Archives for posts with tag: football features

Arsene-Wenger

“Spend, spend, spend” has been the fans’ motto directed toward Arsene Wenger and the board during games at the Emirates.

And why? Well they were promised a lucrative transfer pot at the start of the summer and as of yet haven’t touched it- Mathieu Flamini and Yaya Sanogo have both come in on Bosman’s.

In addition, they have seen their fiercest local rivals Chelsea and Tottenham spend significantly on replenishing their squad ahead of this season.

And even if the Gunners cannot dwarf the 100 million spent by Tottenham, fans would like to see some serious cash being spent in order for top quality talent to be tempted to the Emirates having missed out on Gonzalo Higuain.

Time is running out however and Wenger faces the wrath of fans every time they lose for not being able to open the chequebook before tomorrow’s 11pm deadline

So, if Wenger doesn’t want to face this and endanger Arsenal’s season by idling away in the window and not being able to grab the talent that can help to maintain their record of being in the Champions League places ever since Wenger’s first full season in 1997-98.

Here we suggest 5 dream deadline day deals Arsenal must make.

The post Arsenal Transfers: 5 Dream Deadline Deals Wenger Must Make appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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Everyone loves transfer deadline day – the money, the silliness, the head of Harry Redknapp poking out of a car window, there’s always something happening and its always entertaining. Yet over in North East, it’s very much been the tale of two cities – while Sunderland’s Paolo Di Canio continues to stuff his squad with a bus-load of foreigners while lambasting his current players, there’s been almost nothing happening at Newcastle United.

Yes, it’s a strange world, but it appears that for the moment, it’s all quiet on the Tyneside front. In fact, it’s the backroom staff that have made the biggest splash at St. James’ Park, with Joe Kinnear making a shock return as director of football and proceeding to generate bad press for the Mike Ashley regime. Ostensibly, his job appears to be working with manager Alan Pardew and chief scout Graham Carr and bring in decent signings. Yet aside from some tentative declarations of interest and swatting down a potential move for FC Twente’s centre-back Douglas, Kinnear has done surprisingly little.

However, if you combine the former Wimbledon boss’s erratic behaviour and the all-around silly season the transfer window seems to bring (I notice Ade Akinbiyi hasn’t been prized away from Colwyn Bay… yet), you’re looking at an explosive cocktail. Something’s going to have to give eventually in the North East, and they’re surely going to sign someone. As it stands, it’s just a question of who.

So with that in mind, I’ve drawn up a list of potential last-minute signings for the Magpies. Click ‘next’ to see who I’ve got in mind.

The post NUFC Transfers: 5 Late Deadline Deals That Could Still Be Made appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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So far this season, the Citizens and manager Manuel Pellegrini, have had a mixed start to the new campaign.

Firstly, they ruthlessly destroyed Newcastle at the Etihad last Monday. The 4-0 scoreline signalled their intent on reclaiming the title from neighbours United.

It seemed as if the signings made in the striking department had an effect on their frontmen as of last season Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. It may have acted as a motivation for them to keep working harder in order to consign Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo, both signed for hefty price tags, to starting from the bench and not making their impact from the outset.

It certainly worked as Dzeko masterminded two assists along with Aguero who grabbed their second midway through the first half.

The only bad news coming out of that game was the injury to their perennial leader and centre back Vincent Kompany.

His aerial presence and leadership is seen to being vital and pivotal in gaining City points both last season and their title winning one the season before.

Bad enough at any time, that blow comes as Matija Nastasic, City’s other first choice defender last season, continues to recover from an ankle injury sustained in a pre season tournament in Hong Kong.

However, Nastasic was named on the bench for yesterday’s defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Cardiff.

