The players have played with apathy and haven’t been consistent enough. In fact, it seems as though winning the title last season was proof enough in their eyes that they’d arrived as one of the big boys in England, and Europe! The bottom line is something just hasn’t been right this season.
From the distractions of Mario Balotelli and Roberto Mancini’s tactical tinkering early on in the season, to missing out on signing Robin van Persie and stinking up the Champions League, the blue side of Manchester has stuttered and faltered with a lack of identity and a shortage of passion.
What is Manchester City’s identity? What is their club culture? It takes more than winning the F.A.Cup and Premier League to be considered a big club. Remember Blackburn Rovers? They too won the Premier League. Have a listen and let me have it whether you agree or disagree.
Lob me a header or volley @soccerdiva. Football, soccer, call it what you want. It’s just like being down the pub with your mates.
The fight for the Premier League title is over. Anything can happen between now and the end of the season, but the chances Manchester United fold like cheap lawn chairs and concede the title to Manchester City once again are slim.
Robin van Persie is the gift from Arsenal that keeps on giving. The Dutch dynamo is in emphatic form and an absolute goal machine scoring nineteen in the league alone. His transfer from the Emirates to the Theater of Dreams could decide which team is crowned champions of England. And it’s looking more like the Red Devils with every football weekend that passes.
The battle for third and fourth however is far more exciting and unpredictable. Tottenham are playing delicious football. Or should we say Gareth Bale is playing delicious football. Chelsea falter one week, but then bounce back the next. Arsenal are showcasing more confidence and determination as the season goes on. And Everton continue to hang around and threaten to steal a Champions League spot despite a recent dip in form. Who will prevail and bank millions?
Also on the menu this week is a little slice of David Beckham and his move to PSG. Mr.Beckham is a polarizing figure and his new adventures in Paris are causing much debate beyond the football borders. Where do you stand when it comes to Beckham?
Whether you agree or disagree with any of the dialogue, lob us a volley or fire off a header to @soccerdiva. Football. Soccer. Call it what you want. It’s just like being down the pub with your mates.
In this week’s memo to fellow football fans, we talk Frank Lampard and Chelsea. Does Frank Lampard deserve more respect? It’s rare for me to praise Chelsea Football Club. It’s almost as rare as one of those space comet things.
We do have to recognize Chelsea’s battering of Aston Villa this weekend. Eight nil is an impressive score regardless of the opponent. And the young players emerging in the Chelsea team are exceptionally exciting. Eden Hazard can dazzle, Juan Mata is a total magician and David Luiz has found himself in the midfield position. Rafa Benitez is making progress and Fernando Torres might be finding his confidence again.
We also chat Jose Mourinho, Manchester United and Real Madrid. Is Jose Mourinho the right man to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson? Things are very wobbly at Real Madrid right now. Sixteen points behind rivals Barcelona and a manager at odds with the President, the fans and the media. Should Manchester United replace a long-term great like Sir Alex Ferguson with someone like Jose Mourinho who only stays at clubs he manages short-term?
Join in the banter and make your football voice heard. If you agree or disagree with any of the football dialogue, socialize with us on Twitter @soccerdiva. Football, soccer, call it what you want. It’s just like being down the pub with your mates.
The former host of Fox Soccer Report discusses attacking, defending, buying and selling in the Premier League. We look at the exciting debut of Eden Hazard for Chelsea and how Sir Alex Ferguson might regret not signing him for Manchester United. Does Nuri Sahin fit best with Liverpool or Arsenal? Is Andre Villas Boas changing too much too soon at Spurs? Can Everton burst into the top tier of the league like Newcastle United did last season? We dissect all of this and much more from an English football perspective.
There’s even a little time to touch on some Italian madness and in particular the Antonio Conte situation at Juventus and the heartbreak of AC Milan fans as Antonio Cassano defects to the enemy Inter Milan. Grab a tipple of your choice and enjoy the conversation.
What does your crystal football say about the forthcoming Premier League season? Who do you see standing at the peak of the mountain? Who will be raising something heavy, silver and shiny above their head?
Will Manchester City do it all again? Or will their arch nemesis Manchester United reclaim their crown as Kings of England? Can Arsenal really challenge for top spot? Will Chelsea and their new crop of stars take the league by storm? Can Andre Villas Boas and Tottenham Hotspur surprise everyone by winning it all? Do Newcastle United have any hope of repeating their wonderful form from last season? And will Brendan Rodgers tiki-taka revolution at Liverpool be tikitastic?
The battle for supremacy begins tomorrow. The joy. The tears. The elation. The sorrow. We kick every ball. Let the mayhem begin.
Channel your inner Footydamus. I’ve looked deep into my soul and have come up with these monumental choices.
1. Manchester United
3. Manchester City
5. Tottenham Hotspur
6. Newcastle United
Pick your top 7 and your bottom 3. Who will be crowned King or Queen of the British Soccer Diva prediction competition? Bragging rights are up for grabs. Who knows…it could well be you!
In A Conversation With Bobby McMahon from Fox Soccer Report and Forbes.com we break the game down to its core and talk tactics. From Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle, Bobby shares his brilliant football brain with you.
