Category Archives: Top Clubs

Luis Suarez Heading for the Exit Door

In the recent weeks much has been seen and wrote about Mr. Suarez’s future and today has been no different, with the gossip columns stating it could be City, Madrid and even Napoli reportedly readying bids for the controversial striker. The Uruguayan has been doing himself no favours, and only fuelling his potential move away from Anfield. So whether today’s news stokes the flames, it is looking likely Liverpool’s famous number seven will be leaving.

News of his unhappiness has always been whispered about, ever since the Patrice Evra debacle. Suarez has felt himself “victimized” by the English press and English referees, but the man doesn’t help himself does he? Evra being racially abused, Branislav Ivanovic getting bitten and who could forget that goal celebration in front of former Everton manager David Moyes. Luis Suarez has always found himself as enemy number one and his plea for the media to not portray him as a pantomime villain, is frankly ludicrous, here we have a man going around biting other players and that’s not the first time he’s done that either, so what really does he expect? But what we do have here is a professional who will try and win at all costs, a professional who wants to be the best in his sport, hence the talk of his uncertain future.

His keenness is certainly at times over zealous, his greediness not so greedy when you realize what this individual can do on his own, but his attitude is lacking any decency.  With odds on leaving rising in the passing weeks, Real Madrid certainly does seem the most likeliest of destinations for him to pitch up sticks and also the expression of fondness for the Spanish side, will certainly go a long way in a successful bid from Madrid. Liverpool will be desperate to keep their key player, so with any potential move, The Reds will drag their heels in, but what Liverpool must admit defeat when it comes down to facts, they aren’t the force they once were and a player of Suarez caliber needs to spread his wings, especially if he does want to leave, the only plus the Merseyside club take from so many negatives is their reputation won’t be further damaged by such a highly controversial figure, because in all honestly the bites, the mistranslated racism and whatever trick Suarez next pulls from his troublemaking sleeve, it certainly won’t be the last time he’s caused headlines for the wrong reasons.

By Michael King

Arsenal man could follow Cesc Fabregas and sign for Barcelona

That’s right, Laurent Koscielny is the latest centre back to be linked with a move to the Spanish giants, to reiterate Barcelona want to sign Laurent Koscielny. How did that happen?

With Barca on the hunt for a new centre back, they’ve reportedly turned to the 27 year old Frenchman after being seemingly priced out of moves for better the better alternatives namely, David Luiz and Thiago Silva, to pick a few. The reported interest is only that at the moment, reported, but if the rumour whispers are correct he might be on another giants shortlist too, Bayern Munich.

So how’s it came about the once calamity and bungling centre- back is now being courted by the elite of Europe? Hand-picked from French club Lorient, his career in England hasn’t always garnered such high praise and interest, sent off in his competitive debut against Liverpool, in what was pretty much the last minute of the match. It didn’t get too much better from there on either in his shaky, at best, first season in the Premier League. The height of his low’s must of come in the form of that horror mix up in the Capital One cup final back in 2011, still in his first season, Koscielny still hadn’t grasped the fact keepers are there to use their hands, the mix up cost Arsenal a trophy and still are still searching for silverware.  

So again, how has it came about Barcelona and Bayern has are interested in the French defender? Well since his first campaign, his improvement has been evident, leaps and bounds and has seen him become an integral part of the club and a cornerstone of their defence. His performances in the past two seasons, particularly last season have seen his stature grow, so will yet another player be cherry picked from Arsene’s tree? Or will Arsenal be able to fend off the big guns once again?

By Michael King

Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini – The Engineer

With Roberto Mancini just a faint memory now, City have looked towards a not-so-but-maybe unorthodox choice in leadership in the form of Manuel “The Engineer” Pellegrini. To give a brief history of the man 59-year-old was born in Santiago, Chile and spent the entire days of his playing career with one club, Univerisdad Chile, 13 years playing for the Chilean side he then went on to manage them for a further three years. Now this incredible loyalty shown by Pellegrini, goes a long way in football and a long way in describing his personality, humble, reserved and tactical.

Although on a not so Chelsea scale of chaos, there has always been a sense of instability at Manchester City, whether it was the madcap adventures of Mario Balotelli that made it seem this way, the uncertain uncertainty of City has always been there, even after the young Italian left. It was the older, shrewder authority of a certain Italian that seemed to disjoint and unravel City in this past season. Roberto Mancini was by the end of his reign a spent force, his FA cup and English Premier League trophy didn’t help him convince the owners he was their man and after all the short comings in all competitions, he was inevitably sacked.