In that game, Kompany’s presence was undoubtedly missed as auxiliary centre back Javi Garcia and somewhat forgotten Joleon Lescott deputised. The fact that Fraizer Campbell managed to grab two headers from a set piece must have spoke volumes about their defensive organisation and direction when Kompany doesn’t play- a fact that Pellegrini lamented in the aftermath of the defeat

So, to rectify this, we are going to suggest 5 Centre Backs that Pellegrini must sign in order to complete the jigsaw and once again make them the team to beat in the league this season.

The post Man City Transfers: 5 Centre Backs Pellegrini Must Sign appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Wenger

Arsenal have been linked with a series of midfielders this summer, as manager Arsene Wenger seeks to improve upon arguably one of the weakest areas of his side at present – defensive-midfield.

It has been a long time since the Gunners had a take-no-nonsense midfield enforcer in the mould of Patrick Vieira – club captain and, more importantly, leader – both on and off the pitch.

There is an argument that Alexander Song quite ably filled the role of defensive midfield quite ably, and in truth, the Cameroonian’s departure for Barcelona last summer has left something of a hole in Arsenal’s engine room that has still yet to be filled.

The likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere are all well and good, but the Gunners have too many quick and nimble midfielders and not enough steel.

Wenger has been looking into buying Bayern Munich’s Luiz Gustavo this summer, and the defensive midfielder would have been a terrific addition at Emirates Stadium – but it looks like he’s going to Wolfsburg.

And that leaves Wenger with a dilemma. The pressure is mounting now for him to make at least one noteworthy signing in the summer transfer market before the window slams shut on September 2 – particularly in midfield.

Here, we examine 5 Midfielders Arsene Wenger Must Sign.

The post Arsenal Transfers: 5 Midfielders Arsene Wenger Must Sign appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Z Title

The Barclays Premier League returns on Saturday 17th August and that offers a wave of optimism to fans of Premier League teams. Just before the first game of the new season fans think/hope their team can fulfill their aim whether it be avoiding relegation, getting into the top four or actually winning the title. No matter what happened last year, a new season offers a fresh start and new hope.

Here I look at the prospects of each Premier League team and predict where they may well end up in May 2014. I predict how the Premier League table might look like when this new season eventually finishes. I start from 20th place all the way to 1st place. Find out where I have placed your team and why. Feel free to leave a comment telling me how you think the league table will look by the end of the season. So click next to see who I think will finish bottom next season.

All transfers and information are correct as of Tuesday 13th August 2013.

The post Predicted Premier League Table 2013-14 appeared first on WhatCulture!.

steven caulker

A preview of Cardiff’s Premier League season including ‘player to watch’ and position prediction.

Cardiff City

The priority for any promoted club in their first season is consolidation, and of the three promoted clubs, Cardiff are best equipped to maintain their Premier League status. During the close season, they have broken their transfer record twice with the capture of Danish striker Andreas Cornelius for 7.5 million, followed by the arrival of England international, Steven Caulker from Spurs for more than 8 million. They are still in the market for a midfielder and have been credited with an interest in French international Etienne Capoue from Toulouse, having come close to signing Tom Ince from Blackpool.

This kind of investment shows Cardiff are intent on staying at the top table having waited so long to get there and expect further signings before the transfer window slams shut. Steven Caulker is seen as a major coup for the Bluebirds, and with Tottenham’s defensive concerns going into the season, many were surprised that AVB was willing to let him go. Caulker’s impressive form last season saw him receive his first England cap against Sweden, a game which also saw him score his first international goal. Cardiff will be reliant upon Caulker’s Premier League experience, and the player himself will be keen to impress ahead of a World Cup in the summer.

John Brayford and Simon Moore have also joined the ranks from Derby and Brentford respectively, and while they will add more competition for places, as with many of the squad, the Premier League rollercoaster is a ride they have not had the pleasure of riding as yet. That is where Cardiff will look to the more experienced campaigners to help with the transition from Championship to Premier League and Craig Bellamy could be crucial to their chances, with his knowhow and endeavour.

