Archives for posts with tag: sport

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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!.

Papiss Cisse

Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has no interest in joining Turkish side Trabzonspor, in spite of rumours linking him to the Super Lig outfit, according to the Chronicle.

The 28-year-old has only just resolved an issue relating to Wonga – the club’s new shirt sponsors for this season – a dispute that threatened to end the Senegal international’s spell at St James’ Park.

But the amicable end to that saga has not prevented further reports linking the forward with a move away, with recent speculation suggesting he is about to join Trabzonspor.

The No.9 is believed to be “mystified” by these reports and in fact received a warm reception during the Magpie’s recent 2-0 pre-season victory over St Mirren last week.

And the club’s joint-top goalscorer last season has no interest in moving to Turkey, which is good news for Newcastle, who need to add rather than detract from a squad that narrowly escaped relegation last season.

The North East club are on the verge of signing Lyon striker Baf timbi Gomis while talks over a loan-move for Loic Remy continue.

Manager Alan Pardew is keen on the QPR striker and almost signed the France international in January, but failed when the 26-year-old instead opted for a move to Loftus Road.

The post Newcastle Transfer News: Papiss Cisse Rules Out Trabzonspor Move 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!.

silva vs weidman

MMA is widely acknowledged as one of the least predictable of any sport. The phrase ‘anything can happen in the Octagon’ has become idiomatic in the UFC community as fans have all too often been left scratching their heads after one of the sport’s supposed greats has been beaten by someone everybody had cast off as a hack. Regardless of how dominant a champion is, put any adult male against them wearing flimsy 4-ounce gloves and they’ll still have a [very small] chance of connecting with a lucky shot: now substitute this every-man figure for an actual fighter who, despite being dismissed as the underdog, has still managed to ascend the heights of the sport’s premier promotion, the UFC.

Everyone is mortal and anybody is capable of having an off-night. This unpredictability is part of the reason for the UFC’s trailblazing expansion over the last 5 or so years to: people simply love a David vs Goliath story.

The following are the 10 biggest head-scratching upsets in UFC history…

10. Fabricio Werdum vs Junior ‘Cigano’ dos Santos, UFC 90

Result: dos Santos by KO (punches) in the 1st round.

Werdum had himself been involved in an astounding MMA upset as he hammered his name into the sport’s history books by being the first man to defeat Fedor Emelianenko. He found himself on the other end of an upset at UFC 90. Very few predicted he would fall to UFC newcomer Junior dos Santos and even dared to suggest that Cigano would win with a devastating first round knock out.

Amusingly, during the fleeting 81 seconds of the fight, commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Golberg didn’t stop singing the praises of Werdum, discussing how since his last fight he had added an advanced set of stand up techniques to his already masterful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills.

Just as Joe Rogan was elaborating on Werdum’s size advantage dos Santos cut him off by delivering a massive right hand uppercut to Werdum before landing a barrage of unnecessary ground strikes to the defeated Werdum. No one would ever again underestimate dos Santos’ boxing.

The post 10 Biggest Head-Scratching Upsets In UFC History appeared first on WhatCulture!.

2013-14-Ashes-itinerary-unveiled-Cricket-News-Update-203265

The first three days of this Ashes series so far has produced some outstanding, at times unpredictable cricket and several momentum swingers. From Australia removing England for a measly 215 inside the first day, to a superb spell of bowling that saw Australia fall from 75-4 at the close of the first day’s play to 117-9 – trailing at that stage by 95 – to the incredible record breaking innings by debutant Ashton Agar who played brilliantly for his 98 batting at number 11 which helped Australia to 280 all out and a lead of 65.

England were wobbling too until Ian Bell and Stuart Broad (day three controversy aside when he should have been given out on 37 by umpire Aleem Dar) came to the crease hitting 109 and 65 respectively to guide England to 375 all out just before lunch on day four, setting Australia 311 to claim victory at Trent Bridge.

The hosts had resumed this morning on 326-6 – a lead of 261 – and it was first Stuart Broad who raised his bat aloft with a streaky four through the slip region that could of easily have been taken – that brought up his 10th fifty in Test Cricket.

It did not take Ian Bell much longer to add five to his overnight score as he became the first man in series to reach three-figures – and surely one of his best in an England shirt. Timely runs for a man who averaged only 18 against New Zealand in the spring, and someone who only made 25 in the first innings here .

Broad was removed shortly after however with a loose shot off the bowling of James Pattinson that carried through to Brad Haddin. Bell was then removed with a delivery by Mitchell Starc (3-81) that swung away at the last moment as he too was caught behind by wicket-keeper Haddin.

Graeme Swann’s eyes must have lit up at the prospect of bowling later on in the match on such a dry surface, but his time at the crease with the bat was to prove to be a brief one as he came and went for 9 having been caught by captain Michael Clarke off of the bowling of Peter Siddle.

James Anderson – who took a five wicket haul with a devastating spell of bowling on Thursday – then chipped one to mid-wicket off Peter Siddle who took 3-85 to leave England all out for 375.

