Monday, 28 November 2011

When football doesn't matter

Obviously I love football, but some times in life things are more important than who got what points at the weekend. So on that note I thought I'd add my condolences to family of Gary Speed and in these times you realise how tragic it is that someone of 42 years and always seemingly happy and a gentleman should lose his life. If the reports are true that he hanged himself as a result of depression, then it highlights how depression as an illness can affect anyone and also its severity in affecting people.

I don't want to talk for too long but i'm sure everyone will agree that Gary Speed had a lot to give in football yet not least to the Wales national team who were making great strides under his management.

RIP Gary Speed

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Goal Line technology

The FA today announced that from next season 2012-2013 that goal line technology could be used in the premier league. This for me is a major stepping stone in the direction of fairness and consistency in a major refereeing decision that can cost teams a game, or a place in the league.

Although many argue that goal line technology could slow the game up and cause pauses whilst it interacts for the system to be used it must fulfill 4 criteria set by FIFA.

1) The technology can only be used for goal line decisions as to whether the ball has or hasn't crossed the line.
2) The system in operation must be accurate.
3) The decision must be made within 1 second.
4) The communication of the decision is between referee and refereeing assistants only.

I personally think these 4 rules could provide a system that is extremely useful in premier league matches. Often after a debated goal has been adjudged to not have passed the line, the result is a goal kick or corner, in which a player has to collect the ball place it and then take a kick. If the system is efficient enough, then the referee will have enough time to find out whether the ball had passed the line or not. The fact that the communication is between the referee and officials only also benefits as the crowd can not get annoyed at a video replay. The accuracy is the most important part, as no one would like a system that is not 100% accurate allowing for sloppy decisions to be made as there would be no point.

If the FA can implement a fair system such as this into the premier league I see no reason why it should not be used. Sports such as cricket and rugby have been using this system for a while and the decisions that have been made as a result have been greatly improved, if the premier league is to remain the best league in the world for club football then it needs to be at the fore of making decisions correct by using all tools available whilst not detracting from the fast flowing style of play that many have come to know and love.

Hopefully it can stop decisions like this:

Leave a comment on what you think towards goal line technology and whether it should be used in the premier league.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

What is up with Chelsea?

If you haven't heard Chelsea lost 2-1 to Liverpool at home today. This defeat means they have lost 3 out of their last 4 premier league games. Included in this undesirable run is consecutive defeats at home, without doubt a very poor run of form. In addition their single victory in the league came at Blackburn and was only 1-0. So what is up?

I personally think AVB is going too attacking with his selections. They play with 3 forward players who never get back or help out defensively leaving their midfield stretched and vulnerable. In addition John Obi Mikel is the only true defensive midfielder in their standard line up and having players like Lampard and Ramires as his only midfield company he is left exposed too often. A quick one two and teams can get around him and end up running at the back four that is regularly weakened with attacking full backs such as Bosingwa. David Luiz is also a concern as he seems to see his defensive duties as secondary to his desire to take crazy runs forward and get into advanced positions. 

The lack of a form striker also leaves AVB with the decision to play more strikers hoping that one will kick into gear. This being said his formation ends up playing players out of position such as Sturridge playing wide right. The changing of strikers also doesn't allow them to settle into a role or regular football. 

That being said they cam up against a decent Liverpool team today but I think Chelsea need a bit of a back forward approach to bring a bit of stability. Or they need a slight change in system so more of the forward players track back and make things more difficult rather than hanging forward and leaving things open.

Friday, 18 November 2011

This weekends games

Well the international break is (finally) over and football fans around the country can be happy, 1 because England won both games and 2 the premier league is back!

There are some really interesting games this weekend so i thought i'd do a run down of the games a brief thought about each.

