Posts Tagged Ryan Giggs

Random Yarns: Transferred Prosperity…

Having such reservation on an adversary is understandable but it can be baffling when a person is not exactly in high spirits over the prosperity of their friend or colleague.

Few days ago while watching a movie on dear old 114, my little cousin came to me (busy scheming football manager tactics in the room) to ask what my reaction would be if my wife suddenly revealed to me that she has built a house?

Half conscious of even his presence let alone his question, I replied that I’d be happy and why not? I’m not a fan of being a tenant as I’m sure every other Nigerian is not too but that’s another little matter.

To my surprise, my cousin shakes his head at me and begins about why such a wife would embark on such capital grubbing project without putting the husband in the know. Besides, he continued, why should she be the one building the house?! (not his words in quote but basically what he said).

At this point I needed to tap the space bar and let the game allow me little time to access this. Did he have a problem with the woman of the house doing the ‘manly’ thing or was it just about her not letting him know about it till the house was built?

Right on cue like a striker’s foot on the end of a well dressed, defense shredding true pass ala Robin van Persie/Cesc Fàbregas, Wayne Rooney/Ryan Giggs… he said “why would she even build a house instead of using the money to help with upkeep”; and by upkeep, rent, food stuff and all.

Thankfully my cousin wasn’t being overly chauvinist though he wasn’t exactly being ambitious there. Besides, why couldn’t he see the issue as a case of transferred prosperity; my mind reversing the concept of transferred aggression.

Then again, the matter of egos arise though in my opinion there should be none of that between couples. In all this, I generally feel the couple should build the house together and leave such surprise packaging for a friend of the union.

In the event of one half of a marriage – husband or wife – coming up with such surprise package, that half should be prepared for whatever misgivings that may come from the other half.

As for the concept of transferred prosperity itself, it’s safe to say most of us have a knack of competition in-built otherwise there shouldn’t be a problem when a family member hits the jackpot on a lottery but that in-built nature would move one’s emotion to wishing it was himself/herself that got ALL that money instead of being hopeful of getting a small share from the big pot….

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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


Charles N’Zogbia

Carlos Tevez

Yaya Toure

Dimitar Berbatov

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Champions League Review ~ Devils Draw Blank, Tottenham Clawed Back on Tuesday’s Match-Day 1

Seeing the starting XI, it was a little surprise the match at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Rangers of Scotland ended goalless while Werder Bremen’s previous experience in the competition came in handy in the German side’s draw at home to UEFA Champions League debutantes Tottenham Hotspur.

Against the Scots, the Red Devils were just a touch off being lethargic on the night largely thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson’s wisdom to ‘rest’ Edwin Van der Sar, Nani, Paul Scholes (for the love of God, your best performing midfielder?), Dimitar Berbatov (yes, the Bulgarian’s starting to put in performances deserving of the money spent to bring him here…three seasons after!) and Ryan Giggs, who only came on for the last half hour after Antonio Valencia suffered a bad looking ankle injury.

Before the introduction of Giggs, United desperately lacked verve, ideas to slice the visiting defence open; still props should be given for their performance on the night, and apparently the will to win the match as it were. Safe for Darron Gibson’s efforts from long range, it was a near ghastly show-up…near ghastly, it would have been ghastly had Rangers converted any one of its four shots on target.

So what was Sir Alex thinking with his selection for the night, especially in light of Valencia’s (the club now) ease of dispatching their Turkish hosts Bursaspor 4-0. The Spaniards are clearly faring well so far with life after the Davids – Villa and Silva – and former Getafe forward Roberto Soldado looked good in Turkey and rounded up the scoring there.

David Villa got on the score sheet as well for Barcelona that rallied from a 20th minute Sidnei Govou opener for Panathinaikos to see off the visiting Greeks 5-1 at Camp Nou in a match that saw Lionel Messi wreak havoc from right after the opening goal – even though he managed to miss a penalty ten minutes to half time.

