Tag Archives: Gareth Barry

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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Ten Greatest Manchester United Wins In The Sir Alex Ferguson Era (Videos)

Juventus-United-1999

On Sunday Manchester United take on their bitter neigbhours Manchester City, in what could prove to be an important fixture in the title race.

The Red Devils take on a City side which are unbeaten in the Premier League this season and haven’t lost a home game since December 2010, leading to Sir Alex Ferguson to insist that it would be ‘one of our best ever results’ should his side beat the reigning champions.

Should United win, it would surely be memorable, but will it be special like these victories? Below are the ten of the best Manchester United wins under Ferguson..

10 . Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea (FA Cup Final, 1994)

One of the greatest finals in the FA Cup history as United completely outplayed Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium. The Red Devils scored four times (Eric Cantona (x2), Mark Hughes and Brian McClair) as they went on to do the Premier League-FA Cup double. This triumph was the club’s eighth success in the competition, matching the record set by Tottenham Hotspur three years earlier.

9. Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City (Premier League, 2009)

One of the greatest Manchester derby ever. With the noisy neigbhours making more noise thanks to their Sheikh owners, a win was important for United as it would give them the bragging rights in the city. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring for the Red Devils early in the first half before Gareth Barry equalised. Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy both scored a brace in the second half and then in the sixth minute of injury time Michael Owen scored the dramatic winner to send Old Trafford into ecstasy.

8. Manchester United 3-2 Aston Villa (Premier League, 2009)

United came into this match on the back of a two-game losing streak and with star strikers – Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney not playing it looked like a tough task. The Red Devils took the lead early in the first half, but Villa came back and led 2-1 before Cristiano Ronaldo’s 80th minute equaliser and Federico Macheda’s injury time winner. The win knocked Liverpool off the top spot and United stayed there till the end, equaling the Reds’ record 18 titles.

7. Everton 2-4 Manchester United (Premier League, 2007)

United had gone three seasons without a title as Arsenal and Chelsea dominated between 2004 and 2006. In the 2006/07 season, United led the way by three points from Chelsea and with just four games left, a tricky trip to the Goodison Park turned out to be the decisive one. Everton went 2-0 up midway through the second half, but a stunning 4-2 win for the Red Devils saw them win the title that season.

6. Manchester United 1-1 (6-5 pens) Chelsea (Champions League Final, 2008)

United faced Chelsea in an All-English final at Moscow for the Champions League trophy. The Red Devils took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo’s header before Frank Lampard equalised for the Blues. The game went into penalties and the rest as we know is history. The win gave Sir Alex his second Champions League trophy and also re-established United’s dominance in Europe.

5. Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal (FA Cup Semi-Final, 1999)

This win not only helped United to reach the final of the FA Cup in 1999, but also denied Arsenal a chance to win back-to-back doubles. Roy Keane was sent off, Peter Schmeichel saved a last minute penalty from Dennis Bergkamp, then Ryan Giggs scored the greatest goal in FA Cup history as United reached Wembley. The momentum helped them win the FA Cup final and also pip Arsenal to the league title by a point.

4. Nottingham Forest 0-1 Manchester United (FA Cup 3rd Round, 1990)

United were on the brink of relegation battle and Fergie had failed to win a trophy in over three years at Old Trafford. Nottingham Forests were cup specialists that time and United the underdogs. Fans were calling for Fergie’s head and defeat would probably have seen him sacked, but Mark Robins goal bougth him time and the Red Devils went on to win the Cup that season.

3. Manchester United 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Premier League, 1993)

It was 26 years since United had last won the league and, trailing Villa in the title race and losing 1-0 at home to Sheff Wed, it looked like the wait would continue. But two headed goals by Steve Bruce – the second into injury time – took United at the top, where they stayed until the end, as Villa fell away.

2. Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich (Champions League Final, 1999)

This was one of the best comebacks in the history of the Champions League. With just three minutes of injury time left in Barcelona, United scored twice  (Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunner Solskjaer) to snatch the European Cup away from the hands of Bayern Munich, who had completely dominated the game and led since the eighth minute.

1. Juventus 2-3 Manchester United (Champions League Semi-Final, 1999)

This was the greatest win ever under Sir Alex Ferguson, even bigger than the above 1999 Champions League final itself. United came back from two goals down to win 3-2 in Italy against the best team in Europe and that to by completely outplayed them. This was the match that marked United as the worthy champions of Europe.

