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.
A lot of great matches have been played so far this season and a lot of superstars have given us exciting plays. The UEFA Champions League championship match will be held on May 24th and it will pit Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid. These La Liga rivals have been battling each other all year with Real Madrid leading the season series 2-1-1. This Champions League Final will determine who is the better Madrid of Europe. Real Madrid entered this match by defeating Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on aggregate in the Quarterfinals and then they shut out Bayern Munich in both Semifinal matches to advance to the Finals. Atletico Madrid fought hard by upsetting Barcelona in the Quarterfinals and then squeaking by Chelsea 3-1 on aggregate in the Semifinals. There should be a lot of star power in this match with Cristiano Ronaldo facing off against Diego Costa. Both of these players are having memorable seasons so far.
As for elsewhere around the world, Manchester United is doing fine without their former manager David Moyes. They have won two of their last three matches. Wayne Rooney has been keeping his team together by scoring 17 goals for his club. Current manager of the Dutch national team, Louis van Gaal, will take over the team after the World Cup is over. The top three clubs in the English Premier League are all fighting for the top spot. Liverpool is currently on top with Manchester City right behind them and Chelsea closing in. There’s only one regular season game left for Liverpool when they take on Newcastle United on May 11th. After guiding his team to the best offense in the league (99 goals scored), manager Brendan Rodgers just recently signed a four-year contract extension to remain with the club. Goal scorers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge should get plenty of credit for how Liverpool has been playing this year. Suarez leads all players with 31 goals and Sturridge is right behind him with 21 of his own. Manchester City can sneak its way to the top by winning their last two games of the season. They are both home games and they are against Aston Villa later tonight and West Ham on May 11th. If they win those two games, they claim the top spot in the Premier League. As for Chelsea, they would have to hope that Liverpool and Manchester City to lose all of their games if they were to claim the regular season title. Chelsea will play at Cardiff City this Sunday for hopes of gaining the top spot.
In La Liga, Atletico Madrid remains on top, but they could fall if Barcelona plays their best futbol of the season. Madrid will play Malaga on Sunday and then the regular season title will be determined the next week after when they travel to Barcelona. That game is must-watch T.V. if Barcelona can win their next game at Elche, which should be an easy win. As mentioned earlier, Diego Costa is having a memorable season. The 25-year-old Brazilian has scored a career-high 27 goals and is also responsible for 3 assists. For Messi, he is second in La Liga with 28 goals scored. The showdown on May 18th will probably be the biggest soccer game of the season by far!
The 27-year-old Brazilian defender plays for Chelsea and is one of the main reasons why Chelsea has one of the best defenses in the English Premier League. David Luiz has made 15 starts and is a force down in the box. He started out at Vitoria and then went to Benfica in La Liga when he was 19. After being noticed as a star defender, Chelsea decided to pick him up in January of 2011 and ever since he has been an anchor for José Mourinho‘s club. He is now the vice-captain of the club and has a Champions League and FA Cup title under his belt.
However, this defender is not just known for making plays on defense, but is also a big defender of his Christian faith. He is a devout Christian and calls Kaká his role model (a fellow Christian soccer player). Luiz strongly believes that God has our futures all planned out and that everything will go according to His will.
“I know that God knows everything in my life so, when I don’t play, sometimes I consult,” explained Luiz. “Sometimes I think, ‘Today God doesn’t put me in to play, he takes me out, so there is an injury or something like that’. That’s how I think.” (Credit: The Telegraph)
He has the strong confidence in the One who can give him the spectacular performance he gives on a daily basis.
“My faith gives me the belief that I can go out and perform and improve as a player. It gives me strength and inspiration,” Luiz said. “Everything in life belongs to God. Our purpose has already been mapped out.” (Credit: The Independent)
Chelsea is coming off a very defensive 0-0 draw to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Semifinals. Their next match will be on April 27th against Liverpool in a crucial Premier League matchup. Luiz’s defense will be critical in that match because Liverpool has scored more goals than any other team this season with 96. Since Liverpool is on top of the standings, Chelsea will thoroughly enjoy this victory if they can pull it off. Luiz already knows that God’s will is already in place whether he succeeds or not. All that matters is that Luiz glorifies his Heavenly Father no matter what happens to him in life. We should all do the same and pray for God’s will to be done in our life and not our own.
