Who Said Americans Weren’t Good At ‘Soccer’?

Not bad from the American

On Wednesday night, Christian Eriksen’s Ajax side hosted AZ Alkmaar in a KNVB cup tie.

The away side ran out the victors surprisingly enough, getting 3 away goals against Holland’s most decorated club.

But in the 93rd minute a sheer moment of class was produced from United States international Jozy Altidore, who rounded off an emphatic 3-0 thumping of their opponents with a sublime lobbed effort over the powerless Ajax ‘keeper.

This goal has brought Altidore level with Tottenham attacker Clint Dempsey’s record of 23 goals in last season, and there is surely much more to come from the carefree-scoring American who is running riot in the Eredivisie.

It doesn’t get much better than this. 40 yards out, just pure instinct from the powerful striker.

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Rafa’s Gone Bonkers, Or Has He?

Rafa’s not a happy man, and rightly so

On Wednesday night, Rafael Benitez’ post-Middlesbrough press conference was a rather interesting one to say the least. After many months of being on the outside looking in, spectators have finally witnessed the extent of Chelsea’s much-maligned other Spaniard, and it looks as if Rafa could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge much more prematurely than expected.

The relentless abuse hurled at the so-called ‘waiter look-a-like’ has very clearly taken its toll, and the former Inter Milan manager seems to be fed up with the poor management of his appointment as Chelsea boss by more senior members at the London club. The title ‘Interim manager’ does not sit well with Benitez, and you could hardly blame him for feeling hard done by.

It is only a matter of time before the Champions League winner is hung out to dry by the Pensioners’ ruthless owner Roman Abramovich, and all is most certainly not well in the Chelsea camp after reports of a training ground bust-up between the players and manager of the 4th placed club. To be quite frank, getting jeered by your own fans on a weekly basis just shows the disloyalty of the Chelsea fans to their club. How can the supporters think that they can claim a Champions League spot while they hurl consistent abuse at their leader? Ludicrous really.

What’s even more interesting than all the above is the fact that Rafa has received overwhelming amounts of support from various pundits and football media outlets worldwide, backing the Chelsea manager’s rant at his employer’s mis-management of his particular case.

Watch the controversial presser right here.

Luis Suárez vs Robin Van Persie: Two Artists At Work

Both rank among the world’s best

Debate after debate, valid point after another valid point, no one can manage to come to a clear indication as to who really is the best striker in the Premier League. This particularly bare shortlist can make the task at hand considerably easier in many aspects, as there is not much to look beyond bar Manchester United’s Flying Dutchman and Liverpool’s mercurial Uruguayan talisman. Both players have been in prolific form for all of the current campaign, and have been key to their sides’ respective successes, providing the killer instinct or the sucker punch needed to kill off opposition almost week-in and week-out for their employers.

In the form of his life

RVP has had a more-than stellar season so far for United, racking up 23 goals in all competitions, with 19 of these all-important goals aiding United’s inevitable 20th Premier League title quest. This is a trophy the former Emirates star is yet to add to his almost empty and dusty trophy cabinet, after spending the vast majority of his career at Arsenal who are now battling to stay in contention for a Champions League spot ahead of next season. In a Manchester side which has not always shone at times this season, Van Persie has always been there to lend a helping hand to his side, bagging a vital hat-trick against newly-promoted Southampton earlier in the season, spearheading one of many a masterclass of a comeback, something that has become the norm for the Old Trafford side this season. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side never give up hope, even when all is seemingly lost, and coming back from somewhat awkward positions during numerous games this season have become the Red Devil’s forté. A dynamite left-foot packaged with a cultured knack for set-pieces, a nicely-rounded striker to say the least. It is also a common misconception that the United powerhouse is clumsy with the ball at his feet. This could not be more wrong, and for a man of his stature, he is exceptional with the ball at his feet. £24 million for the Dutchman really does look to be a bargain now, eh?

The devastating Uruguayan is firing on all cylinders

On the other hand, Luis Suárez’ often-struggling Liverpool side have not lived up to the height of the exceedingly optimistic expectations held for them prior to the season’s kick-off, although they still have time to change their fortunes with a relatively straight-forward 11 game run in to the final day of the season. 25 goals in all competitions for ‘El Pistolero’ has seen him ranked and  compared among the most highly regarded players in the world, and it is very debatable that Suárez and Van Persie are the two of the best and most proven strikers in world football currently. Last season, the tricky Uruguayan was all-too susceptible to missing clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities, but he seems to have cleaned up his act now, and in a rather fathomable fashion. 18 league goals leaves the versatile attacker 1 goal short of Van Persie’s desirable tally, but with the 29 year-old being less of an essentiality for the league leaders, a couple more rests might be in store for the ever-prolific predator. The deceptive Uruguayan also has an innate ability to create something out of nothing, and he has shown this numerous times this season. He is also no stranger to set-pieces, free-kicks in particular. Having scored 4 equally impressive free-kicks this season, El Pistolero has cemented his place as Liverpool’s direct free-kick taker, relieving captain Steven Gerrard of his duties in that department. Suárez has rectified last season’s wrong-doings in front of goal, and has almost doubled his league tally of last year (11) with his 18 goals so far in this campaign. Hot on Van Persie’s heels, the accolade of Golden Boot is Van Persie’s for the losing, and the Uruguayan’s for the taking.

The differences between the two are as clear as daylight. Van Persie is big, menacing and a lethal weapon when given the ball at his feet anywhere inside the opposition’s box. Last season’s Golden Boot winner can hold up the ball for as long as he needs to let his side re-group and re-shape, and he has typified United’s effectiveness in front of goal for large portions of this season. Slightly more clinical, reliable and consistent than Suárez when in front of goal, the former Feyenoord starlet manages to keep a cool head more often than not, something which is undervalued in football nowadays.

But Suarez brings more versatility and unpredictability to the table, something which causes chaos and uncertainty among opposition defenses. Twisting and turning, ducking, dipping and diving, Suárez is one of the Premier League’s top dribblers, and also a seasoned veteran in the art of nut-megging. He doesn’t just go around players, he goes through them, sometimes with relative ease, already having racked up an astonishing 36 nut-megs so far this season. The most in the world. Some say he could even nut-meg a mermaid, although that is yet to be seen. The Uruguayan has also excelled more so than his opponent in this article, winning the 2011 Copa America with his national side, brushing aside other highly-regarded South American sides in the process, winning the tournament’s most valuable player award was also a testament to his effectiveness for his side.

The two hit-men are indispensable to their clubs. 37 goals shared between them, they are undoubtedly the two best strikers in the Premier League. Unfortunately, the fear is that these two world-beaters might not be around too much longer, with Van Persie going on the wrong side of 30. Speculation is also rife regarding the Uruguayan’s future at Merseyside, with Bayern Munich rumoured to be keen admirers of the talisman. But Suárez has repeatedly come out downplaying a move being on the cards any time soon, after all, he did just sign a 5-year contract at Anfield last summer. But only time will tell what the future holds for the Premier League’s most prized possessions.

Here is a video detailing the exploits of the United and Liverpool men respectively thus far this season. There are some real belters in there from both players.

Now it is time for you to have your say. Who do you think is the best out of these two?