All posts by jamieagar21

Bristol City: dark horses for promotion?

Bristol City have never played Premier League football , could this be their season to achieve promotion to the top-flight?

The Robins have retained their mid table status for the last few seasons and have had glimpses of tremendous form. Current manager, Lee Johnson, has been in charge since February 2016. Bristol City had a considerable run in the League Cup in 2017/2018. Will we see the Robins make it to the Premier League this season?

The 2017/2018 season was a modest season for Bristol City, knocking out Manchester United in the EFL cup was one of the highlights of their season. Finishing 11th place was acceptable on paper for Bristol City, nonetheless it could be deemed disappointing by many considering the Robins sat 2nd on Boxing Day.

The 2018/2019 season has been an excellent season for Bristol city. In pre-season, Bristol saw significant players such as Aiden Flint, Bobby Reid and Joe Bryan depart the club. Despite accumulating over £20 million in the summer, Bristol City only spent £2.5 million on signings. Bristol City had a satisfactory start to the season winning 4 of their first 7 games. Likewise, The Robins went on a 13 match unbeaten run from November to February. Despite experiencing immense patches of form in the last few seasons we haven’t seen Bristol feature in the Championship play-offs. The last time City participated In the Championship play-offs was when they reached the final in 2008.

Bristol City have had a total of 12 clean sheets this season which ranks them 7th in terms of the Championship’s best defences. City have the 4th lowest average of goals conceded in the league, with Lee Johnson’s side only shipping an average of 1.1 goals a game. However, the Robins have only scored 1.3 goals per game, making them the only the 13th best attacking force in the division. One dispute in the Bristol city team is that they don’t have a prolific striker, with their leading goalscorer being Famara Diedhiou who has bagged 11 goals this term.

Its unlikely that Bristol City will gain automatic promotion in the coming seasons as they don’t have the financial strength to compete with arguably larger teams such as Leeds , Middlesbrough and Derby. Although it seems Bristol City have progressed and have been going in the right direction since appointing Lee Johnson in 2016.

Nevertheless, the play offs could be a route Bristol could take to gain promotion. We’ve seen teams like Huddersfield Town gain promotion through the play offs despite not being as wealthy as other Championship clubs. On their day, Bristol City, like every side, can beat anybody. The play-offs are often a lottery and teams can win it should luck be on their side.

Will we see Bristol City promoted this season?

Leyton Orient on their way back?

After a dreadful few seasons Leyton Orient dropped out of the football league , just 5 seasons ago Orient were finishing in the play off places in League One. However the O’s are back on the up currently 1st in with a game in hand. Will we see Leyton Orient back in the football league next season?

Ownership complications

Francesco Becchetti bought Leyton Orient in 2014 for 4 million. Orient had just lost the League One play off final to Rotherham. Despite the damaging defeat the Leyton Orient board expected that this was the start of a bright future . Nonetheless their future was far from bright , the O’s finished 23rd in League One the following season , and were relegated to League Two. The 2015/2016 season wasn’t tremendous either as Leyton Orient finished the season 8th place 6 points a drift of the play off places. Orient had considerable complications off the pitch, the board were struggling to pay the players wages , Becchetti lead the club into big debts.

The 2015/2016 season likewise saw key players depart the club. The 2016/2017 season was arguably the worst in Leyton Orients 138 year history. The O’s finished rock bottom of League Two the fans were noticeably exasperated at the situation and rightfully blamed the owner Francesco Becchetti.

How have Orient turned it around?

In the 2017/2018 season Leyton Orient had a mediocre season notwithstanding one considerable accomplishment was that Francesco Becchetti had sold the club. Life long Leyton Orient fan took over the club in 2017. The O’s finished 13th which was destitute on the field , although it was great Leyton Orient had stability back in the club. The 2018/2019 season has been a triumph for Leyton Orient. However the promotion race is expected to go down to the wire. The O’s have a exceptional record on the road picking up 33 points in 18 games and are front runners to win the National League.

Their win against Wrexham on Saturday could be a pivotal match in Leyton Orients promotion bid. Clean sheets have not been a dispute for Orient this season managing an impressive 15 from 36. Orient have been able to make the Brisbane road a fortress losing just 3 times there this season. The Orient fans are delighted to have the winning feeling around the stadium again and the whole positivity around the place.

Leyton Orients Macauley Bonne has been exquisite in front of goal this season , scoring 21 times contributing in a third of Orients goals this season. Josh Marvin Ekpiteta has been superb since breaking into the first team.

The O’s have stuck with manager Justin Edinburgh since his appointment in November 2017. Many orient fans rate him highly as he has transformed the team to title challenging with no major changes in personnel. Despite going through 11 managers under the ownership of Becchetti . The Orient fans will be expecting a return to the football league this season , however the O’s run in of fixtures appears to be tough which could be costly come the end of the season.

Do you think Orient will return to the football league this season?

3 potential replacements to succeed Darren Moore

Subsequently a discouraging draw to Ipswich Darren Moore has been sacked. The Englishman was appointed as head coach in May 2018 after a remarkable end to the season despite West Brom’s relegation. The Baggies have played glamorous football at times this season averaging 1.9 goals per game. A considerable amount of West Brom fans have deemed the sacking harsh , however others have argued that their home form has been less than impressive. Here are 3 potential replacements that could succeed Darren Moore.

David Wagner

The German-American has previously managed 2 clubs , Bourissia Dortmund II and Huddersfield Town. Wagner , 47 , is most commonly known for the wonders he worked at Huddersfield Town. David Wagner took charge of the Terriers for 154 games across 4 seasons. In 16/17 Wagner miraculously won promotion with Huddersfield via the play offs. Additionally preserving Huddersfields Premier league status the following season. However it could be said that Wagner couldn’t cut it in his second season of premier league football winning just 2 games before he left the club by mutual consent in January. Notwithstanding when David Wangner left Huddersfield he stated that he wanted a break from management.

Slaviša Jokanović

Slaviša Jokanović is reportedly the leading contender for the West Brom job. The Serbian has managed a number of clubs , first managing in 2007 for FK Partizan Belgrade and most recently Fulham , Jokanović has managed a total of 309 games. Jokanović had his contract terminated with Fulham in November 2018 after gaining promotion , likewise via the play offs earlier in 2018. He was recognised for possession and attacking football while in the championship. However Jokanovićs style of play didn’t cut it in the Premier league and his side were found leaking goals. The Serbian has had managerial success in his home country winning the Serbian league twice and additionally the Serbian cup twice.

Carlos Carvalhal

The final and most experienced manager on this shortlist is Carlos Carvalhal , his managerial career has spanned over two decades the majority of which being in Portugal. Carvalhals time in England has seen him manage two clubs , Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea. His time at Sheffield Wednesday saw him manage 131 games , unlike the previous two managers he was incapable of gaining promotion to the Premier league despite being just one game away in 2016 when his side were beaten 1-0 in the Championship play off final. Alike the alternative managers Carvalhal has had experience in the Premier league nonetheless Carlos was only in charge for 25 games before leaving by mutual consent following Swanseas relegation form the Premier League.

Will we see West Brom go for a more experienced defensive manager likeCarlos Carvalhal or alternatively a more attacking style manager with attractive football like Slaviša Jokanović. Its no doubt that the Baggies will look to replace Darren Moore in a swift fashion as they still potentially could be promoted.

Who do you think West Brom will appoint?


What has gone wrong at Stoke City this season?

Approaching the end of the season with just 10 games to go , Stoke City are in an unthinkable position. The Potters were predicted to finish first at the beginning of the season by many pundits. Stoke who were relegated from the premier league last season have an exceptional team for the championship , key players such as Jack Butland , Ryan Shawcross , Bruno Martins Indi , Joe Allen and Sam Vokes. The Stoke City supporters are noticeably unhappy about the clubs performance in the league , why are they underachieving?

Following their relegation from the premier league Stoke City were on the lookout for a new manager due to Paul Lamberts departure. Gary Rowett was named the new potters boss in May 2018. Going into the new season Stoke city supporters were optimistic and anticipating for an immediate return to the premier league. City managed the situation they were in well and kept the majority of their players despite being relegated. Nonetheless the Potters haven’t had the greatest of seasons , currently sitting 16th in the championship , 10 points away from play offs with 10 games to go. In January 2019 Stoke were in a stalemate and Gary Rowett had is contract terminated due to poor performance in the league. A few days later the Potters appointed Nathan Jones , there has been no radical changes.

