Monday, 31 May 2010

Who will get the dreaded phone calls?

So, tomorrow Fabio Capello will face one of the worst jobs any international manager has to do by cutting 7 of his 30 man squad and deciding who will be joining him on the plane to South Africa. There has been much speculation on who will go and who will stay, Capello stated this morning (31/5) that he has finally got his squad narrowed down to the 23 he wants to take. I've decided to chip in with my 2 cents worth and see if my crystal ball can be accurate in seeing who will go


Clearly Capello won't be dropping any of the 3 keepers he has already called up so Green, James & Hart will all be on the plane to South Africa although no-one is any the wiser as to who will be number 1 - i personally think Hart should be first choice, he has excelled in the 2 friendlies and against Japan he made 2 top quality saves but Capello will probably stick with David James as his first choice


The first choice defenders are already set in stone with A.Cole, Ferdinand, Terry & Johnson being the widely expected starting back 4 but who will go as back up? Jamie Carragher clearly can expect to be on the plane otherwise what would be the point in bringing him out of retirement? This combined with his ability to cover right back as well as center back (and the odd occasion, left back) makes him an excellent choice for back up. I would expect Ledley King to go as first choice back up to Rio & JT especially as his well documented knee troubles seem to be slightly under control having played 4 back to back matches for Spurs at the end of the season, although this in turn opens the door for another center back to act as his cover so i would expect Upson to go over Dawson given Upson has played more games at this level and despite not being a world class center back can still do a job, which is a bit harsh on Dawson given the season he has had at Spurs lining up with King but his push may have come a little to late. I also expect Baines to go as back up to Cole, and i personally think he should have been there over Bridge anyway (although Baines recent admission of home sickness might be an issue).

To get the chop - Warnock & Dawson


This is probably the toughest area to predict, with most of the players thinking they justify a place on the plane. Gerrard & Lampard will certainly make it to South Africa, along with the likely announcement of Barry not being fit for USA game but still making it as he will be fine for the rest of the tournament. I also expect both Walcott and Lennon to go and i think Lennon should be starting on the right wing - he has maybe a tiny bit less pace than Walcott but he has a much better end product and is streaks ahead in the decision making department, a place Walcott seems to struggle with most at the moment.

This of course means that SWP won't be making it as 3 right wingers seems unnecessary especially when you consider Milner is almost certainly going and can play on either wing. I think Scott Parker should be going as he is the only genuine defensive midfielder in the squad but the fact he wasn't used in either of the warm up games seems to give a message that he won't be on the plane. Huddlestone didn't perform especially well in either warm up game meaning Michael Carrick, who's also been poor recently, will probably sneak on the plane despite never really doing it for England. This means the last spot will be between J.Cole & Johnson, and i think Joe Cole's second half performance against Japan will mean he goes on the plane as he showed exactly why we need him as a plan B - he changed things around and seemed to present a different threat, i think Johnson's inclusion in the 30 squad can be justified but people have got a little to over excited about him this season, he's had a good season but against the bigger teams (Man U, Arsenal, Spurs & Liverpool) he didn't do much and maybe this is down to inexperience at playing at a higher level.

To get the chop - SWP, Parker, Huddlestone & Johnson


I can't see anyone else but Darren Bent being left behind from the 5 strikers, Rooney & Crouch are already on the plane with Defoe not so far behind them. This leaves the never ending debate about Emile Heskey, we've all heard the 'he doesn't score but he bring so much more to the table' argument, and his miss against Japan was yet further proof you wouldn't want him in a 1 v 1 must score situation but it is true he does bring a tremendous amount to the team and when you see Rooneys face light up talking about playing with Heskey you know the players believe it as well - against Japan for the last 15 min's he was still able to hold up the ball better than any England player had all game.

This leaves Darren Bent who didn't really get a chance against Japan, he worked hard but no one really created anything for him as it was a very poor 45 min's for England as a whole. However when you look at previous games for England he hasn't really done it although he's only made 6 appearances for the national team. I think Darren Bent is the kind of player that excels at the focal point of an average team (Ipswich, Charlton & Sunderland) but can't really be counted on to do it at the very top.

