Terry Lane - Saturday 23.05.15, 13:01pm
Tomorrow sees the final round of Premier League matches for the 2014/15 season. As is tradition, all 10 games will kick off simultaneously at 3pm. But there are only two matches that count for much. The final relegation place is still to be decided. Will it be Hull City or Newcastle United?
On the last day of the 2008-09 Premier League season, Phil Brown, then manager, celebrated as Hull City narrowly avoided relegation to the Championship even though they lost to Manchester United. Instead, Newcastle United was relegated. This time, former Man United captain, Steve Bruce will be hoping to lead Hull City to victory against his former club while hoping the team he supported as a boy, Newcastle United, lose to West Ham.
Both Hull City and Newcastle United are at home. But the visiting teams may have more to say on the results than normal. Hull City play Louis Van Gaal’s resurgent Manchester United, but without scoring seven more goals than Arsenal, they are resigned to finishing fourth and playing a qualifying round to enter next season’s Champions League. However strong a team Van Gaal plays tomorrow the players have nothing to play for, and may well already be thinking of their summer holidays. West Ham United, on the other hand are managed by Big Sam Allardyce, sacked by Newcastle United in January 2008 and ridiculed by supporters while in charge for less than six months. He may also still be playing for his future, as he will allegedly find out whether his services are still required on Monday following a meeting with his agent and the club. The Hammers are currently 11th in the Premier League and Allardyce’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
John Carver took over as Newcastle United manager following the departure of Alan Pardew to Crystal Palace in January. Carver is a well respected coach and a local Geordie but promoting him to the top job was seen by most critics and fans alike as a cheapskate move by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. The fans wanted a big name, but with Ashley pulling the strings and showing very little ambition to achieve more than Premier League survival, only a large wage would surely make the job an attractive proposition.
But John Carver will win many of the fans back, if only for a short term, if his team were to avoid defeat to West Ham tomorrow. Though some fans calling football phone-ins have said if Newcastle is relegated it may be for the benefit of the club as a way of ousting Mike Ashley who continues to make a profit from Newcastle all the while they are a Premier League club.
Personally, I can see both Hull City and Newcastle United losing tomorrow, and that won’t be good enough for Steve Bruce and the Tigers.
Edwin Huxley - Wednesday 06.05.15, 18:37pm
La Manga Club, Barcelona
Boasting a galaxy of stars including four-time World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi and Uruguay superstar Luis Suarez, FC Barcelona continue to set the global benchmark in football and youngsters can discover what it takes to become the best in the world from the club’s top coaches at Spain’s La Manga Club this summer.
Barcelona, who face Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals this month, are the team to beat in Spain and Europe this season with the likes of Lionel Messi, Suarez and international teammates Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Pedro and Dani Alves bamboozling opponents with their skills.
With the club’s style of quick passing and free-flowing attacking football, Luis Enrique’s side provide the ideal role model to learn from, and children can train using the same methods as its stars when La Manga Club hosts the Official FC Barcelona Football Club Camp from July 27-31.
Taking place at the luxury resort for the second year running, the camp gives kids dreaming of a future football career the chance to learn some of the secrets of the club and emulate their idols, and is open to girls and boys between the ages of six and 17.
Each day includes five hours’ training from Barcelona’s official coaches, recreational activities and lunch. In addition, those taking part will also receive a diploma for their attendance and training kit, plus the chance to win signed shirts from the club’s star-studded first team.
Prices start at €475 per person for a week-long training programme, while children can attend the football camp on an individual basis including a week’s full board accommodation in the resort’s four-star Las Lomas Village for €950 per person.
Boasting eight international-standard grass pitches, La Manga Club’s extensive facilities has made it a popular destination for some of the world’s football and sporting elite and, in the past year alone, the resort has played host to more than 150 professional teams and around 500 scouts through a range of training breaks, pre-season tournaments and friendly matches.
