Monday, 2 October 2017

World Class Strikers'

The debate of he's a world class striker rumbles on across Europe. What makes a world class striker? Winning titles, doing it for your country? Dragging your team single handed through a tournament? There's many factors that all play a role. I have made a list of the top 4 strikers  /  forwards across the top 5 leagues in Europe. Some rouge wingers might slip in but picking just 4 is head enough. Ranking them World Class - WC. Knocking on the door of world class - KOD. Quality Player - QP. And last in Harry Redknapp style Top Top Player - TTP.


England
Harry Kane - KOD
Sergio Aguero - KOD
Romelu Lukaku - QP
Alexis Sanchez - KOD


Spain
Lionel Messi - WC
Cristiano Ronaldo - WC
Antoine Griezmann - KOD
Gareth Bale - KOD


France
Radamel Falcao - KOD
Edinson Cavani - QP
Kylian M'Bappe - QP
Neymar - KOD


Italy
Paulo Dybala - KOD
Dries Mertens - QP
Mauro Icardi - TTP
Gonzalo Higuain - QP


Germany
Robert Lewandowski - KOD
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang - QP
Timo Werner - TTP
Thomas Muller - KOD



Thursday, 7 September 2017

NFL Picks


Some NFL picks and a very early Super Bowl prediction:


AFC EAST - New England Patriots
AFC SOUTH - Houston Texans
AFC NORTH - Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC WEST - Oakland Raiders 


NFC SOUTH - Atlanta Falcons 
NFC EAST - NY Giants
NFC WEST - Arizona Cardinals 
NFC NORTH - Green Bay Packers

SUPERBOWL WINNERS - Pittsburgh Steelers 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Premier League 2017/18 Preview


1. Manchester United

Well if ever there was a manager who gets it right in the second season its Jose. Now he did land United 2 cups and Champions League football which was the aim last season. The league form was pretty dire and must improve should improve and I think will improve. I pick them just to pip City as they actually have some players who will defend. It’s looking like United will be very physical and most of the squad is around 6ft tall. They will bully their way to the league title it might be glamorous all the time, but they will.

Key Man – Romelu Lukaku filling Zlatan’s big boots now, we know he can do it in the Premier League. However against the big teams does he go missing? We will see this season, the Belgian will also be tested in the Champions League. 

2. Manchester City


Pep went out and spent over £100m on full backs, yes just full backs. Going forward City are the best in the league Sterling, Sane, De Bruyne, Jesus. I mean Aguero might not even be his number 1 striker! However you do need to defend at times. So with Mendy & Walker bombing forward yes they have the pace to get back but an injury to Kompany (which will happen) there still suspect at the back and it will cost them.

Key Man- Fernandinho, like I said someone has to win the ball back and stop the opposition. His defensive mind is needed in this team.

3. Chelsea

Unexpected Champions last year, Chelsea were solid very solid. However this season could be different having sent what seems all their younger players out on loan again, the squad is light. Chelsea have European football now so they have to sign a few more squad players. You know though they will still be up there Conti was class last year on the side lines so Chelsea should slot into third.

Key Man – Eden Hazard has one of his high seasons last time when he’s in the mood simple unstoppable.


4. Liverpool

It's very tough to split the next 3. Liverpool going forward their quality, at the back it’s not as good. I like Mane they missed him when he got injured. Adding Mo Salah brings more goals. Klopp did address the left back situation and sign Andrew Robertson a centre half is needed. Klopp does need a plan B though Liverpool can’t be so good against the top sides and so rubbish against the bottom ones. Plan B is needed, the fire power will get them top 4 again but not title challengers.

Key Man - Sadio Mane like I said pace, goals and quality I’m a fan.


5. Arsenal

Arsenal landed Lacazette, but is he miles better than Giroud? At the minute Sanchez is still there and Ozil is expecting a new contract. It’s vital they keep Sanchez, if he goes you do worry for Arsenal. All bets are off if he goes. The 3 at the back Wenger stumbled across at the end of last season he will keep with. Europa League for the Arsenal is something new, Wenger needs to get the balance right and avoid the late February annual collapse.   

Key Man – Laurent Koscielny with 3 back the back they really need him to have a good season. He is their best defender and will have his work cut out. He needs to not go missing when it really counts though.

6. Tottenham

Now Spurs have opted for the ‘stick to what we have’ in the summer window not bringing in anyone as of writing. Also playing at Wembley where let’s face it they have been rubbish. The sooner they get to grips with their new surrounds the better. They do need to win something I’m not having being the best team in the league but not winning anything! Come on Spurs even a League Cup will do.


Key Man – Harry Kane 20 plus Premier League goals 3 seasons in a row. Now has emerged as a real talent for club and country.

