Arsenal legend Thierry Henry named head coach of MLS side Montreal Impact

Thierry Henry, one of the biggest players in the most popular sport worldwide, was appointed to be the head coach of the Montreal Impact on a two-year contract.

 For Henry, who has played for the likes of some of Europe’s top clubs such as Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, and FC Barcelona, this will be his second stint in the league after he played for the New York Red Bulls from 2010-2014, scoring 51 goals in 122 appearances for the club.

The Frenchman began his coaching career in February 2015, coaching Arsenal’s youth teams along with working for Sky Sports. Henry later became an assistant coach, specifically focused on the forwards, for the Belgium national team under manager Roberto Martinez. His efforts led him to be offered the managerial position for Bordeaux, but disagreements with the club’s owners led him to not accept the job. 

After being promoted to lead assistant coach, Henry accepted his first job as a manager for his former club Monaco in October after the firing of Leonardo Jardim. After starting off his tenure with a 2-1 loss at Strasbourg, Henry was unable to get a win for over a month before defeating Caen 1-0 in November. The club’s struggles led him to sign several key players during the winter transfer window, including former Arsenal teammate Cesc Fábregas from Chelsea and Brazilian center back Naldo from Schalke. Ultimately, these signings did not help the club improve its form, and Henry was dismissed from his former club after the team was in 19th at the time, finishing his tenure with a record of 4-5-11.

 Although Henry’s tenure at Monaco was rough, he does not have to face the pressure of relegation in the MLS with the Impact. The club’s partnership with Italian-side Bologna will also offer a great deal of help as he would be able to loan some players from a top-flight league into the squad, offering some much-needed assistance for a squad that missed the playoffs after finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference. 

With the fate of Montreal’s success in the league in the hands of Henry, time will tell if the Frenchman – who had only previously managed one side prior and was unsuccessful – will be able to improve the squad’s performance compared to last season.

How do you think Henry will get on at Montreal Impact?

Women’s Football Weekend

Following a record-breaking attendance of 77,768 for the England international match against Germany last weekend, The FA is set to launch the first ever Women’s Football Weekend this Sunday 17thNovember.

All 12 teams will be in action in the Women’s Super League with three of the six ties being played at Premier League grounds and another at a well- known and highly respected Championship stadium.

The weekend begins at 12:30pm with a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final as Manchester City will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season against a strong Arsenal team last time out. They host West Ham at their Academy Stadium.

Brighton’s Amex Stadium will see the Seagulls welcome fellow strugglers Birmingham City, while Reading entertain Bristol City at the Madejski, both at 2pm.

The other 2pm kick-off sees league leaders Chelsea against newly promoted Manchester United at the Blues Cherry Red Record Stadium, in what promises to be an entertaining match between two of the divisions in-form sides.

The final two matches feature two of the most enthralling Derbies in English football. The Merseyside Derby will take place in front of the Kop at Anfield between Liverpool and Everton. The North London Derby meanwhile is set to take place at The Tottenham Hotspur stadium as Tottenham Hotspur host Arsenal.

Tickets at Anfield are set to cost just £5 for adults while tickets to Tottenham vs Arsenal priced slightly more at £6.50, both matches start from 3pm.

FA Cup Final Rematch

Both Manchester City and West Ham United will be looking to get back to winning ways. West Ham suffered a 3-1 defeat against table topping Chelsea, while Manchester City lost for the first time in the Super League away at defending champions Arsenal, 1-0.

Nick Cushing’s Manchester City side completed the domestic cup double against Matt Beard’s West Ham team the last time these two sides met back in May of this year, winning 3-0.

City also completed the league double over the Hammers last season that included a  7-1 victory at the Academy Stadium.

The Hammers will need to watch out for striker Pauline Bremer.  The German international so far has eight goals in nine games this season for City.

Match Prediction: Manchester City 4-1 West Ham United

Cannot see anything other than a comfortable Manchester City home win in this one.

Amex and Madejski Stadiums host Women Super League football

Hope Powell’s Brighton side host Birmingham City.  The Seagulls are still waiting for their first win in the Super League this season having lost 2-0 away at Everton last time out. Birmingham however gained their first win of the season, a 2-0 home win against Liverpool.

The South Coast club will very much be looking a repeat of last season’s 2-1 score line.

Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Birmingham City

The matches last season between the sides were close and I can see both teams cancelling each other out this time around.

Reading has had somewhat of a mixed start to this season so far.

The Royals have managed six points from their opening five matches; they are coming off a 2-0 loss against newly promoted Manchester United.  Bristol City meanwhile is one of three sides still without a win in the Super League, they were only narrowly beaten 2-1 against Tottenham in their last game.

Reading won both league matches against the West Midlands club last season; this included a comprehensive 3-0 home win.

Prediction: Reading 2-0 Bristol City

Predict that it will be relatively comfortable win for The Royals.

Battle of two in-form teams

The League leaders Chelsea host Casey Stoney’s Manchester United at the Cherry Red Record Stadium. Both of these sides have won their last four matches in all competitions.

Emma Hayes’ Chelsea team remain the only unbeaten Super League side, while the only two defeats that Manchester United have received were against last season’s top two sides, Arsenal and local rivals Manchester City.

This Sunday’s match will mark the first ever meeting between the two teams.

