Archive for the Football Category

Conference- The Table Toppers and Relegation Threatened

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by jackpinnock

Blue_Square_Bet_Premier_logoWith teams firmly condemning where their aim at the end of the season will be, we take a look at who will challenge for that all important promotion prize, and who will have an even longer season ahead battling against the drop.

Grimsby Town currently lead the Blue Square Premier League, with a game in hand on second place, Wrexham, by which the two teams are level on points, and are only separated by goal difference. The Mariners, who are joint managed by Paul Hurst and Rob Scott, are on a tremendous run of form, with their last defeat coming way back in November last year. With their next 3 games easily winnable, and come against teams in mid table and in a relegation scrap, it is safe to say that Grimsby Town will be back in the Football League come May.

Paul Hurst- Grimsby

Wrexham are on Grimsby’s tail, and are looking to avoid the dreaded play offs and pip the Mariners to the post to the title. With a good FA Cup run to proud of, crashing out to Premier League side, Liverpool, it looks as though they have transformed this to league form. Andy Morrell’ last defeat in the league came against Grimsby back in December last year, and with a similar run of the next 3 games to Grimsby, it will be very tight for the chance to become Champions of the Conference.

Andy Morrell- Wrexham

As well as Wrexham, Forest Green, Newport and Kidderminster currently occupy the other play off positions to clinch promotion to the Npower League Two. Forest Green, who are unbeaten in their last four, are on 53 points and only 5 points behind Wrexham, while Justin Edinburgh’s Newport are 3 points behind with top scorer, Aaron O’Connor on fire with a great return of 17 goals for the season so far. Kidderminster lie in the last remaining play off place, with Paul Buckle’s Luton Town, and Mansfield, whose Chairman, John Radford, gave manager, Paul Cox, a £85,000 Aston Martin after their 8-1 rout over Barrow, close behind in 6th and 7th position respectively.

MANSFIELD Town chairman John Radford gave his Aston Martin car to manager Paul Cox

At the other end of the table, Ebbsfleet are 8 points adrift of safety and with a baron run of form of only 2 wins from their last 10 games, it maybe time for manager Liam Daish to accept the Fleet’s fate is already very much sealed. Nuneatan sit one place above Ebbsfleet in the table, on 28 points, while Barrow, who have conceded a monumental, 62 goals, the worst in the division, are in 22nd position. After somewhat of a bright start to the season, Telford are on their worst run of form in the division. Not picking up maximum points in the last 10 games, and are yet to win under new manager, former Peterborugh gaffer, Mark Cooper, AFC Telford are struggling to regain their mid table birth. With games against Mansfield, Newport and Macclesfield all to come, can Cooper pull the Bucks out of trouble. Northern side, Gateshead, are just above the relegation zone, while former West Ham legend, Alan Devonshire’s Braintree side are only 6 points above safety, with the Essex side losing their last 3 games on the spin.

alan devenoshire

LEYTON ORIENT v Notts County

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2013 by jackpinnock

Leyton Orient v Notts County at The Matchroom Stadium Npower League One

Leyton Orient moved into the top 10 of the Npower League 1 table and ended Notts County 22 game unbeaten away run, after a 2-1 victory at the Matchroom stadium.

David Mooney put the hosts in front just after the hour mark after heading from close range, from winger Lee Cook’s sublime cross.

The O’s instantly doubled their lead, when Cook’s corner was cleared, straight to the feet of Frenchman Mathieu Baudry, who lashed home in the bottom right corner.

Keith Curle’s men persisted with constant pressure, and it was finally rewarded when Neal Bishop’s cross found Enoch Showumni. He saw Lee Hughes unmarked, who simply could not miss.

The win for Russell Slade’s men was certainly deserved, dominating possession and missing countless scoring chances.

Mooney could have put the East London side ahead much earlier in the game, when his fierce effort went narrowly wide of Bartosz Bialkowski goal.

Striker Charlie MacDonald’s full blooded challenge on goalkeeper Bialkowski left the goalkeeper unable to carry on and was replaced by Fabian Speiss, which resulted in a staggering 8 minutes added time in the first half. Leyton Orient failed to capitalise on the injury, and both teams went in at 0-0.

