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Archive for September, 2010

Defoe claims “I didn’t want to play Champions League anyway”

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

With the news that Tottenham and England frontman Jermain Defoe has been ruled out for 3 months, it now appears the diminutive striker will miss all 6 of Tottenham’s group matches in this seasons Champions League. Tottenham will now have to rely on part-time Stephen Merchant impersonator, part-time footballer and part-time tabloid headline maker Peter Crouch. Defoe will be severely missed by Spurs who have a tough group containing reigning champions Inter Milan, german side Werder Bremen and dutch champions FC Twente who were of course led to the elite of European competition by former manager and winner of the 2006 competition ‘So you think you can manage England?’, Steve McClaren.

Defoe, pictured practicing for his summer job with British Airways, misses out on Spurs' European adventure

Asked if he was disappointed to be missing out on his and Tottenham’s maiden campaign in the Champions League, a rather sulky and brash Defoe stated “I don’t care, who wants to play in Bremen? Nobody. I didn’t want to play in the Champions League anyway, I’m just getting into Prison Break for a start and I’d planned on watching the DVD’s on weeknight’s. This Champions League rubbish was gonna ruin everything but now I’m happy with how things have turned out” before sucking on his thumb and yelling at his yo-yo because the string kept becoming knotted. Defoe was then asked if he would be back in time for the knockout rounds should Spurs qualify to which he replied, “don’t think I need to worry about that”.

Meanwhile, Werder Bremen player Tim Borowski stated how much he was looking forward to the opening fixture with Tottenham on Tuesday September 14th. “I’m very much looking forward to meeting Darren Lamb off Extras”.

NFL Predictions

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

The season is almost here!! And here are my predictions for how I see the season possibly panning out.

To come up with these predictions, I have taken into account each team’s schedules and predicting the outcome of each game, as well as looking at their performance last season and deciding if I think they will improve or take a step back this season. Feel free to yell at me and tell me I’m an idiot but this is how I see the season going.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots (12-4)

2. New York Jets (9-7)

3. Miami Dolphins (8-8)

4. Buffalo Bills (5-11)

AFC North

1. Baltimore Ravens (13-3)

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8)

4. Cleveland Browns (3-13)

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts (13-3)

2. Tennessee Titans (10-6)

3. Houston Texans (8-8)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9)

AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers (11-5)

2. Denver Broncos (6-10)

3. Oakland Raiders (5-11)

4. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12)

NFC East

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)

2. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)

3. New York Giants (7-9)

4. Washington Redskins (6-10)

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)

2. Minnesota Vikings (11-5)

3. Detroit Lions (5-11)

4. Chicago Bears (4-12)

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints (12-4)

2. Atlanta Falcons (9-7)

3. Carolina Panthers (6-10)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13)

NFC West

1. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)

2. San Francisco 49ers (9-7)

3. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

4. St Louis Rams (5-11)

PLAYOFFS

Seedings:

AFC

1. Indianapolis Colts

2. New England Patriots (take tie breaker with Ravens with win week 9)

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. San Diego Chargers

5. Tennessee  Titans

6. New York Jets

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers

2. New Orleans Saints

3. Dallas Cowboys

4. Seattle Seahawks

5. Minnesota Vikings

6. Atlanta Falcons (take tie breaker with 49ers with win week 4)

Wildcard Round:

AFC – Baltimore Ravens beat New York Jets & San Diego Chargers beat Tennessee Titans

NFC – Dallas Cowboys beat Atlanta Falcons & Minnesota Vikings beat Seattle Seahawks

Divisional Round:

AFC – Indianapolis Colts beat San Diego Chargers & New England Patriots beat Baltimore Ravens

NFC – Green Bay Packers beat Minnesota Vikings & Dallas Cowboys beat New Orleans Saints

Conference Championships:

AFC – Indianapolis Colts beat New England Patriots

NFC – Green Bay Packers beat Dallas Cowboys

Super Bowl:

Indianapolis Colts beat Green Bay Packers

Of course, this will be probably be miles off what actually transpires and come the end of the season I will look back at these predictions and see how close I got.

Bulgaria lose chance to register Arteta over surname complications

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

After turning down the chance to register to play for England, international football hopeful Mikel Arteta has now refused the offer from the Bulgarian national team to come and play for them. The Bulgarian coach, Stanimir Stoilov claimed that “we offered Mikel the chance to register to play for Bulgaria having found out his parents once visited Plovdiv for a weekend 15 years ago and everything was going smoothly until the issue of the name came up”. For many years now it has been a tradition that all players who represent Bulgaria must have a surname that ends with ‘ov’. Many players have had to change their names to accommodate this tradition including Stilian and Martin Petrov whose previous surnames were the same as Chelsea stopper Petr Cech’s forname. However, the confused Everton playmaker questioned Stoilov when this was put to him.

It is understand Arteta changed his name to Artetaov for a week to ‘see how it felt’ but dour faced Everton boss David Moyes found problems with this when his star midfielder seemed to ignore him for the entire week, perplexed as to why Moyes was shouting ‘Artetaov’ in his direction. Subsequently the chance registering of Arteta to turn out for Bulgaria was lost as the player couldn’t get used to the name and claimed he wouldn’t know what was going on with the rest of his teammates having similar sounding names.

Arteta lashes out upon announcement of latest Spain squad.

Stoilov expressed his disappointment on missing out on such a talented player, “it all seemed to be going well, he enjoyed his tour round Sofia and after attending a training session he realised there would be no trouble in getting selected, it’s just a pity we couldn’t come to an agreement on the name.”

