La Liga Gameweek 8: Winners/Losers – Moyes Under Pressure

t was another feisty week of full weekend after a two week international break, and here we are once again discussing the winners and losers from the game day 8 in the La Liga BBVA.

Winners

 Celta Vigo

First in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Eduardo Berizzo’s Celta Vigo, who managed to win a tough away fixture against Marcelino Garcia Toral’s Villareal.

In a tough fixture away from home, the winning team was on the ball straight away, and took away the lead in the 40th minute. However, a red card right after the 1st half, went in the favor of the visitors.

But even then, visitors had to grind it hard and got the winner in the last minute of the regular time. Eduardo Berizzo would be glad to take away all 3 points back home from a match where he would have been pleased to even get a point from this fixture.

Atletico Madrid

Next in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid, who managed to win a crucial match away from home to stay in the title’s race.

In a match where the defense of the visitors was put to test, Simeone’s men came out with flying color and manage to register a comprehensive win on the road. Star of the show for the visitors was Frenchman Antonio Griezmann, who is proving to be a real star for the Spanish giants this season.

Barcelona

Last in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Luis Enrique’s Barcelona, who thrashed Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou.

The most impressive thing about Barcelona’s victory was the fact that Luis Enrique’s side is currently under pressure due to different injuries, but they didn’t let that affect their squad at the weekend.

Star of the show for the home side was Brazilian star Neymar, who stood up in the absence of Lionel Messi and get past 4 times against a crumbling Vallecano’s defense. A win would have given a much needed belief to the defending champions, who were facing tough times after being put under pressure after injuries to different players.

Losers

Villareal

First in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Marcelino Garcia’s Villareal, who lost to Celta Vigo at home, which saw them sliding down to 5thin the league.

Garcia’s men were top of the table just a few weeks back, but after consecutive defeats there is a lot to think for the manager as to what he should do to turn it around.

However, there is some positive sign for the home team, as their resilience after going a goal down and getting down to 10 men, Garcia’s men were able to come on equal terms and nearly got a point in what was a tough fixture at home. Garcia will hope that the kind of character that was shown by his team even after going a goal down will help them turn around their form in the weeks to come.

Real Sociedad

Next in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features David Moyes’s Real Sociedad, who suffered another defeat and the pressure is mounting on the Welshman after his side’s poor start to the season.

Moyes will be bitterly disappointed in a match where his team had most of the possession, had more shots on goals and had more corners, but couldn’t able to capitalize on the chances. Moyes knows that the time is running out for him and he needs to turn it around quickly if he has to stay in charge of the club for a long time.

Eibar

Last in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Luis Mendilibar’s Eibar, who will be bitterly disappointed after controlling most of the match after taking an early lead, but lost 2 crucial points because of an error from Spanish Goal Keeper Asier Riesgo, which lead to the equalizer. Mendilibar’s side remained pretty much in the control throughout, and the manager will hope that his players will learn a lesson or two from the draw, and will be able to put up a more disciplined performance in a tough fixture when they will visit Camp Nou next weekend.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Premier League Winners/Losers – Newcastle Run Riot

The Premier League was finally back this weekend after an international break; the weekend had some amazing clashes and teams were thriving to get the result which they were looking for. Here we are once again discussing the winners and losers from the game day 9 in the Barclays Premier League.

Winners:

West Ham

First in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the Barclay’s Premier League features Slaven Bilic’s West Ham, who came away with all three points in a crucial away win against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Slaven Bilic side’s job was made a little bit easier after Pardew’s men were down to 10 men in the 43rd minute when striker Gayle received 2nd yellow card.

Since then, it was Slaven Bilic’s side control the game, but couldn’t able to score until the 87th minute, when the player of the match Manuel Lanzini finally gets one passed through the stubborn Palace defense, which laid the foundation for a hard fought 3 points away from home.

Manchester United

Next in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the Barclay’s Premier League features LVG’s Manchester United, who earned an impressive 3 points away from home at Goddison Park against Everton. It was a near perfect day for the red devils, as they eased past Roberto Martinez men with 2 early strikes from Schneiderlin and Herrera inside the first 25 minutes of the match.

From that point, the match remained relatively one sided, with United defended with complete authority mostly. Man of the match for the winners was Spaniard Andre Herrera, who scored a goal and provided an important assist in the 61stminute to complete a comprehensive victory away from home.

Newcastle United

Last in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the Barclay’s Premier League features Steve McClaren’s New Castle, who managed to finally grab their first win of the season, and that too in a more than just impressive manner.

Winner’s, who just had 6-1 thrashing last game day when they played against the blue side of Manchester, scored 6 themselves this time, mainly thanks to Dutch midfielder Wijnaldum and French Mousa Sissoko, who managed to score 4 goals and provide 4 assists to complete a thrashing of the newly promoted visitors. With this win, Steve McClaren’s men are off the bottom of the table, and are now just 2 points away from the safety zone once again.

Losers:

Everton

First in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the Barclay’s Premier League feature Roberto Martinez men, who was comprehensively beaten at home playing against Manchester United. Roberto Martinez would be extremely disappointed after his side couldn’t able to recover after conceding two early goals, and were never managed to come back into the game.

Lukaku was extremely disappointed in the loss against a defense, many believe, is not up there amongst the best in the league. Martinez will hope that his men will bounce back from the defeat in another tough fixture, as they will travel to the Emirates Stadium to face red hot Gunners next Saturday.

Spurs

Next in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the Barclay’s Premier League features Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs, who give away the chance to finally end their horrid run against Liverpool. Many believed that it was Spurs best chance to end the hoodoo, as it was Jurgen Klopp’s first game as the manager, and the only fit Striker that was available to Liverpool was Belgian Origi.

However, Pochettino’s men could not able to dominate the game, and made very few chances, and could not able to convert anyone of them, and only managed to earn a point at home.

Southampton

Last in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the Barclay’s Premier League feature Ronald Koeman’s Southampton, who gave away a two goal advantage at home against Leicester this weekend.

Southampton was totally dominating the game in the first half, and went two goals up in the first half, after a goal from Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk, but couldn’t hold onto their lead in the 2nd half against a spirited Leicester side, who refused to give up the fight and managed to get an equalizer late in the extra time in the 2nd half.

RonaldKoeman will feel that it was 2 precious points dropped at home, and he will hope to bounce back next week from a late shock at the weekend.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Gameweek 7: Winners/Losers – Barcelona Suffering

Match Day 07 in the La Liga BBVA featured some close games, some upsets and some predictable results, which was worth watching for, especially before a two week International Break. Here we are summing up the action from match day 07 in  La Liga BBVA in our winners and losers reviews of the week.

Winners:

Sevilla

First in the list of winners for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features impressive Sevilla, who managed to pull off a great win against defending champions Barcelona at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The home side took full advantage of the injury prone Catalan’s side, who looked out of sort for most of the part. It was Sevilla’s 2ndconsecutive league win, which now sees them sitting in the 12th spot, 2 points clear of the relegation zone. The star of the night for Unai Emry’s men was Danish left winger Krohn – Dehli, who provided an assist and scored a goal in a 2-1 victory over the Spanish giants.

Getafe

Next in the list of winners for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features resilient Getafe, who managed to get a draw against a Celta Vigo side, who thrashed Barcelona few weeks ago at the same venue. Getafe went into the match knowing very well that they would have to show the attitude of real resilience to get anything out of it, and their defensive line did just that. The star of the show for the away side was Goalkeeper Guaita, who managed to pull off some great saves to keep a clean sheet, which proved to be enough for the Fran Escriba side to take a hard fought point back home.

Levante

Last in the list of winners for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA feature impressive Levante, who managed to pull off their first win of the season, and that too came against the league leaders, Villareal. The home side was given a big favor in the 36thminute, when the Villareal left back Jokic was sent off, that proved the turning point in the match for Lucas Alcaraz’s men. Hero of the match for the home side was the young Brazilian striker Deyverson, who scored a late winner for Levante who climb two positions up to the 18th, after clinching their first win of the season.

Losers:

Barcelona:

First in the list of losers for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features defending Champions Barcelona, who is now clearly suffering from the lack of depth in their squad on the back of a lot of injuries in the recent past. Luis Enrique’s side was below par in a battle where they did not look like a team that won the treble last season. Injuries to Iniesta and Rafinha exposed their depth in the squad, and the departure of Pedro to Premier League giants Chelsea already seemed a bad deal, as there are no replacements available in case of an injury to any one out of MSN. Neymar was the standout for the Catalans, as he had very little support from Luis Suarez, who had an occasional night off.

Celta Vigo

Next in the list of the losers for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features Celta Vigo, who couldn’t break through the defense of Getafe in what was an expected victory for the home side, especially considering their performance against the defending champions at the same venue. Eduardo Berizzo’s men remained in total control of the match throughout, but even after having 18 shots on goal, out of which 7 were on target, Celta couldn’t able to break the resilient defense of the visitors, which dented their hope to reclaim the top spot in the league this week.

Villareal

Last in the list of losers for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features league leaders Villareal, who even after their first defeat of the season, finished the week at the top of the league, mainly thanks to a draw in the Madrid Derby. Marcelino Garcia will be bitterly disappointed after losing a match against a side, who were at the bottom in the league, and was still on a hunt for their first victory. The visitors had to face a setback in the 36th minute, when Slovenian left back Bojan Jokic received a red card, and the visitors were down to 10 men with nearly an hour left to play. Garcia’s men tried all they could to get a point to take back home, but it was a late goal from young Brazilian striker Deyvorson, which proved enough to end a near perfect run for the visitors.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Premier League Winners/Losers – Chelsea on the Slump

Premier League Winners and Losers

Match day 08 in the Barclay’s Premier League featured some upsets, some competitive battles and some unfinished businesses. Here were are again with the winners and losers for this week’s action in the Barclay’s English Premier League.

