Friday, September 30, 2016

Rooney Dropped?

Today’s post is going to be about quite possibly the biggest decision Jose Mourinho has ever had to make in his managerial career...dropping Wayne Rooney. This decision has not been taken lightly by the Portuguese manager but seems to have already proven worthwhile after The Red Devils absolutely trounced Leicester last Saturday.

Dropping the United captain against The Foxes saw an amazing performance (as much as I don’t want to admit it) from Paul Pogba, the £89 million man that arrived from Juventus with a lot of expectation in the Summer. Not only him but seemingly the entire team looked like world beaters, bringing some similarities to the days of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Now some of you may be wondering what’s so important about dropping Wayne Rooney? Well for me, this means the turning of the tide. This means that suddenly he is nothing special. Before he was untouchable, he could do no wrong in the eyes of football commentators, pundits and managers, whilst us fans were left bemused by how he is still getting into the starting eleven of one of the best clubs in the world…

Some people may be wondering why I even care, they might say “it’s Manchester United, why do you want them to win?”. Well in response to that I have to say I don’t, I don’t give a flying fuck if Manchester United are collared for match fixing, are docked points for breaking FIFA transfer regulations, fined billions, go into administration and end up being liquidated only to start again in the conference North as ‘Manchester Devils’…

...But what I do want is Sam Allardyce...or should I say Gareth Southgate/Steve Bruce/Alan Pardew/Mike realise that we no longer have to accommodate this average player into a young side seemingly hungry to prove their worth on a national scale. It baffles me that we accommodate him anyway, his best position is up front so if we have 2 or 3 strikers better than him then why should he play...
~ But then again what do I know, I’m not a manager. Then again I did get York City from the Conference to the npower Championship in 6 seasons on Football Manager 2012...I’m probably within a shout for the England job with that record ~

It aggravates me that Wayne Rooney is only 9 appearances away from breaking Peter Shilton’s record for most England appearances. Not that Rooney will be England’s most capped player, but that there is no question as to whether or not he will break the record. He could shit out a poo on The Queen’s favourite Corgi before turning around and giving her a Nazi salute and still find himself in the starting lineup in any England game.

I mean this isn’t the first time that Wazza has managed to get away with things that would ruin other footballers careers. Shagging pensioners, criticizing England supports when they booed the players, he even missed out on death threats after attempting to recreate David Beckham’s red card at the 2006 World Cup.

David Beckham got sent off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup after flicking a leg at Diego Simeone. He then received death threats and had effigies of himself hung from every lamppost in England.
Wayne Rooney on the other hand got sent off against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup for stomping on Ricardo Carvalho. All the blame was pushed onto Cristiano Ronaldo for a little wink to the camera’s. I bet old Becks wishes Simeone gave a little wink to the camera’s, then he’d have gotten away with it too.

Don’t get me wrong though, back when Wayne Rooney was first bursting onto the scenes he was one of the best young talents out there. He had a deadly combination of pace, strength, power and a receding hairline, along with world class technical ability and a direct attacking style that would catch even the most experienced of defenders off guard (that same direct play that Manchester United and England fans love about Marcus Rashford).

But those days are long gone now, with his style being less like Marcus Rashford and more like Marcus Bent. For me Rooney just looks so slow in attack, holding the ball too long, not looking to pull the trigger when he’s in a good position, being reserved and playing it back where in previous years he’d have at least attempted to skin the defender. Just literally taking no risks what so ever…

There’s times I think that the reason he plays like this is because he had the directness knocked out of him by Fergie. I feel it was couched out of him because Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Rooney to be more a complete player, not needing to rely on his pace all the time to bag goals. Sadly though it’s seen the united captain decline into more a midfield role as he now seems to lack that killer instinct that strikers need to be top goalscorers.

I can remember when United brought in Van Persie to make up for the lack of goals the side were scoring, essentially taking Rooney’s crown away from him. Did the Scouse striker buckle down and work hard and try and show his worth? No he handed in a transfer request and didn’t want to be considered for selection…

This was a weird moment in the career of Sir Alex Ferguson in my opinion. If any other player started making demands like that, whether it be Roy Keane, David Beckham, Jaap Stam or even Cristiano Ronaldo, Fergie would’ve let them go. But in this instance the Glazer’s went over the manager’s head and accepted Rooney’s ridiculous demands, offering him £250,000 a week, captaincy and a say in all transfers…

Fergie always had a strong policy that nobody was bigger than Manchester United. Not the players, not the owners, not even Ferguson how come Rooney gets to demand a contract that in certain situations will put his decision above the one of the manager? It breaks the hierarchical structure and makes me think that Rooney could’ve gone further and demanded a stand named after him or maybe even a statue erected where the United Trinity is.

Now some of you may have noticed I’m talking about Manchester United again after saying earlier that I “don’t care about them”. Let me rectify that by moving swiftly back to his national team. Wayne Rooney will more that likely go down as England’s greatest ever player.

