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...

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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.

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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…

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Chat Shit Get Banned

As I’m sure you’ve already worked out, in today’s post I will talking about Jamie Vardy’s red card/dive/bollocking the referee and my take on the whole situation. It seems to have divided opinion with the fans I’ve asked and I just want to clear up a few things as people seem to be getting confused over what is and is not a foul…

Now after the impressive season Vardy has had you’d have struggled to find a dark point for The Foxes man. He hasn’t been caught doing drugs, no drink problem, he’s not shagging pensioners, etc. I’m actually quite disappointed to say it’s refreshing to have a player who isn’t a complete dick head.

So after a season where we have only talked about Vardy for the right reasons you can almost forgive him for his outburst with referee Jon Moss after what is probably the worst refereeing display of the season...can almost forgive him.

Jon Moss was, I’m sad to say, all over the shop. It was a bad game for him after getting three crucial decisions wrong. The West Ham penalty, the Leicester City penalty and even the Vardy red card...let me explain.

If there is contact Vardy is entitled to go down but then it rests on Jon Moss to decide whether there was a sufficient amount of contact for it to be a foul...very difficult jobs referee’s have, very difficult.

I know a lot of people said it was a dive from Vardy but I want to plead his innocence in a small way. I’m a firm believer that contact doesn’t always mean a penalty and the fact of the matter is there was contact from Ogbonna. The thing that made Jon Moss’ decision was the dramatic throw to the floor afterward…

I think without the amatuer dramatics Moss would have said play on, maybe saying Vardy tripped over his own feet. But that for me is the way the game is going. If you don’t play act every time you go down you won’t get decision’s go your way.

The fact there is so much play acting, dramatics and diving means the game is almost impossible to referee. This was a bad day for Jon Moss but you cut out players going down under weak challenges (Jamie Vardy, Winston Reid and Jeffrey Schlupp) then it’d have been a much better/easier game for the 45 year old.

Ogbonna for me was a very lucky boy and could’ve potentially had a dreadful day. In the first half he had Vardy in a neck lock and in the second decided Huth should get the same treatment. This is a perfect example of what happens when a player isn’t dramatic...the foul isn’t given...

Winston Reid was the second to audition to be an extra in Eastenders after he threw himself to the ground after minimal pressure from Wes Morgan. I know many West Ham fans will disagree but even they have to admit he wouldn’t have gone down like that inside his own box.
~ Side note: Must say though, I could never imagine Andy Carroll taking a penalty but he dispatched that one well ~

And of course the worst decision Moss made...the Leicester penalty. About 999,999 times out of 1,000,000 this is a nothing challenge. But Jon Moss is one in a million, giving Leicester another vital point in their push for the title…

One West Ham fan I have on Twitter Tweeted saying “Andy Carroll has gone from hero to villain” which I just couldn’t agree with. Shoulder to shoulder, not overly aggressive, not a clue what he was doing back there but for me there was nothing wrong with what he did…but Schlupp decided to show off his Tom Daley impression and won the penalty for Leicester.

All in all though it was a well battled game, one which I think everyone knew was going to be eventful.  A draw was probably a fair result but I’m sure both sides will feel they could’ve won it.

Now where does this leave Vardy? There’s a lot of talk about him getting an extended ban due to his “outburst” after. People comparing Vardy’s reaction to Diego Costa’s reaction against Everton in the FA Cup...a ridiculous statement.

When things go against Costa he tries to intimidate the officials. Vardy simply called Moss a c*nt and walked off the pitch. Not the nicest thing to do but at least he didn’t draw it out for 20 minutes, him and the rest of the Leicester team crowding the referee, trying to get blood out of a stone.

The reason Costa deserved that extended ban is because he’s done this so many times and against Everton was the first time he actually got caught out doing it. Now I’ll admit I didn’t watch Vardy before his Leicester day’s but I’m pretty sure he didn’t have a blood vessel popping out of his neck as he’d square up to referee’s, barking commands in their faces...he’s essentially a first time offender.
~ Side note: You can more or less guarantee though that Hodgson is going to use this as an excuse to drop Vardy and play Rooney at the Euro’s. Just the kind of thing Woy would do…~

But anyways that’s my take on it. The whole game is just too difficult to referee these days and if there was no controversy in a match then there was probably no action either. Hopefully it improves in the future but I can’t see that improving unless we have maybe two referee’s on the pitch and a camera in every orifice of the ground...which is a silly idea.

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Cheers for reading.

Friday, April 15, 2016

PFA Player of the Year

I’ll start this post by saying that this is probably one of the greatest PFA Player of the Year Awards in a long long time. Three Leicester players are on the six man shortlist for the prize and it's still anyone’s to win after a season in which a lot of dark horses have exceeded expectations.

Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante have been the big names who’ve carried Leicester to the top of the league whilst Harry Kane is the current Premier League top goalscorer and is helping in Tottenham’s fight for the title.

There is also Dimitri Payet who is having an amazing first season in the Premier League and is looking to get a Europa League spot with West Ham and Mesut Ozil who needs just 3 more assists to beat the record for most assists in one Premier League’ll win it?

Now before I give my list I do want to point out it's only my opinion. If I put a player in sixth it’s simply because I think some players have done more to deserve the award, not that they are bad players or have had bad season. All these players have had amazing season.

Now the sixth position was already a tough one. For me it’s between either Payet and Ozil which seems to have been a battle that has lasted the entire season between Arsenal and West Ham fans. But in my opinion...Ozil has had a better season so far.

The bug-eyed fucker has managed to rack up 18 assists and 6 goals in 30 appearances and has been the main creative threat due to Alexis Sanchez not really putting in the same performances as he did last season. Don’t get me wrong though, Payet has been outstanding but with less goal coming from the Frenchman I felt that Ozil had just edged him.

A few things I would like to point out is that Payet was injured for a few months near the beginning of the season and you could tell West Ham missed him. He has had an amazing season for the Hammers and looks to be a player who can lift West Ham to the next level. If there was an award for it, he’d definitely get signing of the season.

The next best for me is going to be Jamie Vardy. A season in which has seen him achieve a Champions League spot with Leicester, break Van Nistelrooy’s record for consecutive goals and score his first England goal (against World Champions Germany no less) has got to be the best season of this lad's life.

So for him to finish fourth in the PFA Player of the Year Award after all this I don’t think he’ll really be too upset. He’s fit in with The Foxes quick, aggressive style of play, he looks to be exactly what England need...I’m just gutted he’s 29. In my opinion he might make it to World Cup 2018 but after that he’ll be overlooked...he’ll still probably score more World Cup goals than Rooney in this time.

The bronze-medalist in my list is Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has come out of nowhere, had an absolute stormer and has been the most creative player for Leicester this season. I think without this guy they’d have finished well outside the top four. With 16 goals and 11 assists Mayrez has deservedly turned the heads of some Europe’s elite and wouldn’t look out of place in any of those sides judging on this season’s performances.

He, like Vardy, has added to the underdog story that is Leicester City’s season. He came in after some seemingly average season’s at Le Havre and I imagine even Nigel Pearson wasn’t expecting him to make a return this well. It’ll be a struggle for The Foxes to keep this 25 years old for next season no doubt.

Only two players are left and both are deserving of the award but my vote would have to go to...Lee Cattermole. Sublime player, defends well, attacking genius, how he never got an England call up is beyond me…

Jokes aside the PFA Player of the year for me has to go to N’Golo Kante. Harry Kane has been outstanding this season. Like I said earlier he is the Premier League’s top goalscorer, has played a vital role in Tottenham’s push for the title and he’s English what’s more to love?

I like Mr Tottenham simply because he can score any type of goal and doesn’t really have that yard of pace that so many young strikers rely on. For me the fact that he doesn’t need pace means he’s going to be scoring goals right up until the end of his career. Could possibly beat Shearer’s record someday...but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Anyways N’Golo Kante is the Player of the Year in my book. The France international has played the most unglamorous role of all the players in the shortlist which just shows how brilliant he has been playing this season. In my opinion he has played this role as good as Makelele and looks to be another Fox who could be looking for pastures new next season.

I, as well as the whole of Leicester, am praying he doesn’t go though. His intelligence on the pitch has been breathtaking to watch this season, with his tackles, interceptions and all round presence being another huge factor in Leicester's jump up the league.

He had some giant shoes to fill in midfield this season after the club lost Esteban Cambiasso and after Kante’s performances so far the shoes actually look a little small on him. Like Mahrez, N’Golo is only 25 and if Leicester really want to cement themselves as a Champions League team they need to keep this kid.

And that’s it, my take on the PFA Player of the Year Awards. I’m certain I’ll have a few Tottenham, Arsenal and West Ham fans complaining their players should have been higher on the list but it’s such a tough choice I think most fans might struggle. I bet Leicester fans on the other hand don’t give a shit, they’ll all be shit faced over the Champions League football they’ll be feasting on next season haha.

