Things About to Get Real for Memorial Girls Soccer

So things are going pretty good for the Memorial Girls team so far this year. A new coach, a bunch of returning players, great leadership and a fast start have everyone feeling pretty good. Three wins over Big Rivers teams Menomonie, Superior and Chippewa Falls by a combined 22-1. That’s the good news. But this weekend, the Abes step out of conference and will find out a lot about their team. They are off to Arrowhead for a Quad against Arrowhead, a preseason Top 10 team in D4, and a Saturday game against Pewaukee. Arrowhead was ranked 3rd in D! as of this week while Pewaukee is ranked 9th in D2. Ready or not….the season is here.

Solid Start to the Year

When the season started we had a few questions.

  1. Will the Abes be able to replace the scoring from All Conference Forward Abigail Stow. Check that box so far. 22 goals by 10 different players. Now….we know the competition has not been the fiercest…no disrespect to their 3 opponents….but things are about to get tougher. Lauren Carmody leads the way with 5 goals, but Jackie Beaudrie, Emily Gross and Ava Kison have pitched in with 4-3-3 respectively. Goals by committee is a great path forward. Goals coming from multiple positions will keep opposing defenses from just focusing on shutting down 1 player. I like it so far.
  2. Will the GK and Defense shut down opposing teams? Check that box. 1 goal allowed in 3 games and that goal was on a set play. No goals allowed from field play. Impressive. I saw the stats from the Chippewa Falls game. 48 shots taken and only 1 shot allowed. 1 shot! The defense returned 3 starters on the back line and 1 in midfield along with a really strong GK. Sometimes scoring comes in waves and can go cold at times. Defense is a constant. We will learn in the next two games, but feeling pretty confident, Memorial will not give up a bunch of goals….will they be able to score against premier defenses is the question.

Weekend Expectations

Bummed I won’t be able to attend, but I am hoping the Abes can come away with at least 1 win this weekend. Might be too much to expect them to take down Arrowhead….pulling for it….but that is a big ask. A close game, a battle, score a few goals, put some pressure on Arrowhead….maybe find a way for a win. They have not been tested yet this year. They have not been behind yet this year. They have not had any game pressure on them yet this year. It’s time to learn and Arrowhead will give them that opportunity. I am thinking 2-1 type game. Coach Hanson’s first big game as Varsity coach. She has been on the bench for a bunch of these type games as a player and Assistant Coach so she knows the feeling. How will she handle rotations, how will the team handle this level of competition, etc. It will be a great experience for her. It will be a great experience for the team. Pewaukee on Day 2 will be interesting as well. Back to back games will really test the resolve and competitive fire for any team. I am thinking with what they learn in Game 1 they are really ready to deliver a result on Day 2. They really need the Arrowhead game. It will give them the perspective they need to build from for thje rest of the season. Coach Hanson needs some coachable moments. She is about to get a few I think! Go Abes.

Other Soccer News

-North scored their first goal of the season and outlasted Menomonie 1-0 for their first conference win this year.

–River Falls took down Rice Lake 7-1 and is looking very dangerous.

-Hudson off to a good start this year, 3-0 in conference and only 1 loss to non-conference foe Middleton.

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Memorial Girls: A new Era begins this week.

So here we go…the Olivia Hanson era at Memorial officially gets under way this week. Memorial has two games this week in conference and they better be ready, a tough second game against a ranked opponent.

Weeks Schedule

Tuesday April 9th vs. Menomonie

Thursday April 11th at Rice Lake.

Friday/Saturday April 12/13: Dells Quad against Madison Memorial and Kaneland (IL)

Season Schedule

Key games this season will be played in the non-conference against the following teams: #6 DC Everest, #8 Arrowhead along with the potential for a top 10 match up in the DC Everest Invitational. Another stacked non-conference schedule to get the team ready for post season.

Key games in the conference this year include the always difficult Hudson, along with D2 #7 River Falls and D3 #7 Rice Lake. These games will seriously test the Old Abes.

Preseason Top 10

  1. Bay Port
  2. Sheboygan North
  3. Sun Prairie
  4. Homestead
  5. DSHA
  6. DC Everest
  7. Brookfield Central
  8. Arrowhead
  9. Kettle Moraine
  10. Middleton

Shout out to Regis/McDonell who open the season as the #3 team in D4.

Key Questions

  1. Can we get some scoring and replace the goals lost by Player of the Year Stow.
  2. Can the Midfield step up and replace All conference performer Bowe.
  3. Can the defense keep them in every game while the offense develops.
  4. A ton of talent. Excited to see them play and what formation they go with and which players fill the open spots.

Let’s Go Abes!

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Premier League Update Week 33

The games are coming fast and furious and with Champions League and FA Cup in between, let’s try to catch up on the weekend results from the Premier League. The Title Race is still very much up for grabs. Liverpool and Manchester City both refuse to lose and with their number of games played being different, the top team keeps flipping back and forth the past few weeks. Liverpool wins and takes over first. Manchester City wins and takes back first. The pressure is pretty intense., First team to blink and take a loss, likely loses the Premier League title. No pressure….easy peasy!

