EPL 2011-12 Preview: Stoke City Vs QPR

Britannia Stadium is set to witness Premier League action, on Saturday, November 19, 2011, when Stoke City host QPR, in match week 12.

Stoke City are coming off a humiliating loss away at Bolton, in match week 11. The visitors were totally outclassed as Davies gave the hosts an early lead on 2 minutes. The sides went into the interval, with Bolton leading 2-0, on the back of a second goal, on 23 minutes, by Eagles. Bolton who lost to Stoke in last year’s FA Cup semi-finals, exacted revenge, as Eagles scored another goal in the second half, and Kalsnic helped himself to a brace, as well. The midweek Europa League fixture in Israel would have had a draining effect on the Potters who will seek to make amends against QPR.

QPR went down fighting, losing 3-2 to table leaders Manchester City in a home game, at Loftus Road, in match week 11. QPR became the first team to take a lead against City, this season, when Bothroyd put them ahead on 28 minutes. City leveled the score through Dzeko 13 minutes later and the sides went into the break, with the scores level on 1-1. Silva got City ahead 7 minutes into the second half, but QPR weren’t giving up yet, and on 69 minutes, Helguson made it 2-2 for the hosts. Y Toure’s header in the 74th minute proved decisive for City, and QPR were left ruing their missed opportunity to slavage a point when Helguson’s shot, eight minutes from the end, struck the bar.

Head to head, in the last 10 years, Stoke City and QPR have met in 10 league games, both teams winning four each, with the remaining two matches drawn. The last time these teams met was in March 2008, that match hosted by QPR was won 3-0 by the Loftus Road squad.

Stoke City have won 3, lost 5, and drawn the remaining 2 of their last 10 league matches, while QPR have won 3, drawn 3 and lost 4 of their last 10.

Currently in 12th place on the league table, the Potters have hosted 5 home games, this season, winning and drawing 2 each, while losing the remaining game; QPR, who are in 11th place have had 2 wins and 3 losses in their 5 away games.

Stoke City’s starting eleven against Bolton: Begovic, Wilkinson, Woodgate, Upson, Huth, Pennant, Delap, Whelan, Walters, Crouch, Jerome

QPR’s starting eleven against Manchester City: Kenny, Young, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Traore, Mackie, Barton, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd, Helguson

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What Makes A Complete Striker?

In a gathering of football enthusiast, discussing and debating over football issues; some relevant and some others irrelevant. A few about individual players and others about teams with great exploits, teams that have defiled all odds to achieve extra ordinary success, the debate got hotter, and the tempo was raised, then propped up this topic; «Who is the best striker in Europe»?

Silence there was, each sinking into himself. It was a topic that made me ponder, but there is another side to this controversy; what really makes a striker? What are the qualities of a striker? How do we distinguish strikers from strikers?

Pondering over the interesting topic, ideas sprung up; views of mine came alive. The fundamental question as stated above needed urgent answers to put the debate to rest. First, who is a striker? A striker is a front man in team football, whom the whole team look up to produce goals, that will bring victory, he’s that man who bangs the net with goals

Let’s review what really makes a striker?

Some of the qualities, which I can deduce of a competent striker, are: height, speed, skills, strength, wits, calculation and the ability to tear apart opposing defenses single-handedly and most important of all, good finishing.

The rave making strikers in Europe presently, do possess some, if not all, of the above-mentioned qualities of a striker. Possessing of all the above-mentioned qualities makes a striker formidable. The greatest strikers in the footballing history possess all the qualities; the likes of Delima Ronaldo, The great Pele, Roberto Baggio, Romario, etc. which made them famous and deadly during their peak years, in the days of old.

Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Milito, Gonzalo Higuain, and the likes, are all proven goal scorers, who will bury any chance they get and will punish any defensive line up.

Analyzing each of the a fore-mentioned players, will bring to the fore the fact that all these are formidable strikers, who score on a regular basis. England has always being blessed with intelligent and proven strikers at different points in time. There was a time it was Andy Cole, one of the best players that ever wore the red and white England jersey, the first player in the history of Premier League to net five goals in a single match, amazing isn’t it? Well his time is past now, but really he mesmerized fans of the then EPL with his exceptional skills and goal scoring prowess.

There was Alan shearer, what do I have to say about this exceptionally good striker? He equaled Andy Cole’s record of five goals in a single match; he scored goals from different angles of the pitch, from different match situations: set pieces, counter-attack, open play and from even unlikely and remote angle of the pitch, as a result of his forceful style of play, some section s of the fans were not friendly with him, same made him one of the most-feared during his time in the Premier League. Although he has not been successful as a manager, failing to save Newcastle UTD from the relegation troubles, which caused its fall.

