Friday 31 May 2013

Mcdonald - Fairy Tales Edition - 2nd Kitty, McDelivery Witch

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I think this was a really witty marketing gimmick that expands on their delivery service. Neither the site nor phone call can convince the red-team on how badly you want to get your hands on one of these. Personally, a futile attempt was made for the delivery to my workplace and similarly, I have news from friends that their workplaces were also flushed out from Mcdelivery. It truly reflects our local delight on queueing and collecting limited edition plushies. On the hearsay, there was advance booking since 28 May where orders have been made to chope the Witch Kitty.

Beating the crowd, I still have my way. Thanks to my colleague, I managed to siam a round of calories gain and skip the air that this collection is running low on stock. Yes you hear it right, its running low and out soon. 

At their outlet, trended by a paradigm shift, I noticed there were more guys than ladies in their restaurant queueing up. They could notably be the representative of their wife(s)/girlfriends/parents/siblings to make this designated trip, unwillinglywillingly.

Nice on the front, wordless on the back. As hoping for a story like a the Oz, I was looking forward to a story on the Witch for a linkage with Mc but no, there wasn't any story as shown below. But still, knowing this is a pretty unique piece, it makes its worth.

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Maifest Singapore

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1st Mega Celebration in Singapore
from 30 May to 2 June 2013

Yesterday after work we headed straight down to the event, held at The Padang.

A colourful German tradition festival that celebrates the coming of Frühling (Spring). 

our tickets

Table: 129
Date: 30 May 2013, Thursday
Starts at 7pm, Ends 2am.
Band: Hot Stuff (They're really good, they know how to entertain the crowd), German Band

We had complimenrary passes for the night. But if you don't have tickets don't fret as I have included the ticket prices below. Tickets can be purchased at the main door.

Ticket Prices
Thursday Night: $68 (Entry for 18 years old & above only)
Friday Lunch: $58 (Corporate)
Friday Night: $78 (Entry for 18 years old & above only)
Saturday Night: $ 78 (Entry for 18 years old & above only)
Sunday Brunch (Kids Friendly Event): Adults - $28 | 10 to 17 years old - $18 | 
FREE entry for 10 years old and below

For lunch & dinner event*
• Event entry
• All night entertainment by authentic German band, Hot Stuff
• 1 complimentary drink (Erdinger Beer, Wine or Soft Drink)
• Other highlights:
- Games (Hau den Lukas - High Striker)
- Merchandise
- Ladies dressed in traditional German costumes.
*Ticket entitlements are subjected to changes. Terms & Conditions apply.

For brunch event*
• Event entry
• All night entertainment by authentic German band, Hot Stuff
• Authentic German food dare (1 serving)
• Other highlights:
- Games (Hau den Lukas - High Striker)
- Merchandise
- Ladies dressed in traditional German costumes.
- Spring dance around the Maibaum by German Kid's activities
*Ticket entitlements are subjected to changes. Terms & Conditions apply.
If you have finished your admission ticket voucher for food, you may buy cash vouchers located on both sides of the tentage. This cash vouchers allow you to buy drinks.

I had the Pork Bratwurst with German Potato Salad

Extra sides which I had gotten.. It looks good even before I tasted it.

This event was brought to us by

Singapore Recreation Club (SRC)

We might be heading back to the event tomorrow 31 May 2013, Friday.

For more information, please check out  Maifest

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Drama Mama EPL 12/13 (Part 2)

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In  the previous post, we have looked at the top 7 teams, which are serious contenders. Today, we will look at the next few teams who had finished in the mid-table.

Man Utd3828554389
Man City3823963278
West Brom3814717-449
West Ham38121016-846
Aston Villa38101117-2241

8) West Bromwich Albion - West Brom had started their season strong, with the guidiance of former Liverpool number 2 man, Steve Clarke. So what did Clarke did to keep WBA up the table?

Looking at the team lineup, they doesnt seem to have an outstanding player. Maybe Lukaku? Odemwingie was the star of the team last season, but had faded away when his transfer request was turned down. So up step the fallen Chelsea player, Lukaku. Lukaku contributed 17 goals this season, 1 of the top few strikers in EPL this season. Besides him, there really isnt any big signings made from Clarke.

So it is down to great team spirit and belief from the players. I used to think WBA is always lurking outside the relegation zone, they loved to linger between EPL 1 season, Championship the next. So another former Liverpool flop manager, Roy Hodgson had managed to keep them up in the EPL. With Hodgson gone to manage England national team, many thought WBA will go down once again, until the appointment of Clarke.

