Sunday, May 29, 2011

One Word To Describe Lionel Messi - Indescribable

I'm sure you all saw it, but I would like to put an emphasis on what everyone said. Barcelona are simply the best team in the world, simple as. And I think it really shows that the top teams in England, although the race for the title seems to be wide open now than ever before, are dipping in quality.

Last night, Messi stood head and shoulders above everyone else, theoretically speaking of course. He was simply outsatnding and although many United players tried to knock him off his feet, he was untouchable. But when the likes of Carrick or Vidic did clip his heels or give him a nudge in the back, Messi took it as a compliment as if to say "they must be scared of me" and I'm sure any player in world would admit that playing against Messi, although probably a dream come true, would rapidly turn it into a nightmare.

It maybe harsh saying this, especially when you have just won a record 19th league title, but maybe United weren't as good as people made them out to be in the build up to the match. After all, they did rely on Chelsea having a very poor record midway through the season on to pick it up with only a handful of games to go and of course Arsenal dropped out of the title race pretty early on. Not taking anything away from the fact that they showed some real character when they really needed to, and especially from a relatively young squad, they are just no where near the standard of the Catlonians.

Man United were very reliant on Rooney last night,and I did say that the fate of the United team would all depend on how Rooney performed, unfortunately, he did show up but the rest of the United players couldn't take after him. I think it is fair to say that Valencia had a mare, it must have been past Hernandez' bed time at half time because he wasn't in the game at all for the second half.

I never got to cast my eyes on the great 1970 Brazilian football team but if they're better than the current Barcelona team they must have have pretty decent.

So what did you think of the match last night? How long will this generation of Barcelona stars last?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

United Look to Overcome The Odds

This Saturday, Barcelona take on Man United at Wembley with both hoping and praying of claiming their club's fourth Champions League title. It is quite simply the perfect game, which is being contested by the two best teams, in Europe anyway, at probably the most famous stadium in world football.

 But most bookmakers, and fans for that matter, don't fancy United's chances of regaining the title. Not because they have a poor squad or because any of there key players are missing, depending of course whether you consider Darren Fletcher to be a key player or not, but because of the pure brilliance that the Barcelona team possess.

Both sides defeated their league rivals on route to the final. Man United beat an uncharacteristic Chelsea, while Barca beat Real Madrid in a very dull two-legged affair. It is seriously a difficult one to call as I feel United have the better defensive options with likes of Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra but are they capable of keeping the Barca frontline away from Van der Sar and the United goal. With the likes of Messi, Villa, Xavi (the list goes on and on), it is hard to see Barca not scoring at least two goals.

A lot of United hopes will fall on who else but Mr. Wayne Rooney's. If Rooney has a bad day at the office, United, seemingly, will have a bad day at the office. But who knows, although he has proven enough that he will be a United favourite in the years to come, Chicharito might want to put his name in both United an Champions League folklore.

It has all the makings of a classic. Quality sets of players, outstanding managers, and of course, a fantastic stadium. It really could just come down to who shows up on the day. It shouldn't disappoint so if you're not in  front of a TV set by 7:45 on Saturday evening, then your loss I guess.

What do you think will be the outcome on Saturday night? Which players will steal the spotlight?

I would to hear any comments you may have

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chelsea On The Pursuit For A New Manager Again

Looking back on the last two seasons, or in other words "Ancelotti's reign", I would take a reasonable guess by saying that Chelsea fans would be both impressed and comfortable with the results that Chelsea have been getting in the past two years. The Chelsea board thought otherwise and sacked Ancelotti after, if not immediately after, the Everton match yesterday. Although yesterdays game had no effect on the Premier League standings as far as Chelsea were concerned, Ancelotti didn't really help his cause as his Chelsea team lost to a Beckford goal against ten man Everton.

Ancelotti won his first piece of English silverware last season by winning the Premier League and followed it up by claiming the the club's third FA Cup in four years but I just think that the Chelsea board don't understand that you're not always going to win everything, you're not always going to get the rub of the green. And that is what happened to Chelsea this season, they didn't win any trophies partly due to the fact that they just didn't get the rub of the green on occasions.

