All posts by Aaron Sharp

Forget Zaha, Bolasie is the star (Video)

After months of speculation surround Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, he finally sealed a move to Premier League leaders Manchester United.

However, have United really got the right player?

Despite Wilfried Zaha’s obvious talent, he does have his flaws. In with all the tricks and flicks is his reluctantly to play a simple pass and often he makes the wrong decisions. 

After talking to a friend of mine who is a Crystal Palace fan, it seems most Palace followers aren’t too fussed that Zaha is heading for the exit.

Young Congolese winger Yannick Bolasie is a Selhurst Park favourite and the majority of Palace fans rate him higher than they did Zaha. At 23-years-old Bolasie has bags of experience playing for Plymouth, Barnet, Bristol City, Rushden and Diamonds and Maltese side Floriana.

He is often compared to Zaha as they share the same style of play – They base their game around pace and beating defenders. Bolasie however is a team player, where it’s been said Zaha is more of an individual.

I feel if Manchester United did a little more research instead of jumping on the Zaha bandwagon, they could’ve got a better deal pursuing Bolasie than they did with Zaha.

I’d like to end on a quote from a Crystal Palace fan which sums up the Bolasie/Zaha debate in one:

“Two Bolasies in a team, is far better than two Zahas in one”.

Give Neymar a chance (Video)

Wednesday night saw England defeat Brazil 2-1 at Wembley Stadium. Prior to the game, many fans were highlighting Brazil’s main threats and where they would unravel England.

The name on everybody’s lips (trending) was young Brazilian magician, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior or Neymar for our English readers.

As Andy Townsend said “People who go on YouTube will know all about Neymar“. I’m sure people who aren’t regular watchers of Youtube also know of Neymar’s greatness, but last night he failed to live up to his reputation and I’m sure people will be questioning him.

Such questions are expected on such a poor first viewing for most, but those of us that have followed and seen Neymar grow know he’s destined for greatness.

Despite missing an open goal and having the lowest pass completion rate from any Brazilian player, fans should give him just one more chance. 

Despite the obvious quality difference between the Brazilian league and the European leagues, most would agree that Neymar would adapt to European life easily – Be that in the Premier league or La Liga.

For those who were doubting the quite sensational skill this 21-year-old has, the video below should quash all doubt in your minds.

Is Bale really up there with Messi & Ronaldo? (Video)

Gareth Bale. A handful of years ago there was few would have predicted that the Welshman would be even mentioned in the same sentence as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, let alone being compared to the two. But yes, with some quite amazing performances in the Premier League and Champions League, people have dared to compare.

But is he really on par with the current worlds greatest? Let us compare.

Little Argentine Lionel Messi has won the last four Ballon d’Or awards, a record, he broke the all time goal scoring record in a one year period by scoring an incredible 92. This season for Barcelona, in 22 La Liga appearances Messi has scored 34 and set up 8 goals. 

Slightly west of Barcelona you’ll find Madrid, home to Portuguese sleaze Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro or ‘CR7’ if you are a tool. Since joining the ‘Galácticos’ from Manchester United, Ronaldo has scored an incredible 133 goals in 122 games. The former world player of the year is not all about goals, his sublime skill, pace and technique is second to none.

Then we come to Gareth Bale who’s stats on paper do not compare. Since joining Tottenham from Southampton, Bale has scored 32 goals in 134 appearances for the north London side. The only notable personal honours Bale has been awarded with are UEFA team of the year in 2011, Football League young player of the year in 2007 and Wales’ sports personality of the year in 2011 – where he pipped Danny Gabbidon to the award.

However as every football fan knows, The Beautiful Game is not all about stats and figures. It’s about consistency and performing when it matters. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are almost a guaranteed certain each week to pop up with a goal or to, whereas Bale comes and goes.

Is this because the quality of La Liga is lower than that of the Premier League? Not in my opinion. If you put Gareth Bale in a Barcelona or Real Madrid shirt in La Liga, would he pop up with 50-60 goals a season? No.

However, if you put Bale in a team around the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Xabi Alonso, Khedira it would certainly improve him as a player no doubt, but still he’d be some way off the world’s number one and two.

Gareth Bale certainly has the potential to reach the level that Messi and Ronaldo reach, but until he leaves White Hart Lane he has little chance of picking up a Ballon d’Or. Consistency is the key and at the moment, this is what Bale lacks and the former have in abundance.

However, for now let’s look back at one of Gareth Bale’s greatest Tottenham performances.

Lifeline for Odemwingie

According to The Telegraph, Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway is preparing a loan move for West Brom rebel Peter Odemwingie.

Last week 31-year-old Odemwingie made a fool of himself by personally attempting to force a non-existent transfer to QPR through, by driving down to Loftus Road from the midlands to speed things up. As we know, things didn’t go according to the Nigerian strikers plan and he now finds himself red faced and facing a £70,000 fine at the Hawthorns.

But Ian Holloway has thrown him a lifeline by offering him a loan move until the end of the season to aid the Eagles promotion mission to the Premier League.

