Tag Archives: Stoke

Revealed – Manchester United Have The Best Youth Academy In England

danny-tom

According to research by Sporting Intelligence, Manchester United have the best youth academy having produce more first-team players for club in Europe’s top 5 leagues than any other team in England.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are ranked fifth in the world behind the likes of Barcelona, Olympique Lyonnais, Real Madrid and Stade Rennais. Twenty of the twenty-four players who have graduated from the Old Trafford academy have gone on to play in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 or the Serie A.

Nine of the twenty-four players produced are still at United ( including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck), and the remaining 15 playing elsewhere include the likes of Phil Neville (Everton), Kieran Richardson (Fulham), Phil Bardsley (Sunderland), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96), Paul Pogba (Juventus) and Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Arsenal came second behind United with 20 players, Aston Villa third with 15, Tottenham and West Ham joint fourth with 13 primary products. Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are in seventh with 12 home grown players, while Chelsea are eight with total 12 players and Liverpool are tenth with a total of 10 primary products.

Outside the Premier League, Barcelona are the undisputed kings of producing players – with a massive 38 players produced by the famous La Masia academy. And it’s not only the number of production that impresses, its the unbelievably high talent level too. The likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedro, Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba, Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique are all home-grown players.

Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyonnias lie second behind Barcelona with 29 primary products, while Real Madrid have 27 home grown players. Another French club, Stade Rennais, are above Manchester United with 21 primary prodcuts. Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are sixth with a total of 23 players followed by Sochaux, Real Sociedad, Atalanta and Atletico Madrid.

Top 10 from the Premier League

Manchester United – 24 total academy products
Arsenal – 20 academy products
Aston Villa – 15 academy products
Tottenham Hotspur – 15 academy products
West Ham United – 13 academy products
Newcastle United – 13 academy products
Manchester City – 12 academy products
Southampton – 12 academy products
Chelsea – 12 academy products
Liverpool – 10 academy products

Complete list..

Top 10 from Europe

Barcelona (La Liga) – 38 academy products
Olympique Lyonnais (Ligue 1) – 31 academy products
Real Madrid (La Liga) – 29 academy products
Stade Rennais (Ligue 1) – 24 academy products
Manchester United (Premier League) – 24 academy products
Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – 23 academy products
Sochaux (Ligue 1) – 22 academy products
Real Sociedad (La Liga) – 21 academy products
Atalanta (Serie A) – 21 academy products
Atletico Madrid (La Liga) – 21 academy products

Complete list..

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Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 13

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting thirteenth weekend in the Premier League. Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur provide two players each, while there is one each from Chelsea, Stoke City, Norwich City, Southampton and Wigan Athletic.

Petr Cech (Chelsea)

It has been a difficult past week for Chelsea, but the Czech international keeper has show some good leadership qualities during it. He was once again commanding in the draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, making a number of good saves.

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

The Argentine international put in another professional display against Chelsea on Sunday and showed everyone why he is preferred ahead of Maicon and the injured Micah Richards for the big games. He was solid in the defence and always prepared to join the attack, looking to become the extra man in attack in an attempt to make the difference.

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)

Stoke recorded their sixth clean sheet of the season during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Fulham. The former Manchester United defender has played a leading role in making the Potters defence watertight and over the weekend he led by example, and also came close to finding the target as he struck the crossbar.

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

Much of the focus before and during City’s trip to Chelsea was on the Blues’ new interim boss Rafael Benitez, but the City skipper was man of the match on the pitch. The Belgium international was solid as a rock at the back and showed no signs of his ankle injury that required heavy strapping. He kept Fernando Torres quiet throughout the whole game and made numerous blocks, interceptions and clearances.

Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City)

The Canaries have stretched their unbeaten run to six game and much of the credit goes to this Cameroon international. It doesn’t matter who Chris Hughton pairs him with, he seems to shine. He was the man who earned Norwich a share of the spoils at Goodison Park, and was also a rock at the back as Everton were restricted to just one goal in front of their own supporters.

Anderson (Manchester United)

The Brazilian has not actually shined during his time at Old Trafford, but on Saturday against QPR he entirely changed the game. He physicality in the midfield pushed United on following his introduction in the second half after going a goal down and his assist for Chicharito’s goal was top class.

Darren Fletcher (Manchester United)

On Saturday afternoon,  it didn’t look like it was the Scot’s first Premier League game for over a year as he put in a display that surely would have pleased the manager and the fans alike. He was not at his very best but made the most number passes in the game than any another player, and also scored an excellent header to put United ahead.

