February 12, 2015

Super Mario scores – finally!

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It took roughly six months and 48 shots, but Mario Balotelli has finally scored – and he couldn’t have timed it better.

The Italian stallion’s first goal with Liverpool turned out to be the game-winner against Tottenham on Tuesday. And boy, should he and fans of the Reds feel relieved.

With the easy tap-in, his account is now opened and that huge monkey is off his back. Really, is was an opportunity that would’ve been nearly impossible to miss – thankfully for Balotelli.

Now, if Balotelli can start scoring anywhere close to the rate that he has in his career, the Reds could become the hottest offensive team in the league with Raheem Sterling in good form and Daniel Sturridge back from injury.

As for Tottenham, it put up a valiant fight, with the hottest player in the league Harry Kane scoring yet again. Kane now has five goals in the past three games and eight in the past six.

These two teams are going to be right in the hunt for places in Europe at the end of the season and this win gives the Reds a nice leg up. With five other teams above them at the top of the table, these two sides are likely going to be duking it out for the last Europa League spot.

And, in case you were wondering, the player with the most shots in the Premier League without a goal is now Manchester City’s Jesus Navas, while teammate Samir Nasri was actually next behind the Spanish winger on the list before scoring on Wednesday.


They came in two different ways, but both title contenders came up with three points on Wednesday.

Chelsea left it late, a minute after Everton’s Gareth Barry had been sent off for his second yellow, to snatch the win.

Willian’s goal was the definition of a seeing-eye goal – a shot that somehow made it through a bunch of buddies without even getting deflected and found the back of the net.

It wasn’t the best performance, but that doesn’t matter when it works. Jose Mourinho will surely drill his charges for looking a bit sluggish at times.

There was some good news for the Blues though; January signing Juan Cuadrado made his debut while Cesc Fabregas returned from a minor injury with a substitute appearance.

Manchester City didn’t have nearly as much trouble with Stoke City. Although the Potters did level the game at 1-1, the Citizens were able to pound in three more and take this one easily.

Sergio Aguero slotted home two to put him one behind Diego Costa for the league lead. But now for the bad news: Kun was subbed off with an apparent injury.

It seems that whenever something starts to go right for Man City, one of the wheels suddenly falls off.


In case you were wondering, Wayne Rooney hasn’t started as a forward this year, yet. While he has always been good at tracking back on defence, even when playing as an out-and-out striker, you have to think that this isn’t the best use of him. Playing as a central midfielder, you also have to wonder if Rooney is going to be happy in this role going forward and if he’ll stay at United through the summer … After Harry Redknapp’s resignation and the loss of top scorer Charlie Austin on the weekend, you would’ve thought QPR was in trouble on Tuesday, but it was hardly the case. With a 2-0 win over Sunderland, the R’s are now that little bit closer to escaping the relegation zone. Let’s just see them do it again, though … Leicester lost again and is now four points out of second last. This squad is doomed … Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace scrapped to a 1-1 with the gaffer’s former team Newcastle and, really, were robbed of three points after an amazing save by Tim Krul late on … Squad rotation is a great thing for a side like Arsenal. With two games so close and a nearly healthy, large squad, there was no loss of quality, even with some big changes to the lineup.


The inevitable has finally happened: Aston Villa has sacked Paul Lambert.

That’s what a run of 2-6-13 over the past 21 games will get you. The fact that this side has only scored eight goals in that span while allowing 33 doesn’t help either. Also, those two wins came in a row and Villa has been on losing streaks of six and five games.

With the team’s ownership in flux and American Randy Lerner trying to sell the team, this was always going to be a season in limbo for the Villans.

Unfortunately, it has gone a lot worse than many expected. Even with Christian Benteke back from injury, this team just cannot score.

This 2-0 loss midweek to Hull City was the last straw, apparently.

Now, I’m just not sure how exactly to turn this team around.

Would bringing on Tim Sherwood help?

Is there something more to be brought out from the players in this squad? It’s not like it can make any additions with the window closed.

Whoever takes the helm of the midlands club will be fighting for history as well: Aston Villa is one of just seven teams that have played in every season of the Premier League.

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