Match Thoughts: Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool

As September turned to October, the Premier League had its last round of fixtures before the second international break of the season; determining which nations will head straight to Russia next summer or will see their fate decided in the dreaded play-offs. Burnley have now scored more points away from home than they did last season following their 1-0 win at Goodison Park against Everton, Kevin De Bruyne scored a big goal as Manchester City defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Crystal palace still have zero goals and points following their 4-0 defeat at Manchester United and Harry Kane ended the month with 13 goals in all competitions for club and country after scoring a brace as Tottenham Hotspur won 4-0 at Huddersfield Town.

Newcastle United line up vs Liverpool
Newcastle United line up vs Liverpool

In the final game of the weekend, Newcastle United hosted Liverpool at St James Park in the Sunday 4.30pm kick-off. Rafa Benitez was facing Liverpool for the fifth time since he left Anfield in 2009 and made two changes to the starting line up that lost at Brighton. Chancel Mbemba was not in the squad and Isaac Hayden was placed on the substitutes bench. Two former Liverpool players came into the starting 11 with Javier Manquillo starting at left-back and Jonjo Shelvey partnered Mikel Merino in central midfield. read more

England EURO 2016 Part Two: Who should replace Roy Hodgson?

Roy Hodgson (pictured) resigned minutes after Iceland defeated England at EURO 2016; the FA are still looking for a successor...
Roy Hodgson (pictured) resigned minutes after Iceland defeated England at EURO 2016; the FA are still looking for a successor…

After the debacle that was England’s humbling 2-1 defeat to Iceland (I’m not intending to insult Iceland; they did marvellously well at EURO 2016 but this match, in particular, was a huge surprise) in the second round of EURO 2016; Roy Hodgson resigned minutes after the final whistle. So, The Football Association (FA) are now on the hunt for a new manager for the national; senior men’s team. In charge of this recruitment is chief executive Martin Glenn, Dan Ashworth; Director of elite development and vice-chairman David Gill.

Their task will be to find the best man for the job and hopefully someone who will secure a knockout round victory at a major international tournament. It’s something Roy Hodgson failed to achieve and in actual fact England have failed to do so since a David Beckham free-kick defeated Ecuador in Germany 2006. This three-man team are already underway in the recruitment process of replacing Hodgson with reports of Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce and Hull City boss Steve Bruce being interviewed within the past week. read more

England EURO 2016 Part One: What went wrong?

Roy Hodgson (pictured) resigned minutes after Iceland defeated England at EURO 2016

It’s 11pm on Monday 27th June 2016 and English football has just experienced one of its darkest nights; a humbling defeat and a Head Coach resigning. Things had been promising in the early stages as Wayne Rooney put England in front from the penalty spot in the first few minutes. What happened next was sheer humiliation as the smallest nation at EURO 2016 yet again showed fantastic resilience to turn the match around within minutes and hold on to the final whistle. Iceland, a nation that had never before been to a major tournament had set up a quarter-final tie against hosts France and knock England; the home of football out of another tournament with a whimper. Roy Hodgson knew this was the end and promptly resigned minutes after full-time stating ‘Now is the time for someone else to oversee the progress of a hungry and extremely talented group of players’.

This piece shall answer a key question; what went wrong for Roy Hodgson and England at EURO 2016? I will concern myself with just EURO 2016 and not a post-mortem of English football in general (more English coaches, more grassroots football etc.). read more

Euro 2016 Preview

We are just a matter of hours away from the start of the European Championships; affectionately known as the Euros! When France and Romania kick off on Friday night, they will start a whole month of football (10th June to 10th July) and the 15th edition of this tournament. The tournament has changed a lot since it began in France back in 1960. Having started with 4 participating teams from an eligible 17; the 2016 tournament will feature 24 teams! France host this tournament for the third time in its history (having also hosted Euro 82) while Spain come into the tournament as defending champions and the only nation to have defended this title (2008 and 2012).  This will also be the first time since Portugal in 2004 that one nation alone is hosting the tournament as Austria and Switzerland followed by Poland and Ukraine hosted the 2008 and 2012 tournaments respectively.

Map of the 10 venues in France
Map of the 10 venues in France

The initial tournament in 1960 used only two venues. Fast forward again to 2016 and this time France are using 10 stadiums spread throughout the country. read more