Archive for May, 2012

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The 2011/2012 witnessed a breathtaking season in the top 5 leagues in Europe. Leading the race among all for its excitement,drama and suspense was English Premier League with Manchester City staving off competition from their red neighbours Manchester United to claim the English title for the first time after 44 years defining the season as (arguably) the best in the England’s top flight 20-year history. The 2011-12 English Premier League season was the greatest ever in terms of statistics and incidents on-off the field from calls for goal line technology, inter-squad brawls, racial abuse cases, and the most contested race for Champions League spots ever. And never has the title race gone down to the dying moments of the league.

Manchester United clearly had deficiencies at the back and in midfield and a champion team which they are need to get this cleaned off before the new season starts. Losing the league title on goal difference would make it more difficult to match Man City whose financial strength is now backed by a new wave of confidence. It will come down to Fergie’s genius, team grit and expected summer buy/transfers.

As far as the noisy neighbours are concerned it was the dream outcome at the Etihad, City winning the game and title. QPR lost but still made it to next season courtesy of Bolton’s failure to win at Stoke. Man City were deserved champions and QPR deserved staying up simply because of their excellent form at home and the fact that they remained resilient and in quest even after their mid-season manager sacking, takeovers etc. Coach Manchini deserves pat on the back for holding it all together when the title was all but lost, keeping rebels like Balotelli and Tevez from tearing apart his squad, and coming on top of Sir Alex in terms of mind games. Things are only going to get better for the champions assisting them in their next step conquering European championship.

For the other London clubs competing for the champion’s league spot Arsenal’s win over West Brom guaranteed their place in the top league whereas Tottenham despite winning against Fulham and finishing fourth were denied a champions league spot courtesy Chelsea becoming the European champion .Arsenal had a remarkable comeback after a disappointing start to season with a 8-2 thrashing in the hands of Manchester united. To lead the comeback was none other than ‘The Flying Dutchman’ Robin Van Persie and tactics of Arsene Wenger. Still Gunners need to sort out on front of new players and transfers to make in next season in quest to remain in top four and flourish in Europe.

Chelsea, The Blues are very much among the top disappointing teams of the season given the amount of money spent and form they were in at the end of the last season. Zooming off to great start scoring mammoth number of goals initially ,they lost the plot mid-season caught in various controversies on-off the pitch; Leading to sacking of Andre Vilas Boas once predicted to be one capable of continuing the legacy of Jose Mourinho. It was only after appointment of interim coach Di Matteo which lead to The Blues winning the FA cup and Champions League erasing some bad memories of premier league.Toping this section has to be Merseyside Liverpool who despite with some quality wins, a Carling Cup silverware, and finishing 8th in the table, the Reds never lived up to the preseason hype and the promise they showed at the end of last season.

Talking about the most surprising team of the season without a doubt was Newcastle who showed that Alan Pardew‘s controversial appointment was worth it. His dealings in the transfer market and man management skills helped boost the club. They were very close from playing in the Champions League next season but only a hard run at the death matches stopped them – they do have Europa League football though which is not a bad consolation prize for a club like Newcastle. Norwich and Swansea also came as a surprise package despite being newbie in the league.

For the best match of the season we had some close contenders from Manchester United vs. Blackburn, Manchester Derby to Chelsea vs. Arsenal. But it has to be the last game of the season between Manchester City vs.QPR which ultimately sent the title to the blue side of Manchester. A player that had the most impact it’s got to be Papiss Cisse. No January signing has ever had such a huge impact in the transfer window era as him, and his goals nearly took Newcastle into a shock Champions League spot. Not to forget his improbable goal against Chelsea undoubtedly the best of the season,a real thing of beauty.

Check out the EPL season 2012 in numbers:

Results

Goals

Games Home wins Away Wins Draws Home Away Difference Total
380 171 116 93 604 462 +142 1066
45% 31% 24% 1.59 1.22 +0.37 2.81

2011-12 Premier League Season: Greatest epic season ever.

