Why Liverpool Fans Can Be Optimistic About Their Title Chances

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liverpool2During last season I wrote a piece about Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool vision falling into place, where in the last paragraph I said teams should begin to fear Liverpool once more. Just over a year on – on the back of a 3-0 win at Old Trafford, where Manchester United look distinctly average – this could not seem any more true. After a brilliant run of form since the turn of the year Liverpool haven’t looked back, powering their way to be amongst the contenders so late in the season – after their consecutive losses against Chelsea and Manchester City knocked them back slightly. History may be against them having never won a Premier League title, but Rodgers’ new approach could change that.

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Posted in Premier League

Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal: Arsenal’s Effort Isn’t Enough

arsenalAlthough Arsenal fans may have had some hope before the game thanks to last years result, in the end it was inevitable that Bayern Munich would be the team to progress again. Going into the game, Bayern had only lost twice at home in the last year – to Arsenal and Manchester City – whilst Arsenal were the only team to stop the German giants from scoring at the Allianz for almost two years.

If you put this history alongside Bayern’s rampant form since the first leg, you’d realise the task at hand for Arsenal, who would have to give one of their most complete performances in history to stop this Bayern team from scoring, whilst putting two past them.

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Posted in Champions League

Lukas Podolski – The Fallen Prince

poldiOfficially signed in April 2012, Lukas Podolski – or ‘Prince Poldi’ – was initially thought to have been signed in an attempt to help convince top-scorer Robin van Persie to stay. With over 100 caps for Germany, and still only aged 26 upon signing, Podolski was had the kind of international experience and quality that Arsenal wanted. Although it wouldn’t convince Van Persie to stay, after scoring 18 Bundesliga goals in his final season for relegated FC Cologne, Podolski was seen as a good signing for Arsenal. A player who could help replace Van Persie’s goals.

However, two years later and Poldi seems to have fallen from grace, with the initial expectations a distant memory, followed by two years of inconsistency.

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Posted in Premier League

Thiago Alcântara: The One That Got Away

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Background

Born in Italy to footballing father Mazinho, Thiago Alcantara was born into a world of football. At the tender age of four, in his father’s native Brazil, he played for the Flamengo youth teams, before moving to Spain. History repeated itself in 2001, where he moved back to Brazil and back to Flamengo, before moving back to Spain four years later. It was in Spain where at 14 years of age he signed for Barcelona, coming through the famous cantera, following in the footsteps of players like Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.

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Posted in Bundesliga, La Liga

What Makes A Title Winning Team?

safThis season’s Premier League has been one of the closest and most fiercely competed to date. With the majority of the top teams undergoing radical changes in the summer, many clubs have failed to find real consistency this season. This has led an incredibly open title race, with low point totals. If teams mirror their first half performance in the second half of the season, the winner will have just 84 points, which would be the 2nd lowest title-winning points total in the past ten years, just slightly ahead of Manchester United’s 80 points in 2010/11. Due to the open nature of the league I decided to look into some stats for the last ten Premier League seasons, and see how this year’s title contenders compare to winners of previous years, in order to try and see if it makes the decision of picking a title winner any easier.

The season’s I’ve used are 2003/04 to 2012/13 and the stats for the current season are for the first 19 gameweeks, so all stats/points differences are up to the 31st of December.

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Posted in Premier League

Everton 2-1 Southampton: Everton Finish The Year In Fourth

martinezandpochA game that many neutrals would be looking forward to. Everton vs Southampton saw Roberto Martinez and Mauricio Pochettino clash. Two of the younger, more forward thinking managers in the Premier League, both with their teams achieving great things whilst playing some of the best football in the league. The two met earlier in the year, early in Pochettino’s reign as Southampton manager, when Martinez was still in charge of Wigan. The two teams had an entertaining game, which ended 2-2 as Shaun Maloney rescued a point with a last minute goal for Wigan, to give them a hope of staying up. However, this time the clash was a game that has importance for future European football. A win for Everton would move them into fourth, as their Merseyside rivals played Chelsea later in the day. While Southampton – suffering a bit of a blip – would move within four points of Manchester United and Tottenham with a win.

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Posted in Premier League

Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal: Giroud Goal Gives Arsenal Vital Win

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In order to end the calendar top of the Premier League table, Arsenal had to return from St. James’ Park with all three points, whilst missing some key players. After a great run of results, including wins against both Manchester United and Chelsea, the game was just as important for Newcastle, who could move level on points with fourth placed Liverpool – although Liverpool played later in the afternoon, and Everton played at the same time as the Magpies, so the gain may only be temporary. Coming off the back of six unbeaten games at home, with four wins and Arsenal missing top-goalscorer Aaron Ramsey and creator Mesut Ozil, Newcastle must’ve fancied their chances.

However, after a tight game, it was Arsenal who took the points, thanks to Olivier Giroud’s first goal in five Premier League games.

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Posted in Premier League

In Defence Of Recent Sackings

mackayandclarkeIt’s never nice to see a manager being ‘relieved of his duties’ from a club, but sometimes, the sacking can be justified and later proven to be the right decision. In the past two weeks, both Steve Clarke and Malky Mackay have been sacked from their respective clubs, which has led to a lot of uproar from fans of the clubs and football fans on social media sites – particularly after the latter was sacked. Although the sackings may seem harsh at first, I think they can also be justified and some of the outrage is slightly exaggerated, as there were valid reasons for them to be given their P45′s.

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Posted in Premier League

Borussia Dortmund 0-3 Bayern Munich: Götze Haunts Old Club

marioDer Klassiker is always an exciting and tactically interesting game, with both teams liking to play aggressive pressing games and a mixture between patient football and lightening quick counter attacks, it rarely disappoints. This year the game became more interesting as it was Pep Guardiola’s first game against Dortmund in the Bundesliga – after losing 4-2 to them in the German Super Cup and also the return of Mario Götze at the Signal Iduna Park. Despite both sides missing key players, it was still an interesting and very enjoyable game to watch.

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Posted in Bundesliga

Huge Change Could Stall Tottenham’s Progress

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Despite narrowly missing out on the Champions League in Andre Villas-Boas’ first season in charge, last season Tottenham showed signs of progress from the Harry Redknapp days. They played some entertaining football and a generally solid outfit, with some of the best defensive statistics in the division. Although, a lot of this was overshadowed by the performances of Gareth Bale, who was the team’s star player, scoring 21 Premier League goals and assisting 4. After such a season, and no Champions League football, Bale’s exit was almost inevitable as he became the most expensive player in the world, with Real Madrid shelling out something in the region of £85,000,00 for the Welshmen. If Tottenham fans had to have patience in the first season of the Villas-Boas reign, they’ll need even more in his second season, after the team has been almost completely overhauled due to the departure of Bale.

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Posted in Premier League
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