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Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Here are Wednesdays Champions League fixtures, and my predictions.

Fixtures and my predictions

Bayern Munich v Juventus - Bayern Munich have had a mediocre start to the Bundesliga and are currently in 7th, while Juventus are 2th in Serie A. Considering Bayern are at home, it should be a very tight match but I can just see Bayern snatching it because of home advantage. My prediction - Bayern Munich win.

Bordeaux v Maccabi Haifa - French Champions Bordeaux did excellent in their first game to manage a draw against Juventus away, and they shouldn't have too much trouble dispatching Maccabi Haifa tonight. They have won 6 out 7 games in the French Ligue 1 this season and are sitting pretty on top of the table. Maccabi Haifa are also top of the Ligat Al in Israel but will struggle tonight in my opinion. My Prediction - Bordeaux win.

CSKA Moscow v Besiktas (6.30) - Both teams lost their opening games of the group stages, so maybe its and early indication of who will be fighting for a Uefa Cup spot, in which case this game will be crucial. Too early to tell probably, but neither team will want to lose. CSKA are in 4th position in the Russian Premier division whilst Besiktas are currently 12th in the Turkey Super Lig. Besiktas have been pour lately, only wining 1 game their last five and considering Russia is always a difficult away trip I can't see past CSKA Moscow. My prediction - CSKA Moscow win.

Manchester United v Wolfsburg - A very intriguing game in my opinion. Both champions of their respective contries, but United lie top of the English Premier League, Wolfsburg are 6th in the Bundesliga. United haven't lost in the Champions League at home in four and a half years, and I don't think their going to stop that record tonight. Wolfsburg might have a few talented players but United will be to strong in my opinion as they have a full squad of talented players. My prediction - Man United Win.

AC Milan v FC Zurich - Milan won their first game away to Marseille and I would expect them to win again tonight. Zurich were crushed 2-5 at the hands of Real Madrid a fortnight ago and an away trip to Milan will not be much easier. Milan might still be feeling the loss of Kaka but will have the quality and experience to beat the Swiss side tonight. My prediction - AC Milan win.

Real Madrid v Marseille - Everybody is keen to find out how Real Madrid will perform this year, and after a thumping win away to Zurich, I can't see them losing at home tonight. Everyone knows of the quality they have, and although Marseille have a decent squad they will be out of their league in my opinion. My prediction - Real Madrid win.

APOEL Nicosia v Chelsea - After midweek defeat to Wigan, Chelsea will be very keen to bounce back from defeat against APOEL Nicosia tonight.Apoel got a hard earned point with a scoreless draw in Madrid against Athletico, but Chelsea will, in my opinion, over-power the Cypriot team. My prediction - Chelsea win.


Porto v Athletico Madrid - Athletico Madrid have had a terrible start to the season and have so far failed to win a game. Porto were a formidable force at home last season, going 22 games unbeaten at home before United won with a Cristiano Ronaldo wonder goal. Considering their start to their season, and the fact Porto are at home I can see a victory for Porto. My prediction - Porto win.

Champions League Preview

Monday, September 28, 2009
The second round of Champions League fixtures is approaching, here is the fixture list and my predictions.

Fixtures and my predictions
Fiorentina v Liverpool - Fiorentina have had a decent start to their campaign in Serie A, currently lying fourth, while Liverpool sit in third in the Premier League. Although Fiorentina are at home, I can't see them beating Liverpool, who just always seem to be magic in the Champions League. My prediction - Liverpool win.

Debreceni v Lyon - Debreceni currently lie sixth in the Hungarian top division, whilst Lyon lie second in Ligue 1 in France. After missing out on the title last season, I expect Lyon to battle hard to make it as far as possible in the Champions League and I would expect them to win. My prediction - Lyon win.

FC Rubin Kazan v Inter Milan - After a 0-0 draw with Barcelona at home, Inter Milan will need to beat the weaker teams in the group to try and get top spot. I also expect them to bounce back from a shock defeat to Sampadoria a few days ago, although Rubin Kazan are not to be under estimated. Russia is never an easy away trip, and they are top of the Russian Premier Division so who knows. My prediction - Inter Milan but not by much.

Barcelona v Dynamo Kyiv - The European champions, arguably the best team in the World and will be keen to retain their title of European Champions. Dynamo Kyiv are top of the Ukraine Premier Division but I strongly believe Barcelona will be too strong for them. My prediction - Barcelona win.

FC Unirea Urziceni v Stuttgart - I would have to call this one a draw. Stuttgart have had a mediocre start to their season, and sit in 11th in the Bundesliga. FC Unirea Urziceni are top of the Romanian Liga 1 but obviously the standard there isn't as high. Judging by how both teams are faring in their respective league. My prediction - Draw.

Rangers v Sevilla - Sevilla have won their last four, whilst Rangers have drawn their last three so Sevilla are obviously the side in form. However, Rangers are usually strong at home but other than that advantage, I would think Sevilla have the strength to win. My prediction - Sevilla win.

Arsenal v Olympiacos - At home, Arsenal are a real force to be reckoned with. Keen to put their semi-final disappointment behind them, I expect them to beat an Olympiacos team who are second in the Greek Super League. My Prediction - Arsenal win.

AZ Alkmaar v Standard de Liege - Alkmaar are struggling after winning the Dutch League last year, and lie in sixth place. Standard nearly beat Arsenal in their last match, and lie third in the Belgium top division. Not sure which way this one will go. My prediction - Draw.