The scottish wasted no time in his introduction, with his WBA defeating Liverpool in the opening day of the season. Clarke did not celebrate the victory as a respect to his former employers. The club he used to work with, Kenny Dalgish.

However, i dont think their form will sustain in the following season. 1 man will not bring the team far in the EPL.

9) Swansea City - 2 seasons ago, i would have no idea who is Swansea City. The name itself gave me the impression that they are some League 2 team. So even after their former influential manager, Brendon Rodgers had left them for Liverpool, they have gotten another great manager. This time, it was the great former Dutch captain, Michael Laudrup. Similiar playing style as Rodgers, Laudrup's Swansea continue to play great passing and great possession football. However, they are quite goal shy this season, with only Michu firing in most of the team goals.

Besides Michu, the goalkeeping compartment is also worth mentioning, with Vorm and his understudy, Tremmel keeping many clean sheets along the way. Teams had found it difficult to win against the highly organised team. Swansea will continue to be a mid-table team for the next coming season.

Oh before i forgot. They won the League cup! Something their former manager could not do. Congrats to them.

10) West Ham United - The hammers' finished at number 10 seemed like a good result for them. Big Sam should be happy with his team's effort this season. He had reunited with his Bolton Captain, Kelvin Nolan, who happened to be the team's top scorer. With him, another former team mate of Nolan, Carroll was loan in to them from Liverpool. The 35m signing from Newcastle was hit with injuries that had limited his chances at West Ham. However, he had still bagged in 7 goals this season.

With the loan coming to an end, Carroll had voiced out his intention to return to Liverpool, hinting he will stay to fight for his place. However, with Suarez and Sturridge on form, his chances will begin on the bench.

Looking at West Ham's teamsheet, you must say they have quite a few great talents in Matt Jarvis, returned player Joe Cole, Diame etc.. So not too bad for them, to finish number 10.

But they have a tendacy to drop into the lower half of the table. But probably wont relegate.

11) Norwich City - The return to the EPL after awhile had been a joyful for the Carrow Road faithfuls. Just like WBA, Norwich do not have any stand out player to comment on. They are judged based on team efforts. After losing their manager to Aston Villa, another player wants to follow suit, Grant Holt. The once powerful striker from SAFFC (Singapore), had made his presence in the EPL. Scoring goals freely. He was the reason for Norwich safety last season. However, since his transfer request was not successful, the team also lost faith in him thereafter.

If the manager were to remain for another season, Norwich will find themselves battling against relegation.

12) Fulham - The aging Fulham needs new blood. King Berbatov is good, but he is in his 30s, Schwarzer was awesome, but maybe that was 15 years ago. Riise's freekick is always great.. at Liverpool, not Fulham where he is aging.  And there is Duff, the once superb winger, now no longer runs as fast as other wingers such as Bale or Coutinho.

The last we heard, Fulham had plans to sign younger players. Which is very encouraging to hear, but whether the young players who came in can fill the big shoes by the once awesome players is something we would not know.

Fulham had always produced some great players for others, such as Saha and Van Der Sar. However, i dont quite see it in them in the recent season. When the older players start retiring, they will have a problem. Berbartov is great, but super lazy. I have not seen anyone else walking on the pitch more often than him. However, his walking tactic still enable him 15 league goals. Much more than fast n hardworking QPR strikers.

I feel the burden will be lifted up from Berbartov sooner or later, but lets hope that wont make them be a relegation candidate.

13) Stoke City - Stroke Stoke City finished their season without a cup, without medal, without europe and without their manager. Tony Pulis is no doubt a legend for Stoke. He had lifted stoke from a relegation threatened club to a mid table team. On some occasion, qualifying for europe.

But the Board is still not impressed?? The last we heard, Mark Hughes the destroyer will be taking over. I am sure he wont lead Stoke to a greater position. He had caused QPR their relegation. The future i wont know.

Looking at the team, I must say they have a very strong defense. All of their 3 gks are quite famous keepers. 1st choice, Begovic: Wanted by Liverpool, did superb this season, steady as a rock. What more can you expect. 2nd choice, Sorensen, aging slowly, but still has what it takes. 3rd choice, tough luck Carlo Nash. He used to be Number 2 for Man C before they got famous. Oh ya there is also the promising Butland, who might just replace Begovic in case he goes.

Defense wise, they have Ryan Shawcross, awesome future england player. Huth the cheater bug. He is famous for doing the dirty work. This German would do whatever that can stop his opponent.