I expect Cardiff to be in a battle to stay up, but I think they have enough quality and financial backing to do just that. They will eagerly await the games versus Swansea in the Premier League’s first ever ‘all Welsh’ derbies and in Malky Mackay, they have a young up and coming manager who will be looking forward to testing himself against the very best week in, week out.

Player to watch – Steven Caulker

Premier League Position – 17th

The post Cardiff Premier League Preview 2013/14 appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Mohamed Al-Fayed

Pak-American billionaire Shahid Khan has purchased Fulham Football Club from the long-serving owner Mohamed Al-Fayed and now controls 100% of the London-based club.

Shahid Khan was listed as the 491st wealthiest man in the world according to Forbes in 2012 and is worth $2.9 billion ( 1.92 bn) as or March 2013 – more than twice as much as Al-Fayed.

After 16 years at Craven Cottage, the Egyptian is leaving the Cottagers behind after seeing them gain two promotions and reach the UEFA Europa League final under his ownership.

It all began in May 1997 for Mohamed Al-Fayed when he purchased Fulham Football Club in the summer of 1997 shortly after they gained promotion from the Third Division (fourth tier) as runners-up to Wigan Athletic.

The deal cost the successful Egyptian businessman 6.25m. It is reported that Al-Fayed has sold the club for somewhere between 150-200m.

Al-Fayed’s first season as the owner of Fulham saw them finish sixth in the third tier – losing to Grimsby Town in the semi-finals. Micky Adams started the season as manager, Kevin Keegan ended it at the helm. Players included future manager Chris Coleman and other ex-Premier League players Maik Taylor, Alan Neilson, Ian Selley, Paul Bracewell, Paul Trollope and Paul Moody.

Kevin Keegan guided Fulham into the second tier of English football the following season – amassing a 14-point lead over runners-up Walsall as the Cottagers gained 101 points in 1998-99. Players include Philippe Albert (loan), Rufus Brevett, Steve Finnan, Kit Symons, Gus Uhlenbeek, John Salako, Peter Beardsley, Barry Hayles and Geoff Horsfield.

A top-half finish followed during their first season in Division One (now known as the Championship). With the investments Al-Fayed was making (Marcus Hahnemann, Andy Melville, Lee Clark, Bjarne Goldb k, Karl-Heinz Riedle) and new manager Jean Tigana, this team had ambitions to reach the top.

In their second season in the second tier, Fulham achieved just that. Another 101 points were posted – this time finishing 10-points above runners-up Blackburn Rovers. Louis Saha had top-scored for the club whilst John Collins had also been acquired.

Fulham had flown through the lower leagues – three promotions in five seasons; two of these since Mohamed Al-Fayed had taken over and invested in the club.

Louis Saha was a big hit during his first season in the Premier League, scoring 8 goals, joint-top scorer with Barry Hayles and newly-signed Steed Malbranque. To sure things up at the back, Edwin van der Sar had been signed in a 7.1 million deal from Italian Serie A giants Juventus.

During their first two Premier League campaigns, Fulham would use Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road as their home stadium whilst Craven Cottage underwent 8 million worth of refurbishment to bring the ground up to Premier League standards.

The 2013-14 season with be Fulham’s thirteenth consecutive in the Premier League and their first without Mohamed Al-Fayed. Their highest finish came in 2008-09 when they finished 7th under Roy Hodgson. The following season, the future England national team manager guided them to the UEFA Europa League final, losing to Atl tico Madrid.

Both van der Sar and Saha would go on to win Premier League titles with Manchester United, as would Chris Smalling more recently. Other exciting players to make a name for themselves at Fulham included Junichi Inamoto, Sylvain Legwinski, Papa Bouba Diop, Clint Dempsey and Mousa Demb l .

And let’s not forget Facundo Sava’s goal celebration:

Facundo Sava

The post Remembering Mohamed Al-Fayed’s Time At Fulham appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

It’s that time of year again. The January transfer window is open for business and all 20 Premier League sides are looking to strengthen.