Other results saw defending champions Inter Milan, as feared in this post found the trip to FC Twente not so rosy though the neutral and more especially the Twente fans will take the 2-2 draw any day. Argentine striker Diego Milito just can’t stop scoring though this time round, he got Twente’s second goal on the night in the Group A encounter. That group remains open for all clubs after an identical result was achieved despite Tottenham Hotspur leading 2-0 after 20 minutes of the match with goals either side of half time earning Werder Bremen a draw at home and a good point earned by Spurs.

Group B saw Benfica beat Hapoel Tel Aviv of Israel 2-0 in Lisbon while Olympique Lyon could only manage a lone goal win at home to Schalke 04. Barcelona lead Group D on a healthy goal difference ahead of Danish side FC Copenhagen that left it late before defeating Obafemi Martins’ Rubin Kazan by a lone goal.

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Chelsea Beat Man U in Community Shield ’09

The league season in England today officially kicked off with the Community Shield match between Premier League winners Manchester United and FA Cup holders Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium.

The Red Devils took the lead after just 10 minutes with a 25 yard shot from Portuguese winger Nani past Petr Cech off an excellent cross field pass from Scot midfielder Darren Fletcher.

Chelsea however pulled level six minutes into the second half with a header from another Portuguese Ricardo Carvalho, before taking the lead through a Frank Lampard shot.

England striker Wayne Rooney however took the game to penalties with a neat finish deep into stoppage time, chipping over Cech after being found by veteran Welshman Ryan Giggs.

United fell apart in penalties as Giggs missed the league champions’ first kick after Lampard had scored his while Evra lost United’s third after Didier Drogba had put the Blues 3-1 up, leaving fellow Ivorian Salomon Kalou to win the season opener for Chelsea.

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My Most Memorable Soccer Goals

I got thinking recently about the goals that make top of the pops these days and I feel it’s been long people actually saw sublime goals being scored by players of equal quality, which is why I need your opinion on the following goals I’ll describe…

In no particular order, there are quite a number of goals here and a few more that should be added but there’s only a lot my memory can muster up for the time being. By the way, conspicously missing is Lionel Messi (so that I won’t be crucified at the end of this so here goes)

Goal 1: Mario Stanic vs. ??? (Premier League)

Can’t remember who Chelsea was playing against but it was at Stamford Bridge and Stanic was midway through the opponent’s half. This Croatian juggled the ball three times before unleashing a very cool shot to score the only goal of that match (if memory serves me right. I remember the goal very well though!)

Goal 2: Dennis Bergkamp vs Argentina (France ’98)

Bergkamp’s my favourite footballer of the ’90s and Arsenal player of all time and his goal against the Argentines in the quarterfinal of the ’98 World Cup also ranks as one of the greatest. A long ball from well inside the Dutch half by Marc Overmars (that shortie) was immaculately controlled by bergkamp, his second touch beat an onrushing defender before; from a tight angle, beat the goalkeeper with his third touch of the ball.

Bergkamp scores against Argentina in France '98

Bergkamp scores against Argentina in France '98

Bergkamp would go on to score an identical goal against Leicester City for Arsenal about a season later; but I’m not sure the long pass in came from Overmars that time lol.

Goal 3: Dennis Bergkamp vs. Newcastle United (Premier League)

He’s the only player that appears twice on this list. In this match, it’s the usual pass into the opponents area by Arsenal but when Bergkamp gets the ball in the “D”, a deft touch takes the ball past the defender’s right side while he goes on the poor guy’s left side, leaving that defender totally lost, before getting the ball past Shay Given, pure genius!

Goal 4: Diego Maradona vs. England (Mexico ’86)

I actually think Diego’s a better player than Pele (but Pele get’s the morality nod and ultimately the main prize because of…of all things…drug use!). Anyway, I’m not talking about the (in)famous Hand of God, it’s the other one, you know, the one Diego dribbles some five-six Three Lions players, does a one-two with God knows who and rounds the goalkeeper to score from a tight angle.

