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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.

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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.

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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

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Woking match report

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

Despite the 7-0 hammering from Hyde last Saturday, Woking bounced back in tremendous fashion as they took their revenge on Lincoln City at Sincil Bank with a fairly comfortable 2-0 win.

The Cards, who recorded only their second clean sheet of the season and registering their third away win of the season, took an early lead with a penalty in which Kevin calmly converted after a foul on Woking wide man, Brett Williams.

The Imps rarely tested keeper Aaron Howe, as a tactical change from last week’s mauling of The Cards, saw Garry Hill’s men convert to a five man midfield, with Kevin Betsy and top scorer, Bradley Bubb operating on both wings.

Bubb could have doubled Woking’s lead in quick succession when midfield linchpin, Billy Knott, who was signed from Premier League outfit Sunderland after a couple of loan spells with the club, fed Bubb whose fierce drive hot the side netting.

Lincoln’s best chance in the first half fell to Scott Garner, whose header was expertly tipped over the bar by Howe.

On the hour mark, Lee Sawyer’s powerful drive deflected off two Lincoln defenders, in which Bubb was the quickest to react and finish well to double the Cards’ lead.

Immediately after the goal, Knott almost trebled the lead when his curling effort inside the area was clawed away by Imps keeper Paul Farman who was at full stretch.

It was plain sailing for Woking in the final 15 minutes, and came away from Sincil Bank with maximum points, and are now 4 points clear of safety in a congested bottom half of the Blue Square Bet Premier League table.

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Struggling in Europe?

Posted in Football, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2012 by jackpinnock

The Premier League is one of, if not the most, prestigious and powerful league in the world. Most of Europe’s best players say that in some point in their career, they would love to play on English soil. The high intensity of matches, the controversy, and the star studded quality of teams and players is what most players in the world can only dream about. However, from my perspective, this is only seen on British teritory. When it comes to European football such as the Europa League and especially the Champions League, the so called quality of the English teams, seems to be deminished.

The likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City have all shown how they perform in the Premier League, and what the standard should be, however, when it comes to competing with the European elite, English teams tend to struggle. Recently, Chelsea travelled to the Ukranian city of Donestk, Shakhtar dominiated possesion and ultimately won the game. Manchester United played Portugese outfit Braga and narrowly won 3-2.

With the European contingent vastly progressing in the quality of players, players development, and increasing the intensity of games, is the Barclays Premier League becoming easier to play in, or is playing in Europe disturbing the domestic season ?