EPL strikers cause Saturday night fever
There’s nothing quite like Barclays Premier League action on a Saturday. Except, of course, Barclays Premier League action on a Super Sunday.
Last night’s typically frantic action saw a glut of goals, goals and more goals. And from all the craziness, we learnt that this season has seen the strikers in the league take center stage, even amid all the artistry and trickery.
Robin Van Persie may have single-handedly taken Manchester United to the league title last year, but a scintillating Saturday saw the in-form strikers give us further proof that he wasn’t the only feared marksman in these parts.
Their performances last night highlighted a few of their most prominent traits – makers of the FIFA gaming franchise should really look to add a few of these to the list, instead of just classifying them as “poachers”.
So here’s to them, the men who just put the ball in the back of the net.
Luis Suarez – the Genius
Liverpool fans have had no choice but to forgive their lovable rascal for his increasingly vocal attempts to escape from the chains of Anfield – such has been his desire and skill on the pitch since returning from that infamous ban.
And in one of the most highly-charged derbies in recent memory, Suarez’s sublime strike was, as the commentator so beautifully put it, “another Merseyside memory”.
You know what, that clip was just 12 seconds long – go ahead and watch the entire match highlights.
Returning to our want-away hero’s free-kick, far too much talk has centered on how Steven Pienaar was at fault for the gap in the wall that let Suarez bend it perfectly into the corner of the net.
The South African realized his mistake just a little too late, as Suarez was running in to deliver the strike, but pause for a moment and gape in awe at the sheer wonder of the strike.
To keep your head in the derby, and deliver the way he did when the teams were locked at 1-1 after a frantic 20-odd minutes – that takes uncommon skill and composure.
And who’s to say that he wouldn’t have just curled it over the wall even if Pienaar was where he was supposed to be all along?
I wouldn’t put it past a player of Suarez’s ability to be capable of the same.
On the evidence of such displays, all bets are off when it comes to determining where Suarez will play his football when another summer goes by.
For now, Liverpool should just sit back and enjoy one of the most talented footballers to have graced the Premier League. Your typical lovable rascal, ladies and gentlemen – only Wayne Rooney can compete with this guy in the love-hate relationship he shares with the fans.
Olivier Giroud – the Terrier
Now, why would I compare a 6’2’’ muscle-bound hulk of a Frenchman to a terrier, of all things?
It was deemed a match between two teams that wanted a win for diversely different reasons.
Arsenal, the weight of all the trophy-less years weighing heavily on their minds, have a burning desire to prove themselves worthy of the crown come May next year.
Southampton, on the other hand, was your typical underdog that was having the time of its life snapping at the heels of the far more fancied names in the game.
Both teams had surprised the entire league with the fluidity and purpose of their football, and as such, the match ebbed and flowed – with both teams enjoying periods of momentum.
And as Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey hit the upright with attempts that would’ve made for audacious goals, Giroud showed the boys that sometimes, life on a football pitch can be a whole lot simpler.
Goalkeeper Arthur Boruc will curse himself for his stupidity – and Southampton supporters will join him – but just like in Suarez’s case, take nothing away from the watchful Giroud.
As the ball was played back to the keeper, Giroud did what any self-respecting striker would do – keep himself moving toward the isolated goalkeeper, if only to make the keeper’s distribution to his back-line not quite as straightforward.
As if to say - “Don’t mind me, I’m just here to make sure you don’t play out from the back too easily – the Gaffa will grill me alive if he thinks I’m getting a little too complacent on account of my rapidly increasing female fan base…”
But the minute Boruc decides to not do the simple thing and just pick up the ball – well that’s just a little too tempting, isn’t it?
He jumps up in the air (very terrier-like, by the way), playfully dissuading the keeper from releasing the ball. And what do you know? The keeper wants to play!
“Well if he wants a game, I’ll give him a game, alright!”
Another jump here, a little turn there, and voila! Giroud knocks the ball away from a puzzled Boruc – who doesn’t seem to want to play anymore.
“Alright then, Mon Cherie, off you go, into the back of the net, where you belong. Man, am I glad Henry is back here to train with us. He’s brought a little whiff of that French sexiness that was everywhere in Highbury. And boy, are the ladies gona love it here at the Emirates!”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of course, would call it Zlexiness. And now that we won’t be seeing any Zlexiness at the World Cup, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt just this once.
Thanks for that one, by the way, Cristiano Ronaldo. Don’t you have a big, shiny, golden, globe-shaped thingy to collect or something?
Daniel Sturridge – The Rock
Again, say what?
Sturridge, the Rock?
When I say The Rock, I mean the Rock Dwayne Johnson.
One of the most supremely motivated men on the planet, and for those of you who don’t believe me, like his facebook page and you will get a glimpse into the man behind all the glitz and charm.
Sturridge is very much the same. A product of Manchester City’s youth system, he signed for Chelsea when his contract expired – ironically in the hope of securing first team football.
Yes, I know, pretty stupid – but I said he was a class act on the field, not that his brains had not been addled by taking a few too many hits on the pitch.
But, if you look closely, Sturridge believed in himself to sign for a team that was not really known for bringing through young English talent under Abramovich. And he did leave for Anfield when he saw what staying was doing to his prospects of becoming a top-notch center forward.
The rest is not quite history yet – and I believe Sturridge will write quite a few pages of that in his time at Anfield.
In the derby, Sturridge’s determination shone through again – as he headed in the goal that would salvage a draw for his team.
Not known for his heading ability, it was certainly not his best goal, but one that perfectly sums up the motivated individual before us today.
So there you have it – and a special mention to Romelu Lukaku, who didn’t make it because of the word limit and the fact that I couldn’t think of a catchy nickname for him.
And beware the best in the league – Sergio Aguero. He could still have something to say about all this when Super Sunday is done. Oh, and if you were curious – Hattori Hanzo, I call him.