Free Kick Issue 2

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The second issue of the free soccer magazine Free Kick. Freekicks.tk and goal.com

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If you’re viewing this online, activate full screen at the bottom right hand corner of the slideshow viewer Issue 2 Freekicks.tk EPL: Predictably Unpredictable Opinionated Previews: Chelsea and Man City Daniel Jarque Tribute We LandOn Donovan Survey Results M&M 4 England? +++More!!

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CHELSEA: An Opinionated Preview The new manager Carlo Ancellotti has begun his work with brilliance on and off the pitch. The team has been performing well and after a dramatic last season; this is what we needed in order to be a true title threat this year. Chelsea has done well with the pre-season and has been undefeated throughout all the friendly matches, which would surely boost the squad’s energy and morale. We were able to defeat the Italian giants this season with Juventus the only Italian giant missing on us. Though these were friendly games we didn’t see a lot of friendly playing inside the pitch. Both being important matches to the players and the manager, AC Milan being the former club of Carlo Ancellotti and Inter Milan being managed by Chelsea’s favourite manager this decade, Jose Mourinho. We easily overcame the smaller clubs and the team chemistry seems to be healthy. The players have blended well and with a new formation, players seem to have adapted really well. The new diamond formation is popular with Ancellotti and seems to be doing fine with Drogba getting more support and Anelka getting more playing time. Lampard as always is working really well and passing the ball around. He also scored some impressive goals from the box while Drogba scored from out of the box, strange. It seems that Drogba now has the chance of taking long shots if necessary because Anelka is there to cover for the rebound, or head it in as well. But I personally think that Lampard should take more long shots. We saw Lampard take some long shots but none of them were very impressive. Behind Lampard, it’s Essien as the defensive midfielder, and he will do the job as he did it near the end of last season, and hopefully he will justify his nick name ‘ The Beast’.

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The right mid-field position will be a hugely contested position with Deco, Ballack, Kalou, and Joe Cole being the players with the ability to play there. Joe Cole will probably get the spot as Ballack and Deco are more central midfielders. And most importantly, that is the place that Joe Cole plays. Mikel might get some fair chances as well, but I think he needs some more time before stepping into the starting lineup. The left wing would be contested by Zhirkov, the new addition, Malouda and again, Deco, Kalou, Ballack, and Joe Cole are also versatile enough to play there. Ballack will play a key-role this year, but he will probably not be a first team option. I wouldn’t be surprised if he will come in every game as a substitute as this formation will definitely tire the right and left midfielders. Then we come towards the defense line. It’s as solid as it is. From the left , Ashley Cole, John Terry, Alex/Carvalho, Bosingwa/Ivanovic. I don’t see a lot of problems there; maybe a little bit of contest between Alex and Carvalho. Cech, should be perfect as always! Expected Lineup:

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Chelsea look set to become a major force in the Premier League and Champions League next season

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Talking about the transfers this season, Chelsea were quite silent. We have been linked up with all the big stars but none of them came out as convincing transfers. The guys who came in are Zhirkov, Turnbull and Sturridge. Sheva and Pizzaro also return to the club while Quaresma will go back to Inter. Di Santo is also loaned out to Blackburn Rovers, which would be good to him as he would probably not have got any playing chances this season with the return of Sheva and with the likes of Kalou in the subs bench. Chelsea have been linked with the Andrea Pirlo and the negotiations have fallen down. I thought that he was not needed at the club but it seems Ancellotti thought otherwise. If he came in then Essien would have probably be taken as a substitute. And I doubt he would like that, which would hugely unbalance the team chemistry. Then we were also linked with Sergio Aguero recently and that I think would be a huge bonus if the deal goes through. He has been a promising talent but the price range is a bit towards the high side. With Madrid and Manchester City making the transfer market float up in its prices, Sergio Aguero is priced at around €60 million. It is said that Chelsea have put in an offer with Deco in it. Recently they said that Essien is the player to be transferred. Seriously, that’s like shooting up your legs! Essien is more known with the EPL and I think is more worthy to Chelsea than Andrea Pirlo. I would not go onto say the numbers because that was a rumour. The addition of Zhirkov is the best signing Chelsea have had this season, he truly is a talent and is aliased Russian Ronaldo. He was shortlisted for the Balon D’Or trophy last season. I have seen him playing and he is a treat to watch. He will fill the much debated position of Malouda and probably will play at Ashley Cole’s position if he gets injured or becomes unavailable. Then Sturridge is another young player that has been added and he is also a good addition.We have seen him play for Manchester City and the pre-season games with Chelsea, and I think he has a bright future. Ross Turnbull will provide the cover needed for Cech as Hilario is getting old and rusty. I doubt if Hilario will get any playing time this season, even if he stays. The future looks bright for Chelsea FC and there should be no more Iniestas, Ronaldos, and Berbatovs capable of slowing us down… --Written by iNFINITY9910, edited by Bloodbore