The Top 4 Race is equally as dramatic, with big swings week to week as well. Let’as look at the big moves this week.

Manchester United with a huge loss against Wolves to drop them into the 6th spot. Tottenahm and Chelsea with big wins to push them up into the 3rd/4th spots. And then Arsenal, just a week ago in the drivers seat with a huge loss against Everton to drop them into 5th. 5 games to go and still undecided. Two of these 4 will make Champions League and two will be hugely disappointed.

Let’s recap the winners from Week 33 in the race for the Title and Top 4 position.

Manchester City 2-0 over Cardiff City.

Liverpool with a 3-1 win over Southampton.

Manchester United 2-1 loss to Watford.

Arsenal 1-0 loss to Everton.

Chelsea 2-0 over West Ham United.

Tottenham over Crystal Palace 2-0.

Lets take a closer look at the top game of the week, Chelsea v. West Ham United. A brace fornEden hazard. The first a pretty epic goal for the season. The ball control is world class.

The second shows off his elegant first touch and scoring ability.

Race for the Title & Champions League Top 4

Win-Loss-Tie 1- Liverpool   25-1-7 82 Points. 33 Games

2- Manchester City 26-4-2. 80 Points. 32 Games

3-Chelsea   20-6-7  66 Points.   33 Games

4- Tottenham  21-10-1   64 Points.  32 games.

5-Arsenal  19-7-6   63 Points. 32 Games

5-Manchester United     18-7-7   61 Points. 32 games

Wolves, Watford, Leicester City and Everton round out the Top 10.

Relegation Zone

There are now no teams within 3 points of the 18th position and fighting to stay up.  Southampton and Burnley sit just outside the 18th spot at 33 points and are well clear of the relegation zone. Two teams are now officially relegated and will return to the Championship league next year. The new bottom three:

18. Cardiff City 28 Points. Still have a chance but need to make up 6 points on the 17th spot.

19. Fulham 17 Points. RELEGATED

20.  Huddersfield 14 Points. RELEGATED

Cardiff City will need a small miracle, at minimum 2 wins but probably 3 and a team above them to just fall apart.

Match Week 34 Preview

Game of the Week. #1 Liverpool vs. #3 Chelsea. A big game for both clubs. The momentum of a win could carry Liverpool to a title or Chelsea to a Top 4 finish. Major implications. A very difficult game for Chelsae at Liverpool, but anytine you have Eden Hazard…you have a chance. If he is feeling it then watch out!

Get ready for an exciting finish to the season. 5-6 games to go. Every game is huge!!!!

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Premier League Update Week 31-32

So the end of the season is nearing. Every game now is huge and impacts the Title Race, the Race for the Top 4 and the Relegation Zone. There are a bunch of story lines developing. Chelsea had the chance to seize a Top 4 spot over the last 3 weeks. All winnable games and 9 points would have placed them in a great spot. A Win-Loss-Draw and only 4 points secured leaves them in 6th but only a point behind. Tottenham was almost a lock 5 weeks ago, with clear separation to 4-5-6th places. They have not won in 5 weeks and had back to back 2-1 losses. They have slipped to 4th and are in bad form right now. Manchester United surged from 7th to 4th over the past 6 weeks and were in a great spot….so what did they do today….they lose 2-1 to the Wolverhampton Wolves and now are at risk of missing Top 4. Arsenal was clinging to 6th last month but has been the best of the teams fighting for 3rd, back to back wins have moved them past Tottenham into 3rd. They are in form and playing well. Can they hold that form for 6 more weeks.

Let’s recap the winners from Week 32 in the race for the Title and Top 4 position.

Manchester City 2-0 over Fulham.

Liverpool with a huge 2-1 win over Tottenham.

Manchester United 2-1 over Watford.

Arsenal 2-0 victory over Newcastle.

Chelsea 2-1 over Cardiff City.

Lets take a closer look at the top game of the week, Liverpool v. Tottenham.

Race for the Title & Champions League Top 4

Win-Loss-Tie 

1- Liverpool   24-1-7 79 Points. 32 Games

2- Manchester City 25-4-2. 77 Points. 31 Games

3-Arsenal  19-6-6   63 Points. 31 Games

4- Tottenham  20-10-1   61 Points. No wins their last 5 games! 31 games.

5-Manchester United     18-7-7   61 Points. 32 games

6-Chelsea   18-6-7  60 Points.   31 Games

Wolves, Watford, Leicester City and Everton round out the Top 10.

Relegation Zone

There are now no teams within 3 points of the 18th position and fighting to stay up.  Southampton, Brighton and Burnley sit just outside the 18th spot at 33 points and are well clear of the relegation zone. Two teams are now officially relegated and will return to the Championship league next year. The new bottom three:

18. Cardiff City 8-19-4. 28 Points. Still have a chance but need to make up 6 points on the 17th spot.

19. Fulham 4-24-5. 17 Points. RELEGATED

20.  Huddersfield 3-24-5. 14 Points. RELEGATED

Cardiff City will need a small miracle, at minimum 2 wins but probably 3 and a team above them to just fall apart.

