Saturday, 13 February 2010

FA Cup weekend!!!

Good day to you sports fans!

So it's FA cup weekend and once again I would like to know who you think will come out on top or cause an upset.

The first game of the day Chelsea V Cardiff has started and Chelsea are 1-0 up Drogba).
So I'm going to predict a 1-0 victory here.. :) No, I can see Chelsea winning this game 3-0, their home record is from another planet, amazing stuff.

Derby V Birmingham, this could be quite a tight game and a hard one to predict. I think it could be a draw and we will see a replay here.

Man City V Stoke, I hope City are up for a battle here as I think Stoke will go to Eastlands full of confidence and try and rough City up. If City's stars are fully up for this game though I think they will come out on top.

Reading V West Brom, another hard game to call Reading have had a great cup run so far and lets not forget they beat Liverpool at Anfield. However West Brom are top of the Championship and playing good football., West Brom to nick this one for me.

Southampton V Portsmouth, I think this could be a tricky tie for Pompey against the Saints. However I would like to see Pompey win here as they are going through a terrible time at the moment and it's sad to see. Grant the Manager deserves something to go his way.

Bolton V Spurs, well this is going to be a battle I think and Spurs will want to bounce back after a woeful performance in the week against Wolves. If Spurs score the first goal they might be okay, stats back this up. But Bolton will be in Tottenham's face from the off, we know how dangerous they are from set-pieces and Spurs will need to be physically strong in this game.
Spurs to get a draw I feel and settle it back at the Lane. COYS.

Crystal Palace V Aston Villa, this is a huge game for Palace and I think they will certainly test Villa but I see the premiership outfit coming out on top. Villa defend so well as a team and are so hard to score against. If Palace score the first goal it could be interesting but I do think Villa will win.

Fulham V Notts County, well one thing is for sure Sven won't be at the cottage! I think Fulham will win this tie, they are not easy to beat at home and I think they will have to much for Notts County.

What are you thoughts folks, do you agree with any of these predictions or do you think things will turn out differently? Please let us know.....!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Judgement day for the Gunners...

Tonights fixture at home to Liverpool will certainly signal how the season is going to pan out. With a trip to Tottenham and a home fixture vs Man City the only top 7 sides left to play this term, Arsenal can either turn it around tonight and propel themselves back into contention or lose and face a dog fight for 3rd/4th place.

Liverpool have gone under the radar recently and out of the media's glare, mainly because their form has improved (won last 7 from 9) and in part because Arsenals glittering 10 match unbeaten run has been blown out of the water by Chelsea and Man Utd. This is surely the perfect time for the Scoucers to finally win at The Emirates.

So what has gone wrong at Arsenal? Is it because Wenger didn't spend in the Jan window? Is it because the kids just simply aren't good enough to go to the next level? Whatever it is, it appears at the moment that it has gone wrong once again at the pivotal time of the season. It almost seems traditional now that the wheels fall off in Feb (remember two seasons ago when Arsenal were top and flying - Eduardo broke his leg then Arsenal went on a 4 game drawing streak and let Man Utd back into the title race..)

Lee Dixon has written an interesting article on the BBC site where he talks about the defensive frailties at Arsenal. He mentions that back in the days of the legendary back 4 of Adams, Bould, Dixon and Winterburn when Wenger first took over, he realised that those guys knew what they were doing and left them to it... I wonder if to some degree that is the case now, with Gallas being the experienced head teaching the younger ones?

Set pieces and crosses - at both ends there are issues that need addressing. How long before Arsenal realise that unless you have a target man 6ft or taller, all crosses and free kicks will be taken comfortably by the opposition. At the other end, someone needs to show the youngsters how to stick to your man, Drogba is difficult to hold on to anyway but when he's given freedom to smash it in at the back post unmarked.. Oh dear.

Arsenal have almost gone from trying to walk it in to just running to the byline then gifting possession to the opposition.

This may seem like a rant, and it probably is! It's just so frustrating to see a group of talented athletes throw it all away when they are so close to victory, long overdue victory at that! The sad truth is that without victory, the stars of the team are likely to move on, Cesc, RvP, Arshavin even Vermaelen - leaving a very bare team in which someone has to try and build on. I personally cannot see Wenger continuing as manager for much longer, he appears to be letting it all get to him now and also do the fans still believe in him? He'll go upstairs soon, or even to manage a country.. Who would take over though? Who would want to take over??

If Wenger can gain a victory tonight it'll be his 300th in the Premier League, second to reach that behind Sir Alex.

Let's get the season back on track yeah lads?

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Now a 2 horse race...surely?