In addition, the award-winning venue embarked on a new path earlier this year after becoming the first resort in the world to open a High Performance Football Centre, offering professionals the chance to sign up to one of its new comprehensive, fully residential programmes to help showcase their skills and further their careers.
Open to footballers of all nationalities, players training at the La Manga Club High Performance Football Centre are coached, mentored and looked after by the resort’s team of experts including UEFA-qualified coaches, professional sport and exercise scientists, physiotherapists, nutritionists and football analysts to help them reach their full potential.
Widely regarded as Spain’s flagship resort, La Manga Club has been at the forefront of sports and leisure destinations in Europe for more than four decades.
Set in an area three times the size of Monaco, the resort boasts unrivalled facilities as a sport and leisure venue including three 18-hole championship golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses, and more than 20 bars and restaurants.
For further details about the Official FC Barcelona Football Club Camp, visit http://www.fcbcamp.cat/lamanga/en/#sthash.JB1iAsbp.dpuf
Terry Lane - Friday 30.01.15, 18:33pm
Chelsea are currently still the favourites to win the Premier League 2014/15 season title. But today they were dealt a massive blow when 26 year-old striker Diego Costa’s appeal to have his three match ban for stamping was rejected.
Costa came to the Premier League last summer in a £32 million transfer from La Liga champions, Atletico Madrid and his 17 goals in 19 Premier League appearances has proved, along with the signing of fellow Spanish international Cesc Fabregas, the difference between the Chelsea of last season and this. But after a stamping incident on Emre Can in the second leg of the Capital One (League) Cup against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night after just 12 minutes, Diego Costa’s three-match ban stands; and he will miss the next three Premier League matches. Chelsea will now be without their top scorer for the matches against Aston Villa, Everton, and most importantly tomorrow’s top of the table clash against current champions and title challenges, Manchester City.
Apparently Diego Costa had the full backing of his manager and club to appeal the ban. But for anyone who saw the incident, the appeal was nothing more than hopeful. Costa has a short fuse and a very aggressive manner. It’s part of his game. But on Tuesday he stepped over the line and the stamping incident was vicious and unnecessary. He also tangled several times with Liverpool hard man, Martin Skrtel.
Chelsea are currently five points clear of Man City; who in turn are five points clear of Southampton in third, and seven points ahead of Manchester United in fourth. Premier league odds at William Hill and other bookies still have Chelsea as odds on favourites to win the Premier League. But without Diego Costa, the game plan against Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City tomorrow at Stamford Bridge might turn from looking for the victory to go eight points clear at the start of February, to holding out for a draw and a six point lead.
Neither Didier Drogba nor Loic Remy would give Chelsea the sharpness, aggression or focal point of Diego Costa. So it wouldn’t surprise me if Jose Mourinho set out his formation with a faux no.9 and played five midfielders who could play a more pass and move rotating and free flowing forward movement that also allowed Chelsea to flood the midfield when they lose position.
In the return fixture Chelsea appeared to be in receipt of a victory and a massive three points until Frank Lampard, of all players, came off the bench to score an equaliser for Man City. Applauded off the pitch b both sets of supports, Lampard looked both emotional and shell-shocked; as did Jose Mourinho. Questions resurfaced how Chelsea had allegedly refused to offer Frank Lampard a deal in the summer and allowed him to leave on a free transfer.
Furthermore, I personally found it even more shocking that there was no place to keep a great player and servant like Lampard at the club when they resigned Didier Drogba from Galatasaray.
So with Chelsea missing their goal-grabbing, leg-stamping wild super striker, and Frank Lampard having a great season with Man City primarily being used by Pellegrini has a super-sub, tomorrow’s match and possible Premier League title clash between Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho and Chelsea versus Manchester City has just become more exciting.