2010 - The Qualifiers So Far - Part 2


Asia

All the Asian automatic qualifiers are already announced with Japan, Australia, South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea all winning the right to play in South Africa next year. Australia went unbeaten in their 8 games in the 4th Round of qualifiying while the DPRK narrowly snatched the automatic qualification from Saudi Arabia who must now play Bahrain in a two legged playoff with the winner facing New Zealand in attempt to book their place in South Africa.

Japan
Japan were considered to have a stronghold in the Asian qualifiers among football circles from the very start and eased through their group in the 3rd Round of qualifiers before finishing second to Australia in Group 1 in the 4th Round of the qualification stages. Japanese coach Takeshi Okada guided the Blue Samurai to the World Cup in 1998 and repeated the feat in this past qualifiying route. Japan managed to advance past the Group stages of the World Cup in 2002 when they jointly hosted the tournament with South Korea however in 2006, they weren't so lucky and only scraped a single point in a 0-0 draw with Romania. The majority of the Japanese national team are based in their home country and few of their players have made it to Europe but they may find some inspiration and hard work from former Arsenal star Junichi Inamoto who now plies his trade at Stade Rennais in France while Shunsuke Nakamura's trade mark set pieces may help the Okada Daiyho out of some sticky situations. Japan may find themselves in a group where with some grit and guts they can advance to the second round at the very most but I can't see them advance any further with their current squad.

Australia
Australia topped Group 1 in the 4th Round of the Asian Qualifiers, easily pipping Japan to the top spot. The Ozzy's lost just twice as they marched towards dominance, disappointingly failing away to Iraq and Bahrain in the 3rd Round of the Qualification stages. Australia made a good showing in Germany in 2006, managing to escape from a Group which included Asian rivals Japan, South American giants Brazil and European black horses Croatia. Australia are a force to be reckoned with and under the guidance of current coach, Pim Verbeek, it is a very realistic possibility that they can extend on their 2nd Round finish in Germany in 2006 after being knocked out by eventual champions Italy in a close encounter. Men such as Everton star Tim Cahill, his counterpart Lucas Neill and also former PSV star Archie Thompson will help the Socceroo's to extend upon their horizons.

South Korea
South Korea provided a massive shock to worldwide football fans when they managed to secure a fourth place finish when playing on home soil in 2002. The Tigers of Asia breezed to Qualification again this time round, easily topping Group 2 in the Fourth Round of Qualification. Currently unbeaten in 26 matches, the Taeguek Jeonsa will look to continue this run into the World Cup in the hope of reliving their relative success in 2002. An Asian team is yet to win a World Cup and many posed the question of a Korean win in 2002 following their defeats of European giants Portugal and Italy. I don't think we'll see an Asian win this time round but with a replication of their performances in 2002 and blood, sweat and tears from players such as Park Ji-Sung and Monaco striker Park Chu-Young, it is a possibility that will advance past the Group stages depending on circumstances, however don't bank on this outcome.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Just North of South Korea are their counterparts from the DPRK, who some would say are sworn enemies. Hidden behind the facade that is North Korea, it is hard to get an idea of the standard of football in the North Korean leagues and very little is known of these leagues however the performances of their star players on the international scene would provide reason to believe that it is of at least a high Asian standard. The DPRK managed to pip Saudi Arabia to automatic qualification on goal difference and in 12 qualifiying games, conceded just 7 goals but scoring just 11. They encountered their Southern colleagues on three occasions managing to hold them to a draw each time. The North Korean national team are remembered to this day for their outstanding 1-0 defeat of Italy in the World Cup in 1966 in England. They booked a place in the Quarter Final and despite going 3-0 ahead against Portugal, an unbelievable showing from Mozambiquan maestro Eusebio, silenced the North Korean faithful. Little is known of the abilities of the players in the current North Korean squad however, Ahn Young-Hak who plays down South with Suwon Bluewings is a solid midfielder and can play a fluid game alongside Kim-Yong Jun who is a star at Chengdu Blades in China. Jong Tae-Se who plays for Kawasaki Frontale in Japan is their current top scorer with 11 goals in 18 games and his firepower will be much needed if North Korea are to attempt to qualify from the Group Stages for the second time in as many tries.

2010 - The Qualifiers So Far

Sunday, September 27, 2009

There is a massive sense of anticipation for next Summer's World Cup in South Africa. Following the exciting Confederations Cup which was also hosted by the Bafana Bafana, people are becoming more eager for what awaits them next July. In this article, I will take a look at the 10 qualifiers so far and give some insight to their prospects in 2010.

Europe

England
England had a top notch qualifiying campaign, winning all 8 of their qualifiying games fighting off their closest challenger for the automatic qualifiying spot, Croatia with relative ease. England must still play Belarus at Wembley on October 14th but this should be no problem for Capello's men. Can the English lift their first Jules Rimet since 1966 in 2010? It's a very realistic possibility and this is highlighted by their excellent run in Group 6 of the qualifiers however, it seems that they consistently fall at the last hurdle under the pressure of public expectation. Capello has spoke recently of his retirement from football following the end of his current contract so with a lot of work and a bit of luck, I believe that John Terry, Steven Gerrard and the rest of the England stars can help Fabio to fulfill his final challenge of lifting the World Cup in 2010.

Netherlands
Like their English counterparts, the Dutch managed to fend off the relatively weak Norwegians to notch up 8 wins on their way to World Cup qualification. Many thought that Scotland under George Burley would be able to snatch up the play off place in Group 9 however they had a far inferior goal difference to Norway and so this left them high and dry. Holland had a thrilling start to their Euro 2008 venture beating Italy and France convincingly before easing past Romania to win their group. A weak showing against Guus Hiddink's Russia meant that they failed at the Quarter Final stage though. The current Dutch side is a far cry from what it once was however if players like Arjen Robben, Klaas Huntelaar and John Heitinga really show up on the day next year, it is possible that with luck they'll work their way to the Semi Final but even this stage seems a little bit optimistic for the Dutch men.

