View from the Couch: Arsenal vs Barcelona? The Result Really Didn’t Matter

In the most anticipated football game of the year, the stage was set for players to seal themselves as cult heroes amongst the crowds of admiring fans. In the end, a Dutchman and a Russian set the telling blows into the Barcelona juggernaut. Despite the Catalans losing the game, the match was that entertaining that the result really didn’t matter.

It was poetry on a pitch. The world’s greatest players from the greatest footballing side in the world were there. It’s almost like a checklist. Messi, Xavi, Villa, Iniesta, Pedro, Alves. Check. Even though people were commenting that Arsenal probably knew that they lost the game before it even started (Arsenal fans were waving white flags with the club badge on it before the game, try find a better example of irony), Arsenal weren’t upstaged. Oh no, their stars played spellbinding football.

At half time, people were critical of Wenger and his tactics. While they are sometimes labelled as Barca-lite sometimes, they tried to play the brand of football that made the 09 UEFA Champions League famous. While it looked impressive, it wasn’t quite the same as what the Spanish team were producing. Sometimes, Arsenal were relegated to chasing shadows as Barcelona played the ball up and down the pitch and from side to side with ease.

In the first half, 95% of Iniesta’s passes were on target. Not to be outdone, partner in crime Xavi played 51 passes before half time, an incredible 48 of them finding a Barcelona player. On half an hour, Barcelona kept possession amongst themselves for 5 whole minutes, the play broken until Messi strayed offside. The beauty of the simplicity of Barca’s style made everything look fantastic. From Xavi spreading the ball out for Pedro to run onto or Villa or Messi continually providing through ball after through ball for each other to pounce on, it’s simply a joy to watch these fantastic individuals complete short passes or just maintain possession. It’s the complete opposite of the actions of a git who calls himself captain of AC Milan the night before.

Arsenal didn’t do what many sides would do against Barcelona, that’s to park the bus and play 10 men behind the ball at all times. Arsenal didn’t crumble under the pressure of the ruthless, never ending fluency of Barca’s play. They took the punishment and kept on fighting. Their players weren’t upstaged either. Fabregras was like a quarterback, firing off his repertoire of passes. Van Persie continually tested Valdes and finally found a way past him with a thunderbolt from an acute angle. Nasri fired warning shots off to the Barca defence all night until Arshavin latched onto the end of one of his passes. Walcott was ruthless on the end of passes from Fabregras and Wilshere.

And that leads me to the man of the match. Who would have thought that a 19 year old would have shone on a pitch full of superstars? Wilshere drove at the heart of the Barca defence at every opportunity that he got. He constantly found pockets of space to fire passes off to Nasri or Walcott on the flanks. Barcelona claim that they won’t go for Fabregras in the summer transfer window. Maybe they’re now keeping the locker that was reserved for Cesc for Wilshere. He’s suddenly the brightest English football prospect since Wayne Rooney. Capello wants to play Wilshere as a new Claude Makelele. That would be an absolute waste of the talent that the boy has.

A thunderbolt volley and an exquisite side footed shot did cause an upset in the end. However, Arsenal were magnificent for the majority of the night and the victory marks another psychological leap forward for the North London outfit. The chances for Arsenal to win an EPL title within the next three years has never looked better. While question marks are still raised about the defence (compliments must also go to Szczesny, the Polish keeper was fantastic on his Champions League debut), the midfield and forward line of the Gunners is arguably the best in the league. Arsenal to catch up to Manchester United 4 points ahead of them on the table could happen if Arsenal keep up their momentum until the end of the season. The clash against Manchester United on the 30th of April could be the decider for the title.

In the end, when the final whistle blew at the Emirates, the result really didn’t seem to matter. Even though Barca lost, they still still seem to hold the advantage of the tie. Barcelona played like gods and Arsenal fans will now brag that they beat arguably the best football team the world has ever seen.

Meanwhile, we all watched on in awe as 22 men stroked a waterproof sphere around a rectangular piece of grass. 90 glorious minutes of football meant we were all able to set aside our problems that we may have in our lives.