I guess now we will see whether the ‘move’ to QPR was purely for footballing reasons or if Odemwingie simply saw how deep Tony Fernandes’ pockets were and thought he had hit the jackpot.

To see a report of Peter Odemwingie’s breakdown last week CLICK HERE

 

Odemwingie’s breakdown

Not only was Thursday deadline day, it was also the day Peter Odemwingie should have been sectioned.

Rumours had been spreading all month that QPR were said to have been very interested in securing the services of the Nigerian – West Brom refused to sell.

After a week of tweeting about his desire to leave the midlands club, Odemwingie took matters into his own hand and decided the best course of action was for him to make his own way to London.

He jumped into car (thought to be a Rover Metro) and sped down the M40 and in 1 hour and 59 minutes (according to Google Maps) he rolled up outside Loftus Road.

Sky Sports cameras rushed over to see a fresh faced Peter Odemwingie and asked ‘Peter are you excited?’

Peter replied with ‘Oh, I think every football fan is interested to see if we (QPR) are going to make it or not, I am very optimistic about it and a few good players have arrived already. I am happy with the trust that the manager Harry Redknapp has given me, it’s interesting’

Following this interview with Sky Sports, Peter strolled up to the entrance of his ‘new club’ only to be refused entry. QPR said they weren’t going to discuss a possible transfer with a player without their clubs permission – which is standard.

It seems Peter had convinced even himself that he had signed for QPR and looked ever so happy at his new club.

However, after hours of waiting nothing came to fruition and before long deadline was closed.

Subsequently a glum Peter booked himself into a local Travelodge for the night, took off his recently bought QPR track suit and kit and thought about his actions.

For now on paper, Peter remains a West Brom player – But in Peter’s mind I’m sure he’s wearing blue and white hoops.

Wigan vs Southampton Preview

Southampton arrive at Wigan after outplaying the current Premier League leaders in their own backyard. Southampton were sensational on Wednesday night at Old Trafford but still left empty handed.

Since the appointment of Pochettino on the south coast the club has been playing some great football. It’s a little too early to assume anything in his style of play, but in conclusion he hasn’t got off to a bad start.

With Adam Lallana still sidelined, Pochettino should stick with the same line up that played in Manchester on Wednesday – although Luke Shaw may be recalled to the starting eleven.

Wigan find themselves in yet another relegation battle and with only one win their last six Premier league games, there is no need to stress the importance of this game – a six-pointer as they say.

It’s hard to predict just which Wigan will turn up. If it’s the free flowing football side we know then Southampton will have problems, but if it’s the leaky Wigan that can’t string passes together Southampton could run riot.

This is hard to call but in recent weeks Southampton have looked stronger and look dangerous on the attack and I just don’t think Wigan would be able to keep them out.

One thing is for certain – There WILL be goals. For someone looking to make some quick money, putting some money on either both teams to score or over 2.5 goals looks easy money to me.

Prediction: Wigan 1 – 3 Southampton 

 

Fulham vs Manchester United Preview

Both sides go into this fixture fresh faced from mid-week wins and this weekends game could all rest on the shoulders of one very special Bulgarian.

Last week saw Manchester United run riot at Old Trafford against today’s opponents Fulham winning 4-1. The FA Cup and the league are two completely different competitions and both sides will put last week behind them. 

Craven Cottage has not quite being the fortress of last season winning 5 out of 12 games but Fulham certainly have the potential to stop the Premier League leaders going ten-points clear. 

Last weekend, Dimitar Berbatov was non-existent (resembling his Man united days). But if the Bulgarian puts in a performance this evening, there aren’t many players that can stop him – especially not Tom Cleverley and Fulham could take at least a point away from this fixture. After beating West Ham in mid-week Fulham will have a spring in their step. However the Cottagers haven’t won back to back Premier League games since September 2012.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s United beat an unlucky Southampton side on Wednesday night. It was the same old story for the Red Devils as Southampton took a shock lead in the third-minute, before Wayne Rooney grabbed a brace to earn an admittedly undeserved three points.

All-in-all this should be a straight forward win for Ferguson’s men, but if that pesky Bulgarian does put in a performance things could be very different.

Reading’s quiet business

Deadline day is notoriously frantic and rumours spread like wild fire, this one was no different. With all the talk about Beckham moving to PSG and Peter Odemwingie losing his mind, not many people noticed Reading’s league one purchase.

Reading splashed out a reported £1,200,000 on 23-year-old Sheffield United striker Nick Blackman, who has scored 14 goals in all competition this season.

I have seen first hand the talent this boy possesses, he is strong, extremely quick and not to mention he is all of 6 ft 3 inches.

For someone of such a build it’s easy to think Blackman is a target man a ‘lump’ up the top – But not only has he scored 14 goals this season, he has assisted his team mates in 9 goals.

Nick Blackman may not have been the biggest transfer of the gone window – But he certainly has the potential to be bargain of the window.