Midfield wise, they have former Liverpool duo Pennant and Adam. Both had lost their special touch for the ball since leaving Pool. On a side note, it seemed like there are plenty of ex-Liverpool players playing for mid table teams now.

Striker wise, Peter Crouch is leading the attack, with Injury prone Owen completes their line up. (another 2 ex pool players)

Not bad ah, this team should be challenging at the top half i would say, maybe thats why Tony Pulis head got chopped off! He got an amazing team working for him.

Thats all for now, will wrap things up by talking about the final 7, the long suffering teams of the EPL.

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Thursday 30 May 2013

Smoulder - Softcore Lava Cakes

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I first found this shop on Facebook, it was one of those ads at the right hand side. It looked interesting so I clicked on it, then the more I was browsing Smoulder, it started to look super delicious. So told myself if i'd every pass or go to Raffles City Shopping Centre i'd go check it out. And so that's what I did the other day before dinner as I had time to kill.

First went to withdraw some cash and yeah went on a hunting spree for it. It's located at the basement near Gong Cha and That CD Shop. So if you ever want to try it out it is down there.

White Chocolate Lemon, Chocolate Hazelnut, White Chocolate Raspberry

Signature Dark Chocolate
Intense Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Black Forest
White Chocolate Matcha
Milk Chocolate Rum & Raisin
Milk Chocolate Mocha
White Chocolate Raspberry
White Chocolate Pistachio
White Chocolate Lemon

* I would think Chocolate Hazelnut is a new flavour as I do not see it on the website.

I brought all 3 to work today, but then I had gotten out of the fridge this morning and had to use the microwave at the pantry at work to heat it up. As I didn't check the website and I had forgotten to ask the person serving me yesterday how long I have to heat it up for. I tried 30secs but I was wrong I think it was too long or something the softcore lava cakes had a funny cap. I would think that it is the filling oozing out from the top.  Please follow the instructions below taken from the website.

If not your cakes will turn out looking like mine.
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Mcdonald - Fairy Tales Edition - 1st Kitty, Wizard of the OZ

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Mcdonald - Fairy Tales Edition

These kitties are purchase ($4.60) with purchase (not required to upsize your meal),

Date for collection
The Wizard of Oz – 30 May to 5 June 2013
Little Red Riding Hood – 6 June to 12 June 2013
The Frog Prince – 13 June to 19 June 2013
The Ugly Duckling – 20 June to 26 June 2013
The Singing Bone – 27 June to 3 July 2013
Witch – Available from 30 May 2013 via McDelivery

As a local, how can I not be Kiasu. And I did. So I went for an early lunch to avoid the anticipated queue to land my hands on this nicely packaged kitty. Being a guy, it is neither about unwrapping the kitty and cuddle it to sleep nor stroking its head in a MRT. Toys lovers and collectors will find the storybook-alike box noteworthy and make no second thought to put some extra calories on the purchase.

Proudly showcasing my first Hello Kitty Spree:

It is pretty matching to the actual size of the toy if you are maximizing your computer screen. Behind the box, it gives a short summary of the featured character which is to meant to be clearly unveiled behind these plastic wraps.

If you have friends like mine who has a mind for food, you may reach their services too =)

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Dora Keiki

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Dora Keiki - Doraemon's Happy pancake

If you're a fan of Doraemon and will like to understand the eating pleasure behind his constant craving for Japanese pancake then you surely can't give Dora Keiki a miss. 

Outer appeal

By the order of 6 for $8, it came in a sweet packaging with poker dots imprint. The aesthetic appeal of the pancake proves a natural instinct to make a nice door gift or a mini munch to go with some late night movies. Holding this well-packed mini box is convenient for travel and prevents de-shaping your pancake when shoving in the congested train or buses, also making it an ideal picnic desert.

Dora Pancake

Uncovering the pancakes from the box feels like doing a lucky dip cos' you never know what you gonna get. One will need to distinguish the flavours of the pancake on your sense of smell. Some flavours like Durain can be easily identified while others like Chocolate and Cheese is really challenging - just imagine the picture when my family went sniffing on their pick of flavours among the 6 Doras, and yes I did too :)

The shape would be its drawback that does not resemblance a perfect curve like Doraemon's animated pancake. The culprit comes under the reward of a well-filled fillings when you munch it. If you're a person who favours your taste bud more over than the shape of your food then it wouldn't matter.

With my choice of a randomise pancake, I unwrapped the Dora from its captivity and I begun displaying my Final One on a porcelain plate.

