Archive for April, 2014

Have Liverpool Spurned Their Greatest Chance?

Posted on: April 28th, 2014 | by Steve | No Comments

The 2013/14 Premier League season has had more twists and turns than most in previous years and this weekend continued to keep us guessing, with the top two playing each other and Manchester City travelling to inform Crystal Palace, it was going to be a big weekend at the top of the table.

In the early game on Sunday Liverpool hosted Chelsea knowing a win would put the title beyond Chelsea’s reach and effectively hand them their first Premiership Title. Liverpool started the game as they have in every other, attacking from the off, but Jose Mourinho used his tactical nous to stop the attacking threat posed by Liverpool and slow the game down by putting men behind the ball and closing down the space.

Despite Liverpool bossing the possession in the first half they were struggling to break down Chelsea’s defence and could only register one single shot on target in the first half. Despite this dominance in possession Chelsea had a strong claim for a penalty turned down by the referee, after Mohamed Salah’s shot struck the arm of Flanagan inside the area, and when Steven Gerrard slipped on the half way line Demba Ba was quick to react and run clean through on goal before comfortably finishing past Mignolet to put Chelsea 1-0 up at half time.

The second half followed the same pattern but once again Chelsea were holding strong and kept Liverpool at bay. Then, in the dying minutes of the game, ex Liverpool striker Fernando Torres broke clear and unselfishly played in Willian who slotted home from close range to put the result to bed.

With that game finished it was over to Manchester City to try to close the gap on the top to just three points and with the return of Yaya Toure they comfortably did so winning 2-0 against in form Palace at Selhurst Park.

Toure was involved in the first goal, a great ball into the box was just begging for someone to head it in and Edin Dzeko was on hand to score his 12 goal of the season before a great bit of passing play and a strong run from Toure finished off the game to leave them 3 points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand and better goal difference. Will Manchester City Win the League? Will Liverpool hold onto top spot? Who will slip up from now until the end of the season? It all points to City’s next game at Goodison Park being decisive, a win there will surely see City being crowned champions again at the end of the season.

At the bottom of the league it was just as intense, the bottom two clubs Sunderland and Cardiff played each other, Fulham hosted Hull City and Norwich travelled to play against Man Utd, with club legend and newly appointed manager Ryan Gigs in charge of his first game.

Fulham quickly sprung to a two goal lead and looked like piling on the pressure on the teams below them but the new Hull strike force of Jelavic and Long punished Fulham, the game ending 2-2 leaving Fulham despondent and with only an outside chance of avoiding the drop.

In the late kick off on Saturday evening, new manager Ryan Giggs won his first game in charge smashing four goals past struggling Norwich to compound their misery.

A high noon kick off on Sunday at the stadium of light saw Sunderland run out 4-0 winners against Cardiff to leave the welsh club bottom of the Premier League and all but doomed to relegation back to the Championship.

The three teams in the relegation zone seem to have it all to do now but who do you think will be the three to go down? Will Aston Villa get dragged into the battle? Can Fulham manage a surprise escape?

Liverpool Take Advantage in the Title Race

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 | by Steve | No Comments

The Premiership title race is the hot topic of conversation in the football world at the moment and with yet more twists at the weekend, Liverpool have taken advantage and moved ahead with only 3 games left in the season. The fight to avoid the drop has intensified over the last week too and depending on results this weekend could be the main talking point at the end of the season, with only 4 points separating the bottom 5 clubs it’s anyone’s guess on who is going down.

After a surprise draw against Man City on Wednesday night Sunderland travelled to Chelsea hoping to avoid the drop and shocked everyone by beating Chelsea and ending Jose Mourinho’s impressive unbeaten home record at Stamford Bridge.

With that result already decided, Liverpool travelled to face another one of the candidates for the drop – Norwich on Sunday, knowing that a win in that game would put them in a very strong position to claim their first league title since 1989-90, before the Premier League era had begun.

