Tag Archives: Yaya Toure

4 Best Goals Of The Champions League: Round 1

Well the eye feasting fest that is the Champions League came back this week and provided fans all over Europe the chance to gobble up some world-class football.

No longer did we have to try to sate our insatiable appetite with Hull v Norwich, instead we were able bathe in such delights as Ibrahimovic’s mesmeric assist, Messi and Ronaldo bagging hat-tricks, and Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp going absolutely green mean machine on an official.

Seriously, watch the video – never has a man come closer to exploding

But deep down we’re all there for dem goalz, so without further ado – let’s lap up the best Europe has to offer:

Vladimir Weiss for this unbelievable tricky run with mercury feet:

Cristiano Ronaldo for scoring a goal that only he could score; completely marked, step overs, power finish:

Yaya Toure for this unstoppably accurate shot:

Mohamed Salah and Basel for this delightful one-touch team goal:

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2011/12 Team of the Season

After what was probably the best Premier League season ever ended with what is definitely the most exciting ending ever, we’re left with one question unanswered; who were the best players? Look no further…

N.B I’ve kept the team based on the Premier League only but the players best moments are from all competitions.

GK – Petr Cech: Not a guy you’re gonna see on many of these lists, Cech is a forgotten master. In among the young pretenders such as Hart and de Gea, who are immediately redeemed of their errors because they are inexperienced, it is a joy to watch Cech dominate the box, read 99% of situations correctly, never make mistakes, and show the kind of footwork that many Prem players would dream of.

Best Moment – F.A Cup Final Save:

DF – Fabricio Coloccini: Colo was once a bit of a joke among the league’s defenders, no longer though. As the Senegalese strikers kept the goals flowing up front, he kept the Toon regimented and strong at the back, keeping 15 clean sheets. He possesses a great turn of pace as well a real solid strength.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 0

Best Moment – 122nd Minute Winner in Carling Cup

DF – Martin Skrtel: The big Slovakian made the transition this season from good to great with a frequent supply of towering headers and intelligent challenges. Where he used to seem eager to go to ground, Skrtel now appears a much more refined product even pushing the accomplished Carragher out of the starting lineup.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 3

Best Moment – Equalising Goal in Carling Cup Final

DF – Vincent Kompany: All the attributes I just applied to Coloccini and Skrtel apply to the Man City captain in a greater magnitude and then some. A leader that keeps his head and is always in the perfect place to block that shot or intercept that pass, he blends the tough qualities of a traditional English centre half with the more intelligent qualities of the continental defender.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 5

Best Moment – Only Goal in Manchester Derby

DF – Micah Richards: For me, Richards has it all. Great strength, great pace, endless stamina, good shot, and good deciding make Micah a nightmare to take on and to be taken on by. A player capable of turning defense into attack in seconds, Richards would be capable playing in most positions on the field.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 7

Best Moment – General Consistency when Played

MF – Alex Song: Perhaps one of the most impressive players this season, the Abel Xavier impersonator has developed into a truly world class talent. Song will remain positionally responsible all game, taking the ball off opponents, drawing fouls, playing simple but effective passes, and then blam! He’ll stroke a masterpiece of a pass through or over defenses, exploiting the smallest mistake or finding the slightest hint of a run.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 12

Best Moment – Assist in the Champions League:

MF – Yaya Toure: Dominant in the air – Check. Overpowering strength on the floor – Check. Unbearable turn of pace – Check. Clinical finish – Check. Tika-taka ability – Check. I had Yaya all wrong; thinking he was a defensive mid at Barca was an impression that was put to rest pretty early on as he raced to being one the best players City have.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 14

Best Moment – Brace Against Newcastle

MF – Juan Mata: Since his debut game against Norwich yielded a goal, John Kill has looked more than at home in the Prem. A brand of player that we just don’t have natively in England, Mata creates space comfortably between the lines and is devastating in that space. Other teams need to learn quickly how to deal with him.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 19

Best Moment – Equalising Goal Against Arsenal

MF – David Silva: His influence has waned towards the end of the year, perhaps due to the intensity of the Premier League, but we cannot forget the way he began the season. In typical Spanish fashion he has eyes all over his head, a perfect short pass, and insane close control that just leaves you wondering how an earth you tackle him.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 23

Best Moment – Assist for Dzeko Against Man United:

MF – Theo Walcott: Very Narrowly pipping Valencia, little Theo has demonstrated he has the powers that we all bestowed on him years ago. His pace is unbearable and he is never afraid to take a player on – this is as it’s always been, it’s the end product that Walcott has added to his game that gets him on this list. Now he finds his man, and seems to have an uncanny ability to finish inside the near post.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 18

Best Moment – ‘Never Stop Going’ Goal Against Chelsea

FW – Robin van Persie: Obviously. RVP is scooping all the plaudits currently, and rightly so. I decided to go with only one striker in my XI because there really isn’t anything between Aguero and Rooney this season, but there is something between them and Robin. A fantastic striker of the ball, he is powerful enough to play up front alone and never goes missing in games despite this. As unselfish as he is clinical, Batman’s sidekick is happy striking a dead ball, curving one in, chipping, and seems to have mastered the volley. If he can stay fit I don’t see why he won’t do it again next season.

Premier League Combined Goals and Assists: 40

Best Moment – The Volley

Thanks to the fantastic myfootballfacts.com for the statistics.

Knowing the nature of football fans, I’m absolutely sure that you agree with this list.

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All the Info You Need on the African Cup of Nations 2012

Drop your Vuvuzela and meet me by the Baobab tree because its time to buff up on Africa’s ‘Euros’.

Qualified Teams

For those who know a little bit about the continental football of Africa, the list of teams going to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea makes interesting reading. The final groups for the tournament are:

Yeah, that was put together in MS paint

So no Algeria, no Nigeria, no Cameroon, no Egypt, and no South Africa.  In fact, only five of the qualified teams have won the cup before (it’s traditionally a fairly open contest). The smart money has to be going with four-time winners Ghana, or the Ivory Coast. I’d like to put Tunisia in with a really good shout this year too.

Togo

The qualification had a few points of interest, namely something more shocking than if Jaws had apologised to Steve McQueen and become a community support officer. Yes, Sepp Blatter was actually involved in something correct! Togo were reinstated to qualification after their ban was lifted. They failed to qualify anyway but it was good to see justice done, especially when you consider what their ban was for.

Group G

The real action came in Group G which lined up seven times winners (including the last three) Egypt and World Cup 2010 hosts South Africa, with Niger and Sierra Leone. The script read Egypt going through, with South Africa clinching a best runner-up place, however this was not to be.

Niger’s formidable home form saw them grab wins against all three teams in their backyard, Sierra Leone keeping pace with South Africa against the poor Egyptian team. The final ties left SA and SL needing a win topple Niger who were sitting at the top. Niger went to Cairo and lost 3-0 keeping in theme with their contrasting away record, this left Bafana Bafana and the Leone Stars fighting for a win to take the group.

What occurred next is one of the biggest fails in footballing history. South Africa, knowing they had +1 goal difference over Niger, played for a draw against Sierra Leone in Nelspruit. SA manager Pitso Mosimane sent out a conservative team and succeeded in playing out a 0-0 draw, the team celebrated (even multiple dances!) at the whistle, and the South African Football Association president went on TV to congratulate Mosimane and his team.

But uh-oh, turns out the ACN qualification ties are decided by head-to-head record rather than goal difference. The embarrassed aforementioned SAFA lodged an appeal, and the shamed Mosimane said “Africa is a jungle, my friend. The European and South American formats are so much better because everything is running smoothly, but it’s very difficult to play in Africa.”

Pro tip: Read the rules of tournament you are competing in

Players to watch

Issam Jemaa – Tunisia + Auxerre: Jemaa was the qualifying rounds top scorer, racking up six goals including at hattrick against Chad. With Tunisia’s fairly prominent attack he could have a great tournament. He also once scored one of the flukiest goals ever:

Demba Ba – Senegal + Newcastle: Assuming the striker continues his form for the Magpies he could have a great time in front of goal for the Senegalese. Scored a crucial 92nd minute winning goal against Cameroon.

Yaya Toure – Ivory Coast + Man City: The player’s impressive form for City is no less impressive for The Elephants. I would expect him, along with the likes of Drogba and Gervinho, to make the final.

Jerome Ramatlhakwane – Botswana + Vasco da Gama: Although debutante Botswana’s chances are slim, Ramatlhakwane’s five goals can’t be overlooked for their importance – four were winners. Could be a surprise package.

Moussa Sow – Senegal + Lille: Making up Senegal’s formidable attack with Ba and Mamadou Niang is Sow. The 25 year old has a great scoring record in Ligue 1 and 2012 could be his moment to make an impact on the grand stage. Check out this cracker against Lyon:

Kits

The lovely men and women at Puma who make nine of the qualified team’s kits decided to get creative with their ACN editions. They drafted in a local artist from each country to design parts of their respective country’s kit. This culturally adept move has produced some decent results too:

Senegal

Burkina Faso

Some more can be checked out here. Namibia’s is pretty swish too.

The tournament begins 21st January.

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