“I have not failed. I have just found 10, 000 ways that won’t work.”
This quote by the great inventor Thomas Edison aptly describes the school of thought of the current Arsenal team and in particular its coach, Arsene Wenger.
After another nondescript season (their eighth without a title) Arsenal as always have had a sudden burst of enthusiasm towards the end of the season. After a winning run that was momentarily halted by a barren draw with Everton the Gunners are currently in fourth position, seemingly poised for a 16th consecutive Champions League qualification.
They say that success is measured in different ways. At Chelsea Jose Mourinho was shown the door despite winning 6 trophies in 3 glamorous seasons. In doing so he became the most successful manager in the club’s history. In other clubs a win percent of over 67% would have been sufficient for immortality. Not at Chelsea.
Liverpool is yet another classic example. In the period of time that Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal Liverpool have had 5 different managers in their quest for a return to glory.
A few years back the mere thought of discussing a replacement for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal would have been sacrilegious. Events of the recent past have now altered this reasoning, the tide has now shifted. The managerial position at Arsenal, once synonymous with Wenger is now seemingly up for grabs.
Minutes after Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup after a humiliating 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Championship side Blackburn, the long knives that had been barely sheathed all season long came out once again. The crescendo of boos at the Gunners home turf at the final whistle were resounding (one would even say deafening) and defined a turning point in the fortunes of a club that was once a European powerhouse.
It was not just the defeat, after all soccer is an adversarial sport with a winner in a cup tie the imminent tale of the joust; it was the manner of the defeat that rankled the Emirate faithful.
On 7th of February 2013 Liverpool defender James Lee Duncan Carragher better known to football lovers as Jamie Carragher announced that he will be hanging up his boots at the end of the 2012/2013 season.
Interestingly Jamie rejected a one year extension to his contract at the Anfield Club choosing instead to call it quits on an illustrious career while at the very top.
Jamie Carragher first ventured into football at the tender age of 7 when his talent was recognized by an under 11’s team called Merton Villa. He was then accepted at the Liverpool Academy at age 16 after a stint at the FA School of excellence. He ventured into professional football aged 18 in the 1996/1997 season and has been a permanent fixture at the top flight since then. He is one of the very few ‘one-club’ players remaining in the English premier League.
Liverpool vice captain since 2003, Jamie has played a total of 723 times for the Anfield club with 496 of those appearances being in the league and has been the backbone of the Liverpool defence for many years. The mental image of Jamie Carragher barking orders from deep in the heart of defence will be an everlasting memory.
On the 7th of January 2013 during the Ballon D’Or ceremony World Governing body FIFA revealed its FIFA/FIFPRO World XI for the 2011-2012 season.
The main laurel-the FIFA Ballon D’Or went to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. This was an expected announcement and very few (if any) would begrudge Messi that accolade. He was by far the outstanding performer of the past season.
The FIFA/FIFPRO final line up was another matter altogether. All the 11 players were from the La Liga and from either Barcelona or Real Madrid with the notable exception of Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao.
The World XI is a selection based on votes cast by professional players worldwide. For the 2011-2012 shortlist 50, 000 professional players cast their vote.
Taking into account these numbers one would suggest that the majority had their say but questions linger. Was the selection based purely on performance or did the voters choose their favourite players irregardless of performance?
Granted all the 11 players who made it to the final list are excellent players. However many have argued that the FIFA World XI must have a global face.
In recent times a debate has arisen as to whom is the better player and striker in the English premier League this season between the mercurial Luis Suarez of Liverpool or the indefatigable Robin Van Persie of Manchester United.
To be honest one can never really compare players and come up with an accurate analysis. This is mainly because different players tend to adopt different playing patterns, they have different attributes and their performance on the pitch on any given day can be dictated by their positioning and tactical placement by their respective coaches. Van Persie for instance is an out and out striker whereas Suarez often drops deep and creates chances.
However on the basis of available data considered along with other attributes one can try to determine who between the two has the edge over the other.
Both players have been on red hot form this season.