It seems that any substitution involving Yossi Benayoun causes surprise these days. Less than a week ago the Israeli’s late withdrawal, during Liverpool’s loss to Lyon drew a chorus of boos from the club. Last Wednesday, he emerged from the bench 15 minutes from time as the Reds chased the game at Arsenal, and his introduction raised more than a few eyebrows.
It was not that it was Benayoun being brought on, of course. The 29-year-old’s guile and composure was more than welcome at a stage when Liverpool were on top of their energetic but inexperienced opponents. The consternation from the travelling pocket of Reds supporters packed into a sold-out Emirates Stadium came from seeing that it was David Ngog who was to be replaced.
Ok, it is not the same as removing, say, Fernando Torres, but still it was surprising. The young Frenchman had given Rafa Benitez 75 minutes of hard-work, and plenty of quality. It was his clever back-heel which opened up a glorious chance for Philipp Degen in the early stages, one that the Swiss full-back wasted.
Contrasting his performance with another Liverpool player looking to establish himself as an understudy (or partner) for Torres, Ryan Babel, and it is clear to see which player is showing more promise at this stage.
Babel cost more than £11 million, seven times as much as Ngog, when he arrived at Anfield from Ajax in 2007, and the early signs were highly promising. Moving with a fluidity which reminded Kopites of John Barnes or Thierry Henry, the Dutchman netted ten goals in his debut season at the club, and looked set to push on and establish himself as first choice.
That he has not is a damning indictment, at a time when quality attacking players at the club are apparently in such short supply. Torres is undoubtedly the top dog at Anfield, but there is an undoubted chance for someone like Babel to nail down a regular place. A chance, it appears, he is unable, or unwilling, to grasp.
On Wednesday night, he flitted around halfheartedly, offering only a partial threat as Liverpool were second-best for large spells. One nod down for Emiliano Insua’s goal, and a skimming 30-yard free kick that Lukasz Fabianski fielded well was the sum total of his night’s work. A night that was capped with a poor miss, as he failed to connect with Dirk Kuyt’s low cross late on.
Babel’s apologists point to the fact that he is yet to fully earn the faith of Benitez, and that he has never received a prolonged run in the first team. There may be an element of truth in this. Babel has already been named as a substitute 55 times in his short Anfield career, and has been substituted on countless other occasions. But when confronted with statistics such as those, is it not logical to wonder why?
The answer, it seems, is a case of attitude. Ngog may not be the darling of the Kop, though his strike against Manchester United last weekend will help, but his performances always display plenty of hard-work, a willingness to learn and improve, and a team-first attitude. Supporters respond to such traits, and the Frenchman is currently reaping the rewards.
For Babel, who has made plenty of noise in the past about needing to leave in order to secure first-team football, the long-term prognosis is less promising. It is clear that the talent is there, but Benitez could be forgiven for doubting if this Liverpool side are able to unlock it on a regular basis. The January transfer window may represent Liverpool’s best chance to pick up a sizable fee for Babel, who will be 23 by the time Christmas comes.
Obviously things can change. Babel’s pace and shooting power means he will always appeal as an alternative option from the bench, but at this moment in time, it makes more sense to back the Frenchman than it does to go Dutch.
Does a more aggressive style of play correlate with more success in football?
While aggression is largely seen as a negative trait, some sports psychologists agree that hostility can improve an individual’s performance. If players use aggression recklessly during a game, it will undoubtedly hurt their performance, but if this aggression is controlled, it can help them play more competently. It has been said that football tends to be one of the more socially acceptable channels for aggression. Still, professionals must learn the difference between controlled aggression and violence and transfer that knowledge to their game.
Aggression shows Character
Managers often praise their players for being aggressive during football matches, reflecting how much they care about their team winning. For example, José Mourinho has previously praised Chelsea striker Diego Costa for his aggressive style of play, stating that these qualities and mannerisms are what Chelsea needed to win the Premier League in 2014/15.
A player showing aggression to win a match or a cup is good. Aggression helps one to hold that “never give up” mentality; it feeds one’s hunger for success and somewhat drives an individual or a team to glory. Aggression keeps one in the right mindset to fight until the last minute, the last whistle. And if you are familiar with “the beautiful game”, you know how important that is.
However, this is not to be confused with playing with anger or the reckless abandon that Diego Costa is now often accused of. Aggression must be limited within the rules of the game. There is a big difference between aggressive and foul play, and fans, pundits, and referees can certainly tell the difference.
However, as far as players are concerned, it’s hard to imagine as the red mist falls. When players are told to be more aggressive, it sometimes results in them committing more fouls because they don’t understand what it means to play aggressively and instead interpret the instructions to play dirty.
Controlled aggression can be beneficial
When examining sports aggression, there are subtle yet very important differences between what sports psychologists consider healthy and appropriate versus what is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. An athlete who throws a hard punch after the whistle shows unhealthy aggression.
Although the aggression may not be dangerous, it goes beyond the rules and manifests frustration, not fair play, and sound strategy. When it comes to aggression, intent matters. Especially regarding safety, integrity, and sportsmanship in sports.
