IT’S SILVERWARE TIME – Capital One Cup Preview

Predicted XI’s

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Touré, Sakho, Moreno, Can, Milner, Henderson, Coutinho, Sturridge, Firmino

Manchester City: Caballero, Sagna, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy, Fernando, Yaya Touré, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Aguero

The first silverware of the season is up for grabs on Sunday but will the Capital One Cup Final see the start of Klopp’s tenure start with a bang or the end of Pellegrini’s time in charge with City at least the one trophy for the Chilean? Continue reading “IT’S SILVERWARE TIME – Capital One Cup Preview”

Predicted XI’s Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Predicted XI’s

Manchester United: Romero, Varela, Blind, McNair, Rojo, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Lingard, Mata, Depay, Rashford

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Meresacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Coquelin, Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud,

“Desire, Hunger. A lot of times I use the word ‘horny’” – Louis Van Gaal

Where do you go from there? Said in a press conference before the second leg of United’s Europa League tie against FC Midtylland, this is what Van Gaal himself asked of his players before the game. Does ‘horny’ have a different meaning in Holland? I can’t say for sure, but the thought of a team of horny Manchester United players is hilarious.

What can really only be described as an utterly poor season, the request for his players to be ‘horny’ must be all too common from Van Gaal as he perpetually seems to be on the brink of losing his job. The vultures are circling over Carrington with a Mourinho-esque sound bite waiting to be rattled out after the Dutchman has consequently been picked apart and sacked and this Arsenal game could be the next final nail in the coffin. Continue reading “Predicted XI’s Manchester United vs. Arsenal”

Southampton vs. Chelsea, Match Preview, 27-02-16

Predicted XI’s

Southampton: Forster, Cédric, Fonte, van Dijk, Bertrand, Clasie, Davies, Long, Ward-Prowse, Mane, Pelle

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Ivanovich, Cahill, Baba, Fabregas, Mikel, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Diego Costa

Southampton’s season has somewhat turned around in the last 6 games. Their 4-0 defeat of Arsenal was an undoubted highlight of a pretty rubbish Christmas period that saw defeats to Tottenham, West Ham and more worryingly Norwich. Yet Koeman used the January window effectively, bringing in Charlie Austin for a snip at £4million, whilst Southampton went on to find a bit of form once more.

Their victory against Swansea last time out in the Premier League was Southampton’s 6th game unbeaten, and whilst defeat in the FA Cup all but ended any potential silverware for the season, Koeman admitted after the Swansea game that it “…looks like another great season…” for Southampton. Continue reading “Southampton vs. Chelsea, Match Preview, 27-02-16”

Leicester City vs. Norwich City, Match Preview, 27-02-16

Predicted XI’s

Leicester City: Schemeichel, Chilwell, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Kanté, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy

Norwich City: Ruddy, Martin, Klose, Bassong, Brady, Redmond, O’Neil, Howson, Naismith, Hoolahan, Mbokani

And so the dream continues. Despite that gut wrenching defeat to Arsenal in the final moments of the game courtesy of Danny Welbeck, Leicester still find themselves top of the table by 2 points. And whilst all their title rivals busied themselves with FA Cup games and silly commitments in Europe, Leicester City went on holiday and had a little bit of town time. Actually, this game represents one of the more tanned affairs as Norwich City also ventured off east to Abu Dhabi to bring a little bit of sunshine to the gloom that has begun to surround Carrow Road. Continue reading “Leicester City vs. Norwich City, Match Preview, 27-02-16”

Wenger looks to France, but is this youngster a good fit for Arsenal?

I will be perfectly honest right now – I had never heard of Vincent Koziello but reports were rife of links with Arsenal for the player as far back as November when a January move was possibly mooted so I decided the time was right to do a little research into this mysterious being ‘Vincent Koziello’.

First and foremost, what a name. He sounds the part. I immediately thought of an aggressively fast winger, short in stature and perhaps 16 years old – another one for the future Wenger will say upon announcing the deal, only to disappear into the academy ranks and potentially never fully graduated to the Arsenal first time. Whilst I was correct in assuming his stature, Vincent Koziello is in fact a diminutive, ball playing central midfielder who has an uncanny ability to ride a challenge from the most physical of players. Continue reading “Wenger looks to France, but is this youngster a good fit for Arsenal?”

