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3 rules that could shake up world football

In the FIFA headquarters, we would like to image a bunch of passionate football experts conjuring up  ideas for the next technological innovation or footballing law that could improve the game and take it to the next level. However, as we know, FIFA is basically just a bunch of corrupt dogs who do nothing but take money from large corporations. So, what could happen if the people were in charge? What if it was up to us to think of some new ideas to challenge the current game? Here are a few ideas to think about – what do you think?

Bonus points for goal margin

The idea of awarding teams extra point for outscoring their opponents has often been discussed amongst fans. There are many games where a team would rather sit back, park the bus and take the draw and this can make football interesting, however it’s very frustrating and often boring. In terms of entertainment purposes this would increase the number of teams willing to go towards goal and grab as many as they can and will encourage lesser teams to pick up points this way. However, the ruling would be a very drastic introduction into football that a lot of people would oppose. [Read more…]

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3 reasons for Liverpool’s mid-season meltdown

Despite the rocking start to this season under Jürgen Klopp during the Christmas and January period they have suffered from an embarrassing run of form which must be rendering Liverpool fans insane. How can Klopp’s players go from brushing team to team aside with a bundle of goals to struggling to hit the barn door? Their recent loss against Hull has further highlights the problems Liverpool have. But what are the real reasons behind their demise? Let’s take a look.

Pressure Overload

It’s no secret that Klopp loves to play high intensity football from the top of the field. We saw this at Dortmund and we have seen him successfully implement this tactic at Liverpool up until recently. The only weakness to this tactic is player fatigue. Arguably Liverpool do not have the same squad depth that Dortmund did when Klopp was in charge which means the key players are becoming tired much quicker than they should. The busy Christmas period means this has taken its toll on the squad. Up until recently Liverpool were both domestic competitions. They had two legs in the league cup semi-final against Southampton which almost all clubs don’t have to deal with as well as the FA Cup and a replay which saw another extra game added to their already congested fixture list. It’s only possible to play high intensity football for a certain amount of time and that time has certainly ended. Klopp must resort to other ways of playing football or rotate the team more efficiently to let key players rest. [Read more…]

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Top 5 football clubs in the world

There are a lot of top clubs in the football industry today and it’s not easy to say who’s on top in terms of being the best football club around. Many of the best teams in the world go through stages of being the best for a while until another team steps up to the plate. All of the clubs have their good and bad days but the below list displays 5 of the current top football clubs this world has to offer in terms of recent success and form.

barcelona-fc

1) Barcelona – You can’t deny the fact Barcelona have been one of the best teams in the world for years now thanks to the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Saurez. Any team that has to go up against Barcelona will know full well what they are up against and the chances of getting 3 points out of the game is always going to be come with a lot of hard work, and most teams fail in that respect. With that in mind, Barcelona are of course beatable but with their recent form in years it’s hard to find any better team than them out there. Barcelona always play attractive football which is another reason for their success, and it’s a reason why they are loved by many fans across the world.

bayern-munich

2) Bayern Munich – Bayern Munich have always been big fish in terms of the best in the world, even back when Manchester United beat them 2-1 in 1999 to go on to win the treble. Bayern Munich have always been world class and still continue to dominate the German league in front of the likes of Borrusia Dortmund. They have the team and the experience to win any competition they enter and have won the European Cup 3 times in a row before which just goes to show what a to team Bayern Munich is.

real-madrid

3) Real Madrid – Another world class team that has been high in the ranks for season after season is Real Madrid. They are top of the list when it comes to the most Champions League trophy wins, they have won it 11 times which establishes themselves as one of the top teams Europe and the rest of the world has to offer. With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, James Rodrigues and Gareth Bale on their roster, they will certainly give any team in the world a run for their money on a good day. [Read more…]

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UEFA Champions League

With this season’s UEFA Champions League now at the quarter-final stage, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have emerged as clear favourites with the bookmakers to lift the trophy in Berlin.

With the draw panning out the way it did, there can not be much surprise that Bayern Munich, under the stewardship of Pep Guardiola, are fancied by many to lift the Champions League in 2015. There can be little doubt that Bayern will overcome Porto over two legs and progress to the semi-finals. Barcelona have a somewhat more difficult task against Chelsea’s conquerors, Paris Saint-Germain. The two teams have met four times in the Champions league recently, without too much to separate them. However, with the second leg to be played at the Camp Nou and the great form they are in, Barcelona should have enough to progress.

Champions League

Italian giants Juventus, will be delighted with their draw and should have enough to defeat Monaco over two legs. Pulling away at the top of Serie A, Juventus can really focus on the Champions League and should be able to prevent Monaco from causing another upset in the competition.

Easily the most anticipated tie, is the meeting between last year’s finalists, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Despite losing the final to their rivals last season, Atletico Madrid have a fantastic recent record against Real Madrid. Out of their last 8 meetings, Real Madrid have not managed to defeat Atletico once, inside 90 minutes, yet with many, remain as clear favourites to progress to the semi-finals. Despite sitting fourth, some 9 points off the leaders Barcelona, Diego Simeone and his team, have the beating of Real Madrid and consolidated that, with a tremendous 4-0 victory over the Champions League holders in La Liga, at the start of February.

Furthermore, Real Madrid are struggling for form at the moment, losing three of their last four matches and there seems to be no sign of them turning that corner. With the first leg to be played at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, Carlo Ancelotti can not afford a repeat performance of their 4-0 defeat, otherwise the tie could be over before the second leg even takes place.

With the retention of their La Liga title seeming more and more unlikely, as Barcelona continue to dominate, come mid-April, Simeone may decide that it’s time to concentrate on progressing in the Champions League.

At this stage of the competition, it’s difficult to pick a winner but with the know-how of defeating Real Madrid and the experience of reaching the final last season, Atletico Madrid have what it takes to lift the UEFA Champions League in 2015.

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5 biggest flops in Premier League season 14-15

With £835 million spent in the summer transfer window, it was yet another influx of big signings and talented prospects. Big name signings like Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez have flourished while bargains such as Diafra Sakho have shined. However, there have been plenty of flop signings as well as we take a look at some of them.

Bacary Sagna

Bacary Sagna

Joining from Arsenal on a free transfer, the French international has only made 6 appearances in the Premier League so far. With Pablo Zabaleta ahead of him in the pecking order, Sagna seems to be a little rusty as well as whenever he has played, he hasn’t impressed and looks miles from the player he was while at the Gunners.

While he may win more trophies with Manuel Pellegrini’s side, one wonders why he decided to leave Arsenal right when they broke their trophy drought and could have pushed on for better things, especially with him as their starting right back.

Brown Ideye

Brown-Ideye

West Bromwich Albion’s record signing at £10 million, the Nigerian international hasn’t impressed at all for the Baggies.

After scoring 33 league goals in 74 games for Dynamo Kyiv, Ideye has only managed one goal in 10 league games in the Premier League and considering he’s their biggest ever signing, the fact that he can’t even get in the starting eleven nowadays only further highlights how bad a signing he’s been.

Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli

What is there to say about the controversial Italian other than aside from the headlines, he is not even close to a valid replacement for Luis Suarez. While the Uruguayan chased the ball, putting his heart and soul into every game, Balotelli is lazy and expects the ball to come to him.

At £16 million, Liverpool fans expected better from a player who has shone in the Premier League before but with not a single league goal scored after 11 games, many have already been frustrated with the Italian who has found himself behind Rickie Lambert in the pecking order.

Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao

While he has scored 3 goals in 11 league games, it’s still not good enough for the Colombian who set the world on fire just a few years earlier.

Loaned in from Monaco for a £6 million fee, Falcao will have to do much more – especially fitness wise – if he expects Louis van Gaal to pay over £40 million more to make the deal permanent

Eliaquim Mangala

Eliaquim Mangala

When you pay £32 million for a defender, you expect him to be calm and composed on the ball even if it’s a debut season but Mangala has not shown that he is worth his fee at all.

While he is quick, strong and can be a presence, he has made many key errors which have cost City more than a few times this season while his positioning could use a lot of work. If he was signed for half the fee, maybe his performances would be more acceptable but for a player who cost more than Cesc Fabregas, City have definitely been hung dry by Porto.

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4 things we learned from Atleti’s win

1) Atletico are no pushovers

After the departures of Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, Thibaut Courtois and David Villa, many expected Atletico to still be up there in the La Liga race but eventually finish behind Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, based on their recent league win and Spanish Super Cup triumph over Los Blancos, it looks like they’re more than just one season wonders.

With some impressive signings, it’s even possible that this Atletico team could achieve more than Diego Simeone’s side of 2013/2014, staking a claim as one of Europe’s best sides.

2) Squad depth

When Diego Costa got injured in the Champions League final back in May, Koke aside, Atletico really lacked a player who could create something out of nothing. Squad depth however, isn’t an issue anymore at the Vicente Calderon.

At the Bernabeu, Atletico were able to call on Antoine Griezmann and Arda Turan off the bench – both of whom who made decisive impacts in Atletico’s first ever back-to-back win at Real Madrid. Simeone was notably happy:

“What I am most pleased about today is that the players who came off the bench did what we were expecting of them and did it well.”

And with the likes of Alessio Cerci, Jesus Gamez and Cristian Ansaldi still to make their debuts, Atletico are well packed.

atletico_real

3) Moya taking his chance

In what was seen as a backup signing, Miguel Moya has certainly taken advantage of Jan Oblak’s injury problems. The Slovenian – the most expensive goalkeeper signed in La Liga for €16 million – was seen as the eventual successor for Thibaut Courtois but it could be that Moya, the former Getafe man, is Simeone’s new man between the sticks.

With some great performances, a quick acclimatization, and a confident voice, Moya has settled in well at Atletico and it would be harsh for him to have to relinquish the starting spot if Oblak were to be fit and ready to go.

The Spaniard made impressive saves against Real Madrid and as it stands, has conceded 3 goals in 5 games.

4) Atleti could actually be Real Madrid’s kryptonite

Before the game, Raul Garcia made a claim that Atletico Madrid knew how to beat Real Madrid:

“Atletico know how to play against Real Madrid and we can beat them. We have shown that. The only time in recent history where we took the wrong approach was in the Copa del Rey last season.”

It was a risky thing to say – perhaps with the intention of phasing Los Blancos – but Garcia was proved right as Atletico made it yet another win over their rivals. It just shows what a great job Simeone has done with this team that they are finally a thorn in their neighbour’s side.

The funny thing is, Real Madrid fans held a banner in 2011 saying “Derby rival wanted,” and since then, Atletico have won 3 out of the last 4 games at the Bernabeu. Lesson? Be careful what you wish for.

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LvG already under big pressure

Former Liverpool player and manager, Kenny Dalglish said it perfectly:

“Louis van Gaal may have had difficult starts at Bayern Munich and Barcelona – but nothing like this. I don’t know how much pressure the Dutchman was actually under at those clubs but this, at Manchester United, might just be the most extreme pressure he has ever experienced.”

While some United fans would want to disagree with that, Dalglish hasn’t said anything wrong. After the disaster year that followed David Moyes’ managerial stint, Old Trafford was crying for a saviour. After rejecting Jose Mourinho a year earlier, who better than the Chelsea manager’s old mentor, Louis van Gaal to rectify all that’s gone wrong?

While the Dutchman drew plenty of plaudits and did well to steer Holland to a third place finish in the 2014 World Cup – when many were expecting them to finish behind Chile and Spain in the group – it has also massively increased the expectations on the former Bayern manager.

Louis van Gaal

It’s fair to say many expected him to hit the ground running – with no Champions League football either, van Gaal could solely focus on the league; something which has helped Roma, Juventus and most recently last season, Liverpool, with the decrease in fixtures.

However, it’s been anything but. United lost their opener at home against Swansea City while drawing with Sunderland away after taking the lead. To add insult to injury, League One side, MK Dons thrashed United 4-0 in the Capital One Cup.

It was always going to take time but not even the most pessimistic United fan would have expected a winless first three games of the season. To make matters more worrying is the fact that United have spent quite a lot this season – £59.7 million for Angel di Maria, £30 million for Luke Shaw and £28.5 million on Ander Herrera. And they might even spend more with the rumours of Arturo Vidal.

With these transfers, it’s interesting to note that Moyes never got his targets or spent this much in the summer preceding his first season, having an inferior squad to van Gaal. Sir Alex Ferguson also once mentioned £34 million being too much for one player – Eden Hazard in particular.

Of course, di Maria hasn’t played yet and the 3-5-2 formation could take time, but do United really have time on their side? With just two games in, they’re already 5 points behind the leaders and face a tricky away tie to Burnley. Confidence is already pretty low and another setback could have big consequences – van Gaal is already under big pressure.

Moyes never lost a game by more than 3 goals and van Gaal has already done that in his third game. He has the mentality, experience and personality to get United back on track but if things keep going this way, at what point do we stop defending the Dutchman?