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A money tree from Manchester MAN CITY: An Opinionated Preview The most talked about English club of the transfer season, and I think the most criticized manager of the transfer window. They are the richest club in the world and their pockets are pretty deep. While spending over £100 million this transfer window alone, and with the wages going pretty high, the players are almost becoming the richest people in the world. The Abu Dhabi based owners won’t mind that though, and I don’t think that they have finished grabbing the players. First they started with Kaka, who almost came to City even though he was clearly not satisfied. Not with the wages mind you, the club’s status. Then they were able to make some good signings this transfer window. They bagged Gareth Barry, the former Aston Villa captain who was also called upon by Liverpool. But he insisted on going to Manchester City instead, leaving Rafa Benitez stunned. Who would have turned down Liverpool for Manchester City? But it’s happened now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again. Then it was Mark Hughes’s long term target, Roque Santa Cruz. He was signed from Blackburn Rovers, Hughes’ former club, and he should be a good addition for the squad. With the squad almost getting large enough to fill an air plane, with half of it filled with forwards, they bagged another important player. Carlos Tevez this time, and that’s from their neighbours Manchester United! I wonder what type of reception Tevez will get when he plays at the Old Trafford, where he was undoubtedly a fans favourite. This made matters serious, but the lack of defensive ability was still there. Manchester City started going for the best defender in the country, and a legend in his club and country, John Terry. People laughed when they heard this at first, but City never gave up. Finally John Terry had to make a public statement that he will not leave the club and pledged his alliance to the club. Good for Chelsea, as their captain is a trademark in their team.

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They then turned to another striker, Emmanuel Adebayor. This African beast was not at his best last season with the Gunners and he was happy to have a new beginning after struggling with injuries and boos from fans. The club was happy to let him go for a large sum, which Man City inevitably coughed up. Arsene Wenger will surely miss his finishing though, unless he finds a striker soon. (Eduardo is back and a better finisher than Ade ever was!—Bloodbore) Then his move was swiftly followed by Kolo Toure. Another legend for his club and country. He was one of the remaining members of the Arsenal Invisibles team from 2005, and he will provide the much needed defensive cover, but they need more defensive players if they are to make a break to the top 4. Jolean Lescott is under their radar and possibly would be the ideal defender for City. But with all this money splashed and all these quality signings, will they make it to the top 4? This is a question that many ask, and many debate on. I personally believe that they have a really good chance of breaking into the top 6. Towards the end of the season, they can decide if they go for the top 4 or top 6. But for City’s billionaire owners, only the sky is the limit. Hopefully, with teams such as Man City and Tottenham improving, the English league will become the best overall league in the world. It will only create more competition and be good for the league. --Written by iNFINITY9910, edited by Bloodbore Expected Lineup:

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Daniel Jarque Tribute Former Espanyol captain Daniel Jarque died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 26. We would like these pictures to be our tribute to the player and we wish his family and the club the best of luck.

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After such an exciting Community Shield, we’re all having our fingers crossed that it will be a sign of things to come and that we’ll have the most exciting Premier League season ever. But besides the Community Shield excitement, what really makes this season so thrilling? One of the factors is the unpredictability. No one quite knows who will win it. Liverpool will have to cope without Alonso and the pressure will be on Lucas and Mascherano to perform with new signing Aquilani injured for the first two months of the season. It is worrying to Pool fans that they still have not brought in another striker and defender, positions they are short in numbers in. So that is the uncertainty with Liverpool. Manchester United is just as hard to predict as Pool, perhaps even harder, with the losses of Ronaldo and Tevez. Replacements Owen and Valencia came on as subs in the Community Shield, but we did not see enough of them to judge whether they’ll be adequate replacements. Because of their benched role, it appears Sir Alex has indicated he prefers Nani and Berbatov stepping up for the time being, rather than playing his new duo. It is now two big game losses in a row for Utd (against Barca last season and now Chelsea in the Shield). They still have their brilliant defense, midfield, and forwards but will Van Der Sar’s recent injury and the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez mean that Utd will have worse season that they are accustomed to? There is also the goalkeeping issue. Ben Foster put on a horror display against Chelsea and with Van Der Sar out for two months (and leaving after the season ends), should Ferguson continue to trust Foster or use Kruzschak? Maybe a last-ditch transfer deadline day keeper signing? Very tough decisions here. Predictably Unpredictable Alberto Aquilani

