Chelsea progress in the balance after draw against Galatasaray

Fernando TorresPhotograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Galatasaray 1-1 Chelsea
Wednesday 26 February 2014

Chelsea took the lead early in Turkey but the tie remains very much open after a second half goal levelled the match. Jose Mourinho’s pre-match talk about Chelsea not having a forward proved to be apt. They certainly lack a striker of the quality they need to win at the highest elite level. Chelsea will be favourites to prevail over Roberto Mancini’s men in the second leg, but this fatal flaw could cost them if they progress any further in the competition.

The blues started the game great with the Turkish team allowing far too much room in the wide areas. This was exploited for the opening goal, first by Schurrle, then by the excellent Azipilicueta. The Spaniard squared the ball to his countryman Torres who had the simple task of giving Chelsea the lead. Azipilicueta continues to show everyone why Ashley Cole is not getting a sniff at left back.

Chelsea could have been in front early in the match when the Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera cleared poorly straight to Willian. Unfortunately for Jose’s men, the Brazilian could not chip the Uruguayan, who cleared very well with his head from outside his area. Chelsea’s style seemed perfect for the opposition to sit back and counter into the open space left behind. However, the lack of a great front-man continued to hurt the Londoners as Chelsea dominated the first half but could not kill off the Turkish Champions.

When Torres missed a golden chance to make it 2-0 Рafter good work by Eden Hazard Рminutes into the second half, they were punished for being wasteful. Chelsea had a few warnings before they actually conceded. Yilmaz had a goal disallowed in the first period because a second ball came onto the pitch before the striker put the ball into the net. Drogba headed down a corner for Inan but his teammate could only hit the post.

Finally, the blues paid the price for a sleepy second half performance when Sneijder’s corner – which both Cech and Terry failed to deal with – gave Chedjou the easy take of putting the ball into the open goal. It could have been worse for Chelsea as the home fans turned the noise up even more. Cech was up to the task, tipping over Telles’ fierce shot. The game petered out somewhat with Chelsea apparently happy to go back to The Bridge with an away goal and the tie level. However, if you look ahead to the talent that the likes of Real, Barca and Munich possess in the final third, it’s sobering to see that Chelsea are just not in the same league, and Jose knows it only too well.

Man of the Match Cesar Azipilicueta continues to show why he has made the left back berth his own this season. He is a great defender who is also more than willing to get forward. The goal was a fine example of this outstanding contributions.

Thanks for reading,

Glenn

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WWE: Network launch coincides with entertaining but predictable Elimination Chamber PPV

chamberSource: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-network-launch-coincides-with-entertaining-but-predictable-elimination-chamber-ppv/

This is my third article for Geek Pride, examining the success or failure of WWE Elimination Chamber. I hope you enjoy reading.

Craig

Bold Bayern too much for 10-Man Arsenal

arsenalbayernPhotograph: Mike Hewitt/Bongarts/Getty Images

UCL: Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich
Wednesday 19 February 2014

Arsenal started the game in blistering fashion, but record signing Mesut Ozil missed from the spot, after a fantastic piece of skill won them a penalty. Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for fouling Robben and – even though Alaba also missed his spot kick – the sending off proved crucial as the Gunners went down to a two goal defeat against the reigning, defending Champions.

The holders could have taken an early lead when the outstanding Toni Kroos fired a wonderful effort on goal from 20 yards, bringing a great save out of Szczesny. Yaya Sanogo – an interesting selection over a fit Olivier Giroud – saw a side foot finish well kept out by Manuel Neuer, who was very good in the early going, also saving from Cazorla from a tight angle.

Arsenal then won a penalty in the 8th minute. Ozil Produced a brilliant backheel/Cruyff turn which embarrassed Jerome Boateng, who brought down the German playmaker. Ozil picked himself up to take the pen. However his penalty was tame as he strutted up trying to fool Neuer and chipped the ball straight down the middle. Neuer saved well with his right hand and continued to keep Bayern alive early in the game.

Arsenal went close again a few minutes later. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain was inches away from getting to a flick from Sanogo as Neuer again produced, sweeping up well. Arsenal were forced into a crucial change on 30 minutes when left back Kieran Gibbs went off with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Monreal. Munich would go on to exploit this for the whole of the second half.

