Arrivederci, Ciao !!

Well the time has come – after months of writing about everything and anything to do with football my blog is finally coming to an end. I would like to thank everybody who followed my blog over the past 5 months and especially the people who interacted with it by leaving comments.

For my last blog entry I said I would be generous to my followers and give some predictions for the end of the season which may earn the gamblers out there a few bob.

Premier League – Man City
Champions League – Bayern Munich
FA cup – Tottenham
La Liga – Real Madrid
Europa League – Valencia
Euro’s – France (controversial I know)

P.S. I found this video online – its definitely worth a watch:

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Trapattoni 23 Man Squad

The European Championships is getting closer and closer and speculation is growing about who will be included in the national team squads and who will be excluded. Giovanni Trapattoni is not known for his surprises especially when it comes to his team selections. (I can never understand why he names his team the day before the match). I was going to write this blog to tell people who I would include should I be Ireland manager but then I thought what would be the point of that so I have just included the players who Trapattoniwill most likely include barring any injuries.

Westwood

Given

Forde

O’Shea

Dunne

St Ledger

Ward

Kelly

O’Dea

McShane

Duff

McGeady

Whelan

Andrews

Hunt

Fahey

Gibson

Coleman/ Mclean

Long

Doyle

Keane

Walters

Cox

As you can see there is only 1 position which I feel is up for grabs and that is between Coleman and Mclean. My money is on Coleman as Trappatoni is a loyal manager.

Anyone disagree with me on Traps possible/probable selection ?

This will definitely be our year: well if not, maybe next season

I must admit I’m one of the Liverpool fans who think at the beginning of each season that Liverpool will end there 20 year drought and win England’s top League. Every summer the reds have made some exciting singings and get all the kopites hopes up yet we always end up disappointed. This season has seen some long awaiting silverware arrive back at Anfield with the League Cup: but this is surely not good enough for a club of Liverpool’s stature. Below are 5 conclusions that sum up Liverpool’s season so far.

1)      Lucas has become the most important player in the Liverpool squad. Before his injury Liverpool were performing pretty well but since his absence Liverpool have been on a rapid decline.

 

2)      2.Dagleish has made some poor choices with his team selections this year. Dagleish may have once been a great manager but the Premier League has improved massively since he won it with Blackburn and he can no longer be considered a great manager. His team selections can be baffling and he has shown tactical naivety in some games e.g. playing Carroll right mid against Spurs when Liverpool were reduced to 9 men

 

3)      Skrtel and Agger have developed a formidable partnership at the heart of the Liverpool defense and Jamie Carragher has had to settle for a bit part role. I was Skrtel’s biggest critic last season but he has improved immensely is one of only a few success stories this year for the Reds.

 

4)      Stephen Gerrard is no longer the player he once was. Captain Fantastic has been injured a lot over the past 18 months and has struggled to regain his top form. In the past he has be the main man in the Liverpool team and was solely responsible for winning around 15 points a season for the reds. If Liverpool are to break into the top 4 and challenge for top honors, Gerrard needs to get back to form

 

5)      The recent signings have been terrible. Henderson Downing Carroll and Adam have all under-performed this season and these players do not have the quality to propel Liverpool back to the top. Surely Damien Comoli’s job should under threat after this.

 

 

What a difference a few weeks can make in Football

What a difference a few weeks can make in Football – 2 weeks ago Arsene Wenger looked like he would be losing his job following Arsenal’s humiliating defeat to AC Milan in the San Siro and after being dumped out of the FA cup by Sunderland. Once again he has proved why he is a top manager and why clubs should not panic into sacking managers. Wenger looked like a broken man when his side were 2 down against their North London Rivals Spurs but the miraculous comeback looks like it could be a game changer in the Gunners fortunes this season. They followed up the derby day victory with an impressive yet somewhat fortunate win against Liverpool in Anfield and now have their sights set firmly on knocking spurs off their perch in 3rd place.