EA Sports FIFA Prediction: Arsenal vs Barcelona

While predictions are being thrown around like crazy about arguably the world’s most flowing football match ever between two of the best passing sides ever, who will really win the encounter between Arsenal vs Barcelona? EA Sports put their trusty match simulator to the test, and you should know that it successfully predicted a 2-1 victory for Manchester United in their recent derby match, so don’t count it out as some ridiculous sports game prediction!

Wayne Rooney Goal of the Year?

Manchester United.
A derby decided by genius.


Need we say more? Wayne Rooney’s goal was one of the best this season, and arguably of all time, and that’s not taking into account how important it was for the title race. But enough said; just enjoy the goal which lit up the internet within minutes of his striking it!

Wiki(Boot)Leaks: The adiPure SLs As a Limited Edition Boot?

Here’s something that has really caught our attention today. The possibility that the adiPure SL’s may be coming out as limited edition boot!

Check this out; the original was in German so we’ve translated it into English, but be aware that there are many grammatical errors due to our not speaking German (we didn’t correct it as we didn’t want to change what the retailer was trying to get across). We’d like to thank http://www.sport-greifenberg.de for the images and the specs:

The Adidas soccer shoes 4 adiPure there will be a new special version. As Adidas adiPure 4 SL there is the new football boots in only a very small edition and with a great feature.

Adidas F50 Adidas adiPure meets adizero
With the Adidas F50 adizero there was first a new football boot for the high-speed football. One of the main features of the Adidas F50 adizero is the new sole construction. This sole makes the Adidas F50 football boots easy and even more dynamic. Now take the Adidas F50 Adidas adizero the adiPure on 4 soccer shoes. And what happens when one crosses the adiPure with the F50? the adiPure Adidas SL Super Light 4 !

Adidas adiPure 4 SL Super Light – the best of both football shoes
The Adidas adiPure 4 SL in this case has the basic construction of the new adiPURE football boots. The sole but is from the Adidas F50 adizero. Here also the 3 corner is taken cam design for the adiPURE football boots. Thus, the Adidas are adiPure 4 SL football boots made of a soft K-leather material that weight is pushed here by the new sole construction. For added traction on the lawn the 3 corner cam design is responsible. The Adidas adiPure 4 SL to be here now be available in a limited edition as a special edition.

If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. The adiPure SL would have been a great addition to adidas’ current boot range if they had not released leather adiZero IIs. As many of you have said in the comments though, now that they have released leather adiZeros, it doesn’t make much sense to have the adiPure SL as they would just act as K-Leather adiZeros. Furthermore, a limited edition SL would in my opinion be a pretty good marketing move. They are wanted enough that they would be sought after when they are released, but inevitably after a while they would ultimately be overshadowed by the adiZeros.

Another thing that is being said is that they, the SLs, will only be released in the traditional black/white colourway. If you recall, there have been pictures of white SLs floating around the web, but these may have just been prototypes.

Just a prototype?

This is a pretty surprising revelation, but also may turn out to be a good move by adidas in the long run and will surely just increase the initial demand for the SLs, because if there’s one thing that boot fanatics love to have, it’s a pair of boots that only they and nobody else they know have. Personally however, I’m pretty gutted by this news. As a striker who loves the adiPure series, a pair of SLs would have been the perfect boot for me, but hopefully I can still get my hands on a pair, so stay tuned for the review!

This isn’t 100% confirmed in any way, so we may turn out to be wrong. What are your feelings on the possibility of the SL’s being released as a limited edition boot? Leave your comments in the section below.

SER Opinion: Form Is Temporary, Class Is Permanent?

Ever since his new haircut, Fernando Torres’ performances have been way below par, for Spain, for Liverpool and now for Chelsea, will he ever get back on form?

There is a famous quote from the popular game series FIFA by the now jobless Andy Gray, ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent,’ but is this the case for Fernando Torres in real life and not just simulation? Is he a modern example of Sampson?