Atletico Madrid reaches the UEFA Champions League semifinals for the first time in team history thanks to a 1-0 win over La Liga rival Barcelona. The goal came very early in the match thanks to Koke’s goal in the 5th minute. It was the 22-year-old’s only goal of the tournament and what a time to score one. Atletico Madrid was able to attain this victory without their star player Diego Costa, which shows Diego Simeone’s ability to adapt as a manager. Barcelona came into this game as favorites, but were unable to score a goal for the first time in this tournament.
In the other deciding match, Bayern Munich defeated Manchester United 3-1 yesterday as well. No one scored until Patrice Evra of Man U came through in the 57th minute. But after that, it was all Bayern Munich. Mario Mandzukic scored two minutes later, Thomas Müller scored in the 68th minute and Arjen Robben finished it off in the 76th minute. Pep Guardiola’s squad led an offensive attack against Manchester United with 25 shots (5 on goal) and 11 corner kicks. Bayern also dominated in possession, holding the ball for 65 percent of the match.
The final four teams are set with Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Real Madrid. Atletico Madrid looks to be the underdog of this tournament, having never made it this far in club history. Without their leading scorer, there is doubt that they will make it any further. Bayern Munich looks to be the favorite, having one of the best offensive teams out of these four as well as a steady goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer. With superstars like Franck Ribéry, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Arjen Robben and leading scorer Mario Mandzukic Bayern should easily win this year’s Champions League Final. Real Madrid is a sure favorite with Cristiano Ronaldo playing one of his best seasons ever, leading La Liga with 31 goals. Karim Benzema has also been a great help. He is currently 5th in La Liga with 17 goals scored. Eden Hazard has been carrying his Chelsea team as of lately. He leads the club in both goals (14) and assists (7). Demba Ba (who is likely to leave Chelsea after this season) scored the game-winning goal in the last game against Paris-Saint Germain. Having the other Chelsea players step up in these big moments could propel them to the top. It’s time to see who the top soccer club in Europe really is.
For college basketball, March Madness is where the games get more exciting. For the English Premier League, April is where soccer matches get more intense. The end of the regular season for the Barclays Premier League is May 11, so during the month of April, everyone starts fighting for not only the top spot, but to get out of the bottom three spots so that they won’t be relegated for next year. Right now, Chelsea is just over Liverpool for first place in the league with 69 points (Liverpool has 68). Chelsea’s defense is the best in the league with only 23 goals allowed and is the major reason why they are at the top. A win for Manchester City could spring them to the top if both Chelsea and Liverpool lose their next game. Chelsea should notch an easy win against Crystal Palace on Saturday after coming off a dominating 6-0 victory over Arsenal. Liverpool, however, will have a challenging match against Tottenham on Sunday. For now, Manchester City will have to worry about their upcoming showdown with Arsenal tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. eastern time. Arsenal will be looking for their 20th win of the season as they are looming around 4th place in the table. What makes the top three teams different from any other team in the league is their dominance. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all have a goal differential of 39 or more. No other team in the league is even close to that number (Arsenal is the closest with 19).
As for Manchester United, they have struggled with consistency this season. They lost to a nearly sell-out crowd at Old Trafford against Manchester City 3-0 last Tuesday. They were able to beat West Ham and West Bromwich recently, but they fell short against Liverpool 3-0 on March 16th. Manchester United has faltered greatly against top teams and that is the main reason why they are sitting at seventh in the standings behind Tottenham Hotspur and Everton. The triple threat of Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Danny Welbeck has proved somewhat successful, seeing that those three players are in the top 20 in goals scored. Rooney’s 13 goals is tied for 6th in the league and Van Persie has 11 goals accredited to his name.
The most impressive performance so far is Liverpool’s deadly combination of top goal-scorer Luis Suarez and young Daniel Sturridge. They are the only players in the Premier League with 20 goals are more and they are on the same team! It’s no surprise that Liverpool has the best offense in England with 84 goals scored.Suarez has had a year he will never forget. The 27-year-old from Uruguay has 28 goals and 11 assists, which are tremendous numbers for this point in the season. Last year, he only had 23 goals and 5 assists for the whole season! The last time Suarez was this dominant at his position was when he played for Ajax Amsterdam back in the 2009-10 season where he put up 35 goals and 4 assists. He is definitely at the prime of his career and looks to add on to his astounding numbers later on in the season as April comes around.
Another big reason why April is so much fun to watch is the semi-finals of the FA Cup. On April 12, Arsenal will play Wigan Athletic and Sheffield United will play Hull City on April 13. Arsenal was expected to advance this far, but no one expected these other three teams to be where they are right now. Hull City are 13th in the Premier League and Sheffield and Wigan are not even in the League! This Cup tournament is a true underdog story, no matter who advances to the top.
Speaking of underdogs, Everton has surprised many fans with their rise to glory. They are only 5th in the League and are above teams like Tottenham and Manchester United. Their defense and ability to succeed in close games are the main reasons why they are near the top of the standings. They are 3rd in goals allowed behind Chelsea and Manchester City and that’s due in large part to United States’ goalkeeper Tim Howard who has 81 saves so far this year. They are currently on a four-game win streak heading into their upcoming match with Fulham on Sunday. Everton has always been overlooked by the bigger and more popular teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and the others, but historically, Everton has always been a formidable opponent in the Barclays Premier League ever since they were the founders of the Football League in 1888. They have played more matches in the highest division than any other club, and have been outside it for only four years out of the 126 years they have played. Look out for Everton when April comes round, they might surprise a few folks.
The Manchester City soccer club had never been shut out at home in the previous 61 matches. That streak was snapped on Monday when Chelsea defeated the Citizens 1-0. The one goal was scored by Branislav Ivanovic in the first half of play. Despite having possession 65 percent of the time and having the double amount of Chelsea’s corner kicks, Manchester City couldn’t surpass the Blue’s determination to seize respect and recognition in the Barclays Premier League. What’s even more amazing is that Manchester City was on a 13-game win streak and had scored 72 goals in 18 home matches this season. So to see them get shut out on their own pitch was just an extraordinary effort by Coach Jose Mourinho and his team.
“A victory is a victory but a victory against a very good team is better than against an ordinary team,” said Mourinho. “This is also good for the Champions League because we have big opponents so this is a good feeling and a good experience. Today was special. We love the big games. When you love it maybe you feel extra-motivated. The best thing for our evolution is to play matches under pressure, to be close to the leaders, and today we came here and played against the leaders and we deserved it.” (Credit: chelseafc.com)
The former Real Madrid head coach is in his second tenure with the Blues and has led them to an incredible run so far. They are now tied with Manchester City for second place in the league with 53 points and are catching up right behind Arsenal’s tail with a 16-3-5 record. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is also having a great season. He leads his team with nine goals and five assists. This team has been doing great all season and Mourinho is definitely leading them in the right direction like he did in his first coaching tenure with the team. With this quality win against Manchester City, Chelsea could be a steady force later in the season because of their magnificent defense.
Most people here in the United States do not really affiliate with European soccer, but they should know the story of Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o. He is a French-speaking soccer player from the African country of Cameroon. People started to notice Eto’o when he played for Real Mallorca from 2000-2004 and then he started making big money once he transferred to FC Barcelona and played there till 2009. During that time, he scored 108 goals in 145 appearances for the team. Right now, the 32-year-old is playing for Chelsea and has scored 6 goals in 12 games with the team. He also holds the record for most appearances by an African player in the La Liga. As for international records, he is Cameroon’s all-time leading scorer with 42 goals in 87 international games. He was named the African player of the year four times in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010. Not only that, but he became the highest-paid footballer in the world, earning just over $54 million a year when he was traded to Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala back in 2011. What people may not know is that Eto’o is a humble man. After all of the awards and accolades, he still gives all of his praises and attention to God. Take a look at this video:
Throughout his life, Eto’o has been a subject of racism in the La Liga, a soccer league known only to have Spanish white players on the teams. In February of 2005 against a match between Real Zaragoza, the fans made racist gestures and chants every time he possessed the ball on the pitch. They would make monkey sounds and yell curses at him on the field. Through all the adversity, Eto’o remained true to God and has given inspiration to both players and fans alike. Here’s what former teammate and current Barcelona player Andres Iniesta said about what Eto’o meant to the team he once played for.
“History shows that this club has had very few strikers like him. I do not know if there has ever been anyone like him before. What I do know is that Barcelona should erect a statue for him. Samuel was a fundamental player here in recent years and was key to all of the titles that the team won.” Andres Iniesta, August 2009. (Credit: ESPNFC)
In an interview with CNN, Eto’o has been asked about playing for just money and he says that it’s not about riches. In 2006, he established “Fundacion Privada Samuel Eto’o” a charity designed to provide basic healthcare such as ambulances and operation centers. It also trains kids on how to become successful soccer stars. God has clearly provided Eto’o with many blessings, turning him from a poor village boy to an international soccer superstar. Eto’o has returned the favor by supporting those all over the world through his foundation. It just goes to show that God’s love is evident across the globe through athletes like Eto’o. He shows that soccer is more than just a game; it’s a gateway to global peace and harmony.
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.
The latest news and opinions on football, basketball, and soccer!