7. Everton

Ronald Koeman has splashed the cash and is putting his own stamp on this squad. He has brought in a new spine of the team, and of course the return of Wayne Rooney to Everton. Rooney’s experience and winning trophies mentality is exactly what Everton need. Where he fits in to the starting 11 will have to be questioned. The new side will need time to gel but for me 7th is where they will land.


Key Man - Sandro Ramirez the youngster comes from Malaga after netting 14 goals in La Liga. Everton will look to share the goals around this season without Lukaku but he will be the main man.

8. Leicester City


Whether it was snakes in the squad or just really bad form, Leicester did not look like Champions. Craig Shakespeare is either a really good coach or the players just liked him. They were so off last year I think they can fair a lot better this season. No Champions League distractions now too so a top 10 finish for me. Mahrez looks like he is out the door so they do need to replace him.

Key Man – I like the look of Harry Maguire who they brought from Hull. He stood out in a poor side a good season could see him in the England set up as there’s not that much quality centre backs around. 

9. Southampton

Finished 8th last season and a League Cup final appearance pretty good yes? Well clearly not for some. The fans where bored out of their minds at St Mary’s and Puel’s gone and Maurcio Pellegrino has stepped in. He had one season at Alaves which caught the eye. They do have a Virgil van Dijk type hole to deal with.


Key Man – Charlie Austin, just keep him fit. Was Saints top scorer in all competitions even though he was out for what seemed a decade. Austin can and does score goals, but keeping him fit all year is the toughest task.

10. West Ham

Inconsistent, that’s pretty much West Ham. This year they do have a striker picking up Hernandez in the summer. They were linked to around 8 so one had to land. Their second year at the London Stadium they should do better. The Payet saga last year rocked them a more stable ship should see them finish mid table. It’s a big season for Joe Hart who has his doubters after a pretty dismal time in Italy. The owners do need to keep off the twitter though.

Key Man – Javier Hernandez have West Ham found a reliable striker now? It’s been a long while since they had one.

11. Bournemouth

All things were good on the coast last year. A top 10 finish was something not many expected; this season once again should steer clear of any real trouble. Asmir Begovic has been brought in to sure things at the back. Nathan Ake signed for a whopping £20m from Chelsea too. I predict a comfy season for them again.

Key Man - Joshua King should get into double figures for the season again. The arrival of Defoe can't be ignored too.


12. West Brom

The Baggies have tried to address the lack of goals bringing in Jay Rodriguez from Southampton for £12m. Again W.B.A will be strong a set pieces as all, their defenders all seem to be centre backs. You know what you get with a Pulis side, physical and hard working.


Key Man – Matt Phillips has grown in to an impressive Premier League winger. If he adds more goals to his game he should do well again this year.

13. Stoke City 

An under fire Mark Hughes might have a bit of a tricky season. A lack of fire power up top hampered them last season. Arnautovic has gone and only mayor signing so far is Kurt Zouma on loan. Stoke are never know for their classy football but the fans do expect a bit of excitement. Hughes shouldn’t take them down but don’t expect anything special.

Key Man – Jack Butland has a great opportunity to claim the England number 1 spot this season. Now back and fully fit will be vital for Stoke.
 


14. Crystal Palace

A new manager in at Selhurst Park, in the form of Frank De Boer. He needs to find a style for Palace and stick with it. A talented group but last year just stayed up under Big Sam. To be fair most sides stay up with him. De Boer racked up 4 Eredivisie in 5 seasons at Ajax so he does come with good pedigree. Will we see ‘Total Football’ in South East London? We shall wait and see.

Key Man – Wilfred Zaha had to hit the re-start button on his career, his return to Palace has made him one of the most talented wingers in the league. He will be a target for defenders this year as when Zaha is on it, Palace is on it.


15. Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez has had to wheel and deal to get bodies in at Newcastle this summer. He’s not been backed as he thought he would financially, but he does have the fans support. The Geordies know Rafa could have walked away but he lead them to a title last season. This season will see less pressure as they won’t go into every game as the favourites. Newcastle will be fine this season, Rafa may moan quite a bit though.

Key Man - Matt Ritchie raised eyebrows when he left Bournemouth to drop down a league with Newcastle. Shined last year, has Premier League quality and his goals will be key.

16. Watford

Struggled last year with a real bomb in form saw them finish 17th. The club who love a head coach change, Mazzarri came in when Watford finished 13th the drop was clear and the fans were more than happy to see him depart. Marco Silva is next in the hot seat and bringing in Nathaniel Chalonbah and Will Hughes might be a sign Watford are going down a more British player route. Silva impressed at Hull last year and should have enough to keep Watford up, just.

Key Man – Troy Deeney is their talisman and captain will be vital leading the line once again.

