Tagged: European football

Can regional leagues bring Champions League success to smaller clubs – ESPN FC

Can regional leagues bring Champions League success to smaller clubs – ESPN FC

There would be a lot of kinks to work out for this to come to fruition but you can see the benefits. Especially if there is a Super League in the future. It would be interesting to see all the proposed teams in regular competition with each other. I wouldn’t want to see their respective domestic leagues take a big hit as a result and I doubt those leagues would either. It certainly wouldn’t make sense to do this league without it being the primary source of qualification for European competition but again the domestic leagues can’t be fully left out.

It seems like this would only  really come about if the gap between the super clubs and every one else widens as expected given the recent changes in Champions League. We shall see

It’s Time for Football to Kill off Illogical and Arbitrary Away-Goals Rule | Bleacher Report

It’s Time for Football to Kill off Illogical and Arbitrary Away-Goals Rule | Bleacher Report

Sometimes I don’t mind the rule and sometimes I dislike it. I guess it depends on the teams that are playing, who I’m cheering for and how things are going. As mentioned in the article, statistics don’t suggest there’s anything better about having the away goals. It does seem like teams would just finally play ball if they didn’t have to factor that in and the tense, cautious play that has become customary will stop.

European football 10 burning questions – ESPN FC

European football 10 burning questions – ESPN FC

Some great questions here. The main ones that interest me are Barcelona, of course, and PSG. I think Barcelona will win it provided there’s no major hiccup which is mainly down to missing personnel. PSG will do just fine with Angel Di Maria in the mix. Edinson Cavani needs some sorting out though.

9 Scandinavian players set to take Europe by storm | FourFourTwo

9 Scandinavian players set to take Europe by storm | FourFourTwo.

Lot of unknowns on the list unless you somehow know everything about football in every region. Chelsea’s Christensen and Ajax’s Fischer are probably the two best known names. Good to see lots of promising talent coming through in Scandanavia though.

Has this season offered up the most boring moment in modern football? | Barney Ronay | Football | The Guardian

Has this season offered up the most boring moment in modern football? | Barney Ronay | Football | The Guardian.

True, in most, if not all, the top leagues in Europe the title race was over before it began. There were still plenty of interesting results in all those leagues though.

December and January Week 1 Transfer Roundup

Rather than lump all the January transfers into one big piece I’ll be doing a week-by-week roundup of some of the biggest, or most intriguing, transfers in the game.

We’ll be just doing transfers from December, there were just one or two of real interest, and January 3 thru to January 10 in this weeks roundup, and BBC’s transfer list is our source as it was in the summer. So, hopefully, there won’t be any misses. Or else it’s their fault.

There have been some big transfers already in January, and we’re likely to see at least one more with Wilfried Bony’s move to Manchester City getting closer after both sides agreed on a fee.


December Transfers

Eljero Elia: Werder Bremen to Southampton(loan)

Eljero Elia’s trickery and speed might help him be a hit at Southampton, and in the fast-paced Premier League. The Dutchman has gone through a number of clubs during his career without living up to his full potential. Working under Ronald Koeman may just help him hit those heights.

Nelson Oliveira: Benfica to Swansea(loan)

Maybe Garry Monk was wary about losing Wilfried Bony for more than just a month with the 2015 African Cup of Nations. In Nelson Oliveira he picks up a player formerly touted as the answer to Portugal’s striker problems.(At least in some areas) The fact that Oliveira has spent almost his entire Benfica career on loan suggests he still has a long way to go to fulfill that destiny.

Fernando Torres: Chelsea to AC Milan, AC Milan to Atletico Madrid(loan)

Ah. Sad to see Fernando Torres stumble through games and seasons like he has lately. Hopefully a return to Atletico Madrid sees him end his career on good form. It’s a surprise Chelsea took that long to get rid of him but AC Milan were pretty ruthless.


