30 Sep 2011

Barclay Premier League Matches Saturday 1.October 2011

Everton vs Liverpool from Goodison Park, Liverpool
The first Merseyside derby of the season is the early kick off of the day, as both sides will look to finish higher up the table then their current positions, 11th, and 5th respectably. Everton have had a disappointing start to the season. They have lost points in many games they should have won. The Everton side looks to be slow starters this season as well. Liverpool has had a decent start to the season, but is in need of three points in this match if they are to stay in range of the top spots. Looks like Liverpool is getting a boost from the return of their captain and talisman Steven Gerrard. It might still be too early to start him for Dalglish tough.

Prediction: Everton 2-2 Liverpool

Aston Villa vs Wigan Athletic from Villa Park, Birmingham
The visitors will be looking to get back to winning ways after tasting three defeats in a row, and on the road will not be an easy task, especially when the hosts have yet to be beaten so far this season. The home side is in desperate need of a win now after drawing 5 games this season. Wigan have a strong history at Villa Park and I have a feeling that they will get at least a point and might even take home all 3 points.

Prediction:  Aston Villa – Wigan 1-2

Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester City from Ewood Park, Blackburn
A lot of negative stories in the paper for both teams at the moment. It is very unsure how it affects the sides. Blackburn got hammered away to Newcastle last round and Steve Kean might get axed soon if they keep on loosing games. Mancini on the other side have problems with his players all the time and now the focus have been on Carlos Tevez. All the negative focus must stop soon if the City team is to produce the goods. It looks like Mancini is starting to feel the pressure on dealing with a squad full of stars, who all expects to play regular football.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Manchester City

Manchester United vs Norwich City from Old Trafford, Manchester
After the 3-3 draw at home during midweek in Champions League play to Basel, Sir Alex Ferguson said his United side got a massive wake up call and nobody expected that to happen. The truth of the matter is Basel could have had more goals had they taken their chances in the first half. Like I have written I feel that United is lacking the world class performance of Wayne Rooney at the moment, and struggle to find the structure when he is out. Paul Lambert have managed to win two games in a row now and must be high on confidence. They looked very strong at Sunderland in the last game. I do think it’s time for United to win again tough.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Norwich City

Sunderland vs West Brom from the Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Could a match have much importance already in the season if both teams are in, or near the relegation zone? It’s possible, although there still is plenty of time to turn things around for both teams. Both teams have been big disappointments so far and both managers are in danger of getting axed as the first manager this season. Sunderland should have enough quality in the side to beat a poor traveling West Brom team.

Prediction: Sunderland 2-0 West Brom

Wolves vs Newcastle United from Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
After a flying start right out of the gates, Wolves are now on a three game losing streak. Manager Mick McCarthy will be hoping his side can put things right, and essentially win their home games to avoid a real relegation battle like they did last season. Newcastle on the other hand is the big surprise so far this season and are still unbeaten. I don’t think manager Pardew or the players expected to perform at sutch a high level this year and the question is how long they can keep the momentum going? I smell a draw in this game.

Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United

The value of world class players

It’s amazing to see how much the salaries of footballers keep on growing as the years go by. Some people are shocked and might be wondering how far it will go? How much money can the clubs pay out in salaries before it all stops? And of course why on earth would the clubs pay so much money for just a footballer?

Wayne Rooney
I can understand why people think it’s sick when the look at what the players get paid to play football. And especially those people who don’t care on bit about the game. But if you analyze it a bit more you will understand why the best clubs can afford to pay such high salaries to keep the best players, or the “World class players”.  Of course the problem is that most players want a piece of the cake and if the best players get paid a lot more than the rest there will be complaints. This is another good point, but this article is about the world class players and their value to the top teams.

