Should Gerrard come back to the Premier League?

Today the Sunday Mirror reported that none other than Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard is contemplating a BPL return.

After leaving Merseyside the box to box midfielder has been frequently linked with a loan return, however now there is a chance it may even go as far as a permanent transfer.

The question this begs however, is whether he should…

There is little doubt Steven Gerrard would be good in any dressing room, just to lift the spirits of the team, and hopefully teach the younger players a thing or two. But whether he would be as good on the pitch these days is another matter. By the time Steven left Liverpool his match winning ability had certainly waned, despite a still strong haul 9 goals from midfield.

But a year at LA Galaxy has been underwhelming, and the league is by no means an easy retirement home any longer.

Just 5 goals in two seasons at LA Galaxy have left little to be impressed by, and at 36 it may be best to leave us with memories of the old explosive match winner that led Liverpool to three League Cups and the Champions league. Not an old, slower version of himself.

Equally how are Liverpool players meant to feel, if Gerrard is just allowed to come back into the team it would hardly help Jordan Henderson’s position as captain. Having another similar player with far more political clout than himself be back at the club.

I feel it may be just a romantic idea that he will come back and have a similar to impact of club legends like Drogba at Chelsea, and Henry at Arsenal where both made a genuine difference. But they still had an element of what they once were.

Gerrard however…. I’m not so sure.

 

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Former AC winger Urby Emanuelson set for Championship

One accurate way to judge the quality of any league is the calibre of player that it attracts.

Which bodes well for the Championship, since ex AC Milan, Roma, and Ajax winger Urby Emanuelson has just signed for no other than Sheffield Wednesday.

With over 50 Continental appearances, the Dutch international has a wealth of experience to bring to the Owls and at just 30 years old the player still has a lot to give. Being experienced at Full back, Winger and Central Midfield the agile all rounder has a real chance of becoming a fan favourite at Hillsborough, after asserting that he has not come to sit on the bench.

Having played all over Europe, Emanuelson has won the Scudetto & Super Cup, and will be hoping to help Sheffield in their quest for the playoffs this year.

Concerns have been voiced over his seeming decline over recent years, but in terms of an experienced player to bring in, surely this is as good as it gets for a team trying to get into the Premier League.

 

Will Swansea Struggle Without Ayew

Last season Swansea were extremely reliant on their Ghanaian talisman.

Of Swansea’s 42 goals last season Ayew was involved in 14 of them, which equates to a third of all Swansea’s conversions. His incredible work rate, decision making, and deceptive aerial presence made Ayew stand out in what was a poor Swansea team last term. Which begs the question, how will they replace his presence.

Bafetimbi Gomis struck up an extremely effective partnership with Ayew last year, but at 31 he is not the player he was, and for some crazy reason has been allowed to leave on loan. This accompanied by the sale of Alberto Paloschi leaves Swansea perilously short on attacking players, with Euro 2016 winner Eder also leaving for Lille.

As such, new signing Fernando Llorente is the only real striker on the books aside from squad player Marvin Emnes, who few would argue is good enough to save Swansea from the drop. Llorente is undoubtedly a good buy, having scored goals wherever he’s been and playing european football for the majority of his career. But relying on ageing target men is often a feature of many relegated teams (Just see fulham with Berbatov in 2014) and Swansea will need something more.

Llorente is a good replacement for Gomis, if not something of an improvement, but on Ayew there is not yet anyone to fill the void.

This is why the signing of Borja, a target who plied his trade in La Liga last season is key for the Swans to maintain their Premier League survival. All the promoted sides such as Middlesborough and Hull seem stronger than your average promoted side, and the rest of the league has invested heavily across the board. So Swansea need to follow suit.

If the Borja transfer goes through and a partnership between Llorente and the Atleti striker flourishes, the Swans will be fine.

With an emerging Modou Barrow also doing well, it may not all be doom and gloom after Ayew Sale after all.

But that Borja signing is key.

 

Why Jonny Evans might not be a terrible purchase.

When it comes to recent Man Utd rejects, the clear message is to stay away.

Almost all including Wes Brown, John O’shea, Fabio, and Mikael Silvestre were hidden in a very organised Ferguson team which particularly shielded defensive players from issues they would face at ‘lesser clubs’.

So any purchase of such a player should be considered carefully.

Jonny Evans it must be said, is one of these people. Which makes you wonder why in one of the most demanding transfer windows in memory, the Gunners are linked to the Northern Irish stalwart.

However perhaps it is because when it comes to Jonny Evans he isn’t the same as the others. For one he is not of the same age profile that we are used to with Manchester throwaways, at 28 Evans is in his prime. Equally concerning experience there are few better, having played in Champions League ties at the Bernabeu. Bear in mind the guy has 9 major trophies, which means that aside from Alexis Sanchez and Petr Cech he would be the club’s most decorated player.

Add to that battling against relegation on loan at Sunderland, and a scrap at West Brom last year, and Evans is pretty much as experienced as you can get when it comes to the Premier league. Equally his no nonsense, defensive approach, and 6’2 frame mean he may be precisely what Arsenal need in terms of a centre back alongside Koscielny and to replace Mertesacker. Such experience and style of play lend themselves to being a leader, and that is precisely what Arsenal need.

Not going to lie, Arsenal do probably need someone better. (Shkrodan Mustafi)

But with Gabriel extremely inconsistent, both Koscielny and Mertesacker over 30, and Wenger for some reason insistent that Chambers can’t go centre back, the Gunners desperately need some depth at the back.

Evans is better than nothing.

Who would be better for Arsenal. Icardi? Or Lacazette?

One things is certain this summer, and that is that Arsenal need a striker.

Straight up, the fact that arsenal created the 2nd most chances in the league, yet in the conversion charts came 17th, shows that sadly the problem lies up front.

However this blame often lands unfairly with Olivier Giroud, who is not to blame.

Any striker scoring 24 goals in a season is worth their salt, but what is often overlooked is the fact that Mesut Özil scored a meagre 6 goals last term. Bearing in mind his assists, it’s clear that he is more of a creative type, but considering he plays in what is essentially a second striker role. This is not good enough.

As a result Arsenal have two options.

  1. Put a faster man up top who can capitalise on through balls and fit in with Mesut Özil’s type of play.
  2. Or put a faster more agile player alongside Giroud.

So the need is clear. Arsenal need a speedy striker.

Which is why quite honestly either will do out of Icardi or Lacazette. But for the sake of the Article let’s assess who’s be the better choice.

Both are good players and star men of European giants, though statistically Lacazette seems to come out on top. Scoring more than 20 goals in all of the previous 3 seasons, Lacazette is known to many on the continent, and is consistent which Arsenal are desperate for.

However Icardi is no slouch. Having scored more than 16 last term, in an average Inter team this purchase would be a big deal. One not just about a goalscorer, but the future of Arsenal’s attack, and on this Icardi is the winner.

Lacazette is a good goalscorer and no one can take this away from him, at 25 he has a great career ahead, but Icardi is just 22. Icardi is taller, more skilful, and has an aggressive edge which suggests a fit for the premier league. Given Arsenal’s formation, Icardi’s height may also come into play considering the lone striker role, and his link up play is equally as exceptional as his finishing. (Don’t get me wrong he’s no giant, but Lacazette is small) Mauro’s finishing is confident to say the least, and though he may not be the most popular around the emirates these days, if you think of Robin Van Persie, you aren’t far off.

Overall the Argentinian seems the better choice, despite probably costing a whopping £50 million.

But then again, that’s what it takes to compete these days.

If you are not familiar with either man, do watch the videos attached (ignoring the inevitable dodgy soundtracks) and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The Best on Fifa from Each Year

Fifa has had some questionable ratings over the years, particularly for the likes of Gareth Barry and Emile Heskey.

But there is relatively little on the internet when you try to find out who was the best each year.

The FIFA96 – Fifa 2001 years were somewhat sketchy with a different points system, so we will not count them… but since 2002 Fifa really has taken off to become what is arguably the biggest sports franchise in world gaming.