I think it is not only mad but also ludicrous to get rid of a manager who has won you two trophies in as many seasons. Also, for me in the next season or two, Chelsea will be forced to go through a reprocessing stage and Ancelotti more than likely had ideas of who he wanted to sign this summer and now the new manager will be, more than likely, stuck with the same old, ageing, team that Chelsea have had for the past couple of seasons.

With Guus Hiddink and Marco van Basten already being declared as the favourites to get the job, it will be interesting to see what Chelsea decide to go for. The less experienced  but well capable, van Basten, or the experienced and proven, Hiddink. I think Hiddink becoming Chelsea boss would be the preferred and most probable outcome.

So what do you think Chelsea fans? Did you want to see Ancelotti go? Who do you think should replace him?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gareth Bale To Decide His Own Future

Tottenham Hotspur have insisted that it will be completely up to Bale if he wants to move depending on whether the right offer is made. As usual, Man City are believed to be interested in the Welsh international after he really made his mark on the Premiership this season. It is said that Tottenham have put a price tag of up to £40 million for Bale and, understandably, would dread the thought of losing the play maker.

Bale of course won the PFA player of the year this year and is, inevitably, hot property. Ever since it was confirmed that Man City had qualified for the Champions League by beating Bale's current club, Spurs, all players good, bad and ugly have been linked with a summer move to Eastlands. For me though, getting Bale would be the best possible buy that City could get.

Tottenham just missed out on a place in the Champions League and now seem under pressure to keep all their top players as they are questioned about their future at the North London club. I can't see Van Der Vaart going after just one season, but I could definitely see Modric or Bale departing from White Hart Lane.

Man City have been associated with a lot of players including the likes of Ronaldo and the rather unknown Alexis Sanchez of Italian side Udinese but I really feel confident when I say that if City can pull this one off, then they really do have the potential of creating a league winning side.

So what do you think about this City fans? Who would you prefer to see, Ronaldo or Bale?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Don't forget to either follow me on twitter (@n_dj_walsh) and/or click the "like" button on the Football Team Talk facebook page. I would really appreciate it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What A Week For Manchester City

After so many years of hurt, this week proved to be the week where everything went for City. It all started on Tuesday night where a Peter Crouch own goal saw City through to next years Champions League. Yesterday, City had a superb chance of winning their first trophy for 35 years as they were to face Stoke in the FA Cup final at Wembley and for the first time in a long time, they were favourites heading into a final.

And then finally, although a lot of Man City fans and players might be too hungover to even consider this but because Arsenal lost today against Aston Villa, City are now just two points behind the Gunners with a game in hand.

After Tuesday nights success against Tottenham, every City fan was more than confident of winning against Stoke and on the day, no disrespect to Stoke, but  they just proved too strong for the Potters. Silva had two golden opportunities to put City ahead but he just didn't keep his head and Sorenson made at least two saves that were top class.After his semi final heroics against Man United, Yaya Toure obviously wanted to make sure he was a crowd favourite as he scored again after some nice play from Balotelli and Silva.

Man City now have a great chance of getting automatic qualification into the Champions League next year with Arsenal losing to Aston Villa today. Darren Bent's two goals were enough to secure three points for Villa, or from a City point of view, prevent Arsenal from getting three points. Now although it doesn't sound too easy a task, all City have to do is beat Stoke on Tuesday and then Bolton on the last day.

So City fans, what do you make of the past couple of days? What are your expectations for next year?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Rangers Make No Mistakes

Rangers were today confirmed as the Spl champions as they thrashed Kilmarnock 5-1. Rangers went into the game knowing that the outcome of the title race was in their hands as they were a point ahead of Celtic. Both sets of fans couldn't have asked of anymore form their teams as Celtic beat Motherwell just as comfortably beating them 4-0.

It was a poor showing by Kilmarnock as Rangers were up by three just after seven minutes. They might as well have crowned Rangers champions at half time. It was an emotional day for Walter Smith as it is to be his last game as Rangers boss but he couldn't of had a better send off as his team, although helped by the quite shambolic Kilmarnock on the day, were simply magnificent. Kyle Lafferty capped of his impressive season by scoring a hat-trick, paying tribute to Walter Smith afterwards.

Although the second half of the Scottish season has been over-shadowed by death threats and parcel bombs that have been sent to Neil Lennon, not to mention the attempted attack on him midweek against Hearts, Lennon intends on standing strong and tall as he confirmed that he will remain the Celtic boss stating that "this isn't the end, this is the beginning". Although a 4-0 win wasn't enough to regain the title, the Celtic Park faithful were delighted with this news.

So even though this season will be remembered more for the Neil Lennon antics, today will definitely be remembered as we say goodbye, for now, to a legend of Scottish football and look at Lennon in admiration as he looks to stay on despite the carry on of the past couple of months.

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

If you wouldn't mind following me on twitter (@n_dj_walsh) and/or clicking the like button on the right hand side of the page, I would really appreciate it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Man United Win 19th League Title

Today, Man United secured their 19th league title. By doing this, they overtake Liverpool's record of 18 league titles. I think it is fairly easy to see that the "Ferguson era" will be remembered for years to come and no doubt Sir Alex will not only go down in United but also football folklore as one of the greatest managers we have ever witnessed. Although the people of the world now know that there are two teams in Manchester and that United should no longer  be considered just as "Manchester", Man United still do dominate English and will do for many years to come.

Man United went into today's game against Blackburn knowing that a point would be enough for them to bring the title back to Old Trafford. Although, it was quite a shaky start by both United and Kuszczak as they conceded after just 20 minutes. Going into the last 25 minutes or so the United fans became very impatient and to be honest they had every right. United had all the possession but just weren't making the most of it. But finally in the 73rd minute, they made a breakthrough.

After Robinson clipped the heels of Hernandez there was only one place he was going, down to the ground. After some disputing between the referee and the players of both teams, the penalty was awarded. Rooney, although looking quite reluctant, slotted the ball home.

I really fancy Man United's chances in the Champions League final now. They have, to be fair, really impressed me over the past couple of months and have a back four that any club in the world would love to have even though I am bit skeptical when it comes to the right-back position.

Their celebrations might be overshadowed as they watch the streets of Manchester packed with City fans celebrating their first cup glory in 35 years but I think by Sunday, how big a feat it is to get to 19 league titles will be realised by everyone.

So what do you think United fans? How long will this era last for?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Also, Football Team Talk is now on facebook so if you wouldn't mind clicking the like button just on the right hand side of the page and/or following me on twitter(@n_dj_walsh). I would really appreciate it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Man City's Goal Is Achieved

After three years of trying, Man City finally sealed their place in the Champions League with the possibility of getting automatic qualification still on the cards. With one eye firmly on the Cup final this weekend, it's hard to blame some City fans for forgetting just how important yesterdays game was, myself included. City had Peter Crouch to thank for booking their place in next years campaign as he scored an own goal that proved to be very decisive.

A lot of pressure, inevitably, has been on Mancini to get a result from this season. After City were knocked out of the Europa League, a competition in which some were expecting City to at least get to the semi's, the pressure intensified and it was either fourth spot or bye bye to poor old Mancini. That could have happened but instead City are now in with a great shout of winning the F.A Cup and have the Champions League to look forward to next season.

I think it's obvious that the owners will look to increase the City squad which is already crammed with top class players but I think only one or two signings should do the trick. I think the vital thing that the owners are getting wrong is that you have to build, and more importantly keep, the same group of players for a long period of time.I think they only have to look at their fierce rivals, Man United, to see that winning teams have players that have been at the club for a lengthy time. Giggs, Scholes, Charlton. All United legends and have all been in cup winning sides and all of them were at United for at least 10 years or so.

With the starting XI and especially the squad, I don't think there is much need for many arrivals this summer. AC Milan's top striker, Ibrahimovich, is the latest player to be linked with a move to Eastlands. According to Football Corner, a move is definitely on the cards.

So, City fans in particular, what is your reaction to qualifying for the Champions League? Do you think City need to make any changes?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

If you wouldn't mind following me on twitter (@n_dj_walsh), I would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chelsea Will Make A Mistake If They Decide To Get Rid Of Ancelotti

So with the title looking very likely to be making its way back to Old Trafford, what next for Chelsea? They have had a decent season to be fair. But their "bad spell" for the season just ran on for too long and they were just out of their depth when trying to retain the title with only a few months left and well off the pace.

