Caps Get Mauled 1-4!
March 17th, 2018: Caps Get Mauled 1-4! Can the Caps win 3 in 3? was the question I left Paul & Kuss with on the morning show on Jack 96.6 Vancouver. Well the answer to that is a resounding NO! The Vancouver Whitecaps had a disaster night in Georgia. Watson was sent off early after video assistant referee saw an elbow which presented Atlanta a PK that went straight into the net 1-0 United. The Whitecaps really shot themselves in the foot. An own goal by Aaron Maund and two sloppy goals as well made for an ugly result and exposed lazy or tired? players with reference to back tracking!!!
GAME CAPTION: Discipline Lost points thrown away!
Montreal win a close affair with Toronto FC!
The Luck of the Irish went with Montreal on St Patrick's Day in this all Canadian battle! It ended 1-0 however it could or more to the point should have been more. Toronto had chances and failed to take them but after midweek you can forgive a little loss of energy. They'll bounce back, The Champions are fine!
Fate of the bottom 8!
March 16, 2018: Fate of the bottom 8!
Newcastle United are staying in the EPL of that I have no doubt! Since the turn of the year United have had great form with only two defeats. They only need two more wins to secure a place in next years EPL, I'm sure Rafa Benitez knows how to get it done. As for next season, owner Mike Ashley needs to splash the cash and strengthen the squad or SELL to someone who can. The Geordies need cash injection for top players!
The #1 Welsh club are still in danger of relegation however if the recent form continues we should see the Swans climb to 14-15 after 38 games. The main issue with Swansea is 6 coaches in two years (Alan Curtis, Francesco Guidolin, Bob Bradley, Paul Clement, Leon Britton, Carlos Carvalhal. Under Carvalhal Swansea have only two losses in 10 games their best form in 3 years. I see the Swans retaining their EPL status with a good finish to the season.
6 losses in their last 10 games with 2 shock wins and not too many goals. Those two shock wins have given Town a slight chance of survival. This weekend Crystal Palace are their opponents and a win here would give Town a massive survival boost. A loss to Crystal FC Palace could turn out to be TERMINAL for Huddersfield.
Slaven Bilic left under a storm and in came David Moyes to save the Hammers? At first Moyes had West Ham moving in the right direction but over the last 5 games the wheels have fallen off. 4 losses and one win in their last 5 are making West Ham fans fall out of love with the owners & Moyes. I will add the players are good enough and should be safe from relegation, if not they could go down instead of Southampton, keep watching!
Out goes Pellegrino and in comes Mark Hughes with 8 games to save Southampton? It takes time to know your players & their skill sets or weaknesses and at this stage, 8 games is not enough for Hughes to know his best team. look at the wins column and that tells a story. Southampton have been toothless in attack and weak defensively all season, it should cost them their EPL membership with relegation looking certain. Hughes has 8 games until they are a Championship club! The writing is on the wall, going down!
Roy Hodgson had done a fantastic job with Crystal Palace and with a full squad of fit players I expect The Eagles to climb out of the bottom three. They may slip back into the mire after the Liverpool game but thereafter the South London club will climb to safety. Palace are a very well managed club and have made tough decisions at the right time to save their EPL future. This clubs ownership made the correct decision at a tough time to out De Boer to hire Hodgson. Steve Parish is the guy who needs the praise for saving Palace.
Mark Hughes was the right guy but got the boot where the owner Mr. Coates should have shown more patience to a proven EPL coach. Stoke have a string of tough games ahead and I don't see Paul Lambert saving The Potters. Like West Brom, the ownership have doomed City to relegation. Stoke need a miracle to save their EPL status.
Tony Pulis couldn't get it done and got fired too early. Alan Pardew isn't getting it done and was the wrong guy. The worst thing at this club, The failing Ownership who have made the worst decisions at the wrong time forcing relegation on a club that was stable. Welcome the Championship!
Survival story of the season Crystal Palace !
West Brom's Barcelona Taxi Bandits, are Doomed!
Soccersteve Canadian Soccer Media 2004
Champions League draw:
Liverpool to face Manchester City in quarter-finals
March 16, 2018: Manchester City will face Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-final. Liverpool inflicted City's only Premier League defeat of the season, 3-4 at Anfield on 14 January, after they were thumped 5-0 at Etihad Stadium in September. The first leg is at Anfield on 4 April, with the return on 10 April.
Current Champions Real Madrid, face Italian champions Juventus - a repeat of the 2017 final which Real won 4-1 on a chilly night in Wales.
Champions League quarter-final draw
Barcelona v Roma Sevilla v Bayern Munich
Real Madrid v Juventus Liverpool v Manchester City
Steve's tips highlighted in orange.
