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Sports: Football / Sport Topic: Football Leagues

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      19.11.2012 18:35
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      It is time that the cheats were thrown out.

      Most top class football players want to play in the Premiership and as a result it has become known as the best league in the world. This has brought a number of problems and to me the worst is the deliberate foul or attempt to cheat, and the most annoying thing is that the players are not dealt with. The inconsistency of referees is getting worse and if really does seem that it is win at all costs. The prize for success is high but it seems that the price is the honesty of many teams.

      The big issue of diving has been addressed to a degree but it is still happening and many players are not being dealt with at all. It now seems that players such as Luis Suarez are getting a reputation for it but that does not mean that they or their club are being punished. It seems ridiculous that a player can be booked for taking their shirt off, but can get away with cheating and not even be punished retrospectively. They can deal with bad fouls if the referee does not respond at the time so why not other forms of cheating? To me shirt pulling and holding on to players is worse than a slightly mistimed tackle as the only intention with these two actions is to get an unfair advantage.

      Most clubs would complain at first, but if it became clear that there would be a panel that could analyze all games and hand out punishment then there could be a great reduction in diving and manhandling. If a team could risk losing a couple of their best players for a few games and the players could be given big fines by their club then they may think twice before doing the same thing again.

      There is a problem with the referees as well as some of them seem to want to be more important than the role warrants. They try to be too friendly with the top players and there were rumours that Uriah Rennie had an agent. Too often the conversations after the game are about decisions made by the officials and that can't be good for the game. No one goes to a game on the basis of who the referee is and it is time they accept this and work at doing their job well.

      There is talk that goal line technology will be brought in over the next few years so now may be a good time to look at changing other rules and throwing the cheats out of the league.

      The one star rating is for the cheats not the league!!

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        05.07.2012 19:34
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        Entertainment just around the corner

        Just weeks after Euro 2012, the "Best League in the World" will kick off. Will new boys Reading, Southampton and West Ham fill the void left by Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves - just who does want to see the Rovers Return??? This years team sheet is as follows:

        Arsenal
        Current crisis with Van Persie - will he stay or go? Wenger has brought in two excellent replacements in Giroud and goal machine Podolski.

        Aston Villa
        Can they put last years disappointing season behind them? Need to turn Villa Park into a fortress and challenge for the top six - is Paul Lambert the man to do this?

        Chelsea
        Picking a dressing room favourite may benefit Chelsea this season. Torres seems to be back on form and sharp - is this Chelsea's year to build on a Champions League trophy and battle with the Manchester clubs for the League crown?

        Everton
        Moyes picked up a little gem in Jelavic but he needs to invest heavily in other areas of his squad to push on upwards - will selling Baines provide the much needed cash boost - but who to replace him?

        Fulham
        Always the dark horse and tough to beat at home. Lost and losing key players before the season starts may upset the apple cart- this season i believe beating the drop will be a key achievement

        Liverpool
        Will the board back Rodgers with the required funds to completely overhaul the squad or will he need to sell before re-investing. Improvements need to be made about the way the footballing world sees the club - Gylfi Sigurdson demonstrates this fact

        Manchester City
        Is this the start of City dominance? Without the disruptive influence of the Tevez debacle they might have sown up the league weeks earlier last season. This year they need another trophy and to challenge on all fronts otherwise Mancini may be shown the door

        Manchester United
        One thing that is for certain - Utd will be challenging again - but will they be able to overhaul the "upstarts" from the blue side of Manchester. Reliance on an aging Giggs and Scholes may be the downside for Utd this year - unless excellent understudies can be brought in

        Newcastle United
        Integral to NUFCs new season is being able to keep hold of both of their key strikers. The "French Revolution" succeeded in surprising many last year - with an off season to gel even more, Newcastle may be able to push for some silverware this year

        Norwich City
        Will the Canaries be able to build on last years survival success? Securing Holts signiture on a new contract was a masterstroke for Hughton - but they need to find goals from a couple of other areas of the pitch to ensure survival again this year

        Queens Park Rangers
        Certainly snapping up some big names and big wages no doubt - will Sparky be able to get these individuals into a team? Discipline is a major factor and they need to reduce the amount of times they finish a game with ten men

        Reading
        They will be looking to follow in the footsteps of last years surprise packages. They have certainly started will with the acquisition of Pavel Pogrebnyak - but will he get the service he needs to score to keep Reading up?

        Southampton
        Will Southampton be able to recreate the days of Le-Tissier et al? They have a decent academy set up and if they bring through some fresh blood they might just be able to survive this year

        Stoke City
        The Britannia Stadium is a tricky place to visit for any team - Pulis has a well organised and hard working team built. To progress they may need to invest in a "flair" player - but will this deviate from the Pulis plan?

        Sunderland
        Most definitely need a goal scorer to lead the way - O'Neill will be doing his homework about who to bring in. A full pre-season to determine who are in his thoughts may see some shuffling on the team sheet, but does he have the funds to do what he wants with?

        Swansea City
        Laudrop will continue in the same mind set as Rodgers - true football will be maintained by the Liberty boys. He will want to stamp his own authority on the club though which will be difficult to do without upsetting the delicate balance

        Tottenham Hotspur
        Just missing out on a Champions League spot must have hurt the Spurs board and they reacted in removing Redknapp - will this prove to be a costly mistake. Will Spurs welcome an outspoken manager or does AVB just not have whats needed to succeed in England? Time will tell

        West Bromwich Albion
        Similarly to Fulham, i feel that avoiding the basement door will be key this year. With a small squad and presumably a small budget will Steve Clarke be a match made in heaven for the Baggies?

        West Ham United
        Big Sam's long ball tactics were ridiculed when they were used in the Championship - if ugly, they have been succesful to get them to this point. He has proven it can work in the top league with Bolton and he has built a team around this tactic at the Hammers - will be a tough side to beat

        Wigan Athletic
        A run of excellent victories at the end of last season ensured survival and Martinez's name on everybodies lips to be the next manager of just about everybody. If that form can be brought into this year then we may see Wigan push for Europe doubtful though with the small squad at his disposal

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        20.02.2012 23:54
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        The best league ever

        The Premier League is known by many as the greatest league in the world. It is the highest league in the English football league system consisting of 20 different clubs. It is a competition where each of the 20 clubs plays each other twice. They play once at home and once away. For winning a match a team gets 3 points, drawing 1 point and losing gets you no points. These points are added to league table and after each club has completed all of their 38 games, usually in May, the league is completed and the team at the top of the league wins the premier league title. The teams unfortunate to finish in the bottom three places in the league face relegation to the Championship for the next season. Three Championship clubs are promoted The Premier League. The top four finishing clubs are invited to play in the UEFA Champions League the following season and fifth place gets into the Europa League.

        The first Premier League season was 1992-1993 with Manchester United winning the title by 10 points from Aston Villa. For me this marked the start of a great growth from the domestic game. Money was pumped into clubs because of TV rights being sold to sky for millions of pounds. In hand this saw swarms of talented foreign players arriving to take to the Premier League stage. By 2000 I believe the Premier League was seen as one of the world's strongest leagues and went from strength to strength in the upcoming years.

        The Premier League boasted home grown talent from Alan Shearer and David Beckham with a mix a foreign superstars with David Ginola and Thierry Henry. This culture mix and exciting styles of football allowed the Premier League to attract fans from all over the world and continually thrive financially.

        For me at this moment I find the league at its weakest for a while. A mix of bad club owners and overspending has allowed clubs to pay less focus on its academy's and fail to reach the mark set by la liga.

        For me the Premier League will always be the one I love. I just wish one day the mighty toon can lift the title. Until then I will join many fans alike every season with anticipation and hope.


        Premier League Champions:
        1992-93 Manchester United
        1993-94 Manchester United
        1994-95 Blackburn Rovers
        1995-96 Manchester United
        1996-97 Manchester United
        1997-98 Arsenal
        1998-99 Manchester United
        1999-2000 Manchester United
        2000-01 Manchester United
        2001-02 Arsenal
        2002-03 Manchester United
        2003-04 Arsenal
        2004-05 Chelsea
        2005-06 Chelsea
        2006-07 Manchester United
        2007-08 Manchester United
        2008-09 Manchester United
        2009-10 Chelsea
        2010-11 Manchester United

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          13.08.2011 11:27
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          Footy returns

          So, here we go again, another season of scrummy domestic football to take us through to Olympic year. The next 12 months are going to be great for sports fans, the Rugby World Cup also in the mix. But its football time and the final week for finalising our fantasy football teams and season tickets is on us as we prepare to feast on football. Girls, its man time now and the Saturday shopping trips are over!

          The Premier League is nearly into its third decade and Manchester United had won most of them, looking odds on to win again this year after an impressive Charity Shield performance with a dazzling formation. Only four teams have ever won it. Will Man City be number five?

          -Wins-

          Manchester United 13
          Chelsea 3
          Arsenal 3
          Blackburn 1

          Chelsea haven't bought big and beginning to look old and so not for me, the Champions League their goal, Abromovich seeing his vast wealth halved in the recession. Teams have to conform to new rules were debt is reduced to enter the Champions League in 2014 and so they have work to do. Arsenal look like they will lose their most influential players as Fabregas and Nasri abandon Wengers Total Football fantasy in fear of another broken leg at Arsenal, and short of a decent keeper and centre back too, Cahill and Samba what they really need.

          Liverpool look strong and spending big (how on earth is Carrell worth more than Fabregas??) whilst Tottenham are resigned to losing Redknapp to England and so Harry hasn't been allowed to spend much. That leaves the second spot wide open to Man City, and if they keep Tevez alongside Algeuro and buy Nasri then United may have company. But without Tevez I can't see them doing it. Looking at the odds no one is betting against United this time, even United fan me, who tipped Chelsea last year.

          ---The Betting odds to win the league---

          4/5 - Man United
          5/2 - Chelsea
          7/2 - Man City
          9/1 - Arsenal
          10/1 - Liverpool
          50/1 - Tottenham

          The Premiership handicap betting has no real value this year. Manchester United at scratch (18/1) look the best value at Ladbrokes whilst Corals have Sunderland at +28 and Fulham at +32 each\way at 15/1 to finish in the top three with their final accumulative points score. If United finish top with 85 points then Sunderland or Fulham must top that with their handicap to win your bet, for example Sunderland need 58 points to top United's 85 with their 28 handicap.

          The Europa Cup tends to be where teams end up in rather than where they really want to be these days and so some interesting teams in Europe this year, Stoke, Birmingham to name but two. I think Everton need a good start this year and chasing 5th and I also see Fulham and big spending Sunderland in the top ten mix. It will no doubt be the same top six this year but the domestic cups are now a good chance to make Europe.

