Archive for May, 2011

EPL Players of the Season 2010/11


Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez, the little pea in the big league

Snapped up from Chivas Guadalajara just before a commendable World Cup campaign in South Africa for Mexico, ‘Chicharito’ arrived Old Trafford, scored 13 goals in 21 league appearances and made such an impact at the Theatre of Dreams that Dimitar Berbatov’s long overdue return on goals for the money spent on him could not save him from losing his first team place to the diminutive Mexican.

Peter Osaze Odemwingie
Mostly condemned for moving to a club of Westbromwich-Albion’s stature by fans back in Nigeria and abused racially for leaving Lokomotiv Moscow by fans of the Russian club, Osaze went about his business and his sterling performances for the Baggies through the season; bagging 15 goals along the way, was more than enough to silence his critics and announce his talents to the English game. Being named PFA Player of the Month twice added good icing to his cake.

Robin van Persie
This Dutchman’s form for Arsenal, laden as always with time on the sidelines due to injury, deserved a trophy but just like his goal in the Carling Cup final against Birmingham City, it simply didn’t prove enough. Van Persie however should be proud of his individual performances this season having finished with 18 league goals this season; the first of those scored on New Year’s Day, equalling the record held by Cristiano Ronaldo and former teammate Thierry Henry for most goals scored between January and season’s end. He also shot his way to breaking Didier Drogba’s record of scoring in six consecutive away league matches by scoring in nine consecutive away league matches.

Luka Modric

Luka Modric

Luka Modric (Spurs' engine) would be the player in the background with both arms raised, with Van der Vaart (Spurs' sleek exterior) celebrating in the fore

Where Rafael van Der Vaart was the sleek outer design of the Tottenham Hotspur team, Croatian playmaker Modric was the engine under the hood that truly ran the show with space-opening passes, playing self and team out of trouble and providing the occasional assist. Modric indeed is the unsung star of Tottenham this season and you just feel a far less calamitous goalkeeper and more consistent forwards will see the top echelon of the Premier League be even more competitive.

Darren Bent

After leaving Sunderland in January the dearth in goal became obvious at the Stadium of Light, much to the benefit of Aston Villa where between the New Year and March he became top scorer of the Villans with 10 goals in 16 league appearances; including two in a memorable win at Arsenal at on the penultimate weekend of the season

Wayne Rooney
All he needs is a moment to show why every opposition defender is ever unsettled when Rooney appears on the starting sheet of Manchester United on any given weekend and weekday. Every season his game improves steady and his scoring touch has remained at a good level for a forward, his team play has improved tremendously and it’s when the team performs that managers are happy; individual performances come as added bonus really.

Leighton Baines

Leighton Baines

Leighton Baines played in all of Everton's league matches this season, scoring five while at it

Everton would be better off in the league had the club attained same level of consistency as Baines. His occasional goals and high return on assists only bettered by Cesc Fabregas and Didier Drogba (according to Opta Sports) along with assured performances week after week for all 38 league matches amazingly, deservedly earned him the club’s Player of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season as well as Goal of the Season.

Jack Wilshere
Bolton Wanderers had a request to have the teenage English midfielder back on loan at the Reebok Stadium rejected few days to the start of the season and it proved to an invaluable decision by Arsène Wenger as evident by a consistent return of stellar individual performances for Arsenal all through the 49 matches he played in all competitions; one that deserved a trophy as reward… one that eluded the team.

Gareth Bale
Most unfortunately for the Three Lions of England, Bale is Welsh. A fact that made his explosive form for Tottenham Hotspur one worthy of much praise and enough for him to win the PFA Player of the Year although… winning that accolade was perhaps a bit of a hasty decision from the Queens’ men.

Edwin van Der Sar

Edwin van der Sar

Edwin van der Sar saving Anelka's spot kick in the 2008 Champions League final

This here is a Dutchman that has tasted the highs (Ajax) and endured the lows (Juventus and at Fulham; no offence to the Cottagers) of football hence retiring on a high at Manchester United after a top quality season of performances in all competitions is just what van Der Sar derseves. Van Der Save earned that nickname with string of saves that belied his 41 years and hopefully the Red Devils won’t go through the conundrum of finding a replacement like it did after Peter Scheimichel retired.

