The Best Players of the Premier League Season So Far…

Goalkeepers

Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tim Krul (Newcastle United)

When Swansea City won promotion to the Premier League, I thought it was a steal by Wolverhampton Wanderers when Mick McCarthy signed their keeper Dorius de Vries, but half a season gone, it appears they’ve not missed him at all.

City boss Brendan Rodgers signed another Dutch keeper in Michel Vorm, who’s been one of the best performers in the EPL so far, with 9 Clean Sheets already, a superb stat for a newly promoted club to the ‘best league in the world’.

City’s Joe Hart continues to keep his high level of performance with a number of outstanding saves, including one-on-ones which is only good news for England fans. And Tim Krul’s efforts in goal for Newcastle have not gone unnoticed.

Defenders

Micah Richards (Manchester City), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham Hotspur), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United), Phil Jones (Manchester United)

Full-Backs have stolen the limelight so far this season with Micah Richards of City and Assou-Ekotto of Spurs putting in consistent performances which go ignored more than centre backs. How Fabio Capello can exclude Richards from the England squads still amazes me.

Newcastle’s impressive half to the season was down to their back Four being unchanged until injuries interrupted form. Steven Taylor certainly looks to have improved on his game, whilst his fellow defensive partner in the middle, Coloccini has got a whole lot better since he first arrived on Tyneside.

Is he a defender or a midfielder? Maybe he’s both, it’s Phil Jones, who’s had a good spell in midfield for United but I’ll include him in the Defenders section. Despite his own goal at Newcastle, Jones has still had a good season and has taken to United like a duck to water. Good things to come, for many years.

Midfielders

David Silva (Manchester City), Nani (Manchester United), Tottenham’s Quartet, Swansea City, Mikel Arteta (Arsenal), Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Juan Mata (Chelsea)

The arrival of David Silva to the Premier League has been a joy to behold, his class has been entertaining on many occasions this season but he’s also joined by other good performers in the middle for City in the likes of Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry.

Silva and Nani, top performers

United’s Nani has been fairly consistent this season, perhaps considered more of an attacker than a midfielder, the dazzling winger has provided a fair share of goals and assists. Does he have enough in his engine to keep going?

I have been wholly impressed with Spurs quartet or quintet. The signing of Scott Parker has been important as well keeping Luka Modric, whilst Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale and Van der Vaart are always dangerous going forward.

Impressive

Swansea City’s flair can be founded in their midfield, various stats have appeared this season which show Mark Gower, Joe Allen and Leon Britton to have better passing rates than Barcelona’s, although stats can be misconstrued, Brendan Rodgers has Swansea playing attractive possession football with an attacking threat. Also, Scott Sinclair has taken the Premier League by storm on the wing having been let go by Chelsea many seasons ago.

No Fear for the Premier League

The other impressive promoted club Norwich City have Anthony Pilkington, signed from League One Huddersfield Town, in the summer. The versatile midfielder has chipped in with a few goals already and does not look out of place like his team-mates and manager in the EPL.

As for Chelsea, Juan Mata has added the creativity they needed in an ageing team and whilst they may have missed Michael Essien, Frank Lampard has had a better season than most people would lead you to believe. He’s got 9 goals from the middle, despite missing a number of games and although he’s now the wrong side of 30, he’s still got quality.

Attackers

Demba Ba (Newcastle United), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City), Steve Morison (Norwich City), Danny Graham (Swansea City)

Of course, plaudits go to Magpies forward Demba Ba, who’s certainly made the Toon Army forget about Andy Carroll a year since their prodigal son departed for pastures new. Ba has been sensational and he’ll be sorely missed whilst he plays in the African Nations Cup.

Sensational So Far...

What I like most about Ba, is his eye for goal. He has composure at times, but also stays positive and even chases down lost cause, a player certainly playing with confidence and class.

Sergio Aguero has been an ideal replacement for Carlos Tevez for Manchester City and they’ll hope he continues his scoring form in the business end of the season. Whilst they loaned out of favour Adebayor to Spurs, they probably did not expect he’d have helped them challenge for the Title.

Jonathan Walters was one of my favourite Championship players for many years and I was delighted to see him have a bright start to the Premier League and Stoke City. The same can be said for Steve Morison at Norwich and Danny Graham at Swansea, their summer transfers from the Football League were criticised but both have popped up with 8 goals each already this season.

