Who will be Liverpool's next boss?

Monday, 7 June 2010 · 5 comments

So, after only one poor season (but admittedly two or three of political in-fighting with the clubs Yankee-doodle-dandies) Rafa Benitez has left Liverpool FC by 'mutual consent.'  So while the two cowboys wipes their backsides with the money they are charging Liverpool in interest payments, who is there out there that can take Liverpool as they stand and make them viable contenders for the title next season - even though said new man will not have any cash to spend?
Here are the names being rumoured for the Liverpool post:

1. Martin O'Neill
2. Guus Hiddink
3. Roy Hodsgon
4. Kenny Dalglish
5. Oswaldo De Oliviera
6. Jurgan (No)Kluesman
7. Manuel Pellegrini.

Let's begin with No.1 shall we?

Economic Commodity Sacks Boss

Thursday, 3 June 2010 · 0 comments


What manner of man would say that a player has to stay at the expense of a manager? What manner of person would qualify that statement with the kind of drivel one would expect from the publicist of Lindsay Lohan after another night on the tiles? David Fairclough, former super-sub of Liverpool Football Club back in the seventies when Liverpool were winning everything under the sun because of the unique philosophies of Shankley and Paisley, that's who when asked about Rafa's potential departure at the expense of Steven Gerrard.
"You have to have Steven here and I think their only hope, probably, was to try and re-structure a change and a new name at the top to perhaps make Steven commit," Fairclough said in an interview with Sky Sports.
"I think he wants to be a Liverpool player for the future but I think he has to be clear about the way Liverpool are moving forward."
Steven Gerrard, captain and supposed inspiration of Liverpool Football Club, spent most of last season sulking (on the pitch during games no less) and looking a shadow of the player that has so often destroyed opposing defences.  What right does a player that quite clearly did not have the interests of the club at heart by playing so abysmally and sulking like a petulant schoolboy, to demand the resignation of the manager?  Unfortunately, the Yanks loan sharks are only interested in player shirt sales and Gerrard's name sells shirts so it was obvious there would only be one winner.  
Ever since the advent of the Premiership and the obscene levels of pay handed out to players since the Sky TV deal started back in the nineties, the cliche "player-power" has grown but it has always been noticeably (and welcomely) absent.  Until today.  If reports are to be believed then it was a falling out with "senior players" that was ultimately Rafa's downfall but it is not the job of a player to determine the fate of his boss.  Unless you are an economically-viable commodity of course.
The Liverpool way used to be "no-one is bigger than the club" but it seems Mr Fairclough has forgotten the philosophy that endeared him to the hearts of Liverpool fans.

England's Chances in South Africa

Saturday, 22 May 2010 · 4 comments

Under Fabio Capello, England have looked a much stronger unit especially against mid-range opposition they have traditionally slipped up against.  For the Group Stage, Capello's men will face USA, Algeria and Slovenia and I do not foresee any slipups with England topping their group easily.  The only question being how many will they score.
The first knockout phase of the World Cup is where the real test begins with a possible fixture against the runner-up of Group D from Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana.  Germany will win this group easily with the only real threat possibly coming from Serbia who finished top of their qualifying group ahead of France.  Serbia possess some dangerous players and can be difficult to break down with players like Jovanovic (Liverpool), Nikola Zigic (Valencia), Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow) and Dejan Stankovic (Inter) all potentially match-winners.  It is likely England will face either Serbia or Ghana in the first knockout stage with my money going on a tie against Serbia who I think will be too good for Ghana. 

The real state of Liverpool FC

Wednesday, 12 May 2010 · 0 comments

(The following is reproduced from the website forums on http://www.raotl.co.uk/  as well as http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=257942.0 )


While "senior sources" at the club (Christan Purslow) try to facilitate a smear campaign against the manager, pretend everything is rosy at the club and briefs the press to headline the Rick Parry pay off on the day the club's financials are tactically released on election results day; here's what's really going on at Liverpool Football Club:


The figures released on Friday 8th May 2010 indicate that Liverpool FC is in net debt to the tune of £351m; an increase of £52m from last year’s figure.

Terry Tamed by Bridge

Thursday, 4 March 2010 · 0 comments


When I was asked to write the following column, I was slightly concerned that it would detract from being a sports column to more of a preachy, moral argument about the rights and wrongs of relationships...but I’ll try anyway.
Tiger Woods, Ashley Cole and now John Terry, it’s as if being unfaithful is fashionable and the ‘in’ thing for this season. We all know that Tiger and Ashley have been linked with a number of women recently, with JT being involved with one known girl. So why is JT getting the most of the bad press?  Simple, Ashley and Woods were with a string of random girls, JT on the other hand just happened to sleep around with former team-mate Wayne Bridge’s girl.