Gaston Ramirez (Southampton)

There has been a lot of talk of the Uruguayan international before his arrival to England and on Sunday he showed his true potential in Southampton’s 2-0 win over Newcastle. He put in an outstanding performance, as he set up the first goal for Adam Lallana and scored the second himself. He linked up perfectly with Lallana and Rickie Lambert as the hosts looked far more threatening going forward.

Jordi Gomez (Wigan Athletic)

His own fans were jeering him earlier in the game but his response was as emphatic as you can get. He scored an injury time goal that not only completely his hat-trick but also nicked all three points for the hosts against Reading on Saturday. He became the only second Spaniard ever to notch three goals in the same game – after Fernando Torres.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

Much like his Tottenham team-mates, the Welshman has not really hit the heights so far this season, but a good display in the North London derby defeat to Arsenal last weekend looks to have woken him up. He scored a nice goal and was an ever-present threat to the West Ham defence during the 3-1 win at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)

The England international striker is certainly enjoying his like under Andre Villas-Boas, as the former Porto and Chelsea boss prefers to play him in the lone striker role. His good form continued on Sunday with a brace against his former team, taking his tally for the season to seven.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 11

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting eleventh weekend in the Premier League. West Ham United are the only side to provide two players, while there is one each from Chelsea, Arsenal, Fulham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Stoke City, Norwich City and Everton.

Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham United)

Kevin Nolan returned to St. James Park to haunt his old club, but the win was only possible thanks to a wonder save by the West Ham shot-stopper. Demba Ba thought he had levelled matters for Newcastle with a powerful header, but the keeper sprang across his goal to claw the ball away before it crossed the line.

Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

For some time, the Blues have struggled to find a solid right-back who can fulfill the role with consistency and the Chelsea new-boy looks like he might be the one who can cope with the demands of playing in the Chelsea defence without buckling under the pressure. He was impressive against Shakhtar Donetsk and even more adventurous against Liverpool.

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)

The former Manchester United defender has enjoyed an excellent start to the season and looks set to challenge for a spot in Roy Hodgson’s England side in the next few months, and that continued on Saturday as he put in a commanding display in the Potters’ 1-0 win over QPR. He kept Djibril Cisse quiet for the whole game and was also a threat inside the attacking third.

Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City)

It was one of those desperate games for Norwich where they had to put their bodies on the line to defend but in the end they earned a valuable point against Reading. The former Tottenham and Newcastle man had one of his best games of the season as he single-handedly kept Jason Roberts, Stephen Hunt, Jobi McAnuff and Pavel Pogrebnyak quiet.

Jose Enrique (Liverpool)

Chelsea’s lack of width in the midfield gave Enrique all kinds of space and the Spaniard needs no invitation to go forward. He controlled the left flank for the Reds against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He was unable to keep a clean sheet, but impressed for Brendan Rodgers’ side and almost scored an injury time winner.

Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa)

Scoring two goals against Manchester United and ending on the losing side felt like ‘losing a cup final’ to Weimann. He can, however, take plenty of heart from the fact that he was able to breach a Manchester United defence on two occasions. His first was an unstoppable drive which fizzed past David de Gea and his second saw him display some predatory instincts inside the box.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The Belgian midfielder is in the form of his life and there is no doubt he is attracting so much of interest from the top clubs. He has taken his game to a new level this season with talismanic displays put in on a weekly basis. Another inspirational showing on Saturday saw him score one and make the other for Nikica Jelavic as the Toffees overcame Sunderland 2-1.

Kevin Nolan (West Ham United)

Nolan gets the nod over Tottenham’s Sandro and Manchester City’s David Silva, as he collected three points and scored the winner for West Ham against his former employers at St. James Park. The former Bolton man put in yet another professional display for his side and not only scored the only goal of the game but also provided Andy Carroll with a chance to seal the game.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

It has taken a while for Giroud to get going in the Premier League, but he is now displaying the kind of form which saw him score for fun in France and earn international recognition. The powerful frontman netted a brace against Fulham over the weekend, with the only surprise being that a man brimming with confidence did not step up to take a late penalty.

Javier Hernandez (Manchester United)

Manchester United’s brilliant comeback win over Aston Villa has been mentioned a lot in this past week but it would have been impossible without this man. Voted as United’s player of the month, Hernandez started from the bench but was introduced at the interval to devastating effect. He completely turned the game on its head with his brilliant hat-trick and went home with the match-ball.

