Thursday, 18 November 2010

What's next for England?

ENGLAND ended 2010 by once again getting booed off the pitch by their fans and left with a feeling of disappointment, anger and very little hope in the national team. After that shambolic World Cup performance where England showed they couldn’t play any other formation then 442, they couldn’t find a team mate with a simple pass. Nor could they defend. We saw how they rely on Rooney and Gerrard too much and Capello seemed to base everything on Gareth Barry being fit? Barry, who hasn’t played a decent game for England in a year!

Four months down the line France came to Wembley stadium after an even worse World Cup, however they showed that they had a good look at themselves and made swift changes. They simply out-played England with ease. Yes it was not the strongest England team, but they played counter attacking football at home and it was a look at the future, and from what we saw it looked very bleak.

What England need to do first is get rid of Capello, it’s clear that his management of the team did not go down well when in South Africa. Also the players don’t really seem to be on the same wave length as him. His unwillingness to change and his body language on the touchline gives out the impression that he is just there for the money. He knows the F.A. won’t sack him because they can’t afford to, and he will not walk away from a £6 million a year contract. However the F.A needs to pull their finger out and get rid of the Italian.

The players are a different matter; England may have 3 top world class players in Terry, Gerrard and Rooney. When these 3 are on their game and at 100% they’re unstoppable, but this is simple not enough in an international team. All the England players when they get together for friendlies or qualifiers look like they play within themselves. There either played out of position or don’t look like they gel well together. At their clubs the likes of Lampard and Gerrard run the show in their chosen position but at international level they struggle. However the Lampard / Gerrard ship has sailed now England try look to the future. Lumping in Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll because they have had a decent start to the season doesn’t cover up the bigger problem. These two can’t really be blamed for the poor show against France they will get their chance again, but I feel England may have to sacrifice the Euro 2012 tournament and re think English football from the grass route levels. English players need to learn about technique and control of the ball, pass and move etc etc. To many times have we seen England pass the ball along the back for a few seconds then just smash it up top. They don’t do this at their clubs sides so why at England?

One way to start this radical change could start with under11s not playing on full size pitches in 11 a-side games, they have to play 5 or 7 a-side. This way they will get more touches of the ball and learn how to control it, pass it and play quicker, slicker football and will inevitable improve their overall games as they get older.

For the players around now, I could only hope the likes of Hart, Adam Johnson, Jack Rodwell, Kyle Walker, Marc Albrighton, Gary Cahill and James Milner carry on their progress and go on to full their potential in the game. These are the players who need to be looked at as the golden generation failed during their peak years. England hope to host the 2018 World Cup at the rate their going that’s the only way England will qualify for it.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A little update....

After a quarter of the way into the Football League season, the top of the Championship is happy viewing for every QPR fan. Rangers explosive start to the season saw them win the first 8 of their 10 league games. Boss Neil Warnock has made QPR a team now full of confidence and determination. They had a player sent off in their last two games, but still got points out the game, last season that simple would not have happened. The Superhoops are still unbeaten in the league and take their decent away form to Nottingham Forest this weekend.

Cardiff City are only one point behind the Londoners, City blew two great chances to go top against vicious rivals Swansea, and away to Reading. Cardiff do go to Loftus Road later this month and whoever wins there could have the confidence to go on and succeed a lot this season.

In League One Brighton hold top spot, eight points clear of Huddersfield. Undefeated at home, Poyet has put together a very good footballing side. However, League One has some very big clubs in there. The likes of Southampton, Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday are starting now to creep up the league and I still feel they will be up near the top come May.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Horror Tackles !!!!!!

The hot topic in the football world today is one of the most important parts of our game, tackling. We have seen this season some horror tackles fly in and you have to ask the question are the players of today getting punished enough for their crimes.

Serial offenders keep popping up, by this I mean, the likes of Wolves, Stoke, Blackburn and Bolton. They all have a certain ‘trend’ of football which is not easy on the eye at times. We all know when you come up against these teams they will go in hard, let you know they’re there etc etc. However this season certain players have come in to the spotlight. Example number 1, Karl Henry of Wovles has come in for a lot of stick and rightly deserved.

He already has 2 yellows and 1 red card to his name along with a poor tackle which took out Fulham’s Bobby Zamora and another flying slide on Wigan’s Jordi Gomez. Nigel De Jong is another horror tackle culprit. His kung fu kick at the World Cup went unpunished and again this season he broke Newcastle’s, Hatem Ben Arfa’s leg in a reckless challenge. These poor, rash challenges are taking out players and The FA need to look into it and act immediately.

