Saturday, April 28, 2007

Argentines in action in England

Despite Javier MASCHERANO being left out of the Liverpool team that played against Portsmouth today (as Rafa BENITEZ clearly want to keep him fresh for the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Chelsea), there were five Argentines in action in Today's Premiership fixtures.

They experienced some mixed fortunes with Carlos TEVEZ and Gabriel HEINZE being on the winning side, while Liverpool duo of Gabriel PALETTA and Emiliano INSUA and Middlesbrough's Julio ARCA lost their respective matches.

Let's take it one by one:

Carlos TEVEZ:

West Ham played a game that looked like a final against Wigan Athletic. They needed to win to try and cut out the points difference with the Latics and to position themselves higher in the table to face the last two games with a shot to avoid relegation.

And they won 3-0 in style. Carlitos didn't score and had no assists, but his work rate was there to be seen and his pace caused all sorts of problems to the Wigan defense.

Now they are levelled in points with Wigan (35) but trail on goal difference by 5, so West Ham will have to get at least one point from the last two matches if Wigan are to lose both.

Up next for the Hammers is a tough test at Upton Park against Bolton, while Wigan play against Middlesbrough. The good news for West Ham is that Manchester United have won today and they could secure the title in any of the next two matches (Manchester City and Chelsea), so the Red Devils could field a team of substitutes in the last game of the Premiership against West Ham.

Gabriel HEINZE:

United started off with all sorts of problems at Goodison Park and Everton took a 2-0 lead. That result, combined with a temporary 2-1 Chelsea victory over Bolton, had the two title contenders with the 82 points each, with 3 games to play and the crucial encounter between them at Stanford Brigde on May, 9th.

But Gabriel HEINZE's team came from behind and scored 4 goals in the second half, while Chelsea allowed Bolton to score their second and now Manchester United is clear 5 points at the top of the standings.

If both teams win their next game (Manchester United will visit Manchester City, while Arsenal will entertain Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium), then the Red Devils could be crowned champions with a win or a draw against Chelsea at Stanford Bridge.

Gabriel PALETTA and Emiliano INSUA:

Out of the fight for the league title, with a place in next year's UEFA Champions League already in the bag and with a very important game on Tuesday against Chelsea for the Champions League semifinals, Rafa BENITEZ preserved his key men.

So Liverpool came to play against Portsmouth without REINA, CARRAGHER, FINNAN (I think he was injured anyway), AGGER, RIISE, GERRARD, MASCHERANO, PENNANT, CROUCH and KUYT.

So with an almost entire reserve team, the couple of Argentine defenders, Gabriel PALETTA and Emiliano INSUA, had a chance to start for the Reds.

It wasn't easy for them and Portsmouth won 2-1. With one of the goals coming when MWARUWARI out-paced PALETTA before beating DUDEK.

Emiliano INSUA made his absolute debut for Liverpool after he was loaned from Boca Juniors in January 2007 . He did quite well playing as a left-back and he even had an effort off target. INSUA will stay at Anfield Road until August 2008. He is 18 years old.

Julio ARCA:

He entered the game in the 64th minute when his team (Middlesbrough) were losing 2-1 at home against Tottenham. He couldn't do much and the Spurs came out victorious 3-2.