Tag Archives: Steven Gerrard

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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Steven Gerrard – The Pied Piper Of Anfield

Pied-Pipper-Of-Anfield

One of the greatest midfielders, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been the lynchpin of the Reds for the past decade or so and has also been the part of the transformation plans of four managers since the triumphant spectacle at Istanbul. However, the critics have doubted the current influence of the 32-year old English captain.

Under the current Chelsea interim boss – Rafael Benitez, Anfield was a place most teams around Europe feared to go. It was a fortress in its true sense. A young Gerrrad was given a more advanced role to play, just behind the target man Fernando Torres, Peter Crouch or Andrei Voronin. With Xabi Alonso at the centre of the park and the smart Javier Mascherano as the holding midfielder – the link between the midfield & the back four – Gerrard was handed the responsibility of handling the attacking side of the game. Liverpool were known for their direct style of play, fluent passing and classic counter attacks. The 2008-09 season was the highlight of this Liverpool side’s strength and ability. Benitez was clearly a manager who understood each player’s psychology, style of play and the suitable position required for his effective influence in the side’s game. Gerrard was at his very best and had expressed his happiness under the Spanish boss.

Benitez-Formation
Liverpool’s formation under Rafa Benitez

Liverpool’s inability of holding on to Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, the stalwarts of the Liverpool midfield was followed by the exit of Benitez. This led to a beginning of a doubtful and disappointing transition in the history of the football club. The entry of Roy Hodgson led to a hope for the Koptites as the former Fulham manager seemed like a hopeful perspective. But his tenure ended after just 31 matches following a run of disappointing results. Meanwhile, the Liverpool skipper suffered a recurring hamstring injury in training.

The sacking of Hodgson meant that Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish would step in his shoes. After a struggling start and a serious injury Lucas Leiva, Gerrard was given a role of playing behind Jordan Henderson and play as a deep-lying playmaker, a position to which the English midfielder was not much acclimated to. The introduction of Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Henderson meant that the injury affected captain had to play behind the attacking midfielders. However, this was the time when the then 31 year-old midfielder suffered his major injury setbacks. He was sidelined for six months with a grueling groin injury and was again sidelined for an infection injury on his right ankle.

Dalglish-Formation
Liverpool’s formation under Kenny Dalglish

These injuries forced the manager to play him in a safe deep position which would keep him away from exertion and hard tackling and thus keep him away from further injuries. However, the fan favourite had mentioned in his interviews that he was more than willing to play the same role that he had played for Liverpool over the years but was happy with any role given by the manager. A 1-0 defeat on the final day of the season at  Swansea City meant the end of a disappointing era for Dalglish. Gerrard was criticized by many as a player too old for the British game but was still able to get 8 goals in the meager amount of games that he played.

Then came Brendan Rodgers. The former Swansea boss provides a whole new type of game of retaining the ball as quickly as possible and playing an aggressive & fast game. Meaning, the type of game Gerrard longs to play, with wholehearted commitment in every tackle.

Rodgers-Liverpool

However, the current role given to Gerrard has frustrated many a Liverpool fan. The influential and committed skipper has been given a tamed role of playing the ball in the final third from a deep position. But with a lack of strike force and a berserk Luis Suarez when it comes to finishing the obvious chances, the only support in the front-line, the midfielder is forced to give away the ball due to lack of options. The main and obvious remedy to this is to bring in a new striker, especially a striker who can make his presence felt in the box. The reason being that Jose Enrique and Raheem Sterling do all the hard work on the wings, taking defenders to the byline and then when they look up there is hardly a shadow in the box to aim at. Due to the inexperienced midfield comprising of Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Allen, Gerrard is given the responsibility of handling the defensive duties as well. For a 32-year-old it is too big a task. Allen after an impressive first three games has exposed his physical weakness and has given the ball away cheaply especially against the likes of Chelsea who have a hefty attacking line-up.

