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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

PREDICTING THE EPL 2012 WINNER

This just had to happen, isn’t it? The Premier League has officially become a two horse title race now. Soccer purists should have certainly seen this coming. By now everyone knows it, I know it, you know it, supporters of certain London based clubs also know it .With Spurs, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Arsenal fighting it out for the Champions League spot and Liverpool looking like a shadow of their former selves, nothing can possibly stop the silverware from ending up in Manchester. But to which part of Manchester? And do they really deserve it? Amidst all the talk as to who is the hungrier of the two teams and the affinity that Balotelli has for controversies, it has to be noted that both the teams have blown hot and cold time and again for most part of the season. Both of them have been total shit in Europe with City being a tad unlucky. This is certainly not what you expect from the table toppers of arguably the most difficult (read hyped) league in the world.
City for the most part of this campaign have read like a blueprint of how to win the league ripped straight from Sir Alex Ferguson’s handbook:
Play badly and win. When was the last time City were really good? Their 3-0 win at Stoke was a good result without a good performance, so you probably have to go back to the 5-1 against Norwich City ages ago to find a match when they truly played like the best team in the country.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An Italian looking to weave his magic. EURO 2012 preview : Republic of Ireland

Heartbreak is a long forgotten Irish feeling


18th November 2009, proved to be one of the cruelest days in the history of Irish football. After having overcome a 1-0 lead that France had achieved in the first leg, Ireland took Les Blues all the way to extra time, to decide which of these two sides would be travelling to South Africa the following summer. In the dying minutes of extra time, a blatant Thierry Henry handball went unnoticed and a French equaliser was allowed to stand. The Irish returned home teary eyed and heartbroken, while the French lived to fight another day.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Three Lions Misery. EURO 2012 Preview : England

God save the queen... God save the England national Team..


Perhaps for the first time in quite a while the expectation levels on the team have been quite less. For a team boasting of many a star players the blot of not being to achieve something decent for over a decade has only deepened.  John Terry's racism case, Fabio Capello's resignation, Wayne Rooney's suspension has only made sure that if England can pull off something from the EUROS it would be quite an achievement.

For a team which has given the world the game of football, only one major trophy, when Bobby Moore lifted the 1966 World cup seems to be such an unimaginable thing. And in the past decade it's only been worse. The team has not progressed beyond the quarter final stage in each of the major tournaments in the last 10 years and yes, didn't even manage to qualify for EURO 2008. So much for a team which has players earning vulgar wages while they ply their trade week in week out in some of the biggest leagues mainly the English Premier League.



Friday, March 16, 2012

EURO 2012 PREVIEW - PORTUGAL



EUROS HISTORY – Best Result : Runners-Up ‘04
                            Worst Result : Quarter Finals ’08, ‘96

FIXTURES – 9 June 2012                 Arena Lviv, Lviv                                 v Germany
               13 June 2012               Arena Lviv, Lviv                                 v Denmark
              17 June 2012                Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv            v Netherlands

MANAGER – Paulo Bento

CAPTAIN – Cristiano Ronaldo

TEAM PROFILE –

Exclusive t-shirts had already been printed a night before the EURO 2004 finals in Lisbon to celebrate the triumph that was to take place the next day when an extremely talented Portuguese side blessed with experience and youth alike were to face the underdogs Greece. A triumph that would mark the beginning of a golden era in Portuguese football that had begun by a FC Porto side managed by some man by the name of Jose Mourinho who had won the champions league finals at Gelsenkirchen only more than a month back. It was quite an exciting time to be a seleccao supporter, the team sat on the cusp of greatness blessed with an individual talent that would go on to become one of its most prodigal sons in the years to come.



Monday, March 12, 2012

We could be in for a Red and White summer. EURO 2012 preview : Denmark


Success has long eluded the Danes. Could EURO 2012 be their time to shine?


The last two decades have seen Danish football go on a downward spiral, from a European Championship victory in 1992 to a first round exit in the most recent edition of the FIFA World Cup. Although the Danish national team has gone through an unsuccessful era under current coach, Morten Olsen, the FA has shown an immense amount of faith and persisted with the Dane for the last twelve years. 

On paper, the current squad may not seem the most intimidating. Yet, this Danish team will have to be considered the primary upset-causer in this year's European Championships. With an experienced coach at the helm, and a rock solid defensive unit, the Danes will be looking to add a few scalps to their list of big scalps, this June.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

WHY SACKING AVB WILL MAKE ABRAMOVICH LOOK LIKE A DORK



YES. Chelsea have been disappointing. YES. Andre Vilas Boas has lost control of his squad and he is going gaga making strange comments about his players to the press (the most recent being about FERNANDO TORRES). They are conceding soft goals and been attacking at a pedestrian pace. But Andre Vilas Boas should not be fired. He is not doing a very good job at the helm currently, but he certainly doesn’t deserve the criticism he has been receiving the entire season. He should just be left alone for now.

If this wasn’t enough for the Chelsea manager, he also has to deal with this mean Russian owner of his who is like a cross between Simon Covell and Henri VIII. Roman Abramovich has already made two huge mistakes in sacking Mourinho and Ancelotti. He does not know what to do with managers. He is just a hothead guy with lots of money who has no clue about football. I personally hope he never wins the Champions League because he is an absolute cock.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Napoli 3-1 Chelsea: Chelsea's side of the story

The expressions tell you that the scoreline isn't in their favour

As the whistle sounded at the end of 90 + 4 minutes AVB must have been wondering as to how easy it was winning the Europa League and the Portuguese league with Porto 9 months ago. 6 draws and 2 losses in the last 11 premier league games, a replay against Championship side Birmingham in the FA cup, losing your captain for a couple of months, talks of Benitez being linked to Chelsea and AVB to Inter and now a 3-1 1st leg defeat to Napoli added the icing on a cake, a cake of problems for the Portuguese 'magician' whose side would have had to conceede the Champions league for yet another year if not for Mata's early goal at the San Paolo, a goal which could still count for nothing if Chelsea do not fasten their belts and get on the pitch with a winning attitude when Napoli travel to London.

AVB not starting with Lampard or Essien in what is considered one of the most hostile atmospheres in Europe seemed more criminal at the end of the game than at the beginning. Indeed , the cacophonous Napoli fans, swirling wind and driving rain gave the whole occasion an almost apocalyptic feel.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

A change in fortunes for Les Bleus? EURO 2012 Preview : France

Will Blanc get to be part of another European triumph, only this time as a manager?


The French national team has gone through a really rough patch over the last six years. After their sensational run in the 2006 World Cup, marred by Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt in the final, they have struggled to put together a string of decent performances in any major tournament. Even qualifying for the 2010 World Cup proved to be a huge hassle, as they relied on a controversial Thierry Henry goal to get them there.

Their debacle at the 2010 World Cup led to the resignation of then manager, Raymond Domenech. The French FA decided to hire former Bordeaux manager, Laurent Blanc, with qualification for the European Championships as their primary target. Blanc took over during a tumultuous period in the nation's footballing history. He started with a completely clean slate by suspending all the members of the 2010 World Cup squad. Following this incident, which led to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Norway, Blanc's side have only been on the rise and have to be considered a dangerous force at this edition of the European Championships.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Napoli 3-1 Chelsea: Napoli's side of the story

In Naples, you can find a pizza named after Edinson Cavani. But if you happened to go there after their 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the Champions League, you will be able to find many more of the smallest things possible with Napoli colors on it, particularly Cavani, such as a cookie tin (in the pic above). That's what Napoli, the club, means to the people of Naples. Therefore it was hardly a surprise for Chelsea to find such an intimidating atmosphere in the San Paolo stadium on Tuesday night. A sold out (well, almost) crowd displaying banners, extraordinary choreography and crackers were a sight to behold, something which makes the Champions League so special.

It isn't difficult to predict Napoli's starting eleven for the big games, so was on Tuesday. Walter Mazzarri's 3-4-1-2 has come under a lot of criticism recently in Italy, not because it wasn't successful but for the fact that Napoli struggled to beat smaller teams in the league, or in other words, lack of a plan B. In fact, everybody in Italy seems to have noticed the success Napoli and Udinese had with the three men defence last season that at one point SerieA had eleven of the twenty teams lining up with a back three in a week.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

EURO 2012 PREVIEW - SWEDEN



EUROS HISTORY -   Best Result: Semi Finals ‘92
                                    Worst Result: Group Stages ’00, ‘08

FIXTURES -
      11 June 2012               Olympic Stadium, Kiev        v Ukraine
      15 June 2012               Olympic Stadium, Kiev        v England
      19 June 2012               Olympic Stadium, Kiev        v France

MANAGER - Erik Hamren

CAPTAIN - Zlatan Ibrahimovich

TEAM PROFILE -

You need to go back to the class of 2004 for the last worthwhile result that Sweden had in a major championship. Reaching the quarter finals in Portugal with a side that boasted the likes of Freddie Ljunberg and Henrik Larsson in their pomp and an up and coming young fiery striker in Zlatan Ibrahimovich. If we decide to go further deep into the history books then the class of 1992 that reached the semi finals when Sweden made their first appearance in the EURO championships on home soil comes to mind. They enhanced their international credibility further by clinching the 3rd place in the FIFA World Cup ‘94 in USA.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Michal Bílek And A Czech Trimuph? A Preview Of the Czech Republic Ahead Of EURO 2012


Will we see the Czech celebrating their first ever EURO triumph this June?

Following the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Czechoslovakia saw its regime transform from Stalinism to capitalism. A couple of years later, the country split into two, namely the Czech republic and Slovakia, after the two ethnic groups most peacefully decided that this break up would be best for them. After gaining independence, the Czech Republic has never managed to replicate some of the feats that the nation pulled of, prior to their independence years.

The European Championships have been the Czech Republic's strong point as they were runners-up in 1996 and semi-finalists in 2004. The Czech have been blessed by being drawn into the easiest group of the tournament. Placed alongside co-hosts Poland, EURO 2004 winners Greece and 2008 semifinalists Russia, the Czech will be fairly confident of booking a place in the knockout stages. Poland is by far the weakest team in the group and the Czech will know just how important it is to be clinical against them. Russia and Greece are the wily old horses and will prove to be much stiffer competition.



Friday, February 3, 2012

IS JOHN TERRY BEING VICTIMIZED?


John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy for the second time in his career.  In a short meeting at the FA headquarters Terry was informed of the decision that he was being stripped from the topmost honor for an English footballer.

Never one to stay in the background, Terry has always courted controversies that have ranged in the extremes. Right from when his father was caught in the possession of drugs to the extra marital affair of sleeping with his mate’s girlfriend, controversy have accompanied Terry in one way or another.