Mayhem on Mersyside

 

There are select few of games that are recognizable to even the fair weather fan, Real Madrid vs Barcelona, Arsenal vs Tottenham and Liverpool vs Everton otherwise know as the Merseyside derby! These rivalries all have a few factors in common. 1. History 2. Location 3. Hatred/passion

Although all of these rivalries tick off all of those boxes. None compare to the merseyside derby! The sheer passion that Liverpudlian fans have for their respective teams is unmatched, not to mention the extremely close proximity of the two clubs. This all makes for heated derby matches that create an  unmatched atmosphere in English football.Liverpool F.C and Everton F.C have faced off in some of British football’s most memorable matches and in recent years they have not disappointed in keeping that history alive.   

Liverpool is a club with a long and decorated history winning 4 European cup’s in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Those team’s were a force to be reckoned with, boasting some of the best team’s of that era with Ian Callaghan, Club legend Kenny Dalglish and later Ian Rush! The Red’s may have had plenty of success in the 70’s and 80’s but other than a Steven Gerrard led 2005 Champions League title Liverpool have lacked recent success whether it be Europe or the league. The Rafa Benitez era offered a sliver of hope for Red’s fans with club legend Stevie G leading the charge and the likes of Djibril Cisse and Milan Baros leading the charge up front but that era fizzled out.Other than striker Luis Suarez developing into one of the world's best during his 3 years at Anfield,losing the league title on the last day and overspending on bad singing’s I.E 35 million pounds for Andy Carroll or paying 5 million for a then 32 year old Rickie Lambert in 2014.

Liverpool fan’s were fed up with mediocrity so in October 2015 the ownership group made a power move when they brought in Bundesliga winning manager Jurgen Klopp. Although with Klopp at the helm the Reds were only able to finish 8th in the league, you could tell that a new culture has started to form at Anfield and only time would improve that. This season the Reds are playing with an improved squad with the addition of Senegalese winger Sadio Mane and Cameroonian center back Joel Matip. With these new additions the Reds have risen to a respectable 4th place in the league and are not too far off from 3rd place Man City.

Everton are often the 2nd thought when it comes to Liverpudlian football but they have been very successful in their own right. The Toffee’s achieved high levels of success throughout the 80’s as the club won a FA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup,  2 League titles and managed to be FA cup runner up twice in that period. By 1989 the Toffee’s string of success dropped off and they ended the season in 8th place. The 90s proved to be an up and down time for the Toffees and as they bounced around the table like a ping pong ball, heading towards the millennium no one really knew what to expect.

After a tumultuous start to the 2000’s Evertons board decided to make a change and bring in  exciting young manager David Moyes. Moyes seemed to recharge the culture surrounding the club, along with that a young Wayne Rooney starting to come into his own the future was looking bright. Ultimately Rooney only stayed at the club for 2 seasons and The Toffees were forced to cash in on the opportunity as Manchester United paid 26.5 million pounds for the then 18 year old. Many people expected Everton to drop in the table after Rooney's exit at the start of the 2004-2005 season but they ended up finishing 4th in the table, their highest finish since 1988. Throughout the rest of the David Moyes era the toffees were consistently finishing in the top 10 of the league table and were always a threat for Europa league success.

Fast forward to the 2016-2017 season and both of these Liverpudlian heavyweights are in contention for European places! Liverpool currently sit in 4th place with a 4 point cushion on there other big rivals Manchester United. Everton sit in 6th and are being led by their star man Romelu Lukaku,he currently leads the golden boot race with 21 goals. With that being said this is the Premier League and it takes more than one man to carry a team to the pinnacle. With it now being Chelsea's title to lose, fans on merseyside are now only concerned with who gets bragging rights going into next season! A win for Liverpool would mean further securing a Champions League spot for next season while for Everton their chance at Europe is still there although getting their first win at Anfield since 2000 will be tough.    

Lukaku will put one in the back of the net for the toffees but the home crowd at Anfield will prove to be the difference.  

My prediction Liverpool 2-1 winners!  

What do you think will happen? Predict now with Predictabl 

Sean

GOTW

Will the Swedeless devils give Chelsea the Blues on Monday night?