I feel that these players are simply stealing a living. The players I have mentioned above along with the likes of Lee Cattermole simply are very VERY poor at tackling. They have no technique at all. It could be the game is too fast for them or they want to leave their mark on a player. Whatever it is they don’t have the skill to go into a tackle like Roy Keane, Vieira, Robson and Makelele did and take the ball, not the man. I don’t think they go out to injury players, but I do think they want to leave an effect on their opponent. I’m not saying get rid of all tackling in the game, but there is a difference being a ‘hard man’ and a thug on the pitch.

In incidents where a player has clearly got away without even a booking for a bad tackle just like De Jong on Ben Arfa, The F.A should look back and take action. If he has done it before the punishment should be greater and increase every time the player gets sent off or commits another dangerous challenge. Then the likes of Mc Carthy, Allardyce and Pulis won’t be so quick to defend or send out their teams in such a manner when their players are banned.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Premier League Predictions

Top Four

1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea
3. Manchester City
4. Arsenal

Relegation

Wigan
West Brom
Blackpool

FA Cup - Manchester United
Carling Cup - Arsenal
Champions League - Barcelona

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Premier League 2010/11 Preview

Arsenal

They managed to keep hold of captain Fabregas but how committed will he be, is his heart really at new Nou Camp? A new front man in the shape of Chamakh is a player Wenger has wanted for a long time but can he cut it in the big league? They will be up there but Arsenal’s problem is in goal a late swoop for a quality keeper is needed or else the trophy room at the Emirates Stadium could be like a desert again.

Key Man Robin Van Persie – He had an average World Cup and injured for most of last season. Arsenal need him on form and fully fit to fight top the title.

Aston Villa

O’Neill’s late departure has left Villa in a mess. Milner was half way to Manchester months ago. Young could be going to London, Villa need to make movements quickly to match last year’s success.

Key Man Gabby Agbonlahor – A lot of pressure to deliver will be on the local lad.

Birmingham City

An excellent season last year, Big Eck will have to match the high expectations at St Andrews now. The loss of Hart in goal is big but in Ben Foster they have a decent replacement.

Key Man - Nikola Zigic The big Serb is your classic Premier League centre forward and he could be the star of Birmingham’s side.

Blackburn Rovers

Big Sam showed what a quality manager he is taking Blackburn into the top 10. A lot again will rest on their home form but they have a solid team.

Key Man - Paul Robinson if he continues his impressive end to last season Rovers will be safe.

Blackpool

Holloway will have the biggest test of his career keeping Blackpool in the top flight. They showed true passion fighting their way up the Championship. Again like with the smaller clubs home form is the key. They won’t pick up much away and it will be a long hard season.

Key Man – Charlie Adam is their best player by far, he has the quality for the Premier League but the rest around him don’t.

Bolton

Coyle annoyed all of Burnley by heading to the Reebok last year. He did however do well and with a couple of shrewd summer singings they will be looking to build.

Key Man – Gary Cahill with having a good show last season rumours with a link to Old Trafford Cahill could be one Englishman high on the one to watch list.

Chelsea

The double winners looked good all season with team sprit high after tabloid scandal hitting most of their players. A quiet transfer market for them but the team does have bags of experience already. Ancelotti will have to work hard to better last season success. The Champions League is top of Chelsea’s wish list I feel.

Key Man - Michael Essien now fully fit he is like a new signing. A lot more responsibility rests with him now Cole and Ballack have left.

Everton

Injuries ripped through Everton last year and left them finishing 8th; it could have been a lot better. Now with Arteta, Fallaini and Pienaar all back Everton will be strong.

Key Man - Jermaine Beckford if he can make the step up he could be the best signing of the summer. He will get chances with Saha being a bit injury prone.

Fulham

They did much better than they could imagine last year. A Europa League Final was amazing for a club Fulham’s size. Now without Hodgson can Fulham continue going forward?

Key Man – Clint Dempsey after an impressive World Cup Dempsey will want to carry on his good form. Will be interesting to see what happens when he comes against Rob Green this season.

Liverpool

A disaster last year, out of the top four, very poor in Europe, however Gerrard and Torres stayed. Joe Cole has come in and Rafa has gone. Hodgson has a massive job to get Liverpool back amongst the top four let alone think about winning the league.

Key Man – Fernando Torres he is now a World Cup winner, he says he wants to be at Anfield let’s see if he pays like it these loyal Liverpool fans deserve a good season from him after a injury hit one last time.

Manchester City

Where to start? They have the most talented and most expensive squad in the league. Can they all fit together; can City break the top four? Can then win something and make the United fans take down that ticking banner at Old Trafford reminding them of how long it been since the won a trophy. It will be one of their biggest seasons in their history.

