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…


Premiership Conclusions


You might well say it’s a bit early to be drawing conclusions from this weekend’s Premier League action given that there’s still plenty of fixtures to be played tomorrow and Monday, but I think we can safely say that Saturday’s action both on and off the pitch has given us plenty to be discuss to be going on with. Plus, tomorrow is likely to be both my last day with an internet connection for some while and very busy, so there’s no time like the present.

To business at hand then and as I said yesterday, this season’s Premier League action is proving to be nigh on impossible to predict. We’ve now had two weekends full of surprise results and the established order that has developed over so many years seems to be quickly unravelling. It’s hard to know what to make of it at times but I think at least some conclusions can be cautiously made.

Click through to find out what they are…

Life after Capello: O’Neill for the top job?


Would O'Neill be a good successor to Fabio Capello for England?

Fabio Capello was yesterday honoured by the BBC as the Sports Personality Coach of the Year and that’s testament to what really has been an impressive transformation of England’s fortunes by the Italian. However, Capello has previously suggested that this will be his last job in management whether or not he wins the World Cup and so, while I remain full of hope that his reign will end on a high, I today had my thoughts turned towards possible successors.

Watching a replay of Aston Villa’s momentous triumph over Manchester United on Saturday evening I was really impressed by Aston Villa’s performance and the way in which they took the game to the Champions. Most incredibly though, was that aside from Brad Friedel and Stylian Petrov, the entire starting lineup was British, and (from memory) seven of them actually English. I couldn’t help thinking upon this realisation – and my apologies to Villa fans here – that Martin O’Neill would be the perfect successor to Fabio Capello.

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…

Premiership Conclusions


Premiership Conclusions

1. Draws Galore
Despite what some people might say, there’s nothing innately boring about a sports match ending in a draw. While I’ve heard many arguments for penalties to decide league matches as well as many even worse ideas, a good hard fought draw between two evenly matched sides can be a great sporting spectacle. However, it had seemed so far this season, that the draw may have been on its way out, as in the first seven ’rounds’ of this season (i.e. before this weekend) there had been only four drawn fixtures.

However, it seems that this had created some sort of draw surplus in the warehouse where all of the results are stored and this weekend they were dished out liberally – doubling the amount of draws for the season in one round of games as Bolton-Spurs, United-Sunderland, West Ham-Fulham and Everton-Stoke all drew their matches while in the Championship the top three sides all drew, as did League One high-flyers Leeds and Charlton amongst others.

Click through to find out why the draws are back and for more Premier League conclusions…

Be Quiet Wayne: Claiming Sainthood just makes you a Sinner.


Wayne Rooney: clearly a hypocrite.

Wayne Rooney: clearly a hypocrite.

So on Thursday, despite the entire nation seeing him blatantly dive to win a penalty against Arsenal at Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney insisted that he is an “honest player” who doesn’t deliberately try to deceive the referees to win penalties. A few days later, Rooney – this time in an England shirt – again tumbled to the ground unnecessarily, appealed to the referee and was awarded a penalty. Rooney certainly isn’t the saint he claims to be, mainly because of his own hypocrisy.

And this is what really rankles with me. While I despise players for diving in football, and I think it’s a dishonest and shameful thing to do, I fully understand why they do it. The gain from diving for a penalty is enormous, and the chances of pulling it off in today’s game are very high. It’s no surprise that players do it and we all know that it goes on. The blame for that lies with those who haven’t been forceful enough in stamping it out, but when Rooney makes such hypocritical claims, he makes himself look stupid.

Click through to find out why…

Premiership Conclusions


Premiership Conclusions
A controversial victory for Manchester United was perhaps the talking point of this weekend’s Premier League action, but there was plenty more to keep us entertained too. Chelsea strolled to victory while Liverpool struggled, Everton got off the mark and Villa continued their Jekyll & Hyde start while Bolton, Portsmouth and Blackburn remain win-less. What did you make of the weekend’s action? Here are a few of my conclusions.

1. It’s gonna’ be another controversial season.
The match between Manchester United saw one of the most shambolic refereeing performances I’ve seen for quite some time, with two penalty decisions made incorrectly, and Arsene Wenger shambolically sent from the stands – sort of. With Eduardo’s diving exploits in midweek, Rooney too will surely come under some scrutiny while Eboue was caught clearly trying to cheat the referee.

Click through for more of this and two more conclusions…