Tag Archives: Liverpool

Amazon prime: a new era for football broadcasting?

As Amazon Prime Video broadcast their first Premier League games this week, is this a preview of things to come?

Image result for amazon package
Not your usual delivery! Amazon take on new Premier League broadcasting deal.

In an agreed 3 year deal, Amazon are set to start out their football broadcasting career with December’s fixtures. This strategic deal comes with aim of the company to see an influx of new customers during the busiest time of the year. For the already members of Amazon Prime, they will benefit from watching for free whereas new customers can enjoy a free trial, with follow up prices at the beginning of permament membership set to increase. A free trial period is a risk taken by operators at Amazon in hope that people will follow up their subscriptions.

If this is the way football media is heading, the effects could be very damaging in terms of reducing live match day attendances. As the variety of subscription services are increasing, it is likely football fans will already subscribe to at least one of the major sports broadcasters in Sky Sports, BT Sport or now Amazon. Alongside the current expense of travelling to away games especially, could this be another factor to prevent football fans from travelling away?

If this is to be the case, in the next ten years there could be rapid change in how the game operates. Football’s commercialisation is continually on the up rise – meaning football clubs always have to look to protect themselves financially. This could mean in future they take broadcasting opportunities into their own hands. Could it be that the clubs themselves start up subscription services such as those of MUFC TV and LFC TV? These already offer some game footage and insider viewing for their subscribers. For supporters this could become a choice between your traditional season ticket or a digital season ticket for home viewing.

Despite this, it is unlikely clubs will endeavour to claim tv rights from the broadcasters just yet, so for now it seems it shall be them battling it out for top spot of football television.

In Modern football is too much blame being placed on the manager?

The past seven days in the premier league has witnessed two managers relieved of their duties.

Both Unai Emery at Arsenal and Quique Sanchez Flores, at Watford that was his second spell at the club and marked the hornet’s second managerial change of the season. 

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke revealed that the decision to remove Emery from his position had been ‘weeks’ in the making as they felt that the head coach had lost the backing of the fans. The former Sevilla and PSG boss was on a run of seven games without a win.

Former Arsenal player, Freddie Ljungburg, replaced the 48 year old and the Swede opened his managerial account with a 2-2 draw away to Norwich this past weekend.

Ljungburg is the latest appointment by a club chairman and the board of a former player at one of the big six clubs following the trend of Frank Lampard at Chelsea at the start of the season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and has prompted Kroenke to say that, “ Ljungburg has Arsenal DNA and understands the club.”

These latest managerial sackings however prompt the question… Is too much blame being placed on the manager?

Head Coach versus Manager role

For a start some teams nowadays have Head Coaches while others have Managers.

The former Tottenham Manager Mauricio Pochettino speaking in 2015, highlights the subtle differences between the roles:

“If you are the manager, you decide many things about the club.  But if you are a head coach, your responsibility is to play better, try to improve the players and to get positive results.”

Pochettino continued:

“At Southampton, I was manager my responsibility was not only to coach the team. With Tottenham, I am a head coach.  A head coach is head of your department. My department is to train the team.”

The attributes needed to be successful are reportedly the same for both roles, being adaptable in terms of training and good judgement on team selection for instance.

The head coach however can protest regarding lack of signings, but there is a lack of authority on the role compared with being a Manager.

It seems that the days are long gone when an Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson figure end up having complete control in terms of how things are run at football clubs.

Ultimately however is enough time given to managers or head coaches these days to implement the changes they require?

Former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking to Harvard Business Review said:

“I believe that the cycle of a successful team lasts maybe four years and then some change is needed.  So we tried to visualise the team maybe three or four years ahead and make decisions accordingly.”

Ferguson continued: “Because I was at United for such a long time, I could afford to plan ahead – no one expected me to go anywhere. I was very fortunate in that respect.”

Is football after all a team game?

Football is supposed to be a team game, so shouldn’t the players, coaching staff and those who run the club be held equally accountable?

There is a squad of 25 players and even though the manager is there to inspire, implement tactics and produce impactful substitutions, he is not out there on the field playing the matches.

Sir Alex Ferguson was often praised for bringing on substitutes that would lead to last minute Manchester United winners. More recent examples include Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers, who have been praised for the way they set up their teams at Liverpool and Leicester City respectively.

Managers therefore are quickly praised but equally critics are ready to pounce if things are not quite going to plan. This leads to increased scrutiny on the man in charge and he is more often than not, provided with enough time to turn things around.