Morison winning a header versus Sunderland

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The Worst Players of the Premier League Season So Far…

Goalkeepers

David De Gea (Manchester United), Petr Cech (Chelsea)

De Gea Has Not Has The Best Of Starts At United

The criticism may be harsh for the young United keeper, especially having just moved over from Spain it is fair to say he has not hit the ground running. The reigning Champions could’ve done with a more experienced keeper between the sticks, with the injuries and changes in defence, De Gea has had a disruptive time. However, when a United keeper makes a mistake, it’s more highlighted than any other and he’s made a few already this season.

Has Cech Lost His Class?

The Chelsea keeper is a victim of his own success, with 5 clean sheets already, he’s not done too bad between the sticks for the Blues but by his own standards he has been poor, perhaps hampered by the confusion in tactics with the Defensive line and new boss Andre Villas-Boas but it’s clear to say Cech isn’t the world class keeper we saw a few seasons ago.

Defenders

David Luiz (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Arsenal & QPR…

Out of his Depth?

At times, David Luiz looked like an excited kid picked for the big team in the Chelsea defence, his rocky performances in defence has made John Terry look poor, when he’s actually had a pretty good season (in football terms only). Ashley Cole too, hasn’t had a terrible season but his standards have certainly dropped.

Rio Ferdinand has had his fitness problems but I believe his overall game has dropped massively and will not be surprised if he leaves Old Trafford in the summer to find first-team football.

Arsenal's Defensive Woes Continue

Arsenal’s defence is all-inclusive in this list, and you can throw in Queens Park Rangers too. Some of the defending that both clubs have shown this season have been dismal, so much so, you wonder if they bother with Defensive training drills in between games.

Per Mertesacker of Arsenal has looked suspect since his arrival. Surprising, considering that the Gunners needed a big presence in defence but still look twice as vulnerable with him there.

Midfielders

Tim Cahill (Everton), Stuart Downing (Liverpool), Man United, Adel Taarabt (QPR)

No Goals This Season

Everton’s Tim Cahill usually pops up with several goals a season but so far he’s failed to hit the back of the net during 2011/2012. Has he lost his touch or is it because Everton’s quality in the final third has declined?

£20 Million = 0 Goals and 0 Assists..so far!

Stuart Downing joins the list due to the amount of criticism I’ve heard from Liverpool fans who watch him week in and week out. Personally, I’ve seen glimpses of him playing some decent crosses and pot shots, but with no goals and no assists so far this season is an extremely poor record considering his price tag.

Big Time Charlie

Last season’s Championship player of the year was QPR’s Adel Taarabt but for one reason or another the Moroccan attacking midfielder has not been able to continue his form in the Premier League. It’s disappointing, considering how well he’d done last year, whether or not he can come back under the guidance of new manager Mark Hughes remains to be seen.

Attackers

Hugo Rodallega (Wigan Athletic), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Maroune Chamakh (Arsenal), Peter Odemwingie (West Brom)

Wigan Athletic are spending another season battling relegation and their star striker Hugo Rodallega only has 1 goal to his name. He once quoted as saying he can be as good as Lionel Messi, I still haven’t seen this come true.

Obvious choices are Fernando Torress and Andy Carroll, with a year since their big money transfers occurred neither of them have had the success on the pitch their price tags suggested. The common Twitter and Facebook status has been “Yakubu & Demba Ba, £1.5 Million = 27 goals – Torres & Carroll , £85 Million = 4 goals”.

Looking Fat

At least both strikers are willing to play football, Carlos Tevez, despite the skill and talent he possesses as a Footballer has had a terrible season when he refused to come on as a substitute for Manchester City in the Champions League. He’s never played a game since. What a waste of talent (& wages).

West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie scored 15 in 32 games last season, so far this season he’s only got 5 in 19. The Baggies expected big things from him but it appears he’s having a bit of “second season syndrome”.

Another shout is Arsenal striker Maroune Chamakh, who may not get many starts with in-form Van Persie, but the forward appears to be getting worse. He was signed as someone who could take the pressure off his Dutch team mate, but he’s looking like another Wenger failure. The same can be said about Nikolas Bendtner who’s failed to shine at Sunderland, instead he’s been more keen on trying to blag free pizza’s back in Denmark and smashing up Newcastle City Centre with new team mate Lee Cattermole.

