Can Arsene gun down the Foxes?

It’s official. The Fox hunting ban has been lifted as Claudio’s band of pizza chomping Leicester City superstars are no longer the surprise fun loving package of footballing idealism. They are the champions and people are going to treat them accordingly.

 

Last season, Arsene Wenger stood alone as a tactical genius. The Frenchman, so often lambasted for his apparent tactical stubbornness, was in a class of his own as the only manger to pick up 6pts against a Leicester City turning the footballing world on its head. Whilst this game isn’t a season breaker, after two lacklustre performances last weekend, both Ranieri and Wenger will know that a win here is imperative for early season momentum. Continue reading “Can Arsene gun down the Foxes?”

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Can Dimitri Payet be France’s Euro hero?

Game of the Day: France vs. Albania, Marseille, 20:00

In the world of tournament football, 5 days is an eternity. We’ve had the brilliance of Germany’s counter attacking sucker punch against the Ukrainians, Italy emerging from also-rans to favourites with their 2-0 victory over Belgium and obviously the scenes of Russia’s new breed of footballing madman acting indefensibly in (and around) the Stade Vélodrome. Now we return to the site of such unsavoury scenes 4 days ago with the hosts entertaining the underdogs. Continue reading “Can Dimitri Payet be France’s Euro hero?”

Conte vs. Wilmots – The Battle to Top Group E

Game of the Day: Italy vs. Belgium, Lyon, 20:00

The team that always turns up at a tournament. Italy. Regardless of how poor a squad or form may have been over the course of 6 months or since their previous finals campaign, Italian coaches always seem to be able to cobble a squad of 23 together that delivers.

What makes Antonio Conte’s 23 man squad so interesting is firstly the fact that it really isn’t that great. And secondly, he is coming to Chelsea and for a group that has little to no bearing on England’s tournaments, many a people will be intrigued to see what this Conte fellow is all about. Continue reading “Conte vs. Wilmots – The Battle to Top Group E”

Will Robert Lewandowski kick on from Qualifying?

Game of the Day: Poland vs. Northern Ireland, Nice, 17:00

The only place to start with this game is with the little bit of class that will be sprinkling the whole affair. Robert Lewandowski.

Not taking anything away from either the Poland squad or Michael O’Neill’s Northern Irish side, Robert Lewandowski is a mighty fine player. 13 goals in qualifying was more than any other in getting to France but my mind personally recalls his performance for Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final of the Champions League against Real Madrid. That drag back in the penalty area was cheeky but to dispatch his shot into the top corner afterwards meant the whole movement was as audacious as it was world class.

To have a player of that capability in your side is always a bonus, a true game changer, and for Polish manager Adam Nawalka, the relationship between Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski is a major factor in the success of Poland’s campaign. Continue reading “Will Robert Lewandowski kick on from Qualifying?”

It’s a box office slot as England kick-off Euro campaign

Game of the Day: England vs. Russia, Marseille, 20:00

You can be unbeaten in 32 games but if they don’t mean anything then what’s the point. England have had a lovely little run of results but now it’s time to bring your game faces, switch on the style and for Roy Hodgson, continue this positive upwards trend we find England on at the moment.

Normally England go into a tournament (at least since the first real tournament I remember – France ’98) with a burden, an expectation that we will put any side we play to the sword as we prove once and for all that we are the best at this fine game. It never happens. Especially in 2008 where England didn’t even get to the bit of the tournament where you win the trophy.

Yet Euro 2016 seems different. Firstly, no one really thinks that we are going to win the thing and secondly, England actually have quite a good squad. So what better way to ramp up tournament expectations than England playing at 20.00 on a Saturday night? It’s prime time baby! Continue reading “It’s a box office slot as England kick-off Euro campaign”

IT’S HERE! As France kicks off the Euro’s in Paris

Game of the Day: France vs. Romania, Paris, 20.00

Here we are, about to begin of the one of the best months of the year, Euro 2016. And what better way to start The Sweeper’s ‘GAME OF THE DAY’ than with the hosts on the opening night.

France vs Romania.

The omens seem good for France who have a somewhat magical relationship between hosting and winning football tournaments. Whether it be the Michel Platini led side for France ’84 or the Didier Deschamps inspired 1998 World Cup winning side, France just seem to love to win on home soil and their hopes for Euro 2016 are no different. Continue reading “IT’S HERE! As France kicks off the Euro’s in Paris”

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?”

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”