Friday, 24 May 2013

Champions League Final Preview


Champions League Final

As we come to an end of another exciting season, the main event on Saturday night (before the boxing) is the Champions League final at the home of football, Wembley Stadium. Two German sides mixing it up on English soil will be a must see event. I have been backing Dortmund for a while so I have to stick with them.

Borussia Dortmund

 

Key man Gotze is out, but he is on his way to Munich in the summer so how ‘up for it’ would be a real issue. They do have other real quality players that can shine at Wembley. Robert Lewandowski is a brilliant striker who is gaining attention form the giants of European football. This will probably be his last game in the yellow of Dortmund and he will want to go out on a high. Gundogan, Bender and Kehl as a midfield unit are one of the best. I feel the real star on the night could be Reus, he will take Gotze role and this youngster I feel will rise to the occasion.

Bayern Munich

After the heartbreak of last year bottling it on their home turf against Chelsea, it's no surprise they have reached the final again. They simple had too. There a quality team who blitzed Barcelona in sensational style in the semi finals and have some of the world’s best players. I do though think that last season still haunts them. If Dortmund takes the lead Munich could get nervous. These rivals drew twice in the league so even though Bayern won the title by miles, one-on-one its very close. I think players like Robben has the ability to shine on this stage but also can let you down when you need him most.

Iv backed Dortmund all the way so I will stick with them.


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My Premier League Review


Man United

United won their 20th Premier League title with ease in the end. Finishes 11 points clear of Man City it was a worthy end to a fantastic career for Sir Alex. He left United where he would have wanted as champions. Van Persie’s signing proved key but United has players like Giggs, Carrick Ferdinand and De Gea all had great seasons that lead to this title.

Man City

A poor season from them, failed in the Champions League, never looked like they would retain their title at all. The FA cup debacle was a step too far for the owners. Mancini went and we will probably see a big turn around player wise at City this summer. However they did get second so some credit for that.

Chelsea

Europa League winners and 3rd in the league a good season? I would say yes, Rafa came in after Di Matteo got the boot and under massive pressure from fans who didn’t want him there, he did a pretty good job. Winning the trophy will be good for him but for the club the top 4 finish was vital. Looks like he special one will return too.

Arsenal

Managed to get top four ahead of their arch rivals. Wenger proved again that he can, even with the worst Arsenal squad in a while can get the job done. However now they must push and buy some quality, if done correctly they could challenge for the title with the 3 clubs above them all changing manager.

Tottenham

Tottenham I feel blew it, they should have wrapped up 4th. They should have brought a striker in January too. Bale had a fantastic season and deserves to be playing Champions League football next season. Harry Redknapp lead them to 4th AVB finished 5th they have gone backwards.

Everton

A solid season as ever from Everton, now with Moyes leaving how will they cope without him and the likely fact their better players are probably leaving the club to this summer. Finishing above Liverpool again is always a bonus to the Everton fans.

Liverpool

A very average season for the reds, a club in transition under Rodgers will hope to do a lot better next year. The likes of Sturridge & Coutinho did shine towards the end of the season. Suarez good player but is a issue in the summer, a big offer could be accepted and Liverpool get rid of a bad egg.

West Brom

Had their highest finish in the Premier League, cursing to 8th in the end. This did surprise a few, to build on for next season will be hard if Lukaku is playing elsewhere. Will also be remembered for the Odemwingie transfer saga.

Swansea

Their Capital Cup victory was the high light of the season, also the purchase of the signing of the season Michu can’t go unnoticed. They did fade towards the end of the season with nothing to play for. Laudrup is a man in demand but I expect him to still be there next season. They will be itching for the Cardiff game next season to show who are the real kings of Wales now.

West Ham

The Hammers survived with ease in the end. Big Sam used his industrial tactics to his benefits, Carroll and Nolan blossomed under this. The hammers were solid at home and that was a factor in their high finish.

Norwich

The canaries stayed up with a bit to spare in the end after a bit of a sloppy season. Hughton will have to build on the squad in the summer, they need a goal scorer as Holt seems to have gone cold. A team full of hard workers and decent home form got them over the line in the end.

Fulham

Good start to the season but dropped quite badly during the second half. Berbatov was probably the reason they stayed up. If the season went on a few weeks longer they could have been in big trouble.

Stoke

I think they can find themselves quite lucky at this finishing position. Stoke were pretty woeful from the turn of the year. It seems like their route 1 tactics have been well and truly found out. They have no pace in the team they will need to freshen things up next term.

Southampton

The saints played some decent football this season. They picked up wins at home against Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea showing they could play with the big boys. Ricky Lambert showed he could do it at this level. The changing of manager half way through the season didn't harm them like other clubs.

Aston Villa

The gamble paid off with the youngsters. Paul Lambert believed in his young villains and with a few blips on the way Villa did save themselves. Next year they should find it easier to cope if in the same position. Benteke’s goals obviously helped them along the way.

Newcastle

Struggled this year with all the French players Pardew brought in. The Europa League took it out of them too. A poor finish and getting destroyed by Sunderland will still be on the Newcastle fans find come next season. A poor start could see the end of Pardew.

