2018 World Cup Russia Preview

Football could have been coming home this summer but it was not to be. Instead, when Russia hosts Saudi Arabia, they will kick start the 2018 World Cup. 736 players representing 32 nations from five continental football federations will be competing on this, the biggest stage in football and after a mammoth month of football (64 games between 14th June and 15th July), 23 players will have played their part I crowning their national side, World Champions!

The geographical spread of the host cities in Russia. [Image from Sky Sports].

With this being Russia’s first hosting of a major international football tournament, a number of new stadiums were built. With Russia spanning 17.1 million square km and two continents, it is mostly concentrated in European Russia (West of the Ural mountains) with the exception of Ekaterinburg that will see football. From St. Petersburg in the north to Sochi in the south on the Caspian Sea, from Yaketerinburg in the east to Kaliningrad in the west, the world cup spans a diameter of 7.1 million square miles. The tournament spans four different time zones and has 12 stadiums being used from 11 cities with the capital, Moscow the only city to be using two stadiums. read more

Match Thoughts Double header: Newcastle United 2-3 Leicester City & Newcastle United 0-1 Everton

Another week of two games in December means another double bill dose of Match Thoughts from The Mind of Rowan.

The weekend 9th-10th December daw controversy. The title race is probably over after Manchester Cty’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Merseyside derby ended 1-1 while David Moyes’s West Ham side surprisingly defeated Chelsea 1-0. That was the shock of the weekend while Christian Benteke’s penalty arguably cost Crystal Palace a much-needed victory.

Newcastle United team facing Leicester City at St James’ Park 9/12/17

Another side in need of a much-needed win was Newcastle United who hosted Leicester City at St James’ Park in the Saturday evening kick-off to mark their clubs 125th birthday. Rafa Benitez made three changes to his Newcastle starting line up with DeAndre Yedlin returning to the back four at right-back while Javier Manquillo reverted to left-back with Chancel Mbemba dropping out. Mohamed Diame was not retained as in came Isaac Hayden while Joselu came in for Ayoze Perez just behind Dwight Gayle as Benitez opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation. read more