 

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Speaking on ITV, Drogba (the eventual match winner) said it was ‘written a long time ago’ that the Club would beat Bayern Munich to become the first London club to win the Champions League. Call them lucky, opportunistic or whatever you want but let’s face it; it’s hard not to imagine that Chelsea were destined to win the Champions League Saturday night at Allianz arena Munich. The day 19th may 2012 belong to underdogs who colored Munich blue .

Chelsea have made history by becoming the Kings of Europe after a captivating match against Bayern Munich which ended with the Blues winning a penalty shootout 4-3 after the game had ended 1-1. A team that many had thought drained two months ago is now the European champions. Chelsea did it behind the heroics of keeper Petr Cech and Didier Drogba, they did it with an interim coach- Roberto Di Matteo, and they did it without four major players (suspended). They held their turf and nerves against The Bavarians, who came hotfooting from every possible angle.

Bayern Munich largely held the upper hand throughout yet were unable to capitalize until Thomas Müller headed in with seven minutes remaining which beat Cech by some abrupt bounce, and it looked like the trophy was heading to Munich for a fifth time but Chelsea’s strength of character rose to the prow once again when Didier Drogba who had other ideas, the Ivorian leveling in the 88th minute with a powerful header from Mata’s corner. Bayern had a fantastic opportunity to restore their lead early in extra-time when they were awarded a penalty, but Petr Cech saved it from his former Chelsea teammate Arjen Robben who looked nothing less than dejected.

After a few clashes in the remaining period of overtime, it was time for certain heartbreak shootout.

Bayern Munich again spurted ahead 3-1, but Chelsea again restored parity 3-3. The teams were ready with their final kicks. Bastian Schweinsteiger fluffed, finding the post and it fell to Drogba to seal Chelsea’s fate, which he did in style giving Chelsea the title they failed to win in a similar shootout to Manchester United in 2008 in Moscow. He’s been the man of big moments for Chelsea these last couple of months. He’s started every decisive match. He’s always been there for Chelsea. Drogba has conquered all at Stamford Bridge – the premier league titles, the Carling cup, the FA cup and now the Champions League. He has nothing to prove to anyone anymore, a Chelsea legend forever.

For Bayern the defeat was particularly bitter as not only have they failed to win the Bundesliga, but they also badly lost the German Cup final to Dortmund. Moreover it also ended FC Bayern Munich’s hopes of becoming the first team to win the competition in their own stadium.

In a nutshell: wasteful Bayern were edged out by an effective and spirited Chelsea side. Munich launched thirty-five shots at them, not counting the penalty kick tiebreaker. They earned twenty corner kicks. Chelsea had one corner, and they scored off of it. Chelsea had done the improbable, if not the impossible. They were simply good.

 

 

 

 

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World witnessed mother of all EPL final day. A lot was on stake ranging from Premier league title to champions league qualification and relegation group. EPL known for its uncertainty, surprises and drama lived up to it even on the final day of the EPL 2011 season.

“You want drama…we give you drama”, said ESPN commentator Ian Darke!

Exactly that is what we got, a title going to be retained in Manchester, only needed to choose its color to embrace: Red or Blue. It came down to the last-minute of play as Manchester City came out on top on the most dramatic final day in Premier League history, scoring twice in injury time to win its first English league title in 44 years.

City needed a victory over Queens Park Rangers on Sunday to clinch the title but was  on the verge of handing the trophy to Manchester United when it trailed 2-1 with 90 minutes played. Arch rival Manchester united thought they have retained the title after their 1-0 win over Sunderland and game at Etihad heading for a draw after Dzecko’s injury time goal. Only to be denied in the last-minute with Sergio Aguero keeping his cool and finding the net to clinch the title of the ‘Noisy neighbors ‘.Blue part of Manchester going to get louder and more noisy.

