In the sixth minute of the game, Marouane Fellaini picked up the ball near the centre circle, attempted to run deep into Evertons territory to start another Manchester United attack but immediately saw the ball stolen away from him from James McCarthy. Vans Slip On Cheap . McCarthy, a player who played some games in the second tier for Wigan at the start of this season, would go on to shine inside Evertons midfield, outplaying the man he was brought in to replace, on one of the grandest stages in English football. On Saturday, it was fitting that Manchester Uniteds most recent dagger into the chest was delivered by Frenchman Yohan Cabaye, a wonderfully gifted central midfielder who put on an outstanding effort for Newcastle at Old Trafford. Around the Premier League on Saturday, numerous examples of midfields taking over games were on show. For Tottenham at Sunderland, Paulinho and Moussa Dembele ran the game in the second half, Stoke got back into their match against Chelsea by exposing a double pivot of Ramires and John Obi Mikel, while Liverpool lost momentum in their home match against West Ham once Steven Gerrard departed through injury. This is football in todays era. Central midfield is the most important zone on the field, where turnovers are caused, counter-attacks are started, defensive cover is needed and vision with the ball is demanded. Most teams in the Premier League play in systems that can be labeled 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, where at least three men centrally are asked to work as a unit, both defensively and in attack. It is the engine that motors the team forward and back. At Manchester United this season this has usually been done by two central midfielders and Wayne Rooney.Rooney has looked very good and if you were to make up a list of Uniteds problems he would certainly be at the bottom labeled as ‘Rooney – only concern is how to play him with van Persie against superior teams. The English striker has proven in recent years (see vs Andrea Pirlo at Euro 2012 for reference) to be a liability when it comes to making up a midfield three in a defensive manner but against the majority of inferior Premier League teams this is not a problem. Last season for example, against the 13 teams who finished between eighth and 20th in the Premier League, Manchester United, playing 4-4-2, won an astonishing 22 of 26 matches, claiming a total of 69 points from a possible 78. However, upon closer inspection there were matches where they looked outrun in midfield and allowed a goal through a defensive lapse, but these were quickly forgotten about because United painted over the cracks by banging in goals at the other end. It happened against Fulham, when Dembele ran the game before getting a move to Spurs (Fulham led 1-0, lost 3-2), it happened against Liverpool and Southampton in second halves at Old Trafford (games won 2-1) and against Newcastle who led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 last season before losing 4-3. On Boxing Day the United system was handing their opponents regular gifts with numerous goal scoring chances but once again, their attacking heavyweights powered their way out of trouble. United would go on to win the game through Javier Hernandez in the 90th minute, who, like on Saturday, partnered van Persie up front for United that day. That however, is where the similarities ended for the pair. Last season the service towards them was remarkably different to the amount of passes they received in Saturdays 1-0 home loss. Sixty-seven passes to 36 is a remarkable difference over 90 minutes: Hernandezs winning goal last December would give his side three more points won from a losing position and in total United would go on to claim 29 points from losing positions last season. On the surface that seems like a remarkably impressive number, it is after all the second highest of all-time in the Premier League behind Newcastles 01-02 season of 34 points, but you must have flaws in your team to be behind many times to get to that number. Uniteds flaws remain this season but because they cannot power themselves out of trouble with goals they have been magnified to the level where action is now required. Two seasons ago United were stunned by a Champions League group stage elimination after Benfica and Basel ran through their midfield and scored eight goals between them in four matches. United were sent into the Europa League and would go on to again be exposed in similar fashion, losing back-to-back home games to technically superior teams, Ajax and Athletic Bilbao. In those matches United looked far too English. A timid, reactionary team lacking true post-to-post midfielders who excel in both the attack and defensive side of the game. It is an accusation that remains even more glaring two years on. The worlds best teams today all have world class deep-lying playmakers who control matches with the combination of brilliant, forward thinking vision and equally outstanding footballing intelligence without the ball. In central midfield, Real Madrid has Luka Modric, Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso, Barcelona has Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas and Xavi, Bayern Munich has Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez and Toni Kroos, Manchester City have Yaya Toure and Fernandinho. Manchester United has Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Tom Cleverley or Phil Jones. Carrick remains very important to United, a fine player in the Premier League whose calmness and passing ability has been sorely missed lately. Fellaini remains a mysterious buy, a player whose escalated price came from playing further forward but who wants to play in central midfield, despite not yet excelling at the attributes needed to play there. Cleverley has now started nine of their 15 league games this season and isnt anywhere near the quality of, at least, 20 other Premier League midfielders who have (and will continue to do so) the beating of the United youth product. Jones remains a promising player who will likely move to centre-back as he ages, but certainly does not have the offensive abilities to play regularly in central midfield for a team like Manchester United. None of these players are not close to being deep lying playmakers and none are anywhere close to being world class. United badly need at least one, and most likely two, of these caliber players as soon as possible. As last season showed the team is more than capable of going on a long successful run this season, beating inferior teams and that will help them climb towards a likely finish amongst the top four but what absolutely must not be forgotten again next summer is what was ignored in recent transfer windows. It is time to stop the likes of Dembele, McCarthy, and Cabaye running the show in games at Old Trafford. While United were spending a whopping 65 million pounds (the cost of Smalling, Young, Jones, Zaha and Powell) on mediocre, or unproven English talent the last four summers, many other teams have not only caught them up in central midfield, but now overtaken them. A club like United should be close to the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern, but through bad buys and neglecting a key area they are not even close and are left exposed by average teams in their own league. It is time to get to work on a very deep-lying problem. Vans Old Skool Black Sale .C. -- When Michael Jordan speaks, people still listen. Vans Store Near Me .com)LeBron clearly likes his Italian sports cars, and thats ok with me, so up next up is the 458 Spider.KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Royals expect to place left-hander Bruce Chen on the disabled list with a swollen disc in his back that has already caused the club to juggle its starting rotation. Chen was supposed to throw a side session Thursday, but manager Ned Yost said the 37-year-old left-hander was in pain even before he made it to the mound. Chens anticipated move to the DL means that Yost will have to find someoone else to start in his place Saturday against Detroit. Vans Toy Story Sale. Yost was still mulling his options before Thursday nights series finale against Toronto, but he did acknowledge that left-hander Danny Duffy could move out of the bullpen. Chen said hes been dealing with back pain for weeks. Hes already had an epidural to relieve some of the swelling, but so far it has not made the pain subside. ' ' '
MANCHESTER, England - Mario Balotelli sparked a dramatic fightback by Liverpool and Chelsea needed a late own goal to edge past plucky fourth-tier opposition as the two Premier League giants squeezed into the League Cup quarterfinals. Blazers Jerseys 2021 .Late goals settled four of the five last-16 matches on Tuesday — and two were scored at Anfield as Liverpool came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1.Balotelli, criticized in recent weeks for a string of below-par displays, inspired the comeback by coming off the bench to score an 86th-minute equalizer before Dejan Lovren headed in the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.Finally! Balotelli said on Twitter after scoring his first goal in six weeks and only his second for Liverpool since joining from AC Milan in August.A patched-up Chelsea lineup looked like being taken to extra time by Shrewsbury, a team 71 places below it in English footballs pyramid, only for Jermaine Grandison to head into his own net after 81 minutes to seal a 2-1 win for the Premier League leaders.Didier Drogba had given Chelsea the lead in the 48th, with the 36-year-old striker scoring for the third straight game and just two days after netting at Manchester United in the Premier League.It was a difficult pitch and difficult weather, said Drogba, one of four Chelsea starters who also began the 1-1 draw against United. They were a fantastic team and opponent — they showed why they deserve to be here tonight.West Bromwich Albions decision to field a virtual reserve team against second-tier Bournemouth backfired in a 2-1 loss for the upset of the round.Derby and Sheffield United, who play in the second and third tiers respectively, also advanced on Tuesday.Manchester City and Tottenham are among those looking to reach the last eight on Wednesday.Balotelli started on the bench against Swansea but was thrown on by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in the 79th minute