          -Mid table Premiership Predictions-

          5th Tottenham
          6th Liverpool
          7th Everton
          8th Fulham
          9th Sunderland
          10th Stoke

          Relegation wise the new teams are always favourites, Swansea and Norwich 4/7 to go, money bags QPR at 7/4 to go. QPR don't seem to have spent big and so the pressure on Warnock to prove he can manage at this level. Wolves played well last year but only survived on goal difference and so in big trouble, 5/2 the drop. Wigan (2/1) without Nzobia look vulnerable and Newcastle in serious need of some strikers but only 13/2, but the loss of Nolan a big blow, the Scouser preferring the league below to another season with Newcastle in the Premiership surely a bad omen. Bolton (4/1) escape every year and I think West Brom (4/1) will also be ok. But for selling clubs Villa (25/1) and Blackburn (4/1) it may be squeaky bum time.

          ---Relegation---

          11th West Brow
          12th Blackburn
          13thAston Villa
          14thWigan
          15thQPR
          16thNewcastle
          17th Bolton
          18th Wolves
          19th Norwich
          20th Swansea

          --Top Scorers---

          Rooney has to be favourite to be top scorer now his troubles are behind him. Tevez and Fabregas look unsettled and so out of the betting for me and Berbatov being found out away from old Trafford and just a stroller. Drogba looks past his best but a fit Van Persie comes into the mix as numero uno at Arsenal. A surprise winner could be Bent who will need to score twenty plus to keep Villa up. Berbatov and Tevez shared the boot last year with 18 I believe.

          7/1 Rooney
          8/1 Hernandez
          9/1 Torres
          9/1 Van Persie
          12/1 Bent
          14/1 Suarez
          16/1 Carrell
          20/1 Drogba
          25/1 Berbatov
          33/1 Van Der Vaart

          (Selected)

          Domestic Cup wise I will go for Fulham to finally make Wembley in the FA or League Cup Final as they now look a strong Premier league side and so not sacrificing the cups to stay up. They are a juicy 33/1 e/w for the FA Cup. They are strong at home and poor away so they will need a kind draw. Everton have a poor record in the cups but you feel Moyes now needs to win one to reward his own efforts at the club. A settled West Brom side could also surprise a few in the cups.



          Please join the dooyoo fantasy football league at premierleague.com/fantasy league

          The league code is - 1368957-304629

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            23.09.2010 20:56
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            Look further down the chain

            Lets forget the glamour, the hype, the over the top production of traditional Saturday games - now moved to a Sunday/Monday evening/Saturday lunchtime/Saturday evening.

            The Premier League has well and truly ruined English football, forever. It's no wonder the English national game is in such a state when managers would rather spend money on foreign talent than on developing local talent. Look at the top Premier League teams - how many English or British players get their chance to break through. Forget the established stars, think about the emerging kids. Chelsea....errr. Manchester United...Gibson, Evans.... Arsenal - Gibbs, Walcott..... Liverpool....errr. Man City....errr. Spurs....to their credit the most likely to give British players a chance.

            The young English talent has to play further down the league, even outside the Premier League! One of the Under 21's best performers, Fabrice Muamba started out at Arsenal and couldn't get a game. Since then he's impressed with the less fashionable Birmingham and Bolton but he's got no chance of breaking back into the top four or even the fringe UEFA Cup teams.

            Fans of the Premier League will point out the glamour and excitement of the top four clashes. Please! Nine times out of ten they're dull affairs with each side cancelling each other out, boring the socks off each other until the last ten minutes when one mistake is made. Attacking and break-neck football it isn't.

            Arsenal, to their credit, at least attempt to entertain but it's not enough to excite me.

            If you want a mixture of excitement and talent take a look further down the scale at the Championship. Protected somewhat from the over production of endless TV games, protected from the glory hunting fans and still with a feel of 'our' game. The Premiership is always going to be won by one of the same teams (Man City's billions replacing Liverpool in the top four, a rare change, in my opinion that is). The Championship is totally undpredictable, brilliant!

            Don't be swayed by the production and talk. Go for real entertainment without the theatrics.

            As a side note I do concede the Premiership has brought some truly wonderful players to these shores (Bergkamp, Ronaldo, Drogba, Okocha to name but a few)

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              24.07.2010 00:47

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              Lack of English players in the Premier league

              The old cliché of the beautiful game being invented in England well over 100 years ago. So does this mean by right that it should be blessed with an array of the finest talent this country has to offer? In modern day times, it is becoming highly debatable as to whether the Premier League clubs are allowing this to begin to happen. English talent plying their trade at the English leagues pinnacle level is at an all time low.

              The main reason for this is the influx of other foreign professionals not only being signed up by the mega rich clubs, but also at a much younger age at youth levels. There is no doubt that this is in turn hindering the progress of young English talent through the ranks of youth level football. This brings about the question whether Fifa should amend the rulings on transfer activities at young ages, preventing clubs from snapping up foreign talent until a certain age. It should perhaps be proposed that a player must stay with a club in the country in which they were born in or currently reside.

              Doing this would surely allow promising young English talent to mature and develop their skills through the ranks, under the coaching of youth coaches. This could potentially generate a great pool of English talent making the step up to professional level, further leading to great range and choice of talent to select for our national team.

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              24.03.2010 13:55
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              The Beautful Game? Not any more

              Where do we start with a discussion about the Football Premier League. I will assume that if you are reading this that you do have a basic understanding of what this is - the top league of football in England (and we like to think in Europe).

              Over 38 games, the top team will be crowned champions and that will be one of the "Top Four" teams (Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal). These are the teams who have (or used to have) the money to buy the best players and pay their wages to keep them. Who has won the title over the past years - one of these....As much as I dislike Arsenal, at least now Wenger tries to bring along younger or inexperienced players, not just buy the most expensive ones (but is that because they have to pay for their stadium instead?) - having said that they haven't won the league for a few years.