Winners:

Southampton

First in the list of winners is impressive Saints, who managed to win from a goal down against a struggling defending champions at Stamford Bridge. Southampton went a goal down in the 10th minute after a stunning free kick from Willian, which left the visitor in a state of shock.

However, Ronald Koeman’s men were up to the task and a goal before half time from Steven Davis started a revival, which saw the visitor scored two more in the 2nd half, and could have easily had a few more, if they would have been more clinical.

Striker Pelle and winger Mane had was the star of the match, and stretched Chelsea’s defense on more than one occasion. Koeman would be proud of his team’s performance and he would hope to continue the good work after the international break.

Arsenal

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring the 1st Arsenal goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on October 4, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Next in the list of winners for match day 08 in the Barclays English Premier League features Arsenal, who thrashed Manchester United 3-0 in what proved to be one sided derby at the Emirates. Arsenal entered the match under pressure on the back of the defeat against Olympiacos midweek in the Champions League.

However, it was Alexis Sanchez show, who scored twice in the first 20 minutes, along with a goal from Mesut Ozil to shatter whatever hopes there were for the red – devils. Overall, it was a one brilliant day for the gunners, where they dominated pretty much the whole match, and were never looked in trouble throughout the match.

Apart from Alexis and Ozil, Coquelin and Cazorla also had a good day for the gunners, as they remained calm in the middle, and hold the ball effectively for the winners.

Leicester

NORWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Jamie Vardy (3rd L) of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Leicester City at Carrow Road on October 3, 2015 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)

Last in the list of winners for match day 08 in the Barclays English Premier League features Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester, who are now sitting pretty at 5th with 15 points, just behind Crystal Palace on the goal difference. The match itself was in balance till the 27th minute, before the visitors were awarded a penalty, which was converted by Jamie Vardy, which started the domination for the visitors in the match.

Twenty minutes later, the lead was doubled after a goal from winger Schlupp, which proved enough for the visitors to take all three points back home. Ranieri will hope that his team will keep performing at the same level, which will prove to be enough to compete for the spot in Europe next season.

Losers:

Chelsea

First in the list of losers is no surprise, as once again in the losers list features defending champions Chelsea, who, after earning just 8 points from the first 8 matches, are in a serious danger of losing out on top four spot this season.

Before the match, it was assumed the defending champions would have a hard time against a team, who looks a lot more settled than the defending Champions, and so was the case. Even after taking the lead, Mourinho’s men were never looked in control and were always short of creativity, attacking mindset and defensive capability on the night.

Fabregas and Hazard once again were below par for the blues, as Mourinho’s future at the club seems to be in doubt, especially after his post-match interview, in which he said at least four times that he will not run away from the club, and that the board will have to “Sack Him”, if they want to see him out of the club.

Sunderland

Next in the losers for the match day 08 in the Barclays Premier League features struggling Sunderland, who gave away 2 goal advantage at home against West Ham. The result saw the first managerial casualty in the league as Sunderland Dick Advocaat leaving the club after the match.

The home side went 2-0 up inside the first 22 minutes after goals from Steven Fletcher and Jeremain Lens. However, the host could not able to keep their defense tight, as the visitors strike back right after half time with a goal from Carl Jenkinson, and later was able to equalize with a strike from Dimitri Payet.

Home side can actually find themselves lucky as they managed to salvage a point after going down to 10 men in the 57th minute. However, it was the lack of attacking intent that cost the home side a chance to get a first win in this campaign.

Aston Villa

Last in the list of losers for the match day 08 in the Barclays Premier League features another relegation contenders in Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa, who once again lost at home, this time against Stoke City. This was Aston Villas 3rd home defeat in 4 matches at home this season, as they find themselves in the bottom half, 6 points adrift from safety.

Sherwood would be bitterly disappointed with the results, as his team was completely on par with the opposition till the 1st goal, which changed the flow of the game completely. Statistically, Sherwood’s men were a better unit on the day, but failed to capitalize on considerable chances, and he would hope to turn it around, if he is to stay in the job for long.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Tops and Flops on Champions League Day 02

Second Match Day in the Champions League has come to an end, and it was nothing less than two nights of a spectacular set of matches that viewers had the opportunity to see. Here we are back with the Tops and Flops from the UEFA Champions League from the Match Day 02.

Tops:

Olympiacos:

First in the list of Tops for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is a real Surprise! And that surprise is Olympiacos, who defeated Arsenal at Emirates in a surprise result. Olympiacos were heavily under-dogs going into a match, as Arsenal were desperate for a win after a loss in a first match. In a match that was highly dominated by the home side, Olympiacos defended well throughout with sheer resilience, and a bit of luck that helped them talking the lead thrice, out of which they were successfully defended the lead third time, which was enough for them to take all three points back home, which can prove a pivotal role in advancing to the round of 16.

Benfica

Next in the list of Tops for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is another surprise in the form of Benfica, who managed to beat 2013/14 finalist Athletico Madrid at Vicente Calderon.

Going into the match, Benfica was tipped as under-dogs since Athletico was in more than a decent form in the buildup to this match. However, in the match where Benfica was dominated throughout the match by the home side, it was the winning team’s defensive line that deserved all the praise, especially former Brazilian Goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who had more than a decent performance between the sticks. Gaitan was the star man upfront for Rui Vitoria’s side, as the Portugese teams are now in a commanding position to qualify for the next round, after earning maximum points from the first two matches.

Manchester City

Last in the list of Tops for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is English giants Manchester City, who managed to win a crucial away match in Germany against Borussia Moenchengladbach. In a match where City were desperate to win, Manuel Pallegrini’s men were looking for a leader to step up and take the team across the line, and it was none other than Goalkeeper Joe Hart, who stood up for the blue side of Manchester and made a crucial save in the 20th minute. Even after countless attacks, City went behind in the 54th minute, and all looked a little too bleak for the Pallegrini’s men, as they again looked set to go out from the early stage of this competition. However, an own goal from Andreas Christensen and a penalty in the 90th minute from Segio Aguero sealed a crucial victory for the Pallegrini’s men on the road, which can go a long way in taking them through the group stage this season.

Flops:

Arsenal

First in the list of for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is English giants Arsenal, who is now facing a group stage exit, after losing 2 out of 2 matches, and that too against oppositions many thought Arsenal would be hands down favorite to win again. Arsene Wenger opted to play David Ospana in place of Peter Cech, which raised many eyebrows, and seeing the performance of Ospana, brought more misery for the Frenchman, who refused to give answers as to why he did not pick Cech in such a crucial match if he was fit. Arsenal would be gutted to not being able to convert 18 shots on goals, out of which 9 were on target. Home side dominated the visitors throughout the game, but it was the Gunners defense, which was the real cause of concern for Wenger, who now have to face Bayern in back to matches, in a situation where his team needs to win at least 3 out of the last 4 remaining matches.

Chelsea

Second in the list of for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is another English giants Chelsea, who lost to Porto in what was a below par performance from the defending English Champions, who were the deserving loser’s on the night against an energetic Porto. Mourinho’s men were beaten on the night when he dropped Hazzard and Matic on the bench. The visitors by pace, in the physical department and were slow to react defensively, as Julen Lopetigui’s men were deservingly winners on the night when Mourinho came back to face the team with which he managed to win the Champions League back in 2004.

Chelsea’s problem in defense and in the central defensive midfield was evident once again, as Mourinho looks short on defensive options and the need of John Stones seems ever more evident for the blues if they are to make any significant progress this season.

Athletico Madrid

Last in the list of for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is Spanish giants Athletico Madrid, as they suffered a shocking defeat against Benfica at home. Diego Simeone’s men were outright dominant throughout the match, but they failed to convert the chances. Athletico took the lead in the 23rd minute but failed to capitalize on it, and were poor on the defending front. Griezmann had another star performance for Simeone’s side, as he looked a part for the men in red & white. Martinez had another disappointing night for his new club, as he still did not look the kind of player he was once at Porto. For Simeone, it’s another setback which he will like to get over, and will try to get his team back on track in La Liga after back to back defeats in the week.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Gameweek 6: Winners/Losers – Madrid Flop

With 3 matches in a week, the action La Liga BBVA is heating up and teams are looking to cement their place in the top half of the league. With the action heating up, so is our winners and losers from match day 06 in La Liga BBVA.

Winners:

 Malaga

First in the list of winners for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features Malaga, who managed to get an impressive nil – nil draw at the Santiago Bernabue against a star studded Real Madrid. This result becomes even more impressive looking at the fact that the visitors had to play last 10 + minutes with 10 men. Star of the show for visitors was their man between the sticks, Carlos Kameni, who managed some crucial saves, along with the Captain Weligton, who proved to be the real leader in crunch times, which proved vital as Javier Garcia men took a point back home, which would have felt nothing less than a victory.

