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2011-2012 Football League Predictions

August 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Just a quick post with my predictions for the new football league season starting next week. This is how I see the Premier League, Championship, League 1 and League 2 finishing up. These could be amazingly correct or staggeringly wrong, we shall see how the season develops.

Premier League:

 

  1. Manchester United
  2. Chelsea
  3. Manchester City
  4. Arsenal
  5. Liverpool
  6. Tottenham Hotspur
  7. Everton
  8. Aston Villa
  9. Stoke
  10. QPR
  11. Bolton
  12. Fulham
  13. Newcastle
  14. Sunderland
  15. West Bromwich Albion
  16. Wolves
  17. Blackburn

——————————————————————-

  1. Norwich
  2. Wigan
  3. Swansea City

Championship:

 

  1. West Ham United
  2. Leicester City

——————————————————————-

  1. Leeds United
  2. Ipswich Town
  3. Southampton
  4. Middlesbrough

——————————————————————-

  1. Cardiff City
  2. Birmingham City
  3. Brighton
  4. Nottingham Forest
  5. Bristol City
  6. Burnley
  7. Hull City
  8. Reading
  9. Blackpool
  10. Portsmouth
  11. Derby
  12. Watford
  13. Millwall
  14. Barnsley
  15. Doncaster

——————————————————————-

  1. Crystal Palace
  2. Coventry
  3. Peterborough United

League 1:

 

  1. Huddersfield Town
  2. Charlton

——————————————————————-

  1. Sheffield United
  2. MK Dons
  3. Scunthorpe United
  4. Brentford

——————————————————————-

  1. Preston North End
  2. Colchester United
  3. Leyton Orient
  4. Chesterfield
  5. Bournemouth
  6. Carlisle United
  7. Sheffield Wednesday
  8. Exeter City
  9. Tranmere
  10. Oldham
  11. Walsall
  12. Bury
  13. Notts County
  14. Hartlepool United

——————————————————————-

  1. Yeovil Town
  2. Rochdale
  3. Wycombe
  4. Stevenage

League 2:

 

  1. Shrewsbury Town
  2. Crawley Town
  3. Swindon Town

——————————————————————-

  1. Rotherham United
  2. Bristol Rovers
  3. Crewe Alexandra
  4. Oxford United

——————————————————————-

  1. Gillingham
  2. Torquay United
  3. Plymouth
  4. Dagenham & Redbridge
  5. Accrington Stanley
  6. Aldershot
  7. Northampton Town
  8. AFC Wimbledon
  9. Bradford
  10. Port Vale
  11. Southend United
  12. Morecambe
  13. Hereford United
  14. Macclesfield
  15. Burton Albion

——————————————————————-

  1. Cheltenham Town
  2. Barnet

Owen remains at United

Michael Owen has signed a one year extension to his contract at Manchester United and will remain at the club for another season as they look to reach 20 league titles. The striker, who scored United’s final goal of the Premier League season in their 4-2 home win over relegated Blackpool, has only managed 16 appearances this season in all competitions, contributing 5 goals. Despite spending the season behind Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov in the United strike force, Sir Alex Ferguson has been impressed enough with Owen through the season to keep him on at the Premier League champions.

Owen to stay in United red

On his twitter account, Owen stated that he was “Delighted to be staying for another year” and now that 31 year old former Liverpool forward is confirmed to be remaining with the team, doubts are now cast over the future of Berbatov, the clubs top goal scorer in the last season. The Bulgarian managed 21 goals during the 2010-2011 campaign despite falling out of favour in the second half of the season as Rooney and Hernandez developed a strong partnership up top for Ferguson’s side.

Owen was included amongst the substitutes during the recent 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League final ahead of Berbatov who was left out of the final squad and the Bulgarian told Sky Sports that he felt “ashamed” about being left on the sidelines for the game and he watched the match on a monitor in the United dressing room. Berbatov stated that he would like to stay with the club, “I will fight for the 20th title.” However, with him seemingly now falling behind Owen as well as Rooney and Hernandez in Ferguson’s plans, there will be a number of rumours surrounding potential moves away from Old Trafford coming out in the next few days and there will likely be many clubs both in the Premier League and across Europe alerted to the potential availability of the Premier League’s joint top scorer.

Six degrees of Sports Separation

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

This article will look at six major sports news stories that are in some way linked together beginning with Diego Maradon and ending with the second game of the Baseball World Series. So let’s begin the journey through today’s news.

Maradona would love to manage in the Premiership

The former Argentina coach and arguably greatest footballer of all time, has stated his desire to manage in the Premier League. After leading Argentina to the quarter finals of this year’s World Cup before his team lost to Germany, Maradona is now open to a new challenge and has expressed an interest in managing a team in the Premiership.

Maradona told Sky Sports News “I would like to manage in the Premier League. It has very good teams, an exceptional level and great players.” After being linked with the vacant Aston Villa position before Gerard Houllier was appointed, Maradona will now no doubt be in the mix when the next vacancy presents itself.

Maradona to coach in England?

Although he is looking ahead, Maradona is still disappointed in the manner of his parting with the Argentina national team. Maradona built up a good relationship with a number of the players in the national side and it was thought he would be kept in charge of the national team after the World Cup.

Maradona has a particularly strong friendship with Argentina and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez.

Tevez injured and back in Argentina

Tevez the key man for City

After limping off in the 3-0 loss to Arsenal last weekend, Carlos Tevez has been ruled out of Manchester City’s next two matches against Wolves in the Premier League and an away trip to Poland to face Lech Poznan in the Europa League.

Tevez has been in typically good form so far this season and his absence will certainly be felt by City who will now have to look to Emmanuel Adebayor and Mario Balotelli to lead their attack. Tevez has now flown back to Argentina to recover from his dead leg and there has been speculation in the media that he is unsettled in England and missing Argentina.

City fans will be hoping this is not the case as Tevez has led by example since being appointed team captain and with the eagerly anticipated Manchester derby against United coming up, City will require Tevez to be fit and ready against his old club.

A former teammate of Tevez at Manchester United is goal keeper Edwin Van Der Sar.

Van Der Sar looks to continue after hitting 40

The veteran Dutch stopper has had a long and illustrious career with Ajax, Juventus, Fulham and now Manchester United and although he has today turned 40, he is keen to keep playing.

Van Der Sar still United number 1

Still the number one choice in goal at United, Van Der Sar’s current deal runs out at the end of this season and because of his age there is a question as to whether he will retire. However, there is now talk that Van Der Sar is looking to remain a Manchester United player for another season and continue to perform right at the top level regardless of his age.

Another sporting superstar still playing in his 40’s is Brett Favre.

Favre injury may end record run

41 year old Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is at risk of ending his NFL record 291 consecutive starts. After deciding to come back for another season in the NFL rather than retiring, Favre has struggled in his 20th season with injuries to his ankle and elbow and after taking a hit to his ankle in the loss to the Green Bay Packers last week, Favre’s consecutive streak of games (he hasn’t missed a game since 1992) may well come to an end.

Favre has struggled with injury this season

The Vikings have had a less than impressive start to the season currently sitting third in the NFC North with a record of 2-4 and Favre himself has been mediocre at best. There has been talk about Favre being benched simply on form but that would seem unlikely with the efforts made by the Vikings to get him back for this season.

Favre managed to practice today with tape on his ankle, which has two fractures, and the decision on whether he will play against the New England Patriots this Sunday falls to head coach Brad Childress.

Favre holds pretty much every record that matters for quarterbacks in the NFL his name has been synonymous around the globe with the NFL.

NFL international series takes place in London this weekend.

Wembley prepares to welcome the NFL once again

After the success of the three regular season NFL games held in London at Wembley stadium, the next instalment of live action in the UK features the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos this Sunday.

Wembley Stadium welcomes the NFL once again

Regardless of the poor form of both teams, the 49ers 1-6 and the Broncos 2-5, Wembley will be nearly if not completely sold out for the game as UK

fans get their yearly dose of live NFL.

The game itself promises to be a close one although a potentially un-exciting encounter. San Francisco have been forced into a change at quarterback with the injury to starter Alex Smith and instead of David Carr, they have gone with former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith as the man for the game in London.

Both teams are in dire need of a positive result in an attempt to kick start their season and with all the divisions in the NFL extremely close at the minute, neither team will have given up on potential play-off hopes.

San Francisco is the designated home team in London and this week has been a good one for San Francisco sports teams at home.

San Francisco Giants go 2-0 up in World Series at home.

Giants shut out Rangers to take 2-0 lead

After a high scoring 11-7 win in the opening game of the best of seven series, the San Francisco Giants thrashed the Texas Rangers 9-0 to take a two game lead in the World Series to decide the MLB champion for this season.

Taking home field advantage in the series, the Giants have won their two home games before heading to Texas for the next three games and then returning to California for the final two games if needed.