Match Week 33 Preview

Game of the Week. #10 Everton vs. #3 Arsenal. A big game for Arsenal. Major implications. Can Arsenal keep their form and lock down the #3 spot. A loss really tightens up the race for Top 4.

Get ready for an exciting finish to the season. 5-6 games to go. Every game is huge!!!!

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Memorial Girls Soccer Season Gets Rolling

Another season approaches but this year comes with a bit of excitement and uncertainty. The loss of some significant Seniors who led the program for several years as well as a change at the top, Scott DeRusha, a very successful coach, has moved on and we start the Olivia Hanson era at Memorial. A former player, a very good player by the way, takes over the program. She certainly understands Memorial Soccer having come up thru the program. Taking over your Alma Mater is a dream job for many coaches. Moving up from the JV coach also gives her some continuity….she knows the players, she knows the formation (unless she has a new plan or shape in mind), and she knows the expectations. As well though, it’s a big jump…JV coach to leading one of the top programs in the State. She certainly has a big task in front of her and I am pulling for her. The people I know who know her well are all impressed with her. Knowledgeable, smart, mature are common themes. If the school can find her a good supporting cast of assistant coaches and a new JV coach then she will have what she needs to be successful. The biggest reason for her success will be her players, and Memorial has a full cast of quality players ready to step up for the new coach. Returning at least 6 starters and a few more who tallied a ton of minutes is a great start. Replacing Gerry, Bowe, Barstad, Sorenson and Stow is a big task.

Lets start with the defense. Returning the likely All Conference GK is a really really good start for a new coach. Add to that 3 returning defenders of which two could be All Conference and you have the beginnings of a team who will not give up many goals and may have a ton of shut outs.

Midfield has Carmody returning and a few players ready for a bigger role; Graaskamp and Chambers. Out wide you have Beaudrie returning who logged a ton of minutes, scored 9 goals and had multiple starts. Finding a few more wingers with speed, skills and a big shot is on the list for Coach Hanson. Who will step up from the new Senior class and be a key contributor….which JV players are ready for Varsity….is there a Freshman newcomer ready for Varsity. Some of the answers to these questions will help fill out the roster. Every great team is deep and has quality subs, Coach Hanson will need to find a few more players to contribute. Up top, no way to replace the back to back Conference Player of the Year, just no way. So you just hope 2-3 players can fill in that space. Lauren Carmody (20 goals last year) is ready to assume the mantle of leading scorer, but Hanson will need to few more dynamic players up top to get the goals they lose with Stow. Stow was a bit of a safety blanket; she could score at any moment, from anywhere on the pitch, and had a ton of late big goals to win games. That’s gone….can they score by committee and can they increase the ball movement up top to create chances. Cant wait to see them play!

I wanted to drop in my last post from the spring wrapping up the season to get everyone ready for the new season. Take a quick walk down memory lane.

2018 Season in Review Memorial Girls

June 25, 2018 No Comments

So, a few weeks have passed and now it is time to reflect.  Memorial wrapped up their season in the Sectional Finals with a difficult 4-2 loss to Bay Port.  I could have written this blog last year…same result, Memorial loses to Bay Port in the Sectional Finals, just a different score 3-2 in OT.  Felt like this one was headed to OT until the cruel fates of soccer prevailed.  A shot to take the lead just misses and near full-time, Bay Port somehow finds the game winner on a shot that typically does not find the net.  In a game of inches, Bay Port found a way against a very good and determined Memorial team.  Bummer dude.  That sucks!   Tough way to go out…back to back years to Bay Port.  Does it help that Bay Port went on to win the State Title.  Not sure, but maybe it was just destiny…Bay Port lost in the State finals last year and was on a revenge tour to get back and win.  That on top of having some of the best talent in the state.  Tough combination.

So..a successful season by an awesome group of players or …..a disappointment to go out in the same round against the same team…YES.  I think you probably are feeling both, but mainly you just wanted to see this group make it to State.  They really deserved that.  Just dumb luck to have to face the State Champion in the Sectional Finals.  I felt this team had all the keys to a deep run.  Solid GK, tough defense, possession minded and aggressive midfield, dynamic forwards, experience….just needed a little luck as every team does to get to state.  Bummer dude…did I say that already?  So I am taking the great season approach!

So let’s take a little stroll down memory lane and recap the season for you.

Season Stats

Record: 18-3-1

Shut Outs: 9

Goals Scored: 119  (5.4 per game)

Goals Allowed: 22 (1 per game)

Conference Record: 14-0

Conference, Regional Champ

Player Stats- Goals Scored

Abigail Stow 37

Lauren Carmody 20

Josie Barstad 14

Jacque Beaudrie 9

Ali Bowe 8

Serena Sorenson 7

Ava Kison 5

Molly Graaskamp 5

Olivia Pasch 3

Madison Etzel 2

Morgan Priem, Sarah Lindsay, Rebekah Gerry, Jenna Hinden, Claire Steines 1 each.