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Arsenal is another one of the big four to have sold some of their key players. Africans Toure and Adebayor have both departed to club for Manchester City. Wenger signed a makeshift Ajax captain as a replacement but will he be enough? Wenger still thinks he needs one or two more signings. But most of the signings he would have liked to have made have already been transferred to other clubs. Felipe Melo, Lorik Cana, Sebastien Bassong, and Karim Benzema were just some of the names touted as possible signings that have recently left for other clubs. Lorik Cana, especially, left cheap for Sunderland and after the departures of Toure and Adebayor, some fans think Wenger’s ambition is at an all time low. Their DM and DC positions are problem areas but after Nasri and Rosicky suffered injuries, they look a little bit short on numbers farther up the pitch as well as they prepare for the first few games in which they play Celtic, Everton, Manchester United, and Manchester City. Chelsea look the most stable of all the top clubs. As of writing time, no one has left Chelsea and no one looks set to leave. They have brought in some good young players such as Sturridge. Russia winger Yuri Zhirkov, the “Russian Ronaldo,” looks as if he has the ability to provide some width and attacking flare. After the Community Shield and FA Cup wins, will Chelsea be able to put away past disappointments and dominate the Premier League when the other top teams are weaker than ever? Far left: Thomas Vermaelen, left: Arsenal target Hangeland, below: Yuri Zkirkov

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Meanwhile, Manchester City is all but quietly building up their army with players such as Kolo Toure, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Gareth Barry. If they can find some team chemistry, just like Real Madrid, they could be a real force. Tottenham, however, look like they are quietly building up an army with 2009 signings including Robbie Keane, Wilson Palacios, Jermaine Defoe, and Peter Crouch, among others. They’ve got great midfielders in Modric, Palacios, and Huddlestone and with an attack of Robbie Keane, Defoe, Crouch, and Aaron Lennon, you surely must be scoring goals. Their defense is a worry because of their fragile players such as Ledley King, Johnathan Woodgate, and Michael Dawson, but Sebastien Bassong and Gomes should make up for that. You must also not forget Everton who have challenged the big 4 over the past few seasons and got some brilliant results against them earlier this year. Aston Villa have lost Gareth Barry but they’ve still got a strong team, especially with new signings Fabien Delph and Habib Beye. In conclusion, some of the Premier League clubs have been weakened but some are getting better and better and we are about to begin an unpredictable and exciting new season. I personally can’t wait. --Bloodbore Left: Gareth Barry, center: Wilson Palacios, Right: Emmanuel Adebayor

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We LandOn Donovan Landon Donovan started his professional career at Bayer Leverkusen. Originally labeled as a failure in Europe after the Californian striker failed to score for his German club, he built up an impressive reputation in the States after scoring 32 goals and assisting almost as many in 87 appearances for San Jose Earthquakes over a three year loan. Despite rich form in his home country, he failed to make the cut abroad in Leverkusen and decided to make a permanent switch to LA Galaxy. The move to LA helped him become the USA captain and he now wears the armband for both club and country. He also had the chance to play alongside David Beckham which undoubtedly improved him as a player. Donovan wanted to stay fit during the MLS 2009 close season so he joined Champions League team Bayern Munich where he became a playmaking super-sub during his short loan stint there. But the 2009 Confederations Cup was when the world really became exposed to Donovan’s talent. He powered USA into the final and was named Player of the Tournament by Goal.com. We look at what is now best for Donovan’s career.

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Donovan has won five MLS Player of the Year awards, more than any other player. He also holds the USA records for most caps, goals, and assists. But Donovan’s most vital contribution may have come in this summer’s (well, in South Africa winter’s) Confederations Cup. Donovan’s brilliant displays against Spain, Italy, and Brazil as a wing forward in a 4-3-3 formation showcased his unbelievable talent to a world audience. Surely he will now get what he deserves and will have the chance to be a key player for a top European club. His role as any of the forward 3 in a 4-3-3 for club and country could come in handy to show his versatility. His assists and goals record, mostly from playing as a wide forward, are phenomenal and his speed and link up play are excellent. In his recent game against a top European club, Barcelona—actually, the top European club—he picked up where he left off at the Confederations Cup. Donovan earned a free kick for Beckham’s first half goal. Donovan showed his intelligence throughout the match including a little dummy run that led to a wonderful LA counter-attack. He also showed a burst of pace in one point of the match where he received the ball in midfield and sprinted past a few Barca defenders to shoot from long range, forcing Valdes into a spectacular save.

