Archive for category Football Features

Liverpool vs Southampton: What System Should Brendan Rodgers Employ Following Coutinho’s Injury?

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

With Coutinho now sidelined for up to six weeks with a fairly random shoulder injury, Liverpool have lost their main creative spark and Brendan Rodgers now has a huge dilemma regarding who to put into the team whilst attempting to maintain the great momentum the Reds have built up since January.

The Ulsterman has a good number of options to consider with the Reds brimming with young, attacking starlets such as Moses, Sterling, Ibe, Henderson and Alberto, as well as the more experienced Iago Aspas. Let us also not forget the imminent return of the infamous Luis Suarez, too.

As well as the cover afforded by the growing squad, Rodgers has also brought in players with fantastic versatility and this means the Reds could line up in one of any number of formations from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 to 5-3-2. These two factors make Liverpool’s clash with Southampton this weekend all the more interesting. A number of questions need answering and whether or not Liverpool remain top of the league come Saturday night rests solely on Rodgers’s shoulders.

Here are some of the potential options available to BR come Saturday’s 3 o’clock kick off, with capital letters in the line ups denoting a change in personnel or starting position:

The post Liverpool vs Southampton: What System Should Brendan Rodgers Employ Following Coutinho’s Injury? appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Newcastle vs Hull – 5 Key Battles

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

This Saturday sees Newcastle take on Hull in hope of carrying on their strong run of form in recent weeks. Following an opening day defeat to Manchester City, the Toon have been on the up and are unbeaten in league and cup matches since then.

Hull have had an ok start to life back in the Premier League and have four points from a difficult looking set of opening fixtures. With the expected defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City, it has not been a bad start with a home win over Norwich and a good point achieved against fellow newcomers Cardiff.

The issue for both these sides seems to be goals with Hull managing just two in the league so far and Newcastle three. This sets us up for an intriguing counter on Saturday where both sides will be hoping to pick up another valuable win.

With this in mind I will look at the key battles in this match that with victory could see the game decided:

The post Newcastle vs Hull – 5 Key Battles appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Republic Of Ireland’s 5 Most Memorable Moments

England 0 1 Ireland

Time is running out for the Republic of Ireland in Group C of the Europe World Cup qualifiers. After defeat to Sweden in their last game, qualification for Brazil is looking more unlikely than ever, and patience with Giovanni Trapattoni seems to be wearing thin. The “Boys in Green,” now need three wins from three to qualify for the World Cup while also relying on Sweden to drop points against Kazakhstan.

With things looking bleak for the current crop of players, perhaps it’s the best time to look back at some of the better moments in their history, ahead of their crunch game with Austria in Vienna.

5. Beating England 1-0 at Euro 1988

12th June 1988. Stuttgart, Germany

The European Championships in 1988 marked the first time that the Republic of Ireland had appeared at a major international tournament. Ireland finished top of a qualifying group that also featured Bulgaria, Belgium, Luxembourg and fellow home nation hopefuls Scotland. Only the top team from each group would automatically qualify for the European finals, and Ireland secured their place finishing only one point ahead of closest runner-ups, Bulgaria.

Ireland headed to the 8 nation tournament in West Germany, determined to make a name for themselves on their biggest stage yet. As if their first big tournament wasn’t special enough, the group stage draw left Ireland with an opening game against the old enemy, England. Expected to be second best to an England team playing at their best since 1966, the underdogs upset the odds by scoring within just six minutes. A Ray Houghton header found its way over the top of Peter Shilton and put Ireland ahead in front of over fifty thousand people in Stuttgart.

The second half was almost all England as Pat Bonner’s goal was constantly attacked by the strong opposing force of Lineker, Beardsley and Barnes. Indeed, England created enough chances to win the match comfortably, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. As the clock ticked down, Ireland continued to ride their luck, with more England chances heading their way in injury time. Bonner pushed a John Barnes header against the post and out for a corner in England’s final chance of the 90-plus minutes.

After holding on for 84 minutes since Houghton’s goal and a fantastic performance from Pat Bonner, the final whistle blew making Ireland 1-0 winners. The Irish fans stuck around inside the stadium for an hour after the match celebrating their huge win, while Bobby Robson publically blamed his players for the loss. The partying began for Euro 1988, and a further draw against the Soviet Union gave the Irish more to sing about. Unfortunately a loss in their last game against Holland allowed the Dutch to leapfrog into second in the group and eliminate Ireland from the competition. Despite crashing out in the first round Ireland had announced themselves on the international stage, and finished above England, who failed to pick up a point, losing all three games in the tournament.

The post Republic Of Ireland’s 5 Most Memorable Moments appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Spurs Transfers: 5 Deadline Day Signings Andre Villas-Boas Could Make

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

It’s finally happened. The move we all expected has come to fruition and, in a deal that will surprise nobody, Real Madrid have at last landed Gareth Bale for a world-transfer-record fee.

Losing their top goalscorer for last season was always going to come as a blow to Spurs and their fans but, just as Manchester United had to in 2009 following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, the Londoners have to move on.

And that they have done, as manager Andre Villas-Boas pushed his summer spending past the 100 million barrier last week by landing seven new stars.

Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, tienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela have all made the move to White Hart Lane so far, as the Lilywhites prepare for life without Bale.

A life which started yesterday afternoon with a 1-0 defeat to north London rivals Arsenal, yet still one that shows plenty of signs of recovery over the next few years.

Soldado was the fifth-highest goal-scorer in La Liga last season. Christian Eriksen is considered one of the brightest young prospects in European football.

There is plenty to smile about even if things do feel a bit glum for Spurs supporters this afternoon, having watched Bale paraded in front of the Spanish press earlier.

And there could be plenty more to smile about, too. With just over 6 hours left of the transfer window, here, we look at 5 more new signings who could arrive on deadline day.

Click “Next” to begin.

The post Spurs Transfers: 5 Deadline Day Signings Andre Villas-Boas Could Make appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Man Utd Transfers: 5 Signings David Moyes Needs To Make Before It’s Too Late

copyright Andrew Orchard

copyright Andrew Orchard

There are eight days left of the transfer window and so far Manchester United’s only signing has been Guillermo Varela.

The 20-year-old Uruguayan joined the champions from Pe arol earlier this summer, but so far, no new additions have followed him into Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, United’s direct title-rivals have enjoyed busy summers with Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City all strengthening their respective squads over recent weeks.

There is an argument that United don’t need to sign anybody else. They did, after all, win last season’s title by 11 points.

But given the fact the serial-title-winning Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer there to guide the Red Devils, and the transitional period that is bound to come with David Moyes’s appointment at the helm, you would have expected United to have brought in at least a couple of new players.

Bids for Leighton Baines, Marouane Fellaini and Cesc Fabregas have all failed while other targets such as Robert Lewandowski, Radamel Falcao and Thiago Acantara are no longer available.

Then there’s the question of whether or not Wayne Rooney is going to join Chelsea, which would put United in the market for a new striker.

And with time running out, here, we look at 5 Signings David Moyes Needs To Make Before It’s Too Late.

Click “Next” to begin.

The post Man Utd Transfers: 5 Signings David Moyes Needs To Make Before It’s Too Late appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Fantasy Premier League Tips: 15 Best Point-Per-Pound Buys

fantasy football

Ever wonder whether your fantasy footballers are worth the money you “spend” on them? Wondering if Van Persie is worth 14% of your budget, or Gareth Bale worth the 12%? Wonder no longer! We’ve trawled through data from the 2012-13 season to reveal to you the best players, based on their points from last season. Which players delivered more bang for their buck than any other? This is your chance to find out!