A few thoughts:

Good News/Bad News.  34% of your goals are returning…but you lost the Conference Player of the year.

Stow was Hot late.  As the season progressed, Stow started to take over.  She scored 37, but 25 of those were in the last 9 games.  She scored the only 2 goals in the final game.

Post Season Honors

With a team this successful, you are going to have some players recognized for the individual performances.

Abigail Stow: Conference Player of the Year, 1st Team All Conference, 1st Team All State

Ali Bowe: 1st Team All Conference, 2nd Team All State.

Rebekah Gerry, Serena Sorenson, Ava Kison: 1st Team All Conference

Lauren Carmody, Leah Hujik: 2nd Team All conference

Jordan Barstad: Honorable Mention Big Rivers.  I think maybe Cameron Carmody as well, but not 100% sure I have that right, My apologies.  She certainly deserves it!

State Tournament Results

Division 1.  Bay Port over Sheboygan North 3-1 for State Title.  Interesting note: Bay Port’s only loss of the season was to Sheboygan North 1-0.  What a way to end your season, getting revenge on your only loss of the year and winning state after losing in the finals the previous year.  Story book stuff.  It’s a pretty cool story…except they beat us.  Bummer Dude!D

In case you were not aware, Memorial has a nice history in the state soccer tournament.  9 trips to State along with 15 BRC titles, and I think.  Impressive.

DeRusha Resigns

Hard to have a season recap without mentioning there is a change of leadership coming to Memorial Old Abes girls soccer program.  Scott DeRusha stepped down as Head Coach after a very successful 5 year run at the helm.  An impressive 99-16-3 record, 5 BRC Titles in 5 years and 1 trip to State.  Sure wish he had hit the century mark, would have meant a trip to state.  Bummer Dude!  It is a very attractive program for a head coach candidate.  Great program, successful history, rich tradition, dominant Conference record, a winning program with a chance to get to State every year.  Sounds pretty good.  Anxious to hear the replacement.  Can they keep their run going….will they reload and not rebuild….will they change systems…great questions.  I do know they have some serious talent to build around.  AND some serious talent coming into the program as Freshman next year.  All the best to Coach DeRusha, quite a run and quite a program he built.  Thank You!  The future is bright!

A few Highlights to Remember the Season

Started the season on an 13 game unbeaten streak.  Impressive.

Ranked as high as #2 in the State Coaches Poll in mid season.  The highest ranking I can remember for the program.

Winning Goal vs North

Maybe the Best Game of the Year.  A classic game of two really good teams.  Physical play, great athletes all over the field.  Down 1-0 late when Abigail Stowe did this.  This really sums up her Conference Player of the Year Award.  Wow!  And you just knew it would happen and DC Everest still couldn’t stop it.

Congrats to the 7 seniors on a great season and for your contributions to the program.  This will be a tough group to replace but the program is deep and the next wave is coming! Returning starters Hujik (GK), Ava Kison, Abby Jochimson, Gretchen Hanson (Defenders), Jacque Beaudrie (winger), Cameron Carmody (Midfield) and Lauren Carmody (Forward) make a solid foundation to build from.  A deep bench with players ready to fill the gaps from the Seniors.  A JV program full of potential.  Whose next!  Go Abes!

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Premier League Week 29 Quick Update

So, before we jump into Premier League a few quick Champions League updates. We are halfway thru the Round of 16 and 4 teams have advanced to the Quarter Finals. And a few surprises to report. With the Top 16 teams in Europe remaining, you have some really high quality teams. Generally, the quality shows thru and the top teams advance. But sometimes, sometimes fate just shines down on you a bit. The ball bounces your way, the errant pass falls at your feet, the gift from the gods drops into your lap….and you take it. That is a good description of the Manchester United vs. PSG match. You can sometimes have one piece of good luck in a match, maybe two, but three…oh my. Check out these highlights. The Hand Ball call to end the game was pretty amazing. It is a controversial rule that really needs a better definition. Seems it should be pretty obvious you are trying to block, handle or deflect the ball and not just an arbitrary striking against your body. Especially from a close distance. Pretty impossible to play soccer with your arms at your side. Attempting to play the ball with a hand or arm is the idea…..you be the judge in the replay…looks like a really fortunate call for Manchester and the call that moves them into the Final 8. A gift from the soccer gods for sure.

And we can’t talk about Champions League without mentioning Real Madrid. The greatest club in the world. Winners of the last 3 Champions League titles and 4 of the last 5. Real Madrid crashed out on the Round of 16 and by crash we mean they were humbled by Ajax. Coming into the second leg, Real had a 2-1 win and was in a good spot. Ajax took them down 4-1 and won on aggregate 5-2. And it all happened in Madrid….fans were stunned! Amazing result and a bit shocking really. Real hit the woodwork twice and Ajax punished them on the counter attack several times. A second half goal narrowed the aggregate to 1, but Ajax closed the door on a stunning free kick. Wow! Ajax, an historical European super club has not delivered many big results in the past 30 years. They won three straight European Cups in the early 70’s and dominated world football with their quality and style of play. In the 90’s they made back to back finals winning a 4th title. And then they kind of fell off the world stage. Is this a sign they are back? What a result! go Ajax! You think Real Madrid misses Christiano Ronaldo?

