Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea: The Thinking Behind Mourinho’s Tactics at White Hart Lane

Tottenham 1-1 ChelseaThe 28 September clash between Spurs and Chelsea saw what many believed to be one of the most interesting matches of the season, with André Villas-Boas headlined as ‘The Student’ and his previous coach, José Mourinho, ‘The Teacher.’ Mourinho’s media plan was clear: he was to have little thought for what AVB had to say, refusing to be pulled into the same conversation as him and even refusing to be put into the same league as his former assistant.

The team selection saw Chelsea present the semi-flat back four that they have adopted in the opening few weeks of the season, with Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, and Cole ahead of Cech and behind the pivot of Mikel and Lampard. Torres got the nod over Eto’o, who’s fluid movement in possession to fragment center-back pairings and full-backs was impressive, but Torres’ recent form saw him play ahead of the two wide men Ramires and Hazard, with the controversial choice of Oscar in the Number 10 role. This was an extremely similar set up to the game at Manchester City last season, which Chelsea lost with the score of 2-0.

Tottenham initiated the game by taking early control of possession, fielding a medium block in ball control and defensive transitions, aiming to cut out quick tempo counter attacking play. This move was countered with Chelsea aiming to expose the rashness of premature pressing from Naughton and Walker with long balls. Chelsea also used the medium defensive line, utilizing Lampard as well as Brazillian Oscar, who’s role was to drop deep to counter Eriksen in his zone like a typical Number 10.

Hazard and Ramires were quite easy to handle however, as too often Ramires was cut off from counter attacking after being handcuffed with providing defensive acts, and was unable to make effective runs out wide. Ramires, providing width and the defensive ability to drop into the Chelsea final third at will was quite unable for this job also, as diagonal runs from Sigurdsson inside provided a mix up between Ramires, Mikel, and Ivanovic on who to mark. This eventually saw Eriksen skip away from the jogging Lampard out wide, cutting in Soldado, who played in Sigurdsson and made that clinical run in from the left wing to take the lead for Tottenham.

Pellegrini-style tactics were initiated from the Blues in offensive transitions, creating pockets near corner flags of triangles including the winger, ST and AM, all rotating bar Ramires. This provided width and a crossing option during build up, which was however rarely utilized. The inability to provide effective possession build up in the first half was easily contained, and saw Chelsea create little opportunities to capitalize on. This ineffective use of possession in the first half saw more and more bodies pile up outside the Spurs box, creating large gaps in Chelsea’s defensive midfield area, which was totally exploited by the extremely influential Eriksen during Tottenham’s lethal counterattacks.

Tottenham 1-1 ChelseaThe second half saw Mourinho solve almost all of Chelsea’s defensive problems, with Ramires being repositioned into RDM and completely negating offensive runs from Eriksen and Sigurdsson, silencing them almost entirely for the second half. Jose switched his team to a 4-2-4 looking side with the substitute Mata being played in a central winger role, drifting wide into a RAM spot where his left foot came into effect beautifully. Oscar provided cover in defensive transitions whilst marking Walker as well as dropping deep like a traditional AM.

Hazard was repositioned into a LF role, playing between the LW and slightly deeper and to the left of the ST, being perfectly positioned to make the most out of diagonal runs being fed by Mata. The long ball was also not used quite as often, due to Spurs’ low defensive line, and this as a result saw Chelsea being far more direct in possession, using Mata to his full potential. The 4-2-4 switch was warranted due to Tottenham’s lack of numbers going forward in the early second half. Oscar was quite often being pulled deep and out of formation due to effective runs from Spurs attackers, which saw Hazard rotating and hugging the touch line more often, resulting in the instinctive Schurrle providing the runs as he was substituted for Hazard.

After a perfectly weighted cross from Juan Mata, Terry glanced it by Lloris, seeing Chelsea abandon the 4-2-4 and switch to a defensive 4-3-3, resulting in Oscar rarely going forward. Ramires’ defensive duties in the DM spot eradicated any vacant space left to be picked up by Tottenham offensive runs or through balls, heavily thwarting Spurs’ counter attacking transitions. After the red card incident, Schurrle took up a more central position with both wingers dropping even deeper, pushing Oscar out wide away from his LCM role to provide cover for offensive runs from Schurrle. This resulted in a late on possession dominance from Spurs, exploiting Chelsea’s wide midfield, flooding players centrally which forced an extremely deep line from the Blues.