In a hard fought game Liverpool ended up the victors by three goals to two. Raheem Sterling put Liverpool ahead in the fourth minute and with Luis Suarez making it two, few could be blamed for expecting a big win for Liverpool. However, Norwich battled back scoring early in the second half before Sterling scored Liverpool’s third, effectively killing off the game. Norwich did pull another back but it was too late and Liverpool held onto their lead to move five points clear at the top.

Manchester City completed this weekend’s games playing on Monday night against another team battling against the drop, West Brom. City came out winners 3-1 to keep them in the title chase, lying 6 points behind at this stage. This looks to be a big gap but with a game in hand and the top two playing each other this weekend, City will surely be hoping for a Chelsea win at Anfield this weekend to make the final few games more exciting. Who do you think will win the Premier League this season?

Down at the foot of the table it couldn’t be tighter. Only four points separate five teams, and with a massive six pointer on Sunday with Sunderland hosting Cardiff, it’s anyone’s guess who will eventually be relegated. If either team manage a win in this game you have to imagine the other will be one of the clubs destined for the drop, and with Norwich having what looks like an almost impossible task with their remaining fixtures, Man Utd (a), Chelsea (a), Arsenal (h), you have to think they will be joining them playing Championship football next season.

Fulham have a home game against Hull City to come this weekend and could climb out of the relegation zone if results go their way, which would be an incredible achievement given that they have been rooted to the bottom of the table since the start of February.

Who do you think will drop into the Championship come the end of the season?

Skrill North & South Divisions Reaching their Climax

Posted on: April 22nd, 2014 | by Steve | No Comments

With only one game to go for most teams in both the Skrill North and South divisions the final positions have all but been sorted out.

In the Skrill North Guiseley missed out on cementing their place in the playoffs slipping up against bottom of the table and relegated Workington, a 1-1 draw has left them 3 points ahead of Boston in 6th but with a worse goal difference, Guiseley just need to avoid defeat at home against Gloucester this weekend to gain the playoff place, but if they lose and Boston win against Worcester City then Boston will take the place and Guiseley will miss out on the playoffs for the first time in 4 years.

After a 3-0 loss to Gainsborough Trinity and with Stalybridge Celtic drawing, Histon were relegated on Monday, they will join Workington dropping to the 7th tier of English football, and with the news that Vauxhall Motors resigning at the end of the current season both Oxford City and Stalybridge Celtic can breathe easy on the final game safe in the knowledge that they will be playing Conference football again next season.

Telford moved top of the table capitalising on North Ferriby United’s 2-0 defeat to Boston, with only a point between the two going into the last game of the season this weekend’s games against Gainsborough Trinity in 16th and Brackley Town in 7th respectively will prove crucial to who gains that one automatic promotion place.

In the Skrill South, top of the table and champions Eastleigh had an eventful Easter weekend they beat Basingstoke on Friday to be crowned champions of the Skrill South, then lost 1-0 to playoff hopefuls Havant and Waterlooville on Monday. With Dover drawing at home to Whitehawk, who are fighting against relegation, Havant and Waterlooville have a great chance of claiming one of the two remaining available playoff places.

Ebbsfleet’s game against Concord Rangers is currently being reviewed by the FA after a floodlight failure caused the game to be abandoned with Ebbsfleet 2-0 up and Concord down to 10 men with only half an hour to play, if the result is given to Ebbsfleet they will secure a playoff place, and with Havant and Waterlooville playing Maidenhead United on Wednesday they too could claim the final playoff place and all but relegate Maidenhead at the same time, leaving them 3 points behind Whitehawk with just one game remaining and an inferior goal difference.

All of the ups, downs and playoff places will be finalised this weekend. Good luck to all the teams in The Skrill North and South divisions, in particular to loyal Pendle customers Guiseley AFC!

The Title Race Intensifies! Who Will Take The Ultimate Prize?