Long serving O’s shot stopper, Jamie Jones, was quick to deny County’s Showumni and winger Alan Judge with fine saves, with Hughes beating Jones, but missing the goal as his header went wide of the post.

With a further 7 minutes injury time in the second half, both teams still failed to take advantage, and the Brisbane Road outfit hung onto the 2-1 lead to gain a priceless 3 points.

Leyton Orient’s next game is a tough encounter with high flying Swindon Town, before a trip to mid table Stevenage awaits Russell Slade’s men.

TEAM:

Leyton Orient– Jamie Jones, Scott Cuthbert, Ben Chorley, Mathieu Baudry, Gary Sawyer, Moses Odubajo, Martin Rowlands, Lloyd James, Lee Cook, David Mooney, Charlie MacDonald.

Subs– Dean Cox, Antony Griffith, Michael Symes, Jimmy Smith, Charlie Grainger, Afolabi Obafemi, Elliot Omozusi

MATCH UPDATES:

Leyton Orient 1 Notts County 0 (David Mooney 65)

Leyton Orient 2 Notts County 0 (Mathieu Baudry 68)

Leyton Orient 2 Notts County 1 (Jeff Hughes 78)

Top 10 managers that should replace Fergie

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by jackpinnock

We are all fully aware that Fergie’s incredible tenure as gaffer as Manchester United is not going to last forever. Here are the top 10 managers that should be considered to replace him.

Steve Bruce

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The former Red Devils stalwart and current boss of Championship side HullCity has had plenty of managerial experience. since retiring in 1998, he has previously coached at Sheffield United, HuddersfieldTown, Wigan Athletic, CrystalPalace, BirminghamCity and Sunderland.

His manager style is simple, if you don’t concede, you don’t lose games. However, will his style of play suit with the Old Trafford faithful?

Mark Hughes

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Another former player in the pipeline, and another who has had plenty of experience. After his illustrious career, mainly with Manchester United and Chelsea, Mark Hughes has previously managed Blackburn Rovers, ManchesterCity, Fulham, QPR and the Welsh national team.

However, what is different about him to Bruce, his attacking ambitions and motive to score plenty of goals will surely attract the Red Devils. One stumbling block maybe, there has been no real success with Hughes, especially with QPR and Fulham.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

ole gunnar solskjaer

As known by the Man United fans as the ‘baby faced assassin’, Solskjaer is now managing in his native Norway, with Molde. He also managed the Man United reserves for a short stint, before taking the Molde hot seat. During his playing days, he was considered a legend with every club, scoring 237 goals in 382 appearances with Manchester United, Molde, and Clauseenengen.

I think it’s obvious that everyone associated with the Red Devils will have Solskjaer back in a heartbeat, but one issue that may occur, experience. He has only been in the management business since 2008, and would surely need some more matches under his belt.

Jurgen Klopp

jurgen klopp

Another young manager, who is a very good candidate to consider, Jurgen Klopp. Still very young for a gaffer, at the tender age of 45, the German gone on leaps and bounds with Borussia Dortmund. Winning the double in the 2011-2012 season is his career highlight, and regular qualification for the Champions League is another incredible achievement.

Despite his youth for a manger, I defiantly think that Klopp has all of the credentials to succeed Ferguson, and take the reigns at Old Trafford.

Laurent Blanc

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Former player Blanc who first job in management was with Ligue 1 side, Bordeaux, did an extraordinary job, winning 60% of his matches and leading them to a league and cup double. The French national team was his next destination, guiding them to the top of Euro 2012 in the qualifying stages, and reaching the Euro 2012 quarter finals.

Now without a job, the Frenchman is now looking for the right opportunity, however, it has been known for players and board members to be frustrated with Blanc at times. Can he be the right man at Manchester United?

Joachim Loew

joachimloew

The stylish German has many admirers, and is possibly favourite to replace Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. However, he suits Manchester United down to the ground. He has previously managed Stuttgart, Austria Wien, and Fenerbache, but his notoriety comes from managing the German national squad. Semi finalists at Euro 2012 and 2010 World Cup are his most coveted achievements.

