Friday, 26 October 2012

Ready for the best fixture in football

It's Everton v Liverpool on Sunday and I can't wait. It's my favourite football fixture full stop. I love going, the feeling of the game and around the ground and the atmosphere is terrific, and the passion it involves really budges the game up that extra notch and gives it something not many other fixtures have.

I genuinely think it will be a very good game as well. I'm hoping Fellaini's back to compensate for the loss of Pienaar and if that's the case I think Everton will win. I think it will be tight and that both teams will score, after all it's been 5 Goodison Park Merseyside derby fixtures since both sides scored in the same game (Everton 1-2 Liverpool in 2007).

I'm really looking forward to it, hopefully an Arsenal win tomorrow against QPR can set it up beautifully for me and it's a good, entertaining game with no wrongful sending offs and an Everton victory.

Everything about it spells intrigue and excitement for me, from walking to the ground to standing in the ground waiting for the game to kick off and soaking up the atmosphere from both sets of fans and then the passion, noise, chances, goals and drama of the game.

I think Everton will line up as follows: Howard, Coleman Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Naismith, Neville, Osman, Mirallas, Fellaini, Jelavic.


Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen, Sahin, Suso, Suarez, Sterling.

The players to watch for Everton are probably going to be Fellaini, Jelavic and Mirallas, but Baines, Osman, Coleman and Naismith are threats as well with just shows how good Everton are nowadays, they've improved a lot and have plenty of talent and variety in their team.

Then the stand out players for Liverpool are obviously Suarez and Gerrard, whom they are very reliant on nowadays after their gradual decline over the last few years. However Sterling has impressed so far this season and that Suso looks quite bright and Sahin's a decent player.

It all makes for a very interesting derby and I can't wait to get there!


Monday, 22 October 2012

The Harsh truth about Arsene Wenger

Ironically on his birthday, I'm going to write about how the stubborn Frenchman is slowly destroying our clubs chances of success year by year and why we should get rid of him and replace him with someone new, with fresh ideas and approaches.

Are people seriously happy with Wenger? I keep seeing people wish him a happy birthday on Twitter, saying stuff like 'no- one can do what Wenger can' and 'Arsene knows' and it's all a load of deluded drivel.

What DOES he do? Year after year he continously fails to show true ambition in the transfer market, sells our best players, approaches games against bottom half teams carelessly and arrogantly and still doesn't take the cup competitions seriously enough. He isn't trophy driven enough, he lacks a desire for silverware and he has stood by and watched our defence hold us back for 7 years without doing a thing until Steve Bould came in to sort it out.

The man's well past his sell by date as an Arsenal manager and it drives me mad to see so many deluded Arsenal fans worship him and agree with him on everything, no matter what he says. He could say that the sky is red and people would believe and come out with that cringworthy phrase over and over again: 'Arsene knows'. Yeah, Arsene knows how to fuck up year after year. They worship him and praise him... and for what? So they can see him piss around in the cups, not show enough ambition and let our best players' contracts run out until they have to be sold and not replaced properly.

Over recent years we've become a joke to rival teams, we look less and less like winning anything every season and we fans continuously take the mockery from rival fans for his failings and same old flaws. I could see Arsenal's defeat at Norwich coming a mile off, you could tell we'd approach the game arrogantly, without any tactics and be careless, it's the same old Wenger controlled Arsenal mentality for these sorts of games a lot of the time. We drop silly points EVERY season, and too many of them, to bottom of the league teams- last season we did it several times; Wolves, QPR, Blackburn, Bolton, Norwich, Swansea and Wigan.

It's the same old. We haven't got a manager who leads well enough or shows these teams enough respect, Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea would have at least drawn that game on Saturday, they'd have approached it better- more prepared and professionally, but Wenger doesn't make the team determined enough for these games, how many times do we go to places like Sunderland looking lethargic and out of sorts? It's careless arrogance and it comes from the manager.

We need someone with fresh ideas and a bigger desire for trophies. We play Reading away in the Capital One Cup next week, a Premier League team away from home. What line- up will we play? Will we play the first team because we're desperate for some much needed silverware? Or will we play squad players and youth players for no good reason and either get knocked out at Reading or in the Quarter finals? We know already what will happen. He treats that competition like a training competition, it's not treated seriously enough and yet it's a great chance for Arsenal to win something for once. But no, we'll waste our time by playing the likes of Arshavin and Djourou and end up trophyless again at the end of the season, before a lot of deluded Arsenal fans blindly trust him no matter what and say 'well, Arsene knows, he'll win something for us next season'.

It's utter delusion and it is a genuine question: what does Wenger actually do that earns him his job as Arsenal manager? Not to mention his £7 million a year that he picks up for the privilege, and why the hell he's never under any pressure when it comes to his job. A little bit of pressure could be the kick up the back side he needs.