Manchester City v Manchester United Preview

City-Utd

The first Manchester derby of the season is here as Manchester City and Manchester United resume their rivalry on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium which could provide vital momentum in the title race.

Roberto Mancini’s City emerged victorious in both the Premier League encounters last season, winning 6-1 at Old Trafford and 1-0 at home before winning the title in the most dramatic style on the final day of the season.

The reigning champions have made a decent start to the defence of their crown and remain unbeaten after 15 games, but it is United who have a three-point advantage at the top of the table ahead of Sunday’s meeting. There have been indications that it is already a two-horse race for the Premier League title, with others rivals – Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool – struggling for consistency.

City’s participation in the Champions League and even Europe came to an end with a 1-0 loss to the Bundesliga champions – Borussia Dortmund in the midweek, while they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton last weekend after a less than impressive performance. United, on the other, were also beaten 1-0 (at home) by CFR Cluj but had already won the group so Sir Alex Ferguson was able to rotate his squad. The 19-time league champions overcame Reading 4-3 last weekend and have been in superb form going forward all season, but it was yet another match in which they fell behind and this time not once but twice.

Ferguson will surely be demanding greater concentration against a team that has the best defensive record in the league and haven’t lost a single game at home since December 2010. The Scot says it would be one of United’s best-ever results if they can win on Sunday.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester City

City’s influential playmaker David Silva will be given every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the Manchester derby at home. The Spanish international missed the Champions League loss to Dortmund with a hamstring injury but remains in contention and is batting to take part on Sunday. Aleksandar Kolarov has been ruled out with a groin problem and Micah Richards (knee) is still sidelined. Gael Clichy (ankle) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) both should be available for selection, while James Milner (hamstring) is likely to miss out.

Manchester United

Tom Cleverley is doubtful for Manchester United after limping out in the first half of the game against Cluj and will have a scan on his calf injury. Sir Alex Ferguson has also revealed that Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic (both) are struggling to be fit in time for the derby and may completely be ready for the Sunderland game. Antonio Valencia (thigh), Nani and Anderson (both hamstring) have been ruled out of the important clash, while the likes of Robin van Persie and Patrice Evra are set to return to the starting XI after being rested in midweek.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 164
Manchester City Wins – 46
Draw – 50
Manchester United Wins – 68

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

30-Apr-12 – Premier League – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
08-Jan-12 – FA Cup – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
23-Oct-11 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
07-Aug-12 – Community Shield – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
16-Apr-11 – FA Cup – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

FORM GUIDE

Manchester City – LDWDD
The Citizens have been unbeaten in the league so far this season and are just three points behind leaders Manchester United in the standings. But they have won just once and drawn thrice in their last five games in all competitions, with the only win coming at Wigan. A win on Sunday will take them above United in the league table on goal difference.

04-Dec-12 – Champions League – Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Manchester City
01-Dec-12 – Premier League – Manchester City 1-1 Everton
28-Nov-12 – Premier League – Wigan Athletic 0-2 Manchester City
25-Nov-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
21-Nov-12 – Champions League – Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid

Manchester United – LWWWL
The Red Devils come into this match on the back of three consecutive wins in the Premier League and are sitting three points clear of their opponents at the top of the table. But they haven’t hit top gear and their defensive frailties have already been exposed. A win on Sunday will be massive one and will take them six points clear of City at the top.

05-Dec-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 0-1 CFR Cluj
01-Dec-12 – Premier League – Reading 3-4 Manchester United
28-Nov-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United
24-Nov-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 3-1 Queens Park Rangers
20-Nov-12 – Champions League – Galatasaray 1-0 Manchester United

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
The Belgium international scored the only goal in last season’s 1-0 win over United at the Etihad stadium – which won them the title – and was also as solid as rock at the back. The club captain is an inspirational presence for Roberto Mancini, and his match-up against Robin van Persie will see arguably two of the best players in their respective positions battling in a mouth-watering clash. How he copes with the Dutchman and what he can offer going forward will be the key to the outcome of the game, but one thing is for sure – if Kompany is on form, City are a very hard team to beat.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
All eyes have been on Robin van Persie this season, and – even Javier Hernandez has gone past Wayne Rooney in the goal-scoring charts, but numbers alone do not tell the full influence of the 27-year-old on his side. With the Dutch forward being the target man of the strike force, Rooney will certainly drop deeper when United lose possession, and will try to create chances from further back in the final third. His work rate and distribution are very important in clashes like these, and with two strikes in his last league game at Reading, the England forward may be in line for a hot goal-scoring streak.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany (C), Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy; Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry; David Silva, Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri; Sergio Aguero.

City XI

City manager Roberto Mancini is likely to recall Yaya Toure back to the squad after resting him for the Champions League game against Dortmund, while David Silva may well recover from his hamstring injury in time for the big game. Joe Hart continues in goal as Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic will play ahead of him in centre of the defence. Aleksandar Kolarov (groin) has been ruled out, which means Gael Clichy could be rushed back after recovering from his ankle injury, but should he not be ready Joleon Lescott could slot in or Pablo Zabaleta could switch sides win Maicon coming in on the right side. Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure are expected to shield the defence as Silva, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri could play in a more advance role. Sergio Aguero is likely to lead the line for the hosts, with both Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko coming off the bench at some point during the game.

Manchester United (4-3-3): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra; Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes; Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Ashley Young.

United XI

Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to continue with David De Gea in goal after the keeper made his return to first team action against CFR Cluj in the Champions League. Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra are all expected to be back in defence after being rested during the midweek defeat at home. With Valencia and Nani both out, United are expected to play with the same formation (4-3-3) that won at Reading. Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes will make the three-man midfield with Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young further up the pitch, playing on either side of Robin van Persie. Shinji Kagawa is expected to make the bench, while the inform Javier Hernandez will be an option should the visitors need a goal at some stage of the game.

OPTA FACTS

  • 3 – Man Utd have won 1-0 against City three times in their last six Premier League games at the Etihad.
  • 5 – There have been just five goals scored in the last six league meetings between City and United at the Etihad Stadium and no more than one in any of those games.
  • 10 – Robin van Persie is joint-top scorer in the league, with 10 goals alongside Demba Ba, Michu and Luis Suarez – Man City’s top scorer is Carlos Tevez with seven.
  • 36 – City (15) and United (21) have come from behind to win a combined 36 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.
  • 21 – Man City and Man Utd have been awarded more penalties than any other side in the Premier League since the start of 2010-11.

REFEREE

Name – Martin Atkinson
Based – Yorkshire
Age – 41
Games – 18
Yellow Cards – 71
Red Cards – 1

MATCH ODDS

Manchester City 13/10, Draw 12/5, Manchester United 21/10

PREDICTION

As both teams have pulled away from the rest at the top of the table, it could turn out to be a very close affair decided by a moment of brilliance or a mistake. City will be looking to attack at home and take full advantage of United’s weaknesses at the back, while the Red Devils will hope to avoid conceding the first goal again but have also shown the determination and character to win games from losing positions. With the winner taking the top spot in the league table, both teams will look to get the 3 points. United have the firepower, but City have a very solid defence, making the hosts slight favourites. Expect United to get something out of this one, maybe a high scoring draw.

Predicted Score: Manchester City 2-2 Manchester United

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Manchester City

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

Manager: Roberto Mancini.
Captain: Vincent Kompany
Stadium: Etihad Stadium (47,805).
Last season: 1st.
Leading scorer (PL): Sergio Aguero (23).
Odds: Title 5-4. Relegation 1000-1.

In: Jack Rodwell (£13.2m, Everton)

Out: Gai Assulin (Free, Racing), Ahmed Benali (Free, Brescia), Wayne Bridge (Loan, Brighton & Hove), Greg Cunningham (Undisc.,Bristol City), Owen Hargreaves (Released), Andrea Mancini (Free, Valladolid B) Stuart Taylor (Released), Vladimir Weiss (£1.3m, Pescara)

Kits

Key Man – Sergio Aguero
The former Atletico Madrid striker ended last season as the club’s top goal-scorer after securing the Premier League title with the last kick of the season. The Argentine scored the winner against QPR at the Etihad Stadium which won City their first ever league title in 44 years. Aguero had a great first season in England, scoring 30 goals and if he is able to replicate the same form of last season this year, then there is no stopping the reigning Premier League champions from defending their crown.

Opening Fixtures
19-Aug – Southampton (H)
26-Aug – Liverpool (A)
01-Sep – QPR (H)
15-Sep – Stoke (A)
23-Sep – Arsenal (H)
29-Sep – Fulahm (A)

Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry; David Silva, Tevez, Nasri; Aguero.