As with every season motives are different. Some clubs are trying to stave off relegation, others advance their lot by pushing for Europe. The title race and four Champions League spot remain as wide open as they have in years at the top.

Some managers are known to dislike the winter window, but love it or hate it only the brave or foolish ignore it. Certain teams desperately require strengthening to realize their ambitions and others need to have a quiet month, ensuring they hang on to their prized assets.

Players seeking moves may have extra motivation to do so this January as we are now in a World Cup year. Competition to make the plane to Brazil will be cut-throat for many of the 32 countries involved in the greatest sporting show on earth.

National coaches want their players getting regular football in the run-up to the World Cup. That can cause crazy winter gambles by outsiders to force their way back into the fold in time for June.

All these considerations have been weighed up by the WhatCulture sports team. So, for your delectation we have gone through all 20 English top flight teams, assessed what they need, who they have been linked with and who we would like see join them. We proceed alphabetically, so click next to start with Arsenal.

The post Premier League Transfers: What All 20 Teams Need In The Winter Window appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Emilio Morenatti/AP/Press Association Images

Emilio Morenatti/AP/Press Association Images

Every year, FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation for 65,000 professional football players, invites its members to pick their best team of the last 12 months.

This team, commonly referred to as a “World XI”, can contain stars from any league, and is to include one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three strikers.

The World XI for 2013 will be announced on January 13, 2014, when the shortlist of football’s greats will be whittled down to a final 11 man team.

With the much-awaited results incoming, we thought we’d use the shortlist and put together our own World XI, and here it is.

GK. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus, Real Madrid’s out-of-favour Iker Casillas, Chelsea’s Petr Cech and Barcelona stopper Victor Valdes have all joined Manuel Neuer on the shortlist for 2013 s greatest goalkeeper.

But it is Neuer who stands out above the rest, and if the fact he was named as the world’s best goalkeeper by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics earlier this week is any indication, he should earn a place in the FIFPro World XI.

He’s definitely in ours. The Germany international helped his side qualify for the World Cup finals last year and won FIVE trophies with Bayern Munich, including the Champions League.

Bayern’s Arjen Robben may have scooped much of the plaudits in the Champions League Final, being named man of the match last May, but it was Neuer who really shone on Europe’s biggest stage, making a series of sublime saves to keep Borussia Dortmund out in an end-to-end contest.

But where the issue of the world’s best goalkeeper is concerned, there can be no contest.

The post World XI: 11 Best Players In The World Right Now appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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Media Image Ltd

The January transfer window is just around the corner, so bigger cubs in the Premier League will be beginning to think about the targets they want to bring in for the remainder of the season to bolster their options or cement their positions in the upper echelons of the division. In contrast, the smaller clubs in the league will be focused on holding on to their best players who will no doubt be targeted by more cash rich clubs.

In this slideshow, the focus will be on those defensive players that have already excelled in the league this season, statistically speaking, who some might deem to be playing currently at “lesser” or “smaller” clubs in the Premier League. Obviously, generally speaking, those clubs as a whole are having mixed success on the pitch.

Some of those clubs will be excelling in the league, while others are just trying to keep their heads above water. It’s always a matter of debate which scenario makes it more vital to hold onto the key defensive man – though the fact that we now see defensive players brought in for the kind of money that Paulinho joined Spurs for ( 17m according to The Guardian.)

A strong finish in the EPL can result in serious riches as well prestige if a European place can also be secured, but the down the bottom relegation can result in big financial losses, so the window is invariably comes with some debate as to whether clubs can afford to hold on to their most saleable assets, or if they can afford to ignore bids for them.

So, which defensive players deserve to attract attention this January? For the purposes of this article it’s important to note that within defensive players, I am also including midfielders that operate in that protector role.

The post Premier League Transfers: 5 Defensive Players Bigger Clubs Should Target appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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