Now, on to the Premier League. Week 29 in the books, and it marks the first time since early in the season when Liverpool has not been #1. This is very interesting. A tough draw for Liverpool against Everton, 0-0, cost them 2 critical points and now they are looking up at Manchester City. How will they respond?

The race to finish 3-4 is also heating up. A key match between Arsenal and Tottenham ended in a 1-1 draw and allowed Manchester United and Chelsea to close the gap. The 4 teams are separated by only 5 points and Chelsea has a game in hand (has played one less game) so they can close the gap even further. Chelsea might be in a good spot if they can manage to win their next two, jumping them up to 3rd or 4th. A big game this weekend against 7th place Wolves is critical for their Top 4 hopes.

Let’s recap the winners from Week 29.

Manchester City 1-0 over Bournemouth

Watford takes down Leicester City 2-1.

Manchester United 3-2 over Southampton.

Crystal Palace 3-1 over Burnely.

Chelsea 2-1 over Fulham.

Brighton 1-0 over Huddersfield.

Wolverhampton 2-0 over Cardiff City.

West Ham 2-0 win against Newcastle.

Race for the Title & Champions League Top 4

Win-Loss-Tie 

1- Manchester City 23-4-2. 71 Points.

2- Liverpool   21-1-7 70 Points.

3- Tottenham  20-8-1   61 Points. No wins their last 3 games!

4-Manchester United     17-5-7   58 Points.

5-Arsenal  17-6-6   57 Points.

6-Chelsea   17-6-5  56 Points. Have only played 28, a game behind , so a win puts them 4th.

Wolves, Watford, West Ham United and Everton round out the Top 10.

Relegation Zone

There are now only 2 teams within 3 points of the 18th position and fighting to stay up.  Southampton (27), sit just outside the 18th spot and are hanging on to the Premier League. The new bottom three:

18. Cardiff City 7-18-4. 25 Points

19. Fulham 4-20-5. 17 Points.

20.  Huddersfield 3-21-5. 14 Points.

Unless something changes quickly, Huddersfield is toast! Fulham is about to be toast, but that 18th and last spot, man, that will be interesting.

Match Week 30 Preview

Game of the Week. #4 Manchester United vs. #5 Arsenal. A really big game for both clubs. Major implications. The loser drops back in the race for Top 4 and might not be able to recover. A draw really helps Chelsea and Tottenham. It should be a good one. Manchester United have used up a lot of mojo getting to this spot, feels like maybe its time for them to come back to earth. Everything has gone their way lately….can that continue?

Get ready for an exciting finish to the season. 9 games to go.

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Premier League Match Week 28 Update

Week 27/28 is almost in the books, just one game that was postponed will need to be played to finish off Week 27 and have everyone complete thru Week 28. We are back to midweek games so things are moving a bit quicker again. 10 Games left and things are getting pretty exciting at all levels of the premier League.

I think we can now say the battle for the Premier League crown is a two horse race; Liverpool vs. Manchester City. Only 1 point separates the two teams and there are 10 games to play. It is wide open. Manchester City has come into form and looks like they are ready to pounce on any mis-steps by Liverpool. Liverpool was feeling a bit of pressure in recent week, having given up a pretty good lead, but then they demolished Watford, a Top 10 team, 5-0. They seem like they are ready to hold on. It is going to be fun to watch the weekly ebb and flow of points. To bad they don’t play each other anymore, but still plenty of tough opponents for both along the last 10.

As well, the race for the Top 4 and qualification for Champions League is going to be a real battle. Tottenham have have faltered and lost the past two weeks. There are now 4 teams within 5 points of 3rd and 4th. Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. Two will make Top 4 and Champions League and two will be very disappointed. The game of the Week 28 was Tottenham vs. Chelsea and it gave us a few great moments.

I would like to say Chelsea had the most amazing moment of the game, but in reality it was Tottenham…but for all the wrong reasons. I think the OG will go down as one of the All Time Top 10. Really incredible how it went down. A goal kick…a header into space…a defender tracking the ball back towards his goal, but never looking up at his Goal Keeper…and then in a moment he will never live down, Kevin Trippier passes the ball back to the GK. But he is not there, he has come out to play the ball. The pass slides past the GK, almost in slow motion as it heads for the net. Stunned silence from Tottenham, pure joy from Chelsea. Pedro had a nice goal and Higuain almost hits the net so a well deserved 2-0 win for Chelsea.

The other massive game from Week 27 was Manchester United vs. Liverpool. As sometimes happens in big games, a 0-0 draw, but still a few nice moments. A goal called off for offsides always gets fans going. Check it out. Injuries, offsides and almost goals were the theme of the day.