after Marvin Emnes volleyed the visitors into the lead. Within seven minutes, Balotelli guided home a cross from Fabio Borini to equalize.Swansea defender Federico Fernandez was shown a red card in the second minute of injury time for a foul on Philippe Coutinho, who provided the cross from a free kick that Lovren headed in at the back post for a last-gasp winner.Chelsea remained unbeaten in all competitions this season — and reached the last eight of the League Cup for the fourth straight season — but only after surviving a scare against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.Drogba has starred in the absence of injured fellow strikers Loic Remy and Diego Costa, scoring against Maribor in the Champions League last week, at Old Trafford on Sunday and again against Shrewsbury when he swept home a left-footed finish from Mohamed Salahs pass.Shrewsbury equalized in the 77th minute through Andy Mangan but was on level terms for just four minutes, as substitute Willians teasing cross was diverted in by Grandison.I was ready for extra time, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.There was late drama, too, at Bournemouth, which reached the quarterfinals for the first time thanks to Callum Wilsons 86th-minute strike. West Brom had equalized just a minute earlier from an own goal.By scoring five times in 20 minutes, Derby came from 2-0 down to beat Fulham 5-2 away in a match between two League Championship teams. Sheffield United beat fellow third-tier side MK Dons 2-1. Rod Strickland Jersey .A. Happ capped a challenging season with one of his best efforts of the year. Cliff Robinson Jersey . -- Having already fallen behind because of the NFL lockout, Blaine Gabbert couldnt afford a lengthy holdout.HOUSTON -- Jadeveon Clowney was on the field with the Houston Texans as they opened camp on Saturday. But the No. 1 overall pick in this years draft was limited as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a sports hernia. Clowney, who had surgery on June 12, participated in the majority of the drills as Houston started camp with a 2 1/2-hour practice on Saturday morning. But he was held out of 11 on 11 drills late in the workout. The first workout was open to the public and fans cheered as Clowney trotted onto the field for the start of practice. Others squealed and yelled his name as he walked off of it and he flashed a big smile before first taking a second to pull his flowing dreadlocks, which were drenched in sweat from the workout, away from his face. He said hes feeling better, but isnt 100 per cent yet. Despite that Clowney didnt appear to be slowed by the injury and moved around well during practice. He said its up to the trainers if hell be able to take part in drills when the Texans move from shorts and shells to full pads in a few days. "Im just taking it one day at a time," Clowney said. "Im just letting the trainers take it one day at a time and try to come back and get back for the first game." The Texans open the preseason on Aug. 9 at Arizona. Coach Bill OBrien said hell let the trainers decide how much Clowney will do and when. "Weve got the best when it comes to that," OBrien said. "We do that and these guys are edgy, they want to get going, but its a long season. So we bring them back at their pace. When theyre ready to go, theyll go." The 6-foot-5, 266-pound former South Carolina standout is moving from defensive end to outside linebacker in defensive co-ordinator Romeo Crennels systemm and believes the transition is going well. Gary Trent Jersey . "Im feeling very comfortable, but Ive still got a lot of work to do," Clowney said. "Just keep getting better and better each day." Hell pair with 2012 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to beef up Houstons already solid pass rush. Clowney had 130 tackles, 24 sacks, 47 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback pressures in a three-year career at South Carolina. He also caused a school-record nine fumbles and deflected seven passes. The 21-year-old also set a South Carolina record with 13 sacks in 2012. Watt said hes eager to see how Clowney and the rest of Houstons rookies perform in camp. "Training camp is a good time for rookies to get their feet wet," Watt said. "Once we finally put the pads on, it will be a good opportunity to see how they perform in a situation like that. So it will be exciting." Clowneys still soaking in the fact that he now gets to play with people he watched over the past several years. "Its very exciting," he said. "It was exciting the first time I got out here with the guys I looked up to coming into the NFL -- J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph, D.J. (Swearinger), guys like that on my team I just I looked up to before I got here. So now that Im here with them, its even better." Clowney missed Houstons three-day minicamp because of his surgery, but got going early by participating in Houstons off-season workouts leading up to that camp. He feels as if that helped him improve since he was drafted in May. "Im a lot better than where I was," he said. "Ive learned a lot of the playbook already. Coach already said that we look good out there, so weve just got to keep pushing." ' ' '