Quickfire EPL Season Review Part 1


United ended the season in triumph.

So another Premier League season has come to a close, and it was one of the most closely contested in recent years. The quality may not have been the best – at least not at the top – but a pretty epic relegation battle has nevertheless seen three decent sides condemned to the Championship. So how will each team look back on this season? For a full account, you’d have to ask a fan of each club, but here’s a quickfire review of how I see the top ten – the bottom half follows later.

1. Manchester United (P38, W23, D11, L4, F78, A37, Pts80)
Well, a season in which you end up as champions can only really be called a success, but it will have hurt to end by being outclassed by Barca at Wembley and United weren’t as imperious as you’d expect of the leagye winners this season, so Sir Alex will know that he has a busy summer ahead of him if United are to improve and ensure they can remain on top next season.

Click through for the rest of the top ten…


“All I want for Christmas is…”


What will Premier League managers be asking for this Christmas?

So, the festive season is well and truly upon us, football matches are falling foul of the weather and it’s even snowing on They Think It’s All Over… However, to help myself find some Christmas spirit – something that’s hard to come by in this part of the world due to the sun shining all over the place – I’ve decided to try and think what a few Premier League managers will be hoping for from Santa Claus come Christmas Eve.

Some managers have had a good start to the season, others not so good, but the success or failure of their team come May could well depend on one little addition to a squad, or hanging on to someone in the transfer window, or steering clear of injuries. So who are three managers most in need of a little Christmas magic?

Click through to find out…

Who will win the Premier League? (Part 1)


Who will emulate Chelsea's success from last season?

Less than a week to go until the Premier League gets under way for the 2010/11 season, and things are shaping up nicely. Starting at the bottom, Newcastle and WBA are familiar faces back for another crack at the Premiership while last season’s bottom half strugglers will hope Blackpool are the minnows they appear to be. At the other end of the table, the ‘big four’ seems to be disbanding – do we now have a big eight or a top two/three with six/five teams close behind? Only time will tell.

The big question at the start of every season though, is who will be champions come May next year? It’s a very difficult question to answer – as proved last season when many “top” pundits couldn’t look past Liverpool who had a woeful season. I myself – without sounding too smug – got it spot on last year, predicting Chelsea would finish top of the pile in my Season Preview. Can I repeat the trick this time around?

Read on and find out my prediction…

Well done The FA, Pompey don’t deserve Europe.


The 2008 FA Cup winning Portsmouth team: ill gotten gains?

Now that Everton have finished 8th in the Premier League and will not be playing Europa League football next season I can comment, without accusations of bias, on the decision to prevent Portsmouth from being allowed to compete in Europe despite reaching the Cup Final. The decision means that whoever finishes 7th in the Premier League will take that Europa spot instead of the South Coast club and I have to applaud the FA’s decision on that front.

I’ve got nothing against Portsmouth, despite previous posts to this website where I’ve suggested that it would be good for them to be relegated (so as to relieve themselves of the mercenary remnants of Redknapp’s reign and start over). But as a club, I’m ambivalent towards Portsmouth, I certainly don’t want them to go bust but I shan’t miss watching them play. I’m also full of admiration for the job that Avram Grant has done since taking over, but despite his dignified slowing of their inevitable free fall, they don’t deserve a European adventure next season.

Click through to find out why…

Why Chelsea MUST spend in January.


"Carlo wants you!" But does he?

It seems weird really that Chelsea now look somewhat unlikely to spend money in the upcoming transfer window when since Roman Abramovich took over the club, they seem to have done little else. But Carlo Ancelotti has repeatedly asserted that he is happy with his squad and won’t be dipping into the transfer market come January, despite repeated rumours of interest in everyone from Rodwell to Aguero.

And while I admire Ancelotti’s faith in his current squad and certainly agree that the club will benefit from a degree of stability in terms of playing staff, I think that it is crucial for Chelsea’s short and long-term prospects that Ancelotti strengthens his squad in the new year. This belief is inspired by several factors, some of them obvious and some of them arguably less so after their start to the season but I think that if Chelsea are to maintain their assault on the summit of English football, they must spend in January.

Click through to find out why…

Are the ‘big four’ crumbling?


Chelsea's defence undone for a third time by Everton: are they crumbling?

Last week Manchester City came from behind to beat Chelsea by two goals to one and many a football pundit saw that as proof that, despite all the draws and flattering to deceive, the Eastlands Billionaires could be a real threat to the ‘big four’ this season. Thus, after Everton’s injury-decimated side also matched Chelsea with a 3-3 draw yesterday, the same logic could be used to suggest that my beloved Toffees too, could realistically hope to breach the big four this season.

Such logic is clearly flawed though, because even as an Evertonian I’m realistic enough to know that we pose no threat to the Champions League spots and City’s inability to beat Bolton yesterday has seemingly confirmed that they too lack the necessary consistency to ‘break’ the top four. However, I still think we may see an unfamiliar team near the summit of the Premier League this season, considering Chelsea’s recent stutters alongside those of the other ‘big four’ clubs, it could be argued that they are not as untouchable as they have been in recent seasons.

Click through for the full article…

‘Respect the Fans’ Campaign


Not all Evertonians were as lucky as this lot...

Not all Evertonians were as lucky as this lot...

Back in April when the ticket allocations for the 2009 FA Cup Final between Everton and Chelsea were announced, I wrote a post about the idiocy of the FA. This was because they gave Everton and Chelsea each 25,000 tickets to the game while giving the remaining 40,000 to members of the FA’s Football Family. This, frankly, was ridiculous and unfair because it meant that some of the hardcore season ticket holders of both clubs would miss out on seeing their club in the biggest domestic cup final in world sport.

And it’s not a new thing either. For years the FA has been giving far too many tickets to its pals and forcing fans of the clubs who are actually involved in the matches at Wembley to buy tickets at extortionate prices through ticket touts, which is where many of those 40,000 tickets will have ended up. As I mentioned, I wrote about this back in April and you can find the article here, but I’ve just come across the ‘Respect the Fans‘ campaign which is well worth your attention and your support.

Click through to find out more about the campaign…