Spain
Once again, the Spaniards are unbeaten so far in the qualifiers but must play Armenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina next month. They shoul breeze past both opponents easily enough however the Bosnians have had a surprisingly strong campaign and it looks like they will pip Turkey for the play off spot in Group 5. Spain are arguably the strongest national side in the world at the moment and are most definitely considered by all to be contenders for Italy's throne. They can boast of having arguably the two best strikers in the world among their ranks in Villa and Torres. They have almost unrivalled strength and versatility in midfield with Alonso, Fabregas and Xavi all vying for spots in the centre of midfield with the options of Riera, Busquets, Silva, Cazorla and Mata all able to play out wide. Reina provides top class cover for superstar captain, Casillas in goals while budding youngster, Gerard Pique has made a name for himself as an aggressive centre back and may push Puyol out to full back so that he can start in the centre with Marchena with Albiol controlling the other flank. With such strength in a side, I think that Spain, judging by their strength and options, can with the right drive and work ethic, win next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Who is the best striker in the Premiership?


While having a read through the papers this morning, reading about Fernando Torres' hat-trick against Hull and Robbie Keane's four goals against Burnley, I asked myself, who is the best striker in the Premiership?

The premier league is regarded as one, if not the, best leagues in the world, so of course some of the best strikers in the world play their football in England. I thought long and hard of who I would think is the best, and I came to the following conclusion. Here are my top five striker in the Premier League.

5. Robin Van Persie - The Dutch man arrived at Arsenal in 2004, but his first years at Arsenal were plagued by injury. However, after the departure of Thierry Henry, it was time Van Persie lived up to his potential, and in my opinion, he has. He was Arsenal's best player by some distance last season and was top scorer too. Some say he is a one foot player, and although he does prefer his left boot, both of his goals this season were with his 'weaker' foot. An excellent player with good pace, finishing, vision and a handy free-kick.

4. Emmanuel Adebayor - The Togo international came to Arsenal in 2006 and was relatively unheard of, but like Van Persie, the departure of Thierry Henry gave the lanky striker a chance to show his true potential, and he certainly delivered. 24 goals in the Premier League and made it into the Team Of the Year. Next season he was rather subdued, half to injury, half because his mind was in other places after being linked away during the summer. His move to Manchester City rekindled his career, scoring three goals is his first three Premier League games for his new club, before his antics against Arsenal got his suspended. Despite this, his scoring ability, heading ability and basically overall ability makes him one of the best strikers in the Premier League.

3. Didier Drogba
- One of the most feared strikers in the world, no defender wants to play against Drogba. Pure power and speed makes him almost impossible to mark. It was a tough choice not to give him the number 2 spot, he only just lost out due to his tendency to dive. Arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004 and had scored 100 goals, the latest against Wigan last Saturday. Probably the best footballer to come out of the Ivory Coast in decades.

2. Wayne Rooney - Burst on to the scene as a 16 year old, scoring a belter against Arsenal is his Everton playing days. A £30 million move to Manchester United signalled Rooney was destined for great thing. A fiery temper gave critics a chance to criticise him, but there was nothing to criticise about the way he played. Even when Ferguson persisted in playing Rooney wide right, he still looked menacing and since getting his chance up front he has looked even better. Recently scored his 100th goals for United, against Wigan. Considering his age, 23, there is certainly much more to come from this man.

1. Fernando Torres - A no-brainer really. In my opinion, the best striker in the world. Captained Athletico Madrid at the age of 19, then moved to Liverpool in a record deal. Immediately he burst on to the scene and even broke records, becoming the first Liverpool player to score more than 20 goals in the Premier League in one season. Strength, power, pace and probably the best finish in Britain, if not the world. In my opinion, Torres is second to none and the best striker in the Premier League.

Premier League Results - Saturday

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Here are this weeks results so far.

Results
Portsmouth 0-1 Everton
Birmingham 1-2 Bolton
Blackburn 2-1 Aston Villa
Liverpool 6-1 Hull
Stoke 0-2 Manchester United
Tottenham 5-0 Burnley
Wigan 3-1 Chelsea
Fulham 0-1 Arsenal

A total of 26 goals in 8 games made this a very exciting day. Wigan got a great win at home to Chelsea, their first victory against a top 4 team in 30 0dd attempts. Liverpool trounced Hull, where Torres got a hat-rick. Robbie Keane went one better with 4 goals in a 5 nil win over Burnley. Champions United are top of the table after their win against Stoke at The Britannia, while Arsenal, Everton, Blackburn and Bolton all got three points.

Premier League Preview

Friday, September 25, 2009
What will the Premier League give us this weekend? Here are the fixtures and my predictions.

Fixtures and my predictions
Portsmouth v Everton (12.45) - Portsmouth 0-2 Everton
Birmingham v Bolton (3.00) - Birmingham 1-1 Bolton
Blackburn v Aston Villa (3.00) - Blackburn 1-3 Aston Villa
Liverpool v Hull City (3.00) - Liverpool 3-1 Hull
Stoke v Manchester United (3.00) - Stoke 0-1 Manchester United
Tottenham v Burnley (3.00) - Tottenham 4-1 Burnley
Wigan v Chelsea (3.00) - Wigan 0-2 Chelsea
Fulham v Arsenal (5.30) - Fulham 1-2 Arsenal

Sunday
Sunderland v Wolves (4.00) - Sunderland 2-1 Wolves

Monday
Man City v West Ham (8.00) - Man City 3-0 West Ham

Goal of the week
My goal of the week from last week was Craig Bellamy's peach against Man Utd in the Manchester Derby. A great goal to level things at 2-2.What a game that turned to be.