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Cheers for reading.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Gunning for a Revamp

In the past I have always had a little giggle at Arsenal fans who seem to think that Arsene Wenger is a shite manager because he manages to get them 4th every season. Clearly a club with a fanbase that either weren’t there for the rough times or are just blatantly ignoring them…

Sadly though after a season which could have been any clubs for the taking, Wenger has again come under scrutiny and is even beginning to waver my opinion whether the Frenchman has the character to ever win the league again.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still think Arsene Wenger is a good manager. He has managed to bring Champions League football for like the last million years in a row for Arsenal, spending a fraction of what the likes of Mourinho had at Chelsea or Ferguson had at United. But the difference between Wenger and those two is that they know the result comes above all…

Take Mourinho for example: he has had his sides playing the most unattractive, boring and downright shit football the Premier League has seen from a title winning side...but he still gets results. Fergie was another one who knew when he had to grind out a scruffy result, I remember him winning the league in like 08/09 or something and his team never really got out of third gear.

Wenger seems to think that the fans, above all, want to be entertained. That the result will come from attractive football. I wrote a piece the other day about Alan Pardew having no plan B when he manages a game of football and I’m starting to believe Wenger is on the same boat.

As I just said he seems to think that attractive football will bring results, as if no opposition would be able to defend against it, as if no manager will have a tactic in mind to avoid Arsene’s fancy football. When it works, Arsenal look like world beaters...but when it doesn’t, they just look...clumsy.

The defensive errors Arsenal have made over the last 10 years or so are comical, the kind of mistakes that Tony Adams’ grandmother wouldn’t even make. You can blame individuals for this but at the end of the day if Wenger is playing too many creative players it’s gonna leave the side lacking defensively.

One position the Gunners have struggled with over the years is defensive midfield. It’s a position that every midfielder thinks he can play but truthfully only a handful of them can. It’s a real selfless job to play there, I think lads like Wilshere, who told the press he wants to play that holding role, is just too forward thinking to play there.

At the start of this season Arsenal were linked with Sami Khedira who I thought would turn losses into draws and draws into wins. A class player who, if he could stay fit, would be a pivotal player in Arsenal’s title push.

Not to say that Coquelin isn’t good enough. I think Coquelin has done an OK job protecting the back four but when he’s paired up alongside Aaron Ramsey it’s always going to be difficult for him. Flamini is the alternative who, for me is average, seems to have one good game in about 15 games, not quite good enough in my opinion.

Aaron Ramsey for me has been a mixed bag this season: another player who when he’s good looks class but when he’s not he looks bang average. I genuinely believe though when Ramsey gets forward he really brings out the best in Ozil. It’s something that I noticed last season and I think Wenger should play him in an attacking three with Ozil and Sanchez.
~ Just my opinion by the way, I’m sure Arsenal fans will call me thick as fuck for even suggesting this haha ~

One issue Arsenal seem to have is their big hitters just aren’t hitting at the moment. James Milner has over double the amount of assists as Ozil in 2016 and Sanchez hasn’t really hit the same form as he did last year which has been a big hindrance for the Gunners all season...

Back to the main point of this post though, I think Wenger has had his day at Arsenal. It’s a sad day when even I’m having to say that but it’s true. Arsene Wenger has been one of the best manager the Premier League has ever seen, he deserves about 99% of the credit for how Arsenal have done over the last 20 years.

The thing is though I can’t see Arsenal’s board sacking the Frenchman. Wenger’s saving grace is the fact that he is still in the Champions League places and looks set to make it 1,000,001 years in the Champions League. Plus with the likes of Guardiola, Conte and a possible return from Mourinho, Arsenal are gonna need an experienced head leading them forward.

One last thing I would like to add is if Wenger keeps his job, I think he should try and sign Yaya Toure. I’ve criticized Toure so much this season for being lazy but he’d be a good player for Arsenal. He’s probably the closest any player has come to Patrick Vieira for his ability to boss a midfield...Just a suggestion.

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

Cheers for reading.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Messi vs Ronaldo

Today I’m writing my 50th post as The Penalty King! And to commemorate this occasion I’ve decided to give my answer and opinion on one of the biggest questions in football. Who’s better: Messi or Ronaldo?

Now I’ll start by giving a rundown of what everybody in football already knows. These two are the two best players in the world. People have been trying to force Neymar and Suarez into the picture as of late but to be frank Ronaldo and Messi are about three steps up in quality over the next best player…

Five years on the trot CR7 has scored 50+ goals...and somehow people still doubt his ability and put him below Neymar. How can a player need to justify himself after a prolific record like that? Players like Aguero and Ibrahimovic haven’t ever come close to a record like that but are considered the best in their divisions.

