[ad#m1] Football took a back seat in the FA Cup semi final between Wigan and Millwall at the Wembley Stadium.
Wigan won 2-0 and reached the final for the first time in club’s history but the occasion was marred due to a bunch of Millwall fans who ended up fighting with each other during the last 10 minutes of the game.
Punches flew and even a policeman was attacked, bloodied and horrified people were seen and caught by the television cameras.
Back to dark ages it seems for these bunch of absolutely deluded Millwall fans.
[ad#m1] Poznan, a kind of celebration where the fans jump up and down, hand in hand and showing their backs. Pretty famous with Manchester City fans.
And we have now witnessed an entire stadium doing the Poznan. It looks quite incredible when the whole stadium does it.
It happened in the Australian A-League as Western Sydney Wanderers won 2-0 against Brisbane Roar. The crowd at the Parramatta stadium went ballistic as everybody joined in the Poznan. And someone with great sense of timing managed to get the video.
[ad#m1] De Toekomst, the stadium where Ajax’s reserve side play and train for matches, the place where young and aspiring children are converted into some of the best footballers of their time, through a masterful plan and sheer tenacity. This is the story of Jong Ajax, the reserve side of Ajax Amsterdam. Providing superstars for many clubs since a very long time.
This is the story of the Ajax Youth Academy.
The present world is filled with competitions at almost every level in all fields. One of them is football. It does take immense and focused hard work and supreme talent to reach to a position which is now probably enjoyed by players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar. All these players have surely turned into role models for aspiring amateur sportsmen.
But even more important than all the above criteria is the vision to recognize a player during his youth and Ajax, now, have become a master of that trade.
Ajax, the present leader in the Dutch League has an exemplary youth club programme which is sure to turn beginners in to world class football players.
We are familiar with players like Patrick Kluivert, Dennis Bergkamp, Edwin van der Saar, Rafael van der Vaart, Clarence Seedorf and Wesley Sneijder. These are a few of many who have completed full training at the Ajax Youth Club.
Seeing these players perform at their best which is indeed amazing, one cannot fathom the degree of the training they have undergone.
This youth academy is called the “Breeding Ground” of Dutch Football as Ajax’s youth academy which continuously proves to be one of the most successful ones in the world.
The aim of the club has always been to recognize talented football players at a very early age and transform them into professionals. The advantage is that the youth teams are trained in exactly the same way as the first team hence they already know how to play when they are drafted into the senior side.
Eyeing a creative approach to find new talents, Ajax has started the TIPS programme which stands for Technique, Insight, Personality and Speed. Even more interestingly, all the youth players have a passport in which they keep record of each objective.
The philosophy of Ajax has always been to keep the game fair, offensive minded, creative and attractive. And pretty much everyone would agree that they have achieved and keep on achieving the ideas set forth. Check out the video below which sums up success the Dutch club has achieved through its homegrown players.
[ad#m1] Super big match is coming up this Sunday in Eredivise as league leaders Ajax Amsterdam travel to Philips Stadion to take on second placed PSV Eindhoven.
And by the looks of it, Ajax are leaving no stones unturned as the difference between the two sides is only 3 points. And in their pre PSV training some Ajax players showed the kind of skills they possess.
Amazing training drill, where Christian Eriksen, Siem de Jong and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson do some super long range keepie-uppies.
It seems effortless but would be really difficult to pull off in reality.
It got real interesting towards the later part of the video.
[ad#m1] The whole world waits for one of the most magnificent matches which should hopefully be in the memories of people’s lives for a long time. Bayern Munich plays hosts to the Old lady in their most wonderful Allianz Arena.
Both these teams are no doubt in their prime and pristine form as they are the leading clubs in their domestic leagues, Bayern are ahead by 20 points whereas Juventus have a nine point lead over second placed Napoli in Serie A.
The recent 9-2 win for Bayern Munich over Hamburg might have opened a few eyes especially the ones in the Juventus dressing room.
One of the main clashes to notice in this match will be the classic battle in the midfield, for both teams posses a plethora of exceptional midfielders. The battle between Bayern Munich play maker Bastian Schweinsteiger and one of the true living legends of football, Andrea Pirlo should dominate this match.
The results of their previous head to head matches include a 1-4 win for Bayern Munich in December 2009 and a 0-0 in October 2009 in the Champions League itself.