Can the Caps win 3 in 3?
March 15th, 2018: Can the Caps win 3 in 3? The Vancouver Whitecaps 2018 Major League Soccer season has got off to a great start with two hard fought wins from two games. Can they keep the streak alive and make it 3 wins in 3?
The home opener saw 27,837 Caps fans be a great 12th man in the all Canadian battle against Montreal Impact. The game was tight but the Caps broke the deadlock and later edged it 2-1. (Kei Kamara 63' Alphonso Davies 70').
GAME CAPTION: Great team work and timely finishing.
Vancouver grabbed a quick second win of the season with a road victory in Houston where great defending and discipline earned the Caps another well earned three points. The forwards did their job again with goals from Kamara 28` (2), Brek Shea 49` (1). Kamara needs to continue his hot steak as good things happen when strikers score for fun!
GAME CAPTION: Great defending & patience with offensive threat.
Next up Atlanta United on the road St Patrick day, let's hope we get the luck of the Irish!
Going into this match with Atlanta The Caps will be looking for 3 wins in 3 games but that won't be a walk in the park. Atlanta finished 4th last year in their first ever Major League Soccer season a very decent season as newbies. Vancouver on the other hand have had coach Carl Robinson for 4 years now and are a well established franchise, finishing 3rd in the West.
Atlanta won at home last time out beating DC United 3-1 however before that they took a hammering on the road losing 0-4 at Houston. The Caps just beat Houston 2-1 on the road which may indicate a good night for Vancouver March 17th at the Mercedes Benz stadium, Atlanta.
This match will be won or lost in midfield and whichever team comes to play with grit and smarts will take the three points. A point on the road is not a bad result for Vancouver but this can be a solid three points and coach Robinson will know that. Win and keep the streak alive.
On the midfield angle, Vancouver just picked up Jordon Mutch from English Premier League side Crystal Palace FC. Read more below.
Vancouver Whitecaps player reach goes world wide!
PROFILE - Jordon James Edward Sydney Mutch - Dec 2 1991 - 26 - 6 ft.
Jordon is a 10 year vet from England with Premier League & championship experience who is currently on loan from Crystal Palace FC, South London, England. Mutch has a purchase agreement in place, all he has to do is play well, excel and be a full time Caps squad member. I feel this 26 year old given a shot may find his feet and go on to better things. Let`s all hope this box-to-box midfielder can impress the Whitecaps FC while on a one-year loan from Crystal Palace FC. If he does he should have a bright MLS career.
Mutch has been a member of the following clubs: Birmingham City FC, Watford FC, Cardiff City FC, Queens Park Rangers FC and Crystal Palace FC. he has played 175 games scoring 17 goals in all competition matches with one red card. Mutch is a link play midfielder who can start moves or even disrupt when in defensive mode. He is an industrious type who when settled at a club becomes well appreciated with his effort & skill. A team player describes Jordon Mutch best!
He has represented the England national U21 team. was a member of Cardiff City the 2012-13 Championship winners.
Next article: This weekends English Premier League insight.
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer News Media 2004
End of the Road Chelsea!
FC BARCELONA (3) - (0) CHELSEA FC (4) - (1) Agg.
March 13th, 2018: The Champions League becomes a national league for many no matter who they support week in week out, they'll cheer on a team from their country. Example, a Crystal Palace fan will normally hope the English teams do well in European games etc.
Here's the proof in that: Manchester United went out yesterday to Sevilla losing 2-1 at home and also 2-1 on aggregate. The fan watching would have hoped for better in that game and will know that's another representative from England OUT of the competition.
Manchester United served up a lack lustre performance with no real clear idea on how to unlock Sevilla's disciplined defence and deservedly paid the price. They did not seem to be firing as a team and have had issues with transition play resulting in games like the one lost yesterday. look no further than the recent intro of Alexis Sanchez as since then, United are not the same team.
Back to the Champions League Round of 16: It's given English Football fans a feast of games with English interest. Many social media sites have discussed "if this is the year an English club wins the Champions League"? With two teams still in the competition, I say....................
I say bluntly NO! Only Manchester City has a chance!
Not since Chelsea's 2012 Champions League final shootout win over Bayern Munich in Munich has any English club got near the trophy. This winless streak for English clubs will continue for at least 5 years with only Manchester City looking capable.
In the last 35 years English clubs have won 5 times, Manchester United (2) 1998/99 & 2007/08 - Liverpool(2) 1983/84 & 2005 - Chelsea (1) 2011/12. All three clubs won a final with a penalty shootout!
City are the only English team capable of performing at the business end of Champions League. Not to mention a much better mental approach & game management plan. On the City angle, this year could be there year but if not they will compete for the Champions League title in the coming seasons as they grow into a European Juggernaut.