Remedy-Formation
The formation that Brendan Rodgers should play, which will get the best out of Gerrard

A makeshift solution can be of playing Lucas and Allen as the holding midfielders and Gerrard playing in front of them. This will enable him to move to either wing to support Sterling or the newly fullback turned left midfielder Jose Enrique as also of playing the final ball to Suarez or taking the shot on from outside the area, for which he was so feared till a season or two ago. The main problem is that the more deep he falls in the midfield the more the midfield looses its experience and the dynamic presence of an attacking and creative midfielder and thus his influence in the game reduces drastically. For a man who has given everything for his home club and wants to fulfill his only desire of winning the Premier League title, he should be given the role of a trequilesta, even if it drains out all his energy and has to sit out a third of the game.

The Best Goal Ever?

Whether you are a fan of Marco van Basten, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi or Wayne Rooney, everyone has their own favourite goal from football’s history.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stunning, long-range propeller-kick for his fourth goal against England in the midweek was the latest to enter the half of fame. But was it the best goal ever?

Here, IntoTheTopCorner takes a look back at some of football’s greatest goals..

Diego Maradona v England – 1986

Marco van Basten v USSR – 1988

Tony Yeboah v Liverpool – 1995

Roberto Carlos v France – 1997

Roberto Mancini v Parma – 2000

Paolo Di Canio v Wimbledon – 2000

David Beckham v Greece – 2001

Steven Gerrard v West Ham United – 2006

Paul Scholes v Aston Villa – 2006

Ronaldinho v Villarreal – 2007

Lionel Messi v Getafe – 2007

Wayne Rooney v Manchester City – 2011

Zlatan Ibrahimovic v England – 2012

Steven Gerrard’s Top Five England Matches

It was a sunny afternoon in May 2000 when Steve Gerrard made his promising England debut against Ukraine and more than 12 years later the Liverpool midfielder is set to win his 100th cap for the Three Lions when he captains them against Sweden on Wednesday night.

He may not have picked up any medals with the national team, but he has surely given his all in the national cause on many occasions. Here we have a look at his top five matches for the Three Lions..

September 2001 – Germany 1-5 England

Gerrard scores his first goal for his country as England come from a goal down to achieve one of their most memorable wins in Munich’s Olympic Stadium and revive their World Cup qualification hopes. Michael Owen scores a hat-trick and there is even a rare goal from Emile Heskey.

June 2006 – England 2 -0 Trinidad & Tobago

Gerrard puts the agony of missing out on the 2002 finals through injury behind him by netting his first World Cup tournament goal to seal victory after Peter Crouch nets the opener with only seven minutes remaining.

March 2007 – Andorra 0-3 England

Gerrard single-handedly wins it for England with an inspired second 45 minutes in this Euro 2008 qualifier against Andorra in Barcelona after a dismal first-half performance. He scores twice before David Nugent nets his only international goal.

September 2009 – England 5-1 Croatia

Revenge is sweet for Gerrard and his team-mates after missing out on the Euro 2008 finals as Croatia are hammered at Wembley to secure a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Liverpool skipper and Frank Lampard share four goals with Wayne Rooney the other man on the scoresheet.

June 2012 – England 1-1 France

One can sense the pride as Gerrard leads England into a major tournament – UEFA Euro 2012 – as official captain for the first time. He sets up the opener for Joleon Lescott with a pinpoint cross only for Samir Nasri to equalise. Gerrard was later named in the UEFA team of the tournament.

Top Ten Most Capped England Internationals

England captain Steven Gerrard is set to win his 100th international cap in the international friendly against Sweden on Wednesday in Stockholm.

Gerrard said at England’s Tuesday press conference

“I’m excited. I’m slightly nervous, which I haven’t been for quite a while in an England shirt, maybe because there is a bit more attention on me getting to the milestone. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait for the game to start.”

The Liverpool midfielder will become only the sixth England player to reach a century of caps, joining record-holder Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Billy Wright.

In our today’s Picture Special, we have a look at the top ten most capped England internationals..