Now some of you might be thinking “ that’s ridiculous, he’s nowhere near as good as Shearer, Lineker, Gazza, etc.” But let's look at the facts: He’s gonna be England’s most capped player and is the leading the end of the day he will always be remembered for statistics not performances.

I find it really sad that he’ll go down as the greatest for scoring (so far) 53 England goals, of which only 5 came in actual tournaments. Geoff Hurst managed to score three goals in a World Cup final against a truly world class Germany side...whereas Rooney can’t even score one past a bang average Algeria side.

I could rant and rave about Rooney for hours so I’ll stop here before I start slagging off his looks. Honestly if I don’t stop now I’ll just keep going ogre and ogre and ogre the same topics...that was a low blow.
I will leave you with this question for now though (feel free to comment your answers below) if you had to pick your ideal England legends team, who would you pick and would it contain Wayne Rooney?

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Flight of the Owls V

Right, I’ve had my little break from Blogger during the Summer as normal (despite the Euro Championships being on...but to be fair I’m glad I didn’t write about that, it was a dreadfully boring tournament) and now I’m back to continue talking about the situation at Sheffield Wednesday.

My last Flight of the Owls post left off with the Wednesday about to go into the playoff semifinals against Brighton after an impressive season that had seen us finish 6th. I think I must have been too deliriously pissed to write a post after we beat them 2-0 at home before seeing out a 1-1 draw away to guide us to a play off final game against Hull City.

Despite the excitement of both semifinal legs, the playoff final was as boring a game of football as you’re ever likely to see. Due to a family wedding I had to watch it on a train using my mobile data but I’ll tell you this, if it wasn’t Wednesday playing I wouldn’t have bothered. Both teams looked too scared to try anything exciting in fear of making a mistake. The only piece of skill in the game came from Diame’s right boot to settle the game in the 72nd minute.
~ Side note: I’d like to add how proud I am of the fans that did make the trip down to Wembley. From what I heard they were incredible as usual and showed what a sleeping giant we have been for the last 15 years ~

Now that brings last season to a close, what’s been happening this season? Well I’d like to start with a message to Carlos Carvalhal. Carlos...where do you get off? Signing good players and having them play attractive football? Who do you think you are? By now you may have guessed I’m speaking ironically and have nothing but good things to say about what you do. Carlos, do not change a thing.

I actually can not believe that fans are already calling for our bosses head. He has been unbelievable since arriving at Wednesday, he has a strong philosophy, has the players on his side, he loves the club...but with only 3 wins in our opening 8 games some “fans” are wanting him out like a dick for Harambe.

Apparently 3 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws isn’t a good enough start to a season despite The Owls being 2 points worse off at this time last season. I’d personally be happy with another season in the playoffs and with the amount of teams that should be challenging for a play off place this season, those 2 points could make a hell of a difference.

Next I’d like to discuss the players brought in by Carvalhal, the first one being Steven Fletcher. I was sceptical of the Scot coming in, I thought the aerial threat he would inevitably bring would be helpful but who would you drop for him as both Fessi and Hooper scored a good amount of goals last term. Thankfully though he has shut me up, bagging 2 goals in 7 appearances so far and looking more than worth his £0 transfer fee.

The next big signings were Watford double Daniel Pudil and Almen Abdi. Pudil was a good signing, rumours being we paid around £1.5 million for him which for me is hefty for a left back at this level but thankfully we’re in a position now where we don’t have to penny pinch.

Abdi on the other hand was a bit of a mystery for me. I’d heard the name for Watford but never actually seen the Swiss international play. From what I’ve seen of him in a Wednesday shirt though, he seems to be a welcome addition with a nice range of passing, a strong workrate and, if his Watford days are anything to go by, he has the potential to score quite a few goals from midfield which is never a bad thing.

David Jones was a transfer that confused me a little. I’ve heard one or two fans compare him to former Wednesday legend John Sheridan but since I was born in 1995 I didn’t really get to see a lot of his style of play (although I can watch his goal against Man United in the ‘91 League Cup Final all day every day). I personally thought we had enough quality in central midfield but I suppose one more quality addition wont hurt, hopefully he can show off his ability...once he’s served his suspension after his debut red card.

After last season I felt we were crying out for a winger. A winger who could cause an impact in the same way Ben Marshall and Antonio did when we were in League One. Carvalhal signed Will Buckley on a season long loan and Adam Reach for £5 million.

Buckley was an intelligent bit of business in my opinion. Can bring something to teams at this level, should be looking to impress here if he wants to get back to playing week in week out and if he doesn’t perform then there’s no skin off our nose cause he’ll be back at Sunderland next year. At 26 and in his prime we should hopefully be seeing some impressive stuff from this lad which would be a stark contrast from his days at Sunderland and Leeds.

Adam Reach’s transfer is a bit of a different issue though. He’s 23 with plenty of years to improve, has impressed in multiple loan moves across England and lastly is now Wednesday’s record transfer player. Now these days with Paul Pogba going for £89 million and the likes of Christian Benteke go for £27 million, transfer fees mean fuck all, so £5 million isn’t really a large amount of money to let go.