Saturday's games
Norwich v Arsenal, 12:45 - My team (Norwich) up against one of the in form premier league big boys. Not a brilliant proposition. If this had been 5 weeks ago I would be relishing the opportunity to play an out of form and leaking defence of Arsenal. As it is now, I am worried. They've hit form and are no longer a one man team. I expect a lot of goals as both teams are better attacking than defending so have to go for it. Prediction: 2-4
Everton v Wolverhampton, 15:00 - Hmmm not a mouth watering tie to say the least. Everton are a good side but their strikers are extremely inconsistent. With Wolves you don't know it always seems a battle to win and a victory would be most appreciated. Can see Everton winning this though. Prediction: 2-1
Man City v Newcastle, 15:00 - The two unbeaten sides left in the premier league so far this year, that being said Man City have won a lot more than drawn so far. I would be very surprised if even a well organised Newcastle team on the rise would be able to stop the Man City wagon rolling on and expect them to win. Prediction: 3-1
Stoke v QPR, 15:00 - This is a game that could be a boring one. Stoke have developed the habit of becoming a bit of a 1-0 team, especially at home. Their attacking flair has disappeared and QPR will have to play well to break them down defensively. Prediction: 1-1
Sunderland v Fulham, 15:00 - Very difficult game to call this one. I just think that Fulham are the better team and although Sunderland defended well against Man Utd the desire to attack at home could leave them exposed. Prediction: 1-2
West Brom v Bolton, 15:00 - Although Bolton have been on a poor run of form recently, both teams have been made into 'solid' premiership teams by Owen Coyle and Roy Hodgson. If the recovery for Bolton is not a short lived one then a good contest could ensue. Prediction: 2-2
Wigan v Blackburn, 15:00 - A massive 6 pointer already? Both teams know how to drop points like they're going out of fashion. Blackburn seem to be the better side performance wise but can they seal the deal or can Wigan sneak a result? This could be a good game with both sides attacking and creating chances. Prediction: 2-3
Swansea v Man Utd, 17:30 - Swansea have been resolute at the back this year and have kept numerous home clean sheets. They also possess the threat on the break through 3 pacey wingers, but the strength of last years champions is undeniable and even on an off day Man Utd can win matches comfortably. Prediction: 0-2

Sunday's game
Chelsea v Liverpool, 16:00 - The game of the weekend without doubt. In my opinion AVB has been too attacking with his formation and playing a 3 man midfield with 3 attackers that don't track back has proved costly especially against Arsenal. Indiscipline cost them the game against QPR but this has started a negative run for Chelsea. Liverpool on the other hand seem to be brilliant one moment then poor the next. The return of Steven Gerrard was a huge boost for Liverpool and seemed to generate excitement, but his new injury has taken the wind from their sails. They also have the Luis Suarez racism row hanging over them. I think if Downing can take his international form into the game and Luis Suarez can replicate his 4 goals for Uruguay the other day, then the match could be brilliant. The longer the game stays at a stalemate the more energy that will be lost, a quick start and it could be a classic. Prediction: 3-2

Monday's game

Tottenham v Aston Villa, 20:00 - A good Monday night clash and hopefully I'll have my essay finished and wont be stuck in front of the computer writing it. Tottenham on form are a brilliant team to watch and the number of appearances from Ledley King this year has given them a solid defensive platform to build upon. In recent weeks that has worked wonders and their midfield is arguably the best in the league. Aston Villa have also benefited from wide performances by Gabby Agbonlahor and the adoption of a 3 man attack. If Villa go for it then the game could open up. Prediction: 3-1 

Leave a comment on your thoughts for the games this weekend!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

England Vs Sweden

Another 1-0 victory for England but this time against a much weaker team, nevertheless a clean sheet and Fabio Capello's new defensive machine begins to look solid even if there was 8 changes from the team that beat Spain. The performance overall was not amazing but England did create especially in the first half a number of clear cut chances. These are the chances that you want to create as I think that some of the more senior players would put away, so the result could have easily been more clear cut.

As there was no major talking points or drama in the game I am going to again talk about some of the players that stood out to me in either a good or bad way.

1) Phil Jones- Phil Jones was one of the 3 players retained from the XI that played against Spain on Saturday and was again playing in an unusual midfield position. This time he was the sole shield to the back four. Today I thought he was much more comfortable in the position, although when there was a break down in the play he often drifted closer and closer to the back four, rather than holding the shape for the midfield. He also had a good chance that his pace and power created for him but an unfamiliar attacking position in the centre of the goal resulted in him missing the target. Overall it was clear to see that he is a class player and a definite for England in the future available in a variety of positions, although I can't see past Scott Parker for holding midfield in the near future.

2) Bobby Zamora- Another Heskey? I think Bobby Zamora had a good supportive game to the attacking wingers and midfield today, but if England are going to continue with a one striker system I can't see him playing as he wont get enough goals. That being said he linked play well and drew defenders out which allowed the wingers and full backs to get behind the defence and create some good opportunities.

3) Kyle Walker- Was given man of the match by the ITV commentary team and I think that was deserved for the work ethic. He offered an option on the right the whole game and his pace defending was extremely useful. His discipline was also greater than Glen Johnson's against Sweden and I believe if Capello wont choose Micah Richards then Walker should be Englands first choice right back.