Flores for instance was only given 87 days so the window provided is getting shorter for managers to make the desired impact that the clubs fans and owners are looking for.

When asked about the recent pressure that Everton manger, Marco Silva was under, England and Everton’s number one goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford said:

“ A few bad performances should not put the manager under pressure”

Pickford continued:

“ We have to look at ourselves as individuals and as a squad.  You are a team and you win together and you loose together.”

Sacking managers is not always the answer

Pickford has currently had 11 managers throughout his Premier League career to date, since his introduction seven in three seasons at Sunderland, who are now currently in League One and four in the past three seasons at Everton.

Although Silva and his team enjoyed an impressive conclusion to the previous campaign, there is little suggest that Everton will challenge currently for the top six positions that they are looking to break into.

Owners expecting quick results

The influx of money, particularly in the Premier League and the spending power of clubs has changed, particularly in the past few years.

It has become harder for the top clubs to get the players that they want as other teams are under less pressure to sell and want to get the maximum amount for the player in question.

When the high transfer fees are spent, Emery for instance had over 100 million to spend on transfers over the summer, including 70 million on Nicholas Pepe from Lille, both the fans and the owners expect the side to hit the ground running.

If the desired results are not being delivered the boardroom will look for someone to blame. The easiest answer will ultimately always be the person in charge, the manager.

Challenging football schedules

Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp eluded to this matter at the start of November as the German said,

“ Crazy football schedule for international players, there is no time for the manager to work with the players on the training field.”

Sadio Mane, one of Liverpool’s key attackers for instance has only had two weeks break all year round. The league leaders are currently at a start of a run that will see them play 13 matches over a six-week period.

It is therefore a struggle for a new manager or one that is under pressure to implement a new style of play or change tactics for an upcoming game if he does not have enough time to coach the players.

There is also the addition of international tournaments such as this year’s Nations League competition that increases the amount of time that players are away from their club sides.

The demanding schedules lead to the increased chances of injuries to significant players for key games as well as player fatigue that leads to a greater chance of players making mistakes out on the field of play.

Pressures of qualifying for Europe’s elite competitions

All the elite clubs strive to be apart of the Champions League with the prize money seemingly increasing year on year, for this season clubs would have secured roughly 15 million just for reaching the group stage.

This would drive club owners to make knee jerk decisions, especially if their team was not performing on the field.

Media scrutiny on Managers

Finally the media scrutiny on managers in this day and age is enormous.  Particularly for sides such as Manchester United and Liverpool, who have former players as pundits such as Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

They are quick to point out what the manager should and should not do using video technology in their Sky Sports Studio.

The influence of the Video Assistant Referee is also proving to be a game changer this season.

The manager also has to watch what he says in the pre and post match interview. He is ultimately put under the microscope more than any one individual player as he is exposed to the media every week.

If a player has a bad game he can choose to avoid the media and public eye following the match and can always redeem himself the following week.

When it is going well, the manager is quick to be praised by everyone and can supposedly do no wrong.  When things however start to go wrong, fortunes can change very quickly, owners want to see a return on their increased investment and it is on the whole easier for them sack one person rather than wait till the transfer market to sell and sign numerous players. 

 Feel free to give 24/7 your opinion, is too much blame and pressure being put on the manager or head coach?

 

 

Women Super League – 24/7 Football weekly round-up and predictions

Women’s Football Weekend: 16-17thNovember

WSL attendance figures soared as the first ever Women’s football weekend proved a huge success and as the Tottenham co-head coach, Karen Hill expressed,

 “ It shouldn’t be a moment – it should be something that hopefully becomes the norm.”

More than 70,000 attended the six matches on show last weekend that included a Super League record 38,262 fans at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium watching Arsenal’s 2-0 win against North London rivals Tottenham.   This surpassed the previous record that was set on the opening day of the campaign at the Manchester Derby by a further 5,265.

In terms of the League itself after six games played only a point separates the top three of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.

The league leaders, Chelsea secured a 1-0 win against newly promoted Manchester United in front of a sell out 4,790 crowd at the Cherry Record Stadium, thanks to a penalty from Norway defender, Maren Majelde in the 68thminute.

Casey Stoney’s United side were unfortunate not to get anything from the match as their striker, Ella Toone was denied by the woodwork eight minutes from the end.

England’s Georgia Stanway featured heavily in Manchester City’s 5-0 win over West Ham United, the midfielder scored twice but was then sent off in the second half on what was her 100thappearance for the club.

Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool are still searching for their first win of the campaign after slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Merseyside rivals Everton, in the first ever Super League match to be held at Anfield.

A mistake from Liverpool keeper Anke Preuss, who fumbled Lucy Graham’s strike into the goal before half time ultimately proved the difference between the two teams.

Brighton & Hove Albion however were able to secure their first win of the season at the Amex Stadium as they beat Birmingham City 3-0 thanks to two goals from striker, Kayleigh Green.  Bristol City meanwhile twice came back from two goals against Reading at the Madjeski Stadium to draw 3-3.

Preview and Predictions for Week Seven – Sunday November 24th

Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion (12:30pm)

Following Brighton’s first win of the campaign last weekend; the seagulls travel to face Casey Stoney’s Manchester United at the Leigh Sports Village.  Hope Powell’s team have now won their last two games in all competitions, having also won 5-0 against the London Bees in the Continental Tyres Cup on Wednesday and look to have turned a corner after a difficult start to the season.  United however will be determined to bounce back from last weekend’s set back against Chelsea.

Prediction: 2-0 Manchester United

Despite Brighton’s recent upturn in form I think Manchester United played well last week and were unlucky to not get anything. I can see them returning to winning ways in the league.

Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur (12:30pm)

Spurs come into this game having lost back-to-back games against their London rivals, Arsenal and Chelsea in all competitions. Everton meanwhile won a closely fought Merseyside Derby and are one of this season’s surprise packages having won four of their six games in the league so far and are currently sitting fourth.

Prediction: 2-1 Everton

I reckon that the Toffees will maintain their impressive start to the season, Tottenham are currently going through a tricky period and I believe that will continue at Everton’s Haig Avenue.

Bristol City vs Manchester City (12:30pm) – Live on the BBC Red Button and Online

Bristol City is one of two sides in the Super League who have yet to record a victory this season.  Their were however signs that things are started to turn around for them as they showed plenty of character to claim a point at Reading last time out.  Nick Cushing’s City side have been very impressive so far this campaign, despite being knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid last month they have only lost once in the league so far this season.

Prediction: 3-0 Manchester City

Despite an improved display by the West Midlands side in their last match I cannot see them getting anything against one of the leading sides.

Arsenal vs Liverpool (2pm)

The Gunners head into this game in fine form having won five out of their last six matches in all competitions.  Their opponents, Liverpool however are in desperate need of a win having lost three matches and are still to win in the league this season. Vicky Jepson’s side however did play well against their Merseyside rivals last time out that demonstrates a first win might not be too far away.

Prediction: 4-0 Arsenal

Joe Montemurro’s team are on an impressive run and think that will continue against the league’s bottom side.

Birmingham City vs Chelsea (2:45pm) – Live on BT Sport 1

The Midlands side have proved to be a tough nut for the league leaders to crack in recent times. Emma Hayes’ team lost their last league meeting 3-2 back in January of this year at the Cherry Red Record Stadium and they could only draw the corresponding fixture 0-0 last season. Birmingham has however struggled to replicate their form of the last campaign having only managed one win in the league this season against the bottom side, Liverpool.

Prediction: 3-1 Chelsea

I don’t think that Birmingham are playing well enough at the moment to cause the West London side the same problems that they did last season.

West Ham United vs Reading (3pm)

Both of these sides have enjoyed mixed starts to the season so far, the Royals are currently one point and one place ahead of this Sunday’s opponents in seventh.  The Hammers however have won two of the three league meetings between the teams, but the corresponding fixture last season finished 0-0.

Prediction: 1-1 Draw

Both sides are currently struggling for consistency and both managers will think this is a game that they cannot afford to lose.

Another injury blow for City before the Liverpool clash?

Manchester City could be without Ederson going into Sunday’s clash against Premier League leaders Liverpool after the goalkeeper picked up a muscular injury during Wednesday’s match against Atalanta.

The Brazilian shot stopper was substituted at half-time of the Champions League fixture, and was replaced by 36-year-old Claudio Bravo, who was later sent off, forcing right-back Kyle Walker to finish the match in goal.

And City boss Pep Guardiola is unsure whether Ederson will be fit in time for Sunday’s crucial trip to Anfield.

“Honestly, right now, I don’t know.

“It’s a muscular problem. It was not big but [we took him off] to avoid risk. He didn’t feel comfortable in the last minutes and that’s why we decided to make a substitution.”

Manchester City managed to hold out for a 1-1 draw against Atalanta, despite Walker being summoned to play in goal for the final ten minutes.

The visitors got off to a quick start, taking the lead at the San Siro after just seven minutes – a slick passing move slotted home by English superstar Raheem Sterling.

City looked well in control and had the opportunity to double their lead just before half-time having been awarded a penalty, which Gabriel Jesus scuffed wide of the upright – a miss which proved costly, as Mario Pasalic levelled the scores the other side of the break.

Despite City’s continued possession dominance, they were unable to break through their host’s defence, before the game took an unexpected turn. The Blues replacement keeper Bravo was red carded for a challenge on Josip Ilicic, leaving Guardiola with no option but to place an outfield player between the sticks.

Ederson, if unavailable for Sunday’s match, will add to an ever-growing list of injuries for Pep Guardiola to deal with. Long-term absentees Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane remain sidelined, while David Silva, Rodri and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all set the miss out.

City travel to Anfield on Sunday afternoon to face Premier League leaders Liverpool, with kick-off scheduled for 16:30 GMT.

What do you think the outcome will be?

Premier League teams have two wins and two draws on Matchday 4 of Champions League

In Europe’s biggest club tournament, the Premier League has continued to stamp its mark on the event as their teams have shown strong performances through the four matchdays.

Reigning Champions League winners Liverpool defeated Belgian side Genk 2-1 courtesy at Anfield. These two teams had previously faced off against each other during Matchday 3, where Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s two-goal performance helped the Reds to a 4-1 win at Luminus Arena. Jürgen Klopp’s side took the lead in the 14th minute courtesy of a goal from Georginio Wijnaldum but allowed a goal from Mbwana Samatta to have a tied score halftime. Thirteen minutes late, Oxlade-Chamberlain continued his strong string of performances in the tournament with a game-winning goal. Liverpool, who are now in first place of Group E, will host Napoli on November 27 to get revenge after suffering a 2-0 loss at San Paolo Stadium.

Chelsea, who won the most recent edition of the Europa League, hosted a wild battle against Ajax at Stamford Bridge. The visitors, whose fans were not allowed to attend the fixture after crowd trouble in their match against Valencia, got off to a quick start after Tammy Abraham scored an own goal in the second minute, but Jorginho converted a penalty two minutes later. Later, in the 20th minute, Quincy Promes finished a cross from Hakim Ziyech to take the lead and increased the advantage before halftime thanks to an own goal from Kepa Arrizabalaga. Ajax continued to trample the Blues during the second half and had a three-goal lead after Donny van de Beek’s goal in what seemed like an easy victory for the Eredivisie side. However, goals from César Azpilicueta (63’), Jorginho (71’ PEN), and substitute Reece James (74’) helped the Blues tie this match, with Ajax down two center backs after red cards for Daley Blind and Joël Veltman. Frank Lampard’s side, who are second in Group H due to goal differential, will travel to Valencia on November 27 and hope to defeat the La Liga side after falling to them at home.

Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta at the San Siro, but still remain in first place of Group C. City got off to a blazing start after Raheem Sterling, who had a hat trick in a span of 11 minutes the last time these two teams played at Etihad Stadium, scored a goal in the seventh minute. However, four minutes into the second half, Mario Pasalic, who is on loan from Chelsea, scored a header courtesy of a cross from Alejandro Gómez. The game took an interesting turn after subsitute goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who came into the game after Ederson’s injury, was shown a red card in the 81st minute after a slide tackle on Josip Ilicic, causing right back Kyle Walker to step in goal during crunch time. Pep Guardiola’s squad will battle against Shakhtar Donetsk, who are in second for the group, on November 26.

Tottenham, the runners-up in last year’s edition of the tournament, cruised through Crvena zvezda with a 4-0 victory at Rajko Mitic Stadium. The Spurs got on the board in the 34th minute thanks to a goal from Giovani Lo Celso. In the second half, Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min scored two goals in a span of four minutes in his first match since he caused a severe injury to Everton’s André Gomes. Substitute Christian Eriksen sealed the game for the team with a goal in the 85th minute as they stand in second of Group B, behind German giants – Bayern Munich. Mauricio Pochettino will lead his team in a match against Olympiakos on November 26 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, hoping to improve from their 1-1 draw at Karaiskakis Stadium during Matchday 1.

The Premier League has continued to show a strong string of performances in the Champions League, with hopes that they can have a team in the league win the biggest club tournament in Europe.

Which English side will get furthest in this years competition?