In the final moments, Azpillicueta was substituted for the fatigued Oscar, carrying out a number of defensive duties and effectively man marking wing backs. The sub also provided a worrying threat on the counter, similar to his role against United in the final moments. Despite a poor first half, Chelsea deservedly earned a 1-1 draw following drastic half time improvements implicated by the Special One himself, Jose Mourinho.

Written by Sean McBride

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Spain 10-0 Tahiti: World Champions Thrash Tahiti in Historic Confederations Cup Victory

Spain 10-0 TahitiTahiti, who had started their Confederations Cup campaign with a poor 6-1 loss to Nigeria, weren’t feeling too confident ahead of their second Confederations Cup match against Spain, and who could blame them? Their chances of getting even a draw against the World Champions were very minimal, and knowing this, Eddy Etaeta lined up a defensive squad in a 5-4-1 formation. On the other hand, the biggest concern for Vicente del Bosque’s men was not whether they would win but rather by how many goals they would win. Del Bosque went for an offensive 4-3-3 formation.

As expected, Spain managed a record 10-0 win courtesy of four goals from Fernando Torres, three from David Villa, a David Silva brace, and one Juan Mata beauty, in a game which they completely dominated. Tahiti kicked-off the game in an odd manner, with their first kick going out for a throw-in. They enjoyed a few seconds of domination to the delight of the crowd, but it wasn’t long before Spain netted their first one. Pairing with his Chelsea teammate Juan Mata, Fernando Torres was able to get away from the Tahitian defenders and score inside the near post to Mickael Roche’s right.

Tahiti were able to prevent a goal for the 25 minutes that followed, although Spain still managed to dominate the game. Spain had a good chance to make it 2-0 in the 18th minute but Mickael Roche managed to stop Fernando Torres’ run, hurting himself in the process. The 30-year-old AS Dragon man was able to continue the game after receiving treatment, but nothing had changed in Spain’s game. Roche conceded his second goal on the hour-mark when David Silva picked up a David Villa ball and scored with his dangerous left foot from 8 yards. Tahiti were lucky not to have conceded more goals at this point, as they had managed to prevent Villa and Torres from scoring moments earlier.

Spain added a third goal quickly after their second with another Fernando Torres strike, assisted by David Silva. Mickael Roche, who had come off his line, was easily defeated by the Chelsea striker. Tahiti managed to get what would be their only corner of the night, but it bore nothing. Spain, who were now clearly on a scoring mission, managed to get a fourth one shortly after this, and David Villa was the man. The Barcelona man, who had been searching for a goal for the whole first half, finally got his goal thanks to a good David Silva pass. Spain went into the break with a very comfortable lead and having enjoyed 63% possession. At this rate, it would take Tahiti a miracle to come back!

Del Bosque introduced Manchester City’s Jesus Navas for captain Sergio Ramos at the break to clearly intensify his attack and score more goals. He didn’t have to wait too long as his side got a fifth early into the second half. David Villa picked up a Nacho Monreal pass from his left and shot confidently past Roche from inside the box. Eddy Etaeta responded by making his first substitution, bringing on AS Venus Mahina’s Teaonui Tehau for his cousin, Alvin Tehau. This move didn’t really change the game, however, as Spain were able to score their sixth minutes later. Fernando Torres completed his hat-trick in good fashion after picking up a Jesus Navas pass and slotting easily past Roche.

Spain 10-0 TahitiNot long after Torres had gotten his hat-trick, David Villa completed his own hat-trick when he scored Spain’s 7th with an assist from a Mickael Roche mistake. This brought Villa’s tally to 56 goals for Spain in 89 games. The Tahitians were having a terrible game until then and there were still 26 minutes left to play. Fernando Torres consoled Mickael Roche, but Spain knew there would be more goals.

Just seconds after their 7th, Spain got their 8th from Juan Mata. Mata got the ball from fellow English Premier League man David Silva and shot from a good position with his weaker right-foot. The Chelsea man was soon substituted for Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas. Etaeta immediately responded by introducing another Tehau, (AS Tefana’s Jonathan Tehau) for AS Dragon’s Heimano Bourebare. Once again, this change changed nothing for the Tahitians.