(Can you say Dynasty). City are on for big things and if you hated Manchester United I'm sure you are loving Manchester City upstage them. 10 years ago United fans would have laughed at City being the bigger club in Manchester...THEY DON'T LAUGH NOW & CITY ARE #1!
English CH LGE winners committed Robbery 🙂
When I write English winners committed Robbery! I am referring to how in 2011/12 Chelsea literally stole the cup from Bayern Munich in Bayern. In 2004/05 Liverpool were 0-3 down at half time dead and buried fighting back courageously to prize the trophy from the "We've won it already at half time" AC Milan. Before that 1998/99 Bayern Munich were coasting to a final victory over Manchester United only to be Robbed in the final seconds after totally dominating the game.
Bayern Munich "Zer Germans" have been robbed twice by English clubs and I'm not gonna mention the war 🙂
English clubs have not done well in the last 3 decades in Champions League and that must register!
Factors: Too many games for the top EPL teams. EPL clubs playing in European competition should not enter the League Cup. There is no winter break and summer tours plug possible rest time. Every second summer is booked with a World cup or Euro creating even less rest time. English Football needs to downscale games for the top teams and upscale the mental approach. Training more and playing less is the way forward and the road to success.
On another angle, Should the F.A. ever want England to win a Fifa world cup they must install a winter break for the players, it's a vital .
Spanish Dominance. Spanish teams have won 6 of the last 10 Champions League titles with Real Madrid winning 3 of the last 4, Barcelona winning the other title. Spanish La Liga teams had a 12 day winter break this year.
End of the road Chelsea!
Chelsea & Barca drew 1-1 the first leg in London which could have gone either way. Barcelona seemed content to take the draw back to Spain and it was a fair result on the night. It gave me the feeling that we'd seen Chelsea meet their match with Barcelona always having an answer for anything Chelsea could offer.
Another aspect gaining attention is Antonio Conte. for me his constant depressive mood has rubbed off on his team of late. He needs to lift this team to perform a miracle because if Chelsea win, it will be a miracle. They don't seem to be the happy house they were and that's a managers job! Summer time exit for Conte a must!
My take on the game: I see a dominant Barcelona performance and very business like. It could turn into a black eye for the Blues as Barca should net atleast 2-3 goals on the night. If it goes really bad for Chelsea Barcelona may even hit 4 or 5 goals on the night.
Another perfect prediction from Soccersteve, Chelsea lost 3-0!
Barcelona have an impressive home record versus English clubs: Winning 19 Drawing 11 Losing only 2. Chelsea won there once already but that's not going to happen this time. When Barcelona progress it will be their 11th straight quarter-final appearance, that's a Big Club!
This years Quarter-final draw is Friday March 16th, 2018 with only 2 from 5 English teams left to challenge for the Champions League. After the 1/4 finals only Manchester City will lead the charge for England, if still in it!
Teams already in Friday's 1/4 final draw: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus, Roma, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Sevilla.
Chelsea may not play Champions League Football next season and possibly the season after that. The Blues need to rethink the model.
Could be ugly tonight for Chelsea! Blue is the colour will they be battered blue after 90 minutes!
Send your thoughts: If you got a question to phrase or topic to raise email firstname.lastname@example.org. Podcast resuming in 2 weeks Thank you.
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer Media 2004
Week 30 & Relegation insight!
March 10th: EPL week 30 & Relegation insight! (Steve's Correct again. It happened as predicted. Read on and check predicted table/standings too). Next up Uefa Champions League prediction, Barcelona v Chelsea.
Relegation is a big worry for the bottom 8 teams and as time moves along it will only get more intense for owners, players & their loyal fans. One team in particular Crystal Palace, will dwell in the bottom three for another couple of weeks thereafter they have a massive opportunity to climb out to safety!!!
Should the teams above the bottom three start to pull away and build a 4-6 point separation, I feel only Crystal Palace has enough left to rebound to safety. Palace fans need to know they are not sunk!
The separation depression is working overtime with West Brom & Stoke City but not the Eagles at this stage!
Separation between the bottom 3 and the rest of the relegation threatened teams will relegate teams mentally, West Brom & Stoke City take note!
The Eagles must overcome fellow strugglers in their last 6 games and amass 10 points: Apr 7 Bournemouth (A). Apr 14 Brighton (H). Apr 21 Watford (A). Apr 28 Leicester (H). May 4 Stoke (A). May 12 West Brom (H).
These are games that should give the Palace a chance to save themselves. Plus big players missing with injury will be ready for the cause and with the right application on the field I give Crystal Palace a chance of surviving another relegation battle. 38 points is the line to safety!
