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?

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Goal of the Season so far?

Who Made The Cut?

Who Made The Cut?

The Barclays Premier League is no stranger to seeing some belters rather frequently throughout the course of a season. This is largely down to the fact that it is the best league in the world.

In football, without wanting to sound like too much of a cliché, anything can happen. And in the Premier League, players who may be seemingly average in comparison to those around them happen to score some audacious efforts, ones they will be unlikely to ever repeat again in their careers.

Last season we saw our fair share of phenomenal strikes: Papiss Cissé vs Chelsea, Luis Suárez vs Norwich, and Peter Crouch vs Manchester City just to name a few.

This campaign has certainly met the high standards of last season’s criteria, and maybe even a little bit more.

Below are 5 of the current campaign’s best goals so far (in my view). Forgive me if I have missed out on any in an attempt to stay away from some of the more mainstream goals.

1. Adel Taarabt vs Fulham

QPR’s Moroccan magician gave his side a huge helping hand to help beat Fulham in a nail-biting 2-1 win at Loftus Road. Scoring a brace, it was clear that Taarabt was at the heart of everything good that QPR carried out, and the tricky African may well be the difference between his side staying and competing among Europe’s elite, or the Rangers dropping back down to the lowly nPower Championship. He has flourished this season, after enduring a painful first Premier League campaign last year. His second goal in the tie versus Fulham brought the genius many plaudits, and he almost single-handedly helped the London side claim their first 3 points of the season. What a goal it was.

2. Luis Suárez vs Newcastle

Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker has made the headlines almost weekly since his timely arrival in England. Controversies have overshadowed his stellar performances in a red shirt, and many fail to look beyond his misdemeanors, basing their opinion of his footballing ability on his unrighteousness. No matter how many goals the nutmeg-merchant adds to his tally, he is still looked upon by many as a pimple on the face of the Premier League, one FIFA representative went as far as calling him ‘a little bit of cancer in the game’. Although his antics seem to do him no favours, he does most of his talking through his insatiable hunger for the game. 17 league goals and counting this season, ‘El Pistolero’ has been a bright spark in an ever-faltering Liverpool side. His goal against Newcastle in 2012 was voted as Sky Sports’ goal of the season so far, so it’s no surprise to see it in this list. A sublime touch and a quick repositioning of the body followed by an elegant drop of the shoulder meant the forward went by Tim Krul with relative ease. It may have looked easy, but many others would have failed in a similar scenario.

3. Cameron Jerome vs Southampton

In the 90th minute, the substitute came on and scored an absolute worldie to see his side earn a 3-3 draw with struggling side Southampton. A fiercely hit volley is as aesthetically pleasing a goal as you’ll ever get, and this wonder-strike by the Englishman was no exception. What a hit.

4. Santi Cazorla vs West Ham

A personal favourite of mine from Arsenal’s midfield maestro Santi Cazorla. What a season he’s having at the Emirates, with 8 goals and 6 assists to his name, the Spaniard has almost surpassed his goal record in La Liga for Malaga, and it is only February. £12 million was never going to be a questionable fee to pay for such a talent, and he was widely regarded as the best player in La Liga outside of the two giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. Santi comes and goes at times, which can be frustrating, nonetheless his contribution to the London side has been duly noted by all onlookers of the Premier League. This goal in particular may not have been one of his trademark longshots, although it was an exquisite finish orchestrated by an Arsenal triumvirate, which resulted in a sneaky flick into the goal from the pouncing Cazorla. What a team effort.

5. Emerson Boyce vs Swansea

A goal that many would have forgotten about by now, considering it happened so early in the season. Emerson Boyce has scored two or three peaches for the Latics, and this goal was as innovative, unique and original as you’ll see all season. Such a complex finish takes extreme athleticism and audacity, something the Barbadian must have in abundance. An underrated goal, courtesy of an underrated player, yet a strong candidate for goal of the season. Take a bow son.

Vote for your favourite goal down below!

