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Monday, 29 August 2011

The Arsenal 8 vs 2 defeat Post Mortem

Unfortunately it is very difficult to hold back my feelings on the Arsenal performance and situation for this blog and to be completely calm and neutral about it. So, I have decided to just hold nothing back and let my true feelings come out.

Those fan's who seriously believe Arsene should go, really don't know too much about the affects of manager change on a club. It would be a disaster to change the manager now. Now I am a huge Wenger fan, and I am not defending him in this situation, please believe me. He is making mistakes, and he needs to come through with these promises of new experienced signings as promised at the back end of last season. However, sacking him now is not the answer. It would be like kicking someone whilst they are on the floor, something that you should never do.

Let's start looking at our ageing out of date board who need to go! This is the main problem with the club right now trust me! They are slowing every deal up, they are the ones who don't want to pay the money for players that we need. SACK THE BOARD. It is needed. And what of our new owner, Mr Kroenke? We as Arsenal fan's have heard nothing from him, seen nothing new of him, and wonder to ourselves what on earth he is doing at the club? He is not a fan, he has no heart in the club and quite simply is only looking for profits of his investment.

I think the whole of Arsenal had lost this game before the kick off. The shock in the team sheet and the lack of quality and experience was extremely worrying. But that is no excuse for losing 8 vs. 2 and showing no fight and heart in a performance that lacked everything. There was no game plan, no defensive cohesion, no tactics, no leadership and worryingly no management. If a struggle to qualify for the Champions League, something that I actually said afterwards may not have been the best thing for the club this season (which sounds insane to think, right?), was a wake up call to the manager, then this is like someone is violently shaking Arsene to make changes in the squad.

Rosicky????? Are you being serious! What a disgrace of a player, no heart, no fight and his behaviour when that free kick was taken is truly frightening. He was in the wall and never once turned round after the ball was kicked by Rooney. If the keeper had saved it and pushed it out, he was walking away from the goal not paying any attention to what was going on. His performances have been abysmal, and that's being kind. What worries me the most about Rosicky is that he is a senior member of the team, one that young players look up to. Shocking.

Johan Djourou! Where do I start? In parts last year he was showing massive improvements, particularly remember against Chelsea last year. BUT now he is the most error prone defender in the premier league. This is no exaggeration, just look at the goals we have conceded, 5 of which are down to his poor commitment and more importantly shocking decision making! He was at fault for so many goals, by making basic errors that you wouldn't find in kids football. I am being kind in this piece about him because there is so much more I can say about this second rate defender.

The full backs! Traore never has been good enough, still isn't even after all his loan spells. And poor Jenkinson. Yes, he had no protection from anyone around him, but my word he is a million miles away from being an Arsenal player. He lacks pace and another with shocking decision making. He was playing non league football in December and then straight into the Arsenal team at Old Trafford. Poor management Arsene, this kid is not ready, and I do not believe he is showing signs that he is anywhere good enough for premier league football.

Wenger failed in his lack of game plan, and left our full backs exposed. Walcott and Arshavin had to play deeper and our key should of been protection. We needed to squeeze the ball more, but we let them play through midfield, which allowed those easy balls over the top and in behind our league 2 defence.

Only positives were Ramsey, who on the ball is showing massive improvements. And I though Coquelin on his debut was very impressive. He worked hard, he ran, he tackled and gave his all, something the experienced players around him didn't.

Where to go from here! Scary times when you hear Wenger refusing to admit we need to buy, making every Arsenal fan gulp. After yesterday a Full back is a new priority in my book, and with Jag's ability to play along the back line, he would be essential, just please Arsenal pay the money!!! Cahill in as well no question. Arsenal should do everything they can to prize Kaka from Madrid (he is rotting on their bench) and sign Eden Hazard from Lille. It means investing every bit of money available and the board finally adjusting the wage bill.

A note to the best performance from Arsenal yesterday was the amazing support of the fans, who did not stop singing throughout.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Premier League Shaping up nicely

I have to say the standard of the premier league this season has certainly started with a bang! The football being played by the top teams has been exceptional and the battling qualities of the teams expected to be at the bottom has been a breath of fresh air. QPR's reaction to a heavy and some what embarrassing start to the season at home to Bolton was swiftly put to the side after a fantastic away win to slow starters Everton. Wolves starting with a 100% record is great to see after they struggled so much last year. Looks like Mick MacCarthy is really installing a great work ethic amongst his players.

The exceptional football was emphasised by the champions Manchester United, playing Tottenham off the park with an extremely young, but exciting line up. Their strength in depth looks frightening (in a good way), their new boys really shining through, in particular Phil Jones who looks a sensational young player and Ashley Young, one who is improving week on week. And the emergence of Danny Welbeck, never forgotten by Sir Alex Ferguson and his assist for Anderson's goal was quite tremendous.

Man City are looking like a completely different team to last year. Remember that game they played at the Emirates stadium, when Arsenal were flying and they just played for the draw. Never attacked throughout the game, and their sole intent was to just not concede. Could you imagine seeing Man City this term playing like that? They are an exciting outfit and playing some great attacking football and will be a joy to watch for the neutrals this year. Adding more attacking strength to their squad with the inclusion of Samir Nasri this week, will bring them more prowess in front of goal, and their strikers mouths must be watering at the prospect of having Yaya Toure, Nasri and David Silva feeding them this year.

Chelsea have scrapped through unimpressively so far to 4 points, but with a couple of new signings, including that of the exciting talent of Juan Mata from Valencia, I think they will be back to their fluent ways very soon. Liverpool are looking good after a nice result away to a struggling Arsenal, who have their work cut out and a fast rebuilding process is needed to compete back at the top.

When we see the European games start on a regular basis, then we will see if their continues to be a golf in class between the top few teams and everyone else. But I am very excited that we're right underway with the season and the excitement of knowing there is still so much to come.

Monday, 15 August 2011

First weekend and the talking points

The first weekend was here

Not one person is talking about the real problem with the game, the Referee. He was absolutely shocking, and was the cause of all what happened during the game. Song reacted (wrongly) to a tackle from behind by Barton. Yes Barton got the ball, but the laws state that any tackle from behind is a foul and a yellow card. The referee should have immediately blown his whistle and dealt with this challenge. And yes, the referee should have dealt with Song too as it was a red card and rightly so will be punished. (absolutely shocking discipline from one of Arsenal's experienced players, which will cost them in the coming games against Liverpool and United).

If, as the referee determined, that Gervinho did dive, then the referee should have blown up, given a free kick and booked him for simulation. Problem solved. But he failed to do his job, again. His assistant did not help, as Joey Barton lifted him from the ground, very aggressively which can't be allowed and should of been a red card. Again the referee was wrong. No wonder Gervinho reacted, though the slap was wrong and he did deserve his punishment, one thing the referee actually got right.

I would like the referee's to start coming out, speaking and explaining their decisions. If they come out and admit to mistakes, then I believe everybody will move on straight away and except that they are humans and do make mistakes.

My final points on all this is the actions of Steven Taylor to get the Arsenal player sent off, lying and saying it was an elbow, when there was nothing of the sort. Is he going to get punished? Joey Barton's reaction to the slap was disgusting. And he has spoken out about how he hates people diving, well him going down like that is just the same. And finally, Alan pardew. A manager I have very little good things to say about, and he continued his shocking attitude, with his post match comments defending any player being able to lift someone off the ground as aggressively as he did. Also, funnily enough not condoning the way Barton went down too. Yes all managers defend players, I mean we have Arsene Wenger the king of it all, but that was something else.

The second most talked about opening weekend moment is this man, Sergio Aguero. What can you say about his impact coming off the bench for Man City against Swansea? Incredible! Yes it is Swansea, a promoted team with very little premier league experience amongst their ranks, but Aguero had trained for one week (not always with the squad) after a long summer with Argentina, came in and transformed the game from a tight 1 vs. 0 to a 4 vs. 0 demolition job. A fantastic signing for Man City, joining the vast talent in their ranks and showing the Premier League big boys that their here to compete for the title this year, and on that performance, who would bet against them?

I have to say I was impressed with Swansea though. They played some very good football, attacked extremely quickly with the likes of Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer and I believe they will surprise plenty of teams this term. A bit more of a physical presence in the center of midfield would certainly help their team.

Poor poor QPR need a vast amount of improvements after Bolton destroyed them at Loftus Road. Worrying for me is the defence and how light they look there. If there is time for Neil Warnock to get in and improve this area of his team, then I believe definitely some investment is needed. Impressive start for Owen Coyles team though.

Manchester United continued their way of winning, by scraping a 2 vs. 1 win against West Brom. The only problems coming out of the game were injuries to both Vidic and Ferdinand, which could be crucial in seeing how they respond with a couple of tricky fixtures coming up for them. West Brom I thought played pretty well and look set to have a much better season this time around.

Chelsea lacked a bit of spark from their midfield to push them forward and struggled to create too many chances against a difficult Stoke team. Stoke proving they are going to be a tough opposition this season, especially at the Britannia stadium. Just missing some creative talent from the midfield like Chelsea.

Wolves started well with a nice win and Mick MaCarthy will look to push on with his team this season and build from a good away result. Poor start for their opponents Blackburn though and my belief is that Steve Kean could be the first manager casualty this term.

Liverpool and Sunderland both showed their talents during their 1 all draw at Anfield, with that classic cliche "Its a game of two halfs" very apparent. Luis Suarez looked very classy and Downing showed some patches of his talents too. For Sunderland, new signing Wes Brown looks to be an absolute steal at £1 million, and was extremely dominant at the back for them. A fantastic goal from Seb Larsson showed they will not miss Jordan Henderson too much this term, with Larsson a ready made replacement.

Very little to say about the Fulham vs. Aston Villa game, a goal less draw from two very lacklustre sides, who will need to really step it up in the coming weeks.

And finally Wigan against new boys Norwich, a potential relegation scrap on day 1 of the season for both teams. A 1 all draw seeming a fair result in this competitive game, where new boys Norwich showed a lot of fight and bottle, which will stand them in good stead this year.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Goodbye Cesc - now, how are we going to move on Arsene?

The longest transfer saga in premier League history has finally come to a conclusion, with Cesc Fabregas being unveiled as a Barcelona player today. He will go back to his boyhood club, after learning and developing all his talent at Arsenal FC to becoming one of the best players in World Football. This is no exaggeration and the stats do not lie either. When people said he had a poor year last year, they are wrong. Fabregas suffered from a lot of injuries last term, but still managed to lead Arsenal's assist table. He still managed to create the second most chances out of every premier League player and the biggest stat of all is that for the past 5 years, Fabregas has created the most chances out of the top 5 European leagues. He is that good!

As an Arsenal fan, I want players playing for my club who want to be there, who want to drive the team forward and who want success for the team. That classic saying, "nobody is bigger than the club". This also applies with the Nasri situation, who clearly is intent on leaving the club considering he does not want to sign a new deal. Arsenal need to now accept the situation and move on. But the fan's want to know, what's next?

Arsene Wenger has come under a great deal of criticism this past couple of years by football fans, pundits and from his own fan's. Never from me though. I will never criticise a man who has transformed the game in England, transformed the club of Arsenal and transformed the way Arsenal play the game of football. "In Arsene we trust" and I am a firm believer of this. However, if I ever have had any questions that need to be answered for the future of Arsenal Football Club then this is the time.

Many people target Arsene Wenger for the current situation, but people need to start focusing their anger and questions to those higher up at the club and to an ageing out of date board. In my view this is what needs revolutionised at the club. The board need to step into the 21st century and focus the club on the changes that are fast apparent in football. Yes we have a fantastically run football team financially and have a great amount of stability at the club, which is not very apparent at so many clubs across the country, but something is not right, otherwise we wouldn't be letting go of our best players. Plus it is very unfortunate that the time has come in football where you have spend millions and millions of £'s to be successful, but if that's what brings in success, then let's do it!

Where do Arsenal go from here in the transfer market?

Arsenal have already improved their defensive line with having Thomas Vermaelen fit again, which will definitely offer some strength and more importantly, leadership in the back line. But it is a defensive partner we need for him, a no nonsense type, and preferably some British steel in the side. For me, Gary Cahill will be the perfect addition to the squad, as he ticks all those boxes. Unfortunately for Arsenal, when players like Koscielny and Djourou have come in, they have made crucial mistakes and haven't been consistent enough with their performances. The consistency is the difference between winning the premier league and not, it's simple.