Who I think will face relegation this year

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Six games into the Premier League and I'm starting to get the jist of how teams are going to perform this season. Its obvious who will be fighting it out for the title, but it will be equally as interesting to see which clubs will be making the step down to the Championship come next May.

My first pick to go down this season is Portsmouth. 6 games and 6 loses is the worst possible start they could have hoped for. They also have the worst goal difference in the league (-9) and if you ask me, they have lost too many key players over the summer. The departures of arguably their three best players in Johnson, Crouch, Kranjcar and Distin will, in my opinion, see Portsmouth playing Championship football next season.

My second pick to go down is Hull. Along with Portsmouth, they haven't had a great start to the season by any stretch of the imagination. Even though they have decent attacking options with the additions of Altidore, Ghilas and Vennegoor of Hesselink, I feel that their defence is to weak and they will leak goals this season. They have already conceded 13, which is even more than Portsmouth who have conceded 12.

My third and final pick is Wolves. They have held their own so far this season, and currently lie in twelfth position. However, I don't think they have enough fire power, or defensive stability to stay in that position for long. It was between them an Burnley for the last spot, but Burnley are strong at home and for me it will prove the difference between them staying up and Wolves going down.

When will Walcott or Aquilani play?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So far this season, Theo Walcott or Alberto Aquilani have not played one minute for their clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool. I'm disappointed to say the least, Walcott is one of Arsenal's most exciting players and everyone is keen to see how Aquilani will fit into the Liverpool team, as well as adapt to the Premier League.

Walcott is suffering from a back injury which has kept him out a lot longer than expected. The flying winger injured himself against Valencia pre-season, but Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger says he will be back within days, and according the The Mirror, he has taken an injection in a bid to have him in the squad for the trip to Fulham.

Aquilani however, was bought immediately after the sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. He has yet to make him debut for the Reds as he is still recovering from an ankle injury, in which he had surgery on. I'm keen to see how Aquilani will adapt and can't wait to see him playing in the Liverpool shirt.

Tevez disappointed by United fans

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Carlos Tevez has come out today and admitted that the United fans disappointed him on his first return to Old Trafford after switching red for the blue of Manchester City. Arguably the most thrilling match of the season so far, United beat their rivals 4-3 through a 96th minute from Michael Owen.

Tevez had been linked away from United all summer, but United fans would have been bitterly disappointed he went to their fierce rivals, Manchester City. I don't know why Tevez is disappointed in the United fans. Any player who goes from one Manchester club to another is going to be jeered by their former fans.

"I must admit I did believe I would get a different reception from the United supporters,"

Personally, I think everyone who has left a Premier League club for Man City is going to be jeered by their former fans this season. Most fans will see their former hero's e.g Gareth Barry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Tevez as sell-outs. Everyone knows City have money to throw around, and lucrative contract deals were probably a factor in their decision to join City. We've already seen how Adebayor reacted to the Arsenal fans, so surely Tevez must have seen this coming.

Bellamy puts cherry on top of miserable City week

Monday, September 21, 2009

Craig Bellamy has turned a miserably week for Manchester City even worse after hitting a fan during the clash against Manchester United on Sunday. City lost to their neighbours in a tense match, where United won 4-3 in the dying minutes.

It had already been a bad week for the Sky Blues, with their star striker Emmanuel Adebayor banned for three matches after a stamp on Robin Van Persie. Now Bellamy looks set to receive a punishment from the FA after punching a United fan who invaded the pitch. Mark Hughes was quick to defend his player, and had this to say.

"I did not see it but the guy should not have been on the pitch. That is not acceptable''.

Of course he would. After all, he was the one who claimed Adebayor was innocent. Bellamy has always had a Joey Barton-Esq character, and personally I think he should be punished. Provoked or not, he is being paid to be a professional.

United 4-3 City: What a game!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The Manchester derby, one of the most anticipated games of the year, brought us one of the most exciting matches so far this season. With United losing key players and City gaining many, it was set to be the closest Manchester derby in years, and it didn't disappoint.

Carlos Teves made his first return to Old Trafford since his departure during the summer, and with the absence of Adebayor he looked set to start. However, City couldn't have wished for a start when Wayne Rooney slotted home after two minutes. City looked nervy but were level after Teves set up Gareth Barry to pass the ball into an empty goal.

United started the second half like they did the first, Darren Fletcher got on the end of a Ryan Giggs cross to give United the lead. City were adamant not to give up and were level inside three minutes when Craig Bellamy fired home after cutting inside. United took the lead for a third time threw another Darren Fletcher goal, but City replied for the third time, again through Craig Bellamy.

As if this wasn't enough drama, United took the lead for a fourth and final time, in the 96th minute through Michael Owen. The referee initially added four minutes added time, so you can imagine this goal left City players, supporters and in particular Mark Hughes angry and devastated.

In the other games, Chelsea maintained their winning start with a comfortable win over Spurs, while Everton and Wolves both got wins.

Premier League Results - Saturday

Saturday, September 19, 2009
Burnley 3-1 Sunderland
Arsenal 4-0 Wigan
Aston Villa 2-0 Portsmouth
Bolton 1-1 Stoke
Hull 0-1 Birmingham
West Ham 2-3 Liverpool

Every team you would expect to win, did win, with the exception of Birmingham maybe. As for Bolton v Stoke, it had draw written all over it.