Liverpool FC: Transition in Translation

Happier times

Happier times for the Reds

No matter how much optimism Kopites held in their hearts prior to the 2012/2013 campaign beginning, there was realistically only the slightest of chances that a top 4 spot would be achieved with such a thread-bare squad. Liverpool simply did not possess the quality a top 4 side required in such a prestigious league before January came a-knocking. Look at the current top 3 sides in the Premier League currently

1. Manchester United

2. Manchester City

3. Chelsea

These sides all have at least 5 world class players in their squads, and they also boast immense strength in depth. Some of the players sitting on the bench for these sides are  among the best in their position that the Premier League has to offer. Dzeko, Hernandez and Oscar to name a few. Javier Hernandez already has 12 goals in all competitions this season. What’s even more astonishing is that Chicharito has only made 14 appearances.

The Anfield faithful pose the same question year-in year-out. Why aren’t Liverpool, England’s most decorated club, anywhere near the top 4? The answer is simple. Where others have strength and depth, the Reds barely have a starting XI laden with world-class players, they have arguably only 2 world-beaters. That was until the introduction of Chelsea’s unwanted man Daniel Sturridge, the red divide of Merseyside look to have found a diamond in the rough.

A partnership is born

While Sturridge may not be the world-beater that Liverpool need, he is most certainly going to aid and abet Liverpool in their quest for the coveted top 4 spot. Sturridge holds quality in abundance which was always there to see, even in his early Manchester City days. Luckily for Liverpool, Di Matteo and Benitez failed to see the speed demon’s prowess in front of goal. Cockiness is a large part of the Englishman’s game, but he has backed up his pretentious attitude with a glistening start for his new club. 3 goals in his first 3 games. A feat which has not been carried out at Anfield since 1974. His partnership with Luis Suarez at the helm of Liverpool’s attack was a focal point in the Merseysider’s decimation of the Canaries 5-0 at Anfield. The two marksmen have finally given the Anfield faithful something to cheer about, and the future looks bright for the lethal-looking pairing. Understanding your team mates, particularly a strike-partner, is fundamental in the success of a team. Suarez and Sturridge looked they’d been playing together for years in their emphatic win over Norwich. One of them would make a run to open space for the other, intelligent passes and dribbles were being made all over the pitch by the two. A generally stellar shift was put in by the two partners in crime. But what impressed onlookers of that game the most was the subtlety in which Daniel Sturridge provided an indirect assist to his Uruguayan comrade, the Carrow Road tormentor. Just watch Sturridge feed his counterpart with a deft opening of the legs, letting the ball do the work. Excuse the disturbing foreign commentary.

The Return Of The King

Another reason for Scousers to look forward to the coming months is the return of the king. Steven Gerrard. Statistics suggest that the 32-year old has covered the most ground so far in the Premier League this season. He has also notched up 5 league goals to compliment his 8 assists, the from any player highest in the current campaign so far. Many had thought Stevie G had lost his legs. He is still susceptible to making mistakes, although that doesn’t dent his confidence, which is something to be admired. One could argue that the Champions League winner has almost returned to his peak, and if he can do so, why can’t his team-mates follow suit? A fitting leader for a passionate and charismatic side, where else would the Merseyside legend want to see out his career? Some would go as far as saying that in reproducing his form of old, he has almost mimicked last season’s Andrea Pirlo, the fulcrum in Juventus’ unbeaten Serie A winning side. It is almost impossible that Gerrard were to lead Liverpool to such feats like the Italian, but the boy who grew up in Liverpool looks as if he can add to his trophy cabinet at least once more in the not-too-distant future. Many expected Gerrard to fall flat on his face when Rodgers implemented his new Tiki-Taka system at the club, but Gerrard has flourished under the Northern Irishman, and has surpassed all Premier League fans’ expectations with flying colours. His strikes against Manchester United and Norwich this season have been reminiscent of the man who led Liverpool to their last European trophy 8 years ago.

All in all, Liverpool fans have a lot to look forward to, as the club continues its transition in attempting to build a side fit for a title challenge, something that has eluded them ever since the Premier League came into existence just over 2o years ago. With an academy

The future is bright

The future is bright

packed to the brim with quality young talent, Raheem Sterling in particular, the Reds have a bright future ahead. One that hopefully holds many more trophy-laden years similar to the era of Bill Shankly and Kenny Dalglish. There is something in the air at Anfield which is growing and growing more recently. A real sense of optimism among the fans. Something which is always needed to pursue the accomplishments Liverpool wish to achieve.