Verdit: City’s mega rich owners saw their huge investments pay dividends with a dramatic final day finish which clinched the title. However, with the eyes now set on conquering Europe, a successful defence of their Premier League crown will prove a real test. So far, Jack Rodwell has been the only player on whom they have splashed cash this summer, but it’s more of adding more depth to the squad than improving the first XI. The strikers they have are just too good and are hitting top form at the right time. Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero are all capable of playing in the first team of any club in the world, while Edin Dzeko is not at all a bad reserve to have. They have the strongest squad in the league and for me, Mancini’s men are the favourites to win the Premier League again this year.

Prediction: 1st.

Rating The England Squad For The Euros

Roy Hodgson has named his 23-man England squad that will carry the hopes of the entire nation at the Euro 2012 finals in Poland & Ukraine this summer. But has he got the right players? After having a look at the complete squad, here is my verdict on the squad.

Goalkeepers

Joe Hart

Its a long time since England have had one of the best keepers in the world. For me he is not only the best in the Premier League but also the best in the world and should be mentioned along with the likes of Iker Casillas, Gianluigi Buffon, Manuel Neuer or even Hugo Lloris. Hart has developed a lot since his loan spell at Birmingham couple of years back and could be England’s number one for many years to come.

Robert Green

He has been good for West Ham this season. I know he is playing in the Championship but he has performed for West Ham under a lot of pressure and expectations. He is going to be 2nd choice to Hart and so I have no worries at all unless Hart gets injured.

John Ruddy

Paul Robinson and Ben Foster have retired while Scott Carson plays in Turkish league and David Stockdale hasn’t perform this season, so John Ruddy was the best option. I am really happy for him. He has been very good for Norwich this season and their position in the league proves it. He has made some amazing saves this season in a matches against the top sides especially against Liverpool at Anfield.

Defenders 

Glen Johnson

England are lucky to have some many good right-backs and Glen Johnson is the best of them. Unlucky that Micah Richards didnt make the plane but Johnson for me is by far the best right-back England have had for some years now. His defending is a bit of a worry but going forward is as good as Dani Alves or Maicon to name a few. He also has the ability to score from outside the box and that’s a plus point.

Phil Jones

The fact that I am a Manchester United fan, I am very happy for him. He played really well for United in the first half of the season but was troubled a lot by injuries in the second half. He is not on the plane because he had a good season by his own standards but because he is very versatile and can play in three different positions – right-back, centre-back and centre-midfield. Some part of me always knew he would be in the squad because of his versatility.

John Terry

I thought both Rio Ferdinand and John Terry would be going to the Euros but when Ferdinand was not going to be selected Terry had to be selected. Lets be honest, Terry is the best English defender at the moment and he has to be in the squad for a major tournament like this. As Hodgson said he has performed for Chelsea even with all those off-field issues and I can’t see why he won’t perform well for England. He is a true leader and a rock in the defense.

Gary Cahill

Cahill-Terry partnership has been one of the best defence partnerships for England in the last one year or so. Cahill has had a good season with both Bolton & Chelsea and I expect him to play a huge role in the Champions league final on Saturday. He will start alongside JT for England and will surely form a formidable partnership in the center of the defence.

Joleon Lescott

He has had a very good season for Manchester City but hasn’t got the credit he deserves. He is a decent player but I don’t see him starting for England ahead of John Terry or Gary Cahill. He is a very good cover for the Chelsea duo though.

Ashley Cole

England’s number one left-back for years and it’s no surprise he is in the squad. Has performed consistently for Chelsea in the Premier League season after season and deserves his place in the team.

Leighton Baines

I am glad he is finally going to a major tournament. He missed out on the World Cup in South Africa because of home-sickness but now he is fine. He has let no one down this season and performed brilliant for Everton. A brilliant backup option for Ashley Cole.

Midfielders

Steven Gerrard

Even though he plays for Liverpool, I love watching him play. He has been England’s best player for some years now and I am glad that he has finally been named the captain. He completely deserves it and should have been named way back when John Terry was stripped off the captaincy for the first time. He is a must in the England team because he is the heart of the midfield and an inspiration to all the players on the pitch. If he performs England have a chance.

Scott Parker

If he is 100% fit, he is a huge asset to the team. He has got all the deserved praise he should get in the last 2-3 seasons and I happy for him. He is a kind of a player each team needs, a player who could hold the midfield together and a great tackler of the ball. England are very lucky to have a player like him.

Frank Lampard

At the start of the season I doubted if Lampard would be in the England squad for the Euros but he has proved me wrong with his performances for Chelsea. He is a big-game player and possesses a great ability of scoring goals. England need such midfielders who can go forward and score some important goals when needed. The only thing to be seen is whether he and Gerrard can play together. There are many questions about that to be answered.

