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”

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”

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”

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”

‘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?”