A certain word to sum up City’s season would be lacklustre, lacklustre at best, yes second in the premier league is far from a failure, but the performances that got them there were by the their standards, bad. An FA cup final defeat to Wigan summed it up and ushered in a new era, with the man dubbed “The Fixer” being chosen as the leader to bring success, his calm demure got him through a scathing, ill-fated spell time at Madrid and his time at Villarreal and most recently Malaga have put his knack of taking the shaky wheel of a club and steading the to a degree of success. His time at Malaga will serve him well with dealing with oil rich owners, although Manchester City’s might not be as volatile, there is a common theme between the two cubs, money equals power and where there’s money there’s expectation. Pellegrini, I feel is the man to take City forward. 

By Michael King

 

The north London Fairytale continues – Arsenal look good value for third place

“Finishing top four is just as good as winning a Cup” These are the rather unsettling words of Arsenal manager and PSG’s target man Arsene Wenger.

These Gunners had or were meant to have an easy game yesterday against the already relegated Queens Park Rangers at the Loftus Stadium. It was basic really, QPR have nothing left to fight for except maybe their pride which does not carry the same weight as fighting for a spot in the Champions League. The odds were already stacked up against the lesser club in London as they hadn’t won it what seems to be forever and Arsenal were sitting with six games undefeated ready to make it seven. Whistle blew and right away a positive attacking ball lobbed forward by Koscienly to Walcott caught QPR by surprise and within 21 seconds Arsenal took the lead as Walcott netted his 20th goal for the season. After that they all fell asleep.

They went one goal up and took it down a notch. QPR went at them hard, an all-out attacking force but they just couldn’t convert any of their chances. If the Gunners were facing a more confident team and pulled a performance that shameful, they would have been beaten and silenced. The lack of motivation and fight in this Arsenal side is extremely concerning. A game that could and should have easily ended 4-0 or even 5-0.

“Over the past few seasons we have closed the gap and I think now we have overtaken them on the pitch. I think we have the stronger squad”

 This is what Spurs front man Gareth Bale had to say about the North London rivalry and the apparent power shift. He may not be wrong, at the moment Spurs are sitting 5th with just 2 points behind Arsenal and with a game in hand. In favor of the Gunners that game in hand is against 4th place holders Chelsea so any result to keep Arsenal at by in 3rd place will be welcomed.

As it stands, based on current form and manager experience, Arsenal are set to finish top four and Spurs fans will be regular viewers of Thursday night football.  

The issue of racism and the FA

In light of the this past weekend and the hullabaloo over the Kick it Out t-shirt snubs, much has been said about the campaign itself and the issue of racism in football is now under the spotlight more than ever. Of course, progress has been made over the decades but as we have seen in the past twelve months there is still a very significant issue with racism in the football.

Jason Roberts, Rio Ferdinand and his brother Anton all chose not to wear Kick it Out t-shirts each citing that they feel the campaign has not been effective as the reason. I am inclined to agree with them and I think they were completely justified in refusing to wear them.

Speaking on Rio Ferdinand’s snub, his manager Sir Alex Fersguson stated that he was ‘dispppointed’. Ferguson’s reasoning was that in order for the campaign to work, there should be a united front which is true. The problem is, though, the campaign clearly hasn’t worked and this is reflected in the FA’s pitiful treatment of the John Terry situation.

With news today of a possible black player’s union, the fall out from the Terry debacle appear to be boiling over. The FA had a real chance to set an example of how to deal with racial abuse in football and they, quite frankly, embarrassed themselves. The Suarez incident further highlights the FA’s poor decision making as they handed the Liverpool striker an 8 game ban for the use of the word ‘negro’ but only decide to give Terry a 3 game ban for far more abusive and foul language.

There has long been need for reform on the issues of fines and penalties. For example, the standard three match ban for a straight red card, regardless of what occurred and the damage done. The longer the FA continue to ignore the glaring need for a re-think on issues such as these and, on a far larger scale, racism they will be continued to be considered a laughing stock by fans and, worryingly now, players too.

The John Terry farce was a missed opportunity by the FA to heavily punish a player who, allegedly, used abusive racial language towards Anton Ferdinand but all they could provide was a slap on the wrist which has caused a serious backlash which they will struggle to contain.