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Posts Tagged ‘ Marco Reus ’

Have Manchester United Learned From Last Season?

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With Bobby Charlton having admitted that Manchester United made mistakes last season, the question on all football fans lips is- can United learn from the mistakes made under David Moyes and return to the summit of the Premier League?

United fans cringed last season watching United play dull, boring and ineffective football that left them in 7th and without any European football for the first time since the 90’s. David Moyes was an abysmal and embarrassing failure, one United are keen not to replicate. His lack of confidence against the big teams shone through, and his negative tactics and poor substitution decisions left many wondering what Sir Alex Ferguson and the United board ever saw in the former Everton manager. The summer transfer window was truly embarrassing with only Maroaune Fellaini bought in as a deadline day panic signing that saw the club pay far more than he was worth. Fellaini has failed at United, and his attitude of having nothing to prove seems to surmise him as a footballer. It has been rumoured that the transfer failings were down to Ed Woodward’s inexperience and Moyes dithering and panicking over large fees. He still managed to spend over £60m with Fellaini and Juan Mata brought in to revamp the sub-par United midfield. The importance Moyes placed on Wayne Rooney was a further humiliation, as Moyes proved he felt the potential captain was more important than the club as a whole, rumour of Rooney being consulted on all transfer dealings was met with amazement by fans. David Moyes was a mistake that left the great club in tatters and as a result the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic have all departed. United now have few players with real experience and as such it is time for the new to emerge. Continue reading

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Long Awaited World Cup Set For Big Kick Off

worldcup (easports)

The first kick-off of the 2014 World Cup will take place later this evening. If your reaction to that is a sigh of relief, then you are likely not the only one. There has been an awful lot of build-up to these finals, with the analysis and predictions and hopes and fears gradually growing louder and louder. With no major European club football to speak of for nearly a month, the only thing to do was to look forward to the major tournament ahead. Surely it is a glorious summer when possible transfer deals are not the big talking point for football heads. But the time for action has come, finally.

It is no surprise that people are excited, of course. There is no World Cup that would not be celebrated, or treated as anything but the ultimate competition the game has to offer. But this time around, it is even more special. This is a World Cup in Brazil, the home of beautiful football. It is a rare treat for the players involved, knowing that they some of them will get to claim the game’s grandest accolade in the country which has always always managed to breath creativity and flair into the game at the highest level. To win a World Cup in Brazil is about as big as it gets. Continue reading

World Cup 2014: Predictions For Every Team

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With the kick-off of World Cup 2014 now less than a week away, the excitement is starting to build. Coverage of the event is starting to really pick up, as the footballing world gets ready for the beginning of it’s biggest event of any calendar year. With that in mind, I would like to put forward my predictions for every team and how they will fare, including all the teams who will fall at the group stage hurdle, all the way on to who I predict will be the eventual winners.

Group stage eliminations

Cameroon

The most likely victim of what is a very tough draw, Cameroon seem like long shots to emerge from Group A. Hosts Brazil, potential dark horses Croatia and Mexico make up the rest of the group, and it may well prove too much for Cameroon to claim enough points to sneak in to the knockout stages. An experienced squad led by captain Samuel Eto’o as well as veterans Alex Song and Jean Makoun, Cameroon also boast young defensive talent in Nicolas N’Koulou and Joel Matip. Unfortunately for them, it seems unlikely that they will prove good enough to edge out two of the other teams, and so it looks like three games and out for Cameroon.

Mexico

It looks quite likely that Brazil and Croatia will emerge from this group, especially if the Croatians can get a point in the tournament’s inaugural match. Mexico had a very ugly qualifying campaign to even reach Brazil, finishing fourth in their group, behind the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras. They eventually beat New Zealand comfortably in a play-off, but it does not augur well for them in such a tough group. Still, Mexico boast a very experienced squad, with the likes of Rafael Marquez still around to organise them. If the likes of Javier Hernandez (who has a scoring rate of better than one every two games for his country) catches fire, then maybe they have a shot. But all signs point to an early exit for Mexico.

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World Cup 2014: The Favourites

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2014 is shaping up to be a great year for football. With exciting finishes ahead in the Premier League and La Liga, both of whom are currently topped by pre-season outsiders with only a few games to go, and a couple of exciting ties remaining in the Champions League, it will be a year to remember. There is, of course, a World Cup coming straight after the end of the club season, so quality football will continue well into the middle of the summer. Here, in the first of a two part special, we will examine the favourites for the competition, who look set to take Brazil 2014 by storm. Continue reading

German Giants Go Head To Head In Battle Of Europe

ansgararticleIt is safe to say most of Europe’s and even the world’s eyes will be on a stadium in London on Saturday night. The Champions League final has nearly as big an appeal as the World Cup final. The English FA was happy when Wembley was picked as a host, it was a gesture for their anniversary. The worst case happened, however, when no team from the “Best League In The World” survived the quarter finals. On the other hand, two very different and yet similar teams from Germany made their way to the final. An all-German affair, unlikely as it seemed before this season, will decide the winner.