Poor & Poorer

Why Sir Alex Ferguson should sign another Veteran for this season

The talk of Manchester United’s midfield has started to become insipid, unfair criticism of Michael Carrick, whether Phil Jones is a midfielder or defender to the fact Anderson is turning into the new Djemba-Djemba.

The re-signing of Paul Scholes has boosted the squad who had been missing the young Tom Cleverly as a creative spark. As I watched the highlights of United’s 3-0 victory over Bolton Wanderer in which Scholes scored, I wondered just how they’d benefit from another veteran and former United player.

David Beckham had been extremely close to signing with Paris Saint-Germain following his contract with LA Galaxy ending on 31st December. However, talks broke down and new PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti revealed that Beckham rejected the deal because his family wanted to stay in Los Angeles.

I suppose it makes sense, Beckham who turns 37 in May would only be joining PSG on a short term basis, not the logical move for a young family to make. Reports suggest that he’ll sign a new contract with the Galaxy very soon; if he does it is likely a loan move whilst the MLS season is off looks likely.

Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers have been the two named clubs rumoured in signing Beckham but the player himself has said he’d find it extremely hard to play against United for any other Premier League team.

That’s why I can see a loan deal for Beckham a viable option for Sir Alex Ferguson as his United side that hope to retain the Premier League title from the advances of City and Spurs.

Scholes coming out of retirement shocked a few, especially with the sale of Darron Gibson to Everton and the fact Anderson seems to be out of favour, could the team benefit from another veteran?

Whilst Becks may not have the fitness for full on Premier League games, he could play a vital part. Scholes came off for fellow veteran Ryan Giggs against Bolton and similar rotation could be done with Beckham.

No one can argue against the statement that Beckham is one of the best crossers of the football in the World and his delivery and passing could booster United’s midfield for the rest of the season.

The hype and fame that comes with Beckham may be off putting for SAF but as Becks is close to retiring, perhaps a return and bow out to English football would make it all the more worthwhile.

He’s expected to be included in the Great Britain team come the 2012 Olympic Games, he’ll want to be fit for it and the MLS season does not start until March.

We saw fellow ex-Premier League/MLS stars Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane return with Loan deals to Arsenal and Aston Villa. If Becks does re-sign for LA Galaxy again, Fergie should give him a call and see if he can add that extra option to the United midfield with silverware in mind that would end a golden era of players.

I don’t think that’s one move David Beckham could ever turn down.

January Transfer Window Update….Where are the Big Deals?

We’re almost half way through January the month that sees the transfer window open for European clubs to buy, sell or loan players during the 31 days of the month. However, there appears to be heavy negotiations behind the scenes with managers, players and more correctly agents and chairmen. Where are the big deals?

The likes of Gary Cahill and Carlos Tevez were rumoured to make moves come January but neither deals have taken place with the latest of Tevez’s switch to Milan appears to have been stalled. Rumours are linking the want away Argentinean striker to Queens Park Rangers, who appointed his former boss at City, Mark Hughes as their manager.

It may just be because they share the same agent but could Tevez play his football in London again? Crazier things have happened.

Whatever happens, QPR is one club that’s expected to be very busy this month but have only acquired Federico Macheda on loan from Manchester United.

Whilst across west London, Chelsea were expected to make some signings for manager Andres Villas Boas to boost his squad. Gary Cahill of Bolton Wanderers has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge although the likes of Tottenham Hotspur could be after him too.

The most interesting deals of the 12 days we’ve had so far have been Nicolas Anelka’s move to China, whilst he may be well past his prime you didn’t expect the Frenchman to end his playing days in the Chinese Premier Division. ‘The Sulk’ has been one the best finisher’s the Premier League has ever seen.

Some interesting loan deals have taken place with Emmanuel Frimpong joining Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan from Arsenal, a midfield with him and Jamie O’Hara sounds very combative.

Whilst away from the top flight, League Two side AFC Wimbledon have made a double scoop with the return of Jason Euell to the South London club from Charlton Athletic on loan and young midfield George Moncur (son of John) from West Ham.

The biggest signing of this transfer window so far has to be Thierry Henry returning to Arsenal on loan. Whilst players look to end their careers in the MLS, the fact they’re able to come back on loan is a very attractive prospect for players and clubs alike.

Robbie Keane also joins Henry in a short term loan by signing for Aston Villa. The player who never lived up to expectations in his loan move at West Ham United last season has caused a flurry of ‘boyhood club’ jokes on Twitter, as standard.

