Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Russia Favourites To Get World Cup In 2018

We are just two days away from finding out who will be hosting the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. The countries in contention of getting the opportunity to host the 2018 World Cup are Russia, England, Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal. As all of these teams are European, no European country can bid for the 2022 World Cup. That's why, as you might have noticed, the standard of countries bidding for the 2022 World Cup is quite poor.

Personally, as an Englishman, I would love to see England get the World Cup for 2018. Unlike some of the other bidding countries, there is no need for FIFA to worry about stadiums being ready on time because all of the stadiums are set (well most of them anyway). The only thing, I think, that is going against England, is that they have already hosted the competition in 1966. I'm sure FIFA would like to pass the honour around.

Russia are favourites, and why not? They have some great stadiums, but unlike England, if they do get the honor, they are planning on building many new stadiums. I know they will have eight years to build them but I would prefer to have no pressure at all. So for me, it's a straight sprint between England and Russia to see who will be hosting the 2018 World Cup.

Two other bidding countries have been flying under the radar a bit, and both of those are joint bids. You have Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal. I'm not really surprised the Holland/Belgium bid hasn't been getting a lot of attention but I am surprised that the Spain/Portugal bid hasn't. So I wouldn't be surprised, unlike some, if Spain and Portugal get it.

I didn't talk about the 2022 World Cup bids, purely because, in football terms, I don't know enough about each country.

World Cup 2018             World Cup Bid 2022
England                           Australia            USA
Russia                             Japan
Spain/Portugal                 Qatar
Holland/ Belgium              South Korea

I would love to hear your comments and predictions that you may have.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Barcelona v Real Madrid, Messi v Ronaldo

Tonight, Barcelona play Real Madrid at the Nou Camp. This is one the greatest, if not the greatest rivalry in world football. I guess that is why it is dubbed by some "El Classico".

Now, more than ever, the debate on who is the best player in the world is on everyones mind. Messi and Ronaldo have been imense for both club and country and it is hard to decide on
who I think is the better player. I think Messi is better. Why? Well they both do amazing things on the ball but I think Messi looks for the ball more and is more in the game than Ronaldo is at times.

As for the their respective teams, Barca and Real Madrid, it's hard to call between them. Both of them have attacking players that any club in the world would love and each defence ain't half bad either. So for this reason I'm going to go with home advantage and say that Barca will win. Either way, I'm hoping for a classic, and why can't it be. The best players, best managers. It shouldn't disappoint.

As for Mourinho, this will be his first taste of the "El Classico". Knowing Mourinho, the pressure shouldn't get to him. He went there last year and won over the two legs after some great defending. I'm sure the Barca fans are looking forward to seeing him after the controversy last year when he ran on pitch after reaching the Champions League final with Inter.

I would love to hear your comments if you have any.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is It Time For Ancelotti To Go?

It may sound harsh saying he should go. But for the first time this season, Ancelotti and the Chelsea players will be sitting down on a Sunday night watching X Factor results or Match of the Day 2, knowing that they are not top of the table. That's because they could only manage a draw against Newcastle today.

After such a fantastic start, it has just gone downhill. It was looking great, after just five games they had a goal difference of +20. Drogba  couldn't stop scoring and no one could get past Cech and the rest of the defence. But since Drogba missed the match against Aston Villa midway through October, he can't score for his dinner. We saw today a  perfect example that the defence can be dodgy at times, and that there is a lack of communication in the lead up to Carroll's goal.

Obviously, I don't think he should go, but you never know with Abramovich. He sacked Mourinho after a loss against Aston Villa and a draw against Rosenberg in the Champions League.

There defence is not the problem I feel, it's the lack of goals, and especially with some of the attacking players they have, they should be scoring many more. The last time they won by more than one goal was against Wolves on the 23rd of October.

This leaves the Premiership wide open and leaves everyone guessing who is going to be lifting the title at the end of May. Up next for Chelsea is Everton at Stamford Bridge, and judging by Everton's woeful peformance yesterday against West Brom, this should be a chance for Chelsea to get back to scoring ways and more importantly, winning ways.

Feel free to leave any comments you may have.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Arsenal and Man Utd Keep Pressure On Chelsea

Today, Arsenal and United both leap-frogged Chelsea as they got victories in their matches today. Arsenal were victorious against Aston Villa in an entertaining match at Villa Park that finished 4-2 to the Gunners, while United ran riot against Blackburn, with the help of Berbatov, as they won 7-1.This means that nothing less than a victory at St. James' Park against Newcastle will give Chelsea top spot.

The early kick off of the day was between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Villa Park. It was a slow start to the game until Arshavin scored a fantastic goal out of nothing. Nasri then scored a first time volley with the help of a slight deflection just before half time. I'm sure Arsene Wenger didn't want deja vu from last week. They nearly did but in the end ran out comfortable winners and at times played some wonderful football. 2-4 it finished there.