4) Daniel Sturridge- Daniel sturridge finally got his England debut today, but as a winger. I am a bit disappointed to see him in this position as he is a definite goal scorer and striker. I think it was a waste by Fabio Capello to bring on Bent for Zamora as the lone striker as it seems he has secured his place in the squad so why not allow a striker who has been getting goals in the premier league for almost a year a chance to play up front as he offers nothing defensively and seemed out of sorts.

Overall if the 3 golden opportunities that England created that weren't taken were, then we could be looking at people describing this as a wonderful performance, as it is, it wasn't amazing but there are a few positives to take and our defensive strength is pleasing.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Yesterdays matches

Unfortunately in English culture, one result means everything and although the match against Spain was a terrific performance from England the masses now believe that we are unbeatable and better than Spain, resulting in the next world cup having our name on it already. Not to dull down the performance, I just don't think English fans should get carried away, it was one result on one day, that doesn't make or break a team it merely shows Spain are not invincible like many had thought.

That being said I do believe there were some outstanding performances from certain players which held together the team.

1) Scott Parker- deserved man of the match, put an absolute shift in, won tackles intercepted the ball well and I can only not once where he gave the ball away. Looked England's best player and one of the only ones who was at the pace with the Spanish. He must be drinking the Lucozade's because he worked tirelessly and without him I don't think we would have won.

2) Joleon Lescott- I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan of Joleon Lescott but he looked assured at centre back. He also pressured the spanish taking calculated risks to come forward when David Villa dropped off the advanced striking role, stopping him from being able to turn and shoot. He also read the game brilliantly and made some crucial interceptions throughout which broke the play up well and kept England from being swamped in the first half especially.

3) Ashley Cole- Another one who must have eaten his carbs and drank his lucozade because he really did work hard. He noticed the importance of getting forward when we had the chance and always seemed to be the quickest player on the pitch off the ball. In addition he didn't get carried away and had some pretty tough players to mark which he did excellently. Should we be surprised? No he is without doubt one of the best left backs in the world and he showed that yesterday.

I think England can take heart from this performance and the defensive side of the game looks solid currently so that is good. I just don't think the nation should get carried away in thinking we are better than Spain as we are a long way off that yet.

Wales Vs Norway

I only watched the first half and the end of the second half, but the improvement is Wales as a team is astonishing. Gary Speed has turned their negative mentality upside down and developed a formula that suits them excellently. Giving license to their star players Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy, Wales now come across as a confident attacking national team. A lot of credit should be given to the hard work from Steve Morison who seemed to win nearly every ball yesterday and then hold it up to bring in their 3 star attacking players (Bellamy, Bale and Ramsey). A good performance especially as the only Norwegian goal was a howler from the keeper.

Ireland Vs Estonia

Well done to Ireland on a brilliant result, it looks like only a terrible performance can stop them making the Euro's now. I was surprised not to see Wes Hoolahan in the squad for the game after a brilliant year with Norwich, especially as it isn't just me who believes he is good enough. Wes has been shortlisted to the final 3 for the PFAI player of the year award. This being said you can't argue with results like that a 4-0 victory and a brilliant position to be in going into the 2nd leg.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Everyones favourite player strikes again

Mario Balotelli just doesn't know how to stay out the news does he?

This is mainly for people in the UK who may not get to see his goal from this evening so I thought i'd make a short post to show you it. It's a gooden.

Link to the goal

Spain Vs England

So the first of England's friendlies is tomorrow and against probably the best team in the world, Spain. Although limited team news has arrived from Spain there are rumours circulating that both Xavi and Iniesta will start the game at Wembley.

From England's point of view there has been only 2 pieces of confirmed team news.

1) Frank Lampard will captain the team in the absence of John terry. Personally I don't see this as a good move, as I do believe Frank Lampard has influenced international games in a less and less sense over recent years and I don't think he is a stone wall starter in England's first XI. As a result I think the captaincy could be better given to someone who Capello thinks is in his first choice team as well as someone that could benefit from the experience if he is experimenting. I also think that in a game where you are playing the best team in the world why not put your best team out? That would mean playing John Terry and making the captaincy debate an easy one.

2) Phil Jones will play in the holding role in midfield. This is a real shock to me, this is because from my knowledge he has only played there once this season for Manchester United. In addition to this it is a bit cruel to keep switching a young players position like he has had all year, from CB to RB and now to CDM. The final point is why would he be chosen to play in this role which he is not familiar with when we have both Scott Parker and Gareth Barry in the squad who have been brilliant this year for their respective teams.