Key Man – So many to pick from, but I will go for Yaya Toure, he is the only player most likely to play week in week out as he is miles better then Barry and reportedly the highest earner. Toure looked good in Barcelona with stars around him can he cut it here?
Manchester United
United finished only a point behind Chelsea. The United squad has talent, experience, youth and most importantly hunger to get their trophy back. Fergie added where he thinks he needed and believes he has the squad to go all the way.

Key Man – Wayne Rooney is still world class and will put his poor summer behind him. He is loved by the United fans who are use to their England stars getting flak but they back them till the end.
Newcastle United

The Toon made light work of the Championship proving they were too big to go down. However the expectations at St James’ will not be as high this season, it’s all about survival. They have a lot of good players but they must not come apart like two years ago.

Key Man – Kevin Nolan was by far the best player last year, he is Premier League quality and will look to be the driving force from the midfield.
Stoke City

Now an established Premier League side Pulis has made the Britannia a very difficult place for away sides. Their style is unique but effective Stoke will stay up again with ease.

Key Man – Kenwyne Jones is the record signing he is big and powerful, and he will fit into the Stoke style very well.

Sunderland

Bruce took his side to 13th last year, they did have a dodgy spell mid season when they went 14 games without a win. Sunderland needs to start well or they could be in a relegation battle.

Key Man – Darren Bent his goals last year showed he can cut it in the Premier League 20+ more goals is what’s to be expected again.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs broke into the top four which is a major achievement. Champions League qualification should be done with a very ease draw. How Spurs do after ‘Champions Leagues’ weeks will tell how good and ready they are for being a real top four side.

Key Man – Luka Modric his creativity in midfield will be vital on those European nights.
WBA

West Brom’s style of football was exciting to watch in the Championship, now back in the big league Di Matteo has to work out a way keeping the Baggies in the league and not being a yoyo club.
Key Man – Chris Brunt has a left foot that is worth £100million to West Brom his attacking style and supply to the forwards to key to their season.

West Ham

New manager means a new hope for the Hammers’ fans. Grant did well at Pompey despite having no money. This year West Ham will be looking to finish much higher up the league.
Key Man – Scott Parker has gained a lot of interest this summer, but he has stayed in the East-End and will as ever give 100% to the cause.

Wigan Athletic

Wigan were only 2 places off the drop zone last year, they also conceded 55 goals away from home. They must tighten up or it will be another nail biting season.

Key Man – Victor Moses will look to impress in his first full Premier League campaign. He has all the quality to go very far in his career.
Wolves

Scoring goals for Wolves was a major problem for Mick McCarthy’s men. He has got in Hunt and Fletcher to boost the strike force. It will be another relegation battle for them.
Key Man - Kevin Doyle is still their best forward and will hopefully link up well with Steven Fletcher.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

N Power Football League Predictions 2010/11

N Power Football League Predictions 2010/ 2011

Championship Promotion

Middlesbrough
QPR
Reading (Play Off winners)

Relegation

Scunthorpe United
Watford
Portsmouth

League One

Southampton
Sheffield Wednesday
Huddersfield Town (Play Off winners)

Relegation

Hartlepool United
Exeter City
Dagenham & Redbridge
Leyton Orient

League Two

Rotherham United
Bradford City
Gillingham
Southend (Play Off winners)

Relegation

Stockport County
Macclesfield Town

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

10 Things bound to happen this season


1. Rob Green to be booed at every away ground.

2. Newcastle United fans to sing ‘CHAMPIONS CHAMPIONS CHAMPIONS’ at Manchester United in their first Premier League game.

3. Joe Cole will score against Chelsea.
4. Arsenal to start the season in explosive fashion, and then slowly fade out and finish third, and win nothing.

5. Every commentator will mention the Blackpool Pier and Tower in every home game and they also get compared to Holland (because of the colour and not their playing style).

6. Spurs to think their the best team in Europe as they qualify for the Champions League, but fail to get out the group and their League form slides.

7.The England flops to have a sensational start to the season.

8. Wigan’s DW stadium to be deserted for most of the season then suddenly fill out when the top four roll in to town.

9. Ian Holloway pitting his wits against the Premier League’s best managers will be fun viewing from the sidelines, he should come out with some more classic one-liners for the Match Of The Day audience.
10. Some set of fans to bring the Vuvuzela to England.

Friday, 2 July 2010

My Blog on NUTS website!!

http://www.nuts.co.uk/blog/index.php?blog=6&p=809&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#more809 

My Preview and Predictions

Brazil v Holland 

The clash between the ‘Total Football’ and the ‘Samba Boys’ will been one for the football purest to drool over with high expectations. This afternoon will see if Holland can cause a shock and move the footballing God’s of Brazil. Holland have sailed through this tournament not really getting out of 3rd gear but they will have to raise their game to get past Brazil. As usual Brazil have gone through the tournament with flair and skill. The star man for them as I said has been Robinho. He has turned up to this summers tournament unlike some other stars and has proved his worth on the world stage. Brazil has been hard working just like how manager Dunga uses to play. They will be without playmaker Elano and Melo will be doubtful with a knock whereas Holland will be at full strength. Both nations have come to South Africa to win and the winner here could well go on to lift the trophy on July 11th.