To get the chop - Bent

So that's it, my final seven players to be left behind would be Warnock, Dawson, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Parker, Huddlestone, Johnson & Bent. I think if Capello were to spring a surprise it would be including one of Johnson or Bent - if he chooses to use a 4-4-2 system it would make sense to have a natural wide left player available instead of using Gerrard but this raises the age old 'Gerrard & Lampard together in the middle' problem, and Bent if he wants to be safe and take 5 strikers (although with Walcott in the team he could be used as an emergency 5th striker, or play J.Cole or Gerrard off one main striker).

Despite tinkering with tactics over the friendlies i can see him going with a 4-5-1, 4-3-3 or the 4-2-3-1 formation he has used over the qualifying campaign. Obviously its never nice to have to cut players and ruin their dreams but i think its fair enough to say the only one of these players that is good enough, or could be good enough, for this level of football is Adam Johnson

hope this has provided an interesting read (despite the fact its a little late!) and if you have any feedback please leave it below, or e-mail me at or tweet me at Buster_5265]

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Summer Movers & Shakers

Another week so time for another blog, this time I'm going to look at the players that may be making moves around Europe this summers as well as possible managerial changes, and where better to start than with the transfer that has kicked it all off....


Well one of the most sought after and deadliest strikers in Europe has finally completed one of the most drawn out transfers in a record quick time. For the last 3 years its been known that Valencia would have to sell him but it was just a question of who to but that question has been answered already with him joining Barcelona for £34m (40m euros). Does this mean the end for Ibra? And do Man Utd fans feel a little gutted they spent £30m on Berbatov when they could have got Villa??


The other major Barcelona target this summer is Cesc, and again this is another one that's been dragging on a while. Everyone knows the story, Arsenal nabbed Fabregas from the Barca youth squad at 16 exploiting a contractual loophole found in Europe and stuck him straight in the first team and the rest is history. Being a Catalan born and bread boy it was always clear he was going to move back to Barca at some point or another and Arsenal knew this, trying him down to a record 8 year deal making sure they always had a strong bargaining position when this day came around. Apparently Wenger has asked Fabregas to stay another year at Arsenal, a lot like Sir Alex did with Cristiano Ronaldo at Man Utd, and I think that maybe some sort of agreement will be reached allowing Cesc to stay at Arsenal this season then move next summer with no complications

OUTCOME - Will drag on until at least the World Cup, but i can see Cesc staying till summer 2011 then leaving for between £40m-£50m


Just putting in as a nice to know, but expect Henry to turn up in the U.S, widely expected to be at New York Red Bulls or possibly LA Galaxy as they have the financial backing to offer him a tasty contract as well. The final nail in his Barca coffin was when Guardiola decided to bring on Juanfran & Bojan over him when they were desperately looking for a goal against Inter Milan.

OUTCOME - Bags packed and flights booked. Just a question of which U.S airport he'll land at


Hamsik is one of the most important players at Napoli alongside Ezequiel Lavezzi and helped the team to the dizzying heights of 6th place, securing EUROPA League qualification at the expense of the once mighty Juventus. The Slovakian group in 2010 is tough but maybe, just maybe he can help inspire them in what will probably be the 'make or break' game against Paraguay and if that happens and they sneak in to the knockout phase expect to see his name linked to many top clubs

OUTCOME - Expect to see him popping up at an EPL club soon for around £20m-£25m depending on World Cup performance


First Gareth Barry now James Milner, Villa fans must be sick of the sight of City and there cheque book. 2 summers ago Barry declared he wanted Champions League football before being persuaded to stay at Villa (or Liverpool didn't have the cash) before promptly walking out the following summer to a team with no European football. Milner was moved to center midfield to fill the void and now city are back to try and get him as well, but their not the only one's after him - apparently Man Utd have had more than an eye on Milner since he Leeds days and are standing by reading to offer another option if Milner decides he wants to leave and Villa don't want to sell to City. On a personal note i don't see why he would want to leave Villa as the 2 clubs are pretty similar right now, yes city have the 'bags of silver' but Villa have stability and an excellent manager.

