Tag Archives: North 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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English Premier League, Week 11 Game of the Week

17 Nov

Recap from 2 weeks ago: Although not the most dominating of efforts, Chelsea handled Liverpool at Anfield thanks to goal by Gary Cahill and Diego Costa. Chelsea remains in first place, 4 points clear of the surprising Southampton Saints.

This Week: 

Arsenal FC vs Manchester United

Arsenal FC vs Manchester United

Saturday, November 22nd, 11:30am (CST) Emirates Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: Teams 6 (Arsenal) and 7 (Man United) in the Premier League face off in North London. Just a point apart, this is a crucial game as we head into the middle of November. The Gunners are coming off an ugly loss to Swansea City, a game which they controlled for about the first 60 or so minutes, before things got wildly out of hand. Man United won their last game at home against Crystal Palace thanks to a 67′ goal by Juan Mata. While not as significant of a rivalry as say the Manchester Derby, the North London Derby, or Liverpool vs Manchester United, this game, because of the history of the two clubs, has meaning beyond just two good teams playing.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: What does the future hold for both Arsenal and Manchester United, and where they end up finishing could all come back to this game. Both clubs are struggling mightily stringing together wins in a row, and both are dealing with bad injuries. The laundry list of injuries for Manchester United undoubtedly is hurting their chances: Falcao, van Persie, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera- each have missed or are slated to miss several games. For Arsenal: Olivier Giroud, Debuchy, Arteta, Ozil, Koscielny. Both of these clubs have Champions League aspirations, but have a ways to go. Even the Europa League, particularly for Manchester United, would be a positive step in the right direction for the club- however, as it stands and the way these clubs have looked, missing out on the top 6 entirely is a possibility that both would like to avoid.

Soccahaus Prediction: 1-1

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 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.

English Premier League, Week 34 Game of the Week

31 Mar

Recap: I thought Arsenal would get blown out by Manchester City, but I failed to acknowledge City’s struggles on the road this season. The end result was a 1-1 draw at the Emirates- a reasonable result from the Gunners’ perspective- as just last week, they had been blown out 0-6 at Chelsea.

This Week:

Everton FC vs Arsenal FC

Everton FC vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, April 6th, 7:30am (CDT), Goodison Park

Why This Game is intriguing: Because Arsenal is just 4 points ahead of surging Everton for 4th place in the table. Everton FC dreams of playing in the UEFA Champions League next season, and in order for them to qualify, a win here at home against the Gunners would give them a very solid chance of achieving that goal. Everton has won its last 5 matches in a row, and a lot of that has to do with the return of the injured young English superstar Ross Barkley. After this match, Everton has a few very tough games remaining on the schedule including vs Manchester United, at Southampton, and then vs Manchester City. If Everton can take care its business at home, they’ll have a great chance of usurping the Gunners for 4th place in the league.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Everton is a club stacked with talent- talent that this offseason, you can bet Arsenal will try to pry down to North London. Arsenal will be clamoring to sign Romelu Lukaku, though his parent club Chelsea very well could want him back for next season. Lukaku is a matchup nightmare at striker, scoring 12 goals and earning 6 assists with his enormous, powerful frame. Kevin Mirallas is another player Arsenal would love to have, for his consistency in attack and particularly in front of goal is something the Gunners have lacked all season. Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman are two stud defenders who pick their spots when it comes to involving themselves in the attack. Baines is a sure-fire starter for England in this upcoming World Cup.

Soccahaus Prediction: Everton 2, Arsenal 2

Other Games this week worth Watching: Manchester City vs Southampton, Newcastle vs Manchester United, Chelsea vs Stoke City, West Ham vs Liverpool

English Premier League, Week 33 Game of the Week

18 Apr

Recap of Last Week: In a game that I personally am very glad I was unable to watch, Arsenal and Everton drew 0-0 at the Emirates Stadium in North London. Arsenal is in 4th place heading into the weekend, while Everton is in 6th place. The Tottenham Hotspur are right in between them in 5th place, and remain just 2 points behind their rivals.

This Week: 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City FC

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City FC

Sunday, April 21st, 7:30AM (CST) White Hart Lane

Why This Game is Intriguing: Tottenham desperately could use a win here to gain on Arsenal (the Gunners play Fulham this weekend), but are facing the 2nd best team in England right now in Manchester City. The Citizens have won their last 3 games in a row, including an incredible 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. After a couple of bad losses to Everton and Southampton, City looks to have rebounded and are playing with a swagger that is starting to resemble the attitude the club played with all of last season. Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero are playing incredibly well as of late, and even better the two are playing well together on the field at the same time.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Will Gareth Bale play or not? It is clear that Tottenham can beat anyone when Bale is in the lineup, yet the club, while still pretty good, is only a shell of itself when the Welsh star isn’t playing. Tottenham is fighting desperately for a Champions League birth, and will be paying close attention to the scores of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Everton. Manchester City and Tottenham played each other back in November at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, where City won the match 2-1 off an Eden Dzeko winner in the 88′. While the score was close, City dominated the matchup, putting up twice as many shots and dominating the possession battle 62% to the Spurs 38%. This game will be thrilling because Andre Villas-Boas and his Tottenham club know how important it is at least get a point out of this match. A tall task, considering City is a juggernaut with (quite literally) a wealth of talent.

Soccahaus Prediction: 2-2 draw.

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

English Premier League, Week 32 Game of the Week

15 Apr

Recap of Last Week: I managed to accurately predict the correct score, a 2-1 victory by Manchester City in Old Trafford. The winning goal came in the 78′ by none other than Argentine international Sergio Aguero. His run combined with his top shelf strike over the outstretched hands of United keeper David de Gea was a magical moment for City. With 7 games left, United holds a 12 point lead over Manchester City.

This Week:

Arsenal FC vs Everton FC

Arsenal FC vs Everton FC

Tuesday, April 16th 1:45 PM (CST), Emirates Stadium

Why This Gamie is Intriguing: Because if the season were to have ended after last week’s games, both of these clubs would be on the outside looking in on a top 4 finish and a UEFA Champions League birth. Arsenal, currently in 3rd place is 6 points behind Manchester City. Everton, currently in 6th place, desperately needs a win to help make up for their 3 point deficit behind both Chelsea and Tottenham who are tied for 4th. This midweek premier is an important game for both of these clubs, as Arsenal is looking to solidify their bid for a Champions League birth, as Everton is looking to crack the top 4.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Form. Both of these teams come into this game in excellent form. Everton has not lost a game in a couple of months- the last one coming February 23rd to Norwich City. The most impressive win in that stretch was a 2-0 victory over 2nd place Manchester City. Arsenal also hasn’t lost in quite some time, the last loss coming back on March 3rd to North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal seems to have to turned a corner since that loss to Tottenham, and now have their sites set on once again returning to Europe’s greatest soccer tournament.

Soccahaus Prediction: Arsenal 3, Everton 2

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Man City vs Wigan, West Ham vs Manchester United, Fulham vs Chelsea