Wayne Rooney wondergoal helps Man United defeat West Ham

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Wayne Rooney wondergoal – Source: Sportimage

West Ham United 0-2 Manchester United
Saturday 22 March 2014

Manchester United returned to league action after beating Olympiacos to get into the Champions League Quarter Finals. England international Wayne Rooney kept up the feel good factor with two goals to see off West Ham. His second moved him to 212 goals for United, putting him into third place on the club’s all-time top scorers list. He surpassed Jack Rowley who scored 211 times for the club from 1937 to 1955. Now only Denis Law – with 237 from 1962 to 1973 – and Sir Bobby Charlton -with 249 from 1956 to 1973 – are ahead of the 28 year old now.

It was Rooney’s stunning first goal that will live on forever in memory. The England man produced a goal similar to David Beckham’s wonder-goal at Wimbledon in 1996. Rooney’s goal arguably required more technique because it was hit on the volley rather than with the ball under control on the ground. Rather fittingly, the club legend himself was there to witness the goal in person. Rooney’s performance was certainly a timely boost as United had just lost Van Persie for up to six weeks with a sprained knee. That will put him out of both legs of the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich.

His absence was one of six changes from the victory over Olympiacos. Another one of those changes was the introduction of the very impressive Marouane Fellaini. The big man came very close to putting United in front after barely three minutes. His powerful header was cleared off the line by Andy Carroll. David Moyes’ side continued to have the upper hand as Shinji Kagawa collected a poor clearance from James Tomkins and then freed Juan Mata. However, Adrian did well to keep out his fellow Spaniard.

Unfortunately for him, he was helpless as United took a deserved lead when Rooney probably secured his success in this year’s Goal of the Season contest. He won a duel with Tomkins on the half-way line and turned quickly to spot Adrian off his line and hit a wonderful swerving one-bounce half-volley and into the goal from at least 50 yards. A speechless David Beckham watched on from a luxury box and smiled wryly at a goal similar to his own famous goal, which is still talked about 18 years on.

After the shock of conceding such an incredible goal, West Ham went in search of the equalizer. Mohamed Diame saw a shot blocked by Alexander Buttner. Andy Carroll glanced a Kevin Nolan free kick just wide and then powerfully headed straight at David De Gea moments later. Diame lost his feet just as he was about to shoot, as the home side continued to press. However, United were still very much a threat on the counter. When they attacked, they did so quickly with much more penetration than has witnessed for much of this campaign.

Rooney, Kagawa and the outstanding Mata combined very well. The latter two combined for United’s next chance, as Mata released Kagawa, who’s left foot shot was saved by Adrian. Mata was next to test the West Ham shot-stopper as he stung his palms with a fierce drive after getting free of Diame’s challenge. The visitors did not have long to wait for goal number two. West Ham’s Kevin Nolan went down easily in the box claiming a penalty which was waved away by referee Lee Mason. United immediately broke away with Rooney releasing Ashley Young. The wide man sent in a low cross which Mark Noble could only play straight into the path of the on-rushing Rooney, who adjusted well to easily tuck home in the 33rd minute.

Rooney could have had a first half hat-trick but failed with three more efforts. West Ham huffed and puffed after the break but United’s somewhat makeshift back four – which included central midfielder Michael Carrick at centre half – held firm. Rooney and Mata were taken off, no dobut with Tuesday’s Manchester derby in mind. Rooney’s replacement Javier Hernandez could have scored twice. First kagawa failed to pick him out at the far post after another flowing move, and then the Mexican failed to make a clean contact when put clear with Adrian racing from his goal. The excellent Fellaini – who did an outstanding job of marshaling Andy Carroll all game – should have had a late penalty awarded when he put himself in the clear with some great play. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, he was taken out from behind. Referee Mason disagreed but it mattered not, as David Moyes’ side secured a third successive away win in the league, and deservedly so.

Man Of The Match: Marouane Fellaini’s put in an excellent all-round performance. The giant Belgian screened well in front of Carrick And Jones, effectively marked Carroll from all set-pieces – dropped back into open play to take Carroll out, and displayed neat and tidy in possession. His play allowed Mata and Kagawa in particular to flourish. He could easily have had a couple of goals. He had a header cleared of the line early on in the game and right at the end was brought down just before getting a shot away. He just needs a run of games now to show his worth, after an injury plaged season.

Thanks for reading,

Glenn

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WWE: An Early Bird Preview of Wrestlemania!

maniaxxxSource: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-an-early-bird-preview-of-wrestlemania/

This is my fourth article for Geek Pride, taking a look at the potential of this year’s Wrestlemania card. With the major matches all booked, the show is shaping up to be a success.

Craig

Mourinho, Ramires and Willian shown red in Chelsea defeat to Villa

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Reaction to Ramires red card – Getty Images

Aston Villa 1-0 Chelsea
Saturday 15 March 2014

Chelsea’s title charge was damaged when they fell to defeat against Aston Villa. To make matters worse, their manager Jose Mourinho was sent off, along with two of his players. Willian was the first to go for two yellows and Ramires went for an ugly challenge on Karim El Ahmadi that could have broken his leg. It was one of the worst tackles of the season without question and it angered the Villa bench. That led to Mourinho being dismissed by referee Chris Foy who has now sent off six Chelsea players – and now one manager – in his last eight games with the Londoners. Willian might argue his second yellow was harsh but Ramires simply had to go.