OUTCOME - after the interview Milner game today expect to see him move, if Utd's interest is genuine then Villa will only sell to them, even if it is a bit shorter of what City will offer, if Utd aren't interested expect Villa to get every penny they can, around £30m


The biggest Bosman of the summer creeps closer and closer by the day, Cole is reportedly unhappy with the terms of the new contract Chelsea are offering him, he wants £120k a week and their only offering £90k (my heart bleeds....) If no deal is signed by June 30th (yes slap bang in the middle of the World Cup) then Joe is free to speak to other teams and if reports are to be believe he has a whole range of suitors quing up with Utd, Spurs, Liverpool and even West Ham(!) linked to him i think being a London lad he would find the Spurs link most interesting, with his first kid on the way he might not be overly keen on upping sticks and moving north, and a chance to be reunited with Harry, the manager that seemed to get the best out of him will be appealing, but will Spurs offer him £120k a week he's looking for? or even the £90k he's been offered? the offer of regular football would be very appealing, Harry certainly had more faith in him in the past that Ancelotti has now.

OUTCOME - a free transfer move to Spurs seems likely, but don't rule out a last minute contract renewal. Can't see him going to Liverpool or United


OK, was gonna put this down as Real Madrid's marquee signing of the summer but just read reports from Bild newspaper and other sources saying he's signed a new 4 year deal at that's that done then! I'd just like to point out that its amazing how as the season has worn on, and his form hasn't picked up (if anything he's been slightly better than average), he's spent longer and longer 'thinking' about his future. Obviously as his thoughts of staying went up and up it's just coincidence that Real's interest has got smaller and smaller.....just a thought....

OUTCOME - Staying in Germany...for now...


Buffon was ready to quit Juventus at the end of the 05-06 season but of course, in the Calciopoli scandal Juventus were relegated and Buffon stayed on. Now Juventus aren't the force they once were, finishing 7th this season and with no European football one of the best keepers in the game must look for a new top club? Many have been linked, especially Man City & Arsenal with the Italian press confident a deal would be done, however in the last few days Buffon's agent came out saying he wasn't moving and Buffon himself spoke of working under Gigi Del Neri as the new boss

OUTCOME - a tough one, if Arsenal made a firm offer i think he would be very tempted at the prospect of playing in the Champions League and at a top club - if the reported £15m if true it would be a bargain for one of the best keepers around who has at least another 5 or 6 years at the very top left


This could be a very interesting story this summer. Both players have been billed as future superstars in Brazil and even had a media poll as to whether they should be called up for the World Cup or not, most people wanting Neymar to go for experience as Pele, Ronaldo & Kaka have done before but Dunga resisted these calls. What makes this story even more interesting is the fact that it could see the 2 richest clubs in the world go after them. Man City got first refusal on both these players as part of the Robinho loan deal and have a very keen eye on both, but Real Madrid are just as interested, especially as there aren't many players left in europe for them to sign. The feeling in Brazil is they should stay a few more years (more Neymar, Ganson is 20 now Neymar only 17) and establish themselves more before leaving. The only downside to this is they could end up like Hernanes and be forgotten about and not kick on from there original hype, although there appears to be less risk of this with Neymar as he is showing incredible talent for such a young age. Comparisons to a young Robinho aren't far wide but Neymar is a lot more clinical in the finishing department than Robinho probably ever has been. Maybe this is how Santos would fund any move for Robinho, either swapping these 2 for Robinho and some cash or selling them to Madrid and using the cash from that to keep Robinho at Santos.