Sunderland

It was a poor season for the black cats just surviving by the skin of their teeth. Di Canio will be remembered for his over the top celebrations and interesting press conferences. Paolo says he wants to bring in fit hungry players. It’s a huge summer for them, again if the season went on a week or two longer they might have gone down.

Wigan

The FA Cup winners luck ran out this time, after 8 years in the Premier League they couldn't pull off the last minute survival this time. They play some good football with good players but can’t defend to save their life. That’s why they went down.

Reading

Not a strong enough squad to challenge in the Premier League in the end. They didn't invest, didn't back the manager in the window. Then they sacked him and the new manager had no chance of keeping them up. They are though in the best shape out of the relegated clubs to make a swift return.

QPR

‘How not to manage a football club’ is what they will call their end of season DVD. A shambolic season at Loftus Road with big money signings not working out, or even not wanting to play. The merry go round of club captain changed around 3 times. QPR didn't win a game until December, changed their manager spent big in January again, and still went down. They have no clue who will still be at the club come the start of next season and have a huge re-building job. But QPR have truly awful this year and deserved to finish rock bottom.



Manager of the season-  Sir Alex Ferguson
Player of the season- Robin Van Persie
Goal of the season-  Matthew Lowton for Aston Villa against Stoke
Pundit of the season- Graeme Souness
Signing of the season- Michu 
Flop of the season- QPR for a host of reasons 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Play-Off Preview


League One Play-Off Final

The Bees truly believe that they will get Championship football after their heart break on the last day of the season. The way Brentford blew their chance with a last minute penalty against Doncaster shows how cruel football can be. They earned their way to Wembley with a penalty shoot out win over Swindon, and in this final against Yeovil I wouldn’t be surprised if it went all the way to penalties. Yeovil beat Brentford twice this season so that’s a slight psychological advantage. They beat the supposed big boys in the play-off Sheffield United too. Yeovil will be the under-dogs but I think it will be the green army that win on Sunday and The Glovers will be celebrating.


League Two Play-Off Final


Bradford will be hoping it’s a better result in their return to Wembley stadium. After the Capital One Cup defeat, this does seem like a more even then that game. I think that this time they will be celebrating. Bradford’s star player Nahki Wells has already scored twice against Northampton this season and Bradford won both games 1-0. They will do it this time and leave Wembley winners.

Bye Beckham

 
As another legend in David Beckham retires you have to look back at a man who was without a doubt was one of England’s greatest players. He proved time and time again coming from all types of knock backs and scandal he was one excellent footballer. He won the league in England, Spain and France. He also won the Champions League; he won over 100 caps & captained his country. He also changed the game of ‘soccer’ in America to something they actually noticed rather then ignored. He is made himself a media brand and this is someone who was thought of as ‘thick’?

 Beckham will go down in history as an England great for these reasons. He also been part of the backroom staff for England even when some managers turned there back on him he never did for his country. I won’t even get into all his efforts to gain the Olympics. We know that he was clinical form a dead ball situation. His long range passing was done with pinpoint accuracy. His determination and passion made up for his lack of pace & skills, but did he really need that in the positions he played? He scored spectacular goals not just free kicks. During his peak he would have got in to any team in the world. Beckham also would get in to some all time Man United XI’s too.

My favourite Beckham moments:

Free kick against Greece


Penalty against Argentina


Half way line goal against Wimbledon


Goal v Arsenal in the Giggs semi final


Goal against Leicester – Purely for the celebration

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

QPR- Planning Starts Now


With relegation confirmed weeks back Harry Redknapp and QPR have to start planning for the Championship now. With a host of players to get rid of and basically bringing in a new team Redknapp has his work cut out.


  First thing he will want to do is get out the rubbish that Mark Hughes left us with. The likes of Mbia, Park Granero and Zamora to name a few have to go. Also Bosingwa can’t ever play for QPR again after the toxic reaction he got off the home fans in the last game. We will lose Remy as he has showed he can score goals in the Premier League. Townsend future lies elsewhere too unless Levy is feeling kind & will loan him back to us for 6 months. Hoilett will worm his way to another club while Bothroyd and Jenas I feel will get shipped out to ease the wage bill. So what’s left? Whose left? Will Barton come back? Maybe, but will he want to, probably not. The facts are were in a fine mess.


 The parachute payment cash will help and give us some leeway bringing in some decent players. Its clear Harry will mix it up but we need a fast start. After having being beaten so much in the Premier League a slow start will be horrendous. We don’t want to have a losing mentality again or we could easily do a Wolves, so the first 6 games are crucial. Faurlin returning will be good, Andy Johnson could do a job in the Championship but I see 2 forwards at least coming in. There’s whispers of a deal for Dwight Gayle has been done, but someone like Charlie Austin or even Ebanks-Blake would be ideal, we need a poacher. Keeping Taarbat could be the key, he virtually won the league for us last time, he didn’t do as great as many thought in the Premier League but him on his day will win many games on is own in the Championship. We also need a decent central midfielder, a box to box one and a winger. So the likes of Liam Trotter, Dikgacoi (if Palace don’t go up), Mark Davies even Harry Forrester could be the type of players Harry looks at bringing in, as the big name big money buys clearly have not worked.