[mt_toggle title=”Highlights Juventus 1-4 Bayern Munich (8 Dec 2009)“] [/mt_toggle]
Surprisngly ex Bayern Munich player Stefan Effenberg favours Juventus to be the better side because Jupp Heynckes’ side lack a player who can lead them from the front when things are not really going in their favour.
The match will witness a strong Italian defence to a powerful German attack, it is indeed a fight between the topmost.
Bayern defender Holger Badstuber will miss this fixture as he is taking rest due to sustaining a serious injury in December and the home side will also play without the important Spanish defensive midfielder Javi Martinez after obtaining a one match ban.
Whereas for Pirlo and Co, MirkoVucinic, who has developed the symptoms of a fever since returning from international duty with Montenegro will most liekly miss the first leg and the versatile defender Giorgio Chiellini, who missed Italy’s international weekend after the return of a persistent ankle injury, has now regained fitness and is likely to play.
Bayern still remember the loss in the final at their own Allianz Arena to Chelsea last season, and now, while leading their league bullishly, they seem to have the potential and will want to win the final at Wembley.
Both Dante and Lahm would not any booking in this match and if they do so, they both would miss the second leg on April 10.
The obvious thing to watch out for is the exuberance of Ribery, Kroos ,Schweinsteiger and Muller’s extraordinary midfield attack against Antonio Conte’s wicked tactics to negate them and then counter attack.
[/mt_one_half] Real Madrid pulled off another victory to extend their winning streak to 7 games unbeaten in all competitions. After a poor first half performance from the hosts, Real turned things around in the second half.
Real Madrid failed to impress in the first half of the game, not showing the performance expected from a club of their quality. True to their word, Gregorio Monzana’s side produced a game worthy of critical appreciation in the first half. Emilio Nsue headed from a corner at the sixth minute, giving Mallorca a dream start at the Santiago Bernebau. Real Madrid, however, equalized nine minutes later through Gonzalo Higuain, who was presented with an open chance at goal following Pepe’s run into the box. Mourinho’s side, who looked feeble at set pieces conceded another goal from a corner. Arbeloa completely lost track of his man and Alfaro managed to beat Sergio Ramos in the air and found the back of the net, restoring Mallorca’s one goal lead at the Bernebau.
Mourinho’s side looked nervous and feeble at set pieces, with Mallorca coming close to scoring a third goal in the 43rd minute, when Hutton’s header from a corner went just wide of the post. Even Christiano Ronaldo was not looking comfortable in the pitch and had few poor touches in the first half. He also failed to capitalize from the free kick which was awarded to Madrid outside of the penalty box.
However, the half time change which brought Ozil and Benzema onto the pitch saw things change for Real Madrid. Real Madrid looked a refreshed and recharged side in the second half and the equalizer looked inevitable. Things changed for Madrid as three goals came in quick succession. The first came from none other than Christiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo, who so far had a poor first half, spear headed his side to a brilliant equalizer. Excellent bit of movement from the Portuguese star allowed him to lose his marker and score for Madrid. Luka Modric, who equalized for Madrid in the clash against Manchester United with a stunning strike, produced another sensational strike to give Real the lead for the first time in the tie at the 54th minute. Real striked again just 3 minutes later, and Higuain completed the turnaround at the Bernabeau in the 57th minute with substitute Ozil making the assist.
[mt_toggle title=”Watch the Luka Modric piledriver“] [/mt_toggle]
After Real gained a two goal lead, Mallorca struggled to stay in the competition. Still, they put up a brave fight, coming close to scoring another goal at the 86th minute but were denied by Diego Lopez, who produced a great save. Real Madrid finished things off in style with Benzema adding cherry on top of the cake. Gonzalo Higuain selflessly pulled back the ball and passed it off to fellow striker Karim Benzema, who finished off coolly to make the final score 5-2 for Madrid.
[/mt_one_half] Philipe Coutinho seems to growing into stature as he gave another classy performance against Wigan. Liverpool thrashed Wigan by four goals and the first two were directly assisted by the Brazilian.
This is a real next-generation stuff from Coutinho. Classy wing movement all day along. And seems to have calm head on his shoulders as well. An essential ingredient to survive in the Premier League.
Philippe Coutinho already seems to have developed an acute understanding with Luis Suarez and captain Steven Gerrard.
[/mt_one_half] The North London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal seems to be getting bigger every year. And the trend, it seems like, will continue for the next one on Sunday. Earlier in November 2012, Arsenal were brutal in the win against Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium. The first North London derby of the 2012-13 season ended with Arsenal winning it 5-2.
