Friday, November 30, 2012

Will Roman Abramovich's Chelsea manager chaos ever stop?

Every time Chelsea appoint a new manager many of the fans, critics and all others say "this is the one". However it seems that "the one" cannot hold on to his job no matter how hard they try. It seems the club is still anticipating either the return of Jose Mourinho or the chance of tempting Pep Guardiola to England.

The managers that have been the at Stamford Bridge started with Claudio Ranieri, then Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Di Matteo and now Rafa Benitez. With the former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager Benitez getting the rest of the year to prove himself, one can wonder will he be what Chelsea are looking for or just another name on the long list of past managers.

  • Chelsea have spent roughly £70M on managers during Roman Abramovich's duration as owner.
  • The £70M fee is more money than Everton F.C. have spent on players during the same length of time.
  • With financial restrictions being tightened Chelsea will have to find a way to stop throwing money away on manager after manager.
So why can't any manager last at Chelsea football club?

Roman Abramovich demands instant success and once has has achieved that he demands even more. The owner is a control freak of sorts and needs to learn the importance of patience in this game. If Manchester United had not remained patient and always demanded success yearly off of Sir Alex Ferguson then he would of been out of a job a few times. If Chelsea want to find their own Sir Alex Ferguson then they have to forget about now and attempt to build for the future and before they know it they could have a team dominating in every tournament every single year.

There have been many issues between the managers and Roman and the latest one that seems to be causing tension is the Fernando Torres debate. The striker left Liverpool to join Chelsea in a £50M deal a little under two years ago. Everyone expected great things from the Spanish forward however he has failed to find the form he once had under Benitez at Liverpool.

Have Chelsea hired Rafa Benitez just to get the best out of Torres you ask?

A big reason Chelsea have hired the former Liverpool manager is because of his famous and productive relationship with Torres however there are other reasons. Benitez has won many trophies, has produced talented players with little money, developed talents in to world superstars and has often had his team play with the perfect balance of both defensive and attacking. These skills are ones that some but not all managers are gifted with and Rafa is seen as a low risk chance. If Chelsea do not win anything this season and decide to part ways with their current manager the duo can part ways and Chelsea can target one of the worlds best managers and attempt to persuade them with a likely biggest ever paycheck for a manager.

Chelsea have been surrounded with a lot of chaos over the past few years and now is the time to settle down. If Rafa is not the man for their future they have to ensure their next appointment is without a doubt 100% the perfect man for the job otherwise they risk becoming a laughing stock and struggling to attract any of the top talents in the world.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Paris St-Germain Rule Out Beckham Bid, While QPR Take an Interest

By Alex Baker

Speculations have been rife but few details have been forthcoming since David Beckham announced last week that he'd be leaving the LA Galaxy following the 2012 MLS Final on Dec. 1. Free-spending Ligue 1 outfit Paris St. Germain had been the last high-profile club linked to the former England midfielder.

But that was one year ago and this time around PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti has been quick to quash any rumors about Golden Balls coming to the City of Light.

"Beckham? We have not made an offer," said the former Milan coach to the French sports daily L'Equipe last week.

Earlier this months rumors were circulating that Beckham would be taking a loan deal Down Under with an Australian A-League side, possibly Melbourne Hearts or Adelaide United. Beckham is as big in Australia as he is anywhere else, thanks in part to high profile exhibition games played by the Galaxy in the past couple years.

Having already secured the services of former Juventus strike Alessandro Del Piero, the A-League has been taking recent strides to better establish itself on the world football stage.

However in this case it was Beckham's camp who did the rumor quelling, with the player's representatives stating he had "absolutely no plans to play in Australia."

Whatever the destination for what the former Manchester United man has called the final challenge of his playing career, it's likely that the money will be huge. The International Business Times has reported that Beckham is in the running for a $12 million dollar deal that at the advanced age (in football terms) of 37, could make him the highest paid player in the world.

