Premier League Preview

17 Aug

With the 2012/2013 season starting tomorrow, i’m here to share my opinion on what I think the season will have in stall for all us football fans!

Surprise team- This has to go to Reading. With Brian McDermott in charge, a manager I really rate, I think they could be this seasons Norwich as I think they will be a team that just opponents regardless of who they are, which is likely to result in some heavy beatings but also some great upsets. I think they’ll be in the Premier League come the 2013/2014 season.

Surprise player- For me there was two players that came to mind. One was Gervinho, who has great ability and can be a world beater on his day, but is far too inconsistent, but I expect him to become a real player this season should he get games. But my surprise package is another Arsenal winger, Ryo Miyaichi who is on loan at Wigan. Likely to be Moses replacement, I think Miyaichi will surprise a lot of fans with his immense speed and skill, and will cause numerous fullbacks problems.

Top Scorer- Sergio Aguero. Settled in last season and did incredible, so this season I expect even greater things.

Relegated Sides- West Brom, Southampton and Swansea. Reasons been I don’t rate West Broms manager, Southampton don’t have enough quality, although Gaston Ramirez could be a coup and Swansea I fear will summer second season syndrome, but Bartley is a fine buy as I’ve alluded to before.

Disappointment- Chelsea, who have been the big spenders this transfer window are in my opinion the side who will be big disappointments, and possibly finish outside the top 4. Reasons been that they have strengthened areas that were already strong, and haven’t addressed their weak areas.

Best Business- Santi Cazorla for arsenal will be a great buy, and may finally replace the Cesc/Nasri whole, with his incredible ability. A player in the mold of Silva and Mata. Another is Lukaku at West Brom, who has arrived from Chelsea on loan, I also think Chelsea’s purchase of Marin, one which hasn’t really been noticed by fans. I think he could be a big asset for Chelsea.

Breakthrough- I have a few contenders, one been Ryan Bertrand who may get a lot more game time this season with A.Cole getting older, and Bertrand is seen as his replacement. Another is Coquelin at Arsenal who could gain a lot more game time this season, especially if Song is not replaced. Others are Cleverly at Man United, who is likely to have a big season, as United’s big business is RVP so won’t have money to buy a great CM player. Big things were expected of Barkley last season at Everton, but with Rodwell gone to City, Rodwell is sure to get more game time this season.

Player of the Year- Sergio Aguero. Like RVP this last season, Aguero’s goals are sure to earn him the prize.

Cup Winners- FA Cup- Man United, League Cup- Arsenal, Premier League- Man United, Champions League- Man City

First Managerial Sacking- Di Matteo is a contender, but I’m going for Nigel Atkins at Southampton.

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New Signing Cazorla

16 Aug

Arsenal’s lastest signing is Santi Cazorla.

Cazorla is a silky5’6 footballer with neat passing ability who represents Spain, and in this incredible squad has managed to gain 40+ caps, and has won the Euro’s with Spain in 2008 and 2012, but was not part of the 2010 World Cup winning side due to a back injury. Cazorla is probably the most two footed player at this moment in time, to the extent that pundits are unaware which is his favoured foot, as he takes free kicks with both feet depending on the situation.

Arsenal were interested last season, but missed out due to the big bucks of Malaga who managed to outbid Arsenal for the player, but due to their owner’s losing interest in the club Arsenal were able to capitalize and buy the player.

Cazorla is in all the stat dream teams last season, and is a very versatile player, who can play on the wing, Defensive midfield, Central midfield and can play the Central Attacking midfield.

Cazorla apparently cost the club £12 million which is quite incredible, and could be the buy of the season and is currently ahead of Mata for the spanish side, which indicates further the guys qualities.

 

Premier League Preview

15 Aug

Ok, so the Premier League is upon us, and begins this Saturday!

This is my preview to what we can expect this season. I’ll be starting off with who I believe will finish in the top 4 from the teams of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle, Man City, Man United and Tottenham.

I’ll start of with Arsenal. At this moment, Arsenal have purchased 3 quality signings in Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla. All three had great 2011/2012 seasons, and all went to the Euro’s with Santi picking up a winner’s medal. Cazorla looks to be the man who may finally replace Fabregas with his neat passing ability and skillful play.

The transfer saga of this summer seems to be Robin Van Persie, with numerous news outlets reporting Manchester United are close to signing the striker, but as of this moment, Van Persie is at Arsenal, although I doubt he will come September 1st. However in Podolski and Giroud, Arsenal has already prepared themselves with replacements should Van Persie leave. 

Another advantage for Arsenal this season, is that both Wilshere and Diaby will hope to play much bigger roles this season then in the last, as Wilshere missed all of last season, and Diaby played only a handful of games due to injury. Although Wilshere is currently injured and may return as late as November, Diaby has played all preseason, and looks fit and healthy going into the new season, and as Arsene always says, these two are going to be like new signings.