One thing is for sure, Steve Parish has done a fair job over the years and has been good for the club. However if they are to avoid future relegation battles, a more vigorous off season is a must with a bigger squad to handle the workload.
Palace have so many injuries, the small squad size may be a big factor? Players playing injured is nothing new in league football but when a player is carrying a knock ideally he should be rested. It's only a matter of time until that player cannot continue due to a knock on injury caused by playing injured.
This has happened to the Eagles this season, it has been a factor! Another factor that needs addressing is the sponsor angle and more sponsors are required. More sponsors, more money for player acquisitions!
West Bromwich are out of time and relegated the automated defibrillator can't save them as there is no sign of life! Pardew try as he may will not save this group of individuals and Pulis will be watching as they continue to nose dive, Pulis should not have been fired!
Stoke City look a little battle weary and without ideas except what Shaqiri can do. He cannot save them alone they needed more quality upfront. Crouch 37 has had his day, Diouf (115 Games 22 Goals), Berahino (26 games 0 Goals) are failures at The Potters and Choupo-Moting 28 games 4 goals isn't much better.
They failed to freshen the squad with quality in the off season and are paying the price. They too fired a coach who in my opinion would have saved them. Too many EPL club owners make knee jerk decisions but Mr. Coates at Stoke has blundered with coaches & players big time in 2017/18. It looks terminal for Stoke unless a miracle happens.
Teams who are going to edge closer to the bottom three over the next 3 games include Southampton, Brighton, Huddersfield & Swansea. This relegation saga will go down to the final DAY!
20th place West Brom, 19th place Stoke City but who will occupy 18th place and be relegated to the Championship?
Check below for this weekends fixtures and how the table may look after Monday night Football. Send Your thoughts to Steve@soccersteve.com and we'll address your take, THANK YOU!
Sat 10th, 2018: Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool. Huddersfield Town 0-0 Swansea City. Everton 2-0 Brighton. West Ham 0-3 Burnley. Newcastle Utd 3-0 Southampton. West Brom 1-4 Leicester City. Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace.
Steve's game tips are highlighted in white.
Sun 11th, 2018: Arsenal 3-0 Watford. Bournemouth 1-4 Tottenham Hotspurs. Full Time
Mon 12th, 2018: Stoke City 0-2 Manchester City. ( should be 0-4 to Man City at Full Time).
Soccersteve Canadian Soccer Media 2004
|15||West Ham Utd||30||7||10||13||37||55||-18||31|
VAR. video Assistant Referee
March 8th 2018: VAR. So after very little debate by Fifa but much debate from the press, fans and players correctly having goals cancelled, Mata.
VAR ( Video Assistant Referee) will be used in Russia at this years Fifa world cup. This came as no shock as VAR has been successfully employed at Fifa junior world cups (India, Peru, UAE).
I HATE VAR you say and all this waiting for a decision, it kills the flow of the game. To that I say, I totally understand I really can, you had the menu changed and you don't like it!
For your whole life Football didn't have VAR and that was and is just fine but for those high ups at Fifa especially Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino that's not good enough any longer. He's made a few changes in his short time in charge, the first changing Fifa world cup finals from 32 to 48 teams coming 2026 which will dilute the talent! VAR is the Swiss born Italians next big change which will be used at the 2018 Fifa world cup in Russia.
My thoughts are: I am all in favour of VAR only if it helps the right decision to be made. There are 4 times when it can be used:
Video Assistant Referee Decision Reviews:
1/ Goals and whether there was a foul during build up play.
2/ Penalty decisions.
3/ Red card decisions (second yellow are not reviewable).
4/ Mistaken identity in awarding a red or yellow card.
These are the 4 reasons when VAR can be used and remember it's a human who makes the decision to use, analyse and give a verdict on the play. So nothing can go wrong right?
AS for rule #3 This rule will change in time, Fifa does not see the error they've made with this tactic.
Other sports (Rugby, Ice Hockey etc.) and their fans have accepted VAR for decades. They too hated the change but after many years their fans demand VAR and await the decision sometimes with great excitement & interest..........
You see the time waiting gives the fans a different dimension to work through. Some converse immeadiatley about the play and decision forthcoming, it's an extra slice of the pie and the fans love it. It's their new sport culture to let tech decide what happens next. Believe me I've seen it in many buildings over the years and it is here to stay and in years to come this will not be a topic. Unless the power goes out, LOL.
So hate it at first but eventually you will learn to enjoy the new tech interaction. Your mind will get to grips with VAR and in future you will rely on it for correct decisions which you demand. Obviously referees have missed or got decisions wrong for too long hence the insertion of Video Assistant Referee software from Fifa to raise the standard on calls.
