Steve Sidelnyk's Football Blog: 8th November 2013....The Big One!

So last timeI went to see The Los Angeles Galaxy play it was in some style onboard a party bus complete with stripper pole and mood lighting : O )
Its not the usual way I travel to a game and there were things that happened on that journey that I'll never forget, including a penalty shoot out with the 2011 future Premier League Champions in Manchester City and goalie Joe Hart took the winning kick with aplomb!
Where were the overpriced Ginster pies and warm lager??????? Instead a jumbo sized Margarita with a slice of fresh lime!!!!!!!!
No looking around the corner to see if someone from the opposing team's fans were waiting around to inflict pain and punishment for wearing the wrong color!
At the Home Depot Center in Carson, the home of the Galaxy, there were people smiling and chatting and fans having their pictures taken in the warm sunshine! ....... I know a lot of exclamation marks!
It was nice to be able to see so many people have a great time and yes maybe they did cheer the throw-ins and corners but hey live and let live : O )
If you haven't been and fancy a great day out with the family or friends then head on down there and witness an ever increasing influx of international players and some fantastic home-grown talent that continues to blossom.
Its the Major League Soccer (there I said it) play-offs and the Galaxy look like they have the team to go on to a third MLS Cup triumph with a win over Real Salt Lake even though poor Robbie Keane missed an array of chances.
Maybe the New York Red Bulls might have something to say about that with Thierry Henry and an in-form Tim Cahill, both BPL transplants, even though Houston managed to come from behind twice to share the points.
The football is getting better and better and you never know who might be playing for Los Galaxy next year!!!!!!!!!!

Back in Blighty it was brimming with Premier League action again and shock of the week was Toon Army Newcastle United stopping Chelsea in their winning ways in treacherous conditions and signaling the return of that thing we love so much the british winter. A pitch sometime resembling a mud bath made tackling a somewhat sport akin to ice skating.
Man City thrashed Norwich with Joe Hart starting on the bench. Man United back to winning ways with a comfortable win over Fulham. Hull beating Sunderland. West Bromwich Albion disposing of Crystal Palace.
West Ham and Villa and Spurs and Everton all sharing the points. Arsenal continuing their great form with a 2-0 win over another team in form Liverpool but even making Saurez and Sturridge seem a bit lack-lustre with Aaron Ramsey, the little Welsh-Wizard, really having a great match and scoring 6 goals in 7 games.
Which brings me right to a little bit of Premier League history as it was the first non-english derby between two Welsh teams in Cardiff and Swansea City in the modern day BPL and the first time since 1929 in the top flight!
1-0 to Cardiff and the Swansea keeper sent off in another rain-soaked affair.

Champions League action ensued with Chelsea and Man City winning and Man Utd still top of their group even with a scoreless draw.
But it was that man Aaron Ramsey who scored a vital away win for the Gunners at Borussia Dortmund and its all looking great for the British clubs.

A big-up to Jermain Defoe who scored a club record breaking 23rd strike in european competitions and giving Spurs a well deserved win in the Europa Cup.

Okay so now a look at the elder statesmen of the Premiership and how even us oldies can still turn it on and get the job done!

10. Ryan Giggs - 39
The most decorated player in English football just goes on and on. Still an influential player at 39, Giggs was rewarded with yet another one-year contract extension back in February, just before he made his 900th appearance for Manchester United.
Of course, the trademark pace of his younger career has dulled, but having been moved into a more central role, Giggs continues to have a brilliant reading of the game and an effective passing range. He continues to learn too – gaining his first experience of tournament football as captain of Great
Britain at the Olympics.
Whether the forthcoming season will be his last at Old Trafford probably hinges on the number of trophies he lifts in the months to come.

9. Stuart Pearce - 39

Despite a career packed with highs and lows, Psycho gave his all until his very last kick as a pro. Pearce’s final Premiership match came with West Ham when he turned 39 at the end of the 2000-01 season, although he continued playing with Manchester City for a further two seasons.

8. Nigel Winterburn - 39

On the opposite flank from Dixon, Winterburn was another key cog in the Arsenal defense throughout the 1990s. The left-back helped the Gunners to countless trophies during that period but extended his career by another three years at West Ham, eventually quitting at 39.

7. Ray Wilkins - 39

The former England midfielder thought his days at the top were numbered when he left QPR in 1994. But he was back at Loftus Road within months as their player-manager and continued on the pitch for almost another two years – finally ending his top-flight days aged 39.

6. Mark Schwarzer - 40

He may be nearing 41 but, being a goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer is showing no signs of slowing down. An ever-present for Fulham at home and in Europe last season, he continues to feature for Australia and even has his sights set on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Like Friedel, Schwarzer seems to have been around in the Premier League forever – and the stats back this up, with 640 appearances in England over 16 years. But he continues to perform in the top flight, making crucial saves, and is committed to the Craven Cottage club for another year at least.

5. Mike Pollitt - 40

Veteran of over 500 club appearances for 15 different teams, Pollitt continues to serve as understudy to Ali Al-Habsi at Wigan despite not having made a first team appearance since February last year. 
Pollitt was Wigan’s first signing after promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and, who knows, could yet have a role to play in keeping them there for another season. 

4. Bryan Robson - 40

Captain Marvel bowed out of the game with a final appearance as Middlesbrough player-manager just 10 days shy of his 40th birthday. Robson enjoyed a magical career at Manchester United and despite a string of injuries, was an inspiration until the end.

3. Gordon Strachan - 40

The ginger wizard became the first Premiership player to play into his 40s during his spell as player-manager of Coventry. Even at that grand old age, Strachan was still a key performer for the Sky Blues – and few believed his record would ever be broken.

2. Teddy Sheringham - 41

Top of the pile is one striker who seemed to defy the passing of time. Sheringham pulled on a West Ham shirt for the final time on December 30 2006 – 95 days short of his 41st birthday. Windass – or anyone else for that matter – will do well to beat his landmark.

1. Brad Friedel - 42

Despite being in his fifth decade – and already holding the honour of the oldest Premier League player – Friedel was an ever-present for Spurs last season and looks set to be again this.
With vast experience of everything the Premier League can throw at you from a career in England spanning over 550 games, Friedel is still sharp between the posts and a vital component of a side with top four aspirations.
Qualification for the Champions League, or perhaps cup success, would be a fitting finale for the American in the final year of his current contract.
So thats it enjoy the weekend and bear in mind that there might be snow on the roof but there is a raging fire in the hearth : O )
X Steve " Steptoe" Sidelnyk

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