Twitter #cleaveropinion – Premier League Week 4

Back after the international break (or as I call it a football entertainment nap) the Premier League is in full swing. And as my predictive powers are in full fail mode over at firstdownuk.com, I’m sure this will be fairly obvious punditry. Or Alan Shearer in 140 or less characters.

ARS 6 – 1 SOT. No luck for Saints. But much better play from Gunners. Finding some confidence and more importantly, goals. #cleaveropinion

MNU 4 – 0 WIG. Sloppy Wigan suitably punished. Hernandez’s runs perfect. Good Buttner debut. Soft penalty though. #cleaveropinion

Side note: This must be Man U’s Capital One Cup/Early round FA Cup team. Looked good. #cleaveropinion

FUL 3 – 0 WBA. Definite red card. More like Odemwingie was trying to punt the guy. Baggies leaving too much room for Berba. #cleaveropinion

AVL 2 – 0 SWA.Villa looked something else. Much promise and great goals. Hoping Swansea don’t suffer an away form slump. #cleaveropinion

STO 1 – 1 MCY. Crouch showing his best accidental prowess. Garcia with an easy header. But great Begovic/Shawcross save #cleaveropinion

Side note: I can’t decide what Balotelli would do if he wasn’t a footballer. MMA Fighter? Body builder? Royal Bodyguard? #cleaveropinion

SUN 1 – 1 LIV. L’pool had the run of the game really but lacking the goals/will to score. Sunderland, good squad but wins? #cleaveropinion

Side note: I mean that I can’t see the, winning games, despite their squad. Talent on paper, yes but in games, not sure. #cleaveropinion

QPR 0 – 0 CHE. Handshake gets headlines but Cesar the real story. Great debut. Chelsea good start goes on, keep Hazard fit. #cleaveropinion

Side note: QPR!!! CESAR??? Seriously? How do they afford this? Also, their shirt numbers are ridiculous. Who decides this? #cleaveropinion

NOR 0 – 0 WHU. Vaz Te was pretty good. Norwich couldn’t score despite trying hard. Mad jaaskelainen saves though. #cleaveropinion

REA 1 – 3 TOT. Spurs deserved win really. Great goals from Defoe, good to see him on form. Not too sure on Spurs away kit. #cleaveropinion

EVE 2 – 2 NEW. What a game. Bad ref decisions, goals, emotion & some great passes & play from both. Classic football match. #cleaveropinion

Final Note: On a week where football was secondary to justice and apologies were made, the truth has proved the 96 will never walk alone.

 

Want more? Read my history of Liverpool’s poor January Transfer record or catch up with the previous weeks below:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

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Twitter #cleaveropinion – Premier League W/C 1/9/12

Another week gone by and my Liverpool side are looking flatter in football than Holland does geographically. See what I thought of the rest of the games and keep up with me on twitter: @cleaverslips.

SWA 2 – 2 SUN. Good game, Fletcher with a good goal & uncharacteristic lapse for the second from Swans. Right result here. #cleaveropinion

Side Note: Sunderland look to have brought well, Chico needed to go. But gutted for Taylor. An unlucky injury. #cleaveropinion

WBA 2 – 0 EVE. Great attacking game from 2 in form teams. Nice goals Howard couldn’t do much about. Fellani didn’t turn up.#cleaveropinion
Side Note: Agree with Redknapp on Clarke. Looks to be brining the best out of his team and it’s good to see. #cleaveropinion

WHU 3 – 0 FUL. Carroll centre of everything, hope not injured as this was a West Ham side possessed. Nolan – class finish.#cleaveropinion

MCY 3 – 1 QPR. Result never in question, but commanding game for City. Nice for QPR to get a goal though. Fear for them.#cleaveropinion

Side Note: I still don’t understand QPR’s transfers. They need defence. Big players, high wages, typical rich club syndrome.#cleaveropinion

TOT 1 – 1 NOR. Friedel still great. Heard a. Lot about uncreative Spurs yesterday, have to agree. Harsh red card maybe.#cleaveropinion