The best example right now is Manchester United. They have made an impressing start to the season but have struggled in 3 games so far. If you look at the start line in those three matches you will only find Wayne Rooney in one of them. And in the one game he played he looked out of form and tired, in the match against Benfica. In the two other matches Stoke and Basel United have looked poor as a team and they don’t have the same structure and flow in their game. For me it’s clear that Manchester United with and without Wayne Rooney is two different teams. It’s not just that Wayne Rooney have been brilliant and proven himself as a world class player this season. It’s the character Rooney with his enthusiastic style of play which gives the whole side a mental boost; one could call him a talisman. It’s still too early to say how big the loss of Rooney is but as it looks like now United is very much in need of him to produce the results. They still have a lot of good players in the side but with Vidic out in defence I can’t see any other world class player in the side.
Luka Modric

Another example for me is Tottenham Hotspur and Luaa Modric. Spurs opened the premiership with two horrific results against Manchester City and Manchester United. Both game was played while Modric wanted to leave for Chelsea and he looked unhappy and not comfortably in the Spurs shirt. After the transfer window closed and Redknapp managed to hold on to Modric it turned around. Modric all of the sudden looked happy and started playing as he did all last season. Tottenham hammered Liverpool at home after a brilliant strike from Modric and went to win 3 games in a row. It proves that Redknapp made the right decision to keep Modric. He knows that he needed to keep his world class player if they would to stand any chance in fighting for a champions league spot this year.

Steven Gerrard
My last example is Liverpool and Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool captain and talisman have shown time and time again what a world class player he is and what important part he is in the club. The biggest achievement was more or less alone winning the champions league in the 2004/2005 season. The Liverpool side is looking good so far this season but is still in need of a fit world class player like Steven Gerrard if they are to challenge the top sides this season. The question is now if he will ever come back in the world class form that he has shown so many times. Let’s hope so for Liverpool and England.

If one analyzes all the top clubs in the world, most teams have 1-2 players in the side which can win the tight games for their teams. Those players are the once who shows the skill and dedication for their club to be called world class players in my opinion. And those players are worth their time on the pitch in gold. The value of the players is best shown when they are not playing, and one should therefore never take that quality for granted.

28 Sep 2011

Champions League Results 27&28 September

AC Milan
Arsenal FC
BATE Borisov
Bayer Leverkusen
Olympique Marseille
Shakhtar Donetsk
Valencia CF
Zenit St Petersburg

Bayern München
Manchester United
Otelul Galati
Real Madrid
SSC Napoli
CSKA Moscow

Viktoria Plzen
Olympiakos Pireus
FC Barcelona
Racing Genk
Borussia Dortmund
Chelsea FC
FC Porto

Manchester City
Dinamo Zagreb
FC Basel
SL Benfica
AFC Ajax
Villarreal CF
Lille OSC
Inter Milan

As I predicted the English teams had a tough 2nd match week in the champions league. I predicted Arsenal to win, Chelsea to draw and Manchester City to lose. The big surprise was that Manchester United went from 2-0 in first-half to draw 3-3 at home to Basel. That was a big disappointment to the United side. For me it shows that United is struggling without their talisman Rooney. 

Check out my predictions for the 2nd match week here:

Champions League prediction 28.September

Valencia – Chelsea         Draw (2-2)

Valencia started the champions league with a draw 0-0 away to Genk. They are current in 7th place in the Spanish Primera division and have a lot of European experience in the team. Valencia is a strong home side with a solid history in the European cups. Chelsea have looked stronger and stronger in the premiership and started the champions league with a 2-0 victory at home to Bayer Leverkusen. It will be interesting to see how Joan Mata will be treated coming back to his former club. I think we will see an even game which will end in a draw.

Arsenal – Olympiakos   Home (3-1)

Arsenal have had a shaky start to the season in England and started the champions league with a 1-1 draw away to Dortmund. Taking a point in Germany is no easy task and with 3 points at home to Olympiakos the Gunners will take a big step towards next stage of the champions league. Olympiakos lost their first game 0-1 at home to Marseille, and is most likely already out of the champions league this year. One can’t afford to lose at home if the team is to go through to the next stage. I think Arsenal will win this comfortably at The Emirates.

27 Sep 2011

Champions League Match Week 2

It’s time for Champions League Match week 2. Here are my predictions on the English teams playing today:

Manchester United – Basel        Home (3-0)
Manchester United will play at home to Basel. Wayne Rooney is still out with injury and the question is how United will cope with the loss of their talisman. They looked poor in the game against Stoke in the weekend. I bet Sir Alex Ferguson is asking his players to step up and show that the game against Stoke was a small pump in the road. I think Ferguson will get the best out of his team and crush Basel at Old Trafford.