But considering Reach has just joined a club which has spent a combined 46p in transfers over the last 15 years I have to say £5 million seems like a lot of money. I don’t think the price tag is going to be loomed over this lads head but I do think they’ll be an expectancy of him to perform over the next few seasons.

The squad we have is more than capable of challenging for a playoff place and if the side clicks like all Wednesday fans are hoping they will, then we could be seeing a possible automatic promotion push...I can dream. I know it's early days but I can’t help feeling optimistic each season. One of the main reason being our reserve side now is stronger than most of the starting 11’s we’ve had in recent years.

Now we’re more or less up to date with this season so far. Hopefully The Mighty Owls can get 3 points vs Forest this weekend and shut up those “supporters” who seem to confuse anger with passion (yes I’m looking at all the people who have slated Westwood. One mistake and suddenly he’s not fit to wear the shirt? Get a grip). I suppose I’ll continue our flight when we’ve gone 10 games without a win and I’m stood in Hillsborough car park with my shoes off. But until then, I’m just gonna enjoy it.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Flight of the Owls IV

Fuck me! Just! Sheffield Wednesday have managed to secure a playoff place in Chansiri’s first year at the club, we could be having a day out in Wembley and of course the big one, a chance at playing Premier League football next season.

I really don’t know what to say other than I’m so fucking happy! Some fans will be looking at this and thinking “settle down son, it’s only a 6th place finish in the Championship” but for me it’s so much more than that. It’s the change in the tide of a club that’s been on its arse well before I was watching football.

I’ve said this in the previous three Flight of the Owls posts that the highest I’ve seen us finish is 12th in the Championship. 11th would’ve made me happy but to finish in a playoff spot has made this season such a special one (to be fair this seasons been pretty special anyway with “little Leicester” winning the Prem).

At times it seemed to me that we only tried to reach the playoffs. Whenever we dropped out we suddenly went on a nice run of form to get us back to sixth whereas when we were sixth we just seemed happy to stay there when fifth, fourth and, at one point I think even third was a just a win away. I’d be dick if I said I was disappointed by this and I don’t want to dwell on what ifs cause who cares, we’re in the fucking playoffs!
~ I normally don’t swear this much in my posts...honest ~

I’m hoping to talk a little about our squad. It’s gone through a huge change since last season. The fact that arguably our best midfielder from last season, Lewis McGugan, has hardly featured this season. He has been forced out the squad by some class talent who have been going through some fine form. Nice to see him score at the weekend too, penalty or not it still needed scoring.

For me Barry Bannan has be unbelievable this season. The fact that our passing style of play looks weaker without him in the side just shows how important he is to us. I didn’t expect much from him but after the season he’s had I can’t understand why any Premier League sides had let him go...I’m gonna assume it’s because he’s about 4ft2.

Lucas Joao is another player I wanted to talk about. This player at the beginning of the season was class; incredibly strong, good touch, nice flair and he scored goals. The 22 year old got a call up to the Portuguese national side and looked like he was going to be a big player for us this season. He dropped off a bit but for me, if this flight is going to continue we need to tie this lad down.
~ For me Joao’s goals were what separated him from Nuhiu and stopped him being “just another donkey.” That won’t go down well with a lot of Owls fans but I sometimes feel if I striker is over 6ft and doesn’t score, he’s just labelled a donkey…~

The three players I want to talk about next are players we had from last season. Keiren Westwood, Keiran Lee and Tom Lees were important parts of our spine last season, playing vital roles in getting us to a respectable mid-table finish. One of the reasons I love Carlos Carvalhal is because he didn’t replace our good players from last season.

Tom Lees has turned into a reliable captain. I was unsure of his leadership skills as he seems quiet to me but I’m so glad I’ve been proven wrong. An absolute rock at the back who is consistent and the heartbeat of the defence. I just hope he doesn’t leave us for someone like Sunderland. The allure of Premier League football might be tempting but you’ll just find yourself in the same situation year on year.

Keiren Westwood was our player of the year last year (literally anyone who doesn’t know about this kid, just search Keiren Westwood saves on YouTube.) He was and still is unbelievable, how we got him for free I do not know. Loud from the back, rarely makes a mistake and when he’s called upon, makes the best saves seen in a Owls shirt since Ron Springett.

The third player from last season is my favourite Wednesday player currently playing for us, Keiran Lee. Top tip: don’t Google Keiran Lee, otherwise you get the Wikipedia page of a gay porn star...unless you’re into that kind of thing, I don’t judge. Lee (the footballer) is quality, the only player I’ve seen who can win a tackle in his own box to start the attack and then find himself in the opposition box ready to finish it. Quality player #Leeee’sElectric.

The last player I want to talk about is who I think will win player of the year, Fernando Forestieri. We’ve built our team around this guy, when he doesn’t play, we don’t play. He’s scored 15 goals this season in the league, closely rivalled by Gary Hooper on 13, and boy were those goals needed. Fessi is going to be very important for us in these playoff games but you can guarantee that he’ll get sent off 2 minutes into the first leg for diving...again…

Now onto the playoff games themselves. Since we finished sixth we have to play the team that finished third. It was a toss up between Brighton or Middlesborough and we got put with the Seagulls. We’ve drawn 0-0 with these twice this season and one of those games was without Forestieri which is quite impressive in my opinion.