Fernando Torres’ performances for the first half of the EPL season have been extremely poor, with bad first touches being prevalent in his game, along with not being in the right position, and horrible finishing and playing with the wrong attitude to back it up. There were two occasions for Liverpool where it looked like Fernando was back on form, however slumping back down in the games after that is exactly what he did. We thought one of Fernando’s decisions to leave may have been because of the pressure of on him to be Liverpool’s savior, and to score every game however, now it seems the pressure at Chelsea is just as bad and is performing equally as bad as he had for Liverpool and for Spain. Tim Cahill would have been better value for 50 million than Fernando Torres!

What is the answer to Fernando’s problems? Usually, these bad runs last only for 3-4 games but for Fernando Torres its been a run of more than 20 bar two good matches. Is it just a matter of time for him to adjust to Chelsea? It will take more than just a couple of games for Fernando to adjust but at a world class club like Chelsea with other top strikers on the squad, Torres will more likely be adjusting to the bench than to his central attacking spot. Unless he pulls a blinding comeback, and quick, there is no doubt Fernando Torres will be the biggest transfer flop in history.

I used to be one of Torres’ biggest fans sticking with him when he was having trouble in the World Cup and for Liverpool, and now I believe he gets what he deserves, moving to a new club does not make you a better player; it’s putting in the effort in practice and playing your heart out in matches that does it, and Fernando just does not seem to have that instinct or passion for the game, and you can see it when he plays.

Will Torres find his form? Tell us what you think!

Wiki(Boot)Leaks: Tiempo IV Specs Rumours + Other Nike Rumours

After falling way behind Adidas in the heritage boot market and the upcoming release of the Adipure SL that could tip the scales below 200 grams, Nike know they’ll have to produce something special in order to tip some power in their direction. We have a look at some of the rumored features of the Tiempo IV.

Late last year, many SER readers will recall in a leaked images article that I stated the new Tiempo will feature flywire technology. This acts as a support for the boot and means less layers are needed, reducing the weight of the boot. This will be in the new Tiempo and would help the Tiempo get close to the estimated 200 gram weight barrier that may be broken by the Adipure SL.

An early prototype of the Tiempos; image taken down at Nike’s request.

Now for something we haven’t known about till today. I’ve heard from a fairly reliable source that the new Tiempo will not have k-leather like it’s predecessor. Instead, the new Tiempo will feature kanga-lite leather, as featured on the CTR 360 Maestri series.

What will this mean? Well kanga-lite is a mix of synthetic and leather material, which still allows for a nice touch on the ball. Kanga-lite also keeps out water pretty well, something kangaroo leather doesn’t do. It still offers a pretty good degree of protection, is relatively light weight and it’s heavily endorsed by Ben. Just check his first impressions of the CTR Maestri Elite II.

If the rumour of the Kanga-lite synthetic leather is true, then you combine this with flywire technology and a carbon fibre sole plate, Nike definitely have a boot that could be a great contender against the upcoming Adipure SL and a boot that I would actually be very excited to review. This could definitely tip the scales in the low 200 grams or even potentially sub 200 grams. Even though the new White/Volt Elite version has a kanga-lite upper, all of the boots in the Tiempo series, including the non-Elite version, will feature the new upper.

Unfortunately, the boot is not expected to be released until July (according to our boot release calendar) as we still know of the red/white Tiempo III colourway that hasn’t been released yet. Also, the release of the Mercurial Vapor VII could happen any day now and it would be incredibly unwise of Nike to release the Tiempo a few days after the Mercurials, as all the hype would still be with the Mercurials.

We have also heard unconfirmed rumours that the Tiempos aren’t the only boot that will receive a revival with kanga-lite material. Let’s face it, it’s pretty special material and it’s understandable why Nike will want to use it more. We’ve heard (don’t quote us for this) that the new T90 Laser IV will feature a kanga-lite upper. It does make sense and it might actually happen. Some people have also speculated that Nike might release a Mercurial with a kanga-lite upper but I doubt it will happen. It wouldn’t be a bad idea though.

What do you think of the new Tiempo IV with a kanga-lite upper? Do you think it could see a movement of power towards Nike in the Heritage boot market?

The Daily Planet: Ronaldo Retires

After two World Cup wins with Brazil, 326 goals in all competitions, and millions of fans world wide, the 34 year old football icon has confirmed his retirement in a press conference held at Cornithians training ground.