The Punters Page official site says if players are taught by their professional coaches and managers how to maintain a controlled aggressiveness on the field, it will allow them to play better by making contact with other players in a controlled manner without fear. Being aggressive in football is a desirable quality in a player, especially in the English Premier League.
Zlatan Ibrahimovi? once said that, according to him, when he’s angry in the field, he plays better. If people say he is aggressive, it stimulates him because he will be more aggressive. If people say he shouts a lot, he will shout even more. All this stimulates and drives him to play even better, and we have the incredible results in front of us as proof.
Aggression is often Dangerous
Although there are a lot of debates going on about whether aggression is good for players, it is better to believe it is not. Whenever a player shows a sign of aggression, either that player or their opponent is getting hurt, or maybe the opposition tends to play in fear which eventually turns into frustration, and they backfire with aggression too.
Aggression has ended the careers of many players, many legends, and many who could have been, as we all know. A severe injury breaks the backbone of any player’s mentality and destroys or limits their physical abilities.
Aggression without proper disposal is self-destructive
While controlled aggression helps in certain game circumstances, it is also important to control your emotions and not get too frustrated, which could lead to dangerous attacks, arguing with referees’ decisions, and subsequent bookings. Even if a referee doesn’t record an incident, you can risk a post-match citation and ejection as officials try harder than ever to keep violent acts out of football.
Luis Suárez is another example of someone who doesn’t know how to express his frustration. From three separate cases, we can see that Suárez has a particular taste for controversial and truly human flesh. Any opponent against Suárez knows they could be facing a situation you’d normally find in a petting zoo.
When you see footballers getting aggressive in the face of the referee, do you see the need to ensure that the aggression is controlled and focused on the match itself rather than showing disrespect to the referee where any aggression towards the referee is immediately punished? This is not to discourage aggression but to ensure it is directed at the right areas. The referee is unlikely to change his mind about the decision, so footballers are better off using their obvious aggression against the opposition.
Aggression is an integral part of football. Thus, a modern study suggests that information regarding people’s beliefs and aggression about game outcomes, has an impact on maximizing participation in soccer and karate. However, it is essential that young professional sportsmen and women understand the difference between controlled aggression and violence. In a modern game where players are thrown to the ground at the slightest touch, they need to control their aggression more than ever.
It would be interesting to see how many red cards former players like Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira would receive in the modern Premier League game. Players must adapt to this current state, or they will spend more time on the sidelines than on the field.
Team Delta Denies Poor Feeding Of Athletes Allegation
Team Delta has raised the alarm over an attempt by some individuals to scuttle the cordial relationship between the athletes and the state government at the ongoing 21st National Sports Festival, tagged Delta 2022.
According to the team, some ‘faceless group of people’ had pressed the alarm bell on Monday, saying that Delta State athletes staged a protest against ‘poor feeding, allowances, and unhealthy environment’ at their Technical College camp in Asaba.
An official of Team Delta, Victor Ashakpo, who is also the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Sports Commission, Chief Tonobok Okowa, described the story as untrue.
“Delta State’s athletes are the most disciplined as far as the National Sports Festival is concerned,” Ashakpo said. “How can someone just sit down somewhere and raise such an alarm that our athletes staged a protest, which is not true? Is it possible for athletes, who are protesting, to be winning gold medals at the same time? Long before the sports festival started, the Sports Commission had communicated to the athletes what they will get as camp allowance and others.
“To the best of my knowledge, our government has not disappointed in that regard. The athletes are very happy and their focus is how to maintain the top position on the medals table. It is criminal of anybody to just formulate such a big lie that Team Delta athletes are protesting,” Ashakpo stated.
Some of the athletes, who spoke with Tidesports source , called on those raising false alarm against the government to desist from it.
Aleto Unity Cup Set To Kick Off Sunday
Preparations are on top gear to commence Aleto Unity Cup Soccer Competition scheduled to hold this weekend.
Chairman of Aleto Football Association, Michael Ejire, while speaking with journalists, on Monday shortly after the draws of the competition said the tournament was aimed at fostering peace and unity among the youths of the area
Ejire said every logistics have been put in place to make the tournament memorable and remarkable, adding that the competition will provide the platform for upcoming footballers in the area to showcase their potentials and talents.
He further said the cardinal aim and objective of the tourney is to discover fresh talents and nurture them to stardom.
On his part, the Secretary of Aleto Football Association, Deacon Gomba Osaro Prosperous, said the tournament is sponsored by the Aleto Clan Association to promote the development of grassroots football among the communities and sub clans in the area.
He pointed out that part of the dividends accruing from the equity shares of Indorama Eleme Petrochemical host communities is being used to bankroll the tournament in line with the obligation of the Aleto clan association and trustees managing the shares.
According to him, Aleto is one of the host communities of Indorama Eleme Petrochemical and the Aleto Clan Association deemed it necessary to sponsor the competition from the dividends accruing the equity shares.
Deacon Prosperous further disclosed that the overall winner of the tournament would get the sum of one million naira as prize money while the runners-up will console them with the sum of eight hundred thousand naira, adding that second runners up will receive five hundred thousand naira.
He said notable dignitaries, prominent and eminent sons and daughters of Aleto clan are expected to grace the opening ceremony of the tournament where Ollorte FC will play Konwi FC.
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