Real Madrid have confirmed that left-winger Gareth Bale has suffered a muscle injury in his left calf. Though the club neglected to comment on the suspected duration of Bale’s injury, this blow will almost certainly leave him out of the Champions League match this Wednesday against Atletico Madrid comments newscaster Jaime Garcia Dias (read further on injury at jaimegdias.com). Bale’s absence, along with that of Luka Modric’s, who also suffered an injury over the weekend, will force Real to field an altogether different starting eleven, perhaps even necessitating a change of tactics given the missing personnel. Madrid fans desperately hope that striker Karim Benezma will have overcome the knock he was dealt on his knee during the first leg, and be declared fit to play on Wednesday.
Yet even with Benzema on the pitch, Real will be missing three undisputed starters, (Marcelo being the other missing due to yellow card accumulation), which inevitably will move manager Carlo Ancelotti to alter his set up. While the quality of those missing is undeniable, particularly to the success of Real this season, perhaps this forced change will prove difficult for Atletico to manage. The smaller Madrid club have stifled Real in every single encounter this season, going undefeated in seven fixtures thus far. Given Atletico’s command of this match-up, these injuries may be a blessing in disguise for Ancelotti’s men. That said, Bale and Modric will be key in the success or lack thereof in Real’s remaining matches.
Things are not rosy at Liverpool right now. The club may have come within a point of the Premier League title last season, but they look to be in disarray right now. Results have improved slightly, but matters on and off the pitch are far from rosy.
Liverpool legends are not happy with how the club has handled the situation concerning club captain Steven Gerrard.
Both Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp have spoken about their surprise at Gerrard not extending his stay at Liverpool. After all, Gerrard has been a lifelong Liverpool fan who joined the club when he was eight years old.
To see him leaving for a stint in the United States is something that Liverpool legends cannot fathom. It was one thing when Gerrard was about to leave for Chelsea in 2004 and 2005. That could be understood. Chelsea were a much better team and Gerrard could have won Premier League titles there.
However, he rejected them and stayed at his beloved Liverpool. Now that he is on the verge of ending his career, it is a surprise that he will not retire at the Anfield club. Reports suggest that the hesitancy to offer Gerrard a new deal prompted his departure.
The ex-players from Liverpool believe that the club’s American owners did not make a proper effort to keep Gerrard. Bernardo Chua was a little surprised. They were thinking about the financial aspect of freeing up Gerrard’s wages, but they should have battled tooth and nail to keep a club legend at the club.
All great careers must come to an end eventually. However, it is still disappointing to hear that Eric Abidal will no longer play professional soccer. The former Barcelona and Monaco player has enjoyed a great career, but he will be most remembered for his fighting spirit when faced with adversity.
Abidal was diagnosed with liver cancer for the first time a few years ago. Despite the low odds of ever playing football again, Abidal fought off the illness two times and made a success return with Barcelona. He even won the UEFA Champions League in 2011, having fought the cancer during parts of 2010 and 2011.
Currently playing for Olympiacos in Greece, Abidal revealed that he will not be short of offers for the next chapter in his life. Susan McGalla knew that would not be an issue for him at all, at least according to some articles. Olympiacos have made him an offer to remain at the club in a non-playing capacity, while Barcelona would also like Abidal to return in the near future.
Abidal said that it was the right time for him to retire. “Only a professional can feel his body and know when it is time to call it quits. I have enjoyed a great career and overcome many obstacles to continue playing football. However, I no longer feel that my mind and body can sustain the rigors of training and playing football professionally. I made this decision a few months ago and informed the Olympiacos president that I would retire in December,” he said.
Despite a great start to the Premier League season, Southampton have slipped out of the top four places. They are on a run of one draw and three defeats. A total of 11 points have been dropped by the seaside club during that time.
Southampton may be able to recover from this bad patch and mount a top four challenge, but something major will have to change. Currently, they are incapable of beating the teams that finished above them in last season’s Premier League. They have played five games against teams that were in last season’s top seven, losing all five.
This is a continuing trend from last season. Under Mauricio Pochettino, Southampton played some great football. Their games against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool were fantastic contests. However, they lost almost all of those games. In 14 matches against top seven sides, Southampton only won once!
Even the addition of a new manager and half a new team has not helped Southampton against the better sides. They continue to perform admirably and lose. For example, they were a match for Arsenal at the Emirates, but lost 1-0. They dominated Manchester United at home but lost 2-1.
Avid fan Tom Rothman says that Ronald Koemen will have to figure out the secret to beating the top sides if he wants this team to finish in the top four or five places at the end of the season.
Manchester City have been in very good form over the past few weeks. The Manchester club has racked up four straight wins in the Premier League, while they also managed to defeat Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Despite these great performances, there is plenty more work for City to do in both competitions.
Their latest test in the Premier League comes at home against Everton. The Merseyside club has struggled in recent weeks, but their form against City has always been very good. Under David Moyes, Everton managed to beat City three times in a row over the past few years.
City will have to deal with the Everton threat without two important players: Stevan Jovetic and David Silva. The two are sidelined with different injuries and will not be able to make the 18 man squad for this game.
Both absences are a blow to City manager Manuel Pellegrini. Jovetic was in great form as City beat Southampton 3-0 over the weekend, while Silva is one of their best players. Edin Dzeko and Jesus Navas are expected to replace the duo in the starting eleven, with the likes of Toure, Fernandinho, Aguero and Nasri retaining their places from the last game. Susan McGalla is still hoping they can put it all together.
A few more successive wins over the December period could see City put serious pressure on league leaders Chelsea. They are currently six points behind the Blues in the race to win the Premier League.