Tag Archives: Wembley

Elite in Premiership could miss out in next seasons Football League Cup

After a delay of three months with the return of the Premiership, there are already people in the football world looking ahead to next season, as and when it will eventually commence.

One hotly debated topic on the agenda will certainly be what is eventually going to happen to cup competitions. With this in mind the League Cup- currently known as the Carabao Cup- could well see the top seven sides from the Premiership missing from the competition.

Due to what is anticipated to be a fixture pile up next season for teams involved in European competitions this could well see the League Cup played without the cream of the Premiership.

It was confirmed only this week that the Champions League and Europa League schedules will run into August, meaning involved teams won’t be able to play League Cup ties as things stand, with the EFL considering a change for the competition.

There are a couple of other possibilities that potentially could be considered. The first would be to do away with the competition for a season.  That would, however, cause financial damage to lower league sides who are already facing a very uncertain future.

Alternately, the EFL could decided on allowing the Premiership sides a chance to play their youth sides- something that Liverpool did against Everton earlier on this season, which didn’t go down well.  Surely, however, that idea would devalue a competition which has lost its appeal for the past few seasons.

In my opinion, I certainly like the idea of the top seven Premiership sides not playing in the Cup next season. This would at least give some club outside Manchester a better chance of cup glory. In six of the last seven seasons the Cup has been won by either City or United, so for footballs sake it would be wonderful to see somebody else raise the cup at Wembley.

In fairness to most of the Premiership sides, well certainly the top eight and sides fighting off relegation-the league cup has always been a distraction for them.

Some people may say that if it does come down to the top seven in the Premiership not being invited to feature in next seasons competition, the League Cup won’t be the same. As I mentioned earlier, this would give a glorious chance to either a lower ranked Premiership side, a club from the Championship or for a wonderful story. How about a lower league club getting to Wembley and lifting the trophy? The money earned from this experience would benefit these clubs more than the Premiership boys and would be something in the history of the club that they will be remembered by, and stay with them for many years.

Manchester United warn of long-term economic effect of COVID-19 virus

On this day 21 years ago, ITV’s Clive Tyldesley uttered those famous words in Barcelona:

“Sheringham and Solskjaer has won it!  Manchester United have won it.”

Subsequently, The Red Devils lifted the Champions League for only the second time in their history, in so doing they completed the famous 1999 treble consisting of the Premier League, FA Cup and the prestigious European Trophy.

Fast-forward to the here and now, Manchester United has forecast that annual revenue would fall for the first time in five years after its failure to qualify for this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Manchester United say the coronavirus pandemic has cost them an initial £28 million – and expect the final figure to be far higher.

Manchester United’s Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said:

“Our third-quarter results reflect a partial impact that the pandemic has had on the club but the greater impact will be in the current quarter and likely beyond.

“These are unprecedented times and we must recognise that this crisis will not disappear overnight.

“However, our club is built on a solid foundation. We remain firmly optimistic about the long-term prospects for the club once we have worked our way through what is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary and testing periods in the 142-year history of Manchester United.”

United, however, do have history of coming back from adverse situations, most notably the Munich air disaster that affected Sir Matt Busby’s ‘Busby Babes’ in 1958.

One of the clubs best ever a player at the time, Duncan Edwards, was among them.  That year they would go onto to some how make the FA Cup final and just 12 years after that fatal incident they would lift their first European Trophy in 1968.

Chief financial officer, Cliff Baty, estimated the lockdown cost United £23 million in the final two weeks of March because of the postponement of one Premier League away fixture (worth four million pounds at Tottenham Hotspur), a home Europa League last-16 tie against LASK (Linzer Athletik- Sport- Klub), the FA Cup quarter-final at Norwich City, broadcasting reductions plus the closure of the Old Trafford megastore, Red Cafe and United Events.

The managing director, Richard Arnold, said:

“The economic ramifications from this global pandemic will continue to resonate for years to come, but we remain optimistic about the long-term outlook for the sponsorship business and our ability to remain a leader within the market.”

United are also waiting on the Football Association to make some crucial decisions that could have a big impact on their interim future.

The Football Association will remain determined to get the FA Cup, which is up to the quarter-final stage, played.

Wembley Way is quiet due to the current crisis. If the FA Cup does get back up and running this season then Wembley Way will still be silent when the final is played. The idea of football returning without fans and an empty stadium will be a quite a different feeling for the players.

That might be as good a reason as any to cancel it. Will winning the FA Cup when no fans are there to celebrate really feel like winning the FA Cup at all?

For now United’s teams are waiting to hear how their chances of lifting a trophy this season are going to be affected by football’s new terrain.

Article written by Subeer Suri

Friendly International: England vs Germany

Match Preview – Kick-Off 5:30pm Wembley

England’s women are aiming to put their recent poor form behind them by securing a first win on home soil against the two-time World Champions, Germany.

Saturday’s friendly at Wembley Stadium could see a record attendance for a women’s match in the UK with the 90,000 stadium expecting to be a sell out.

The FA will also use this fixture as an opportunity to honour former England women footballers at England’s home of football, where they never got a chance to play on. These players are expected to include former England Captain and current Manchester United Manager, Casey Stoney.

Previous Meetings

The Germans have largely dominated the rivalry between these two sides.  There have been 25 meetings in total and the Lionesses have lost 20 of them.

In the past four years however there has certainly been cause for optimism as England defeated Germany for the first time in a World Cup Third place playoff match 1-0 in Canada.

Phil Neville’s team have also achieved two draws in the past four years against Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side including a 2-2 draw in the SheBelieves Cup back in March 2018.

Form of both teams

Post the World Cup England’s form has dipped.  Since their Third-place playoff defeat to Sweden Phil Neville’s side drew with Belgium 3-3, having at one point been 2-0 ahead mid way through the first half.  England subsequently lost back-to-back matches 2-1 to both Norway and Brazil.    They did however return to winning ways against Portugal last time out, on October 8th, thanks to a goal from Arsenal’s Beth Mead.

The German’s form by contrast has been formidable, since their World Cup Quarter-final loss to Sweden.   They have scored 31 goals already in their four European Qualifying games including a 10-0 win against Montenegro at the end of August.

Team News and Players to watch

England welcome back star forward Ellen White – who shared the golden boot with Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, scoring six goals.  They will however be without Chelsea’s playmaker Fran Kirby and centre back Millie Bright through injury.  Other key players such as Jill Scott, Toni Duggan and Georgia Stanway will also be unavailable due to various injury problems.

The Lionesses will have to keep an eye on Freiburg’s Klara Buhl. The young forward has scored 6 goals in four matches in Germany’s Euro campaign, including a hat trick against Ukraine back in October.

Lyon’s Dzsenifer Marozsan is also regarded as an important player for this German side.  Marozsan has scored 32 goals in 96 appearances for the national team and has consistently proved to be one of the best playmakers in the women’s game over the past few years.

Key Stats

  • The first match between the two sides was played in 1984
  • England achieved their first draw with Germany in January 2007 – a goalless draw played in China.
  • Germany won the last match at Wembley 3-0 against England back in November 2014 in front of a then record crowd of 45,619.
  • Germany has won eight European Championships – six of those titles were achieved between 1995-2013 before World Cup runners-up, The Netherlands broke that dominance by winning the title in 2017.

Prediction

England 1-3 Germany

Can see a similar result to that of 2014 – the Lionesses still have a few important players missing and Germany’s form particularly in the past few months has been exceptional.

 

 

Should we have a winter break in England?

It has been announced that the FA and the Premier League have agreed to have a two-week winter break in February of the 2019/20 season.

All of the other top leagues: Spanish, French, German, Italian, even Scottish have a winter break. So surely this is a step forward for English football?

Well, all that can be seen from this decision is that the English game is losing its heritage and tradition.

It maybe a stupid or a tiny tradition, or not even a tradition, just a thing that hasn’t changed, but it’s our little tradition.

Pep Guardiola said it was killing the players not having a winter break and José Mourinho says it is why English clubs don’t win the Champions League.

But the Champions League is a competition in which English clubs have the second best winning record behind Spain, a country from which only two clubs have won, whereas five English clubs have.

Pep may be one of, if not the best manager at the top level of European football. However, this isn’t the only time he has spoken out against the English game and its traditions.

Guardiola’s Barcelona and the rest of La Liga, their style of play tradition is passing from the back, keeping the ball, etc etc.

However, the English tradition in football is to two-foot the person with the ball and the crowd go mental for it. But Pep, not so much.

If a foreign player wants to play in England, they need to get used to a snowy St James’ Park and brace themselves for the tackles flying in.

And it isn’t even like the introduction of a winter break will have positives for fans to make the game more interactive with supporters.

The FA Cup Fifth Round is to be played midweek. So forget about the Plymouth Argyle fans who are drawn away at Newcastle, because English traditions need to be destroyed and a winter break is necessary for that.

The top bosses in football don’t ask themselves “Fans don’t see the FA Cup as beautiful and magical as what it was, I wonder why?”

It’s got nothing to do with the fact that the rules keep changing: moving the semi-final to Wembley, picking which rounds they want replays for, making games midweek and not putting fans first.

Also, Premier League clubs will have two weeks minimum without a match. There’s already enough stick on social media and everywhere when everyone only has England to watch, never mind no football at all.

So, the winter break is likely to be introduced in the 2019/20 season. It may be a good thing, it may not be. Only time will tell. (It’s not, it’s definitely not).

Three players key to Derby County securing a play off spot

Derby County have been there or thereabouts for the past few seasons, but have failed to make that final step towards promotion. Gary Rowett has taken the side to fifth in the League, and in the process, restored hope among the Rams’ fans that this may finally be there year. But who are the key players spearheading their promotion push?

Matej Vydra- Vydra has been an inconsistent player throughout his young career, twice enjoying fantastic goal-scoring seasons in the Championship with Watford, but failing to perform during spells at Reading and West Brom. Luckily for Derby this season, Vydra is back to his best, with 17 league goals making him the joint top scorer in the division. Vydra has the experience of gaining promotion during his time at Watford, and that experience could be vital for Derby’s hopes this term.

Tom Huddlestone- The England International raised a few eyebrows when he left the Premier League to join Derby in January 2017. But with Hull now fighting a relegation battle in the Championship, after their relegation from the Premier League last year, it looks like Huddlestone made the right decision. The experienced midfielder has played a vital role in the engine room at Derby and has often been deployed in a holding midfield role in Gary Rowett’s 4-2-3-1 system.

Scott Carson- Carson is enjoying a great season with Derby, and is starting to restore his reputation that was damaged heavily by his England days. Carson has helped his side to 16 clean sheets this season and is a key part of one of the better defences in the league. His great form was rewarded with the Championship player of the month for December,  after conceding one goal in six games and helping his side to 16 points. Carson is another player who has experience of promotion from this league, and his clean sheets could prove the difference between another near miss, and the promised land of the top flight.