Well we might have a little longer to wait before we see some more Premier League soccer with this week off, but that just gives you more time to join in on the conversation here right?
Week 22 was both a good week to be a Blues fan, a bad week to be a Blues fan and an even worse week to be a Blues fan....although it's still somewhat debatable in which order the latter two go. Let's start with the good...
Chelsea Goes Swan Hunting:
When Chelsea is having a good day, they are downright terrifying. This past weekend they headed on over to Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City in a match that most would have Chelsea winning, but I'd find it hard to believe anyone who would have predicted the final score. In an absolute annihilation, Chelsea pulled out a 5-0 win on the road against The Swans and took a five point lead over Man City at the top of the table, at least until Sunday when Man City would face the Gunners, but we'll get to that a little later.
Everton Stays Lackadaisical With a Draw Against West Brom:
For Everton, a draw seems like an alright result these days, but a draw against an opponent ranked lower than you is hardly anything to get excited about. The match itself also yielded some harsh criticism on its lack of excitement from both analysts and fans alike. The Premier League Title is all, but mathematically out of reach for Everton this season (might even be mathematically impossible, but I am not in a math mood at the moment) and a spot in the Champions League seems highly unlikely (that itself might be an understatement), but personally I feel like this group of guys could at the very least get on a good run in these next few months. Just a question of what it will take to make it happen.
After knocking off Stoke City last week, Arsenal headed to the Etihad to face the Reigning Champs with hopes of getting a second win in a row, something that hasn't been easy to come by for the Gunners so far this season. We all know Arsenal has all the potential to be a top team, it's just been a matter of consistency. However, after week 22...things might be looking up.
Beating Stoke City is one thing, but beating Man City at the Etihad is a whole different story and that's exactly what Arsenal did, blanking City 2-0. This result kept the Gunners in 5th place overall and also helped those under 2nd place in reeling in the current Champions.
Their next match against Villa is a VERY winnable match, if they can get three in a row? It might be time we all started looking at the Gunners.
And now it's time for my matches of the week, as always let me know what your predictions are in the comment section!
Crystal Palace v. Everton
Alan Pardew is feeling good lately at the helm for Crystal Palace. With two wins in a row, one against Tottenham and the other against Burnley, there has to be a burst of confidence at Selhurst Park regardless of the level of competition they have put away.
Being that Crystal Palace has proven they can find the back of the net lately and Everton well.....hasn't, I am going to take Crystal Palace in this one. My prediction: Crystal Palace 2 - 0 Everton
Chelsea v. Manchester City
It's going to be an all blue affair at Stamford Bridge come January 31st as Chelsea will have a chance to stretch out their lead on City and it is my belief that they will do so. Being that I am pretty much non partisan when it comes to most of these matches, I apologize if it seems like I am jumping on the Chelsea bandwagon, but let's be honest everybody.....they look to be a team destined for the title.
My prediction: Chelsea 3 - 1 Man City
Southampton v. Swansea City
It's hard to tell how a team will react to getting thwomped the way Swansea did in week 22, but with Southampton back on track lately, The Swans will have their work cut out for them.
The Saints are coming off of back to back wins against Man U and Newcastle respectively and it is my guess that they will keep this train rolling against their Welsh opponents.
My prediction: Southampton 2 - 1 Swansea City
As always thanks for reading and please jump in with your thoughts!
Hard to believe we are already headed for week 22 in the Premier League. Where has all the time gone?
When it comes to my personal predictions, I didn't have a bad week this week. Only stumbled a bit with the Everton/Man City tie (I called a 3-0 blowout). However, I did call the Liverpool/Sunderland match perfectly and had the right margin of victory in the Chelsea/Newcastle rematch. Before we get to my matches of the week for week 22 though....some thoughts on week 21.
Of Course You Would, Everton
After so many weeks of abysmal performances against mediocre at best teams, of course Everton would manage a draw against the reigning champions from Man City. This result would leave the door open for Chelsea to take sole possession at the top of the table once again.
Just goes to show you...nothing is certain in the Premier League
Don't Call it a Comeback
Weren't the Saints supposed to be falling from grace? Didn't the clock strike midnight on the Cinderella Story? Didn't someone tell Southampton that the expectations were gone?
Obviously not, because Southampton have fought their way back into the Top 3 with a 1-0 win over Manchester United. Although they are still 10 points shy of first place, Saints fans can hold onto hope once again as their gritty side continues to overachieve even when many of given up on them. This week Southampton proved why they are one of the funnest stories of the 2014/15 season so far.
Foxes Get Three Points from Villa
At this point in the season, recently promoted Leicester City is playing to stay away from relegation and in week 21 they took a step in the right direction with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa.