What’s to come in the remaining days of January? It’s hard to say.

Will Manchester United buy a midfielder? Where will Christopher Samba ditch Blackburn for? And just how many players will Mark Hughes sign at QPR?

I’ll be back in a week to see what’s taken place…

Mario Balotelli – Saint or Sinner?

Thank God for Mario Balotelli. Despite the negativity I hear and read about the Manchester City and Italian forward, I can’t help but love the guy and I’m not even a City fan. Ok, he may have made a number of mistakes, caused controversy and been a bad boy but let’s remember that he’s only 21 years old, extremely rich for his age and living in a new City and Country.

In a recent interview, he’s stated how he is often misunderstood:

“If I buy a Fiat Uno, I read that a guy like me would be more suited to a Ferrari. If I buy the Ferrari, I read that I should have been more down to earth and bought the Uno.

“If I laugh, I’m not serious; if I don’t laugh, I’m a sulky rich guy who doesn’t enjoy doing the best job in the world.”

He also states that he’s made no friends since his move from Milan, and that he’s found it very hard to adjust to the English lifestyle. Given his track record in Italy, it’s actually a surprise how well Mario has done for City during his time, despite the negative reports, there are just as many positive ones to counter act it.

I’ve seen fans compare him to Gazza, who also enjoyed a prank or two. Whilst I don’t condone setting fireworks off in your bathroom or throwing darts at people, no harm was done and with age, he’ll learn from his mistakes.

However, since when do you hear of well paid footballers donating money to the homeless or solving a child’s bullying problems? There’s certainly two sides to the mercurial talent.

Personally, I think it’s great for football. He’s a talented player and as he gets older, he’ll start to mature on and off the pitch but for now, let’s focus on the positive and help him settle into life in England. It’ll be a shame if he was to leave.

Here’s a list of reported incidents involving Mario Balotelli in a Saint and Sinner list. The Purgatory list at the end is for those I couldn’t work out were good or bad…

Saint

     I.        Gives £1,000 to a homeless man after leaving a Casino

    II.        Very recently, he was reported to have paid for everyone’s gas/petrol when topping up his own car at a petrol station in Manchester.

  III.        Donated £200 to local church and paid for £1000 round of drinks in local Pub.

  IV.        Turned his garden into a racetrack for Quadbikes.

   V.        After meeting a young City fan who had been bullied, Mario drove the victim and his Mother to the school to meet the Headmaster in order to deal with the matter.

  VI.        Reportedly dressed as Santa driving around Manchester handing out £20 notes to members of the public.

 VII.        Also reportedly paid for Homeless people to have a five course meal on Christmas Day, paid for a hotel for homeless people on New Year’s eve and left £10,000 in a toilet on a Manchester to London train.

Sinner

     I.        Throwing darts at a youth team player because he was bored.

    II.        Setting off fireworks in his home.

  III.        Squaring up to five bouncers after being evicted from a Strip Club. He does not even drink alcohol.

  IV.        When being interviewed right after a game, he swears on live TV. “My season was s***…”

   V.        Interviewed by Italian Police after being photographed socialising with Italian Mafia.

  VI.        Bust up in training with Micah Richards who accused Mario of not trying hard enough.

 VII.        Tries an outrageous backheel shot in a pre-season friendly in the USA which fails miserably and he’s substituted immediately.

  1. After City beat United in the FA Cup last season, Mario says something to Rio Ferdinand and Anderson who get angry and a scuffle ensues.

Purgatory

     I.        Chanting “Rooney” at escort Jenny Thompson who cashed in on the Wayne Rooney story.

    II.        Apparently sent out by his Mother to buy cleaning products but returned with a giant trampoline, Scalextric, two Vespa scooters and a table tennis set.

  III.        Was stopped in his car by Police in Manchester who wanted to know why he was carrying £5,000 cash in his glove box, to which he answered “because I am rich”. Fair point.

  IV.        Competed against a Manchester United fan at an arcade on a Punchball machine. He was supposed to be resting an ankle injury.

   V.        Scores goal against Norwich City with his shoulder. Some fans loved it, others thought it was disrespectful.

  VI.        Was accused of entering a Prison in Italy without invitation. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing but it’s certainly bizarre.

Surely Wigan Can’t Survive Another EPL Season?