Here we go again with one of the biggest rivalries in English football. Over the years Chelsea and Manchester United have played some amazing football. It may only be the FA Cup but Monday night’s big game could be another historic battle between two English giants.

 

Speaking of giant’s Chelsea have been rolling through the league! Their win at the weekend put them 10 points clear at the top making it their title to lose. With the title relativity locked up they can put all of their effort into beating the Red Devil’s and further demoralizing Jose’s men. After all the last time the Blues faced the devils at home, they destroyed them 4-0 thanks in part to David De Gea's mega misread. Along with that this time last year Chelsea were struggling in 10th place and had only accumulated 41 point’s. Although the Devil’s also had a lackluster season you can bet that fans were loving the fact that the Blues were struggling so badly. So you can bet that the feeling of revenge will be sweet. It wasn’t long ago that United had a reign of dominance that looked like could’ve spanned a decade, with Cristiano flying down the wing and Rooney at his peak it seemed united could have done anything they pleased. Oh how the times have changed. With the blues on top once again United fans will be itching to level the score next season.

 

During Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure at Old Trafford, United fans were treated to years of excellence. Legends like David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane raised the expectation level club wide when they completed the historic treble of 1999. Luckily enough for United fans the success continued through the early 2000’s with the singing’s of two young mysteries in Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. As we all the know the rest is history, Rooney has now become United all time leading scorer while Cristiano turned himself into one of the 2 best player’s in the world. Although United have still experienced success since Sir Alex Ferguson departed, the loss of a figure that monumental has had a big impact on united over the last couple of seasons. Whether it be their questionable singing’s over the past couple season’s I.E Marcos Rojo, Radamel Falcao and Mr. Injury Luke Shaw or spending a whopping 89 million pounds on a disappointing Paul Pogba. Considering their singing of the season is an aging Zlatan. I would feel they have let themselves down. Enough about the respective team’s let's talk about Monday’s big FA Cup matchup.

 

For United Zlatan missing in action due the FA 3 game suspension will prove to be critical, without him they lack a proven goal threat not to mention their backline this season has been a liability. Chelsea on the other hand should go into this game with the utmost confidence to trash the devils at home considering their recent form.

 

My Prediction - Chelsea 3 Manchester United 0

                       

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Sean

From Tinkerman to Stinkerman #SEVLEI #UCL

From Tinkerman to Stinkerman #SEVLEI #UCL

Let's be honest Sevilla vs Leicester is not the marquee matchup when it comes to the round of 16. When fans think about the UCL they think of two European powerhouses going head to head like Barca vs PSG or last years Madrid derby final. Compared to those Sevilla vs Leicester may seem like an afterthought but this matchup has more than meets the eye.

In La Liga, all other teams are shadowed by 2 world powers of football, Real Madrid and Barcelona, with Atletico slowly catching up. This means unless you're a fan of Sevilla you probably didn’t know they’ve quietly been having a fantastic season! They currently sit behind reigning champions Barcelona in 3rd place along with being 4 points ahead of 4th place Atletico. You're probably trying to think of their best player right now...or any player for that matter.

You would think with the sale of on fire frenchmen Kevin Gameiro, Sevilla would've taken a step back. They happened to do the exact opposite, they retooled the roster with the singings of Wissam Ben Yedder, Luciano Vietto and the loan deals of Samir Nasri and Stevan Jovetic. Although they made all these attacking acquisitions many people felt Sevilla do to what they always do which is finish top 6 and look forward to next season’s Europa League. The outcome has turned out different than expected, they  have turned heads this season with wins over Real Madrid, Atletico and Valencia. Carrying momentum from their league success Sevilla has been able too advance to the round of 16 in the UCL. Not only that but they may have gotten the best draw possible with Leicester City. Last season facing Leicester may have struck some fear in their opponents but I think this season Sevilla should be looking forward to beating the already demoralised Foxes.

I know this is starting to seem like bashing Leicester is a constant theme in my blogs but they obviously haven’t read my writing for motivation since they continue to disappoint! Their horrible season continues as they most recently lost to League 1 side Millwall in the FA cup. Although I keep hoping for Leicester to turn it around and avoid the humiliation of going from champions to relegation I just don’t think it'll happen. They continue to play like it doesn't matter to any of them, I don’t know if there was too much partying this summer, or the loss of Kante working his ass off every game rubbed off, but whatever the problem may be something has to change!