Regardless of how they did it, Villa got a huge win thanks to a cheeky goal from the man of the match Fabian Delph. The Special One suggested that Manchester City – who picked up a fine win with ten men away at Hull City earlier in the day – are poised to claim top spot should they win their games in hand. Mourinho himself failed to win at Villa Park which is somewhat of a bogey ground for him. He’s picked up three losses and three draws at the stadium, which for such a great coach is unbelivable.

Chelsea – as well as with the red cards – felt hard done by as Nemanja Matic’s effort was disallowed for handball. Chelsea had the early superiority in the game but it was Villa who nearly made an early mark as Christian Benteke headed over, after a quick break from Gabriel Agbonlahor. Chelsea responded by nearly creating a chance for Torres but Eden Hazard’s cross went over the Spainard’s head. Willian was next to threaten when his great feet opened up the space for a shot from distance, but that hit the side netting with Guzan streching.

Paul Lambert’s positive approach which is designed to counter fast was working well as Karim El Ahmadi blazed over and Christian Benteke went close to meeting Andreas Weimann’s pass. Chelsea dominated possession but Villa’s quick breaks forced Chelsea back, so they could only threaten sporadically. On one such occasion,  Oscar’s pass sent Torres away, only for the forward to run wide and delay, allowing the outstanding Delph to cut out his cross.

Villa’s confidence appeared to be growing and they were not phased by Chelsea’s firepower, working hard and closing down, allowing no space for the blues to create easy openings. Torres was given another chance to shoot only to be met by a wall of claret and blue shirts. Benteke went very close at the other end. Villa broke and the ball fell to the big Belgian whose scissor kicked vollied the ball past Cahill and Cech, only for it to go just wide.

Chelsea believed they had got the opening goal when Matic scrambled the ball into the net from a corner but it was correctly ruled out. Chelsea might disagree with the decision but it certainly seemed to be a clear handball by the Serbian midfielder. His Portugesse manager was frustrated again soon after that incident, when Ramires was hacked down by Joe Bennett. Mourinho Wanted a red card but didn’t get one. Oscar could only put the resulting free kick into Brad Guzan’s hands.

Later in the game, Villa were being forced back and their defending became desperate with both Vlaar and Joe Bennett just hoofing the ball away only for it to come straight back each time. Chelsea were now on top but the Villa defence continued to stand firm. The away side’s frustration grew further when another Torres shot was charged down. Villa broke away with Benteke, Weimann and Agbonlahor combining but as the goal appeared to arrive, Benteke steered his shot narrowly wide.

Mourinho made a couple of changes. He took off Oscar and the woeful Torres. However, it was a decision made by referee Chris Foy that would make the ultimate difference. Willian was shown a second yellow card for a nudge on Delph as he ran at the Chelsea goal. Mourinho looked shocked and Chelsea now faced a tough test. Despite being town to ten men, they nearly had a great chance to pass that test when Andre Schurrle was brought down by Ron Vlaar right on the edge of the Villa box. Unfortunately for them, he was clearly outside. The situation did not need John Terry running fifty yards to protest.

Chelsea were then shocked to the core as Delph broke away, passing to Marc Albrighton who crossed for Delph, to deftly flick the ball past Cech for the winning goal in injury time. Cech deflected another effort from the outstanding Delph onto the bar before Ramires was given a straight red card for a truly terrible stamp. That was the cue for chaos on the touchline, as the Villa bench appeared to be very unhappy about the tackle, and protested as such. Mourinho was sent to the stands for coming onto the pitch.

It was a big loss for Chelsea. Maybe Jose is right, maybe it is Manchester City’s title to lose. His side certially did not look like Champions in this game.

Man Of The Match: Fabian Delph produced an outstanding display, full of energy, tackling, good positioning and leadership, as well as a great goal. He should be considered a late contender for the World Cup squad.7

Thanks for reading,

Glenn

Kamikaze Pro: Project K

IMG_0284The Cadbury Club in Bournville, Birmingham

Kamikaze Pro – Project K
The Cadbury Club, Bournville
Saturday 8th March 2014

Stop crying about WWE and support the top quality wrestling on your own doorstep

I’m not a big expert on British wrestling, past or present. I’m one of those guys who loved WWE as a kid, did so as a teen and still do as an adult. When it comes to independent wrestling, watching Ring of Honor online very occasionally is about as deep as I go. However, I started checking out a few shows in my local area for the first time around a year ago. What I saw was entertaining in that sort of “not bad for a fiver” type of way. I can’t say that my first impression was good.

