JG’s Transfer Update Pt. 1

Now that the European Championships are over and we are still weeks away from the Premier League starting, the only exciting football news right now is the transfer window.

 

It is the time for promoted clubs to sign some players to help them stay up and challenge, time for mid table clubs to add some depth to their squad and time for top clubs to trim the fat and add some extra quality as they battle amongst one another for top spot.

 

We are still six weeks away from deadline day, so there will be no rushed last minute deals done just yet, but let’s take a look at what deals have already been done and what clubs should be looking for.

 

Note – these are not extensive transfers, just what I deem significant with regards to the club and their league and cup campaign this season. A comprehensive list can be found on – http://www.skysports.com/football/transfer-deals. All information is correct as of 14th July 2016.

Continue reading “JG’s Transfer Update Pt. 1”

Group E Final Round Preview

Games of the Day
Italy vs. Republic of Ireland, Lille, 20:00
Sweden vs. Belgium, Nice 20:00

Standings
Italy – 6pts
Belgium – 3pts
Sweden – 1pt
Republic of Ireland – 1pt

As the Italians stride through into the next round, Belgium finally turned up to the party after a 3-0 defeat of the Republic of Ireland.

Both games would appear to be something of a dead rubber in Group E, with Italy and Belgium both favourites to pick up a further 3pts come this evening and whilst Italy potentially have the harder task against Martin O’Neil and Roy Keane’s Republic of Ireland side, it’s hard to imagine much change in the standings.

It seems very strange to say that Italy are a surprise package but given that this current Italian squad was widely regarded as the worse this century, their performance against Belgium was so well thought out and executed it seemed that the Italians could waltz their way to the pointy end of a major tournament once more. Fast forward 4 days and such claims seemed premature as Conte’s side laboured to a 1-0 victory against a massively under-whelming Swedish side. Continue reading “Group E Final Round Preview”

Republic must dare to capitalise on uncertainty in Brussels

Game of the Day: Belgium vs. Republic of Ireland, Bordeaux, 14:00

Following Italy’s last gasp winner against Sweden, this generation of Irish players may never have a better chance of progressing to the knockout rounds of a major tournament. Martin O’Neill will hope that Belgium are as discombobulated in Bordeaux on Saturday afternoon as they were when wilting against the compact yet deadly Italians in game one. Continue reading “Republic must dare to capitalise on uncertainty in Brussels”

Is it time for Martinez to go?

Everton’s season has certainly had its fair share of peaks and troughs. Everton fans, at least in the first part of the season, were treated to some of the best attacking football in the Premier League. Seeing the likes of Barkley, Deulofeu and the insatiable Romelu Lukaku charge at defences must have been a joy to behold week in, week out as it seemed that Martinez was crafting together a side that was as brilliant going forward as it was young and a full of flair. What Everton fans weren’t expecting though was the drop off in form and the poor defensive performances of the Everton backline, particularly from John Stones and the ever professional Tim Howard.

This Everton side is the 7th highest scoring team in the Premier League (only behind the Top 4 and now Liverpool and West Ham after this week’s fixtures) but have only won 2 of their last 10 league games and that came on the 1st March. Even that game was the Premier League equivalent of a freebie as Everton won 3-0 against the quite pitiful Aston Villa side that has been trying to play football this year.

What compounds Everton’s issues is that their home form has been nothing short of awful this season. Whilst the football was scintillating at the start of the season (Everton have scored 30 goals at Goodison Park this year, the 4th highest amount in the Premier League), Martinez’s side have only picked up maximum points at Goodison on 4 occasions. That puts Everton in the bottom three for home form. Its relegation form. So in a season where Everton have perhaps been the most disappointing side in the Premier League, is it time for Martinez to go and who are the likely replacements if the Spaniard was to receive his P45? Continue reading “Is it time for Martinez to go?”

Laporte and Stones set to join Pep?

In the world of expensive centre backs, Manchester City’s current crop ranks right up there with both Mangala and Otamendi costing the naughty side of £30million but neither have set the world alight with performances that match their respective price tags. Now with Guardiola arriving in the summer, and wholesale change a foot with this aging City squad, defenders are once more high on the agenda.

As Raphael Varane and Marquinhos respective stars stall somewhat, at least in the eyes of the British media, Guardiola appears to be targeting two of the brightest prospects from the ‘next generation’ of centre backs currently playing in Europe. Continue reading “Laporte and Stones set to join Pep?”

Lukaku To Shine at Old Trafford?

It is one of the strange facets of football the timings of fixtures throughout the season. In the first fixture of the season at Goodison Park, Manchester United ran out 3-0 winners in Everton’s first game after the death of Howard Kendall. That game was also played immediately after an international break all that time ago in October and the sides once more line up to face each other post-International duties. Will that have any bearing on this weekend’s result? No one knows but the computer has thrown up another fixture post the international break with both teams looking for a result. Continue reading “Lukaku To Shine at Old Trafford?”

A Sticky Afternoon for Chelsea against the Toffee’s

Predicted XI’s

Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Ramires, Costa

Everton: Howard, Stones, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines, Besic, Barry, Deulofeu, Barkley, Koné, Lukaku

“We all like to look forward and to the top of the table, but also don’t be unrealistic – you’re six points off the line of relegation” – Guus Hiddink, Interim Chelsea Manager

When you look back on both clubs season’s so far. Oh how they read differently. Chelsea have essentially lurched from disaster to disaster. Fabregas has gone missing, Diego Costa is seriously challenging Charlie Adam for his one man bar brawl award and Eden Hazard seems to be dreaming of sunnier climbs. Throw into the mixer the sacking of Eva Carneiro and Mourinho’s sacking, and Chelsea’s season is more akin to a soap opera. Continue reading “A Sticky Afternoon for Chelsea against the Toffee’s”

‘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”