Tag Archives: Luis Suarez

Premier League Rewind: 28th-30th April 2012

Results: Everton 4-0 Fulham, Stoke City 1-1 Arsenal, Sunderland 2-2 Bolton Wanderers, Swansea City 4-4 Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Aston Villa, Wigan Athletic 4-0 Newcastle United, Norwich City 0-3 Liverpool FC, Chelsea 6-1 Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

For months, every football supporter had been building up to the showdown in Manchester. It was billed as the title decider as the two giants from the city clashed on Monday 30th April 2012. Manchester United had the three-point advantage going into the match. Manchester City had restored their title push with three successive victories; whilst United had recently lost to Wigan Athletic and thrown away a 4-2 lead to draw 4-4 at home with Everton. The stakes couldn’t be any higher.

Naturally, the game itself wasn’t an all-time classic with so much to gain and lose in both camps. The only goal came on the stroke of half-time. David Silva’s corner was met by a towering header from Manchester City skipper, Vincent Kompany. The Belgian climbed highest to put the home side infront.

City held on in the second half to go top of the Premier League table on goal difference. 1-0 was the final scoreline and with two games to go, the destiny was back in their control as the leadership changed hands for the 11th time in this enthralling battle. Sir Alex Ferguson had seen his Manchester United side throw away an eight-point lead in the space of 22 days.

17 points further back, Arsenal led a tight battle for third position and the final automatic UEFA Champions League qualification place. Arsene Wenger visited one of his bogey grounds – The Britannia Stadium and left with another point added to their total. Robin van Persie equalised Peter Crouch’s opener as Stoke and Arsenal shared the points in a 1-1 draw. The Stoke supporters made fun of Wenger in the second half as he bitterly complained to the fourth official about Stoke’s physical style. Even BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker joined in during his amusing closure to that weekend’s highlights.

Tottenham Hotspur kept the pressure on by beating Blackburn Rovers 2-0 at White Hart Lane. Kyle Walker scored a spectacular free-kick and later that evening, he would be crowned the PFA Young Player of the Year for the 2011-2012 campaign, whilst Van Persie won the PFA Players’ award. Newcastle United lost vital ground after a first half shocker away at Wigan Athletic. Wigan led 4-0 at half-time, through two goals from Victor Moses, Shaun Maloney and Franco di Santo. That was how the final score ended and added Newcastle to a list of recent conquests for Roberto Martinez that included Liverpool FC, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Wigan swapped places with Queens Park Rangers who were now only outside the bottom three on goal difference. QPR were dismantled 6-1 at Stamford Bridge by Champions League finalists Chelsea. It was one of Fernando Torres’ best days in a Chelsea shirt. The Spaniard scored his only Premier League hat-trick for the club. However, it was becoming very likely that Chelsea were going to have to win the final in Munich against Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern Munich to qualify for next season’s competition.

Bolton Wanderers drew level on points with QPR and had a game in-hand too after coming from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Sunderland. Kevin Davies scored both of the goals. There was another hat-trick hero at Carrow Road as Luis Suarez tormented the Norwich City defenders. The Uruguayan scored his first hat-trick for Liverpool FC as the Reds recorded an impressive 3-0 victory, ending Norwich’s hopes of finishing above the men from Anfield in the table for the first time since 1993. It wouldn’t be the first time Suarez would score a hat-trick against the Canaries either. He would repeat the feat in future seasons to come.

What else happened in April 2012?

  • The centennial anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic is marked around the world.
  • James Murdoch resigns as Chairman of BSkyB in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal.
  • The 158th University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge is stopped mid-race due to a swimmer in the water. Cambridge would end up winning after a later clash of oars at the restart leaves Oxford with a broken paddle.
  • Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is found guilty on 11 counts of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Sierra Leone Civil War.
  • The Metropolitan Arts Centre opens in Northern Ireland.
  • The UK economy returns to recession after shrinking by 0.2% in the first three months of the year.
  • April 2012 in the UK is the wettest in over a century according to figures released by the Met Office.
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Iconic Moments: Suarez’s biting shame (April 2013)

When Liverpool FC sold Fernando Torres on transfer deadline day in January 2011, few fans thought they would be getting a better replacement. Just over £20 million was paid to the Dutch club Ajax for Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. Suarez would leave plenty of amazing and breathtaking memories on our game but he also brought baggage with him to this country.