Mickael Roche was able to soon save two David Villa attempts after Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla’s had been unsuccessful, but nothing had changed. Both managers made their final substitutions, Etaeta bringing on Yannick Vero on for Edson Lemaire and del Bosque Andres Iniesta for Santi Cazorla. Spain were awarded a penalty 12 minutes from time when Tahiti left-back Ricky Aitamai handled the ball inside the penalty area. Fernando Torres stood to take the penalty but was unsuccessful and hit the crossbar instead, to the delight of the Tahiti faithful. Their little moment of joy was, however, short-lived, when the same man scored Spain’s 9th just a few seconds later after a good run and rounding-off the Tahitian goalkeeper.

Spain finally finished off their game, reaching double figures with a tenth goal courtesy of a good run from David Villa, assisted by a Fernando Torres pass. Tahiti were unable to get a consolation goal in the few minutes that remained, meaning that Liverpool’s Pepe Reina, who had been almost undisturbed throughout the game, finished with a clean sheet.

With this win, Spain broke a Confederations Cup record, which had been held by Brazil for 12 years for an 8-2 win over Saudi Arabia in 1999. Brazil had beaten Australia by six goals to nil two years earlier in 1997 as well. This was the first time a club had reached double figures in Confederations Cup history. Tahiti managed only one shot on goal against Spain’s 19, and only one corner versus 5. Spain enjoyed 62% possession against 38% overall. Fernando Torres was voted Budweiser Man of the Match for his quartet of great goals.

Written by Ange Marline

Benfica 1-2 Chelsea: Chelsea Win UEFA Europa League After Hard-Fought Victory

SL Benfica 1-2 ChelseaAfter what had been an interesting season in the Europa League, the day had come for this season’s kings to finally get their crown. It would be either SL Benfica or Chelsea, Portugal or England, Red or Blue. One thing was sure, however: whoever would win it would be, having survived a long and challenging season in the Europa League, worthy and deserving of the crown. And so the stage was all set for an exciting Europa League Final.

The game started, as expected, with both sides hungry for early goals to slow down their opponents. Oscar Cardozo had the first attempt in the second minute, but sent the ball over Petr Cech and over the crossbar. As Benfica had a very offensive line-up, it was not surprising to see them in their opponents’ half, trying to create chances. Attempts came for Oscar Cardozo, Eduardo Salvio, and Nicolas Gaitan, but Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, and Branislav Ivanovic all managed to protect their goalkeeper.

The first real chance for Chelsea came after 27 minutes for Oscar Dos Santos, but Artur Moraes stretched well to save. The remaining 18 minutes plus added time of the first half were all Benfica, with Chelsea confined to their own half. At this point, it looked as though Benfica would score first unless Chelsea were to come out of the dressing room stronger and quicker on the ball.

The best attempt in the first half came from Oscar Cardozo in the 42nd minute. Having picked up an Enzo Perez cross, the 30-year-old Paraguayan center-forward headed in the direction of the net at close range and was only prevented by Chelsea’s Gary Cahill. It surely otherwise would have been a goal.

Chelsea knew they needed to start the second half faster, and so start the second half faster they did! 15 minutes into the half, after Chelsea had had enough of Benfica’s attempts, Fernando Torres broke the deadlock thanks to a brilliant assist by Juan Mata. Petr Cech’s throw found Juan Mata, who delivered well to Fernando Torres who in turn managed to run past Luisao and confuse Artur. Luisao knew, now more than ever, that he couldn’t afford to slip again.

SL Benfica 1-2 ChelseaChelsea’s lead didn’t last too long, however, and they ended up being the providers of a Benfica equalizer. After a double-substitution by Benfica (Lima Dos Santos and Ola John on for Rodrigo Machado and Lorenzo Melgarejo respectively), Cesar Azpilicueta handled the ball inside the penalty area, and the referee pointed to the spot. Oscar Cardozo took the penalty and, as expected by the Benfica faithful, Petr Cech was defeated. With 20 minutes still to play, both sides tried everything they could to win the game in normal time. Jorge Jesus made his final substitution (Jardel Vieira for Ezequiel Garay) 10 minutes later, and the tempo of the Benfica game went a bit higher. Rafael Benitez made no substitutions, but his side was visibly also very hungry.