So to sum up, this is what Arsene Wenger is currently bringing to Arsenal:
  • A lack of desire to win silverware
  • A lack of serious enough ambition in the transfer market
  • A habit of selling our best players not matter what the consequences
  • A careless and inconsistent attitude towards games against 'lesser' teams
  • He always leaves us at least 2 players short of challenging for the title
  • Stubborn transfer policies- buying French players/ French league players like Giroud for cheaper money rather than buying more proven and better talent
  • A lack of care towards defensive tactics and frailties

The man needs to go. I've given you plenty of reasons why, can you give me as many reasons why he should stay? Or even ANY for that matter?

(Image source:

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

My first choice England line- up

I do get wound up by England's line- ups at times, their defensive tactics and robotic player selections.

By 'robotic' I mean changes like bringing Ashley Cole in for Leighton Baines when Baines played well for England when Cole was suspended and is in better club form. Also, he's frankly a better player currently, in my opinion. But because Cole's available again, it's like a robotic instinct to put him back in the team without thought despite other influences like form and quality.

Players like Lampard and Gerrard also have automatic places in the England team no matter what form they're on and they keep persisting with the likes of Milner instead of playing much better and effective, dangerous players like Chamberlain, Walcott and Adam Johnson.

Therefore, this is what my first choice (so no injuries or suspensions, everyone available etc) England team would be:


         Walker                         Jagielka                          Lescott                        Baines

                                              Cleverly                         Wilshere

       Walcott                                            Chamberlain                               A. Young


I would be tempted to play Defoe given his current form but in big games I think you're better off with 5 in midfield. Plus Chamberlain's a more long term option, given his age compared to Defoe's.

Yes, I've left Gerrard out because it simply ain't worked with him in the side, he's always under performed for England and I think his absence would bring the better out of the likes of Chmaberlain and the wingers by making them more senior members with more licence to do what they want, rather than everything running through Gerrard.

Carrick and Parker would be contenders, depending on form but this would be my current England starting 11, with the likes of Jenkinson, Carrick, Parker, Defoe, G. Cahill, Welbeck, A. Johnson, Milner and Sterling making up the squad.

It's time to finally go with an 'out with the old, in with the new' policy.

(Picture from: source: Daily Mail newspaper.)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Arsenal NEED a striker... but who?

So far this season I've been pleasantly surprised by Arsenal. I thought when we sold Van Persie and Song that we were destined for Liverpool FC standards of failure this season. However, I've been impressed by the defence and the new ways of playing and defending brought in by Steve Bould, as well as Santi Cazorla, Gervinho and the midfield in general.

The problem is, like Jamie Redknapp rightly said after the Man City game, we haven't got that striker anymore who can grab a game by the scruff of the neck and rescue a result for us signle handledly. We haven't got the top class striker that's necessary to win major trophies like the Premier League.

Olivier Giroud will probably improve, but he isn't top class and certinaly isn't in the Van Persie league of striker whether you like it or not. Lukas Podolski's good, but not top class. Gervinho's good, but not top class. Therefore we need a top notch striker or the equivalent*. Man Utd have got Van Persie and Rooney, Chelsea have got Torres, Man City have got Tevez, Aguero and Dzeko. We need a player in that league.

I know it's easier said than done, we can't just go out and buy Lionel Messi for £20 million. But there are quality players that I think we can realistically go for. Lewnadowski at Borussia Dortmund, Llorente at Ahletic Bilbao (who aren't in the Champions League), Jelavic at Everton (who aren't in the Champions League) and there will be others.

*We don't necessarily need a world beater- that's the ideal scenario but it may not be possible. If it isn't then we still need to buy genuine, ready- made, proven quality like Jelavic and go from there. Hell, why not even two if the finances allow it?

We could even change formation, which I've been begging for us to do for months now. Get two up front and really worry opposition defenders with genuine goalscoring ability, strength, pace and movement. Imagine Jalevic up front with someone like Walcott or Podolski or Gervinho. Cazorla and Chamberlain out wide with Arteta and Wilshere in the middle. There's a side capable of challenging for the title.

But at the moment we are NOT capable. I hope I'm proved wrong but we simply ain't good enough up top. We have an excellent array of midfield talent (although not enough defensive strength or experience in my opinion) and, irrespective of what happened on Saturday, a very good defence and assistant manager to help improve our defending.

So for once with the Arsenal, the concern is mainly up front and not at the back. January has to be the time when we show serious ambition and buy at least one prolific goal scorer/ top class striker. Otherwise I can't see us finishing any higher than 4th. And Everton and Tottenham are threatening that even.