Rafael Van Der Vaart

Rafael van Der Vaart

Rafael van Der Vaart applauding Spurs' fans after a match

Following in the individual steps of countrymen Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder… out of Real Madrid, van der Vaart added a bit more flair to the game of Tottenham Hotspur, culminated in his 13 goals in 28 league appearances for the Lilywhites and a commendable campaign for the club; one that saw Spurs reach the Champions League quarterfinals in its maiden appearance in the competition.

Ryan Giggs

Ageless Welshman has now won one less league trophies than Arsenal has in its history. If that does not hit you enough in the face, think of it this way; only three clubs in all of England has won more league titles than he has… and the picture should be settling in now. Even at the ripe age of 37 when it is goalkeepers that attain their peak, Giggs proved very instrumental in Manchester United’s title winning campaign with his experience coming in handy and the evidence of speed in him still that belies his age. This here is a Welshman that has got better with age.

And others worthy of making this list fall below:

Didier Drogba

Samir Nasri

Charlie Adam

Antonio Valencia

Dirk Kuyt

Nemanja Vidic

Brede Hangeland

Nani

Charles N’Zogbia

Carlos Tevez

Yaya Toure

Dimitar Berbatov

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Special Word for…


Blackpool/ Ian Holloway
Ian Holloway must be a man with an inhumanly high self-esteem and if he added a bit of ambition to this spirit, I sense Blackpool could become a much better team than its potential currently shows and I hope they avoid relegation. The Tangerines meanwhile will make for a purist’s favourite as they play football for the gallery, even if it backfired hard in a good number of matches. #Jolly

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has made Manchester United England's most illustrious club

Love him, hate him, two things are sure with this wily old Scotsman, frequent success and a loyal customer to the chewing gum industry. Despite the familiarity in the Old Trafford atmosphere having been at the Manchester United helm since 1986, Sir Alex will do what needs to be done in order to keep the trophies coming and that’s how the Red Devils eclipsed arch-rivals Liverpool to become the team with the most league titles (19); like we did not recognise him as a legend already though. Writing of doing what needs to be done, there’s a third thing you can be sure of with SAF… the hairdryer treatment; testimonies abound! #Wine

Arsenal FC
The Gunners did all in its power to extend an unenviable run of years without a trophy… and succeeded *ticks seventh year*. Arsenal only has itself to blame for winning nothing this season and unless Arsène Wenger stops being emotional about the matter, a lot of the great talents at the club will never attain greatness at the club. #Drought

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho in one of his on-field state

The Portuguese tactician once again proved his prowess from the bench by winning the Copa Del Rey against Barcelona and breaking Real Madrid’s six season jinx of not going past the Champions League first knock-out round; going as far as the last four. It never was going to be easygoing at the Bernabeu and I sense two more seasons there would see Mourinho mould himself into a tactical legend. All that said, the Portuguese of course wasn’t going to let the season go by without a dose of touchline bans as well as “all eyes on me” and “me against the world” rants; encapsulated in the four El-Clasico encounters at close season #Journeyman

AC Milan/Massimmiliano Allegri
The Rossoneri may have been embarrassed out of the Champions League in the first knock-out round by debutantes Tottenham Hotspur but they handled affairs back home and ensured FC Internazionale’s run of four consecutive ‘Scudettos’ came to an end, thus earning some respect for the coach Allegri as well as a season’s worth of local bragging rights while at it. #Resurgence

Falcao

Falcao

Falcao has been in raging form for FC Porto this season

His 16 goals in the Europa League so far; a record already for most goals in a single season in either European Cups (Opta Sports), certainly served FC Porto well in the Portuguese side’s run to the final and in my opinion brings the 25 year old Columbian out of the shadows of the imposing Hulk; his Brazilian strike partner at the club. #Potent

BV Borussia Dortmund
The high competitiveness levels attained by the Bundesliga makes Dortmund’s league triumph very laudable. More so making use of a young, skilful team in dethroning perennial title favourites Bayern Munich, Dortmund now must prove to the rest of Europe; though without Real Madrid-bound Nuri Sahin, that not only the Bavarians can perform well on the big stage but for now, it’s always good to see a team other than the usual win. #Refreshing

