Tag Archives: Football Fans

WSL Update: Storm Ciara forces all Women Super League matches to be postponed…

 The Women Super League matches this past weekend were postponed due to the adverse weather caused by Storm Ciara. 

 The main cause of concern was “crowd safety” that could not be guaranteed because of the extreme weather conditions.

Roughly 20,000 were expected to attend the WSL Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park however due to the high winds on Merseyside, this made travelling to and from the match extremely dangerous.

Details of the rearranged fixtures will be released in the next few weeks. 

Mid-Week Preview

Fortunately the WSL clubs will not have to wait long until they are back in action with a full round of fixtures due to take place on Wednesday 12th February and Thursday 13thFebruary.

February 12th

Chelsea vs Birmingham City (Kick-off 7pm)

These two sides could not have more contrasting form coming into this one.  Chelsea have enjoyed seven wins in a row in all competitions, while Birmingham have lost their last four league games.

The Blues however did win at Sheffield United in the FA Cup and their last league win also came away from home against Bristol City.

The Midlands club will have to keep one of the league’s in form strikers, Beth England has managed six goals in her past seven games including two in her last game in the 8-0 win over West Ham United.

Prediction Chelsea 5-0 win

Predicting another convincing win for the only unbeaten side in the WSL.

Manchester City vs Bristol City (7pm)

This is another game where one of the league’s title contenders meets a team who is struggling near the bottom of the table.

The Robins’ performances have improved in recent weeks and they did spring a surprise last time they visited Manchester where they beat Manchester United 1-0.

In order to cause another upset they will almost certainly have to keep the prolific striker Pauline Bremer quiet.  The German has managed ten goals in the WSL so far this season.

Prediction City 4-1 win

City’s home form is very good so we can’t see them slipping up here. 

Reading vs West Ham United (7:30pm)

There are just five points and two places separating these two teams.

Both these teams have also enjoyed a mixed run of results and have secured two wins in their last five matches. There are certainly more question marks over the Hammers however as they are coming off the back of an 8-0 hammering against Chelsea.

The Royals meanwhile currently sit sixth and managed to secure a draw against Manchester United in their last game.  Lastly, West Ham has managed to come away with the three points in both of their previous league visits to Reading.

Prediction Reading 2-0 win

We fancy Reading to secure their first home win over the Hammers.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton (7:30pm)

Spurs are certainly fairing pretty well in their first season in the Super League, while Everton are still flying high in fifth and if results go their way could find themselves in the top four.

The North London side have been strong at home in recent weeks winning four of their last five games, with their only defeat coming against the league leaders Manchester City.

Following a strong start to the campaign the Toffees are starting to struggle and have lost three of their last four Super League matches, including a 1-0 defeat to strugglers Brighton.

The Merseyside club will be looking to their star striker Chloe Kelly who recently scored a hat trick in their 3-1 win over Reading.  Kelly has managed eight goals in the WSL this season.

Prediction: Draw 2-2

We are going for a score draw in this one.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United (7:45pm)

Hope Powell will certainly be far happier with her sides’ displays in recent weeks.  The Seagulls have particularly enjoyed some strong showings in front of their home fans recently having won three of their past five matches.

Manchester United meanwhile are going through a tricky spell in their season, having been knocked out of two competitions in a space of a few days against Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.

Casey Stoney’s side are also still awaiting their first away win of 2020.

Prediction: Brighton 2-1 win

We think that Hope Powell’s side have what it takes to spring another surprise and take another step towards safety. 

February 13th

Liverpool vs Arsenal (7pm)

At the start of the year Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool looked the clear favourites to be relegated from the WSL.

Since securing a surprise 1-1 draw with Chelsea the reds have managed two wins in their last three, including a crucial 1-0 win over relegation rivals Bristol City.

Arsenal however are now certainly up against it if they want to retain their WSL title having lost to their rivals Manchester City last time out.  Joe Montemurro’s team cannot afford any more slip-ups if want to maintain their faint title hopes.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 win

It was a surprisingly close game between these two sides back in November with the Gunners winning 1-0, so we are anticipating another tight match with Arsenal just coming away with the three points. 

Christian Eriksen transfer saga ends as he signs for Inter Milan

With rumors swirling around since last season about wanting to move from Tottenham, Christian Eriksen has finally departed by signing with Inter Milan.

The Danish attacking midfielder has played a pivotal part for the Spurs since he began his career with the club in 2013. His accolades with the North London side include winning the club’s Player of the Year award in 2014 and 2017, was part of the PTFA Team of the Year in 2018 and was a member of the squad that finished as runners-up in last year’s edition of the UEFA Champions League.