The English Footballing world woke to the 2009/2010 season to experience something different, an experience of goal banging, an all-round action experience; The Wayne Rooney Experience. Wayne Rooney as a player has grown to be very matured and confident. Watching the Rooney of five seasons ago in comparison to this season’s, one would clearly notice the improvement in his style of play, his conduct on the pitch, team coordinating brilliance and the likes. All these improvements in Wayne Rooney have made him to be a very formidable and fearful striker in the world football. One of the talents which Rooney possess that endeared him to me and the football fans in general, is his ability to terrorize opposing defenses single-handedly with sheer brilliance. Rooney has scored 38 goals so far this season, and most of them have through his individual brilliance, although with the help of team mates, who have mastered his play in recent games.

Team work is another of his talent which he puts on display in each match, he with his powerful and brilliant, has been able to foster unity in the team in terms of field play, he distributes accurate passes, he doesn’t hold on to the ball meaninglessly, positions himself in the best possible position to be spotted for pass release which on a good day results to goal.

Away from England, and unto the European scene, there is this player, who some have wrongly compared to a great football legend, the player who single-handedly destroy opposing teams, not only with his goals, but also with his passes, dribbles, speed, strength and all the rest.

The player, who is the current World Player of the Year, the most dangerous player on the planet presently; Lionel Messi! Some regard him as the «merciless», some others say he’s the greatest player to walk the earth surface, but I strongly disagree to this notion. You run out of adjectives trying to describe him, no doubt he’s a good player, proven goal-scorer, intelligent destroyer of opposing teams and worst of all he causes night mare to defenders, especially in the Spanish La Liga and also the Champions League, the two competitions which he plays his best football.

The «merciless» truly shows no mercy to teams and players that stands on his way to victory. He has scored 40 goals this season; his finishing and goal build-up play clearly spells out his superiority in Europe. He is being criticized for not excelling in big games with high expectation from him; he silenced his critics against Arsenal, after his well taken four goals to send Arsenal crashing out of Europe’s elite club competition.

Resting the debate, I’ll say strikers should be rated with different stats, the inability of a striker to score plenty goals does not mean he’s not a good striker. Fernando Torres is a brilliant striker, but he has not been able to score lots of goals doesn’t mean he’s not a complete striker. A complete striker is one who scores goals, has the ability to turn the game around with individual skill, spaces himself in the right positions to be given the ball and buries it at the back of the net. A striker is a playmaker.

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FC Barcelona – The Cruyff Years

Johan Cruyff is a legendary football player known the world over for his aggressive and intelligent style of play. Though he had success in his earlier years, it is when he joined FC Barcelona in 1973 that his star really began to shine.

Cruyff began his career in his home country of the Netherlands playing for AFC Ajax. There he led the team to many victories and memorable performances, but was eventually sold to FC Barcelona for a hefty sum. Cruyff wasted no time winning over the Barcelona fans, stating to the press that he chose Barcelona over their rivals Real Madrid because he didn’t want to play for a team associated with former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. He even named his son Jordi, a traditional Catalan (the region of Spain in which Barcelona is found) name.

Cruyff’s years playing for FC Barcelona were truly memorable and made him an icon. In his first year with the team, he helped them win La Liga for the first time in fourteen years (beating Real Madrid on their own turf along the way) and was also named European Footballer of the Year. It was during this time that he also scored one of his most memorable goals, called «The Phantom Goal» or «Le but d’imposible de Cruyff» (The Impossible Goal of Cruyff). In a match against Atlético Madrid, the football was already past the far goal post and was at about neck height when Cruyff leapt into the air, twisting so that he was facing away from the goal and kicked the ball into the goal with his right heel. This move among others propelled him to godlike status in the eyes of football fans.

Cruyff then spent many years away from FC Barcelona as a player and manager, until finally returning to the club as manager in 1988. When he returned to Barcelona, Cruyff brought with him the so-called «Dream Team». This elite squad was composed of Spaniards Jon Andoni Goikoetxea, Jose Mari Bakero, Josep Guardiola, Txiki Beguiristain, along with international stars Romanian Gheorghe Hagi, Bulgarian Hristo Stoichkov, Dane Michael Laudrup, Brazilian Romario, and Dutchman Ronald Koeman.

