Friday, 17 August 2012

Premiership Preview Part 3

Last season, after a poor start under Martin Jol, Fulham eventually found their best form to finish in an impressive 9th place. Next season, it is likely to be more of the same. Fulham will find it difficult to break into the top 8 but are unlikley to be seriously threatened by relegation at any stage. Having said that, a lot will depend on their ability to keep hold of Clint Dempsey who has been linked with a move away from the club. The American was Fulham's top goalscorer last season and has been consistently been one of their key men in recent years. Fulham have parted company with other players who have been considered key men in the past and have been a big part of Fulham's success in previous season; Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora. It will be interesting to see how they cope without these players and if Martin Jol will be loking in the transfer window again for replacements.

Predicition: 11th

There were some positives to take out of King Kenny' retun to Anfield including a Carling Cup win and an FA Cup final. However, Liverpool's dismal league performance cost him his job and perhaps, rightly so, after investing so much into the likes of Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll, all of whom have failed to deliver so far. Brendan Rodgers has replaced him, bringing with him a new style of play, new ideas and a few of his players from Swansea. Fabio Borini and Joe Allen have joined him at Anfield but the £15 million they payed for Allen once again begs the question; have Liverpool overspent on a young British player again? In my opinion, the answer to that question is yes but I do believe that Joe Allen is nevertheless capable of making an impact at Anfield. The new manager's job could be made a lot harder if Daniel Agger join Barcelona who he claims would be the only club he would consider leaving Anfield for. That would leave Liverpool short at the back annd, considering their remarkable inability to convert great chances into goals last season, Liverpool can't afford to start shipping goals. More of a killer instint is required next season from Liverpool's front line but if Gerrard stays fit, Liverpool should start to move in the right direction under Rodgers.

Predicition: 6th

Man City Last season was one of the most memorable in Man City and Premiership history. The dramatic way in which Man City snatched the Premiership crown from their rivals will live long in the memory of City fans. However, the defence of their title will prove very difficult. Man Utd will be more motivated than ever and have added Robin van Persie to their ranks. City, on the other hand, have added only youngster Jack Rodwell to their squad and he will probably have to wait for a chance in the 1st team. Carlos Tevez seems to have sorted his problems off last season and, if that is the case, will mean that City, like United, will have gained a world class striker. A partnership of Tevez and his fellow Argentinean Sergio Aguero could prove to be a truly formidable partnership. This season's title race could be just as dramatic as last season with the two Manchester clubs so evenly matched and they are unoubtedly the two teams to beat next season.

Predction: 2nd

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Premiership Preview Part 2


Chelsea finished last season in what is, by their standards, a very disappointing 6th place. The Blues never looked like challenging the Manchester clubs and were remarkably inconsistent in the league with Andre Villas Boas sacked . However, remarkably, they delivered more than ever before in cup competitions as Roman Ambramovich finally got his hands on the Champions League and added the FA Cup to their trophy cabinet. Since then, Didier Drogba has desparted amongst others and the likes of Eden Hazard have been drafted in whilst Roberto di Matteo did enough to earn him a stay at Stamford Bridge. Looking ahead to next season, it seems that Chelsea have undoubtedly enough talent on paper to challenge for the title but, for me, their remains too many unanswered questions. Firstly, can their new, young signings deliver.Eden Hazard attracted the interest of many including Man Utd and Man City, but will the new signings gel? Secondly, can Fernando Torres deliver now he's out of the shadow of Didier Drogba? If not, where are the goals going to come from? I expect Chelsea to be stronger in the league next season but think it may be another season before we see a new look Chelsea making a genuine case for the title.

Prediciton: 3rd


Despite difficultie off the field and almost no money to spend, David Moyes and Everton delivered a top 7 finish. For almost any other team, this would be a big surprise, but Everton are making it a habit. A typically strong ending to last season saw them finish above Liverpool and a similar finish and maybe a European challenge will be Everton's aim this season. They may have lost Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell, but with Steven Pienaar returning permanently and Steven Naismith being added to the squad, Everton's midfield should remain strong. Whether or not Everton can make a serious promotion will also depend on the future of Leighton Baines who has been heavily linked with a move away from Goodison Park. If Everton keep hold of Baines, they wil be just as strong as previous seasons.