Goal of the week
My goal of the week for last weekends games was Ryan Giggs' free kick against Spurs. A brilliant free kick to level things after Defoe scored.

New look
In case you didn't notice, there is a new look to Football Streaker. I was getting a bit bored of the old one. Hope you like it.

Premier League Preview

Should be a fascinating weekend, the United v City fixture should be a game and a half, while Chelsea v Spurs sounds exciting to. Here are the fixtures and my predictions.

Fixtures and my predictions
Burnley v Sunderland (12.45) - Burnley 1-2 Sunderland
Arsenal v Wigan (3.00) - Arsenal 3-1 Wigan
Aston Villa v Portsmouth (3.00) - Aston Villa 2-0 Portsmouth
Bolton v Stoke (3.00) - Bolton 1-1 Stoke
Hull v Birmingham (3.00) - Hull 2-1 Birmingham
West Ham v Liverpool (5.30) - West Ham 0-2 Liverpool

Sunday
Man Utd v Man City (1.30) - Man Utd 3-1 Man City
Wolves v Fulham (2.00) - Wolves 0-0 Fulham
Everton v Blackburn (3.00) - Everton 2-0 Blackburn
Chelsea v Tottenham (4.00) - Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham

Emmanuel Adebayor - Why I'm a scumbag

Friday, September 18, 2009

Of course Adebayor didn't say that, but he did come out today as to why he acted the way he did against Arsenal last weekend. Manchester City had an excellent 4-2 win against the Gunners but the game was shadowed after Adebayor's crazy celebration and stamp on former teammate Robin Van Persie.

After scoring City's third goal, Adebayor ran the full length of the pitch celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans. As well as this, Adebayor seemed to stamp in Van Persie's face after the Arsenal striker made a hard, but not malicious tackle on the Togo international. Adebayor has today defended his actions, saying that the vile abuse he received Arsenal fans was the reason for his actions.

"I was being abused by people who six months ago were singing my name and the abuse was for no reason.

"I scored and I wanted to show people it is not a good idea to abuse me''.

Adebayor has received a three-game ban for the stamp on Van Persie, but he wasn't very apologetic for what he had done.

"I am sorry Robin got hurt but I can't regret something I did not mean to do.''

Several Arsenal players have slated Adebayor in the last few days, including Van Persie, Eboue, Ales Songand Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas' claims Adebayor tried to injure him and has been left ''scared for life'' by him. The three match ban imposed on Adebayor mean he will miss the Manchester derby, and will be a devastating blow to Mark Hughes and the City squad. If you ask me, the three match ban is fully deserved and that City will be wasting time fighting against it. I don't know about you, but can't wait until Arsenal and City meet again.

My World 11

Thursday, September 17, 2009

There wasn't really much to report on today, so i decided to tell you what I think would be the best starting 11 in world.

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas - My better if you ask me. Has been number 1 at Real Madrid for many years after coming through the ranks. Spanish captain and regarded as the best keeper in the world by most.

Left Back: Patrice Evra - He has really excelled at Old Trafford in the past two seasons. Didn't have the best of starts to his career at United, but has since become a regular at United and in my opinion, the best left back in the world. He has blistering pace and not many wingers get the better of him. Hes scared of nothing and isn't afraid to get forward either.

Centre Back: Nemanja Vidic - Not many people knew Nemanjam Vidic before Alex Ferguson swooped for the Serbian international. He has now made a massive reputation at Old Trafford, forming an almost perfect partnership with Rio Ferdinand. For me, Vidic is key to United success.

Centre Back: John Terry - Never a more reliable player ( except when taking penalties ) in Chelsea and England squad. Always performs well and is the backbone of the Chelsea squad. Was a tough call between him and Fabio Cannavaro for me, but Terry just scrapes it.

Right Back: Daniel Alves - Having Daniel Alves on your team is like having two right wingers. The little Brazilian never stops running. Has a cracking shot and a great cross to match. Some question his defending ability, but for me he has also impressed in that department. The Cristiano Ronaldo of right backs.

Left Mid: Lionel Messi - I don't think I need to explain this one really. The best player in the world in my opinion and still only 22.

Centre Mid: Cesc Fabregas - This was the toughest decision of the lot. There is little difference in class between him and Xabi, but I think Fabregas' youth and the fact he already has so much experience clinches it for him. It really was a tough the decision. The two best passers in the world if you ask me.

Centre Mid: Steven Gerrard - This one wasn't quite so difficult. Gerrard has been Liverpool's captain fantastic for many years and his drive and determination is second to none. Some, if not most of you, will question the decision to pick him over Kaka but Gerrard spirit and love for his club and the game makes him the better player for me.

Right Mid: Cristiano Ronaldo - Same as Messi, I don't think I need to explain this one. Second best player in the world ( in my opinion ) and most expensive player in history.

Striker: Wayne Rooney - The Shrek look-alike may have an ogre like temper, but his strength, pace passing and finishing make him almost impossible to mark. Will shine this season with Ronaldo and Teves parting from United.

Striker: Fernando Torres - Arrived at Liverpool in 2007 and has had two terrific seasons. A record move saw him score over 20 goals in his first season, and like Rooney, his blistering pace, strength and finishing make him almost impossible to mark.

Not a bad team, is it?

So what has the first round of Champions League fixtures told us

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Now that the first round of Champions League fixtures is over, it gives us a small idea of how the teams will cope in Europe. Firstly, the team that everyone will be looking at, Real Madrid, got of to a good start with a 5-2 thumping away to Zurich. There is no doubt Madrid will have goals, but maybe a question over their defence.