WIG 2 – 2 STO. 2 easily avoidable pens. But Wigan can counter attack well. Great Al-Habsi save though. Wigan will survive.#cleaveropinion

Side Note: Pulis at one point lifted his baseball cap to comb his hair back with his hand. HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY HAIR!!! #cleaveropinion

LIV 0 – 2 ARS. Woeful Liverpool. No goal scorer will ruin their season. Giroud should have buried his chance though.#cleaveropinion

STON 2 – 3 MNU. Harsh on Saints. Deserved the point. Lambert great, RVP slightly better… Slightly. Still a bit ropey, MU.#cleaveropinion

Side Note: I’ve never seen a penalty where the striker thinks they’ve already sent the GK the wrong way before they kick it.#cleaveropinion

NEW 1 – 1 AST. To follow.

Twitter #cleaveropinion – Premier League W/C 25/08/12

So here is week two of the premier league results and the collated Cleaver Opinion from twitter this weekend. Agree or disagree? Want to follow? Just use #cleaveropinion on twitter.

MNU 3 – 2 FUL. RVP great finish, but too much space. Big teams will punish that. De Gea still occasional comedy gold. #cleaveropinion

AVL 1 – 3 EVE. Everton look good. Will be in Europe, full of goals. Villa? Bad… Very bad. Picking up where they left off. #cleaveropinion

SWA 3 – 0 WHU. Swansea took goals from nothing. Essential for PL. Be interesting to see how they do against top 3. #cleaveropinion

Side note: West Ham. If your offside trap hasn’t worked, just keep using it against a good team with pace, yeah? #cleaveropinion

CHE 2 – 0 NEW. Quality Chelsea. Newcastle didn’t turn up and the Torres we love and fear did. Hazard and him, telepathic.#cleaveropinion

TOT 1 – 1 WBA. Tough for Spurs but they need goals and decisive play. Or else 90 min equalisers will occur. Frustrating.#cleaveropinion

SOT 0 – 2 WIG. Just didn’t happen for Saints. Defensive errors quickly exposed. But good play & Wigan have goals for once.#cleaveropinion

NOR 1 – 1 QPR. Unlucky for Norwich. Should have won, created chances, Green handling outside box. Not convinced by QPR.#cleaveropinion

Side note: Football & goals = good. MOTD lineup though is worryingly bland. But better Lawro there than the commentary box.#cleaveropinion

STO 0 -0 ARS. Bogey team but Arsenal need goals. Although in honesty, I think they need service more. Playmakers needed.#cleaveropinion

LIV 2 – 2 MCY. Liverpool threw it away, frustrating. But hope for fortress Anfield. Allen: Immense. Borini: Found wanting.#cleaveropinion

Side note: Another impressive run out for Sterling. Reminds me of a young McManaman. Maybe LIV’s Walcott… But with goals.#cleaveropinion

Bonus Side Note: Some cracking goals. McGugan for Forest. Tiago for Athletico Madrid. Torres for Chelsea & Suarez for LIV.#cleaveropinion

Twitter #cleaveropinion – Premier League W/C 18/08/12

So here is week one of the premier league results and the collated Cleaver Opinion from twitter this weekend. Agree or disagree? Want to follow? Just use #cleaveropinion on twitter.

WBA 3 – 0 LIV. Deserved win, arguably Reina had no chance with goals. Liv missed 2 easy shots. Red card made the difference. #cleaveropinion

QPR 0 – 5 SWA. Very poor defending. Irresistible attacking. Michu looks great. Fear for QPR, they’ll need goals. #cleaveropinion

NEW 2 – 1 TOT. Good attack from both. Ba-great finish. Silly Pardew push. Both will be tough to beat. NEW at home even more. #cleaveropinion

Side note, if Newcastle can get both Ba and Cisse firing, god help everyone. #cleaveropinion

FUL 5 – 0 NOR. Clint who? What’s a Prog? NOR showed no attack & bad def. Exhibition for an interesting FUL side. Happy Jol!#cleaveropinion

Side note, Happy Jol is subjective. His face is like a stone with features painted on. #cleaveropinion

