Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Can teams like San Marino ever compete with England?

Often one of the best aspects of supporting your team is the unknown. When games like San Marino V England are a formality it makes you wonder why are matches like this allowed to take place? England were heavy-favourites for the win and they duly delivered with their 8-0 win.

This as England's biggest win since October 1987. It was hard for fans to get excited as they have known since this fixture was arranged that England would win the game in style. This raises the question, why are teams like San Marino playing England when they never win or even come close. Now the English FA Cup is known for seeing the little clubs take on the big, but we are rewarded with the amazing sometimes.

We have seen small teams with only a few thousand fans defeat massive Premier League clubs and we know that anything is possible. San Marino on the other hand also expect to lose. Their manager stated a 5-0 loss would be a victory for their nation. With only one professional player and no recent goals or victories and such lowly aims it does make you wonder why are England forced in to playing such awful football teams.

Now some would say it's something you have to do but to others they cannot see the benefit. When a team like England beat San Marino 8-0 their confidence will inevitably increase however it will be the likes of Spain, Germany and France they have to defeat in major tournaments, not these minnows.

Now if teams like these were occasional winning or getting in to a tournament you would have more respect, but its hard when they have shop assistants playing for them and the top teams have elite superstars from across the world's best leagues. Although England can consider it a good experience before they face a tougher task in Montenegro, it does seem an unnecessary fixture.

What can be done?

Some have suggested mini tournaments or a small qualification between the very small teams, which has it's positives and negatives. Some would consider it harsh that these teams do not have a fair chance, but others would say it is justified based on past experiences. They could also implement many systems that make it easier for them to qualify. For example one or two groups could have a few of the smaller teams, meaning they have a better chance of qualification.

Regardless of what happens we will watch and enjoy but it does get boring being forced to what fixture after fixture in which you can predict the outcome. International football is about the games like England v Brazil. In their early 2013 fixture England weren't expected to pose a threat yet won 2-1 and both teams played very well, now that's what you call a great game of football.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is Gareth Bale in the same class as Messi and Ronaldo?

Gareth Bale is taking the Premier League by storm this season. He is a top contender for the "player of the year" award and he is the name being discussed by every football fan. It is safe to say Gareth Bale has placed himself in to the 'elite' player status across the world.

Gareth Bale started as a left-back for Southampton and was linked with many of the top-flight teams at that moment in time. However he soon joined Tottenham in a fee believed to be around £10m. The Welsh international has always been considered a great player, but at this moment in time he is cementing his reputation as one of the best players in the world.

At 23 years of age Bale can only improve, which is a scary prospect for all of those who will be facing him week after week. He started badly for Spurs and was even considered as a 'bad luck charm' as Tottenham lost every game he played for a long period of time. Now it is the opposite and everything he touches seemingly turns to gold. The talented winger has scored some brilliant goals, hit match-winning goals, had many stunning performances and had several brilliant breath-taking runs.

Who wants to sign him?
Almost every big team! There aren't many teams that Gareth Bale wouldn't walk in to. With clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid supposedly after the star it doesn't appear that Bale will remain a Spurs player for too long. The fee would be roughly £50m and at this moment would be justified given his recent form.

The Welsh international star has had many Premier League fans wishing he was English. He began to take the world by storm against Inter Milan with his stunning hat-trick in 2010 and has had a 2012-13 to remember as he has scored a large portion of his teams goals. Luis Suarez and Robin Van Persie have also had excellent seasons in the Premier League, but Gareth Bale has done nearly the same damage from a midfield position, which is impressive considering these two rivals are strikers.

Can Bale match the standard of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?
At this moment in time Gareth Bale is nowhere near as good as this duo, but he is on his way and seemingly has all the correct tools to be mentioned alongside those two some day. Messi and Ronaldo have performed at Bale's current level for many years and the highest of levels. Bale has shown glimpses of potential that could match the worlds best, but he needs to possibly move to a bigger club and perform at a similar standard for a much longer period of time.

Whatever happens in Bale's near future it seems that he will remain one of footballs most wanted players. Bale will have to avoid getting any serious injuries, which he struggled to do in the early stages of his career. He will also most certainly have to put a stop to his in-game diving, which is one of the most hated forms of cheating in the game. Other than these minor problems it appears the sky is the limit for the talented Welshman

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Can Jack Wilshere be the saviour for both club and country?

Every team that wants to achieve constant success require quality and consistent players. These players are often the ones that can single-handedly win a game with one moment of magic. Arsenal Football Club have been lacking this kind of a leader for a long while now. With Jack Wilshere putting together some great form since his return from a long-term injury Arsenal are hoping he is their leader. 

What went wrong for Jack?

Before his injury Jack was dominating games and showing that he can have an impact on every aspect of each game he participates in. Once Jack started to suffer one serious injury after another both Arsenal and Jack's country England both began to worry that they would indeed have a world-class player, but also one who spends most of his career injured. However Jack has been back for a few months now and has already proven he can be a dominant player at every level.

Before his injury many will remember him showcasing his talent against Barcelona in which he performed better than world-class players Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. With many other great games, but most notably this one, both Arsenal and England's fans began to generate huge excitement for their new star.

How much difference can he make?

Jack Wilshere has instantly shown his importance to the Arsenal team and proven he can become their key player. Soon after his return from his injuries he played for England against Brazil in which he was the star of the show and selected as the Man Of The Match. A game against Brazil is not usually one England would win but with Jack in form they were able to grab a 2-1 win, in which they gave one of their best footballing displays in recent years.

With Jack proving his importance to both his country and club many are wondering how far can he take the pair? To most it would seem that Jack is capable of almost anything achievable in the world of football, but he will need to remain healthy, focused and motivated in order to reach his full potential.

Many of the games elite stars have complimented his ability and recently Arsenal star Santi Cazorla said "He can do great things. As such, it's normal that England and Arsenal see him as a great hope, because he's very young, he has a brilliant career ahead of him, a lot of potential." The pair have only been on the same team for a matter of months and have both only been in the first team together for a short while, yet Santi understands the capabilities Jack possesses and knows that he has all of the necessary tools to be one of Arsenal and England's greatest talents.

The hype around him is indeed justified, but some are getting carried away and putting too much pressure on him. It is hard to remember that the boy is only twenty-one and has a long career ahead and the pressure should at times be eased so he is able to achieve the greatness we all see he is capable of. Will Jack Wilshere be one of the worlds best players in years to come? Only time will tell but it is looking good for one of footballs most exciting youngsters.