Many people think manager Claudio Ranieri has lost the trust of his players and should be let go, i'm starting to agree with that idea. With the Foxes focused on a relegation battle in the Premier League the UCL should be the least of their worries. Although it would be nice put a quarter final run on their CV, staying up and being able to keep your best players is the most important thing right now. All in all I think they will give the 2nd squad a chance and rest their stars but you never know.

With all that being said, Leicester may be in the better league BUT Sevilla are the better team and I have great faith that they will show that tomorrow night! Not to mention their at home so I say you can count the Foxes out of this one.

My prediction - Sevilla 2 Leicester 0

What do you think? Make your predictions on Predictabl

On The Spur Of The Moment #FULTOT #FACUP

On The Spur Of The Moment #FULTOT #FACUP

Spurs vs Fulham is a big London derby that has a long history, although you wouldn’t know that watching football recently, since Fulham have been relegated from the PL since the 2013-2014 season. Sundays FA cup matchup pits the two teams against each other in the competition for the first time since 2011 and although Fulham won 4-0 in that fixture, a lot has changed in those 5 years.  

Spurs have gone from a Gareth Bale “one man team” that would later upset Inter Milan in the Champions League to a passion fuelled team hoping to keep their Champions League place in tact as the season hits the home stretch. It’ll be a busy week for Spurs as they travel to Belgium on Thursday for the first leg of their Europa League tie with Gent and then head to Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Because of the short turnaround it’ll be interesting to see what squad Poch decides to bring where. That bares the question what's more important a 2nd tier European competition or a fifth round FA cup tie… In my opinion Poch will give some of the young players a chance on Sunday purely because I think Gent is a much more challenge, Even though the Belgian league is pretty much on par with the English Championship...so he’ll put his better squad out there. Spurs  have something to be happy about though as star CB Jan Vertonghen is expected to return ahead of schedule after being out since mid January. Their defence just hasn’t been the same without him, conceding 3 goals against Wycombe and 2 against big 6 rivals Liverpool, it seems that he’s the cement that keeps Spurs so defence, even more reason to be confident that Spurs should easily win.

Fulham on the other hand have dropped from being a perennial PL mid table team with Clint Dempsey controlling the midfield to a championship team that is out of the playoff spots. After a steady 10 years in the PL things at Craven Cottage took a turn for the worse as they got relegated on the last day of the 2013-2014 campaign due to sunderland's win at Manchester United. Unfortunately it has only gotten worse for Fulham as they finished last season in 20th just above the relegation zone. It’s a long way away from reaching the Europa League final 6 years earlier. Now with all that being said, Fulham have improved their form this season currently sitting in 8th place. With this improved form maybe they can channel 2011 and put 4 past Spurs! I have my doubts, but with Football you just never know.  

Even the fair weather fan wouldn’t bet against Spurs in this one and neither will I!

My Prediction - Fulham 0 Spurs 2

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Sean

Robben Them Blind #FCBARS #UCL

Robben Them Blind #FCBARS #UCL

The Champions League is back this week! Do I need to say more? Well I will either way! One of the marquee matchups to kick off the round of 16 this week is Arsenal vs Bayern Munich. The German giants have yet again looked hard to stop this season and the Champions League has been no different. The Gunners have also seen a lot of the same this season, they were expected to challenge for a title but have failed keep up with probable champions Chelsea. No matter if you're a fan of either team, I know one thing that’s got me excited, Champions League being back!

We have the same conversation about the Gunners every season and they never seem to be listening. I don’t even consider myself an Arsenal fan and I am continually disappointed by their constant underachieving. I can’t even imagine what it must be like being an ACTUAL FAN. The Gunners have some quality in their side but over the years questionable acquisitions have kept them from reaching the peak of English football once again. My list could go for miles but i'll just give you a few of the shockers in the last 10 years… Andre Santos, Marouane Chamakh, Andre Arshavin, Park Chu Young and Denilson just to name a few. Im sure you all know the saying “make the best of what you have” and In Arsenal’s case you can’t blame all of their recent shortcomings on their bad transfer choices, but that certainly hasn't helped! This has all created a long title drought for the gunners and a different level of confidence compared to the Invincible's run in the early 2000”s. Now enough about the past, even though the Gunners won 2-0 at the weekend inconsistency has plagued the Gunners this season and facing a juggernaut like Bayern Munich won’t make starting a winning streak any easier.

While the Gunners have been underperforming this season, Bayern Munich have been doing exactly what you would expect them to do! Contending for a Bundesliga title while fielding a team of international superstars. While they may not be as dominant as the Pep years this season, they're still 7 points clear at the top the league and look to go for the double with the Champions League trophy in sight as well. Although their season so far would be considered great for most other teams in the world. Most other teams haven’t experienced the success they've been used to for the past 4 years or so. Even though the squad has remained pretty much unchanged from last season, something’s different for Bayern this season. Long time captain Philipp Lahm has decided to retire at the end of the season and forgo the last season of his contract which was a shocking blow to the Bayern faithful. With that shock it’s a sign that things are changing at Bayern and yes I know the winning will continue but with RB Leipzig on their tail it won’t be certainty that Bayern will be destined for the title in the next couple of seasons.  

With all that said I forgot to mention Bayern are at home for the first leg, so that right there sways my prediction. Bayern are too good at home to bet against and that's why they will top the Gunners 3-1!

What do you think? Make your prediction with Predictabl!

Sean

It's About To Get Messi #PSGFCB #UCL

It's About To Get Messi #PSGFCB #UCL

It’s time for the elite to meet, that’s right, the competition that every football fan loves is back, The UEFA Champions League! Our game of the day is likely to be the most watched fixture of the last 16, featuring two of the biggest and exciting teams to grace this year's competitions, PSG vs Barcelona. These teams have been paired together 3 times in the past 5 years, once in the group stages and twice in the quarter finals. Barcelona are the team with the bragging rights as they qualified from both of their quarter final fixtures against the Paris giants BUT i wouldn’t write off PSG, Barcelona aren’t exactly the “unstoppable” team that they have been in seasons past.

Now, normally I would look at each team's league form and compare them but we both know that both of these teams play in mediocre leagues, crucify me if you want, but it’s true, only 3-4 teams can be called “big teams” in both Ligue 1 and La Liga, the rest of the teams would barely make it as English championship teams. Also, your league form doesn’t matter in a competition of this magnitude, I mean just look at Leicester City, Battling relegation but still somehow made it into the last 16, anything can happen in the Champions League.

Barcelona went through the group stages with ease, winning 5 and losing 1 to Manchester City, who absolutely destroyed them, Citeh looked like Barca and vice versa, to bad Citeh can’t play like that all the time, their inconsistency is bewildering. Anyway, back to Barca, who smashed 20 goals in their 6 group games, Leo Messi grabbed 10 of those, which is more than 21 of the 32 teams involved in the competition, the guy’s unreal, truly the best in the world. PSG also fared well in their group, winning 3 and drawing 3, finishing second behind Arsenal by two points...both teams drew the shortest straws, how unlucky are Arsenal in this competition? Finishing 1st and drawing the mighty Bayern? Outrageous.

PSG’s acquisition of Julian Draxler in January has really beefed up the PSG front line, they easily have one of the most Dangerous front 3’s in European football... I know you can’t really compare it to Barcelona’s “MSN”, but considering how poor Barca’s defense is compared to PSG’s, I see them as more of a threat. Barcelona aren’t Invincible, they’ve been exploited by lesser teams this season and I can really see PSG tormenting their backline from start to finish.

My Prediction - PSG 2 Barca 1

Make your predictions on all of this weeks Champions League fixtures with Predictabl. 

Back Jack

Top Of The Poch #LIVTOT #EPL

Top Of The Poch #LIVTOT #EPL

Liverpool are set to face off with Tottenham Saturday evening, normally we would see this as a huge game, but as of late, these two teams are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Whenever Anfield is at capacity, Liverpool are always a dangerous team but as of late even the “Great” Jurgen Klopp can’t help them win a game. While spurs on the other hand have really been playing to their potential this season, with the young frontline of Harry Kane and Dele Alli combining for 25 goals in 23 games. While Spurs will look to capitalise on their recent momentum, Liverpool see this is a must win game after a disappointing loss to Hull City last game. Even though these teams are no longer fighting for contention I think it’s Liverpool's biggest game of the season! I’ll explain why below...   

