Tag Archives: football

Liverpool Women’s Captain makes tough decision to put football on hold

Most people in sport right now are happy just to get back performing. But for one lady footballer she has made a decision to sacrifice playing at the moment.

Liverpool Women’s captain Sophie Bradley- Auckland has decided not to return back to the Liverpool squad for the time being.

Bradley- Auckland has made the choice of helping her family run their care home back in Nottingham.

The defender, who was named the clubs player of the year last season, is also the manager of Edenhurst care home in Nottingham.

“Unfortunately, with the current situation it’s made me have to make a decision. The fact is I can’t return to Liverpool until a risk isn’t posed on the care home.” she told the clubs website.

“We have got 24 people to look after but now we have got 24 very vulnerable people because of the virus, which is spreading very quickly. The people we look after, it would be very dangerous if any of them were to catch it.

“I’m still a Red. I will be back at Liverpool but unfortunately at this moment in time it is not possible for me to come, so I think it’s very much up in the air.”

Bradley- Auckland, who has played 28 times for England, joined the Merseyside outfit in 2018.

The club were  relegated from the Women’s Super League this season after the 2019-20 season was ended earlier than expected in May.

It is certainly a very brave decision from the 30-year-old defender to put her football career on hold. A decision I am sure she didn’t take lightly.

Overall, it takes a brave person to make a preference like this. Bradley-Auckland should be praised for her choice in putting not just her family first but deciding her football career must come second.

World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies age 85

World Cup winner with England and former Republic of Ireland Manager Jack Charlton has died at the age of 85.

The former Leeds United defender had been diagnosed with lymphoma and also had dementia.

Big Jack as he was affectionately known, passed away peacefully at his Northumberland home on Friday, his family said.

Charlton, the older brother of Manchester United legend Bobby, was part of England’s World Cup winning side of 1966.

He spent his entire club career with one club- Leeds United- from 1950- 1973, making a record 762 total competitive appearances for the Whites.

With his time at Leeds United, he helped them to the Second Division Title (1963-4) and First Division Title (1968-9).

His spell at Leeds also yielded an FA Cup win (1972), League Cup (1968), Charity Shield (1969) and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cup’s in 1968 and 1971.

Charlton was called up to the England team just days before his 30th birthday and went on to make 35 international appearances and scored six goals.

He appeared in two World Cups and one European Championship but will be remembered most for his no nonsense defending as a centre back.

After his playing days were over, he decided to turn his hand to management and led Middlesbrough to the second division title in 1973-4.

He spent four years in the North East before resigning in April 1977, where he took charge of Sheffield Wednesday for six seasons.

Despite a short spell back at Middlesbrough as caretaker manager and one season at Newcastle, he always had aspirations to manage at International level.

He took charge of the Republic of Ireland national side in 1986 and led them to their first ever World Cup in 1990, where they reached the quarter-finals.

In his ten-year stint in charge of Ireland he also led the Irish to qualification at Euro 1998 and the 1994 World Cup.

In January 1996, Charlton resigned from his position and went into retirement.

Big Jack was a football man, loved and adored by everybody in the football world.

To spend an entire career at one club in today’s world is unheard off. To hear so many nice words said about such a gentleman speaks for itself.

Jack Charlton’s name will live forever with not just Leeds fans, but Irish football fans who fittingly called him a legend.

It would be fitting if Leeds United can go on and seal promotion to the Premiership in memory of not just Charlton, but two other greats who passed away this year. Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry.

 

Said Benrahma- The Algerian whose taken the Championship by Storm

Said Benrahma is the name on every Championship fan’s lips this season as a series of sparkling displays have highlighted just how talented the 24 year old is.

A quick search of his name on YouTube and you’ll find some of the finest highlight reels in football, including an ingenious double nutmeg on Middlesbrough’s Lewis Wimg this term.

He is so good at sliding the ball through a player’s legs that Brentford B coach Sam Saunders recently told the Guardian:

“He could nutmeg a mermaid.”

Yet, Benrahma is so much more than just a tricky winger.

He has been the Bees creative force this season, forming an impressive attacking trio alongside Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins (who have been christened Brentford’s BMW) netting fifteen goals and providing six assists in the league.

Routinely deployed on the left wing, Benrahma loves to cut inside on his right foot and deliver a cross or have a shot on goal. He is one of the most technically gifted players in the division, with his dribbling often leaving defenders in knots.

His contribution to Brentford’s promotion push since the restart has underlined his importance to the Bees, scoring five and assisting one as Thomas Frank’s side have won all of their games since the break to sit just two points behind second place West Brom.

Three of those strikes came in the weekend’s game against Wigan, with the winger clinically dispatching the relegation threatened side with relative ease. His first was a well timed volley, the second an inch perfect cross come shot after he had tormented Byrne and the third a well placed shot into the far corner giving Marshall in goal, no chance.

Manager Thomas Frank was full of praise for the winger’s display, stating in his post match press conference:

“I think in general he has had a good season so far, but he has absolutely hit the ground running after this coronavirus break.

