Sunday, 30 October 2011
What a start to the Premier League season we have seen so far. Goals galore, incredible football being played and a huge amount of drama too. But none more so than in the games with the top teams this term, something that has differed greatly from previous years. Gone are the days of the tight, tense affairs between the teams roaming the top of the Premier League. Welcome the attacking style and flair of the best teams in the league, battling it out for 90 minutes. But the question on so many people's lips is, why are these games so open now?
There could be a lot of reasons why and I have heard a lot been said already from journalists around the country. More attacking players in teams, better attacking quality in teams, poor defensive performances are all reasons that have been mentioned and all of which are valid. In my view though the main reason is that teams are so desperate to win these games and to make a statement to the rest of the league, that they put a large emphasis on attacking football. The battle for the Premier League and the Champions League places are more competitive than ever, and teams want to ensure that they not only beat their rivals, but induce a level of humiliation on them by concentrating on beating them heavily.
The first of which we saw at Old Trafford with Manchester United's 8 vs. 2 humiliation of Arsenal. This was certainly not a tight affair and Arsenal earlier on had a lot of chances to get very quickly back into the game, including a penalty miss by Robin Van Persie. There was so much open attacking play from both teams, but especially United, who were not satisfied with defending a lead, but wanted to attack throughout the 90 minutes. They inflicted a defeat on Arsenal that left the Gunners confidence trounced for future games and it showed.
It didn't end with that game though, last week we saw Manchester City offer Arsenal some payback on Manchester United, by beating them 6 vs. 1. Nobody would of predicted this, but Manchester City's quality and attacking football certainly played a big part. Both teams went all out for the win, playing a very open form of football to ensure they won the game, rather than having the mentality of ensuring they didn't lose, which is a very different mind set. City were never satisfied with 3 goals and continued to attack, running riot at the end of the game.
Yesterday's game summed it up more than any other, Chelsea 3 vs. 5 Arsenal. The game had so much attacking prowess on show by both teams not performing very well defensively. But the main reason the game was so open again was pure and simple down to their want to win the game. Both teams were not afraid of losing the game or keeping things tight at the back to protect their leads. We saw that as both teams lost the lead during the game and they continued to look to go forward throughout. There were plenty of chances for both teams and at the end of the day it was Arsenal who took their chances. On another day it would have been Chelsea that came out on top.
I hope we continue to see these games between the top teams, as for fan's it becomes much more exciting than the close defensive 1 vs. 0 score lines that we have been used to in previous years.
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
When I first heard this idea come to press, I thought it was a joke at the start, then started to hear more and more rumours about it and realised that this seriously could come to fruition. Money holds the key and the power in sport as we all are quickly realising, but that does not mean we as football fans and lovers of the beautiful game would accept that. This includes the players of all the teams in England who will be greatly affected by this change, if it ever happens of course.
The damage to the English game and the national team would be catastrophic, and that is no exaggeration at all. What happens to the rest of the teams in England? Well, the Championship would be the top league and teams winning that league or coming second would go no further. It would be a disaster for the competitive nature of the Football League, as currently teams are desperate for Premier League football for a number of reasons. The financial rewards for getting to the Premier League are huge. The fan's are desperate to see their team compete at the top level and success at a club brings about more support as well. The players want to play at the highest possible level and all strive to compete in the Premier League, currently the best league in the world.
The affect on the National Team would be huge, as the Premier League turning into a franchised league would attract players from around the world, thus limiting the amount of opportunities for young English players to shine. This would reduce the quality of talent in the National team and the competitive mind set within the team as well.
But let's break down the reasons for this discussed change, and that is the power of the foreign owners in the Premier League. There are currently 13 foreign owners in charge of Premier League clubs and they can start powering their influence on the Premier League. The one thing these owners all have in common is money. They want have invested a lot of money in each of the clubs they have taken control of and they want to ensure they don't lose any of this money by suffering the fate of relegation. Understandable. But that is not how it works, and that is not how we pride ourselves on our fantastic professional leagues in England.
As much as fan's love the excitement of the chase for the Premier League title, often the most exciting moment is the battle against relegation and the play off final in the Championship. We love seeing the drama, the celebration and even the despair when clubs stay up or slip down a division to the Championship.
This is our league and please do not let these foreign owners rip it apart.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
The Premier League is still quite clearly in my opinion the best and the toughest league in World Football. But within this special league are 5 individual leagues, with teams vying to come out of the season on top of.