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So what’s next for Donovan? Bayern Munich opted on signing Mario Gomez rather than making Donovan’s short term loan permanent. But there’s surely other top clubs out there dreaming of taking Donovan on deck. Maybe Pep Guardiola was impressed and he could make a shock signing of the player. He would fit in really well into Barca’s 4-3-3 formation and could provide cover for Henry and Messi on the left and right respectively. Donovan is the sort of player who could adapt really well regardless of whether he plays in Germany, USA, Spain, or even England. He’ll likely make his decision when the MLS season finishes, because Captain Donovan’s not the sort of man who’ll decide not to finish the mission he started. --Bloodbore

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New Flavor of M&Ms Coming to England? As the title says, a new flavor of M&Ms may come to England. Their names: Manuel and Mikel. Better known as Almunia and Arteta, to you. Yes, the Arsenal #1 and the Everton playmaker are both Spain national team rejects and both have settled into England. Manuel is a Spanish waiter, excuse me, goalkeeper who has been one of the Premier League’s finest since taking the starting role from former Gunner Jens Lehmann. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has tipped him to feature in Fabio Capello’s future plans. He would certainly improve them who currently have a bit of a goalkeeping crisis (of course you do when your best goalkeeper is Calamity James). Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta is an attacking midfielder who is especially dangerous at free kicks and corners. He’s coming into his prime and could be a decent backup to Gerrard and Lampard at the next World Cup. But the problem is, they’re from Spain. Both have little chance of making the Spain squad while they’re in England, with players from Barcelona and Real Madrid all ahead of them in the pecking order. So would playing for England just to have an international career make them feel like they’re deserting their home country? --Bloodbore Left: Mikel, Right: Manuel and Manuel

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Podolski to be Pulled Out? With Michael Ballack starting to be benched and looking a little bit past it for the first ever time in his career, is it time for the Germans to be worried? Great players such as Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann, and now Ballack and the aging Frings look set to end the current era of German football. But with young players such as Toni Kroos, Bastian Sweinstegger, and Lukas Podolski looking to replace the veteran greats in the team, could this be the start of a great new era of German domination? But in Podolski’s case, he faces a very tough challenge to retain his squad spot. The Polish-born Podolski recently transferred to FC Koln where he will play with former Athletico Madrid player Maniche. After having his chances frozen out at Bayern Munich, he will have a chance to finally show his credentials and cement a starting role at a club. But will that be enough for him to stay in the Germany starting XI? Will Bayern Munich strikers who kept Podolski out of the team (Mario Gomez and Klose), be able to replicate the feat at international level? Podolski at the moment is a very good player but he will have to keep improving and have an incredible scoring record to be more than merely a squad player in South Africa. At the moment, he is close but no Kloser than Klose.

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Obama Joins Special1TV USA Superhero Barack Obama joined Setanta Sport’s critically acclaimed show Special1TV. Imagine it now: “Mr. President, we got a disaster on our hands. West Ham’s losin’!” What If Obama Was a Footballer: Obama da Gunna

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Where the Coast Really is Gold Recently formed Australian club Gold Coast United may have been given the overhyped label before the start of the season, but now they have really shown what they can do. The team’s pre-season results were very impressive but the only really tough fixture was against Fulham, where a stunning late comeback prompted by German-born Shane Smeltz and Socceroo Jason Culina made the London team fall. Fulham lost 2-1, but the English club recovered in the rest of their Australian tour games including a 5-0 win over Perth Glory. However, Gold Coast never really had a chance to show how good they would be in a competitive Aussies-only fixture and they got that against Brisbane Roar, formerly Queensland Roar. Jason Culina and Smeltz once again combined and scored a goal each against a Brisbane team expected to challenge for the title. Gold Coast also added another to win 3-1, despite having their starting goalkeeper (a former Juventus player) injured for the match. That was Gold Coast’s first senior competitive match and has surely shown the league what they’re capable of. --Bloodbore

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Shane Smeltz scores a goal against Fulham FC