 The Red Devils will need to keep talented England international Beth England quiet. The Blues striker has two goals and one assist so far this campaign and she recently scored in England’s 3-2 win against the Czech Republic.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United

Predicting that the league leaders will maintain their unbeaten record.

Merseyside Derby in front of The Kop

Liverpool will be hoping that hosting the first ever Women Super League fixture at Anfield will inspire the team to their first win of the season against fierce rivals Everton.

The Reds won this fixture 3-1 in the last campaign and will be looking for more of the same this time around.

In complete contrast to their Merseyside rivals, Everton have enjoyed a strong start and are currently fifth in the table with three wins from their five matches so far.

Liverpool will have to stop England striker Chloe Kelly.  She is currently the division’s leading scorer with four goals.

Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Everton

I predict that Chloe Kelly will prove the difference between the two teams in this one.

First ever WSL North London Derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Newly promoted Tottenham Hotspur will take on Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal in their first ever Women Super League match.

Both sides won their last matches and will be looking to build on those results. Arsenal in particular will be looking to keep pace with title rivals Chelsea.

Tottenham will have to look out for prolific Dutch striker Danielle van de Donk. She is currently the Gunners top goal scorer in the Super League with three goals.

Prediction: Tottenham 1-3 Arsenal

Can see Arsenal coming out on top in this one. The Gunners attackers are in good form with the likes of Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema as well as the previously mentioned van de Donk.

Fixture list: Sunday 17th November

Manchester City vs West Ham United (Kick-off 12:30pm)

 Reading vs Bristol City (2pm)

 Chelsea vs Manchester United (2pm)

 Brighton & Hove Albion vs Birmingham City (2pm)

 Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal (3pm) –  Live on BT Sport

 Liverpool vs Everton (3pm)

Chelsea Women’s land international superstar Sam Kerr

Manager Emma Hayes and the Chelsea Women’s side, who are currently the leaders of the WSL at 4-1-0, improved their squad drastically by signing Australian sensation Sam Kerr on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

The Blues competed against several of European’s top clubs, including FC Barcelona, PSG, and Champions League winners Lyon, but were able to sway the prolific scorer into playing in England. She will officially join the squad in January 2020.

Kerr, 26, was rotating her playing time between the Perth Glory of Australia’s W-League (whose season runs from October to April) and the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL (whose season ran from April to October), which was taking a toll on the striker. 

The Australian international had a strong campaign in her home country’s league last season as she won the Golden Boot Award for the second consecutive year in the league with 13 goals. Kerr also had an MVP season in the U.S. as she accumulated a league-record 18 goals along with five assists – leading the Red Stars to the championship game before ultimately losing to the North Carolina Courage. She is currently the all-time leading scorer in both leagues (64 in W-League, 65 in NWSL).

However, Kerr is most known for being the face of soccer Down Under, where she has been striving for the Matildas since her international debut at a mere 15 years of age. The captain of the squad has scored 38 goals in 83 appearances, leading Australia to the Round of 16 in the most recent edition of FIFA’s Women’s World Cup before falling to Norway in penalties.

 This signing for Chelsea was a huge step towards league and European dominance as they look to compete with these powerhouses by signing one of the best goal scorers in women’s soccer history.

Carlisle United sack manager Steven Pressley after 10 months in charge

League Two side, Carlisle have sacked their manager Steven Pressley as the club currently sit 19th in the division.

Pressley left the club following the 3-1 defeat to Morecambe in the Leasing.com Trophy on Monday night.

The previous Friday, they had progressed through to the FA Cup 2nd Round, beating Dulwich Hamlet 4-1.

Carlisle say they had not seen sufficient progress under Pressley since he was appointed In January this year.

Carlisle’s decision does leave the Layman wondering what type of progress they were expecting, because when he was appointed in January, there were only a few months left until the end of the season, which then is followed by pre season and then the season kicking off.

Given that we are only 3 months into the season, it takes any manager a period of time to settle in, see how the team were playing, what adjustments need to be made and then implement them and thats just the theory side.

Add into the mix, financial constraints, injuries and suspensions; which will always hit any team in any league and you wonder quite what the Cumbrians aspirations are.

Either way, Pressley can leave with his head held high, knowing that previous managers and maybe some with a better pedigree than his, have left the club, after finding the same constraints.

He will be back in football soon and a better manager with this experience.

Stoke Appoint Michael O’Neill

Stoke City have appointed the Northern Ireland national team manager Michael O’Neill as their new manager, following the sacking of Nathan Jones.

O’Neill who lives in Edinburgh, was appointed last week following a dismal run of results for Stoke. The results have been declining way back to when Tony Pulis was at the helm.

Following Pulis’ departure from a then premier league outfit, Stoke have plunged like a stone almost to the bottom of the Championship, with a wretched run of results, which saw them win just 6 games in 38 under Jones.

So, will O’Neill be able to turn Stokes fortunes around?

At first glance, it would seem a strange appointment, given that his previous job in club management were with Brechin City in Scotland and Shamrock Rovers in Ireland, before taking the Northern Ireland managers role.

In terms of honours, he guided Shamrock Rovers to the League of Ireland Title and Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 Championships, where they gave a good account of themselves.

He has good man management skills, and though he will continue to combine the Stoke Job with manageing Northen Ireland until their campaign ends in 2 games time, he seems to have had an influence on Stoke already after defeating Barnsley 4 ~2 away. Stoke were scoring for fun – when previously they had found goals hard to come by, not to mention results.

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