Under Cruyff’s direction, the Dream Team went on to win four consecutive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994. They won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1989 and the European Cup in 1992 at Wembley Stadium with a famous free kick goal courtesy of Ronald Koeman. In 1990, the Dream Team won a Copa del Rey, the European Super Cup in ’92, and three Supercopa de Espana.

Cruyff remains FC Barcelona’s most successful manager to date, with eleven trophies to his name. He also has the distinction of being the club’s longest serving manager. He continues to be an advisor for FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta, whom he openly endorsed during the elections. To this day, he is still revered by FC Barcelona fans, who call him «El Salvador» (The Saviour) for his successful run as both player and coach at the club.

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FC Barcelona Pictures and News

Experience the glorious past and the vibrant present of FC Barcelona through pictures and news readily available online. Apart from the official club website, exciting and breathtaking FC Barcelona pictures are in abundance in several blogs, news sites, and websites dedicated to the club. Check out the latest FC Barcelona news in the top news sites in the world as well as in the official and other unofficial websites.

Futbol Club Barcelona, nicknamed Barça, is not as much as a football club as it is a Catalan institution. Founded in 1899, it is one of the best Spanish clubs with Real Madrid as its closest rival. At present, it home to other sports teams apart from the football club.

FC Barcelona is said to be the most popular football club in the whole of Europe. Some surveys show that it has a fan base of 44.2 million fans in the football-crazy continent alone. Hence, FC Barcelona news and Barça rumors are in great demand online. Fans are also racing to shoot photos of their beloved club during matches and sell them online. Online buyers are faced with several options.

Track Record

Barça is among the big three Spanish football club. Alongside Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, it has never been relegated or demoted from the La Liga, the premier league in Spain. All in all, the club has lifted 18 La Liga titles, a record of 24 Spanish Cups, two League Cups, and seven Spanish Super Cups.

In European leagues, FC Barcelona has won four UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups, two European Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, and three Inter-Cities Fairs Cups.

Camp Nou

The home stadium of Barça is Camp Nou, also referred to as «Nou Camp.» Constructed in 1957, it has witnessed hundreds of football matches against visiting clubs since 1857. Camp Nou is rated by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) as a five-star stadium. It can hold up to 98,772 people and is the biggest European football stadium.

Camp Nou is one of the preferred hosts of UEFA Champions League Finals. The club won their very first game at their new stadium in 1957. They thrashed Legia Warsaw of Germany, 4-2.It was built from 1954 to 1957 and was designed by a group of three architects. The stadium has also been the venue for several major music events.

There are plenty of FC Barcelona pictures with Camp Nou as the background available to fans. They come in colored and black-and-white. Sometimes, the pictures are able to capture the club in their most intense action. There is drama, joy, love, and passion in pictures. You could also easily find group and individual photos.

Latest News

In the most recent Barça news, the club bulldozed Malaga in a pre-weekend La Liga match. The resounding win catapulted the club to the topmost position in the league standings, six points ahead Real Madrid. They are slated to next face Valladolid but their recent triumph over Malaga is bound to boost their spirits prior to their anticipated UEFA Champions League quarterfinal fixture against Germany’s Bayern Munich. Browse online for photos and the latest news of the match.

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A Short Biography of Famous Soccer Players – Diego Milito

His complete name is Diego Alberto Milito. He was born in Bernal, Argentina on 12 June 1979. Diego Milito is a professional soccer player and now become a part of national team of Argentina. In club level, he presently plays for F.C. Internazionale Milano. In the field of arena, he is always played as a center-forward.

For international career as professional player, Milito made two goals on his first appearance in opposition to Uruguay in 2003. He participated for Argentina national team in the 2007 Copa América competition.

Milito is so powerful with a keen eye for goal. And he is considered as one of the finest headers of the ball in the modern game. In addition, he is also considered as a productive and consistent striker. His nickname is Il Principe (Italian for «The Prince»).

During his career as a professional soccer player, he ever played for some senior clubs. Some of them are Racing Club (1999-2004), Genoa (2004-2005), Zaragoza (2005-2008), Genoa (2008-2009), and Internazionale (2009- ). He got some honors with his clubs. And some of his honors are Primera División Argentina (Apertura 2001 with Racing Club), and Serie A: 2009, Coppa Italia: 2010, UEFA Champions League: 2010 (with Internazionale).

At Real Zaragoza, Diego Milito was a captain for the club, taking over this position from Gabriel who leaved for Barcelona in 2007. In the La Liga 2006-2007 season, he was one of players who got the top scorers. His goals assisted the club to a sixth position finish in the league.

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