The German’s came into the game more as the first half went on. They continued to be patient and nearly took the lead when the adventurous Alaba got to the by-line and cut back to Robben, whose low shot was well blocked by Mertasacker. Then in the 38th minute, it was the moment that the match went away from Arsenal. An excellent pass from Kroos put Robben clear and the Dutchman rounded Szczesny and was brought down. The Italian referee had no choice but to give a spot kick and a red card for the Polish shot-stopper.

Arsenal made a change to get a goalkeeper on by replacing Cazorla with Fabianski. After a long delay, Alaba struck the post with his penalty after sending Fabianski the wrong way. Arsenal got a short reprieve, but the red card would prove massive in the second half. Robben continued to threaten and was being booed continuously by the Arsenal fans. He cut inside onto his favoured left foot to fire a shot from an angle which was saved comfortably.

Munich got the breakthrough in the 55th minute after a tactical change at the break by Pep Guardiola. He replaced Boateng with Rafinha, moving Javi Martinez to centre half with Dante and moving Lahm into midfield. With Rafinha now at right back, Lahm and Kroos began to take the game by the throat and it was Lahm who fed his fellow countryman. He unleashed a beautiful curling shot into the top corner.

Arsenal tired in the later stages of the game and began to really struggle. Robben and Rafinha down Arsenal’s left were running riot. Monreal was being exposed over and over again, due to Ozil’s Poor work ethic. Robben Curled an angled 20 yard effort just wide and Mario Gotze’s header was deflected wide by Mertasacker. Muller – who had replaced Mandzukic – appeared to be tripped by Koscielny in the area, but the referee gave nothing.

Then the killer blow for Arsenal came when they won a free kick after some good work by Koscielny. A vital error from Jack Wilshere added to the misery of the hosts. He took the free kick quickly and conceded possession. Bayern broke away with a fine pass from Lahm picking out Muller – who had ran off Flamini – and the German forward made no mistake, heading in and striking the killer blow. It was nearly 3-0 in added time as the best player on the park Toni Kroos’ low shot came back off the post, with the keeper well beaten. Arsenal now have a mountain to climb in the 2nd leg in Munich, and the defending Champions looked very good without really going into second gear.

Man of the Match: Toni Kroos was Man of the Match for me. It was an outstanding performance from the German international, and he scored a wonderful goal. He could have had two more, but hardly wasted a pass, and cruised through the game.

Thanks for reading,

Glenn

WWE: Could There Be Hope For Smackdown Yet?

cesaroorton

Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-could-there-be-hope-for-smackdown-yet/

Check out my second article for Geek Pride. It focuses on the possible significance of Smackdown’s recent strong showing. I hope you enjoy reading.

Craig

Adebayor bags a crucial winner as Spurs beat top four rivals Everton

Emmanuel Adebayor, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, repaid the faith placed in him by his managerEmanuel Adebayor – Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images

Tottenham 1-0 Everton
Sunday 9 February 2014

A wonderful goal from Emmanuel Adebayor gave Tottenham a boost in the race for the Champions League as they beat Everton on Sunday. The Togolese forward’s goal was enough to get the win, in a fairly even game. That takes Spurs above The Toffees and into fifth place in the fight for the top four. Tim Sherwood’s men now trail Liverpool – who are in fourth place – by just three points.

Everton made a great start to the game at White Hart Lane with Leon Osman in the thick of the action. The English midfielder had four sights of the Tottenham goal inside the the first ten minutes of play. He showed lovely feet to create space and curl just wide of the post with his left foot, then brought the very best out of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a sweetly struck half volley, this time with his right foot after an excellent layoff from Stephen Naismith, the Frenchman doing very well to parry the ball away for a corner. Osman then headed just over from the subsequent corner.

A forth chance to give Everton a deserved lead fell to Osman but he could not take it, as he drove the ball straight at Lloris after more good work by Naismith. Spurs’ first real effort on goal came when Christian Eriksen hit his free kick just over the bar, rippling the top of the net. Everton very nearly created another chance through some great pressing, which was the hallmark of their first half display. Seamus Coleman was the next player to threaten the Spurs goal. The right back – who already has six goals in the league this season – went on a good run, cutting inside on his left foot but could not get enough power on the strike to really work Lloris.