Gareth Barry

It amuses me how come he is in the squad ahead of Michael Carrick. Barry was poor against Germany in the World Cup and was completely outclassed by the German midfield but his performances in the last 10 games or so for City have been outstanding and also is an England regular for long time now. Maybe that’s the reason why he is in the squad but for me it would have been Carrick ahead of Barry.

James Milner

If you want a player who will give you 100% in each match then he is the player you are looking for. He hasn’t played a lot for City in the last few weeks and has been used mostly as substitute but he has performed whenever he has been given a chance. He is a reliable player and you know he will always give his best on the field. Add to that he is versatile, can play in center of the midfield or on the wings or even as a right back if needed.

Theo Walcott

He has been way too inconsistent this season for Arsenal. One day he will give you a 9/10 performance and next day he will give you a 5 or maybe a 6/10 performance, but he has a lot of pace in him and on his day he could also end up scoring a hat-trick. For me, he is England’s best right winger at the moment ahead of Aaron Lennon or Adam Johnson.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Whenever he has played he has impressed me. He is quick and possesses a lot of talent in him to be a star of England and Arsenal in the future. I don’t think he will start any of the games because it would really surprise me if he does but I expect him to have some impact on the game by coming on from the bench.

Stewart Downing

I must say I am very very surprised he is on that plane to Poland-Ukraine. He has been a complete waste of money for Liverpool this season. He hasn’t managed to score a goal or even create a goal in his 36 appearances in the Premier League for the Reds. I would have gone for either Adam Johnson or Daniel Sturridge ahead of Stewart Downing, any day.

Ashley Young

He has had a decent first season for Manchester United but has performed well whenever he has player for the Three Lions. His ability to deliver dangerous freekicks and crosses will be important in a tight game and could also create a difference.

Forwards

Wayne Rooney

He will be the first name on any teamsheet. He has to go even if he is suspended for the first two games. He just had a great season with Manchester United and he being suspended for the first two games will keep him fresh for the final group game against Ukraine. If he can continue his club form for his country then England are in with a huge chance.

Danny Welbeck

He has performed brilliantly for Manchester United under a lot of pressure this season and completely deserves a place in the squad. He has very good movement and also at the same time is quick. He has a very good understanding with Wayne Rooney and if Roy Hodgson decides to play with two upfront when Rooney returns, then these two can trouble the opposition defence.

Andy Carroll

If the choice was between Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll then even I would have gone with Carroll. He adds something different than the other three strikers. He has a great ability to hold the ball in the opposition’s half and his physical presence will be felt in the both the boxes. He has shown some glimpses of his form in the last 5-6 matches for Liverpool and he is way aggressive than Peter Crouch.

Jermain Defoe

I am glad that Defoe is also on the plane. He is a true poacher, a natural goalscorer and England don’t have many striker like him in their national pool. The other one which I can remember is Darren Bent but he is out injured. If he gets a chance to score then you can be sure he will score like he did in the last group game of the World Cup.

Hodgson Names Euro Squad – Ox, Carroll, Terry & Ruddy In; Ferdinand & Richards Miss Out

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a shock inclusion by Roy Hodgson in the England’s 23-man squad for Euro 2012 which also includes former captain John Terry, uncapped Norwich keeper John Ruddy and Liverpool duo Andy Carroll & Stewart Downing but Rio Ferdinand misses out.

The Arsenal teenager who has made just six Premier League starts this season in his first full campaign at Arsenal has won his first ever senior England call-up ahead. The 18-year-old told Arsenal’s official website:

“I’m obviously delighted, to be picked for your country at any stage is a massive honour and to be at a huge tournament likes the Euros is such a bonus. I think I play with no fear, I run at players regardless of who they are and try to make a difference. I have a youthful enthusiasm and I am so excited about this that I will try and take any opportunity with both hands. I will just try and make things happen, although I know there are other players who can do that. It will just be nice to get the opportunity and I will see what I can do.”