Arsenal last year suffered numerous fullback injuries, with Gibbs, Santos, Sagna, Jenkinson and Coquelin all been injured at the same time, which meant players had to be put out of position and youngsters were forced to play in big games, like Yennaris, who came on at half time against Man United.  Plus as well documented, Arsenal had a horrendous start to the season, and were 17th at one point, but if you’d take those first 7 games out, Arsenal would have been just a few points of both of the Manchester clubs.

They will go into the season with depth in every position though, as there is 2 players fighting for each position in the team.

Therefore I believe Arsenal will once again get a top 4 finish, and if they manage to keep Van Persie, I genuinely think they could be title contenders.

Prediction- 3rd place

 

Next, is Chelsea. Currently, Chelsea have had one of the biggest shake ups, with Di Matteo been made the permanent manager, and with 3 quality players been brought in to the club in the shape of Marin, Oscar, and the summers biggest transfer so far, Eden Hazard. Other purchases are Hazards younger brother, and De Bruyne; who has gone on loan, and there is strong rumours of Moses coming in. One thing I noticed with Chelsea’s transfers so far, are that all the players they have brought in and want to bring in, are all similar player. They are all players that play behind the striker or can be put on the wing. However, for me this is unusual as this is where Chelsea are strongest. In my opinion, Juan Mata is Chelsea’s best player, and now they will have 6 players fighting for 3 places, and some big players are going to be placed out of their favoured position as they all want to play the role behind the striker.

Chelsea, do however, now have huge depth in midfield and defense, as they have multiple players for each position, bar the RB position, which does look like a weak link. They do have arguably the best LB in the world, and have a very good prospect in Bertrand waiting to take his chance. The club does look weak upfront though, with only Torres, who was very poor last season, and Sturridge who has mostly played on the wing. This is because, Drogba, one of the best strikers the Premier League has seen has gone to China, which is why I don’t understand why they haven’t come in for RVP, as the club is in London, and could easily pay his wage.

One concern I have for Chelsea, is that I’m not convinced by Di Matteo. I know he has won the FA cup and CL, but he took over in 5th and the club finished 6th, and I doubt he will continue his success there. Which is why I think they will either be title contenders or do terrible.

Prediction- 4th place.

 

Liverpool, have a new manager in Brendan Rodgers, who did an exceptional job with Swansea, and so are has brought in 2 players who have played under him at Swansea in Borini and Allen. His only football success has come at Swansea. With a poor reign at Reading and a reasonable stint at Watford, which for me makes him a risk for Liverpool.

Liverpool will most likely have Europa League football during midweek, now i wonder, will Rodgers take the tournament seriously, or will he they forget and go for the a top 4 finish, because in my opinion, the squad isn’t big enough to fight on both fronts.

Liverpool have their own transfer saga, with the club wanting to get rid of record signing Andy Carroll, but the only club he wants to join, are Newcastle, who just so happen to be one of Liverpool’s rivals not only for the top 4 but Newcastle are also in the Europa League, therefore, they would be strengthening a rival.

One thing I did notice last season was Liverpool did have a lot of possession, but they lacked a clinical edge in front of goal, which they haven’t addressed as Borini is not a goalscoring machine, but the poor finishing surely must improve this season? If they keep hold of Agger and Skrtel then I see no reason why they won’t be fighing for a top 4 finish can’t happen.

Prediction- 5th place

 

Manchester City, the Community Shield Champions. Four of the last five winners have gone on to win the league, with the anomoly been last season, when United won the Community Shield, but City won the league. City has been very quite in the market this summer, with their only purchase been of Jack Rodwell, who is unlikely to be anything more than a squad player for the 2012/2013 season. However, they do seem to have interest in Agger of Liverpool which makes sense, as they only have 2 quality CB’s in Kompany and Lescott, and with the formation 3-5-2 that they have used in preseason, you would imagine another CB is a must, with talk of K.Toure going and Savic just not been good enough.

City’s strength is that they have a fantastic squad, and players like Aguero are sure to improve even more as last season was his first, plus Tevez is likely to be like a new signing after missing a lot of last season due his issues with Mancini.

Prediction- 2nd place

 

Next, Manchester United. The club narrowly missed out on the league due to a last gasp goal by Aguero. They have already added Kagawa and Powell to the squad, although you’d have to think that Kagawa is the only player likely to add to the clubs Premier League campaign.

One huge bonus for Manchester United, is that they will have Vidic fit for the season, after missing nearly all last season, and for me him and Kompany are the two best CB’s in world football, so he will be a big player to have back. Plus he brings leadership qualities to the squad that were missing at times last season.

United look to be leading the chase for RVP, and if they get him, they for me are the only other club that would bring the best out of Van Persie as he needs to be the star player to bring the best out of him, and at Man United, he would be along with Rooney, whereas at City, they have numerous stars like Toure, Silva, Aguero and Tevez.

