Euro 2016 and The Sweeper’s Summer Plans

Here at The Sweeper we have had our post-season siesta and now we are preparing for the real dirty work – Euro 2016. Here is news of The Sweeper’s Euro plans and a little trip across the channel… Continue reading Euro 2016 and The Sweeper’s Summer Plans

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Can the FA Cup save Louis Van Gaal?

The domestic season finally ends on Saturday with its signature showpiece – The FA Cup final; but is a victory for Manchester United and Louis Van Gaal enough to save the Dutchman’s job?

It’s been a familiar narrative to United’s season with Van Gaal lurching from one crisis to another and the preparation for the FA Cup final has been no different. Rumours are rife about José Mourinho taking the helm come the summer with United even going as far as to guaranteeing the job for José should Van Gaal leave. With the failure of securing Champions League for next season, the pressure certainly is on for LVG to secure United’s first FA win since 2004.  Continue reading “Can the FA Cup save Louis Van Gaal?”

Let’s Talk about Daniel Sturridge’s Goal in the Europa League Final

On a forgettable night for Liverpool fans, Daniel Sturridge’s sublime goal will be an awkward footnote, consigned to history as nothing more than a token goal as Liverpool come runner’s up to the might of Sevilla.

That’s not cool. Daniel Sturridge’s goal was far too good to be condemned as a ‘token effort’, it was an absolute worldy that proved once more that Sturridge, in terms of technical ability, is right up there with the very best the Premier League has to offer.

As Sturridge picks up the ball about 20 yards out, over near the left hand edge of the box, he is faced with three Sevilla defenders in front of him. As Alberto Moreno makes a truly lung bursting run on the overlap, Mariano moves his weight from his left foot to his right, offering up that glimmer of space for Sturridge to exploit so ruthlessly. Continue reading “Let’s Talk about Daniel Sturridge’s Goal in the Europa League Final”

A Brief Look at the Europa League Final

Time has been of the essence this week once more, trying to keep abreast of the end of season shenanigans across Europe, whilst planning for my own trip to France this summer, the time has come for a whistle stop look at the Europa League Final and what a final this could be.. Continue reading “A Brief Look at the Europa League Final”

Reaction: England’s Squad for Euro 2016

Anger. England’s squad announcement left me with bizarre sensation of anger as the list was read out on Sky Sports News just past 11am on this fine Monday morning. I wasn’t expect such a feeling but it was when Andros Townsend and more inexplicable Fabien Delph’s name was read out amongst the other 24 France hopefuls that proved to be my undoing.

I have relaxed now though. I have done my banking errands for the morning and feel like I can now have a look at the England squad with fresh eyes. So here it is… Continue reading “Reaction: England’s Squad for Euro 2016”

What has happened to Raheem Sterling?

When Manchester City splashed out £50 million on Raheem Sterling in the summer, it seemed that the footballing world was there for the taking. It was an astronomical fee for a seemingly incredibly gifted teenage sensation but ever since Luis Suarez left Liverpool (bear with me on this one); Raheem Sterling has seen his progress stall… Continue reading “What has happened to Raheem Sterling?”

Quite the game for the last night at the Boleyn

As a truly historic era draws to a close for West Ham fans this evening, as a club they seem to be prepping for whole new chapter of success in the Olympic Stadium.

When West Ham parted ways with Sam ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce in the summer (he really does sound like a formidable heavyweight boxer), I couldn’t help but think that it might be a roll of the dice too far by David Sullivan and David Gold. After all, West Ham haven’t exactly been stalwarts of the Premier League in recent memory and it would have been very hard filling 60,000 with Burton Albion as the away side in the Championship (Sorry Burton fans). OH HOW I WAS WRONG.

Like any good manager, Slaven Bilić didn’t change a system that worked. With Big Sam as a predecessor, Bilić inherited a team that had such strong foundations that you could have built the new stadium on James Collins and Winston Reid’s shoulders. What Bilić has done though with great effect is bring a little bit of sparkle, a little bit of magic into the final third that has transformed West Ham into a worthy Top 8 club.

In Manuel Lanzini and, of course, the wonderful Dimitri Payet, West Ham have genuine craft and skill in attack. Whether that may be on the break, from set pieces or in tactful build up play, West Ham are once more the footballing side that their fans so craved last season. And now, on the eve of the great farewell to the Boleyn, West Ham host Manchester United. Continue reading “Quite the game for the last night at the Boleyn”

Mourinho lines up his first United transfer

For all of their defensive woes, one criticism no fan or pundit can have of Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United is that they concede silly goals.

With a potential Champions League place still up for grabs, Manchester United currently have the second best defence in the league, conceding only 31 goals in the process. And yet question marks still arise about the personnel in United’s back four and more pertinently how impressive David de Gea has been for the third season in a row.

No one can doubt the improvement in Chris Smalling this season who will be a certain starter this year in France for England. Daley Blind as well as seemingly adapted nicely into a deeper role in the central of defence, a position that is a key component of van Gaal’s philosophy – the ability to be able to play out of the back and have a defender who is almost a quarter back’s quarter back (if that makes sense!).

With van Gaal’s future far from certain as José Mourinho still waits in the wings, lingering like some managerial reaper, any rumour involving Manchester United can hardly be concrete with so many if’s and but’s going into the next season but one player that is supposedly catching the eye of the Manchester United hierarchy and Mourinho is Raphael Varane. Continue reading “Mourinho lines up his first United transfer”

Klopp looks once more to Anfield Magic

After the miracles produced against Dortmund in the Europa League quarter-final, Jurgen Klopp and his band of merry men will once more be trying to harness some of the magic that surrounds Anfield on a European night as they attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Villarreal.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool seem to becoming a match made in heaven, as the German embodies crucial elements of what Liverpool fans want to see. Passion, forthrightness and openness with the fans that any Liverpool seeks in a manager.

As seen during his time with Borussia Dortmund, Klopp is more than aware of the importance of the link between fans and players both on and off the field. Dortmund was very much a wounded giant when Klopp took to the helm, and whilst his last season was difficult, he emerged untarnished – a hero of Westphalia. Continue reading “Klopp looks once more to Anfield Magic”