So here goes

FIFA 2002 – Luis Figo (97)

Coming in at 97 points Luis Figo had just completed his acrimonious move to Real Madrid. Winning the Ballon d’or the year before showed with EA deemed him worthy of such a score.

FIFA 2003 – Oliver Kahn (95)

Fresh from being the best player at the 2002 World Cup, Kahn had cemented his place as the best keeper in the world, and maybe even the worlds best player. He came second in the 2002 ballon d’or, which is a record for any player between the sticks.

FIFA 2004 – Ronaldo (98)

The Brazilian one of course, scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League against Man Utd sent him on his way to securing the best ever rating on a FIFA game.

FIFA 2005 – Thierry Henry/Gianluigi Buffon (97)

The first tie on our list, the two players had been stars for their clubs in 2004 and with Henry on the cover he was bound to be up there. Honourable mention to Marcos of Plameiras, who somehow came in at 93.

FIFA 2006 – Ronaldinho/Iker Casillas (95)

The beginning of Ronaldinho’s reign where he would become the best dribbler on the game, another goalkeeper makes it to the top in the form of Iker Casillas. Though his career has somewhat gone downhill. He was at one point the very best.

FIFA 2007 – Wayne Rooney/Gianluigi Buffon (92)

The goalkeeper theme continues with Buffon yet again being the best on the game, accompanied by a young Wayne Rooney. The start of a harsher rating system by EA.

FIFA 2008 – Ronaldinho/Cristiano Ronaldo/Gianluigi Buffon (91)

Ronaldinho and Buffon get in yet again with Buffon picking up his third honour of being at the top. Cristiano however finally makes an appearance asa sign of whats to come.

FIFA 2009 – Cristiano Ronaldo/Iker Casillas (91)

Soon to be teammates at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo and Casillas were approaching their prime in 2009.

FIFA 2010 – Lionel Messi/Iker Casillas (90)

Messi enters the fray and he’s here to stay. Meanwhile Casillas somehow still stays up top.

FIFA 2011 – Lionel Messi (90)

The best in his own right, first to be a leader of the pack, ahead of everyone else, since 2004 with the somewhat chubbier Ronaldo.

FIFA 2012 – Lionel Messi (94)

With the peculiar front cover of Jack Wilshere, Messi is the first to reach 94 since 2006 as the quality of players improves again.

FIFA 2013 – Lionel Messi (94)

Guardiola’s Barcelona create what you could describe as an era, as Messi asserts himself as the longest reigning ‘best player’. Cristiano Ronaldo  can only watch on with envy as he trails on a pitiful 92.

FIFA 2014 – Lionel Messi (94) 

Same old story yet again with Messi and Bale now gracing the cover.

FIFA 2015 – Lionel Messi (93)

Signs of a decline, as Cristiano closes the gap to just one point at 92, Arjen Robben also closes in at 90.

FIFA 2016 – Lionel Messi (94)

And we are up to date, amazingly taking the title 7 years in a row, we are up to date with Lionel truly the king of FIFA.

FIFA 2017 – Leave your thoughts in the comments below

 

 

 

 

 

West Ham sign Quina

It seems things are going well in East London.

A 7th place finish, a new stadium, and European football means the Hammers have a lot to look forward to, and as of today they have a future starlet to go with it.

Domingos Quina was formerly a Chelsea player signed from Benfica, but dumped West London in search of further development elsewhere. Funnily enough elsewhere was actually a matter of being unattached, believing that Chelsea would never realistically give him a chance.

However since then he has become a Under 17 European Champion, and was being scouted by Man Utd, Liverpool, and even Arsenal. Which is why this is such a steal for the Hammers. Just two years ago no one would have chosen the Claret and Blue over any of the big clubs, but now they are competitors.

What may have appealed to Domingos Quina himself may have been the playing style exercised under Slaven Bilic. After all, a pacy dribbler equally comfortable across the field may take inspiration from a certain Dimitri Payet who’s style is not that far gone from the portuguese talent.

And if the forward ends up being even half the talent of the Hammers star, Quina is sure to go down a hit.

Arsenal looking to Swansea Captain

This transfer story actually looks a few year out of date, but it’s not.

