FA Cup Final Focus: Manchester City


Can Tevez be for City what Ferguson is for Everton?

Even before I tuned into watch Everton play Man City last week, I knew Everton would win. I’d known since it had been revealed that Duncan Ferguson would be making his return to Goodison Park before the game. The big man is a true Everton legend, an icon who represents the commitment and passion that epitomises the club. In dark times, Duncan was our hero, he helped keep our heads above the water.

And Man City, in their current guise, don’t have that. It’s the reason why Everton have got such a hoodoo over them in recent seasons (we’ve beaten them in seven of our last eight meetings) and why City’s undeniable wealth of talent has not yet been transformed into the sort of genuine success, you know: the glittery silvery kind, that all their lavish spending surely demands. Is today the day that changes?

Click through to find out…


FA Cup Final Focus: Stoke City


Pulis has transformed Stoke this season, can he finish it in style?

I wrote a guest blog, back in early November, where I suggested that Stoke were coming a little bit unstuck because Tony Pulis was attempting to take them away from their tried, trusted and maligned formula of direct football. Looking back now, it’s easy to think I was talking nonsense – Stoke are preparing to compete in the FA Cup Final today, and they sit a very comfortable 8th in the Premier League.

But back when I wrote that, Stoke had made a pretty average start to the season and you could really see them struggling to retain the Premier League status they had fought to retain, almost literally, for two seasons before this campaign. Pulis spent some decent money in the summer, bringing in some talented players who somewhat broke the mould of what we’d come to expect from Stoke City previously.

Click through for the full article…

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…

Carlos “Bosman” Tevez: Is he a free agent?


Another Tevez saga beckons, and the man himself could throw the toys out of Uniteds pram.

Another Tevez saga beckons, and the man himself could throw the toys out of United's pram.

That’s right loyal readers, another transfer window is trundling ever closer towards us and so, naturally, a new saga surrounding the future of Carlos Tevez is blowing up. The Argentinian remains in good form and a crowd favourite at Old Trafford, but Alex Ferguson remains resistant to the idea of paying thirty-two million pounds to secure his services full time, perhaps justified given that he is often selected amongst the substitutes.

However, whichever way you feel about the relative merits of Tevez and Berbatov, you have to admire United’s nerve, if some newspaper reports are on the money. Those respected journalists over at The Sun reckon that United are cooking up a plot to sign Tevez on a free transfer, in an attempt to use the complicated situation whereby he is ‘owned’ by investment company MSI to their advantage. If it comes off, it will be one hell of a coup, but I have a sneaky feeling it could backfire on them…

Click through to find out why…

Everton 1-2 Manchester City: Match Reaction

I reckon Jags was feeling even worse than me after Saturdays game.

I reckon Jags was feeling even worse than me after Saturday's game.

After watching Manchester City overcome my beloved but fatigued Everton side yesterday morning and, even worse, seeing Phil Jagielka stretchered out of our season to join Mikel Arteta, Yakubu and Victor Anichebe on the ‘out for the season’ list, I had plotted to write an article about the injustice of it all. Unfortunately I spent all day yesterday travelling back to Wellington and all day today doing Uni work slash being at Uni, and the bitterness that fuelled my intentions has now decayed to a miserable acceptance that we couldn’t go on forever with so many games and such a slim squad (four season ending injuries – FOUR!).

So instead of the inevitable fiery and angry post that would have appeared had I written it yesterday, click through below to see a short summary of my main reactions to Everton’s defeat at Manchester City, and a really amusing football related web-comic that I stumbled across before. It actually made me laugh despite the rather disgusting living conditions to which I am now returned (there are numerous things growing in the kitchen) and the fact that it has been raining for two days straight.

Go on, click on through…

Premiership Predictions



Portsmouth vs. Everton
Last week Portsmouth and Middlesbrough played out a draw that did neither side much good, and they’ll see it as an opportunity missed. Pompey’s game against Everton today should be much tougher, but the Toffees will not be taking their trip lightly as they know that they face a team scrapping for their survival, and that can bring out the best in some teams. Everton’s injury list continues to hamper them with Yobo the latest to squeeze into the treatment room, with Tony Hibbert and Tim Cahill also nursing knocks. Who knows how Moyes will squeeze a side together, but so far this season they have kept producing results and I believe they may repeat the trick again today. It’ll be a battle though.
Prediction: 1-2.

Blackburn Rovers vs. West Ham United
West Ham sit pretty in seventh in the Premier League and can look at Blackburn’s perilous position with smug glee all over their faces: it could so easily have been them. Zola has worked his magic, but this will be a tough trip for the little Italian’s side. They’re starting to pick up some end-of-season niggles as the season catches up with them and they may not fancy it today against a physical Rovers side. Allardyce will have his team fired up for their scrap for survival and home games will be the key. They will want to make the most of a home advantage and will probably outfight the Hammers today.
Prediction: 1-0.

Click through for all of this week’s predictions…

Fair Play: A European Adventure

Man City: taking advantage of UEFA's stupidity.

Man City: taking advantage of UEFA's stupidity.

Man City overcame AaB Aalborg on penalties yesterday after slumping to a 2-0 defeat in the second leg. The club-formerly-known as a yo-yo club and now derided for being the World’s Richest Club came very close to being Eliminated from the UEFA Cup, and indeed any travelling fans must have thought they’d blown it when Evans conceded a late penalty. But it is a wonder they are there at all, when you think about it.

Manchester City were, according to the final Premier League table, the 9th best team in English football last season. The ‘big four’ took the four Champions League places, Everton and Villa finished 5th and 6th respectively, qualifying for the UEFA Cup, and Portsmouth won the FA Cup (and finished 8th) to secure their passage in European competition. Blackburn Rovers, who finished 7th in the Premier League last season, didn’t qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Click through for the full article…