Around the English Premier League – Round 26

The Citizens keep holding on the leadership, but not yet safe from the imminent danger that represents Manchester United; while Arsenal recovers very well from the Champions League's 4-0 defeat.
By Camilla Mancini

For this round all the changes of the standings where left for the lower half clubs, for the top 10 remain in the same positions. The most relevant change is from the relegation zone, from which the Wolves managed to escape one more time and to replace them in the 18th spot left Blackburn. The Rovers had no chance on Saturday against a Manchester City, which made its rival forget how they defeated United in the last visit they made to the city of Manchester. Instead the Citizens took control from the very beginning of the meeting and with the help of its three top scorers blasted whatever hopes the Rovers had. The Red Devils played until the next day and knowing that they had to achieve the triumph to not open up more the gap in between them and City, scored a last-minute goal.

So Manchester City hosted Blackburn and as mentioned before, left them goalless almost repeating the result from their 1st leg fixture, when the Sky Blues smashed the Rovers with a 4-0 that also included a goal from Balotelli. On Saturday it was Mario Balotelli the first one to get in the score sheet at 30 '; for the rest of first half although City controlled the ball couldn't convert another. Seven minutes after the restart Sergio Agüero score the second and within ten minutes from the end Edin Dzeko grabbed a pass from Kolarov and headed into Paul Robinson's goal. Including the three goals from Saturday, Roberto Mancini's leading strikers have given the squad 39 goals in the Premier season, in fact is the only club that has more than one player with 10 or more goals. The victory has left City with 63pts, still followed by United with 2 points less.

Meanwhile Tottenham continues with 53pts and now has the Gunners 3 points closer, with 46pts thanks to the surprising defeat at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal welcomed the Spurs to their London derby with its heavy artillery preparing to riddle them. Although the visitors started very well grabbing a double lead within the first 34 minutes, with an early goal from Louis Saha and a penalty charged by Emmanuel Adebayor, the Gunners just raised in power and started the bombardment.

Five minutes before the break the first goal was headed by Bacary Sagna -his first goal in 10 matches- and just 3 minutes later the 28-year-old captain, Robin Van Persie, even-up the scoreboard with an outstanding strike. At the return from the interval the midfielder Tomas Rosicky scored his first goal of the season; and just like that Arsenal was leading the game. Around ten minutes passed with both clubs looking for their next goal, but the openings were just for the Gunners, specifically just for Theo Walcott, who scored twice. At 65 'Walcott scored the fourth mark with help of his captain and the fifth after just 3 minutes with assistance from Alex Song. As if it wouldn't have been enough the beat-up the Spurs got, they also got Scott Parker sent-off by the referee when he received a second yellow card at the 87 '. The other matches from round 26: Wigan 0-0 Aston Villa; West Brom 4-0 Sunderland; QPR 0-1 Fulham; Newcastle 2-2 Wolves; Chelsea 3-0 Bolton; Norwich 1-2 Man. United; Stoke 2-0 Swansea.

En la tienda online de Camisetas de fútbol tenemos todas las camisetas de tus equipos y selecciones favoritas en tallas para adulto y niño. by Camilla Mancini

KopTalk and Its Many Critics – A Brief History

KopTalk is a Liverpool FC website that was launched by Duncan Oldham and Colin Seaman back in 1999. At the time there was only a handful of LFC forums in existence and the official club site had yet to launch.

Seaman left the site shortly afterwards to pursue a successful career as a web designer, but KopTalk initially proved to be a popular forum, although opinion has always been divided as to whether this was due primarily to the abilities of the people who created the site, or was instead down to the wit, intelligence and knowledge of the site’s early members.

From the outset, KopTalk was a heavily commercialised website that specialised in transfer gossip. This approach owed a huge debt to the infamous Brian Bentley of the Team Talk site, who had pioneered a similar style during the mid-1990s.