Prediction: 8th

Premiership Preview Part 1


Arsene Wenger has often been critcised for his lack of ambition and his reluctance to spend big in the transfer market. His transfer policy is one of the main reasons for Asenal's trophy drought in recent years and also one of the reasons that they have lost the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. With Robin van Persie deciding not to sign a contract extension at Arsenal, it seems as though, he will be the next big name to leave the Emirates. If that transfer saga isn't over by the end of the summer window, it looks as though RvP will eventually leave Arsenal anyway. Considering the fact that Arsenal relied on Robin van Persie and his goals more than anything else last season, it looked as though Arsenal would be facing a struggle to maintain a Champions League qualifying place this season. However, Arsene Wenger has finally showed some purpose and ambition in the transfer window, bringing in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud so that someone other than Robin Van Persie could contribute in the goalscoring department and has also brought in the creativity of Spanish international Cazorla to their midfield which could prove to be one of the signings of the summer. Jack Wilshere who was missing for so much of last year will also be welcomed back although not quite as soon as expected. Therefore, although they may soon be losing their captain and talisman, their is still room for some optimism for the Gunners. Arsenal's defensive frailties prevent me from suggesting that they will be genuine title contenders next season and Chelsea's big spending could see them overtake Arsenal into 3rd.

Prediction: 4th

Aston Villa

There is a fresh wave of optimism surrounding Villa Park as we approach the new season. The appointment of Paul Lambert will have been met with far more approval than that of Alex McCleish 12 months ago. Alex McCleish was unpopular from the start amongst Villa fans due to his connections with their rivals Birmingham City. The lack of support for the manager and negative atmosphere surrounding Villa Park last season due to McCleish's arrival goes someway to explaining my Villa flirted with relegation. The arrival of Paul Lambert, who did such an impressive job at Norwich, will ease tensions between management and the fans. On the pitch, the rebuilding that needs to take place under Lambert seems to have started with the likes of James Collins, Emile Heskey and Carlos Cuellar having left. Incoming players include Dutch international Ron Vlaar to help bolster an often frail-looking back line last season.

Prediction: 13th

Friday, 6 July 2012

Gomes eyes Second Chance at Spurs

Heurelho Gomes has admitted that he is ready to stay at Tottenham Hotspur and fight for his place now that Harry Redknapp has left the club. The Brazilian goalkeeper has revealed how desperate he was to leave Spurs, following a season in which he dropped down to third choice, behind Brad Friedel and Carlo Cudicini. With a new manager expected to be appointed before the new season, Gomes has made it clear that he is determined to impress the new boss, and reclaim his place as Spurs’ number one. The soccer betting tips have tipped either Andre Villas-Boas ( or current France coach, Laurent Blanc, to take the vacant post at Spurs. The 31-year old has also said that he is eager to get himself back into the Brazil squad, knowing that playing regular first team football is essential to that hope. "It was a very hard season, I was desperate to leave. Now, things have changed, as the manager left last month. I want to return to the national team but I have to play first. "Once I'm playing again, my focus will be on returning to the national team. I know how good it is to be there. "Of course, they are rejuvenating the national team, but I'm only 31, which is a good age. I'll do very well this season,” insisted Gomes. A return to PSV Eindhoven had been suggested, but, with his latest comments, it appears that Gomes will wait to see how the land lies when the new manager arrives at the club. It will still be tough for Gomes to dislodge Friedel in the Spurs goal under a new manager. The American veteran was integral to the team, last season, proving himself one of the league’s most consistent stoppers, despite being 41-years old. Spurs are expected to challenge for Champions League qualification, next season, according to the live in-play betting previews on Bet365 (

Friday, 22 June 2012

Del Bosque defends formation

Spain boss, Vicente del Bosque, has defended his decision to start his side’s opening game against Italy without a recognised striker. The champions dominated possession in Gdansk, but looked blunt in the final third, after Del Bosque had opted to start midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, ahead of the likes of Fernando Torres, Fernando, Llorente, and Alvaro Negredo. Following the injury to David Villa, the big question surrounding the camp was who would start as Spain’s main striker at the tournament, with many tipping the resurgent Torres to lead the line, after previously starring in La Furia Roja’s successful Euro 2008 campaign. However, Del Bosque caused a major shock by playing without a recognised frontman, preferring to play Fabregas in a ‘false nine’ position, and, although it took the Barcelona man a while to adapt to the role, he did manage to get on the scoresheet. The veteran boss eventually introduced Torres to the fold and, despite missing a couple of chances, the team did look better with the 28-year-old as its focal point. Whether the Chelsea man will become a fixture of the top scorer betting, this summer (, remains to be seen. Del Bosque has now argued that the reason for his selection was so that his team could dominate the midfield, but says he is unsure whether he will continue with his experiment. Fans who watch football live will no doubt have opinions of their own (, regarding Del Bosque’s tactics. "We wanted to have superiority in the midfield so that we could have possession and arrive higher up the pitch. David Silva, Cesc, and Andres Iniesta arrived very well from the second line of attack, and I think they did very well in a lot of moments", said the 61-year-old. "The plan didn't go badly; Cesc did very well in this position. When Fernando Torres came on, the match was much more open. We had more chances to score, but so did they and we can't forget that. Time will tell whether this is a good point or not.”

Monday, 11 June 2012

A positive start for England

England began their Euro 2012 campaign with a hard fought 1-1 against an in form France. Little was expected of Roy Hodgson's side before the tournament with realism perhaps replacing the typically optimistic approach of England fans going into major tournaments. A draw in the opening game of the tournament hardly suggests that we should expect too much success later on in the tournament but did give fans a few positives to take from the game. Before the game even started, I was feeling more confident than I had done previously. The inclusion of Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain may have been a risk given his lack of experience at this level but, to me it was a sign of Hodgson's willingness to take a gamble and too put his faith in youth. It also showed attacking intent which some may have expected to have been sacrificed for a more defensive approach. Although England had to do their fair share of defending they did it well while another youngster, Danny Wellbeck, provided a genuine threat upfront. Another positive was England's defensive display. Many may have been worried about the calibre of attacking players that France had, particularly given that England's injury hit preparation to the tournament had meant a reshuffle in defence with Jolean Lescott replacing Gary Cahill. However, England's defence, protected by the tenacious Scott Parker in midfield, coped fairly comfortably with Benzema, Ribery and co. It ws Lescott, in fact, who was the unlikely hero for England with a header from a Gerrard freekick. Samir Nasri replied with a low drive for the French which beat Joe Hart at his near post. With Rooney set to return for the third group game and then hopefully for knockout games after that, maybe this tournment won't prove to be the disaster that many expected it to be.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Man Utd march on towards another Premier League title

It looks increasingly likely that Man Utd are going to triumph in the Premier League yet again. After a weekend in which Man City were held at home by Sunderland and United eventually broke down a resilient Blackburn to gain a 7th straight win, there is now a 5 point gap between the two Manchester clubs.

These resuts again bring up the importance of experience going in to the title race. Man Utd have a team full of players who have been in this position before and know they have what it takes to go distance. Man City, on the other hand, have neither the players or a manager with experience of winning in this country. Man City seemed to show signs of nerves and fatigue in their draw with Sunderland, whereas United who themselves were faced with a difficult showed they still have the ability to continue to pressure teams right until the end and, typically, scored two late goals against Blackburn.

It would be foolish to suggest that this title race is over and twists and turns are almost certain between now and the end of the season but Man City will know they can afford few more slip ups if they are to beat their rivals to the Premier League title.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Can Liverpool's Carling Cup success be the start of a winning era at Anfield?

On Sunday, Liverpool won their first win in six years with a win over Championship outfit Cardiff City. It was also their first trophy won at the new Wembley and the first since the return of Kenny Dalglish to Liverpool. Whilst Liverpool's performance was nervy and unconvincing and, in the end, required the lottery of a penalty shootout to decide the outcome of the final, one trophy can easily be the catalyst for more future success.

On the other hand, as Arsenal discovered last year, a cup final loss can also lead to a dramatic fall, as they were quickly knocked out of all other competitions following their loss to Birmingham City.

Regardless of how big the winning margin was, the most important thing was for Liverpool to start winning again and to give some of their new players that winning feeling. It also seems that neither Dalglish nor his players have any intention of stopping there. Liverpool are a big enough and ambitious enough club to be able to challenge for and win more trophies.

However, the Carling Cup isn't exactly as prestigious as a Premier League or Champions League success and is the lowest priority for most Premier League teams. Furthermore, despite significant recent investment in the playing squad, I don't believe that this Liverpool team is at all comparable to the side that used to dominate English football.

Could Liverpool go out and spend more money on players to improve further? Yes, but so could the other big teams around them in the Premier League, particularly Man City.

The most important thing for Liverpool is to get back into the Champions League. Considering the financial benefits of European football and the history of Liverpool, that is probably of far more importance. Even then an era of Liverpool dominance seems unlikely, but with Dalglish at the helm, Liverpool fans will believe more than ever.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Arsenal Sensation Gets National ‘Audition’

Arsenal’s wonderkid Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been selected for a Euro 2012 audition in a friendly against Holland at Wembley.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been in sensational form for the Gunners in recent weeks, and opened his Premier League goal scoring account with a brace against Blackburn Rovers in the 7-1 victory on Saturday.

England national team manager Fabio Capello was in the stands to watch the 18-year old produce a breathtaking performance against Manchester United last month, and personally congratulated the former Southampton man after the match.

