John Stones: the next Kompany?


2024703-1170x658While it is hardly a surprise these days to see defenders like Harry Maguire command reported bids worth £100million following noteworthy performances in the world cup, it was hardly the case till recently. Clubs were increasingly hesitant when expected to indulge in big-money deals for defenders who did not enjoy a proven track record with a largely orthodox approach at play.

At the same time, they were more than happy to invest a lion’s share of their finances behind attacking recruits who were considered safe investments in comparison. The underlying belief rested on the misconception that the acquisition of quality attackers had the ability to determine the overall fortunes in the long run, considering their commercial value with the defensive department deemed expendable in nature.

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Is Fernandinho in the mould of Patrick Vieira?


870529256Every football fan worth his salt will be well aware of the significant development that Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles played a key role towards heralding in modern day football. While modern-day football fans were quick to criticise the Frenchman for even the smallest of things during the last few years of his tenure, the game owes much of its current sheen to the exhilarating gameplay which Wenger encouraged despite resistance from the traditionalists.

In the 2003-04 season, Arsenal gave the footballing world a true glimpse into a team which was built on the back of a solid foundation with the defenders more than capable of snuffing out any attack and attackers who could conjure moments of brilliance singlehandedly. The side went on to finish unbeaten in the league throughout the season, emerging as the first outfit to threaten Manchester United’s hegemony.

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Why it is far too early to get carried away by Watford’s form

Watford Troy Deeney

Every year there is a surprise package that picks up more points than expected at the start of a Premier League season, and that team in 2018-19 is Watford.

Javi Gracia’s side were unfancied by most when the transfer window closed in early August, with many pundits tipping them for relegation, but they have far exceeded expectations so far by beating Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Tottenham to start the campaign with four wins from four games.

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EPL Player of the Week – Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Sergio aguero

Much of the talk ahead of Week 2 of the Premier League season surrounded Manchester United and Manchester City, with Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho aiming a dig at last season’s champions following the release of their “disrespectful” ‘All Or Nothing’ documentary series.

After opening-weekend victories for both Manchester sides, United followed up their 2-1 win over Leicester City with a surprising 3-2 defeat away to Brighton, while City continued their impressive start to the campaign by running riot with a 6-1 victory against Huddersfield Town.

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Manchester United should go after Leonardo Bonucci

bonucci-milan-webLast night at 8:00pm Pacific Time, Manchester United faced off against AC Milan in their first match of the International Champions Cup. One thing was painfully noticeable for United: they are in desperate need of a center back.

The pairing of Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling were not up to the task, as the Milan attack caused them problems all evening long. Yes, it was just a preseason friendly and there is still time before the Premier League begins on August 10th; however, the defense is a major question mark for the club and last night provided no reassurances. Jamie Vardy and Leicester City will be knocking on their door at Old Trafford before you know it.  Continue reading

Chelsea’s delayed signing is setting Maurizio Sarri up for failure


Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea has been spoken about so much that it seems like a done deal. Only, it isn’t.

As of now, the facts remain the same: Antonio Conte is the manager of Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri is still employed by Napoli. This remains a problem for all four parties involved. Why? Well Conte is the manager of a club who doesn’t want him. Sarri is employed by a club who has no use for him. Chelsea can’t get their transfer campaign started until this is resolved, and Napoli are paying two coaches to do one job.

At the end of the day, the bigger problem lies with Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri; however, as Conte has a huge buyout clause in his contract and will be paid very well to walk away. Napoli also have their coach in place and have begun signing new players, therefore, they are not affected by Sarri still being on the books.  Continue reading

Ross Barkley’s and Chelsea’s Future Prospects

Ross Barkley arrived in Chelsea at a time when many fans had doubts about the club’s recruitment strategy and his signing is often given as an example to everything that is wrong about the Blues’ transfer policy. He was talented, but never really fulfilled his potential, is injury prone and spends more time on the treatment table than on the pitch and is said to lack in football intelligence.

However, there was one thing that he had going for him and that was his contract which was running out and Chelsea managed to snap him up on the cheap. This has been a recurring theme for Chelsea recently as they have been wheeling and dealing mediocre players, but the benefits of this policy are yet to be seen.

Betting enthusiasts have already sensed an opportunity in Chelsea’s transfer policy and are already backing them to miss out on the Top 4 for the foreseeable future and go into a steady decline. Betting Strategies such as this one may not always be an accurate method of assessment of whether a club’s policy is faulty or not, but the fact that many punters are writing the Blues off is indicative of a club which is falling from grace.

Let’s see how Ross Barkley’s future prospects at Chelsea are closely tied to the club’s future fortunes and how his career path closely resembles the path that Chelsea are on at the moment.

Poor Decision Making

Ross Barkley has never been known as a good decision maker and Everton fans often held it against him that he’d made the wrong decision at a crucial point in the game. As Graeme Souness once said in an interview, Ross Barkley runs with the ball when he should pass it and passes the ball when he should run with it.

Leon Osman, a former teammate of Barkley, had a similar indictment about Barkley and said that it was a pity that the once hugely talented player hasn’t really kicked on by now and that the fact that he has been playing first team football ever since he was 17 should have shown in his game by now.

Chelsea’s decision making has been equally bad recently as they have gone for mediocre, but cheap players in a market in which players such as Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku where readily available.

Instead, they went for average players such as Davide Zappacosta, Olivier Giroud and our very own Ross Barkley, so the chances that the Blues’ fortunes will resemble Barkley’s career path are very high.

Poorly Arranged Marriage of Convenience

Ross Barkley and Chelsea seem to be tied in a dysfunctional marriage of convenience in which neither side seems to know what the purpose of the other partner is. Chelsea have acquired a player whose value will only drop if he stays on the treatment table and Barkley should have found himself another club if he wanted to play a regular role in a title winning side. In a way, Chelsea and Barkley are dragging themselves down.

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Iborra’s season ending injury not enough to dampen strong first year with Leicester


Joining Leicester City in the summer having been a part of a Sevilla side that won three consecutive Europa League titles, plus captained the Andalusian side at times, Vicente Iborra’s leadership and experience has seen him enjoy a fine first season with the Foxes. Continue reading