Now onto Old Trafford, where Bebatov got his second match ball of the season with five goals. Once he got the first goal inside three minutes, you sensed there was only going to be one winner. Sure enough, they scored six more. Blackburn fans shouldn't be too disheartened. Maybe they made it a bit too easy, but it was more the brilliance of United that we have been waiting for this season. Now United are two points clear at the top.

I wouldn't be surprised either if they stay there because Chelsea have to travel north to a tricky match against Newcastle and we all saw what happened last weekend against Birmingham. This will be a really interesting match I think with both sides looking to get back to form after Newcastle lost 5-1 to Bolton last weekend, while Chelsea have lost three of their last four fixtures in the Premiership. If we thought the Premiership was wide open before the weekend, it definitely is now.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stupid, Stupid Mourinho

On Tuesday night, Real Madrid had a very comfortable victory over Ajax beating them 4-0. This victory meant they were safely through to the knockout stages. But in the final five minutes or so there was a bit of controversy.

So I'll set the scene for you. In the 85th minute Real Madrid are 4-0 up, cruising along, and have a free kick just inside there own half which Alonso is about to take. While taking the free kick, he was very hesitant to actually kick the ball. He was running up to the ball and then stopping. Obviously he was trying to make it seem like he had no options. After about two or three warnings, the ref had had enough and gave Alonso his second booking of the night and sent him off. If this was me, I would be furious, in the ref's face wondering why he gave me the yellow. Alonso, on the other hand, walked off with no complaints.

We are now into added time and Real Madrid have a goal kick. This time Sergio Ramos (who was also booked) was taking it. Why? I don't know. Long story short, he basically does the same thing as Alonso, as if it was an audition for a play and they were both trying to get the same part. Eventually, Ramos receives his second yellow as well.  Now yet again, I would be furious, but not only does Ramos just walk off with no complaints, he also shakes the ref's hand. I know we all under estimate the academic ability of the Uefa board with some of the decisions they make but they're not that stupid.

The idea behind this whole plan was that both players would get themselves sent off, miss the next game ( a meaningless game against Auxerre ) and return to the knockout stages with no yellow cards under their name. 
The two players have been charged, along with Mourinho ( the master mind behind the plan) , Casillas ( for giving Ramos and Alonso the instructions) and Dudek ( for giving Casillas the instructions to tell Ramos and Alonso). 

Speaking of Real Madrid. A little reminder that they are playing Barcelona at the Nou Camp at 8:00pm on Monday night on Sky Sports 1

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fair Play Tottenham

Tonight, Spurs confirmed their place in the knockout stages. Not only is that an achievement in itself but I think it's fair to say that they have done it with relative ease.

Being a City fan, it broke my heart when I saw Crouch scoring the winner against us in the last ten minutes to guarantee themselves fourth spot. Since the start of the campaign, with the exception of a very shaky first half against Inter Milan, there was never a moment where a man or woman wearing a Tottenham jersey should have been worried about not making the knockout stages.

For me, based on current form, they have the two best midfielders in the Premiership. Of course, I'm talking about Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart. In the second half against Inter at the San Siro, it wasn't Inter v Spurs, it was Inter v Bale. He was sublime. If you looked at all three of his goals, they were identical. He was murdering Maicon. If he didn't kill him at the San Siro, he definitely did at White Heart Lane. He set up two of the goals and ran circles around Maicon. As for Van Der Vaart, yet again he has been excellent, he has been incredibly consistent and for just £8 million too. What a bargain.

So where to from here for Spurs, I think a a quarter final finish is on the cards (obviously considering who they get in the round of 16). That will leave the owners in no doubt, satisfied with Harry Redknapp. But sure, if they can beat Inter, why can't they beat everyone else.

And finally, surprise, surprise Man united also qualified for the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Rangers.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

£25 Million Down The Toilet

After just a season and a half with the club it seems Emmanuel Adebayor's City career is coming to an end. It was looking like a great signing at the start of the 2009-10 season but after a ridiculous celebration and a stud mark on Van Persie's face against Arsenal, it just went downhill.

So I think it's fair to say that he has been a flop but in fairness to Mancini, it wasn't him who signed the Togolese man. Obviously Adebayor hasn't really fitted in Mancini's plans but he was doing quite well under Mark Hughes. Mancini's game plan has been pretty simple, have at least two defensive midfielders and Tevez up on his own.

You can't really blame him either, as we know the Italian league is famous for it's defence-minded play and it has worked in his playing days and for him as a manager. But he might have to change his plans after a fantastic display at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

A hat trick against Lech Poznan must have given him a little bit of hope but I think Adebayor gave up all hope when he saw Jo was starting ahead of him on Sunday. So it's no use having him on the transfer list if there is no one interested. Juventus look favourites to get him on loan but I wouldn't be surprised if there the only one's looking into signing him.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mancini Lessens The Pressure

Last week, Man City could only manage a nil all draw with Birmingham and earlier on in that week they drew nil all with Man Utd. So heading into todays game with Fulham, it was almost a must win for Mancini and Man City to get back to winning ways.