Nom Nom Nom

As I peeled open the Dora, it reveals a generously well-filled cheese pancake. And as I try other flavours, it was equally contested on the filling, none to be compromised. Just by looking at the thickness of the filling makes your teeth grinds. You just want to punish these alluring Dora, dont't you?

On my first trial on the cheese pancake, it gives a the gentle aroma when you sniffed it, which is least expected from cheese stuffed Dora, and the taste is just absolutely amazing. After the first bite, I was drawn into the chewiness of the pancake and the pleasantly flavoured filling, triggering my eating spree.

Even as a non-cheese lover, I fell in love with it. On the list, I would definitely recommend Cheese, Durain, Blueberry and Chocolate.

My say: If you're in for a safe bet go for it. I am certain that anyone regardless of ages will fall in love with these Dora like we do. I cant express how thankful I am to discover this shop as it clearly top my list on the pancake menu. Eating pancake can never be the same after you give it a shot.


Woodland - Causeway Link

Other locations of Dora Keiki will be updated.

Follow them on: 
Instagram: #dorakeiki
Witcast ensures the originality of our photos and agrees to any sharing for personal or business purposes. If situated appropriately, our photos should be compliment with a credit.

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Wednesday 29 May 2013

Do you remember? (Part 2)

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So, this post is all about guys. Beware, this post is not for the weak hearted. Enter at you own risk.
While the girls spend most of their time collecting stickers, the boys on the other hand, have more than 1 collection.

1 of which is the collection of country erasers.
So why do the boys collect them? It is more than the interesting picture, it is also more than recognising the names of the different countries. It is because they can form a part of a local school game - flipping the eraser game.
It used to cost us 10 cents per piece back then. After we got them, we will challenge our classmates in an eraser battle, a game where the players will use their thumb and flip the eraser, the winning player will need to cover the losing eraser completely in order to win (yes its a bit like wrestling less the 3 counts pin). Some of my friends will play the "real" games. Where the winner will get to take the losing player's eraser. If you dont wish to lose your dear piece of eraser, you can play "fake", where the losing player can still take back their piece. Do anyone still have them in your collection now?

Besides collecting and battling in the flipping of eraser, some geeky students prefer collecting stamps. Stamps collecting were seemed to be somewhat a higher class of collection, rather than flipping eraser. The cost of purchasing a stamp album back then was $1.50. And 1 whole page of stamps would cost the buyer around $0.80 minimally back then. That was quite alot of money for a young kid (whose pocket money ranges from $0.50 to $2.)

Just like the collection of stickers, this hobby is not solely meant for guys. Girls on the other hand can collect stamps too. So what types of stamps appeals to the little kids? I would say those which appears to be cuter or more colourful will attract the kids' attention.

However, being young doesnt meant the kid is dumb. For me, i have collected some rare looking stamps too. Secretly hoping one fine day, these stamps will bring me a good fortune and able to sell them off. In the picture below, it shows a few RMB$5 valued stamp. Based on the nice mountain(just like the paintings) in the stamps, it can pass off as a rare collection ? As i am unsure of the value, i chose to keep them.

Stamps can be collected not just by kids, but also adults and even old man. A walk down the Chinasquare central mall on Sunday afternoon and you can find senior citizens showcasing their stamp collection. Awaiting for buyers to take a look at their prized collection.

As for me, i am still collecting stamps till today. But most of the stamps i purchased are all overseas, be it Disney collection or the late Princess Diana. However, i do have a whole lot of free stamps which i received from opening snail mails in the office. Many of these cute looking local stamps looks good when displayed together.

Lastly, besides collecting erasers and stamps, there are some cool kids who thinks collecting fighting spiders are the "in thing" back in our Primary days.

So why do they collect spiders? Spiders are a different breed all together. They are alive, not dead. Once they are dead, you need to catch another one and discard the old.
Fighting spiders are the elite of spiders. They look different from those you find at your house. They are armed with the fighting instinct, so if you ever put 1 house spider(eg the long legged spider) in the fighting spiders' "cage", they will get killed by them easily.

So what do the collectors use to contain the spiders?

Collectors will trap the spiders in a casette tape box. And why a casette box? Cause it has a clear view of the spider, hence it is good for collectors.

So what do the fighting spider eats? Generally, spiders eat insects. We have realised their favourite food is actually the gold fly. So we will go to the school field and locate them. Normally found on the tree leaves, we will use another casette casing and catch them. After they are captured, we will put them as a prey to the Spider. Oh ya, dont kill the goldfly, fighting spiders loves to eat them alive.

