Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Is Scott Parker the answer?

Rewind to the world cup in the summer of 2010. England were heading out to South Africa and Capello had named his squad. When naming an injured Gareth Barry in the squad the whole of England was worrying about the defensive minded midfielder's fitness. Throughout the 2010 World Cup Qualifying campaign, Barry was instrumental in the team keeping their shape when on the back foot and no one was able to fill the gap left by Barry.

2011, Wales - England. Capello switches to a new look 433 formation, selecting West Ham's Scott Parker instead of a fit Gareth Barry in the same position. England go on to win the game 2-0 proving that the risk of formation change paid off admirably for Capello. England closed down superbly well off the ball and then had options all over the pitch for a pass. Something which they had been lacking in the old 4231 formation. Parker, this time was instrumental in the victory popping up with well timed tackles breaking down Wales' fluidity.

If England are to succeed in the latter stages of a tournament in the summer, a packed midfield is what they are going to need. This was highlighted when England got knocked out against a fluid German team who simply out passed England in the centre of the pitch.

 However if both Gerrard and Lampard are fit, it will be interested to see if Capello ditches the new 433 formation to go back to playing both of his star midfielders in the same team line up.

England 1 - 1 Ghana

Andy Carroll scored his first goal for England last night in a 1-1 draw with Ghana. The team line up featured Gary Cahill, Baines, Wilshere, and James Milner in a central midfield role. 

The new 433 formation got another outing as England played well in an exciting game. They looked as if they were going to wrap up the game comfortably however in the dieing moments Gyan scored a solo effort which he was deserving of after having a good game all night.

My man of the match: Gary Cahill
Played the full 90 minutes and looked comfortable in his defensive role. The only real dangers England faced were at the expence of Jolean Lescott's lacking. 

To watch match highlights of the game click the link below.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

England - Ghana

Tonight the England first team are back in action in a friendly game against African opposition, Ghana. However a number of first team players have been sent home to return to their club to be rested ahead of important club fixtures. The players sent home include Chelsea players, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole. Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney and Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon has returned due to a slight injury.

Ahead of the game with Ghana, England manager named Gareth Barry as the stand in captain for the game at Wembley. This comes a week after renaming John Terry as captain controversially after being stripped of the Englands arm band due to allegations in his personal life.

Capello also said that Bolton defender Gary Cahill will start for the first time in his career whilst Andy Carroll will play up front. 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Weekend Review 26/27 March

Saturday 26th March
Oxford won the boat race
England got knocked out of cricket world cup thanks to Sri Lanka 10 wicket victory.
England won Wales 2-0 in a euro qualifier

Sunday 27th March
Vettel won the first F1 grand prix of year, Hamilton second, Petrov 3rd (first ever podium finish)
Brazil beat Scotland 2-0

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Wales 0-2 England

Fabio Capello's change of formation and system paid off for England yesterday as they came out 2-0 winners at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. 
England started with a 4-3-3 formation with Rooney playing wide left and Aston Villa winger Ashley Young playing wide right. Capello described the system as when England have to defend Rooney and Young stayed wide but when they were on the attack the two wingers could play more central and cut inside. 
The change of formation was what England could have done with during last summers world cup when England looked outplayed by better teams midfield.
England opened the scoring early in the first half with Frank Lampard converting from the spot after Darren Bent won England a penalty. Bent made it 2-0 shortly after when man of the match winger Ashley Young put a low cross in for Bent to hit high into the roof of the net.
Rooney worked well throughout the first half linking up with Jack Wilshere as England not only looked capable of scoring from the wide areas but also centrally.
The second half saw Wales come back into the game more but not really pose much of a threat. New captain Aaron Ramsey didn't have the best of games whilst Craig Bellamy had the best chance when shooting from outside the area late on.
The win leaves England joint top of group G on 10 points. Wales are bottom on 0.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

England - Wales, My line up.

Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday 26 March Kick-off: 1500 GMTCoverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Wales Sport; full text coverage and reports on BBC Sport website; also live on Sky Sports

This is how I'd like to see Capello choose team today to face Wales. Using the same 4231 system that Capello loves, I chose James Milner to help Gareth Barry out in the central of midfield. Which I believe would hope to give us a bit more bite when off the ball instead of a more attack minded Wilshere there, Lampard or Gerrard when fit.
In the last England game we saw Wilshere link up really well with Rooney however Rooney does have a tendency to drop off a bit so could end up us playing a Wenger style no striker.
Cannot wait for the game today, Wales are missing Bale and have said Ramsey will be captain. Some pundits have said that Ramsey has a point to prove to fellow Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere. Wilshere has replaced Ramsey in the center of Arsenals midfield and has in turn cemented his place there well enough to be tipped to start today for England.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Gareth Bale to miss England Match

Its been announced today Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale will miss the Euro2012 qualifier against England with a hamstring injury.
The lay off comes as a major blow for Wales manager Gary Speed just days before he has to prepare his squad to face England and was hoping to select Bale has he had been in excellent form all season.

"Due to a hamstring problem, Gareth Bale has had to withdraw from the Wales squad to face England," a Football Association of Wales statement said.
"He felt tight last week during training with his club.
"After playing 90 minutes on Saturday he felt some muscle tightness. Initially, this was expected to be muscle soreness after playing his first game.
"On joining up with the Welsh squad he was kept off his feet in training for two days to recover.
"As he still felt tight in the warm-up on Tuesday, Gareth was pulled out of the session.
"He did not train at all on Wednesday and was sent for a scan.
"The scan revealed that Gareth Bale picked up his injury last week."

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sports stars on Twitter!

If you didn't know, Twitter is a social network set up based a bit like updating your status on Facebook. You have 140 characters to write down a status(tweet). Your 'Tweet' can be an update on what your doing, a thought, an oponion or just something random!

Now twitter has got so large it is used by a a various amount of celebs in the wide world. Some just use it to self promote whilst others use it go get their opinion out there quickly. A lot just use it to let you get an insight into their world that you wouldn't normally get. Also you get the chance to communicate with them since every tweet where you mention their name in, reaches them.

Some sports stars are now banned from twitter for comments they have put on twitter and a lot of what they tweet is now carefully thought about beforehand.

These are only a taster, there are loads more out there!!

Sports stars who have twitter are:
 michael owen
 John McGinlay
 Robin van Persie
 Samir Nasri
 Micah Richards
 Vladimir Weiss
 Kevin Pietersen
 Jack Wilshere
 Kevin Davies
 Chris Kamara
 Stuart Holden
 Rio Ferdinand
 Greg Rusedski
 James Anderson           
 Graeme Swann 
 Andy Murray

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

England take on Wales

This weekend see's the return of the Euro 2012 qualification campaign. England's next match on the route to the Euro's is at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, home of the Welsh National Team.
If ya could get local derbies on a national scale, this would defiantly be one of those.

Newly appointed Welsh manager Gary Speed is the man in charge of taking Wales through a slight transition period with a few new stars on the horizon. Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale burst on to the scene this year when Harry Redknapp played the once full back in a more forward position. The new left winger role has seen Spurs look deadly on the counter and has put them in the latter stages of the Champions League. Speed also has Arsenal youngster Aaron Ramsey back in contention after a long injury. Ramsey has featured in Arsenals last few games in the premier league and hopes to be available to start against England.

Fabio Capello has announced this week that John Terry will be reinstated as long term England captain. This was after Terry had been stripped of the England Captaincy after allegations of cheating with a partner of a fellow England team mate. Rio Ferdinand had been named captain after the incident however a year on Capello sees fit to give the armband back to JT. Jack Wilshere has also been called up for his first cap in a qualification match.

Wives/Girlfriends take note! Your only allowed to be mad for a year!

Former England stars such as Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Chris Waddle, Matt Le Tissier and Gareth Southgate offer their thoughts on Saturday's clash in Cardiff.

Justin Bieber supports Manchester United?

I'm not sure what determines a 'celebrity' nowadays. Whether or not they have done something great with their lives and are now known because of this on a wide scale. Whether they have been on a reality tv show and got instantly likes by the odd million only to dissapear from our lives completely within a month of the reality tv show comes to an end. Or maybe they've just stared in a program you like, or made some music you like.