Giants pitcher Matt Cain lead the team to a second win

The Giants crushed the Rangers thanks to an inspired performance from pitcher Matt Cain keeping the Rangers without a run before SanFrancisco sealed the win with a glut of runs in the eighth inning.

Texas’ pitchers failed miserably giving up seven runs to take the game from a potential 2 run difference going into the final inning to a 9 point blowout. The Series now moves onto game three in Arlington, Texas where the Rangers will look to rebound from these defeats and turn the series around.

Rooney on his way out of Old Trafford?

October 19, 2010 3 comments

With Sir Alex Ferguson admitting today that Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United, there is the prospect of huge movements of money and players when the January transfer window opens. The speculation around where Rooney will be come January or the start of the next season has led to him being linked with moves to a number of major clubs that could pay him astronomical wages. Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid are all potential destinations for the England star, and the movement of Rooney could spark a number of other big names switching clubs.

One potential move United could make if Rooney leaves is for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres. Torres has looked out of sorts this season and doesn’t seem to be playing with much spirit for Liverpool who have begun the season with all sorts of problems, currently sitting next to bottom in the Premier League. Would Torres be interested in a move to Old Trafford? Probably. Would Liverpool let him go to their arch rivals? Not so likely, although a suitably large offer might tempt the new owners of Liverpool to allow Torres to move on.

United may also be offered players and money in exchange for Rooney by Real Madrid or Barcelona. Karim Benzema has often been linked with a move to United and if Real Madrid offers Benzema along with a transfer fee, Rooney could swap places with Benzema and link back up with Cristiano Ronaldo. Barcelona also have players that could tempt United in a swap deal such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is currently on loan at AC Milan and apparently surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp.

I’m sure like me, most neutral English fans will want to see Rooney remain in the Premiership, whether he stays at United or moves to somewhere like City or Chelsea doesn’t bother me. I simply want to keep the best players in the Premiership, but whatever happens in the next few months, it is going to be very interesting how this saga develops and how a Rooney transfer might pave the way for a number of other major moves between the top clubs in Europe.

Why the Premiership is still the best league in the World.

August 16, 2009 2 comments

Many people may argue that, since the summer spending of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, that has seen some of the world’s top players in Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema arriving in Madrid and Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving from Inter Milan to Barcelona, that the Spanish La Liga has become the greatest league in the world. Assuming of course they didn’t already hold this belief before the big name imports. With Ronaldo leaving current English champions Manchester United for Madrid and Xabi Alonso leaving last seasons  second place finishers Liverpool, it will clearly have a detrimental affect on both teams and, arguably, the overall quality of the league. Combined with the loss of  some of its top players, there has been very little transfer activity where players have been brought into the Premiership from other international leagues. The majority of transfer activity has been players moving clubs within the league and cannot compete with the blockbuster moves from the two Spanish sides.

However, i believed that before these transfers in the summer, the Premiership was the best league and I still believe that to be the case. Although La Liga can now boast the names of Ronaldo, Kaka, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Ibrahimovic, Villa, Silva and Fabiano to name a few, the Premiership can still name  players such as Lampard, Gerrard, Fabregas (Although rumoured interest from Barcelona), Torres, Drogba, Rooney, Robhino and Tevez who are all at the top of the world game. There is no doubt in my mind that La Liga has the three best players on the planet, Messi, Ronaldo and Kaka, playing within it, but this doesn’t automatically crown it as the top league. In terms of the number of truly world class players, I think the Premiership easily has the beating of La Liga. And this is one of the main reasons that the Premiership is still ahead of La Liga.

Secondly, the competitiveness of the Premiership is much more intriguing and compelling to watch than La Liga which does ultimately come down to two teams. Of course people will say that this is not the case and teams like Sevilla, Valencia and Athletico Madrid can challenge as well and that the Premiership is always the same with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal streets ahead of the other teams. Although this statement about the top four is pretty much correct, it means there are twice as many teams challenging for the title than in La Liga and consequently a more interesting competition.

The performances of English teams in Europe have also shown a period of great strength for the Premiership. In the last five seasons, the European Champions League final has consisted of at least one English team and in the last three season, three of the four semi-finalists have been English teams. Only Barcelona have made the final from Spain in the last five seasons, although they did triumph on both occasions. However, the consistency of the top English teams to continue to succeed in this competition also confirm the current dominance of the Premiership.

This is of course only my opinion, and being that i can watch the Premiership every week and see La Liga only occasionally, may leave me uninformed to make a proper judgement, but with all that I have been exposed of both competitions, I still firmly believe in the Premiership’s status as the best league in the world.

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