With his generally successful six-year run in the MLS coming to end and the transfer window set to open shortly thereafter, a host of other club names are being bandied about in relation to Beckham; including yet-to-emerge MLSers New York Cosmos, Shanghai Shenhua in China, Brazilian outfit Botafogo, South African side Kaiser Chiefs, and even West Ham United in the EPL.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Beckham stated, "I still feel I have something left in me as a player. I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player, even at 37 years old. I feel I can still play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven't decided."

With seven goals and five assists for the Galaxy this season on the run up to a second consecutive appearance in the MLS Cup Finals, Beckham does appear to be a player who's still got something to offer.

Newly-appointed Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp for one, has no doubt that Beckham can still contribute at the highest level.

"I'm sure he could still play in the Premier League," said the former Spurs manager, speaking to BBC5 Live. "We had him at Tottenham training and he was amazing around the place - absolute class."

However the manager was also quick to dampen any Beckham to QPR speculation, adding "I think they bought a lot of players in the summer - I think it was 12 signings - so I don't see a lot coming in the window."

Beckham had a brief training loan at Tottenham Hotspur, two seasons back during Redknapp's stint as manager.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is Zlatan Ibrahimovic one of the most underrated players ever?

When it comes to stating your favourite player or in your view the best player in the world, many of you choose not to pick Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The talented striker has played for some of the worlds greatest ever clubs including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and now his current club PSG. As well as having a star studded club record he has been a sensation for his international team Sweden for many years. Zlatan has achieved far more than most footballers and he still cannot get the respect he has been earning for so many years.

Why many people not admire or even dislike Zlatan?

For some reason many of you simply do not give Zlatan the credit he undoubtedly deserves. He has won countless of awards, accolades alongside many other achievements, far too many to list. The striker is well known for his great ball control, lethal finishing and his strong physical presence. One of the ways many of his critics attempt to attack him is by labelling him as a "lazy" player. Would a lazy player have been in so many fantastic teams? Would a lazy player have scored so many goals? The answer is no.

  • He was selected in the UEFA team of the year in 2007 and 2009.
  • He has played in most of the 'Top European Divisions'.
  • Zlatan has scored and created many different types of goals in his career.
On  the 14th November 2012 Zlatan captained his international side Sweden against England in a game that marked the grand opening of their new stadium. Many of Zlatan's British critics have suggested he performs below his usual standard against the English international and club sides. However Zlatan eliminated this debate with his man of the match performance against England. This night will always be remembered as a historic one for the Swedish fans for so many reasons. Zlatan scored all four goals including a stunning free kick and an unbelievable strike to finish the game, a goal which many are claiming to be the "best they've ever seen". With Zlatan tearing England's team apart in a way many of the worlds elite players have failed to do, surely his English critics will stop their moaning about him for now.

Will Zlatan ever come and play in England?

One obvious way for Zlatan to add more fans to his collection would be to play for an EPL team and prove his worth in what is regarded as one of the best leagues in the world. If Zlatan was to join a team such as Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City or even Arsenal he would have a new challenge and would finish off an already impressive career by playing for yet another fantastic European team. However for now he is a member of PSG in France and appears to be settling in very well.

The apparently "lazy" player is the only player to have scored for 6 different teams in the Champions League and has achieved far more than Messi and Ronaldo have for their respective countries. That is not to say Zlatan is the best of this trio but he certainly isn't as far behind as many would like to make you believe.

Monday, November 19, 2012

End it Like Beckham: World's Most Famous Player to Leave LA Galaxy

The Los Angeles Galaxy announced today that the upcoming 2012 MLS Cup Final will be midfielder David Beckham's final match with the club.

The game, which will be a rematch of last year's final against the Houston Dynamo, will be played on December 1 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA where the reigning MLS champs play their home fixtures.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player has spent six years with the Galaxy, helping them to three Western Conference trophies, three MLS Cup Finals and one MLS Cup.

Beckham signed with the club in 2007 and spent his first two seasons battling injuries and trying to win over a fanbase that regarded him as an opportunistic showboat who'd come to Los Angeles for his own personal interests rather than to help the Galaxy win trophies.

Loan spells to AC Milan in 2009 and 2010 did little to further endure him to fans. However it was while on loan to Milan in 2010 that the former England midfielder suffered an achilles tendon injury that saw him ruled out of the World Cup in South Africa that summer. Beckham returned to the Galaxy in the fall of that year and with his England career at an end, seemed to redouble his dedication to the club.

That year he led the Galaxy to another Western Conference final where they were dealt an unexpected ouster by FC Dallas in front of a packed home crowd. But the following season proved Beckham's best in a Galaxy jersey as he led the SoCal side to its first MLS Cup since 2005.

After overcoming a difficult start to their season this year, the Galaxy have put in a strong run of results and although they slunk across the finish line against Seattle on Sunday, they're considered strong contenders to retain their title next month.

"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career," said Beckham in an official statement released by the club.

What exactly that final challenge will be remains unknown, although recently Beckham was linked to a loan deal with an Australian A-League side. The Galaxy man was quick to deny those rumors.

One possible destination is French side Paris St. Germain. The club were interested in Beckham a year ago and the player remains friendly with PSG's sporting director Leonardo.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is David Moyes a managerial name to remember?

David Moyes might not be the first name you think of when considering the best football managers however one day he might well be one of the first names on your lips. After a successful football career Moyes worked his way through the coaching system at Preston North End. After becoming a highly-rated manager there he moved to Premier League side Everton in 2002.

  • During his time at Everton they have gone far in several competitions
  • He achieved Champions League qualification with little money
  • He has received praise from many of the big names in the sport of football.
What has he achieved that makes him so great you ask?
Firstly David Moyes is the third-longest serving manager in the premier league behind the world-famous names of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. Both of these are considered two of the greatest coaches ever meaning Moyes is in great company. He achieved a lot with a relatively small club in Preston before moving to a small side with little money in Everton, compared to the divisions elite teams. He has spent very little over his managerial career and yet he continues to achieve the unthinkable.

What's next for Moyes?

Moyes has been considered as the next in line for many top jobs. Some have even suggested that he could replace his close friend Sir Alex Ferguson once he retires in the near future. Moyes recently called his current Everton side his "Best ever team" as they are currently competing for a finish that would see them enter a European competition once again next season. With Moyes over-achieving for so many years many are suggesting he will leave to improve his career as soon as an opportunity worth taking becomes available.

What's clear to all is David Moyes has achieved great things in his managerial career so far and it is frightening to think of what he could achieve with more money, a better team and more experience. David Moyes is a name the world of football should know by now and if you don't then you need to make a mental note as he is here to stay.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Does Manchester City's Failure in the Champions League Pave the Way for Premier League Success?

For the second season in a row, newly-minted EPL heavyweights, Manchester City have struggled in the Champions League and look set to crash out in the group stage.

Having been dealt a surprise defeat away against Ajax at Amsterdam ArenA two weeks ago, the EPL champs were held to a 2-2 draw at home by the Dutch side last night. The result now leaves them bottom of Group D, with only 2 points.

Bundesliga power-haus Borussia Dortmund sit atop the group and look all but certain to go through along with Real Madrid who are in second. Despite beating the English champs and fighting them to a draw on their own turf, Ajax also look set to crash out. They're not calling Group D the Group of Death for nothing!

But if there's a silver-lining for a club that's basically been put together to compete with the traditional European powers, it's that now City can focus their formidable firepower on retaining the Premier League title.

The two other main contenders, Chelsea and Manchester United will surely advance to the next stages of European competition and be forced to maintain a split focus throughout the season. This could prove a particular disadvantage for Chelsea, who despite a strong start to their season, appear to lack depth up front and will not have the ever-reliable Didier Drogba to bail them out when they need a goal this time.

United have more depth and the experience to see through corresponding campaigns on two fronts over the long haul. But of course, they also arguably had that last year to and failed to win the Premier League or get out of the group stage on the continent.

Even Arsenal, who some faithful Gooners still regard as a dark horse to win the EPL crown, will almost surely extend their run into the Champions League, stretching their thin squad even further and unfortunately making it unlikely that they'll succeed on either front.

But City are replete with deadly strikers, have depth seemingly in every position, and now with only one trophy anyone cares about to compete for (sorry FA Cup), will be able to concentrate resources on keeping their title and establishing themselves beyond a doubt as a Premier League heavyweight, rather than the newly-moneyed "noisy neighbors" people have attempted to write them off as in the past.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Can Manchester United become the EPL champions once again this year?

Wayne Rooney was desperate to beat rivals Manchester City and gain yet another championship trophy last season. With Man Utd losing their title to a last second goal from their arch-rivals it is easy to see why Rooney and the rest of his team mates have regained their motivation to be champions.

  • New star Robin Van Persie stated his desire to win trophies after joining Manchester United
  • Wayne Rooney is 27 yet has won several trophies during his career
  • A 2012/13 title win would be better after snatching it back from their rivals Man City
Of course Man Utd have many more players than previous two that have been mentioned, but the pair have been sensational together this season proving almost unstoppable. After back to back league wins against rivals Chelsea and Arsenal it is clear to see that Manchester United are on form and will be hoping to stay on top of the division, a position they recently took back for the first time this season. The striker pairing of Van Persie and Rooney has the potential of being one of the greatest of all time. RVP has adapted to life at Man Utd with ease and recently scored against his old team Arsenal, adding insult to injury to his former team.

Who will be the champions this season?

When considering the favourites to become champions this year you can look no further than Manchester United. Although their rivals all have a good chance of winning another title it looks increasingly likely that United will win it once again. There are plenty of reasons why, for example they have had no Vidic, Smalling and Jones for the majority of their games this season. This trio are a huge part of Uniteds current and future defence and their returns will likely offer them an even better chance of winning trophies this season. The return of Ashley Young has been crucial and it's no coincidence that Man Utd have regained form since his return. The attacking winger can also defend and offers United a complete player and these types of players are rare and help teams win games and titles.

Who else could win it?

If Man Utd fail to win it then the title will likely fall in to the hands of one of the following teams Man City, Chelsea or Arsenal. It is early days and still there for any team to win, however it looks like Man Utd have learned a lot from their previous failures from the past season and will provide a tough challenge for anyone to overcome.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Can the sport of football overcome Racism issues and unite?

Mark Clattenburg, right, is understood to be determined to clear his name

Racism has always been apparent in the sport of football but over the past year it has imploded and reached levels many are embarrassed to admit. There has been the Luis Suarez and John Terry racism sagas and now your sport has been tainted with more following recent trouble in a match in Serbia and an English Premier League match involving title contenders Chelsea and Manchester United

  • Racism has been a problem amongst players, fans and now referees
  • John Terry has recently been missing games due to his four game suspension due to his racist comments against another player last season.
  • Now more than ever there are claims of racism in football, you're probably wondering is there more racism today or are people feeling more comfortable complaining about this horrific issue.
Racism has always been a horrible factor in the sport of football but many have worked hard to rid it from their beloved game. However the last year has seen the racism in football debate open and close time and time again. A while ago John Terry, the Chelsea Football Club captain racially abused Anton Ferdinand and is only now facing his punishment. Also there was the racist abuse Man Utd ace Patrice Evra suffered from Liverpool star Luis Suarez that caused an even bigger rivalry between the two clubs and their players.

What racist events have tainted the sport

Recently the English international under twenty-one players visited Serbia's young stars and their was abuse from the fans. After a late winner there was confrontations across the pitch which resulted in Sunderland player Danny Rose being abused with monkey noises, which rightfully so upset him and got him sent off the pitch. With fans debating how they could rid this horrible feature in their sport they were soon faced with another racist event. This time it has yet to be proved and people are hoping it is a misunderstanding between cultures. Referee Mark Clattenburg officiated Chelsea Vs Manchester United recently and made several bad decisions which caused angry Chelsea reactions. In response to these pressures in the game, Clattenburg is rumoured to have called Juan Mata something insulting towards his nationality of Spain and insulted John Obi Mikel with an insult about his looks in a racist manner.

What happens next?

With all of these events happening in the sport of football many are wondering how it can be eliminated from the game. Only time will tell what has happened, why it has happened and what can be done about it. Although it is a horrible time for the sport hopefully this can be a significant learning curve that rids racism from the entire sport forever.