We also chat about the managerial changes and who Bobby thinks will be in trouble. Plus don’t miss Bobby’s Top 4 predictions as you might be surprised who he has missing from his list. He also shares who he thinks will sink to the Championship at the end of the season.
Don’t miss Bobby McMahon broadcasting his las show on Fox Soccer Report on Thursday 16th August.
There’s no doubt Brendan Rodgers will be under intense scrutiny and pressure when the new season starts. Taking over the managerial reigns at Liverpool and following in the footsteps of legend Kenny Dalglish will definitely be a tough task for the ex-Swansea coach.
However, if there is one man who easily wins the gold medal for “Manager Under the Most Pressure” it has to be Andre Villas Boas. Will we see the man who dazzled the football universe at Porto? Or will we see the AVB who failed miserably at Chelsea? As mentioned earlier this month on this site, I don’t believe lightning will strike twice for Villas Boas, who lived in the shadow of the Special One during his time at Stamford Bridge.
During Spurs tour of the U.S., the new Tottenham coach looked exceptionally relaxed and happy, and so did his team. I was lucky enough to spend some time with him. Enjoy A Conversation With Andre Villas Boas.
Just a few months ago, Harry Redknapp was the soup de jour in English football. Fast forward a few months and not only did he lose out to Roy Hodgson for the England job, but he was also replaced by Andre Villas Boas as manager of Tottenham. This hasn’t been the only major change of manager in the Premier League. Aston Villa, West Brom, Liverpool and Norwich City have also chosen to move forward with a new coach. Kristan Heneage from ESPN and FourFourTwo joins us for “A Conversation With” where we dig a little deeper and dissect the managerial changes. First up, Andre Villas Boas and Spurs. Will it be another disastrous season for AVB in the Premier League, or will he deliver glory down White Hart Lane? Kick back and enjoy the conversation.
Sepp Blatter mostly puts his foot in his mouth when he speaks. There is no doubt the FIFA President has been highly controversial on many matters concerning the beautiful game. From racism to female footballers and bribes, the figurehead of the world’s most popular sport has been nothing short of a huge embarrassment.
However, despite his very impressive resume of controversy, there is one positive thing Blatter has referred to often and we saw it in abundance this week. The “Football Family.” And my how the “Football Family” has come together following the shocking collapse of Bolton Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
As the paramedics tried desperately to revive Muamba following a heart-attack during the game, players from both teams, fans in the stadium and viewers from around the globe stood and watched helplessly. The distress was clearly visible on every player’s face and the reaction from the fans in the stadium told a very bleak story.
Since then, players and fans have banded together in prayer and support of Muamba’s recovery. Bolton and Tottenham fans immediately united in stadium by chanting Muamba’s name as he lay lifeless on the pitch. And from Real Madrid, to Chelsea, Barcelona and beyond, many popular footballers wore t-shirts in honour of Muamba. Thierry Henry flew from New York to London to visit his old Arsenal teammate and there are many other players who have done their part the way they can.
In a season where we have seen racist behaviour from players, fans rioting in Egypt and Greece and the governing body of football be accused of bribery, the story of Fabrice Muamba is a sobering reminder that life is fragile and football is just a game. Dead for 78 minutes, I don’t think there are many who thought Muamba would make it. But his incredible recovery is just one of the beautiful threads to what started off as a horrific story. How much has the positive energy from the global “Football Family” helped? Probably quite a bit.
This isn’t about Sepp Blatter and this isn’t a pat on the back for him. However, his notion of a “Football Family” really does exist. We all witnessed it this week and Muamba I’m sure is forever grateful to the heroic paramedics who saved his life and to the players and fans from around the world who prayed for him.
Robin van Persie is magical. Playing injury free for the first time in a long time, the delicious Dutchman is giving Arsenal fans everywhere hope. And with Fabregas and Nasri gone, it appears the shackles have been taken off his feet and he is thriving on being the main man.
For the first time since Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry, Arsenal have a true leader in their captain. Van Persie is putting this team on his back and you can see that being captain for one of the world’s biggest clubs is a role he is relishing.
He has been playing as an out-and-out striker and some would say that it’s not traditionally his best position. And just like fellow Dutchman and Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp, Van Persie has thrived in that #10 role, loving to drop off, find the killer pass and punish teams. Right now, the Gooner nation is loving where he’s playing and he’s scoring goals at will like never before.
But what would happen to the Gunners if Van Persie were to get injured? Where would the goals come from then? Sure Theo Walcott can score a few and when he finds his finishing touch, Gervinho can be a major threat. However, it’s Van Persie’s goals that are bringing Arsenal back from the dead following that 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford earlier in the season.
Arsenal have a lot of work to do at the back. And should Van Persie get a nick or bump here or there, they would also have a ton of work to do upfront, because without him, they would be lost. They need to protect him, but they also need to play him. Last week he was rested but came off the bench to score two goals in a win over Stoke.
Just a few hours ago on a sunny Saturday afternoon in London, Robin van Persie delivered another spellbinding performance against Chelsea, scoring a hat-trick and leading HIS team to victory once again. Granted Chelsea were woeful in defense, but to go to Stamford Bridge and inspire your team to a 5-3 win after facing so much adversity shows how much of a leader he has become.
Wrap him up in cotton wool Arsenal…