Manchester city struggled to break the visitors down for much in the first half, only to score a soft one through Zabaleta. They were stunned in second half which saw QPR scoring twice, one helped by Lescott`s awful error and other one on a counter attack after QPR were down to 10 men (Barton lost his cool and was ejected in shocking circumstances).With more than 84% ball possession City, throwing caution aside, hammered on the QPR goal only to find disappointment. They pressed and pressed but QPR were inspired in defense and even Mancini had surrendered all self-control, raging at every over-hit cross and lousy shot as the title lurched back in United’s direction. It was only in the injury time city managed to zip across QPR’s stubborn defense and register a dramatic 3-2 win.

“To win it like this is incredible,” City Manager Roberto Mancini said. “I have never seen a final (day) like this.”

Arsenal managed to finish19 points back in third place clinching Champions League qualification for a 15th straight season with a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion. Tottenham came in fourth place after Adebayor and Defoe scored a 2-0 win over Fulham. But they have to wait for the verdict on their Champions league qualification till the result of may 19 Champions league final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich.Newcastle finished in fifth place after losing 3-1 at Everton and Chelsea was sixth — its lowest position since 2002 — despite a 2-1 win over Blackburn. Bolton filled the final relegation spot after a 2-2 draw at Stoke with Blackburn and Wolverhampton Wanderers already relegated.

        Well Done Manager, Roberto Mancini….Manchester City Captain, Vincent Kompany .  A title well   deserved.

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They carved through the two favorites of Spain. They made pundits look like fools who had it all planned out an El Classico Champions league final with the two greatest and most followed sides in the world going head to head, and the two most extraordinary players going toe to toe; taking the Spanish rivalry to a much higher level that of European stage.

                                                          Presenting the final contenders: Chelsea & Bayern Munich

They had different plans for their Semifinal opponents Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. They surprised and reminded the whole football fraternity about the love for the game;{It’s not the best team that always wins}.The two Spanish giants looked invincible at least on paper with two top goal scorers this season playing for them and even after their 1st leg deficits, the odds were still very much in favor of the Spaniards to make it through to the final.

FC Bayern Munich have achieved their dream of reaching the 2012 UEFA Champions League final on home soil, against Chelsea FC, after ousting Real Madrid CF on penalties following 210 minutes of an enthralling semi-final. While at Bernabeu ten-man Chelsea pulled off an extraordinary display of defensive play to reach the 2012 UEFA Champions League final. A match full of action, Chelsea having had their 1-0 first-leg lead wiped out by Sergio Busquets and captain John Terry sent off, Ramires to return Chelsea to the front seat before half-time. With two Lionel Messi’s woodwork hit and in the second period Torres confirming the progress with a sublime cool finish passed Valdes.

This season’s UEFA Champions League has been full of surprises. It won’t come anything less than surprises with the two teams set to face each other in the Final on the 19th of May are Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Chelsea have turned what was looking like a pretty miserable season into right around with FA cup silverware beating Liverpool at wembley on May 5 and stand on the brink of finally tasting European glory. While Bayern Munich failed to get a hold on Bundesliga yet again mounting to a huge desire of making this well fought season of some worth with Champions league title in their bag.

Bayern Munich’s home, the Allianz Arena in Munich, will play host to this seasons UEFA Champions League Final. Playing in their backyard, the Germans will be slight favorites and will be able to field their strongest team. Chelsea will lose four pillars players, including captain John Terry who had a red card sanction. But the Blues can count on a super fantastic Didier Drogba, on top of his game in recent weeks and a team looking to secure their first ever champions league trophy.

Last time these two teams met each other was in 2004/05 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, where Chelsea bloomed 6-5 on aggregate to reach the semi-finals but they lost to Liverpool FC. In the first leg, Chelsea won 4-2 and Bayern won 3-2 in the second leg. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and John Terry are the only survivors in the current squad, all five contributing in both legs.

This year’s final On the 19th of May the two teams will walk down the red carpet and come up from under the stands leading to the Allianz Arena in Munich. Betting it to be more appealing than a el Classico, full of sparks and glory. The night will witness a special final represented by the Bundesliga and the English Premiership having a proven stamp of worlds’ best competitions of all.

                         A  Sneak Peak:UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL DESTINATION– ALLIANZ ARENA MUNICH