Friday, August 29, 2014

Mildenhall Town 4 Ely City 3

The stand at Mildenhall's Recreation Way ground.

Ely warm up before the game.

It's looking like it is going to be a long hard season for Ely City, who are still without a point never mind a win in the Eastern Counties League. I have been away on holiday, but the reports that I have heard are far from encouraging. The team, with the exception of James Seymour, Ian Walter- who has stepped up from the reserves and Richard Gammon who has returned to the fold are pretty much unknown to me at the moment. In fact Richard Gammon went off early with an injury and was replaced by Ian Walter. Of the mass of players who left at the end of the season Chris Sterecki and Adam Murray have gone to Tuesday's opponents Mildenhall, but only Sterecki was playing on Tuesday night.

Despite this game ultimately ending in defeat there were some encouraging signs. Ely over the last few seasons have had a bit of a reputation of being a bunch of route 1 bruisers, but at least there were some attempts to pass the ball around and play decent football on Tuesday night. Whether they are good enough to play this type of football, only time will tell.

Aron Turner put the home team ahead after a defensive error, but Ely didn't let their heads drop and managed to find an equaliser through another defensive error. The first half was pretty well balanced and when the teams went in at the break at 1-1 it was probably a fair enough result.

Half time proved to be a bad thing for Ely though, as they fell apart at the start of the second half, the impressively named Allicion Blake scored a wonderful goal to put the home team ahead again. Midenhall looked to have put the game beyond doubt a few minutes later when Turner grabbed his second and Hall's 3rd and Ely looked all at sixes and sevens.

It's a credit to the boys that they didn't let the loss of two goals allow them to sink. With time running out they managed to nick back 2 goals. However, as usual the Robins were out of luck when Adarian Judge got a stoppage time winner to send us home without even a point.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More photos from Villa Park

Nadiya took a few photos at the game with Parma yesterday. Here are a few of them:

Aston Villa v Parma programme

Villa are celebrating 140 years this season and they have had the idea of having covers that look like programmes from throughout the club's history. For the game against Parma it echoed the programme for 1969-70

Aston Villa 0 Parma 0 - Match Report

In the last preseason game Villa played out a 0-0 draw with Parma. The first half was fairly even although Villa had the best of the chances with Andi Weimann came close for Villa on 11 minutes and Phillipe Senderos had a goal disallowed on 15 minutes.

Brad Guzan played in goals for the whole of the match and was his usual solid self when called up on. In defence Alan Hutton started on the right, he was often bombing forward and linked up well with Charles N'Zogbia. He put in a decent shift and the much maligned Scotsman must have forced his way into Lambert's plans for the new season. Enda Stevens started on the left. He still looks a bit out of his depth, but was a bit of an improvement on Joe Bennett. At half time the fans were introduced to new left back Aly Cissokho, hopefully he'll finally be the man to fill this difficult spot. In the heart of defence Phillipe Senderos looked useful and could be pretty handy going up for set pieces. He was accompanied by Nathan Baker, who wasn't great and committed one foul that would have had him sent off in a league game. I think that his first team opportunities will be pretty limited this season.

Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood started in defensive midfield. Delph looked fairly good, but Westwood seems to do the same thing every time, which means that he might get caught out in the Premier League. In the attacking part of midfield Charles N'Zogbia at least looked interested and he and Kieran Richardson looked useful on the break, but probably need a big target man if their industry is going to be rewarded. Richardson looked better out wide, not sure if he is good enough to play in the centre. Weimann and Agbonlahor switched around as the single striker and although both of them had good chances, they didn't look on top form.

The best news was probably the introduction of Concrete Ron Vlaar for Baker at half time. Judging by his body language he's going to stay and the way he commands defence means that Villa need to keep hold of him.

On 64 minutes Villa made a few changes with Darren Bent replacing Weimann, Jores okore came on for Senderos and Jack Grealish for Richardson. Bent was his usual lazy self hanging around the opposition penalty area or centre circle depending on where the ball was. A lot is expected of Jores Okore, but I think that his positional play was a bit off yesterday. The brightest spark was young local lad Jack Grealish. The fans love him and he looks eager to repay them when given the chance. Hopefully he'll reach his potential over the next couple of seasons. The only thing you could fault him for is passing to Bent who skied the ball over when he could probably have beaten 2 defenders and put it in himself.

On 77 minutes Joe Bennett came on for Stevens and Bacuna replaced N'Zogbia. Villa had the best of the chances in the remaining minutes. Agbonlahor made the same mistake as Grealish in trying to find Bent, when he could have probably done better himself. Grealish shook of a few defenders with 10 minutes remaining and Bennett sent in a decent ball to Agbonlahor who botched the job. There was one more effort when Grealish again found Bent but he hit the bar.

Grealish really made the difference today and despite the game finishing 0-0 at least Villa seemed to want to play attractive football instead of the hit and hope of the last couple of seasons.

Photos from Villa v Parma

N'Zogbia clears the ball.

Delph cuts inside.

N'zogbia tells Richardson that he is taking the free kick!

Senderos scored from this free kick, but he was offside.

Villa Park before the Parma game

As you can tell we got there nice and early.