Last years runners Man Utd got all 3 points in a difficult game to Besiktas in Turkey. The atmosphere the Besiktas fans create is intimidating to say the least, but United overcame the noise to grab a 0-1 win. Meanwhile, their Premier League rivals Chelsea also started with a win against Porto in Stamford Bridge, with Anelka grabbing the only goal in a 1-0.

Liverpool were heavy favourites against Debrecen but struggled to hit top form. Dirk Kuyt's first half goal was enough for the win, but it wasn't as convincing as it should have been. Meanwhile, the only other English team Arsenal came back from 2 goals down to win 2-3, but just like their rivals Liverpool, it was far from convincing.

In other games, Barcelona and Inter Milan played out a 0-0 draw, while Ac Milan beat Marseille 2-1. Juventus drew with French Champions Bordeaux 1-1 and Bayern Munich hammered Maccabi Haifa 0-3. Rangers drew 1-1 away to Stuttgart, Olympiacos got a 1-0 win to AZ Alkmaar, Lyon got victory at home to Fiorentina with a 1-0 scorline, Dynamo came back from a goal behind to beat Rubin Kazan 3-1, while Sevilla beat Unirea Urziceni 2-0 and Athletico failed to beat APOEL Nicosia in a scoreless draw.

So, with wins for all English team in the first game, is this a sign they most of them will make it to the later stages and represent England in the final. Too early to predict in my opinion, you can guarantee a few twists this year.

Champions League Preview

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finally, the Champions League is here. It looks set to be a thrilling campaign. Here are the first round of fixtures and my predictions. All games kick off at the same time, 7.45 pm.

Fixtures and my predictions.
Juventus v Bordeaux --- Juventus 2-1 Bordeaux
Maccabi Haifa v Bayern Munich --- Maccabi Haifa 1-1 Bayern Munich
Wolfsburg v CSKA Moscow --- Wolfsburg 3-1 CSKA Moscow
Besiktas v Manchester United --- Besiktas 0-1 Manchester United
FC Zurich v Real Madrid --- FC Zurich 0-2 Real Madrid
Marseille v AC Milan --- Marseille 2-2 AC Milan
Chelsea v Porto --- Chelsea 2-1 Porto
Athletico Madrid v APOEL FC --- Athletico Madrid 3-0 APOEL FC

Wednesday
Liverpool v Debreceni --- Liverpool 4-1 Debreceni
Lyon v Fiorentina --- Lyon 2-1 Fiorentina
Inter Milan v Barcelona --- Inter Milan 2-3 Barcelona
Dynamo Kyiv v FC Rubin Kazan --- Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 FC Rubin Kazan
Stuttgart v Rangers --- Stuttgart 2-0 Rangers
Sevilla v FC Unirea Urziceni --- Sevilla 2-0 FC Unirea Urziceni
Olympiacos v AZ Alkmaar --- Olympiacos 2-1 AZ Alkmaar
Standard de Liége v Arsenal --- Standard de Liége 0-2 Arsenal

Eduardo ban revoked

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Eduardo diving scandal has finally come to an end. After the incident against Celtic and days of various players and managers criticising and defending him, Eduardo has had his two European game ban revoked.

Eduardo got the headlines for days after he was accused of deceiving the referee in the Champions League qualifying game against Celtic. Dudu appeared to dive after Arthur Boruc pulled away his hands but the penalty was given, much to the fury of the Celtic players. Uefa, however, think differently.

"Following examination of all the evidence, notably the declarations of both the referee and the referees' assessor, as well as the various video footage, it was not established to the panel's satisfaction that the referee had been deceived in taking his decision on the penalty."

Personally, I think Uefa have made the right decision, but I think a punishment should definitely be handed out for every player caught diving.

Adebayor really does hate Arsenal

Sunday, September 13, 2009

As I'm sure most of you know, Adebayor and co thumped Arsenal 4-2 at The City of Manchester Stadium yesterday, but it was it was that man again, Adebayor, who made the headlines. After scoring City's third goals, he sprinted the full length of the pitch to do and Henry-Esq knee slide in front of the Arsenal travelling support.

But his antics didn't stop there. After a clumsy challenge from Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie, he seemed to kick him in the face. Van Persie was less than happy with the stamp, which when you watch on video it was clearly intended.

"I am sad and disappointed by my former team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor's mindless and malicious stamp on me during today's match''.

The FA are now looking into the matter, and don't be surprised to see an ban imposed over the next few days. To be honest, I would have done the same if I was Adebayor. Running 90 yards to taunt fans who jeered him at his old club, I can't really say I blame him. The stamp however is a different story. It was malicious and certainly intended, and he deserves whatever punishment is dished out. If Eduardo can get banned for diving for two games, anything less than a 3 game ban would be ridiculous if you ask me.

Are Arsenal out of the race already?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Arsenal slumped to a second defeat in a row at the hands of Manchester City today, and already their tittle credentials are coming into question. The Gunners went down 4-2 at the City of Manchester Stadium, as City conquered their biggest test of the season so far and has sent a massive warning message to the 'top four'.

Arsenal were written off quiet before the season even started after a very quiet summer where they only added Thomas Vermaelen after losing key players in Toure and Adebayor. However, after an impressive start with convincing wins against Everton and Portsmouth they looked to be in with a chance. But now, two defeats later and 6 points behind Manchester City and United and 9 points behind Chelsea, Arsenal already seem to be slipping off the pace.

To be fair to the Gunners, the defeats to City and United were both very difficult games, so maybe Arsene Wenger will be happy to have the games out of the way. Arsenal still have players to come back into the squad e.g Nasri and Walcott but 6 points is tough to make up when it doesn't look like the teams ahead will be dropping points soon. I'm not going to write off Arsenal just yet, but another defeat in the next few games would be disastrous.