              Fighting over the higher places will be the mid-table teams, such as Spurs (my team), Aston Villa and Everton - well supported teams who haven't got the money to keep up with the Top 4. Manchester City now has a wealthy owner, so are challenging for the Top 4.

              Fighting against relegation will be 6-8 teams, usually the 3 teams that were promoted from the Championship, plus the likes of West Ham and Bolton (i.e. the teams who have the least money).

              Perhaps a jaded look at how the season will pan out, but generally true. Would my opinion change if Spurs were to suddenly have the money to buy Rooney, Messi, Ronaldo and the rest - probably! There are usually a couple of surprises (this season we have the plight of Liverpool - underachieving, but still in 6th place at I write) and Birmingham who are over achieving by being in the top half of the table.

              So the rich get richer (through Champions League money) and we have a league split into 2. The top teams and the rest.

              It would be interesting to see what could be done to try and halt this. I don't have the answers, but we could look at other sports.

              In American Football, the worst performing teams in a season get first choice of the new players coming in from colleges, so they get better and can improve. You do not see the continued dominance of one or two teams like you do here. I know this won't work in football where players can move around at will and I can't see the likes of Ronaldo plying their trade at Wigan (no offence to Wigan). Perhaps a transfer limit per team (say up to £25m allowed per season) - if it means less players from abroad coming over to play for one season or two, perhaps more homegrown players will get the chance to play in the Premier League, which can only be good for our national team.

              A lot of players often act spoilt brats (Chelsea, anyone?) with no respect for anyone, especially the referee. Get some respect back into the game. If any player grabs hold of the referee because they do not agree with a decision, he should get booked or sent off. That would soon stop it. Perhaps a sin-bin, where players are sent off the pitch for a few minutes, could be trialled in the lower leagues.

              I remember hearing an old saying that Football was a game for gentlemen played by hooligans and Rugby was a game for hooligans played by gentlemen - how true that is these days (if you don't count the 'Blood-gate' incident, which is the exception rather than the rule). Watch the rugby and you see players listening to the referee and generally playing the game the way it is supposed to be. Watch football and you see players doing what they can to win, whether fair or foul.
              One area we do need to step things up is TV replays to a fourth official, like we see in Rugby and Cricket. Not for every decision but surely, when so much is at stake these days, the officials need as much help as possible. Every week, penalties are given when they shouldn't have been (often for Man United at Old Trafford!!!!) and goals are not given when the ball has crossed the line (Old Trafford again!!!).

              Perhaps this is a bit of a rant - sorry, I still enjoy watching football, but not as much as I used to, and I will follow Spurs till I die (no, I do not have a tattoo of the crest on my arm). I just think that the Premier League could be better and fairer for all teams.

              That's all, I think I'll have a lie down now........

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                07.11.2009 21:54
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                The premier League need I say more

                Money does it! It has brought world football to England with mega rich owners able to pay highly paid players and foreign managers to show British players how it is done.

                Yes we have a great England team now with some outstanding players and yet another foreign manager Capello, who has this chemistry and respect with the players.

                Yes we have British Managers who are well respected in the Premier League and are doing a good job, but the Manager I feel has bought the best footballing side is Arsene Wenger in his young Arsenal Side.

                They may not have won anything for a few years now, but he has built that side with limited resources and has shown the door to some who have been offered more money and he has shown that "If you can't commit yourself to the club you can go, and there are many who can take your place."

                Many will blame Chelsea for starting the big spend times and yes they may have a point but in the days of Johnny Haynes with a £100 a week sent pulses racing and there were the Leeds, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool naming but a few in the 1960's 70's onwards.

                One doesn't have to go to watch a Premier match but if you want to see the best, the choice is yours.

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                  07.11.2009 12:37
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                  BACK OF THE NET!

                  The beautiful game! Small boys in the park. Jackets for goalposts. Was it a goal? Who knows, we haven't got a crossbar! Just like The Premier League except totally different!

                  The Premier league started in August 1990 and replaced the old first division. Past winners include the usual suspects, Arsenal, Manutd, Chelsea, come on who else.......? Yes, that's right, Blackburn Rovers of all teams, back in the days when Alan Shearer played for them. My team Liverpool.......no DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!! Let's just say, I'm having acupuncture to help me come to terms with them.

                  There's a lot that can be said about The Premier League. From a morality point of view, it's a bit like chewing a tea bag- leaves a nasty taste in the mouth! All to do with money. How can you justify for example, Wayne Rooney earning £110,000 a week!! I'd like to say to him " Hey there Sir Wayne- only a matter of time before he's knighted-I'd say I earn more in a lifetime than you do in a month. That should bring him down a peg or three!

                  But seriously it can be a recipe for disaster when you give someone so young such a high wage. This combined with the ignorance a lot of them carry can result in a lot of conflict. How can they ever appreciate the value of money? We saw this week, another Premiership footballer jailed for assaulting an innocent young woman. "Don't you know who I am" he said when she asked to be left alone. Of course his WAG will stick by him because "He's misunderstood" - Such is life!

                  On a lighter note. Why do footballers' speak in cliches? I don't like cliches, I try to avoid them like the plague!! - boom boom! " The team gave 110% today." Must of missed school when doing percentages! Can do addition though when counting their money. Another one "At The end of the day"- very irritating. " Over the moon"- Just because something good has happened shouldn't immediately put you in the mood for space travel!

                  It's no good avoiding it. When are Liverpool going to win the league? Answer- When, during a season they get more points than any other team. Keep it simple lads! Don't forget if you give 110% I'll be over the moon by the end of the day. I'm off out for a game of footy. Where's me jacket?

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                    23.10.2009 17:28
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                    This is the undisputed and unrivalled footballing league in the world

                    The Premier league, deserves its name. It is the premier football league. It's the most lucrative, most watched and best know world wide. There's a reason for all of this: The football played is proper football, showing off true defensive skill which requires true attacking flair to break through. Some people think that the Spanish league is the best in the world but the record of the Premier League is unrivalled. The country with the most teams consistently advancing beyond the first knockout stage of the Champions league? Why England of course with its high flying premier league. And the exciting thing now is that with huge money takeovers seemingly happening every other week, big names are consistently flocking to English shores. Moreover, the competition is exciting as teams regarded as solid sides, now have more money and are now pushing to become part of the top four of the league. It's exciting, the fans are loyal and passionate and the standard of football is unrivalled. The goals per game average of the current premier league season is considerably higher than any other league in the world.

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                    14.08.2009 02:32
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                    Another fantastic season with great matches

                    Well the premier league has always been exciting and the 2008/09 season didn't disappoint, there was everything from handbags on the pitch between team mates to managers telling of there team in the middle of the pitch at half time.

                    The league started off with a bang but not for me and fellow spurs fans as we suffered watching our team at the bottom of the league in the first few months, then managed by Juande Ramos.

                    We were treated by an amazing set of results by newly promoted side Hull City, the good set of scores helped them managing them to sit inside the top four for a few weeks.

                    This season there were more half it the clubs deciding to change there managers because of poor results including Chelsea. Chelsea sacked Avram Grant and brought in Luiz Felipe Scolari who was also sacked later on in the season.

                    The 3 teams that came up didn't let down there fans like previous teams had. Stoke occasionally dropped in the bottom but finished a respectable 12. Hull started brilliant but after Phil Brown humilated his team they could only manage 2 wins in 20 matches. West Brom on the other hand went straight back down but only missed safety by 3 points.

                    Joining Weat Brom was Newcastle who seemed to implode under the running of Mike Ashley, they constanly changed managers and brought in poor players which ultimatly led to there downfall. Middlesborough followed them down to the championship and could only manage 28 goals in 38 matches.

                    This year the top four were almost broken in by Aston Villa but a poor run after Christmas left Arsenal nicking 4th from them. Meanwhile at the top Man Utd had fierce competition for the title by Liverpool even when Man U kept over 10 clean sheets in a row Liverpool pushed them right to the wire. Chelsea were never really in the running for the title after chopping and changing there management.

                    There was even a suprise package in fulham managed by Roy Hodgeson, they finished 7th and took the last European slot. This year will always be remembered by the takeover of Man City by the Abu Dahbi group. They showed they could compete with anyone when buying players and proved it when they signed Robinho from Real Madrid for a record british fee.

                    The final standing -

                    1. Man Utd - 90
                    2. Liverpool - 86
                    3. Chelsea - 83
                    4. Arsenal - 72
                    5. Everton - 63
                    6. Aston Villa - 62
                    7. Fulham - 53
                    8. Tottenham - 51
                    9. West Ham - 51
                    10. Man City - 50
                    11. Wigan - 45
                    12. Stoke - 45
                    13. Bolton - 41
                    14. Portsmouth - 41
                    15. Blackburn - 41
                    16. Sunderland - 36
                    17. Hull - 35
                    18. Newcastle - 34
                    19. Middlesborough - 32
                    20. West Brom - 32

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                    27.03.2009 13:54
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                    Best Football league in the world!

                    This season has in my mind been one of the best, if not the best premiership season so far, regardless of how the season ends and who ends up the winners and losers at the end of the season. The main reason for this is that it is still so close at the top and the bottom of the table.

                    You would probably expect Manchester United to come out on top given the current standings but Liverpool are hot on their heels and have had some amazing results of late. My team, Chelsea had a great start and all seemed to be going rosy but fast forward to the new year and the results were poor, losing to most of the top four teams (resulting in Scolari being sacked and replaced with Russia's coach Hiddink until the end of the season) and now find themselves playing almost an unassailable catchup.

                    Then we have Arsenal and Aston Villa battling out for that all exclusive 4th position and Champions League qualification. Villa had been in pole position but now find themselves behind and losing momentum. Arsenal also have had some top players coming back from injury and new signing Andrei Arshavin has fitted into their team very nicely at just the right time. Just below them is Everton, still fighting to stay in the hunt for 4th place but probably too far behind but are likely to end up with a European spot regardless.

                    Below these teams it's really anyone's guess as to what the strategy is for them. The reason for this is that the gap in points between 10th and 18th is currently only 9 pts. The first priority for these teams will be survival but if they go on a good run they may be challenging for Europe. You may expect West Brom to go down but other than that its still difficult to pick any three teams that you could say for sure will be relegated. The three promoted teams have done very well especially Hull who started off so well and were at one point in 4th. Also Stoke have done well and both have got a good chance of survival. West Brom may not have been the best team but considering recently we had points totals that were the lowest they had ever been for a team relegated from the Premiership (Sunderland and Derby), its great to see good competition at both ends of the table going in to the end of the season.

                    Matches where you would expect teams to win haven't been won by the teams you expect and the season has had many twists and turns so far and this is set to continue till the end of the season. Buckle up your seatbelts , we are in for a frantic finish!

                    The fact that half the teams in the quarter finals of the Champions league are premier league teams says alot about the quality of this league at the moment!

                    I think I may update this as the season pans out to the climax. Thanks for reading

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                      17.01.2009 02:11
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                      Premiership always lives up to expectation and excitement

                      This 2008/09 premiership season is set up to be one of the most enthralling, closely fought battles in the history of the premiership. The title looks set to go down to the last day, with 5 teams still very much invovled in the title race. This is largely due to all of them failing to capitalise on another one's downfall. If one of the big 4 is draws a match, so does the other. Arsenal are still in the title race, despite being 8 points behind league leaders Liverpool. They just have to win their games, because at the moment their dropping points whenever other teams are.

                      Chelsea look extremely dodgy as of late, their form is stuttering, and only anelka seems to be scoring goals regularly, and their leaking more goals this season than previous years gone by. Manchester United look destined at the moment to win their third title in a row, but if ronaldo gets injured, they will suffer dearly, as none of their strikers are natural regular goalscorers.

                      The relegation battle is very exciting. West Brom are by no means out of it. Neither are hull for that matter! Their slide down the table, is proving to be detrimental to the teams confidence and level of performance. Man City might harbour hopes of signing Kaka, but they should be more concerned about avoiding relegation, as their lingering dangerously close to the bottom 3. West Brom are the only team to have ever escaped relegation when being bottom of the table at Christmas, and you would not put it past them doing it again.

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                        09.12.2008 12:22
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                        Simply the best league in the world

                        This year is beginning to prove the tightest year in premiership history, is anyone safe? I don't think so.

                        At the start of this year people were saying that the "top 4" as we like to call them, had so much money that no other team in the league would be able to break them. Now although this seems like it could be the case these so called top 4 teams have been losing/drawing a lot more then in previous years. It only takes 1 team from the rest to go on a good streak and they will have broken into the top 4. Aston Villa is giving it a good go, and surprisingly even Hull are only 3 points of the top 4.

                        At the start of the season you really had to think that the 3 clubs that came up were going to be sent packing come the end of the season. How wrong was that, Hull currently 6th 2 points away from champions league next season, Stoke sitting in 13th 4 points above the drop zone. Whilst WBA unfortunately look like they will be the first team to go down, I really can't see them pulling the big wins out of the bag like they need to. Apart from that it is incredibly difficult to say who will join them in the drop.

                        Blackburn are currently having a tough time of it, no win in 11, Paul Ince I feel is really starting to feel the pressure of being a manager in the premier league, it is a lot different to managing Mansfield. If he loses his next 2 games I feel they will have to get rid of the chief to move forward, but if he does lose his next 2 games well then Blackburn could see themselves drop ever closer to the Championship. The last time Blackburn went down it was a shock because they had a lot of talented players, I hope they learned by their mistakes last time where they had free release clauses in players contracts should the team get relegated. Blackburn had to build from scratch last time and I am sure they will do their utmost to avoid this a second time.

                        Sunderland have just lost their manager (by way of text?), this is disastrous for them. I feel Roy Keane was Sunderland's only hope of success. They currently take up the last of the relegation spots and only just lost to Manchester United (all be it the most defensive performance of the century so far). Sunderland will need to get someone in fast so that they can have a chance to build in the January transfer window. I feel Sunderland will join WBA now (yes I am a Newcastle fan and, yes I am biased). I heard rumours that Sam Aladyce was possibly taking the reigns, all I can say is that he has a mammoth task ahead of him.

                        Newcastle sit one place and one point above the drop, I am seriously worried about this season. What has happened to the Newcastle team of the 90's? Newcastle was once one of the best sides in the premiership but their demise over the last 10 years has been pitiful. This season Kevin Keegan walked out on his team after being made false promises by the board (how is he supposed to manage a team? if he doesn't not have full control?), this left Newcastle in a complete mess, losing 6-0 to Manchester United just stuck a cherry on top. Joe Kinear took charge on a month to month basis (since been extended until the end of the season) and all fairness to the guy he has done a good job. He has shored up the back line (which has always been Newcastle's weakness). Unfortunately Joe is not a premiership manager (probably a good championship manager), and I feel Newcastle will only survive by beating Aston Villa in the last game of the season.

                        After the bottom 4 I have mentioned above, from 16th-7th there are only 5 points that separate everyone, so if one of these teams loses 3 games on the bounce they will find themselves in severe danger of saying bye bye to the premiership.

                        Who is going to win the league this year? Pre-season favourites had been Manchester United. But Manchester are currently 6 points adrift of Liverpool in top spot, they do however have 1 game in hand. Normally the team that wins the league is the team that beats their fellow top 4 rivals, on that form this year it would be Arsenal but they are 7 points away from Liverpool having played that same amount of games.

                        Liverpool currently occupy the top spot even though they have had 2 0-0 draws recently (against should win opposition). Rafa Benitez was under pressure at the start of the season to get a trophy; this season is looking extremely good for him. His main aim has to be consistency (something he has lacked in the premier league throughout his managerial career). At the present time it is Liverpool's title to through away. Should Liverpool win the league it would be their 19th top league title.

                        Chelsea has been quiet this year, is that because they have a new manager that does not think he is the special one? Scolari is a great manager; he has proved this with Portugal and Brazil. Chelsea needed a big name to live up to the expectation Joes had left. Chelsea has by far the best goal difference in the league, and had they not lost to Arsenal (thanks to a goal that shouldn't have stood) they would have been tied first place. Chelsea are my favourites to win the league this year.