So how we know whose spider won in a battle? The losing spider is the one who retreat from the attacker. Unlike the battling of eraser, we will not lose the spider even if they lose. It is only mere matter of glory. Sadly, the life span of Spiders are short. Hence lets just release them back to the nature and let them be happier. Rather than caging them up and forcing them to fight.
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Tuesday 28 May 2013

Black Pearl Saga

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Bubble tea pearls from Taiwan contain substance that can cause kidney damage

Like many of the local, I was a fan of bubble tea until the recent influx of buzz on bubble tea and its pearly allies triggered worthy anxiety over the past years.

Sunright brand tapioca balls, also known as bubble tea pearls, have been recalled by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration as they contain a substance that might cause kidney damage in the long term if consumed. These starch-based consumptions contain maleic acid that is used in manufacturing food products. Upon prolonged consumption, it puts a risk to your health, however, is unaffected of significant damage if consume occassionally (YourHealth 2013).

Is bubble tea healthy?
Given that the tapioca pearls are straight starch and usually there are well over 200 calories in a serving of any starch (most places use around 1/4 cup of tapioca, I'd say) then add the fact that the milk is usually not low fat milk, and they put quite a bit of sugar in the drinks and I'd say that for a serving of boba or bubble tea you're probably looking at anywhere from 400 - 900+ calories depending on the size and ingredients. And because of the milk the fat content can get rather high. (There are *24 g.* of fat in the serving that is posted in the link below). So, I'd say look at it about like you'd look at a fluffy coffee drink from a place like Starbucks. Not terrible for you, but definitely an indulgence.

Keep in mind that you can request low fat milk at most places and you might also want to try asking them if they can make it sugar free. Also remember that a lot of bubble tea chains serve icees and plain red or green flavored tea with no milk which would cut out any calories from fat.
Source: Calorie King

Put on your thinking cap !
Some factors that may change your regular order totally.
# 1: Sugar
The sugar content of bubble tea is extremely high that you could just imagine punching 8 teaspoon of sugar into your mouth. On this quantity, this level of intake exceeds over 100% of our daily threshold.

#2: Starch
Tapioca pearls are made from cassava root. Starch is complex carbohydrate made up of long chains of sugar molecules. It is difficult to be digest and further contributes to your sugar level. Ingestible and high on sugar level - if you ever wish to source for a main culprit on weight gain, this may be the answer.

#3: Toxic Contamination
One year ago, a food contamination scandal broke out in Taiwan where DEHP (a chemical plasticizer and potential carcinogen used to make plastic) was found in tapioca pearls, milk powder and juice syrups as a cost-effective stabilizer.
KOI Cafe, one of Singapore's most popular bubble tea franchise, immediately suspended their sales of tea drinks when they suspected potential contamination from their product supply. At some point, pearls were unavailable for three days at all outlets. Although the situation is now contained, the potential still exists.

Source: Kat, the eco-advisor
With the awareness, the one best healthy way to consume bubble tea is to option for 0% sugar level without pearls complimented by skimmy or low-fats milk. So in the end, it becomes pretty much like a ice-blended bewed tea with low-fats milk. Ain't exciting anymore eh?

Bursting the bubble in your tea.
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Monday 27 May 2013

Do you remember? (Part 1)

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When we were young, we will often head down to our school bookshops to do our window shopping. That was probably the 1st window shopping we done besides our parents accompanying us. The girls would often spend on the interesting looking stickers, however collecting stickers is not limited to girls only.

In the past, there are those flurry type of stickers which comes in a set or what the kids love to describe as "family". A whole set of "family flurry stickers"would cost around $5 back in the early 1990s. That is quite alot of money for a Primary school kid huh? But magically, the sticker collectors would somehow still manage to get hold of them. Are they rich kids? Maybe. But one will be happy just to have a few family of flurry stickers.

Besides those flurry stickers, there are those stickers which can be bought from a local "mama" shop.

The difference between this kind of secret stickers and those normal stickers are the suspense that it brought along. The buyer would not know what will they get, just like those machines which accepts 20 cent coin for a card. However, these stickers are generally more expensive than those from the 20 cent machine. But the concept is the same, the buyer would want to collect everything and show off to their friends once they got the whole set of collection.

Lastly, there are also those "wood stickers"which is of course, made of wood.

1 famous sport among the girls during recess time would probably be the hopscrotch.

How to play?