The Chelsea team is starting to age a little with the likes of Drogba and Lampard still being the driving force of the team. If not this summer, maybe the next will have to be the point where Chelsea have to consider going through a reprocessing stage.

Although I do say it has been a decent season for Chelsea, in many respects it's been a bit of a disaster. Being knocked out of the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup all at relatively early stages has put a real dampener on their season when they look back on it.

The exit of Ray Wilkins seems to have been a mistake as it seems it shook up the team as they had to get used to some new surroundings as far as the coaching is concerned. As soon as he left, their season just went from bad to worse and after such an amazing start it was hard to believe it was the same team. I think next season will be a good one for Chelsea, they just have to find a way to get Torres back to his best.

I think getting rid of Ancelotti should be the last of Abramovich's priorities. He is a world class manager who knows how to win trophies. It is hard to tell though whether they do need to bring in anymore superb players or just young talent. Only time will tell I suppose.

So Chelsea fans, do you want to see Ancelotti leave? Do they need anymore players?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.

Also, if you wouldn't mind following me on twitter (@n_dj_walsh). I would really appreciate it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tottenham Fail To Capitalise

Today, Spurs missed out on closing the gap between them and rivals Man City to just four points as they could only manage a one all draw against a struggling, but spirited, Blackpool outfit. Man City handed Everton three points as a very sloppy performance in the second half was enough for the Toffees to take the win. It seems that Man City might be experiencing the same difficulties Arsenal have when it comes to closing out games because I think it's somewhat fair to say that they were almost flawless in the first half but just fell apart in the second.

Tottenham had the metal advantage as their game was a late kick-off. They went into the game knowing City had lost and as a result knowing that a win would be a enough to count themselves in the race for the coveted fourth spot. Gomes didn't help his cause to stay out of the papers for the wrong reasons as he conceded a penalty just seconds after saving one.

A brave Charlie Adam stepped up again and this time made no mistakes. A fortunate Spurs, had to thank Defoe as he produced a very good finish in the last minute of the 90. It finished 1-1 and I'm sure all at White Hart Lane are getting ready for a long year next season with the Europa League staring them in the face.

Man City go into Tuesday nights game against Spurs knowing that a draw will guarantee them and more importantly, the owners, fourth spot. The draw isn't set in stone and we all know what happened last year when Spurs went to Eastlands. A rather fortunate Crouch goal was enough to seal their place in the 2010-11 Champions League campaign and what a campaign they had! I think if their season is anything to go by, City fans can expect big things next season.

I think it is fair to say that City have deserved there place in the Champions League, presuming they get there. They have been relatively consistent and have been wonderful to watch at times. As the ESPN commentator mentioned today, too many draws have been Tottenham's downfall this season.

What do you make of it? Can City set their sights on next season or do Tottenham still have a chance?

I would love to hear any comments that you may have.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Do Arsenal Have To Do?

So after another season of trying, Arsenal still haven't managed to claim their first trophy in six years. We all know they play football in the right spirit but, what is the point in playing such glorious football when the end product is you finishing trophy-less. Arsene Wenger, it seems, is still refusing to invest big in this Summer's transfer window which has to be worrying for all Arsenal fans.

I understand that Arsenal are probably the most financially stable team in the league but still if the fans, players, staff and the owners are expecting trophies, there has to be a few changes made.

With the likelihood of Fabregas making a summer move to Barcelona increasing every day, it seems it is crucial that Wenger brings in some fresh talent, and better yet, a big name in the footballing world.

With three months left in the season, everything was sailing for Wenger and the Arsenal lads but then of course they lost to Birmingham to a Martins goal after some very clumsy Arsenal play and then it just went downhill from there. Within weeks they were knocked out of the FA cup and the Champions League and had begun to slip in the race for the title.

Arsenal fans seem like they are, just about, coping with the fact that they haven't won a trophy in so long but it is only a matter of time before they turn on him as there patience will surely run out. He has the right philosophy when it comes to the way football should be played but the end product just isn't there.

So, especially Arsenal fans, what do you make of Arsenal's season and would you sack Arsene Wenger? What players would you you like to see brought in?

I would love to hear any comments you may have.