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.
Harry Houdini (born Erik Weise) was a legendary stunt performer noted for his sensational escape acts.
His name sake Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp will be the modern day Houdini if he miraculously untangles QPR from the shackles of relegation.
After Liverpool crushed QPR 3-0 at Loftus road few expected them to leave Stamford Bridge with anything less than a hiding in their next fixture.
However QPR went to the Bridge on the 2nd of January 2013 and sensationally beat Chelsea 1-0 thanks to a venomous shot by ex-Chelsea player Shaun Wright Phillips.
Only one club has survived what is known as the ‘Christmas curse’ .Since the 20 years the Premier League has been in existence the club bottom of the league at Christmas has been relegated. The notable exception was West Brom in the 2004/2005 season.
The English premier league has so far this season served a tantalizing menu of scintillating football, breath-taking upsets, massive wins and edge of the seat action.
As the teams approach the New Year many clubs will be keen to dip their fingers into the transfer market. Some to make much needed additions while others will be seeking to stem a crisis. Below is an overview of the likely transfer deals and what options various clubs may be looking at:
- MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester United are sitting pretty at the top of the log. Boasting a total of 46 points from 19 games and a massive goal difference of 20 the Red Devils as they are popularly known also lead the form table with a total of 16 points out of a possible 18 in their last six games.
The age-old resilience of Manchester United has been present all through this season and was best typified by their incredible Boxing Day come-back win against Newcastle. Despite being behind three times against the Magpies Manchester United kept coming back for more and eventually won the thrilling tie 4-3.