 Needless to say, Man City thrashed Fulham 4-1 today with some beautiful football. City made a cracking start to the season with some fine wins against Chelsea and Liverpool.

 But they have hit a sticky patch in their season ever since they got thrashed 3-0 by Arsenal. Obviously the sending off of Boyata after five minutes didn't help, but it seemed, like everyone was hoping, they proved they weren't just ready for the big boys.

 They continued to show lack-luster performances with the exception of a 2-0 victory against West Brom away. So today, especially because I'm a City fan, I hope this is a turning point in their season. And you never know, maybe Tevez could be lifting the premiership trophy by the end of the season.

Another Derby, More Hype, But This One Delivered.

One of my first posts on my blog was about how awful the Manchester derby was but more about how much hype it was getting.

 On Saturday, Arsenal were playing Tottenham and this of course is a North London derby. Now pre match and during the week there were a lot of ads for the match, so I would have to say that the match was getting as much hype as the Manchester derby.

 And in a cracking match Spurs won 3-2 after being 2-0 down at half time. Chamakh and Nasri put Arsenal two up. Spurs got a counter attacking goal from the on form Gareth Bale and before you know it, Spurs are all over Arsenal. Tottenham then got a penalty because of Fabregas, who obviously wasn't thinking, hand balled a Van Der Vaart free kick. Van Der Vaart, as you might have expected, scored the penalty and it was now 2-2.

 From this point I could only see it being a Tootenham victory or a draw and with just five minutes of normal time remaining, Kaboul headed the ball past Fabianski and Spurs took all three points. So it just shows you not all derby matches can't live up to their hype.

I would love to hear any comments you may have

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eh, Why Are Ireland Playing Tonight?

You may or may not know but this evening, there are many international matches. The one that I will be watching is England v France. Not only does it look the most interesting, but both managers are trying new players.

 Now, when you look at the Ireland team (who are against Norway tonight), it looks the same as usual, with the exception of a couple of injuries. This match definitely isn't taking place to generate a lot of money, so you would expect that it is to see new players.

 Seamus Coleman, who has made a good start to this season on the right side of midfield for Everton but is only one of the subs. Even if this wasn't friendly I might of put him in the starting line up.Shay Given, great goalkeeper, but he has only played twice for Man City this season. A loss to West Brom in the Carling cup and another loss to Lech Poznan in the Europa League.

 I thought you were picked for your national team based on your recent peformances for your club. Obviously not. There are NO players definitely making there debut tonight for Ireland. So like I said, why are Ireland playing tonight?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two Man City Players About To Leave

Today, two Man City players have threatened to leave the club if they don't get a first team spot. I'm sure most of you guessed that one of those players is Shay Given but Adam Johnson has now followed in the footsteps of Given and has expressed his desire to leave the club unless he is a confirmed starter for the first team week in, week out.

 We've been hearing about Shay Given wanting to move. He should be playing first team football, but I do believe Joe Hart is a better keeper. So I think he should move, especially if he wants to keep his spot for Ireland. Even though I don't think there is much competition for places in the Ireland team.

 Now, to Adam Johnson. Great player, but yet again I do think there are slightly better players ahead of him. Personally, I think he should stay, but others will say he should leave especially after he has made it into the England team.

 I think it will be a real shame to lose these two players, because they are both excellent quality. But Johnson's ego has obviously taken a turn for the worse it seems.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Premiership Weekend Review

There is a lot that happened over the weekend, so lets get started. It was quite disappointing this weekend because there were three nil all draws. That is poor.

 The premiership got off to a good start with goals, and especially after the very disappointing world cup, I hope we don't see much more of the same. There was a big shock at Stamford Bridge. Sunderland beat Chelsea
3-0. Chelsea were missing John Terry and obviously Lampard is still out but that should have never been the result.

 There was a very entertaining second half at Villa Park, where there was a two all draw between Man Utd and Aston Villa. Other good games were at White Hart Lane between Spurs and Blackburn (4-2), and at the Molineux  between Wolves and Bolton (2-3).

 Goal of the weekend would have to go to Elmander for Bolton, who kept the ball close to his feet and then scored with a tidy finish. The game I talked about before the weekend between Everton and Arsenal  finished 2-1 to Arsenal. So there were good, high-scoring games but they were let down by three nil all draws.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Today's Football News

I'm sure some of you forgot Frank Lampard was still playing, and never really noticed when you didn't see him on the Chelsea team sheet. Well the last time you would have seen him on your TV screens would have been on the 28th of August. Chelsea beat Stoke 2-0 that day. Since then, he has been struggling with a hernia problem.