A little VAR history. On January 8th 2018, VAR was used in England for the first ever time in the 2017/18 FA cup match between Brighton and Crystal Palace. All reviews were positive.
Fifa boss Infantino recently highlighted: Before VAR referees got a 93% correct decision ratio with VAR that is now 99%. Infantino has openly stated with VAR referee decision making is almost perfect.
All England fans should be happy VAR is new as had it been in use at the 1966 world cup, England's third goal would have been ruled out by VAR's Goal Line Tech!
No matter what they change in the rules, keeper can't pick up a back pass, new offside rule or add to it technically, you still watch and eventually accept those changes. But in short time you like the changes once familiar with them. Its evolution, get familiar with VAR, use it enjoy!
VAR it's here to stay, it won't be going away. The world cup in Russia will use it and it may save your team big time. If only Frank Lampard's goal v Germany had been checked with VAR England may have won that game, just saying!
Drop me a line at Steve@Soccersteve.com for any topics to raise or questions to phrase, thank you.
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer Media 2004
Football is our Religion We Don't Need Yours!
March 5th 2018: Football is our Religion We Don't Need Yours! Tusdiq Din has placed an article at BBC Football`s website titled......
Mohamed Salah: Is Liverpool striker's success improving engagement with Muslim fans?
This is nothing but a propaganda reel, his article is passive aggressive subversion. It should be removed with immediate effect.
Did you ever hear from a Jewish, Catholic or Hindu writer writing the same styled propaganda, I bet not! This is going too far and needs to be crushed before it gets off the ground!
READ IT! (Blue link). http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/43208945
In my humble opinion, Football is a religion and it`s our religion. We don`t need yours no matter what kind, not now not EVER!
As well we don`t need religious zealots like BBC writer Tusdiq Din with propaganda stories of conversion or otherwise within a supposed FOOTBALL article. I read his propaganda but I feel his work would be better inside a mosque as apposed to the BBC`s Football website?
Football does not need religious propaganda, it`s Football and as far as I can tell Football is neither political or religious so why do the BBC sanction such an article?
Who directed this to go public Tusdiq Din himself?
Tusdiq Din's article has connotations throughout and anyone reading it will see how promoting his words are. It is nothing more than a call to action and has very little in positive football writing, In fact it's purely a religious piece.
Many will not petition against articles such as this BBC propaganda but when it comes to encroachment by religions or ideologies into Football, I will and will every time guaranteed!
BBC Football is a sports media site not a religious broadcast center for over zealous zealots!
Let me make this very clear I am a passive peace loving man but I have no place for outside interference or propaganda articles forcing religion(s) into Football. Football is Football and it's ours, KNOW YOUR PLACE religious zealot (Religious Zealot: one who is zealous on behalf of God).
So please enjoy your religion whatever it may be but keep your religion to yourself! We don't need to hear that subversion anymore. We have no room for any religion hostile or otherwise, our religion is FOOTBALL.
Our religion Football does not start wars or hostility within peaceful lands religion does!
Our religion Football stops many civil wars world wide every 4 years for the Fifa World Cup religion can't do that!
Finally, FOOTBALL is our entertainment and we don't need political or religious interference EVER!
Football is our time away from work, where we get to watch, talk and enjoy the game, it's our reward every few days.
So have some respect for the beautiful game and keep that stuff out of FOOTBALL, it has No Place At All!
Football is our Religion We Don't Need Yours!
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004
Relegation in 10 games!
March 4th 2018: Relegation in 10 games. This years EPL relegation battle will go down to the wire and any of 8 teams are in danger of failing to beat the DROP!
Don't throw a wobbler until its over! Your team may drop into the bottom three only to climb out on the final day!
Crystal Palace fans will need nerves of steel as the Eagles are in for a rollercoaster end to this EPL season which started likewise . Those loyal fans need to give everything in support of this crippled squad, injuries have been very unkind to South London's #1 club. At current Palace have 13 out injured the heaviest casualty list in the league.
But I repeat, Palace may spend some time in the bottom three you better be prepared. The Eagles will have to weather the storm and prepare to climb to freedom on or close to the final day, it's going to be a battle all the way. They've done it before I'm sure they can do it again, COYP!
Considering Crystal Palace lost their first 7 games, it's amazing that they still have a chance at survival. They should be DONE & DUSTED!
FINAL TABLE: CURRENT FORM
|March 4th 2018|
West Brom or should I say the Barcelona Taxi Bandits, are doomed. Did West Brom get rid of Tony Pulis instead of a few players, I think YES!