Whatever a celebrity is, one thing is for sure, when you find out they support the same team as you... It always makes you like them that little bit more. So today i'm gonna look at some celebrity fans and see who they support! 
Lets hope Bieber supports Manchester United cause hes gonna need all the extra loving he can get since his hair cut!

Arsenal Fans
Clive Anderson - TV presenter - Who's Line is it Anyway?
Heston Blumenthal - chef-proprietor of The Fat Duck (voted best restaurant in the world) and TV presenter
Jenson Button - F1 driver
Matt Lucas - comedian - Shooting Stars (George Dawes), Reeves & Mortimer, Little Britain

Aston Villa 
Ian Bell - England Cricketer
Ozzy Osbourne - musician, TV star

Bolton Wanderers
Vernon Kay - TV/Radio presenter
Amir Khan - Olympic boxing silver medalist
Patrick McGuinness - comedian

Sir Richard Attenborough - actor (The Great Escape, Jurassic Park), director
David Baddiel - comedian, author
Ian Bolton - Sky Sports presenter
Michael Caine - actor (Zulu, Escape to Victory, Get Carter, etc.)
Seb Coe - former athlete and politician

Manchester United
Richard Ashcroft - Verve frontman, now solo artist
Ian Brown - ex-Stone Roses frontman, singer

Tim Burgess - Charlatans frontman
Darren Campbell - athlete, has played in Sky One's The Match

Mark Chapman - Radio 1 sports reporter

Craig Charles - comedian, Red Dwarf
Elvis Costello - singer, musician
Daniel Craig - actor (Layer Cake, James Bond)
Mark Owen - singer (Take That) 
Mike Myers - comedian, actor- Waynes World, Austin Powers...

Manchester City
Alan Carr - comedian
Doves - group
Liam Gallagher - Oasis singer

Noel Gallagher - Oasis guitarist, singer, songwriter
Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff - England cricketer

Tottenham Hotspur
Emma Bunton - singer, Spice Girl
Phil Collins - musician, actor (Buster)
Bruce Forsyth - TV presenter
Jude Law - actor (The Talented Mr Ripley, AI)
Barry McGuigan - former boxer, now pundit
Status Quo - group
Shania Twain - country music singer

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Premier League results 19/03/11

Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
Blackburn Rovers 2-2 Blackpool
Manchester United 1-0 Bolton Wanderers
Stoke City 4-0 Newcastle United
Tottenham 0-0 West Ham United
West Brom 2-2 Arsenal
Wigan 2-1 Birmingham City

Arsenal have dropped more points up at the top of the table, now going 5 points behind title rivals Manchester United. 
United eventually won 1-0 at home to Bolton even after having a Johnny Evans sent off in the second half. They gained the lead thanks to a lot of help from Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen splilling the ball at the feet of Manchester United substitute Berbatov who slipped it into the net.
Arsenal did their best to come back from 2-0 down and managed it thanks to goals from Arshavin and Robin Van Persie.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Champions League Draw

A few hours ago the draw was made for the quarter finals of the Champions League.

Inter Milan v Schalke 
Real Madrid v Tottenham
Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk
Chelsea v Man Utd

Chelsea have been drawn against Manchester United after losing to them in the final a few years ago. Back in the 2008 champions league final United came out on on top on penalties after John Terry slipped on the spot and put his penalty wide.
Champions League debutants have the tough ask of going to Real Madrid however have the advantage of being at home for the second league. However that won't faze Spurs after coming past top champions league opposition to get here. Mourinho's Madrid could face Barcelona in the Semi's if they both get through their respective games.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

How To Put A Bib On

By Mario Ballotelli

Cricket World Cup, England WIN

Englands Cricket World Cup journey could have ended today with them needing a win against West Indies. Previous games saw England get a dramatic draw against India, a loss against Ireland and Bangladesh and two wins. One against Netherlands and the other against South Africa.

To continue in the tournament they needed to win however they are suffering a few injuries. Batsman Kevin Pietersen is injured and has travelled home with his new born child as well as bowler Stuart Broad.

England won the toss and chose to bat on a bowler friendly pitch and put on a score of 243 from 48.4 overs. It looked like not being able to bat out the full 50 overs was gonna cost England dearly especially when West Indies' Chris Gayle opened the batting in explosive form.

It looked like West Indies were gonna see out the game and win comfortably not needing to rush for runs and having wickets spare however Swann got 2 wickets in the over leaving the West Indies with just one wicket.

Still not needing to rush for runs from the last wicket, it fell to Ravi Bopara to try to get the final wicket. West Indies pulled back for two runs stupidly and it cost them with being run out.

England win, and are still in the world cup!


Europa League Preview 17/03/11

Tonight sees the return of the Europa League with 3 British teams are still in the competitions, Rangers, Liverpool and Manchester City

FC Porto - CSKA Moscow 20:05
Liverpool - Braga 20:05
Man City - Dynamo Kiev 18:00
Paris SG - Benfica 18:00
Rangers - PSV Eindhoven 20:05
Spartak Moscow - Ajax 18:00
Villareal - Bayer Leverkusen 20:05
Zenit ST Petersburg - FC Twente 18:00

Adam Johnson looks set to miss out on the game against Kiev, still recovering from his ankle injury. Whilst defensive minded midfielder Nigel De Jong will face a late fitness test. Also James Milner could return for City.
Liverpool have the opportunity to give record signing Andy Carroll a run out against Braga however early reports suggest that the striker will have to settle for a place on the bench again. Liverpool are looking to overcome a 1-0 aggregate loss in the first leg.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Arsenal Want Lehmann Back

Arsenal are set to resign German goal keeper Jens Lehmann, 3 years after he left as they are a bit short on keepers lately with only one fit to play.

Manual Almunia had been first choice at the club after Lehmann left but lost his place when Wohciech Szczesny hit form. Other injuries to Lukasz Fabianksi and Vito Mannone mean Arsene has decided he needs another keeper to challenge for Almunia's place and act as cover.

Arsenal are set to play West Brom this sunday and it is likely that Lehmann will be included in the squad.

Worst Miss Ever

So im sure we have all seen a contender for worst miss ever, many in fact. All you've gotta do is beat the keeper and you scored!!!! Surely???!?!!

Monday, 14 March 2011

FA Cup Quarter Finals Highlights 12/03/11

Thanks to the, TisWindy can bring you highlights of the FA Cup quarter finals matches that were played on the Saturday 12th March this weekend.

Birmingham City 2-3 Bolton Wanderers

Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Barcelona Look To Buy Bale

Another transfer rumour for ya now :)

There are reports suggesting that Tottenham winger Gareth Bale could be on the move to spain for a fee of around £40 million.
The one time Southampton full back looks rejuvinated under Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp after turning the player into a left midfield attacking winger.  He burst onto the scene this season however really made a name for himself in the champions league when facing Italian giants Inter Milan. Bale came up against Brazillian Right back Maicon and made the full back look like a non league player.

FA Cup Semi Final Draw

Manchester United - Manchester City/Reading
Stoke City - Bolton Wanderers

The draw for the FA Cup Semi Final has been made earlier today at around 16:00 PM. League leaders, Manchester United will have to face local Mancunian Rivals Manchester City at Wembley. Manchester city overcame Champtionship team Reading to book a place in the Semi's against United thanks to a goal from English defender Micah Richards. Where as Stoke, who have reached the semi final for the first time for nearly 40 years will be facing Bolton Wanderers. Bolton, who are are trying to win the trophy for the first time since 1958 in the year of club legend Nat Lofthouse beat Birmingham in the last round. The final back in 1958 was Bolton against Manchester United

The ties will be played on the 16th and 17th of April at Londons Wembley Stadium.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Manchester United Are On Their Way To Wembley

Manchester United go through to the Semi Final of the FA cup along with fellow North West club, Bolton Wanderers, after beating Arsenal 2-0 at home.

Arsenal started the first half in front, putting United on the back foot however it was in fact Manchester United who scored first. A slick move started from one of the twins Fabio who played a ball in behind Gibbs for his brother Rafael. Rafael then spun on the ball and pulled it back to Fabio without even looking as if he knew where he was going to be. Fabio then played it into Rooney who put a ball into the box for Hernandez who shot at Arsenals goal keeper Almunia. The ball rebounded out to Fabio who finished the move that he himself started.
Half time came with no real chances then not long after Wayne Rooney headed into a more or less empty net.

Arsenal brought on Chamakh who made Arsenal look more dangerous giving the team another dimension to their game. Arsenal then had the opportunity to pump balls in the box for Chamakh to head.

As the second half was coming to a close both team ended up having chances but both keepers were equal to the shots. Both sets of keepers pulling of really good saves to keep it 2-0.

Arsenal ended the game with 10 men after using all their substitutes yet their CB, djourou had to go off injured with what looked like a shoulder injury. However, Paul Scholes should have been sent off after first off being booked in the injury time then straight after reacted badly to a tackle and dived into to get revenge. He then got up and appeared to push an Arsenal player. The ref had a quick word and decided not to give Scholes another yellow card.

Bolton are going to Wembley!

Bolton are into the FA Cup Semi Finals after beating Birmingham City 3-2 away from home. The winning goal coming from Korean Lee Chung Yong after coming on as a substitute.

The last time Bolton were in the FA cup semi final was back in 2000 however the last time Bolton actually won the FA Cup was back in the 1950's thanks to club legend Nat Lofthouse. Sadly this is the year Nat Lofthouse died, and Bolton will be looking to win the competition in memory of their late star.

Bolton started the game on top, pressuring Birmingham high up the pitch looking for a good start to keep up their tempo. They got that thanks to a goal from swedish striker Johan Elmander, who hasn't scored for the trotters since the FA Cup 3rd round. Going one on one with the brummy keeper and smashing it past him.

Birmingham equalised thanks to a shot that looked to be hit just as hard as the Elmander goal but from the edge of the area after Bolton didnt clear the lines good enough.

After half time Bolton won a Penalty and was scored by captain Kevin Davies who has been compared to former player Nat Lofthouse for his robust way of playing the game. Kevin Phillips then equalised after lobbing Jussi Jaaskelainen who was making his 500th game for Bolton.

It looked tight going into the final 5 minutes however a long ball from left back Paul Robinson was headed across goal from Kevin Davies and left an easy chance for Chung Yong to convert.

Later today Arsenal play Manchester United. United were the team Bolton beat to win the trophy back in the 50's. The draw for the semi finals is on tomorrow at 4pm.

United Finally Using Ronaldo Transfer Fee?

Now for a bit of Transfer gossip!

There are rumours from this morning suggesting that Alex Ferguson is not just lining up a 25 million pounds bid for Everton's young England star, that they have actually agreed a fee. This suggests that the transfer is on the cards and he could end up playing for Manchester United next season.

Manchester United's centre of midfield hasn't looked the most convincing this season and with Paul Scholes getting older by the day, the reports may have a lot of truth in them.

The Red Devils haven't really made a dent into the £80 million transfer fee they recieved a few years back when Real Madrid signed Ronaldo from Old Trafford. So hopefully the United fans will be happy with the pending transfer.

Should John Terry be Captain?

A few years ago now, John Terry was the perfect leader for England. He was a player who rose through the ranks of the England set up and made a name for himself in the Chelsea defence under Mourinho who went on to lift the league title. He wore his heart on his sleeve and the fans loved him as he wasn't afraid to get stuck in.

Then one day it comes out in the press that Terry had been accused of sleeping with the ladyfriend of Man City player at the time and England team member Wayne Bridge behind his back. It came at a somewhat coincedental time as Chelsea were due to play City in the league very soon. It begged the question would the two players shake hands like all players do before every game. To find out what happened in the hand shake saga, click here.

It was a world cup year and all hopes were at the hands of head coach Capello as this was the year the England team had so called peaked. Questions were raised as to whether a player who has cheated like this should be fit to lead our England team out at the world cup. Capello thought not and made Rio Ferdinand captain instead.

Months later, half way through the following season there is talk for John Terry to be given the captains arm band back. The tension surrounding the player has calmed down with most fans not actually caring what he does in his social life. More so concentrating on the fact that JT is a very commited player to both club and country.

Capello has hinted recently that Terry could be made England captain once again. Probably having something to do with the fact that current England Captain Rio Ferdinand is out injured 90% of the time.

 Opta Sports 
4 - John Terry lost just four of his 28 matches as England captain, winning 18 (64%). Reinstatement?

FA Cup Quarter Finals

Saturday, 12 March 2011
Birmingham v Bolton, R6, 12:45
Man Utd v Arsenal, R6, 17:15

Sunday, 13 March 2011
Stoke v West Ham, R6, 14:00
Man City v Reading, R6, 16:45

Today sees the return of the FA cup over here in England. We have reached the quarter final stage which means only 8 teams remain in the competition.

The first game of the round sees Birmingham team who have quite a few injury problems take on an in form Bolton Wanderers. Bolton are said to be even more inspired to win the trophy this year seeing as club legend Nat Lofthouse died earlier in the year. In the 1950's Nat lifted the trophy for the whites who havent been able to win the trophy since.

Arsenal after their poor showing in Spain will be travelling to Manchester United with no Robin Van Persie after he has been ruled out. Both teams want to win this competition to ensure they can bring home some sort of silverware this season for their fans. Arsenal more so after being so close in all competitions but failing towards the end.

The draw will take place at 16:00 over in london at Wembley stadium. England head coach Fabio Capello and Ladies head coach Hope Powell will be making the draw.

To watch the Birmingham City - Bolton Wanderers FA cup quarter finals football match live. Check out the P2P site.
The Draw Numbers 
1 Stoke City or West Ham United 
2 Manchester City or Reading 
3 Birmingham City or Bolton Wanderers 
4 Manchester United or Arsenal

Friday, 11 March 2011

Ref, Right or Wrong?

Is it right to send off a player for tackling a streaker?

During a Havant & Waterlooville Vs Doncaster match earlier this month a fan appeared on the pitch wearing a Borat thong. Halting the game for seceral minutes the streaker continued to run past players with his hands raised evading stewards attempting to tackle him.

Most players stood by however one of them decided enough is enough and tackled the streaker and wrestled him to the ground until he was caught up to by the stewards. The referee saw this and reached for his pocket, took out a red card and sent the player off for violent conduct.

Well it turns out the referee is actually correct, to the letter of the law...

"He is also guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person."

Jussi Jaaskelainen, 499 Appearences

35 year old goal keeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen will be in line to make his 500th appearence for Bolton Wanderers if chosen for the FA Cup game at Birmingham tomorrow.

First signed in 1997 by manager at the time Colin Todd when the club were in the old first division, which is now the championship. Born in Finland, Jussi spent his career in Finland before moving to England where he soon established himself in Boltons first team.

Over the years Jussi has been integral in keeping the north west team an established premier league team bailing them out of lots of situations where he has been called upon to make a magnificent save. Often referred to as 'under rated' he has caught the attention of top Premier League teams such as Arsenal and Manchester United. Jaaskelainen also caught the eye of the scouting staff of top european clubs such as Real Madrid, AC Milan and Celtic.

A particular highlight came when Bolton played Blackburn at Ewood Park. Blackburn were awarded two penatlies during the match and the finnish keeper was called upon, and managed to save both. (click here)

Since 1997 Bolton have maintained their status as a top division side as well as competing in the Uefa Cup for the first time in their history. Even when the manager who signed him left, the managers who took over still trusted the keeper to wear the number 22 shirt and do the business. There hasnt been one criticism over the years and still to this day, as a 35 year old doesn't look set to retire.

@OptaJoe‎ 135 - Bolton's Jussi Jääskeläinen made 135 saves in the Premier League in 2010; more than any other 'keeper. Unprotected

Former Bolton Wanderers FC player, Dean Holden wow, I remember his debut for the reserves against city at altrincham. He had a beast!! Great keeper tho', terrific servant