Tag Archives: Free-Kick

Premier League Files: Elano

Premier League Career: Manchester City (2007-2009)

Before Manchester City enjoyed their bounty of richness following the takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group in September 2008, one of their main superstars was the passing expert Elano. The Brazilian wowed City fans with some storming performances in the 2007-2008 season and had an excellent reputation for causing havoc from direct set-pieces. Capped 50 times by Brazil, he had a successful playing career, winning two league titles in Ukraine and several honours in his homeland.

Elano joined the Citizens in August 2007 for £8 million. He arrived after winning the league in both his seasons in Ukrainian football with Shakhtar Donetsk. Allocated the no.11 shirt after this was vacated by current incumbent Darius Vassell, he started life as a Manchester City player in fantastic fashion. He scored a netbusting free-kick against Newcastle United in September 2007 and followed it up with a similar strike at home to Middlesbrough eight days later. He scored eight goals in his debut Premier League season and showed his versatility too, even playing at right-back in a home win over Portsmouth in April 2008.

He started 2008-2009 also in fine form, striking twice in a 3-0 win over West Ham United. However, the acquisition of Shaun Wright-Phillips and fellow compatriot Robinho in the closing days of the summer 2008 transfer window restricted his dominance on the City side. His only remaining goals came from penalties during the season, ending with figures of six goals from 28 appearances.

With the money now pouring in and clearly not a Mark Hughes signing, Elano moved to Galatasaray in July 2009, spending 15 months in Turkey before returning home to Brazil. He stopped playing in 2016 and was most recently the interim manager of former World Club champions, Santos before being sacked on New Years’ Eve 2017.

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Premier League Files: Robert Snodgrass

Premier League Career: Norwich City (2012-2014), Hull City (2014-2015, 2016-2017), West Ham United (2017)

Robert Snodgrass has been like a yo-yo in recent years, spending seasons in-between struggling Premier League sides and higher forces in the Championship. This season, the Scottish international is on-loan to Aston Villa after a disastrous five months at West Ham United.

To be fair to Snodgrass, his time at West Ham was not helped by a lack of research done by the club when they signed him in January 2017 from Hull City. Being asked to play outside of his natural position by then manager Slaven Bilic led to a rapid deterioration of his career at the London Stadium. On leaving, he revealed: “I went to West Ham and had a manager that played me out of position. To be honest with you, it was very tough to take.”

Born in Glasgow, Snodgrass began his playing days with Livingston after turning down an apprenticeship offer from Celtic. He spent four years in their youth ranks before graduating into the first-team setup in 2003. He scored 15 times in 79 games and impressed on a regular basis. He left the club in 2008 after deciding not to extend his contract.

Barnsley offered him a trial on his release from Livingston but it didn’t go well. Leeds United stepped in and took the player on for the 2008-2009 season. Snodgrass would spend the next four campaigns in Yorkshire, scoring 35 times in 168 league appearances. Highlights included being part of the Leeds side that won at Old Trafford in the FA Cup third round in 2010 and being made club captain in his final season by Neil Warnock. However, with Leeds stranded in the Championship, Snodgrass knew he’d have to move if he wanted to sample the joys of Premier League football.

That opportunity arrived in the summer of 2012, as Norwich City snapped him up on an undisclosed fee. His first goal was a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane with Tottenham Hotspur. He impressed as the season progressed and the Canaries finished a comfortable 11th in the table. The fans at Carrow Road quickly recognised Snodgrass’ strong form and he was runner-up in the club’s Player of the Season awards to central defender Sebastien Bassong.

Snodgrass had already produced a reputation of being a fine dead-ball specialist. His first goal of 2013-2014 was a cracking free-kick when Norwich beat West Ham United 3-1 in November 2013. A winning goal against Tottenham followed later in the season but the East Anglian side failed to build on their promising previous two seasons and were relegated to the Championship.

He stayed in the Premier League though, joining Hull City in June 2014. Fate would deal him a dreadful blow. He sustained a serious injury on the opening day of the 2014-2015 campaign when Hull won 1-0 at Queens Park Rangers. Tests later revealed a dislocated kneecap which would keep him on the sidelines for the entire campaign. In fact, he wouldn’t return to first-team action for 15 months. By that point, Hull had been relegated.