Ronaldo feeling the pressure of worlds most expensive player

Friday, September 11, 2009

The most expensive player in the world Cristiano Ronaldo is apparently nervous that he will not be able to live up to his massive price tag (£80 million) according to Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano. Ronaldo arrived at Madrid this summer along with a host of other big names, including Kaka and Xabi Alonso.

But his massive price tag appears to be taking a toll on Ronaldo, who has made a somewhat mediocre start for his new club, by his standards anyway. He did score a debut goal from the peno spot but his overall performance wasn't as good as it has been over the years. Valdano likened Ronaldo's start to that of Zinedine Zidane. Zidane arrived in Madrid for a record fee of £46 million but took time to get into the swing of things.

"He needs a bit of time to adapt, like what happened when Zinedine Zidane moved here."

I'm not surprised by Ronaldo's slow start in a Real Madrid shirt, after all he has spent the bulk of his career playing English football. However, like all the greats, I believe we will soon see Ronaldo back to his best.

Change of email.
Just to let you know, I've changed the email address to footballstreaker@gmail.com, not that most of you will care but it sounds a tad more professional than the last one.

Premier League Preview

No 12.45 kick-off this Saturday, but there are some mouth-watering fixture, most notably Spurs v Man Utd and Man City v Arsenal. Should be an interesting weekend.

Fixtures and my predictions
Blackburn v Wolves (3.00) - Blackburn 0-0 Wolves
Liverpool v Burnley (3.00) - Liverpool 4-0 Burnley
Manchester City v Arsenal (3.00) - Manchester City 2-2 Arsenal
Portsmouth v Bolton (3.00) - Portsmouth 1-1 Bolton
Stoke City v Chelsea (3.00) - Stoke City 1-2 Chelsea
Sunderland v Hull (3.00) - Sunderland 2-2 Hull
Wigan v West Ham (3.00) - Wigan 1-2 West Ham
Tottenham v Man Utd (5.30) - Tottenham 2-1 Man Utd

Sunday
Birmingham v Aston Villa (12.00) - Birmingham 0-2 Aston Villa
Fulham v Everton (4.15) - Fulham 1-2 Everton

Goal of the Week . . . two weeks ago
I can barely remember the last round of Premier League games, but Steven Gerrard winner against Bolton was a great strike to mark his return to form. Abou Diaby's header against Man Utd wasn't bad. . . to bad it was into his own net.

Adebayor doesn't miss Gunners life.


Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor has declared that he feels loved at Man City, thus his excellent early form. The Togo international was a fan favourite at the Emirites, but fell out of favour with the fans after being constantly linked with a move away from North London.

Barcelona and AC Milan were the main contender to sign Adebayor, but during the summer Man City secured his services with a £25 million offer, as well as a lucrative contract deal. Adebayor hadn't had the best of last seasons at Arsenal, and the fans grew tired of his below par performances. As you can imagine, they were no happier when he decided to trade red for blue and join the team most likely to challenge for the top four. But Adebayor has no regrets, and his delighted at his new club.

"They sing songs about me and they love me. I'm so happy because I'm really enjoying myself again. I certainly feel very at home, very comfortable''.

Adebayor certainly does seem happier at City, and with them facing Arsenal this weekend he would love to score against his former club. That game kicks off tomorrow, at 3.00 in Manchester. Personally I can see City grabbing three points, but these kind of games rarely go how you expect them to.

What a beauty!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I was having a look around youtube and found this. Some of you may have seen this goal before, but for those who haven't, it was a beauty.

Lennon, Wright-Phillips or Walcott . . . Who would you choose?


England manager Fabio Capello will not be short of wingers for next years World Cup in South Africa, after all, he has arguably the best wingers in the Premier League. With Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Theo Walcott all looking for a starting place at the biggest competition in the world, Capello may well have a selection headache.

As well as the three speedy wingers, Capello will have David Beckham and Joe Cole ( presuming Cole is ever fully fit ) at his disposal, not bad back-ups to have. But the real question is, who will he pick? Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips have both had good starts to the season, Lennon in particular. Theo Walcott on the other hand hasn't played yet this season, but has already proven himself at an international level, most notably his hat-trick against Croatia this time last year.

Personally, Id go with Lennon. He has really started well this year and if his form continues I see no reason why he wouldn't get the nod. Id put Walcott in second place behind Lennon, considering his youth and overall I think he is more dangerous than Wright-Phillips. Its probably to early to pick who will get the right wing position next summer, but one thing is for sure, I wouldn't want to be any left back playing against England in the near future.

Robinho dreams of Barca move

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

City striker Robinho has stated that he would love to play for Barcelona someday, a dream which is likely to upset the Man City faithful. Robinho became City's record signing last summer when he arrived from Real Madrid for £32.5 million. He enjoyed a good first season in Manchester, and finished the campaign as City's top scorer and quickly became a fan favourite.

The Brazilian ace was linked with the Catalans during the summer, but after they splashed out on Zlatan Imbrahimovic a move for Robinho didn't happen. Robinho is apparently desperate for a move back to Spain and after Barcelona's interest this summer I wouldn't rule out a bid in January.

"It's not easy to say no to a team like Barcelona''.

I can see how the prospect of playing for the best team in the world would be exciting for Robinho but I'm not so sure it would be the right move. With the transfer funds City have at their disposal, who knows, maybe the likes of Messi and Xavi could be playing in blue in the future. A very unlikely prospect , but City are a team on the up and Robinho would in my opinion, be a fool to leave.