Ronaldo For Brazil

“As you can imagine and you heard during the whole weekend, I’m here today to [confirm that] I’m closing my career as a professional player,” Ronaldo said.

Surrounded by family and friends, Ronaldo called quits to his illustrious 18-year long career, filled with awards and records.
Among those awards were, not one, but three FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Ronaldo Kisses World Cup

“Ronaldo was the most powerful centre forward in history. It was an honour to have him at Inter at the pinnacle of his career.”
Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti said it perfectly. He may have dipped in fitness recently, but the man who scored a record 15 goals in the World Cup will always be remembered as the top scorer in the World’s biggest tournament.

Ronaldo For Barcelona

Though he played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, his form wasn’t always perfect. His time with Barcelona was quite successful, where he won the Copa del Rey and the Cup Winners’ Cup. After just one season in Spain, Ronaldo moved to Italy, for £18 million, where he signed for Inter Milan.

He was less fortunate in Milan, where injury prevented him from playing his best.

The 2002 World Cup reminded everyone that Ronaldo was still the best player in the world, and, after scoring 2 goals in the final, big clubs were once again interested in the player.

He was made aware of more interest from Spain, this time from Real Madrid. Ronaldo decided to move back to Spain and play for Real Madrid, winning the Spanish La Liga two more times.

‘Fenomeno’ then had a brief stint at inter-city rivals AC Milan, where he was once again hampered by injury, but while at the San Siro, he proved to be a good tutor and mentor for countryman Pato.

The former World Player of the Year then decided to move back to Corinthians so he could be closer to home, but his fitness continued to go downhill.

Eventually, Ronaldo fell off the radar of world football and it was only a matter of time before the Brazilian left the sport.

A scandalous loss to Deportes Tolima in the Copa Libertadores angered supporters, who abused some of Corinthians’ players, including Ronaldo. This is reportedly the cause of his decision to retire.

Ronaldo For Cornithians

He ends a sensational career; one which includes 62 goals in 97 appearances in international football (a total 388 goals in all competitions), and multiple awards won over the course of 18 long years.

He was a player that conquered the world and a maverick that captured the imagination.

As an icon, Ronaldo was an original; as an all-time great, he was rivalled by few. He leaves his unique football legacy.

In Profile: Gareth Bale

He began playing 5-a-side with a young boys league in Wales, but fast forward ten years and the boy from Cardiff is now a world class footballer in England’s Premier Division.

Gareth Bale For Southampton

Whitchurch, where Gareth went to high school, isn’t exactly the place that comes to mind when searching for new talent, so when the 9 year old started thrashing every opponent in town, it was no surprise that when Southampton FC first heard of this left-footed phenomenon, they sent in multiple scouts to make sure the rumors weren’t exaggerated.

It didn’t take them long to realize the extent of Bale’s talents, and the club quickly swooped in for the defender, who played his first professional match for Southampton at the young age of 16.

Gareth Bale Dribbling

The left back had built up a reputation for having an accurate free kick after scoring against the likes of Coventry City FC and Hull City, and soon became an expert at them. He eventually scored 5 goals for the club in a total 45 appearances, but at 16 years old, the young lad was full of potential, and his career was only just beginning.

Tottenham was one of the first major clubs to notice this hidden potential, and in May 2007, the north London-based club secured his services for £5 million, though the final deal was worth around £10 million due to additional payments.

Bale had a great first season with his new club, scoring in 3 of his first 4 starts for Tottenham, including a free kick in the against Arsenal in the north-London derby.

Gareth Bale For Tottenham

Bale was on the wrong end of a bad tackle against Birmingham City in December of 2007 and, though he avoided anything career-threatening, was out for the remainder of the season, and soon rumours came in that the 18 year old would leave the club.

His third season with Tottenham was disappointing, to say the least, with Bale finding first team football hard to come by. The games he did feature in weren’t very convincing, and Gareth even set a record for most games played without winning (24).

Bale penned a new four year contract in London in August 2008, though he only played a mere 12 games in the previous season.
Injury plagued him again in 2009, when he had to have surgery on his knee, but he was back in action in September of that year, helping Tottenham reach fourth place in the Premier League.