An Unholy Alliance

Wednesday, 24 February 2010 · 0 comments

Something amazing is happening in the North West.  Born from a mutual hatred of uncaring, selfish and money-orientated owners two of football's biggest rival supporters, Liverpool and Manchester United, are on the verge of a truce in hostilities to join forces in a single voice against the ownership of American businessmen that have taken both clubs severely into debt and failed on promises made at the beginning of their tenure.
Manchester United are nearly £800million in the red (maybe the Americans think that if their team's shirts are red, then so should everything else!) which consists of £500million raised through a recent bonds issue that has only given the

Fourth-Place Playoff Plans for Premiership

Tuesday, 16 February 2010 · 0 comments


So Game 39 was a non-starter, what else can the bureaucrats at Premiership HQ come up with to generate even more money? Eureka! Someone cried, “Let’s have a play-off for fourth-place.”  Is this a good idea?  Really?
There have been many blogs and articles written of late supporting this idea providing a variety of reasoning why it should be at the very least considered, with one of the strongest being that it might break the monopoly of the Big-Four on the Champions League places.  From the need to inject some excitement at the end of the season (what? the title race isn't exciting?) to the desire to break the stranglehold of the Big-Four.  But the need for change has to be carefully considered before drastic action should be taken.  Also, just because there are four teams that vie for the top four places every year, is this league not exciting?
Let's look at the example of The Championship.  After a long, hard gruelling season, a team finishes third only to have to engage in further battles against teams that have not proven themselves good enough over the course of a season as they fight for a place in The Premiership.  Think of it as the last-chance-saloon (or father Christmas)

The Football Edition of Monopoly

Saturday, 13 February 2010 · 0 comments

Notts County and Portsmouth. Both clubs will have to go through a “fit and proper persons test” to prove that potential new owners will be able to manage the club yet this isn’t the first time that both clubs have changed hands this year. For the fourth time this season, Portsmouth are looking for new owners once more after Ali Al-Faraj failed in his bid to attract new investors. The current “owner” does not wish to own the club and only took over after Portsmouth failed to pay back the money he had loaned the club.

Left Back... In the Changing Rooms!

Friday, 12 February 2010 · 0 comments

The problems just keep piling up for Fabio Capello. More injury worries for a coach already tarting to feel the stresses and strains of a predatory national media. The biggest news this week is that Ashley Cole has been ruled out for three months with a broken ankle. This is worrying news indeed, especially when you consider the problems English players have had this season. Glen Johnson’s season has been injury-plagued making him a doubt, Rio Ferdinand off-form and injured some of this season, John Terry mired in a personal crisis. Midfield is no different. Steven Gerrard has barely hit top form when fit this year, Gareth Barry has been steady but virtually anonymous for Manchester City, Joe Cole has been injured for much of the season, Frank Lampard has played well in a top-of-the-table Chelsea team but has failed to hit the goal-scoring form of previous seasons, Shaun Wright-Phillips has not played well at all for City while Aaron Lennon, in wonderful form for Spurs, has failed to reproduce that at international level - and is currently injured.
In attack, the old work-horse Emile Heskey could not score if his kid’s lives depended on it - that’s presuming he ever gets into a scoring position anyway. Much like Jim Morrison of The Doors who turned his back on the audience because he was so nervous of performing, Heskey has his back permanently to the goal that it is a wonder that he remembers what an opposition goalkeeper looks like. That leaves only Rooney. A player that has taken on the mantle of main-man at Manchester united since the departure of the Portuguese Prince, Christiano Ronaldo, bloggers and reporters are slowly running out of superlatives to describe how brilliant Rooney has been this season with many dramatically carving into print their fears should Rooney suffer an injury before the World Cup.
Rooney’s importance to United cannot be overstated this season as his goals have kept a side shorn of much of their defence for long spells, breathing down the neck of Chelsea. But it is not just his goals that have captured the attention of scribes all over the land. His performances this season have been so fantastic that more begrudging supporters have applauded his effort, work-rate and obvious quality, evident in the applause he received from Villa fans after chasing Ashley Young down the left-flank in the 80th minute with no sign of tiredness. That coupled with a maturity not previously seen from a player known for his fiery temper has seen those pundits look at Rooney with a new-found admiration.
Should Rooney suffer an injury before the World Cup has begun, many pundits and journalists fear England’s bid to win the tournament for a second time will be over such has his form been this season. So those of a religious nature should start praying now because England without Rooney will not stand a chance in South Africa.

Graham Matheson

Weekly Predictions - Results

Wednesday, 10 February 2010 · 1 comments

The Big Match Centre Weekly Predictions - Results

Saturday, 6 February 2010
Barclays Premier League

Bolton 0-0 Fulham,
Burnley 2-1 West Ham
Hull 2-1 Man City,
Liverpool 1-0 Everton,
Man Utd 5-0 Portsmouth,
Stoke 3-0 Blackburn,
Sunderland 2-0 Wigan,
Tottenham 0-0 Aston Villa,

Sunday, 7 February 2010
Barclays Premier League

Birmingham 2-1 Wolverhampton,
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal,


Graham got five results right with two perfect scores!