The Australians undoubtedly will be aware that victory – despite the fact there is still a lot of time left in the game – will require something very very special. In fact the record scored successfully chased down at Trent Bridge was by England against New Zealand when they successfully chased down 284 to win back in 2004.

Australia have made a positive start to the run chase with both Shane Watson (18) and Chris Rogers (10) surviving before lunch as Australia reached 28-0 at the interval, requiring a further 283 to go 1-0 up in the five match series.

More to follow….

The post Ashes 2013: Day Four At Trent Bridge – England All Out For 375 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!.

Sang Tan/AP/Press Association Images

Sang Tan/AP/Press Association Images

Date: Wednesday, 8 January 2014; Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester; Kickoff: 19:45GMT

Manchester City have only lost one of their last 15 meetings with West Ham as Manuel Pellegrini’s team entertain the East Londoners at the Etihad in the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Jack Collison scored a second half winner for the Hammers at Upton Park in March 2009, but that is the only victory they’ve recorded over City since back-to-back wins in 2006. Sam Allardyce remains short of striking options, so West Ham fans shall fondly remember Dean Ashton’s brace during an FA Cup run to the final.

The Hammers are not much better off defensively either and come into this two-legged tie off the back of four defeats in their last five. Big Sam chose the FA Cup third round tie at Nottingham Forest to blood youngsters en masse – a move that resulted in a 5-0 thumping.

City are not sure themselves of a place in the next round of the world’s oldest knockout football competition. Blackburn battled back to force Pellegrini to a replay next midweek just when he was planning on taking the team out for some sun. Both Rovers and West Ham could easily succumb to City’s imperious home form.

Allardyce sees his Hammers sit second bottom of the Premier League, but have already knocked out London rivals Spurs out of the League Cup en route to making the final four. City’s run of seven straight wins may have been stopped last time out, but they remain hot favourites to advance here.

Team News

Spanish winger Jesus Navas has joined Stevan Jovetic and Jack Rodwell as absentees for City after he picked up a knee problem. Pellegrini revealed star striker Sergio Aguero and right back Micah Richards are both back in training. This game comes too soon for both, however.

Centre back Martin Demichelis returns to the City squad after four games out, but fellow defender Dedryck Boyata is banned. Yaya Toure could be back in the XI in midfield, yet keeper Costel Pantilimon should be benched after his error led to Blackburn’s equalizer.

West Ham are highly likely to hand Wolves loan capture Roger Johnson his debut straight away in the heart of defence. Fellow centre halves Winston Reid (ankle), James Tomkins and James Collins (both groin) remain out. Several first-team players that were rested for the trip to Forest will return.

Hammers captain Kevin Nolan serves the second game of a three-match ban, but there is a small chance midfielder Mark Noble could comeback from a calf problem. Forward Ricardo Vaz Te is still struggling with a shoulder injury whilst record signing Andy Carroll is still a week away from returning to the squad.

Source: BBC

Likely Line-Ups

Man City: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany/Martin Demichelis, Matija Nastasic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, James Milner, David Silva, Samir Nasri, Alvaro Negredo 4-2-3-1

West Ham: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Guy Demel, Roger Johnson, George McCartney, Razvan Rat/Joey O’Brien, Mohamed Diame, Alou Diarra/Mark Noble, Joe Cole, Jack Collison/Ravel Morrison, Mathew Taylor, Carlton Cole 4-2-3-1

The post Man City vs West Ham: Match Preview, Team News & Likely Line-Ups appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

For England cricket fans, this has truly been the Winter of Discontent. Whatever hope and gaiety surrounded England’s 3-0 win against Australia in the home Ashes series of 2013 had all but evaporated by the end of the Adelaide Test. Now with the series done and dusted, and the urn returned to Oz in another 5-0 whitewash, it’s clear to everyone that serious changes are in order if England are to turn things around in time for the next home series in 2015.

Everyone has their own ideas about what went wrong. We picked the wrong bowlers. We picked the right bowlers and didn’t play them. Our batsmen were out of nick. There weren’t enough warm-up games. Jonathan Trott going home for medial reasons unsettled us. Graeme Swann’s sudden retirement left us without a proper spinner (sorry Monty, but it’s true). The backroom staff were to blame. The players were jaded and tired from playing back-to-back Ashes series. Maybe – just maybe – Australia were just too good: too fast, too confident, too frightening.

In 18 months the Ashes will be contested again, and I will still be supporting England regardless of what happens in between. Like many England fans, I prize the Ashes above any other series, and am reconciled to the fact that most of our problems won’t be fixed in a few short months. Nevertheless, I have come up with 10 ways in which the Ashes could be got back. Some of them are practical suggestions, some of them are more fanciful, but at your lowest point one should be willing to give anything a try.

Here then, in no particular order, are my recommendations for the ECB…

The post 10 Ways England Can Get The Ashes Back 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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