On Saturday, my outlook was completely changed. After being invited to cover a Kamikaze Pro event in Birmingham, I realised what is available practically around the corner – a legitimate wresting product. It was a small distance for me to travel and tremendously worth it. The quality of wrestling on show truly was eye-opening. The effort put in by everyone involved seemed to really pay off because every single person there seemed to have a good time. It would be hard not to recommend this promotion to any wrestling fan. If you live in the Midlands area, make the trip to one of their shows. You can find out more about what’s on offer from Kamikaze Pro here. Now, down to the review. I loved every match on the card. I thought the performances were exhilarating from start to finish. Everybody in the crowd (including me and my buddy) laughed, cheered and gasped throughout. The night had everything I’d ask for from a wrestling show. Let’s take a look at the line-up.

T-Bone v Justin Sysum

Despite not having all the glitz of a “big time” WWE show, it didn’t take long for this to feel like the real deal. These two guys really set the tone of the evening with a great opening match. The crowd were hot and it really felt like an intimate experience that we in the audience were lucky to be a part of. T-Bone and Justin aren’t vanilla midgets, yet they still managed to bounce around that ring like it was Mexico City in 1995. T-Bone left after his hard fought victory, allowing Marshall X to jump Sysum at his weakest. The GM came out and there will now be a match between the two at the next Kamikaze Pro event on March 30th. It was a great way to get the crowd going, and they didn’t shut up for the rest of the night.

Battle Squad:Awesome v The Bhangra Knights

These two teams had probably the most entertaining match of the night. I didn’t know anything about either of them going in, and I was still more engaged with them than I am with most teams on the WWE roster. I loved the fact that they both had clear gimmicks and cool matching ring gear, and the in-ring work was top notch. It was fast paced and frantic, but also incredibly comedic at times. The four guys worked hard and pulled out some incredible solo and tag team manoeuvres. At the same time, they seemed to have a whole lot of fun entertaining the crowd. We were all cracking up, and they were all smiling. It was just a great match to be around for. The Bhangra Nights picked up the win in this competitive face-versus-face battle. I especially hope to see these guys again!

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International star Ciampa dissing Wales and Eddie Dennis

Tommaso Ciampa(c) v Eddie Dennis (for the ROH Television Championship)

This was an incredible experience! I will admit that the main reason I wanted to attend the show was to see Ciampa. I did not expect his opponent (whom I didn’t know of going in) to be so amazing! He played the heel so well, and made the whole match so entertaining for us in the crowd. He played off of the chants and the shouts. He reacted with flawless timing and execution. When it came to the in-ring activity itself, both guys delivered a high class encounter. It was made all the more special when the General Manager of the promotion came out to announce – prior to the action – that the title belt would be on the line. That added a nice bit of prestige to what was an excellent match. Ciampa retained the title, but he worked hard to make his Welsh counter-part look good. The two of them had a great chemistry and made some big laughs before the physicality kicked off. When it did, they both had us all on the edge of our seats throughout.

Stixx v Van Damage

I can’t honestly say that I remember a lot about this match. I was on such a high after seeing a fantastic first half of action. After a short cigarette and hot dog interval, it was back coming thick and fast. With the anticipation building for Trent Barreta, this one kind of passed me by. That shouldn’t reflect on the guys themselves because they did both do a good job. I was just not overly engaged with what they were doing – an unfortunate position to be in perhaps. Stixx picked up the win over the hometown guy and drew some good heat.

Ryan Smile(c) v Robbie X (for the Kamikaze Pro Championship)

This was my first time seeing Ryan Smile live, but I had encountered him once before. He was one of two guys on the card (along with Pete Dunne) who ran a training session I attended a while ago. It goes without saying that after the ordeal I couldn’t walk – I literally hobbled around the office – for a week and decided that I probably belong on this side of the barricade. I saw enough in that three hours to know that he was going to be entertaining, and he really was.

These two guys put on a high-octane thrill ride of a match. Smile picked up some real heat for his intense reactions to the crowd’s chanting and towards his opponent. He really did look the part of Champion. Despite Robbie looking every bit a credible contender, he was eventually beaten by Smile. The victorious high-flyer was then greeted by the General Manager and told that he will defend his title at the next event against the powerhouse Valkabious – he subsequently cut an intense and defiant promo. I was impressed with everything he did.

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The impressive former WWE Superstar Trent Barreta

Trent Barreta v Pete Dunne

In a non-stop main event, former WWE superstar Trent Barreta clashed with ‘Dynamite’ Pete Dunne. Dynamite is big on the British scene and has wrestled internationally to a lot of success. He is well respected and it was easy to see why. It was cool to see him compete live. I thought he was a sound guy when he trained at that session, so I was pleased to see him put on such a good performance. It was even cooler to see him get the win. That was a nice touch by Trent and the promoters. It made for a pleasing end to a brilliant night’s entertainment.

If you’re in the UK and you hate the “PG era” you should take a look around you and see what great wrestling you might find at a local level. If you’re from Birmingham or the surrounding areas, you should definitely look at Kamikaze Pro. They have a roster of tremendous British talent and regularly bring over some of the best stars from the international scene. If you want real top quality wrestling for a worthy price, you can have it. Stop crying out for the Attitude Era to return, and get into something you can enjoy!

Thanks for reading, and take a look at Kamikaze Pro on Facebook!

Craig