Sunday, April 15th, 2012
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “For me, that goal alone was worth £35m. The mix-up for the Everton goal was just one of those things, but I was partly to blame so when Andy scored at the end the main feeling was just relief. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if we had lost 1-0 because of my mistake. We didn’t start the game all that well but we showed we have not lost the ability to come back. I don’t think too many other teams would have been able to do that. David Moyes said the whole country wanted an Everton win, but I think he forgot that we have special fans who will always get behind us and believe.” – Jamie Carragher.
Runner-up: ”It is impossible for us. The race is finished.” – Roberto Mancini.
Peter Hill-Wood: “A few mindless people were saying that he had to go, that Arsene was past his sell-by date. He has shown that is nonsense.”
Liverpool: On The Quest For A Cup Double
Andy Carroll kept Liverpool on the road to Cup glory, but he has a long way to travel before he is the finished article (Henry Winter, Telegraph) Carroll must go back through the tape of this semi-final, looking and learning, perhaps inviting Rush to sit in with him, teaching him how to make his runs better, how to develop his penalty-box craft more. He remains heavily reliant on his left foot, constantly losing vital split-seconds by transferring the ball on to preferred foot. Sometimes it works well, Carroll turning deftly in the Everton area and rolling the ball back to Jay Spearing who should have given Liverpool an early lead.
Carroll rises above criticism to be the hero (Independent) Appropriately enough, with the Grand National being run back home at Aintree, it was a £35m striker much derided as a pony-tailed donkey who provided the thoroughbred moment to settle this Mersey squabble. Andy Carroll, for so long lampooned, produced the defining touch of quality in a largely arid FA Cup semi-final to ensure Liverpool return here next month.
He’s Suar quality (Sun) That Dalglish and Liverpool should be in a position to contest the final at all is down to one man. And, no, not Andy Carroll, scorer of the Anfield club’s 87th-minute winner. The player who did most of all to book Liverpool’s return to Wembley was Luis Suarez. He was the only player from either team to show even a hint of real class and was, by a country mile, the man of the match.
What About Everton
David Moyes beaten by history and Liverpool as Everton miss boat again (Observer) The bitter truth for Everton is that they will probably never get a better chance to break an FA Cup hoodoo against Liverpool dating back to 1906.
Man City, Still Not Gonna Win The EPL (& of course Balotelli nonsense)
Manchester City still not back in title race, says Roberto Mancini (Observer) The result was a drastic improvement in City’s recent away matches as their six-goal haul eclipsed their tally from the previous 10 away games combined but Mancini maintained that Manchester United are still certain to be crowned champions even though Sir Alex Ferguson’s team showed their vulnerability by losing at Wigan last Wednesday.
Mario: I need help (Sun) Mario Balotelli is ready to see a psychiatrist to save his Manchester City career.
Hat-trick Tevez still up to old tricks with TV walkout (Independent) Tevez’s joy at scoring a hat-trick later turned sour when he walked out of a television interview after being asked about a diving incident in the first half, for which he was booked.
The Refs Are Alright
Premier League referees look to emulate clubs’ no excuses culture (Observer) Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish, Mark Hughes and Roberto Martínez may not quite believe it but England’s leading referees have excellent eyesight. Whether or not they require contact lenses, all Premier League officials have frequent access to ophthalmologists who, apart from offering regular check-ups, specialise in training patients to improve their field of vision.
No-One Believes Chelsea Can Beat Barca
Pep Guardiola’s preaching converts quiet man Mascherano to Barca style (Observer) The search for a weakness in the Barcelona side that Chelsea face in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final this week often settles on the midfielder playing at the back, on the player who does not appear to fit the Barcelona philosophy. There is just one problem with that argument: it is not true. Not any more. Mascherano has had to relearn his trade; in fact, he has had to learn a different trade and he has had to be patient, waiting for his opportunity, accepting his fate. But he has started 24 times in the league and in seven of nine Champions League games, and become so important to Barcelona that the assumption that he will return to the bench the day everyone is fit no longer looks so secure.
Messi will sniff out any hint of Chelsea weakness, then strike (Gary Neville, Mail) I don’t want to appear overly pessimistic about Chelsea’s chances, but one of three things has to happen for them to have a chance in this tie — and none of them is directly in their control. First, Messi could get injured and be unable to play. Secondly, Barcelona could lose their discipline and get someone sent off. Thirdly, Barcelona are totally distracted by the ‘clasico’ league game with Real Madrid that takes place between the two legs against Chelsea.
Sorry Chelsea, but there’s no way you – or anyone else – can beat Barcelona (Ian Holloway, Independent) If Chelsea make it to the Champions’ League final, I will fall over in shock. I don’t mean that as any slight against Roberto Di Matteo’s team, and I sincerely hope I am proved wrong. But I just cannot see any way they can beat Barcelona.
Joey Barton: a man of two halves (Observer) Joey Barton, known for his violence both on and off the pitch, met suspicion when he began to tweet about everything from the FA to Nietzsche. So what’s he really like?
Said & Done (David Hills, Observer) Poland: Staff at a stall trading next to the official Widzew Lodz club shop, selling shirts with slogans including “Jew hunters” and “This is Widzew turf: Jews forbidden”, interviewed by local media: “These items sell well and make a decent profit. What’s wrong with that? This is a media witchhunt.”
Manchester United plan to sign a winger in the summer with Athletic Bilbao’s Iker Muniain the new target. Sir Alex Ferguson has also had his scouts checking on Lille’s Eden Hazard and Benfica’s Argentinian talent Nicolas Gaitan. (Star)