Bayern Munich – Manchester City          Home (2-1)
Bayern Munich is a strong home side and always a force to respect in Europe. They won the first game 2-0 away to Villarreal and are topping both the champions league group and the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich has a lot of European experience and with should be confident going into this game. Manchester City is new to the champions league but have many players with experience at this level. They started the champions league with a disappointing draw 1-1 at home to Napoli. I think City will get their hands full in this game. They are good enough to get points in this game but I have a feeling that Bayern Munich will win this game.

The matches in match week 2:

Barclay Premier League game week 6 roundup

Barclay premier league round 6 was a round with no big surprises in my opinion. Manchester city, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all won their games at home which were expected. Tottenham beat Wigan away as well which gave Spurs three in a row now which is strong after losing their two first matches.

There are some games I do feel like commenting on tough. Many people have called out Manchester United as champions already. As I wrote earlier on my blog I don’t agree that United have looked that impressing yet. And as I predicted they got their hands full away to Stoke this weekend. One could say that Rooney was out for the game, but as I also mentioned that is part of the game. If United can’t cope with Rooney being out they got huge problems coming. Manchester City and Chelsea are also looking strong and United can’t afford to lose too many points. Enough said about United. Stoke is looking very solid this season. They have beaten Liverpool and take points against both Chelsea and Manchester United at home so far. It looks like Britannia is one of the hardest places to travel this season and if Stoke can get some points away as well they could be an unmentioned challenger for the 4th place this season.

I feel I have hit spot on with a lot of my predictions so far. The one thing I do feel tough is that I might have to swallow my predictions on Newcastle. They beat Blackburn at home and are at top of the league unbeaten so far. I thought the loss of Carrol, Noland and Barton would leave Newcastle dead and buried in the bottom of the table but the team spirit looks strong and they are for me the biggest surprise so far.

Norwich is another team I would like to mention. I watched the game against Sunderland yesterday and they looked very strong. I have seen some of their games so far and they have looked good in most of them, but have been unlucky with the results. So it’s nice to see that they finally get some points for their good performances. If they can keep it up they might actually be able to stay up this season. The way Norwich has produced the last two seasons is just brilliant. And one can’t do anything but salute Paul Lambert for the job he has done there. The question now is how long Norwich can keep their manager. Bigger clubs must be impressed with the job he has done.

Last team I want to talk about is Aston Villa. The team is still unbeaten after round 6, but 5 draws aren’t good enough at the end of the day. At the rate Villa is drawing games they are looking to be relegated this season. And I predicted Aston Villa to struggle this year, and it looks to me that I might be right. Alex McLeish is a good manager, but his style of play fits bottom teams best. He likes to play defensively and a tight style of football. This works when his team is underdogs but in games they should win they will struggle. In McLeish’s defense they have gotten points away to both Fulham and Everton which are difficult places to travel to. But at home they need to produce more if they are to stay clear of the relegation battle in my opinion.

To round up the round I got 7 out of 10 games right and nailed both Liverpool to win 2-1 and West Brom to draw 0-0 at the Hawthorns:

25 Sep 2011

Preview of Barclays Premier League matches on 25 and 26 September:

Queens Park Rangers – Aston Villa        Home (2-1)

QPR have looked strong after a horrible start to the season with 0-4 at home to Bolton. 7 points in 5 matches is strong for a newly promoted team, and with some strong signing in summer I think QPR will stay up. QPR won 3-0 away to Wolves last round, and the new signings with Joey Barton as captain and front man looked very strong. Aston Villa has had a good start to the season and is unbeaten so far. Problem for Villa is that only one win in 5 games might not be good enough in the long run. I think it’s time that Villa got their first defeat, even though they have been hard to beat so far.

Norwich – Sunderland                  home (1-0)

The Canaries have had a tough start to the season but finally got their first victory in the last game away to Bolton. They have been a bit unlucky at home so far and I have deserved more than they have gotten so far. Norwich is usually strong at home and I think they might be able to build on their victory from the Bolton game. Sunderland is a difficult team to predict. They started with a strong point away to Liverpool in the first round but it took them 5 games before they got their first win in the season. That being said it was a strong victory and they hammered a strong Stoke team 4-0 at home. Sunderland is strong enough to get points in this game but I have a feeling that Norwich will finally get their first win at home this season.