Posts Tagged ‘ Marouane Fellaini ’

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

World Cup 2014: Germany And Argentina Primed For Showdown

worldcup (easports)

We are entering the closing stages of World Cup 2014 now, with the quarter and semi finals having taken place in the past week. The action has been ferocious throughout, and that pain is really felt on days with no action scheduled. Let’s take a look back at this week’s action with our weekly review.

Quarter-finals

Friday:

The first quarter-final took place between France and Germany on Friday afternoon in the Maracana in Rio De Janeiro. The pre-match hype had made France favourites, particularly after the news of a virus rampaging through the German squad. The all-European affair was a tight battle throughout, with Germany taking the lead after thirteen minutes through a powerful header from centre back Mats Hummels. The Germans held the French off at arms length for the majority of the remaining time, with France having the odd half-chance here and there, but mostly failing to get conjure any meaningful penetration through the heart of the German defence. The Germans advanced, with Hummels’ header the only goal of the game. Continue reading

World Cup 2014: Recap Of Week One

worldcup (easports)

The first week of World Cup 2014 is now behind us, and there has been plenty of talking points and memorable moments. Here is our recap of all the action that has taken place so far.

Thursday:

The opening game between Croatia and the host nation Brazil was the sole game on Thursday, and provided no end of controversy. Croatia had taken a well deserved early lead against a sluggish Brazillian outfit, before Neymar conjured an equaliser out of very little to get the home fans on their feet. Yet they failed to get the upper hand in the contest, until the referee awarded a very controversial penalty to Fred as he tumbled under Dejan Lovren’s presence in the penalty area. Neymar converted, and Oscar wrapped up the 3-1 win with a good finish from outside the box, although there was strong suspicion that Ramires had fouled the Croat player in possession before moving the ball to his Chelsea teammate. The home side were very unconvincing throughout, however.

Friday:

The standard of the officials continued to be brought into question during Friday’s first game, as the linesman ruled out two seemingly good goals for Mexico’s Giovanni Dos Santos in their game against Cameroon. Mexico did eventually get the breakthrough when Oribe Peralta turned in a rebound after Charles Itandje failed to hold Dos Santos’ shot. That was the only goal of the game, securing the win for the lively Mexicans, with Cameroon looking very poor. 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 Dark Horses

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Yesterday, we had a good look at the four teams most likely to win the upcoming World Cup. What we have yet to touch on is one of the most lively debates before any international tournament. Who will be the team who emerges from nowhere to thrill the crowds and cause a few upsets along the way? Is there a team from lower down the international pecking order who can surprise us all and go all the way? Usually there is at least one team who overachieves in these competitions, and calling them right is often the difference between winning and losing the fantasy football wars, so here we will look at four teams who could potentially go from dark horses to World Cup champions in the space of a few weeks in June. Continue reading

The Theatre Of Dreams Wasn’t Built In A Day

moyes

At what point does the blame go on the players at a football club rather than the man picking the starting XI? Is the media purely trying to change public perception of David Moyes? Is Moyes the easiest and most obvious target for United’s gloomy season?

Granted, this article may sound like a rant at the players at Manchester United but it’s not. I’m not a United fan, either.

The current situation at Manchester United is their manager, David Moyes, is being roasted alive for problems out of his current control. Is it his fault players aren’t up to the standard? Sir Alex Ferguson had a type of ‘fear factor’ above each and every player that walked through the doors at Old Trafford. David Moyes doesn’t.

He was never going to have this factor over the players in his first season, and being honest, some players are just there for the handy pay cheque at the end of the week. Players that wouldn’t get into other big sides throughout the world of football such as Barcelona,  Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. Continue reading

United Supporters Call For Ed’s Head

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Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward would do well to fly under the radar for the foreseeable future, following a summer transfer window which can be fairly described as ridiculous, by Manchester United’s supporters at any rate. Two acquisitions in three months, neither of them high-profile, wasn’t exactly what the fans would have been hoping for, and it must be galling to have been outspent by Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, whose reputation for refusing to spend large sums was spectacularly shattered through the €50 million signing of Mesut Özil on Monday, the same player who was reportedly offered to United at some stage last week. Newly promoted from his previous role as United’s head of commercial operation, Woodward has spent the summer having a rude awakening as he discovers that handling player transfers is a whole new ball game compared to thrashing out sponsorship deals, and that his own negotiation skills aren’t as fantastic as he evidently expected.

