Friday, 25 March 2011

Why Scott Parker must start for England against Wales

There have been many players who have distinguished themselves in the Premier League this season.

Nasri has shone for Arsenal, Vidic has dominated for United. but Scott Parker has done everything for West Ham.

This man embodies everything that is right with football.

He is a leader in the best sense of the word.

He leads by example, he leads verbally, he leads emotionally.

I've watched him a few times this season. His performance in the victory over Liverpool was particularly memorable.

He has it all- drive, determination and even an eye for goal.

Why he isn't West Ham captain is something I do not understand, but that is a debate for another day.

I think everyone knows now about he speech in the dressing room when the Hammers overturned a halftime deficit to come from behind and beat West Brom at the Hawthorns.

That typifies Parker.

It shows how respected he is and it shows how much he cares.

This something England, as a team, has being crying out for.

When was the last time England had someone like this?

A team apparently full of leaders looked decidedly leaderless in South Africa in the summer.

Parker could change this.

If it was up to me, I'd probably give the armband to Parker, but that won't happen.

One step at a time- and the first is for him to start against Wales on Saturday.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Can Arsenal and Tottenham go through to the next round of the Champions League?

On the morning of Thursday March 10th 2011, football fans across London will be hoping their club have made it into the Quarter Finals of the Champions League: the greatest prize in the European game.

Arsenal play Barcelona at the Nou Camp while Spurs take on AC Milan at White Hart Lane.

Two great teams, one goal.

Both clubs hold a one goal advantage heading into the second leg- Arsenal came from behind to defeat Barca 2-1 while Tottenham left it late to earn a deserved 1-0 victory through Peter Crouch after sterling play by Aaron Lennon.

Come Thursday afternoon though, will both be through to the next round?

Well to put it bluntly, no. I don't think both will.

Tottenham, with their away goal already have a foot in the next round. I can see them at least drawing with AC, if not, putting in the required performance to take the win against the aging Italian side.

I am one of these people who just doesn't see "it" in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Sure, he is a good player, but I don't see him as a 'great' player- I struggle to put him in the top echelon of world players.

AC are also without Renato Gattuso, their leader, talisman and thug which will be a huge loss for them and with Spurs scoring freely, (they scored 3 at the weekend), coupled with a rousing home support, I just can't look past them for this one.

Arsenal, on the other hand will be in the cauldron of noise that is the Nou Camp. The stage where they choked last year, although they were not quite in as good a position as they are now.

Barcelona also have an away goal, and it would be unthinkable that they will not score at home, and against a suspect Arsenal defense.

The Gunner's attack has also left much to the imagination in recent games and they really must pray Fabregas is fit if they are to have a chance of walking away still in the competition.

I find it hard when thinking about this game, to not see Messi and company stepping it up a gear and cruising past the English side.

Their football is just too fluid and too attacking to roll over and go out of the competition at this stage. I think the last game may well come as a wake up call to them.

Despite this, Arsenal are not without a chance.

They are in the superior position at this point and only need a draw to go through.

With players like Fabregas too, you should never rule out the Arsenal.

All in all though, I think Tottenham will go through and Arsenal will crash out, valiant losers once more.

I will be a close call though, and I've been wrong before.

What do you think?
Let me know.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Liverpool vs. Manchester United: What will happen?

After my poor attempt at predicting the Chelsea vs. United match (see Predictions for Chelsea vs. Manchester United) I thought I'd give it another go.

Now, contrary to what I predicted for Tuesday's game, I see this as a fast, end to end affair with Liverpool pushing on more and trying to take advantage of the makeshift United defense.

The back four of Sir Alex's side will likely be O'Shea, Brown, Smalling and Evra- the latter being the only first choice of the four.

It is possible Rafael will replace O'Shea, but with the aerial threat of Liverpool and their lack of out and out winger, that seems to be unlikely.

The rumored inclusion of Andy Carroll will spice things up even more and make the prospect of Edwin Van Der Sar keeping a clean sheet seem even more unlikely.

I expect Berbatov to return, given his incredible performance in the mirroring fixture earlier in the season. This will give United added potency compared with Tuesday- Hernandez did not get much of the ball and may not be quite ready for games of this magnitude.