Nevertheless, for him being recognised as one of the best managers on the planet, has he under achieved with Germany? Is this good enough for Manchester United?

David Moyes

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Probably the favourite to replace Sir Alex, David Moyes has emerged as one of the best mangers in the Premier League. Since he took over in 2002, he has guided Everton to countless top 10 finishes, not to mention on a minimum budget. His greatest accolade, was guiding Everton into the Champions League for the first time in their history.

The stumbling block is Moyes has already declared that he is a keen admirer of the German Bundesliga, and would not managing in the Geramn topflight, could he really turn down the Red Devils for Germany?

Ryan Giggs

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The Manchester United legend, who has chalked up 926 appearances for the Red Devils, would be a competitive contender for a place in the old Trafford dugout. The winger knows United inside out, and knows what suits Manchester United, and what doesn’t. Despite undergoing his UEFA coaching badges, Giggs has no managerial experience. Could the Welsh wizard bring more success to Manchester that what Sir Alex did?

Eric Cantona

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The controversial Frenhman is just as much as a legend as Giggsy. The dream signing from Leeds United made 143 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 80 goals. His only involvement in management is with the French beach soccer side. Currently director of Footbal with newly formed New York Cosmos, the extravagant midfielder would defiantly be welcome back at Old Trafford.

He is well known for lashing out at a CrystalPalace fan after being sent off. Is controversy surrounding Cantona what Man United really need?

Jose Mourinho

Inter-coach-Jose-Mourinho-001

Despite all of the great managers and Manchester United legends that have been mentioned, this is the man every Red Devils fan wants to see take to the helm. His early retirement as a player has rewarded him with being the very best manager in the world. Winning 20 trophies in with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, he is the first manager to win the traditional top three European league championships.

His record speaks for itself, and is by far and away the best candidate to replace the great Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten players West Ham should sign this window

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2013 by jackpinnock

Top Ten players West Ham should sign this window

Martin Olsson

With George McCartney injured, youngster, Dan Potts is the only recognised left back for the Upton Park outfit, and with Olsson’s Premier League experience, it will be a real coup if Big Sam can pull this signing off. With the Hammers struggling for goals, Swedish international Ollson can provide the added ammunition West Ham desperately need, with his attacking prowess and ability to cross and shoot from range, you can defiantly see why West Ham want him in a claret and blue shirt.

martin olsson

 

Rio Ferdinand

With the return of the very skilful, Joe Cole, maybe Allardyce should think about bringing another old face back to the Boleyn Ground. It is apparent that West Ham are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, with James Collins out for up to 6 weeks with a hamstring injury and James Tomkins being linked with a move to Newcastle, Ferdinand could become a real stalwart in the Hammers backline. The United defender is out of contract this summer, and with no extension offered to him so far, his leadership ability and all round presence could greatly benefit the Hammers.

rio ferdinand

 

Charles Kabore

With many top flight clubs tracking West Ham’s player of the season so far, Mohammed Diame, 24 year old Marseille midfield enforcer, Charles Kabore could be an ideal replacement if Diame was to depart. Kabore has recently stated that he would be interested in a move to England, and with Marseille strapped for cash, the bargain of the January Transfer window could be made, as it is understood he could be available for as little as £2 million. On the basis of his age, and raw talent Chales Kabore could potential be the bargain of the season.

charles kabore

 

Charlie Austin

The Burnley hitman has endured a fine start to the season, notching up 23 goals already this season, and on current form, he’s not finished yet. His goals have gone unnoticed this season, with the likes of Newcastle and even Arsenal ready to pounce for the 23 year old striker. However, I think it’s West Ham that are more in need of goals, with one of the lowest goals tally in the Premier League this season, Allardyce needs a clinical finisher and an eye for goal in order to secure their of a top 10 finish. With his notability for goals, and his young age, it looks as though a bid of around £7-8 million could be realistically acceptable for the Championship’s joint leading scorer.

charlie austin

 