January Transfers

Hatem Ben Arfa: Newcastle to Nice(free)

Hatem Ben Arfa was one of the brightest talents in the Premier League a few seasons ago but has always been a mercurial talent. His loan move to Hull during the summer was surprising even if his time at Newcastle seemed to be coming to an end, and now the fall is complete. The move back to France, and to team like Nice in particular, may be good chance for the 27-year-old to prove himself out of the limelight.

Lukas Podolski: Arsenal to West Ham(loan)

Lukas Podolski  shouldn’t have had to leave Arsenal. That’s my opinion though I guess. The German forward should be effective with Inter in Italy with regular games under his belt, and then it will be decision time for Arsenal. This loan is effectively the beginning of the end of his Arsenal career.

Mauro Zarate: West Ham to QPR(loan)

Mauro Zarate was brought in during the summer as one of the attacking signings to help Sam Allardyce play some more expansive football. The play of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho kept him on the bench so out he goes on loan to QPR. Let’s see if things are any different there.

Victor Valdes: Unattached to Manchester United

Manchester United now has two quality goalkeepers after the signing of Victor Valdes, no offense to Anders Lindegaard, to continue a growing trend with a number of big clubs. Not sure that fans should be too worried about losing David de Gea as a result. There’s no doubt he is, and should be the number one considering his continued growth since joining Manchester United. It just means a possible injury to the young Spaniard won’t be as big of a worry with Valdes as cover. (Not sure why Valdes didn’t go to Liverpool though where he probably would’ve been No. 1)

Steven Gerrard: Liverpool to LA Galaxy(free)

Probably the biggest story of the window so far, Steven Gerrard’s announcement that he was leaving Liverpool at the end of the season was sort of strange timing. It provided plenty of chatter, and could have been a move to deflect the media away from all the poor results for the Merseyside club. He’s now set to join the LA Galaxy in the MLS and pretty much makes them favorites for a second straight MLS Cup title.

Miguel Layun: Granada to Watford

Kind of a strange one here. Miguel Layun signed for La Liga side, Granada, on December 30 and was originally set to go on loan to Watford, or that was the thought. He’s now officially a Watford player without having played a single game in La Liga. Apparently both sides are owned by the same family. Go figure. Layun put in some solid performances for Mexico during the 2014 World Cup and we may see him in the Premier League next season if he’s able to help Watford in their bid for promotion.

Xherdan Shaqiri: Bayern Munich to Inter

Another big move in January but surprising given the player involved and the eventual destination. It was a matter of when not if Shaqiri would leave Bayern as he’s not gotten enough playing time but I doubt many would’ve considered Inter as the destination. It’s a great signing for the Italian side and a signal of intent. Should be interesting to watch how this develops.

Are European giants exploiting US soccer or improving it? | Football | The Guardian

Are European giants exploiting US soccer or improving it? | Football | The Guardian.


I don’t think anyone would believe that the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona etc. aren’t using these partnerships as a way to get more revenue and a bigger talent pool to choose from. At the same time, it’s obvious that those in the US will benefit from the ideas that are brought over by the European clubs.

This is not to say that it can’t/won’t/shouldn’t be a two-way relationship but European football is home to the best players, managers, coaches and so on for a reason.

If US Soccer wants to get to where it probably should have been a few years ago given its infrastructure, population etc. then partnering with some of the best in the business is a good way to do it.

And, no Alexi Lalas. I don’t think this would help things get to a point of players choosing Colorado Rapids over Barcelona. I think European football will always be the pinnacle no matter how much the MLS improves. But I’m no psychic.


Arsenal 3 – 3 Anderlecht: Did that Really Just Happen?

So, that just happened.

A night’s rest did not wash away Arsenal’s most recent debacle. The Gunners 3-3 draw with Anderlecht means the possibility Arsenal could just slip into the Europa League is still there. It’s unlikely but not impossible.

It was all looking so good too.

