For the past 10 years the English media has been telling us that the Barclays Premier League is the best in the world and until very recently most people would have agreed. English teams enjoyed a great period of success in the Champions League between 2004 and 2009 with an English team in the final each year. During this period Premier League teams were attracting some of the world’s best players and foreign investment in the game rapidly took off. There was no doubt that during this time the premiership was in a league of its own and no other domestic league could rival it.
Many people feel that the tag “best in the world “is a self-acclaimed title which Sky Sports and various English tabloids have labelled the Premier League. The style of play in England is often criticized as the players give the ball away frequently are not the most technically gifted. When England failed to qualify for the 2008 euros and performed poorly at the last World Cup the Premier League received very harsh criticism. Pundits made the comparison to La Liga as Spain had won both these tournaments. The Spanish play an excellent brand of football with keeping the ball and being technically brilliant as the defining factors. Real Madrid and Barcelona have emerged as the Powerhouses of world football and the best 2 players in the world play in La Liga in Messi and Ronaldo.
Is the premier league in decline? And has La Liga taken over as the best league in the world?
I would have to disagree. Call me biased but I still believe that the Barclays Premier League is the still the best. There are currently 6 teams in England who can challenge for the league title – (Arsenal, Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool). In comparison La Liga is a two horse race between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The style of football in La Liga is often boring and I find it difficult to sit through a full 90 minutes. (Reminds me of the soccer scene in the Simpsons)
If given the choice between watching Stoke vs. Blackburn or Mallorca vs. Malaga I would be tuning in to watch the game at the Britannia any day of the week. Although the players on display may not be the most talented at least you can guarantee that both teams will give 100% and there will be excitement. I don’t think you can say the same for some La Liga games.
“Football is not just a matter of life or death – its much more than that. “
The past 7 days have made me very happy indeed – Ireland have qualified for the Euros, Liverpool beat Chelski and my football bets were successful.
OLE OLE OLE – its official Ireland have qualified for the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine next June. Although last weeks game in the Aviva was a boring anti climax, I don’t think many Irish people were complaining. Trappatoni’s lads showed tremendous character and passion throughout the qualifying group stage as well as in the two legged playoff against Estonia. Many Irish people can now start planning their trips to the finals (Campervan sales will be through the roof).
The first leg against Estonia brought about one of the funniest moments in Irish Soccer history when Ballincollig native Conor Cunningham disguised himself as an Estonian player/ball boy and snuck onto the pitch. He watched the first half from the Estonian bench and was able to celebrate the victory with Robbie Keane and all the lads after the terrific 4 nil win. He has since become an overnight celebrity appearing on the LateLate Show, Daily Show, RTE news and many radio shows. Rumour has it that he may be soon appearing on Soccer AM – I wonder what Tubes would ask him?
Fernando, what’s the score? Fernando, Fernando, what’s the score?
Great result yesterday for all of us Liverpool fans. I have questioned some of Kenny’s tactics in the past but he got it spot on yesterday. Maxi Sauraz and Bellamy looked lively in attack and the back 4 without Carra looked very solid. Charlie Adam and Lucas bossed the midfield area and Reina pulled off another world class save. The result has left me ecstatic but frustrated because we are well able to compete with the big teams but are still struggling to beat the so called smaller teams. Draws with Sunderland Norwich and Swansea have left me wondering what could have been.
This great week was topped off when my football bets came in over the weekend.
Four Draws @ 120/1
Birmingham vs Peterbourgh
Hibs vs Killmarnock
AFC Wimbeldon vs Swindon
Sunderland vs Fulham
And 6 aways @ 19/1 (5 euro down )
Friday night will see Ireland play Estonia in the first leg of the Euro 2012 playoffs which is a make or a break game for Trap’s men. Ireland will go into the game as favourites having been seeded for the playoff draw.
This was the ideal draw for both teams as both were perceived to be the weakest in the section (Ireland in seeded group and Estonia in un-seeded group). With a place in Poland and Ukraine next summer up for grabs the pressure is on!
I must admit, I am not Trapattoni‘s biggest fan – He does not play his strongest 11, we play very boring football and he cannot speak English despite being in the job for a few years now. HOWEVER no one can argue that he has delivered results. With the squad of players currently available to him he has done a remarkable job. If Ireland can qualify for a major championship with the likes of Steven Kelly, Andrews and St Ledger in the team then how can he be criticised.
I firmly believe that if we can go to Estonia and get a draw we will be in the driving seat for qualification. Estonia are a very average team, they qualified for the playoffs from a very poor group and the struggled to beat a very weak Northern Ireland team. We are capable of winning both legs very comfortably but Ireland wouldn’t be Ireland without making hard work out of it.
My prediction is that Ireland will win 2-1 in Estonia and winning the second leg by a two goal margin (maybe 3-1 )
My money Friday night shall be on Keane to score 1st and Ireland to win
After Ten Round of Premier League Fixture I can honestly say that I am shocked that there have been no managerial changes.
Have these clubs finally got some sense!!!
Over the past number seasons managers have found themselves under pressure from week one of the Barclays Premier League Season. If a team failed to get a result then certain sections of the crowd would be calling for the manager’s head. In the past Chairmen have acted rashly and removed managers with an impulsive decision. Has this changed this season?
One thing that hasn’t changed is the fans. Fans have been expressing there displeasure with the mangers throughout the season. In certain circumstances this is justified e.g. Steve Kean at Blackburn. No one could argue that Steve Kean has done a good job at Blackburn- He has taken a mid table team and turned them into the laughing stock of the premier league. It’s no wonder he is odds on favourite to be the 1st manager sacked. In other circumstances I cannot understanding the reaction that certain fans have towards there tam and manager. For example Mick McCarthy @Wolves has been on the end of booing and chants of “You’re getting sacked in the Morning “from his own crowd. Mick has done an excellent job at Wolves over the past few years. He has established Wolves as a top flight team and has put together a decent squad which can be competitive in the world’s best league. These fans need a reality check and must lower there expectations. Wolves are not a top ten team and the fans need to realize this.
I hope that clubs loyalty towards their managers continues but I would be foolish to believe this. I believe that this is the calm before the storm and once the first manager is sacked there will be a whole host of changes in managerial hot seats.
My Prediction is for Steve Kean to be sacked before teams return from the upcoming international break.
Outside bet would be Andre Villas Boas at 40/1. (Don’t get me wrong- not saying he deserves to be sacked but Roman Ambramovich is liable to do anything to get success)
Next Premier League Manager To Leave Odds – Correct from 01/11/2011
All odds courtesy of Paddy Power
Will Steve Kean be the next manager to leave?
- Steve Kean – 7/5
- Steve Bruce – 7/2
- Roberto Martinez – 4/1
- Mick McCarthy – 13/2
- Owen Coyle – 7/1
- Alex McLeish – 18/1
- David Moyes – 25/1
- Neil Warnock – 25/1
- Arsene Wenger – 40/1
- Martin Jol – 40/1
- Roy Hodgson – 40/1
- Alan Pardew – 40/1
- Brendan Rodgers – 40/1
- Tony Pulis – 40/1
- Andre Villas-Boas – 40/1
- Roberto Mancini – 50/1
- Paul Lambert – 50/1
- Harry Redknapp – 50/1
- Kenny Dalglish – 50/1
- Sir Alex Ferguson – 80/1