Anthony Pilkington

The Norwich winger has been nothing short of a revelation since joining from Huddersfield Town nearly 2 years ago, and his remarkable ability to cross accurately and score a few crackers in the meantime, Allardyce should surely be thinking that his crossing ability, and set piece delivery should provide perfect substance for Carlton Cole, Andy Carroll and Maroune Chamakh. But with the Canaries going steadily in the top flight, and not far off West Ham in the league table, would Pilkington really make the move to East London?

anthony pilkington

 

Danny Welbeck

Reports suggest that because of superstar Robin Van Persie’s incredible form, and Sir Alex Ferguson reluctant to leave fellow England forward out of the team, it looks as though Welbeck could be available for a short term loan deal. With his pace and endeavour, this is definatly an attractive option that Big Sam would gladly take up. Nevertheless, because of his proven ability, many clubs higher than the Hammers in the table will also be looking to sign him, and I very much doubt that because of West Ham’s hefty wage budget, Welbeck will be far too expensive. If the deal was to happen, the question lies, where will this leave Carlton Cole?

danny welbeck

 

Darren Bent

Out of favour at struggling Aston Villa, Darren Bent has the capabilities of still producing some of his best form, maybe reproducing what he did in his playing days at Sunderland. His natural instinct at being in the right place at the right time, raw pace, which is something West Ham lack, and proven goal scoring record, West Ham should without a doubt be looking into getting Bent on board. The snag is Bent has already rejected West Ham twice, first at Charlton even though a staggering £16million bid was accepted for him, and then at rivals Tottenham Hotspur where he wasn’t playing at his best. Is it a case of it really was not meant to be for Darren Bent and West Ham United?

darren bent

 

Fernando Amorebieta

The 6”3 defender is out of contract with Spanish La Liga outfit, Athletic Bilbao, this summer, and is thought to be looking for a move elsewhere. Amorebieta came through the famous Bilbao youth system, where only players of Basque decent are allowed to play for the club. He has been one a few players from the Bilbao academy that has been consistently solid throughout his career and has got plenty of admirers, including Manchester United and Everton. With West Ham in desperate need of defensive cover, Amorebieta could be the perfect fit for the Hammers. Known for his heading capabilities and positioning, can the Spanish stalwart be a success in England’s top flight?

Fernando_Amorebieta

 

Lucas Biglia

Lucas Biglia is a creative midfielder who likes to show off his flair and play the game at his own pace. The Argentine maestro is with Belgian champions Anderlecht, but if reports are correct, which is he has gone AWOL or in other terms ‘doing a Tevez’, Biglia could become a shining star for the Upton Park side. Avaiable on a free transfer in the summer, the Belgians will be looking for a quick fire sale, and maybe a bid of around £3million could be enough to tempt Anderlecht to sell the silky Argentine. Furthermore, he could become an ideal replacement for French anchorman, Alou Diarra, who looks as though he could be set for a six month loan deal with Espanyol. Is Biglia the right choice to replace Diarra?

lucas biglia

 

George Friend

The 22 year old, who can alternate between left back and centre back, has impressed since joining Championship promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough from Doncaster Rovers. The lanky defender has many Premier League suitors, including Aston Villa, Wigan Athletic and Fulham, and since he has never been given the chance at the highest level, maybe it is time to give him a fair crack of the whip. Allardyce will like his versatility as he is short of numbers at the back, and with strength in depth in desperate need for the Hammers, West Ham should probably be looking at about a £2-4 million bid to prize the English defender away from Teeside.

geroge friend

 

 

 

 

Strachan Appointed Scots Boss

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by jackpinnock

Former Southampton and Celtic boss, Gordon Strachan has been appointed Scotland manager, replacing Craig Levein.

The no nonsense Scotsman has signed a contract to keep him charge of the Hampden Park outfit until the end of the current World Cup qualifiers and through the duration of the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

In his media conference in which he was unveiled as the Tarten Army boss, Strachan expressed his delight at being appointed of the national side, saying “I’m very proud but also my family are proud. The time is right for me to be able to take a job like this.”

He also added “If you can be successful you can make a nation happy and make a nation proud and that is the priority for me to be able to do that with help from other people.”

“I have the experience, I like working with people, I like dealing with people and I like trying to make people better,” he added, stressing the importance of taking Scotland to the World Cup in Brazil and Euro 2016 in France.

Before appearing as a television pundit for both the BBC and ITV, Strachan’s last managerial job came at Middlesbrough, where his rather unsuccessful spell ended in October 2010, when he left the Teesiders sitting in 20th place in the Championship table.

Other teams Strachan has managed are Coventry City, Southampton and Celtic, where he had his most successful spell as a manager, winning the Scottish league title on three consecutive occasions, 3 league cups, and guiding Celtic to the quarter finals of the Champions League.

Ba completes Blues switch

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2013 by jackpinnock

Chelsea have matched the release clause in Demba Ba’s contract at Newcastle, for him to become Blues boss Rafael Benitez first signing in the January Transfer window.

The fee is believed to be in the region of £7million, and with Ba keen to speak to other clubs if the clause is met, the Senegalese decided to put pen to paper on a three and a half year deal at Stamford Bridge.

Ba’s career catipulted when at German outfit Hoffenheim, scoring 37 goals in 97 appearances, before a move to London rivals West Ham gave him recognition in the English top flight.

The powerful striker scored an impressive 7 goals in 12 games for the Hammers, but it could not prevent them from being relegated to the Championship, and during the summer of 2011, he moved to Newcastle on a free transfer.

Ba had a very impressive stint on Tyneside, scoring 29 goals in 54 appearances for the St.James Park outfit, and forming a deadly partnership with fellow Senegalese striker Papiss Demba Cisse.

When it was aware Ba was becoming unsettled in the North East, and there was an affordable release clause in his contract, many top flight clubs were monitoring his situation, including Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.

However, it was Chelsea that captured the talented centre forward, and with Senegal not participating in the African Cup of Nations, and Fernando Torres looking much more like his old self, this could well be the striking partnership of the season.

West Ham target 3 more signings in January

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2013 by jackpinnock

After the imminent home coming of midfielder, Joe Cole, from Liverpool, West Ham gaffer Sam Allardyce has set his sights on three more transfer targets in the January transfer window.

It was confirmed on Twitter by Jack Sullivan, son of Hammers owner David Sullivan, that three enquires have been made for players in England, Brazil and Germany.

The players thought to be in question are Aston Villa full back, Stephen Warnock, F.C. Twente’s centre half, Douglas and Stuttgart hitman, Martin Harnik.

Warnock, who has just completed a short loan spell at Championship outfit Bolton Wanderers, is out of favour at Villa Park, and his Premier League experience is thought to be the key factor for Big Sam’s interest.

25 year old, Douglas is out of contract with F.C. Twente this summer and is believed to be keen on a switch to the Premier League. However, the Samba star has many other admirers in the top flight, with arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Newcastle and Everton waiting in the wings to grab his signature.

Harnik, who has scored 30 goals since joining German Bundesliga side Stuttgart in 2010, is a £5million target for the East London club, however, as he is still contracted to Stuttgart until 2016, a sum closer to £7million is thought to be the asking price. With strikers Carlton Cole and Andy Carroll misfiring, and Modibo Maiga said to be leaving the club for either Newcastle or Marseille, Big Sam would like to add Harnik, as he can player as a striker or a winger, and with the Hammers in desperate need for firepower, is Harnik the answer?

With injuries mounting, and a dip in form, West Ham hope to add strength in depth in order to consolidate Premier league survival, and maybe even compete for a top ten place.

Aldershot U18 1 – 3 West Ham U18, F.A. Youth Cup

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2012 by jackpinnock

Speaking after West Ham U18 3-1 F.A. Youth cup victory over Aldershot Town U18, manager Nick Haycock expressed his delight of how his players performed, saying that they had ‘risen to the challenge’, but also said it was ‘a hard fought victory.’

Haycock said “In the end it was a great victory. All credit to Aldershot, because I thought they were well-organised, and had a game plan to try and upset us.”

Haycock also added “Sometimes coming away to a smaller club in an environment the boys are not used to, it took them time to adapt. Fair play to them, though, because they avoided a giant killing. It could have gone a different way at various stages of the game, so all in all, I’m pleased.”

