Thursday, March 31, 2011

Premier League Injury Update: March 31st

Chelsea: The Blues' recent signing Yossi Benayoun has been out of action since October, after getting surgery on his knee. He played in Isreal's Euro qualifier against Georgia this week, and will be looking forward to return to play for Chelsea. I was actually wondering where he went. 

Arsenal: During today's training session for the Gunners, Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby and Alex Song were all seen training at full strength. Arsene Wenger is confident that all four will be ready for Saturday's match against Blackburn. Also, Robin Van Persie should be ready for the match after his injury during Holland's Euro qualifier against Hungary was ruled to be not very serious. This will be a huge boost for Arsenal.

Tottenham: After recently recovering from a groin injury, Jonathan Woodgate returned to play in a friendly against Barnet. But, he was taken off with a calf-problem, and will miss the Spurs' Champions' League quarter-final against Real Madrid. This could be a major setback, despite Huddlestone coming back from injury. Also, Gareth Bale has a hamstring injury which occurred when training with Wales, but he could possibly feature against Real Madrid. Aaron Lennon should also be back after pulling out of England's friendly with Ghana.

Bolton: Stuart Holden will be out for approximately six months after sustaining ligament damage from a hard tackle by Manchester United's Johnny Evans. For the hard tackle, Evans received a straight red. This is a huge blow to the American, who in my opinion was one of Bolton's most consistent players at Bolton and in the USA National team.

Liverpool: Steven "Captain Fantastic" Gerrard could be back from a groin surgery for Saturday's match against West Bromwich Albion. He took part in most of this week's training sessions, but manager Kenny Dalglish will be cautious when considering to play Stevie G. I don't think it's been that huge of a loss for the Reds, with Raul Meireles and Luis Suarez both stepping up recently, contributing hugely to Liverpool's good recent form.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Racism Towards Brazilian Starlet Neymar

During Brazil's recent friendly against Scotland at the Emirates Stadium, there was reportedly racism towards the young Brazilian star Neymar. The 20 year old, who scored both goals for the Samba, reportedly had a banana thrown at him when about to take a penalty. This claim was backed up by Lucas Leiva, who picked up and cleared the object, obviously in shame.

This was a bit strange, because a neutral German fan at the stadium actually threw it. Despite not being responsible for it, the spokesman for the Scottish football fans, Tam Ferry, has apologized on behalf of the Tartan Army (Scottish Fans). She also thanked the German fan for admitting to his behavior, knowing that the reputation of the Tartan Army wasn't tarnished.

These types of actions have to stop. In such a huge and diverse footballing country, this behavior should be stamped out. While it doesn't really happen that much in the Premier League, it happens in many Eastern European countries and even more developed nations like Spain. I hope that these things will stop, especially in Poland and Ukraine, the two host nations of the 2012 European Championship. If these acts of sheer stupidity don't stop before that time, those two countries could lose their privileges to host major sporting events.

As a Polish-American, I'd hate for this to happen to the members of my home nation. I know that there are people who are tolerant and accept others, but the hooligans are ruining it for them. The rioting in Lithuania and destroying of the stands doesn't really help, does it?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Javier Hernandez: The Master Poacher

Ever since he's signed for the Red Devils in the summer, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez has been making quite an impact at Old Trafford. Not only is he a great impact sub, but from my point of view, he's the clinical poacher. He's always at the right place and at the right time, ready to slot the ball into the back of the net. He's one of the best "third" choice strikers in the Premier League, but has recently been taking out-of-form Dimitar Berbatov's spot in the first team. In fact, as an Arsenal fan, I am a bit jealous of just how great of a signing Chicharito is. 

At the beginning of this Premier League season, Arsenal's new signing, Marouane Chamakh seemed like a starlet, and Van Persie's injury was almost forgotten. But recently, he's been out of form with the return of RVP from injury, and hasn't been able to replicate his early season form. But with Hernandez, it's the exact opposite. He's been strong since the beginning of the season, scoring crucial goals, even if some of them seem to be "cherry picked" as in he simply waited for an easy chance. In fact, this weekend when he played for Mexico, his two goals were from those types of situations. 

Despite being criticized by some for this playing style, he's something that most teams lack. When in a great chance to score, he doesn't try to play it, making situations more complicated. He simply tries to put the ball wear it belongs, in the opposition's net. With more playing time and experience, he could become one of the Premier League's best strikers in time, adding other skills to his cabinet. So, Sir Alex Ferguson, don't let this one go. Make him another Rooney, just without the prostitute-solicitation-while-having-a-pregnant-wife part.