The Scot battled hard to return to full fitness and he scored four times on his return to action in 24 matches as Hull went straight back up to the top-flight through the play-offs. This gave Robert another opportunity to sparkle and he did so, scoring seven times in the first 20 matches of the 2016-2017 season. This included an opening day winner over champions Leicester City and a trademark free-kick at home to Everton in December.

By now, Marco Silva had arrived as Hull boss and wanted to bring in some players from the continent. Whilst he appreciated Snodgrass’ qualities, he saw him as an asset which the club could cash in on. Hull accepted offers of £10 million from Burnley and West Ham United. He would choose to move to the capital. It didn’t work out.

15 games later and without a goal, he was informed he could leave the club permanently or on-loan. The chance to work with Steve Bruce again at Aston Villa was an opportunity too good to turn down and Snodgrass decided to drop back down to the Championship. He has made himself a regular at Villa Park as the former European champions aim to return to the elite for the 2018-2019 Premier League season.

Great Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Portsmouth (January 2008)

The 2007-2008 season was all about Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese player has gone onto great and glorious things with Real Madrid but his legend was created in Manchester.

Against Portsmouth, he was at his absolute finest. He’d already scored early on to put the Red Devils’ infront. 12 minutes in, United won a free-kick which Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney stood over. There was only ever going to be one contender to take this and it wasn’t Rooney.

Ronaldo revolutionised the way a free-kick can be dispatched. He took a few strides back, then managed to get sensational power and pace onto the ball from 30-yards out and it flew into the net leaving David James looking bemused.

It was his 27th of his 42 goals in all competitions for the season and quite possibly, the very best.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 3-2 Sunderland (October 2005)

Goalscorers: Shola Ameobi 34, 37, Liam Lawrence 35, Stephen Elliott 41, Emre 63

Teams:

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Peter Ramage, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Steven Taylor, Stephen Carr, Emre (Amdy Faye 81), Scott Parker, Charles N’Zogbia, Nolberto Solano (Lee Clark 80), Shola Ameobi (Michael Chopra 79), Alan Shearer

Sunderland: Kelvin Davis, Justin Hoyte, Steven Caldwell, Gary Breen (Alan Stubbs 42), Nyron Nosworthy, John Welsh (Julio Arca 45), Dean Whitehead, Liam Miller, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Elliott, Andy Gray (Anthony Le Tallec 79)

Referee: Rob Styles, Attendance: 52,302

In October 2005, both Newcastle United and Sunderland were struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League. Sunderland had just one victory to their name all season, which had come in their last away match ironically at fellow north east rivals Middlesbrough. Newcastle didn’t even score a goal in their first four matches of the campaign and only Manchester City had left Tyneside pointless so far. This was a massive match for both where more than just local pride was at stake.

Graeme Souness was the Newcastle manager at the time and he was missing his summer arrival Michael Owen who was injured. Shola Ameobi was therefore recalled to the starting XI to partner Alan Shearer. He was a menace all afternoon and showed Geordie supporters that there was more to the team than just Shearer & Owen. Newcastle were the better side before taking the lead in the 34th minute. Ameobi connected with Emre’s inch-perfect corner and his header beat Kelvin Davis. It would trigger an incredible spell of four goals in just seven minutes.

Considering how low on confidence Sunderland must have been with just five points registered from nine matches, they didn’t show it. Liam Lawrence equalised almost straightaway with a precise drive that left Shay Given helpless. Sunderland were showing character. Unfortunately, their defending was not upto to scratch. Ameobi lost his marker again to nod in Charles N’Zogbia’s hooked cross just three minutes later. Ameobi always seemed to save his best football for derby days against the Black Cats.

Moments later, parity was restored once again. Stephen Elliott curled an absolute beauty into the net from 25-yards out. It silenced the St James’ Park faithful. Despite having bossed possession and having the better of the chances, Newcastle were not leading at half-time. They weren’t ahead at the interval but they would be by the full-time whistle. The excellent and energetic Emre crashed in a free-kick from distance that bounced off Davis’ left-hand post and into the net. The excitable Turkish midfielder then ran to the touchline to leap into Souness’ arms. This was a moment he would never forget.