During the last 10 minutes: Cardozo shot - Petr Cech saved, Jardel shot - missed, Ramires shot - Luisao blocked, Azpilicueta shot - Artur saved, Lampard shot - hit the woodwork, and all that until, finally, in the last 70 seconds of the game, a winner emerged. 3 minutes were added on at the end of the normal 90 and both managers urged their sides on, hoping not to concede any free-kicks or corners.

Unfortunately for Benfica, however, they did just that. Having conceded a last-minute corner, Benfica tried to ensure nothing would come out of it, not noticing Branislav Ivanovic creep up behind them. The 29-year-old Serbian center-back rose, headed, and after the ball seemed to travel in slow motion towards the top-left corner of the Benfica net, scored, winning the Europa League for his side. The final whistle was blown a few seconds after the game had resumed, and Chelsea, having done so well to keep their opponents from scoring, were crowned 2013 Europa League Champions.

Benfica may have been ahead on statistics, but just as they had done in Munich a year before, Chelsea emerged “underdog winners.” As anyone who’s been involved in a game will tell you, sometimes one needs more than just dominance to win a European Final. Sometimes, all one needs is simply a little bit of luck.

  • SL Benfica 1-2 ChelseaPossession: Benfica (53%) | Chelsea (47%)
  • Total Attempts: Benfica (17) | Chelsea (11)
  • % on Target: Benfica (64.7%) | Chelsea (63.4%)
  • Corners: Benfica (4) | Chelsea (4)
  • Free-kicks: Benfica (22) | Chelsea (18)
  • Saves: Benfica (3) | Chelsea (3)
  • Offsides: Benfica (1) | Chelsea (8)
  • Fouls: Benfica (18) | Chelsea (18)
  • Yellow Cards: Benfica (2) | Chelsea (1)
  • Red Cards: Benfica (0) | Chelsea (0)
  • Substitutions: Benfica (3) | Chelsea (0)

Jorge Jesus and Rafael Benitez lined up the following squads:

Benfica Starting XI (4-3-3)

Artur Moraes | Andre Almeida, Ezequiel Garay, Luisao Da Silva (c), Lorenzo Melgarejo | Nemanja Matic, Enzo Perez, Rodrigo Machado | Eduardo Salvio, Nicolas Gaitan, Oscar Cardozo

Subs: Paulo Lopes, Jardel Vieira, Pablo Aimar, Andre Gomes, Urreta Da Luz, Lima Dos Santos, and Ola John

Chelsea Starting XI (4-2-3-1)

Petr Cech | Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole | Frank Lampard (c), David Luiz | Ramires Nascimiento, Juan Mata, Oscar Dos Santos | Fernando Torres

Subs: Ross Turnbull, Nathan Ake, Paulo Ferreira, Yossi Benayoun, Marko Marin, John Obi Mikel, and Victor Moses

Final Score: SL Benfica 1-2 Chelsea

Torres 60′, Ivanovic 90+3′ | Cardozo 68′ (pen)

Goals and Assists
  • Fernando Torres’ goal was a right-footed close-range shot (about 10 yards) on the hour mark, assisted by a Juan Mata pass; this goal was Fernando’s sixth and last in this season’s tournament
  • Oscar Cardozo’s goal was a penalty scored in the 68th minute, awarded for Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta’s handling of the ball inside the area; this goal was Oscar’s seventh and last in this season’s tournament
  • Branislav Ivanovic’s goal was a header into the top-left corner from about 22 yards out in the last seconds of the game, assisted by a Juan Mata corner; this trophy-winning goal was Branislav’s only goal in this season’s tournament
Man of the Match

Having won the match for his side with a brilliant header in the last minute, Branislav Ivanovic was, clearly and deservedly, man of the match.


Chelsea, having defeated SL Benfica in this final, were crowned Europa League Champions 2013, making it two European trophies in two years for the West-London power-house. It might have not worked out the way they had wanted to, but Benfica certainly had something to be proud about as they received their medals at the end of what had been a brilliant UEFA Europa League season for them.

Written by Ange Marline

Chelsea 3-1 Basel: Home Victory for Chelsea Sends Them to Another European Final

Chelsea vs. Basel 1893

Chelsea 3-1 Basel 1893After a last-minute goal guaranteed victory for Chelsea in the first leg of this tie, Basel were behind going into this game. The last English team in the competition and the hosts of this match would have a slight advantage going into this match but knew from experience that Basel wouldn’t be easy opponents.