The first leg is at home which isn’t ideal for me. I’d rather us know what we need to do in the second leg and have a packed house playing its part in pushing us over the line. Hopefully though we can build up enough of a lead in the home tie and see it out in the away one. Probably the best I’m hoping for at this point.

I don’t want to talk about the final because we’re far from that as of yet. The semifinals is a big achievement and is a giant leap forward on what the Wednesday have been accustomed to in recent years. Long may this fucking run continue. WAWAW. UTO.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Liverpool Through to Europa League Final

Liverpool have managed to defy the odds and book their place in the Europa League final in Switzerland after an impressive 3-0 home win against Villarreal, winning 3-1 on aggregate. The Reds will face Sevilla in the final on May 18th and will be looking to secure their first European success since their 2005 Champions League win.

Liverpool took the lead (and made it level on aggregate) after 6 minutes. A dangerous ball was whipped across the face of goal by Clyne only to be tipped into the path of Firmino who played it back across for Llido to tap into his own net. Lallana, Can and Lovren all had chances to extend the lead but the score was 1-0 at the break.

Daniel Sturridge had some decent chances in the second half to extend the home side's lead but was denied by some good saves from Areola. But the Valencia keeper couldn’t stop Sturridge’s first of the night after a defence splitting pass from Firmino put the England international one-on-one. Sturridge gobbled up the chance with an expert finish through the goalies legs.
~ Side note: the passion from Sturridge’s celebration was amazing to see as well. I must say I’d have never expected that reaction from him. ~

I wanted to talk about a piece of skill from Roberto Firmino that sent Soldado back to Spain. Spinning on the ball and flicking it past the Villarreal striker before having his cross deflected into the path of Moreno. Moreno’s shot went wide and made Klopp’s face look like he’d just finished his third bag of Charlie…

In the 70th minute things went from bad to worse for the Spanish side as Ruiz received a second yellow for stepping on Adam Lallana’s toe. For me the England international made a meal of it but I don’t think the result would’ve been any different even if Villarreal had 12 men…

The game was then fully put to bed in the 81st minute when Firmino again tore apart the opposition defence and played in a low ball to Sturridge who sliced his shot into the path of Lallana. The former Southampton man made no mistake flicking it into the net and sending the Reds into The Europa League final.

It was an impressive performance with Liverpool having it all to do after their away leg, going 1-0 down after a late Adrian Lopez tap in. Klopp stating after the Spanish side's dramatic celebrations that he didn’t understand why they were so happy; they still had to play at Anfield. You can see why the German said this...

Now I’m beginning to become a bit of a fan of Klopp, I’ve said in the past that it seems he can do no wrong as a win is his brilliance whereas a loss is Rodgers’ fault. But this statement did annoy me a little, as it came from a man who celebrated a 1-1 home draw with West Brom...but that’s not the point of this post.

I want to talk about how Klopp is doing at Liverpool. The man is bringing back that passion and fire that Liverpool have lacked in a manager in so long. Bill Shankly was well known for his passion and his influence over the Liverpool fan base and it does seem that Klopp is trying to recreate that.

Now I’m not saying that Klopp is as good as Shankly, he’s a long way off that. But for me Liverpool is a club that rewards passion and commitment main reason they loved Gerrard and Carragher and why so much hate was put on Sterling when he left.

For me Raheem Sterling could have potentially become a legend for Liverpool. A youth academy product, was a good player, the fans loved him but at the end of the day if you leave at the first sniff of money you were always go down in the bad books...but I digress again…

For me if Klopp gets Liverpool to a respectable position in the league and wins the Europa League I think the German will be able to keep his job for a long time yet. Like I said, Liverpool fans love passion and commitment, so if he cheers every goal as if it were a Champions League winner and stay with them for the next few years he’ll go down as a legend.

Consistency is one thing that has gone right out the game in recent years, managers being given the boot on average less than two years after being hired. With Klopp’s ability he could take the scousers far but if my previous prediction is anything to go by he won’t last too long...

I made a prediction that Klopp would gain some quality striker (maybe a European or South American wonderkid) who will score 30, get them to second in the league, be sold for £100 million and then Liverpool will drop to 7th. Klopp will then get the sack due to this hefty drop in the same way that Rafa and Rodgers were. I swear if this happens I’m gonna go mental because I don’t often bet but quite a few of my predictions have come true haha.

I do hope now though that he can mould Liverpool back into a European powerhouse again. I’m sure Liverpool fans wouldn’t mind any trophy though to be fair, I think the last trophy they won was the League cup against Cardiff...not exactly the glitz and glamour of a Champions League but at least it’s something to cheer about.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Arsenal's Protest

Arsenal, the club that just keeps on giving. If it’s not lackluster performances on the pitch, it’s lackluster performances off the pitch. A much smaller minority than I expected decided to protest that their current boss Arsene Wenger should be given the boot. Wenger even came out to the press and admitted he expected worse. He should have come out to the press and told the protesters to fuck off.