1) Get a wallet/key/stone/whatever you can get hold on with weight
2) Get some kakis to play with u
3) Find a place or simply draw one on the sand patches in your school compound


1) Player needs to overcome every level of the game in order to win, the 1st one to return "home"wins
2) Everyone starts at level 0. when its his/her turn, he/she should throw the wallet/key/stone/whatever to the next level. If the object touches the line or outside the box, the player loses a turn.
3) If player lands the object safely within the box, player should hop over the stage where the object is placed to the next stage without touching the line.
4) Players needs to continue from the level to the next one using 1 leg for level 1,2,3,6,9 and may use 2 legs to land on level 4and 5,7 and 8. However if the level is occupied by other player's object, player will need to jump over it. Hence player may not be able to use 2 legs of 4 and 5, 7 and 8.
5) Once player had conquered level 9, player will need to get back to in a descending order.

Another famous sport among the girls (this 1 is strictly restricted to the ladies) is the zeropoint game.

How to play?

1) Form a group with 3 or more people
2) Get a lot of rubber bands and join them together to form a long rope.


1) Players will take turn to jump over the rope formed
2) The players will start off with 2 of her friends holding the rope(one at each side), starting at a low height, slowly increasing the height
3) Once the role is too high for the girls to hold, they can swing the rope and the player will have to jump over it.

How to win?

I dont know. Just have fun! Maybe... the one who can jump through the height and jump 10 times wins?

That''s all for now! Ok, i know this sounds pretty much for girls, hope the ladies enjoyed reading this post. Men would have a better idea of what girls do now. Please forgive me if i got some of the steps and rules wrong as these were the rules taught to me when i was little.

Part 2 will feature more boyish stuff! Stay tune!
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Sunday 26 May 2013

Wedding Bliss - Dan and Beck

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Wedding, May 2013 - Dan and Beck

Attending a Christian wedding at St John-St Margaret's Church delivers an eye opener with the spacious flooring that was said to have the ability of incorporating ~700 pacs. Being there for the first time, I was charmed by the inner beauty of the layout especially on the ideal long march-path for the bride; just imagine the bride took almost a complete 3 minutes to finish the walk, yeah, that was how fascinating. As most of the time there were prayers going on, I could not spare the luxury of time to snap wildly. Gonna share some pictures to relief your cognitive visualization.

Presenting the Art Galleria:

To began with, there was a cosy little walkway that features Dan&Beck's pre-wedding shots which portrays a very uniquely Singapore Museum instinct when chanced upon them.

Candlelight Dinner?

Korean feel much.

 Beck and her iconic shades.

 My guess is the lalang

Blessing before the pastor.

Knowing Dan as a great friend for being sincere, thoughtful and respected; every words that he shared at this moment reflected his gratitude to both sides of his parents. This was the best part of attending his wedding as all eyes held captive on him.

and finally . . .

. . .

. . .

You may kiss the bride.

Witcast blogspot wishes them many good days ahead and 
spark off a poem to bolster their joyous occasion:

May your mornings bring joy

and your evenings bring peace.

May your troubles grow few

as your blessings increase.

May the saddest day of your future
Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship
And your hearts joined forever in love.
Your lives are very special,
God has touched you in many ways.
May his blessings rest upon you
And fill all your coming days.

Happily Ever After <3
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Saturday 25 May 2013

Drama mama EPL 12/13 (Part 1)

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As the curtain closes on 19 May 2013, many hearts were broken. Sorry if you are a fan of QPR, Reading or Wigan. It was another disappointing finish for traditional "Big 4" Liverpool, the same goes to Spurs, who missed out on the final Champions league spot.

In my 1st post on the EPL, i will be talking more on the teams in the top 7 today.

Man Utd3828554389
Man City3823963278
West Brom3814717-449
West Ham38121016-846
Aston Villa38101117-2241

1) Man Utd - Champions for the 20th time in their history, much overtaken their arch rival, Liverpool. So what is their winning tactics? There is a few possibilities why each year, they finish in the top 3 position.

1stly, Sir Alex Ferguson. He is the Man Utd Legendary Manager, no one had ever done what he had done for Man Utd, though he did not win the most number of trophies that a manager had ever done, he still deserves respect. Under his leadership, he had transformed Man Utd from a Mid-table team to a title winning team. Credit goes out to him for that, moreover, he had strengthened his squad by recruiting Robin Van Persie. Robin Van Persie or RVP had also said in a report that he chose to wear the number 20 for Man Utd as he believes he will win the number 20th title for them. Coincident? Maybe. But the number of goals he had score had justified his pricetag. Thirdly, Man Utd had shown great consistency this season, winning 28 out of the 38 matches. Like it or not, whichever way they had won the matches, are much to debate at times. Some referees had also stood out for trying to help Man Utd out during some of their matches but as i said, this is up to you to judge. Lastly, Man Utd legend Scholes will retire once more, joining his great Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. It will be an exciting time to see how his successor, David Moyes (formerly from Everton) will lead the Red Devils in the following season.