In 2013 Ashley Williams was the name on all Arsenal fans lips, with the central defender seen as the perfect partner for a more mobile Laurent Koscielny beside him. However according to the Sunday Express today, Wenger is yet again looking towards the Welsh centre back.

Whether Swansea would sell is another question, with the defensive stalwart a club legend and captain. But considering the £20 million fee that reports suggest the Gunners are willing to part with, the Swans may want to cash in. Especially when one considers that the player is approaching 32.

Though given his recent downturn in form, Arsenal fans may ask some serious questions about the transfer. The thinking is that Williams can be a replacement to an ageing Mertesacker, but given they are the same age this logic is flawed. The purchase may be centred around the fact that Gabriel has not yet matured into a suitable partner for Koscielny, which would give the player more time. Not to mention Williams is already an improvement on a player who despite being 6’7, is actually more of a liability in the air than a threat.

I’m sure he’d be welcomed if Williams did come to the emirates.

But then again he won’t win them the league.

 

Rosicky’s contract expiry shows savage nature of modern football

I will admit this guy has been my favourite player for the best part of 5 years.

But don’t let that take away from what I am about to say.

Understandably football is run as a business, and I appreciate that giving an injury prone 35 year old does not make business sense. But when Tomas Rosicky leaves the emirates for the last time it will be the nail in the coffin for romance in football.

And yes I do have the nerve to say that just weeks after Leicester have won the league.

The reason it will be far more tragic than any other to have left the Gunners in recent years, is that he is special. Not only is he one of the most naturally talented players we have ever had, but he is also the hardest working in our squad, as i’m sure that many a Gunner would support. Ironically the lightest of all the team, he was even our midfield enforcer for a short time in 2013. The reason being that despite INJURY after INJURY, the Czech captain would go as hard as he could into every tackle, every shot, every deft touch as if it was the last time he would ever kick a ball. He even saves his best for tottenham seemingly every season, scoring probably his most iconic goal below. Showing all the traits that make him such a gift to the game.

 

People will say that this is just nostalgia, and that all clubs have to eventually deal with heroes leaving. But John Terry had his stint and is not the player he was. Rosicky has got better with age like a fine wine, and how the first team could do with his dynamism and passion now.

I honestly think football is going too far with its professionalism if a player who actually entertains the crowd is deemed not worthy anymore. If you get rid of the entertainment, then why do we pay all this money to watch it.

Modern fast, strong, fit players who do their designated jobs on the pitch, no matter how finely tuned they are, will never be as entertaining as a talented boy from prague who keeps going despite everything.

We are meant to be entertained aren’t we? So with all the money in football now, why get rid of him.

 

 

Chelsea after McEachran. Seriously.

This is not a joke.

Chelsea are reportedly enquiring about the possibility of bringing the prodigal son back to Stamford b=Bridge, the prodigal son which is Josh McEachran.

Josh was touted for greatness by many a Chelsea fan. Mostly just out of a desperation to stop the jokes associated with their academy, resulting from a dismal run that saw only Carlton Cole graduate for the whole of the 2000’s. Sadly McEachran never fulfilled his promise in the blue kit, and was quickly farmed out like every other Chelsea youngster to the Championship and Vitesse Arnhem.

Neither of which he flourished in.

Fast forward to the modern day and McEachran still plays in West London, only now for the far more glamorous outfit Brentford FC.

Nonetheless Chelsea may be coming back in for him. Like a person leading you on with no chance of success, Chelsea are once again teasing poor McEachran. Because in truth there is absolutely zero chance he will succeed if he goes back, he’s only played 14 games for Brentford since he signed in the summer.

Equally he was never that special anyway, being one of a sadly boring batch of players which flourished in the 08-12 period. The kind that passed simply to retain possession, and the lack of inspiration in his play is not going to somehow grow just because he returns to his old stomping ground.

The price being touted is 750,000, which is a normal price for a normal player.

Which McEachran is.

I can’t believe this is even a story given Chelsea are getting a new star manager who has never seen him play and are supposedly in for Radja Naingolan. But yeah.

This is actually a story.