Wenger has been accused of making the same mistakes year on year and has stagnated the club in doing so. Whereas in my eyes he has built a side that has achieved Champions League football year on year and will continue to achieve it after he has gone (unlike Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side from the 2012/13 season).

For me this is just a perfect example of a group of fans who haven’t known anything other than what they’re getting now. They seem to think that finishing in a top four position year on year and making half arsed challenges for the title is boring and ruining the club…?

You want to try being 18th in League One with an on loan Neil Mellor as your top goalscorer! You wanna try coping with a manager who takes off a striker for a defender when the opposition have had a man sent off and you’re 1-0 down! You wanna try Alan fucking Irvine!

What would these Arsenal fans prefer? Wenger is managing to do something incredible, he’s built about about seven different Arsenal teams in his time, replacing some top draw players season on season, without spending hundreds of millions of pounds each season and is still bringing the goods.

Would you rather a manager like Mourinho? A manager who will win the league each year but replace no one, and then when the going gets tough quits, leaving behind him an aging squad and a style of football which will take time to get out of the players systems...time that the aging players don’t have…

Which moves me onto another point; Wenger’s style of play. I understand at times that Arsene Wenger does on occasion sacrifice the result in order to give the fans a show with his style of play. In the past I’ve criticised him for not looking to play dirty and see out a result. After all it is a results business.

I’m sure Arsenal fans would much rather watch 80 minutes of pizazz followed by 10 minutes of time wasting and holding it in the corners as long as they get three points out of it. But then again the style of play is Arsenal’s only excuse to charge so much for their tickets.

For me, ticket prices at Arsenal are a real thing to protest about. If you’re going to be disappointed each season at least make it a little less painful for the fans and drop the prices. I know things are normally more expensive in that London but £27 for a shit seat in a category C fixture?

Football is meant to be the sport for the working classes. How many people do you know on minimum wage can afford £27 a week to watch Arsenal somehow get outclassed by Swansea or Watford? Admittedly it’s not just Arsenal, I think there is a serious issue with ticket prices in all levels of the English game but that is a rant for another day…

Back to my main topic, I want to make it abundantly clear that I respect the fans’ decision to complain at Wenger, but if you want him out you can’t change your minds. The amount of Arsenal fans I have on Twitter who were ranting last season they wanted rid of the Frenchman, only to lick his froggy arse when they were top of the league this season and now want him out again is staggering…

At the end of the day this is why other clubs take the piss out of you so much and it’s embarrassing for the fans who stick to their opinions and don’t let things like ‘being top of the league in October’ change their minds.

Last word I want to say about this is well done to the Arsenal fans who have stuck to Wenger. I’m glad that some fans realise that this out-and-out Arsenal legend deserves a little more fucking respect. Everything he’s done for the Gunners deserves so much more than a statue outside the ground or a stand named after him.

I’m sure all his doubters will come to realise how good he was after he leaves and they have to deal with Tim Sherwood or Brendan Rodgers as manager...

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Atletico 1-0 Munich

Yesterday we saw a match between two of Europe’s elite teams. Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid team hosting Pep Guardiola’s German table toppers, Bayern Munich. Now as I’m sure we all prayed for an excited 10 goal thriller, the more experienced football fan would have guessed it would just be a more reserved day at the office.

After the Spanish side took an early lead in the 11th minute a smart man would’ve put his money on Madrid seeing the game out with Simeone’s side only conceding 16 league goals this season. Although there were points in the game where it looked shaky, Madrid held firm against a lackluster Munich side who now need at least two home goals to progress to the final.

Now I’m not going to act as if I know a whole lot about Spanish or German football. I watch Germany’s answer to Match of the Day some weeks on Channel 5 and as for the Spanish Leagues...if I wanted to watch 90 minutes of people falling over I’d go to my local ice skating rink. We think diving’s an issue in England? In Spain it’s an everyday practise...but I digress.

As I was saying I don’t profess to being all knowing about foreign leagues but I must say if these are two of the best teams in Europe then Manchester City might actually have a chance of winning the Champions League. Some truly dreadful defending from Munich was the only thing that stopped this game from being a 0-0.

How on Earth has Robert Lewandowski scored managed to score 27 league goals this season with deliveries like he had today? I’ve never seen a Champions League team play so many crosses to nobody. Whenever he Lewandowski ran to the front post they’d cross to the back, when he ran to the back post they’d drill it to the’s embarrassing.

Madrid didn’t really seem too interested in scoring other than the goal and when Fernando Torres decided to roll back the years and placed a outside of the boot curling effort onto the post. I must say he does look like he’s getting his mojo back. Just in time too as he’s now 32 and can still get a huge payday in China/America…

Madrid’s goal tonight was a combination of two things. I’ve already said it was dreadful defending from Munich but I don’t want to take away the brilliant skill that Saul Niguez showed. Using great ball control and skill to flick it one way, then the other, then the other and then bend it into the far left hand corner.