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Chelsea To Overcome Home Blues Against Gunners

FELLAINIFor all the exciting build up to last weekend’s fixtures, many of the matches turned out to be dull spectacles with disappointingly unsurprising results. In the most anticipated matches, United looked comfortable for most of the match when dispatching Liverpool, while City were easy victors against Arsenal after Laurent Koscielny had been sent off early in the game. So looking at the table going into this weekend, the two Manchester clubs have distanced themselves further from the also-rans, with Chelsea hanging onto their coattails six points adrift of second place and a depressing thirteen points off top spot. So on Sunday, for the good of the league, let’s hope that Tottenham can claim three points against Man United and thus complete the double over them, having beaten them already at Old Trafford earlier this season.

For the good of our pockets however, we’re going to have a look at a 12/1 treble, kicking off at the DW Stadium where Wigan host a rejuvenated Sunderland side, who have been quite good this season in beating the teams around them at the lower end of the table. Since December, they have recorded important wins against West Ham, Fulham, Reading and Southampton, consequently improving their league position steadily. Both sides have only 4 days to recover from their Tuesday night FA Cup replays, but whereas a weakened Wigan side overcame Bournemouth, Sunderland had an altogether different experience as their full strength team succumbed 2-0 at home to Championship side Bolton. However a major boost for the Black Cats during this game was the substitute appearance of Lee Cattermole and he should return to the team against Wigan at the weekend and he should bolster their defensive play even further. Contrarily, centre-back Ivan Ramis has suffered a knee-ligament injury and is out for the rest of the season for Wigan. Sunderland, erratic as they may be, have been strong in recent games against bottom-half teams, and I will be backing them at 5/2 to win.

Chelsea are another team who had to play during the week, registering a miserable draw against Southampton on Wednesday evening. They face another tough test on Sunday when they welcome Arsenal to Stamford Bridge. The Blues’ away form has been outstanding of late, culminating last week with a 4-0 thumping of home rulers Stoke City. Their home form has been less consistent. Having knocked eight past Aston Villa, their next home game proved a goalless outing for the Blues and they fell victim to a Shaun Wright-Phillips goal and dropping two points against Southampton is hardly ideal. The shrewd purchasing of Demba Ba should reduce the chances of more fruitless endeavours and he will prove a handful for the weakened Arsenal defence if he once again starts ahead of Fernando Torres. Along with Koscielny, who is absent through suspension, Mikel Arteta will be sorely missed by the Gunners for this game as he is injured. Abou Diaby made a welcome return to the team and he will have his work cut out in his defensive-midfield position if he is to hinder the influence of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and the evergreen Frank Lampard. Arsenal’s performances against stronger opposition is notoriously bad, they haven’t picked up a single point from their meetings with the top three teams this season, so I’m sticking with Chelsea at 5/6 to pick up the three points.

Our three bets this weekend are all spread out, so far one from Saturday, one from Sunday and to round it up, we’re looking at the Monday night game when Southampton take on Everton at St. Mary’s. The home side are unbeaten in their last five matches, recording notable draws against Fulham, Stoke, Arsenal and Chelsea and beating Aston Villa but I think this good run will come to an end when the Toffees come to town. The away side were very unlucky not to beat Swansea at the weekend, Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic looking particularly dangerous but just failing to score. With Kevin Mirallas on the brink of return after a long spell out with injury, the situation for David Moyes’ side is only looking rosy. If the manager can hold on to his big Belgian afro-man during the January transfer window, Everton should be playing European football next season and they can continue on this prosperous road on Monday night with victory over Southampton. They are priced at even money to do so.