But since then, a lot has changed, Spurs have been in super form lately, with AVB and Gareth Bale taking the February’s manager and player of the month award respectively. And deservedly so. Arsenal, on the other hand, have been dodgy at best.
With Bale, Tottenham look ominously threatening and Arsenal will need to gear up big time or it could be a long never-ending game for them. It can be seen in the current points table as well, as Tottenham have now jumped Chelsea and find themselves in top 3 after Manchester United and Manchester City. Arsenal are on the 5th position and 4 points below their North London bitter rivals.
A tasteful North London derby awaits but the focus, here, is on White Hart lane, as the match on Sunday will be played at Tottenham’s home ground. Lets take a look at some of the best North London derbies of recent times.
# 13 November 2004, Premier League, Tottenham 4 – 5 Arsenal
A North London classic derby, with Tottenham playing to their reputation back then, scoring goals but conceding more than that. Naybet goal gave Spurs the lead but Arsenal soon equalized and took the lead and then never gave it back. In between, 6 more goals were scored. Kanoute scoring the 4th for Tottenham.
# 25 April 2004, Premier League, Tottenham 2 – 2 Arsenal
The 2-2 draw felt like a win for Arsenal as the result meant Arsenal were almost sure of winning the Premier League title. Jamie Redknapp and Robbie Kean scored two half time goals as Spurs made a classic comeback after being two goals down in the first half.
# 22 January 2008, Carling Cup, Tottenham 5 – 1 Arsenal
Jermain Jenas showed his brilliance in this semi final of the League Cup. Robbie Keane, Aaron Lennon, Malbranque and a Nicklas Bendtner own goal besides the Jenas goal in the 3rd minute sent Spurs through to the finals, which they won.
# 14 April 2010, Premier League, Tottenham 2 – 1 Arsenal
Bendtner pulled one back for Arsenal very late in the game as a truly pulsating match ended 2-1. Danny Rose (screamer) and Bale scored for Tottenham.
# 2 October 2011, Premier League, Tottenham 2 – 1 Arsenal
Kyle Walker (screamer) won this game as his shot proved too good for Szczesny.
[/mt_one_half] AC Milan, lethal, goals and hair style, these are the first words that comes to your mind when you hear the words El Shaarawy, Balotelli and Niang together.
A new young attacking trio is getting shaped at AC Milan and it is already looking quite threatening. The club is brimming with the fact that they have managed to assimilate such a potent option in attack. Balotelli went aggro from the first match itself when he scored both the goals in Milan’s 2-0 win over Sampdoria.
They are young, Balotelli is 22, El Shaarawy is 20 and M’baye Niang is just 18. And with the amount of football in front of them, if it clicks, Milan’s future would at least be rocking. Not so much for the opponents though.
Both Balotelli and El Shaarawy, have developed an understanding, even before Mario’s transfer from Manchester City to Milan. As they had played together in the national team in a friendly against France. Both seem to work with each other and have developed a friendship too.
[mt_blockquote author=”El Shaarawy, too, agrees.”] Balotelli and I? I think it’s good for our football, we’re an example. It’s important for us to integrate. Trust and space should be given to young players. Balotelli and I are doing well, but we must continue together and work hard. Mario Balotelli and I have a relationship that goes beyond football – we have a beautiful friendship. We are two young men, it’s an important thing for Italian football and I think we’re being envied in other leagues. Mario and I are two strikers with different qualities. He’s very technical and I’m fast so there is a good agreement. [/mt_blockquote]
M’baye Niang, who came to AC Milan in the summer transfer window from Ligue 2 side Caen has already extended his contract till 2017. And before Baltelii arrived, Niang got his fair share of chances and he too, seems to have developed a good understanding with El Shaarawy.
Niang is also like a beast, the kind who does not look very beastly, at least not right now. Making aggressive runs through the right hand side and with the likes of El Shaarawy and Balotelli up front, the trio being a total nightmare for defenders.
Besides their footballing skills, an uncanny similarity towards the top of their heads could be found as well. Similarly ghastly hair structures. A lot of work has also gone towards their hair styles, look at the image below.. Is this a coincidence or is there a pattern to it?
Gone are the days, albeit good days, of The Rossoneri being a team of experienced players only. This a new look Milan side, with youngster at the forefront with a solid base of experienced players. Exciting times ahead.