Sunday, 30 May 2010

Heskey cannot possibly be allowed to South Africa! Can he?

So, after the Japan - England game, I STILL haven't learned why Fabio Capello thinks that Emile Heskey is worthy to go to South Africa, or even to play up front with Rooney.

Yes, he was only on the field for about 10 minutes, but he had a glorious free header from a few yards out that any goal scoring striker would have scored. I have no doubts that if it was Michael Owen there instead of Heskey, then it would have been 3-1 to England and a relatively comfortable win in the bag. But no, he didn't score. Heskey didn't score. That is becoming a familiar phrase uttered by many disgruntled England fans. Me included.

The ITV commentator informed us that Heskey hasn't score for England for almost a year, and hasn't scored at all for anyone since February. This is a striker we are talking about. People can say how Rooney loves playing with him, and Rooney plays best with him, but I don't understand that either. Rooney seems to play pretty well anyway (understatement) but with Crouch there he doesn't do too badly either. At least Crouch scores!

A few months ago, when England were building up to the World Cup and had a few friendlies, Michael Owen was fit and able to be selected for England. Capello may not like him, but he was there and could have been tested, as an experiment. He has scored 49 goals for his country. He was proving at Manchester United at the time that he could still score vital goals at vital times. But no. Capello chose Heskey instead. Did he score? Figure it out.

I feel that no matter what happens, Capello will unfortunately bring Heskey to South Africa and play him with Rooney. For what reason? I don't know. Defoe, Crouch, Bent - all scored for fun for their clubs this season. All proved that thy can score goals - simple or difficult chances - they proved that they can take them. Heskey didn't.

However, the truth is, if Capello does bring Heskey, we, as England fans will have to support the decision, and support Heskey. The players need the country behind them. They need everyone and everything behind them, especially if they want to see the World Cup in front of them by the end of the summer.

Friday, 28 May 2010

The Walcott Plus Beckham Formula

I really think that Walcott can be a world class winger. At the moment, like I said in my previous post, Walcott runs faster than he can think. He gets into great positions behind the defenders, but he has no idea of what to do from there, and is often wasteful. However, if Beckham, who won't be playing, can influence Walcott with his skill and experience, a lot of goals will be coming from the right-wing in the World Cup.

Beckham has been and is still one of, if not the best crossers of the ball. He knows where to drop the ball in the penalty area and how to do it. Unfortunately he can't play in the World Cup for England, much to the disappointment, I am sure of the England strikers, who wait for the perfect crosses.
However, he can have a lasting influence. Walcott needs to know what to do and how to do it. Beckham can teach him.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

England need to step it up.

A 3-1 win over the Mexicans was ever so slightly flattering. They had more shots, on and off target, they had the more possession, and overall played better football than us. One of our goals, scored by Crouch was not only offside but hand ball - lets not use all of our luck up before the World Cup, its not as if we have much to begin with!

We didn't learn much from the game. We knew, for example that Theo Walcott runs way faster than he can think. We knew that Joe Hart is a safe bet, and England's best bet in the goal. We knew that Glen Johnson can go forward to great effect. But we did learn that England play better when they press the ball higher up the pitch. It wasn't very comfortable watching us penned back in our own box by the Mexicans, and no doubt that if their quality was higher, we would have been punished more severely.

Capello obviously realised this, as we played much better in the second half, and he apparently told his players to play with more aggression. It worked. But lets hope performances will improve as we go along and into the World Cup.

England's next game is against Japan on Sunday. visit here again to read about it!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

David Beckham In Afghanistan

More Holloway Genius Please

I can't wait to see Blackpool in the Premier League next season, for two reasons. One because of their amazing bright orange kits, and two because of Ian Holloway's after match interviews. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this:, this: and this: .

10 years ago, Blackpool were in the bottom league of the football league, and now they are in the Premier League, with a massive £90 million in the bank.
"The gaffer deserves a knighthood" said match-winner Brett Omerod. I'm going to have to agree Brett.
Well done Blackpool!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Debt Plus Success Equals Manchester United

Yes, the Glazers brought Manchester United into masses of debt, and yes, they are hated by the Manchester United fans for it. However, United's success on the pitch has also come from the Glazers takeover.