I predict a classic 3-2 Holland victory.

Uruguay v Ghana 

Ghana tonight has the backing of a continent will it prove too much pressure or inspire them to become the first African nation to reach the semi-finals. The black stars have nothing to lose, they have know become stars in their home country and the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Kevin Prince Boateng and Anthony Annan have shown what they are capable of doing on the biggest stage of them all. The only problem I could see is that Ghana freezing tonight, Uruguay have won the world cup twice. They have reached the quarterfinal for the first time since 1970 and they will look to their forwards Forlan and Luis Suarez to perform again. Their partnership has grown as the tournament has gone on and I expect them to take Uruguay to the final for, just.

I predict 2-1 AET win for Uruguay 

Argentina v Germany 

Another mouth watering clash where these two giants come to blows. Germany fresh after their conquest over England go in to this game with a lot more respect and knowing full well they are capable of great things. There likely to field the same side which mean danger man Ozil will be on the hole behind Klose linking the midfield and strikers. Argentina also have a full side to pick from, their best form of defense is attack. Tevez and Higuain have been great for Maradona who has been quality viewing on the touchline. The key man for them will be Messi, he has not scored but has been vital to their play. German may go down the road Greece did to man mark him but that leaves the other midfield talent Argentina have more room. Whatever happens expect fireworks and a very tight game.

A close one but I say 1-0 Argentina with Messi finally netting.

Paraguay v Spain 

When Spain lost their first game to Switzerland people doubt their credentials in this years World Cup. They went on to see off Honduras, Chile and Portugal in true Spanish Tiki-Taka style. David Villa has stepped up to the plate and really shined over a lackluster Torres. Xabier Alonso has been nothing but exceptional in midfield new Manchester City man David Silva could play roll and Cesc could find himself starting on the bench again. Paraguay has to play to their strengths. They are not good enough to go and attack Spain, so their best bet is to keep it tight and not concede early. They will be hoping to get to penalties and get through like they did against Japan. The former world champions couldn’t beat them so the Paraguay fans will take great confidence from that. 

I predict a narrow 2-1 Spain win. 

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The real England finally turn up at the World Cup

Finally an England performance to be proud of at this years World Cup. Capello has come under a lot of pressure in the past few days, but his decision to bring in Milner and Defoe for Lennon and Heskey worked better than he could have ever wished. It was Milners wicked ball in from the right that Defoe latched onto and put away in the first half. Defoe comes alive when he is in the box, you may not notice him much but he will be remembered as the man who fired England into the last 16 of the World Cup. 

Rooney’s form is still to be questioned. Yes, he did play much better and linked up with Gerrard very well at times. However he does not look 100% or it could be something else on his mind. Rooney has never been away from his child for this long and could be missing his little one and that could be playing on his mind. Lampard, who also came in for a lot of slack played his best game for England for years. To be fair it was only a 7/10 but its better then what you usually get from him. Captain Steve G played well out on the left and cut in a lot working well with Rooney. He also spared a few pinpoint, 40 yards passes just like he does for the reds, which was a delight to see. The defense was strong and dealt with what came at them well. John Terry’s diving defensive header was one of the highlights along with Upson’s last ditch slide tackle. In all England done well and will go in to the next game with confidence. If your an Englishman and can’t get yourself up for a England v Germany game something is wrong. England must continue to improve if they want to reach their goal. Germany had a good start, but a very inexperienced side could struggle if the England we saw Wednesday play with the same passion again. So far Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina, South Korea, USA, England, Germany, Ghana, Holland and Brazil are into the last 16 the tournament is starting to hot up. 

Thursday, 17 June 2010

As the dust settles and all the teams have played their first games at this year’s World Cup I look back at the early talking points of the tournament. England’s performance was not the best but it also wasn’t the worst. Rob Greens howler will live long in the memory of English football now. He will get hounded at every away ground next season just like James, Carson and Robinson have gone through. I think England will learn a lot from the USA game, and I truly think that Joe Cole has to be on the pitch. I would play him behind Rooney which means dropping Heskey even though he did play well on Saturday. My team on Friday would be,

