Tag Archives: Didier Drogba

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 18

Chelsea-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting eighteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Chelsea and Liverpool provide not one, two or three but four players each, while there is one each from Manchester City, Manchester United and Reading.

Adam Federici (Reading)

Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan was one of the top performers of the week as he was virtually playing alone against Chelsea, but on a matter of principle I just couldn’t select a keeper who conceded eight goals in a match and so I went with Federici. The Reading goalie frustrated the Premier League champions Manchester City for 90 minutes and was very unlucky to concede a stoppage time goal in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

Manchester City have yet to hit top gear but they still remain very much in the hunt to retain their Premier League title. It is fair to say that not everyone at City is pulling their weight at the moment but it would be harsh if its said the same about Pablo Zabaleta. The right-back has been in terrific form and if it wasn’t for his persistence – and cross for Gareth Barry’s winning goal – City would not have eked out Saturday’s late win.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

The Serbian was given one of the toughest jobs of the weekend – mark the inform Christian Benteke. He and Gary Cahill combined well to nullify the Belgian’s threat very effectively, recording a clean sheet in the 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday. He even managed to increase his goal tally for the season with a poacher’s goal after Cahill’s shot was palmed his way.

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

To be honest, Saturday’s action Premier League action fell dull until the late kick-off between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield. The goal which brought the weekend to life was just superb from defender Martin Skrtel. A nice touch to control the ball before unleashing an unstoppable volley past Mark Schwarzer to open the floodgates for the Reds on their way to a 4-0 win over the Cottagers.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United)

Its been a funny season for Manchester United at the back. Their defenders are leaking goals but at the same time scoring at the other end of the pitch. Evra is a perfect example of this during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea. The Frenchman did superbly well to score with a header from a Robin van Persie corner but then was caught out of position as Michu equalised for the Swans.

David Luiz (Chelsea)

Chelsea may have scored eight against Aston Villa, but none was better than David Luiz’s freekick. It was very similar to how Didier Drogba used to hit them for the Blues. It was not only the Brazilian’s goal which earns him a place in the Team of the Week. Played just in front of the back-four, Luiz looked right at home in the Obi Mikel role and the African must surely be a worried man now.

Ramires (Chelsea)

The Brazilian did not even start the game but yet he makes our Team of the Week. The midfielder, who is not known for his goal scoring, came on in the second half for Frank Lampard in Chelsea’s thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday, and ended the match as one of the star performers and became the only player to score more than once in that match. He scored the Blues’s fifth and eighth goal of the night.

Stewart Downing (Liverpool)

Downing makes the Premier League Team for the first time ever. Perhaps this is what the Mayans were referring to? Back in his regular role of a winger, the former Aston Villa wide man put in an excellent performance in Liverpool’s easy win on Saturday. He set Steven Gerrard for the hosts’ second goal of the night and scored one himself in the second half. His first assist and goal in the Premier League since joining the Reds last season.

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Competition in midfield is tough this week given Chelsea’s hammering of Aston Villa but there was no chance of leaving Steven Gerrard out. The Liverpool skipper has been in patchy form this season as he adjusts to Brendan Rodgers’ style of play. However, we saw the Gerrard of the old as the Liverpool legend provided two assists for his teammates, but also got his own name on the score sheet too.

Eden Hazard (Cheslea)

After a blistering start to life in the Premier League, Eden Hazard has positively cooled off. Any worries should be abated now, though, as the Belgian wizard ran riot on The Blues’ left flank against Aston Villa. His holding midfield duo controlled the game and were able to find him regularly, so he had ample opportunities to shine. He also got himself on score sheet by scoring his side’s seventh goal of the night.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

Suarez was back to his best on Saturday. The Uruguayan bagged the final goal of four against Fulham and it was a perfect reward for his efforts all game long. Even though the goal came very late and technically unimportant at the stage of a comprehensive rout, it was important for Liverpool’s only injury free senior striker to get back among the goals after failing to score for more than a month.

TOTW GW 18

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Premier League’s Top Five Biggest Spenders In The Last 10 Years

torres-chelsea-signs

The 2013 transfer window will be something special not only because of all the potentially exciting deals that can happen but also it marks the 10th anniversary of the transfer window.

In 2003 the rules were changed to ensure that all transfer were carried out either in the summer or in January alone, leaving the rest of the season free of speculation and allowing everyone to focus on the football. So, since it’s introduction in 2002/03 right up to the summer window just gone over £4.4 billion has been spent – but who has splashed the most cash and who has pulled off the worst deal?

Luckily, thanks to TransferMarkt and GiveMeFootball, we have a list of the top 5 biggest spenders over the last decade. Have a look at it below..