The first Trophy of the year was passed out as well last weekend, The League Cup final between Manchester City and Chelsea. The game had very few shots, no goals, but did NOT lack for drama. OT and then a PK shoot out won by Man City. But the real story was how Chelsea having been embarrassed by Manchester City just two weeks ago, 6-0, outplayed and probably deserved to win in regulation. As well, the story is something I have never seen in all my years watching soccer. A player refused to be substituted, Chelsea GK, Kepa. The drama and craziness during a 5-minute span was gut wrenching. He wouldn’t leave. The coach went berserk. He had gone down twice with injury concerns, and the coach wanted him replaced. Kepa just would not leave, claiming he was good to go. A sub was on the touch line ready to come in….just crazy. The coach, Sarri, was hot! Check it out. I don’t know the language, but it doesn’t matter! You get the idea! Never seen it, might not ever see it again, what the heck Kepa…what were you thinking!

No draws this week. that doesn’t happen very often. Winners over the past week include:

Manchester City 1-0 over West Ham.

Liverpool crushes Watford 5-0.

Manchester United 3-1 over Crystal Palace.

Arsenal 5-1 whooping of Bournemouth.

Southampton 2-0 over Fulham.

Newcastle 2-0 over Burnley.

Leicester City 2-1 over Brighton.

Everton 3-0 win over Cardiff City.

Huddersfield with a big win over Wolverhampton 1-0.

Race for the Title & Champions League Top 4

Win-Loss-Tie 

1- Liverpool   21-1-6 69 Points.

2- Manchester City 22-4-2. 68 Points.

3- Tottenham  20-8-0   60 Points. Back to Back losses…ouch!

4-Arsenal  17-6-5   56 Points.

5-Manchester United     16-5-7   555 Points.

6-Chelsea   16-6-5  53 Points. Have only played 27, a game behind , so a win puts them 4th or 5th.

Wolves, Watford, Everton and West Ham United round out the Top 10.

Relegation Zone

There are now only 3 teams within 3 points of the 18th position and fighting to stay up.  Brighton (27), Southampton (27), sit just outside the 18th spot and are hanging on to the Premier League. The new bottom three:

18. Cardiff City 7-17-4. 25 Points

19. Fulham 4-19-5. 17 Points.

20.  Huddersfield 3-20-5. 14 Points.

Unless something changes quickly, Huddersfield is toast! Fulham is about to be toast, but that 18th and last spot, man, that will be interesting.

Match Week 29 Preview

Game of the Week. #3 Tottenham vs. #4 Arsenal. A really big game for both clubs. A classic North London Derby with major implications. Could
Tottenham really lose three games in a row and be in danger of dropping out of the Top 4. Can Arsenal really break their long spell of mediocrity and earn Top 4 spot. It should be a really good game!

Get ready for an exciting finish to the season. 10 games to go.

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FA Cup, League Cup,Champions League and Europa League Update

The Premier League took the week off and the focus shifted to the largest and most prestigious tournaments in Europe. This time of year the schedule gets a bit crowded, especially for top teams who are still active in multiple events, trying to fit in multiple games….and still stay competitive in the Premier League…quite a task. Let’s start with the oldest and most famous English Tournament, The FA Cup. It really is quite amazing.

The FA Cup

This is the grand daddy of English soccer tournaments.  It was started in 1870 and has run continuous since then.  The winners purse is $2,000,000 pounds.  Yes, that’s 20 times larger than the League Cup, also played with teams in English Soccer, but not quite as prestigious as the FA Cup.  Some serious cash for the winning team. Entry is available to the top 10 divisions of English football.  It is 100’s of teams who can gain entry into the tournament.  In theory, the local pub team in England can enter and win.  Not likely….but just knowing you could win makes this a really cool event with great history!  In 2011, over 700 teams entered the competition.  Crazy!  Due to the size and scope of the tournament, it starts in August each year and the finals are in May.

Here is what they are playing for…plus that cash we mentioned earlier.

We have now completed the 5th Round of the Fa Cup an here is a quick update on the remaining teams. We are down to the Final 8—Quarter Finals. The next games are March 16/17.

Waford vs. Crystal Palace. Two teams from the Premier League.

Swansea City vs. Manchester City. The favorite and top team from the Premier League against the 13th place team from the Championship Division. It’s kind of Like a #1 Seed playing a #8 Seed in the NCAA March Madness. A pretty big favorite in Man City….so let’s all cheer for Swansea!

Wolverhampton vs. Manchester United. Two teams from the Premier League, and since Man U knocked out Chelsea last weekend, we are all cheering for Wolves. Come on Wolves!

Millwall vs. Brighton. Another Premier League team (#14) verse a Championship Division team (ranked #19 in their league) . This would be like a #4 Seed in March Madness taking on a #10 seed. So we all know their is always an upset in March Madness with a lower seed team winning. Millwall is now my Favorite team left in Fa Cup. This would be a huge upset for a team ranked this low to get to the Semi-Finals, the Final Four. Let’s all cheer for the underdog. It’s what the FA Cup is all about.