WHU 1 – 0 AST. Physical Villa, Cole falls over… And over. Goal on technicality. Will be a long season for both clubs. #cleaveropinion

Side note, two constants in PL. Big Sam will chew and at least one team will have a flourescent away kit. #cleaveropinion

REA 1 – 1 STO. Stoke becoming the new Bolton in physicality. Hilarious keeping. You have to feed the Prog. Balls = goals.#cleaveropinion

Side note, nods to @FootballRamble for “Feed the Prog.” enjoy some of their many great T Shirts here:http://www.thefootballramble.com/shop/t-shirts#cleaveropinion

ARS 0 – 0 SUN. Frustrating for ARS. Good team, played ok. SUN had an invisible bus. No RVP hangover yet but goals needed.#cleaveropinion

Side note, following from friends comments yesterday, Giroud. He’s a handsome lad isn’t he? #cleaveropinion

WIG 0 – 2 CHE. Good outing for the Euro champs. Wigan also did well, possibly deserved consolation. More to come from both.#cleaveropinion

MC 3 – 2 S’TON. Best game so far. Ricky Lambert (YES) & great goals all round. Saints will be good, City machine goes on.#cleaveropinion

EVE 1 – 0 MNU. Fellaini something else. Utd looked patchy under pressure & De Gea kept them in the game in 1st half. AFRO! #cleaveropinion

We Must Acknowledge Depression In Sports

Words cannot echo the surprise and shock at the news of Gary Speed’s death. It was only yesterday, the day before his death that I saw him on BBC television being praised for how well he’s done with the Welsh national team. My thoughts are of course with his family and friends.

It is surprising how little we know about the human mind and how it is afflicted by illnesses like depression. In fact one of the last resort cures, what is currently known as ECT or Electroconvulsive Therapy, would be considered a barbaric medieval torture if it wasn’t applied by Doctors. We understand hardly anything when it comes to the brain but we can all relate to how people may feel when they are down or low. It’s something we all go through albeit not to the degree that someone suffering from depression would.

Imagine then if you will, piled on with the pressures of life and living and relationships, when you have further weight on your shoulders. That being the weight of the hopes and dreams of sports fans. Over the past year, we have only just begun to recognise and realise the effect that depression has on athletes and sporting competitors. There is such a high charged emotional atmosphere and connection to winning and losing at the highest levels of sport that we can’t even begin to wonder what strain the mind must go through psychologically. How many people before this have taken their life and we haven’t understood why?

Since the year 2000, I’ve lost count at the amount of professional wrestlers who have taken their lives, albeit also connected with substance abuse. People like Chris Benoit and Chris Kanyon who took their own lives. This year alone, we have lost so many sportsmen. NHL player Derek Boogaard (28), US Olympic Skier Jeret Peterson (29), NY Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu (42) Austrian Olympic Judo competitor Claudia Heill (29) have all committed suicide this year brought on by depression. German goalkeeper Robert Enke took his life last year. Cricket stars Marcus Trescothick and Michael Yardy both suffer from depression and Boxing’s Frank Bruno was famously committed at one stage. Former Tennis champion Monica Seles also suffered from depression.

Whether we should acknowledge that depression in sports is a problem is obvious. Of course we should. Not enough is done to prepare people for the rigours of professional sport from a psychological point of view. You get trained how to act, how to say things and how to act professionally but do you get enough to cope with the pressure of rising fame and increased responsibilities. For some, the money is enough, for others they can naturally adjust to the drastic changes their life can go through.

But what we forget and overlook is that all these athletes, former athletes and sportsman are normal people. They are the same as you, me, your neighbour, that kid in primary school that you might have picked on because of his glasses. They have the same blood, feelings, emotions and problems. There are no fingers to be pointed, no accusations to claim and no scandal to be had. This is truly a shocking event that no one saw coming or had the slightest inkling that it could happen. But if there was more open support for sportsmen and people with depression or symptoms like that, if the regulators and professional bodies of sport did more to reach out and offer help, like the Samaritans and Mind charities do, then maybe, just maybe, we might save a few more lives that have given so much to our own.