The favourite seems clear in Bayern München, but their trauma of two lost cup finals last season haunts them even after a truly astonishing league campaign. 92 points after 34 matchdays as well as winning the championship the earliest were just a couple of records the team of coach Jupp Heynckes broke over the course of the season. A little stumble away at BATE Borisov could not hide the fact that the team won their Champions League group comfortably. Things got tense in the 2nd round match-up against Arsenal, but from then on, they left Juventus and Barcelona no chance whatsoever, schooling the Spaniards 7-0 on aggregate to enter the final.  Continue reading

Perspective-Superior Germans Have Problems Ireland Won’t Exploit

Will Jogi Be Jumping For Joy In Dublin?

Germany visit the Aviva Stadium to play against the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers tomorrow. Given the 100% record in the EURO 2012 qualifiers plus reaching the semi finals, the Germans enter the match as clear favourites. The vast majority of the Germany squad play either for the strongest Bundesliga teams like Borussia Dortmund or Bayern München, or have established themselves in some of the biggest teams in Europe, like Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira at Real Madrid, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker at Arsenal or Miroslav Klose at Lazio.

The team continues to be one of youngest and most talented ones in the history of German football, but despite (or because of) that, things are not as rosy as they seem.

There are a couple of things that are certain with a team from Germany. Number one: We could supply several other national teams throughout Europe with goalkeepers. Manuel Neuer, Ron-Robert Zieler and Marc-André ter Stegen are the three selected, but there is another handful of keepers in the Bundesliga other countries would be proud of having on their bench, or even between the posts. René Adler, Roman Weidenfeller, Bernd Leno, Fabian Giefer,….

Number two: There will always be enough attacking midfielders around. Okay, this is a more recent development, but the point stands. Germany have the choice of fielding 3 of the following behind lone striker Miroslav Klose: Müller, Özil, Podolski, Reus, Schürrle or Götze. It is suspected that Müller, Özil and Reus will get to start, but every combination is a threat for the opponent.

But this uber-offer of creative, pacy wingers hints at one of the major problems Germany face now and even more in the future. With Gomez injured, there is only Klose up front. And not many strikers are really showing themselves in the league. As coach Löw hinted before the Euros, it is suspected that a 4-6-0 formation like Spain played last summer with Marco Reus in the “false nine” role might be the solution. However, this formation has never really been tested in a competitive match.

Speaking of problems, there is another one that exists for years and doesn’t look either like being solved in the future; the defence. Mats Hummels misses the qualifiers with a foot injury, Philipp Lahm pulled out of the games as well. This makes a centre back partnership of Per Mertesacker and Holger Badstuber quite likely. Mertesacker was benched recently while Badstuber played left-back for Bayern in their last matches. The two are not used to playing alongside each other, that might leave gaps.

Things on the fullback positions are problematic too. It says a lot about a country as big as Germany, that all hopes relied on Lahm to perform on either side. There simply isn’t a second good to great left- or right-back in Germany, let alone a replacement. Joachim Löw heavily criticized Dortmund left-back Marcel Schmelzer before the upcoming qualifiers because of his recent performances and was complaining he didn’t have many alternatives to choose from. It’s true that Schmelzer had a bad match against Austria last month and he has been occasionally found out against tougher opposition, but there are indeed not many replacements around, sadly. Boateng on the other flank, as Lahm’s backup, is expected to do a solid job, although nothing spectacular.

Okay okay, this is whining on a very high level, compared to Ireland’s problems. But these problems are enough to make people question Löw’s work as coach. However it is not expected to see him leave any time before the World Cup. Qualifying for a major competition is a box ticked by the German public and media, even before it starts. Therefore winning the group is a must for Löw and the team. And despite the Euro 2012 hangover the squad has, a few individual moments can make a difference against a spirited team performance. The game in Vienna last month is the best example, where two good moments in the match guaranteed two goals and the team was just about able to hang on to the three points, they didn’t deserve.

Key Man: Dortmund’s Marco Reus

All in all, these players now have found their form in the Bundesliga or the respective leagues and should be motivated enough to beat Ireland and then Sweden on Tuesday, at home in the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

Germany will line out like this: Neuer – Boateng, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Schmelzer – Khedira, Schweinsteiger – Müller, Özil, Reus – Klose.

Against a restructuring home team, those eleven (plus subs) should be well able to comfortably beat the Republic of Ireland. However, the last Germany win on Irish soil was in 1979 (3-1). Alright, only two games were played in Ireland afterwards, both ending in a draw. The most recent was a 0-0 in the Euro 2008 qualifiers; only Mertesacker, Schweinsteiger and Podolski are players who featured in that match and are back five years on.

I’ll say Germany has enough quality to beat Ireland comfortably, despite all the defensive problems I predict a 3-0 win for Germany to keep the 100% record in the qualifying group.