Van Persie Should be Arsenal Captain

Sure, Cesc Fabregas is one of the best, if not the best, players at Arsenal. But, I don't think that means that he should be captain. They need someone who has passion for the club, and is not afraid to speak his mind about other teams and go up and yell in the referees face, hoping to influence his decision. Recently, Van Persie has shown that he has the guts to speak up, saying:

"Barca are a great team, but they shouldn’t overdo the moaning as they become b****y annoying. They dispute every decision, with five  players confronting the referee. I like their style of play, but find them unsporting as well."

Also, his thoughts on Chelsea and Man City: "I still strongly believe in my club's philosophy.
A club like Manchester City change their philosophy every year and Chelsea spent about €80m this season ... two clubs who had a big mouth before the season, thinking that Arsenal wouldn't play a role in the title race but we are still ahead of them. And just by playing our own game, through our own philosophy."

This is the kind of talk that the Gunners need. This man is what the Gunners need. The Flying Dutchman.

Mourinho Wants Back In The Premier League

One of the most controversial managers currently in-office, Jose "The Special One" Mourinho has confirmed that he wants to come back to the Premier League after his contract with Real Madrid ends, saying ""I miss England and my next job will be in England." In my opinion, this is a great thing. The fact that one of the best managers in the world would love to come back to the Premier League shows just how great it really is. Despite being one of the best clubs in the world Real Madrid is described by the Special One as "...the most difficult club in the world." Where would he go in England? Obviously one of the big five clubs: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Man City, or Tottenham, but which one? The Arsenal fans have been jeering for Wenger to resign, Carlo Ancelloti's been in many firing rumors, Sir Ferguson's going to retire soon, and Mancini's not doing an up-to-par job. So, it remains to be seen. He could go to any one of them. I honestly think that it will be Man City, as they are in a similar situation to that of Chelsea when Mourinho was hired.

Manuel Almunia: The Clown

I'll be honest, I used to feel bad for the guy. He got so much stick for all of his mistakes, yet being completely ignored when he actually did shine on the rare occasion. For some time, I understood why Wenger kept giving him chances. After all, at that time, Lukasz "Flappy-hand-ski" Fabianski was the second choice at that time. I understood everything, up until last week's game against West Bromwich Albion. It was his chance to shine after both of Arsenal's in-form Polish keepers, Szczesny and Fabianski, were both injured. And... he screwed up. Majorly.
After a long ball was played, it seemed like Sebastien Squillaci was going to deal with it. But, with his absolutely brilliant thinking, Almunia comes waaaaaay out of his box in an attempt to clear the ball. He didn't even get close, and even pushed Squillaci when he tried to chase the ball. The idiotic mistake cost Arsenal a possibly title deciding two points. And also, some blame was put on Almunia for West Brom's first goal, but I think the second was enough to show just how bad Almunia's judgment really is. How could this man have ever been trusted as the Gunners' number one keeper? It seems like sometimes he actually TRIES to make Arsenal lose, like some sort of double agent for Manchester United.

Granted, he is actually a wonderful shot-stopper. As evidenced by his performance against Barcelona in the 09-10 Champions' League Quarter-final. For the first 20 minutes of the match, he stood his ground and kept out shot after Barca shot to help Arsenal earn a 2-2 draw against the best team in the world. That day was definitely the highest moment of his career. However, being a great shot-blocker doesn't necessarily make you a great keeper. Well, maybe in gym class football. It also takes timing, and knowledge of when to come out or stay in your box. That, sadly, is where Manuel suffers. I'm always worried when Arsenal has to defend a set-piece with Almunia in goal, knowing that there is a great chance of him doing something stupid.

So, with that, I want to make a plea. PLEASE Arsene Wenger, sell the man. Send him back to some place in Spain, where he came from. He could be a useful asset for a relegation-battle team, but not a club that regularly challenges for the title. Keep the two Poles in goal as the first choice keepers. They have both been in amazing form recently, and deserve to stay at a club of Arsenal's stature, unlike Almunia. With the rise of Szczesny and Fabianski, Arsenal's goalkeeping woes have been solved. There's no room for this fool and his screw-ups.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Champions' League Draw

Quarter Finals:

Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Barcelona vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter Milan vs. Schalke 04

Semi Finals:

Inter/Schalke vs. Chelsea/Manchester

Madrid/Tottenham vs. Barcelona/Shakhtar

This seems kind of weird to me. Both of the Spanish teams get draws against arguably the two weakest teams left, and the British teams are drawn against each other. Call me crazy, but something seems strange. It isn't the first time Barca has gotten lucky from UEFA.