John Terry who has a pending court case after the Euros is also in the squad ahead of Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand – whose omission was highly anticipated last night. Reports suggested Ferdinand was left out because of his personal issues with the Chelsea skipper but Hodgson denied it by saying ‘it was purely a footballing decision’:

 “It was purely a footballing decisionRio is a man that I both respect as a player and as a person. I don’t know him well personally, but I have seen enough of him over the years to realise what a fine footballer he is and what a good person he is. But I had to make a footballing decision and to decide on the basis of what I have seen in recent months, and it was influenced to some extent by the fact that Rio hasn’t played so much since the World Cup and has only played once for England in the last year. So it’s purely a footballing decision and it was a hard phone call to make because you hate to disappoint people, but I hope Rio can accept my decision and understand that it was based purely on football and nothing else. I have spoken to both of them, I had to do that. I left the decision to talk to both of them until after the final game of the season because there may not have been a need to talk to either of them because there might have been an injury or whatever. But in the last couple of days I have spoken to both of them and explained to them why I came to this decision.”

Speaking about the Chelsea skipper who has guided his team to FA Cup glory and a Champions League final this season, Hodgson said he picked Terry purely on his form in the second half of the season and has no worries about the pending court case:

 “If we take the court case first of all, that’s obviously very unfortunate for him but at the moment we must emphasise that he is an innocent man until such time as proven guilty. As a result, my decision with John Terry was again based purely on footballing matters. I was given a free hand as to the squad I picked and I realised that when I selected him there would be people who raised their eyebrows, but that is the decision I have made and that’s the decision I shall live with. I believe that John Terry, especially in the latter part of the season, has played very well. I know you are going to come back and say he shouldn’t have done what he did in Barcelona, but I am looking over a longer period than that and I think he has played well. I think he has played an important part in Chelsea’s FA Cup final victory and an important part in them reaching the Champions League final. Therefore, I selected him because I think he is the man for the job. I’m hoping and believing that he will help us win matches.”

Micah Richards failed to win a ticket to Poland-Ukraine despite his excellent form for Manchester City in their title winning season, while Phil Jones was selected as a backup right-back for Glen Johnson as Kyle Walker and Chris Smalling were ruled out due to long term injuries.  Hodgson said about the keeper’s marriage & the absence of Richards:

“I was considering Kyle Walker before he dropped out. In Phil Jones I have a player who is capable of playing right-back and centre-back. It was going to be one of Phil Jones or Micah Richards and I chose Jones.”

John Ruddy who is another uncapped player in the England squad along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, will provide goalkeeping back-up to Joe Hart and Robert Green after staking his claim for a place in the squad with a series of assured performances between the posts for Norwich. Hodgson said:

“We don’t have so many English goalkeepers to choose from but I think John has had an excellent season and Norwich have had an excellent season. They have really taken the Premier League by storm and he has been a very important part of that team, so when I was looking for somebody to back up Joe Hart, who is the obvious No.1, and Robert Green, who is the obvious No.2, I turned to John Ruddy.”

The inclusion of the Liverpool striker Andy Carroll ahead of the likes of Peter Crouch, inform Grant Holt and Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge raised a lot of eyebrows, but Hodgson said he has no worries about Carroll:

“He is a different type of player to the others in the squad. He is able to hold the ball up and has that aerial ability which is very useful. He also has the ability to make those runs behind defenders and use his strength and power. I spoke to Kenny at great length about him because I don’t know him particularly well as a person. One can easily be tricked by perceptions of players and what you hear or read about them, but Kenny was absolutely convinced about the players’ ability and his personality and his seriousness as a professional. When I heard that it meant I had no further reservations.”

The rest of the England squad has no surprises as regular internationals like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, Joe Hart, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, Gary Cahill, Joleon Lescott, Glen Johnson, Jermain Defoe, and James Milner are in the side for their country’s first Euro appearance since the Euro 2004.

Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck was also included in the squad following his outstanding form for the Red Devils in his first full season at Old Trafford, while Everton’s left-back Leighton Baines is in the squad as a backup for Ashley Cole.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was appointed by Hodgson as the England skipper for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland-Ukraine. The former Fulham manager who worked with Gerrard during his short managerial time at Anfield said:

“In my opinion, he is the man who merits this award or distinction. I know him, of course, as a player. I know him as a person. I know how committed he is to the England cause. He was delighted last night when I told him of my decision. I will be counting on him to help me as much as he possibly can to build the type of team unity and the type of environment that I think is going to be very necessary for us to thrive in an important tournament.”

Roy Hodgson’s England will play a couple of friendlies against Norway and Belgium before they travel to Ukraine finals of Euros 2012 and face France, Ukraine and Sweden in Group D.

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Rob Green (West Ham), John Ruddy (Norwich)

Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Man United), John Terry (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Man City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton)

Midfielders: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Man City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Man United), James Milner (Man City)

Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Man United), Danny Welbeck (Man United), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)

Standby: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Man City), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).