Sunderland kept pressing as they looked to equalise for a third time in this see-saw battle. Elliott managed to lob Given when played in by Anthony Le Tallec but this time, the crossbar intervened. The Irish goalkeeper then managed to parry another effort from Elliott around the post.

Afterwards, Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy said: “I think we could have done better than to concede from corner kicks but my players are giving me, the club and the supporters’ value for money.”

Sunderland would win only two more matches all season and went down with just 15 points. Newcastle sacked Souness in February 2006 but rallied to finish seventh in Shearer’s final season as a professional footballer.

Premier League Rewind: 18th-20th September 1993

Results: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 West Ham United, Coventry City 1-1 Chelsea, Everton 2-0 Liverpool FC, Ipswich Town 1-2 Aston Villa, Leeds United 2-1 Sheffield United, Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Norwich City, Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Southampton, Swindon Town 2-2 Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Oldham Athletic, Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal, Wimbledon 1-0 Manchester City

The 1993-1994 Premier League season was starting to slowly take shape in September 1993. There were some big games on the weekend of 18th-20th September which produced some interesting stories.

The biggest match-up was the latest in the rivalry of the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool FC. Both sides had made positive starts to the campaign and were in the chasing pack behind early season pacesetters Manchester United and Arsenal. In the 27th minute, the home side took the lead which led to some extraordinary scenes afterwards. Andy Hinchcliffe’s corner was cleared at the near post by Steve McManaman. It only managed to find Mark Ward, who rifled a shot into the bottom corner of the net. As he went off celebrating, Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar got into a heated confrontation with McManaman which saw handbags thrown and luckily no more than that. Tony Cottee’s goal five minutes from time ensured Howard Kendall’s men would finish the weekend inside the top four.

With Manchester United and Arsenal playing each other on the Sunday afternoon, Blackburn Rovers had the opportunity to take top spot briefly. They missed their chance at home to newly-promoted West Ham United. A goal in each half from Lee Chapman and Trevor Morley spearheaded the Hammers’ to an unlikely 2-0 victory at Ewood Park. It was already Blackburn’s second home loss of the campaign.

It was a miserable weekend for Oldham Athletic, who took a pasting at free-flowing Tottenham Hotspur. Ossie Ardiles loved his sides to attack and they did this at White Hart Lane to devastating effect. Inside nine minutes, Oldham were 3-0 down and ended up losing 5-0. Teddy Sheringham continued his fine start to the season, scoring twice. Sheringham’s goals kept Tottenham in the early season mix. Unfortunately, injury would strike a month later which seriously hurt his side’s form afterwards.

Fresh from scoring the winning goal a week earlier to beat the reigning champions, Gavin Peacock was at it again at Highfield Road. He opened the scoring in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Coventry City. Steve Morgan equalised for a share of the spoils. The points were also shared in games involving Swindon Town and Newcastle United at the County Ground and Queens Park Rangers vs. Norwich City at Loftus Road. Les Ferdinand rescued a point for QPR in their 2-2 draw with the Canaries. His 83rd minute goal denied Norwich another impressive success away from home.

On Super Sunday, the top two met at Old Trafford. Manchester United bounced back to winning ways with a stunning free-kick from Eric Cantona good enough to beat Arsenal 1-0. It took the Red Devils’ three points clear at the top of the table. The action ended with Wimbledon beating Manchester City by the same scoreline on Monday Night Football. Robbie Earle scored the only goal to inflict a first defeat on Brian Horton as City manager.

What else happened in September 1993?

  • The 1,000th Boeing 747 jumbo jet is produced.
  • Sci-Fi drama “The X-Files” makes its debut on American television, launching the careers of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.
  • Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf are the men’s and women’s singles champions at the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
  • The USA beat Europe 15-13 to win the 30th Ryder Cup at The Belfry.
  • Nearly 10,000 people are killed when an earthquake strikes the region of Latur, India which measures 6.4 on the Richter scale.
  • In Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Leader Yasser Arafat famously shake hands after signing the Oslo I Accord; temporarily bringing peace to the Middle East.