Personally, with this draw, I think that Barcelona will win another Champions' League. The two clubs that I believe could knock them out, Chelsea and Man U, are facing each other,  knocking one out. At that point, they won't be able to handle Barca with their compact schedules. So, my prediction: Barcelona - Champions' League Winners 2010/2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mario Balotelli: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

Without a shadow of a doubt, Mario Balotelli is one of the best young players in the world. No question. Some have even said that thanks to his clinical finishing, he could become the next Thierry Henry. But, the fact that he's a bit, what's the word.... stupid, doesn't help him win fans. During his tenure at Inter Milan, he caused controversy many times, particularly with two incidents. First, he stupidly wore a jersey of Inter's arch rivals, AC Milan, on live television to please a reporter. Despite being criticized hugely for that, he didn't learn his lesson. After Inter's victory over Barca, instead of celebrating with his teammates, he rage-quit his shirt, throwing it on the ground in frustration of the Inter fans who booed him throughout the match. I'm guessing that it wasn't a sad sight for the Italian fans to see him go to Manchester City. 

After having earned a reputation as a “bad boy” at Milan, it was the hope of many Man City fans that he would leave that behavior in Italy, and became the favorite of Manchester. To their disappointment, it didn't work out that way. After winning the Golden Boy Award for the best young player in the Premier League, he compared himself to Lionel Messi, and said that he hadn't heard of Arsenal's wonderboy Jack Wilshere, and that he'll rub it in Jack's face the next time they play. Quite ironically, Arsenal dominated the next game, allowing the Citizens no shots on goal. At all. And Balotelli didn't play a single minute, while Wilshere played 81 minutes. I bet he's really regretting saying that now, as Jack has been performing wonderfully this whole season, and I believe that he is truly better than Balotelli. 

And, it didn't even end there. Being down 2-0 on aggregate to Dynamo Kiev, Manchester City had to win 3-0 at home to insure their entrance into the next round of the Europa League. Being on a yellow card, with the game tied 0-0, Mario decided to ninja-kick Goran Popov in the chest, like his teammate Nigel De Jong did in the last World Cup. He got his second yellow card, and got his marching orders, putting the Citizens on 10 man. What was the point of doing that? Who knows. It's like he wanted his team to lose. He wasted a must-score chance from inside the six yard box early on in the game, and then virtually ended City's chance of going on in the cup with his red card. So, what has he shown the world of football? That he can't control himself, whether it be tackles, or showing sportsmanship.

Despite being one of the best young stars in the Premier League, Balotelli lacks what is required of a true superstar. He's still only 20, which gives him many years to become a true wonderful football player. His arrogance of not celebrating his goals shows just how full of himself he is. How can people tell that he loves playing if he doesn't even love scoring. Sorry Mario, you're quite good, but not Thierry Henry good.

But, I do want this pretty cool hat that he has.

Champions' League Round of 16 Round Up: March 15 and 16

Manchester United 2-1 Marseille (2-1 Agg.): After drawing 0-0 at Marseille, Manchester United nervously defeated the French at home. Sir Alex Ferguson decided to start Javier Hernandez ahead of Dimitar Berbatov, and that choice paid off. In the 5th minute, Hernandez tapped in Ryan Giggs' pass to put United up 1-0, and ahead on aggregate. Despite having less chances on goal, and being very lucky that Marseille didn't equalize, Chicharito put another into the back of the net in the 75th minute, giving the Red Devils some breathing room. But, in the 82nd, Wes Brown conceded an own goal, and United were waiting nervously for the final whistle. Luckily for them, Marseille weren't able to capitalize on their pressure and United went through to the Quarter-finals.