However, one area that people are forgetting that we need to improve is at the other end of the field. We need another forward to support the key role that Robin Van Persie does for the club and we now need replacements for Fabregas and potentially Nasri too. The money received needs to be immediately spent on new players, and fast. Juan Mata is a start, but this deal is struggling to really get going. So, the question lies, who can we get?

I do not have these answers and I am sure head coach Steve Rowley will be working day and night in search for an answer. The one thing Arsenal need is to finally start putting up the cash and paying what is necessary to secure the services of top players. So many have failed to make the trip to the Emirates, due to Arsenal not wanting to pay the money. Xabi Alonso is one of a list that Arsenal let slip through their fingers. Change is needed and the next 16 days are going to be crucial for Arsenal FC.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Team by Team Premier League Preview

Very interesting summer for Arsenal, and still a lot of unanswered questions within the squad as well, with the future of Fabregas and Nasri still undecided. This is not ideal preparation for a season to come with just days until the start. But last season a certain young player in the name of Jack Wilshire stood strong with a big season, and with the support of a fit Van Persie and the exciting new attacking talent in Alex Chamberlain, Gervinho and the now granted visa for Japanese starlet Miyaichi, it could be a new era for the club. Those defensive question marks continue to be raised and will be a key factor in Arsenal's season to come.
Prediction 4th (just)

New manager, busy summer and improvements expected for the club after a poor season last term for Villa standards. Although, replacements will be needed for Young and Downing and support at the top end of the field for Darren Bent will be essential. The signing of N'Zogbia is a positive move and Given in goal will help fill the boots of the departed Brad Friedel. The way the manager gets the team playing consistently will be key to Villa's season.
Prediction 13th

With a full season ahead, with newer owners of the club and with a new manager in Steve Kean entering the start of a season in charge of Rovers, I expect them to have a mixed season. Keeping hold of some key players, particularly Chris Samba is key to keeping the strong backbone of a tough Blackburn team. Premier league experience within the squad should be enough to ensure they are not fighting relegation this term.
Prediction 14th

This is a club with a lot of potential for the forth coming season. A strong manager in place in Owen Coyle, with some good leadership throughout the team in Kevin Davies and if they keep him, Gary Cahill too, could see the club start moving forward. Some new creative and attacking players into the club are needed for the club to push up to the top half of the table.
Prediction 10th

New manager in charge, fresh energy around the squad and exciting new signing in Romelu Lukaku should see Chelsea challenge once more. A somewhat quiet transfer window so far for the usually active West London outfit, but with a fit again Benayoun, the return of Daniel Sturridge on loan and Lukaku could bring some exciting new attacking flair to the team. If Torres can find his scoring boots and maybe their midfield strengthened a bit then I believe they can challenge very closely for the title.
Prediction 2nd

A club that has always been knocking on the European door for a while now, has had a quiet summer, but importantly kept hold of key personnel so far. The young talent coming through the club is exciting and with a further years experience will be looking to have an improved season.
Prediction 8th

New manager in charge, a European campaign underway, but a strong squad of players that could lead to a good season for Fulham. They must improve their away form and turn Craven Cottage into a fortress next season (never an easy place to play anyway). The form of Bobby Zamora and some creative additions to the squad could give Fulham a good season, as long as they are not distracted by Europe.
Prediction 7th

A team that I have had much debate over during this exciting summer for the club. "King Kenny" at the realm for a full season in charge, with new players brought in, Charlie Adam, Downing and Henderson adding to the strengthening in January gives Liverpool a much needed strength in depth. A lot have predicted a champions league finish, but my view is these are good signings, but are not Champions League quality players. However, a much improved season should be had by the club.
Prediction 5th

So much to say about the "new" City team. Improved yet again with Sergio Aguero signed to provide goals at the top, and if Tevez stays at the club, it could be an incredible partnership up top. Clichy with a whole host of Premier League experience and the retaining of their top players, means it could be an even better season for City this year. The distraction of Champions League Football could be the key to their season in the premier League and if they can cope with the demands of competing in two high quality competitions.
Prediction 3rd

A fantastic pre season for the champions, with early transfer window signings in Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David De Gea given time to gel with the rest of the squad. Great Charity Shield result and the emergence of loanees from last season Welbeck and Cleaverly, looking like perfect additions to last seasons squad. Valencia fit again, Nani hoping to reach all his potential and with the new additions I cannot see past United to have an even more successful year this season.
Prediction 1st

Another team starting with a first full season of a relatively new manager to the club in Alan Pardew, have an interesting season ahead after a controversial summer. Kevin Nolan sold to West Ham and the dramas surrounding Joey Barton, who were two shining stars in the team last term, leaves a some what question mark for the upcoming season. The addition of Obertan from Man Utd is a positive signing, but more is needed to come at both ends of the field, in order for Newcastle to have a better season, without this, I believe it could be a struggle for them.
Prediction 16th

New boys to the premier League Norwich, have had a busy summer strengthening their team, including the signing of James Vaughan and Steve Morison, which will hopefully breed some goals in the team. Defensively is often the key areas however for new teams, and although manager Paul lambert has done his best to bring in some good players in the shape of Ritchie De Laat and Kyle Naughton on loan, I believe it's going to be a tough season ahead and a relegation fight is almost a certainty.
Prediction 20th

Another of the premier League new boys and with a strong manager and ownership in the club, it could be an interesting year for the club. Good summer signings made from Neil Warnock includes Kieron Dyer, Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell, will give the team some strength in the attacking half of the field. Defensively they worry me slightly and hopefully the experience of Gabbidon well help the club fight for their survival.
Prediction 17th (just)

A frustrating summer for Stoke boss Tony Pullis, has lead to just the arrival of 2 free transfers in the experienced centre backs of Woodgate and Upson. This will certainly strengthen up the team defensively, but attacking wise it is looking very light. Attempted transfer of Carlton Cole broke down and now I'm sure the manager is looking at other options, with Tottenham's Peter Crouch being one name mentioned as well as Arsenal's Bendtner. If these attacking signings are made, I believe Stoke could have a good season, as well as hopefully a nice European run too.
Prediction 11th

Exciting summer for Sunderland with some much needed strength added to their team. The loss of Jordan Henderson is a blow, but some experienced signings, especially defensively in John O'Shea and Wes Brown from Man Utd will help strengthen the team. Conor Wickham, Craig Gardener and Seb Larsson will add some creativity and attacking prowess to an exciting Sunderland team for the season ahead. If Steve bruce can get the team to gel together quickly, then this could be a promising season for the Black Cats.
Prediction 7th

Exciting times for the Swans with their first season in the Premier League and I am looking forward to seeing what impact they can make, in particular at home, where the stadium atmosphere will no doubt be electric. A good manager in charge in Brendan Rodgers has brought some good players to the club in Danny Graham and Wayne Routledge in particular, adding to the spark given to them by the talented Scott Sinclair. However, the Premier League is a massive step for teams and I think they may struggle to cope with the demands of the season.
Prediction 18th

Tottenham have had a quiet summer with regards players coming in, but knowing Harry that will change as we get closer to the end of the transfer window. Keeping hold of Modric is key to them having a successful season, but with teams above them improving their squads, I believe the gap may widen between the top 4 and 5 and Tottenham. If they can keep key players fit, bring in some fresh faces and keep hold of the squad then I think Tottenham could have a good season ahead of them.
Prediction 6th

I believe Roy Hodgson was out of his depth at Liverpool, but actually is better suited at smaller clubs and I believe will do a great job at West Brom. Not a team with a lot of money, they have made some sensible summer signings including the return of Zoltan Gera and signing Ben Foster on loan for the season to replace Scott Carson, something that many feel is a positive move. I believe West Brom could have a much better season this time around, with maybe the addition of one or two more experienced names to the club.
Prediction 12th

Wigan have been struggling to survive the past few seasons in the Premier League, but they have been doing through grit determination and have a fantastic manager at the healm in Roberto Martinez. Retaining Martinez was the key this summer as well as the signing of a good goalkeeper permanently in Ali Al-Habsi from Bolton. But the sale of star player Charles N'Zogbia will be a big loss, and with very little money available for new players, I believe it's going to be a tough season for the Lactics.
Prediction 19th

Wolves have made 2 important signings this summer in the permanent move for creative midfielder Jamie O'Hara and the defensive wall of Rodger Johnson from Birmingham. This will help solidate the team for the battle to come, and I believe it's going to be a big battle for relegation like last season. They will be in the mix, but if they keep there best players injury free then I believe they could stay out of the drop zone and have a decent season.
Prediction 15th

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Demise of Robert Green

Robert Green is the once talked about permanent problem to the England number 1 jersey since it was vacated by David Seaman those many years ago. So many before him had tried and failed such as Paul Robinson, Scott Carson and David James. Green managed to battle through and he got the backing of Fabio Capello in receiving the starting goalkeeping place in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He was having a good season with West Ham and worked hard to beat off the stiff competition for the start between the sticks. Then it went downhill from there...

This was the moment that changed it all for the highly rated goalkeeper.

I was sat in South Africa in a room full of football fans and a few Americans too, feeling confident and getting ready for a positive World Cup campaign for England. It started so brightly until that moment of horror that caused a ridiculous amount of expletives from my mouth, my hands having to cover my hugely embarrassed face and the look of complete humiliation (and this was just a fan). Robert Green had spilled a very tame effort from Clint Dempsey making the game 1 all. Afterwards, Green was vulnerable throughout the whole game, looking incredibly nervous during every defensive passage of play. This was it for his World Cup and he was quickly replaced by David James for the rest of the World Cup campaign.

Green got absolutely hammered by the English Press for this mistake and he had to forget about it quick and focus on a big season with West Ham. The question was could he do this?
Now there is no doubting that Green had a reputation amongst everyone in the game for being a terrific shot stopper. But we all know the key to being a top class keeper is, CONSISTENCY. This is what separates the men from the boys between the sticks. Goalkeepers like Van der Saar and Cech have shown that consistency week in week out and puts them above other keepers.
Green started the season very very shaky and he made a lot more crucial mistakes in the West Ham goal last season, costing the team plenty of points along the way. He conceded 69 league goals in 37 appearances last year, and along with the poor west ham defence, he was a big reason why West Ham ended up getting relegated.

There were a few clubs mentioned throughout the summer who were linked with getting Rob Green back into the premier League, but not surprisingly none of them have come to fruition. What could he offer a team in the premier League? In my opinion he would cause defences a lot of problems with his uncertainty and his lack of confidence would breed throughout the whole team.
Will he do better in the Championship? I think a goalkeeper with no confidence will struggle in whatever division he plays in.

Today, Rob Green has proved in my opinion that he is a complete shadow of the goalkeeper we saw 18 months ago. He let a late Kenny Miller shot get through his hands, which goalkeepers 99 out of a 100 I believe would have palmed it away. It is a complete demise of a promising goalkeeper with a big future ahead of him. Although, extremely surprisingly, Fabio Capello has called up Green for his International squad for a friendly against Holland. It beggars belief.

Premier League season prediction

1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea
3. Manchester City
4. Arsenal
5. Liverpool
6. Tottenham
7. Sunderland
8. Everton
9. Fulham
10. Bolton
11. Stoke
12. West Brom
13. Aston Villa
14. Blackburn
15. Wolves
16. Newcastle
17. QPR
18. Swansea
19. Wigan Athletic
20. Norwich

Championship Table Prediction

1. West Ham
2. Leicester City
3. Ipswich Town
4. Nottingham Forest
5. Blackpool
6. Cardiff City
7. Brighton
8. Reading
9. Leeds United
10. Birmingham City
11. Southhampton
12. Middlesborough
13. Hull City
14. Portsmouth
15. Burnley
16. Watford
17. Milwall
18. Bristol City
19. Derby County
20. Barnsley
21. Coventry
22. Crystal Palace
23. Peterborough
24. Doncaster Rovers

That was one of the hardest things I've had to do! It is so hard to predict and I have gone for a couple of random ones on gut instinct, such as Brighton having a good season. Let me know your thoughts

The Championship - The season to come

The Championship is one of the most competitive leagues in the world and has got a reputation that is higher than a lot of top leagues across Europe. At the end of the season the prize for gaining promotion into the Premier League is the richest one of all! They say it is worth around £60 million for a club that is promoted, which makes it one of the richest prizes in football.

The league now consists of some fantastic managers, including 2 former England managers in Steve Mcclaren and Sven Goran Eriksson, and a lot of Premier League experienced managers including Chris Hughton and Sam allardyce. This shows the importance of this league now, as does the players that are now playing in this division. Last season we saw a player of the quality of Craig Bellamy playing at Cardiff, this season Kevin Nolan tops the list of some very talented footballers gracing the Championship grounds.

I thought I would give my thoughts on the Championships and a bit of a prediction to who I think will be sitting at the top of the tree and these teams who may be struggling to stay in the division.


West Ham, Leicester City, Blackpool, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and Brighton.
These are my predictions for the teams I believe are going to be competing at the end of the season.
West Ham have done well to keep a lot of their team that were relegated from the Premier League last term, including Scott Parker and Carlton Cole and also have improved their squad with the great signings of Nolan and Matty Taylor in particular. The experience of these players and the influence of a very good quality manager in Sam Allardyce should stand the Hammers in good stead.
Leicester City have been busy in the transfer market and with Eriksson's first full season in charge, I have no doubt the Foxes are going to be a difficult team to beat this term.
Blackpool, although having sold a lot of their stars from last season, including Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell, have brought in a lot of players and experience, including the likes of Kevin Phillips and Barry Ferguson. I believe they certainly could make a big charge on the playoffs this year and with Ian Holloway in Charge, you just never know.
Nottingham Forest could really build well with an experienced manager in the hot seat in Steve Mcclaren looking to bring the glory days back to the City Ground and this season could be one to watch.
Ipswich Town have made a couple of promising signings in ex Arsenal player Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Michael Chopra and Lee Bowyer, and look to push on with a good manager leading the way in Paul Jewell.
Brighton are my outside shot for the playoffs after coming up from League 1 last year. A new stadium and an enthusiastic talented young manager in Gus Poyet could surprise a lot this year.


The bottom of the table could be as close as the playoff positions this year and I'm sure there will be a couple of surprises hanging round the bottom of the table this year. Sheffield United we lost last year and this year maybe the same, but some teams hanging round the bottom last season maybe there again this year.

Crystal Palace, Peterborough United, Doncaster Rovers, Coventry City and Barnsley are my predictions to be struggling this season. Unfortunately all these teams look set for a long struggle this season, some with big financial problems like Crystal Palace and others may just struggle with the demands of the Championship, such as Doncaster and Peterborough. Coventry have a lot of work to do this term as well.

As with any Championship season, it is very difficult to predict the eventual positions, and who will go down. We have had so many surprises in recent years, notably Blackpool reaching the playoffs and winning them in 2010. But the league is guaranteed to excite us all this forthcoming season.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Cesc Fabregas - When will this saga end!

This story has been going on for now a couple of years and seriously needs to end either way now. Enough is enough for the long suffering Arsenal fan's to deal with and this whole situation needs closure

A month a go I wrote about Arsenal's prospects this year and in this section I talked about the Fabregas saga. I cannot believe that a month later and the situation still hasn't changed. Arsenal not willing to sell him for anything lower than £40 million. Barcelona not willing to pay that. Fabregas wanting to go to Barcelona. And Arsenal fan's not knowing what is going on with their "club captain".

With Arsene Wenger coming out and saying that Fabregas is "not focused on the club", this for me is a total lack of respect from Fabregas and he has gone back on his word about always focusing on his club despite any speculation linking him to other clubs. For me, as an Arsenal fan, I believe he needs to go now and we as a club need to move on from him, just like we had to do with Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry. Players like Jack Wilshire and Aaron Ramsey are the future and a fit Robin Van Persie can seriously lead Arsenal to some success. It's time for a new re-building stage as we all know the last 6 years have resulted in no trophies and the crop of players unfortunately haven't been good enough to win the title.

Arsenal need a focused team to be able to challenge this year, and players like Fabregas staying at the club could be detrimental to the future teams efforts.

But let's see in another month if this saga ever ends.

Comments please