At this point, you’ll have an idea of where I’m going. These days, best goals are the ones that are shot at 100 miles an hour (Taiye Taiwo, Andriy Arshavin, Paul Scholes) but me thinks the art in scoring those goals should be appreciated and not the adrenaline that flows from the speed or whatever it is guys enjoy from “artificial” goals today. So…

Goal 5: Zinedine Zidane vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Champions League ’02)

Zidane's volley vs Bayer Leverkusen

Zidane's volley vs Bayer Leverkusen


Wow, I really can’t remember a goal so fitting to win a major title as this one was, is and will always be. What makes it even more special, Roberto Carlos’ cross in from the left wing took quite a deflection on its way to Zidane and here’s the thing, body language of Zizou altered a bit but it made the difference…because he struck that volley with the left foot so nicely. No wonder that has been Real Madrid’s last triumph in Europe!

Goal 6: Henrik Larsson vs. Bulgaria (Euro ’04 group stage)

Speaking of body language, there are a few strikers who know their body oh so well that when a cross comes in from the left wing, the ball is a bit ahead of the Swedish legend so Larsson makes a full body dive and puts both arms on his sides to propel him further in his flight…the header had only one destination afterwards. Larsson’s one of my top 10 all time best footballers, a list that sees Filippo Inzaghi come in at 10; for obvious reasons!

Henrik Larsson heads in against Bulgaria in Euor '04

Henrik Larsson heads in against Bulgaria in Euor '04


Goal 7: Steve Mcmanaman vs. Valencia (Champions League ’00)

I really felt sorry for los Che that night so I didn’t include Raul’s goal in that match but Mcmanaman’s goal; a scissor kick past Santiago Canizares, just couldn’t be overlooked. The technique of the goal was the first I saw of its kind, Gustavo Poyet would later score a similar goal but from closer to goal and with the ball coming in a more comfortable position for the Chilean. Mcmanaman’s goal came from a low cross and he was outside the box, Poyet was inside in his own case.

Goal 8: Thierry Henry vs. Manchester United (Premier League)

All I remember is the ball coming to Igwe, he lifts the ball to go to his left and then unleashes a right foot volley past his marker (Jaap Stam I believe in his black United shirt) and Fabian Barthez in the United goal.

Goal 9: Ryan Giggs vs. Arsenal (FA Cup ’99) 

Martin Keown must always have change of moods when the goal crosses his mind and rightly so. This match had it all, red card, disallowed (but legitimate) goal, saved penalty (Schiemichael did one on Bergkamp) and finally that goal, from midfield, Giggs dribbles four Arsenal players (Keown’s left worse off) before smashing past David Seaman.

Ryan Giggs' goal leaves Tony Adams sprawling

Ryan Giggs' goal leaves Tony Adams sprawling


Goal 10: Francesco Totti vs. Holland (Euro 2000 semi-final penalties)

Holland should have won this match, two penalties lost during the match and extra time as well as hitting the post twice, yet the Azurris had a game plan to soak up the pressure from the Dutch who had thrashed Serbia 6-1 in the previous match. So in penalties, Holland were so fagged out but the Italians were just putting them in and just to mock the Oranje nation, Totti ran up against Edwin van Der Sar and simply chipped down the middle…the look on van Der Sar’s face, you’d pity Holland that night.

And there have been way more goals scored in exquisite fashion such as Austin Okocha’s farce against the Bayern Munich defence in his days at Eintracht Frankfurt, Nwankwo Kanu’s third against Chelsea for Arsenal, Robin van Persie’s “kung-fu” kick goal against Charlton Athletic, Fernando Torres’ strike very recently against Blackburn Rovers, even “Kiko” Macheda’s first goal for Manchester United against Aston Villa.

Meanwhile, for those who read my Defining Moment note, please take a look at the Premier League table after the games of Tuesday (Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal) and Wednesday (Manchester United 1-0 Portsmouth, Chelsea 0-0 Everton)!

Finally, click the link below to enjoy Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s insane goal for AFC Ajax back in the days, pure classic…

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