“He has added extra to his game, such as arriving in the box, and these last four games he has been getting better and better,  with his passing and his finishing.

“I have to praise him for his work ethic. He worked extremely hard. He has been good, he needs to keep it up.”

A Benrahma inspired Brentford then came from behind against Charlton at Griffin Park to continue their march towards promotion with a 2-1 win. Benrahma won and coolly converted a penalty to equalise before the Bees scored a second to pick up all three points.

He caused problems for Charlton all evening as he occupied a more central role, picking the ball up in between the lines and playing neat interchanges with Watkins.

His form this season will come as no great surprise to those who watched him at Griffin Park in his maiden campaign in England last season. He managed ten goals and fifteen assists last year as Brentford finished 11th but Benrahma has taken his game to new levels this year.

He represents another shrewd bit of business from the London club, as he was picked up in the summer of 2018 from Nice for a fee of £2.8 million, after catching the eye on loan in Ligue 2.

Having come through the youth ranks at Algerian side NRB Bethioua, Benrahma moved to France, linking up with Balma SC Colomiers and then moving on to Nice. He made his debut for the first team in 2013, aged just 18 but spent the majority of his time at the club in the reserve side before going out on loan. He left Nice having made 17 appearances, scoring three goals.

His first loan spell came in Ligue 1 with Angers, then he dropped down to Ligue 2 and had stints with Gazélec Ajaccio and Chateauroux. It was at the latter, which he first started to show his undoubted potential and came to Brentford’s attention. He scored nine goals in 31 appearances, aged just 22 and Brentford decided to take a risk and snap him up that summer.

He hasn’t looked back since and the Algerian is now surely worth at least ten times the fee Brentford paid for him. With a host of Premier League clubs sniffing around him, Benrahma is likely to leave if the Bees don’t make it out of the Championship this time around, having already talked of his desire to play in the top flight.

A full Algerian international, Benrahma has won three caps for his country and comparisons are often drawn between him and compatriot Riyad Mahrez. Both started their journey in Ligue 2 before lighting up the Championship and both are silky wingers who enjoy nutmegging opponents and creating chances.

If Benrahma, who was nominated for the Championship Player of the Year, manages to emulate Mahrez’s career trajectory he may well go down as one of the best bargain signings the Championship has ever seen.

For now, his focus will be on finishing the campaign strongly and propelling Brentford to the big time.

With just four games left of the regular season and potential play off dates to come if Brentford can’t pop West Brom to second place, now is the time for Benrahma to show his quality and provide for Brentford when they really need him.

Sky Bet Championship Weekend Review

Leeds continue their march towards the Premiership. In form Bees put pressure on top two. Bottom two suffer heavy defeats.

League leaders Leeds United strengthened their position at the top of the table after completing a 3-1 victory at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The visitors took an early lead when Patrick Bamford slotted home after just seven minutes. Kalvin Phillips curled in a superb free kick to give the visitors a two-goal lead at the interval.

Adam Armstrong pulled a goal back for Rovers with an outstanding free kick, only for Mateusz Klich to restore Leeds two goal advantage for their 11th win on the road this the season.

High flying Brentford strengthened their play-off place with a 3-0 victory against Wigan Athletic at Griffin Park and turned up the heat on their bid to gain automatic promotion.

Said Benrahama’s hat trick, saw the Bees set a club record after a fifth successive win without conceding a goal. The Algerian forward has now hit an impressive 14 goals for the season.

The heavy defeat ended what has been a turbulent week in the Latics history after the club went into administration on Wednesday. The loss to Brentford also saw Joe Garner see red late in the game.

Josh Onomah’s stoppage time winner kept Fulham’s automatic promotion hopes on track after the 95th minute winner was enough for the Londoners side to grab all three points against Birmingham City at Craven Cottage.

A fourth successive defeat resulted in Bristol City removing Lee Johnson from his post immediately after the 1-0 loss to Cardiff City at Ashton Gate on Saturday.

Danny Ward climbed off the bench to net a late winner for the Bluebirds, who are now unbeaten in five games and keeps them in the play-off mix. Remarkably, this is the 16th goal scored by a Cardiff substitute this season.

The East Midland derby between Derby County and Nottingham Forest lived up to its billing with both sides getting a share of the points at Pride Park.

The hosts were indebted to Chris Martin’s 97th minute goal to rescue a point against fellow promotion hopefuls Forest. Martin bundled the ball home from close range moments after Rams substitute Martin Waghorn received a straight red card. Earlier it was the visitors who drew first blood when Joe Lolley struck for Forest.

Huddersfield’s hopes of pulling away from the bottom three and Preston’s play-off aspirations both suffered a blow as they played out a goalless draw at The John Smiths Stadium on Saturday.

A remarkable afternoon from Ivory Coast international Yakou Mieite helped Reading to their first win in four games with a 5-0 victory against lowly Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.