Obviously, there’ll be a few absences from our listings; notably the likes of Roberto Soldado, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Jes s Navas, and Wilfred Bony, players who’ve just entered the league from abroad with some pretty impressive pedigree. Nonetheless, no Fantasy Premier League will be without some of the tried and the tested among it’s playing ranks, and we aim to help you sort out the diamonds from the dodo’s.

There are a few notable big names missing from this value list, as a cost-per-point analysis reveals that some of the league’s biggest stars failed to even come close to proving themselves good value for money in the Premier League’s signature Fantasy game. There’s no Suarez on this list, no Gareth Bale, and even another notable absence of a certain Dutchman, although we all knew he was a rip-off in the first place!

We here at the reputable What Culture have our own league for the coming season, which you can join,show-off your football know-how, and perhaps apply some of these tips to become the ultimate virtual manager!

The post Fantasy Premier League Tips: 15 Best Point-Per-Pound Buys appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Premier League: How To Save The English Game

barclays premier league

Football is the most popular sport in the world. It has the ability to evoke the whole spectrum of human emotions, to galvanise whole nations to follow a common cause and to create stories which remain part of folklore for generations. It has been my first sporting love for as long as I can remember and has given me some of my most memorable highs as well as some of my most heartbreaking lows. Yet there is something wrong with football at the moment, something seriously wrong.

The sport I love has been in a steady decline for some time now and I feel that unless there is a radical shake up this decline will become terminal. Today the world of football is largely dictated by money and crippled by greed. There are now perhaps only six teams who could win the Premier League within the next ten years and this is being very generous to the chances of Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Much more likely is that the next ten titles will be divided between the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea. This is of course barring a billionaire buying a club and bankrolling them to success in the way that Manchester City and Chelsea have done (on a serious note if any billionaire is reading this and looking to buy a club than please buy Leeds United).

This is not how I envision the game to be. In the past, though teams dominated for periods, there was a greater distribution of teams finishing in the top positions in the League. This is not the case anymore. What the future holds is a dominance of around four to six clubs with the rest avoiding the drop or settling for mid table mediocrity. True the cup still provides some magic and gives fans the joy of that Wembley date and true the financial fair play restrictions will help somewhat but these are not enough.

What I propose is a playoff system to determine the title, the final Champions League spots as well as relegation. The final draft would have to be ironed out but roughly it could be similar to the current Belgian system. Perhaps the top six go into a play off for the title, with the top two clubs favoured and also guaranteed the Champions League places. The other two places would go to those who did the best out of the remaining four clubs.

The bottom six clubs would also go into a relegation playoff to determine who retained their Premiership status. This would result in far more clubs having something to play for towards the end of the season instead of pointlessly meandering to another mid table finish. It would also give far more clubs access to the Champions League as well as the title – a dream only a few will ever see materialise in the current format.

One of the main criticisms will be that the current system is a true representation of who deserves to be champions: the team who finish top over 38 games are rightfully deemed to be the best team that season. This may seem straightforward but on closer examination it may not entirely be the case. A team may face other teams at certain beneficial times – for example during a transfer window when a top star has left, during a particularly bad injury crisis or when a team has nothing left to play for.

A recent example of this might be in the case of Arsenal who played an already relegated Queens Park Rangers as well as already crowned champions Manchester United en route to finishing fourth. Arsenal took four points from these two games and this proved crucial in their bid for Champions League football. The playoff proposal will instead reward sides which win the big games when they matter. This would be a better test of a team’s character and would create some of the most intense and dramatic matches of the season.

I know that your initial gut reaction will be to outright reject this suggestion as unfair, to deride it as ridiculous and to stick with tradition. People are generally reluctant to challenge the status quo but think about it for a few moments – Which system is really fairer? Is our current system where the title will be contested each year by the Manchester United Brand and the playthings of billionaires really the best we have got?

The post Premier League: How To Save The English Game appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Arsenal Transfers: 5 Alternatives To Luis Suarez Now He’s Unavailable

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

Luis Suarez has signed a new contract at Liverpool.

The controversial Uruguayan striker put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Anfield club this afternoon, thereby quashing any rumours of a January exit.

Arsenal were heavily linked with the 26-year-old forward over the summer, making two offers – one of 30 million and another, a club-record bid, of 40 million and 1.

Both were rejected and, despite Suarez threatening to take his club to arbitration in an effort to force through a move, now looks set to see out the twilight years of his career on Merseyside.

The South American has been in menacing form this season since returning from a 10-match biting ban, scoring 17 Premier League goals in 11 appearances.

And his decision to stay at Liverpool will come as a hammer blow to the Gunners, who have until recently had to rely on Oliver Giroud as their only fit senior striker due to an injury pile-up.

Manager Arsene Wenger was hoping to bring in a new forward in January to take some of the burden off the overworked Giroud, but will now have to look elsewhere following Suarez’ snub.

And here, we take a look at 5 Alternatives To Luis Suarez Now He’s Unavailable.

The post Arsenal Transfers: 5 Alternatives To Luis Suarez Now He’s Unavailable appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Chelsea vs West Brom – 5 Changes Mourinho Must Make After Newcastle Defeat

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

After the Magpies came away with a 2-0 at St. James’ Park against Chelsea last weekend, Mourinho claimed in his post match interview that he had made 11 mistakes, in reference to the starting 11 that he selected for the game, a declaration that he is unlikely to act upon in full against West Brom on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues followed up their trip to the North East with a convincing 3-0 home win against German side Schalke, with a team that looked almost unrecognisable from the defeat to Alan Pardew’s Newcastle. The Portuguese coach made six changes to the side that beat the Bundesliga club in midweek, with the only enforced alteration being Samuel Eto’o in for Fernando Torres, who was missing through injury.

The Blues desperately need to pick up their Premier League form, with last week’s defeat meaning they lost even more ground on league leaders Arsenal, who sit pretty at the top of the table five points clear of their London rivals.

As a result, we’ve compiled a list of five things the former Real Madrid coach can change to avoid a repeat of last week’s performance.

The post Chelsea vs West Brom – 5 Changes Mourinho Must Make After Newcastle Defeat appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

UEFA Order Partial Stadium Closure For Racist Fan Behaviour

Part of CSKA Moscow’s stadium will be closed for their next Champions League game following complaints that fans had used racist chanting in a game against Manchester City on 23 October, UEFA charged the club.

UEFA’s disciplinary panel announced the partial closing following a hearing in Switzerland earlier today. They also released a statement saying:

“The fight against racism is a high priority for UEFA. The European governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination on the pitch and in the stands. All forms of racist behaviour are considered serious offences against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions.”

Disciplinary proceedings were brought against the club after their 2 – 1 defeat to Manchester City. Yaya Toure complained to the referee during the game after hearing racist chants from the crowd. UEFA then charged the club a day later as well as announcing that an internal investigation was to take place to establish why the match referee had not followed proper protocol.

Once aware of racist chanting the referee is able to stop the game and ask for announcements to be made over stadium speakers asking for the chants to stop. They can then delay the game for a period of time and finally are able to abandon the game as a last resort. However during the match the referee decided against taking any action.

The quick decision to punish CSKA Moscow will please anti-racism organization who asked the governing body to take decisive action if the claims were proved.

The club denied any wrongdoing by their fans in the aftermath of the accusations. Telling the BBC on Radio 5 Live:

“Having carefully studied the video of the game, we found no racist insults from fans of CSKA. We have nothing to hide, of course, and we have confirmation from the match delegate and the venue director that they themselves didn’t hear anything special.”

As part of the sanctions for racist behaviour of fans, UEFA have the power to order partial stadium closures for future matches for first offences. They can then fine clubs and order full stadium closures if racism continues in the future.

CSKA Moscow’s next Champions League fixture is against the current holders, FC Bayern M nchen, on 27 November.

The post UEFA Order Partial Stadium Closure For Racist Fan Behaviour appeared first on WhatCulture!.

, ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: