So Wayne Rooney has become the all-time leading goalscorer for England.
In the process, he has overtaken Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker who for different reasons, fell just short of reaching 50 international goals when they decided to hang up their England boots. Bobby Charlton was never played as an orthodox striker. Instead, he built a reputation as an attacking midfielder and hitting 30 yard net-ripping screamers (though I’m not actually sure how many of these he actually scored!).
In the case of Gary Lineker, one can only assume his announcement to retire from international football was not taken lightly by then England manager, Graeme ‘Swede Head’ ‘Turnip’ Taylor who decided to substitute him on his final appearance in a crucial European Championship qualifier, where England needed to score… , for Alan Smith!
I remember watching the match. Lineker couldn’t believe it. The look on his face and the slow walk, head bowed, said it all. Lineker needed just one more goal to set a new record; and as penalty-taker would have had the chance to break the England goalscoring record, had still been on the pitch. That said, it must have been a very difficult decision for Graeme ‘Swede Head’ ‘Turnip’ Taylor to make as the England team of 1992 were awash with World Class talent. What with the likes of Tony Daley, Andy Sinton, David Batty and Carlton Palmer.
Unlike Charlton, Lineker was a striker, ‘a poacher’, ‘a goal hanger’. Whatever he was, his record for England is an impressive one. But comparing goals to games ratio, no one comes close to goal scoring legends Jimmy Greaves and Nat Lofthouse. Lofthouse played for England 33 times between 1950 and 1958 and scored 30 goals. A remarkable feat, even if goalkeepers were crap in those days!
Jimmy Greaves, often cited as ‘the greatest England striker‘ scored 37 in 41 games for England, including no less than six hat-tricks – back of the net! Greaves was the First Division’s top scorer in six seasons and if it weren’t for an injury would have been first choice striker for England in the 1966 World Cup. Instead, when Jimmy Greaves returned from injury in time for the later stages of the tournament, Alf Ramsey decided to stick with the young debutant Geoff Hurst. The rest is history, though Greaves probably didn’t do his England career any favours after the World Cup by allegedly telling Ramsey to piss off!
When Wayne Rooney burst into the England team as a very exciting and naturally talented 17 year old (becoming the youngest England player of all-time) in 2003 he was surrounded by other great goalscoring players. Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen and David Beckham scored their fair share of England goals, too. But Rooney’s outstanding natural talent and ability to read the game led me to believe that as he matured he would take on a deeper role so as to control the game, rather than waiting for the ball to be played to him. In this, I saw him carving out a midfield general role and become the new Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne. The fiery character was there, as was his ability. But for both club and country, he has been pushed further forward, and often played as a lone striker; a role that I still believe is not his best. Furthermore, in the past few seasons England and Manchester United have relied on Rooney to perform in less than convincing teams.
With all the aforementioned taken into consideration, it is an amazing feat for Wayne Rooney to have scored 50 goals in 107 games for England, aged just 29; and while there is a dearth in World Class England players, he looks likely to play many more games and probably become the most capped for England player, too. All of this, and still too many critics and fans alike are ready to argue against Rooney’s achievements. Whether you like it or not, Nat Lofthouse, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker … and Wayne Rooney is pretty much how you get from the 1950s to 2015, if you want to discuss England’s top goal scorers of all-time.
Following a poor pre-season in North America, losing for the first time to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in the Community Shield, and collecting only one from six points in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has blamed the club doctor and John Terry. Does he have any more toys to throw out of his pram before Roman Abramovich once again sacks the self-named ’special one’?
Before kick off I had no reason to doubt that Jose Mourinho and Chelsea would right the wrongs of their opening draw at home to Swansea, and ‘turn up’ chomping at the bit as they so often do, when faced with a big game against one of the ‘big four’. But from the first kick, Manchester City were on the front foot. Manuel Pellegrini had said how his team would attack! attack! attack!… and that’s exactly what they did. Sergio Aguero was on fire, and fortunately for Chelsea, so was the stand-in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who with several great saves managed to keep the half-time score down to 1-0.
But master tactician that Mourinho is, he realised the speed of Man City’s forward line – the likes and speed of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Jesus Navas and David Silva – Mourinho took the ‘brave’ decision to substitute his captain, leader and still his talisman, John Terry at half-time for the younger, spritely, Wilfred Zuma. A young man with plenty of enthusiasm, but nowhere near the awareness or big game experience that Terry gives the Chelsea defence.
Now, if Chelsea managed a draw or better by scoring in the second half without conceding more goals, Mourinho would have been praised for making such a contentious, brave decision. Instead, Man City went on to out-play Chelsea on every level and eventually ran out easy winners, 3-0.
There’s no denying the media have shown more interest in Jose Mourinho’s public outburst at team doctor and physio because Eva Carneiro is a woman. She actually followed ‘the other one’ into the pitch. But how many column inches have been written about him?
That said, his outburst that in someway was set as a distraction to, what in essence was, an appalling display by Chelsea on the opening day of the new Premier League season, is seriously looking like once more, Chelsea are imploding… again!
On the other hand, Manchester City have been the only team to come out of the traps at full pelt. Two games, two wins, six goals and none conceded. City look back to their very best, as the spine of their team – Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero are all on fire. Wolfsburg, former Chelsea and Belgium international Kevin De Bryune has officially stated he will not be moving to Man City, possibly to the relief of the other 19 teams in the league.
Other teams with 100% records in the Premier League are Man Utd and Liverpool. Both with two 1-0 victories have been less than convincing. Last night Liverpool were a little fortunate as a perfectly good Bournemouth goal was disallowed; while Christian Benteke’s goal highlighted the new offside law that come into play this season stating that ‘if a player in an offside position moves towards or away from the ball, he is interfering with play; and is therefore deemed to be offside.’ Coutinho was clearly in an offside position when Benteke scored.
The big surprise of the season so far is Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City. They have not only started the season with a 100% record, but the manner of the exciting, fast-flowing football has been a joy to watch.
The only other two unbeaten teams in the Premier League are Everton and Swansea. Both followed opening match draws with convincing wins over Southampton and Newcastle, respectively. While the other end of the table is propped up by two of the pre-season favourites for relegation, Sunderland and Bournemouth, still without a point.
The new Premier League season started with a damp whimper rather than sparks flying, as Manchester United hosted Tottenham Hotspur in a Saturday lunchtime kick off. It could have been an exciting start to the new 2015/16 season. But the sunshine lasted longer than the excitement as Man Utd by and large, failed to turn up and were outplayed by Spurs for large parts of the match. It somehow seemed appropriate that the game was decided by an own goal. Fortunately for Louis Van Gaal, it was Kyle Walker that beat Wayne Rooney to the ball, and in doing so, toe-poked the ball past a stranded Hugo Lloris.
But however lacklustre United’s performance was, results would get worse for other so-called ‘big four’ title contenders over the opening weekend. Surprisingly, Chelsea didn’t use the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal to kick start their season. Whether they were over confident or underestimated the quality of Swansea, nothing should be taken away from Gary Monk’s Swans as they stuck to a game plan and were holding their own, even before Thibaut Courtois was given a straight red card for a ‘last man tackle’ on Bafetimbi Gomis.
But Chelsea being held by Swansea 2-2 at Stamford Bridge, it was overshadowed by a shocking performance by Arsenal, who many have tipped to win the league this season, as Slaven Bilic’s West Ham beat Arsenal 2-0 with a much deserved win at the Emirates Stadium. With the final whistle, Bilic pumped his fist in the air, while Arsene Wenger shook his head in despair, and sections of the Arsenal faithfull, who were in buoyant mood before kick-off, booed their team off the pitch.
Of the newly promoted teams, Watford played well and totally deserved a point away to Everton. Norwich began well, but were beaten 3-1 by a strong Crystal Palace team and a poor refereeing decision when a skilfully crafted overhead shot by Cameron Jerome was disallowed for a dangerous high foot.
I personally expected Bournemouth to start with a home win against an Aston Villa team that I thought would struggle again this season. But Tim Sherwood had Villa playing as a well-oiled, solid unit that showed no signs of hangover from losing their best two players – Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke – over the summer break. But there was no fairy tale start for Eddie Howe and the south coast minnows, as Aston Villa took all three points with a 1-0 win.
Other matches included an exciting 2-2 draw between Newcastle and Southampton. While Stoke City and Liverpool played out a dull, uneventful affair with one exception; a great piece of individual skill by Phillipe Coutinho in the 86th minute, to give Liverpool a 1-0 win at the Britannia Stadium.
Leicester City racked up an exciting start to their season, after narrowly escaping relegation last season, with a convincing 3-1 display under new management of Claudio Ranieri, whose appointment raised many eyebrows. Though, it is often forgotten that Chelsea only finished second in Ranieri’s final season 2003/04 to the famous Arsenal ‘invincibles’ side. That said, Sunderland were absolutely shocking, and after this display, won’t only be favourites of mine to be relegated this season.