By Ansgar Löcke (@ansgarius_90)

Questions Remain As Ireland Set For Road To Brazil

The Republic of Ireland have been drawn in Group C with Germany, Sweden, Austria, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan for the qualification stage of FIFA World Cup 2014.

The Boys In Green kick off on the road to Rio with an away trip to Kazakhstan on September 7th, before welcoming Germany to Dublin a month later. Giovanni Trapattoni will be hoping for a change in fortunes having missed out on the last World Cup thanks to that faithful night in Paris. Trap ventures towards the qualifying campaign still not knowing what players he has at his disposal. Shay Given has already announced his international retirement and will be replaced by Keiren Westwood, a player the Italian has a lot of faith in. But the likes of Richard Dunne, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane all have question marks remaining over their future. Trapattoni will be hopeful the trio can make swift decisions on their futures in order to allow him to prepare effectively for the upcoming campaign.

Germany

It’s an exciting time to be a German fan with the current squad at Joachim Loew’s disposal. World renowned stars such as Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinstieger, the rising talents of Marco Reus and Andreas Schurrle , they really do have the complete squad despite their failure to win Euro 2012.

The Germans always pose a threat to any team and this current crop of stars is no different. The beaten Euro 2012 semi finalists and Sweden will be Ireland’s biggest opponents as they seek to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Ireland face a tough start to the qualifiers and will need to get a favourable result when the Germans come to Dublin in October, something which is easier said than done. This Ireland team is in a period of transition both in terms of personnel and tactics. If the team isn’t settled prior to the October clash then it will be worrying what the Germans might do to us, especially when you consider our own performance at Euro 2012.

Germany are in a similar bracket to Spain and Italy. Many would bet against Ireland getting a result against Germany but then again it’s not something we haven’t done before. Remember Robbie Keane’s last ditch equaliser at the 2002 World Cup? Or more recently the nil all draw at Croke Park in 2007?

Nonetheless if Trap can diffuse the apparent tension within the squad at present and effectively reshuffle his pack, a positive result is achievable.

Sweden

The Swedes have come a long way since a 3-0 mauling in Dublin in 2006, the first match of Steve Staunton’s doomed managerial career as Ireland manager. Erik Hamren’s side competed at both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 although they narrowly missed out on the 201 World Cup.

Sweden were disappointing at Euro 2012. Many expected them to challenge France and England for the top two spots while the Ukraine were also in with a shout. Sweden lost their opening two games against Ukraine (1-2) and England (2-3) before conjuring up a credible 2-0 win over France but by that stage they were already eliminated. They failed to flatter at the Euros and much expectation was placed on the shoulders of the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but one man doesn’t make a team as was proven.

Ireland shouldn’t necessarily fear the Swedes, the two sides are fairly equal. If Ireland are to stand any chance of getting out of this group they must remain undefeated against the Swedes. A win in Dublin is vital while a draw in Stockholm would be credible.

Austria

Ireland will expect six points from their two meetings with Austria, a team they haven’t faced since suffering two successive 3-1 wins in 1995 whilst enroute to a Euro 96 playoff with Holland.

Austria have always been an average nation on the international front. The last competition they qualified for was the 1998 World Cup although they made an appearance at Euro 2008, thanks to their co-hosting responsibilities securing them automatic qualification.

They do however have some players who are more than capable of posing a threat to Irish aspirations. Marc Janko (FC Porto) and Marko Arnautovic (Werder Bremen) are two strikers that are well respected around Europe and offer a potent goal threat while rising Bayern Munich star David Alaba is also one to watch.

Faroe Islands

It was set up to be a battle between Trap and former Ireland manager Brian Kerr but sadly the former St Patricks Athletic manager has left his post in Torshavn despite making great strides with a poor team. The Faroes have never qualified for a major tournament.

The Faroe Islands are a country we have become accustomed to in recent years. They are always seen as the whipping boys of the group yet in the past we have found it tough against them although we always break them down in the end and come away with the victory.

You have to cast your mind back to the 2006 World Cup qualifiers to see the last time the Boys In Green battle the islanders, recording a 2-0 win in both the home and away tie. Similar scorelines should be plausible this time around. Goal difference may prove to be a factor in this group and if it does we must take our chances against the Faroes and not rest on our laurels.

 Kazakhstan

Ireland’s trek to Astana will see Trap’s side battle Kazakhstan for the first time ever, as the Kazakh’s only joined UEFA in 2002. The country has no record of ever qualifying for any major competitions and their status is best viewed by looking at their squad which boasts only two players who play outside the country.

The trek to Astana offers something of an unknown quantity yet despite the soaring heat and difficult conditions out there we should be able to record a comprehensive win to kickstart our campaign.

Predictions

1-Germany

2-Ireland

3-Sweden

4-Austria

5-Faroe Islands

6-Kazakhstan

 

 

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