Sir Alex seems to enjoy working under the Glazers. He isn't pushed into decisions - he takes his time and makes up his own mind on what he wants. In this respect, he is probably the luckiest manager in the Premier League. When you see teams like Chelsea and Manchester City with their owners getting involved too much with the football side of things, and ruin teams, you appreciate how lucky Manchester United actually are.

While the Glazers have been in charge, United have won 3 Premier League titles, been in 2 Champions League finals, winning one and won the F.A Cup and Carling Cup a couple of times. The Glazers clearly haven't affected this side of the club, or if they have, United should be thanking them.

They have also given Ferguson a lot to spend. £30 million on Berbatov, £18.6 million on Carrick, £17 million on Carrick, £17 million on Nani and another on Anderson. The debt is still there - you can't ignore it, but that seems to be the only problem - although a very big one.

I'm just saying, that under the Glazers, United have been playing brilliant football. OK, not thanks to them, but not getting involved in the football side as often as other owners seems to be working.

Inter Vs Bayern

This years Champions League final will be a team winning due to brilliantly drilled tactics against a team who are winning thanks to the biggest slices of luck a team will ever see.

Inter Milan have got to the final thanks to brilliant performances, most notably against the on form team of the year in Barcelona. Their tactics, thanks to Mourinho have been perfection, with winning the soul focus, brushing aside the need for fancy football.
On the other hand, Bayern Munich have scraped their way through, crawling through the thickest mud, and climbing out of the deepest of holes. They wouldn't have made the quarters if it wasn't for an offside goal which shouldn't have stood. Dare I mention, of course, the Manchester United tie. Rooney injured in the first game, and not fully fit in the second, whilst an evil bit of play led to a red card to the brilliant little Rafael, after United had played so well.

But which team will prevail? I believe that Inter will do it. I hope Inter will do it - with the luckiest deflection you will ever see.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Avram Grant Resigns as Portsmouth Manager

He did well to stay this long.
With Portsmouth in financial meltdown and relegation imminent, Grant still drove his players towards the F.A Cup, to give the fans something to shout about. He couldn't quite steer his team to the trophy, but he did a brilliant job with his extreme lack of resources and bizarre contract clauses.
He said "It's been both a difficult and complex year for us at the club, but at the same time, it's been a wonderful and uplifting professional and personal experience, I will never forget you, the loyal fans of Pompey who, without a doubt, helped me protect the team under such complex circumstances. There are very few teams in the world that have fans as passionate and devoted as you are.

"It has been a great experience to be part of one of the most wonderful occurrences that has happened in the history of British football and also shows that even in the most desperate times, loyalty, devotion, professionalism and passion can be demonstrated. I wish you all the possible success which you genuinely deserve."
It has been widely suggested that Grant will take over at now manager-less West Ham, after Zola was sacked earlier this month, which I reported, however with his reputation growing as a very strong manager who can handle his players exceptionally well in very difficult circumstances, he would be forgiven for aiming just a little bit higher.

All The Latest Summer Transfer News and Gossip.

Fabregas deal could be done soon, despite recent reports that La Liga clubs in total are in over £3 billion of debt.

Fernando Torres is remarkably being linked with a £70 million bid from Barcelona as well.
Other reports say that it would be more around £40 million.

Juventus have bid £9.5 million for Liverpool flop Aquilani, however the players agent has said that it would take a massive offer to make Liverpool sell.

Walcott is also interesting Juventus, who are planning a mass overhaul of their squad, especially on the wings.

James Milner admits that his future is uncertain but says that he is, for the moment completely concentrated on the upcoming World Cup.

Sergio Aguero is being looked at by a number of clubs, including Manchester United and Chelsea.

Barcelona have rejected a bid from Chelsea for their centre midfielder Yaya Toure.