Villareal

Second in the list of winners for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features the new league leader Villareal, who continued their impressive start to their new campaign with a 1-0 victory over Athletico Madrid. Before the match, there was a sense that Villareal might be able to upset the former League Champions, and the doubts were turned into a reality when an early goal from Leo Baptistao proved enough for the yellow submarine to earn all three points. The real star of the show for the home side was their Goalkeeper Areola, who managed some crucial saves for the winning side. A win also meant that Villareal is now top of the league, a point above Barcelona, which is an achievement itself for Garcia Toral side, and he would hope that this will make way for a return to European competition next season.

Sevilla

Last in the list of winners for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features Unai Emery’s Sevilla, who finally managed to get their first win of this new campaign. Before the match, Unai Emery was under pressure as his side was in the relegation zone, but a crucial win at the weekend means that his job is safe for now. The match was pretty much evenly balanced, as both teams had plenty of shots on goal. However, it was the winner from the substitute Konoplyanka in the 86th minute, which proved the deciding goal of the match. Unai Emery will hope that this win will kick start their new campaign, and he will look to get back into the top half once again with more impressive shows in the matches to come.

Losers

Real Madrid

First in the list of losers for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features Real Madrid, who once again looked toothless in their attacking game, for which they were renowned for. After having more than 25 shots on goals, and with more than 10 shots on target, Benitez has some serious work to do before El Classico and Madrid Derby. Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t get his 500th professional goal, whereas a lot of chances went missing for the Los Blancos. With a draw, Madrid has also lost the top spot to Villareal, and is now placed at 3rd, behind Barcelona.

Athletico Madrid

Second in the list of losers for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features another Madrid giants in Athletico Madrid, who lost a crucial away game against Villareal away from home. Coming into this match, Diego Simeone’s man was in a pretty good form of late, and were hoping to at least take a point back home from a difficult fixture. However, their attacking performance was once again questioned by the Villareal defense, as a goal in the 14th minute proved enough for the home side to grab all three points. New signing Martinez had a disappointing night, as Simeone will hope for a better show from his new singing in the matches to come.

Real Sociedad

Last in the list of losers for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features David Moyes’s Real Sociedad, who were held at home for a nil – nil draw by a struggling Athletic Bilbao. Sociedad manager David Moyes was under serious pressure couple of weeks back, and he would have been hoping to get a better result in a home fixture, that too against a team that looked short on confidence on the back of some poor results. However, the home side were unable to break the deadlock and couldn’t convert to any significant chance throughout the match. Moyes will hope that his strikers will come to the party in the matches to come, as he will look to steer the ship towards safety once again this season.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Premier League Gameweek Seven Winners/Losers – Lamela The Real Star

Match Day 07 in the Barclays Premier League brought some amazing action throughout the weekend, and there were some upsets and some amazing performances. Here we are again, discussing Winners and Losers from the Match Day 07 in the Barclays Premier League.

Winners:

Tottenham Hotspurs:

First in the list of winners for the first time in 7 Match days feature Pochettino’s red hot Spurs, who came back from a goal down to win 4-1 against the league leaders Manchester City at White Hart Lane. The game was divided into 2 parts, first before Spurs controversial equalizer just before a half time and the 2nd after that equalizer. City were sitting pretty comfortable at 1-0 approaching half time with a brilliant goal from new signing Kevin De Bruyne, but it was the couple of mistakes from the officials plus some poor defending cost them the match. Star of the match for the winning side was undoubtedly Erik Lamela, who provided an assist and had a goal to his name in what was his best performance for the Club. His work rate was admirable and his creativity was never in doubt. It is fair to say that if Lamela can keep his good form, Spurs will have more reason to believe that this season can be better than last season.

New Castle United: 

Surprise, Surprise! For the first time in 4 weeks, we have New Castle United featuring in the winners list instead of featuring in the losers’ list for the Match Day 07 in the Barclays Premier League. Steve McClaren had a horrid time since joining Magpies, and things gone from bad to worse in the midweek, when they went crashing out of the League Cup against the 2nd string side of the team feature in Championship. This week, McClaren changed the formation and played with 4-4-2, instead of 4-2-3-1, which paid dividend on the field when the home side took a 2-0 lead in the 60thminute. However, the host would be bitterly disappointed as again their defense came into the spot light for giving away that two goal lead in the last 10 minutes. Steve McClaren would hope that his sides’ impressive show against the defending Champion would prove to be a sign of better things to come in the future.

Arsenal:

Last in the list of winners list features Arsenal, who managed to show impressive run against an emerging Leicester. Arsenal had a mixture of a week last week, where they lost to rivals Chelsea in a controversial Premier League fixture, and won against city rivals Spurs in a League Cup tie in the midweek. Arsenal went behind in the 13thminute after a goal from Jamie Vardy, but came back strongly and finish the half with a goal lead. Alexis Sanchez was on fire for the Gunners, as he struck a stunning hat-trick for the Wenger’s men, as the hit pass 5 goals against a tough and emerging Leicester side. This win has taken Arsenal back into the top four, with just 3 points behind the League leader Manchester United.

Losers:

City

First in the list of losers for the Match Day 07 in the Barclays Premier League, features for the 2nd week running, Manchester City, who had their 2nd consecutive lost in as many games in the League. City were overwhelming favorites to win at White Hart Lane, and can consider them a bit unlucky with 2 goals that should not have been allowed due to offside calls. However, in the complete mix of things, City would have lesser to complain about, as they were thoroughly dominated by the home side, who looked fresh and hungrier than the Manchester giants. Joe Hart was on the bench due to unknown reason, and Caballero had a day to forget between the sticks. City has had a pretty decent first half, but the lack of form of Sergio Aguero is really creating a headache for Pallegrini, as he seems short of options in out and out strikers list.

Chelsea

2nd in the list of losers for the Match Day 07 in the Barclays Premier League features defending Champions Chelsea, who once again failed to beat New Castle United at St. James’s Park under Jose Mourinho. Everyone believed that if there was one time when the Blue’s had a golden chance to end their horrid run against the home side, it was this time around, especially after McClaren’s side recent crushed out of the League Cup in the midweek, against a 2nd string Championship side. However, it was the other way around. Jose Mourinho was once again looked certain to have another defeat at St. James’s park after his team went 2-0 down with about 10 minutes to go, but 2 inspired substitutions in the form of Willian and Ramires came to the rescue, and managed to salvage a point from a match that looked like a certain defeat. Jose Mourinho will be gutted to let the chance go of breaking the hoodoo at St. James’s Park, but will be a little please to take at least a point back home.

West Ham

Barclays Premier League 2015/16 West Ham United v Norwich City Upton Park, Green St, Upton Park, London, United Kingdom - 26 Sep 2015

Last in the list of losers for the Match Day07 in the Barclays Premier League features West Ham, who ended a disappointing home fixture against a newly promoted Norwich side. After beating Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City away from home, Slaven Bilic would have hoped to win a fixture like this at home, but failed to do so. West Ham’s looked certain for a defeat, but a goal in the last minute of the regular time from the midfielder Kouyate salvaged a point for the home side. If Bilic and West Ham will have to push for Europe this season, they would have to start winning home games against lower ranked teams, as it might cost them in the end.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Gameweek 4: Winners/Losers – Betis Flying High

Match Day 04 in La Liga had some delicate touches, and had some nasty battles as teams tried to get as many points as possible. We will talk about all the important actions in our weekly Winners and Losers from the La Liga Match Day 04.

 

Winners:

Real Betis

First in the list of winners is a surprise inclusion in the form of Real Betis, who continued their impressive start of the season after earning a hard fought draw at Mestalla stadium while playing away from the home. The importance of the draw even become more significant considering the fact that Pepe Mel side had to play nearly all of the 2nd half with 10 men after midfielder Daniel Ceballos received 2ndyellow of the match in the 48th minute.

The star of the show for the away side was their center back Heiko Westermann, who, along with Goal Keeper played a hugely significant part in what could prove to be a precious point at the end of the season.

 

Celta Vigo

Next in the list of winners for the match day 04 in BBVA La Liga features Celta Vigo, who won an impressive game away from home against 2 time consecutive Europa League winner Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. Sevilla always proved to be a tough opponent to deal at home, but Eduardo Berizzo’s men were up to the task and were two nil up inside the first 30 minutes of the match, which proved enough to seal all three points for the away side.

The star of the show for the winners were their left sided attacking Spanish midfielder Nolito, who had an assist and a goal to his name in a famous away victory for the sky blues, as they will look to push for a spot in Europe next season.

 

Atletico Madrid

Last in the list of winners for the match day 04 in BBVA La Liga features Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid, who once again showed their true color in an away match against Eibar. Simeone’s man looked totally in command throughout the match and were in full command right from the beginning. Simeone’s man had more possession, more shots on goal, and look absolutely in command, both defensively and offensively.

The most pleasing thing for the Spanish giants is the signs of revival of the old Fernando Torres, who went missing for a very long time, but so far had 2 goals in 4 appearances for the red & white, and Simeone will hope that his star striker will carry on his good form for the rest of the season.

 

Losers:

Valencia

First in the list of losers for the Match day 04 in BBVA La Liga features Valencia, who could not able to get all three points against a new promoted visiting Real Betis. The result becomes even more disappointing for the home side as they had the numerical advantage in the 2nd half after the visitors were down to 10 men in the 48th minute.

However, Nuno Santo’s side couldn’t able to break the deadlock after considerable chances against the opposition. This is the 2nd consecutive disappointing result for the home side within a week, as they lost to Zenit in the Champions League opener just a few days at home. Nuno Santo’s side will need to get their act together if they are to qualify for the Champions League against next season, as their start is being disappointing after his team managed to win only 1 out of first 4 league matches.