The first half kicked off well for both sides as they each had early decent attempts. Marco Streller, Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres, Eden Hazard, Valentin Stocker, and Ramires Nascimiento all had good chances in the first thirty minutes of the game, in that order, but the game would remain goalless at least for the first half, well almost! Just at the end of the first half, an instrumental Mohamed Salah managed to break the deadlock with the good help of his opposite-side winger, Valentin Stocker. Petr Cech was left beaten and the visitors were the ones smiling as both sides headed to the dressing-rooms at half-time.

The second half came and it didn’t take long for the hosts to turn the game around, scoring 3 great goals in 9 minutes. Striker Fernando Torres, left winger Victor Moses, and David Luiz (who was playing as a defensive midfielder on the night) were the “culprits.” 5 minutes after the beginning of the second half, Torres struck well with his right foot to restore the lead on aggregate for his side. Shortly after, Victor Moses (whose work had been cut out) tapped a second one in, and David Luiz, just 7 minutes later, scored a brilliant goal from a significant distance to just about finish the job well.

Although there was still half an hour to play after these three Chelsea goals, Basel could do nothing to get the game back, meaning Chelsea were through to yet another European Final, which, going with the quality of their game on this night and throughout the tournament, was very much deserved.

  • Chelsea 3-1 Basel 1893Chelsea had 1 more attempt (17) over Basel (16)
  • Chelsea were 76.47% on target and enjoyed 53% possession, while Basel had the remaining 47% possession and were 37.5% on target
  • Chelsea were awarded 15 free-kicks on the night, while Basel got 9
  • 18 fouls were committed between the two teams on the night; Basel committed 66.7% of those fouls (12 fouls), while Chelsea committed the remaining 33.3%% (6 fouls)
  • Chelsea were awarded 7 corners, while Basel were given only 4
  • Petr Cech made 5 saves as opposed to Yann Sommer, who made 9
  • Both sides made 3 substitution each, all of which occurred in the second half
  • A total of 4 yellow cards was issued between the two teams by Suede referee Jonas Eriksson; 3 of those yellow cards went to Basel and 1 to Chelsea
  • No players were sent off during this match

Rafael Benitez and Murat Yakin lined up the following squads:

Chelsea Starting XI

Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand, Lampard (c), Luiz, Ramires, Hazard, Moses, Torres

Subs: Turnbull, Ake, Ferreira, Terry, Benayoun, Oscar, and Mata

Basel Starting XI

Sommer, Steinhofer, Schar, Sauro, Voser, Frei, Salah, Elneny, Die, Stocker, Streller (c)

Subs: Vailati, Ajeti, Ho, Degen, Diaz, Cabral, and Zoua

Final Score: Chelsea* 3-1 Basel 1893 (Agg: 5-2)

Salah 45+1′ | Torres 50′, Moses 52′, David Luiz 59′

Goals and Assists
  • Mohamed Salah’s goal was a left-footed shot in the 1st minute of added time at the end of the first half; it was assisted by a Valentin Stocker pass, and this goal was Mohamed’s second in the tournament
  • Fernando Torres’ goal was a right-footed shot in the 50th minute, assisted by a Frank Lampard attempt (which had only just failed); this goal was Fernando’s fifth in the tournament
  • Victor Moses’ goal was from a Fernando Torres shot, which he met and was able to tap in from close range; this goal was Victor’s fourth in the tournament
  • David Luiz’s goal was a long-rage left-footed shot into the corner of Yann Sommer’s net, assisted by a Frank Lampard pass; this goal was David Luiz’ second in the tournament
Europa League Final

Having eliminated Basel, Chelsea are through to the final of the competition and will face the winner of the second semi-final tie: either SL Benfica of Portugal or Fenerbahce SK of Turkey.

Written by Ange Marline

Liverpool: The Remake of a Top Four Premier League Team

LiverpoolDuring the 2009/10 season and up until the end of the first half of the 2010/11 season, Liverpool looked an average mid-table side scraping for a Europa League place. But with the new generation of players coming and a totally new style of play, their hopes of a top four finish now seem much more achievable.

