Posts Tagged With: Liverpool

It’s Up For Grabs Now! – The Title Decider

[Including: Merlin’s Premier League Stickers of the Week: Arsenal Legends… 1988/89]

With Premier League leaders Man United set to face second place Man City on Monday night in a match that could decide the fate of the title this season it seems like a good time to look back at another title deciding bout from the season I was born. In 1988/89 however, due to the Hillsborough disaster the meeting between the top two clubs was postponed until the very end of the season.

POS Club Pld W D L F A GD PTS
 1 Liverpool 37 22 10 5 65 26 +39 76
 2 Arsenal 37 21 10 6 71 36 +35 73

Anything other than an Arsenal win by at least two clear goals would see Liverpool clinch the title, the problem for the Gunners was that Liverpool had not lost by two or more goals at Anfield in three years, Arsenal hadn’t beaten them there since 1974/75 and Liverpool had never lost a match with both John Aldridge and Ian Rush up front!

“Now I’ve heard of Liverpool. They’re famous for being good, aren’t they? Gary Lineker, Peter Shilton, all that lot.”

– Jo in Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch

Despite Lineker and Shilton never having played for Liverpool, Jo had it about right.

Over to Mr George Graham…

 

“Arsenal come streaming forward now in surely what will be their last attack. A good ball by Dixon, finding Smith, for Thomas, charging through the midfield… it’s up for grabs now… Thomas, right at the end!!!”

– Brian Moore

Level on points, level on Goal Difference, Arsenal had won the league on goals scored:

Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 1 Arsenal 38 22 10 6 73 36 +37 76
 2 Liverpool 38 22 10 6 65 28 +37 76

Which brings us to the Premier League Stickers of the Week: the Arsenal team that started that day and brought the Division One trophy back to Highbury (although O’Leary features as an 80’s Panini because I somehow failed to collect him as either a player or a manager!)

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From 1993/94: John Lukic (Leeds United), Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, David Rocastle (Leeds United), Kevin Richardson (Aston Villa), Alan Smith (repeat)

From 1994/95: Steve Bould

From 1995/96: Michael Thomas (Liverpool!!!)

From 1996/97: Paul Merson

[Panini 1987/88: David O’Leary]

[All these (and more…) can be found in the Sticker Archive]

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Categories: Arsenal Legends, Flashback, Merlin Premier League Stickers of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merlin’s Premier League Stickers of the Week: Brits & Irishmen Abroad… Italy (Part 1)

Today it’s a selection of Premier League players who have also plied their trade in Italy…

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If you have a bit of time then take a look at this piece I wrote last year:

Mountain’s Blog – Football Italia: The all-time XI British & Irish footballers to play in Italy

or for a whole website based on English footballers playing abroad see Gav Stone’s Les Rosbifs.

From 1993/94: Ian Rush (Juventus 1987/88)

From 1995/96: David Platt (Bari 1991/92, Juventus 1992/93, Sampdoria 1993-95), Mark Hateley (AC Milan 1984-87)

From 1997/98: Paul Ince (Inter Milan 1995-97)

From 1999/2000: Robbie Keane (Inter Milan 2000/01)

[All these (and more…) can be found in the Sticker Archive]

Categories: Brits & Irishmen Abroad…, Italy, Merlin Premier League Stickers of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peter Crouch, Wonder Goals & Trevor Sinclair‽

There can be no doubt that Peter Crouch’s goal against Man City on Saturday was something special. Goal of the season? Almost definitely, it was sublime. The best he’ll ever score in his career? Quite possibly but it is certainly not the first ‘wonder goal’ he’s ever scored.

*Click on the pic for a gif of the goal

This is mostly due to the fact that Crouch is something of a specialist when it comes to the holy grail of finishes: the overhead kick, memorably producing this piece of magic (or it’s close relation the scissor kick) for Liverpool in the Champions League against Galatasaray as well as against Bolton and even against current club Stoke City during his time at Portsmouth. (Just don’t mention the air shot against Egypt… Although on the topic of Crouch for England you should really read this piece: The Peter Crouch Myth by Liam Ferry.)

Limbs everywhere! (and Rigobert Song!!!)

Overhead kicks are simply excellent, they exist in a world parallel to all other types of goal requiring perfect technique, concentration and athleticism as well as confidence and audacity. (Not to mention the fact that they’re almost impossible to recreate on concrete playgrounds!)

The video linked to below (because they won’t let me embed it) contains not only Crouch but a selection of the very best overhead kicks ever scored such as a ludicrous goal from Mauro Bressan against Barcelona. Unsurprisingly many are the work of some of the greatest goalscorers the world has ever known such as a top corner finish from Van Basten or some unbelievable improvisation from Ronaldinho (less so from Zlatan…). I am a purest however: the ‘overhead’ kick is not in fact the pinnacle at all, what is even better is a true bicycle kick.

For this there are only a couple of contenders. Firstly Rivaldo’s flawless goal against Valencia, the work of a true Brazilian great but by setting himself up, however brilliantly, he detracts from the technique required for the bicycle kick itself.

This leaves the greatest overhead kick of all time…

Possibly the greatest goal ever…

as the work of one Trevor Sinclair of Queens Park Rangers (1996-1997 season)

Textbook execution. Outside the box. Take a bow son:

YouTube: Overhead Kicks – Some of the greatest and the best in the world of Football

(apologies in advance for the OC soundtrack)

1995/96 (QPR were relegated to Division 1 for 1996/97)

(For just the Sinclair goal, with a much more amusing Babylon Zoo soundtrack, click here)

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Merlin’s Premier League Stickers of the Week: I Remember When You Played… Pundits (Part 1 – Sky Sports)

This week it’s a look back at the glory days of some of Sky Sports’ finest…

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From 1993/94: Paul Merson, Tony Gale, Alan Smith, Iain Dowie

From 1994/95: Jamie Redknapp, Paul Walsh,

From 1996/97: Gary Neville

[All these (and more…) can be found in the Sticker Archive]

Categories: I Remember When You Played..., Merlin Premier League Stickers of the Week, Pundits | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merlin’s Premier League Stickers of the Week: Are you still playing??? (Part 1)

Merlin Premier League sticker albums 1993-99

Merlin’s Premier League sticker albums were simply brilliant. Starting in the 1993/94 season they were both a hobby and an encyclopaedia for a young kid taking their first steps into football fandom.

I’ll be posting a handful of stickers every week starting with some players who featured in the earliest albums and are still (sort of) going almost 19 years later.

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Featured in 1993/94: Ryan Giggs (still playing for Man Utd – almost 19 years at the very top), Robbie Fowler (after spells in Australia and Thailand was due to play in the IPL style Premier League Soccer before it was postponed – recently on trial at Blackpool March 2012), Nicky Barmby (retired Jan 2012 to become Hull manager), Sol Campbell (released by Newcastle Utd May 2011).

Featured in 1994/95: Paul Scholes (still in the youth team in 1993/94 and had retired in May 2011 but is still going today at the highest level).

Honourable mentions: David James (1994/95 – currently playing for Bristol City), Gary Speed (1993/94 – retired May 2010), Frank Sinclair (1993/94 – currently playing for Colwyn Bay).

[Every player mentioned above can be found in the Sticker Archive]

Categories: Are you still playing???, Merlin Premier League Stickers of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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