Liverpool are really struggling of late, they have only won 1 of their last 10 games in 2017! Fairly disappointing considering how the Reds started the season looking like it may be their year to get back in the Champions League. Many fans were disappointed that Jurgen didn’t spend any cash in the January window… the Reds have more than one hole in their team-sheet and you would think a club of their stature would pull the trigger on trying to get some bigger names to Anfield. With all this being said I have a feeling they will pull a classic Liverpool move by struggling their way over the finish line and grabbing Champions League football next season. This game could be a turning point back in the right direction for the Reds.

Spurs on the other hand have been on a great run of form failing to lose in 5 straight games! Now let's all be real here it's Chelsea's title to lose this season and all Spurs want to do is get a spot in next season's Champions League, so even though they have been playing well there's no reason to take their foot off the gas yet. A win at Anfield is always a nice thing to put on the seasons CV, we’ll see if they can add to the sheet Saturday!   

Ultimately, Liverpool and Spurs have had different runs of form this season, one thing has been consistent… The injury bug and I'm not talking about Daniel Sturridge! Injuries will have a huge impact on the foreseeable future for both teams as Spurs will be without defenders Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen for at least a month, while the reds will be without Adam Lallana for Saturday's game as he hasn't trained all week. Taking the recent form and injuries into account, I think Spurs will come away with a victory 1-0, Harry Kane to put one in the back of the Reds net!  

What do you think will happen? Make your predictions with Predictabl!

Can the sly Foxes outwit the charging Rams? #LEIDER #FACup

Can the sly Foxes outwit the charging Rams? #LEIDER #FACup

Leicester vs Derby, here we go again! A late header from foxes captain Wes Morgan salvaged their FA Cup run by forcing a replay with the Rams but boy did they cut it close. Morgan headed the ball into the far corner minutes before the Foxes thought they were surely knocked out, almost adding salt to the wound that is an already disappointing season. Although the Foxes are higher up in the pyramid that is English football, the opponents have switched places this season as Derby are fighting to climb back to the Premier League while Leicester are struggling to stay in it!

Any football fan would know Rams are much more focused on promotion rather than a FA cup 4th round replay. Sometimes it can be tough to decide weather to put your best squad out there for cup draws especially with a championship team purely on the fact that they usually have considerably less depth at their disposal compared to their Premier League opponents. Although the Rams lack depth especially in midfield… they do have some Premier League experience mainly coming from the forward position in Darren Bent and i'm sure he would love to improve on his last FA Cup outing considering he scored arguably one of the worst own goals in history by clearing it straight into his own net. Honestly it makes me think I could be out there and do a better job! Take a look I guarantee a laugh. All jokes aside(except for that OG) I think Bent will bring valuable scoring prowess and be critical throughout the replay and rest of the season for that matter.

Leicester on the other hand haven't done themselves any favours in recent weeks instilling confidence in their fanbase. The Foxes have been searching for any sort of consistency all season and unlike last season they haven’t found it yet... there is still time but the clock is ticking and it's ticking FAST! At this point most people would at least expected a run of some sort but instead they continue to look like they don’t even belong in that echelon that is Premier League champions. So much for Jamie Vardy being the next “saviour” of the uncertainty that is English football. The reason all of this is relevant because although the FA cup is a nice thing to put on your CV for the season…. But they should be more focused on league survival at this point.

I expect Leicester to still come away with a 2-1 victory based on the fact they are playing in front of their home fans along with wanting to prove they were more than just a one season wonder!

My Prediction 2-1 Leicester winners with Darren Bent getting one back for the visitors.

What do you think? Challenge me on Predictabl!