In January 2011, they lost start striker Fernando Torres for £50m, who left for Chelsea. This allowed them to spend that money wisely and make some signings that would help them improve and develop more. In the last few days of the same window they brought in Andy Carroll from Newcastle United and Luis Suarez from Ajax. Luis Suarez has been a star for them ever since and has had a great impact on the squad. They now look a side who can yet again challenge for a top four place.

In the last couple of years, they have included younger players in the squad as they attempt to create a side for the future which the club hopes can even challenge for the title. They have since brought in the likes of Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique, Daniel Sturridge, and Joe Allen, along with youngsters such as Raheem Sterling, Jonjo Shelvey, and Martin Kelly.

Luis Suarez has scored many goals for this team since he arrived, and has been a real catalyst for them, probably the reason why they are doing so well this season. He has managed 29 goals in total so far and is the current Premier League leading goalscorer.

LiverpoolThe players they brought in have had an impact on the way Liverpool go about their business on the pitch, and players have had to adapt to this new style. But it is now looking to be a very promising future for the team from Merseyside.

Last summer, Liverpool also had a change of manager, with Brendan Rodgers taking over the reigns at Anfield. He has brought a new and more creative style to this team which he had during his time at Swansea City. He likes to keep the ball on the ground, keep it moving and get some great movement going from his players.

This has enabled them to progress further and pick off teams in a different way. Instead of trying to play a long ball and hope for the best from their strikers, they are now able to pass their way through a move up the pitch to create chances for their strikers. Although the season didn’t start off to well for Rodgers at Liverpool, things are now starting to come together for him and are now a major threat to the clubs above them in the table.

Another impact on them have been the “veterans” of the squad. The likes of Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina, and Daniel Agger have all helped to change the way this side plays. Steve Gerrard, as always, has been an inspirational captain and has been providing the vital goals and assists. He has also helped with the development of these youngsters as they get to grips with being at a big club.

Reina and Agger have been solid in the defense for them and have stopped many a striker from scoring. This has helped the new players in the team as they learn more and more about being quality footballers in the side, from players who have been in the squad for a good few years.

LiverpoolWhen mixing youth and experience together, it is sometimes a risk, but a risk that many managers take as they attempt to gel teams together. This is a common occurrence in many teams, and it is definitely happening at Liverpool right now.

They are a team in transition, and next season will be expected to challenge for the top four and maybe even above. Liverpool fans should be very excited about the times ahead for this side, and if they carry on playing in this new style of theirs, they will be finishing in the top four sooner rather than later.

The two key players for them will be Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, both of whom are in a rich vain of form right now, and if they continue it, they will be even more dangerous. But the fans will need to have patience with this on going project as things won’t come good for them with the wave of a magic wand.

This is a development process, but I can only see them moving forwards with this and many fans will have high hopes for them in the very near future. People could soon be saying that “Liverpool are back.”

Written by OneFutbol

Chelsea 0-1 QPR: Late Winner From Wright-Phillips Humiliates Chelsea at Home

Last-placed Queens Park Rangers shocked the European Giants today as they cruised to a win at Chelsea for the first time in 30 years.

Chelsea 0-1 QPRShaun Wright-Phillips, who had formerly played for Chelsea, stole a much-needed 3 points from the Blues as they fell short of Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table. On the 78th minute, Wright-Phillips found the bottom-left corner of the net after Chelsea failed to fend off a corner kick, ending Chelsea’s 4-game winning streak.

The last time QPR recorded a victory in the West London Derby was in April of 1983, before the existence of the Premier League, which ended in a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

In addition to that, this was QPR’s first away win of the entire season. In fact, QPR’s last away win was in November of 2011, over 1 year ago, which certainly makes their triumph an achievement worthy of celebration. Delighted with the results, QPR manager Harry Redknapp said:

“I can’t remember many better wins than this one, with Chelsea flying at the moment.”

QPR’s win could be vital to their staying in the Premier League for next season. They are still tied for last place in terms of points (with Reading) and are in the Relegation Zone, but they are also fairly close to Wigan Athletic and Southampton. Providing QPR has a more successful 2nd half of the season, we could see them dodge relegation just as they did last season, arriving in a close 17th place before Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Talking about the situation, Redknapp noted:

“They’ve set the standard what they’ve got to do if we are going to get out of this mess.”