 

Sevilla:

Next in the list of losers for the Match Day 04 in the BBVA La Liga features Unai Emery’s Sevilla, who lost at home against visiting Celta Vigo. Sevilla, who under Unai Emery had tremendous success domestically as well as on the European stage, would have hoped to win their first match of the campaign, failed to live up to their expectations and were truly the 2nd best in the match.

This is Sevilla’s 2nd defeat in 4 matches, and pressure is mounting on Sevilla’s head coach, as they currently lie on the bottom of the table with 2 points in 4 league games. Unai Emery will have to turn it around quickly or he might face a potential exit from the club.

Real Sociedad

Last in the list of losers for the match day 04 in the BBVA La Liga seaon 2015/16 features David Moyes Real Socieddad, who lost another game and are now in the relegation battle after managed to earn only 2 points from the first 4 league matches of the new campaign. David Moyes’s side were in control till the 42nd minute of the first half, when Goal Keeper Ruli was sent off and the whole complexion of the game changed.

Sergio Gonzalez’s Espanyol made full use of the numerical advantage and first equalized in the 44th minute and then took a lead in the 2nd half. Moyes’s man got the equalizer in the 86th minute, but 4 minutes conceded the 3rd goal which proved enough for the visitors to take all three points back home. Moyes will have to turn around quickly before pressure started to mount on his position at the club.

This article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Standout sports performances of 2015

As the year 2015 comes to a close, we look back at some of the standout performances in the sporting world.

Here’s a list of emerging superstars who managed to surprise us throughout the year, with some great pull shots, great finishing touches, knockout punches and backhands, all of which will make us remember this sporting year for some time to come.

Cricket: Bangladesh

PHOTO: AFP

Bangladesh cricket finally had a year to remember, as they raised their caliber as a team that has shown immense improvement throughout the year.

2015 started with Bangladesh qualifying for the knockout stage of the ICC World Cup after defeating England.

This was followed by three consecutive ODI series wins at home against India South Africa and also included whitewashing Pakistan.

The successes were mostly down to team effort, but the standout performer from the tigers was young left-arm medium fast bowler Mustafizur Rehman, who performed his best every time he was on the field.

Football: Leicester City

PHOTO: AFP

Leicester City became the team that achieved more than anyone could have imagined at the start of 2015.

When the year began, the Foxes were favourites to be relegated after being placed at the bottom for most of the season, and had to win at least six out of the last nine for any chance of surviving the league; but they ended up achieving much more.

Leicester went on to win seven of the last nine, and finished the league at a comfortable 14th position.

The Foxes remained top of the league on Christmas, which saw them cut the odds of winning the league from 1 to 5,000 to 1 to 20.

This incredible turn-of-form is being largely credited to two young sportsmen, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, who have been in sublime form for current league leaders.

MMA: Holly Holm

PHOTO: AFP

Holly Holm became one of the show stoppers of the year when she defeated Olympic bronze medalist Ronda Rousey.

Rousey had a record of 12-0 before the defeat, and was tipped as a strong favorite to win the fight.

Rousey was knocked out in the second round.

Rugby: Japan

PHOTO: REUTERS

The standout performance from rugby comes from Japan, who defeated two-time world champions South Africa 34-32.

Japan, who is due to host the next Rugby World cup in 2019, managed to score in the last moments to seal the famous victory.

This was Japan’s first victory in 24 years. South Africa had won the tournament in 1995 and again in 2007.

Following their remarkable performance, the Japanese team coach was nominated for the World Rugby Coach of the Year award.

Tennis: England

PHOTO: AFP

England won the first Davis Cup title in 79 years after beating Belgium in the final round of the tournament.

Andy Murray, who is currently world number two, was undoubtedly the star of the show for Great Britain, becominge the first player to win eight live single rubber in a Davis Cup since 1981.

The former Wimbledon champion defeated Belgium’s David Goffin (6-3, 7-5, 6-3) in straight sets to help his team lift the first Davis Cup since 1936. He also became the second player to have 11 rubbers at the World Group level.

The article originally appeared on The Express Tribune.

Premier League Gameweek Six Winners/Losers – West Ham Fly Again

Match day six of the Barclays Premier League had some amazing matches, where the favorite teams missed out on crucial wins and some surprise results were on the show with some scintillating performances from the minnows. That’s all we have in this week’s edition of Winners & Losers from Match Day 06 from Barclays English Premier League.

Winners:

Watford

First in the list of winners, we have a surprise inclusion in the form of Watford, who won an impressive match against struggling New Castle at St. James’ Park. Watford had a tough fixture by every means, where Newcastle was desperate to get off the mark after a very disappointing start to their campaign.

Sanchez Flores side were quick off the mark, and had a far superior physical presence in the game. Capoue in the middle were instrumental, as well as Abidi on the wing offered a lot of pace to the striker Ighalo, who struck a brace to keep Newcastle in the bottom half. Flores’s side looked like a team that has more intent, and will prove to be a tough team to beat for the clubs who will face them in the matches to come.

West Ham:

Next in the list of winners is another surprise in the form of West Ham, who handed the league leaders their first defeat on the Match Day six in the Barclays English Premier League. Before the match, West Ham Manager Slaven Bilic said in an interview that this will be the toughest game for him and for his team, but they came out of it with flying colours.

West Ham, as in the previous big matches against Liverpool and Arsenal, played counter attacking football that paid dividend on the field with a victory, and that too against the most expensive starting XI ever feature in the Premier League history.

Defensively, West Ham remained solid as their players give it all and put their body on the line to defend, especially in the 2nd half. Reid, Jenkinson and Goal Keeper Adrian remained solid as a rock, even when City were attacking from all fronts.

On the offensive front, the pace of Sakho, Moses and Payet proved too hot to handle for the league leaders, as they found wanting on the more than couple of occasions. Overall, a very impressive show from a team that is now in a serious position to challenge for a spot in Europe as said by new signing Payet in his post – match interview.

Norwich

Last in the list of winners for Match Day six in the Barclays English Premier League feature another surprise package in newly promoted Norwich, who managed to get a draw against a struggling Liverpool side at Anfield. The star of the show for Alex Neil side was Goal Keeper Rudy, who managed to earn a precious point for the Alex Neil side away from home.

In the game where Norwich was dominated in most of the part, Rudy kept them in the game at more than one occasion, and it was down to his effort that gave center back Martin an opportunity to equalize Danny Ings first goal for his new side. A draw means the Norwich is closer to the Top half of the league after 6 match days, which should give them more than sniff of a chance to stay in the top flight for at least another season.

Losers:

Newcastle

First in the list of Losers for Matchday six in the Barclays English Premier League features Newcastle, who are already in a serious relegation battle after just match days of the new season. After spending more than £50 Million in the transfer Window, the Magpies would have hoped to have a far smoother ride in the season, but it is proving to be anything but that. Steve McClaren has some serious work to do as his side seems to lack intent as well hunger to get anything out of the game. In the first half, Newcastle were slow to start with and never pressurized Watford players when they had the ball.

It improved in the 2nd half, but it was just good enough to earn anything out of it. There was no attacking intent as well, and Newcastle’s best attacking player was their right back Janmat, who kept making those dangerous runs down the flank, and that’s why he ended up scoring the only goal for the Toon army, as their bad days just got worse. McClaren’s days as the new manager won’t get any easier as they will have to face City and Chelsea in the next 2 match, and as of now, it seems very unlikely that they will get anything out of those matches either.

Man City

Next in the list of losers for the Match Day 06 in the Barclays English Premier League features league leaders Manchester City, who suffered 2nd consecutive loss in a week on their home ground and first league loss of the season. Pallegrini put the most expensive side on the field in the history of the league, with Otamendi and De Bruyne had their first start of the season. City will be bitterly disappointed coming away with no points as they nearly had 70% of the possession, and had 5 times as many shots as Slaven Bilic’s side.

However, it was the City’s defense who could not cope up with the counter attacking play of the West Ham’s trio of Sakho, Payet and Moses, and Pallegrini’s man had to pay the price in the end. The brightest player of the match for City was the new signing £55 Million man Kevin De Bruyne, who looked a part with his vision, touch and attacking work rate.

Liverpool

Last in the list of losers for the Match Day 06 in the Barclays English Premier League features another Premier League giants Liverpool, who only managed to get a draw at home against newly promoted Norwich. Brendan Rodgers is now facing a serious risk of losing his job after another dismal performance at home, even with playing the strongest team possible. Sturridge, who were making yet another comeback after a long layoff, seems to lack the co-ordination upfront while playing with Benteke.

The midfield looked rigged and out of sorts even after the arrival of Coutinho, who himself looked lackluster on his comeback after serving the suspension. Mingolet had another dismal night for the reds, as he once again failed to keep a clean sheet at home. Brightest player for the reds all night was left back Moreno, who showed his attacking stint down the left hand side and also provide the only assist to Danny Ings, who finally got on the score sheet for his new club. After spending more than £250 Million in 3 transfer windows since he took charge 3 years back, pressure is mounting on Rodger’s to deliver as Liverpool is drifting away from the top 4 spot, which was their minimum target this season.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Tops and Flops on Champions League Day 01

UEFA Champions League is back after an exact 100 day break, and this season Playing for 90 will bring you all the action from the elite club football competition from Europe with Tops and Flops list from every Match Day, starting from Match Day 01.