Wenger has been in charge of Arsenal for over 16 years now and in that time they have won numerous League titles and FA cups.  They have qualified for the Champions League each year without fail. Although Wenger has not won any trophies for 7 years no one can deny that the job he has done at Arsenal has been incredible. In the past few years Arsenal has been criticized for its lack of spending and inability to attract marque signings but I feel you cannot blame Wenger for this. Since David Dein has left the club there has definitely been problems in the transfer department and Wenger has had some poor signings. This can surely not be held against him. Every great manager in world football has made bad signings but not many have built teams as successful as Wenger’s and stayed at the top for such a long time. So to every Arsenal fan out there who is calling for Wenger to leave I put it to you: Would you prefer to have an excellent manager with relative success and a very stable club or would you like your club to be run like Chelsea ?

They have had 8 managers in 8 years and unless the manager can win the League or the Champions League they will be sacked. AVB was definitely not the man for Chelsea but Abramovich has created a very unhealthy culture at Stamford Bridge which has left the club as the laughing stock of the English game.

Oh Campione

Oh Campione
The one and onlyyy
we’re liverpooooolll
say our days are numbered we’re not famous anymore
scousers rule the country like we’ve always done before

Cup finals with Liverpool are always exciting and people with heart conditions should probably be warned against watching them – it’s the Liverpool way.  Many of Liverpool’s recent cup finals would not be out of place in a Hollywood script – full of action and lots of drama. If you look back over the past 15 years Liverpool have been involved in some of the most exciting finals that will ever be seen. In 2001 when the club did the treble there was 3 very exciting finals. The league cup that year was very similar to yesterday’s game. Liverpool were firm favourites against a team from a lower league yet struggled and were lucky to win on penalties. The FA cup was another great occasion where 2 Michael Owen goals helped Liverpool come from a goal down against Arsenal to claim the victory. Lady luck has definitely been on Liverpool’s side in recent times and that game was no different. Arsenal thumped Liverpool for most of that game and should have won comfortably. 2001 was a special year for the reds and they also went on to win the Uefa cup win a 5-4 victory of Alves with the help of a golden goal which was actually an own goal.

Istanbul 2005 will probably go down as the greatest champions’ league final ever. From 3-0 at half time Liverpool managed to come back and beat AC Milan on pens with some heroics from Dudek and similarly in the FA cup final of 06 Liverpool had another peno shoot-out victory. The reds were 3-1 down to West Ham but up stepped captain fantastic Stevie G to rescue us and allow us to claim another final victory.

In that time period Liverpool also lost cup final – one European Cup final defeat to AC Milan and a League cup final to Chelsea. As the old cliché goes “you can’t win them all “. Although I’m ecstatic about yesterday’s cup win there is a part of me that is unhappy with the manner in which Liverpool won the game. This should have been a formality for Dagleish’s men yet the performance was poor. Liverpool will need to up their performance level if they are to fulfil the ambitions of a 4th place finish and a FA cup win.

Is the Champions League in Decline?

For some reason I have failed to get excited with this season’s Champions League. As a Liverpool fan I naturally have less interest in the competition when we are not involved but taking all other factors into account I still feel this season has been missing a spark. The quality of football has seriously declined in the past few years. Uefa changed the rules to allow smaller clubs from poor leagues to qualify for the group stages and this has taken away from the prestige of the competition. The group stages have become boring and very predictable (Manchester Utd being an exception this year). At the beginning of the group stages it would have been very easy to select group winners and runners up and the majority of these teams qualified).

In the past there would not be a Tuesday or Wednesday night where I would not be plonked in front of the TV with the Champo League on but this year has been different. Bayern Munich vs. Basel is on tonight and I am seriously considering watching something else instead. Am I the one who has changed or does anyone find this game very unappealing?

The fact that the English clubs have been so poor this year is the only logical answer which I can think of. Manchester City and Utd both exited the competition in the group stages and Arsenal and Chelsea are on the brink. This is a reflection of the decline in the premier league over the past two seasons. The quality of football and especially defending has decreased dramatically this season e.g. Arsenal losing 4-0 and Chelsea being beaten 3-1 by Napoli.

Lets just hope Liverpool can qualify for next years competition and bring back memories such as this:

Football Funnies

The past week has seen many contentious issues in the footballing world which has caused much debate and discussion about the game we all love. Instead about talking about all great goals and excellent performances we have been left talking about racism tax evasion and handshakes. In order to keep my sanity and to ensure that we don’t get carried away by these serious incidents I have decided to dedicate my blog this week to some of footballs lighter moments.
No one can deny that we all love to watch Football bloopers and the below video is a compilation of some of my favourites.
Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.