OUTCOME - can't see either moving to City if Robinho's been speaking to them, expect them both to wind up at Real Madrid soon and probably for a pretty hefty fee, Santos know they've got talent on there hands - maybe £35m in total for both


Adriano is more than likely going to return to Italy when his contract expires with Flamengo in may, but expect to see his name linked with some English teams. A big powerful striker, he joined Fiorentina on loan from Inter and did well, he was then co-owned by Parma and seemed to really find his form before returning to Inter where he began to become a household name. Unfortunately he's been fighting an addiction to alcohol for a while and is a big risk for any team to bring him back which is the only drawback - recently he's had a few scrapes in Brazil and frequently misses training which has lead to him missing out on the Brazil World Cup team.

OUTCOME - might go for another crack in Italy but can't see any team taking the risk on his high wages. except maybe West Ham with Gold & Sullivan still determined to get a 'big name striker'


OK, so everyone knows David James is out of contract, we can also expect him to leave the England scene after 2010 World Cup, building towards the next tournament can't be done with a 40 year old keeper. So where will James go? He doesn't have a lot of choice, with most teams having a first choice keeper in place now especially with Birmingham signing Foster so maybe, with no England place at risk, he'll have to join someone as a backup? but again, there aren't many teams that would probably be prepared to pay his wages for a back up keeper either - with Pompey offering him a new contract (apparently to be paid in thin air) does he have no other choice but to stay?

OUTCOME - to stay unless a really big surprise offer comes in


Valencia selling Villa could be a sign of things to come, with Mata and David Silva being linked away from the club, Mata has been linked heavily to Liverpool and also recently Spurs. Harry is reportedly looking for only one Marquee signing and is said to be a fan of Mata who can play on either wing, up front or in the hole and could give Spurs an extra dimension going forward. If Spurs reported interest is true then i can't really see him going anywhere else, a move to Liverpool would mean leaving a CL team to join one qualifying for the Europa league and Valencia won't sell him on the cheap. The only other option would be a move to Italy but the league isn't as strong as it once was and certainly the only options in Spain would be Barca or Real neither of whom are interested.

OUTCOME - if Valecnia sell Silva soon they may try and keep on to Mata but if the offer is big enough then the bank may say sell. Could really see him at Spurs as Harry's one big signing


Silva has been linked to Utd, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Man City in the last few days - apparently Real have started negotiations already to try and ward of interest from City although i can only see Silva going to a CL club, if Joe Cole leaves then Chelsea would have room for a 'schemer' type player, on that can sit behind the front 2 and try and unlock defences with defence splitting passes however Chelsea probably won't want to make a move until Joe Cole's future has been decided which might be a little to late. Clearly Utd is also an option if they bid for him but i don't think they will want to get in a bidding war with Real Madrid

OUTCOME - Off to Real for anything between £20m-£30m


i can't see many premiership managers moving anytime soon, if anyone was going to quit or get fired they'd probably have done it now, Grant will be the next West Ham manager that much seems certain. The most interesting case will be Rafa Benitez, despite the Juventus job that he was so heavily linked to being filled and AC Milan looking like there going for a 'cheap, in-house' option. There cross town rivals will most likely be the most interested part in Rafa if, as expected, Jose heads of to Real Madrid in the summer. Inter are reportedly preparing an offer for Benitez to head to the San Siro in the summer and its the only job i can honestly see him leaving Liverpool for a job of that sort of stature, although if the owners continue to be evasive of the subject of summers funds and keep asking outrageous prices for the club Benitez could decide he wants to leave anyway to avoid the possible mess that is Anfield to come

The big market this summer will be international jobs, with Laurant Blanc already agreeing to replace the very unpopular star gazing Raymond Domenech after the World Cup. Its being widely reported in Italy that Marcello Lippi will step down (again) after the World Cup with Fiorentina manager Cesare Prandelli lining up to take over once the Italians have exited the tournament. The surprise replacement being lined up by Fiorentina is the current Brazil boss Dunga which would give 'Big Phil' Scolario a chance to return as Brazil manager once more as his deal at Bunyodkor is due to expire in the next 6 months. This would leave one of the 2 South American super powers without a manager and its also widely expected that if Argentina fail to perform at the World Cup the Maradona will probably leave in a whirlwind of foul mouth tirades a lot like he arrived.