Arteta then still waits for a suitable country to represent while Spain still seems reluctant to select him on the grounds that he doesn’t play for Barcelona.

Football Coaching for the Future

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

After the poor performance by the England football team in the World Cup over in South Africa, supporters have been debating the reasons behind the dismal campaign. After the dust had settled on the Spanish victory in soccer city, the inquest into England’s failure began. One hotly debated and discussed topic is the current standard of football coaching at all levels of the sport, from the grass-roots involved with getting youngsters into the game and developing their abilities all the way up to the elite level competitions. When looking purely at the statistics, it is clear to see that the English coaching power is a long way off some of the other major football nations.

Spanish players celebrate the culmination of a successful system by lifting the World Cup

The number of coaches qualified at the highest level with the UEFA ‘A’ licence and the UEFA pro licence in England is 1,010. Comparing this to the current European and World champions Spain, where 14,860 coaches are qualified at these levels, it becomes apparent that there needs to be a concerted effort to increase the number of English coaches qualified at the highest levels who can provide the players of the future with the ability to develop them into world-class performers. It is not just Spain who vastly outnumbers England in this department, other top nations such as Germany (6,570), France (2,588), Italy (1,810) and Holland (1,137) can all boast a larger crop of top coaches, thus proving that the number of top coaches needs to be increased.

Of course, simply increasing the number of coaches is not going to ensure instant success on the field. The coaches themselves need to be competent in what they are doing, and this competency should be achieved whilst gaining the qualifications. Learning from the Spanish system of coaching, where all the coaches are promoting and teaching the same style of football across the country, we can say ways in which the English coaching system could potentially be improved. During the past decade, Spanish football has been developing successfully due to this philosophy of teaching a single style of football across the country and ingraining this style of play in the young players so by the time they get to the senior level of competition, it becomes natural to them, and they can all work well together. The result of this combined effort from coaches and players has resulted in resounding success for Spanish football. Since 1998, Spanish youth teams from under-16 to under-21 level have won 19 UEFA and FIFA championships. During this same period, England have won one.

The English FA need to focus on both increasing the number of qualified coaches as well as making sure there is a clear system of coaching in place through all levels and age groups so that there is a continuous development of players coming through the ranks, all playing to the same style. It is not essential to simply copy the Spanish system and try to implement exactly what has worked so successfully in Spain into our own game, however a potentially similar coaching system could seriously benefit the English game and lead to future success in the major competitions.

AFC East Preview

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

With the NFL regular season just around the corner, now is a good time to have a look over each division and the possible championship contenders as well as those just looking to pick up a few wins that would constitute a successful season. Beginning in the AFC East, it appears there will be a two-way battle for the division title between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. The Patriots last year were third in the league in offense and with Brady, Moss, Welker, Maroney, Taylor and co, they are still going to be able to put up plenty of points. Therefore, their relatively young defense won’t be under to much pressure in a lot of games and they can just try and contain the opposition and get the high powered offense on the field for as long as possible. The Jets were the top ranked team in total defense last season and head coach Rex Ryan will hope to keep that defensive momentum that took his team all the way to the AFC championship game a year ago. One major worry for Jets fans is the continued hold out of pro bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis who is an essential part of that feared defense.

Revis still holding out

With no real progress being made between the two parties, Jets fans will be desperate that the contract dispute will be resolved as soon as possible and that Revis will be back on the field keeping the league’s top receivers under control. If Revis isn’t available for some or all of the season, the defense will undoubtedly suffer and put more pressure on the offense and second year quarterback Mark Sanchez. Last year Sanchez threw 12 touchdowns with 20 interceptions and if more pressure was to be put upon his shoulders there is a chance he will try to force to many throws into dangerous areas resulting in an increased number of turnovers and adding an ageing LaDainian Tomlinson to the roster isn’t going to improve the offense a whole lot.
Picking a winner from these two sides is tricky and both teams may well end with similar records with a one or two game difference, but I see the Patriots taking the top spot this season as their offense will consistently win them nine or ten games and with the Revis uncertainty, the Jets defense may suffer early on in the season, putting the pressure on Sanchez and his offense. However, no matter which of these teams takes the top spot, the other will definietly be challenging for one of the two wildcard spots from the AFC.

Moving onto the other two teams contesting the division, we have the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins will feel they have an outside chance of a winning season with a schedule that sees them with some attractive home ties against Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago, however I think they will be realistically looking at a final record of around 8-8 or 7-9. Last season they were 26th in the league in offensive yards per game, however they do have a strong defense that will help put them in winning positions. The Dolphins will be hoping that Chad Henne, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Bradon Marshall and the rest of the offense can siginificantly improve and give them an outside chance of challenging for a wildcard spot.

The Buffalo Bills are the overwhelming favourites to prop up the division. Even with the addition of first round draft selection CJ Spiller at running back that will improve a good ground attack, they will struggle to win many games. Whether it’s Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick or even Brian Brohm or rookie Levi Brown at quaterback, throwing to Lee Evans and Roscoe Parish, the Bills will struggle to do much through the air. They will also struggle on the defensive side of the ball where last year they conceded 348 yards per game which was good enough to be the fourth worst defense. No doubt the addition of Spiller will give them a bigger points threat, but I can’t see much hope for more than 4 or 5 wins at best this season for the Bills.

Predicition:

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Miami Dolphins

Buffalo Bills