The thing that I really love about this goal is the finish itself. So many players can do the skill to get themselves into this position but to provide an end product too is simply brilliant. I must say if Lionel Messi had done this, Fifa would have given him the Ballon D’or at half time.

One thing I would like to talk about briefly is Manuel Neuer. A few of my followers on Twitter said that this guy is overrated and only looks good because The Bundesliga is a poor league. For me this couldn’t be further from the truth. When a player talks on most of your back four and still manages to place the ball right in the bottom corner, that is just quality of the highest level.

There is a reason that Neuer is number 1 for Munich and Germany and that is because he is world class. I know among goalkeepers there is a debate over who is better, Neuer or De Gea and although it’s close, I have to give it to Neuer. He’s revolutionized a position which doesn’t get any recognition and does the job with rarely any mistakes.

But anyway back to the game at hand. Simeone has proven himself a class manager at Atletico. Like I said 16 goals conceded in the league! How is that even possible at this stage of the season? There are Villa fans who pray they don’t concede 16 in a month let alone a season. I’m pretty sure Stoke City have conceded that many in their last 4 league games…

There was an impressive statistic on the BBC Sport website. In the second half the ball was in Madrid's third of the pitch for a whopping 44.4% of the half! It only went into Munich’s third for 1.9%! Literally Neuer could’ve sat down and made himself a cup of tea...or something German like a Bratwurst or a Lederhosen.

Despite this stat Simeone’s side still managed to maintain a clean sheet and it was without their regular centre back Diego Godin who was out with a hamstring injury, Replacing him with Man City reject Savic! This man’s ability to set a team out to defend would be a breath of fresh air in the Premier League as there has been rumours he will join Arsenal once Arsene Wenger leaves the club.

As much as I dislike Simeone due to his dickheadishness as a player (its a word look it up), I have to say he would revolutionize Arsenal who have struggled for years now to keep it tight at the back. But of course it’s all speculation and I don’t normally care for idle chit chat and gossip.

Where does this leave both the sides now? Munich need a 2-0 home win to see them through to the final. On one side you’d expect them to get two goals at home but on the other you’d have to assume it’ll be a difficult task against Atletico. Godin will probably be back by then which will make the Bavarians job even more difficult.

Personally what I would like is to see is Munich go through along with Manchester City. Then have Manuel Pellegrini serve up a managerial masterclass to beat the Germans in Milan and win City the Champions League for the first time in their history...only to be sacked 20 minutes later and be replaced by the manager he had just beaten, Pep Guardiola.

I don’t want this to happen but with the way football is going these days it wouldn’t surprise me if they sacked him 2 minutes before kickoff and let Brian Kidd take the reigns for the afternoon...the whole sports gone to shit...but I can’t stop watching it...

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Devils and Eagles

The FA Cup has provided another moment of magic, setting the scene for a showdown between two teams struggling to find form in the Premier League. Both teams need this trophy to gain any success from this season but of course only one can win and I will be making my prediction at the end of this post.

I’ll, quite predictably, start by talking about the once European giants Manchester United. Five years ago, Manchester United finished top of the league, were runners up in the Champions League and were knocked out of the FA Cup semi-finals after a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.

This season though, after being knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages and struggling to achieve a top four finish, the only solace for the Red Devils would be an FA Cup win. I wanna say “how the mighty have fallen” but they’re in a cup final. I’m a Wednesday fan and the best moment I’ve ever had was us finishing second in League One. Fuck Man United.

After some incredibly boring displays in the league the Busby Babes seem to have come into their own in the FA Cup which surely must spark the debate, “why can’t they do it in the league?”. I personally can’t decide whether it’s because the players can’t be bothered performing in the league or whether Van Gaal is just pinning his hopes (and future) on the FA Cup.

I mean if Van Gaal was just fully focusing on the Cup and letting his League form take a hit, why would he play Fellaini in Manchester United’s biggest game of the season so far? Fair play to the Belgian for scoring but let's be honest, if it's your biggest game and you need someone to boss the midfield as well as provide a goal threat you don’t play Marouane ‘fucking’ Fellaini…

The winning goal was something magic, Martinez has got a lot of work to do if his players let one of Manchester United’s most in form players just run past them. It’s shocking that Martinez gets the blame but it was Deulofeu who didn’t track his runner. Admittedly he’s not known for his defending but it's these kinds of moments where concentration is lacked that see Everton where they are this season…
~ Not that the loss was Deulofeu’s fault, I’ve pointed out enough of Martinez’s flaws though, I thought it would only be fair if I shared the blame once in awhile…~

Lastly I want to talk about the moment that changed the game. David De Gea showing everyone why he is currently the best goalkeeper in England at the moment. It wasn’t a dreadful penalty from Lukaku, a lot of power, not quite in the corner but still enough to beat normal keepers. But De Gea isn’t a normal keeper and managed to get a meaty paw to the spot kick and keep United in it.