Klopp returns to Germany for ANOTHER free transfer

After completing all the necessary pre-contract arrangements for the highly rated Joel Matip (here is my own article on the Cameroonian just days before the deal was announced), Klopp sets his sights once more on the German Bosman list to reinforce his squad for the coming season.

Ex-Arsenal trainee Havard Nordvteit seems the to be the next player who has made a name for himself in the Bundesliga to make the journey to the Premier League, and whilst he never made a first team appearance for Arsenal, the now 25 year old Norwegian has become a stalwart for Monchengladbach since his arrival in 2011. Continue reading “Klopp returns to Germany for ANOTHER free transfer”

The Two Forgotten Men Making a Late Euro Push

WHAT A DAY OF FOOTBALL. Sunday was a truly sensational day for the Premier League. Even the Aston Villa/Liverpool game, so easily overshadowed by the Top 4 facing off, decided to grab a little bit of the spotlight by putting on a 6-0 massacre at Villa Park. Yet what was an even more impressive advert for the Premier League was the English goal scoring talent on display.

On Sunday, the first five goal scorers on the day were all English. Vardy, Walcott, Welbeck, Sturridge and James Milner. Add into the mix Harry Kane scoring Tottenham’s penalty and it was quite the day for English talent just days after Roy Hodgson brought together players across the Premier League for a little catch up with the Gaffer.

On Sunday morning, Roy Hodgson admitted that he was happy with England’s striking options for England and why wouldn’t he be? Vardy is the Premier League’s top scorer with 19 goals in the league; Kane is second with 16. Even Rooney has been one of the best performing strikers since the turn of the year and Jermain Defoe has somehow come up with 10 goals so far this year at Sunderland. England’s strikers seemingly have awoken to the prospect of a summer outing to France but Sunday saw two of the forgotten ones return to action, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge. Continue reading “The Two Forgotten Men Making a Late Euro Push”

Is this French star the player to lead a Chelsea revival?

Ever since his departure from Manchester United, Paul Pogba always seemed the kind of player that was going to one day return to haunt his old employers. His talent unquestionable, the very fact Ferguson and Manchester United let the young Frenchman leave in 2012 has always been one of the more baffling elements to Fergie’s final years at the United helm. Pogba says it was due to a lack of first team opportunities, Ferguson blames Pogba’s ‘super-agent’ Mino Raiola. Either or it seems that Pogba could well be playing once more at Old Trafford, for Chelsea. Continue reading “Is this French star the player to lead a Chelsea revival?”

The Title Run In – Who’s the favourite for the Premier League?

As we enter the middle of February, the Premier League has gone mad. The footballing Gods are in meltdown as the Leicester City’s fairy tale starts to make Cinderella start to look more like a stale rom-com.

This Sunday sees the Top 4 all face each other. Arsenal host Leicester City in the early game and then later that afternoon Tottenham find themselves at the Etihad. A win for the Foxes would see them go 8pts clear of Arsenal, whilst a victory for Spurs and Pochettino will see them put a 4pt gap between themselves and City. Are the leagues two unlikely title contenders going to mount a serious challenge? No one knows but here is my little look into what the rest of season has in store for all 4 clubs, and too see whether the unthinkable might actually become real – Leicester City becoming Champions under the ‘Tinkerman’. It couldn’t happen could it?

*When looking at the hardest games, I have gone for the traditional ‘big 6’ – any other tough fixtures based on form this season are mentioned in the club summary. Continue reading “The Title Run In – Who’s the favourite for the Premier League?”

Is Joel Matip the answer for Klopp’s defensive woes?

Liverpool’s defence has been an area of weakness now for up to six years. Long gone are the days under Benetiz where Liverpool fans could see Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Reina, Mascherano and Xabi Alonso line up at Anfield. All six players featured heavily in the 2008-09 season, where Liverpool came 2nd to Manchester United. The year before, Liverpool had been beaten in their second Champions League final in three years. Compared to the Liverpool side under Klopp’s stewardship today, its chalk and cheese.

To apportion any blame on Klopp for Liverpool defensive fragility would be ludicrous. He could have used the January window to strengthen (Steven Caulker seems to offer up little else than defensive cover in an injury crisis), but everything points to a summer squad overhaul for Klopp to start formulating a team that carries his name and his footballing philosophy. Joel Matip may well just be the first of many a name to arrive at Anfield before the start of the 2016-17 season. Continue reading “Is Joel Matip the answer for Klopp’s defensive woes?”