Is the current team happy with the selection? the last we heard, Rooney had handed in his transfer request straight after he knew about Moyes' appointment. Guess his days are numbered. Will Giggs finally retire? SAF, Beckham, Owen, Scholes, Neville and Carragher had all hung up their boots, maybe it should be the time to hand over the baton to the next generation. All eyes will be on how Man Utd begins their season defending their title, against the rest of the chasing packs.

2) Man City - The defending champion for the 2011/2012 season came into this season no making any major purchase. Not many 1st team player left too, except Mario Ballotelli. So is this the reason why Man City didnt retain their title? Maybe not. The vast majority of the pillar is still there, the style of play is still there, the manager was still there (until the last 2 games of the season). However, since Roberto Mancini did not make any significant signings in the summer, this could be the downfall of the City dominance. Yes, they are called the noisy neighbours of Manchester, but this time, they were silent on how their neighbour overtaken them. Not even when they managed to beat Man Utd could save their title. It had only delayed Man Utd from lifting the title. One player stood out for me, Pablo Zabaleta. He is the best right back in the EPL in my opinion. Man City would have lost more games if not for him.

The final straw for Mancini came when they suffer a shock loss against relegated Wigan in the FA Cup final. That loss ensured a change is much needed. Now that Mancini is gone, Man City fans can look forward to the new season, where the club will definitely make vast investment to match up with the big spenders. If they can keep talents such as Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany happy, they should do well. But will that be enough for the title? Hmmm...

3) Chelsea - Just like Man City, Chelsea is backed by a Billionaire - Roman Abramovic. This season, just like any other Chelsea season, Abramovic splashed out millions on players such as Oscar, Hazard, Moses, Marin and Ba. Having changed many managers since terminating Jose Mourinhno, this season started off with former player, Roberto Di Matteo leading the team on. Di Matteo ended last season on a high, guiding the team to the Champions league winner. However, he was terminated immediately after Chelsea was thrown out of the Champions league group stage. This had left the fans crying out for their well loved Di Matteo. Banners were seen on the home ground of Stamford Bridge : "there is only 1 Di Matteo"

An interim manager was appointed, in come former Reds manager, Rafa Benitez. Rafa was out of job for quite sometime since he was axed by Inter Milan back in Dec 2010. The blue fans did not accept Rafa's appointment and constantly chant against him during home games. Banners which wrote : "the blue fans will remember" can be seen all throughout Stamford Bridge. Rafa was furious with the fans initially but learnt to accept them as he realised he was only the interim manager.

So what went wrong for Chelsea? Consistency was missing throughout in every department. Fernando Torres endured another horrible season, netting only 8 goals in 36 EPL games. That is even lesser than the out of favoured Daniel Sturridge, who went on to join Liverpool in Jan 2013. Moreover, their best player, the legendary midfielder Frank Lampard feature sparingly in the team. However in my opinion, he is still the best player this season. Chelsea is lucky to have and keep him for another season.

As Rafa bows out with an Europa league title in his CV, he had done enough to secure another top nod job in Europe. It shows that he still got what it takes to manage. Jose Morinhno is hotly tipped to make his return to Chelsea, after his contract termination with Real Madrid. Next season will definitely show some of the biggest stars coming to Chelsea. With lots of $$$ spent in the process. Look out for the Chelski Chelsea revolution in the next season. Oh ya, if Hazard dont kick another ball boy and Ivanovic dont get bitten again :P

4) Arsenal - Arsene Wenger can consider his season to be above average, with his expectations lowered. Top 4 finished ensured he keeps his job for another season. Once again, Arsenal fans were thinking what happened to the money which was received from another round of sales. Gone were Sami Nasri (now at Man C), Cesc Fabregas (now at Barca) and now Robin Van Persie (now at Man U). The sales amount would have been able to finance the next Thierry Henry. The only 2 big stars left in the team are Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott (who almost joined Liverpool too).

I have to say, despite the lack of money, they still delievered some very nice football. Lots of counter attacks and threatening the opposition defence. The problem seemed to lie at the final finishing, which is missing. Gone were RVP, but the reinforcement were Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla. Are they weak strikers? No. They are great, but it seemed to me that they dont quite have what it takes to be a Arsenal Legend. It was Walcott's season. He was emulating the Legend, Thierry Henry. He got the pace to drive pass defenders, he knows where the goal is. Arsenal will do well if they play him more often and get his into a deeper position.