Famed for the handball on the goal-line in extra-time that denied Ghana a place in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals, Suarez wasn’t the most popular player with neutral fans. His character was stained further after he was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra during a match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United in October 2011. Suarez was banned for eight matches by the FA and his refusal to shake Evra’s hand in the reverse fixture on his return at Old Trafford also received plenty of condemnation.

In 2012-2013, he was in electrifying form. Only Robin van Persie was ahead of him in the goalscoring charts and he was beginning to form a deadly alliance with Daniel Sturridge in the Reds’ attack under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers. In April 2013, Chelsea visited Anfield which was Rafa Benitez’s first return to the ground since leaving his post as Liverpool manager three years earlier.

The game was finely balanced. Chelsea led 2-1 after Suarez had unnecessarily given away a penalty for handball from which Eden Hazard converted from. Minutes later, he had a clash with Branislav Ivanovic in the Liverpool penalty area as a counter-attack broke down. Ivanovic was incensed about the battle though and pointed out to the referee Kevin Friend what had happened. At first, none of us knew what he was on about. However, replays were about to reveal the extent of Suarez’s crime. Upset with the grappling on him, he decided to take a bite out of the Serbian defender. It was an appalling and disgusting piece of behaviour which was initially unseen so he went unpunished. To add insult to Chelsea’s woes, Suarez scored a late equaliser to rescue a point for his side.

Four days later, he was charged by the FA and banned for 10 matches. Liverpool stated intent to appeal against the suspension but after 48 hours withdrew on Suarez’s acceptance that he should serve the ban and learn his lesson.  He didn’t though. The same incident happened in the 2014 World Cup when he was playing for Uruguay.

He left Liverpool FC with many fantastic memories including great goals, devastating hat-tricks against Norwich City and deservedly swept the awards board in 2014 before his £75 million switch to Barcelona. However, the marks on his character will always remain with many fans.

 

Iconic Moments: The craziest deadline day (January 2011)

Transfer deadline day has become a nationwide event for football fans since the introduction of the August and January transfer windows from the 2002-2003 season onwards. There have been some intriguing days like Arsenal’s signing of Mesut Ozil in August 2013 and Dimitar Berbatov’s last-gasp switch to Manchester United five seasons earlier.

But there were fewer mad days in the transfer market than the one that played out on Monday, 31 January 2011. Over £100 million was spent on three strikers, with Liverpool FC, Chelsea and Newcastle United playing the leading roles.

There was a big departure from Anfield. Star striker of the past three and a half years, Fernando Torres decided to leave the club. Days earlier, the Spaniard had handed in a transfer request which was initially rejected. Eventually, a deal was agreed that saw Torres move to Chelsea for a British transfer record fee at the time of £50 million. A lot of LFC fans were very upset by Torres’ comments in the aftermath of the deal going through. Shirts were burned outside the ground as their former idol had moved on, saying “This is the target for every footballer – to try to play for one of the top clubs in the world.” 

Although he did go on to win the silverware he craved such as the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in 2012, Torres never fully settled at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool fans never really forgave him until an appearance at Steven Gerrard’s testimonial three seasons later. He is now back in Spain playing for his boyhood club, Atletico Madrid.

That wasn’t the only business conducted at Chelsea. Brazilian defender David Luiz arrived from Benfica for £26.5 million and not the end of the drama either at Liverpool. As El Nino checked out of Merseyside, the Reds were busy pulling off their own double striker swoop.

£22.8 million was paid to Ajax for the controversial but exceptionally talented Luis Suarez and £35 million was exchanged with Newcastle for Andy Carroll – a club record fee. Like Torres, the transfer fee seemed to weigh too much on Carroll. His 18-month spell was an unhappy one and he eventually moved onto West Ham United in August 2012. On the other hand, Suarez lit up Anfield with many spectacular performances. Despite racism and biting controversies which led to suspensions totalling 19 matches, his spectacular goals nearly guided the club to a Premier League title in 2014 before departing for Barcelona in a £75 million transfer.

Other moves saw Birmingham sign Obafemi Martins on-loan, Bolton add Daniel Sturridge to their ranks from Chelsea, Tuncay depart Stoke City for the Bundesliga with VfL Wolfsburg and Blackpool add four players to their relegation scrap. Charlie Adam stayed put despite a late bid from Tottenham Hotspur.

In total, Premier League clubs spent over £200 million in the 2011 January window and deadline day in this window remains the craziest and probably best window of this era of transactions in football.