This Week's News

Tuesday, 9 February 2010 · 1 comments

Blackburn fan dies after collapsing during Stoke match

Whilst there was some fantastic and exciting football over the weekend, it must not be forgotten that a man lost his life at the Stoke v Blackburn match.  The Blackburn fan, Mr Taylor, was found unconscious just after half-time after an incident in the Brittannia Stadium's South Stand.  Police have detained a 25 year old man to "help with their enquiries" after details where released of how the incident transpired.  It was alleged Mr taylor was hit with a bin and had to be treated immediately at the scene for a serious head injury and cardiac arrest.  He later died in hospital at 1:55am.
Staffordshire Police are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incident, or who may have videoed it on their mobile phone, to contact the Major Investigations Department on 01785 233600, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

La Liga News


Barcelona finish with nine men against Getafe but still manage to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Messi and Xavi... Real keep the gap to only 5 points with a routine 3-0 victory over Espanyol at The Bernabau, the goals coming from Ramos, Kaka and Higuain... Deportivo continued their miserly defensive record with a 0-0 draw away at Malaga taking them a point behind Sevilla in 6th place... whilst Valencia maintained their grip on third place with a 2-0 victory over Valladolid, the goals coming from Banega and Villa.


More news to follow

Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal: Effectiveness triumphs over the effete

Sunday, 7 February 2010 · 2 comments


A war of attrition yesterday in Merseyside; today, a contrast of styles in North London. Arsenal's inventiveness and crisp passing style, epitomised by the diminutive attackers Nasri, Fabregas and Arshavin, against the power and aggression of Chelsea's Drogba, Terry and Carvalho. Super Sunday is Sky's moniker for weekly Premier league battles and this was indeed a Super Sunday game.

England to face Wales in Euro Qualifying

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England face a tricky couple of games against Wales in their qualifying group for Euro 2012. The draw for the Championship was made today and sees England face Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales and Montenegro whilst current holders, Spain, have the Czech Republic, Scotland, Lithuania and Liechtenstein to contend with. While the rest of the home nations have a few long flights to eastern Europe to battle with the likes of FYR Macedonia, Estonia, Russia and Slovakia. Not too mention the poor quality of football pitch and fabled eastern bloc facilities.
The only real interesting thing of note to mention was Capello's immediate response to a reporter, "No questions about Rio Ferdinand, John Terry or the captaincy. I have spoken with John and will speak with Rio. No problem with the captaincy. Thanks and bye."  Obviously knew the question was going to arise.  Cracking answer, though.

Committed thuggery wins the day

Saturday, 6 February 2010 · 0 comments

There are too many superlatives to describe this bitter, hard-fought encounter between the Merseyside rivals which saw two red cards in each half as well as a number of crunching and poorly-timed, plus some nasty, tackles.  So I will dispense with a poetic introduction talking of "passion and combativeness in a war of attrition" and instead focus on the finer details of a game that, minus the ball, was nothing more than brutal example of a city divided in hate.
A finely disciplined Liverpool side, down to 10 men for almost 60 minutes of this truculent match, easily held at bay a guileless Everton attack to win 1-0 in the 213th Merseyside derby.  The goal came courtesy of an inch-perfect corner from Steven Gerrard right onto the head of the battling Kuyt who easily out-muscled Howard and Neville to glance a header into the net.

Fight Club (Or the fight for fourth)

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As the media circus over the Terry affair continues even after Capello's decision to demote the defender and the nation's army of bloggers are inundated with slavering, barely comprehendible comments from football fans, the issue of the fight for a top-four place renews with some interest today.  Liverpool have the chance to sneak into the top four, if only for a few hours, before Tottenham face Aston Villa at White Hart Lane if they can overcome an in-form Everton who have won their last three league games and produced a near-match winning performance at the Emirates before succumbing to a late Rosicky goal.  Victory is far from assured for Liverpool who are also on a good run, unbeaten in the last six league games, winning 4 and drawing two of those matches.

The Big Match Centre Weekly Predictions

Friday, 5 February 2010 · 0 comments

The Big Match Centre Weekly Predictions

Saturday, 6 February 2010
Barclays Premier League

Bolton 1-0 Fulham,
Burnley 2-1 West Ham
Hull 1-2 Man City,
Liverpool 2-1 Everton,
Man Utd 4-0 Portsmouth,
Stoke 1-1 Blackburn,
Sunderland 2-0 Wigan,
Tottenham 2-1 Aston Villa,

Sunday, 7 February 2010
Barclays Premier League

Birmingham 2-0 Wolverhampton,
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal,

Another huge game this weekend as two of the colossal 'big-four' come face-to-face at Stamford Bridge. Ancellotti versus Wenger; Terry versus the world! This is a clash that will determine whether Arsenal stay in the hunt for the title or will they emerge as toothless and easily shut-out?