Duncan Oldham very quickly launched various paid-for «services» on KopTalk, all of which were based on the promise of having access to «insider» information about what was going on behind the scenes at Liverpool Football Club. Within a year of KopTalk’s launch these included premium-rate telephone information lines, a «deluxe» email service and a «VIP» forum.

As a result, KopTalk has always been the subject of criticism within the broader online LFC fan community. Within a few weeks of the forum’s launch, it was already being mockingly referred to by some people as «Kraptalk». His critics have claimed that Duncan Oldham is motivated by a desire to make money rather than a heartfelt love for the football club and have accused him of fabricating transfer gossip for this reason, although Oldham himself has always refuted such claims.

At the end of 2001, a satirical site called Kraptalk was launched by Liverpool fans with the aim of poking fun at the techniques Duncan Oldham employed to drum up interest in KopTalk.

Over the years, a number of other Liverpool forums have been created as a result of a mass exodus of former KopTalk members who decided to leave the site. These include YNWA, TalkLFC, Est1892 and SixCrazyMinutes.

Early in 2006, the KopTalk Exposed blog was launched by concerned Liverpool fans, who wanted to hold Duncan Oldham’s behaviour up to public scrutiny. It has since amassed more than 1.6 million hits and over 800 articles. The site has always extended an open invitation to Duncan Oldham for him to come onto the blog and defend himself from the various accusations levelled at him, but Oldham has thus far failed to do so.

En la tienda online de Camisetas de fútbol tenemos todas las camisetas de tus equipos y selecciones favoritas en tallas para adulto y niño. by Andrew Davids

The End of Pre Season As We Know It

When I was young I remember seeing pre season as a chance to watch my team shape up against the greatest side’s featuring the greatest players in the land. Supporting a lower league team (now sadly a non-league team) the opportunities to watch this calibre of player were few and far between, perhaps the odd run in a cup competition would lead to a draw against a top flight powerhouse, however there was more chance of spotting top players in the annual run of pre season games. The top sides warmed up for their season by trying out new players and new systems, as well as blooding youngsters and bringing established players back to full fitness against lower league opposition from within their shores. Not only were their the above mentioned benefits to the top clubs, but in addition the benefits to the lower league clubs was perhaps immeasurable, a chance for lesser players to perform against the best, also an opportunity for fans to watch top draw football as their hype for the new season grows amongst blind loyalty. I remember only too well the thoughts of «This is going to be our year, we looked against Manchester united for the last half hour» and «If we play like that every week we will walk this league, we created Liverpool some genuine problems today»

Sadly this pre season paints a different picture. Tonight Blue Square Premier leagues side Wrexham advertise a match against «a Liverpool XI», the giveaway as to the standard of team on show is in the naming of the «Liverpool XI» it is highly likely that this will be a scratch side made up of promising youngsters and foreign trialists, possibly none of which will be known names to the local crowd. The star studded Liverpool first team including Gerrard, Carragher, Torres and Cole is in Austria for their pre season training camp and early practice matches. Meanwhile with Manchester United having a similar trip in the United States and foreign ventures for Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City among others it is clear that the direction of pre season for the top sides is to look abroad and not at home.

So why have the Premier League’s finest taken this approach to such an important part of their season preparations? Some may point to the benefits of training in warmer foreign climates, even at Altitude in some cases. Other muted benefits are the team morale gained by taking a squad away together so they are forced to live and entertain together not simply train together then go home. Surely the biggest benefit is financial. The popularity of the English Premier League all around the year is immense and the traditional pre season exhibition games all over Asia have proved economically rewarding to the top sides with big match fees being coupled with sales of club merchandise to the many fans of the game. Whilst current pre season schedules is a natural step for the modern game I can’t help missing the old style of pre season which pitched the top English sides against those in the lower leagues and gave us fans a chance to dream of what might be in the season ahead.

Echa un vistazo a nuestra variedad de Camisetas de fútbol. Camisetas de entreno y partido de clubes nacionales y selecciones internacionales. by Adrian Bryan