1. Chelsea

Total spend: £861,498,000
Biggest spend: £151,536,000 (2003/04)
Most expensive deal: Fernando Torres, £50 million (2011)
Best deal: Didier Drogba, £24 million (2004/05)
Worst deal: Andriy Shevchenko, £30 million (2006/07)
Average season spend: £78,318,000

2. Manchester City

Total spend: £662,521,200
Biggest spend: £160,556,000 (2010/11)
Most expensive deal: Sergio Aguero, £39.5 million (2011/12)
Best deal: Sergio Aguero, £39.5 million (2011/12)
Worst deal: Robinho, £32.5 million (2008/09)
Average season spend: £60,229,200

3. Liverpool

Total spend: £533,683,040
Biggest spend: £85,822,000 (2010/11)
Most expensive deal: Andy Carroll, £35 million (2010/11)
Best deal: Fernando Torres, £20 million (2007/08)
Worst deal: Andy Carroll, £35 million (2010/11)
Average season spend: £48,516,640

4. Tottenham Hotspur

Total spend: £496,663,200
Biggest spend: £125,400,000 (2008/09)
Most expensive deal: Luka Modric, £16.75 million (2008/09)
Best deal: Rafael van der Vaart, £8 million (2010/11)
Worst deal: David Bentley, £16.5 million (2008/09)
Average season spend: £45,151,200

5. Manchester United

Total spend: £484,884,400
Biggest spend: £91,080,000 (2007/08)
Most expensive deal: Dimitar Berbatov, £30.75 million (2008/09)
Best deal:  Cristiano Ronaldo, £12 million (2003/2004)
Worst deal: Owen Hargreaves, £17 million (2007/08)
Average season spend: £44,080,400

‘One Last Challenge’ – Where Next For David Beckham?

The former England captain David Beckham has announced he will leave the Los Angeles Galaxy after next month’s MLS Cup final against Houston Dynamo.

At 37-years-old, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star is in the twilight of his glittering career which has seen him win numerous trophies, but he wants “one last challenge”.

So, here at IntoTheTopCorner, we have a look at the possible destinations for Beckham before he decides to end his playing career.

Australian A-League

There have been reports suggesting that an offer from Melbourne Heart is on the table, and A-League chiefs have been making noise of a possible deal. The Beckham camp have denied the reports but Australia looks likely his most likely destination in future. While the standard of football is not the greatest, the attraction for the former Manchester United and Real Madrid winger would be a growing football market – similar to when he joined MLS five years ago. The weather and lifestyle would also suit Beckham and his family.

Paris Saint-Germain

The moneybags of France have the backing, the ambition and the money to afford any wages that Beckham would demand and it would also be a good move as he would be close to friends and family in London. The standard of football in Ligue 1 is also something that would appeal a man looking for his next challenge. But at the same time you have to question why PSG would want Beckham. They were interested in him almost a year ago, but have spent heavily since then, and it’s difficult to see a regular place in their starting XI for former England skipper.

England

Unlikely, but not impossible at all. Beckham has been linked with Tottenham, West Ham and Leyton Orient in past 12 months or so and as reports suggested he could be keen to end his career in England. And QPR – at the bottom of the Premier League table – are in desperate need of a saviour and Becks could well be the man to save the Hoops. Or will he come back to Manchester for one final stint and turn dreams of millions of United fans into reality?

China

There are very few footballers on the planet that are more popular in the Far East than Beckham. What more, the Chinese club owners are trying to raise the profile of the game in the country by signing some star players like Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, but bringing Beckham would be the biggest coup of them all. The financial package would surely attract any player but whether such a major change for the player and his family at this stage in his career would appeal to the Beckhams remains to be seen.

Russia

Russia would be another appealing destination for Beckham because of the cash he could earn and the less strict tax laws. It would also mean he stays in Europe which would appeal to him for both footballing and family reasons. Samuel Eto’o is the best example to give as he has become the best paid player in the world at Anzhi Makhachkala and Beckham’s final challenge could merely be replacing the Cameroon star at the top of the pay charts.

Staying in the US

Just because Beckham is leaving LA Galaxy, that doesn’t mean that the USA has seen the last of him. Beckham is known to enjoy the lifestyle he has in the States and also has a wife and four children to take into consideration. Afrer Los Angeles, where to go? Maybe across the coast to New York? He joined LA Galaxy not only to increase the interest in the MLS, but also to carry on winning trophies. And the Red Bulls could have a real shot at winning trophies next season, with the likes of Rafael Marquez, Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry already among their number.

Robeto Di Matteo Sacked As Chelsea Boss – Not Surprising At All!!