Graham's Weekly Predictions - Results

Wednesday, 3 February 2010 · 0 comments


Saturday 30th January 2010
Birmingham 1-1 Tottenham
Burnley 1-2 Chelsea
Fulham 0-2 Aston Villa
Hull 2-2 Wolves
Liverpool 2-0 Bolton
West Ham 0-0 Blackburn
Wigan 0-1 Everton

Sunday 31st January 2010
Man City 2-0 Portsmouth
Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd

Graham got 5 results right with 2 perfect scores this week.  

A brief affair...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010 · 0 comments

For years, many have complained at the lack of available talent amongst British coaching staff and that of the good coaches working in the lower leagues, an extremely small amount are given the chance to try their luck at a bigger club or a more difficult league. So it came as a surprise this season when, after sacking previous manager Darren Ferguson (who had achieved a remarkable feat of back-to-back promotions) the club opted to appoint a manager from outside the Football League; the impressive Kettering boss, Mark Cooper.

Curse a footballer's loins!

Monday, 1 February 2010 · 1 comments

Captain Courageous is now Captain Contradiction after the startling revelations surrounding John Terry's alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend, the French lingerie model, Vanessa Perroncel.  Reports suggest that Terry paid for the model to have an abortion after learning that she was pregnant with the married Chelsea skipper's child.
This news has come as quite a shock to Wayne Bridge, who has a son with Miss Perroncel, but some have suggested that it was this that soured the previously close relationship between the two England defenders.

Graham's Weekly Predictions

Saturday, 30 January 2010 · 10 comments

So the time has come for battle to recommence!  The War in Iraq may be some brief entertainment on the six o'clock news for a little titillation as we return home from work, kiss the wife and sit at the table to eat our dinners.  But it is this weekends wars, fought on the green fields of Blighty that occupy the hearts and minds of this land.  Here, for your passionate deliberation, are my predictions for the weekend:

Saturday 30th January 2010
Birmingham 1-1 Tottenham
Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Fulham 1-0 Aston Villa
Hull 2-1 Wolves
Liverpool 2-0 Bolton
West Ham 2-1 Blackburn
Wigan 0-2 Everton

Sunday 31st January 2010
Man City 3-0 Portsmouth
Arsenal 1-1 Man Utd

Yes, people this weekend is the battle to end-all battles - well, at least 'til next weekend.  It is the always-eventful Wenger-Fergie yearly-rematch.  The Blind Professor versus the saviour of Wrigleys Spearmint Gum factory.  Who will come out on top?  Both are in a good run of form but I can see Man Utd taking a point at the Emirates.  No Rio and a defence about as solid as OJ Simpson, they'll definitely concede but the midgets of Arsenal will have to score by passing their way through the middle and, if their accuracy is as good as at Stoke, the best they can hope for is just the one.  Rooney to score for Man Utd.

The mark of the stoopid

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Some men who are in love tattoo the name of their loved one on their arm to show their devotion, others may tattoo the name "Mum" then their are others who are so devoted to their football team that they get the badge of their loyally supported club emblazoned on their chest even if the wife thinks its nothing more than a pubescent act.  But there is one man that has gone even further than this.  His name is Chris Atkinson and he supports Man City.
When news broke out of Man City's audacious bid to sign Kaka for £100 million, Mr Atkinson was so overwhelmed with excitement, he decided to add the name of

This season's Championship is like a box of chocolates...

Friday, 29 January 2010 · 0 comments

January is already bidding us a swift exit. It’s where a football season in years gone by might’ve started to show signs of taking shape. Man Utd would be a million points clear at the Premiership summit, with Arsenal and/or Liverpool fighting over the scraps. Occasionally, this order would swap round. Villa would finish mid table. And rest.
Wind back to now, and witness the change. Certainly within the Premierships’ ranks. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool, the omnipresent “Big Four”, have conducted themselves with about as much dignity as a Dad dancing at a Disco over recent months.

Victor Moses pulled out of Palace match

Wednesday, 27 January 2010 · 1 comments

Crystal Palace's most saleable asset, forward Victor Moses, has been pulled out of tonight's match against table-toppers Newcastle, in order to prevent him from being injured prior to a hopeful sale.
The teenage star has been linked with a host of elite clubs, including Liverpool, Man City and Barcelona, following a terrific start to this campaign.  Manager Neil Warnock is less-than-enthused about the prospect but understands the situation the club is now in, "I'm devastated, shocked and hugely disappointed.  No doubt we're going to lose players in the next few days because that's what the administrator does."
Palace, who went into administration on Tuesday (the Football Association later

Michel Platini: Football Friend or Foe?