Well a weekend that saw some of the big guns falter - the Premiership is surely now a two horse race. Man Utd on course for a 4th crown in as many years vs a very efficient and well drilled Chelsea.

Manchester United showed their ability to destroy their rivals last weekend where they tore Arsenal apart at the Emirates Stadium and showed their ruthlessness this weekend by tormenting a wounded Portsmouth.

Chelsea have shown their grit and determination as they have been rocked by the media hype surrounding their club captain John Terry. They suffered at the hand of Hull City in the week where they were held to a 1-1 draw, priceless for the Tigers who backed that up with the defeat of Man City this weekend. Chelsea however inflicted a backlash of everything that's gone on, on Arsenal - 2-0 was the scoreline at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon piling further misery and pressure on the Gunners. True to tradition, Didier Drogba inflicted the most pain on Arsenal with two first half goals gifted to him thanks to defensive errors.. the pain continues for us Arsenal fans, surely its all over for the reds until next season. Only the Champions League left now, I bet Wenger wishes he'd taken the away day at Stoke more seriously now...

Elsewhere a very heated Merseyside derby ended in victory for the ever improving Liverpool. Dirk Kuyt once again on the scoresheet. 2 red cards and endless yellows ensured that the DA will surely be handing out a few fines to each side!

As mentioned above, Hull beat City 2-1 to drag themselves out of the relegation zone. Can Hull stay in the Premier League again this season? Phil Brown seems to have put something in his players Weetabix of late and it seems to be doing the trick! 4 points from what looked like a certain 0 vs Chelsea and City, just shows what a home crowd can do for you.

As for relegation - who is set for the drop this time? Now we enter the business end of the season its becoming increasingly more apparent that Portsmouth look destined for the PL chop. That is if they survive the financil guillotine... I was at Craven Cottage on Wednesday to see a determined display from both sides with Fulham edging the well fought game 1-0 through a Jon Greening goal. New signing Okaka made his debut and nearly got a goal but squandered from 2 yards out. Fulham failed to get on the score sheet this weekend with a goalless draw at Bolton.

All attentions are currently beyond match of the day now and on Miami, Florida where the Indianapolis Colts are taking on Super Bowl debutantes the New Orleans Saints. At time of writing the Colts are 3-0 up after a field goal from the oldest player to play in a Super Bowl. Its been a fairly even game thus far but you'd expect Peyton Manning to start showing all his experience and consistent form to steer the Colts to a win. However the Saints have played some of the best ball this season and are tipped to cause an upset tonight. Of course they have their motivation in that their stadium was used as a shelter for those left homeless during hurricane Katrina a few years back. It would be poetic if they were to win tonight.

Update!! The Colts just scored a Touchdown thanks to a pinpoint pass from Peyton Manning. He's already starting to turn the screw.. Colts lead 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Welcome to the Man Utd show...

Or rather the Wayne Rooney show..

The lad has had an amazing week - 4 goals last weekend vs Hull, the winner at the death of the all Manchester Carling Cup tie and he made Arsenal look like the school kids most of them really are. My hat goes off the the fella and I sure hope he doesn't burn himself out before the World Cup in South Africa.

With United sweeping Arsenal aside 3-1 at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, it really does give the Gunners a humongous mountain to climb once again if they are to have a last stab at the title - with in form Chelsea next Sunday and a re-grouping Liverpool the fixture after, surely Arsenal will know by then whether they need to fill their Easter basket full of Champions League eggs if they are to have any joy this term.

Carlos Tevez also had a good week in scoring at Old Trafford and having a pop at G.Neville - he just sadly missed out on the ultimate prize of going to Wembley instead of his ex-employers.. bad times. A win at home today helped City's cause for 4th spot where they must slog it out with Spurs and Liverpool to get there. Villa need to step up their game again if they are to make it. A win away at Fulham was a good starting point.

Pompey are still in trouble with another loss this weekend after their previous heroics in the cup and a draw at West Ham. The transfer window is still open for a few more hours so their dispair could increase if they are to lose a few more players...

Burnley and Brian Laws have had a poor time of late with them dropping into the bottom 3 - ironically thanks to their old Gaffer jumping ship to Bolton who have made their way out despite losing to Liverpool this weekend. Is it really fair of the Burnley fans to name Coyle a Judas??

Rumours are around that Rafa is off to Juve - even more so as the Old Lady fired their boss this week.. thoughts?

Andy Murray crashed to defeat in the final of the Aussie Open on Sunday morning after his heroics throughout the tournament. It wasn't a case of his performance lacking - Federer was just fantastic. Upping his game to a level higher than he's played in a while. Bad luck Andy, next time! Keep up the good work.

And finally.... John Terry... tut tut naughty boy!? Not really the actions you would want your son to look up to as the Captain of England and Chelsea so should he step down? Personally I think that he should just hold his hand up and say yeah I have made a big mistake, but I have never allowed it to interfere with my job. He hasn't ever really had a 'bad patch' in his play as a result of this scandal so why should he now give up everything he has worked so hard for just because he's been a bit naughty in his private life....

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Midweek Footy - Tuesday

A few Premiership fixtures tonight with very few goals and not much worth talking about. Spurs beat Fulham 2-0, Liverpool's bad run continued with a goalless draw at Wolves. Pompey maintained their slight bit of good form with a 1-1 draw against fellow stragglers West Ham and Owen Coyle's new Bolton beat his old Burnley 1-0.

The real drama was in the Championship and League 1 with goals galore!!! Most notable results were Nottingham Forest thrashing QPR 5-0, Bristol City were smashed at home 6-0 by Cardiff and my personal favourite - Swindon Town beat Leeds United 3-0. The same Leeds United that beat Man Utd and drew with Tottenham!! Not much change in League 1 for the Robins though, but they do have 2 games in hand on 3rd place. The play-off's and the Championship is a very real target now.

Goals from the youngster Charlie Austin and a brace from Billy Paynter saw the Reds entertained a packed out crowd against a Leeds side who had familiar names such as Beckford and Snodgrass leading their attack. Reports from fans at the game said that Town were fantastic and should have netted 5!

Away at Southend next week who were beaten by Millwall tonight then another top of the table clash at home vs Charlton Athletic (beaten by local rivals Leyton Orient last night)

Danny Wilson is doing a fantastic job at the County Ground. Hopefully Austin and Paynter will remain in Swindon beyond January and Wilson himself finishes the job before venturing to higher Leagues...

Credit to my cousin Alex for the photo from the Arkell's Stand at the County Ground.  

More fixtures tomorrow night including the all Manchester Carling Cup Semi Final second leg. Arsenal away at Aston Villa, Chelsea entertain an in-form Birmingham. Under pressure Blackburn face Wigan and Everton and Sunderland hope to bounce back from their FA Cup exits at Goodison Park.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Transfer news.

It has been very quiet on the transfer front with the only big signing made by Man City.

With only just over a week to go do you have any gossip on who is going where?

Apparently City have had a 2m bid for Victor Moses turned down from Crystal Palace.
Arsenal have also showed interest in the young talented forward.

Spurs have said they won't be signing Rudd Van Nistlerooy as the Dutchman wants a crazy £100K a week! This would break the current wage structure at Spurs so this deal is now dead in the water. Surely it's a central defender Spurs need to replace King. Maybe City will sign Rudd, they can afford that kind of money and need another striker...ha ha!

Everton have agreed a loan deal with Arsenal for Senderos, this is good deal for Senderos as he wants to play first team football ahead of the World Cup. With Sol Campbell back at Arsenal you feel Senderos would have been further down the pecking order.

Man Utd won't be signing anyone surely, the news this week confirmed the club were £716m in debt! Mind you this has never stoped Real Madrid.

Liverpool would like to sign some players surely but again the club has got debt if we are to believe reports and so they might look at loan options or swapping players.

I think there will be activity next week as the transfer window always goes a bit crazy with just a few days to this space and please let us know your thoughts folks.

FA Cup weekend and the premier league.

So it's FA cup this weekend! Who do you think will be making the headlines?

Spurs will be looking to bounce back against a Leeds team who knocked out none other than Man Utd in the last round. Spurs will need to be focused on this game as Leeds have nothing to lose and will go for it.

Chelsea are currently 2-0 up against Preston and look to be having a comfortable afternoon.
Fulham are away to Accrington, could Fulham slip up here? Unlikely but what a story it would be for the FA Cup romantics.

Top of the league Arsenal travel to Stoke in what should be an interesting game, Stoke will no doubt "throw" balls into the Arsenal box and it will be a tough test physically for the Gooners.
Though if Cesc decides to turn on the magic we will all no doubt be amazed once again.

Another all premiership tie is Everton at home to Birmingham, this should be a really good game as in recent weeks Everton have got so much better with some of the players returning from injury. Birmingham haven't lost in 15 I believe so I wouldn't like to bet on this one.

Aston Villa host Poyet's Brighton, hopefully Brighton will make a game of this one. Some 6000 fans are coming up from Brighton, now that is good support.

What are your predictions for these games and all the others?

Also can Man Utd claim top spot in the premier league by beating Hull? Or will Myhill find his cape once again and put in another super human display?