Premier league odds at william hill
Terry Lane - Saturday 03.01.15, 13:52pm
Jose Mourinho & the pressure for success at Chelsea
So as it turned out, the festive period was an exciting one for the Premier League; and with Chelsea only managing four from a possible nine points and a remarkable drubbing from Tottenham Hotspur to boot. The “happy one” has lost his smile and resorted to blaming poor refereeing, ball boys and ridiculous conspiracy theories that the world and his dog is against Chelsea FC.
Premier League: once again, a two-horse race
The first half of the season was a domineering display of sheer brilliance as Chelsea appeared to be romping towards the Premier League title. No one doubted this, and was only discussing the margin of points between themselves and Manchester City; and whether Louis Van Gaal could get things right at Old Trafford in time for Manchester United to return to next season’s Champions League.
Frank Lampard to do the double over Chelsea
The Premier League season is very much a two-horse race; and with Chelsea entertaining Man City at the end of January, the stage is set for Frank Lampard to rub more salt into Chelsea wounds for not extending his contract in the summer.
Neil Warnock, Alan Irvine, Alan Pardew & Tony Pulis – Crystal Palace, Newcastle & West Brom
The Christmas season wasn’t particularly festive for two Premier League managers as Neil Warnock and Alan Irvine received the sack.
Following the sacking of Neil Warnock after just four months in charge, Crystal Palace today officially unveiled Alan Pardew as their new manager. This leaves a vacancy at St James’ Park; and now with the January Transfer Window officially open, I would assume Newcastle will look to appoint a new manager as quickly as possible. I wonder if Tony Pulis would have been one of the targets target to replace Pardew before he took the job to replace Alan Irvine, after he he lost he job after just seven months in charge at West Brom.
Peter Beardsley & Newcastle United
The usual suspects are paraded by the bookies and the media alike whenever a Premier League club with a history looks to appoint a new manager. But the Newcastle fans are calling for a kindred spirit, no more than for Peter Beardsley who is currently the club’s development manager and apparently has a good relationship with owner Mike Ashley. Beardsley was briefly appointed as the caretaker manager of Newcastle United in 2010 and could possibly be elected by Ashley to fulfill that role on a temporary basis and gauge from the result as to whether to offer the former Newcastle legend the job on a full-time basis.
The Premier League 2014/15 Season appears to have sparked into life.To all footie fans…. Happy New Year!
Terry Lane - Friday 26.12.14, 11:59am
It doesn’t seem that many weeks ago that Chelsea was runaway leaders of the Premier League and the talk of repeating Arsenal’s ‘invincible’ season appeared a very realistic possibility. Last summer, Jose Mourinho added Courtois, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa to John Terry, Gary Cahill and Nemanja Matic, and the Championship winning spine looked complete. But as we kick-off the busy festive season of games this lunchtime, Chelsea find themselves only three points clear of a resurgent Manchester City, and Manchester United who have picked up 19 points from a possible 21.
The Premier League title race is well and truly back on!
After this next week of games, it might look very different at the top. Chelsea play three current top 7 teams in West Ham today (home), Southampton and Spurs; while Man City play West Brom (away), Burnley and Sunderland at home. While Manuel Pellegrini should be expected to pick up nine points, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will have to be at their very best to still be ahead on points before the Premier League takes a break with the 3rd round of the FA Cup.
Furthermore, on Saturday 31st January Chelsea host Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in what could see Frank Lampard doing the double over Mourinho and his former club; and in doing so give Manchester City the edge.
With Louis van Gaal appearing to have ended Manchester United’s bad run of form since Air Alex Ferguson departed Old Trafford, I believe they are nailed on for third place and with it a return to the Champions League. But with a current deficit of ten points and some difficult games to play, I believe the Premier League title is only a two-horse race.
Wins today for Chelsea, Manchester City, Man United and Arsenal (home to QPR) will also see a return to the Top 4 of the Old Guard. That is unless Southampton can win at Crystal Palace.
Other games in the Premier League today include:
Burnley v Liverpool
Everton v Stoke
Leicester v Tottenham
Sunderland v Hull
Swansea v Aston Villa