Sunday, 24 January 2010 · 0 comments

Michel Platini has never been one to shy away from controversy, the former French striker & the current president of UEFA is a regular when it comes to back page comments, regardless of who they affect & how.
To start off with, the fellow doesn’t exactly have the easiest job in the world; he’s both indirectly & directly responsible for the wellbeing and integrity of some of the best footballers in the world... & their respective clubs. Subsequently it becomes difficult to clearly establish whether or not he is a friend or a foe to the game.

Liverpool: Camera-shy or simply shoddy(!) this season?

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This season has been a major surprise for Liverpool supporters (but not to the management according to a recent interview with Benitez) who expected their much-loved team to continue the form of the second-half of last season and really challenge for the title.  The loss of Alonso, such an integral component to last season's challenge, was keenly felt and was a cause for some worry for most Liverpool supporters but the club assured fans that the purchase of Alberto Aquilani would improve the attacking play to such an extent that Alonso would not be missed.  Although he was injured for the first half of the season, Benitez felt confident that the side could cope until his new recruit was ready to fill in the creative hole left with the departure of Alonso.
Unfortunately, this season has not been a particularly happy one for the club and its

Today's FA Cup Action

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Today sees only two matches in this weekend's FA Cup action with Stoke taking on a free-scoring Arsenal side brimming with confidence and lowly Scunthorpe tackling Roberto Mancini's miserly Manchester City.   This year's FA Cup has not thrown up too many surprises with only Reading and Leeds being the non-Premiership sides to shine against their more illustrious, and richer, opposition.  But Scunthorpe, who lie fourth-bottom in the Championship only four points clear of the last relegation place, offer an interesting conundrum considering Reading's win against Burnley yesterday.  Can the odds be upset again today or will form, and class, win out? 

Big Match Centre's Predictions:

Scunthorpe 1-3 Man City, R4, 16:00
Stoke          1-2v Arsenal, R4, 13:30

FA Cup Replays Overview

Thursday, 14 January 2010 · 0 comments


The FA cup replays continued this week; most results were as expected, with one notable exception - Liverpool being dumped out by an out of form Reading team. Reading, having taken just 1 point from their travels this season, earned a replay against the former champs & looked certain to be heading out, trailing 1-0 in injury time. A clear penalty by Benayoun late in injury time followed by a coolly taken penalty ensured extra time. Leading up to the penalty Liverpool were under pressure & earlier in the half Reading should have equalised when McAnuff had a 1-on-1 chance with the keeper.
Overall the loss was a shock to the Merseyside giants, but on the night Reading did look the better team & thoroughly deserved the win & now it’s left to Rafa to salvage what he can from the season...
IN other results, well done to Newcastle man Peter Lovenkrands for scoring a hatrick in their 3-0 dominating victory over Plymouth, Newcastle have had a harsh year-and-a-half and it’s good to see the club doing well on the pitch.
A narrow 1-0 win saw Birmingham beat Notts Forest in an encounter Forest dominated . The chances were there for the visitors but for lack of finishing & missed chances, a 60th minute Baarry Ferguson goal gave the win to the home team.
Bristol & Cardiff managed a replay after a 92nd min equaliser by the home team saw Welsh hearts broken by their local rivals – more on this after the tie has concluded.
The theme of late goals continued as struggling Portsmouth defeated Coventry. Leading 1-0 until the 90th min, a Stephen Wright OG in the 90th saw extra time & a relatively uneventful extra time was bought to a conclusion with a 120th minute goal by Pompey man Mokoena.
Late goals were definitely the order of the day as Derby dumped Millwall out of the competition, goals either side of extra time & a 5-3 victory on penalties gave the home team the tie in a scrappy, low selling game
Final tie of the night saw the other Sheffield (united) defeat home team QPR.  Four goals in the 2nd half saw a 0-1 cushion for united change to a 3-2 increasingly nervy victory. An eventful period of 20mins in the 2nd half saw the goals flowing & had the visitors 2-3 up for the final few minutes.

Omar Malick

Is Brian Laws the correct appointment for Burnley?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 · 2 comments

Burnley have confirmed the appointment of Brian Laws as their new manager after the departure of Owen Coyle to rivals Bolton. The news comes as a shock to many in the game, coming so soon after he was sacked as manager of Sheffield Wednesday following a poor run of form in December. The big question on everyone's lips today though is, “Is he the right man for the job?”
Under Coyle, Burnley have played some attractive football evident

Barca facing Elimination from Copa Del Ray

Tuesday, 12 January 2010 · 0 comments

Sevilla, holding on to a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Catalonia, host a Barcelona side Pep Guardiola will pack full of his first team stars after selecting a side bereft of regular first-teamers Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Xavi, Carles Puyol, Thierry Henry, Victor Valdes and Gerard Pique, who all started on the bench.  His team will be full of confidence after thrashing Tenerife 5-0 on Sunday although the Barca coach was quick to voice his concerns about his dominant side: "until we scored the first it was very even and the only difference was Tenerife failed to score. They had three clear chances and we were in trouble but after the first went in the game was different" he said in the post-match press conference.

Michael Owen: Right or Wrong to sign for United?

Monday, 11 January 2010 · 0 comments

Summer 2009, Michael Owen is on the market and out of contract. His agent sends a brochure detailing his strengths and achievements as a player and England's currently-playing highest goalscorer is desperate for a club.
Knowing he is way down the pecking order for a place in the World Cup squad, with Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and even Darren Bent ahead of him in Fabio Capello's mind, was it the right decision for Michael to join United? When he signed in the summer, some pundits thought that this could be the perfect platform for Michael to display his talents and give Capello no option but to take him to South Africa. One of the many arguments put forth being that his name alone carries a certain

Togo players leave as African Cup of Nations starts

Sunday, 10 January 2010 · 0 comments

The players of Togo's African Cup of Nations squad will fly home today after being told by the organiser's that it would be in their best interests to return home.  This comes after the Togo team bus was attacked by Angolan rebels killing three and injuring nine others.
There have been calls for the tournament to be called off amidst such a terrible act of cruelty and violence, with the Togo players (whom Emmanuel Adebayor of Man City captains) being most vocal in their wishes to have the tournament cancelled,.  After the attack, the Togo

Inter Milan's Chivu in hospital after fracturing skull

Wednesday, 6 January 2010 · 2 comments

Christian Chivu, Inter Milan's left-footed central defender, is apparently stable in hospital after a clash of heads in the 1-0 win over Chievo.  A nasty clash of heads resulting in a fractured skull meant the Romanian star had to spend over an hour in surgery to relieve a haematoma and remove bone fragments.  When asked, Jose Mouriunho was hopeful, but admitted, "he will be out of action for some time."
The win keeps Inter eight points ahead of their local rivals AC Milan, but the news of this shocking injury to one of the stalwarts to their defence is a blow to not only their league hopes, but their chances of success in the Champions League.  Chelsea are their opponents in the next round of the competition and if Inter are to hurdle this difficult obstacle they are going to need all their best players available.

The woes at Pompey

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Currently languishing in 20th place in the Premiership, Portsmouth seem to have it all to do this season. Their current on-pitch form has not been helped by the ongoing financial troubles at the South Coast club.
As of the 5th of Jan 2010, players & staff have not been paid for the month of December, which makes it the 3rd wages delay of the season, the news of this latest delay was further compounded by the FA’s announcement to withhold funds of up to £7million pounds to the club and

FA Cup weekend

Sunday, 3 January 2010 · 49 comments

Not too many surprises from the third round of the FA Cup, although congratulations have to go to Nottingham Forest for a fine attacking display against a resolute Birmingham as well as Coventry who managed to pull off a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park against struggling (and almost penniless) Portsmouth.  The most interesting result came at the Madejski stadium where struggling Reading produced a powerful and commanding display against a full-strength Liverpool team that can only consider themselves very lucky to be playing a replay at

Premiership January Sales

Friday, 1 January 2010 · 3 comments


Happy New Year to all Big Match Centre readers and many thanks to you for coming back!  Well, as another decade passes and we head into the New Year, the January Sales gossip begins its yearly ritual.  Who will your club buy or recruit on-loan during the half-season?  Here's our guide to who we think might spend and on whom:

Arsenal
Many pundits thought the loss of Van Persie would deal a crucial blow to Arsenal's hopes but the Gunners have played some scintillating football and scored some wonderful goals in the process.  Still light upfront, it is likely that Wenger will spend money on a big striker with Marouanne Chamakh the more likely target.  Other possibilites (but less likely) are Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Andre-Pierre Gignac, the Toulouse striker.

Graham's Premiership Predictions

Thursday, 24 December 2009 · 0 comments

Another footballing week with a twist as Xmas rolls around once more with the pick of this weekend's football being the game between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates.  Here is my predictions for this weekend:

Saturday, 26 December 2009


Birmingham  1-2 Chelsea, 12:45
Burnley        2-0 Bolton, 14:00
Fulham         1-1 Tottenham, 13:00
Liverpool     2-0 Wolverhampton, 17:30
Man City     2-0 Stoke, 15:00
Sunderland  1-1 Everton, 15:00
West Ham   0-0 Portsmouth, 13:00
Wigan         0-0 Blackburn, 15:00
 
Sunday, 27 December 2009


Arsenal      2-1 Aston Villa, 13:30
Hull            0-3 Man Utd, 16:00

McCarthygate

Wednesday, 23 December 2009 · 0 comments


The furore surrounding Mick McCarthy’s decision to field a weakened team against an injury-decimated Man Utd at Old Trafford has not died down despite Wolves winning against Burnley on Sunday. Hordes of fans and journalists are attempting to suggest that McCarthy’s decision to rest his “first-choice eleven” has been vindicated because of that win but a little perspective should be applied here. Wolves have won three of their last four games and have cleared themselves of the relegation zone but

Man City Sack Mark Hughes

Monday, 21 December 2009 · 0 comments

Poor Mark Hughes. Sacked after inheriting an inept side under the guidance of Sven Goran Eriksson, a side that couldn’t win or draw for love-nor-money, he steadied a sinking ship and made them a team that could compete with the big-four and, indeed, look like a side that would break into that coveted top-four spot. Yes, he’s spent a ridiculous amount of money but you cannot hope to build a side and make that side one of the best in the land overnight. Especially considering that he took over a side that was not far away from relegation places and not a

Bad to worse? Or is this as good as it gets for Liverpool?

Sunday, 13 December 2009 · 3 comments

A finish of pure magic and a lucky deflection early in the second half put Liverpool to the sword in a game Liverpool needed to win to prove Benitez's claim that Liverpool will finish in the top four. His team looked like they wanted to prove that point as they outmuscled and harried Arsenal into conceding possession in the middle of the park. A swift counter attack in the 11th minute saw Gerrard sprint down the right to cross for an unmarked Torres in the area who, unfortunately for Liverpool's fans, shot tamely first-time at Almunia. The

Graham's Weekly Premiership Predictions - Results

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Saturday 12th December 2009

Birmingham 1-0 West Ham
Bolton 3-3 Man City
Burnley 1-1 Fulham
Chelsea 3-3 Everton
Hull 0-0 Blackburn
Man Utd 0-1 Aston Villa
Stoke 2-2 Wigan
Sunderland 1-1 Portsmouth
Tottenham 0-1 Wolverhampton

Sunday 13th December 2009

Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal

Graham got one result right and no perfect scores on a weekend where only one home team managed to take all three points.

Graham's Weekly Premiership Predictions

Saturday, 12 December 2009 · 0 comments

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Barclays Premier League


Birmingham 2-1 West Ham 
Bolton 1-1 Man City
Burnley 1-1 Fulham
Chelsea 3-0 Everton
Hull 1-1 Blackburn
Man Utd  3-1 Aston Villa
Stoke1-2 Wigan
Sunderland 2-1 Portsmouth
Tottenham 3-0 Wolves

Sunday, 13 December 2009



Barclays Premier League
 
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

Liverpool’s woes pile up after another home defeat

Wednesday, 9 December 2009 · 0 comments

They say the rain brings out the gloomier side of our nature as human beings and, amidst the rain falling steadily over Anfield, the gloom deepened that much further as Fiorentina came from behind to seal victory in the final minute.
This was the third occasion in this campaign Liverpool have conceded costly late goals and the excuse of

CSKA stars face bans after failing drug tests

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UEFA has confirmed that the cases of two players of CSKA MOscow will be discussed on 17 December to determine whther they will be banned. The two defenders, Sergei Ignashevich and Aleksei Berezutsky, have been suspended after failing doping tests on 3 November following the 3-3 draw against Manchester United.

Owen hat-trick confirms United as Group Winners

Tuesday, 8 December 2009 · 0 comments

An injury-decimated United clinically beat a wasteful Wolfsburg in Germany to top their Group. A hat-trick from Michael owen gave United's reserve side a comfortable victory despite the home side wasting some good opportunities in the air against a makeshift defence of Carrick and Fletcher. Carrick found it hard to handle the physical presence of Wolfsburg's 6'4" striker, Edin Dzeko, who headed a well-deserved equalizer on 56 minutes. But it was United's threat on the counter, with Gabriel Obertan tricking the Wolfsburg defence, beating three defenders to set up the second for Owen in the 83rd minute, which Wolfsburg could do nothing about. Victory was sealed in injury time after owen clipped over the Wolfsburg 'keeper following a counter attack from a goal-mouth scramble in United's box.
With a crippling injury list, the team selection may not be such a terrifying prospect for Ferguson after this convincing victory away from home.

Graham Matheson

Graham's Weekend Premiership Predictions - Results

Monday, 7 December 2009 · 0 comments

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Barclays Premier League

Arsenal 2-0 Stoke
Aston Villa 3-0 Hull
Blackburn 0-0 Liverpool
Man City 2-1 Chelsea
Portsmouth 2-0 Burnley
West Ham 0-4 Man Utd
Wigan 2-3 Birmingham
Wolverhampton 2-1 Bolton


Sunday, 6 December 2009
Barclays Premier League

Everton 2-2 Tottenham
Fulham 1-0 Sunderland

Graham got three correct results with two perfect scores.