Sean

Going, Going, Gunner. #CHEARS #EPL

Going, Going, Gunner. #CHEARS #EPL

Could this be Arsene Wenger's last season in charge of The Gunners? Has “Le Professor” taught his last lesson? Well the vast majority of Arsenal fans hope so and who can really blame them? No January purchases, dodgy team selections and no tactical plan B. I do agree that it’s probably time for Wenger to be shown the door, but not all of the blame for Arsenals poor performances can be put on his shoulders. Arsenal’s star players have been far too inconsistent, mainly the extremely lazy, “Assist machine” Ozil, who seems to be waiting for his mega wage boost before he starts performing again, the greedy so and so. The only player who’s showing true passion, in my opinion, is Alexis Sanchez, you can tell by his mannerisms on the pitch that he’s frustrated by the way his team’s performing, quite frankly i’m not surprised that he’s considering departing Arsenal in the summer.

Things are going the complete opposite direction for Chelsea, who are currently 9 points clear at the top of the premier league and are smooth sailing towards lifting the championship at the end of the season. Apart from losing to Spurs it looks like there's no stopping Chelsea, especially if they beat the Gunners tomorrow afternoon. Oh there was that whole Costa fiasco, where apparently he wanted a transfer to one of the cash crazy Chinese super league clubs, which was just lazy journalism, the press do love to talk trash about Chelsea. The truth to the story really was that Diego had a bust up with a member of Chelsea's fitness team, Costa had a back injury and wouldn’t be able to face Leicester, the fitness team said he was absolutely fine, so i can imagine Costa's temper got the best of him and that why it all kicked off, nothing else, those writers at the tabloids do chat a lot codswallop.

Now let's get down to business, there’s always controversy when it comes to Chelsea vs Arsenal, but we’ve also had some thrillers, remember when Chelsea embarrassed the Gunners 6-0 back in 2014? Or when Arsenal taught Chelsea a lesson in a 5-3 goal fest back in 2011? That was in fact the last time Arsenal beat the Blues at Stamford Bridge and i’m afraid they’ll have to wait even longer to break their duck. I’m obviously going with Chelsea for this one and I hope you’re backing them to otherwise be prepared to lose your coins! Excluding Arsenals 3-0 thrashing of Chelsea at the start of the season, recent history has shown that the boys from the Bridge have dominated this fixture over and over again. The recent defeat to Watford at home will also be playing on the mind of Wenger's Warriors and a trip to Stamford Bridge is not be something to get the over that shocker. Since Conte worked his magic and changed Chelsea’s formation their defence has been immense and I really do not see Arsenal being able to break them down.

My Prediction - Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1

Go on be a geezer, have your say on our game of the day.

Back Jack

Citizens to give the Irons a good hammering. #WHUMCI #EPL

Citizens to give the Irons a good hammering. #WHUMCI #EPL

I know it's common for 5 year olds to throw tantrums to get what they want, but no one expects a 29 year old to do the same thing! Last season all was well in East London as West Ham were cruising to a 7th place finish behind the stellar play of Payet.

Dimitri Payet went from club hero to outcast in the span of a season, he decided to throw a tantrum to get the move back to Marseille he so wanted. Instead of trying to work out the differences he isolated himself from the team, refused to play and didn’t talk to anybody for weeks. Apparently the feeling was mutual after it had been reported that he was deleted from the team Whatsapp group and excluded from team dinners. I say that's what he deserves for his childish actions,  he put himself first and hurt the team in more than one way. Not to mention his form was shaky even when he was playing, so the fact that they got 25 million pounds for him is mind boggling to me!

The dust from this saga has finally settled and the Hammers replaced him with Robert Snodgrass, he's no Payet but his play this season has been superb. The Hammers are hoping with the addition of Snodgrass they can continue their improved form tonight against Man City for a big home win.

Manchester City are 5th in the league table and were hoping to do better this season with the big time addition of “world class” manager Pep Guardiola, all has not gone to plan for the sky blues as their inconsistent form has put them far behind title favourites Chelsea. Man City will be looking to bounce back as they drew with spurs in their last league outing, things look promising though as Sergio Aguero returns from injury and Fernandinho returns from suspension. Even though West Ham have continuously improved I think the Citizens star-power will be too much for the Hammers. History is not on West Hams side as City pummelled the Hammers 5-0 in the FA cup last month, not to mention before the match manager Slaven Bilic was quoted in saying “we're not that confident anymore” I can only imagine what he said after. That was a tough loss for the Hammers and think it'll be another sad night in East London.

My Prediction: Man City 3-1 winners with Aguero finding the net.

What do you think? Make a prediction with Predictabl!      

Sean