Mieite completed an 18-minute hat trick before he added his fourth of the afternoon in the 62nd minute. George Puscas header was the icing on the cake for the visitors on 57 minutes, who are now nicely positioned in the middle of the table.

It was an afternoon to forget for The Hatters, who remain at the foot of the table and five points adrift from safety with five games to play.

Stoke City handed out a 4-0 drubbing to Barnsley at the Bet 365 Stadium on Saturday.

The Potters raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening ten minutes through Sam Vokes and Tyrese Campbell.

Cambell bagged his second of the  afternoon before the interval, with substitute Tom Ince netting three minutes from time to complete a comprehensive victory which leaves Stoke two points clear of the bottom three and Barnsley still four points off Safety.

Swansea City continued their challenge for a play-off place after a 2-1 victory against Sheffield Wednesday at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

After a goalless first half, the deadlock was broken when Liverpool loanee Rhian Brewster scored. Andre Ayew struck the Swans second goal from the penalty spot. Atdhe Nuhiu headed in an injury time consolation goal for Wednesday, who drop to 15th place.

Jordan Hughill’s delicious lob proved the winner as QPR defeated Middlesborough by a single goal at the Riverside on Sunday. The defeat leaves Neil Warnock’s side in the bottom three, one point away from Hull in 21st place.

West Brom closed the gap on leaders Leeds to just a single point after a 4-2 win over Hull City on Sunday afternoon.

Charlie Austin opened the scoring for the Baggies in the fourth minute, only for Kevin Stewart to level for Hull, before Ahmed Hegazi  restored West Brom’s lead before half time.

Hull quickly drew level inside three minutes of the restart through Mallik Wilks header. Within seconds West Brown regained the lead for the third time in this enthralling match when Kamil Grosicki scored.

Grady Diangana restored West Brom’s two goal advantage with fifteen minutes to go. Deep into injury time Albion were reduced to ten men when Hegazi spoilt his afternoons work by picking up his second yellow of the game. However, the result left WBA with a healthy five-point cushion over the play-off pack with five games remaining.

 

Vardy hits 100, But should Leicester be worried?

Jamie Vardy was back in the goals in usual fashion as the foxes comfortably dispatched Crystal Palace 3-0. However the fact this result was somewhat of a surprise represents the poor form Leicester have been in since the turn of the year.

Before the Palace game, Vardy had been on a barren run in front of goal and the race for top 4 was seemingly ready to kick Leicester out. So can they keep this run of form or is it just a rare win? Let’s take a look:

The pessimist and optimist view

Their start of season form saw them compete with Liverpool for the title but a huge drop off since then has seen them come within only 3 points of dropping out the top 4 entirely.

So should their fans be concerned? Yes, it was a convincing win but it bucks a trend of poor performances. Their restart began with 2 losses and 2 draws – scoring only two goals in the process and being knocked out of the FA cup.

A common critique of this Leicester side is where the goals would come from should Vardy lose his form, and that has been shown with their recent form. This included being knocked out of the EFL cup semi-finals by strugglers Aston Villa, and a February month with no wins from 4 matches – only scoring two goals and losing to bottom club Norwich.

Looking at them in the Premier League form table since matchday 20 until now they sit in 9th, whereas the teams they are competing with all sit in the top 6, so if they are to retain their position they could do well with picking up some form.

Vardy was struggling with form during this period and results reflected that. It’s no coincidence that they won this game comfortably with him scoring. Whether Leicester can pick up some form depends highly on their star man performing, which really shows just how good Vardy is.

Whilst this all stacks up as just a buck in the trend, those results have a history of kickstarting a season again. When a team goes through a rough patch, a win can completely change the mentality. Just look at Arsenal in the last few games.

So whilst you could say their overall form hasn’t shown the consistency needed, maybe this result was what the club needed to get that going again – you don’t become a bad team overnight after all.

A Fairytale story

Let’s forget the slightly pessimistic view for a second and appreciate the story of Jamie Vardy. He made his Premier League debut at 27 years of age and has flow into a prestigious 100 club.

Considering the relatively short amount of time he has spent in the top flight the company he holds now in Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer and many more is remarkable.

His rise to prominence of course came when Leicester won their unbelievable Premier League trophy; with him, Mahrez and Kante being highlighted as key players.

He was even linked with Arsenal once the season had ended, but many brushed him off as a one season wonder. Despite his amazing goal record you could be forgiven for thinking he was a one season wonder.

He still remains quite the underrated striker, with many people talking about Aguero, Aubameyang, Rashford, etc.

Taking a look at his goal record you can see he has consistently been up there with the best strikers in the league:

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Yet we don’t always here the same praise for him as we do for the other top strikers in the league. Maybe the unfashionable name and controversy with his wife has had some form of subconscious effect.

Whether he is talked about or not, the fact of the matter remains that he is Leicester’s key man, and if he can pick up the goals again, the golden boot and Champions League football could be on the way to the King Power.

We had a chat with FoxesFancast about Leicester’s season and form since the restart. The interview also features the fans relationship with the owners and the future.  

Full video here: