All posts by chesca_doran

Premier League| Top 4 for the Champions League and Who’s set for the Championship?

With only 8 games left to play in this Premier League season, its make or break time at both the top and the bottom.

The top of the table is pretty much wrapped up with Manchester City playing some of the best football the league has seen for a few years but along with crowning the Champions of England is the European and relegation battle.

Time to divulge into what could be an ever interesting end to the Premier League.

Champions League

Manchester City 

Let’s be truthful, most of us will agree City have had the league wrapped up since October/November.

Their Champions League presence for next season has never been in doubt.

However, their inclusion in this seasons CL will prove if they’ve got what it takes to beat the big boys in Europe and whether next season they can bring their ‘A’ game again.

 

Manchester United

As much as they’ve tried to keep up with Manchester City this season there does seem to be a holding back factor for scoring vital goals with the red devils.

Whether thats through Jose Mourinho’s managerial tactics or whether the dressing room just isn’t gelling the way fans hoped, there definitely are some individuals who seem to be letting their fellow team mates down.

As proven against Sevilla in their CL last 16 game.

United are currently battling 2nd place out with Liverpool who currently only sit 2 points behind them so both teams will be joining Manchester City for CL 2018/19.

Liverpool

Liverpool are more than deserving of a Champions League place again next season, they’ve played some great football in the league but also proved themselves back in the CL as they face Manchester City in an all English Quarter final clash.

Much like United they’ve taken the foot off the gas in a few games that have led to them dropping points but Liverpool have every chance now to battle their mancunian rivals for 2nd.

Tottenham

Fourth is where there is the difficult decision.

Tottenham sit 5 points clear of Chelsea at the moment but I can’t quite see Conte’s blues bringing it back to pip Tottenham for 4th place.

After their enthralling last 16 legs against Juventus, Tottenham with be wanting some revenge and if Harry Kane can come back from injury strong and keep scoring then they’ll have no trouble in bouncing back next season.

Relegation Battle

West Bromwich Albion

Known to thousands of travelling supporters as one of the best away days the league has to offer.

However, their dire season so far would take a miracle, the great escape.

They’d have to win their last eight games and Baggies fans haven’t seen their team win since August when they won their first two games.

They’d be solely relying on the teams around them dropping serious points over the next 8 fixtures.

However it has been done in the Premier League before and by none other than..West Brom in the 2004/05 season.

Anything can happen.

Stoke City

The Potters are down there on 27 points and likely to be the next victims of the Premier League but as I said you can never call it.

Stoke face 3 of the top 6 in their final eight game in Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool which probably doesn’t give their the fans the up most of confidence but their is potential.

Burnley, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Swansea also feature for Stoke where vital points could be won but with three of the 4 also looking to win its going to prove difficult.

Southampton

As for Southampton their in a similar predicament on 28 points, they also face 3 of the top six in Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Plus run ins with middle and bottom of the league they’ll be hoping for a few important wins but with their semi final clash against Chelsea in the FA Cup looming its going to be interesting end for Southampton.

However with the Premier League being so unpredictable their is no way in knowing which team will be heading to the Championship.

Teams such as West Ham, Swansea, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield, Brighton and Newcastle are all still vulnerable in being relegated but we’ll have to see how the next month and a half pans out.

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Manchester City – Which players flopped and cost them millions?

2008 saw the take over of Manchester City by United Arab Emirates deputy prime minister Sheikh Mansour. The man worth $34 billion (2014) injected money into the club similar to what Roman Abramovich did at Chelsea just 5 years earlier. However City’s new found wealth brought some questionable transfers. Here’s a list of big money players that’s talent got lost at MCFC.

Benjani – 2008-2011

Even though Benjani signed in the February of 08’ he’s still a disappointing signing that brought plenty of pain to many City fans eyes. His 23 appearances over 3 three years and only four goals speaks for itself. It would seem the £50,000 a week he was reportedly being paid wasn’t quite ticket to success.

Sold – Free

Jô – 2008 – 2011

Manchester City paid around £19 million for Jo, a club record at the time, what did he do for the team? To put it in simple terms, absolutely nothing. You can see why City were attracted to him with 30 goals in 53 appearances over three years at CSKA Moscow but 3 years at City only brought one goal. Plus the introduction of new record fee signing Robinho damped his chances even more so. Benjani had great potential but the Premier League wasn’t for him.

Sold – Free

Robinho – 2008 – 2010

A potentially risky choice in this list but I do believe he was a massively lost talent. The Premier Leagues record signing of the time was £32.5 million for Robinho who had been linked massively with Chelsea over the transfer window. However his impressive price tag didn’t bring much pazzazz to the formally City of Manchester Stadium. Fourteen goals in 31 appearances puts him marginally higher than the two mentioned above but yet another talented player left City pouring money down the drain.

Sold – £15 million 

Roque Santa Cruz – 2009 – 2013

Season 07/08 saw Santa Cruz score 19 goals in 31 appearances for Blackburn Rover under Mark Hughes. It was no surprise the striker followed Hughes to City for £17.5 million. A disappointing season with only three goals in 19 appearances and the introduction of Roberto Mancini saw Santa Cruz back at Blackburn on loan and eventually sold to Malaga in 2012.

Sold – Free

Jerome Boateng 2010 – 2011

Possibly a bigger slip up than Steven Gerrard. Aged 22 Boateng joined City for a fee of £10.2 million, he switched between right back and centre back but preferred the CB role. A few years after leaving City for Bayern Munich Boateng told media he left due to not liking playing RB under Mancini and better chance of playing for Germany at a German club. To me it was a massive loss as he’s gone on to become one of the best centre backs in world football proving himself each year in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. He would have been a bargain but unfortunately this talent slipped through City’s fingers.

Sold – £11.8 million

Stefan Savic – 2011 – 2012

Another centre back who went on to become something great. Savic just like Boateng lasted just one season at City and scored one cracking goal in front of the fans against Blackburn, his ownly goal for the club. He now plays for Atlético Madrid as their first choice CB and took part in thier 2016 Champions League final against rivals Real Madrid. Again another talented CB City couldn’t utilise.

Straight swap for Nastasic.

Jack Rodwell – 2012 – 2014

After a promising start through Everton FC’s youth system and first team, Rodwell seemed like a sound investment for £12 million, young, energetic and most importantly English, something all teams like to keep in line with the FA. He scored two goals all in all but his time with Manchester City was ruined due to his injuries and lack of consistency. Money lost and talent unfortunately wasted.

Sold – £10 million 

Scott Sinclair 2012 – 2015

After many seasons on loan at various clubs, Sinclair had a decent first season at Swansea scoring nineteen goals in 43 appearances. After 3 years there City offered £8 million plus add-ons. The winger spent 3 seasons at City however 2 of those seasons were spent on loan at West Brom and Aston Villa, proving how unneeded he was at club. Ding ding you’ve got it, City said goodbye to more money.

Sold – £2.5 million

Javi Garcia 2012 – 2014

Another hot prospect for Manchester City.  He cost the club £15.8 million and made an impact immediately scoring on his debut against Stoke, however after picking up an injury he was out in for several weeks. Garcia made 53 appearances for the club and picked up a winners medals for the 2013/14 Premier League winning season but many fans were still disappointed with his lack of impact on the team.

Sold – £13 million 

Matija Nastasic 2012 – 2015

An interesting signing for City, they paired Nastasic on and off with Martin Decmichelis from 2013 to 2015 as well as Vincent Kompany. He was a decent player but didn’t really make such a signinifcant effect in his 34 appearances. Looking back on it now with how well Savic is doing at Atlético Madrid, swapping him plus paying £21.3 million to Fiorentina seems ludicrous.

Sold – £10.5 million 

Maicon – 2012 – 2013

I was a fan of Maicon, we paid £3 million for him and at the time Zabaleta was his biggest rival. He wasn’t as much of a waste of money as some others on this list however he did lose a lot of fan liking when he played a few bad games for the team so he wasn’t a massive loss.

Sold – Free

Stevan Jovetic  2013 – 2016

Never liked him, he scored 8 goals over his two seasons and up against Balotelli, Dzeko and Aguero he was gonna have to be incredible to be chosen as a regular and for £23 million City fans were expecting him to deliver. Did he…obviously not. Plus the introduction of Wilfried Bony and Pellegrini dropping him from the Champions League was the final straw. Eventually it was bye bye Stevan.

Sold – £12 million

Wilfried Bony – 2015 – 2017

A £25 million FAILURE! The moment Swansea said they wanted him back I would have driven him to the Liberty Stadium myself. He scored six goals in 36 appearances which speaks for itself. Need I say no more.

Sold – £12 million

Amount paid for all 13 player = £197.17 million

Total loss by Manchester City = £110.37 million

The staggering figures above prove how many talented and bright futured players flopped over the years at Manchester City and the vast amount of money they’ve lost. However the 2017/18 squad proves how a few mistakes in 10 years can make you smarter and wiser.

Liverpool vs Manchester City Combined XI

With first vs fourth in today’s Super Sunday clash it’s worth more than just points.

It’s bragging rights.

Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield for 14 home games against Manchester City.
However, the front runners won’t lie down and take it from the Reds, they’ll be looking to capitalise on their loss of Philippe Coutinho.

Goalkeeper – Ederson Moares

The 24 year old Brazilian is one of the calmest and coolest goalkeepers I’m sure many of us have seen in a long while.
His ten clean sheets in 22 appearances just proves what a start to his first season he’s had.
Not to leave out Simon Mignolet, who’s 20 appearances and 7 clean sheets is also a strong tally for the first half of the season however Mignolet 10 wins and 2 losses compared to Ederson’s 20 wins just bumps him up in this eleven.

Defenders – Nicolas Otamendi and Dejan Lovren

All eyes have been on Liverpool and their transfer news this January, the loss of Coutinho and the introduction of the Premier Leagues most expensive defender, Virgil van Dijk, has left pressure on Dejan Lovren’s shoulders but his season hasn’t been all bad.
With one goal this season already, he impressed in the Reds game verses Burnley with a match best of 84 touches plus the assist for the match winner.
It is safe to say he’s staying on the right side of Klopp to keep his position in the team.

Nicolas Otamendi is another player who’s been impressive in the back end of 2017. Last season he only scored one goal in 30 appearances compared to this seasons 4 in nineteen.
It’s safe to say a year of learning under Pep Guardiola has benefited not only City’s squad but Otamendi himself.

It’s evident he’s more confident and skilful on the ball. With the loss of John Stones and Vincent Kompany to injury, Otamendi was relied upon to help Eliaquim Mangala stabilise City’s back line and has done so.

They both make the cut!

Right Back – Kyle Walker

I’m not shy of admitting I was sceptical about Kyle Walkers arrival to the Etihad but boy has he proven me wrong.

His strong physical presence along with his pace and quick feet have massively improved City’s back line since the days of Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta.

While the left side of the defence has been shaky with injuries, Walker has kept the back bone of the defence strong with the help of 4 assists in 20 appearances.

Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold are both still gaining a reputation at Anfield through confident performances but it can be said Walker is leaps and bounds ahead.

Left Back – Fabian Delph

Summer saw the potential for Delph to leave City and fans not too worried about him leaving.

Plus the introduction of Benjamin Mendy to the squad seemed like Delph was gonna be even lower down the pecking order but how wrong were City fans.

Delph has been nothing but vital to the back 4, his capability to move with the ball not only down the wings but central to help out Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho has been important to City’s success.

Centre Midfielders – Kevin De Bruyne/ David Silva/ Fernandinho

It’s so difficult to try and sum these three up.

We’ve seen some incredible football from all teams this season but the incredible passing, crossing and scoring of these three midfielders so far this season cannot be rivalled by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, although impressive.

Kevin De Bruyne already has 6 goals and 9 assists in 22 appearances for City, not to mentioned his 138 crosses and 23 through balls.

De Bruyne has often said in interviews that he much prefers the rush of setting up and watching a goal than actually scoring them himself but either way he’s adored at the Etihad and is going to take some stopping.

Silva has 9 goals in 19 appearances as well as 8 assists, his work rate is second none, you won’t ever see Silva not fighting to win a ball and that’s proven in his eighty three duels won.

Many fans will also know the family issues Silva has been facing with his young son and to still be able to give 100% is admirable and I’m sure every fan…yes even you reading this thinking my choices are all wrong, will be well wishing him.

Not to forget about Fernandinho, his work rate is another to be commended, compared to Silva and De Bruyne, Fernandinho is always the one player you can rely on to win the ball back in dangerous territory, not that his 2 goals and 3 assists are to be praised the same, I just value him more for his defensive talents.

Plus we’ll see whether Van Dijk is really worth £75 million.

Right Wing – Raheem Sterling

Right, now this is the interesting one.

Liverpool fans will boo him, for sure but to begrudge Sterling from a purely footballing perspective would be ludicrous.

4 assists and 14 goals from twenty appearances is something no City fan nor Liverpool fan would have thought Sterling would have been able to produce it but here he is City’s top goal scorer and improving game by game.

Only Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah have scored more that 22 year old.

Left Wing – Mohamed Salah

Even though he’s a doubt for today’s game Mohamed Salah is firmly leaving his stamp on the Premier League.

Only Harry Kane has scored more but Salah’s 17 in twenty one and five assists cannot be surpassed.
He officially contributed more goals this season than any other Manchester City or Liverpool player.

Salah maybe the next exciting and talented player to bring some silverware back to the terraces of Anfield.

Forward – Sergio Aguero

Thirteen goals leaves Aguero just one behind Raheem Sterling but he’s added 19 goals in all competitions to his all time goal scorer tally for City.

With Gabriel Jesus out for a up to 6 weeks there will be no questions as to who will be starting but Aguero already proved ahead of Jesus before his injury.

Roberto Firmino has also been scoring some fine goals but Sergio Aguero is still a forced to be reckoned with.

All will tell in today’s game but there is no doubt there will be world class footballers playing mouth watering football….I’m still calling a draw!

Carlton Cole to Crystal Palace?

Seven games of pure torture for Eagles fans.

It’s the worst start to a season ever in English football with no goals in 7, one manager sacked after 4 losses and Roy Hodgson on 3, next weekends game is going got be vital.

The ultimate question is, can Carlton Cole bring a change at Selhurst Park?

It’s been 2 years since Carlton Cole graced the Premier League at West Ham, he’s had short spells at Celtic and Sacramento Republic but now can be found in Indonesia with Persib Bandung (Persib) where he has made 5 appearances but no goals.

However with an impressive record of 57 goals in 289 appearances in the Premier League it’s no wonder Crystal Palace are keep to scoop him up.

Palace currently have Christian Benteke who scored 15 goals last seas is injured along with Ruben Loftus – Cheek who is currently on loan from Chelsea and has been playing further forward with Benteke.

Could Cole be the answer?

He’s 33 years old with his best Premier League season in 08-09 at West Ham when he scored 10 goals in 27 games.

After being relegated in 2011 with West Ham, Cole did score 14 goals in 40 games during the 2011/12 season which led to promotion back to the Premier League after beating Blackpool 2-1 in the Play-offs.

However Cole could help Palace with his experience in English football as well as leadership which Palace need in bucket loads at the moment.

If not a goal scorer, Cole certainly could be a vital figure in a dressing room that seems to be extremely lost this season.

 

 

 

Manchester City XI vs Shakhtar Donetsk

After a rocketing start to the season, Manchester City take on Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk in their second game of the Champions League group stage.

Shakhtar are the first team to head to the Etihad in the Champions League and City will be confident at home after two 5-0 wins over Liverpool and Crystal Palace.

Shaktar are also undefeated so far in the Ukrainian Premier League plus a win over Napoli in first CL game puts them in good position for tonight but City are a force to be reckoned with 27 goals in all competitions.

Starting XI

So, what can we expect from the top of the table team.

Ilkay Gundogan, Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy are all unavailable for tonight clash through injury.

However the team expected to play is still extremely strong.

Ederson Moraes  

After his clash with Sadio Mane, City fans were worried as to how long it would take Ederson to return but he bounced back in the next game against Bournmouth.