Chelsea have sensationally sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo following their 3-0 defeat to the Italian champions Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Less than seven months after guiding the Blues to FA Cup and Champions League glory, Di Matteo has been shown the door at Stamford Bridge for the club’s poor performances in this season’s Champions League. Chelsea are currently third in Group E behind leaders Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus, and are on the verge of becoming the first defending champions to be eliminated in the group stages.

A statement on Chelsea’s official website read:

The team’s recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.

The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts.

The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club’s history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.

The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.

What went wrong?

The sacking of Roberto Di Matteo just six months after he won the FA Cup and Champions League is a bit unlucky, but to be honest not surprising at all!! It was always going happen, but it has happened quicker than anyone expected. The Italian was never Roman Abramovich’s man for the permanent job in the first place, but he won the Champions League last season (by accident maybe) and that probably forced the Russian billionaire to give him the job at the start of the season.

Actually, the dressing room with the likes of John Terry, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech won the trophy, not the manager. He has tried to change the style of football. A powerful team has been replaced by skillful young players and that has resulted in some eye-catching, mouth-watering sparkling football, but at the same time have also been overpowered by the likes of Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester United.

The Blues started the season with the chance of winning seven trophies but are now on the freefall and that has made Abramovich furious. Although the owner was kind enough to overlook the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, he was mad with the 4-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup even after spending more than £80million on new players.

Chelsea need a miracle to make it through Group E of the Champions League and in danger of becoming the first holders in the history of the competition to be eliminated in the group phase. The  failure to get out of the group stages of Europe’s most prestigious club competition is a pretty poor return for a club with a huge wage bill and a big transfer kitty and Di Matteo even admitted himself that ‘if you fail at Chelsea, you lose your job’. He has paid the price for it.

Twitter Reaction

Who Next?

According to various reports across the UK, former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola and former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez are being linked with the new managerial vacancy at Stamford Bridge, with the latter believed to be the front runner for the job.

Roman Abramovich is obssessed with bringing Pep Guardiola and his style of football to Chelsea, but the former Barcelona midfielder is currently on a year’s sabbatical in New York and would need a ‘phenomenal’ offer cut that short. On the other hand, Benitez, who was in Abu Dhabi this morning, is expected to be flying into England on Thursday and could be given the job until the end of the season.

Other likely candidates for the job are former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, former Chelsea boss and current Anzhi head coach Guus Hiddink, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and former England manager Fabio Capello, but Benitez remains the favourite.

Chelsea are expected to make the appointment of the new manager before Friday, ahead of the club’s key fixture against the reigning Premier League champions and current league leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Top Ten Footballer Salaries

According to Marca, Cristiano Ronaldo is ranked only tenth in the world when it comes to wages paid by their clubs, with the likes of little known Dario Conca earning more than the far more illustrious Portuguese.

In our today’s Picture Special, we have a look at the top ten footballer salaries, according to Marca..

1. Samuel Eto’o – Anzhi Makhachkala (€20m-a-year)

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Paris Saint-Germain (€14.5m)

3. Wanye Rooney – Manchester United (€13.8m)

4. Yaya Toure – Manchester City (€13m)

5. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City (€12.5m)

6. Didier Drogba – Shanghai Shenhua (€12m)

7. Fernando Torres – Chelsea (€10.8m)

8. Dario Conca – Guangzho Evergrande (€10.6m)

9. Lionel Messi – Barcelona (€10.5m)

10. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid (€10m)

Premier League 2012/13 Predictions

The wait is finally over as the new Premier League season kicks-off today and here my predictions for the 2012/13 campaign.

Champions?

Manchester City are the favourites for me to win the title again this season. They broke their duck last season and got the monkey of their back. They now know how to cope with certain situations and how to get through games. Roberto Mancini and City both will have learnt a lot from last season. I know they haven’t sign anybody – except for Jack Rodwell – but they already have a very strong squad which is more than capable of winning the league again.

At the same time, I expect the title race to be very close like last season and may again go down to the very last day. Manchester United have got Robin van Persie and they will surely be right up there. They have also go their skipper – Nemanja Vidic coming back from injury, and he would be like a completely new signing for the club.

Top Four?

The two Manchester clubs will occupy the top two places and it will be either Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham for the remaining two places. I will go with Chelsea and Arsenal.

The Blues will be a better team than what they were last season. They have bought some very good young players like Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar, that are going to attack a lot. With Didier Drogba moving to China, Fernando Torres will have a big season, as he will have to fill the big shoes of the Ivorian. If Torres could get his old Liverpool form back, which made him one of the most dangerous forwards in the world, then the Blues could even challenge for the title.

