Posts Tagged ‘ Warrior Sports ’

Copa Libation–Manchester United v Stoke City

1364082-29275592-1600-900

Drink:  Rum and Sprite

Snack:  Ramen noodles and shrimp

I got called into work so I missed the match live, and despite my best attempts I knew the score before watching the replay.  The accompanying tension was gone so I tried to focus on what United was doing with their personnel and to see if the team has really turned the corner or is just enjoying an easier run of fixtures.

The Reds went with a similar line up as the Hull match, but the big news was no Rooney, who was replaced with James Wilson up top. Always room for improvement especially in hold up play, but he did well, and his energy and effort are much appreciated. His miss in the second half could have been costly. It only took 42 minutes for RvP to be offisde, and while it was not his best game, it was hard to find the ball against a compact Stoke defense.  And he did have a wonderful layoff to Herrera.

Fellaini had another solid effort, and he has really turned it around.  Whereas last year he just fouled and passed to the other team, he is now breaking up play, keeping possession, making a difference. After all those missed/unscored headers thus far this season, he finally came good, with a great ball from Herrera and the Stoke player ball watching.  On another day he might have had a hat trick.  His neck “injury” was mildly hilarious and unfortunately led to a goal.  I do worry about size and stature of his midfield teammates Mata and Herrera moving forward.  As for Carrick, with Stoke putting up a much greater fight than Hull, he was not as prominent.

Young and Valencia were used as outside backs again.  They were put under a little more pressure than against Hull and Young got forward all match, while Valencia stayed back until the second half.  Young is a mixed bag, as teammates did not find him quick enough and then he is right footed player on the left hand side, which leads to poor crossing and delayed decisions.  The lack of cover in front of these two is a little worrying as sometimes the midfield, which is playing very narrow, can be caught out in transition.  Smalling, after that brain fart against City, has been, dare I say?, inspired. DDG had almost nothing to do until the very very end and saved a great header to secure the points.

Surprised that LvG didn’t go to bench earlier, having just played on Saturday.  I was worried that fatigue might let the Potters back in, plus I would like to see Falcao and Januzaj get more game time to increase their fitness and sharpness.

I didn’t know much about Stoke, but got to see Geoff Cameron play as a holding midfielder.  Thought he did a decent job breaking up the attack and starting attacks, but Phil Neville, who was commentating on the game, was having a real love fest on the American.  I like the look of Assaidi on the left side. Quick, direct and decent footwork.  Got United to back up but was not able to create as much as should have. By the way, is Stephen Ireland Amish now?

Manchester United v Stoke City - Premier League

He operated from right side of the Stoke midfield and his passing was so effortless.  Full credit to Nzonzi, who scored out of nothing.  Diouf was invisible leading the line, which was a combination of turnovers and Stoke trying to keep the ball rather than just forcing it long.  However he nearly salvaged a draw with two decent attempts at the end.

Overall, there were very few fouls, with almost no whistles in the first half.  The ref seemed to do good job and was used his card judiciously.  Both teams possessed the ball but couldn’t break each other down until a solid stretch in the second half, wherein United turned the screw but final ball was lacking.  The win was nice and probably on balance deserved.  The squad has grit and determination, which was in short supply last year, and now have two big tests next week—Southampton away and Liverpool at home.

On the KitNerd front, the Reds wore their standard home kit, while Stoke wore a strip produced by Warrior.  It was simple, using the ever present sash and makes me wonder why can’t all Warrior strips be that way.  Pretty sure last weekend’s match against Liverpool was the first time two Warrior manufactured clubs played each other.

Morbo Minute–Power Struggle

Due to traveling and family commitments, I missed Round 17, and there were goals aplenty with only one game having a solitary goal.  The rest were filled with goals aplenty, including a fantastic winner by Bentiez of Granada to secure three vital points, along with some shocking results.  Barcelona remain atop the table and Espanyol are unbeaten since Aguirre took over.  I caught up on the events by watching highlights and reading articles.  The league is now off until January 4th.