Green (One more chance to save his England career), Johnson, Terry, Dawson, A. Cole, Barry, Lennon, Lampard, Gerrard, J. Cole and Rooney.
The most impressive team so far have been Germany. They walked all over Australia and with a very young side they could go a long way. Spain suffered the first World Cup shock when Switzerland beat them 1-0. Spain were the tournament favourites but David Villa didn’t show up and they could not break down a harden Switzerland defence. Brazil beat North Korea but it wasn’t as easy as many fought it would be. North Korea’s weapons of mass defending caused Brazil to struggle against the lowest ranked team in the tournament. The ball has come in for a lot of slack, but I feel that’s harsh. It may take a bit of getting use too, but good players will make it work and score some sensational goals. The player of the tournament so far for me is Diego Forlan. He was good against France and Class against South Africa where he scored two and had a hand in the first.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

World Cup Preview

Group C

England
USA
Algeria
Slovenia


England – They have the manager, they have the players, all they need is a bit of luck and learn how to take penalties. England go into the tournament in decent form, and with the country backing them to do the business.
Key Man – Wanye Rooney had his best scoring season at Man United last season, he is without a doubt the most important player in the team.

USA - They are not the most technically gifted but they will work hard and will be hard to break down.
Key Man– Clint Dempsey, the Fulham man can get up and down the pitch and score. He will be vital for the USA.

Algeria- Known as the Desert Foxes they have a lot of pace and can break from box to box swiftly. They do have the potential to cause an upset but I don’t think they will.
Key Man– Majid Bougherra, he is the star man of the defence and will lead from the back.

Slovenia- There not to be underestimated, with a short passing style and keep ball mentality they could cause a shock by getting through the group.
Key Man– Robert Koren the former WBA man is the heartbeat of the Slovenian team and he will be playing for a contract this summer.

Group D

Germany
Australia
Serbia
Ghana


Germany- With their proven track record the Germans are one team you can’t ignore. The three time winners have the experience of getting to the knock out stages with ease and even without Ballack they are still one to watch.
Key Man– Bastian Schweinsteiger his creative flair will be key he can also pitch in with the goals. More pressure will be on him with the loss of Ballack now.

Australia- Having now qualified for their second consecutive World Cup in the first time in their history they will know what to expect. They got to the 2nd round four years back, but this group will be tricky to get out of.
Key Man– Tim Cahill will be the most realistic goal threat and is very generous in the box.

Serbia- There a very flexible side and can change formation to go with the different opponents. Reddy Antic is a very experienced coach and could be a surprise package this summer.
Key Man–Nikola Zigic, the new Birmingham City forward is a giant power house forward and will cause problems for the defenders.

Ghana- Appeared in their first World Cup four years ago and got to the second round, expect much the same.
Key Man– Sulley Muntari, not very creative but you know what you get with the former Pompey star.

Group E

Holland
Denmark
Japan
Cameroon


Holland- Could they finally become World Cup winners after years of disappointment? They always seem to have the players, they play attacking football so could Bert van Marwijk lead them to glory.
Key Man– Robin van Persie, he was out for most of the season and will be raring to go in South Africa.

Denmark- This is one of the strongest Denmark sides for a long time. They qualified from a group which had Portugal and end Sweden’s hopes along the way.
Key Man– Niklas Bendtner, he believes he is destined to be the best forward in the world, time to show it.

Japan- There extremely skilful and will want to put their 2006 horror show behind them.
Key Man– Keisuke Honda can score and create chances, vital to the Japan attack.

Cameroon- Like many teams at this year’s World Cup they will go in hoping for a bit of luck.
Key Man– Samuel Eto’o is their best player and heading to his third World Cup. If he gets the chance he will put it away.

Group F

Italy
Paraguay
New Zealand
Slovakia

Italy- The World Champs go into the tournament with a vast amount of experience in their squad. There a tight nit unit and will try their hardest to retain their trophy.
Key Man– Daniele De Rossi after getting sent off four years ago he still came back into the team to pick up a winners medal. He will be doing a lot of running in a midfield of now ‘30 something’s’.

Paraguay- There another strong South American side who base a lot on team spirit. However a serious lack of quality in midfield will hinder them.
Key Man– Oscar Cardozo the Benfica winger is quick and has an amazing left foot.

New Zealand- With Australia opting to play in the Asia Confederation qualifying section, New Zealand had it easy to get to the World Cup. However when it comes to the big stage they will struggle.
Key Man- Ryan Nelson is a strong leader from the back and will be very busy in a group of tactically minded teams.

Slovakia- This is their first ever World Cup and they will be happy with the group they’re in, as they could get to the knock out stages.
Key Man – Vladimir Weiss, the gaffers’ son could make an impression on Manchester City as well as the world.


Group G

Brazil
North Korea
Ivory Coast
Portugal


Brazil- Five time winners and know they have finally got a decent defence! One of the favourites as always.
Key Man- Robinho, depending on which one turns up he could easily get a hatful of goals with the players around him.

