Archive for the ‘English Premier League’ Category

Chelsea fancied to put a dent in Manchester United’s title hopes

Premier League recap: Manchester United’s defensive shambles costs them dearly at Brighton

What to watch when the World Cup is over

Wantaway Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho should learn from Luis Suarez case

Despite a lack of new faces arriving at Anfield this summer, the majority of Liverpool fans are counting down the days until the end of the transfer window.

The Reds have been faced with a familiar situation over the last month, as their star man has been actively pursued by Barcelona and the player wants to leave.

Liverpool have made it painstakingly clear that they want to hold onto Philippe Coutinho and have proved it by rejecting astronomical offers from the Catalans for his services.

With the window closing in less than a week, the situation looks set to reach a crescendo in coming days, with soccer tips at OddsDigger suggesting the Brazilian could replace Neymar at Camp Nou.

The most-frustrating thing for the Liverpool fans will be the fact that Coutinho has been so vocal in the recent past stating that he is happy at Liverpool, loves living in the city and that he cherishes being one of the main players in Jurgen Klopp’s side.

To turn this on its head and hand in a transfer request will be disappointing for the Kop regulars, while the threat that the attacking midfielder could express his disgruntlement in the press remains a possibility.

Despite being caught in an unenviable position, Liverpool should be praised for their fortitude in the face of adversity, bucking a growing trend of player power in professional football.

The Reds have a track record of winning out in these types of situations.

In the summer of 2013 Liverpool found themselves up against a wall again, with Luis Suarez making his intention to leave Anfield clear.

The Merseyside outfit had not qualified for the Champions League the previous season and the Uruguay international stated in the press, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted to leave.

Despite a reported offer from Arsenal and plenty of other top-notch clubs as suitors, Liverpool would not be moved and maintained that Suarez was staying at Anfield.

While they had to ride it out until the end of the transfer window, once the opportunity for the South American to get his desired move had passed, the former Ajax man was forced into coming back to the party or risk rotting away in the reserves.

Suarez spearheaded Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge in the resulting 2013-14 campaign, scoring an incredible 31 goals in 33 games in a season that the Reds should really have become English champions.

At the end of the season, the Uruguayan got his move to Barcelona and the Reds received a much-more appealing fee than they would have 12 months earlier.

Given the reported sums of money that Liverpool have rejected this time round, with Klopp saying he is not for sale, Coutinho needs to accept that he is not going anywhere this summer.

Free betting tips should be used before betting on transfer markets, but the smart money is on the former Inter Milan player still being in Klopp’s squad come September 1.

He has a long-term contract at the Merseyside club, who do not want to sell him, and throwing a tantrum in the media would only alienate him to the Reds fans that adore him.

And, at the end of it all, like Suarez, Coutinho will be forced to come grovelling back hat in hand if he wants to play Premier League and Champions League football for Liverpool this season.

The post Wantaway Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho should learn from Luis Suarez case appeared first on World Soccer Talk.

Can English teams restore some pride in Europe?

The Champions League was especially exciting this year, with a great final that saw Cristiano Ronaldo’s selfish goal-fest and over the top celebrations eclipsed by an absolute wondergoal from Mario Mandzukic. The only drawback with the tournament is the shocking performance by English sides, with brave little Leicester flying the flag into the quarter-finals. Manchester City should have done a lot better against a plucky Monaco side and Tottenham were relegated to the Europa League, not even making it out of their group.

With five teams in Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham all qualifying this year and plenty of investment into all five teams looking likely over the summer, it certainly seems that the odds of an English club standing a chance of winning should be much higher this time around.

Although their group was a lot tougher than the other English sides in the tournament, perhaps excluding Leicester, Spurs only managed to beat CSKA Monaco in both legs, not enough to edge out either Bayer Leverkusen or dark horses Monaco.

Although Arsenal looked a lot better, their group wasn’t exactly challenging. Their reward was a knockout phase fixture against German Champions Bayern Munich. For those that didn’t see either the home or away fixture, the word ‘demolition’ is most apt. The first leg saw the Gunners facing Bayern at the Allianz Arena, a daunting stadium even during meaningless games. Bayern ran rampant, putting five past Arsenal. A single goal from Alexis Sanchez saved total embarrassment and all eyes were on Wenger’s tactics to see how he could stop the Bavarian train from brushing them aside just as easily at the Emirates. And it was all going ok, especially when Theo Walcott put the Gunners ahead in the 20th minute. Arsenal had only poked an angry bear, however. 5 more goals from four different players including a penalty and a brace from Arturo Vidal saw Arsenal hammered 10-2 on aggregate. The murmurs about Wenger’s job security were suddenly screams as his young side limped off the field, consigned to another season without European silverware.

Man City showed again that they simply cannot find their feet in Europe, making it through the group but losing to a Monaco side that looked like an under-21 outfit. Pep was going through tough times and the thought of finishing a season with a single winner’s medal obviously took its toll. Although City managed 5 at the Etihad, Monaco answered with three away goals and sent City packing from Stade Louis II on the end of a 3-1 defeat.

Leicester however stunned everyone once again. Although many thought they would bomb in the early stages, they managed to go on and win their group, losing only once to Porto. They managed to get past Sevilla in the last 16 and booked themselves a trip to Madrid against Atletico. They came pretty close, losing by a single goal at the Vicente Calderon with everything to play for at the King Power. Atletico were 1-0 up in the first half however leaving the Foxes with two goals to find, but even a 61st minute Jamie Vardy goal wasn’t enough to get them into the semis and they bowed out as the best English team in Europe in 2017.

So what has gone so wrong? Why have English teams performed so poorly compared to a few years ago, when two or three clubs were getting to at least the quarters?

It seems that quite a few big clubs are in transition at the moment. There was no Manchester United or Chelsea in this year’s tournament due to poor league finishes. Both teams were in transition with Jose Mourinho just about through the door at United and Antonio Conte yet to take the reigns and drag Chelsea out of poor form. Even City were still slipping and sliding, getting used to Pep’s tactics and vision. Tottenham, although in great form, couldn’t quite find form in mid-week games and it seemed that Pochettino was focusing his efforts on the League.

So with five of the English elite all eager for European glory next season there will surely be a vast improvement, won’t there?

The post Can English teams restore some pride in Europe? appeared first on World Soccer Talk.