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…


Guest Blog: It’s Silly Season in the Premier League.


Today I bring you a guest blog that I wrote for World Football Commentaries which responds to the recent sacking of Chris Hughton from Newcastle and Sam Allardyce from Blackburn. It’s that time of year again where managerial casualties always tend to come thick and fast, and this article looks at why that is, and whether the decisions by the owners of those two clubs to wield the managerial axe were at all justified.

Click on through to check it out…

Guest Blog: The Wrong Man


Today I bring you a guest blog that I wrote for SoccerPro and World Football Commentaries in reaction to England’s disappointing 0-0 draw with Montenegro last week. England’s poor current form is one thing, but the fact that the FA is persisting with Fabio Capello promises nothing but future heart break for England fans at major tournaments, and if they don’t change things soon by appointing someone more suitable, English football’s years of hurt will continue to mount up.

Click through to find out why…

Naughty or Nice: Premier League Managers’ Wishlists (Part Two)


It's 12.25am, I don't have the time or energy to make a new image!

Yesterday saw me run through the likely Christmas wishes of the first ten Premier League managers (alphabetically, by club), assessing what they’ll be hoping for in the second half of the season and whether or not they’re likely to get it. It’s mostly a bit of light hearted Christmas fun, but there’s a fair bit of serious information in there anyway (at least, there’s supposed to be). For yesterday’s first part, click here; for the second part…

Just click on through…

Naughty or Nice: Premier League Managers’ Wishlists (Part One)


Will Santa bring these managers what they want?

With Christmas just around the corner (which I’ve only just remembered, due to the inclement Christmas weather here in New Zealand, i.e. constant sunshine; and a familial housing disaster quickly developing) we’ve doubtless all turned our thoughts to what we’d like Santa to leave under the tree (don’t ruin the magic!). The twenty managers of the Premier League will be no different, but from a footballing perspective what do they most want Santa to bring them for the second half of the season? And are they likely to get it?

Click through to find out…

‘Silly Season’ is here: Who’s for the sack?


Brown, Benitez & Hart.

Who is the odd one out? And who will go first?

Well everyone, November is upon us which means that that most wonderful time of year when we all revert to the young children inside of us, put up lots of flashing lights and eat and drink far too much is nearly upon us. However, though Christmas may still be fifty days away (doesn’t sound like much does it?), football’s very own silly season is already here. November will be a month that will have a lasting effect on the outcome of this season’s Premier League.

I call this football’s ‘silly season’ because for some reason everyone involved in the game places a lot of emphasis on where their club is at Christmas. If you’re bottom of the league at Christmas you’re all but down, whereas if you’re in touch with the leaders, you’re in with a shout for a winner’s medal. This means that if things aren’t going quite to plan by mid-late November, heads will almost certainly role, giving the new man just enough time to rectify things ahead of the Christmas snapshot. So, who will be the first casualty this year?

Click through to assess the contenders…

For Pompey’s sake, Paul Hart must go.

These are testing times for Paul Hart at Portsmouth.

These are testing times for Paul Hart at Portsmouth.

So yesterday’s Premier League action went pretty much according to script for the most part, with shock of the round perhaps going to Burnley who beat Sunderland – who’ve had a very promising start – by three goals to one at Turf Moor. Probably the most significant result of the day though, was from Villa Park where Portsmouth succumbed to their sixth defeat out of six so far this season. Things really do look grim for the South Coasters.

In fact, things are so grim that despite the season being only six games old, the Eurosports wrap up that I saw on Sky Sports 3 before actually said that “Aston Villa secured a 2-0 win over relegation-bound Portsmouth at Villa Park…” before going on to name the scorers and show the (lovely) finish from Agbonlahor. And that’s the trouble, looking at Pompey at the moment, there’s very little if about it. Relegation seems like a when for them at the moment, so something has to change.

So is it time for Paul Hart to go? Click through to find out…