1. To win the Premier League
This season there seems to be just 3 teams competing for the Premier League title with serious ambitions on winning it. Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are already showing the consistency in performance to win the league this year and at such an early stage in the season too. For the competitive nature of the League, I hope that more teams come into the race, but this season that looks highly unlikely.
2. To claim the 4Th Champions League Place
There is now a gap appearing between the teams at the top of the table and the teams chasing 4Th place. Last season that gap certainly wasn't there, but with the demise o the Arsenal team this year, it has started to appear. But what that has done is make the race for 4Th wide open and highly competitive. Tottenham seem to be leading this race, with Liverpool chasing behind them and I'm sure (and hope) Arsenal will sort themselves out and start getting closer to these 2 teams.
3. The Race for (7Th) and the potential for Europa League Football
This could be the most competitive chase of the season in my opinion with a gulf of teams fighting it out for a high top half finish. Teams like Fulham, Aston Villa, Stoke City, Everton and on their early season form, Newcastle, could be fighting it out between them for the top half finishes. These teams year on year certainly want to chase down the league above (4Th place), but I believe this year they maybe quite short of the mark.
4. The Top of the Bottom Half of the table
This is the league for teams to be able to claim they were no where near relegation from the Premier League and to feel good about finishing mid table. This can be a huge achievement for many teams after a gruelling season. But this I believe will be decided late on, as this season there seems to be a lot of teams who could quite easily go down to the Championship. Teams like Sunderland and usually Bolton (although an unimpressive start to the season could change their season expectations) will certainly have a minimum aim to reach this point in the table.
5. The fight against Relegation
This season, even more so than last year, the most competitive league within the Premier League. There are numerous teams throughout the season who will be taking points off each other throughout and it will certainly go down to the wire. All promoted clubs will be working hard to achieve Premier League survival (QPR, Norwich and Swansea), plus there are a lot of established sides struggling to ignite their season this term. That includes the current bottom 3 Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan, also in the mix will be West Brom and Wolves.
With teams desperate to finish higher than pre season expectations, and with Premier League survival on so many teams minds, this all adds to making the league extremely competitive throughout the table. These 5 league titles will be very tight to predict for so many and there is a long season ahead before we get to see the outcome.
Sunday, 2 October 2011
There were so many titles than sprung to mind when preparing this post, but I thought treachery was a perfect word to add to the situation. Harsh word? Maybe. Relevant to what happened this week? You bet. The definition of "treachery" is Betrayal of trust; deceptive action or nature. We saw this and much more this week from the most disrespectful football player I can ever think of that has graced our presence in the beautiful game.
If I went into work and prepared for a shift doing my TV presenting and turned round to my producer and said, "I don't want to present today, and I am not going to come on air", what do you believe would happen to me? Sacked in a second. If anyone turns up and refuses to do their job, they will most likely be sacked and rightly so in whatever situation. Why should footballers be treated any differently? This is a pathetic excuse of a man who gets paid an astronomical £200,000 a week! It beggars belief still, how much football players get paid to do a job that people all over the world pay so much money to try and participate in. But when the supporters watch a player give his all for his club and country, it makes it all worth it. When they watch Tevez refuse to come off the bench and play for his team, his employers, and a team that supporters pay so much of their hard earned money to watch, it is absolutely disgraceful.
I recently was told that I shouldn't ever play football again, something that I wept about and continue to worry about as I cannot imagine not being able to play the game I love. This is socially with friends. Not in the best competition in World Football, the Champions League, against one of the best teams in world football, Bayern Munich in front of 65,000 people in the impressive Allianz Arena. How can anyone who has respect for himself, his friends, his work colleagues and employers refuse to play in that situation? People make so many huge sacrifices to their lives to be able to make it to a high level in the game. What tevez has done is disrespected every single person working so hard to play the game, and to make a living from the game.
Manchester City should set a precedence to the World of Football by sacking him and throwing him out of the club. I believe FIFA need to act also and send out a harsh punishment and ban him from our game for a period of time, to let anyone else know that this behaviour is not tolerated within our game. Footballers are, whether they like it or not, role models to the young, which is a small price to pay for the money they earn from the game. Many would say it isn't even a price to play to be looked up to by millions around the world. Act now, or these belated ego's will wreck our game.