With Hull City and QPR (especially) struggling as of late, I have this feeling the Foxes could actually escape relegation this season as they've managed to keep matches close with many of their opponents this season regardless of how talented the opponent is. I get the feeling Leicester is one of those sides that is just a couple acquisitions away from climbing up to mid table if they can stick around for one more season.
Now for my three matches of the week, as always....quit being a wallflower! Share your thoughts and predictions as well in the comment section!
Match 1: Leicester City v. Stoke City
Perhaps it's my love of an underdog or it's just the fact that foxes are generally one of the coolest animals out there, but I am loving the thought of a run of good play from Leicester to stave off relegation and so I am liking them to pull one out over Stoke City. Now don't get me wrong, I have always been a fan of the Potters as well, being that they've been one of the more likely squads to give Americans abroad time on the pitch, but I am all about the foxes right now.
My prediction: Leicester City 2 - 1 Stoke City
Match 2: Swansea City v. Chelsea
Chelsea is enjoying their alone time at the top of the table once again, but Swansea City - much like many other mid table squads this season - is always unpredictable especially when going against a team they are supposed to lose to. I actually foresee an upset with this one.
My prediction: Swansea City 3 - 2 Chelsea
Match 3: Manchester City v. Arsenal
Man City will be hungry to get three points after only getting one against lackluster Everton, but Arsenal did look impressive with a 3-0 win over Stoke City in week 21. That said, if we go with Arsenal's season so far, that win would almost certainly mean a head scratching loss this week. For that reason alone, I find it hard to put any money on Arsenal.
My prediciton: Man City 4 - 2 Arsenal
Let us know what you think!
Who's ready for some Premier League action again? It seems like it we've only had like.....one day of it all year long!
That day on January 1st did happen to be quite the tumultuous one as it saw Manchester City make it's way to the top of the table (with company), as well as a bounce back from a former Top 3 team. Let's start with that...
Gunners Shoot Blanks
Southampton has been on their way down the table lately, but it hasn't been a free fall quite yet. Just when we thought we'd heard the last from them, the Saints manage to pull a big win out and prop themselves up again....even if only slightly.
Their last win came against Arsenal who couldn't manage to find the back of the net against Southampton and continued to prove that the only thing consistent with the Gunners is their inconsistency. With the win, the Saints managed to keep themselves in 4th place and keep the Gunners out of the Top 5.
Gunfight at White Hart Lane
It's not like Chelsea brought a knife to a gun fight, but they certainly didn't bring the bigger weapon as they fell to the Spurs in a 5-3 barn burner. The loss is only the second so far this season for Chelsea, but it brought their record to an exact copy of Man City's (both sit at 14-4-2) and as a result, Chelsea now have company at the top of the table after quite some time without any.
On the other side of things, the win couldn't have come at a better time for the Spurs as they were able to take advantage of some other teams struggling as of late and now find themselves just three points out of the Top 3.
Another Twist on the Merseyside Roller-coaster
Many of the people I talked to over Twitter at the end of 2014 thought that Liverpool stood the best chance of the under performing teams to make a run for the title in 2015. That thought process may change after Liverpool's 2-2 draw with the Foxes of Leicester City. A match like that against an assumable weaker opponent could have really helped Liverpool claw their way back into contention. However, only getting one point against the last place team in the league is no where close to optimal.
Merseyside's team who likes to rock the blue had an even worse time in their first match of 2015 as Everton lost 2-0 to Hull City. There really isn't a lot to say about this result besides the fact that I never thought at the beginning of the season that I would have expected this kind of result, yet here I am after week 20 and I am not shocked one bit. Something huge needs to change in Everton. Sincerely, -Captain Obvious.
P.S. At least Mario Balotelli is having a good time on Instagram though, you get 'em Tiger.
So now for my picks of the week. As always, quit being so shy and join in by commenting with yours below.
Match 1: Everton v. Man City
It would be soooo like the Premier League to have this one end up as an Everton win right? But let's be realistic for a second. Everton has been terrible this season.....so terrible and Man City is on a roll right now and most likely feeling like the champions that they currently are.
This one isn't even close: Everton 0 - 3 Man City
Match 2: Sunderland v. Liverpool
Not sure what the mood will be like with Liverpool now knowing their long time star, Steven Gerrard will be leaving the club after this season for the bright lights of Los Angeles, but regardless of their poor outing against Leicester, I think it's safe to say Liverpool should at least squeak out three points against a sputtering Sunderland side.