Bayern Munich 2-3 Inter Milan (3-3 Agg.): In the rematch of last year's final, Bayern were coming off of a high after defeating the Italians 1-0 at the San Siro, Inter's home. Samuel Eto'o put the Italians ahead in the 3rd minute, but that's not how the rest of the match would go. In the 21st minute, Julio Cesar gifted the Germans the lead, tapping Mario Gomez's shot over his own head and into the back of the net. 10 minutes later, Munich was 2-1 up when Lucio was unable to clear Arjen Robben's pass, and the ball fell straight to the feet of young Thomas Muller. The German made no mistake, putting the ball into the back of the net easily. Until the 63rd minute, Bayern was easily controlling the game, and creating many chances off of Inter mistakes. Then, Wesley Sneijder skillfully fired from 25 yards out to put Inter back into the game. Then, the unthinkable happened. In the 88th, Eto'o put the ball across to Goran Pandev, who made no mistake firing into the top corner, completing an amazing comeback, and putting Inter through.

Real Madrid 3-0 Olympique Lyon (4-1 Agg.): Following the 1-1 draw in Marseille, Real had given Lyon hopes of advancing past the Spaniards for the second year running. Sadly for the French, this would not be their day. After Real had been testing Lyon's keeper Hugo Lloris with many chances, Marcelo finally put Madrid ahead after playing a wonderful give-and-go with Cristiano Ronaldo, and sliding the ball past Lloris. Soon after, former Lyon star Karim Benzema almost put Real up 2-0, but saw his strike saved again by Lloris. The in-form Benzema then put Real ahead by 2 after continuously threatening Lyon's goal. The French then called Iker Casillas into action in the 71st, but the Spaniard skillfully saved Bafetimbi Gomis' bottom corner strike. 5 minutes later, it was all over for Lyon. Angel Di Maria calmly tapped Mesut Ozil's header of Hugo Lloris to make sure that Lyon had no chances of coming back Inter style. 

Chelsea 0-0 FC Copenhagen (2-0 Agg.): With the Blues back in form recently, they were hoping for an easy victory against the lowly Danish. Honestly, there's not that much to report here, other than the fact that Chelsea missed an amazing 29 chances, in comparison to Copenhagen's 8. Fernando Torres still hasn't found his form at Stamford Bridge, and was warming the bench in favor of Didier Drogba. With Drogba's striking partner Nicolas Anelka was relatively ineffective, Fernando Torres came in hoping to score his first goal for the Londoners, but couldn't do so, allowing Johan Wiland to keep a clean sheet. It was a shame that the Danes couldn't do so at home, and that allowed Chelsea to go through to the Quarter-finals. This performance really doesn't assure their status at contenders for the Champions' League championship.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Premier League Transfer Rumors

After injuries to Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski, and Vito Mannone, Arsenal only have one fit goalkeeper, in the form of Manuel Almunia. It has been rumored that former Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann, who played for the Gunners from 2003 to 2008. Lehmann has recently been getting his coaching credentials in London, and didn't rule out the possibility of being an emergency loan signing for Arsenal. Well, I think this could be an interesting back up. Lehmann was known for mistakes, but also won many trophies with Arsenal. Why not give it a shot?

In-form Manchester United winger Luis Nani could possibly be leaving the Red Devils for the Italian Serie A in the summer, if reports are to be believed. Apparently, he's spoken with his family about his future in the Premier League, and has told his agent to look for opportunities to play for Italian teams. In my opinion, this is one of the stupidest choices Nani could make. Why on earth would he want to leave United? Being one of the best players at one of the best, if not best, clubs in Europe isn't enough? He's in the running for Premier League Player of the Year. What more could he want? Also, now Man City are setting up a bid for the winger. Really? That wouldn't be the first player to switch Manchester teams, Carlos Tevez doing so previously.

 Chelsea have completed the signing of Brazilian wonderkid Lucas Piazon from Sao Paulo. By many fans in Brazil, he has been dubbed the next "Kaka". Chelsea beat out Juventus for the young player's signature, with the reported fee being between 5 and 8 million British pounds.The move will be completed in the summer, when the Samba star turns 18, making it legal for him to finally transfer to the Londoners.  I haven't seen him play, but Brazilians usually don't fair well in the rough Premier League. I think the Brazilian flair style would fit more in the Spanish La Liga or Serie A, but who knows, he is after all the next Kaka. Could he be called that because he kind of looks like Kaka?

