England are for one of the first times in recent memory heading in to a major football tournament with little expectation of success. This is a stark contrast to previous years where anything but the latter end of the tournament was seen as a failure and thus came to fruition on each occasion including the extremely disappointing display at Euro 2016. A 2-1 loss to minnows Iceland in the round of 16 was a huge call for change if England were to return to challenge in the future.
England are heading in to the tournament following a dominating qualifying campaign in which they remained unbeaten in their 10 starts and in the process winning 8 of them. England look to have been drawn in a favourable group in which expectations will certainly be high of qualifying through to the knock out stages. The group consists of World number 3 ranked Belgium and lowly sides Tunisia and Panama. The fact that Belgium are 1/33 to qualify and England 1/12 rather tells the tale as both sides would hope to dominate over the others. Continue reading
According to Man City manager, Pep Guardiola, the club is out of the league race as they are far behind Chelsea with ten points, following a loss to Everton at Goodison Park.
The loss happened to be the heaviest league loss in Guardiola’s career as a manager.
Concerning his thoughts about the gap between his team and Chelsea, Guardiola admitted that the gap is a great one, affirming that ten is a lot of points. Although, he has encouraged his team players to remain focused and stay together in unity during bad moments and ignore what the table might have to tell until the end of the season.
Guardiola said: “At the end of the season, we are going to evaluate our level and how our performance was, how the coach was, how the players were. After that we are going to decide. We created chances, but we didn’t score and when they had chances, they punished us.” Continue reading
Manchester City made history in the 2015-16 season by qualifying for the Champions League semi-final for the first time in their history.
Up until now, the club has faced numerous disappointments especially in European competitions. One of the best records they had in Europe was reaching the last 16 stage where they have already faced numerous exits at the hands of clubs like Barcelona. Their poor UEFA coefficient has been claimed as the reason for City not getting favourable draws in group and knockout stages. However, they have managed to show some improvement in Europe for all the spending under the regime of the Middle East owners.
City came close to reaching the Champions League final after managing a decent result against Real Madrid in the first leg. Poor performance in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, though, led to their exit from the competition. Still, this was seen as a very valiant effort from the team who are considered as novices at this stage of the competition. Gael Clichy has experienced a little success in the Champions League before even though he has been playing in this competition for a long time. Now, he is targeting the next step of reaching the final or even winning the trophy.
European minnows Midtjylland secured an unlikely win over Manchester United to boost their chances of reaching the latter stages of the Europa League.
The 2-1 victory does mean that United have the advantage of an away goal, but they were expected to cruise comfortably to a win. After all, United are seen as the favourites to win the competition itself. Failure to progress past the group stages of the Champions League has resulted in United dropping down to the Europa League. Fans of the Old Trafford outfit had just become contend with the embarrassment of playing in the Europa League, but may now have to deal with the flak after suffering a humiliating loss.
The loss puts more pressure on manager Louis Van Gaal, who saw his team suffered a similar loss during the weekend against relegation threatened Sunderland. Living up to the favourites tag, United took the early advantage through Memphis Depay in the 37th minute. The shock came just before half-time when the home team levelled through Sisto with the winner coming in the second half.Onuachu scored with 13 minutes of normal time remaining and United were unable to make any impact. Still, the solitary away goal scored by the Premier League team may come to its rescue in the return leg at Old Trafford. Continue reading
While he may not be the biggest star in the Manchester City team, it was clear to see that Micah Richards’ return to the squad was hugely significant as the Blues strolled to a 3-0 victory over Sunderland on Saturday. Following the win, Pablo Zabaleta claims that his teammate should definitely be considered for the England squad as he is a “fantastic player”. Continue reading
They say that players always have an advantage playing against domestic teammates on the international stage, and Samir Nasri appears to have used this advantage in sublime fashion in France’s recent meeting with England. The City midfielder completely bamboozled Joe Hart when he curled an effort into the near post from the edge of the area – and claimed that Hart will have been expecting him to do what he usually does and bend it towards the far post.
Nasri, who was clearly delighted on the conquest, said immediately after, “I decided to take a shot but Joe Hart knows me from Manchester City and knows that in that situation, I normally open my foot. This time I closed it a little bit so I am happy with how it worked out.”
Many pundits were shocked at the goal and considering Hart’s reputation in the game, most thought he should have dealt with the effort much better. However, following Nasri’s revelation, one can have at least some sympathy with Hart who otherwise had a highly impressive game for the Three Lions.
However, one thing that hasn’t gone down in the Nasri camp is the Frenchman’s goal celebration. Following a somewhat torrid time at City this term, Nasri proceeded to put his finger to his lips and gesture towards the press box after his goal. The player’s father, Abdelhamid, has said that this celebration was totally unnecessary, “I’ve explained to Samir that it wasn’t the best way to respond. I don’t give my backing to mood swings like that. He shouldn’t have made this gesture because people, including children, are watching and because the whole country was behind him.”
As well as his goal, Nasri was one of France’s best performers on Monday. It now remains to be seen if he can continue such form throughout Euro 2012, and also bring it back for City next term.