League Cup Update

The finals are this weekend and the match up features this years most dominating European team, Manchester City versus struggling Chelsea. Manchester City is still alive in 4 huge competitions: League Cup, FA Cup, Champions League and also for the Premier League Title. A quadruple is still possible. Not sure if anyone has ever done the quadruple? I will research that. Their last match up in the Premier League, Manchester City humiliated Chelsea 6-0. And they play again just a few weeks later. Oh my. Any chance Chelsea can make it a game….any chance they can win….that is a big ask, but at least let’s make it a game Chelsea.

UEFA Champions League Update

Take the Top 32 Teams in Europe and put them together in a round robin format for the first round, home and away for the next round, Quarter Finals, and Semi-Finals and then an amazing Finals. It’s a pretty amazing tournament and features some of the most exciting soccer in the world. The best teams, the best players, the best stadiums…it makes for an amazing event. We are now in the Knock Out Round of 16. The first leg has been completed and here are the results.

Roma (Italy) 2 Porto (Portugal) 1

PSG (France) 2 Manchester United (England) 0

Tottenham (England) 3 Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 0

Real Madrid (Spain) 2 Ajax (Netherlands) 1

Lyon (France) 0 Barcelona (Spain) 0

Liverpool (England) 0 Bayern Munich (Germany) 0

Athletico Madrid (Spain) 2 Juventus (Italy) 0

Manchester City (England) 3 Schalke 04 (Germany) 0

The next games are March 5/6 and 12/13. Still a lot of drama with two games played at 0-0 draws. A few 1 goal games still give teams a chance to comeback and advance. Looks look at one of the crazier games from the last leg. Penalties, Red Cards, Free Kicks and a late goal…oh my. Enjoy.

Europa League Update

For teams not able to qualify for Champions League, we get the “little brother” tournament. Not the best teams, but still some pretty good teams, a few great players, the stadiums are a bit smaller…..but a pretty good tournament too. I am pretty interested this year, as Chelsea are in the Europa League…plus the winner gets a spot in next years Champions League…and that might be Chelsea’s on;y chance to get back to Champions league. Ugh! We are down to the round of 32, so still a ways to go. The Round of 16 is about set. The draw for the next round of games is soon, so more to follow once those games are announced. Still too many teams from too many countries but here are a few you probably recognize:

Spain: Sevilla, Villarreal, Valencia

Italy: Napoli, Inter Milan

England: Arsenal, Chelsea

Portugal: Benfica

Had to throw in a Chelsea game….it’s been a slow spell for them so had to take a win when I can and show some highlights.

Premier League kicks in again this weekend….so get your popcorn ready!

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Premier League Match Week 26 Update

Week 26 is in the books. 12 Games left and we now have a battle at all stages. A huge battle for the League Champion is now official. Manchester City is now officially in first in the Premier League. Liverpool seemed a shoo in at the midway point but that has all changed. Liverpool cooled off and Manchester City has gotten hot. Most feel Manchester City is the best team in Europe but Liverpool got out of the gates so fast. But now….its all square and Man City actually has the tie breaker on Goal Differential. It should be close the rest of the way. One note to consider: Manchester City have a game in hand, having already played 27 games….so all you Liverpool fans….win your next game and you are right back in first. I needed to create some drama, so kept that info for the end of the paragraph ! Bloggers prerogative!

As well, the race for the Top 4 and qualification for Champions League is going to be a real battle. Tottenham have positioned themselves in good shape, sitting at third and 9 points clear of 4th. The real battle is for the 4th spot. Three teams within 1 point. Surging Manchester United sit at 51 points. They have been hot but show signs they may have lost some form in the last few games. Injuries also are hitting them hard. Can they keep it going. Arsenal and Chelsea have both had some poor form recently and now sit at 50 points. Chelsea hit rock bottom this past weekend, suffering their biggest defeat in over 20 years in the Premier League losing 6-0 to Manchester City last weekend. It felt like 3-1 loss watching it live, but sometimes things can just unravel on you quickly. Manchester City had 5 shots in the first half, Chelsea had 8. The score at halftime Man City 4 Chelsea 0. Ouch. Two horrendous defensive mistakes, 1 amazing shot and 1 unfortunate tackle that ended up becoming a great layoff pass all turned into Goals. It was just that kind of day for Chelsea. Two great scoring chances were also snuffed out. As a Chelsea fan, hope they recover quickly, as it can’t get worse….I hope!

I hate doing it, but I guess I have to take my lumps. I had to show the amazing strike from Sergio Aguerro against Chelsea. It is his 11th hat trick in the Premier League, tying him for the career lead in hat tricks and a really, really good shot. Enjoy…I didn’t at the time but certainly appreciate the quality in this shot. wow!

As a treat, thought I would drop in the Top Goals of the year thru Week 26. Some pretty impressive strikes….which is your favorite. Enjoy!!

Winners over the past week include:

Manchester United 3-0 over Fulham.

Watford 1-0 over Everton.

Arsenal 2-1 win over Huddersfield Township.

Liverpool 3-0 over Bournemouth.

Cardiff City 2-1 win over Southampton.

