City Undone by Lack of Ambition


Tevez, Silva and Balotelli - all possess enormous talent

Manchester City have soared to new Premier League heights this season on the back of an impressive away record that is second only to Manchester United’s. On Saturday however, facing a resilient Villa side, the dour uni-dimensionalism of City’s style was stripped naked to its ugly core.

Roberto Mancini’s structured approach to building a top-four team has made many a dull 90 minutes seem like 180. The Mancini method is as follows: make a strong and disciplined base and decorate with flair and creativity later on. Judging by the evidence of Saturday’s game, he is still a long way from putting the cherry on top. -read on>

A league of their own?


 

In the future could matches between Chelsea and United only be in a European league?

Something that has been spoken about in many pubs and bars across Europe for many years is the prospect of a European Super League. How many times have you heard someone make the statement “It’s inevitable, football’s all about money anyway and TV money drives everything so it’ll happen”. Usually this is closely followed up by someone else chiming in with “Yes but, who wants to watch Man U – Real Madrid four times a season, what about the local rivalries?”
And so it goes. Most supporters feel that someone, somewhere is working away at making this happen and that there is a willingness there, a desire to make this happen. However, you look at the current set up for the clubs, the money-spinning Premier League and the really major cash-machine of the Champions League.

Why change? Well certain other planets are currently coming into alignment which might push the game’s power brokers into reviewing their future horoscopes.

Platini’s so-called financial fair play rules are upon us. Rules which may – on the face of things – make European football more equitable and lessen the power and influence of the major clubs.
In short, clubs could be banned from European competition from the 2014/15 season onwards if they do not comply with the new financial rules. So what will this mean for the clubs? -read on>

Spurs Searching For Their Killer Instinct


In Gareth Bale Spurs possess a frighteningly talented footballer

Spurs performed wonderfully against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. At times, they completely overran their opponents, who remain undefeated in the league this season. They created the best attacking moves, and the best opportunities, but they could not land the knockout blow. Spurs are still lacking the killer instinct they urgently need.

This season has seen Spurs’ meteoric rise to the mantle of Europe’s great entertainers. Harry Redknapp has put his team permanently into the ‘gung-ho’ mode that even the most daring fan rarely flirts with on Football Manager. Top scorers in the Champions League; a stunning victory over the European champions; and in Gareth Bale, Spurs possess a frighteningly talented footballer.

But the success of the last 2 years is at risk of being a fleeting phenomenon. As much as their fans might like to deny it, Tottenham are not a big club. Two UEFA cup wins in 1972 and 1984, and a league and cup double in 1961 don’t hide the fact that this season is Spurs’ first outing in Europe’s elite club competition since the 1960s. -read on>

Arsene Wenger: How to Run a Football Club


Wenger with Petit, one of his bargain signings

 

Arsenal Football club are one of the most financially sound teams in the world. While the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea have gone out spending hundreds of millions of pounds in the pursuit for success, Arsenal have operated very differently, constantly making profits while still growing and challenging for silverware.

 

This is down to one man, Arsene Wenger, who during his tenure of 14 years has revolutionised Arsenal while at the same time making them a profitable organisation. But how? -read on>

Does Foster have the ‘Hart’ to become England’s numer 1?


Ben Foster England's number 1?

We’ve heard a lot about English goalkeeping problems over the last year, and rightly so, but in my opinion, after several years in the goalkeeping wilderness, we now possess two who are potentially world class.  Joe Hart has been doing good things for the last two seasons, but it’s the man Manchester United kept hidden away who I wish to discuss: Ben Foster. -read on>

Alex Ferguson The Great; Arsene Wenger The Very Good


Wenger and Ferguson demonstrating their love hate relationship

Arsene Wenger will never be a great manager. To be a ‘great’ you must become a legend of the game, and sit alongside such masters as Shankly and Busby and, of course, the top division’s long-reigning king, Alex Ferguson.

One characteristic seems to define great managers more than any other: pragmatism. The ability to be flexible in approach and adaptable to circumstances, and to make the right choices at the right time. Pragmatism is the quality that allows great managers to keep adapting, and keep wining. Arsene Wenger has many qualities, and his ability to spot talent and nurture young players is arguably the best in the game. But his downfall is that his particular ideology – of wanting to play the game and build a team in the ‘right’ manner – gets in the way of success. -read on>

Window of Opportunity


Arshavin signed for Arsenal in the January transfer window in 2009

Sky Sports News doesn’t like to admit it, but often the January Transfer Window turns out to be a bit of a damp squib. Whilst there have been some notable signings such as Arshavin, Vidic and the loan of Mascherano, ultimately it can be disappointingly quiet. Teams prefer stability, and many don’t wish to lose key players halfway through a season. This in turn creates an inflated market for potential buyers. However, the top half of the Premier League appears to have more pretenders and contenders than expected this season.

After a disrupted winter schedule there are definitely four, possibly five, teams still with ambitions to fight for the title. Below them though are still a number of teams, including a couple of surprise packages amongst some underachievers, which still feel that they can push into the European places. With the league so close and the outcomes of this season still so uncertain, could the hype be justified as managers look to spend to try and gain every possible advantage and climb the table? The radio, papers and internet sites are already full of rumours. So what can we expect? -read on>

Man United v Arsenal: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


Giggs celebrates his 'wonder goal' vs Arsenal in 1999 - sourced from http://img.dailymail.co.uk

Arsenal are back on top of the Premier league, the place their fans will hope they will be come the end of the season. With Manchester United in second the match between the two on Monday, has been described as the most highly anticipated encounter between the two in recent years!

In previous seasons, the winners of the clash have often gone on to win the title, so what is it that we have seen in previous meetings that will re-appear in Monday’s clash?

Well one thing is for sure, when the two meet there is always; the good, the bad and the ugly. Just look at the pre match build up to Monday’s game, there has been Ferguson calling on United fans to get off Wenger’s back (the good),  Evra’s random outburst claiming ‘Arsenal won’t win the league’ (the bad) and the on-going who will/ who won’t be wearing a snood (the ugly). -read on>

What has happened to Chelsea?


 

John Terry - sourced from http://i.telegraph.co.uk

What is the form of Champions? Scintillating football without losing a game? well only one team has ever done that in the Premier League, but most champions hit that ‘bad patch’, the part of the season where wins are a distant memory! If Chelsea are to be the 2010/2011 Premier League champions then November/December will certainly be remembered as their ‘bad patch’! Read more of this post

Premier League vs La Liga


Premier League vs La Liga

David Villa Celebrates for Barcelona - sourced from www4.pictures.zimbio.com

In a week that saw every premier league club score in one weekend for the first time, and also one of the greatest team performances of all time from Barcelona, which is the stronger and more exciting league?

With some of the world’s greatest players no longer opting for the premier league and looking for clubs in other countries, is the English top division losing its appeal? In the past the top flight in England has boasted some of the greatest players ever to grace the field of play, names such as Ronaldo, Bergkamp, Overmars, and Cantona are just a few. But now, even though money seems no option for most of the big clubs in the premier league, big stars seem to go elsewhere.

The warm shores and attractive football of the Spanish La Liga seems to be the preferred destination for many of the world’s stars. David Villa is the most notable name to shun the premier league, opting to stay in his native Spain with Barcelona and turning down lots of offers on the table from English clubs, and after Monday night’s performance in El clasico few could blame him.

The performance of Barcelona in that game was one of the greatest team performances La Liga and the world has ever seen. The intricate passing and fluent skill of the Barcelona players blew Real Madrid away, as it would have done all teams. The performance stemmed from some of the world’s greatest players, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Villa. However, all of the Barca players can play the game with ease and quality.

The Spanish game is based on skill, quick short passing and fluency and you will see that in all the teams in the Spanish top division. It may be slow at times and some might say boring, but for true lovers of the game the precision, pure talent and vision on show is a joy to watch. The passing at times is a thing of beauty, and not just from the top teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia, lower sides like Hercules, Sporting Gijon, and Levante play the game of football with the same ethos. You will never see a Spanish team play “ugly” football. But at times this want for perfection can become painfully slow and boring with neither side taking hold of a game. read on

The Premier League Title Race; Does anyone actually want to win it this year?


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

On a Saturday where Arsenal decided they weren’t too keen on top spot by giving away a 2-0 half team lead to Spurs, and Chelsea inexplicably fell to their third Premier League defeat in four games, you have to wonder – does anyone actually want the title this year?

We all know by now that we can never write Manchester United off. 94th Minute winners and dodgy 1-0’s will characterise their season as ever. A simple victory yesterday against Wigan has moved them level on points with Chelski at the top of the league, with Arsenal 2 points behind. All this without their best player for most of the season so far (see Pat’s blog on Rooney’s injury), and some pretty terrible defending throughout the season, has shown why Fergie is always there or there abouts come the end of the season.

But what about the new top 4 candidates? Or should we say, title challengers?Tottenham and Van der Vaart have shown a few times this year, not least yesterday against Arsenal, that they’re serious about being ‘in the mix’ as Harry Redknapp calls it. Money Bags City have failed to impress so far but still find themselves 5th with a game in hand on 4th placed Bolton, meaning a win would take them to within a point of the Gooners. That leads me nicely on to Bolton, who surely can’t be considered Title challengers, can they?! Johan Elmander has been in great form, and Owen Coyle has assembled a solid squad who actually play great football – what a transformation from Big Sam Allardyce and Gary ‘the Gnome’ Megson. With Tottenham at 6th also level with City and Bolton, a nice little chasers’ pack is forming, and it will be fascinating to see where it finishes this year. I’d like to briefly play devil’s advocate and suggest Sunderland aren’t too far off either. When Darren Bent’s back, I fancy him and Gyan to form a potent partnership up top. Watch this space. -read on>

Is Wayne Rooney’s Injury a blessing in disguise?


A depleted Wayne Rooney - sourced from arsenalcolumn.files.wordpress.com

Just over a month ago Wayne Rooney the golden boy of Manchester United was stretchered off during a two-all draw at the Reebok stadium. And what a difference one month makes! At first we had the ‘is he/ isn’t he injured’ debacle, followed by where will Rooney be playing his football in January. Wayne Rooney now sits in Dubai perceived by his team and fans very differently to the demi-god, he was just one month ago. The irony of the whole situation is that Rooney who claimed he wasn’t injured, hasn’t started for United since that away draw at Bolton, and following Alex Fergusons comments today (see http://tiny.cc/niv0y) it looks like he will be out for another 5 weeks(I wonder whether Rooney dare contradict Ferguson this time)?

Now I know Rooney has been described as a liar, selfish, disloyal etc. but no one seems to have mentioned the term ‘burnt out’. And that is exactly what I intend to do. -take a peak>

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 51 other followers

%d bloggers like this: