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Posts Tagged ‘ Leicester City ’

Premier League: Costa Powers Chelsea Past Everton As City Slip Up

English Premier League

An eventful last weekend before the transfer deadline as Premier League champions stumble at Stoke, Newcastle and Crystal Palace play out a thriller and hapless Manchester United only manage a point at Turf Moor.

The Premier League finished its third week with only Chelsea and Swansea holding 100% records at this early stage. Swansea stormed to a 3-0 win over West Brom with Nathan Dyer scoring one either side of Wayne Routledge’s impressive volley at the Liberty Stadium. The win gives Garry Monk the perfect start to the season. Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United career continues without a win, as a rather uneventful goalless draw was played out against Burnley. Record signing Angel Di Maria made his United debut, but his introduction wasn’t enough to spark the lacklustre side back to life. The reigning league champions Man City were blue in more than name as well, with a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Stoke. Ex-United striker Mame Biram Diouf scored the only goal in a surprising victory for Mark Hughes’ Potters. Charlie Austin found the net as QPR recorded their first win of the campaign beating Sunderland in the only other 1-0 over the weekend. Continue reading

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Five Irish Players Who Need A Move This August

kdAs all football fans know, the summer transfer window is a time of upheaval with fresh starts, new challenges and last chances for managers and players alike. However, sometimes there is a select few players that may be in need of a move to rekindle or enhance their international career.

Here we take a look at five Irish stars who all need a move before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August. Continue reading

A League Of Its Own – A Tribute to English Football’s Second Tier…

bdLet’s face it, the Premier League title race is over. There will be no Manchester United collapse. There will be no squeaky bum time. There will be no Agueroooooooooo. The crown sits squarely on Sir Alex’s crusty head, and we’re yet to breach the vernal equinox.

But fear not, there is still entertainment to be had watching Sky Sports desperately trying to inject excitement into the proceedings. Flailing like a wounded goliath, they insist that Chelsea and Spurs are locked in a death battle for 3rd place. Hmm. That would be a battle to avoid a couple of extra games in the Champions League next August then. Tense stuff. Continue reading

When Football Meets Tragedy

Football has long been associated with tragedy and unwanted headlines. From the 1985 atrocity at Heysel to the 1989 disaster at Hillsborough the football world became engulfed in shock and horror at such incidents that will never be forgotten.

But since the turn of the noughties a different kind of footballing tragedy as quickly emerged and the game has really brought a lot into perspective this past weekend. On Saturday Tottenham hosted Bolton Wanderers in an FA Cup quarter final. A lively and pulsating affair had to be abandoned shortly before half time after Bolton star Fabrice Muamba collapsed in the centre of the pitch. White Hart Lane fell silent as the severity of what had happened became apparent. Players and fans alike were distressed as the former England under 21 star lay still on the ground.

Shortly after Muamba was rushed to a London hospital details began to emerge as to what had actually happened the Zaire born star. Muamba had suffered a cardiac arrest and remains critically ill. The world of football has united in rallying around the fallen Trotters midfielder and some remain fearful that he may never be able to play again. Of course though football plays second fiddle to life itself and if Muamba can come out of this unaffected then he will have won footballs greatest battle.

Fast forward to Sunday and the footballing world was still in shock yet few could have imagined such harrowing events to bear a reoccurrence just a day later. Kilmarnock had beaten Celtic 1-0 in the Scottish League Cup final to win their first ever League Cup and in doing so denying the Hoops the chance to win the treble. As the players celebrated at the final whistle, Liam Kelly`s joy turned to grief as he was informed that his father had suffered a heart attack in the stands. Kelly rushed down the tunnel to be at his father’s bedside but Jack Kelly passed away at approximately 5pm yesterday afternoon. Kilmarnock players and fans have dedicated the win to Jack but football has really been put into perspective this weekend.

But the combination of football and tragedy is not a new thing yet on field tragedies have become all too regular in the past decade.

Perhaps the earliest and most notable case came in the death of Cameroon international Marc Vivien Foe who perished during a Confederations Cup tie in 2003. His death was viewed as a rare occurrence yet other notable footballers such as Benfica starlet Miklos Feher and  Espanyol captain Dani Jarque suffered a similar fate. Spain and Sevilla star Antonio Puerta also died as a result of cardiac arrest he suffered during a game with Getafe.

Some players have been lucky to survive such instances. Reuben De La Red`s glittering career at Real Madrid was cut short due to a heart problem and Longford Town star Sean Prunty saw his career abruptly ended after a medical showed up a heart defect.  

Then of course there is the case of former Ireland international Clive Clarke. The two times capped star was playing for Leicester City when at half time during a match against Nottingham Forest he went into cardiac arrest. Thankfully he survived but his fledgling career was over at the age of 27.

Who can forget the faith suffered by Portsmouth star Kanu. In 1996 the then Inter Milan star was diagnosed with a serious heart defect following the Olympics. The Nigerian underwent surgery to replace an aortic valve. After successful surgery Kanu resumed his football career and 16 years later he is still playing.  

We live in an era where professionals of any sport are so fit they are almost like machines. But how fit is too fit? As of yet there is no firm reasoning as to why the players mentioned in this article suffered the faith that they did. FIFA and all other sporting bodies need to act and ensure players hearts are checked regularly.

The greatest battle in football lies not on the pitch but instead in the hands of the powerbrokers who must ensure all players are checked regularly so we don’t witness another tragedy that is essentially a life or death situation.

Young Irish Abroad #5 Greg Cunningham

20 year old Galway native Greg Cunningham is the first player to feature in the series “young Irish abroad” that has been capped for Giovanni Trappatoni’s Ireland.

The young star has resurfaced as an emerging young talent following a serious injury picked up at the start of 2011. The Manchester city left full back fractured his tibia while on loan at Leicester City. At the time he had shown much promise playing twelve games, until being ruled out for 4 months.

For Cunningham, who began his career with Mervue United, the emergence of Stephen Ward as an Ireland regular has been a disappointment for him, as Ward has all but sewn up that role for the European Championships. The former Mervue star is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest, and is in a consistent run of form, starting the last seven on the bounce. He is a good strong naturally left footed full back, and can play left midfield also. His relative youth means he is a definite star in terms of the future, but his experience in Trap’s set up, having played three times since his debut against Algeria in the RDS. His recovery back from a bad injury also shows a battling quality and determination which is to be admired in any player.

Cunningham, who is 21 in the new year, knows that it will be difficult to shuffle his way back into Trapattoni’s plans before the EURO 2012 squad is announced “It would be brilliant to even get the attention of Mr Trapattoni over the next few months, of course I would love to play in the finals like every Irish player,” Cunningham said speaking to the Evening Herald arlier this year. “It’s going to be very difficult for any of us young lads to get into that squad but I want to make it hard for the manager to not pick me, that means doing as well as I can for Forest — or Man City if I go back there when the loan is up in the New Year.”

Like previous players in the series, he will find it very difficult to get into the squad, but will strive to be there none the less.

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