Overall though I am looking forward to the game to see how england cope with a style of play like no other team in the world.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

England squad

Well now qualification is sorted out for the Euro's England can look to mould what they consider to be the best squad for the assault on the championship. Well, that's what they should be doing. Alot of discussion and controversy surrounds whoever the England manager on whatever choices and selections they make. Every journalist and their pet dog thinks they could do the job better than the current boss who is always horribly useless. So in trying not to be a moaning England fan defiant that I am better than Mr Capello I wanted to address a few issues that I am a bit baffled about particularly.

1) Micah Richards- Probably the most talked about decision from the current England squad. Micah Richards who has been an extremely important player for Manchester City this year and one of the outstanding performers in a number of games. Very surprised he is not in the starting line up let alone not in the squad. Feel sorry for him.

2) Jack Rodwell- I was slightly surprised to see him in the squad, I do not particularly follow Everton closely but hadn't heard of any majorly influential performances from him this year. This being said I am happy to see some younger players being picked.

3) David Stockdale- Playing in the championship, do you really want a goalkeeper coming on as a replacement who has been playing in a 2nd tier league? I am surprised John Ruddy wasn't picked and given a chance after a few good performances and the week in week out premier league experience making the jump to international less steep/ might be able to cope with the pressure better.

4) Anthony Pilkington- Before everyone says you're only picking him as he is a Norwich player, that may be the case but he has been outstanding this year. He has picked up 4 goals already (from midfield) that is as many as Luis Suarez. He also can use both feet and goes past players with ease. If ever Fabio should have picked a form player and not a name I believe this is an example. Many teams with worse names than Englands team do better in internationals or over perform and this is because they don't have as many 'names' and I think England could learn from that.

5) John Terry- In my opinion you have to stick by your captain until proven guilty, so the decision to pick John Terry was correct in this case.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Zinedine Zidane

Sorry not had time to do a proper post for a while but instead i give you a video of the best player i've ever seen. There's no point me writing anything just watch

Saturday, 5 November 2011

11 games in blog

Well we've now played 11 games in the premier league and it's time to stop thinking about being the new boys and start only thinking about the next game in the calendar. After today it has become clear that our defence is not good enough without the 2 sitting midfielders in Fox and Johnson. Even with the 2 of them playing in the previous 7 games we've still conceded every game this season and relied upon out scoring our opponents. As seen last year playing attacking football will only get you so far (blackpool) and I am starting to worry about our defence. If Leon Barnett does not have a good game, neither does our defence. I can not fault Russell Martins commitment and he really had a good year last year but as a premier league centre back I don't think he is good enough.

Having a clean sheet ensures that you get at least 1 point and of all the weaker teams it seems Norwich are the weakest defensively and come the end of the season this could cost us. It is disappointing as a fan of a team who need to be getting points at any opportunity to miss out on a point from a poor back pass by our centre back. Although individual errors shouldn't be scrutinized it is frustrating to see defensive errors cost us points especially when we managed to score 2 goals away from home against a strong premier league team in Aston Villa.

I am not going to do a full match review as I didn't get to watch the full match but I can credit the team for what seems like a good effort attacking. I also want to note that I don't think Wes is best utilised as a central midfielder as I think the freedom of being pushed forward helps us more as he puts pressure on defences when off the ball further up the field.

Overall though to be on 13 point after 11 games is a good start but we need to find some more form coming into the christmas and early 2012 when we have  a lot of crucial and winnable games. This could define our season as our run in is particularly difficult.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Andy Johnson

Just wanted to make a quick post to direct you to a video of a quality goal scored by Andy Johnson tonight, europa league games don't seem to get much coverage and this goal could go missing but it is a belter.

Andy Johnson goal

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Festivals next year

With Glastonbury taking a year off next year, the door is open for some of the other festivals to secure a few major bands. The question is will they?

There is no question that Glastonbury can secure the best headline acts of all the festivals in the country, but do bands play Glastonbury for the fact that it is a headline show and a lot of money or the appeal of having played a headline slot at Glastonbury?

A major act such as Bruce Springsteen who does not play many UK festivals was lured into playing Glastonbury just because of what Glastonbury is. However other acts such as Coldplay and Muse who have headlined in recent years are well known for being 'on the circuit' (regularly playing festivals around europe).  So does this mean that some bands that could have been lined up to play Glastonbury may take a step down and headline other major festivals in the UK such as Reading/Leeds or V festival?

My opinion is the pool of available potential headline acts could be increased due to the lack of Glastonbury as record labels get more and more pushy towards their bands being seen at festivals and the subsequent t.v. and news attention it attracts.

Although early days the best place to check for reliable information on festivals I have found is Efestivals.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Blog promotion

My friend has recently started blogging so i thought why not leave a link on my page to his in case anyone is interested.
Alex Streeter