Defoe - Can he last the pace?

Monday, September 7, 2009

So far this season, Spurs striker Jermaine Defoe has been in fantastic form for both club and country, bagging four goals in as many games for in the Premier League, as well as scoring five in his last three games for the England international team.

In his career Defoe has always been a promising striker, but has never really pushed for a regular starting place in the international team and was among the good but not great strikers of the Premier League. However, Defoe's excellent start to this season may have signalled more things to come from the 26 year old. I've always been a fan of the little man, but I fear that Defoe's excellent start to the season may fade, much like the season Gabriel Agbonlahor ( Aston Villa ) had last season. As you may remember, Agbonlahor had an excellent start last season, but eventually faded and struggled to find the back of the net after February, scoring only once in twelve games.

Spurs fans will pray that Defoe can keep his form, and after watching him recently, only an injury looks likely to dent his great start. If Defoe can keep his form past Christmas, who knows, a January transfer could be on the cards.

Bilic lashes out at Terry


Croatia manager Slaven Bilic has lashed out at England centre back John Terry, after the Chelsea captain branded Croatian striker Eduardo a diver. Terry accused Eduardo of being a diver and that he deserved the two match ban.

Bilic lashed out at Terry, claiming he knows Eduardo better than most and he is not a diver. He also said that Terry has never blamed the players on his team ( three guesses who ) when they have gone down with minimal contact.

"John Terry is not talking like that when Didier Drogba goes down for Chelsea''.

Terry also made a claim that English players are honest and do not dive, a statement which Wayne Rooney proved wrong with his blatant dive against Slovenia on Saturday. I completely agree with Bilic. Terry calling Eduardo a diver was a ridiculous claim for someone who plays his club football with Didier Drogba, and plays internationally with Wayne Rooney. Some people will disagree with saying Rooney is a diver, but hes proved twice in his last two games that he is

Berba admits he needs to improve

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has vowed that he will prove his critics wrong this season, after a rather subdued first season at Old Trafford. Berbatov hasn't been short of critics in recent times ( me being one of them ), mainly because of his lazy style of play and for a record signing of £35 million he didn't really produce what was expected of him.

However, Berbatov is keen to prove his worth in the squad and live up to his massive price tag. The Bulgarian international has already improved his performances this season. From what I've seen he seems to be more interested in the ugly side of the game, tracking back etc. But tracking back alone will not earn Berba the reputation of a top class striker. His goal tally last season was mediocre, as was his assist stats, two main skills a striker needs to excel in.

''I am aware I came with a big price tag and I am ready to prove this season just what I can do. We have a chance to make it four titles in a row and that means making history if we succeed''.

In my opinion Berbatov has a long way to go before he is a top class striker. Who knows, would he even make it into the Spurs team anymore?

Ryan Babel - A wasted talent?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ryan Babel arrived at Liverpool in July 2007, with the reputation of one of the worlds most promising youngsters, but there is only one word you can use to sum up his time at Liverpool: Disappointing.

Babel stated today he either needs to get playing time at Liverpool, or he will be wanting a loan move January. Babel has rarely featured for Pool over the last two seasons, and his role on the bench has continued this season. The Dutch midfielder recognises he will need playing time, or his World Cup place in the Holland squad could be in doubt.

"Loaning me out was not an option in the summer. Now we have agreed to review the situation in January."

I have to admit I feel sorry for Babel, when ever I have seen him play he has always impressed me with his ability to run at defenders and beat them. I can see why he has grown frustrated at Liverpool, especially considering he turned down a host of other top clubs to join them. A loan move could prove ideal for for the young Dutchman.

Transfer Window shut

Well, I guess it wasn't a very eventful final few hours of the transfer window. Although, there were some interesting transfers. Richard Dunne is expected to be a Villa player tomorrow after there was difficulties in the transfer. Niko Kranjcar's move to Spurs is probably the most notable transfer of the day, other than that it was quite dull.

However, you cannot deny its been a fascinating transfer window, especially with big spending Manchester City linked with players nearly every day. The transfer of Ronaldo to Real Madrid is obviously the biggest transfer of the year ( maybe ever ). In England the most expensive signing was Emmanuel Adebayor to City at £25 million.

So the squads are decided until January, where you can expect more drama and surprises.

My top five transfers.
Emmanuel Adebayor- Looks a different player than he was at Arsenal, will prove to be a massive hit.
Thomas Vermaelen- Looks like he could be key in the Arsenal defence
Michael Owen- I think he could prove to be a great addition, especially on a free transfer. He is sure to grab a few goals.
Gareth Barry- Will give the Manchester City attack minded players a lot more freedom, could be key in anything they do and has impressed already this season.
Glen Johnson- Has been excellent for Liverpool so far, can create and score, not to mention he is a rock at the back.
Jozy Altidore- Could be one of the signings of the season for a struggling team. Great power and hes young, too bad hes only on loan.

Transfer Deadline Day

Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Its the last day of the Transfer Window, and its usually a very busy. At 12.00 o clock tonight, English clubs will no longer be able to sign players.

Its been a very event full transfer window, Manchester City the busiest club in the Premiership, bringing in six big names including Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Teves, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz.

Chelsea have been relatively quiet, with Yuri Zhirkov and Daniel Sturridge the only notable signings. Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool have also been very quiet, although Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia were two big names to arrive at Old Trafford.

Already today Birmingham have swooped for Teemu Tanio, Niko Kranjcar is heading to Spurs and Johnny Hetinga has arrived at Goodison Park. You can expect more drama before 12.00 tonight and after the transfer window closes a round up of the transfer window will be posted.