The English Premier League has started up once again and it’s time to see who will be the best England has to offer this year. The regular season kicked off on August 16 and so far, eight teams have come away with victories on their first fixture. The biggest upset of the weekend was Swansea City taking down Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford. It was not a good start for new United coach Louis Van Gaal. It was Gylfi Sigurdsson of Swansea who broke the hearts of United fans. After this devastating loss, we will have to see if Gaal’s team can bounce back Sunday against Sunderland.
One of the most recent transfers coming to the Premier League this year is Italian youngster Mario Balotelli. The spontaneous striker will be leaving AC Milan and joining Liverpool, a team that already has a superstar forward in Daniel Sturridge, who was second in goals last season with 21. Balotelli won’t play in the big match-up this Monday against Manchester City, but he will definitely be ready to play August 30 against Stoke City. This will be the 24-year-old’s second stint in the Premier League, after playing for Manchester City from 2010-2013, scoring 20 goals in 54 appearances. Last season, Balotelli scored 26 goals in just 43 appearances. Liverpool fans hope that he will bring even more success to a team that finished second last year in the league behind Manchester City.
Speaking of Manchester City, the former league leaders will look to continue their success on the pitch with superstars like Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, and Sergio Aguero. All three of those players were in the top six last year in scoring. Manager Manuel Pellegrini did a great job in his first season with the team last year and if he continues to coach them the way he has, this team will continue to find success. With most of their star players returning, this looks like the team to beat this year once again.
As for Arsenal, they could not find a way to finish out strong last season. With a chance to win the league last year, they dropped below Chelsea and Liverpool, but played well enough to move past Everton and finished fourth in the league. Now more pressure has been added on to this team with rumors of superstar midfielder Jack Wilshere being transfer listed. He is a remarkable young talent with a lot of promise. If Arsenal loses him, it will continue to tarnish their reputation as a selling club rather than a buying club, which is what you need to be in order to win in the big leagues. Arsenal will face Everton tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.
Favorites have already been picked for this season and teams are focusing in on their targets. There will be joy and there will be heartbreaks. But that’s just soccer.
Most fans would be upset or disappointed with a draw. Not fans of Atletico Madrid! Their team tied with Barcelona 1-1 in the final regular season match and won La Liga and are now crowned the Spanish Champions. Barcelona had a realistic shot to take the title, but Atleti came through with the draw to win! It sounds funny I know, but Barcelona will finish the regular season tied with Real Madrid for 2nd place with 27 wins, 6 draws and 5 losses. Atletico ends the season with a 28-6-4 record. Atleti’s defense has always been the best in La Liga, only allowing 26 goals scored against them, and they proved it earlier today by holding Barcelona to just one goal. Lionel Messi was held scoreless, as Alexis Sanchez scored the first goal in the 33rd minute for Barcelona. Then in the 49th minute, veteran defender Diego Godin‘s header equalized the match for Atletico Madrid. After the match, Barcelona’s manager, Gerardo “Tata” Martino announced that he will no longer coach the team. His fear of failure had come true and he let down a team that was poised for victory. Atleti won their first La Liga title since 1996, showing how much of an upset it must have been for Barcelona’s club to fall short.
In other soccer news, Arsenal won the FA Cup in dramatic fashion against Hull City. After being down 2-0 eight minutes into the match, the Gunners came roaring back with three goals to win it all, 3-2. Santi Cazorla started off the fireworks in the 17th minute with a free kick. Fast forward to the 71st minute, Laurent Koscielny knocked in a goal and then the match went into extra minutes. Things were looking tense, until Aaron Ramsey scored the game-winner! It was a match for the ages and Arsenal ended up on top. It was a big day for soccer fans, but now they have to wait until May 24th for that ultimate showdown between Real Madrid and newly crowned La Liga champions Atletico Madrid. What a match that will be!
Manchester City won its second English Premier League Title in three years after a 2-0 win over West Ham United. Samir Nasri scored the first goal with six minutes left in the first half and then Vincent Kompany sealed the match with a goal in the 49th minute. Liverpool finished second in the league with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United to make their final regular season record 26-6-6. Chelsea rallied back in their game to defeat Cardiff City 2-1 to land the 3rd spot on the table. As for Arsenal, they will head into the FA Cup final at Wembley with a five-game win streak after a 2-0 victory over Norwich on the road. The first team to make it to the Europa League was Everton, who beat Hull City 2-0. It was Roberto Martinez’s first season as a manager for the club and he did very well for the team, leading them to a 21-9-8 record. Tottenham Hotspur secured the last spot in next season’s Europa League after an easy 3-0 win over Aston Villa. Both Cardiff City and Norwich will be relegated to a smaller league, as well as Fulham who ended their season with a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace. They finished the season with 24 losses after winning 11 games and losing 17 last year. After Manchester United won last year’s Barclays Premier League Champion, they fell all the way to 7th on this year’s table. Hopefully with Louis van Gaal on board, United will climb its way back to the top again.
The end of the Premier League regular season has now come to a close. Manchester City star Yaya Toure led the way for the winning club with 20 goals this season, a career-high for the 30-year-old midfielder from the Ivory Coast. He finished third in the league in goals scored behind Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (31) and Daniel Sturridge (21). Toure also tied for first on his team in assists with 9. Overall, it was a great season for him and his Manchester City club.
If you’re an Arsenal fan, then you are enjoying their season so far. They have the best record in the Barcays Premier League with 48 points (15-3-3) and the best part is, they are far above Tottenham Hotspur (40 points) and Manchester United (37 points). The French-born manager Arsene Wenger has his Gunners poised for a Premier League championship run, something they haven’t won since the 2003-04 season when he took them all the way to beat other big-time rival Chelsea with the help of a young Thierry Henry. Arsenal made it back to the championship game the following season, only that time they lost to Chelsea. Arsenal is third all-time in championships won with 13 behind Liverpool (18) and Manchester United (20). Olivier Giroud is leading the team with 9 goals so far this season and is third on the team in assists with 5 (Mesut Ozil is second in the league in assists with 7). So all in all, Arsenal is having a great season thanks to Arsene Wenger’s coaching, while Manchester United is struggling during the last half of the season. Arsenal’s main concerns are Manchester City and Chelsea. Manchester City is leading the league in goal differential with 36 and Chelsea is at a solid third place right behind them with 46 points. These two teams could possibly catch up to Arsenal and knock them off from the top. Arsenal plays Fulham this Saturday, but they’re biggest game coming up isn’t until February 12th when they play Manchester United. The Gunners won’t play Chelsea until March 22nd and then right after that they play Manchester City on March 29th. Those are the three games to watch this year and they could determine who wins the Premier League title.
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