Capello has discussed the possibility of taking the young prospect to Poland and Ukraine for the European Championships with the senior squad in the summer, and they have decided to pick the Under-21 star for the upcoming friendly against Holland, and then make a final decision.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is ecstatic, but refuses to get carried away with the exciting chance to represent the national team. Speaking to the local media, he said, “Obviously it [England call-up] would be very nice, but I have just got to keep my feet on the ground and take it step by step.

“I am focusing on Arsenal at the moment, and am in the under-21 squad. All I can do is concentrate on what I am involved in.”

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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I Am Happy As A Liverpool Player – Carroll

According to media reports, Liverpool misfit Andy Carroll was regretting his move from Newcastle United, but the England international has revealed that he has ‘no regrets’ of his switch to Anfield.

Andy Carroll made headlines last January on Transfer Deadline Day by switching to the red of Liverpool from the black and white of Magpies. He cost Liverpool £35million, making him the most expensive British footballer of all time.

Since his transfer, the 22-year old has been hampered by recurring injuries and he has been struggling for form with just six goals in 36 appearances, leaving him with only a place on the bench. Carroll’s dreadful form for The Reds has resulted in him being linked with a move back to Newcastle, or subject to a swap deal with Manchester City for Carlos Tevez.

Battling these difficult times, Carroll has come out and defended his decision of switching loyalties to The Reds. Asked whether he rued the decision last year, he said, “Not at all.

The club has been great with me and everyone outside the club has been fantastic and I am enjoying it down here.

Everyone has backed me and helped us along the way. I have signed a contract here and this is the team I am playing for.”

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Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tevez running out of options

Carlos Tevez's chances of heading to Serie A appear to be all but dashed after deals with both Milan clubs reportedly broke down. The Argentinean striker hasn't played for Manchester City since the end of September following his very public falling out with manager Roberto Mancini, and Tevez had been holding talks with both AC Milan and Inter in the hope of securing a move away from England.
Defending champions AC Milan looked set to clinch the deal for the 27-year old after agreeing personal terms earlier in the year, only for the Italian club and City fail to agree on a transfer fee. The breakdown of the move had a big impact on Milan's plans for this transfer window; with Alexandre Pato close to sealing a move to PSG before Milan called off the deal following their failed pursuit of Tevez. Those following the">Betfair Serie A Betting Odds will be wondering what is going on.
Inter were then the most likely destination for the Argentinean after PSG admitted defeat in their battle to signing Tevez. That move now appears dead in the water after board member Marco Tronchetti Provera revealed the club were no longer in need of Tevez's services. Fans of">Betfair online need to remember this.
"Now we're no longer interested in Tevez. He is following a different path. Inter have recovered their champions and there is no need to have him or another, even if Tevez remains a great champion," he said.
Instead the club will wait for a number of their injured attacking options to return from fitness, rather than splash out £30million-plus on a striker who may well throw another strop in six months time. There is no doubting Tevez's credentials as a genuine world-beater, however, it remains to be seen which club will be prepared to take a chance on the erratic front-man. It doesn't appear to be any Serie A side, anyway.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Manchester City are going to crack says United player

Chris Smalling Manchester United central defender has said that after United win away to Arsenal, Man City will start to wobble.

The United player thinks that Roberto Mancini’s side will not be able to handle being the front runners, and with United in top form they are definitely going to feel the Red Devils breathing down their neck.

City will now also be without Mario Balotelli after he was given a four match ban for Violent conduct.

During the match against Spurs Balotelli was seen by millions of fans to stomp on Scott Parkers head.

The ref however did not see it, and Balotelli was allowed to stay on, and ironically scored the winning goal for city.

“We saw some of the City game coming to the game, and you’re obviously going to know about the result beforehand,” said Smalling.

“We knew that they scored in the dying minutes but we can’t keep relying on them to drop points and we needed to make sure that we did our job.

“Soon enough, if we keep ticking these wins then they’ll crumble.

“It was a massive win for us. Even at 1-1, we all knew that we really needed to win this game because of what happened earlier, and I think we showed real character.

“To be honest, we were expecting them (City) to win. They’re playing at home and we expected them to win. We just needed to make sure we won our game and not let that gap increase any more.”

Smalling thinks that it will be between United, and City for the title, but has not yet written off Spurs.

“Even if we lost or Tottenham won, I think you wouldn’t have ruled either of us out. Everyone’s still there.

“Tottenham’s last 10 games probably puts them at the top if you were to look at them. So I think it’s still crucial and it’s going to go all the way down to the last few.

“The other teams will find it hard, especially Arsenal-Chelsea, to catch us. You’ve seen with Tottenham they managed to catch up but I think it might be down just to us three.”

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