Personally I think it’s Messi fan’s just coming up with new reasons to say Ronaldo is shit. If you listen to a Messi fan they’ll tell you about how Ronaldo just stands up front, doesn’t like big games, is losing his pace...And even with this Ronaldo has outscored him two years in a row and is currently on 5 goals more than Messi having played the same amount of games.

Messi fans also like to use the phrase “he’s the best player ever.” Now this is a ridiculous statement for me as he’s not even the best Argentinian ever. Diego Maradona did everything that Messi did but in much worse conditions.

He could take on entire teams as he did against England in World Cup ‘86, he did it on knackered pitches, with heavier boots and balls and he did it all while off his fucking head with whatever he’d lined up for himself that morning…

This doesn’t mean though that Messi is a bad player, just for he’s not as good as Diego. As for Ronaldo I’d probably put him just below Eusebio as Portugal’s best ever player. Another player who, like Maradona, dragged his team to a respectable world cup finish. If they’d not lost out to eventual winners England in ‘66, they’d have been favourite’s to be the German’s at Wembley.

As well as Ronaldo has done he’s not really had that real impact at an international level. For me Euro 2016 is his last chance as I think the World Cup is a little too far from his grasp, you need a great squad for a tournament like that. The Euro’s how ever has a lower class of talent in their and I imagine Ronaldo will be aiming for at least a semi final finish.

As for Lionel, his international best so far was losing out in the World Cup final back in 2014. For me he was incredibly quiet in the game, looking to be more of a creative player as Di Maria had been injured in the quarter-finals against Belgium. He have more of a chance at World Cup ‘20 as Argentina have a stronger side compared to Portugal.

Now some people, like Gary Neville for example, say they can’t compare them as they are two completely different players. He acts as if their comparing Manuel Neuer to Jonathan Walters or something. Messi and Ronaldo are both goalscorers, have amazing technical and physical strengths as well as sharp footballing minds...they’re not that different.

I’ll start with Messi, this kid has got an amazing footballing mind, the ability to control play from any place on the field and with any players around him. Match this with his spectacular technical ability and you have the perfect creative player. The thing that separates him from other creative start like Ozil is that fact that Messi also has an abundance of goals to his game.

Players like Ozil and Payet come deep to see more of the ball if needs be. Messi could come short, start the attack and before you know it he’s in the opposition’s box and the ball is in the back of the net. Obviously Ozil and Payet do score their fair share of goals but they’re a long way off 50+ a season haha.

Ronaldo’s quality used to rely heavily on his pace and power and determination.Over the last few years though he has changed from a more creative player to just an out and out goalscoring machine! He still has that yard of pace he needs as well as being ridiculously strong, the ability to outmuscle most defenders is a huge benefit to his game.

Technically Ronaldo probably isn’t as good as Messi. His control isn’t as good as the Argentinians but his speed more than makes up for it. Ronaldo’s mental attributes are for me on par with Messi, The runs Ronaldo makes are incredibly difficult to defend against and the engine he has on him doesn’t help the opposition, he never stops sprinting.
~ Side note: I’m not say Ronaldo can’t control just that his control is just not as good as Messi’s, but as I stated it doesn’t have to be ~

But anyways it’s time for my big reveal. I think the best player in the world is (drum roll please) Cristiano Ronaldo. I’m more than sure people will disagree but here is my reasoning behind it:

He fit’s any football team. He fits any style of play. He fits any position, any role and can make an impact at any point of a game. Messi I can only see him playing at a club that keeps it on the deck where as Ronaldo could have played under Tony Pulis at Stoke, as a centre forward or a centre half and done an equally brilliant job.

For me due to his physical power he would easily be scoring 60+ in any League Two team whereas I’d see Messi having to drop to a deeper more creative role. He’d probably still score 30 from this position as well as getting about 30+ assists…

Funny thing is though I’d rather have Lionel Messi over CR7 at my favourite club Sheffield Wednesday. We’ve been struggling to create real clear cut chances at Wednesday and although Ronaldo can score any type of goal, I just think Messi would fit in well with our current passing style of play.
~ and by any type of goal, of course I mean headers. Fun fact of Messi’s 33 league goals this season, not a single one was scored using his head…~

Last thing I really want to say regarding these two is that we all know that Messi’s talent is all natural, he’s a guy who won’t know what to do until he gets into a situation and suddenly his Footy-Sense starts tingling and he does one bit of skill that beats five men.

Ronaldo on the other hand works extremely hard to lift himself to Lionel Messi’s level and in recent years just seems set on trying to exceed him. Whether you prefer Messi or Ronaldo you have to admire the Argentine’s natural ability and the Portuguese's work rate.

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

Cheers for reading.