On the other hand, Chelsea’s loss could possibly be detrimental. This was yet another defeat recorded under Benitez’s leadership, proving Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s decision to sack Roberto Di Matteo a dire mistake. Now they are in 4th place in the league, far behind leaders Manchester United.

Chelsea 0-1 QPRChelsea had already met with QPR this season in September, back when Di Matteo was in charge, and ended scoreless. Benitez made numerous changes to their starting lineup, but failed to avert the threat. He benched Juan Mata, who had been extremely successful this season and started their last 9 games, in favor of inexperienced Marko Marin.

Meanwhile, Fernando Torres continued his season-long starting streak despite Benitez’s promise to rest the Spanish striker. Torres, who had been seemingly dormant for the beginning of the season, partially recovered his fire when Benitez arrived, scoring 7 goals in 6 consecutive games. But in the last 3 games, he has once again been unable to find the net for Chelsea.

In fact, Torres barely even tested QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar, and with Demba Ba’s transfer from Newcastle to the Blues, he must up his game if he wants to keep his position as Chelsea’s star striker.

The first half saw few shots from either squad. That changed, though, after 45 minutes. Strikes from Ivanovic and Moses were continually shot at the QPR goal, but all had gone wide. Frank Lampard actually scored a goal, which was later ruled offside.

But the tide changed for QPR at the 60 minute mark, when they began setting up dangerous situations for Chelsea. They finally took the lead by virtue of Shaun Wright-Phillips, ending the historic game in a 1-0 win for QPR.

Chelsea have recorded their 4th loss this season against QPR and are now in 4th place with 38 points. They are a total of 14 points behind league leaders Manchester United (52 points), followed by Manchester City in 2nd (45 points) and now Tottenham Hotspur in 3rd (38 points). Meanwhile, despite their win, QPR are still in last with 13 points. They are tied with Reading in terms of points, and are 5 behind Wigan and Southampton. If results hold, QPR will be relegated from the Premier League to the English League Championship next season.

Written by FutbolPulse

Euro 2012 Final Post Game Report

The Spanish celebrate as they are once again crowned the European Champions after their 4-0 win against Italy.

History was made in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine this past Sunday. Spain battled Italy in the fight for the Euro Cup, but the Spainish renewed their title as the European Champions after their amazing 4-0 win. In this game, Spain had 52% possession and shot the ball 14 times (9 on target), while Italy had 48% possession and 11 shots (6 on target). Interestingly, even though most of the match statistics were almost equal for both teams, this was probably one of the most one-sided games of the whole tournament. It was a significantly different game compared to the one these teams played in the group stage. In general, the Spanish offense was unstoppable, while their defenses could not be broken. Spain had a great tournament as well as a very successful final, and the team’s hard work surely paid off after being handed their 3rd straight major title. The Spanish definitely went into the game feeling confident, despite the history between these two teams. The game started off with a beautiful chance for Xavi in the 10th minute after running into an open space inside the box, but the ball flew slightly above the goal. The first goal came just 4 minutes later, when the ball was knocked forward to Cesc Fàbregas inside the box. He then made an areal pass to David Silva who shot the header into the back of the net. On the 38th minute, Balotelli had a fairly good chance to score, but he was too eager and shot the ball high from outside the box. In less than a minute, Jordi Alba (Spanish defender) dashed at the speed of a bullet into the offensive half. While avoiding all of the defenders but staying onside, the ball was passed forward to him, and he shot the ball above Buffon and into the net; this is his first ever international goal. When Antonio Di Natale went out on the field in the beginning of the second half, he had two golden chances to score. Unfortunately, his header went a bit high, and his kick was blocked by Casillas. In the 61st minute, Thiago Motta (who was previously substituted in) was injured, and with no Italian subs remaining, the Italians played with only 10 players. The choice to substitute Torres for Fàbregas quickly proved to be effective. He had a nice breakaway and scored against Italy in the 84th minute. But the Italian’s bad luck didn’t end there. In just 4 minutes, a similar breakaway was made, and Fernando Torres made an assist to Juan Mata who scored yet another Spanish goal, ending the game at a 4-0 win for Spain. After the historic game ended, Fernando Torres was given the Golden Boot Award for scoring the most goals (3) in the least amount of time (187 minutes), and Andrés Iniesta was named Man of the Tournament.

Written by FutbolPulse