a free falling Osasuna team. Atletico Madrid remains in 3rd place in the La Liga table, just 1 point behind city rivals Real Madrid and 13 points ahead of 4th place Real Sociedad. Brazilian striker Diego Costa has really stepped up his game, scoring both goals in that last game against Osasuna. There is no doubt Atletico Madrid is primed for a return to Champions League soccer next season, but questions remain as to how exactly the roster will be looking. Where will Radamel Falcao end up? Rumors are spreading all over the place- some have him staying with Atletico, most in fact have him going to Chelsea. Another key component of Atletico’s core is their outstanding Belgian goal keeper, Thibault Courtois. Courtois is a Chelsea player who is out on loan to Atletico Madrid, and supposedly Chelsea will be bringing him back to London next season- BUT, Chelsea already has one of the elite goal keepers in the world in Peter Czech, and supposedly Atletico will be trying to permanently purchase the rights to Courtois from here on out.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Valencia has only lost twice this calendar year, and because of that the club that is used to participating in the Champions League is making quite a push to make sure they are back in the competition once again. Valencia is currently in 5th place in the table, and remain just 2 points behind 4th place Real Sociedad. Valencia’s last La Liga match was an impressive 3-0 home win against Andalusian club Real Betis. Roberto Soldado and Jonas continue to lead the charge up front, and Valencia will be banking on its experience as historically one of the top clubs in La Liga to get them back to the Champions League. While Atletico holds a 15 point lead over Valencia, with a Real Sociedad loss at Espanyol and with a Valencia win in Madrid, Valencia will switch places with Sociedad and earn a top 4 place for the time being.

Soccahaus Prediction: 2-2 draw

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Espanyol vs Real Sociedad, Rayo vs Malaga, Celta Vigo vs FC Barcelona, Real Zaragoza vs Real Madrid, Levante vs Sevilla, Mallorca vs Deportivo