Tops:

Juventus

First in the list of Tops on the Match Day 01 in Champions League is the last season Runner up Juventus, who had a tough visit to the Etihad stadium to face the red hot Manchester City, who won 5 out of 5 in the Premier League this season. Having gone behind, Juventus showed their resistance power by coming back strongly, first after a sublime pass from Paul Pogba that led to an equalizer from Mario Manzukic and later after a stunning strike from young Alvero Morata, which completed the fight back. Juventus had a hard time containing the pace that was on offer from City, especially through the wings, but stayed compose after taking the lead, which proved to be enough to take all three points back home. Allegri will hope that an impressive show against a red hot City side on their home turf will turn their domestic form around, where they are found themselves at 16th position, after taking only 2 points from the first 3 matches in Seria A.

PSV

Next in the list of Tops on the Match Day 01 features Dutch Champions PSV, who came from behind while playing at home against Manchester United and won 2-1 at the end. United opened the scoring from former PSV man Memphis Depay scoring against his former club, but the home team came back just before the half time and equalize from Hector Moreno header, which was deflected by blind’s header.

In the 2nd half, United dominated most of the part, but again PSV’s pace, which caught United by surprise and their defensive problems were on view as PSV gained advantage in the 57thminute which lasted till the end. The match itself was overshadowed by a horrible injury to young English and United left back Luke Shaw, who was confirmed with double fracture in his left foot, which might see him out for the rest of the season. We wish him a very speedy recovery very soon.

Zenit

Zenit's Hulk, right, celebrates with teammates Ezequiel Garay, center, and Javi Garcia, left, after scoring against Valencia during a Group H Champions League soccer match between Valencia and Zenit Saint Petersburg, at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

Last in the list of Tops on the Match Day 01 features Russian Champion Zenit St. Peter Burg, who came out on top against Spanish side Valencia on their home ground. Zenit went into the match as the 2nd favorite, as Valencia always proved a tough opposition to beat on their home ground, and the stats showed that as they had more possession, more corners and more shots on goal than Zenit on the night. However, it was Zenit and Brazil striker Hulk, who steal the show, with two scintillating strikes that saw them taking a 2-0 lead at the half time. However, Valencia did managed to equalize in the 73 minutes before Belgian Axel Vitsal scored a decisive goal in the 76thminute, that proved to be enough for the Russian Champions.

Flops:

Manchester City

First in the list of Flops on the Match Day 01 in the Champions League features Manchester City, who were in a red hot form coming into this match and were hoping to see off the last time finalist at a time where they seemed unsettled in their domestic run. City, who had extremely tough runs in their previous campaigns in the same competition, were hoping to turn it around this time with a tougher squad which seems to cover most of the areas if not all. However, Pallegrini got the reality check soon after receiving a boost when Chiellini’s own goal put English giants ahead in the 57th minute. Pallegrini’s men had more possession, more corners and more shots on goal, but failed to capitalize on open chances which came to haunt them later on. City, who finally have their sight on proving their critics wrong in this competition, will need to up their game and stay more discipline if they want to reach at least semi – finals this time around.

Arsenal

Next in the list of flops on Match Day 01 in the Champions League features another Premier League giant in Arsenal. Arsenal, who had an impressive weekend performance against Stoke, were found once again guilty of over confidence and lazy attitude to start with, which cost them heavily in the end.

Oliver Giroud red card in the 40th minute made it even worse for the visitors who were already a goal down after Josip Pivaric opening the scoring for the home side in the 24th minute. Striker Junior Fernandes made it 2-0 in the 79thminute, which pretty much seal the deal for the home side. Arsene Wenger’s side will now have a slightly tougher route to the next round, as any further slip up would end up costing them heavily.

Lyon

Last in the list of flops on Match Day 01 in the Champions League features the French side Lyon, who failed to beat 9 men Belgian side Genk away from home. Having been able to dominate the whole match, Hubert Fournier would be extremely disappointed that his side could not able to capitalize on the numerical advantage. Lyon also failed to take the initiative in the 88th minute, with highly rated French striker Alexander Lacazette failed to convert the penalty which would have virtually sealed the victory. Having been placed in a competitive group, Lyon might live to ruin their missed opportunities as they will face a tough competition with Valencia and Zenit to qualify in the next round.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Premier League Gameweek 5 – Winners/Losers

After an International break, Premier League came back with a bang where some big teams lost and there were some surprise winners, and we are here again with the list of winners and losers from the Premier League Match Day 05.

Winners:

Everton

First in the list winners is surprisingly Everton this week, who had the defending champions up against them. However, Roberto Martinez side looked sharper and far hungry for the points than their opponents, and that eventually sealed the show for the Toffee’s.

Steven Naismith was the surprise hero of the match, with a well-crafted hat-trick, who came off the bench in the 10thminutes for injured Muhamed Besic, and only became the 5th man to score a hat-trick coming as a substitute. Apart from the last 10 minute in the first half, Everton looked dominant throughout the match, and had far more pace and far more conviction that made the defending Champions looked 2nd best throughout the match.

Manchester United

Anthony-Martial-009

Next in the list of winners for week 05 in the Premier league features the red devil, as they outplayed their arch rivals at Old Trafford on Saturday. Until the first half, the match looked boring and slow for more of the part as both United and Liverpool looked defensive throughout the half.

However, in the 2nd half United turned up with a fiery performance that proved to be enough for a unmotivated looking Liverpool. One prime positive in the match for United was the emergence of the newly signed French teenager Anthony Martial, who scored a stunning solo goal on his debut and proved everyone why LVG paid £36 Million for a 19 year old.

Watford

Watford's Odion Ighalo celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during their English Premier League soccer match against Swansea City at Vicarage Road, London

Last in the list of winners for week 05 in the Premier league features the newly promoted Watford, who faced a tough home fixture against a team who defeated United last week and who managed to get a draw on the opening weekend against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Watford were dominant throughout the match and had twice as many shots on target and off target compared to Swansea, who looked far less convincing than the winners.

What made this win even more special was the fact that the home side had to play nearly one third of the match with 10 men after midfielder Valon Behrami was red carded in the 64th minute. However, the home side were not ready to give their initiative away and grabbed their Watford’s first win of the campaign, and they will look to capitalize on an impressive display in the matches to come.

Losers:

Chelsea

First in the list of losers once again feature defending Champions Chelsea, as they lost their 3rd match out of first 5 league games in the season. It is the exact number of defeats that Chelsea had throughout the last season which can be of a serious concern for the club hierarchy. Mourinho’s men looked a shadow of what they were last season, and they seem to lack that conviction that made them invincible throughout the last season.

Mourinho’s problem got worse with the amount of players that seems out of touch. The likes of Ivanovic, Terry, Hazard, Costa, Pedro and Febregas had a day to forget, as their performance graph dropped over the last few weeks. Mourinho has already had a mountain to climb, as his team find themselves 11 points behind the league leaders, with nearly 85 % of the season still to go and things are getting difficult with every passing game.

Liverpool

Next in the list of losers feature Liverpool, who once again had a night to forget as they lost to their arch rival Manchester United in a far less convinced performance on the night when Brendon Rogers was under scrutiny after another summer of high spending at the club. Liverpool did have some bright spots in the match, but Rodgers came under severe criticism for his persistence of 4-3-3 formation, where he found wanting after the departure of natural winger Sterling and in the absence of suspended Coutinho.

Young Ibe looked active after coming off the bench in the 2nd half, and a stunner of a goal from Benteke was the high points of what otherwise was a night of total disappointment for Brendon Rogers side, and questions are again being raised as to how long Liverpool board will give him the chance to turn it around this season.

Swansea

Last in the list losers features Gary Monk’s Swansea, as they lost to the newcomers Watford after their impressive performance against the big guns this season. Gary Monk and his team will be bitterly disappointed after an impressive start to the campaign, as they could not get a point away from home against a team who recently got promoted and were playing with 10 men in the last 30 minutes of the match.

Monk’s men lacked creativity and pace throughout the match, and only managed to get 6 shots on goal in total, with only 3 on target. Monk will hope that was a one off day performance as he will look for a push for a spot in the Europa League next season and would want to ideally get some points away in the matches against less quality opposition.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Gameweek 3 – Winners/Losers

After a couple of weeks off due to International Break, La Liga was back in full action this weekend, and so are we with the list of Winners and Losers from La Liga Game Day 3, which is stated below.

Winners:

Barcelona

Barcelona feature in the winner’s category for game day three, where they ended up as a winner in a tough fixture against Athletico Madrid. Even though the match in terms of stats, were pretty equally distributed between the two teams.

However, Athletico took a lead in the 51st minute through Fernando Torres, but the reigning champions were not ready to go down without a fight and eventually came out as a winner with a breathtaking free kick from Neymar and a late goal from a very delighted once again father, Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid

Next in the list of winner’s for the game day three in La Liga is red hot Real Madrid. Madrid faced Espanyol on the road, which was a relatively easy fixture away from home, but Madrid made it look far easier than we all thought at the beginning. Playing without creative James Rodriguez, Real looked totally in control from the beginning and went three – nil up inside the first 20 minutes, thanks to ever reliable Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bale and Benzema were also in sublime form along with Ronaldo, who himself scored 5 goals in a match and became the highest scorer in La Liga for Real Madrid, surpassing club legend Raul in just 6 season after his record move from Manchester United in 2009. Real will hope to carry on this momentum into the Champions League opening fixture, where they will play against Shakhtar Donestk on Tuesday at Santiago Bernabue.