                        Manchester United has always fighting for the title for as long as I can remember. I pray that they have demise soon, this doesn't seem likely with the quality of young players they currently have at the club. Should Manchester win the game they have in hand over their rivals they will move ever closer to Liverpool and Chelsea. The question still remains will Ronaldo stay in January? If he does then Man United will be pushing all the way, if he leaves I feel they will have lost that edge they have over a lot of teams.

                        Arsenal sits 4th only 1 point ahead of Aston Villa. Arsenal has been such a weird side this year, they manage to beat Chelsea one game, and then lose to Burnley in the quarters of the league cup. I feel Arsene Wenger is a fantastic youth manager, but not the best senior Manager. He seems to find talented youngsters out of no where, but once they reach a certain age he doesn't really know what to do with them. Arsenal is filled with world class youth, but they are going to be fighting hard to keep hold of that last Champions league spot.

                        Aston Villa are only one point behind Arsenal, and they are desperate to prove that they are the team that can break into the top 4. Martin O'neil has managed to build a great side; he has 3 awesome strikers and a fairly solid back line. Villa have only lost to one of the top 4 teams, ther4e current record is win 1 lost 1 draw 2. This defiantly gives them a good chance of pushing for that 4th spot. Aston Villa would be a lot better off if they were able to keep the consistency going for longer periods, they have beaten arsenal but lost to teams like Newcastle and Stoke. I feel Arsenal will shut the door on Villa after Christmas and they will have to settle of a 5th place finish.

                        Now I never thought I would ever mention Hull in a review for the premiership never mind in a review for those in the top 6. Hull are currently in 6th place and are only 3 points off the champions league places. The signing if Geovanni for Phil Brown was inspirational he has carried Hull through a lot of the games, and they will do well to keep hold of him come the end of the season. I was sure Hull would have dropped of the pace by now but they still manage to keep those winnings coming in. Hull are almost guaranteed to be safe bet to stay up and only a win less run until the end of the season would disagree with that. A top half finish would be a good result for hull from their current position.

                        All in all that is my review of the Premiership so far, I may update this at a future date when the season has progressed a bit more. Cross analyse my predictions with what has happened etc. Thanks for reading

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                          28.11.2008 15:09
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                          Great

                          **Introduction**

                          As a massive fan of Football I find the Premier League to be the best league in the world after overtaking Spain's Primera Liga over the last two or three years. Anyone who comes to England who wanted to know what the attraction of the Premier League was would be given this answer, The Premier League is noted for it's pace as the tempo of the games are a little quicker and more flowing than some other European leagues. This has attracted some of the greatest players in the world to the Premier League and the growth of the League over the past few years has been nothing short of staggering with live games being shown all around the world.

                          **History**

                          The Premier League was first seriously discussed at the end of the 90-91 season but did not become a real possibility until the end of the 91-92 season where 22 teams joined forces for the League and The Carling Premier League began for the 92-93 season. Over the Sixteen seasons of the Premier League, Manchester United have won a staggering 10 titles, Arsenal 3, Chelsea 2 and finally Blackburn Rovers are the only other club to win the Premier League after their title in the 94-95 season.

                          **Premier League 08-09**

                          The league is officially called the Barclays Premier League after a deal was struck in 2007 that will run up to 2010. The league is now starting to come alive as there are only a few games away from Half Way through the season and there have been a few more suprises than usual along the way. Here is my rundown of the Teams involved in this years Premier League.

                          **The Teams**

                          ARSENAL

                          Arsene Wenger's team have had a very strange start to this season as they continue to play outstanding football regularly but have lost games they really should win. There seems to be a huge amount of turmoil at the club with William Gallas recently being stripped of his captaincy after publicly blasting his teammates. Cesc Fabregas is now their new captain and time will tell whether the team can find some winning consistency.

                          Prediction 5th

                          ASTON VILLA

                          Martin O'Neill has a young side with pace, agility and above all very talented players. They have had a fantastic start to the season and are the only team seriously considered as a threat to the recent dominance of the top four spots. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young have been superb this season but the team can leak goals and have had several high scoring draws over the last couple of seasons.

                          Prediction 4th

                          BLACKBURN

                          Last season they finished 7th under Mark Hughes but are now managed by Paul Ince. They have an unpredictable goalkeeper in Paul Robinson and on their day can beat anyone in the League, I like to watch their attacking style of football but they can be suspect at the back. Top players include Morten Gamst Pedersen and Roque Santa Cruz.

                          Prediction 12th

                          BOLTON WANDERERS

                          They used to be a very difficult team to beat when Sam Allardyce was in charge but Gary Megson has turned them into a team who are not where they should be considering some of the players they have. Matt Taylor is one of their best players but has come off the bench too much this season as he should be starting every game if fit. I fear Bolton could find themselves in the Coca Cola Championship next season if they don't replace Megson and his excuses.

                          Prediction 18th

                          CHELSEA

                          With new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari Chelsea have been might impressive in their goal of Winning their Third League Title in the last 5 years. New players brought in include Deco and Bosingwa who Scolari coached for Portugal, at them to an already outstanding crop of Anelka, Drogba, Lampard, Ballack, Essien and you have quite a team. They will be very hard to beat this season.

                          Prediction 2nd

                          EVERTON

                          David Moyes has done a magnificent job with Everton since he arrived from Preston North End. They have had a bad start this season which one could put down to the uncertainty over His contract talks. Now they have picked up their form and are playing like we know they can with the likes of Cahill and Arteta plus new signing Louis Saha upfront with Yakuba they are a dangerous team.