Prediction- 1st place

 

Tottenham were the ultimate chokers last season, as they not only lost 3rd place but lost their champions league place due to Chelsea winning the Champions league. Like Liverpool, Spurs have a new manager in Andre Villas Boas, who only got sacked last season with Chelsea due to poor form and not getting on with players.

So far, they have signed Vertonghen and Sigurdsson, and there is talk that Adebayor will be joining permanently along with Brazilian GK Julio Cesar. However, there only current first team striker is Jermaine Defoe, who apparently wants out of the club due to AVB. There was also strong talk of Van der Vaart wanting out at the start of the summer, but this has since quietened down, but their midfield maestro Modric, has been heavily linked with Real Madrid, and looks like he is very likely to leave.

One reason for Spurs early success before they choked was that they discounted the Europa League and solely concentrated on the league, but they may take it seriously this year, as AVB has won the Europa League in the past with Porto, but like Liverpool I’m not sure he has the squad to compete on both fronts. Another concern has to be how AVB will get on with the players, as this was one of the big reasons he didn’t last at Chelsea.

Prediction-6th

 

Newcastle were definitely the surprise package of last season as most expected a mid table finish, but the club surprised everyone as was in and around the top 4 for all of the season. At this moment is time, Anita is having a medical with the team, and the club are looking to get Debuchy and Carroll if the British and French media are to be believed. Both would certainly improve and add depth to the squad, with Debuchy looking like a fantastic player at the Euro’s.

Like Spurs and Liverpool, Newcastle have Europa League football, which i’m confident that they will take seriously as they haven’t had European football for a few years now. The club had a fantastic season last year, with Cabaye, Krul, Ben Arfa, Ba, Collocini and Cisse all enjoying fantastic season, but if a Cabaye got injured or a Collocini, i’m worried they don’t have the depth to compete at the same level, and with European football, I doubt Newcastle will be fighting for a top 4 finish. However we all said this last season, and they proved us wrong.

Prediction- 7th

 

So to recap:

1-United

2-City

3-Arsenal

4-Chelsea

5-Liverpool

6-Spurs

7-Newcastle

Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed it, and please share your top 4!

Young Gunner Francis Coquelin

22 Jul

Francis Coquelin was pretty much unknown to most Arsenal fans at the start of the 2011/2012 season, but as the season went on, and with Arsenal having their big injury problems, Francis Coquelin became Arsenal’s Mr.Versatile last season; playing RB,LB,DM and CM.

Francis is by trade a defensive midfielder, or a central midfielder, and at the start of the season, it seemed Wenger’s plans for Coquelin were to play the League Cup games, but due to numerous factors like suspensions, injuries and transfers from the club Francis was called upon to play in “THAT” game at Old Trafford, and although Arsenal were losing with Coquelin on the pitch it was when he was subbed off that things took a turn for the worse.

The reason for Coquelin been unknown to Arsenal fans was the fact that there was a fellow young team mate in the same position who many thought was destined for the 1st team after taking part in preseason the year earlier, before his season was ended just to a serious injury. That man was Emmanuel Frimpong, the big beast who “frimponged” anything in his way. However, Frimpong was sent on loan during the 2011/2012 season, and this has lead to in my opinion Coquelin going into the 2012/2013 season as the understudy to Alex Song for the Defensive Midfield position, and been the midfielder on the bench. In my humble opinion, and I know many will disagree, but I think Coquelin was the best young player for Arsenal last season behind the very talented Kieran Gibbs, and in my opinion is as almost as big a prospect as the English duo of Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

As talented as young Coquelin is, I am not sure as to how much he will feature, as even Arsenal cannot have all the injuries they had last season, which would mean that Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Song, Diaby and Rosicky are all likely to be in front of him for the team sheet. However, as I alluded to earlier, Coquelin is probably Arsenal’s most versatile player, and with Bacary Sagna’s injury worries, Coquelin may get game time in the RB position.

Thank you for reading, and I hope it wasn’t a waste of time.

 

 

Young Gunner Carl Jenkinson

20 Jul

This is the first of about 8 articles on specific Arsenal players that may play big or bigger parts next season than ever before. First of those is Carl Jenkinson, who is a 6’1 RB for Arsenal who was purchased from Charlton last summer. Carl is an Arsenal fan, so when the offer from Arsenal came in, then he didn’t even consider other clubs after him, which is great to hear, when you see the situation with Robin Van Persie.

The reason for doing an article on Carl, is that he is likely to play a bigger part of Arsenal this season, as he was out for most of last season with a back injury, so he was likely to play more games, by playing in the League Cup and potentially a few Premier League games. However, the injury to Sagna at the end of the season, means that Carl will get his chance to show Arsene Wenger that he is ready for a bigger role in the side and will have all preseason to show what he has to offer Plus Sagna is expected to miss the first month of the season, so unless Carl gets injured he is very likely start the season as first choice RB, and he will hope that if he puts in good performances that he will keep the starting place.