 He was hoping to be fit for this Sunday against Sunderland, but in training he injured the abductor muscle in his leg. He is now expected to be out until December.

 In other news, Wayne Rooney is to return to Manchester on Sunday and has made an excellent recovery to his ankle injury. This will be his first time in England since he signed a new five year contract which will keep him at United until 2015.

 Speaking of contracts, Gabriel Agbonlahor has signed a four and a half year contract today which will keep him at Villa until 2015 also. Agbonlahor has been out since the the start of the season with a calf injury.

 Also, after he was sent off against Real Murcia on Wednesday, Mourinho has been given a two match ban. And that's today's football news.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Premiership Weekend Preview

This weekend we have a great line up of matches, but the one that catches my eye is Everton v Arsenal at the Goodison Park.

 Now if this match was at the Emirates, I wouldn't really pay any attention to it because I would have thought Arsenal would run out quite comfortable winners, but because it is at Goodison, I think that that changes everything. We know that Goodison is almost like a fortress now, with many fearing to go there and get a win.

 We saw earlier on in the season against Man United that Everton came back from 3-1 down heading into stoppage time, to end up getting a point with a 3-3 draw. For me this could go any way, I wouldn't be surprised if  Everton won, but because of the form Arsenal are on despite a slip up against Newcastle last weekend, I'll give them the win.

Other stand out matches would be Aston Villa v Man United at Villa Park and, for me, a six point game at Upton Park between West Ham and Blackpool. For me, despite the start that Blackpool have made, I think they will be near, if not in, the relegation zone by the end of the season.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is the point in a 25 man squad?

Ian Holloway. He must be the funniest manager around today. I think he has done a great job with Blackpool. But last night there was a bit of controversy after he made ten changes to his side after a 2-2 draw with Everton.

One man had this to say "Whats the point in having 25 man squad if you can't use it. Thats the whole point in having a 25 man squad to change players when you want. Most of the 25 players should be good enough to play or they wouldn't be in it so i don't see". 

 I totally agree with him. Why if the manager has the players should he not be able to use them. The same thing happened with Mick McCarthy and Wolves last season. Worse than that Mick McCarthy got a fine. To be honest I think its a bit of a joke.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Gossip, Gossip, Gossip

In the papers today there has been a lot of transfer talk, and with the January transfer window less than two months away, its time to look into some of this speculation. 
I would first off like to get the rubbish out the way. Some reports say that Nigel De Jong could be on his way to Fenerbahce. This for me is nonsense. He is one of the most important and influential  players for Man City. So for me that is not happening.
A more interesting story is that Andy Carroll could be on his way south to London. Reports say that Arsenal are planning a 15 million pound move for the big man. Carroll has been on top form and is currently joint top scorer with 7 goals and has 4 assists this season. You can tell Arsenal are definitely stronger with Chamakh, but could use the likes of Carroll. Carroll, of course scored the winner against Arsenal at the weekend. 
Now I know it's just speculation but at least it's not a crazy rumor and I wouldn't be too surprised if it happened.
          I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Barton In Trouble Again

Yet again, Joey Barton is in the news for all the wrong reasons. He has been charged with violent conduct by the FA because they believe Barton punched Morten Gamst Pedersen. He may get the standard three match ban.

 But like I said, this isn't the first time we have seen Barton in the news for the wrong reasons. He was sentenced to prison after an incident outside McDonalds in Liverpool.

 After he got out, he was almost straight back in. This time for assaulting Ousmane Dabo. Who was then a City team mate of Barton. The sad thing is, he has shown signs of being a half decent footballer.
Here is the CCTV footage of the Mcdonalds incident- http://www.oleole.com/videos/newcastle/youtubecctvofjoeybartonattack/mvanh.asp

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Man City v Man Utd: Over Hyped

I'm not giving it any excuses, it was a very bad match, but ever since the that classic match at Old Trafford in which United scraped a 4-3 victory with a last minute goal from Michael Owen, everyone seems to persume that when these two teams meet, we're going to watch a great match.

 I think last nights match proved that thats not going to be the case. It was a very boring match with the highlight being a little scrap between Tevez and Rafael.

 Watching Sky Sports last night, you would have sworn it was the champions league final, the way they were building it up. I'm not surprised it was a nil all draw, two great defences were on show last night.

 But a lot of the papers this morning were slating the match and a lot of it, in my opinion, was due to the hype the match was getting.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.


Hi, I'm Neil Walsh. As you can probably tell, I'm going to be talking about football. I follow Man City, who aren't the most popular club so I hope to talk more about that and other footballing issues and topics. I will mostly talk about the Premiership, a bit of La Liga and other issues in world football that are on the minds of people.