Chelsea star Deco has agreed terms to move to Brazilian club Fluminense.
Manchester United are preparing to snap up Jack Rodwell from Everton for £15 million.

Everton have told Arsenal that Mikel Arteta will not replace Fabregas if Arsenal sell him to Barcelona.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

If Torres stays at Liverpool this summer, His commitment will be unquestionable.

An awful season for Liverpool Football Club would be topped off horribly if Fernando Torres, their star striker were to leave. With only David Ngog as a striker, Liverpool's 2010/11 season would no doubt be even worse a season as this.

However, Liverpool manager (but for how much longer?) Benitez, said this today, "I am not aware that Torres wants to leave" and has tried to assure fans that Torres will be at the club next season. 

Torres has been a magnificent player whilst in Liverpool, scoring vital goals at vital times for them, and in the 08/09 season, almost helped Liverpool to win the Premier League title for the first time. But this season has been a completely different story. Injury's have plagued the Spanish star, and he has been visibly disappointed and bemused at some of his mangers decisions regarding himself. He has seen his side slip down the table, and out of the Champions League. They didn't get fourth spot to get a Champions League spot, and will have to settle for the Europa League, which they also lost in the semi-finals this year.

For a world class - and he is world class player not to be playing among the best, in the Champions League is a disappointment for football in general, but also for himself. If he wants to play in the Champions League next season, all he would have to do is say. Clubs will be pouncing on him in a flash, and it has been rumoured that Chelsea would like to take him, which would see a dream partnership in Drogba and Torres.

Liverpool are a club in need of money, and if Torres was to leave, they would be getting a very nice return from his sale. So do Liverpool take the money and run, or do they find other ways to service their debts and try to hold on to their star striker for another season?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

I don't like the new kit (Manchester United 2010/11 Kit)

This is the away kit.
New sponsors, a horrible design.
Glazer protesters could just get a white shirt and draw the sponsors and badge on so that the Glazer don't get the money!

Goodbye Fabregas

So it looks like Fabregas is on his way to Spain. I can't say I blame him, he hasn't had much luck with trophies and success with Arsenal over the past few seasons and has had a few difficult injuries.

He wants success, he wants protection, and he wants a return to Barcelona.
After seeing Eduardo AND Ramsey break their legs in his time, I think he probably wants to get away to the safety of the Spanish League with the dominant team of the moment, where he will be playing along side players all of his very high calibre.

The referees are much quicker to the whistle and so he will be seeing less serious injuries and be seeing a lot more success. He must feel that he has done all he can at Arsenal and now is his time to move on. You always felt that he wanted to go to Barcelona some day, and it seems now is his time.

Good luck to him. but who are Arsenal going to replace him with? With Ramsey going to be out with a broken leg for a while, and other small injuries always present, what will Wenger do? We all know he has a phobia of getting the check book out and spending big on world class players, but surely he can't replace Fabregas with another 18 year old.

Sometimes its time to move on. Fabregas knows it, but Wenger doesn't seem to. If he doesn't bring in a big name to replace Fabregas this summer, I feel that Arsenal won't be seeing any trophies for yet another season.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Barca and Madrid - Proof that the EPL is better

So the La Liga season is over. I can't say I would have noticed if it wasn't for all the news about Barcelona winning the title.

FC Barcelona
Real Madrid
Valencia CF
Sevilla CF

That, is how the top four finished. 25 points between Real Madrid and Valencia. This is a regular occurrence in the Spanish league, with the top two clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid sharing the title between the two of them. 

Whereas this is how the English league ended:

Manchester United
Manchester City
Aston Villa

I think you'll agree, there is much less in it, with other teams having the potential to do better next season.

The two top clubs have fantastic players, such as Messi and Ronaldo, and they both have millions to spend - picking and choosing who the best players are and throwing money at smaller clubs to get what they want.
There is no chance at all that another club in the La Liga will be able to challenge for the title for a long time - if ever. 

Outside the top two, on the whole there is no competitiveness, no excitement and, well no point.