North Korea- Low expectations and a very defensive approach, they will be the whipping boys of the group.
Key Man- Jong Tae-se is the most capped player in the team and their best forward by far.

Ivory Coast – The best of the African teams at the tournament and packed with house-whole names in the team. They have a great chance of getting to the knock out stage.
Key Man- Saloman Kalou, if Drogba doesn’t make it the goals will need to come from him.

Portugal- Carlos Queiroz had made some strange tactical and selection decisions in the past but they have got there and need to find the right formula to get the best out of their best players.
Key Man- Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s most expensive player and you just know he will, at some point show us exactly why.

Group H

Spain
Switzerland
Honduras
Chile


Spain- Euro 2008 changed everything in Spanish football; they are now looked upon as not nearly men but tournament favourites. They keep the ball better than any team there.
Key Man- David Villa it’s hard to pick in such a fantastic team, but the goals will come from the new Barcelona man.

Switzerland- Hitzfeld has made his team very hard to beat and rely a lot on Frei for goals.
Key Man- Alexander Frei needs to take any chance he gets for them to have any chance.

Honduras – Very defensive, and they struggled to get out of a mediocre region. Not much to be expected from them.
Key Man- Wilson Palacios if he has a good tournament Spurs will have a very handy asset for their Champions League campaign.

Chile- They could be the surprise package this year. They can get goals from anywhere which is always good.
Key Man- Humberto Suazo is the focal point of the forward line and will be crucial to Chile.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

World Cup Preview

Group B

Argentina
Nigeria
South Korea
Greece


Argentina– Maradona is one of Argentina’s legends and always will be, know he does of the squad to replicate their win exactly 24 years ago.
Key Man– Gonzalo Higuain, he is the classic number 9, with most of the opposing teams defences focusing on Messi the Real Madrid front man could find that small space he needs to score.

Nigeria- There best form of attack is defence. They basically play three defensive midfielders in front of the back four. They have a lot of power and energy but little quality.
Key Man- Peter Odemwingie he shone in the African Cup of Nations and is vital to their attack.

South Korea – They were the only unbeaten team in the Asian zone during the qualifying campaign. They have a fast slick movement and will be hoping to steal 2nd in the group.
Key Man – Park Chu – young is a star at AS Monaco and plays just behind the front man, he will be key if they do anything in the summer.

Greece – Their tactics will be to stifle teams attack and catching them out in a dead ball situation.
Key Man – Sortris Ninis is the one starlet in the Greece team, however Rehhagel usually starts the youngster on the bench.

Monday, 7 June 2010

My World Cup Preview

World Cup Group A

South Africa
Mexico
Uruguay
France


South Africa - As a host nation they have a massive boost in confidence, and you must remember that no host nation have ever failed to get beyond the group stage.
Key Man - Steven Pienaar he is the star of the team; he could boost his career in England by shining at this summer’s tournament.

Mexico – They are from South America so they are naturally gifted footballers, but miles behind the like of Chile, Argentina and of course Brazil. They will be more than happy if they get out the group.
Key Man - Javier Hernandez, there will be no better way for the new united front-man to make a mark on united fans by proving what he can do on the biggest stage of them all.

Uruguay – The two time winners are one of the most inconsistent teams at the World Cup and after years of player division Nacional and Penarol (players based at home and playing abroad) they are more united than ever.
Key Man Diego Forlan- The Madrid front-man is 31 and will probably be his last World Cup; he will want to add to his already impressive CV in Spain after his disappointing Manchester United career.

France - They shouldn’t be there but they are, but the French are nothing like they use to be. It was a mediocre qualifying campaign and Raymond Domenech is not exactly number one in his nations eye. France may be good enough to qualify but not winners.
Key Man Yoann Gourcuff is the star man at Bordeaux if he turns it on this summer he could find himself at a top European team very soon.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

League One....

As League One comes to an end this afternoon, 5 teams go into the last day fighting for an automatic promotion place. Leeds United holds all the cards. At home today to Bristol Rovers a game that really they should win. However Leeds always seems to find a way to mess up great opportunities. It will be a 40,000 sell out crowd all expecting Leeds to finally get back up to the Championship, even though most of the hardcore Leeds supporters feel Leeds should be a lot higher up in English football. Millwall play Swindon in a game where if the result at Leeds goes their way it could be the biggest game of the two clubs recent history. (Apart from Millwall’s FA Cup final a few years back). Millwall are the form team and will fancy their chances at home. Again it will be a sell out crowd all expecting a home win. But Swindon Town know that all the pressure will be on the home side and they are fully capable of pulling off an away win. Charlton travel to Oldham, last week they beat Leeds to stop their promotion party. They have nothing to lose, it may just be the play-offs for Charlton but they still have a chance. Huddersfield have the outside chance of getting in the top two. They go to Exeter who have to win to maintain their League One status, but if results go their way it could get very complicated and Huddersfield could be laughing their way all the way back up North.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Chelsea's to lose....