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Members of the Goal.com forum were surveyed about their predictions for the upcoming season. What will the top 5 Premier League teams be from 1st to 5th? Everyone’s opinions differed but everyone agreed that the big 4 will stay the top 4 at least another season. Are we taking City’s threat seriously? Infinity said that Chelsea will win it, “Cos Chelsea has the strongest and an almost unchanged team this season, a new coach, new expectations, pressure on the manager to succeed, 2010 World Cup coming up and players need to prove themselves.” Redoranje thought that this will finally be Liverpool’s year because Chelsea will be more focused on a European trophy. Zealous said that Man Utd still has the strongest squad in depth and that will lead them to four titles in a row. Droit_au_but said, “The Pensioners will win it because other teams will be blinded by bra-jerseys.” Who will be relegated from the Premier League? Bloodbore shocked the world by saying all of the promoted teams are on the rise and that Blackburn, Hull, and Portsmouth are on their way down. Everyone else seemed to predict tough seasons for all three promoted teams. Hull and Portsmouth were the popular choices of clubs who were in the league last season to finally go down. Njsoccer though thought that Sunderland will be relegated despite the purchases of Lorik Cana, Darren Bent, and Frazier Campbell. The general consensus was that the promoted teams however lacked goals from midfield while Hull and Portsmouth had serious holes in defense. Infinity said that the teams that will go down will have no chance of saving themselves; “the rest of the league is so strong; they can’t help it.”

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Who will be promoted to the Premier League? West Brom was the general choice for champions while Reading and Newcastle were the other choices for promotion. What will be the biggest surprises in English football? Redoranje said, “Jimenez of West Ham or Babel of Liverpool for a breakout season.” Man Utd in 4th was a popular choice, while Zealous thought that the Premier League teams will fail to get past the Champions League quarter-finals. Infinity said, “Manchester City, either they will surprise us by being totally dominant, or the other way, by being a flop in simple words.” Who will be the Premier League top scorer? It was widely said that Torres will win the Golden Boot, while Drogba, Rooney, and Owen were the other names thrown around. Who will win Serie A? Bloodbore said that Juventus because they’ve taking advantage of the transfer window and added more quality than Juve. Everyone agreed either Juve or Inter will win it and that Roma and Milan will stumble and finish between 3rd and 6th. Who will win La Liga and how will Ronaldo do? Barcelona barely beat Real Madrid in the votes. The general consensus was that Ronaldo will score about 20 goals for Real Madrid and so quite well.

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Who will win the Champions League? Chelsea was the popular choice here. Infinity said, “They to prove themselves and to prove that Barca didn't outplay them last year, but the referee outplayed them.... but Barca might have an edge as they know each other in the team.” The other names tossed around where Liverpool, Arsenal, Inter, and by Droit_au_but Marseille! “By snatching victory from the hands of defeat!” Who will score more goals? Messi or Ronaldo? Messi was the popular choice but it was considered by all the voters a very tough decision. Which top team managers will be fired before next summer? Pellegrini and Leonardo were the two picked managers. Redoranje said, “Pellegrini will be fired as Madrid are slow to gel.”

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X2 Soccer 2009 X2 Soccer 2009 for the iPod Touch and iPhone is a slick and very enjoyable game for only a seven US dollars download from the iTunes store. As you can see in the images below, there is an on-screen touch joystick which you use to move your players. An interesting and intuitive feature is that wherever you put your left thumb on the left side of the screen, the joystick will move according to the thumb. When you’re on the attack, the three buttons form a good combination: one crosses/long passes, one shoots, and one passes. All in all, the system works really well and if you have an iPod Touch or iPhone, you should download the demo today. From your first attempt at just training, you will realize how good this game is. --Bloodbore

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Staff Section Note from the Editor: Hi, guys. Thanks for reading this magazine and thanks again for the support. We’ve had some articles contributed by 7amood and Infinity, as well as that 2009-2010 season survey you guys took part in. So it’s good to see you’re contributing and keeping this mag going. We can’t wait for issue 3; we’ve got some great stuff planned. But make sure you email your articles to me and they shall be featured in the next issue. Also, I would like to clarify something: this is not a monthly magazine, nor is it a weekly magazine. This magazine is something that will just release on our website “when it’s done.” Whether that means a few days after the prior issue or a few weeks, I don’t know, but keep sending your articles in and we’ll release more and more often. Also, make sure you check out our amazing website (designed by Iamlegend) at freekicks.tk and why not click the Facebook group link while you’re there? So thanks again, guys. Editors: Main Editor Bloodbore, Website Developer Iamlegend, and Issue 2 contributor Infinity.

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Next Month Beach Soccer + The Moral Choices of Football Management + Club Histories A to Z: Arsenal FC

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WANNA CONTRIBUTE? EMAIL YOUR ARTICLES TO [email protected] SUBJECT LINE: FREE KICK