Wigan Athletic have been in the Premier League since 2005, a record that the likes of Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday fans are all envious of at present and it’s a status they will be hoping to keep for another season. But can they really stay in the Premier League for ANOTHER season?

The last few campaigns have seen the club fighting for their lives on the last day of the season and despite the majority of fans and pundits predicting their downfall they just keep coming back with a bounce. The last minute equaliser against Chelsea was testament to Roberto Martinez’s squads determination levels.

Watching that game with fellow Verbal Football contributor, Paul B, we failed to name many players from the Wigan squad, or for those that we did, we knew little about them. Does this mean Wigan are no good or does their reputation sometimes count against when people judge their plight?

If Wigan filled out the DW Stadium every weekend would it be different? Instead it’s this syndrome of “little Wigan” not helped by the fact manager Roberto Martinez has a tendency for signing little known foreign players such as Antolin Alcaraz, Albert Cruzat and Ronnie Stam. However, the club has made profit by giving players from overseas and chance and a stepping stone in the Premier League.

Wilson Palacios, Pascal Chimbonda and Paul Scharner, to name a few, all moved on to bigger clubs. Can Martinez continue to keep Wigan in the Premier League again?

Considering how low the club was for the majority of last season, they still managed to rise out of the drop come the last game and that’s all what counts. Surely this makes Wigan more likely to stay up than go down, compared to newly promoted teams, or teams that lacks this kind of survival experience?

It’s clear that the relegation battle is going to go down to the wire again this season, with several clubs involved but I for one will certainly not be calling Wigan as relegation fodder as they proved me wrong last season, there’s no reason to suggest they can’t do it again.

Friday Focus: European Draws and key Weekend Games…

A rare edition of Friday Focus sees me look forward to 2012 and the European ties involving English clubs. Today saw the draw of the next round in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, and all draws involving 5 English clubs were very interesting fixtures indeed.

Arsenal and Chelsea were the unlikely lads to be left in the Champions League by this stage compared to the Premier League dominant Manchester clubs. However, both London teams have tough games to get through if they want to get further in this year’s competition.

Arsenal take on AC Milan, a side they defeated 3 years ago in the quarter-finals. But this Milan side has gone through a transitional period since then and will be tougher competition that some Gooners may be expecting come February.

Chelsea meanwhile have a tricky task of facing Napoli, the side that advanced in the group stages at the expense of Manchester City. The Italian side showed their counter attacking prowess and with Chelsea looking rocky under AVB this season, it could be a very tough fixture for the Blues to get through.

The Europa League may have taken a beating from fans, pundits and managers alike it has served up three extremely interesting fixtures which should prove to put the spark back into this once famous European competition.

Manchester United take on Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam, whilst Manchester City take on FC Porto from Portugal. Whilst European newboys Stoke City play Valencia, I wonder if these fixtures will even make it to air on Channel 5 and ITV 4, the usual home of Europa League fixtures. I expect ITV 1 including either Manchester clubs on their channel this time around.

The Weekend…

The games I am looking forward to this weekend are in the Premier League with Blackburn hosting West Brom which is already being touted as a relegation decider/six pointer this early into the season. Fulham host Bolton in a similar fixture between sides in the bottom 8 of the table. No one wants to be bottom by Christmas and all clubs will be desperate to beat each other.

Sunday provides four Premier League games, with QPR hosting Manchester United, Liverpool travelling to Aston Villa and Spurs welcoming a rejuvenated Sunderland under Martin O’Neill.

The game of the weekend however has to be Manchester City versus Arsenal which will surely be one of the games of the season, with Arsenal in good form and City under some scrutiny, could it open the title race more?

Tottenham Hotspur’s Title Tilt

If you whisper it… a certain club known as Tottenham Hotspur have been mooted as title challengers for this season’s Premier League. Here at Verbal Football I’ll analyse Tottenham’s unexpected title tilt so far.

Without a doubt, last Sunday’s defeat (and the manner of it) against Stoke City at The Britannia was a body blow to Harry Redknapp’s side. Spurs were unbeaten since there opening two defeats to both Manchester clubs, United and City respectively. In the Stoke defeat, Spurs showed a lot of heart especially in the second half and fought their way to an almost impossible win never mind draw. Adebayor’s wrongly disallowed goal and Kaboul’s harsh sending off seemed to galvanise the side. However, Spurs’ slow start in the first half cannot be forgotten. This is at least the second game this season where Spurs started slow and left themselves with too much to do in the second half. Redknapp must remedy any future sloppy starts if his side are to be considered bonafide title challengers for the 2011/2012 Premier League title.