Chelsea could move 4 points clear at the top of the Premier League tonight with a win over Bolton and will put the blues in pole position to win the Premier League title this season. After a successful FA Cup Semi Final win over Aston Villa, Chelsea are looking strong and going to Old Trafford and winning proves that. Drogba has been outstanding this year. He has been back to his best, and when he is on song so is Chelsea. I want to look at the whole season for Chelsea. Their main goal was the Champions League which as we know they came undone by Inter Milan. However they have been the most consistent of the ‘Big 4’. We have seen Manchester United come undone in recent weeks. The loss of Rooney has cost them dear. Berbatov was needed, but he has simply showed he is not up for the fight. Don’t get me wrong, he does try but, I would ask any Red Devil. Would they want Tevez or Berbatov for the title run in?

United have missed Rooney sharpness and of course his goals. A 0-0 draw at Blackburn last Sunday did not help. Next is the Manchester derby at Eastlands. You know City will be up for this game, it is their ‘cup final’ in the eyes of some United supporters, but City are looking good for fourth and they will be looking to maintain their good form. Also they want to get some revenge from the 4-3 and the Carling Cup semi final earlier this season.

I give my full respect to Portsmouth relegated Saturday evening, FA Cup finalist Sunday evening. They showed a true passion and desire to put all the things that have happen to them this season behind them and get to the final for themselves and their die-hard fans. I said in my last blog that Pompey should fully focus on the Cup and they did, know they have another big day out in Wembley. Tottenham’s good season could fall apart in a matter of weeks; Arsenal and Chelsea come to the Lane and could see off Spurs top four hopes for good.

Newcastle and WBA have also been promoted to the Premier League so this part of the season prediction has come true!!

Sean Simara

Friday, 19 March 2010

Chelsea OUT Fulham IN, QPR, Pompey, All things Football

In my absence the football world has changed yet again. Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League to Inter Milan and their former manager, Jose Mourinho. The 'Special One' came back to Chelsea for the first time since he was sacked, and his side out done Chelsea all over the park. Carlo Ancelotti was brought in to win the Champions League but know his failure has put all the pressure on him to win the Premier League this season. If he does not, Chelsea may be looking again for the one to bring them the European goal they crave. I still back Manchester United to win the league this season.
I must mention Fulhams show in the other European tournament. The Europa League is looked down on if your a regular Champions League contender, but for teams like Fulham this is a big deal. They turned around a 3-1 first leg score to win 4-1 at the Cottage. I am impressed with Fulham and Roy Hodgson this season, they may not be the most fashionable team in the league but they get the work done. They are still in the FA Cup and doing well in the league. Hodgson is a candidate for manager of the year.
Portsmouth now have been docked 9pts and are going down. I think that they should play weakened teams in the league as it does not matter now. If they focus fully on the FA Cup this would end a season of turmoil in a great way for the fans. Hull City appointing Ian Dowie has put them in the Championship I feel, I don't rate him and never will. Burnley will be my bet for the third place. Poor at home, poor away, relegation beckons.
QPR have changed their manager again. Neil Warnock now sits in the hottest seat in football. However QPR now have got rid of Flavio Briatore and Warnock could be the man to finally drag them up to the promise land. It won't be this year but if he is given the time and money he will be able to do it. Newcastle have been out of the world the season. They powered their way through the season, and could be promoted by Easter Monday.
I do want to mention David Beckham, his injury blow is gutting for him. He has worked so hard to get back into the England shake up. But it could be the end of his international career. I hope not, he is a legend and I hope he still goes to the World Cup on the coaching staff because his experience could be vital.
Sean Simara

Monday, 22 February 2010

Chelsea 4pts Clear

Manchester United slipped up at Goodison Park with a shocking performance and lost 3- to an Everton side bang in form. This opened the door for Chelsea to extend their lead at the top of the league. They did, Chelsea crushed Wolves with ease and Drogba netted twice as Chelsea moved 4 points clear of United. Arsenal also capitalised by beating Sunderland and closed the gap to only 2 points behind the champions. I still believe this season title race will go all the way to the last day of the season. My money is still on Manchester United. Spurs sit in the last Champions League spot after their 3-0 victory at Win. It wasn’t quite as good as the 9-1 win earlier in the season but Tottenham took full advantage of a dull 0-0 between Man City and Liverpool earlier in the day. Liverpool look poor and will be very lucky if they get a top 6 finish.