Then Spurs created quite possibly the best chance of the half. An incredible ball in from Danny Rose on the left beat everyone but left Adebayor inches away from converting. Any touch would have been enough to take it past Howard and give Spurs the lead. Again the pressing from Everton lead to another chance. This time Kevin Mirallas was setting off on a great run but somewhat selfishly ignored Naismith (who was in a better position to the right) and blazed over from eighteen yards.

To sum up the first half, it was an excellent display from Roberto Martinez’s side who were playing without key target man Romelu Lakaku. Stephen Naismith was flung into an unfamiliar role as a makeshift centre forward and played very well, supported well by Mirallas, Osman, and Pienaar. Everton’s pressing was also having a major effect on the game by not allowing Tottenham to settle into any sort of pattern. Martinez would be happy with the performance but not the scoreline, as his side were full value for a lead at this point.

Tim Sherwood on the other hand would have probably felt the complete opposite. He would have been happy with the scoreline but looking for better in the second half of this key clash in the chase for the top four. The Tottenham boss got what he was looking for, as his side started the second half with the perfect response. His players worked harder, played with much more intensity, got the crowd into the game and forced a number of corners. Adebayor headed over from one of them when well placed after pulling away from his marker.

Then a good run by Kyle Walker nearly created a good opening but his cross was cut out at the near post. Andros Townsend then made his return, which I’m sure was greatly welcomed by Spurs and England Fans alike, after nine games out with hamstring trouble. Moments later Spurs went in front, after some quick thinking by Walker and Adebayor caught out the Everton backline with Distin playing Adebayor just onside. The centre forward showed excellent chest control, strength to brush aside Coleman and finished perfectly by putting the ball straight past Howard into the corner.

Tim Sherwood deserves a lot of credit as he clearly told his players a few home truths during the break, and made Everton pay for a first half that was – although good in terms of possession, pressing and creativity – wasteful in the most important factor, which is finishing. Roberto Martinez was clearly frustrated at his team’s second half effort and made all of his changes in a very short space of time, bringing off Pienaar, Naismith and Osman and replacing them respectively with Barkley, Deulofeu, and McGeady.

However, not a lot changed after that, with Hugo Lloris not having a real save to make in the second half. Everton will feel hard done by based on their first half display. They will also feel aggrieved by the injury time penalty they should have been awarded when Coleman was clearly caught by Etienne Capoue with ref Mark Clattenburg well placed. But Spurs, although not at their best by any means, produced a much better second half display and limited Everton to far fewer chances than in the first half. Tim Sherwood obviously made it clear how important this game was at half time, as the race for Champions League qualification hots up.

Man Of The Match: There were several good candidates in the first half for Everton, Naismith and Osman to name two. However, I’m going with Emmanuel Adebayor. His well taken goal proved to be the match winner.

Thanks for reading,

Glenn

Sandwell Street Dubz: Vol 2

sandwelltingzFront cover – Source: Chameleon Recordings

In just over two weeks, the latest release from Chameleon Recordings will be available for all to enjoy. The second edition of Sandwell Street Dubz is just as good as the first. The album showcases just some of the studio’s most talented and loyal clients. Expect to see music videos released in the near future for some of the best tracks on this record. When they are online, you can see them at the Chameleon Recordings YouTube page. All tracks were recorded at Chameleon Studios.

The mix has been put together as something to give back to the local music community and the loyal customers of the Chameleon. It has a celebratory feel to it. Despite the often gritty and raw nature of the lyrical content, a lot of the tracks are quite uplifting. There are three particular songs that really caught my attention from Big Dog Yogo, E Blessed and Flawzz, Blacka Blacks & AD. All three of these artists are set to have their own releases on Chameleon Recordings in 2014. Watch out for those!

Big Dog Yogo’s offering is a perfect example of this balance. The lyrics on the track talk a lot about the challenge of just trying to live your life for yourself. However, with it’s mellow relaxed beat, it’s rather therapeutic. E Blessed spits on trying to make it in the music business and balance everyday problems. This is probably the most poignant track. Flawzz, Blacka Blacks and AD produced the best song on the whole thing, in my opinion. It has tight delivery, a catchy chorus and captivating lyrics. It’s definitely one you will want to listen to over and over

You won’t be disappointed when you hear these tracks, and the others on the CD. You can expect many more volumes of Sandwell Street Dubz to come out, as long as Chameleon Studios is still the epicentre for urban music in the community. Be sure to check out Volume Two on February 23.