West Brom are doomed to relegation mainly due to foreign owners and knee jerk decision making. In my opinion Tony Pulis should have kept his job, he'd have saved them from this mess. Now Alan Pardew 1 win in 14 is looking over his shoulder with the owners looking to install Marco Silva.
This is a clear example of how to mismanage a stable club into relegation. West Brom's Chinese owner Guochuan Lai paid £175 million on 15 September 2016. It will be a big loss financially but for the loyal locals there fun is DONE!
These owners are going to lose a lot of money when relegated and the sad thing, it didn't need to happen.
Stoke City's misfiring season does not come as a complete shock, it's been a slow decline with ageing personnel living on borrowed time. Reality is what they have is just not good enough to cope with the EPL. They need to dig deep to avoid the drop but their midfielders will have to start working for 90+ minutes without game costing screw ups!
Mark Hughes fired on January 6th 2018 and replaced by Paul Lambert did not alter the clubs destiny at all. Lambert has a proven track record of not getting it done in the EPL. He's a good Championship coach but not the guy to lead an EPL team to better things. He's a fill in at best Nov - May any year that's it.
I see Lambert as the wrong move at the wrong time and the Potters owner Coates may have sunk his own team! Should Stoke survive, Brighton may well go down instead!
Swansea City were showing signs of climbing high but have they got enough gas in the tank. Recently they've shown good form but can they sustain it, if not relegation is a real threat!
Carlos Carvalhal has been a positive injection for the Welsh club but they are still in the bottom three. They'll need to repeat that form to beat the drop a task that may be too tough to complete. They are in real danger of being relegated and will need results around them to go in their favour.
Carlos Carvalhal can only do so much but injuries have impacted their survival hopes. Bony, Fer and Rangel are all gone with no return date with Sanches due back March 17th. They are walking the survival tightrope they may well drop!
Brighton have had a great season in the EPL and the little club are in with 8 other teams trying to beat the drop. If you'd given those odds to the average Brighton fan before the season, I'm sure they'd have ripped your hands off.
Chris Hughton has done a great job with Brighton over the past couple of years and he might yet save them. He'll know one game may save his club and that's against bitter rival Crystal Palace, Saturday April 14th at Selhurst Park a must win situation. The winner of this one may sentence their rival to relegation, how sweet would that be?
In reality the South coast minnows are in real danger as 5 of the last 10 games are against top 6 clubs, hit the ALARM BUTTON!!!
Huddersfield Town with two recent wins (H) 4-1 Bournemouth (A) 2-1 West Brom and vital goals have given them a chance at survival. It's not a sure thing avoiding relegation but they've shown good organisation all season which is no surprise as their coach David Wagner was born in Germany however played for the US national team.
It's that German organisation and a great team spirit that's going to take care of business. They don't do too much over the top and in keeping things simple they've picked up points in games they shouldn't have. They're a good little team and could drop but I give them a shout to stay up. They have done their club proud no matter what happens!
Huddersfield has a good chance of survival and in their last 10 games, points are there for the taking, will they?
Southampton have had good form of late but sadly that's about to end. More bad news they have a tough last 10. If they manage the Great Escape I'll be very impressed.
Coach Mauricio Pellegrino in charge since June 23rd 2017 has had enough time to settle in and get his team philosophy in place. Now comes the real test of his ability during these last 10 games.
The squad is good enough for the EPL but they have under achieved by miles. They must come together or suffer the danger of being sent down!
Bournemouth on the edge of things for most of the season should see another season in the EPL. This little club keeps rolling along under coach Eddie Howe and they earn the right to fight another season. Mid table is as good as it can be for the Cherries and they know it, mission completed in 10 games.
With a big cash injection from a new investors I see the Cherries securing an EPL spot for a few years to come. However if the cash isn't forthcoming relegation will become a future reality no matter how good Eddie Howe is.
They have a nice run of games to the season and will gather enough points I have no doubt. We'll see the Cherries in the EPL n 2018/19.
Three will leave England's top division and may never return for a long long time, if ever! Keep your nerve people........ May 13th is coming FAST!!!!!
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004
|12||Brighton and Hove Albion||30||8||10||12||28||40||-12||34|
|17||West Ham United||30||7||9||14||36||57||-21||30|
|20||West Bromwich Albion||31||3||11||17||24||49||-25||20|
The F.A. Cup hasn’t lost it’s glamour The menu is just way bigger!
Feb 18th, 2018: The F.A. Cup is David v Goliath
Over the last 25 years cup competitions in England seem to have lost their original centre of attention for many football fans. It’s due in part to the teams but mainly the governing associations, Uefa, The F.A. etc.
Another big factor damaging F.A. Cup or League cup glamour is simply there is more Football now than ever.....the Football Menu is just way Bigger!