It’s going to be very tight between Arsenal and Tottenham for the final Champions League spot. I fill Arsenal will just sneak into fourth because of the great football they play. They may have lost Van Persie and might also lose Alex Song, but in Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud they have bought in some quality players. As for Tottenham, Andre Villas-Boas is a very talented manager but he needs to get the forward line sorted soon and also find a replacement for Luka Modric.

Bottom Three?

It’s really tough to call who will go down this season. Every year I feel Wigan will be relegated but they somehow stay up. This season again I am going to say Wigan. They have made two good signings in Ivan Ramis and Arouna Kone, but they could lose Victor Moses and should be down there again. Norwich had a very good season last term under Paul Lambert, but with him moving away to a bigger club they are going struggle along with Reading. I really hope the Royals stay up but they are a very attacking side. That will make them entertaining but also vulnerable.

Surprise Package?

With the expected arrival of Gaston Ramirez, it makes Southampton one of the entertaining teams in the Premier League. They have lots of exciting attacking players throughout the side and I can see them doing what Norwich or Swansea did last season. At the same time, I think Mark Hughes’ QPR side will be the overachievers this season. Hughes kept the R’s up on the final day last season and I am expecting a very good campaign from them this year. They have made some very good signings in Park Ji-Sung, Junior Hoilett and Jose Bosingwa. They will be very hard to beat and could even finish in the top half of the table.

Top Scorer?

We will be looking at a lot of the same names again this season. Van Persie and Wayne Rooney will form a deadly combo at United, while Luis Suarez – if he can control himself – will benifit a lot in Brendan Rodgers attack-minded Liverpool side and with Arsenal creating lot of chances Lukas Podolski will also be up there. But in the end Sergio Aguero will win the Golden Boot this season. He had a tremendous first season in England and I expect him to get even better this season. If City do go on to defend their Premier League crown, it will be because of his goals.

Player to Watch?

There are so many exciting players to watch in the Premier League this season. As a United fan I love watching Steven Gerrard play because he is a true inspiration to his team-mates and can single handedly win a game for Liverpool and I hope he stays fit for the whole season.

However, I feel Eden Hazard will be my player to watch this season. His transfer saga went on for months and in the end he revealed on Twitter that he had decided to join Chelsea. He is one of the top talents in world football and was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the second consecutive time last season. He will have a huge role to play for Chelsea this season and will also have to justify his big transfer fees. If he can star as he did for his previous club then the Blues could be in with a shout for the Premier League title.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Chelsea

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Chelsea’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Roberto Di Matteo.
Captain: John Terry.
Stadium: Stamford Bridge (42,055).
Last season: 6th.
Leading scorer (PL): Frank Lampard (11).
Odds: Title 9-2. Relegation 500-1.

In: Eden Hazard (£32.5m, Lille), Thorgan Hazard (£880k, Lens), Marko Marin (£8.6m, Werder Bremen), Oscar (£22m, Internacional).

Out: Patrick van Aanholt (Loan, Vitesse), Jose Bosingwa (Released), Kevin de Bruyne (Loan, Werder Bremen), Jeffrey Bruma (Loan, Hamburg), Ulises Davila (Loan, Sabadell), Matej Delac (Loan, Guimaraes), Didier Drogba (Free, Shanghai Shenhua), Ben Gordon (Loan, Birmingham), Tamas Kalas (Loan, Vitesse) Salomon Kalou (Free, Lille), Romelu Lukaku (Loan, West Brom).

Kits

Key Man – Fernando Torres
Didier Drogba’s departure has left a huge hole up front for Chelsea to fill. And who better to replace the strong, physical Ivorian than the Euro 2012 Golden Boot Winner? The Spaniard has proved that he is still a top finisher by scoring four goals in Poland/Ukraine last month, but can he continue the same goal-scoring form in the Premier Leagie this season is a big question. Torres’ mercurial feet and top-class finishing will play a massive role in Chelsea’s campaign and will decide whether the Blues are serious title contenders or just top four finishers.

Opening Fixtures
19-Aug – Wigan (A)
22-Aug – Reading (H)
25-Aug – Newcastle (H)
15-Sep – QPR (A)
22-Sep – Stoke (H)
30-Sep – Arsenal (A)

Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Hazard, Mata; Torres.

Verdit: Despite winning the FA Cup and the coveted Champions League trophy, the new permanent boss Di Matteo will be expected to hit the ground running in the Premier League from the start. Failure to do so may test Roman Abramovich’s patience yet again. The Blues have boosted the squad by some heavy summer spending and are sure title contenders. I expect them to perform much better than last year but not enough to break the Manchester domination and finish in the top two.

Prediction: 3rd.