Arsenal's number-one left back Gael Clichy is reportedly looking to move away from the Gunners. According to Liverpool FC's site, contract talks with Clichy haven't gone to plan for Arsenal, and he is looking to force a move away from London. Liverpool is supposedly in the front-running for signing the Frenchman, with Real Madrid and Barcelona also in the running. A surprising club mentioned as a possible destination for Clichy is Tottenham. Now, why the hell would he want that? As one of Arsenal's most experienced players, I would think that he would understand that the Gunners' most hated rivals isn't a good place to go. William Gallas has learned that the hard way, receiving boos with his every touch at the Emirates, and being snubbed by Samir Nasri. I personally hope these rumors are complete bull.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Champions' League Preview: Tuesday, March 15th

Manchester United v. Olympique Marseille (Agg. 0-0): After seeing his side hold Manchester to and goal-less draw at home, Didier Deschamps, the manager of Marseille, isn't phased by the challenge of attempting to be the first French team to defeat the Red Devils at Old Trafford; "On paper you would fully expect Manchester United to qualify. But we have a chance, a little opportunity. Football is not about statistics alone." The greater challenge for Ferguson and his side will be to not allow Marseille to score an away goal, which would make extra work for his team. However, Man Utd will have Luis Nani back, who is looking to return much earlier from his Anfield injury than most expected. This match will kick off at 2:45 p.m. Central U.S. Time.

Bayern Munich v. Internazionale Milan (Agg. 1-0): This is the match that everyone is looking forward too, well, I'm guessing most people. In the first leg of the 2010 Final rematch, Bayern defeated Inter at their San Siro home, thanks to a late goal from Mario Gomez. Wesley Sneijder, the Dutch captain of the Milan side, said he will leave everything on the match, and also commented on his meeting with fellow Dutchman, Arjen Robben; "The only thing which counts is the game tomorrow." Inter will be looking to reverse the deficit, but it will be a daunting task. Munich is coming off of a 6-0 trashing of Hamburg SV, boosting their morale, while Inter's draw against lowly Brescia won't do anything to help their confidence.  This match will also kick off at 2:45 p.m. Central U.S. Time.

Manchester Derby Drawn for FA Cup Semi-Final

After defeating Arsenal in the quarter-final, Manchester United has been drawn to play their cross-town rivals, Manchester City. In the past, this might have been a much one-side affair, but now, after spending millions, the Citizens are seen by some as real challengers.

The last time these two sides met at Old Trafford, the Red Devils defeated Manchester City thanks to a wonder goal from Wayne Rooney, a candidate for goal of the season. It wasn't as comfortable a match as some Manc fans had hoped for, but it was a win none the less. Roberto Mancini will be hoping to capitalize on all of the money spend, looking to win his first trophy with such an experienced City side.

In the other semi-final match, Bolton will play Stoke City to see which one will reach their first FA Cup Final in over 50 years. The matches will be played on the 16th and 17th of April at the New Wembley Stadium. Any predictions for the teams that will progress to the final?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Djourou Injury: Another kick in the nuts for Arsenal, Metaphorically

During Saturday's loss to Manchester United, Johan Djourou dislocated his shoulder, meaning he will miss the rest of the season, which was confirmed by Wenger; "[He has a] dislocated shoulder. His season is over." This is just another injury for Arsenal to deal with. Wojciech Szczesny, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Song, and Lukasz Fabianski are also all out with injuries. Now, Laurent Koscielny and Sebastian Squillaci are the only fit center backs for Arsenal. Like I said before, a swift kick to the nuts.

Manchester United defeat Arsenal

Before this match, many said that these two giants were the only two teams left in the Premier League title race. Whichever team would win this game, in many people's opinions, would go on to win the league. In contrast to many people's thoughts, Alex Ferguson put out a weak side, similar to the one that struggled to defeat Crawley Town, with the exception of Wayne Rooney starting. Arsene Wenger put out a much anticipated squad, with the exception of Denilson getting a start.

Early on, the game looked to be in a very close balance. Arsenal bossed possession, allowing the Red Devils to only get chances in on counter-attacks. The Reds almost took advantage of a counter attack when Rafael put his twin brother Fabio's cross above the net. Then, on another counter attack, Manuel Almunia saved Chicarito's header, only to put it in the feet of Fabio da Silva, who made no mistake, putting the Red Devils up 1-0. Before the break, the Gunners managed to get two great chances, one from a curling Van Persie strike that forced a save from Van Der Sar, and another from a run into the box followed by a shot from Nasri. At 45 minutes, the score was still 1-0 to Manchester.