Valencia entered the Christmas break on a high note, with a 4-2 home win against Getafe.  SlickR of Club Valencia reported that Soldado got proceedings of to a great start with an early goal and Valencia controlled much of the first half, going into halftime with a 3-1 lead.  However missed chances and more pressure from the visitors saw the momentum change, and Getafe nearly came all the way back before succumbing to an injury time goal.  SlickR’s player ratings saw a mixed bag of performances as Los Che need to improve in the second half to improve their position in the league.

Lucas Navarrete lamented the lack of firepower and defensive solidity for Managing Madrid as Real Madrid slumped to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Malaga.  Mourinho used his substitutes to try and turn and match around but the changes did not have the same effect as the Real Valladolid match.  In the background was the fact that Casillas was benched.  Still have not read a definitive reason but have seen squad rotation and possible outing of a mole thrown about.

Phil Ball focused on the long line of Real Madrid legends (indiscutible or unquestioned), as a way to frame the dropping of Casillas against Malaga.  Mourinho continues to test the limits of his power and this decision was another example.  He moved on to the victors of the match and their upcoming battle against UEFA to answer the federation’s charges.  Finally there was a little Champions League discussion before looking at the bottom of the table.

Levon strayed from the typical match report—key moments, storylines and tactics—for Barcelona Football Blog and instead looked at some of the critical moments thus far this season.  One of his recurring themes was that despite the amazing haul of points thus far, there is room for improvement throughout the team: forwards (besides Messi) could start scoring; the midfield could get some quality depth; and the defense could get healthy and organized.  The run-in for 2013 could see the crowing of another glorious side or the exposure of deficiencies in the squad.  Cannot wait for it to unfold.

Malaga had an unbelievable 2012: qualified for the Champions League; then had a meltdown in the summer and sold/lost some of their best players; regrouped for the Champions League and won the group; and finished up the year by beating Real Madrid.  Sid Lowe examined the last twelve months for Pellegrini’s men and looked ahead to 2013, including sanctions handed down by UEFA which could see Los Boqueneros banned from European competition in 2013/14.

Inside Spanish Football posted their five best goals from La Liga teams in 2012.  Tough to pick out and several great goals this season were left off (Messi’s against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup for one).  Have to say that Benzema’s was quite nice, but would have to give it Falcao, as he destroyed Bilbao in the Europa League Final.

Finally, a couple of kit notes.  Real Sociedad recognized their loyal fan base by having the names of selected season ticket holders screened onto the front of their shirts for their game for their match against Sevilla.  Pretty cool.  Speaking of Los Rojiblancos, Sevilla’s kit will be manufactured by Warrior Sports next season, as the American company looked to increase their brand identity in Europe.  With Liverpool on the books and a possible deal with Roma ahead, the sports company is planning to make inroads into La Liga.  Hopefully their Spanish kits are better than their English ones, as the Liverpool second and third kits leaving something to be desired.

——

Table

Barcelona 17 16 1 0 38 49
Atletico 17 13 1 3 20 40
Real Madrid 17 10 3 4 24 33
Malaga 17 9 4 4 16 31
Betis 17 9 1 7 -2 28
Levante 17 8 3 6 -3 27
R Sociedad 17 7 4 6 4 25
Rayo 17 8 1 8 -10 25
Valencia 17 7 3 7 -3 24
Getafe 17 7 3 7 -4 24
Valladolid 17 6 4 7 2 22
R Zaragoza 17 7 1 9 -4 22
Athletic 17 6 3 8 -13 21
Sevilla 17 5 4 8 -4 19
Granada 17 4 4 9 -12 16
Mallorca 17 4 4 9 -13 16
Celta Vigo 17 4 3 10 -6 15
Espanyol 17 3 6 8 -7 15
Osasuna 17 3 5 9 -5 14
Deportivo 17 2 6 9 -18 12