Outside Villa Park

A few photos from outside Villa Park from the 0-0 draw yesterday.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 2 of the Emirates Cup

We weren't at the Emirates for the second day, but saw the games on TV. Arsenal went into the second day as heavy favourites, but it was Valencia who were the surprise winners of the tournament. They beat Benfica, who looked poor again 3-1 after trailing for most of the first half. In the other game Alexis Sanchez started for Arsenal and Radamel Falcao started for Monaco. It was the Colombian who had more to smile about than the Chilean in the battle of the South American heavy weights as Falcao scored to give Monaco a 1-0 victory.

Arsenal 5 Benfica 1 - Match Report

AC Milan were rumoured to be watching Joe Campbell for Arsenal on Saturday, but it was another young forward who stole the headlines - Yaya Sanogo had a good day and scored four of the goals that sunk a sorry looking Benfica, who after reaching the Europa League final last season and achieving a domestic treble have seen an exodus of star players that only Southampton can probably empathise with. Joe Campbell got the other goal for Arsenal and Alexis Sanchez made his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt towards the end.

Sanogo opened the scoring on 27 minutes when he converted an Aaron Ramsey cross. On 41 minutes Joel Campbell doubled the Gunners lead with a volleyed shot home. Benfica's defence were looking beleaguered and pretty flat. Before the break they didn't manage to track Sanogo a further 2 times and the young striker rounded off the first half with a hat-trick.

The second half didn't start off much better for the Portuguese side, but got even better for Sanogo, who after just 2 minutes scored his fourth and Arsenal's 5th. Moraes Artur in goals for Benfica was to blame on this occasion when he messed up a save from a Ramsay shot spilling it to a grateful Sanogo.

Nicvo Gaitan scored a consolation goal for Benfica with a header on 62 minutes for Benfica, but by now Arsenal were cruising. Alexis Sanchez came on for his Arsenal debut with about 20 minutes left and ran rings around Benfica with sublime goals, but there was no need for the Gunners to rub salt into the wounds.

Monaco 2 Valencia 2 - match report

The first game of the Emirates Cup saw the cash flushed Monaco side take on Valencia, who despite being the third most successful team in Spanish football have been a bit hard up recently. It was a clash between two of the biggest names in Europe, but it was pretty quiet when we go there, which begs the question as to how much Arsenal fans know about football.

That said it wasn't just the atmosphere that was subdued at the start of the game. Monaco took a while to settle and Valencia did most of the early running. The first chance fell to the Spanish side on eight minutes when Dani Parejo released Antonio Barragan who did well to find Rodrigo de Paul who fired over. At the other end Monaco seemed to be relying on Dimitar Berbatov who looked typically laid back despite the fact that he got booed every time that he touched the ball. The second decent opportunity also fell to Valencia when Sofiane Feghouli, one of the stand out players out jumped Monaco's star defender Aymen Abdennour. Despite directing a powerful header at the Monaco goal Danijel Subasic saved it easily.

At this point it was all Valencia, but as has been often the case recently they were definitely out of luck. Joao Moutinho at the other end sent in a well struck corner that Abdennour glanced home to give Monaco the lead.

There was some justice to be done though as the lead only lasted 7 minutes when Barragan sent in a cross, which from the right which Ricardo Carvalho sent into his own goal.

The teams went in at the break on level pegging and after the break it was again Valencia who looked the most promising of the two teams. Rodrigo de Paul again came close before Paco Alacer gave them lead after Aly Cissokho found him with a cross from the left.

The biggest cheer of the game though came when Monaco's star player Radamel Falcao was introduced on 72 minutes after. The Colombian superstar was making his first appearance since January after he sustained an injury that ruled him out of the world cup. Gladly he seems OK and went on to start and score the winner in the game against Arsenal on the following day.

There was yet more good news in store from Monaco when substitute Lucas Ocampos burst through the Valencia defence to score an equaliser with 10 minutes left. Neither of the teams were able to get a winner and although to a certain extent Valencia may have felt a bit hard done by a 2-2 draw was probably fair enough.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A few photos from Arsenal 5 Benfica 1

Here are a few random photos from Arsenal 5 Benfica 1

The teams line up

Arsenal kick off

A few random shots from the game.

Arsenal and Benfica warm up

A couple of photos of Arsenal and Benfica warming up before Arsenal won 5-1 on the first day of the Emirates Cup. The Arsenal players are nearer the camera.

Second half action Monaco v Valencia

In the second half Valencia in orange were attacking the goal closest to us.

Valencia go on the attack.

Valencia controlling the midfield, as they did for long periods of the match.

Aymen Abdennour - the number 5 for Monaco makes a clearance. He opened the scoring and was superb in defence.

There also seemed to be quite a lot of time wasted and here are the players standing around here.

Valencia come close.

First half action from Monaco v Valencia

Valencia are in orange and Monaco in blue. Monaco were attacking the goal closest to us. 

The teams line up.
I don't understand why the ground is always half empty for the game that doesn't include Arsenal.

Monaco launch an attack.

In the corner

Inside the Emirates

The trip to the Emirates Cup was the third time I have been to this tournament, here are a few photos from inside the ground

Emirates Cup 2014

Yesterday we saw Valencia and Monaco draw 2-2 and Arsenal beat Benfica 5-1 in the first day of the Emirates Cup.

Outside the Emirates

Tony Adams statue outside the Emirates