Lastly, West Brom played host to Manchester City on Monday night where media eyes were all on Raheem Stirling, playing his debut for City alongside William Bony and Jesus Navas, while Sergio Aguero was given an extending break on the subs bench and Fabian Delph out injured.
West Bromwich Albion started the match with a surprising 4-4-2 formation though it looked like Tony Pulis had new signing Rickie Lambert stranded in no-man’s land between a losing midfield and striker Saido Berahino. Man City completely outclassed WBA and were by far and away the fastest out-of-the-blocks of the ‘big four’ and pre-season favourites to win the Premier League, this weekend.
Tony Pulis, the master tactician got it completely wrong last night; and the only good news for West Brom fans was the signing of Zenit St Petersburg striker Salomon Rondon for a club record fee of around £12m. Man City played the Baggies off the pitch at a canter and won 3-0 with goals from Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany, both of whom were sharp and back to their best.
So, who will stay up, who will be relegated, and who will be crowned Premier League Champions of the 2015/16 season. If Toure and Kompany continue the season in this ‘return to form’, and Raheem Sterling can live up to the hype and play up, alongside David Silva and Sergio Aguero, then it will be the sky blue of Man City, and not the royal blue of Chelsea, that will be crowned champions, come May.
Only 37 games to go! The next match for Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City is a home game on Sunday against arch-enemy Jose Mourinho and Chelsea.
League Two side, Northampton Town FC is in talks with an Indian consortium that is to take a controlling interest in the club, it was announced today.
Chairman David Cardoza said the League Two club has reached initial agreement with new owners who will also buy into plans to redevelop the club’s Sixfields Stadium.
David Cardoza, whose family are the current owners of the club, said:
“Heads of Terms have been signed for new owners who will also become involved in the redevelopment of Sixfields and the land surrounding the stadium.
“This deal will be a very positive move for the football club and its future. This is exciting news for the club, its staff and the people of Northampton and it will bring significant investment into Northampton.”
Mr Cardoza said that further information will be announced at an appropriate time in the future.
He added: “We would like to thank fans for their patience while due process takes its course and we will issue further updates as soon as we are able.”
Northampton Town Football Club was founded in 1897 and the team is affectionately known as The Cobblers.
The club will begin its 2015 / 16 League Two Season on August 8th with an away fixture at Bristol Rovers, followed by a home game in the League Cup against Blackpool on August 11th.
English FA Cup Final 2015 - Arsenal vs Aston Villa
Though Aston Villa lost their last two Premier League matches, including a 6-1 thrashing by Southampton, this season’s FA Cup Final sees two inform teams battle it out in what should be an open and exciting game. Just what the beautiful game needs after a week in the life of FIFA.
With the appointment of Tim Sherwood, Villa woke up from what appeared a season-long slumber under the rudderless leadership of Paul Lambert and the constant threat Randy Learner wanted to offload the club.
As with his previous short stint as caretaker manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Tim Sherwood’s schoolboy enthusiasm doesn’t end on the touchline, where his heart is clearly worn on his sleeve for all to see. His man-management and passion is sometimes overlooked. But he has a track record of getting the best out of individual players. At Spurs it was Emmanuel Adebayor. At Villa he has given youth a chance in Jack Grealish, got Tom Cleverley playing to his full potential again; and most of all, has Christian Benteke firing on all cylinders. The Belgian striker has scored eight goals in his last eight matches.
But will Tim Sherwood and Aston Villa be able to stop Arsenal winning the English FA Cup for a record twelfth time? No less than six victories have been under their most successful manager of all-time, Arsene Wenger.
Ahead of the match questions are being raised as to whether Wenger will play Theo Walcott ahead of Olivier Giroud; with former Arsenal player Charlie Nicholas suggesting if Wenger leaves Walcott out, he risks losing the FA Cup and Walcott. With Danny Welbeck injured, Walcott’s pace could be a threat to a slow Villa defence.
Personally, I think Walcott is settled at Arsenal but with a return to fitness of several attacking midfield players such as Walcott & Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pressure grows on Wenger to keep all of his squad happy.
While other Premier League players are already on their summer holidays or enjoying downtime playing casino games at euro palace or other online games, whoever plays for Arsenal and Aston Villa I am looking to an exciting open game of football that will be full of goals, colour, bright sunshine and passion.
Buzzin Football prediction: 2-1 to Aston Villa. Benteke and Alexis Sanchez to score.
Copyright/Disclaimer: All images are copyrighted to their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended.
If any image belonging to you or your company is displayed on this site and you wish for it to be removed, copyrighted, or credited, please contact us and we will sort it out.