Not an overwhelming win, but my prediction: Sunderland 0 - 1 Liverpool
Match 3: Chelsea v. Newcastle
After suffering their first lost of this Premier League season against Newcastle, you can bet the Blues will be out for revenge in this rematch. With Man City playing what should be an easy match against Everton, it will be very important for Chelsea to get three points from this match as not to let Man City take over control of 1st in the league all by their lonesome. Personally I feel like Chelsea is up to the task.
My prediction: Chelsea 4 - 2 Newcastle
It's the last day of 2014 and what a year it has been. Although there is a lot to look forward to in 2015, it's hard to be as quite as hyped about it as 2014, being that it's not a World Cup year...although the girls will be going at it up in Canada come June and there is little doubt that this will be one of the most competitive Women's World Cups yet.
Although there are plenty of great moments to take away from 2014, many have already covered these happenings and so instead it is time to look forward to 2015 and what we are most excited for.
FIFA Women's World Cup
As mentioned above, the Women's World Cup will be taking place in the Summer of 2015 across the border up north in Canada. For those of us who are die hard soccer fans, there is little doubt any of you will have trouble remembering the match between the USA and Canada during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London which saw the USA narrowly defeat the Canadians in a somewhat controversial semifinal match. The USA would go on to win the Gold Medal, but the Bronze that Canada went home with has no doubt left a very bitter taste in their mouths ever since.
It used to be that the USA was the main powerhouse in Women's Soccer, at least when it comes to consistency. Sure Brazil, Japan and China have all had their goes and even their upsets against the Yanks, but for the most part the USA has always been a solid favorite in every major tournament they've been in. That will all change this year.
After losing to Japan in a shootout during the last Women's World Cup, USA will definitely be looking for redemption in 2015, but they will be facing a gauntlet of teams who are much better prepared than they ever have been before. Old foes like the aforementioned Canadian, Japanese, Chinese and Brazilian sides will be there, but so will extremely strong teams from France, Germany and England.....just to name a few. Even USA's group will be a tough one with Australia and Sweden joining them. It might not be the "Group of Death" that the men saw in 2014, but the talents that have come out of Australia in Women's soccer lately are - for lack of a better term - damn good.
Some soccer fans will still grumble a bit about Women's Soccer, but it should only take watching a few highlights from both the last Women's World Cup and the last Olympics to turn those grumbles into.....well whatever sound you make when your interest is being peaked. I for one can't wait to see Alex Morgan and the crew back out there come June.
CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015
Have no fear....the USMNT will be back as well. Although it might not be on the World's Stage, it will be against some of their biggest rivals from North America, The Caribbean and Central America and after CONCACAF's overall performance in this past year's World Cup? This Gold Cup could be shaping up to be one of the best ever.
Soccer in the states has been growing in leaps and bounds lately and personally I am excited to see a potentially very competitive tournament here on this side of the globe. In past years it's always been about USA and Mexico (besides 2000 where Canada won their only title), but this year you can bet teams like Costa Rica and Honduras will be looking to build off of their experience in the World Cup as well.
It will be odd to see a USMNT side without Tim Howard between the pipes, but it is likely familiar faces like Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore will be there, not to mention all of the youngsters who we saw grow up in Brazil should be back and ready to show what they've got. A good showing will also mean the world to Head Coach, Jurgen Klinsmann who saw a rough ending in 2014 after an inspiring start.
Premier League Title Race
A day before we see some New Year's Day Premier League action, the Top 3 teams (Chelsea, Man City and Man U) have managed to remain in their respective places week to week by having the exact same results. All three teams saw draws recently which made the "Monkey See, Monkey Do" feeling all that more real.
Although both squads out of Merseyside have seen trouble this season, Liverpool's recent thrashing of Swansea might be something for the Reds to build on. Some Premier League fans that I asked over twitter seem to think Liverpool does have the best chance at making a jump into the Top 3 in 2015.
Either way, the run for the title should be a very exciting one as all of these teams are rivals with each other and have a history. If only Everton could get their heads on straight right?
UEFA Champions League
After an all Madrid final in the 2013-2014 UEFA Champions League, personally I'd like to see the next one be a little spread out, but hey....it was a crazy final to say the least.
Real Madrid already looks extremely tough in Group Play as their record remains unblemished. That said, their predecessors from Munich have only dropped one game so far and look like the machine that they were in 2012-2013 as well.
However the tournament ends, you always know it's going to entertain.
From everyone here at Who Are Ya Designs, we wish you all the best for 2015 and hope you will be watching all of these tournaments along with us!
Happy Holidays everyone! I thought I would take this moment to bring to you the Top 3 gifts we were given from the soccer world this year starting with....
3. DeAndre Yedlin
The Seattle Sounders saw something in the young defender first. Yedlin was the first homegrown signing for the Sounders and became an integral part of the popular franchise before he was out of his teens.