Players such as Luka Modric and Gareth Bale are genuine top class players already coveted by the likes of FC Barcelona and Chelsea. If Modric and Bale genuinely buy into the Tottenham project then only good things will happen at White Hart Lane. In addition, Scott Parker’s contribution shouldn’t be overlooked. Parker has been an upgrade on Wilson Palacios and has lessened the blow of ‘losing’ Jermaine Jenas. The Parker and Modric midfield duo has been solid and creative at the same time. It’s imperative that those aforementioned midfielders stay fit if Spurs want to remain title contenders.

Tottenham Hotspur will encounter a relatively ‘easy’ run of games until another London clash with Chelsea at the end of December. Redknapp has to rally his troops and get the side going on another unbeaten run. Fans and critics alike await with baited breath Tottenham’s next move in the Premier League.

By Paul Batambuze.

Why Daniel Sturridge Should Go To EURO 2012

As it stands at present England star striker Wayne Rooney is set to fulfil his 3-match International suspension at Euro 2012. Whilst the English FA desperately try and get it reduced or overturned it is looking likely that England will have to do without Rooney for the Group games against France, Sweden and Ukraine.

It’s going to make it tougher to be without Rooney’s class but we are not left with terrible strikers as his replacement by any means. In fact, England has more quality up front now than in recent years with plenty of young talent breaking through that could and should, in my opinion be given their chance.

Michael Owen was given his chance at France ’98 and the same with Rooney at Euro ’04. Which young striker could make his name at next year’s tournament?

Daniel Sturridge.

The Chelsea striker has been one of the Blues’ better players so far this season in a squad of forwards that boast Didier Drogba, Saloman Kalou, Nicholas Anelka and of course Fernando Torres.

However, Sturridge who was signed on a free transfer from Manchester City has got 7 goals in 10 games and could be the impact player that England need in the wake of Rooney’s absence.

Of course, Sturridge at 22 is still inexperienced but he’s starting to prove the potential that has been with him since his days as a teenager in City’s youth academy. There’s no chance of the player being overwhelmed with recent form either, with both his Uncle’s Simon and Dean Sturridge both having played in the Premier League/Old Division One in the past.

Danny Wellbeck has impressed since returning to Manchester United but I believe Sturridge is more developed. Sturridge could play well with most other striking options, as part of a 3 up top or in a traditional 4-4-2, with the likes of Zamora or Carroll alongside him.

Whilst Sturridge may be criticised for being too lightweight, his dribbling and pace is to be admired but most importantly is his finishing, which is one attribute I’ve always admired in him and believe it is comparable to that of Robbie Fowler.

Of course Sturridge as a lot of living up to with that comparison but I believe he can succeed, for Chelsea and for England if given the opportunity. If England play well as a team and feed Sturridge the ball, he’ll be the one to put it in the back of the net and get us through the Group stage.

The Large Pool of Ex-Managers (Part Two)

Long overdue, I’ve returned to this article for the 2nd part which focuses on Football Managers who have been out of management for a long time, for one reason or another despite being great players themselves and in some cases very good managers.

With only 92 clubs in the top four divisions I suppose there is bound to be a long list of those left out of the game without the right luck or motivation to get back into management. Here are a number of candidates that haven’t managed in awhile.

Alan Curbishley: Despite not managing a football club since 2008, his name is still linked to a host of clubs looking for a new manager but for one reason or another he’s never been appointed. Maybe his last spell in management at West Ham United had severely damaged a reputation that’d been impeccable in his 15 years with Charlton Athletic. However I am still surprised he’s not taken/given an opportunity at another club in recent seasons.

His long spell in charge of Charlton saw the club achieve two promotions and consolidation in the Premier League for many seasons. Since his departure from the club in 2006, the Addicks suffered two relegations in 3 seasons and found themselves back where they started.

He saved West Ham from relegation in the 2006/2007 season and finished in the top ten of the EPL the following season, signing players like Scott Parker and Craig Bellamy. However, he left the club after the sale of two players which he wasn’t consulted about and said that it had breached a clause in his contract.

By 2009 he won a court case and the Hammers paid him £2.2 million in compensation. I imagine many Hammers fans were Continue reading