1. Peter Shilton (Goalkeeper | 125 Caps)

 

2. David Beckham (Midfielder | 115 Caps)

 

3. Bobby Moore (Defender | 108 Caps)

 

4. Bobby Charlton (Midfielder | 106 Caps)

 

5. Billy Wright (Defender | 105 Caps)

 

6. Steven Gerrard (Midfielder | 99 Caps)

 

7. Ashley Cole (Defender | 99 Caps)

 

8. Frank Lampard (Midfielder | 93 Caps)

 

9. Bryan Robson (Midfielder | 90 Caps)

 

10. Michael Owen (Forward | 89 Caps)

St Geroge’s Park – Royal Opening (Pics)

The new National Football Centre at St George’s Park was officially opened on Tuesday by the Duke (Prince William) and Duchess (Catherine) of Cambridge. 

The Duke and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, formally opened the £105 million St George’s Park project which was first mooted more than a decade ago. The aim is for the 330 acre complex to produce more and higher quality coaches – and with it better players to give England the best chance of becoming a major footballing force.

Here in our today’s Picture Specials, we have a look at the official launch of St George’s Park National Football Centre. Have a look at the fantastic images in our picture gallery below. Pictures courtesy Zimbio.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 5

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting fifth weekend in the Premier League. Southampton and Arsenal have provided two players each, while there is one each from Stoke, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham, Everton and Fulham.

Asmir Begovic (Stoke)

The Bosnian keeper was in fine form at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, commanding his area excellently and making a save whenever he was asked to. Chelsea’s poor finishing meant he didn’t had to make many, but could do nothing about Ashley Cole’s late winner.

Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton)

The young right-back has grown with every game he has played in the Premier League so far and against Aston Villa, he was superb. He made some intelligent runs down the flanks, when he switched to left-back in the second half. He created chances for his team-mates and also showed good composure to score his first goal for his new club.

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)

He was only selected in the side because Thomas Vermaelen was out with a virus and the Frenchman performed at his best against the reigning Premier League champions. He was perhaps lucky not to concede a penalty in the second half but his 82nd minute not only earned the Gunners a deserved point but also kept them unbeaten this season.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

This man has become a regular in the Team of the Week now. The Belgium international showed his versatility in the win over QPR on Sunday, starting out in the centre of the defence before switching to left-back after half time. He was spot on with his tackles throughout the match and led the counter-attack for the second goal. He looked solid and also made a goal-saving tackle late in the game to deny Junior Holiett.

Ashley Cole (Chelsea)

Surely the best left-back in England if not the world. Cole was the difference on Saturday as Chelsea scraped past Stoke at home. He hasn’t scored a goal for a while, but displayed coolness as he flicked the ball over the advancing Begovic as a seasoned striker.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

The Spain international has settled to life in the Premier League following his move from Malaga and once again produced a master-class against champions Manchester City. He was at the heart of all of Arsenal’s best play and troubled the City defence with his intelligent movement and passing. His shot on goal led to the corner from which Koscielny equalised.

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

The England international skipper was once again brilliant against Manchester United for the 10-man Liverpool with a display which was full of aggression, determination and emotion. He rose to the occasion and gave his team the lead on such an important day for the club was perfect scenario but to see him on the losing end was a bit sad.

Kevin Nolan (West Ham)

He was the man who led West Ham back to the Premier League and it looks like he is man who will keep them up this season. He looked the player most likely to score for the hosts against Sunderland. He came close with two overhead kicks and troubled the opposition’s back four throughout the game. In the dying minutes he scored a sweet volley and completely deserved the goal.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The Belgium international has been very impressive for the Toffees this season and was once again at his best at Swansea. He scored Everton’s third, set up their first and played a role in the second. His presence was always a threat to the Swansea defence as he broke up play and often got involved in his side’s attacks.

Rickie Lambert (Southampton)

At the start of the season, many people doubted his ability to succeed in the top flight and I am sure they must be regretting it now. He took his goal scoring tally to four in five league games after scoring a brace against Aston Villa. He fired home the equaliser from the edge of the box before scoring from the spot in injury time to complete the four goal rout.

Hugo Rodallega (Fulham)

It’s very hard to play against your old team at their home ground and score a goal against them. Rodallega was not only the star performer for Fulham in their first away win of the season at Wigan, but like a true sportsman he didn’t celebrate both the goals (scored one and created one) and showed some respect to his former employees.