Arsenal fans had been watching exciting attacking free flow football from Arsenal, however they do not have any chance of seeing their favourite team lift up any trophy in years. If i am Arsene Wenger, i will dedicate my strongest team in every game. Fight for each of the cup and probably win something to shut the gap from my rival team fans.

5) Tottenham Hotspurs - The 1st thing came into my mind when people tells me about Spurs, Gareth Bale. This guy is amazing, he ran so fast that he can fall down on his own and accuses defenders of tripping him over. He is the only person who jumps into the crowd to retrieve the ball in the stands. Many people calls him a diver (same goes for RVP or Suarez). When he starts his run, you better stop him, else nothing can stop him (maybe except when he falls). His free kicks are straight and powerful, he drives the team forward in every game. A team without his name in the starting 11 will almost not be exciting to watch. Voted both the PFA player of the year and youth player of the year. No wonder Man Utd, Real Madrid and other great teams are watching him closely. He is an asset to have in any team. Still only 23, his future is certainly bright. Oh yes, i am not only gonna mention about him, there are still others in Spurs. The under-rated Defoe, who had been inconsistent but when he hits form, bang he is good.

But why is Spurs still out of the Champions league qualification then? Over reliant on Bale. When he is out, the team goes out too. He scored 21 goals in the EPL this season, as a winger. Thats some achievement. Defoe and Adebayor combined only scored 16. So what do you expects? Another reason why they failed to qualify for Champions league was their inability to win big matches (less vs Man C). Tough luck Spurs, do everything you can to retain the service of Bale and build on that. You will probably do better next season.

*Disclaimer: Only if Bale is fit.

6) Everton - What? Everton is in the top 6? Sorry Everton fans. Your team truly deserves this spot. If inconsistency were the reason for Chelsea's position this season, you guys deserves 6th because of your consistency. No significant big names spotted in Goodison Park. the only stand out players were Baines and Fellaini. Maybe the silent contributor, Tim Howard too. Without him at goal, Everton would most possibly not have won matches 1-0. That should be why David Moyes were recruited by Man Utd for their vacant managerial post.

Moyes had said before he cannot match up with the rest of the big spenders in the league. They can only afford to be consistent in their games, which is very encouraging. With Moyes gone, this should be the start of their downfall. They will need to keep Baines and Fellaini if they wishes to go higher up the league. As the final spot of Europe had been given to Wigan (the relegated team), Everton can now focus on their EPL season.

7) Liverpool - There used to be a time where Liverpool fans would agree that it was Steven Gerrard who is carrying the team forward. Then there was Fernando Torres, and there is the controversy of Luis Suarez. Banned for 8 matches for conviction of racially abused Man Utd Patrice Evra in the previous season, "Bad-boy" Suarez had made headlines once again. This time, he bit Chelsea's Ivanovic on his arm while hassling for the ball. Suarez was probably upset that he raised his arm in the penalty box early while guarding former Liverpool star, Fernando Torres. Eden Hazard went on to score on the spot. Suarez was banned for 10 games, some double standard in practise where Defoe who committed the same crime, only got off with an yellow card. In the earlier part of the season, his reputation of going down easily didnt help the team when the referees pretended not to see in agreement denied giving Liverpool penalties even when replay shows that there were contact made. Suarez also admitted that he "invented" a foul when they played Stoke City. His manager, Brenden Rodgers were shocked that his striker admitted to that while playing for the team. He thought such statement should only be revealed when the player hung up his boots. Despite the controversy that surrounds Suarez, he was voted 1st runner-up in the PFA player of the year award.

So another season without Champions league for the 5-time winner of the same competition. This season, they had improved on their league standing, from 8th to 7th. But they did not win any trophy and hence missed out on the Europa league invitation. Despite trailing eventual winners of the league by amazing 38 points, there seemed to be some light at the end of the tunnel for BR and his team. Rising star Coutinho and Raheem Sterling showed the fans their worth to the team, with lots of creativity and pace. Having loaned out 35m signing Andy Caroll out to West Ham, Liverpool needs a backup striker. They found 1 in Daniel Sturridge, who was out of favour at Chelsea. He net a total of 10 goals in 14 games, compared to only 11 in 30 games for Chelsea last season.

With the team not qualified for europe, it will remain a doubt on whether top nodge players will sign for them. However, BR will need to sell before he can buy. Moreover, Liverpool will miss their vice-captain, Jamie Carragher who had hung up his boots.

Thats all for now. Stay tune for the next review of the mid-table teams!
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