‘The Premier League and the European Issue’ – Is the competitiveness of the Premier League harming English chances in Europe?

Leicester sit top, 3 points clear. Chelsea are in disarray, 14th in the League and 14 points off Champions League football. These are the two big headlines stories from his Premier League that no one thought they would be saying whilst listening to ‘Last Christmas’ and eating a mince pie in December. Yet this Premier League season as truly been remarkable inasmuch as anyone can genuinely beat anyone. All three promoted teams have come up with a combination of tactical proficiency, character and good squad depth. The rise of the middle classes continues with West Ham and Crystal Palace being the pin up boys for the middle table. Then we have the ‘traditional’ top 6; Chelsea, City, Arsenal, United, Liverpool and Tottenham. Our vanguards in Europe trying to bring a trophy home. Yet is the strength of the Premier League causing harm to this countries European exploits? Continue reading “‘The Premier League and the European Issue’ – Is the competitiveness of the Premier League harming English chances in Europe?”

Advertisements

‘The Next Test for Middlesbrough under Karanka’ Middlesbrough vs. Everton, League Cup Quarter Final, 1/12/15

Predicted XI’s

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Nsue, Ayala, Amorebieta, Friend, Clayton, Adomah, Forshaw, Downing, Stuani, Nugent

Everton: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway, Cleverly, Gibson, Deulofeu, Barkley, Naismith, Lukaku

Second in the Championship. 6 wins out of 7 in the League with the only defeat in that coming against promotion rivals Hull City. Middlesbrough and Aitor Karanka seem to have built upon the foundations laid down by the Spaniard in his maiden full campaign. Middlesbrough have been on an upward curve under Karanka with season finishes of 12th and 4th (losing in the play offs to Norwich), Middlesbrough look ready for the Premier League big time once more. With the seeming dearth of Premier League talent in the North-East, this could be Middlesbrough’s time to shine and to come out of the shadows from their closest of rivals. Continue reading “‘The Next Test for Middlesbrough under Karanka’ Middlesbrough vs. Everton, League Cup Quarter Final, 1/12/15”

Interesting Start to the Festive Fixtures for Two Title Chargers, Capital One Cup Quarter-Final, 1/12/15

Predicted XI’s

Man City: Caballero, Sagna, Demichelis, Otadmendi, Kolarov, Fernando, Delph, Navas, Silva, De Bruyne, Bony

Hull City: McGregor, Elmohamady, Maguire, Davies, Robertson, Huddlestone, Livermore, Clucas, Diame, Hernandez, Snodgrass

At the start of December, with another European game still to play, Hull City coming to the Etihad this evening isn’t the easiest of games for Manuel Pellegrini to rest some players for the frivolities of playing football in England over Christmas. Whilst other leagues start to wind down coming into January, the Premier League kicks on and with injuries mounting, a League Cup fixture where some of the more peripheral figures took to the field would have been ideal preparation for City. Whilst that may not be the case this evening, the return of David Silva really could be one of those ‘it’s like a new signing’ moments coming up to Christmas. The Spaniard, missing for two months, is a world class player on his day and certainly eases the creative burden on De Bruyne and the rest of City’s attacking players. Continue reading “Interesting Start to the Festive Fixtures for Two Title Chargers, Capital One Cup Quarter-Final, 1/12/15”