Jurgen Klinsmann also happened to see something in the youngster and in turn named him to the final USMNT squad that went to Brazil. Yedlin's speed impressed more than just the American soccer fans which resulted in a number of European squads looking to land the Seattle native.
Although Roma was the early favorite, it was Tottenham who finally got Yedlin's signature and as of this week he is cleared to work overseas. You can bet the Sounders, as well as the city of Seattle will miss Yedlin a ton, especially after just falling short of an MLS Final this year, but it should be very exciting to see what he can do in the Premier League....
Let's just hope they don't leave him on the bench.
2. Tim Howard in the World Cup
Depending on who you are, the USMNT either had a HUGE year in Brazil or they were disappointing, but one thing every soccer fan can agree on is that Tim Howard was amazing. His record setting performance against the Belgians was super human and it's safe to say the Yanks would have had a much tougher time navigating through the Group of Death if they didn't have the brick wall that is Tim Howard between the pipes.
It will be strange to watch the Red, White and Blue play without Howard in 2015, but we can hold onto hope that it is at this point only a year hiatus for him. Zero doubt, Tim Howard was the MVP for the USMNT this year.
1. John Brooks' Goal against Ghana
The win against Ghana for the USA could be one of the most important wins in the history of American soccer. Ghana had always had USA's number up until that match and to exorcise that demon was gigantic. The win also woke up a nation to a point where nearly everyone was a soccer fan for a month in the Summer of 2014. For a month, Americans just simply believed.
The win also brought us one of the greatest moments of the year. The look of disbelief and absolute joy on John Brooks' face after scoring the game winning goal in a match where Captain Clint Dempsey scored the fastest American goal in history is still goosebump inducing to this day. The USA might not have won the World Cup, in fact they didn't even come close, but they got one step closer in making the world believe in them as much as their country did for that one month in the Summer of 2014.
I hope you all are having a wonderful Holidays and hey....if you got a little cash or perhaps a Who Are Ya gift card? Time to do some shopping right!?
See you in the 2015.
Well it was a rough week in the Premier League when it comes to my predictions. The only win I got right out of the three featured matches was Man U and Liverpool's tilt, while the others were a bit off to say the least, but we'll get to that in a minute.
The Saints Continue to Fall From Grace:
So the match I had as somewhat of a bounce back for Southampton turned out to be an even darker plummet into the abyss. After enjoying time near the top of the table for the majority of the season so far, Southampton's recent spell of less than stellar results hit a new low with a loss to Burnley.
We have a word for teams like Southampton in the sports world, "Pretender". It's not a particularly nice word, but sometimes it's the one that fits. I felt like Southampton did enough early on to keep themselves away from that label, but lately I wonder if their Cinderella style story had me a bit blinded.
Arsenal Spanks Newcastle:
The Gunners haven't been having quite the season they wanted to yet, but they got one step closer to turning things around this past weekend. After Newcastle handed Chelsea their first loss of the season, Arsenal gifted them a proverbial smack to the face in the form of a 4-1 romp at Emirates Stadium.
I had this match as a 2-2 draw as I had lost faith in Arsenal having any killer instinct left. I am sure there are many Gunners fans out there who are beyond happy that I was wrong, wrong, WRONG.
Cruising at the Top:
Although one of the teams in the Top 3 is a little newer than the other two, all of the Top 3 teams were able to dispatch their opponents and keep pace with each other.
Chelsea - as expected - shutout Hull City with a 2-0 win and remain in first place, Manchester City squeaked out a 1-0 win against the Foxes of Leicester City and Man U solidly defeated their rival (one of many) Liverpool 3-0.
All three of these teams look to be in top form, even if Man City had a bit more trouble than was expected against Leicester. It should be very interesting to see which one of these teams will break first.
Alright, time for my three featured matches of the week. Please do play along if you're reading this. Leave your predictions in the comments section!
Match 1: Southampton v. Everton
Everton finally broke through with a win this past week, but it was against a struggling QPR side. Southampton on the other hand continues to fall against struggling sides. Neither of these teams are looking fantastic right now, but at least one is on the upswing. My prediction: Everton 1 - 0 Southampton
Match 2: Liverpool v. Arsenal
Liverpool found themselves on the losing side of things once again in week 15 against their Man U rivals. In fact they were never really in the match. Arsenal on the other hand routed Newcastle who has shown to be formidable opponent more than once this season. This one is kind of interesting being that it is in Anfield and given the fact both teams have been terribly inconsistent, it has all the makings of a draw. My prediction: Liverpool 1 - 1 Arsenal
Match 3: Stoke City v. Chelsea
Stoke City is kind of like Newcastle in the way that they love to play spoiler against the big boys. Chelsea knows all about that, as they suffered a loss to Stoke last season when they really could have used a win. Chelsea didn't seem to have a problem bouncing back after their first loss, but it's not like Hull City was ever much of a worry. Stoke should give them a little more trouble. My prediction: Stoke City 2-1 Chelsea.
Remember to comment with your predictions! Happy Holidays!
Well we're not quite half way through the Premier League season, but after week 15 certain scenarios are starting to take shape that could just have a good chance of holding on. It was another dramatic week of footy, but hey....that's what we all hope for and expect right?
Arsenal gets STOKE'd:
So many people would love to see Arsenal have a break out season and these past few years we've seen glimpses of that sort of potential out of Wenger's squad. However, the Gunners continue to be that team who shoots themselves in the foot (pun maybe intended?) when it comes down to crunch time. Hanging out around the bottom of the Top 5 in a season that has been a little bit scatterbrained should give Arsenal the perfect opportunity to jockey themselves into a position to make a run for it come Spring of 2015. This week against Stoke City should have been the perfect chance to make up a little ground.
As most of you know though...that didn't happen. Arsenal didn't just have a disappointing draw with Stoke City, they lost to Stoke City. Not to mention they gave up three FIRST HALF goals to Stoke City, a team who has really had it's offensive struggles.
The Gunners have the goods, but their lack of consistency just keeps bringing them down. Some people are worried about their defense, but I just don't see that really being a huge issue. In the games they've won (including Champion's League), they have shut down potent offenses quite nicely. The problem is the fact that we don't know if they are going to come to play each game or not.
The Merseyside Whirlpool:
Both Liverpool and Everton continued to struggle this week and yes...I know it is starting to make me sound like a broken record. I had both of these teams rounding out the Top 5 in my preseason predictions and I have to admit, I am still a little stunned by their constant stumbles.
Liverpool only managed a 0-0 draw against an abysmal Sunderland side and Everton lost a 1-0 game to Man City. It's hard to decide which team showed more promise, since Liverpool does continue to at least pick up points, but then again....it was against Sunderland. Everton didn't manage to take any points from their match, but hey, Man City is a Top 3 team right now. Neither team could find the back of the net though which kind of speaks volumes for how their respective seasons have gone so far.
Still plenty of soccer to be played, but this has to be one of the more frustrating seasons for Merseyside fans from either side.
The Red Devils Join The Party:
There were plenty of great jokes about Manchester United at the start of the season when they couldn't seem to buy a win, even against weak competition, but all that has seemed to change as Man U now finds themselves at the grownups table with their two biggest Premier League Rivals.
After an exciting start for Southampton, a recent run that has seemingly brought them back down to earth put Man U in a position to leapfrog the Saints for third place. They would have to do it on the road at St. Mary's stadium and do it....they would. It was a hard fought match, but a brace from the recently criticized Robin Van Persie would be enough for the Red Devils to beat Southampton and take three points back to Old Trafford.
If this trend continues, it makes for a pretty exciting Top 3. As I mentioned earlier, just above Man U are their two biggest rivals, Chelsea and Man City. It's the sort of Championship run that TV stations dream about.
Alright, time for my three matches of the week. As always, please do play along and give me your predictions as well!
Burnley v. Southampton
After a recent trip back from the clouds, this should be the perfect match for Southampton to get back on track. Burnley is still getting used to the competition level in the Premier League and Southampton has the better team if they haven't let their last few matches bring them down mentally. My prediction is a 2-0 win for Southampton.
Arsenal v. Newcastle
Newcastle kind of has something in common with Arsenal and that's a lack of consistency. Their last two games include a draw with Burnley and a win over previously unbeaten Chelsea. I am not sure if Arsenal's loss to Stoke City will ignite a fire under them or bring them down, but I am pretty sure that Newcastle will be feeling pretty cocky after handing Chelsea their first loss of the season. Since the game is in Emirates Stadium though? My prediction is a 2-2 draw.
Manchester United v. Liverpool
This match is very interesting because it will show us if Man U has just been a pretender these past few weeks or if they really are in the hunt for a title. Liverpool is struggling, but they have the talent if they figure out how to use it and a win against Man U would be great for team morale. If Liverpool wants to take three points though, they would have to do it at Old Trafford and I am not sure they have the ability to do so. There is a good chance this match ends in a scoreless draw, but I am feeling like gambling a bit, so with that said.... My prediction is 2-0 Manchester United
So there are my thoughts on Week 15 and my predictions for Week 16. Time to chime in with yours now!