What we do know is its certainly going to be a very interesting summer of transfers and managerial changes, hope this blog has proved to be helpful but most importantly proves to be accurate!! thank you for reading, as usual leave your feedback below or contact me at twitter (Buster_5265)

Friday, 14 May 2010

Did Chelsea deserve the title? Does Lampard deserve more recognition?

After months of ranting and raving that Chelsea don't deserve the title I've finally accepted that they probably did deserve it this season. Obviously every season the top teams have to overcome hurdles and this season is no different with both Man Utd & Arsenal fans able to point to injuries as the main reason they didn't win, Arsenal losing Robin Van Persie so early in the season followed by Gallas, then Fabregas & Arshavin for the run in, and Man Utd not being able to call on a settled back four until February however Chelsea had many injury problems themselves. Missing a player of the quality of Michael Essien for a large part of the season would hinder any team, the fact he was only able to start 13 games all season was a massive blow as he is one of the key cogs in their midfield. Not forgetting of course Carvalho's injury problems this season, Ashley Cole being injured for 3 months and both his and John Terry's off-field problems as well contributing to what seemed at one point a very shaky defence (Everton & Wigan games spring to mind). This is, of course, nothing compared to the injury woes Man Utds defence has suffered but the difference between the 2 teams, quite clearly, is there attacking threat.

Whilst both teams have excellent front line options with Drogba at Chelsea and Rooney at United, its Uniteds lack of depth that was their weak point. Berbatov filled the role to a point and I personally thought he had a pretty good season with 24 starts, 12 goals & 5 assists being a record that shouldn't be sneered at, however at times he looked lost in the 4-5-1 formation that Sir Alex has used this season. From Chelsea's point of view Nicolas Anelka hasn't exactly been poor with his stats of 31 starts, 11 goals and 7 assists but the key difference can be found in midfield - more specifically Frank Lampard.

I for one have frequently had pops at Lampard, he can't do it for England, he only scores deflected free kicks, he's over weight and over rated, but this season he has been truly phenomenal. He's kept his head down and got on with what he does best - scoring goals and driving the team forward, in 36 starts he scored 22 goals and got 14 assists meaning he was involved in at least one goal every game he started, a record only bettered by his team mate Drogba (31 starts, 29 goals, 10 assists). Together the pair of them have been instrumental in Chelsea's success and when you consider the improvement players like Malouda and Ivanovic they seem to have attacking options all over the pitch. Whilst Nani has improved for United players like Scholes, Giggs & Carrick have had average season's and when Rooney wasn't firing or was out of the starting XI it was a struggle to see where the goals came from. Although both teams had very similar home & away records the key results really came against each other in which Chelsea won both games and although some may argue draws would have been fairer results really United never looked like winning either game.

Whilst writing this blog I've also realised that despite the fact Rooney won the player of the year award in fairness both Lampard and Drogba have a right to feel aggrieved - Lampard for not even making the shortlist despite his best ever season and Drogba for not winning it. Despite missing 4 league games he still scored more goals than any other player (remember he didn't score in any of the games Chelsea got 7, although he got a hat-trick in the 8-0) and was 3rd in the assist table behind Lampard & Fabregas - who's main roles are creating chance's for strikers.

Drogba & Lampard have been excellent this season, and despite his sulks and tantrums this is the reason why Drogba has been kept at Chelsea. Lampard has been the usual top professional that we have grown used to seeing and maybe, Chelsea fans aside, don't appreciate as much as we should. I know that I, for one, have found a new level of appreciation for both players after this season, the question is can they keep their games at this level next season when United are sure to come back with a real determination to take the title back to Manchester

As always any feedback can be left in comments below or you can e-mail me at or find me on twitter at

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and for the next few weeks I will be talking mainly about the up coming World Cup and maybe the odd transfer rumour that crops up

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

World Cup Squads

Rather than running through each individual squad and writing 500 pages i thought i would pick some of the favourite's squads and a few other teams and players.


Well Diego Maradona has a few surprises in his squad and left a few players out as well. Leaving out Zanetti & Cambiasso has been seen as a big surprise, especially as Zanetti started the qualifying campaign as captain and Casmbiasso was performing the vital screening role, protecting the fragile Argentinian defence - this position has been filled recently by Mascherano. I am a fan of Mascherano but i think Cambiasso has been excellent in that role all season for Inter Milan certainly much better than Mascherano has been performing for Liverpool. Both players had a key role for the qualifying campaign but this was before Maradona came in, when Basile was coach and had a relatively settled team.

Maradona has also decided to call some players to the squad based on there performance against Haiti which i think is a little strange. He's included Colon defender Ariel Garce, who had won two caps in 2003 as a River Plate player, and made only his third international appearance against the Haitians as well as Juan Manuel Insaurralde of Newells Old Boys who has 2 caps to his name so far. He's also called up midfielder Juan Mercier, who earned a third cap against Haiti, and has been impressive for Argentine title favourites Argentinos Junior. Also in midfield he's called up Sebastian Blanco, Jesus Datolo, Jose Sosa and Javier Pastore (Blanco, Datolo & Sosa have 11 full caps between them, Pastore has only played against Catalonia in an unofficial friendly). Whilst the first XI is still very strong, questions will be raised about the strength and depth in the squad and how there is very little experience or stand out quality in the reserves


The Brazil squad was realtivly straight forward for Dunga, some sections of the Brazillian media and fans wanted him to call up Neymar & Paulo Henrique who have been setting the Campeonato Paulista alight with fantastic skills, passes and goals but he resisted this pressure. There was also some pressure, although not as much, to bring Ronaldinho back in as a Plan B incase anything happens to Kaka but he has opted to leave Ronaldinho out of the squad. The only other debate was over Adriano or Grafite and as Adriano's personal demons have raised their head again Dunga has decided to take Grafite along with Nilmar as back up to Robinho & Luis Fabiano with Pato missing out due to his recent injury problems


The biggest surprise in the France squad is the decision by outgoing manager Raymond Domenech to leave Karim Benzema out of the squad. Karim's had a disappointing season by his standards, making 14 starts and 12 appearnces from the bench in La Liga but only scoring 8 goals and getting 3 assists, in the CL he made 3 starts, 2 further appearances from the bench but only found the net once which isn't a great return for a £35m player. To rub salt in the wound, Djibril Cisse a player i have never really rated has been called up instead of him along with Jimmy Briand
who only has 3 caps and has only scored 5 goals in 22 appearances for Stade Rennes after missing last season and the start of this season with a ruptured ACL. Patrick Viera has also been left out but he hasn't been the same player he once was and wasn't really expected to be included in the squad.


The inclusion of Jamie Carragher is a big surprise by Fabio Capello after he retired from international duty 3 years ago and writing some interesting thoughts in his auto-biography relating to international duty. At the time he retired he was unhappy with not playing as center back and being played on the right - this time he's going to be going as back up right back to Glen Johnson & about 4th choice center back. He also isn't the player he was 3 years ago, he's not as fast and has had an average season at best for Liverpool. A couple of other surprises for me was the inclusion of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Adam Johnston, Scott Parker and Darren Bent - players like SWP & Darren Bent have played at international level before and never seem to be quiet the standard you'd want for playing teams like Brazil, Spain and Argentina whilst Johnston and Parker are very inexperienced at this level.

Other Squads that have been announced are pretty much what was expected - Thomas Sorensen has been included in the Denmark squad despite suffering from a dislocated elbow, in Italy Marcello Lippi has discarded Luca Toni in favour for Guiseppe Rossi and left out controversial striker Mario Balotelli. Vicente Del Bosque's biggest surprise was including 5 goalkeepers in his 30 man squad, including Barca keeper Victor Valdez as well as inclduing the injured trio of Torres, Iniesta & Fabregas. Bojan hasn't been included but his Barca team mate Pedro has been along with Osasuna's
Cesar Azpilicueta and Bilbao's Javi Martinez. In Mexico Man Utd fans might get a chance to see Javier Hernandez in action after he was included along with Arsenal's Carlos Vela and Serbia included another rumoured United target in Subotic, the Borussia Dourtmund center back who has a formidable partnership with current United centre back Vidic. The US player Charlie Davies did not make the national team squad after suffering a horrific car crash in Washington, he has returned to training despite original doubts over him being able to walk again but the World Cup is just soon for him. The Scottish born Stuart Holden has been included despite only playing 2 games since joining in January.

I hope this has enlightened you a bit more to some of the World Cup squads and thanks for reading! as usual leave any feedback below, or find me on Twitter (Buster_5265) or e-mail me at

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Why Spurs finishing 4th would be best for the league

Just some quick thoughts on the implications of tonight's big game

I personally think Spurs finishing 4th would be much better for the Premier League. If Spurs finish in 4th it will allow them to attract a higher quality of player that would allow them to compete on a much higher level - this summer neither team had Champions League football however city where still able to sign players like Tevez, Bellemy, Adebayor, Lescott & Toure as well as signing Shay Given, who is easily one of the best keepers in the league, last Jan even though they had no CL football. Most of these players would get in to Spurs match day squad, if not there first eleven at the start of this season. Instead Spurs had to be more prudent with there finances and when you look at people like Gomes, Dawson, Palacios, Lennon, Huddlestone these are all players bought from clubs that weren't competing at the highest level (Gomes & Palacios maybe, but not under the same kind of pressure as they are at Spurs) and weren't tried and tested at these dizzying heights, but they had to take more of a chance on untried players which has paid off.

City would still be able to attract top draw players with or without CL football because players would be able to see they came close and that with there resources they will always be up there challenging. Last time Spurs were in this position and they missed out it all took a horrible nose dive and i'm not saying the same could happen this season but if they did miss out players may look at things and think that maybe it would be harder for Spurs to break City's grip on 4th and i don't think going through another 6-7 years of the 'top 4' would be beneficial to anyone. if Spurs can beat City to 4th this season it would mean that they could tempt top draw players with CL football and City would still be able to offer the possibility of CL the following year as well as big wages. Before any Spuirs fan's start saying 'but city only signed mercenaries and we wouldn't want them' you should read the interview Assout-Ekotto gave about how he only players for money....

If City get 4th then it could be a very really worry that the league turns into the 'Top 4' again, but if Spurs win then it could be a Top 5 and maybe even 6 if Randy Learner loosens the purse strings or if Everton can avoid last season's horrific start again. On that note I'd like to see Spurs win tonight and keep next season as exciting as this season

Rambles from an Interesting week

If your reading this 2nd blog thank you for sticking with it! Apologies it has been so long coming, i planned on doing another blog over the weekend but it wasn't to be!!

So much has happened this season around Europe, Barca breaking the record points total in La Liga, Inter actually having to fight off a real challenge in Serie A for once (although it was partly there own doing), the Premier League going down to the final day, Bayern making a brilliant recovery in Decemeber to be all but crowned champions for the 22nd time after fighting of Schalke's challenge, Ligue 1 having a few surprises and isn't the Lyon dominated league it once was, Portuguese Liga had some twists as well with Braga & Benfica locked in a battle for the title and Porto surprisingly not being in the title hunt either.