A brace from captain, Elliot Lee, and a Jamie Harney header ensured West Ham U18 secured a place in the 4th round draw of the F.A. Youth Cup draw

Aldershot Town U18 boss, Terry Boyle described his side’s defeat as ‘harsh’, and also said he was ‘over the moon with how the players performed’.

Boyle said ” I thought the game was even stevens in the first half, and I actually thought for the majority of the half we outplayed West Ham which was a massive boost from our point of view, second half I think it’s fair to say that they had a little bit more quality in the final third and they capitalised on that, but I still think the score-line flatters them. We were chasing the game a little bit at the end but still managed to create plenty of chances but we were just a little bit too short on the day.”

The first half was fast paced, and intense, as both teams wanted to take an early lead. Aldershot linchpin, Reece Beckles-Richards forced Hammers shot stopper, Sam Baxter into an early save after 5 minutes. Shortly afterwards, Harry Cooksley, who is on the fringes of Dean Holdsworth’s first team plans, produced a free kick that went narrowly wide.

West Ham winger and Republic of Ireland U18 international, Kieran Sadlier, was involved in the Hammers best effort of the first half with a one on one chance that Shots keeper, Luke Williams commanded brilliantly.

On the 50th minute, Sadlier’s scuffed shot fell to Lee, who simply could not miss to put the Hammers in the lead. 1-0 quickly became 2-0 when Nathan Mavila, a summer acquisition from Wycombe Wanderers, swung a vicious corner that was met by the head of defender Harney.

With 15 minutes to play, Shots captain, Adam Brice headed past Baxter’s net after a sublime free kick from winger, Mitch McDonald.

However, Aldershot’s hopes of a remarkable comeback were dashed when the ever dangerous Lee pounced on a Beckles-Richards mistake and finished well to put West Ham safely through to the next round of the F.A Youth Cup.

The 3 Promoted Clubs So Far

Posted in Football, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2012 by jackpinnock

As we know, Reading, Southampton and West Ham have achieved the fantastic accolade of winning promotion to the promised land of the Premier League. With the Npower Championship one of the difficult leagues to get out of, there is no question that these three teams have quality. However, three months of the season have flown by, so it begs the question, how have the Royals, the Saints and the Hammers done so far?

Reading

Brian McDermott’s side were the title winners of the Championship season after hitting form from January onwards, however, converting their form in the Championship to the Premier League has not been so easy. With one win in their last 16 league matches, Reading lie second from bottom in the relegation zone, and with the dreaded run of a congested Christmas fixture list, it doesn’t look like it will get any easier for the Royals. Nevertheless, there is no question there is quality in the side, and with McDermott’s preference to play stylish, slick football, they are a very eye catching team to watch. The summer acquisitions of Russian hitman, Pavel Pogrebnyak from Stuttgart, who recently spent last season on loan at London rivals Fulham, and playmaker, Danny Guthrie, who was released by Newcastle has definatly added creative spark and flair to the team. There is no doubt that with the January transfer window nearly upon us, McDermott would like to splash the cash from new owner Anton Zingarevich. The question still remains, can Reading stay up this season ?

Verdict

McDermott’s men need a reality check. I think spending the 2013/2014 season back in the Championship is going to happen.

reading

Southampton

The Saints have emulated the achievements of Norwich City by winning back to back promotions from the Npower League 1 and Npower Championship respectively. However, like Reading, they have struggled to cope with the pace of the Premier League, but it has to be said, Nigel Adkins would bite your hand off if the season finished now, as the St Mary’s outfit currently lie in 15th position. Southampton, whose last appearance in the Premier League was in 2004, have invested heavily during the summer transfer window with Jay Rodriguez moving from Burnley for a remarkable £7million, and Uruguayan prodigy Gaston Ramirez moving from Italian Serie A outfit, Bologna for a staggering £12 million. Furthermore, with the likes of Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana still with the Saints, there is without a doubt, goals and creative flair in the side. The major flaw to with Nigek Adkins’ side is his defence, having conceded 32 goals in the top flight, the Saints have the leakiest back line in the division. With the January transfer fast approaching, surely a commanding, experienced centre half is the main priority for Southampton.

Verdict

Despite the unorganisation of his defence, I think Southampton have enough steel and flair for them to stay in the division for at least another season.

_63950286_nigel_adkins_getty

West Ham

Since being relegated from the Premier League back in the 2010/2011 season, Sam Allardyce’ men have become a real force to be reckoned with. Losing just 8 games in the Npower Championship, and narrowly beating Blackpool in the Play-Off final at Wembley, the Hammers have started the Premier League campaign in tremendous fashion. The signings of skipper Kevin Nolan, defensive stalwart James Collins, winger Matt Jarvis, midfield powerhouse Mohammed Diame and England striker Andy Carroll have defiantly sent a message to fellow Premier League sides, saying we are not just settling for 17th place. With the mind blowing £11 million signing of Jarvis, and the surprising loan signing of Carroll from Liverpool, you can quite simply see where the threats are from West Ham. Also, with the goal poaching of Nolan, the Upton Park outfit will not struggle for goals this season. So far, the Hammers lie in 11th position, but on the basis of their current form, a top 10 finish is very much a realistic aim. Comfortable victories against Chelsea and Newcastle, and a valuable point against champions Manchester City will give West Ham’s men confidence against bigger clubs. However, surprisingly, you could say this is West Ham’s downfall, as competing against smaller teams that you would say are winnable, the Hammers seem to lose that confidence and let the opposition possess the game. Defeats against Wigan and Swansea are prime examples of why you cannot let your guard down. Nevertheless, with the Olympic Stadium guaranteed to be the Hammers new home from 2016, Allardyce would like to think to stay in the top flight until then, and then maybe mount a serious challenge for a European place.

Verdict

There is too much quality in the side for just a 14th or 15th place finish. I think a place in the top 10 should be a realistic aim for West Ham.

Andy Carroll

F.A. Cup- Aldershot

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2012 by jackpinnock

Aldershot Town’s reward for narrowly scrapping past Fleetwood Town in the F.A. Cup second round is a very winnable Third round home tie against either the winners of Rotherham United or Notts County respectively.

Consequently, this was the end of Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon’s tenure, as a run of three straight defeats, and a disagreement over loan signings left Mellon’s contract terminated by mutual consent. He leaves Fleetwood 7th in the Npower League 2 table after promotion from the conference.

Dean Holdsworth’s men, who have gone no further than the fifth round, won 3-2 against the Lancashire side at Highbury.

The shots were unfortunate to go 1-0 down after a rapid start, but after 10 minutes, Fleetwood’s Junior Brown put the Lancashire outfit ahead after a fantastic cross by Fleetwood midfielder, Alan Goodhall.

10 minutes later, the Shots found themselves deservedly level when star striker, Danny Hylton intelligently left a stray pass too top scorer, Craig Reid, who laid the ball back too Hylton, whose fierce drive with his weaker foot was not match for Fleetwood keeper, Scott Davies.

A moment of pure brilliance from midfield enforcer, Peter Vincenti put Aldershot 2-1 up at the break when his 35 yard curling effort deceived Davies in the Fleetwood goal, as the ball dipped underneath the crossbar.

Fleetwood’ David Ball, and substitute Jamie Milligan wasted glorious opportunities to put the Higbury outfit level in this all important cup tie, but on 75 minutes, a classic counter attack saw the ever present, Danny Hylton, go past goalkeeper Davies, and from an acute angle, managed to squeeze the ball home and put the Shots 3-1 up with 15 minutes to play.

Aldershot was running down the clock with relative ease, however, the Hampshire side conceded a late goal to build the nerves of every associate with Aldershot. A Steve Gillespie shot deflected into the skies, Shots keeper Jamie Young came out confidently to collect, only to spill the ball into the path of David Ball who simply could not miss.

Nevertheless, Aldershot managed to hang onto the vital win and book themselves a place in the Third round of the F.A. Cup. Holdsworth mentioned that this win was @quite unexpected’, but he also said “he is pleased to have gone through”.

fleetwood v aldershot town fa cup 2nd rnd 01/12/12