A possible Dutch headache at Wembley?

England are going to win the Euros. The odds have been slashed, the World Champions have been put to the sword and England are on the up.

This is all predicted hyperbole after England’s performance against Germany but even I must admit, the very nature of the comeback was as both surprising, as it was impressive. England throughout looked the better side and too be 2-0 down at one point was a harsh reflection on a very good performance. Continue reading “A possible Dutch headache at Wembley?”

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I know I am not Roy but here is my England XI

It is timeless. It is inexhaustible. It is the great pub debate for any football fan in this country. Who should play for England?

One thing Roy has brought to the table for any such debate is a squad that doesn’t necessarily have the 7 or 8 ‘automatic’ starters like the England team of a decade ago. Perhaps the only two names who would always start (rightly or wrongly) would be Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney but even injury has dictated that come Saturday evening against Germany, it is almost anyone’s guess what Roy might send out to take down the old foe.

So here is me throwing my tuppence into the equation. I know I am not Roy but this is my England XI to take on Germany come Saturday… Continue reading “I know I am not Roy but here is my England XI”

My Love/Hate Relationship with the National Team

I for one have always been something of a pessimist when talking about England’s chances of success going into any major championship. Perhaps even my favourite Euro’s in my life time (I remember them since about 2004) may well have even been 2008 when I could settle down on a nice balmy summer’s evening and enjoying watching a game of football without having to consider the hysteria conjured up by the press of England’s chances because England wasn’t there.

I appreciate that this may well be an odd thing to admit but throughout the ‘Golden Generation’, from Sven to Capello, England were always going to win something and failed. We may have had some of best individuals in the game, but as a team they couldn’t gel, 4-4-2 wouldn’t work and players were picked for being aforementioned some of the best individuals in the game. Now though we have a different story (nearly anyway). Under Roy and the failure of the World Cup, we have an England team that is shaping up rather nicely and could really utilise this Euro’s as the next building block to a better tomorrow. Continue reading “My Love/Hate Relationship with the National Team”

Spurs on brink as Poch defends changes

After the first leg of their Europa League tie against Borussia Dortmund, Pochettino defended the seven changes he made to his Tottenham saying that he had “no regrets” after his saw his side lose 3-0.

Seven changes is one thing but it would be unfair to take anything away from the Dortmund performance on the night. Tottenham weren’t awful by any stretch of the imagination, just Dortmund – particularly in the final third of the field – were just devastating, with speed, movement and efficiency. It really wasn’t hard to see why the German side under Thomas Tuchel currently sit second in the league and only 5pts behind Pep’s Bayern. Continue reading “Spurs on brink as Poch defends changes”

North London to Madrid for this Tottenham Ace?

In the last 5 years, the path from White Hart Lane to the Bernabeu is well trodden. First Luka Modric swapped North London for the Spanish capital, and then the world most expensive player gave into the overtures of Florentino Perez as Gareth Bale broke out his pigeon Spanish to the assembled press to say how chuffed he was to play for Los Blancos.

Florentino Perez’s next target though isn’t as easy a capture. With rumoured competition from Chelsea and Manchester United for his signature, a new contract in the pipeline with Champions League football on the horizon. This isn’t a rumour about Harry Kane, this is about the rise of Pochettino, the young Argentine manager who has the world at his feet.

La Gazzete Dello Sport reported in the last week that Florentino Perez is already thinking about axing the enigmatic Zizou as Real Madrid coach after Real’s defeat to Atletico in the Madrid derby but would Pochettino swap Tottenham for Los Blancos? Continue reading “North London to Madrid for this Tottenham Ace?”

The night the Europa League finally took hold in England

Rightly or wrongly, the Europa League has an awfully bad reputation in England. The something of nothing trophy that ruins seasons with some ridiculous Thursday – Sunday scheduling that is seemingly so mind boggling no one has realised that it really isn’t that different from playing Wednesday to Saturday games.

Any issues with the Europa League is an incredibly English concern. Since it’s re-brand and re-boot in time for the 2009-10 season, the two English clubs to progress to the final were Fulham, who gallantly made it to the final in its inaugural year beating the likes of Juventus on their way to defeat in the final against Atletico Madrid, and Chelsea who won the competition during their own Benitez revival. Two countries who tend to seize the Europa League as a chance for European silverware are Portugal and Spain.

Since the 09-10 season Portugal have had 4 finalists, including one all Portuguese final in 2011. Spain on the other hand have contributed 5 finalists, resulting in winning the competition 3 times and in Sevilla have the reigning Europa League champions for the last 2 seasons. The Europa League doesn’t present itself as a burden, more of a chance to deliver success on the European stage and as a means of reinforcing co-efficiency points, crucial to any club outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain and the Top 2 in Portugal.

This year though the knock out phases of the Europa League has brought us some incredible draws. Napoli vs. Villarreal, Tottenham vs. Fiorentina, Marseille vs. Athletic Bilbao, Lazio vs. Galatasaray and Borussia Dortmund vs. Porto. These are all potential Champions League ties. They aren’t some watered down affair of minnows and obscure teams that some perceive to be endemic of the Europa League. Continue reading “The night the Europa League finally took hold in England”

Unbeaten Hiddink and Chelsea March On

Predicted XI’s

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

Stoke City: Butland, Muniesa, Cameron, Wollscheid, Pieters, Whelan, Imbula, Shaqiri, Bojan, Arnautovic, Diouf

Guus Hiddink, if he would like the job, should be the next Chelsea manager.

It’s a big statement to make so emphatically but the way he has turned around Chelsea’s season, for the second time, is remarkable. The Dutchman, who struggled so much in charge the Dutch national side, has once again proved that he is an exceptional man manager and can spark a positive response from even his most cantankerous of stars. Continue reading “Unbeaten Hiddink and Chelsea March On”

The North London Derby Where Only A Win Will Do

Predicted XI’s

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vimmer, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Lamela, Eriksson, Ali, Kane

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ramsey, Campbell, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud

Let’s start with Arsenal. 3 wins from 11 games in all competitions. Back to back defeats in Premier League games and Arsenal find themselves 6 points adrift of leaders Leicester City. For a team that should really win the Premier League this season, Arsenal are trying their damnedest to fluff their lines.

Wenger for all his past glories at Arsenal could see this season as that watershed moment where the club started to look at a future without the Frenchman at the helm.  Continue reading “The North London Derby Where Only A Win Will Do”