Goal scorers

In terms of tops scorers Benik Afobe is leading the way with just 8 goals. This is a complication for Stoke city as to be a promotion contending team you need a striker that will take chances the team has created. Although the Congolese striker isn’t all to blame as Stoke are 21st in the Championship for big chances missed. The Potters have been lacking creativity and have an inability to construct considerable chances , Stoke City have failed to score more than 2 goals in a game all season.

Lack of creativity

The potters are 21st in the championship when it comes to scoring goals , however the defensive department is performing superior being 6th for lowest goals conceded per match this campaign. The dispute is the goalscoring. Despite goalscoring being a problem for Stoke chance creation is also a predicament , City have an average of just 3.5 shots on target per game. If you don’t have many chances you won’t get many goals.

Management

As I’ve already mentioned Stoke have one of the best teams in the championship. However they are drastically underperforming. The Potters are on their 2nd manager of the season and neither of the managers have been able to get the results out of the players. Both managers have struggled to make Stoke City ruthless getting to many draws. Gary Rowett had trouble keeping Stoke tight at the back. Nonetheless , current manager Nathan Jones is struggling to make Stoke a goalscoring side , not scoring in 5 out of the 10 games he’s been in charge

Summer spending

Despite doing well to keep hold of the players they have , Stokes summer transfers have turned out to be poor signings. Spending a total of 56 million the Potters were very active in the transfer market. Tom Ince , Benik Afobe and James McClean were brought in for a total of 27 million, all three of the summer additions have played more than 30 matches and have aquired just 16 goals in total between the three. Stokes lack of goals and creativity is due to poor summer recruitment of attacking players.

Can Nathan Jones improve Stoke City next season and get them challenging for promotion?

The 127th Second City Derby: Birmingham City v Aston Villa Preview

This Sunday lunchtime sees the second city derby take place between Birmingham City and Aston Villa, arguably one of the biggest derbies in England. Their encounter earlier this season at Villa park was a 4-2 victory for Aston Villa. The two midlands clubs are both in the mix for a play off spot and Sundays game could be a pivotal match in both clubs season.

Birmingham City will be looking to end a scandalous run against Aston Villa not recording a league win against the villains since 2005. Last time out Gary Monks side lost 2-0 to tenth placed Hull despite having more attempts on goal. Birmingham come into the game winning 3 of their last 6 and no real injury concerns. Garry Monk has recognised what this game means for the supporters. The blues boss has spoken to the media and has said “We’re all looking forward to it”. Monk has also labelled Villa’s attack as the best in the league and noted the threat of Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham. City tend to play with a 4-4-2 formation and striker Che Adams is the one to watch for the blues. His record this season has seen him contribute with 21 goals in 35 matches this term. Gary Gardner is likewise a player to watch, as the central midfielder has consistently performed well for the Blues.

The pressure is on Birmingham to produce a result after poor form in recent years against Villa. However , the atmosphere at St Andrew’s may give Birmingham an advantage. It would be a dream result for Birmingham to beat Villa on Sunday as the game has the potential to energise the club and it’s fans until the end of the season. The Blues boss has said he wants to repay the fans for their outstanding support.

Aston Villa will be looking to extent their great record against bitter rivals Birmingham City. Villa appointed Dean Smith in October 2018 , they have never really flourished under Smith. Furthermore Villa have had glimpses of greatness with excellent wins away at Derby and Middlesbrough. The Villans have been rather inconsistent as of late , although they had a convincing 4-0 win against Derby last week. Tammy Abraham will be fit for the clash , the Chelsea loanee has netted 21 times this season and has the third lowest minutes per goal, showing he’s been effective in front of goal. Conor Hourihane is another player to watch, the Irishman has scored 6 times and picked up an additional 9 assists this campaign. Villa have used the 4-1-4-1 formation frequently this season.

Defensive Crisis?

Aston Villa could be facing a defensive crisis for the Second city derby this Sunday. Tommy Elphick , James Chester and Axel Tuanzebe are all ruled out as well as Alan Hutton. Villa boss has said this week “He’ll be out for a number of weeks” regarding the Alan Hutton injury.

My Prediction

The result that I predict will be a 2-1 Win for Aston Villa with goals from Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham. Che Adams could possibly grab a goal for the Blues as he’s been in tremendous form as of late.

Can Villa walk out of St Andrew’s with all 3 points or can Birmingham flip the script in the Second City Derby?

Whats your predictions for the game?