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham)

While Giroud was good for Arsenal on Saturday, Berbatov was even better. He too helped himself to a brace, but also provided an assist as Fulham held Arsenal to a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Emirates. The Bulgarian’s class was seen, as he controlled the game at his own pace, and the composure he displayed in slotting home a penalty perfectly illustrated what he is all about.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 10

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting tenth weekend in the Premier League. Manchester United and Norwich City have provided two players each, while there is one each from Reading, West Ham, Aston Villa, Swansea, Everton, Liverpool and West Brom.

Alex McCarthy (Reading)

The Royals may still be looking for their first win of the season, but the 22-year-old put in another inspired display for his team in the 1-1 draw against QPR at Loftus Road. He first excellently tipped Esteban Granero’s free-kick onto the crossbar and then produced another inch-perfect save to deny Adel Taarabt in the closing.

Steven Whittaker (Norwich City)

Making your debut in the Premier League is not at all easy, even for a seasoned professional like the former Rangers man – who was handed his Norwich City debut against Stoke on Saturday.  Whittaker was very impressive at the back, especially his crossing as the Canaries picked another welcomed win and kept a clean sheet.

James Collins (West Ham United)

Manchester City started with Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli at Upton Park and then introduced Sergio Aguero in the second half, but they couldn’t find a way through the West Ham defence. Collins, alongside Winston Reid, marshaled the Hammers’ back four brilliantly and restricted the reigning Premier League champions to a number of half-chances.

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa)

Clark provided the defensive foundation for his side to build an important 1-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday. On the one-occasion when Clark was stretched defensively, the centre-back recovered excellently to block Sunderland’s Stephane Sessegnon from scoring an almost certain goal.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United)

The Manchester United left-back has had a lot criticism recently, but it was all-smiles for the Frenchman during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Arsenal. The defender was hardly troubled by the Gunners, who didn’t at all have pace in their attack. He also scored United’s second goal, which turned out to be the winner with Arsenal scoring with the last kick of the ball.

Pablo Hernandez (Swansea City)

The Spaniard was at the heart of Swansea’s attacking threat, constantly probing with intelligent passing and movement. Hernandez created a host of Swansea chances before taking it upon himself to net the equaliser with just two minutes left on the clock, following a well-taken finish from the edge of the box.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

Everton will feel as though they should have left Fulham with all three points on Saturday, with David Moyes’ side dominating at Craven Cottage. A 2-2 draw, however, keeps them in the top four and Fellaini has been an influential figure for them this season. He bagged a brace at Fulham over the weekend to take his tally to five goals in nine matches.

Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City)

The Norwich City playmaker has always had the talent to play at the top level, but his inconsistency has often been the problem. However, against Stoke he was near to his best, pulling the strings as he drifted effortlessly from one side of the pitch to the other.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

The Uruguayan striker scored one of the goals of the season as he dug Brendan Rodgers’ side out of another hole. Full of craft and skill, Suarez appeared unplayable at times, and will haunt the Magpies skipper Fabricio Coloccini after his trickery tempted him into a clumsy challenge, which resulted in a red card for his fellow South American.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

Van Persie took just three minutes to remind Arsene Wenger why his absence is a massive blow to Arsenal’s lofty ambitions this season, when he capitalised on an uncharacteristic error by Thomas Vermaelen to give United the lead. His clever movement and constant attacking intent caused the visitors endless problems at the back.

Peter Odemwingie (West Brom Albion)

Odemwingie was the star of the show on Monday night as West Brom defeated rock-bottom Southampton 2-0 at the Hawthorns, with the Nigerian international striker grabbing a deadly double to pile pressure on Nigel Adkins’ side.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 8

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting eighth weekend in the Premier League. Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have provided two players each, while there is one each from Fulham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Norwich and West Ham.

Joe Hart (Manchester City) 

He was criticized for the goal England conceded in Poland during midweek, but the City keeper was back to his best against West Brom. He couldn’t do much about the goal, but kept his side in the game late on, with two very important stops from Romelu Lukaku that allowed Edin Dzeko to come up with a late winner.

Chris Baird (Fulham)

The Fulham right-back scored the only goal of the match helping the Cottagers beat Aston Villa at Craven Cottage. He capped a solid display for his side with a goal as he provided the finish after getting at the end of a John Arne Riise corner and also helped his side keep a clean sheet.

Gary Cahill (Chelsea)

The England international was only in the side for the suspended John Terry, but was calm and collected at the back and put in one of his best performances of the season in the important 4-2 win over Tottenham. He also got his name on the score-sheet as he opened the scoring with a thumping volley.

Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United)

The Newcastle skipper was back in the side after fully recovering from his injury and he led by example. He was as solid as a rock at the heart of the defence and with the Magpies down to 10-men after just 25 minutes, he put in a shift for two. His side may well have collect all three points if he would have lasted the whole game.

Javier Garrido (Norwich City)

He may not have scored the winning goal, but the former City full-back was one of chief architects of Norwich’s historical win over Arsenal on Saturday. He put in a fine defensive performance and at the same time was very good in supporting the counter-attacks. He kept the Gunners’ right wing relatively quiet and restricted them to very few chances.

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

He is getting better & better by each game and is surely an early contender for the Player of the Year award. The little Spaniard responded perfectly to the national team snub by helping his side to a comeback win at White Hart Lane against his former boss Andre Villas-Boas. He scored twice and assisted once to keep Roberto Di Matteo’s side at the top of the table.

Mark Noble (West Ham United)

Noble has been playing in the Premier League for most of his career but his performance on Saturday was one of his best. He put in a commanding display, scoring twice (once from the spot) in the important 4-1 win over Southampton. His drive and determination in midfield made Hammers look good.

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)

He is one special talent and is getting stronger with every game. He became the second youngest scorer – after Michael Owen – for Liverpool when he scored the winner against Reading. He has huge potential in him to become oen the best in England and it looks like he is on the right track under Brendan Rodgers’ guidance.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

The Dutchman was again at his classy best against Stoke and it was another example of how dangerous the partnership between Van Persie and Rooney is going to be. His brilliant left wing cross resulted to Rooney’s equaliser and then he himself got on the score-sheet with sublime finish just before the interval.

Edin Dzeko (Manchester City)

The Bosnian may only have been on the pitch for just over 10 minutes but he completely transformed the tie as he netted City’s both goals in the 2-1 win at the Hawthorns. A trademark header got the 10-men City leveled and in stoppage-time he calmly finished off a flowing counter attack to grab what could be a crucial winner.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

A few months ago people were suggesting that Rooney and Van Persie couldn’t play in the same team and he will have to get used to life on the bench. Fast forward to mid October and the England international looks at his very best as he celebrated his decade in the Premier League. Scored an own goal, but responded brilliantly with two well taken goals at the right end. The second being his 200th in club football.

Predicting Chelsea and United’s Starting XI For Today’s UCL Matches

The current league leaders Chelsea and nineteen time English champions Manchester United face each other in Sunday’s huge Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, but before that they have some Champions League business to attend. 

The defending champions, Chelsea make the trip to Ukraine to battle it out against joint group leader Shakhtar Donetsk, while Manchester United – who failed to make it past the group stages last term – face Portuguese side Braga at Old Trafford. Both the managers will be keen to get all the three points today, but at the same time they face some selection dilemmas about who to rest and keep fresh ahead of the huge clash on Sunday.

Here at IntoTheTopCorner, we predict the starting XIs for both, Chelsea and Manchester United keeping in mind Sunday’s important Premier League clash.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Bransilav Ivanovic, John Terry (C), David Luiz, Ashley Cole; John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard; Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard; Fernando Torres.

Roberto Di Matteo’s side haven’t picked any new injuries during the Tottenham game and the Italian isn’t expected to make a lot of changes to his line-up. Captain John Terry, who is banned for four domestic games, is expected to make the return in the heart of the defence in place of Gary Cahill. Full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole will have to be at their best against Shakhtar’s dangerous wingers. Frank Lampard, who was a late substitute in the 4-2 win at White Hart Lane, could get the nod in midfield instead of Ramires. The former West Brom boss is expected to play the same attacking four which scored four past Tottenham, with Juan Mata and Eden Hazard starting on the wings, while Oscar playing in the hole behind Fernando Torres.

Manchester United (4-1-2-1-2): Anders Lindegaard; Rafael, Scott Wootton, Jonny Evans, Alexander Buttner; Darren Fletcher; Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa; Wayne Rooney; Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck.

Sir Alex Ferguson rested a number of players for Stoke’s visit after the hectic international fixtures, with Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Darren Fletcher not evening making the squad. The trio will straight away be drafted in to the starting XI for today’s game. With David De Gea having started the previous two Premier League games, Anders Lindegaard is expected to start in goal for the Red Devils. Keeping in mind Sunday’s big game, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand are rested, which means youngster Scott Wootton and summer signing Alexander Buttner are expected to start in the defence along with Rafael and Jonny Evans. Robin van Persie – United’s top goal scorer in all competitions – could also be rested, that could see Javier Hernandez start along side Danny Welbeck in attack with Wayne Rooney playing at the top of the midfield diamond.

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.