Premier League transfers after Brexit

The UK left the EU at the end of 2020 and with the end of freedom of movement came a new regime for football transfers with players coming from an EU country now requiring a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) to be able to play in the UK. The January transfer window was generally quiet with not much money being spent (impact of Covid has perhaps some responsibility for that) but the only comments I can find regarding the new system from a prominent manager came from Sam Allardyce. The West Brom head coach made comments early in the window that the new system was making it harder for him. On January 4th, he told reporters…

Sam Allardyce. [Image from the Premier League].

‘I have found three players already who were capable of coming here and they’re not allowed. It’s a shame. Due to the new regulations in terms of the permit they were unable to come to this country, whereas (previously) they would have done. I have to look at that and think ‘can he qualify?’ read more

Review: Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup

What a month of football we had this summer! 736 players representing 32 nations and 64 matches later, the 2018 World Cup was spectacular! It was expected to be a heavily politicised tournament but apart from the Pussy Riot pitch invasion in the final, that did not happen. It was expected to be shrouded in racism, it wasn’t. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) played its part but the football did the talking as records and titans fell while as a nation, we unified, daring to dream that ‘football’s coming home’. Eventually, it was France who triumphed in Russia after one of the most memorable world cups in living memory.

The story of Russia 2018

Denis Cheryshev scored a brace as hosts Russia hammered Saudi Arabia. [Image from The Japan Times].

After Robbie opened the World Cup, it was down to the hosts to start the tournament against Saudi Arabia. The two were the lowest ranked sides of the tournament but that did not show for Russia as Yuri Gazinsky headed in the opener, a Denis Cheryshev brace including a stunning injury-time set the hosts on their way to a 5-0 win which was rounded off by an Aleksandr Golovin free-kick! read more

Match Thoughts: Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle United

The Premier League returned after the final international break of 2017 this weekend. Arsenal defeated local rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby, Chelsea hit West Brom for 4 at the Hawthorns while Manchester City continued their storming start after winning 2-0 away to Leicester City. Liverpool also had a convincing win (3-0 over Southampton) while the battle of the strugglers: Crystal Palace and Everton ended in a 2-2 draw. David Moyes also returned to the Premier League but nothing changed really as he tasted defeat to Watford in his first game as West Ham manager.

Another team that eventually had a convincing win (at least on paper) was Manchester United as Rafa Benitez took his Newcastle United side to Old Trafford in the Saturday evening kick-off. With both club captain Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu unavailable due to injuries they picked up against Bournemouth, there were starts for Ciaran Clark in central defence alongside Florian Lejeune while Jacob Murphy got his first league start since Swansea on the right wing of midfield with Matt Ritchie moving to the left wing. Benitez retained the 4-4-2 formation he started with against Bournemouth with Joselu and Gayle starting up front. There were places on the bench for Rolando Aarons and Chancel Mbemba as a result of the injuries. read more