October 1, 2013

The return of Suarez and Midlands mayhem

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Welcome back, Luis Suarez.

That is certainly the sentiment of Liverpool fans – and fans of soccer and entertainment in general – after the Uruguayan star returned from his suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last season.

Sure, he actually returned for the Reds’ midweek Cup tie with Manchester United, but nobody cares about the Capitol One Cup.

The World Cup hand-baller looked as good as ever, potting two goals in Liverpool’s 3-1 dismantling of woeful Sunderland. Working with Premier League scoring leader Daniel Sturridge up top, this duo may be the best in the Premier League. And that’s high praise when you consider the duos of Olivier Giroud-Mesut Ozil, Wayne Rooney-Robin van Persie and Alvaro Negredo-Sergio Aguero (who sat this week with a “knock”).

This was already a club that has looked good enough to grab a spot in Europe at the least, now Liverpool could be looking at the Champions League – something that would definitely keep Suarez happy with the Merseyside club and would help the two sides avoid another summer of transfer speculation.

But can this team keep it up? Can Suarez keep himself under control? Or will we see the side that looked sloppy last season, dropped points to lesser clubs and saw Suarez suspended for yellow card accumulation?

It all remains to be seen, but for now, the Reds look to have what it takes to contend in the world’s toughest league.


Is it too early to start the “Moyes out” chants? United did the seemingly unthinkable, not just dropping points to a below-average West Brom side, but actually losing – and at Old Trafford.

Moyes has led United to a very weak seven points from six games now and actually sit just three points above relegation. If Sir Alex Ferguson were dead, he’d be rolling in his grave.

The new manager’s eyes were clearly on his side’s Champions League fixture on Tuesday, with an array of second-string players being fielded like Johnny Evans, Anderon, Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez, Alex Buttner and some bloke named Nani.

United’s noisy neighbours have no such excuses for their loss, fielding what was essentially its first team for the trip to Aston Villa.

Manchester City simply could not keep up with a Villan side that was missing its best player and stud goal-scorer, Christian Benteke.

But the hosts didn’t need the big Belgian. All it needed was a well-placed free-kick from Leandro Bacuna and some schoolboy defending – some that plagued both Manchester teams this weekend.

The Sky Blues’ top centreback pairing of Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic let a goal kick split them, allowing Andreas Weimann to waltz in and score the winner, while United’s Rio Ferdinand looked completely out of sorts on both Baggies goals.

So which loss was worse? City’s or United’s? Either way you decide, just know that dropping points to mid-table teams is a sure way to ruin you in the end.


If Suarez had done what Fernando Torres did to Jan Vertonghen on Saturday, would he receive a lifetime ban, or just one season?

Torres was caught scratching Vertonghen’s face after an argument during this weekend’s derby, something that should catch the eye of the disciplinary committee.

The two were at each other’s throats all day, starting when the Belgian defender took a disgraceful dive in Torres’ area in an attempt to draw a foul. That sort of simulation should get punished by a review board.

Both would see yellow cards through the game for fouls against each other with Torres ultimately being sent off for his second yellow on what can be considered another act of simulation by Vertonghen.

In all honesty, both players should be looking at bans for their disgraceful acts. Torres should get up to four for his face rake while the Spurs players should get at least a match for his two dives.


The most annoying thing in the world when trying to watch three games at once: Missing every goal while channel-surfing, as I did while flipping between the City-Villa and United-West Brom matches. Where’s the red-zone channel for EPL? … I personally saw three foul throw-ins called this weekend, which is about three more than I have ever seen in the Premier League … Arsenal’s biggest test to prove its worthiness atop the table is coming in November. The Gunners’ fixture list looks like this: vs. Liverpool, at United, vs. surprising Southampton. If Arsenal is still top after that, it could make a serious run for the title … Is Pablo Osvaldo the first Dothraki international to play in the Premier League?

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