Las Palmas

Last in the list of winner’s for the game day 03 is La Liga is newly promoted Las Palmas. Playing away from against a bigger club Celta Vigo, Las Palmas went down to 10 men when their regular goalkeeper were red carded in the 11th minute, and were also 3-1 down in the 49th minute but the newcomers refused to give up the fight.

Having been dominated in pretty much throughout the match, Las Palmas were fortunate as well with an own goal from Pablo Hernandez, which made a way for a potential comeback that was completed in the 74thminute by David Simon.

Losers:

Atletico Madrid

First in the list of loser’s features Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid, who lost to Barcelona at home. Having been featured in a tough fixture, Simeone would have hoped to at least get a draw out of it, especially after going a goal up in the 51stminute. Simeone’s men were short of creativity, and Grienzmann and Koke had a night to forget.

Thiago was the star of the night for the red and white, but overall there is a lot to worry about for Diego Simeone as he and his team suffered their first defeat of the season in a crucial match at home.

Celta Vigo

Next in the list we have Celta Vigo, who after such a dominant performance and with playing against 10 men at home against newly promoted Las Palmas. Celta Vigo had a man advantage nearly throughout the match after Palmas Goalkeeper Javi Varas was red carded inside the first 12 minutes of the first half, and they looked all settled for a big win when they went 3-1 up in the 49th minute, but somehow managed to blow the lead away.

Defensively, Celta were all over the place and were extremely poor to say the least. Apart from the defensive lapses and an own goal, Celta Viga dominated the match in all aspects and had a total of 19 shots on goal, out of which 13 were on target. However, they would be bitterly disappointed as they failed to win a match while playing at home against a team who were playing with 10 men and are just recently promoted.

Malaga

Last in the list of losers for match day 3 in La Liga, we feature Malaga who had a disappointing draw against Eibar at home. Malaga who finished in the top half of the table last season were facing a team who escaped relegation by nothing more than miracle, and even after controlling the match in nearly every department, but Javi Garcia’s men’s were unable to break Eibar defense which was disciplined and were ready to put their body on the line.

Even though the match ended as a draw, Javi Garcia will take it more like a defeat as he would have hoped to earn more points in such fixtures, especially while playing at home.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Winners & Losers from La Liga Match Day 02

La Liga Match Day two comes to and end, and it was an intriguing weekend of Spanish football that we all witnessed. With nearly all big teams finding their form this week in La Liga, we have a very interesting roundup to our winners and losers list from La Liga match day 02.

Winners:

Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid emerged on the of the winners list, after a pretty impressive thrashing of Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. Sevilla were the aggressor in the game, but it was the finishing of Athletico Madrid that proved pivotal for the other half of Madrid.

Gabi was instrumental in the middle of the park and proved to be a real leader who wanted to excel from the middle, whereas it was Antonio Griezmann from the wings who provided that much-needed pace from the wings and provided 2 assists in the game. Overall, Diego Simeone should be a relieved man after getting out with a comprehensive win in a comparative tie at a very tough venue, which made them earn 3 precious points in the league.

Eibar

Eibar feature at no 2 on the winners list this week, after earning a more than impressive win against Athletic Bilbao. Athletic probably started the game as favorites on the face of their recent performances against defending Champions Barcelona, but it was anything but. Eibar pretty much dominated the match from the right go, and Athletic had little to show against the outright winners.

Eibar had 8 shots on target, compared to Athletic 1, which shows the kind of dominance they had. Eibar was more clinical in terms of possession, as they were only dispossessed 12 times compared to Athletic’s 21 times. Saul Berjon prove to be the real hero for the home side, as he scored a goal as well as provided an assist in a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao. In all it was a professional performance from Eibar that will see them having more confidence in the games to come.

Deportivo La Coruna

Last on the list of winners for match day 02 in La Liga is Deportivo La Coruna. For a team who avoided a relegation battle on the last day of the league last term, a draw on the road against a team who will feature in the Champions League this season is nothing more than a victory.

Even though there is nothing much to be made of their performance throughout the game, but a result lie this will prove to be a big boost for the side who was in danger of being relegated and had to draw their last match against Barcelona in their own backyard.

Losers:

Valencia

The first team to feature in the list of losers for Match Day two in La Liga is Valencia. Valencia had a relatively easy task when they faced Deportive La Coruna at home. Considering that Deportivo just escaped relegation last season and Valencia will feature in the Champions league, the home side would have hoped to finish the match with 3 points, but they would be bitterly disappointed with the results keeping in mind that they had enough chances to seal the victory and this was one of the easiest fixture to play at home in the league.

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao features on the second in the list of losers for Match Day two in La Liga. Seeing Athletico play in such a commanding manner against the defending champions 3 times in the recent past, one would have hoped to see them get past Eibar, but it was a total day to forget for Ernesto Velverde’s side, as they were out rightly beaten in every department in the match.

Considering the fact that they only managed to hit one shot on target in the whole match, shows they didn’t deserve any points against Eibar. Velverde will hope that this will be a one-off case, and his team will bounce back from back to back defeats and will regain their form that they showed against Barcelona.

Sevilla

Last in the losers for Match Day two in La Liga features Sevilla. Sevilla had a tough fixture when they face Atheltico Madrid, but it was a home fixture and since they also feature in the Champions League, a three nil home thrashing was not expected.

Sevilla had a decent match in terms of stats, but after the departure of Carlos Bacca this season to Milan, they find it hard to find the back of the net even after creating some impressive chances. Lack of finishing paid them heavily as they were comprehensively beaten by the team who they would have hoped to at least get a point from.

Unai Emery’s track record with Sevilla speaks for itself, but with losing two key players in the last two seasons, this season will surely test his managerial skills and it is yet to be seen if he can keep Sevilla at the level they have been over the past two seasons.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Premier League Game Week 4: Winners/Losers – United Abysmal

As game week four of English Premier League comes to an end, it was nothing less than a week of upsets. With some of the big guns losing their matches this week, we have some very interesting winners and losers in our elite list this week.

Winners:

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace features on top of the Winners list as Alan Pardew once again find a way to overcome Mourinho’s men. Palace had one of the toughest fixture as they visited struggling blues at Stamford Bridge.

Even though Chelsea had more of a ball, and largely dominated the game. Palace remained calm and did not panic even when Chelsea came back from behind after Falcao opened his account for the Blues. Palace kept the ball and made sure they will give a hard time to Chelsea’s defense, which is more than just struggling at the moment.

For most of the first half, Palace looked a more dangerous side and created more threatening chances, but Chelsea were the stronger side in the last 10 minutes of the first half. The second half was again positively started by Palace, and their pace and attacking display paid dividend in the 65th minute where they took the lead over reigning champions.

Palace should have sealed the game in the 74th minute when Yannick Bolasie missed an open goal, which led to Chelsea’s comeback which was short lived. All in all a very impressive show from Crystal Palace and Mourinho for once, were made to take the blame after the defeat, as Alan Pardew’s men were more than just competitive for the defending Champion.

West Ham

West Ham feature 2nd in the list of winners, after a totally dominating performance against Liverpool at Anfield. Brandon Rogers said before the match that match against West Ham will be more difficult than visiting Arsenal, and hence the case was proved later.

West Ham controlled the match in all departments, with more overall shots on goal, with more dribbles and with more tackles. Liverpool would have had an escape route after Coutinho went off in the 53rd minute, but West Ham was also reduced to 10 men in the 79th minute, but went 3-0 up in the 90th which completed a day for total misery for the home side.

Swansea

Swansea also feature in the list of winners, after a remarkable comeback against United while playing at home. United were dominating the match completely till the 60th minute, but then Swans turned it around to score two goals within five minutes.

It was Garry Monk’s third consecutive win against the Louis Van Gaal’s side in the league, and the red devils manager had to accept that his team couldn’t cope the intensity of their rivals.

For Swans, after not having much possession, their performance throughout the match was pretty much par with the rivals and they did not give United much of a space even after having nearly 65% of the possession. Andre Ayew is proving to be the best signing of the season so far, with 3 goals in 4 matches as it seems to be another master stroke by Gary Monk, who is impressing every football pundit once again.

Losers:

Chelsea

The top in the list of the losers this week is non – other than defending champions Chelsea. Chelsea had a match against a far lesser quality Palace side, but was not in the best form on the day.

Mourinho’s team lack answers of the questions that were asked of them in the league so far, and they have already lost four points at home after first 4 games in the league, which is not normal at all. The biggest worry for the Portuguese is the defensive problem, and with Stones arrival seems more unlikely as the times goes on, Mourinho will have a very tough task to defend the title this season.

However, there were also few positives for the blues as newly arrived Pedro again looked threatening from the right, and Falcao managed to open his account at Stamford Bridge and he will hope that will go a long way in recapturing his best form.

Liverpool

Liverpool feature at number two this week in the loser’s list, as they were hammered by the Hammers in their own backyard. Rodgers did confess his concerns prior to the match, and said that the match against West Ham will be more difficult than playing against Arsenal, and it proved that way.

Liverpool were out rightly beaten in every department, and hence left Brendan Rodgers to face severe criticism once again. What makes things worse is the fact that Philip Coutinho will not be available for the next match as he received a red card, which makes it even tougher for the reds to make a comeback next week.

Brendan Rodgers has already spent more than £150 Million during his reign at Liverpool, but is yet to win a trophy for the Reds, and this sort of performance will only increase pressure as the board and the supporters look for a better results this season.