Check out the following pages for more information:

www.facebook.com/chameleonrecordingsuk
www.soundcloud.com/chameleonrecordingsuk

Thanks for reading,

Craig

Tactical masterclass from Chelsea condemns City to first home league defeat

ivanovicBranislav Ivanovic becomes the hero – (Picture: PA)

Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea proved that they are genuine title contenders by producing a tactical master-class last night against Manchester City, pressing at the right time and creating excellent counter attacking chances. They became the first team since Birmingham City back in November 2010 to stop City scoring in the league at home.

In the first twenty minutes of the game however, that feat seemed highly unlikely as city had a number of chances. Inside the first minute, a massive mix up between Cahill and Cech could have proved very costly, but Chelsea escaped. Negredo had a good chance but fired high over the bar with his left foot from an acute angle. An excellent move involving Negredo, Silva, and Toure led to Kolarov delivering a wonderful Cross, which Toure was inches from Converting. The giant Ivorian then had another shot sail just over the bar moments later, from a Navas cut back. Shortly after, David Silva had a golden chance to give City a deserved lead, after another excellent move involving Navas and Toure. The latter could have gone down under some minor contact but stayed on this feet to roll the ball in to Silva, who put it wide from inside the six yard box.

But after that bright first twenty minutes for City, Chelsea came into the game and dominated up to half time. Their first really good chance came when they stole the ball around the half way line and created a four on two breakaway, led by Willian. He had the option of Eto’o to his right or that of Ramires and Hazard to his left. He chose Ramires, who telegraphed his finish somewhat, thus allowing hart to make a fairly comfortable save. This was a massive let off for city.

However, Chelsea would not have to rue the miss for too long as they took the lead a few moments later. Hazard chased a hopeful punt up the line, used his body well to shield the ball, turned inside and found an excellent pass infield. The Belgian maestro then continued his run from left to right, where he would again receive possession, this time in the right channel, where he cut the ball back to Ramires. He should have taken the chance first time but took a touch and allowed Kompany to make a great block. Just as another chance appeared lost, the ball fell to Ivanovic who let fly with a stunning effort into the far corner leaving England goalkeeper Hart helpless.

Chelsea very nearly doubled their lead just before the break, when the increasingly impressive Hazard was once again at the heart of everything, skipping past Zabaleta and playing a ball through the six yard box, just out of the reach of teammate Willian. The ball fell to Eto’o, who hit the crossbar from a tight angle. The half time whistle sounded with Chelsea full value for their lead, and Pellegrini presumably looking for answers.

The second half started as the first ended with Hazard sparkling, cutting in from left to right and beating numerous city players, before releasing Ivanovic. His cross was parried away by the determined Hart. City very nearly levelled after good play on the right. Dzeko laid the ball off to Toure, who shot inches wide of the far post with Cech well beaten. This seemed only to warn Chelsea of the danger that City pose. The London blues subsequently went very close to doubling their lead when Matic unleashed a incredible strike that came back off the angle of post and bar.

Matic – who was excellent throughout – had a tremendous run moments later, feeding Ramires. The Brazilian’s pass was cut out at the very last moment by Kompany.¬† Chelsea had yet another chance to create a cushion between the two sides when the excellent Cahill had a great header come back off the post from a corner.

Chelsea had now missed a lot of chances to kill off City and hit the woodwork multiple times. That should have proved very costly, when first Dzeko and then Silva missed great chances to level. Dzeko’s chance came after great work by Navas and Zabaleta on the right. The ball was cut back on a plate for the big striker who dragged his right foot shot wide. Silva missed a similar chance after a wonderful pick out by Kolarov. The slight Spaniard was under pressure from his compatriot Azpilicueta. City grew increasingly frustrated as they could not find a goal, until the ref called time on the game. Mourinho had once again got the better of Pellegrini. Just two points now separate Arsenal, City, and Chelsea – an incredible climax to the season awaits. I CAN’T WAIT.

Thanks a lot for reading,

Glenn