Do you agree?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Hernandez and Smalling Isn't Enough. UNITED NEED MORE!

Manchester United lost the Premier League title this season by one point. However, there was much more in it than that. They lost twice to Chelsea, albeit due to some dodgy decisions, lost to relegated Burnley, and never really looked very convincing in most games against the big teams. The squad wasn't strong enough to overcome Bayern Munich, and when Rooney was clearly unfit, they risked his long-term fitness by playing him - a clear indication that an injured Rooney is still better than a fully-fit Berbatov.

Now, Ferguson has brought in Hernandez and Smalling. Both are young talents, but I am pretty certain that there is no way that they will play a huge role next season. I mean, how can they? I have heard that Hernandez is a tricky striker, and would trouble defenders on his day. But is he really ready for Manchester United's first team? When Manchester City and Chelsea will be spending £40-50 million on world class strikers like Aguero or even Torres, Manchester United go for Hernandez?
As for Smalling, well the performances I have seen him display for Fulham haven't been the most convincing to say the least. If we were to buy another defender, they would have to be the type of Vidic - a strong, powerful, powerhouse, who gets his head on everything.

Manchester United need some creativity and some goals. David Silva seems the perfect replacement for Giggs, and with Nani's performances dramatically improving, Silva and Nani could play on bothe wings with Valencia, either an excellent substitute or a player in a rotational system on the wings.
As for the centre, United need a "new" Paul Scholes. Maybe young Jack Rodwell.
In the forward section, they definitely need another World Class striker. Such as Villa. Or maybe just an improvement in Berbatov, after all, we know he has the ability.

This obviously will cost a lot of money, however with the sale of some player inevitable, United should be able  to cope. The £80 million from the sale of Ronaldo is there also.
But most importantly, Manchester United are the biggest club in the world. They need to be winning trophies, and if that means bringing in world class players to revive the team, then so be it. Take the loss now, and reek the benefits in the long run.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Surely Wembley's Priority is Football?

The Wembley pitch. Once envied by managers and players, it is now the most disappointing pitches in England. And the most expensive.

After the Carling Cup Final this year, James Milner criticised the pitch saying that it was worse than lower league teams pitches. He emphasised how hard teams work to get to a final - only for it to be played on a terrible surface.

It apparently costs £100,000 to relay the pitch, and there is going to be a lot more relaying over the next few years. But not because of football. The pitch needs to be relayed because of other events such as concerts, American football, and racing events which ruin the pitch and leave it in horrible condition for the footballers.

Surely, the main reason for Wembley was to play football on it. Why then, do the footballers get the worst of it? Michael Owen was injured on it, pulling his hamstring, and therefore ruling him out of any World Cup hopes he had and many others have complained they felt much worse after playing on it. A serious injury could be caused from this pitch, and it could be a very valuable player who is the victim. In the FA Cup Final today perhaps.

On the world largest footballing stages, with the best players playing on it, it really needs to be sorted out - with football the main priority. It would save money, time and maybe even a professional footballers' career.

FA Cup Final - Is a Shock Result On the Cards?

This truly is going to be an interesting game. The clash between the top team in the Premier League against the bottom team. One team having arguably their best season for three years, the other in financial meltdown and relegation to the Championship confirmed. But both are fighting for one thing in this match. The FA Cup.

If Portsmouth aren't on their game, they could be in for a complete whitewash. It was only last week that Chelsea beat Wigan by eight, whose to say they can't do it again?

Portsmouth have shown tremendous fight this season, with everything going on around them, they have fought so hard. The club, however has been as stable as an eight year old with matches in a firework factory. Players being paid late, worries over finances and eventual administration have ruined the clubs Premier League status and caused chaos.

But, despite this, anything can happen in football.
A lucky bounce, an awkward deflection, or even a beach ball could decide this matches out-come, not to mention a dodgy Wembley pitch!

I'm not going to make a prediction, because I will probably get it horribly wrong. It always depends on who turns up playing the best. In the FA Cup, as it has proved over the years, it isn't about the quality of the individual players necessarily, but the quality of the team as a whole.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Berbatov Quits

Berbatov has had enough. Of playing for Bulgaria that is.

He has played 74 times for the national side and is their all-time leading goal-scorer but feels that now is the time to stop. He said that playing for Bulgaria has left him "exhausted", and he feels that now he is gone, younger Bulgarians can emerge from his shadow.

On his club football with Manchester United, he said that he will "fight" for his place in the side and has rubbished  suggestions that he will leave.

Berbatov is someone of supreme touch and skill, and you really want him to do well and prove his critics wrong. However, most of the time he has a bad or unlucky day. With Manchester United needing silverware, I think he will have t "fight" a lot harder for his place, as a new striker will probably be coming in soon to challenge him at Manchester United.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Brave Fulham Lose out in Final

A heart thumping final.

Fulham have achieved a massive feat to reach the final. But their hearts were broken by a Diego Forlan goal late in extra time. A cruel blow to a brave, passionate team punching well above their weight.

I don't think Fulham will be able to achieve a final again for a while. Nor do I think Roy Hodgson will stay on as manager. He can do no more. He has taken them as far as a small club can go.

Their excellent performances this season especially in Europe has made teams think very hard about how to win and their amazing fight has feared teams into defeat. But to win a final was too much.

It could have gone either way in the match, and it was very close, reflected in the tight scoreline. But the lucky Madrid took the trophy, and the Fulham fans, players and team were distraught.

John Terry Could miss World Cup with Injury

England's World Cup defence may become even weaker with sudden news that John Terry had broken his metatarsal.

It has become clear that although Terry has not suffered a break, there is ligament damage, and this news will certainly make England's World Cup preparation and/or hopes suffer.

The England camp await more news on his injury, but it does not look good as he walked in a protective foot out of training after a "knock".

He could miss the F.A Cup Final between Chelsea and Portsmouth, and depending on news of how serious an injury it is, he could miss the World Cup.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

At least Zola stuck at it

Gianfranco Zola, manager of West Ham has been sacked. I am a fan of Zola, I saw immediate improvements in the way West Ham played at first, and it was very unfortunate that a reasonably talented group of individuals in the West Ham team just didn't gel.

Zola was adamant that he wasn't a quitter, and he proved that. Extremely controversial owners making irritating remarks every week would test the strongest patience and for Zola to carry on through that and a relegation battle is huge credit to him.

Good luck to him in the future, I'm sure he will bounce back soon as a better manager. As for West Ham, they need stability and a very patient new manager to cope with the clubs expectations and owners.

England Squad - Well done Scott Parker!

Scott Parker has been announced in England's preliminary squad for the World Cup.

It may have been a shock to some because I don't think he has played a a game under Capello, but he fully deserves it. He has almost single handedly kept his club team West Ham up, in the Premier League and as Capello always said, he will choose the squad on good current form. He has kept his word.

Here is the full Squad

England's 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup finals:
Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green, Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock, Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Newcastle Rely on Loans

Newly promoted Newcastle United will apparently have to rely on player loans to keep them in the Premier League.

It was clear as they were relegated last season that they had financial troubles and so sensibly, they will not spend big to stay in the big time. Some players that they are looking to take on loan are players such as

  • Jack Wilshere of Arsenal
  • Danny Welbeck of Manchester United
  • Tom Cleverley of Manchester United
Chris Hughton the manager clearly believes that his Newcastle side need youth, pace and creativity to stay in the Premier League and these three players are real ones to watch for the future.
Good luck to them - they're back where they belong!

09/10 Season Fun Stats

0 West Ham United were the only London team not to win a game against a capital rival this season.
3 Had the league started on 1 January, Everton would be third; three points behind first‑placed Manchester United.
3 Burnley were the only side to have as many as three players play in all 38 games for them this season (Tyrone Mears, Wade Elliott and Brian Jensen).
4 The last team to score seven or more goals in four different games in a season in the English top flight (as Chelsea did) was Arsenal in 1934-35. They are only the seventh side to do this.
4 Rob Green made four errors leading to a goal this season, more than any other player in the division.
6 Kevin Davies has conceded the most fouls in six of the last sevenPremier League campaigns. Davies's total of 121 this season is his highest ever.
7 Richard Dunne has now scored more own goals than any other Premier League player in the history of the competition.
8 More red cards were given out on 31 October 2009 than ever before on a single day of Premier League action.
9 Sunderland became the first side to have nine players sent off in a single Premier League campaign.
9 Andre Marriner showed the most red cards of any referee, nine.
10 Frank Lampard scored 10 Premier League penalties. Only Andrew Johnson for Crystal Palace in 2004‑05 (11) has scored more in a single Premier League season.
10 No team scored more goals in the first 15 minutes of matches than Darren Bent (10).
12 Own goals was Manchester United's joint second top scorer after Wayne Rooney. No side have ever previously benefitted from more than six own goals in a Premier League season.
12 Birmingham City also named an unchanged line-up in 12 consecutive Premier League matches, the longest-ever such run in the competition (21 November to 7 February).

14 Frank Lampard recorded the most assists this season, one more than Cesc Fábregas.
15 Arsenal substitutes contributed 15 goals, more than at any other side. Hull's substitutes scored only one goal all season.
16 Everton and Chelsea both scored a league-high 16 headed goals in 2009-10.
17 Burnley became the first team in Premier League history to lose 17 away games in a season.
17 Mike Dean awarded 17 penalties in 30 matches this season.
19 Spurs had 19 different goalscorers, the most ever for a club in a single season in the Premier League. Relegated Hull City had 18.
20 Liverpool hit the woodwork 20 times this season, more than any other side. They also hit it the most last season (26 times).
22 Different players to be booked for Hull City in the Premier League this season – a league high.

25 Rooney was the first Englishman to score 25 or more goals in one Premier League season since Kevin Phillips 10 years ago.
25 Rory Delap created 25 goalscoring chances from long throws, four more than in 2008‑09. But Bolton scored the most goals, six, from throw-ins.
26 Wigan Athletic conceded 26 goals in their five Premier League matches in London this season.
31 David Dunn had the highest goals-to-shots percentage (31) of any player to have at least 25 efforts on goal this season.
33 Portsmouth used 33 different players in the league this season – more than any other team.
37 Stilian Petrov had more shots without scoring than any player in the Premier League this season.
43 Burnley became the 43rd side to play in the Premier League since it began in 1992-93.
43 Own goals to have been scored this season in the Premier League – more than in any other season.
47 Wayne Bridge made 47 crosses this season without seeing a single one reach a team-mate.
63 Chelsea conceded the highest percentage of their goals from set-pieces this season. Last season no side conceded more than 38% of their goals from set plays.
67 Spurs have still not won at Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal since August 1993 – a run of 67 games.

79 Before this season, no side had ever conceded more than 70 goals in a Premier League campaign and avoided relegation: Wigan conceded 79.
81 Edwin van der Sar managed the highest saves-to-shots percentage of any goalkeeper this season.
86 No side took more points than second-placed Liverpool managed last season. Chelsea equalled this total following their 8-0 final‑day win over Wigan.
86 Only in 2006-07 (87) were there more goals from the penalty spot than this season (86).
100 Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs scored their 100th Premier League goals this season, meaning that 19 players have now reached this landmark.
103 Chelsea are the first side to score more than 100 goals in an English top-flight season since Spurs hit 111 in 1962‑63.
834 Chelsea had 834 shots in total (including blocked) this season, 140 more than any other team. They also had the most shots last season (797).
1,000 Portsmouth scored both the 500th and 1,000th Premier League goals of the season.
1,053 There were 1,053 goals in the Premier League this season, seven short of the record number in a 20‑team season, set in 1999-2000.
1,971 Tottenham finished above Liverpool in the league for the first time since 1971.
2,169 Birmingham's Barry Ferguson attempted the most passes this season.

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