He’s been outstanding, keeping a clean sheet in the last four games and only two goals conceded in the league.

There was no real danger from Feyenoord but Shakhtar could prove differently, Midfielder Marlos has 5 goals in 11 appearances and striker Facudo Ferreyra has 5 goals in 12 apps.

Nicolas Otamendi

The partnership of Otamendi and Stones was one worried about by most City fans, especially with Kompany’s unfortunate injury.

However I’ll give Otamendi credit where it’s due, the majority of his tackles have been clean and his pass accuracy has become much better since the end of the last campaign.

I still believe him and Kompany form a stronger barrier but without Vincent, Stones has been a reliable replacement.

John Stones

Like Otamendi, Johns had critics, especially last season but he does seem to be up.

Against Crystal Palace he made some excellent tackles to stop Benteke and Loftus Cheek from advancing, I have high hopes for him tonight.

Let’s not forget the two goals he scored against Feyenoord earlier this month which has helped City’s goal difference for the group stages.

Kyle Walker

After a shaky first home game which ended in a red card it’s been nothing but entertaining football from Kyle Walker.

His immense strength and fluidity on the ball is just amazing to watch, he’s perfect in a wing back role, he has the pace and the talent to make the ball land just where he wants.

As his natural role is right back he works very well with Leroy Sane when he sits on the right wing linking up to set an assist or an attack himself.

If Guardiola sticks with the past few games formation then look out for Walker on the Wing.

Danilo

One of my favourite signings of the window had to be Danilo. Coming from Real Madrid for around £26 million seems like a bargain for City.

Many believed he was a last minute replacement for Dani Alves but if  he was a fantastic choice.

Similar to Walker he is brilliant as a wing back, he’s reliable when City have three at the back and when he plays left back as well.

Shakhtar’s defence will need pace and skill to stop Danilo crossing vital balls to Aguero and/or Jesus.

David Silva

Merlin as I like to call him, even though his haircuts got worse his football certainly hasn’t.

He will more than certainly cause trouble for Shakhtar tonight with his quick and intellectual football.

He’s racked up 6 assists already this season but no goals as of yet.

Silva has created the most chances for City so far this season with Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero close behind.

Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne has had a solid start to the campaign and could too cause Shakhtar problems at the back.

He’s not afraid to run back and help defend an attack, he’ll run wherever he believes he’s needed.

If Shakhtar step off the gas then De Bruyne and his team mates won’t hesitate to advance.

In a recent article Kevin said ‘ I get more joy from an assist sometimes, it’s just how I feel’ and with Silva on 6 assists and De Bruyne only on 3, he’ll be doing his best to equal his team mate.

Leroy Sane

An inSané start to the season for Leroy with 3 goals and 2 assists in the Premier League plus two in the League cup last week.

His name couldn’t ring any louder around the Etihad Stadium and I have no doubt it shall do the same this evening.

It could be his time to shine on the Champions League stage and increase his goal tally across all competitions.

Raheem Sterling

Sterling is definitely trying to defy the critics this year and he is doing so to an extent.

Yes, he’s scored 5 goals in five appearances but for me he just isn’t on the same football playing level as Sane, De Bruyne and Silva.

His touch certainly has improved on last season and if he’s in the right place then Shakhtar could pay the price.

However his passing and capability to keep hold of the ball just isn’t good enough, he seems to let the ball fall too far in front of him which could let City down massively.

Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero

Aguero is leading goal scorer so far this season and has helped City to the top of the Premier League.

He could prove vital for City in the Champions League with 6 years of experience, he’s able to work a back line like no other.

Ivan Ordets and Yaroslav Rakitskyy could have a tough job of keeping Aguero and potentially Jesus at bay and after a good start against Napoli they’ll be wanting to capitalise on tonight’s chance to go top of the group.

Gabriel Jesus

Jesus has scored 4 in 5 games in the League just 1 behind Sterling and 2 behind Aguero, he’s had a great start to the season giving him lots of confidence heading into the game.

He scored in the first game against Feyernoord and will be wanting to add to his tally against Shakhtar.

His quick pace and teamwork with Aguero should bring some more interesting and exciting football to the Etihad and the Champions League.