Reaction to the World Cup Draw

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Is it fair to say that this was expected? All of the top seeds have a reasonably easy ride out of the group stage with no really interesting ties to be played in the group stage apart from Group G where Brazil will face Portugal and the Ivory coast. The only cause for concern may be Group A where the hosts, South Africa, will play Mexico, France and Uruguay. Controversially (maybe) earning their place in South Africa, through the play-offs against the Republic of Ireland, the French are undoubtedly still a force to be reckoned with and

Graham's Premiership Predictions for 5-6 December 2009

Friday, 4 December 2009 · 0 comments

Ok, here goes!  Another busy weekend of Premiership football ahead with the pick being Man City v Chelsea on Saturday and Everton v Tottenham on Sunday.  Can Man City shake off their frailties in defence and prove to the rest of the Premiership they can break into the top four?  Can an injury-ravaged Everton produce another scintillating performance like the one against Liverpool last week and put a dent in Tottenham's top-four ambitions?  Or will Tottenham put Arsenal and Liverpool under pressure and win?
Here then are my Premiership Predictions, the first in a weekly blog.  Feel free to comment or leave your own predictions for this weekend.



Saturday, 5 December 2009
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal  2 v 0 Stoke, 15:00
Aston Villa 1 v 1 Hull, 15:00
Blackburn 1 v 3 Liverpool, 15:00
Man City 0 v 2 Chelsea, 17:30
Portsmouth 1 v 1 Burnley, 12:45
West Ham 1 v 2 Man Utd, 15:00
Wigan 2 v 0 Birmingham, 15:00
Wolverhampton 1 v 2 Bolton, 15:00

Sunday, 6 December 2009
Barclays Premier League
Everton 2 v 2 Tottenham, 16:00
Fulham 0 v 0 Sunderland, 15:00

Despite winning a thrilling encounter with Burnley 5-3, West Ham will struggle against a solid Man Utd.  Despite losing the brilliance of Ronaldo there is still more than enough creativity in this United side to see off a West Ham side confident they can score goals, despite having worries at the back.  I feel that Chelsea are just too good at the moment and I can only see a Chelsea win, especially after the way they defended so expertly against the footballing purity of Arsenal's attack last week.  As for Liverpool, two wins on the bounce will seen the confidence come flooding back into their play.  With Riera back and Torres reportedly as a maybe to start, Blackburn may not be able to cope especially if David Dunn, their only real atacking threat, is injured still.

The life & times of an Arse(ne) at Arsenal

Thursday, 3 December 2009 · 0 comments

So here we are again, it’s December and the speculation of a young Arsenal team winning nothing rears its head once more.
As sure as Xmas we hear in the media that the team is too young & Arsene must buy, buy big & buy experienced. All we need to do is to take a step back and examine the Carling Cup squad that was sent into the firing line last week – A team of teens & no back-up on the bench & compare that with the Chelsea/Blackburn game, Chelsea also fielded a young side but played an experienced bench, the fact they lost

The trumpets of Jericho sound for Everton's hopes

Thursday, 26 November 2009 · 0 comments

The government have firmly rejected the application by Everton FC to build a new development in Kirkby today and it seems hope of an appeal with not materialise due to the decision being made in accordance with recommendations by the planning inspectorate.
Opposition to this prohject has been very clear from the onset of the announcement by Everton that they intended to move from Goodison Park into a development in partnership with Tesco, who would have been investing a considerable sum into the project, but it is clear now that this avenue is firmly closed.
Bill Kenwright has been searching for investors for some time now to bring back the prestige of a club on the decline and it was hoped that a much bigger stadium with better facilities would go some way to attracting someone with financial clout. The problem Everton have now is, having to sell big in order to survive, how long will David Moyes be able to work miracles at a club seriously punching above it weight?

Graham Matheson

'El Classico'

Wednesday, 25 November 2009 · 0 comments

This coming Sunday sees one of theree of Europe's biggest derbies with the eyes of the world firmly on events in Spain as the 159th 'El Classico' between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be played in front of a packed and hostile Camp Nou.
Expectations will be high for this match as the top two teams in the land, both in terms of status and current league form, battle it out for top spot in La Liga.  Expectations are also raised because of the events of the

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Bringing you all the important daily news, gossip and big match reports from the week's most important games.
Expert analysis and opinion of the week's hot topics covering the English Premiership and La Liga we want to hear from you!
Written and edited by Graham Matheson, a Liverpool and Deportivo La Coruna fan.
Writers:-
Omar Malick, an Arsenal fan and season-ticket holder since being brainwashed as a child by his equally deluded father. Omar writes on all the unsavoury aspects of a game with all the moral equilibrium of an arms dealer at an arms fair.
Tom Parmiter, the resident expert on all things Championship

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