Eriksen has had a successful senior career thus far with Ajax and the Spurs. For the Dutch side, where he had been since his youth career in 2008, he scored 25 goals in 113 appearances before leaving for the Premier League side in 2013. Meanwhile, for the English-side, he scored 51 goals in 226 appearances, but has only scored two goals in 20 appearances this season.

For the Denmark National Team, Eriksen has scored 31 goals in 95 appearances. During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he helped the squad advance to the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time since the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. After finishing second in Group C to eventual champions France, they ended up losing in the Round of 16 to runner-up Croatia.

With this move to Inter, the Italian giants have been creating their own Premier League squad with the addition of Eriksen. Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s squad this year has also acquired Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Alexis Sánchez (loan from Manchester United), Ashley Young (Manchester United), and Victor Moses (loan from Chelsea). 

As Inter sit three points (48) behind Juventus (51) for the top spot in Serie A with 17 games left, their fans are hoping they are team to finally dethrone the Turin squad, who have held the possession since 2012.

Should the FA Cup replay’s be scrapped?

Following the New Meadow 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury and Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp stated his first team players, nor himself, would appear in the replay back at Anfield.

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Shrewsbury’s Jason Cumming’s scored the equaliser on Sunday to take the tie back to Merseyside.

Since Klopp’s arrival to the Premier League he has shown no happiness towards the busy December period and the replay format of the cup, it seems he believes the players are requested to play too often, hindering their physical capability and lack of recovery time. Despite this, his team way ahead at the top of the Premier League do not seem to be suffering on the whole. A factor which is potentially being interpreted as ignorance when their competition is from the lower leagues who play more games than those in the top division with remarkably less money and resources.

A recent discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live heard how Great Britain hockey star Samantha Quek argued the FA Cup replay’s should be scrapped and the format should be changed to two separate pots of Premier League and Championship teams and another of the lower divisions. A disgruntled Tranmere fan was on the phone to explain how much the FA cup meant to a lower league team, not just financially but sentimentally, and rightfully so.

The FA Cup ties and replays are renowned for bringing extra revenue to smaller clubs which can become a vital input for changes that Premier League clubs do not have to think twice about. Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts explained how the money from the return trip to Anfield would allow for improved drainage of the pitch and cameras for analysis to be used in games. Something Premier League regulars may take for granted.

The FA Cup allows for extra distribution of money which is circulated within English football, vitally this money can reach the lucky lower league teams who make it through the rounds. But it is also the importance of sentiment that the cup brings. For a supporter, the FA cup can be a magical occasion and allows for that chance to visit a Premier League ground to watch their team play against some the world’s greats. Similarly for a player, who may have finished a day working, to then take to the stage lined up against world famous players, a great euphoric feeling which can’t be replicated.

Yes, the Premier league may be tasking for players who play a higher standard week in week out, but they are professional. Their clubs, if anything out of respect, should participate thoroughly in an FA Cup game as if it was any other game.

FA Cup Replays – Who can cause an upset?

An enthralling game is in store for those in North London tonight where Tottenham host Championship competition of Middlesbrough. The inform tier two side may be concentrating on reaching a vital 40 points in the league, but there is no doubt the northern side will put on a valiant effort to progress into the next round. With this weeks news of Harry Kane’s absence till April, Mourinho has interesting squad decisions to make, and the strength of tonight’s team will surely have in mind their distance from a European spot for next season. The FA Cup may the silverware they strive for in Mourinho’s inaugural season as Tottenham manager.

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Kane out until April: Jose admits that without him, they cannot play the ‘Tottenham way’.

Another Premier League team with potential to fall with an upset are Newcastle United, who take on League one Rochdale at St James’s Park. The original fixture saw Rochdale bite back in the latter stages of the game with a goal made by two players aged two decades apart. Youngster Luke Matheson, who made his name when he equalised against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup earlier last year, grabbed the assist which booked Dale’s replay on Tyneside. An already classic FA Cup story, it seems written for Rochdale to go all the way, but will Premier League quality become too much and halt their FA Cup story?

Image result for rochdale vs newcastle
40 year-old Aaron Wilbraham scored the equaliser at The Spotland Stadium

Nigel Pearson has seemed to flip Watford’s Premier League fate on it’s head as after this weekend they sit above the relegation places for the first time season. However, his team were not as focussed as they conceded three second half goals to draw with Tranmere Rovers on the 4th January. A heroic display from the struggling League One display confirmed a replay which neither side would have desired at kick off, but one that could bring joy to the one set of fans, who have perhaps endured a poor season so far.

With current form, it would be suggested Watford would progress to the next round, but Pearson may rest his usual players for a tricky London derby against Tottenham on Saturday, as they continue to try secure Premier League status for next season. On the other hand, the Merseyside club will be hopeful for more FA Cup magic in the replay and may see a strong team out to finish a job they so excellently accounted for in the original fixture. Similarly to Watford in managerial terms, it will be argued the priority should be on Tranmere too escaping their relegation zone position.

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Watford must be delighted with Pearson’s impact so far, but what will his attentions be for The FA Cup

Nottingham Forest January Targets

Everyone connected with Nottingham Forest knows they are after a new striker, Lewis Grabban is a top striker at Championship level but he needs someone else to help him. If Grabban were to get injured Forest have nobody else to call upon and it is far too much to ask him to play every single match.

As for who will come in, there are many options from proven goal scorers to hungry youngsters. If Forest try to bring in another top-class striker then there will be stumbling blocks. Dwight Gayle, for example, has been the name on many fans lips, but would he be willing to join knowing he will still have to fight off competition from Grabban for a starting place?

Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle

Would Forest be willing to pay what would be a hefty transfer fee (Reports claim only bids above £15m would tempt Newcastle United into doing business) and wages? and finally, Are Newcastle willing to sell? Another player who the same questions can be asked about is Che Adams. Both these players have the undoubted quality and are not getting the game time they want at their Premiership clubs, therefore if the above questions can be positively answered then Forest would have excellent options upfront.

Southampton Striker Che Adams

Another option and the perhaps more realistic one is for someone that can do a job as a clear second choice striker who understands Grabban is the main man. They won’t have the same quality as Gayle or Adams but be of sufficient quality to take some of the pressure off him. Lukas Jutkiewicz is someone that falls into this category and would give Forest a different sort of striker to Grabban. Glenn Murray is another name being mentioned, but will there be any substance to these rumours?

A 3rd option would be to look at Youngsters from the premier league, with Eddie Nketiah a name that stands out. He has been on loan at Leeds from Arsenal and impressed when appeared but has found game time-limited and the loan cut short. The 20-year-old is said to be wanted by a host of clubs and the Reds are ranked as second favourites to capture him with Sky Bet (3/1), behind Bristol City (5/2).

Leeds United loanee Eddie Nketiah

Rhian Brewster from Liverpool would be another good option. Forest are said to have been eyeing up promising Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour. According to London Football News, the Reds and Championship rivals Leeds “have been tracking the best players in Chelsea’s development side, for which Gilmour has caught the eye since being signed from Glasgow Rangers”. Forest do have their own youngsters including one who has done well on loan in League 1 and 2 in Tyler Walker. If Forest fail to bring in their number 1 targets then Walker has to be considered.

Tyler Walker has had several loans across the football leagues

Lyle Taylor has been in fine form for Charlton since their return to the Championship, bagging five goals in his seven appearances so far this season. Taylor’s contract at Charlton expires at the end of the season, and the Addicks are hoping they can convince their star striker to remain at the club to fend off interest from elsewhere. Forest are joined by Premier League trio Burnley, Sheffield United and Norwich City to show an interest in the striker, along with Championship duo Brentford and Bristol City.

Forest are set to rekindle their interest in long-term transfer target Lawrence Shankland, according to reports. The Reds were extensively linked with the striker in the summer before he joined Dundee United.

Given that Forest’s Owner Evangelos Marinakis also owns Olympiacos there is bound to be speculation of business between the two clubs. Belgian striker Hugo Cuypers the 22-year-old is on loan at French second division club Ajaccio from Olympiacos. According to Greek media outlet SDNA, the Reds have been impressed by the Under-19 international’s blistering start to the French league season, and are considering a move in January.

Olympiacos Striker Hugo Cuypers

A player linked with a move in the opposite direction is Joao Carvalho, Forest’s record signing was a key player under previous manager Aitor Karanka providing many assists and the odd goal and became a fans favourite. Since Karanka’s departure, he has not been the same player, bar one outstanding performance against Middlesbrough. Martin O’Neil and Sabri Lamouchi have both opted to play 3 deeper midfielders with no room for a proper number 10 such as Carvalho. This has led to speculation that the reds will cash in, however, they should keep their record signing as he still has massive potential and not forgetting he missed all of pre-season which is massively important.

Joao Carvalho has been linked with a move away from Forest