What is the point of pre-season?

Pre-season, huh, what is it good for? Well not preparation judging by the opening two rounds of Premier League football from 2016/17. All those tours, all those ‘tournaments’, the transfers and money spent and yet, the teams that have a settled starting line up at this point of the season are few and far between.

 

This had led to an underwhelming start, with competitors lumbering, slowly emerging from the cocoon of July, rather than exploding into life. Yes, there have been exciting new signings scoring (Zlatan!), new managers emoting (Conte) we’ve had villains (Costa) and late winners (Costa again), so why the sense that something is missing? Continue reading “What is the point of pre-season?”

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London’s Premier League Contenders

The season is almost upon us. With the Euro’s still feeling tiringly close, it’s time to strap up the boots, take a deep breath and get ready for our bread and butter. The Premier League is back and with more stars than an American flag, it has all the hallmarks of being one of the most unpredictable seasons perhaps we’ve seen in Europe’s top 5 leagues…

Continue reading “London’s Premier League Contenders”

How much is too much for a Premier League Centre Back?

£40m or £50 – how much is too much? That seems to be the question plaguing Pep Guardiola and the hierarchy at Manchester City in this summer’s second most tedious transfer saga.

 

It is surely one of the most decadent and carefree transfer windows in recent memory and the value of Stones; a player with undoubted ball-playing ability but who is unproven as a defender who can defend, is a key barometer of the spiralling fees that clubs are prepared while jostling for position in England’s top flight.  Continue reading “How much is too much for a Premier League Centre Back?”

JG’s Transfer Update Pt.2

Here we are with pt.2 of JG’s transfer round up and its full of the big hitters. It’s L to W, taking in the likes of Liverpool, United, City and Spurs and the newcomer who loves being linked with the big names – Middlesbrough. Continue reading “JG’s Transfer Update Pt.2”

Wales Seek To Dash Belgian Dreams

Game of the Day: Belgium vs. Wales, Lille, 20:00

Wales is proof that with a little bit of team spirit and one world class player that relative success is more than achievable in an international football tournament. And in Gareth Bale, Wales have a player that accepts the spotlight whilst not forgetting to mention the operators off stage.

Welsh performances, England game aside, have been impressive, with the 3-0 demolition of Russia by far the best for Chris Coleman. Whilst the first two games seemed dominated by Bale, against Russia, it was a game won by the squad as a whole as Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Joe Ledley dominated the midfield. Neil Taylor and Chris Gunter dominated the flanks, allowed by an Ashley Williams led defensive line unhampered by a simply awful Russian side. It was attacking, incisive football. Continue reading “Wales Seek To Dash Belgian Dreams”

The Best of the Euros so far…

Group stage wide boys

Inverted wingers have been all the rage for a good few years now reason, but with Arjen Robben absent, Lionel Messi at Copa America and Ronaldo and Bale acting as central focal points for their respective teams, teams may need some genuine width against the mass defensive ranks that became a feature of the group stage. Continue reading “The Best of the Euros so far…”

Group B Final Round Preview

Games of the Day
Slovakia vs. England, Saint-Etienne, 20:00
Russia vs. Wales, Toulouse, 20:00

Standings
England – 4pts
Wales – 3pts
Slovakia – 3pts
Russia – 1pt

As Euro 2016 rolls into the final round of group fixtures there is both relief and sadness; it is quite the commitment to watch three live games per day and remain a functioning adult, but no 5pm game on Monday will leave an insurmountable void, filled only with local news, Home and Away and (gulp) The One Show. Then there is the entire lack of live games on Thursday and Friday; it’s almost like there is something more important than football happening instead? Continue reading “Group B 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 England vs. Wales a must win game for Roy Hodgson?

Game of the Day: England vs Wales, Lens, 14:00

Two games left. Three teams qualify from the group. It sounds easy enough? But after Slovakia’s defeat of Russia yesterday, has England’s game against Wales become ‘must win’?

Slovakia’s 2-1 victory over Russia on Wednesday really has changed the complexion of Group B. If England fail to beat Gareth Bale and co in Lens, England will see themselves at best in third place going into the final round of games and whilst a win against Slovakia will basically guarantee qualification, a third place finish will see possibly a round of 16 tie against potentially the likes of France or even Spain. Such an outcome will be an unmitigated disaster of a campaign for Roy and Wayne as this is a group they should so easily of dominated. Continue reading “Is England vs. Wales a must win game for Roy Hodgson?”