Just over 25 years ago the English Football scene was focused mainly on The Div 1 and the F.A. Cup. The League Cup seen as a 2nd rate trophy for the bigger teams who often field weak teams throughout. Lower league teams look to excel but rarely do. The League Cup was originally designed for the lower league teams to generate extra finance through the season and to provide a trophy to compete for. Nowadays those original plans are long lost with the last lower league team winning back in 1969 Swindon Town 3-1 Arsenal.
Personally I suggest The F.A. decline English Premier League teams entry into the League Cup to assist the lower leagues and to give their fans a shot at glory. This is possibly the best promotion for lower league Football and its fans moving forward as its status quo is slowing stifling the life out of both.
The Big Game Changers: Since the arrival of The English Premier League & the Uefa Champions League, English football fans have been treated to spectacular entertainment Non-Stop for 25 years! But with that never ending feast of Football comes a cost to the old ways or traditions of old!
More focus and promotional cash was thrown at the English Premier League & the Uefa Champions League over those 25 building years and very little to the old established F.A. Cup or League cup. Uefa, The Premier League were totally focused on building the Champions League & Premier League brand and build they did leaving the F.A. promotional cash starved!
For many teams, the F.A. Cup or League cup seem to be good enough to win when nothing else can be. But all too often weak teams are fielded as teams save their focus and energy on more important games. Games that impact titles, promotion surges or for that matter fighting relegation battles.
Teams like Southampton still in the F.A. Cup must play every week while in two competitions which will cost energy and possible injury. Will it cause them to be relegated? Most fans dream of an F.A. cup appearance for their heroes but would not swop league safety for a cup run and that’s todays reality.
Crystal Palace in the middle of a relegation battle will be happy for two weeks rest and it could be that rest that keeps them up as the games come thick and fast. Those two weeks rest for The Eagles may be enough for a few injured to return to the squad and finally push for safety, lets hope! The Eagles are 4 wins from safety and 4 wins will be tough to come by hence their time off is critical. it's a trade off in Palaces case.
In summarizing: The F.A. Cup hasn't lost any of it's glamour and it never did you simply have more Football on the menu. When you consider the worlds best are on display every weekend in the EPL on your TV screens with double dipping midweek for Champions League, it`s no surprise when time is not there for other competitions.
You select what you want to watch like many others and the TV stations get the rate card on what the trends are which come from you the subscriber and then they serve your menu filled to the lid!
it`s all carefully orchestrated by the Football organisations & their promotional sponsorship partners who set it all in motion.
So the next time you hear derogatory comments reference the F.A. or League Cup and it`s lack of glamour just remember we are forced fed non stop action from the best competitions.
But the one ingredient that the F.A Cup has that NO European competition has is the David v Goliath aspect and never will as that is THE FA CUP.
Take a look at the Rochdale v Tottenham in todays F.A. Cup game at Rochdale's Crown Oil Arena which ended 2-2. It was a fantastic cup game, end to end with the minnows Rochdale pushing Tottenham's superstars all the way. Rochdale tied it up in the 94th minute forcing a replay at WEMBLEY. A dream for all Rochdale fans who never would have thought they`d ever get there, a dream come true! Steve Davies 94th minute equaliser earns Rochdale a Wembley replay.
That`s the power of the F.A. Cup which the Champions League can`t match which proves how priceless our wonderful English F.A. Cup really is. It's also the oldest Football knock out competition worldwide yet another reason to love The F.A. Cup and its ever growing history.
Enjoy the next round of games after Wigan v Man City and lets all hope Wigan do the David over Man City's Superbots!
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004
Feb 10th, 2018: Unnecessary defensive blunders
Each week we are seeing more and more blunders/defensive give aways in and around the penalty box which end up in scoring opportunities or worse still soft goals against!
This recent Tiki-Taka virus into the game has teams changing the art of defence and how to clear their lines, it’s not going to work for all as high levels of skill are required and not every defender has the time or skill to out smart or out manoeuvre the skilled forwards!
Mistakes will happen and defenders will give the ball away with bad decisions/ mental weakness leaving quick thinking forwards to feed on easy and unnecessary goals.
Coaches are the ones responsible for the virus creeping into the game it’s up to the individual coach to employ safer tactics.
I mean really think about that. Is it logic to play with fire? Playing the ball around your penalty box with lesser skilled players is absolute Russian roulette.
Wait until a goal is scored at this years FA Cup final or much worse the Fifa World cup Final in Russia from a defensive blunder then the coin may drop in the minds of a few coaches. I see this as a dangerous evolution in the game whereby it will cost teams in the long run.