Suarez will add some attacking flair to the Liverpool offence and although without the excellent Kelly, Liverpool will have a very strong side.

I think, providing Johnson can deal with the threat of United's best player this season, Nani, Liverpool will have a great chance to snatch a win and hand the advantage of this year's title race back into Arsenal's hands.

I therefore can see this being a 2-1 victory for Liverpool.

If Carroll plays, I see him scoring on his debut, but even if he doesn't, I think the injury hit defense will affect United badly.

With the fire power United have, I think they will score- but I can't see them coming from what will be an amped up Anfield, with a victory.

What do you think?

Any predictions?

Friday, 4 March 2011

Carrick signs new United deal.

er Michael Carrick has signed a new three year contract to keep him at the Theatre of Dreams until 2014.

Now, I know I'm not the only person to ask this but: Why?

United fans have been lobbying for him to be left out of the first team, never mind be offered a new deal.

It is common knowledge that over the last two seasons, and this one in particular, Carrick has been far from his best. In fact, he seems to be on the decline and as he is approaching thirty years old, that may not be far off the mark.

His passing has been abject at best and his tackling not much better.

United fans were hoping, that with Carrick's contract running out at the end of the season, Sir Alex Ferguson would use this as a time to re-shape the midfield and bring in some new, fresh and exciting faces.

This is looking increasingly unlikely.

So should Carrick have been given a new contract?

Does this mean new faces will not be brought in this summer?

What do you think?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Celtic vs. Rangers show why I love football.

Tonight's Old Firm replay did not break the record for goals- it ended with Celtic winning 1-0.

It did not serve up thrill a minute football (although it wasn't a bad game).

But it did have something which the game feeds on:
Pure Passion.

To say the match had extra "spice" was an understatement. In fact, by the time the players were walking down the tunnel, Ranger were down to eight men. Whittaker, Bougherra and Diouf (after the final whistle) all receiving their marching orders.

Some would call it ugly. I would call it entertainment.

There were tackles flying everywhere, arguments, handbags and that was just between Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon!

El-Hadji Diouf was at his pantomime villain best and I loved every second.

Not many like Diouf, and I am one of those- but he does provide a comedy factor to proceedings which no other player can.

He was constantly in the Celtic players' faces, always playing up to the crowd...and the referee.

He even went after Neil Lennon on one occasion which result in a caution and Ally McCoist being pulled away by his soon to be predecessor, Walter Smith.

The Celtic Park crowd was phenomenal. It is not Anfield which has the best fans in Britain on this evidence.

You'll never walk alone rang out around the ground before the kick off of both the first and second halves.

(If you don't believe me about the Celtic Park atmosphere, YouTube it.)

All in all, Celtic thoroughly deserved to win, and it was only down to some decent goalkeeping and suicidal defending which kept it at 1-0.

I'm by no means an SPL watcher, but on this evidence, I may subscribe more to the beautiful game north of the border.

I'm more than happy I chose this over City vs, Villa.

It's all about the passion.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Does United's loss open a window for Arsenal?

Sunday 1st May 2011

Put that date in your diary because that is the day, more than likely, that the 10/11 Premier League title will be settled.

After United threw away a 1-0 lead on Tuesday night against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the title race has been blown wide open, and providing Arsenal win their game in hand, they will be just one point behind the Manchester side.

With Arsenal having arguably the easier run in too, the wind is behind the Gunners, although their loss at the weekend did not help- it could well provide them with an incentive to dig deep and snatch an unlikely championship.

Given, as there is likely to be, there will be two or less point between the two sides by May 1st, a winner would only have three games to go before the end of the season. It would be like a golden goal almost.

The window is certainly open for Arsenal although United are guarding the door since they are still four points ahead, and will be one point to the good provided Arsenal win their game in hand.

It certainly looks to be an exciting end to the season and the neutral should be salivating at the prospect.

Let me know who you think has the upper hand now.

Do Arsenal really have the momentum? After all, they too are coming off the back of a loss.

Or can you see someone else sneaking it? Perhaps City will pinch it?

Let me know and thanks for reading.