Manchester United

manchester-united-sad-angry

The last team to feature in the list of losers is none other than Manchester United. Van Gaal’s men were in total control of the game for most of the game, and had nearly 65% possession, but failed to create any sufficient chances, which made them pay once again. United were leading till the 60th minute, but then Gary Monk’s men turned it around in the matter of five minutes, and United lost 2-1 after failing to equalize after going behind.

Van Gaal’s problem in the defense showed once again, as lack of any marquee signing in the center back department can cause them serious hurdle in the time to come. Also the lack of form of Wayne Rooney in the league is creating more headache for LVG, as Javier Hernandez and RVP have already left the club and Rooney remains the only experienced striker in the squad, and with him out of form, United will have a hard time living up to the pre-season expectation.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Game Week 1 Winners/Losers

As it was the opening day of the new season in La Liga, the action was back on as the teams started their campaigns show their supremacy over one another. However out of all the action packed weekend, we will look at 3 teams who we believe ended up the first La Liga week as a real winner and 3 teams who ended up as the real losers.

Winners:

Sporting Gijon
GIJON, SPAIN - AUGUST 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid duels for the ball with Luis Hernandez of Real Sporting de Gijon during the La Liga match between Sporting Gijon and Real Madrid at Estadio El Molinon on August 23, 2015 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Sporting Gijon features in the first place in our elite list of winners in the week 01 in La Liga season 2015/16. Sporting Gijon had a stern test first week against 10 times Champions League winner and Spanish giants Real Madrid, where anything but a defeat should have been considered as a victory. Sporting Gijon throughout the match looked like a team who was disciplined, and were willing to stay on the toes throughout the match.

Madrid in the 2nd half tested Sporting defence to the maximum, and had more than 25 shots on goals, out of which most of them were taken care of by the Sporting defence. Sporting also probably had the best chance of the game, where they were denied by the linesman when the ball struck inside of the bar and there was confusion if the ball landed on the line or over the line. All in all, Sporting were the surprise package of the week and were worthy of being placed in the top of our winners list.

Barcelona

Barcelona features in the list of winner even after unimpressive show, mostly down to the fact that they faced the same opposition against which they recently lost the Spanish Super Cup in a comprehensive manner. Barcelona were made to work hard as Athletic Bilbao were not ready to give up their stern grip on the opposition.

Messi also missed the penalty in the 31st minute, which made the case worse until Luis Suarez came to Luis Enrique’s side rescue with a 54 minute strike, which proved to be enough for the reigning Champions. The match should give Ernesto Valverdo a lot of hope in the coming season, as he will look to finish one better that what Athletic finished last time around.

Rayo Vallecano

rayo-vallecano-valencia-2015-2016-620-11

Last in the list of the winners for the first week in La Liga 15/16 season is Rayo Vallecano, who held Valencia to a 0-0 draw at Campo De Futbol De Vallecas. Rayo Vallecano showed the kind of attitude that was needed to face a giant in the league, which paid dividend as they remained extremely competitive throughout the match.

Paco’s team looked relatively settled throughout the match and had a far more share of possession than their rivals, and had the same amount of shots on target and off target as well. Many would argue that Valencia’s intensity was not up there as their eyes were set on the Champions League qualification clash with Monaco, but it’s Rayo Vallecano who will finish first week as a winner in the elite list.

Losers:

Real Madrid

1672975-35458060-2560-1440

Real Madrid feature as the top team in the loser’s list for La Liga Week 01. Rafa Benitez men were outright favourites to get the job done, but after having more than 25 shots on goal, Spanish giants were unable to break the deadlock that proved costly in the end. Los Blancos looked far lesser threatening in the absence of their star striker Karim Benzema. The decision to play Jese as the men in front of the goal did not pay dividends.

Modric and Kroos along with Isco looked threatening throughout the game, but it was Gareth Bale, who looked like the real go to men after being played in his new position. Even though he did not complete the job for the new boss, but he was one the positives that came during that match. With 2 of their bitter rivals winning in the first game, Benitez will have to come with new ideas if he is to challenge Barcelona and Athletico for the Title.

 

Valencia

Valencia also features in the losers list this week after their more than disappointing show against Rayo Vallecano in the first week of La Liga season 15/16. Valencia had a relatively easy away fixture, but their performance lacked intensity and Rayo Vallecano managed to put on a really impressive show. Rayo Vallecano kept more of a possession and made sure that Valencia’s attack was neutralized with the slow game play. For a team who will participate in the Champions League this season again, a performance like that will be a severe blow in a bid to qualify for the Europe’s elite competition this season again.

 

Villarreal

villarreal

Villarreal is the last team to feature in our elite list of losers for the Week 01 in La Liga this season. Villarreal had a competitively easy fixture with the newly promoted Real Betis, but it proved anything but that. Betis dominated the game from the right go and stats shows that they were bitterly unlucky to come out with just a point in the match. Villarreal looked nervous and were not at the same level as people associate with yellow submarine.

The lost possession more times, were far below in the possession, have nearly 60% less shots on goal compared to Real Betis and so on. All in all, for a team who had a more than decent performance last season, their performance was not up to the mark and they would have to improve pretty much everywhere to reach the same level where they were last season, if not better.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Premier League Game Week 3 – Winners/Losers

The 3rd week of English Premier League has come to an end and some teams are now shaping up into their more settled style of play come the end of the Transfer Window. We have picked out 4 teams that both as a real winner and real losers in week 3 of the English Premier League.

Winners:

Manchester City:

man-city-fa-cup-celebration

Coming on the back of an impressive win over defending Champions Chelsea, Manchester City had a visit to Goodison Park, which is a difficult venue to visit for any side in the league. However, City seemed at absolute ease throughout the match, where they dominated the first half as well as the 2nd, and finished the game with a comfortable score line of 2-0, which is surely what they deserved at least. City throughout the game looked more threatening and more versatile, whereas Everton looked far more one-dimensional. According to exclusive Sports Matrix stats, City had 17 shots compared to Everton’s 10, and had 8 dangerous shots compared to Everton’s 5. Moreover, City had 9 shots from good chances, which is nearly double to what Everton Produced. City also had better possession to Everton (54 to 46), which once again showed their total supremacy over their rivals. City’s impressive start to their season campaign sends a strong message to their opposition’s as they seem to be the team which means business.

Bournemouth

1815662_heroa

Bournemouth is included in a surprise winner’s category, after their more than impressive show against West Ham, where they totally dominated the game from the word go.  This was Bournemouth’s first ever victory in the top flight and that too against a consistent Premier League side. Not only in the goals department, but Bournemouth was quick to offer a lot of pace and enthusiasm.

Sports Matrix suggests that Bournemouth had far more shots from good chances than West Ham (10 compared to 6), which shows why they were leading at the half side and stayed pretty much in control throughout the match except  than those 20 minutes where West Ham United made a remarkable comeback.

That was not it, as Bournemouth made more clearances (37 to 16), won more tackles (54% to 42%) and won more Aerial Duels (56% to 44%), which shows their supremacy over Slaven Bilic side. To say that Bournemouth was the pick of the side over the weekend would surely not be an understatement.

Newcastle United

1440250274249_lc_galleryImage_Manchester_United_s_Engli

If Bournemouth was the most deserving winners of the week 3 in Barclays Premier League, than Newcastle would have to be counted as the luckiest team to find a place in this elite list. Newcastle had one of the toughest fixture as they visit Old Trafford to face an inform United.

United did all they could, but with a bit of luck and lots of effort, Steve McClaren’s side managed to earn a precious point on the road, which seems more like a victory than a draw, considering the fact that according to Sports Matrix exclusive stats, they only managed to had 2 shots on target compared to United’s 18. Newcastle had to grind it out, stayed rough and tough which eventually gave them a point which many believes was a reward a bit too much for their performance.

Leicester City

Leicester-City-v-Tottenham-Hotspur

Our last winner of the Week 3 in Barclays Premier League is Leicester City, who continued their progress under experience Claudio Ranieri. Leicester City also had a tough fixture against visiting Spurs, who were far superior in their quality compared to the home side. Leicester City remained competitive throughout the match, and looked a far more relaxed unit than they looked for most of the last season.

Ranieri is known to bring that calmness in the dressing room, and Leicester has continue to impress everyone in their 3 games so far this season. To come back against a team who belong to a top half of the Premier League for many seasons in the past says a lot about the team’s character. Leicester City’s performance in the first 3 games of the season is a good enough sign for the “foxes” fans and they can hope that this season their ride will be far smoother to retain their place in the top league in the Country.

Losers:

Manchester United:

1440249863217_lc_galleryImage_August_22nd_2015_Manchest

Our top spot in the loser’s category goes to Manchester United. The red devils had a relatively easy fixture against the magpies, where they faced a team who had a terrible outing against the Swan’s the weekend before. United controlled the whole match, from the start till the end, but lacked the finishing touch even after having 18 shots on target.

United can call themselves a little unlucky as controversy still surround a Rooney’s disallowed goal, but they only had themselves to blame after not being able to convert ample amounts of chances. For Van Gaal to deliver trophies this season, United will need to find someone who can score them goals, after just being able to score 2 goals in 3 outings this season.