Trusting Terrible Sunderland to Share the Spoils

KJOnce again, Stoke shattered our big odds accumulator last weekend and are fast becoming our bogey team. I never thought the image of Kenwyne Jones pounding towards an empty goal would ever be a beautiful sight but that’s just what it was last Saturday, his side level with Everton at the time. Less beautiful was the subsequent image of him inexplicably putting the ball wide of the goal with his thigh and with it, our chances of winning big money. With the Manchester City and West Brom fixtures going our way,  we were left to curse this missed opportunity. Gutted as we may have been, onward we must venture and courageously reach out to grab a handful of this 16/1 shot that looks pretty tasty.
I am not of the popular opinion that Arsenal are in crisis at the minute and was happy to see Santi Cazorla destroying a hapless Reading on Monday evening. Despite the negative press they have received over the past few weeks, the Gunners climbed to fifth, have been drawn against Bayern Munich in the last 16 in the Champions League and on Saturday, they have a favorable tie against  Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. The home side had the creative James McCarthy controversially injured in their game against Norwich City and he, along with Adrian Lopez, will miss this game. I really fancy Arsenal to breeze past Wigan and the handicap betting will get my attention for separate bets but for the purpose of our accumulator, we are going to back them to win at 8/11.
Marouane Fellaini’s brainless behaviour during the Stoke game has resulted in a quite mild punishment, coming in the form of a three-match-ban. The Belgian has been inspirational  this season and even though he has been below par these past couple of weeks, he will nevertheless be missed by Everton who travel to an erratic West Ham. Both sides are missing key players for this fixture but I figure that the Hammers could come out on top. Everton will have little to offer in the line of creativity and if West Ham can keep Nikica Jelavic and Leon Osman quiet, they should be able to claim 3 points for the first time since they beat Chelsea three weeks ago. They are 2/1 to win.
Sensible enough work so far. Brace yourself though, maybe even stick on the kettle and have a relaxing cup of tea before you read the next sentence. We’re going to take a gamble and back highly ineffectual Sunderland to earn a point away to Southampton. The Saints will be without their captain Adam Lallana and Sunderland will also be without one of their key players as well, as Steven Fletcher continues his absence from the side. Both players’ nonavailability should not be underestimated and without them on the pitch, chances could be hard to come by.  Southampton have been strong at home  recently in beating the teams around them in the table. QPR and Newcastle have been impressively beaten at St. Mary’s, but I think that Sunderland can struggle on and manage a point here. The draw is available at 5/2.

Big Odds Gamble Will Pay For The Turkey

adamA highly entertaining Manchester derby did nothing to soften the blow of the failure of last week’s accumulator, and my, oh my, was it a spectacular failure.  Nevertheless we’re going to keep on keeping on and focus on the task ahead which is finding another classic bet small win big accumulator. As luck would have it, I have the perfect remedy for your empty pockets with a very generous 16/1 on offer for a surprisingly rational gamble.

Let’s face it, Newcastle are pants at the minute and cannot buy a break as once again their talisman Hatem Ben Arfa seems to have re-injured himself after returning from a knock for the Fulham game on Monday. He scored Newcastle’s only goal that night but did not complete the match and is once again a major doubt for Saturday when they welcome Man City to the North-East. The Manchester club could be lacking defensively for this tie, captain Vincent Kompany is a doubt and Gareth Barry is suspended, however the latter’s absence might be a bonus as he is not in the best form. Demba Ba might prosper if Kompany turns out to be unavailable but even if this is the case I feel City are a steal at 4/6.

Stoke may be the most dismal team to watch in the Premiership but we’re going to take a gamble and back them to beat Everton at 2/1 in the Brittania Stadium. The home side are obviously solid at the back and they should be able to contain the Toffee’s dangerous attacking threat of Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini. Despite Michael Owen’s efforts he will not make his long awaited return this weekend, but Peter Crouch should be named in the starting eleven for the first time since he lost some teeth after a collision with Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini three weekends ago. They also welcome back Charlie Adam to the team and with their team strengthened, I think they should have enough to cause an upset and to overturn highflying Everton.

We’re completing the three-legged accumulator by tipping a draw between West Brom and West Ham. The last three meetings of these two teams have ended as draws and I feel that Sunday’s match will churn out the same result. Key man Mohamed Diame has joined the queue of long-term injuries for the Hammers and with neither team in terribly good form of late, I feel that the draw is a decent bet at 12/5.