Gareth Bale In Training

Incredibly, Gareth Bale had made it to January of 2010 without winning a match in which he started, but the next few months brought huge changes.

Tottenham traveled to the San Siro for the first leg of the fixture in October of last year, with Bale’s name on the team sheet. He was set to face Maicon, Inter’s brilliant right back, and pundits were already writing off his chances on the left wing.

When the whistle blew for half time, the score was 4-0 and Tottenham looked ready to concede more. Bale and his teammates walked back onto the pitch demoralized and unhappy, expecting to get thrashed.

Gareth Bale vs Inter

Something changed inside Gareth Bale, and the quiet wing back decided the game wasn’t over. He won every ball, completed every pass, and controlled the team from the left side. He went on to score 3 goals in that game, a hat trick which will forever be known as one of the most remarkable in the history of the competition.

Many chose to believe that Bale was nothing more than lucky, while few even went as far as saying he would never score again, but Gareth soon proved them all wrong in the weeks to come.

When the second leg came around, Inter were out for revenge. Maicon was ‘not going to play easy’, and his teammates were sure of his skills, believing he could easily stop Bale this time.

Joyful Gareth Bale

The speedy Welshman proved too much for the Brazilian, intercepting every ball and controlling the game as he did before in Milan. By the final whistle, Maicon had been wiped out by a world class performance and Bale was Man of the Match. The world now knew his name, the fans idolized him, and Tottenham had to work hard to secure his signature again, which they did in May of 2010.

In a matter of weeks, the substitute left-back became a club hero, whose name is now chanted around the world.

Gareth Bale Scores Against Arsenal

He outplayed the best team in the world at 21 years old, scored a hat trick in the biggest competition in Europe, and has inspired his team to countless victories.

Gareth Bale is a game changer, the type of player who can walk onto a pitch and transform the match from the moment he comes on, to the second he comes off. He defends like a right back, dribbles like a winger, shoots like a striker, and thinks like a captain. Bale is a brilliant player, and as long as he can avoid injury, the big clubs of the world will compete for his services for years to come.

First Impressions: Nike CTR360 Maestri II Elite

Thanks to Tim Yu from Nike, we’ve had a pair of the CTR360 Maestri II Elite for a week now, and have been putting the boots to the test with rigorous training sessions. We’ve also had a photo shoot of the boots to go along with Ben’s first impressions of the latest control boots from Nike.

After testing the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly II which obviously has the same carbon fiber sole as the Elite boots, and struggling with its stiffness, I came into testing expecting the same result, and am pleased to say it broke in pretty well and quickly after one training session.

The boots’ comfort are up there with the best, offering supreme touch and fit from the get go. In the full in-depth review, I will obviously go into further detail about the comfort levels, but as of right now, the only problem I’ve had with the fit is slight rubbing on the heels, but be assured it isn’t anything serious.

The protection offered by the Maestri’s is top quality as well, and staying on that subject, the boots have one of the nicest strike feelings I’ve experienced when kicking with a pair of football boots.

The thing everyone wants to know is whether or not Nike have remedied the infamous durability problems that players experienced with the first edition of the boots, and it’s safe to say that so far they’ve held up well, but you have to take into account that I’ve only had them for a week, so I’ll obviously expand more on that in the review later on.

I know that it sounds like a rave session for the Nike CTR360 Maestri II Elite boots right now, but I can assure you that the compliments are well deserved. The boots are on their way to becoming one of, if not my most favorite pair of soccer cleats of all time.

Stay tuned for the in-depth review which will be on the new site, SoccerReviews.com in the near future!

First Impressions Review: Adidas Adizero II

With the release of the Adizero on Tuesday, we were incredibly lucky to get our hands on the new Adizeros before the release date (thanks to Jeremy Drake at Elite Sports Properties for the boots). Here’s what I thought after my first play in them.

Being a first time Adizero wearer, and we know a lot of reviews will mention this, but the lightness of the boot is incredible. I won’t go into too much detail, but the 1 mm thick upper is possible thanks to the SprintFrame on the inside of the boot. This allowed for a surprisingly snug fit, something that many speed boots seem to miss out on (I’m looking over at you, Nike). Adidas supply two different soles with the Adizero, an thin, ‘ultralight’ sole and one thicker, ‘comfort’ sole. In the first 10 minutes with the boots on, I realised why two soles are supplied.

I wore the ultralight sole first and boy it was uncomfortable. I think it’s because it’s the first time I’ve worn Adizeros and I’m normally used to heavier K-Leather boots with thick soles. Adidas have gone all out in reducing the weight of the boot. If you remove the sole, I found out that you have the TPU bottom, a tiny, tiny layer of fabric and that’s it. The ultralight sole is, well, ultrathin. In the pictures below, I’ve attempted to show how thin the sole is. The boot changes a lot between the two different soles. I advise that for training, wear the comfort sole and wear the ultralight sole for matchday. I think that’s what the professionals do and I can understand why.

The blue (ultrathin sole) compared to the 'comfort' sole above it

More important, however, is how the boot performs. I can honestly say that dribbling in the Adizeros is so much fun. The 1 mm upper is probably the closest feeling you’ll get to playing barefoot and this allows for a great touch on the ball. It isn’t as good as a K-Leather boot, but it’s still among the best I’ve played with. Kicking is also pretty decent, as the thin upper again assists in providing a nice, smooth upper for striking. I expected to feel pain when striking the ball but, to my surprise, I didn’t. The triangular TRAXION studs allows you to change direction with ease, especially helpful if you’re a winger.

But the biggest question of the Adizero is fairly obvious. Protection. I’m fortunate to be a winger, so I’m not involved in too much tackling. I’m not looking forward to the first time I get my foot stamped on because I know it’s going to hurt. Even going in for a tackle myself could result in an injury. This is where the leather Adizero has a huge advantage on it’s synthetic brother. The leather would still give that little bit more of protection that would be needed for every day play.

That’s it for this review. Expect the full, in-depth review to be up within the next two months. I’ve got great expectations for this boot and it will be interesting to see whether the boot can impress me more than it already has.

Wiki(Boot)Leaks: Puma V1.11 and V1.11 SL!

Right after the preview of what looks to be the new Adizero, we have new pictures of the Puma V1.11 and SL versions!

As a huge fan of the V1.10 SL, the future only looks brighter for the V1.11 SL. It was a brilliant boot besides the fact that the studs wore out extremely quickly. Here is what we can see that is different about these new boots from Puma.

First of all, the shape of the boot seems to be almost identical to the V1.10 SL’s. It looks like Puma have added a more lightweight material surrounding the lace holes. The biggest change has to be the thicker dotted pads on the outside foot. This looks like a fantastic addition to the boot which may add a little more protection and help when dribbling and receiving passes. The studs seem to be made out of a different material as well which is a great sign!

Overall, I believe that these boots look like they can be a real competitor to the Adizero Prime. The Puma V1.10 SL were already a better boot than the Adizero (Synthetic) and the new V1.11 SL’s look killer! We at SER are extremely excited for the release of this boot and it seems like it could be soon as catalogue images are already out. The main question is though, are they light enough to top the Adizero Prime?

Credit to SiamBoots.com

Wiki(Boot)Leaks: New adiZero Prototype?

Despite the fact that we are still all buzzing about the recently released adiZero II and Primes, Adidas seem to have already started work on the next generation of super-light boots.

It’s expected that prototypes, such as this one are going to look a bit out of this world but this boot is the most outrageous looking one I’ve seen. The metallic colours that Adidas have used on this prototype make it look super futuristic, but surely the finished product will be much different.

The possibility of having miCoach on the new adiZeros is pretty exciting. It would offer an avenue for tracking how long you run during the game. Professional teams already have the ability to do this, but for amateur teams I think being able to find out these stats about each player would be a useful addition.

This looks to be a brand new heel counter, but we don’t have many details about what exactly will be improved.

Credit to Enjoyz user ??

What do you think the new adiZeros will be like? Leave your comments in the section below.

Luis Suarez Sticks With Adizero Leather

Luis Suarez spotted in Liverpool’s draw against Wigan wearing the Adidas F50 Adizero Leather II.

We at SER have been keeping an eye on Luis Suarez’ boot choices for the past few weeks and yes, he has surprised us again opting for the leather Adizero’s on game day. Prior to the match, Luis Suarez had been wearing Adizero Primes for all of Liverpool’s training sessions the whole week, and had shocked us all when deciding to go for the leather edition for the game. Maybe he has some special training strategy where he practices in synthetics then plays in leather in an effort to make his touch better?

We will be keeping an eye out for more of Luis Suarez’ boot choices in the coming weeks, but stay tuned for a boot spotting of all the weekend’s games in the coming days.

Round Four: Denmark

Part of SER’s coverage of England’s road to Poland-Ukraine 2012.

Amid the complaints about meaningless international friendlies such as England’s midweek encounter in Denmark, Fabio Capello will have walked away sufficiently satisfied ahead of England’s important EURO 2012 qualifying fixture against Wales next month. Despite the absence of key players such as captain Rio Ferdinand and vice-captain Steven Gerrard along with newer regulars like Phil Jagielka, Ben Foster, and Peter Crouch, the Three Lions not only came away with a win, but also provided several players their much deserved participation in the England fold.

Boasting a youthful feel with the likes of Joe Hart, Gary Cahill, Kyle Walker, Theo Walcott, and Jack Wilshere involved in the squad, Capello masterfully blended the experience of Rooney, Terry, Lampard, and Barry with the vibrant drive of Walcott and Ashley Young, both of whom were impressive. Granted the space and freedom to wander behind frontman Darren Bent, Young scored the winner and gifted Bent a glorious opportunity to double his tally. A first half run-out by Arsenal youngster Wilshere will no doubt have given him a much needed boost. Playing slightly deeper than he has this season with the Gunners, Wilshere’s task appeared to be the containment of another young star in the shape of Danish talent Christian Eriksen. While this was perhaps not Wilshere’s best defensive job, his performance suggests that with a couple more games under his belt in the Premier League, he might be ready for a seat on the flight to Poland next summer.

The future of English football?

On a side note: the one man who will not be happy with the game (despite a good shift at the back) will be John Terry, who watched as the red armband, once his, was tossed back and forth from captain-of-the-night Frank Lampard to Ashley Cole at half time and finally to Gareth Barry in the closing stages of the match. If he had any hopes of retaining that position, that night in Denmark may just have extinguished them.

While we did not learn anything new from the match, Scott Parker and Ashley Young certainly did enough to warrant an established place in the full England squad. I have always been a strong advocate for Parker’s involvement in the national set-up; that he only has four senior caps at this age is disappointing. In any other era, he would be assured a starting spot. His tackling ability, range of passing, and sheer bloody tenacity is exactly what England missed in South Africa last summer. Wilshere may be the future of England, but surely Parker is its present.

Parker: A strong claim for a permanent place

Good news: We saw the return of a confident Wayne Rooney in an England shirt. He may not have bagged a goal, but he had 45 minutes that certainly paid dividend on the weekend (check out his match-winner against Manchester City). Leighton Baines was also given his third England cap with a solid ten minute cameo. His performances both this season and last indicate that he is currently Ashley Cole’s best understudy.

Rooney: Finding his confidence

Improvements: I would have liked to see Kyle Walker challenge Johnson at right back. It will be interesting to see how the squad shapes up next month; players like Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, and David Bentley are in-form at the moment and could feature in Capello’s plans. The return of Jagielka next time around will pose problems and will most certainly remove former teammate Joleon Lescott from the fold.

Next match: vs Wales (EURO 2012 QUALIFIER)

Luis Suarez Adizero Prime Switch Official?

Luis Suarez was spotted wearing the Adizero Prime in their latest training session before their match against Wigan.

It looks like lightness has won over touch for Luis Suarez. During his last season for Ajax and at the 2010 World Cup down to his debut goal against Stoke City, Luis Suarez opted for the leather Adizero’s, but it seems that he has finally made the switch to the Prime edition of the boots. We will have till a couple of hours to see if Luis Suarez plays in the Adizero Primes!

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