Tottenham Hotspur:

hi-res-bcb205da7cc0346b45ff15147f481c01_crop_north

Spurs found themselves sitting at the 2nd spot in our elite list of Loser’s in week 3 in Barclays Premier League. Pochettino’s men will not find many easier games on the road than the one they had against Leicester, where they again seemed to lack the potency to find a breakthrough till the 81st minute, only to concede an equalizer a minute later.

Harry Kane doesn’t seem to be in the same form as he was last season, whereas there are rumors regarding Eriksen and Lamela’s future, which is increasing Pochettino’s problems as he is now on the hunt to sign at least 2 strikers to ease of the burden on Kane. As of now, Spurs lack that quality to be considered as a real favorite to finish in the top 4 this season, which might prove costly for the manager as the Owner Mike Ashley might lose his cool finally.

West Ham United:

ham2308_620_416_100

Third in the list comes West Ham United, who faced the biggest upset on the weekend, where they lost to new comers Bournemouth. Slaven Bilic side looked unprepared and undisciplined, and were slow to get off the hook, and that’s why they went 2-0 down inside the first 30 minutes.

Though Bilic side made a strong comeback in the 2nd half, but it was short-lived as they first went behind again in the 66th minute and were later down to 10 men in the 79th minute, which sum up their performance. Bournemouth in all departments showed better game play and were the deserved winner. For a team who consistently feature in the Premier League year after year, Bilic side needs to toughen up or else they might have a fight in their hand to avoid relegation this season.

Aston Villa:

crystal-palace-scott-dann

Last in the list of loser’s for week 3 in the Premier League is Tim Sherwood’s Aston Vila. Aston Villa have already lost their 2 key players who were pivotal to their survival last campaign in Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph. Villa had a tricky visit over the weekend to Selhurst Park, and Alan Pardew’s men made sure that they will have a hard time throughout the match.

Tim Sherwood’s team was completely dominated, and never really looked like a team who is capable of getting anything out of the game. With the squad depth and quality seems to be compromised after the sale of 2 quality players, this campaign will going to be the real test of Sherwood’s managerial capability, as he will look to keep Villa in the Premier League for another year at least.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

PREMIER LEAGUE 2015/15 PREVIEW: Chelsea

“Chelsea was outright winners last season, where the strength of their squad proved too hot to handle for the rest of the league. Their dominance was so outright that no team were able to beat them in any department.

This season, even though they still look overall favorite to defend their title, but their rivals have done some good business, and their glory to the title will be far tougher than last term around. “

Chelsea had a season to remember in every aspect last season. Their dominance was so outright that it almost looked a little too funny in the end, as their title surge never looked in doubt. The new comers in Costa, and Ferbegas looked completely at ease as they were featured in the Top goal scorers and Top assist provider for the blues in 14/15 campaign. Oscar, Hazard and Willian proved instrumental for the champions as they remained a team to beat in the last season. Matic remained the midfield giants for the Mourinho’s man, and Ivanovic, Terry and Courtous did great while defending.

However, this campaign should be more a test for the Mourinho’s men, as rival tried to strengthen their squad in the Transfer window. The likes of City, Manchester United and Liverpool spend heavily and they will look to push Chelsea all the way. This year, Mourinho will have to live without 2 club legends, with the like of Cech and Didier Drogba left the club. Jose signed Asmir Begovic from Stoke City as Cech replacement, whereas he finally able to grab his favorite Colombian Falcao on loan from As Monaco.

Chelsea should have enough quality to outdone their rivals once again in the title race, as they will face a far stiffer challenge this term than the last term around. The likes of Falcao will only going to strengthen blue’s attacking force, as last season they found wanting when Diego Costa had injury problems. That was one of the reasons as to why they scored 10 goals less than the 2nd place team (Manchester City) last season. Chelsea will also look to Kurt Zouma, as he did exceedingly well in the later part of the last season and look set to play more part in the coming season, which should help Chelsea throughout the campaign.

This year, Mourinho will have Costa, Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao as an attacking option, which should prove fruitful to them throughout the season. Their right wing remains a concern, as Cuadrado doesn’t seem to settle in that role as Mourinho hoped in January. Salah will also make a way out of the Stamford Bridge as his move to Roma on loan seems imminent, which means Willian will be the only option who can play on the right. All in all, Chelsea still looked strong enough to dig out results against their opponents, and seems to have a strong enough squad to defend their title this season as well.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Stoke’s new players and their possible impact

Stoke City had a relatively successful last season, and this time it was always about consolidating on what they have already built in the last few seasons.

Ever since Mark Hughes came into regime at the Britannia Stadium, the Potter’s philosophy started to change from a stubborn, more defensive and more physical at the time of Tony Pulis to more fluent, more direct and more attacking brand of football.

Begovic Joins Chelsea

Till now, Stoke have signed 7 players in the transfer window, while they had to let go 2 of their players. The most noticeable departure was of the Bosnian Goal Keeping ace Asmir Begovic, who joined Champions Chelsea as the replacement for departing Cech. His departure makes sense as young Jack Butland, who is being tipped as the next big thing is already in their ranks, and they also included young Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel in the deal, who arrived at the Britannia Stadium for a season long loan.

Stoke City's New Signing Joselu

One major signing for the Potter’s this time around is the purchase a 25 year old Spanish Striker Joselu from German club Hannover 96 for the fee of £5.9 Million. Joselu is an ex Real Madrid player who had a decent season with the German side, and seems like a backup replacement for Mame Biram Diouf, who had a more than a decent 1stseason at the Britannia Stadium and for ageing Crouch. Joselu is a 6ft 3in striker, who is great on the aerial balls and have good pace to stretch most defensive lines. He won 188 aerial duels last season for the German side, which was more than any player achieved in the Premier Leaguer Last season.

Shay Given Signed for Stoke from Aston Villa

Stoke signed 2 Goal Keepers, one experienced in Shay Given who signed from Aston Villa after a loan spell out at Middlesbrough last season and one in young Danish Haugard from FC Midtylland. Realistically, Shay Given is being signed to play as a 2ndchoice Goal Keeper, whereas Haugard is being signed as a long term project.

Potter's grab Jhonson on Free Transfer

In the defensive line, Stoke signed former Liverpool right back Glen Jhonson for free, which is a great bargain after his contract ran out of time with Anfield side. They also signed Philip Wollscheid from Bayer Leverkusen on 3 year deal after a successful loan spell with Potter’s in the 2nd half of the last season.

Stoke missed out on Shaqiri

The biggest disappointment for the Potter’s throughout the transfer window was the Shaqiri transfer saga, where Stoke nearly signed former Bayern and Swiss international Xerdan Shaqiri from Inter, but missed out on him after the club and the player could not reach the agreement. There were reports that Inter accepted a bid of £12 Million for the Swiss winger, but the player could not reach the agreement with the club after discussion with the manager Mark Hughes, who later said that “I went out and spoke to Shaqiri. We had a good chat. We needed to establish whether a deal could get done and we didn’t sense that.
“Maybe it is one that could be revisited, but I would say that it is probably not likely to happen. We have other targets now.”

Had that deal been agreed, Stoke would emerge as a real success story in this Transfer Window. However, Potter’s progress have been reasonably impressive, as the club and the manager tried to cover as many areas as possible. Mark Hughes signed a striker, who would provide a cover to Diouf and ageing Crouch, as well as found a right back who is in his early 30’s and can still offer a lot to a mid – table club. Hughes had also signed 2 centre backs to increase options as well as 2 Goal Keepers, who provide cover for Jack Butland in the short and long run. In Van Ginkel, Stoke has managed to grab one very promising young talent, and Hughes will hope to have an improved season this time around.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Juventus Looking To Draxler to Strengthen Midfield

Juventus Looking to Draxler to Bolster their Midfield

Juventus are looking to German starlet midfielder Julain Draxler to strengthen their midfield after the departure of the midfield maestro’s in Pirlo and Vidal. Juventus did sign another German International Sami Khedira for free from Real Madrid after his contract came to an end. However, with 2 quality midfielders leaving and Pogba been linked with different clubs, Juventus is in need of a quality midfielder and they are looking to Draxler to fill that gap and give the Italian Champions a much needed balance.

German International had a hard time during the 14-15 season in which he only managed to appear 15 times for Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga due to injuries, out of which only 8 times he started for the German giants. Draxler was sidelined due to thigh injury at the end of the first half of the season, which kept him out for months. Before that he had an Achilles problem that kept him on the sidelines. However, Draxler is a quality not many have doubted for. In his short career, he had reached the heights not many players could have dreamt of. He was the part of the World Cup winning German side, and he is being long tipped as the next big thing in German football.

Pirlo and Vidal left the Italian Champion this Summer

For Juventus, Draxler will bring something different than Vidal or Pirlo. Assuming that he will be fit enough to reclaim his best form, Draxler is great in the year, and is taller than Vidal which might prove helpful for Juventus. He got the vision to create that final ball, is very good with the long shot and have the strength to hold the ball in the middle. He lacks that aggressive instinct that Vidal had, but that has to do with the fact that he was playing at a more attacking position in Schalke. With Juventus looking to strengthen their central defensive midfield, Draxler will have to develop that skill in the time to come, or Juve can play him in a more attacking position.

Draxler will hope to reclaim his best form for the Italian Champions

With Juventus looking to bolster their midfield, Draxler can prove to be a wild card for them, which can be of great affect in the time to come. Yes, he did had a hard time in the last season and yes, he might not be the best replacement for an experience Vidal around, but at his age and with the talent that he possesses, Juventus can hope that he will be their main stay in the midfield for years to come.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.