Mario Gomez

Mario Gomez

Mario Gomez

How many hat tricks was that again? Five hat-tricks in one season; this season, is just lethal stuff! Too bad this form still was not enough to get Bayern Munich the German league title though 27 goals in 30 league matches should serve a good enough personal consolation for the striker. #Vain

Pepe
Perhaps Real Madrid’s best performer this season through his assured play in defence and later on in midfield, his importance to the team became most glaring following an underserved red card in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against arch-rivals Barcelona… the Catalans went on to score two goals afterwards and virtually seal its place in Wembley that night. #Gibraltar

Iker Casillas
Called upon on too many occasions to rescue Real Madrid, Casillas proved his class as a reliable goalkeeper time and again. #Reliance

Sergio Ramos
Thanks for making Arsenal the butt of yet more disheartening jokes after letting slip of the Copa Del Rey trophy from the parade atop the Real Madrid winning train… we know the rest. #Slipshod

André Villas-Boas

Not to say he is him but this is a bit how Jose Mourinho started… I’ll keep my eye on his teams and currently that’s FC Porto that he has guided to the league title and Europa League final in lethal, record breaking fashion; being the third youngest manager to win the Super Liga at 33 years, guiding FC Porto to amassing a massive 80 out of a possible 90 points in the league complemented by a run of 16 league matches won… all without any previous managerial experience? #HotShot

Queens Park Rangers
This very financially stable club has gained promotion to the most viable financial league in the world and I’m looking forward to QPR matches next season especially the London derbies. #Royal

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Random Yarns: Groomed Pet or Bloomed Flirt? A Day it May End in May & Voices


In the bustle of getting to school early one day; a futile effort most times for a lot of us, a discourse on marriage material arose among four students and to my surprise, they argued for the point that having a wife betroth for you seems the option to fall back on in order to get a ‘clean girl’.

Their paramount reason for this thought was that by the time one was ready to settle down for marriage after having ‘sampled’ across board, won’t one’s wife-to-be then also have been ‘sampled’ by someone else or a good number of young men; old ones as well, all in the search of who to settle down with.

Hence, they felt the process of old in which it was the parents that went about finding a girl they felt would be most suitable for their son should return to being the norm in this modern day…

But whether sampling before commitment or commitment by manner of betrothing is the way to go, time apparently is fast running out on making the decision (for those who haven’t made one) seeing as by popular consensus May 21 will see the world come to an end.

People just like to take the fun out of things really. So now that you’ve let the cat out of the bag, the price of crude oil has crashed and it so happens to be when most of us here in my school will finish with exams…

Seriously though, even Jesus Christ knows not what hour the Father will decide it is time but no no, some people are just in much of a haste for the end of days that from December 21, 2012 it’s become just over a fortnight from when this got posted? Make una no make God do us strong thing toh Gomorrah o!

Still with God (always will be anyway), when He speaks to people or what He actually asks of individuals we cannot say except be recipients of what a given individual says or does as directed by God. I ask however, was the message fully grasped by the given individual when received? In this post-jet age we live in, it only will be natural that individuals God speaks to; and I believe He speaks to us every day, are susceptible to being impatient in hearing the whole message or chilling to understand what the message is trying to impart.

Imagine Abraham, told by God that he would be made ‘father of many nations’ yet never became the king of Israel, Canaan or wherever but rather is revered today as a man of unwavering faith in God among men across religions; has that not fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham?

Then now, take Chris Okotie for another instance… told he would become President of Nigeria. Perhaps he mistook the timing of the message’s manifestation or altogether mistook the message itself. Hence I pray that each of us will through the infinite and abundant grace of God not be misled from our true destiny, amen!

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Premier League Flops of the Season 2010/11


Fernando Torres    –      Liverpool FC/Chelsea FC

Fernando Torres

It's been almost that horrid at the Bridge for Fernando Torres

He never should have been taken to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa having just recovered from an injury then but Vicente del Bosque chose to and El-Niño unfortunately had an overall campaign to forget. That poor form spilled into his early season at Liverpool from where his heart no longer resided, for whatever reasons and when Chelsea came with its ludicrous £50m bid for the Spaniard; despite his poor form up till then, the Reds gladly obliged. What followed was an even more farcical goal drought that lasted about 900 minutes over 13 matches and ended with some help from the heavens. Somehow, even at Chelsea, I still feel Torres would jump at the first offer from a Spanish club.