This kid needs Champions League football, if Manchester United can’t provide that then he probably should leave. As much as I dislike Man United (and let's face it who doesn’t) I’d be heartbroken if he left simply because I’d only see him pull off class saves once in a blue moon instead of every week on match of the day.

This win might have kept the fans happy for a few days and kept them off the Dutchman’s back. If he manages to take that style of nice play back to the league he might actually save his job...until Mourinho knocks and Van Gaal is shown the boot...

The other finalist is Crystal Palace who, after being fifth at Christmas, find themselves on the brink of a relegation scrap in the Premier League. They definitely don’t want to be amongst teams like Birmingham and Wigan who won a Cup Final only to be relegated the same season.

I’ve already written a blog post about the Eagles where I point out why they are where they are and to make a long story short they’ve lacked a consistent goalscorer and have been incredibly unlucky with injuries.

Losing Bolasie in December meant that they had lost their main creative threat. It’s no coincidence that after he was injured Palace went on a nose dive down the league and find themselves 16th, just a mere 8 points from relegation…

The London club haven't had much luck in front of goal even with Bolasie though, their joint top goalscorers all being on 6 goals each. It say’s something when Bolasie is one of the joint top goalscorers and he has been out for so much of the season.

I also think that Yohan Cabaye hasn’t really been that creative spark the fans were all hoping for when the club broke their transfer record bringing the Frenchman in. He’s played for of a holding role under Pardew which seems to be a waste of his talent. He’s the type of player who can make a bad team a good team and a good team a great team but hasn’t really shown it this season.

Their semi-final game was against Watford and this one literally could’ve been anyones. Watford have enjoyed a good season, there was some talk of them reaching a Europa League spot at points but since then form has dipped off and their top goalscorer Ighalo doesn’t seem to be providing that punch like he did in the first half of the season.

But it seems the Nigerian’s strike partner Troy Deeney would take centre stage, levelling the score with a powerful header after an absolute thundercunt of a finish from Bolasie. After what was an impressive quarter final performance against Arsenal I’m sure The Hornets were expecting to roll Palace over but it turns out Alan Pardew’s side had other ideas.

My favourite goal of the weekend was scored by none other than Connor Wickham (I proper love this kid.) Rising like a chuffing salmon, he powered home a Souare cross in the 86th minute which proved to be the winning goal for his side.

He’s a player for me who has it all, pace, strength, heading ability, can shoot. I just wish he’d show it more! I’m more than sure if Bolasie was fit throughout the entire season this lad would be in double figures as a minimum. I think I’ve said this for the last two seasons about Wickham but next year will be his year...touch wood.

Now it comes down to the big question, who do I think will win? Well as bad as both sides have been in the League this season I’m fully expecting them to turn it on for the FA Cup final. Let’s be honest if any player wasn’t giving 100% in a final then for me they don’t deserve to wear any football shirt.

Taking that into account I’d have to put my money on Manchester United, I think more through habit than actually believing they will definitely beat Crystal Palace. I’ve got a feeling it’ll be close but United will end up wrapping the game up late on through Marcus Rashford…

...Then Rashford will get loads of praise from the press, got to Euro 2016, do nothing, Hodgson will then get the blame for our group stage exit, he’ll get sacked and the FA will give Steve McClaren another try. While all this is going on Marcus Rashford will be getting more famous while his skills halt and he’ll end up finishing his career at Colchester in League Two…

So if you’re reading this Marcus (I know you’re a fan) and you don’t want it to happen then whatever you do, DO NOT score in the last minute against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final this year. To be fair if I was Marcus Rashford reading this I’d probably close the web page and continue counting my fat stacks of cash… oh the joys of being a professional footballer.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Bottom Three 2015/16

Well here we are again, nearing the end to another exciting season of Premier League football. With only a handful of games left, it’s all to play for as the season winds to a close. Leicester and Tottenham are battling for the Premier League title, Man City, Man United and West Ham are fighting over the fourth place spot and Liverpool have just a glimmer of hope of getting that Europa League place.

And there is just as much excitement at the bottom of the league (with a little less finesse I might add) as Norwich, Sunderland and Newcastle are all clambering to steer clear of the relegation places. In today’s blog post I am going to be talking about the current candidates for the drop and making a prediction over who I think will be joining Flabby Agbonlahor’s relegation party…

Now for those of you who read my blog religiously (that one guy) you’ll know I did a post like this last year where I looked at the clubs in the relegation fight and said who I thought would beat the drop and who wouldn't. Last year I didn’t leave it quite this late so there were more teams to talk about so I’ll push on with the four teams for this season and I’ll start with...
~ Side note: last season’s The Bottom Three Post ~

Newcastle have had their worst season since being relegated in 2009. With probably a better squad, ability wise, you’d probably think The Magpies have a chance of staying up...sadly though I have to say the club is worse run now than it was back then. And that is saying something…
In the 2008/09 season Newcastle managed to go through six managers (permanent and caretaker) and none of them for me was a worse appointment than Steve McClaren. I don’t quite know what was going through Ashley’s head when he brought in a manager who botched Derby County’s biggest chance at promotion and hasn’t made a contribution to English football since he got Middlesborough to the Europa League final in 2006…
You could have forgiven him if he actually got McClaren to buy experienced Premier League talent but no, instead Newcastle signed a load of random foreign players that no fucker has ever heard of (who the fuck is Florian Thauvin?!)
If Newcastle had have signed experienced players like Jonjo Shelvey at the beginning of the season (not that Swansea would have let him go at that point) I think this season could have been a little better for the toon. Not much better, still in a relegation scrap but they might have been 18th at this point of the season.
With Rafa, you’d kinda hope that the team in black and white can pull something out the bag but I’m gonna be realistic and say it’s gonna be a struggle.