Aston Villa leaped past the reds after their 5-2 win over Burnley, they did go 1-0 down in the game. All five of the Villa goals did come from English players, (Downing, Heskey and Agbonlahor) which will help their own personal aims to get on the plane to the World Cup. The bottom 7 teams in the Premier League all lost this weekend so the bottom 3 stays the same, Bolton, Burnley and Portsmouth.

In the Championship Newcastle look good for automatic promotion. They now sit 5 points clear of Forest in second. However the play off is anyone’s guess. Cardiff seem to have gone off the boil, West Brom lost at Bristol, Leicester drew at Plymouth. This is a league where anybody can beat anybody on their day. If you go on a good run you will fly up the table, if you have a bad run you will be in the relegation mix up.

League One Norwich’s excellent home form came to a halt as Southampton took all 3pts back south. Leeds seem to be trying their very best to mess up their successful start to the season. A 1-1 draw at home over Brighton leaves them 3 points behind the leaders, but they do have a game in hand. I would watch out for Colchester United and Swindon to push along with Charlton to get into that top two. Rochdale look set for automatic promotion from League 2. Bury and Bournemouth sit in the top three for now but League 2 is very tight and its way to early to call.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Is it time for the use of video technology in football?

Its July 11 2010, were in the Soccer City stadium, Johannesburg. England and Spain still tied 0-0 in the World Cup final. With minutes left David Silva breaks down the left wing and whips in a dangerous ball into the penalty area. Fernando Torres controls the ball and brings it down with his right hand, and drills a right footed shot past a diving England keeper. John Terry and Ashley Cole protest the clear injustice to the Argentine referee but it falls on deaf ears. England’s World Cup dream gone. This scene could happen this summer, however it could also be rectified with the simply use of video technology in football.

Were in the year 2010 but still football does not want to catch up with modern day times. Technology has come on leaps and as every football fan knows the game has become faster, there is more skill in the game and its now big money business. However one goal line decision or close call offside could cost your club dearly.

The debate for whether football needs technology has always been an issue. Supports spend endless amounts of time, debating, arguing and fighting over a referee’s decision. Week in week out, the men in black are criticized for the decisions they make. Was the ball completely over the line? Was it a hand ball? Should he have been sent off? This is what the supporters talk about in the stands and down the pub. They even call in radio football shows. It is something everyone in football knows needs to be addressed. The referees are only human remember and they can miss things.

It has become part of the game to moan, but then accept what has happened as it can not be changed. Just like how Manchester United get all the decisions at Old Trafford and Wenger never sees his players commit a foul. But things have to change, for the better of the game.

Football now must follow the examples set in Cricket, Rugby League and Tennis. It has, without a shadow of a doubt improved these sports. You have a number of appeals you can make and the players, supports and officials are familiar with the technology used today. Football needs to incorporate these upgrades.

When watching the games at home on BBC, ITV and Sky Sports we see replays of everything within seconds of it happening. It is now time to use this technology to the advantage of not only the referees, but the teams. Hawk-Eye and video referees can give you an answer in minutes. It has added a brand new dimension to these sports; football needs to now seriously think about bringing it in.

In September 2009 Hawk-Eye creators wrote an open letter to president of FIFA Sepp Blatter giving reasons to why and how football can benefit from goal line technology. We have seen in the past where technology could have stopped major embracement, for officials, and helped them instead of having them mocked in the press for weeks after. Stuart Attwell’s giving the ghost goal at Watford for example. That should have been the moment that triggered a change. But still we see vital decisions going the wrong way. You can give the excuse of the linesman not keeping up with play, or the referee was out of position, but when it starts costing countries places in World Cups something must be done. Of course I’m talking about Henry’s blatant hand ball that gave France an undeserved ticket to South Africa. If we already had the use of video technology in the game Ireland would not have wrongly been put out. I would have been interested to see what would have happened if Robbie Keane handled the ball and Damien Duff but the ball in the net. Would a major football nation such as France get a replay?

Technology in sport should be used extensively, especially in football. There is still a margin of error as some of the top players have suggested, but it is better to have something rather than nothing. At least technology would act as a aid in giving a fair decision also it won’t degrade the role of referees as their presents on the pitch is vital. The use of technology saves them from embarrassment, players' remarks and the outburst of a nation and managers up and down the country.

How can football then incorporate the use of technology in the game? I feel it has to be steadily eased in. You can’t throw in a heap of new rules and expect it all to work. I feel the main issue is goal line technology. There are already small cameras in the goals. Here implementing the Hawk-Eye system we would be able to clear up any goal mouth scramble or if a ball fully crossed the line. This would be most important because its goals that are the most important thing in football.

Football now must take a serious look at itself and start thinking about bringing in technology, because it’s there, waiting and most importantly ready.

By Sean Simara