Marouane Chamakh –      Arsenal FC

Marouane Chamakh's season went as wrong as the hair-style

Marouane Chamakh's season went as wrong as the hair-style


The Moroccan began life at the Emirates on a very good note, nodding in goal after goal but soon enough the English game told on the import from French side Girondins Bordeaux and his glaring inability to make full use of his lower limbs other than for jumping meant he soon began a goal drought and hence lost his place in the first team; especially with the mercurial form of top choice Robin van Persie. He can fall behind the excuse of “adapting to the English game” and the world should oblige him. Looking on the good side, he arrived at Arsenal on a free transfer… #GoFigure!

Nicklas Bendtner   –      Arsenal FC

Arsène Wenger’s continued faith in the Dane is some way off that God has in mankind but still… such faith is monumental even by human standards. Robin van Persie’s absence early in the season should have been Bendtner’s chance to prove his worth, he did not. A hat trick in the League Cup quarterfinal turned out just a flash in the pan and in the end, his season on loan at Birmingham City remains his most prolific on English soil and considering that the Blues were then in the Championship, says a bit about where he belongs.

Bebe  –      Manchester United

Bebe

Bebe, the £7.5m reserve player


There’s something about not getting a return on an investment, it pisses one off. £7.5m for a virtual unknown recommended to Sir Alex Ferguson by none other than his two-time assistant at Old Trafford Carlos Quieroz and one would have expected the young Portuguese to at least show glimpses of what future holds for the faithful of the Theatre of Dreams alas, his first season was nothing short of nightmarish.

Heurelho Gomes    –      Tottenham Hotspur

Reliable safe hands when on his day, those hands prove outrageously calamitous on other occasions and Gomes had a fair share of mishaps in front of goal this season as five goals conceded were as a direct result of his blunder, a couple of others fortunately did not lead to goals.

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Random Yarns


I don’t know why I feel so but I hope the pity I have towards former Miss Kate Middleton is not vindicated in the coming years following her union to Prince William; a union that was placed right in our faces whether we were interested in witnessing it or not… and one would think the British are overly conservative type.

What arouses this thought is the memory of late ‘queen of hearts’, Princess Diana who became part of the royal family in pomp and all only to exit this sphere of life shrouded in dark clouds of deceit, betrayal, mistrust and rebellion, in short she passed away in a manner most un-British and devoid of the happy ever after such union promised when it was consummated in 1981.

Then in ’81 it was millions that watched the “Royal Wedding”, her son’s got some two billion people watching on worldwide via every media available; including tweets, and it all came to the “you may now kiss the bride” part… not sure that’s how the Dean of Westminster Abbey put it or Willie Willie decided to be most appropriate but a peck? Took a bit out of the Wedding’s shine but notwithstanding, a happy married life to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In Nigeria meanwhile, a good million of us hoped there would be a new leader occupying the throne at Aso Rock come May 29 but alas Jonathan Ebele Goodluck Azikiwe remains the favoured personnel of a majority of Nigerians with franchise and hence, the Bayelsa man will remain President of Nigeria till 2015 or Dame Patience’s famous greeting to her “fellow widows” comes to pass… whichever comes first.

Nonetheless, Jonathan made optimum use of the good luck that’s been with him since being Governor Dimipriye Alamieyeseigha’s deputy a little while ago but give Arsenal FC half the good luck and the Gunners still won’t ride it through to the end as can be seen by the trail of another trophy less campaign gone by… perhaps the most ludicrous since the drought began after the 2005 FA Cup win.

Definitely winning meanwhile is Karol Józef Wojtyła who was beatified earlier today in a glorious ceremony at the Vatican and from now on will be known as Blessed John Paul II. And so I pray to him, and all the angels and saints of Heaven… can Arsenal end the drought already!!!

©ð.òÁ

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