It nearly cost Arsenal big time in the London derby today as Mustafi & Ceck only just escaped Deli Alli from intercepting a pass and scoring. The danger signs are there for all to see but the coaches keep on copying tiki-taka death by passing!
Just as in normal business tactics in Football need to be kept simple, playing the ball out from the back like Brazil is not simple it’s suicide!
Another negative from playing out from your own goal line is simply terrortorial. A team needs to move up and down the field as a unit but being pinned in your own half limits both time & space on the ball causing possible interceptions closer to your goal
It’s also easy to build moves from the middle of the park and press the final third like it should be. Defenders mistakes will happen goals will come from give aways and you will witness it.
Not every tactic works for every team just as one size does not fit all!
Guardiola has coached Barca, Bayern & man City, teams stacked with with super skilled players who are also mentally smarter too. Football is a thinking game and sometimes you have no time or space and that’s when the top players expose the weaker ones!
Guardiolas words: "I loathe all that passing for the sake of it, all that tiki-taka. It's so much rubbish and has no purpose. You have to pass the ball with a clear intention, with the aim of making it into the opposition's goal. It's not about passing for the sake of it."
Guardiolas tactic is simple: Overload one side of the pitch so that the opponent must tilt its defence to cope. You overload on one side and draw them in so that they leave the other side weak and then when we've done all that, we attack and score from the other side.
Guardiola operates a “waiting game” or “ambush style” counter-attack with high speed, skill but always keeping the ball moving into threatening space in and around goal. Otherwise city operate with patience from the back in their build up play until the final third where attack is the only focus.
City are able to play it out from the defence with one touch pass and move tactics and they have the skilled players to perform without an issue. BUT the average EPL team does not have City’s super bots that get it done.
More goals are coming from defenders getting caught in possession Watch it happen!?
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004
They don't call him Woy anymore!
Feb 1st, 2018: Roy Hodgson & Crystal Palace FC.
When Roy Hodgson took the coaching job at Crystal Palace many in the crowd at Selhurst Park were left shaking their heads but much worse could be heard on social media, some of which was ridiculous. Those social media types would soon see their cannons go silent as Roy waged war on the EPL battling to get the mighty Palace out of the bottom three after 7 straight losses. A few even berated Woy days after the first win of the season, a 2-1 home win against Champions Chelsea?
Since Roy's arrival Palace have gone from dead last to a respectable 13th in the EPL table, an amazing achievement. You could argue Palace are now just 4 wins from EPL survival?
Since Oct 14th 2017 The Eagles have a solid record with 6 wins 8 draws and only 4 losses. They are in good hands under Mr. Hodgson and under current form should finish 10th after 38 games.
Roy has done a remarkable job when you consider how down this squad of players were after 7 straight losses. He's rebuilt the teams confidence, plugged a leaky defence and got the team scoring. The shape of Palace now compared to The De Boer era is night & day and not boring anymore. The team plays attractive football and no matter where they play they always have great fan support especially home games at Selhurst Park which are gaining attention worldwide for it's atmosphere.
When you look at Crystal Palace now the situation looks very positive for the remainder of the season and into the future too. One man came in with his team and turned the ship around saving Palace from relegation.
5 MONTHS: It has taken 5 months going from bottom to a healthy 13th in the EPL table remember that. Palace have pulled off what many pundits said could not be done.
It is time for Palace fans to enjoy the rest of the season and they deserve it to. These fans never gave up on their team in all the years and when the going gets crappy that's when Eagles fans get Louder & Prouder! They are the 12th man!
It also time to reflect on a huge quick decision to get rid of De Boer by Steve Parish. That ballsy call to hire Roy has saved the club from relegation and should be remembered too.
Roy has been a class act in every department and a real asset to the club. Under his guidance The Eagles have again become a solid EPL unit but with Roy it looks more organised than in a long time.
His work with Crystal Palace is nothing short of brilliant, he's saved the clubs dignity too. He came in under a cloud amidst post De Boer blues and his record since speaks for itself, immaculate.
Title winning coaches normally win coach of the year but Roy's achievement saving the club from relegation parallels that. He should be nominated for coach of the year: He achieved the greatest success in the worst possible situation!
Roy can do no wrong for the average Palace fan and is respected highly. And those who were wrong about Roy need to just bite their tongues and give the next guy a chance.........
They don't call him Woy anymore!
Crystal Palace New signing: Alexander Sørloth
Alexander Sørloth: Norwegian international capped 12 since 2016. 22 years old, 6 foot 4 good in the air, has good feet and vision. Alex is also very good in one on one with the keeper (calm, cool head) If it goes good for him he could be a sensation. I hope he gets a chance. Will he be Alexander the Great for The Palace? Click the link below for his goals reel.
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004