Posted on: April 14th, 2014 | by Steve | No Comments

Another exciting weekend in the Premier league has come and gone with two of the top three playing each other in what some were calling the title decider. Liverpool hosted Manchester City at Anfield on a day of tribute for those lost 25 years earlier in the Hillsborough disaster. No team in the world would’ve wanted to be playing Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

With the passion from the crowd showing on the pitch Liverpool raced into a one goal lead inside six minutes, and then made it 2-0 after Martin Skrtel scored to make him the highest scoring defender in the Premier League this season. As the game developed several controversial moments transpired, firstly Mamadou Sakho was lucky not to give away a penalty after his reckless lunge on Edin Dzeko towards the end of the first half, then Luis Suarez escaped punishment after what appeared to be a clear dive at the start of the second half, Mark Clattenburg opting not to give the Uruguayan striker a deserved second yellow card.

Man City did manage to get back into the game levelling the score with two goals in five second half minutes and were gradually taking control of the match despite key decisions going against them.

However, against the run of play, it was Liverpool who scored what would prove to be the winner. After City captain Vincent Kompany sliced his clearance, Phillippe Coutinho smashed home from the edge of the area to give Liverpool all three points. That wasn’t the end of the controversy, Kompany appeared to have his shirt pulled by Skrtel inside the box but nothing was given, then Skrtel appeared to punch the ball clear but again Clattenburg gave no penalty.

Liverpool held on to win the game and extend their lead over Man City and stay top of the pile.

In the other game on Sunday Chelsea managed a 1-0 win against the ten men of Swansea City to stay in second place only two points behind the leaders Liverpool. The two meet at Anfield in two weeks’ time, could that be the title decider?

Down at the bottom of the Premiership, Sunderland were the biggest losers of the weekend as they went down 1-0 to Everton to keep them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table. It looks almost inevitable that the Black Cats will be playing Championship football next season.

Fulham however continued their hope of the great escape by beating fellow strugglers Norwich by the same score line, in the process putting Norwich’s Premier League status under serious threat. With the Canaries final four games being against Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal they face an uphill battle to avoid dropping back to the second tier of English football.

Elsewhere the twists and turns continued with Aston Villa, who looked safe only a couple of weeks ago, losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace to bring them back into the relegation dog fight whilst with Cardiff recorded an unlikely 1-0 win at Southampton, can the welsh club get themselves out of trouble and stay in the Premiership for a second season?

The fight for fourth place is all but over for Tottenham after another disappointing start resulted in being 3-0 down to West Brom at half time, despite an admirable second half recovery resulting in a 3-3 draw their push for Champions League football appears over for this season.

With Arsenal not playing due to F.A. Cup commitments, Everton had the chance to move into fourth and did so with a hard fought win against struggling Sunderland, with only five games remaining for the Toffees and the Gunners who will manage to secure that all important final Champions League Place?

Luton Town Kit Vote – What Would You Have Done?

Posted on: April 3rd, 2014 | by Steve | No Comments

Luton Town Football Club recently gave their fans the chance to choose what colour football kit they’d like to see their team play in next season.

With the club sitting pretty, thirteen points clear at the top of the Skrill Premier, a return to league football finally seems to be on the cards for The Hatters.

To celebrate their return to the football league the club allowed fans to vote on whether they wanted the team to continue playing in the current mainly orange football kits or return to the white kits worn for much of their history including the clubs glory years in the 1980’s.

With memories of the likes of Steve Foster, Ricky Hill, the Stein brothers & Mick Harford donning the famous white kits you may have expected that the fans would vote in favour of a return to these.

However, maybe surprisingly, the fans voted in favour of keeping the current orange football kit. Maybe the pain of 3 successive relegations wearing the white kits still haunts many hatters fans?

With only six games remaining in the season, the thirteen point gap looks almost insurmountable, so expect to see Luton Town donning their Orange football kits in League 2 next season.

This raises the question. If your favourite team gave you the chance to choose what colour football kit they played in would you change it and if so why?

Let us know your thoughts and comments.