There was a liveliness in attack that suggested, even though it took almost 30 minutes, that the goals were coming and that things wouldn’t be as frustrating as against Burnley or as generous as it was from Sunderland. It was still mainly down to Alexis Sanchez though, who had a part in all three goals.

Love that guy by the way. As I stated before, Sanchez is Arsenal’s Best Buy in Recent Seasons. If anyone is going to get the gig as my favorite player when Thierry Henry retires it could well be Sanchez. Cesc Fabregas had his chance and, well, we know what happened there.

It was in midfield and defense, again, that the problems occurred. Mikel Arteta was okay, as were the fullbacks but Santi Cazorla was anonymous and Aaron Ramsey still struggling for form. The wonderfully composed centerback display from Nacho Monreal was a pleasure to watch as well.

As has been the case throughout the season, and pretty much most seasons during Arsenal’s recent history, the Gunners never really looked solid defensively. Even Arsene Wenger admitted as much during his post-game interview.

There’s really not too much else to say about what happened in terms of individual, tactical or other errors as most of them are pretty obvious. It basically boils down to a repetition of the same old gripes.

Anderlecht looked dangerous throughout and, offside goal aside, credit to them for coming back. When Arsenal got through a few early scares including Wojciech Szczesny’s stopping Sacha Kljestan’s abominable mustache from scoring(the US midfielder could seriously play a role in the next Anchorman if he keeps that thing in shape and he resembled Clive Owen in one of his mustache-wearing roles from afar).

The duo of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini seem just able to cut it against the likes of Sunderland and Burnley defensively but when it’s just one of them things are dodgy and sometimes fall apart very quickly. It may be better with a proper defensive midfielder but even they won’t be any help if Monreal continues to play centerback.

A better team may not have needed as long to come back, or may not have been in the comeback position at all. When watching the replay and the stream froze after Anderlecht’s opener I considered calling it a day.

Partly because an ambiguous but, my brother being my brother, Arsenal being Arsenal and me being me, ominous WhatsApp message left me weary of watching the game in the first place.  I just felt that the eventual result was coming once the first goal popped in. Call me a negative Nancy if you want but you can look back through the seasons and see plenty of evidence to know that that’s just typical Arsenal.

One other thing to point to was Arsene Wenger’s substitutions. They weren’t really going to change the game.

Podolski provides a threat in  and around the box but wouldn’t really scare Anderlecht on the break, while Tomas Rosicky showed once or twice that he’s shaking off cobwebs due to a lack of playing time. Arsenal really weren’t enough control at that point for either of them to be effective when you consider those things.

On a side note, let’s again admire a young talent who, for once, I wouldn’t mind Wenger spending money on before other pieces(Not really). Yoeri  Tielemans is still only 17 but I really wouldn’t mind him joining sooner rather than later.

Swansea lies in wait over the weekend before the international break. A tie or a loss will make things even more interesting with Manchester United(home) and Borussia Dortmund(home) the next two fixtures after some rest. We’ll see what happens.

Until next time.



Introducing the most sought-after suit in football (and he’s wanted by Tottenham) | FourFourTwo

Introducing the most sought-after suit in football (and he’s wanted by Tottenham) | FourFourTwo.

Reading through Lee Roden’s profile of Sevilla’s sporting director, Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, I want him to come to Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger’s dictatorship over all things Arsenal means the club still fell short in this past transfer window. I can’t blame him though. I spurn the chance to have some control my transfer dealings in Football Manager too.

The extremely effective transfer moves that are mentioned in the article are definitely eye-popping. But there’s a catch isn’t there? Those transfers could have flopped just as easily as they produced and then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Probably grasping at straws here but maybe the only way to test a sporting director’s true worth is much a like a player. See if he can replicate the magic elsewhere.

Guess we’ll see if Monchi, as he’s apparently called, moves and what happens if he does. If he doesn’t it does look as if Sevilla will continue to reap the benefits as his track record speaks for itself.

Until next time.