Tag Archives: Mauricio Pochettino

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 7 Game of the Week

13 Oct

Recap: 2 weeks ago, prior to the International Break, Chelsea defeated Arsenal 2-0, after a scuffle between managers Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. The 2 rivals squared off, but it was the Blues who looked the better side, with goals from Hazard (penalty in the ’27) and Diego Costa in the ’78.

This Week: 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City FC

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City FC

Saturday, October 18th, 6:45AM (CST) Etihad Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: These teams are both in the top 6 in the current Premier League table, and both are currently involved in European competition (City in the Champions League, Spurs in Europa League). Manchester City hasn’t lost a Premier League match since August 30th (Stoke City at home), and has 2 wins (on the road against Hull and Aston Villa and 2 draws (Chelsea at home and Arsenal on the road) since then. Despite their inconsistent play, the Citizens are in second place, and only 5 points behind league leaders Chelsea. A win at home against the extremely talented Tottenham Hotspur would give Manuel Pelligrini’s men a boost of confidence heading into another week of Champions League play.

Other Reasons to Watch this game: The 6th place Tottenham Hotspur have just 2 wins in their last 6 games, but their most recent victory was by far their biggest of the season. Their home win against 3rd place Southampton, manager Mauricio Pochettino’s former team, was incredibly significant. The Spurs played a complete game against a very good team, and the goal came from none other than their star player, Dane Christian Eriksen. Nacer Chadli has been a beast thus far for the Spurs, scoring 4 goals already, and seems to be improving each game.

Prediction: Man City 2, Tottenham 0

English Premier League, Week 3 Game of the Week

26 Aug

Recap: Manchester City thoroughly dominated Liverpool from start to finish at the Etihad. Stevan Jovetic scored a brace, while Sergio Aguero needed less than 30 seconds off the bench to score his first goal of the season. Liverpool managed to get on the board late thanks to an own goal by Pablo Zabaleta.

 

This Week:

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool FC

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool FC

Sunday, August 31st, 7:30am (CST) White Hart Lane

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because Tottenham Hotspur are in first place in the Premier League, and one of just 4 teams unbeaten through 2 games of the regular season (the others being Chelsea, Manchester City, and Swansea). The Spurs welcome Liverpool to their home in North London after Liverpool were crushed severely by defending champions Manchester City at the Etihad. Tottenham seems to have a flair about them that they did not have last year, and the major reason why is their new Argentinian manager Mauricio Pochettino. Pochettino’s primary strategy is to high press- constant pressure on the ball, rarely sitting back and waiting for the opponent to attack. He requires his center striker (using a 4-2-3-1) to rush the opposing defenders and goalie when they have ball as a means of keeping a fast tempo and ultimately winning back possession.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Massive changes at Liverpool for a club that finished a close 2nd in the Premier League last year. Mario Balotelli, Italian striker who just joined the club from AC Milan may be available to play in this match- but at this point his status is up in the air. Alberto Moreno, Spanish defenseman and transfer from Sevilla, showed flashes of brilliance (and some mistakes) against Manchester City, so expect him to not only play, but to improve upon his first performance in the Premier League. Rickie Lambert and Emre Can also made cameos in the game against Manchester City, but all eyes will still be on Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard- Liverpool’s two most impressive playmakers. This has been a dramatic overhaul in a short amount of time for the Merseyside club- meaning it might take time, perhaps a couple of months, for Brendan Rodgers to fully understand how best to utilize and build chemistry with his new roster.

Soccahaus Prediction: 1-1 Draw.