Soon after the break, Arsenal went all out attack, with even Laurent Koscielny surging forward, taking two strikes and forcing a fine save from Edwin Van der Sar. The onslaught didn't last long however, when Wayne Rooney put in a second goal from a soft header put perfectly into the bottom corner, out of the reach of Manuel Almunia. With 40 minutes left in the game, the Gunners knew that they needed to continuously attack to have any chance in this game. Knowing this, Arsene Wenger used all of his substitutions, bring on Chamakh for a poor Denilson, the young Ramsey for Diaby, and Rosicky for an in-effective Andrei Arshavin.

The substitutions proved to be a good choice, with Chamakh forcing a wonderful diving save from Van Der Sar after heading Bacary Sagna's cross towards the goal. Tomas Rosicky put one of his finer performances in, also making Man U's Dutch keeper save his powerful shot from outside the box. Still being 2-0 up, Alex Ferguson put experience onto the pitch in the form of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes to make sure the Red Devils would keep their lead. Scholes didn't seem to make a huge impact on the match, with his only contribution being a yellow card.
In the 82nd minute, when scrambling to clear the ball, Johann Djourou was trampled over by his Arsenal team-mate Sagna, which in turn dislocated his shoulder, forcing him to be stretchered off. Having used all of their subs, Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey had to play as temporary center-back for the remainder of the match. Despite having eight minutes of added time, the Gunners couldn't come back into the game, again succumbing to defeat at the hands of Manchester United. After the match, Arsene Wenger confirmed that Johann Djourou will be out for the season, only adding to Arsenal's injury list.

Like many of their previous matches, Arsenal once again have failed to produce results despite being the dominant team, with 54% of the possession and 11 shots and target, in comparison to Manchester's 5. In the last two weeks, Arsenal have gone from contention in 4 competitions to just 1, with the Premier League title race only on their minds.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Red vs. Red: Manchester United vs. Arsenal, FA Cup Preview

Another week, another clash of giants. Tomorrow, Arsenal will take on Manchester United at Old Trafford. The last time these two sides met, Manchester edged out the Gunners with a single goal from a skillful Park Ji Sung. However, at that point, Arsenal's strongest and most effective players, Robin Van Persie, and Cesc Fabregas were only able to come in as substitutes for the last 20 minutes of the match. Now, the match could be much more exciting.

Coming off of a loss in the Champions' League to Barcelona, Arsenal will be looking to bounce back to their previous form. It has been confirmed by Arsene Wenger that Cesc Fabregas will be out for the game. Also, Wojciech Szczesny's spot will be taken by Manuel Almunia, now the Gunners' only fit keeper. It remains to be seen who will take Fabregas' role in the squad, but my guess would be either Abou Diaby or Tomas Rosicky. Both players played in the Barca game. Also, Alex Song is still out, and I'm assuming that Diaby or Denilson will take his spot. However, injuries have taken their toll on The Red Devils also.

In their loss to Liverpool last weekend, Manchester's talisman Luis Nani will be out for the match, suffering from a deep gash that according to reports, was impossible to stitch together at first. With Rio Ferdinand still out, the young Chris Smalling will take the center-back role, along with Nemaja Vidic. With Antonio Valencia not fully fit yet,  Park Ji Sung out with a hamstring injury, and Anderson out with a knee injury, my guess is that Darron Gibson will be given the nod to start. So, it turns out that injuries are ravaging both teams, with 
Manchester United having 8 officially reported injuries, and Arsenal 7, according to

On their way to this match, United seemingly struggled against Crawley Town, a non-league side, winning 1-0. The Gunners also struggled in the first match with Leyton Orient, letting in a late equalizer that forced a replay. However, in the second match at the Emirates, Arsenal won 5-0 with a hat-trick from Bendtner. But the thing wonderful thing about cup matches is the unpredictability. League form is usually ignored, and teams fight with a greater spirit, knowing that if they lose, they no longer have a chance. The match could be dominated by one team, or a very even sided affair.

So, we'll let the teams do the talking. This is one of the toughest matches to predict this season, with both teams missing key players, and stuggling in recent matches. I'm hoping for this match to be a fantastic showing from both teams, because to be honest, the last match was a bit boring. The match kicks off tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, at Old Trafford.

Disaster in Japan

Today, Japan was ravaged by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake, causing a huge amount of initial damage from the earthquake, and an even greater amount of damage from the subsequent tsunami. Of course, all football matches in the J-League have been suspended temporarily. My hopes and prayers go out to the people of Japan.