Next I want to talk about Sunderland who are a team that I spoke about last year. A club that seemingly just look happy to stay up...making spur of the moment decisions just to get them out of a tight spot at that specific moment. Sacking managers every year once things get difficult is a constant theme and has worked for the Black Cats for years.
This time though it looks a correct decision has been made as they’ve brought in a Premier League managerial master in Sam Allardyce (I just heard a million West Ham fans groan.) He was the perfect man to keep them up and in my opinion in moving the Wearsiders forward.
He know’s how to get the best out of average players which is why he is so highly first. Sadly that’s where his talents stop as once he’s assembled a good squad he just can’t seem to get the best out of the actually good players. But that’s just something that I’ve noticed...
Now Allardyce does have one thing that the other strugglers don’t have and that is a goal scorer in Jermain Defoe who has netted 13 goals so far this season. And with the additions of Kone and Khazri, who were relatively unknown players, I must say the former Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham manager has made some pretty shrewd looking acquisitions.

Norwich are the third team in trouble and this for me is due to one thing and one thing only, a poor squad. Don’t get me wrong they have some half decent players in Brady, Ruddy, Bamford and even at the age of 46 Wes Hoolahan could turn teams inside out but at the end of the day for every good player they have, there is another two who just aren’t good enough.
When you’re signing players like Graham Dorrans and Youssouf Mulumbu, two players who couldn’t even get in West Brom’s team come the end of their time there, it kind of puts into perspective what their squad is like.
I like Nathan Redmond at times. I’ve seen him on countless occasions this season turn a defender inside and out and either pinging a cross just out of reach of a striker or smash a shot off the outside of the post. It looks good and gets bums off seats...but without an end product it counts for very little.
Speaking of an end product moves me onto what Norwich have lacked so much this season, goals. I’ve said it in another post that I have no idea why Gary Hooper was loaned out to Wednesday and they kept Cameron Jerome. Sometimes I feel like I’m being punked because every time I see Jerome play he misses an open net and I wonder how he’s a professional footballer and I’m not...
I thought the signing of Steven Naismith would bring goals to a Canaries side which has desperately needed them but sadly the Scottish international has not been performing as he would’ve liked, only scoring 1 goal so far. And Mbokani doesn’t look much better although he did take his goal against Newcastle very well the other week.

The fourth team I wanna talk about I’m only gonna touch on briefly because I’ve already spoke about them a lot this season and it’s Crystal Palace (yes I know I missed out Villa, they’ll be coming up shortly.) A side who at one point were in 5th and now are currently 8 points from relegation…
Bad luck with injuries for me have dragged them to this, Bolasie and Puncheon being sorely missed when out. Although these as I said are 8 points from the drop I thought I’d include them because if Norwich, Sunderland and Newcastle win their games in hand over Palace then the Eagles could get sucked straight into the battle at the business end of the season.

For me the relegation battle is going to go down to the wire and will end as follows

18| Norwich
19| Newcastle
20| Aston Villa

Simply because of Allardyce and Defoe I think the Black Cats will be in the top flight again next season. If it were down to me though I’d relegate Sunderland, Norwich and Newcastle along with Villa. All these clubs need to rebuild otherwise they’re just going to find themselves struggling season after season until eventually they can’t stop themselves from slipping down to the Championship.

Now at the beginning of this post I said only four Premier League teams were in a relegation fight. I didn’t include Aston Villa for two reasons; 1) their fight is over as they have already been relegated and 2) that team was never a Premier League team to begin with.
Those players do not have the physical capabilities the technical abilities or the intelligence to play at the top level of the English Leagues (or any leagues for that matter.) It’s disgusting that these players have been getting paid millions of pounds to disrespect that shirt week in week out.
In the imortal words of Mike Bassett “there are (BEEP) thousands of (BEEP) kids out there who’d (BEEP) die to (BEEP) put that (BEEP) shirt on” a quote that couldn’t be more true for Aston Villa.
If I was Villa boss I’d throw the youth team out for the rest of the season. If you already know you’re down you might as well prepare for next season. Stop playing the players you’re clearly not going to keep like Ayew and see if there’s a hidden gem in the academy. What’s it going to hurt?

Anyways that’s my take on the relegation battle, I hope you all enjoyed my poorly spelt, grammatically incorrect musings. Just something to while away the hours until Saturday comes I suppose…

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.