                          Prediction 6th

                          FULHAM

                          Roy Hodgson managed to save the team from the drop last season when he took over from Lawrie Sanchez. The team are having a bad time of it at the moment and sit 16th, It may take a few new players to make sure of Premiership Football at Craven Cottage for next season at this rate despite the quality of Hodgson as a manager.

                          Prediction 16th

                          HULL CITY

                          Phil Brown's men have become the biggest suprise this season as they have made a truly superb start when just about every pundit expected them to be fighting relegation after coming up via the Playoff Final win against Bristol City. Phil Brown has enhanced his reputation no end with the teams performances so far this season having learnt under Sam Allarydce at Bolton.

                          Prediction 10th

                          LIVERPOOL

                          Rafa Benitez's team sit on top of the Premier League level on points with Chelsea. The addition of Albert Riera on the left wing has made them a much more dangerous team out wide and the play of Kuyt and Alonso would both could have gone in the transfer window last summer along with Gerrard and Torres have made Liverpool in real Title challengers as opposed to one of the top four.

                          Prediction 3rd

                          MANCHESTER CITY

                          Mark Hughes has been given a huge amount of money to spend and he started with Robinho from Real Madrid. The team still needs more work but has a good base from which to improve from. A couple more big signings and they could be challenging for the UEFA Cup every year. I still don't see them as realistic title challengers unless Chelsea and Manchester United go mad.

                          Prediction 7th

                          MANCHESTER UNITED

                          I am a die hard Manchester United fan and have been impressed with the young players coming through particularly Rafael Da Silva who has shown real talent when he has had an opportunity in the first team. With Ronaldo back scoring and the addition of Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham, United can retain the title. Chelsea will be big contenders though.

                          Prediction 1st

                          Middlesbrough

                          Gareth Southgate has got to be the manager the phrase "I should have kept my mouth shut" was made for. He is constantly accusing opposing players of dirty tricks and then having to take the comments back when he sees it on the replay after the game. Middlesbrough blow hot and cold. Sometimes they can be superb and other times there's just nothing there and they are making mistakes galore.

                          Prediction 13th

                          NEWCASTLE UNITED

                          After a shocking start they seem to have found some belief after Joe Kinnear has breathed new life into their season. It will be interesting to see how long he is there for as I fear they will go down if he doesnt stay there for the season as they won't be able to get anyone of real quality in as the uncertaincy over the club continues.

                          Prediction 14th

                          PORTSMOUTH

                          Harry Redknapp left Pompey to Keep Spurs up and now they have been stupid in appointing Tony Adams as manager. As much as I know the quality of players they have I am worried about the future of the club's premier league status with Tony Adams in charge much longer.

                          Prediction 9th

                          STOKE CITY

                          Whilst Hull City have made an incredible start Stoke City are where they were expected to be, just above the relegation zone. I think they are capable of staying up and having a good couple of seasons in the Premier League but they need to keep playing to their strengths and not just one of them in Rory Delap's long throws.

                          Prediction 17th

                          SUNDERLAND

                          Roy Keane has proved to be a much better manager than was predicted when he became the Sunderland Manager. Cisse and Diouf are quite a partnership upfront but they need a couple of signings in other areas if they are going to climb up the table and push into the top ten.

                          Prediction 11th

                          TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

                          After a monumentally bad start under Juande Ramos, Spurs have now picked up with the new manager Harry Redknapp. I see them being a really different team next season but they could still break into the top this season which considering the state they were in when he came is a tribute to his managerial skills and his character as a man.

                          Prediction 8th

                          WEST BROMWICH ALBION

                          Tony Mowbray has got them playing attractive football but they are leaking goals left, right and centre and need to address this unless they want to be relegated yet again. Remember they won the Championship and look at the difference between them and Hull City who were promoted via the Playoff Final.

                          Prediction 20th

                          WEST HAM UNITED

                          Gianfranco Zola has a difficult first job in management as West Ham United continue to blow hot and cold just like Middlesbrough. They need to stop going on such bad runs otherwise they know what will happen. They also need to forget about the Carlos Tevez affair and just concentrate on football.

                          Prediction 19th

                          WIGAN ATHLETIC

                          Steve Bruce has done a decent job at Wigan Athletic and also when he was at Birmingham City. Wigan are another team who tend to blow hot and cold. When they are good they can produce results like a 5-0 away win at Hull City and then they go on terrible runs. They play good football but are weak at the back.

                          Prediction 15th

                          **Top Players**

                          There are so many great players from all over the world but here are some of the players who I regard as amongst the best in the Premier League, They are from a variety of teams and are seperated in sections by their Position and are in no particular order.

                          Goalkeepers

                          Tim Howard, Edwin Van Der Sar, Peter Cech, Paul Robinson, Jose Reina.

                          Defenders

                          Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Daniel Agger, William Gallas, Kolo Toure, Ledley King, Patrice Evra, Wes Brown, Ashley Cole, Ricardo Carvalho. Nemanja Vidic, Rafael.

                          Midfielders

                          Geovanni, Elano, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso, Lampard, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, Michael Carrick, Anderson, Luis Nani,

                          Strikers

                          Nicolas Anelka, Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney, Djibril Cisse, Fernando Torres, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Emanuel
                          Adebayor.

                          **Overall**

                          There is my rundown of all 20 teams, A long review I know but I hope you take time to read most of it if you are a Football fanatic like me. One thing is certain about this years Premier League and that is that it is set to be one of the most contested title batles of recent years with three teams who will be very close at the top of the table. Keep watching all the great action and outstanding goals and saves. I know I will.

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