17. Swansea City

They flirted with relegation last season a side on the decline. Paul Clement at least stopped the bleeding and Swansea survived. This year will be touch and go once again. If Sigurdsson does stay I would have them a little higher than this. If the Iceland International does go Swansea can’t be caught short having £50m in the bank with only a few days of the transfer window to go. Tammy Abraham on loan looks like a shrewd bit of business.


Key Man - Alfie Mawson could well be the perfect long term replacement to Ashley Williams.

18. Burnley

At home Burnley were super strong and would give anyone a game, away from home they just look hopeless. The loss of Michael Keane will be a big miss at the back. They have spent big on Jack Cork, and goals could come from Jon Walters in from Stoke. Hard working midfield will see Brady, Hendrick & Artfield. However for me, I think Burnley's time in the Premier League is up.




19. Brighton


Newly promoted Brighton I think will have a tough time of it. With having a ground like The Amex it may work against them as clubs will be looking forward to playing in this new fancy stadium. Many away fans have already got Brighton away circled on the calendar. They have to try make home games uncomfortable for the opposition. I just don’t think they will have enough to stay up in the Premier League.

Key Man – Lewis Dunk one of the best ball playing defenders in the Championship last year. He should make the step up and if Brighton go down I expect another Premier League club to snap him up.

20. Huddersfield Town

A fairy-tale for the underdogs last season. David Wagner preformed miracles with Town and find themselves up with the big boys. He was best man for Jurgen Klopp at his wedding and called out a former Sky Sports pundit who tipped his side to go down. However this story won’t end so happy. They will enjoy this season however I think it will be one and done for them, just not enough quality at this level.

Key Man – Steve Mounie the record signing from Montpellier netted 14 times in France if they have any chance of staying up he will need to hit the ground running.


By Sean Simara @Sean_Footymad 

Monday, 31 July 2017

FOOTBALL LEAGUE 2017/18 PREVIEW


In what's known as the toughest league of the world to get out of, the Championship this season is looking like a real battle, to just survive never mind winning it.

Here's my preview on what will once again be a bumpy ride of a season, The 46 game slog-fest starts on Friday night when Nottingham Forest face Millwall & Derby travel to newly relegated Sunderland. So who will live up to the pre season hype? Who will flatter to deceive? And who will be the shock team of the season?

Middlesbrough have spent big, splashing out £9m on Martin Braithwaite from Toulose & Britt Assombalonga £15m from Forest. Gary Monk is in as new manager,  surprising he left Leeds, but it's a unstable situation there. At The Riverside Boro' look the best bet to go straight back up at the first time of asking.

Sunderland who also went down look like there in a bit of a mess and things could get even worse. There better players have all jumped ship. The big earners who have done nothing (Rodwell comes to mind) they can't shift, With off the field matters growing over The Stadium of Light and a disgruntle fan base, the Black Cats could well bomb through the Championship if there not too careful. The Chairman also wants too sell up. Hull City have brought in no one of great importance player wise for me. They have got in a new Russian face in Leonid Slutsky as manager.

Also in with a chance this season, Derby they should do better this year with Gary Rowett. They have re-signed Tom Huddlestone which is good, but have lost Tom Ince and Will Hughes though. Fulham who just missed out in the play-offs I expect to be up there again. Also for me the likes of Norwich City should challenge a lot stronger this season.

The surprise pack of the season could be Wolverhampton Wanderers.This summer they have landed Ruben Neves from FC Porto for a whopping £15 million, Diogo Jota from Atletico Madrid on loan and John Ruddy on a free. A new manager in the hot seat too, as Nuno Santo takes over at a very exciting time at Wolves. Elsewhere in the Midlands exciting times at St Andrews to. Harry Redknapp after keeping Birmingham in the Championship (just about) decided that he's back and ready for full time employment. He was up to his usual tricks being linked with Ashley Cole, Stewart Downing and Robbie Keane this summer. Classic Redknapp that, Birmingham fans it will not be boring. Staying in the Midlands and over to the biggest club there Aston Villa. All eyes were on them this summer as they brought in Mr Popular John Terry. Pressure will be on Steve Bruce to finish a lot higher then 13th. He is banking on experience bringing in Chris Samba (remember him) Glenn Whelan and Ahmed Elmonhamady. Scott Hogan and Jonathan Kodija up top, Grealish should have a bigger role to play this year too. Aston Villa are looking in very good shape.

Again there's a strong Yorkshire contingent in the Championship this year, for me Sheffield Wednesday should do the best.

Down in London I mentioned Fulham already, as for QPR there looking in solid danger this season. Rangers only just about survived last term and that was because the teams behind them just ran out of games to catch them. Only one new face through the door so far, Josh Scowen from Barnsley. In a team that struggled so badly last season they struggled to score and let them in at the back for fun. So the team needed investment, help and new faces. However QPR are not spending like they once did. The feel good factor could wear off with Holloway very quick if QPR have a bad start. Millwall up form League 1 will be near the bottom half for most of the season but I don't think they will go down. Brentford much like Fulham easy on the eye and play good football. They should finish around mid table once again.

