Monday, December 12, 2011

Ball Harambee Dec. 12

Chelsea Rises From the Ashes By Bagga Wilks

In the world of soccer, a game is for ninety minutes, not for those who can start it with unbelievable fury for the first 15 minutes but for those who can endure to the end.

Manchester City started with such ferocity that the Chelsea players looked as if they were ready to roll over and play dead. In the early moments at Stanford Bridge, a combined move by Aguero and Balotelli ended up with Balotelli rounding the goalkeeper to put the mighty City one up. Immediately after, City looked as if they owned Chelsea and Stanford Bridge. But the disarrayed Blues crawled their way back into the game and Stanford Bridge looked as if it was again a level playing field.

As the game progressed, it was clear on this wet cold night, Sturridge owned the former Arsenal left back, Clichy. The Chelsea goal came from Sturridge beating Clichy, squaring up and Meireles who started over Lampard brought the Blues back into the game. At half time, it was all tied up.

It could have been anybody’s game playing under difficult conditions. Clichy let down his team and manager by committing two stupid fouls and left his team to defend with ten men. Chelsea got the go-ahead goal with the substitute Frank Lampard scoring from the penalty spot.

Chelsea’s defeat of Manchester City has slowed the Manchester City team. Manchester City are still the favorites to take the EPL title but the race has tightened. Newcastle seemed to have returned to a state of normalcy and the all year contenders are back to the two Manchester teams, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Van Persie’s goal against Everton was exquisite beauty. Arsenal deserved the three points. Arsenal’s horrendous mistakes at the back have diminished but Arsenal’s mid-field needs a quintessential playmaker.

Wenger, if he is to finish in the top four, needs to spend some money in the January market. He will also have to trade for a left full back as Andre Santos’ ankle injury will sideline him for three months.

As Christmas approaches, there will be a speed up of matches. Some teams will be adversely affected as the African contingent flies off to compete in the Africa Cup. That departure will leave a gaping hole in some teams. The Africa Cup needs to take place at a time when it is not disruptive to the European Leagues where those players make their money.

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