Burnley 3-1 over Brighton

Tottenham 3-1 over Leicester City

Race for the Title & Champions League Top 4

Win-Loss-Tie 

1- Manchester City 21-4-2. 65 Points. Have played an extra game!

2- Liverpool   20-1-5 65 Points.

3- Tottenham  20-6-0   60 Points.

4-Manchester United     15-5-6   51 Points.

5-Arsenal  15-6-5   50 Points. 5th on Goals Scored Advantage

4-Chelsea   15-6-5  50 Points

Wolves, Watford, Everton and West Ham United round out the Top 10.

Relegation Zone

There are now 8 teams within 3 points of the 18th position and fighting to stay up.  Crystal Palace (27), Brighton (27), Burnley (27), Newcastle (25) and Cardiff City (25) sit just outside the 18th spot and are hanging on to the Premier League. The new bottom three:

18. Southampton 5-12-9. 24 Points

19. Fulham 4-17-5. 17 Points.

20.  Huddersfield 2-19-5 11 Points.

Unless something changes quickly, Huddersfield is toast! Fulham is about to be toast, but that 18th and last spot, man, that will be interesting.

Match Week 27 Preview

Game of the Week. #4 Manchester United vs. #1 Liverpool. A really big game for both clubs. Manchester United has surged but hope they take a loss….Chelsea needs some help. Liverpool need the win to take back control of 1st. Let’s go Liverpool!!

Get ready for an exciting finish to the season. 12 games to go.

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Premier League Match Week 25 Update

Time top catch up a bit. The Premier League is rolling along and this weekend is finishing up Week 25. 13 Weeks to go and things are definitely taking shape. Battles are forming for the League Winner, as well, battles will be fought for a Top 4 Finish and finally, the Relegation Zone is heating up as teams position themselves to remain in the Premier League next year.

A few big developments over the past few weeks, first, the big news, Liverpool is human, after losing to Manchester City they have NOT looked like a runaway League Champion. They look vulnerable. The past three weeks have produced a dramatic 4-3 win over Crystal Palace and then two draws against Leicester City and West Ham. Pretty underwhelming results. Manchester City has taken advantage of the dip in form for Liverpool. Over the past three weeks they have wins over Huddersfield and Arsenal but aso a confusing loss to Newcastle. They have picked up a point on Liverpool and after an early match this week have actually caught Liverpool with 62 points. Liverpool will play this weekend with the chance to regain the top spot, but the certainly of a Title no longer exists for Liverpool.

Chelsea have hit a drop in form and are holding desparately to the 4th spot. A bad loss followed by a big win, so the question is which team will show up. The game of the week was Manchester City vs. Arsenal and it featured a hat trick from the leagues best striker, Sergio Aguerro. The second goal is a thing beauty. The third goal…..well…not so much….I think a Hand Ball that was not called.

I keep finding highlights with the cool Spanish announcers. Exciting! Just sounds better in Spanish. In other developments, Gonzalo Higuain has delivered for Chelsea, scoring two goals in his home debut. Can the new striker keep Chelsea in the Top 4? Manchester United are still rolling, having not lost since they named their new manager and fired Mourinjo. Only 1 draw to blemish their run. Now sitting in 5th and looking like a serious threat to finish Top 4. It should be a pretty tight race beteeen Chelsea, Manchester and Arsenal.

Week 25 Recap

Winners over the past week:

Tottenham 1-0 over Newcastle. Kane. Ack soon, so watch out.

Wolves 3-1 over Everton.

Chelsea with the 5-0 thumping of Huddersfield.

Crystal Palace 2-0 over Fulham.

Cardiff City 2-0 win over Southampton.

Manchester United with a tight 1-0 win over Leicester City.

Race for the Title & Champions League Top 4

Win-Loss-Tie 

1- Manchester City 20-4-2. 62 Points. Have played an extra game!

2- Liverpool   19-1-5 62 Points.

3- Tottenham  19-6-0   57 Points.

4-Chelsea   15-5-5  50 Points

5-Manchester United     14-5-6   48 Points.

6-Arsenal  14-6-5   46 Points.

Wolves, Watford, Everton and Bournemouth round out the Top 10.

Relegation Zone

There are now 6 teams within 3 points of the 18th position and fighting to stay up.  Newcastel (24), Southampton (24), and Burnley (24) are sitting just outside the relegation zone. The new bottom three:

18. Cardiff City 6-15-4. 22 Points

19. Fulham 4-16-5. 17 Points.

20.  Huddersfield 2-18-5 11 Points. Unless something changes quickly, Huddersfield is toast!,

Match Week 26/27 Preview

Game of the Week. #4 Chelsea vs. #1 Manchester City. A really big game for both clubs. Manchester City chasing Liverpool and Chelsea hanging on to 4th. Somethings gotta give, probably Chelsea.

Week 27 features Liverpool v. Manchester United. Is Man U going to make some noise and be a player for Top 4 while hurting Liverpool’s chances to take down a Title.

Get ready for an exciting finish to the season. 13 games to go.

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