Its easy to say the promoted clubs will struggle but Sheffield United and Bolton should have just about enough to survive. The likes of Ipswich Town and Barnsley could struggle this season, and get caught in a bit of a mess this season due to just a lack of investment. You have seen the amount of cash some clubs are spending even if the Championship its big numbers. Reading were punching above their weight last season, this year I can't see them as high. So for me I will go for:
Championship
Winners - Aston Villa
Promoted - Wolverhampton Wanderers, Middlesbrough
Relegation - Burton, Ipswich, Barnsley (I can't write QPR)

League One
Winners Wigan
Promotion Portsmouth, Bradford
Relegation - Blackpool, Walsall, Gillingham, Plymouth

League Two
Winners - Coventry
Promotion  -Luton, Swindon, Wycombe
Relegation -  Morecambe and Newport

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Transfer Tuesday Part 4

What's the latest? Here we go....

Neymar on his way to PSG? a deal that is just mega money as PSG look to trigger his release clause. But is he really going off to Paris? He wants a Ballon D'or its a Brazil thing. You can't win it when your not the best player at in your team so maybe. However FIFA don't give the award for PSG players. We shall wait and see on that one.

Virgil Van Dijk is on 'Van Strike' as he has been training on his own and wants out. What does training on his own mean? Kicking a ball against at wall at Southampton's training ground? No players talking to him?

Naby Keita looks like he will be staying at RB Leipzig as Liverpool have had 3 bids rejected. He did nearly cripple a team mate in training this week.

West Ham finally landed some players, the signing of Javier Hernandez 'Chicharito' is a good bit of business a proven scorer and for so cheap in today's market.

Over at Man City Pep got rid of all his full backs this summer, this week Benjamin Mendy and Danilo rolled in to go along with Walker.

Sanchez is back in London now so his transfer saga should come to an end soon. I can still see him leaving no matter what Wenger says.

West Brom are in search of a centre back after making a bid for Ben Gibson at Middlesbrough and keeping an eye out on Chris Smalling who will fall down the pecking order at United next season.

By @Sean_Footymad

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Transfer Tuesday - Part 3

Here's the latest from the past week.

Kyle Walker is now the most expensive defender in football as he sets off to Man City. Now to me Spurs always make good business for the books. Berbatov, Modric, Bale etc Levy is no fool. But if Tottenham really want to challenge again making themselves weaker & City stronger may not be the best way of going about things.

'Sanchez Saga Latest': He's making comments about playing 'Champions League' football, he may have to force a move out the club himself if he really wants to go. Bayern have said their no interested.

At West Ham it looks like Joe Hart will be their marquee signing after passing his medical. For me he is done and West Ham may come to regret this move. 

Chelsea's hunt for a new forward may bring the to the door of Sergio Aguero. You would think no way City would sell to a rival and a player who has done so much for them. It would be really REALLY annoying if they land him.

Man United making progress with Perisic but the Morata deal soon changed so they could quite easily swoop for someone else if the deal drags.

In the Championship, Birmingham City have been 'Redknapped', as he has been linked to Robbie Keane, Ashley Cole and Stewart Downing. Boro have splashed out £15m on Assombalonga

In Italy all things are a go at AC Milan. They have been on a summer recruitment drive bringing in some quality players, Bonucci, Andre Silva, Calhanglu & Ricardo Rodriquez to name but a few.

Follow for more transfer news through the summer.
@Sean_Footymad 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Transfer Tuesday

The biggest deal of the week has come as a bit of a shock as Man United ended there interest in Morata and focused their attention to Lukaku who they have landed, from under the nose of Chelsea. So United have replaced the goals they have lost in Zlatan in a big way. Stormzy will be happy.

Chelsea could now turn to Morata or Llorente who are now looking a little light up top. Costa looks like he has defiantly played his last game at Chelsea. Tiemoue Bakayoko, should be through the door next week to go with Antonio Rudiger who they signed from Roma, in what has to be the worst 'new player social media video' ever.

Rooney has returned home to Everton with his PJs and all. He will have a massive point to prove to all his doubters.

Liverpool and Tottenham have been kind of quiet, they don't want to get left behind with so many getting stronger. 

Elsewhere some other notable news, West Ham this week were linked to Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic. Some other signings worth a mention Will Hughes to Watford, he's finally got out of Derby. Along with Tom Ince to Huddersfield who have gone about their business nicely with 8 new faces so far.

Harry Maguire from Hull to Leicester City is also a good bit of business.

@Sean_Footymad