One of Carl’s biggest assets is that he is probably the best crosser at the club, and as i alluded to earlier, it looks like RVP will be leaving this season, so Olivier Giroud is likely to be our first choice striker, and he is a great header of the ball, and may benefit greatly from having Jenkinson at RB. Another attribute is that Carl is a very strong lad, and during last seasons preseason Carl came out on top in the strength tests, which is impressive when you consider he was only 19 years old at the time.

Carl Jenkinson

In my opinion, I think Carl will be the first choice RB for the start of the season, as his only competition is Nico Yennaris, who is less experienced and prefers the Central Midfield role. However, I would really like to see Sagna come back into the first team as soon as possible, with Carl playing League Cup games, and maybe playing mid-week Premier League games. However, we don’t know how Sagna will come back, as this is his second leg break in 1 year, so will need to be treated carefully and not over used, otherwise his injury could reoccur.

Anyway, I for one wish Carl Jenkinson the best of luck next season.

Big Spending Clubs

20 Jul

In the last few years, football has seen huge investment in clubs like Man City, Malaga, PSG and Anzhi.

It has been reported in the Spanish press this month that Malaga’s owners are not willing to pump millions into the club and instead it is been reported that they owners want the club to sell star players like Cazorla, Isco and Rondon. This is especially unusual as they have Champions League qualifiers to come up soon, and if they get into the Champions League, it would bring in a lot more income and possibly help solve the financial problems.

However, PSG and Anzhi will be hoping to do what Man City have done, and invest lots of money into the club and become a super power in Europe and win domestic titles. The problems other clubs in Europe have with these clubs is that they have endless pits of money, and can attract the best players from other clubs that aren’t playing Champions League football, and once they get Champions League football, they can then attract players from Champions League clubs and the cycle continues until they have some of the best players in the world. PSG this week proved this, as they now have Champions League football, so have been able to sign two quality players in Ibrahimovic and Silva, and although it cost them a lot of money, one has to think (and hope) that they wouldn’t have gone to PSG if they didn’t have Champions League football.

One advantage PSG has over nearly any team in the world, is that they are the only big team in the city, and that city happens to be the capital city Paris, and this is a city which is very desirable to people, which can only help when trying to attract players from other clubs.

Next seasons Champions League could have a group of Barcelona, Man City, Juventus and PSG. If that is not a tasty group then I don’t know what is.

Kyle Bartley

19 Jul

On the 11 July Kyle Bartley via twitter announced he was an official Arsenal first team player.

@KyleBartey22 “Over the moon to officially be an Arsenal first team player. Thank you to everyone who has supported me. Hard work starts now!”

Kyle was bought from Bolton 5 years ago, and has only made 1 Arsenal first team appearance against Oympiakos in the CL. However, he has been on loan for the last two seasons, with a loan at Sheffield United before spending the last 18 months on loan with Rangers.

During his first season with Rangers he became a starter, whether it be in his preferred position Centre Back or in the Defensive Midfield role. By playing for Rangers, Kyle managed to get European football experience by playing in the Europa League. I managed to see some of Kyle that season, and was quite impressed by his physical attributes as at 6’3 he was very strong in the air, and never seemed to get out muscled by attackers, which at the time, was the type of player Arsenal fans were screaming out for.

When that season finished, I was one fan that expected Kyle to get game time in the League Cup and possibly the FA Cup, however, he was then sent on loan to Rangers again, but during the 2011/12 season Kyle managed to pick up a lot of injuries and only featured for Rangers 18 times, with most of these appearances coming in the unfamiliar position of RB.

Kyle is a big lad at 6’3 and has decent pace for a Centre Back, but when placed at RB he was often outpaced and was passed by wingers quite easily when ever I saw him play, although it has to be taken into consideration that this is not his first or second best position.

This season, Arsenal currently has Koscielny, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Djourou, Squillaci and Miquel, however it seems Miquel will go on loan this season, and Squillaci will be likely be sold, with a lot of talk that Djourou will be sold too. This suggests that Bartley will be 4th choice and will feature in the League Cup games, and with Arsenal’s injury record, it wouldn’t be too outrageous to suggest that Bartley will get games in the Premier League and with Bacary Sagna’s injury likely to keep him out of the first few games of the season and with Kyle previously playing RB he could potentially be Carl Jenkinson’s deputy at RB for the first few games of the seasons.

In my opinion, Kyle reminds me a little of R.Ferdinand, and I am of the belief that Kyle will have a successful season and career at Arsenal and I for one look forward to seeing him next season.

Here’s some links of highlights of Kyle Bartley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAc-G3Z5ht4

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp7TCr1HE6s