The first league I want to look at is the Dutch Eredivisie and the brilliant story of Steve McClaren taking the relatively unknown Twente Enschede to title winners over the traditional powerhouse's of PSV, Ajax & Feyenoord as well as last season's winners AZ. Having not won the league since 1926 (under the name Sportclub Enschede) last season's amazing success in finishing second was considered nothing short of spectacular but this season the media labeled 'wally with the brolly' managed to do the unthinkable and bring the title home - beating an Ajax team who ended the season winning their last 14 games and having a goal difference of +86 (106 goals for 20 against). Ajax's form kept the race going to the last game but a 2-0 win away to NAC Breda on the last day secured the title. A special mention should go to Bryan Ruiz the Costa Rican striker who has scored 24 goals in the league this season. Sadly at the start of this season they drew Arsenal in the Champions League qualifiers and were knocked out but next season they will be in the draw and could be a tricky opponent for most teams, however it looks like they will be making this journey without McClaren who is hotly tipped to take over at Wolfsburg in the next week or so. I personally think its brilliant to see and English coach achieving great things outside of the UK and hope he can achieve great success in Germany

Speaking of the Bundesliga with 1 game left Bayern are 3 points clear but with a better goal difference of +17 more than Schalke they are effectively champions, but it hasn't been easy salling. On Tuesday 8/12 after 19' Juventus were 1-0 up in Turin and Bayern looked to be crashing out of the Champions league and Louis van Gaal going out of a job after a very public courting in the summer. However in this game they came roaring back, winning 4-1 and going on to not only win their 22nd League title. After the disappointment suffered with Jurgen Klinsmann as manager this is exactly what the Bavarians needed to show they could still compete and now they have a great chance of doing a domestic double this season (they face Werder Bremen in the DFB-Pokal final on 15/5) and then have the Champions League final as well - Man Utd where the first team to do a treble like this, winning that memorable final in '99 against the Bavarians and now Bayern have the chance to do the same themselves.

La Liga has also been an interesting league, just as you'd expect after spending nearly £300m between the top 2 teams this summer - obviously Real went money crazy (if you live under a rock Ronaldo £80m, Kaka £56m) and Barca spent a cool £46m (+ Samel Eto'o) for Zlatan Ibravimovic to strengthen an already incredible team. It was expected for these teams not only to rule La Liga but Europe as well - as everyone knows both these team's crumbled, Real at there usual 1st knockout hurdle against Lyon and Barca losing to Jose's Inter but in La Liga they have just got stronger - Barca are 93 points with 2 games left and Real 89 points with 3 games left - Barca already breaking the previous record they set in 96-97 season (in a 22 team league!) with Real setting there own record as well. Real have a tough game against 4th place Malorca tonight who are trying to claim a place in the Champions League for the first time ever with the game at the ONO Estadi which can be a hostile place to visit. Real will need all Ronaldo's skill and flair to help sneak this one i think. Barca on the weekend have a tough game away to Sevilla and will be hoping Messi can keep the magic coming in another tough away game

Serie A has had its ups and downs this season, in January Inter Milan were 12 points clear but some how Roma pull it back....well, the somehow was Inter's spectacular implosion, at one point actually falling behind Roma but Inter now lead by 2 points after Lazio lost to them in some of the strangest circumstance's seen in football with the Lazio fans booing there own goalkeeper for making saves and chanting at the team 'if you win we'll beat you up' which, sadly, could be believed!! Inter also have there won fan & player problems with the explosive Mario Balotelli rubbing both the fans and his own team mates up the wrong way. After he came on as a substitute in the 1st leg of the Barca game he spent his whole time sulking and really not running with the Inter fans booing him - at full time in the tunnel and the dressing room the Inter players apparently vented their frustrations at him as well. he's had clash's with everyone at Inter so far and its widely expected he's going to leave in the summer (apparently Man City is his preferred destination). However the accusations of Balotelli's wheel's being unscrewed on his car by fans is just going over the line and these sort of things just don't make sense to me. It's a shame as he's such a good player but he clearly irritated the fans when he was recorded wearing an AC Milan shirt - never going to warm you to the Inter fans doing something like that!!!

To stop this blog from going on to long I'm going to leave things there, i will be back after the mid-week games tonight to review the other leagues i mentioned at the start, as usual any feedback mail me at, tweet me Buster_5265 or follow this blog and leave me a comment below (if you use igoogle etc you can just sign in with that user name & password)

thanks again for reading!