Posts Tagged ‘Serie A’

Season Predictions 09/10 – How They Turned Out

31/05/2010

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I’m still in two minds about whether to do season reviews for each club – to be honest I’m in World Cup mode now. Perhaps I’ll still get round to it though.

Back in August I played a mug’s game and tried to predict how everyone would finish. Here’s what actually happened:

'Expert' predictions...

Looking at the results showed I got just three clubs spot on: Man City in 5th and basement dwellers Hull and Pompey taking the bottom two places. In my defence I was only one place out with six other clubs but really this table looks like what it is, rubbish punditry.

I think if Gareth Southgate and Garth Crooks had a bastard lovechild it would look something like this predictions table (enjoy those nightmare thoughts kids).

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In terms of the thinking, I had found it really tricky to split the top three when writing pre-season predictions. My loyalties to Arsenal may have played a part in placing them second while I couldn’t bear to predict Chelsea as Champions even though deep down I knew they had retained the most strength over the summer.

A similar scenario led to placing Spurs 7th – I was hardly going to predict them a Champions League spot was I?! I underestimated Liverpool’s decline and overestimated Sunderland’s improvement.

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The biggest mistake was Birmingham, a full nine places out, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who had them down to struggle. Fair play to Alex McLeish (who I had as first sacking!), he brilliantly led them to a top half finish.

The bottom half was slightly better predicted clubs wise, if not positions wise. The dearth of quality is such that it’s pot luck as to where the likes of Bolton and Wigan finish. I got three of the bottom four right and on another day would have predicted Burnley to come in 18th not 17th.

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In terms of the cups and other stuff it went like this:

And I thought the league prediction was bad...

Oh dear. Only Bayern Munich correct and I suppose West Brom for promotion. If the Premier League table was the Southgate/Crooks lovechild then this is the resulting mess when said lovechild had a threesome with Alan Shearer and Jamie Redknapp. I literally couldn’t do any worse at being a pundit. Like I said at the beginning, it’s time for the World Cup…

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T.

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Weekly Photoshop – Alberto Aquilani

05/01/2010

A new year, and a fresh new photoshop to begin it with. Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani was the theme this week, so plenty of options given that he was  injured for ages, Rafa Benitez never starts him and that he looks a bit lightweight whenever he has played.

alberto-aquilani-liverpool-jesus

Much like the Saviour himself, Aquilani first appeared around Christmas time, and like the Saviour himself, he'll no doubt be out of action by around Easter...

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The rest of this week’s gallery can be found here.

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T.

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Season Previews 09/10 – How’ll they finish

15/08/2009

So after 10,000 words worth of pre season previews, they’re finally all up and available to mock at as all my predictions inevitably get proven wrong within a few weeks of the season starting! To make things easier I’ve added all of them here in the positions I predicted each club to finish. We’ll take a look back at this in May and see how accurate the table was. I’ve added a few other season predictions at the end too.

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Predicted Premier League Table 2009/10

  1. Man Utd
  2. Arsenal
  3. Chelsea
  4. Liverpool
  5. Man City
  6. Everton
  7. Spurs
  8. Aston Villa
  9. Sunderland
  10. West Ham
  11. Fulham
  12. Blackburn
  13. Wigan
  14. Stoke
  15. Bolton
  16. Wolves
  17. Burnley
  18. Birmingham
  19. Hull
  20. Portsmouth

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FA Cup: Arsenal

Carling Cup: Chelsea

Champions League: Barcelona

Europa League: Valencia

Promoted from Championship: West Brom, Middlesbrough, Derby.

Top Scorer: Fernando Torres if he stays fit, Robinho if he doesn’t.

First manager sacked: Alex McLeish

La Liga: Real Madrid

Serie A: Milan

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich

Ligue 1: Bordeaux

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T.

Weekly Photoshop – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

06/08/2009

The summer’s most ridiculous transfer is the theme this week. Barcelona in all their wisdom decided to part with Samuel Eto’o AND 49 million in exchange for one of the most overrated players in football – Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I wrote at the time about how poor value this is and I can only think that Barcelona felt a statement had to be made following Real Madrid’s £200 million shopping trip this summer. He will score plenty of worthless goals but even I could score goals playing up front for Barcelona…

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"Of course you can rely on me in the big games Pep." Zlatan's already epic nose suddenly seems to increase in size...

"Of course you can rely on me in the big games Pep." Zlatan's already epic nose suddenly seems to increase in size...

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More to be found here.

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Old ones.

Blast From The Past – Sinisa Mihajlovic

21/07/2009

Ex Yugoslavian/Serbian left back Sinisa Mihajlovic this time round. He spent most of his career in Italy and probably only really came to prominence in the Lazio side that won Serie A and the Coppa Italia in 1999-00.

Having said that he did also win a European Cup with Red Star Belgrade in 1991 (he scored one of the penalties in the shootout) which was probably a greater achievement. He was a little bit racist truth be told but he sure did take a mean free kick…

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T.

Blast From The Past – Zvonimir Boban

06/07/2009

A quick one today. Zvone Boban was one of my favourite ever players (and one of the Football Guy‘s too no doubt), another legend from the days of mid 90’s Serie A. A star for AC Milan for nine years, his unique blend of flair and vision for some reason made me really like him. His performances for Croatia in Euro 96 (along with Davor Suker, who will also star in these pages at some point) and the World Cup in France ’98 brought him to wider attention and I particularly remember how he basically single handedly led Milan to the Serie A title in 1998-99. After Lazio led the race for most of the season, his consistently creative performances coupled with the goals of George Weah and Oliver Bierhoff meant Milan pipped the Biancocelesti to the title on the last day. Seven straight wins at the end of the season saw Boban get his fourth and final title with the Rossoneri and more than any of the previous three he was most responsible for it. Chuck in a Champions League title too and you have one of Milan’s most fondly remembered players.

Awesome

Awesome

His international appearances were excellent too as a newly formed Croatia played some brilliant football in Euro 96 before he captained them to third place in France 98. He’ll always be a national hero both for that but also for an altercation early in his career with a Yugoslav (Serbian) policeman whilst still playing for Dinamo Zagreb.

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I’ll leave with some greatest hits (of the football kind) from his Milan days. Enjoy…

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T.

Blast From The Past – Gabriel Batistuta

23/06/2009

Growing up watching Football Italia on Channel 4, many a fantastic player would etch themselves in mind with some ridiculous goal or brilliant piece of skill. A time when Serie A had unquestionably the best players in the world, every week you were spoilt for choice.

A particular favourite was ex Fiorentina and Roma superstar Gabriel Batistuta. One of the great forwards of any decade let alone the 90’s, Batigol was a complete striker. Powerful in the air, quick, could shoot from range on either foot, and a nice line in curling free kicks. Give him any space from 35 yards or less and you were in trouble. I always thought Arsenal would be safe from his fearsome right boot, but he made them look silly at Wembley in 1999. As with so many of his goals there was just no stopping it, such was the speed and accuracy. He seemed to have it in for all English clubs, scoring a beauty against Man Utd too.

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Bang bang goal.

Bang bang goal.

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I always admired him for staying at Fiorentina for nine years despite their continued failure to win a Scudetto. When he eventually did move (to Roma for some £20million) he helped them win the title for the first time in 18 years. Unlike many players he had a personality too, from his crazed machine gun celebrations, his arguments over hair length with Argentine coach Daniel Passarella and a vague recollection of an interview he once gave in which he said he didn’t actually like football, he just played as he was good at it.

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184 Serie A goals in 318 games (8th all time). The highest ever goalscorer for Argetina too (56 in 78!). Can’t really argue with that. Enjoy…

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T.

Blast From The Past – Paolo Maldini

10/06/2009

A new feature for the inevitable slow news days that will come over the summer. It’s pretty simple really – pick a great player from the past, find a decent youtube compilation, reminisce at how great they were. It wouldn’t normally be a player who has only just retired but then Paolo Maldini wasn’t just a normal player and he seems like a good place to start off. 25 years, one club, seven league titles, five European cups (plus three losing finals), all with model good looks to boot.

A record number of appearances for Milan and Italy, plus he played in four World Cups. He sadly never won an international honour, losing a World Cup final in 1994 and a European Championship final in 2000 (it seems a bit wrong that Marco Materazzi has won a World Cup but he hasn’t) but with Milan he won it all. His career has been legendary and for me he was the best left back ever.

Enjoy…

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T.

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Update: At the request of one of our readers, here are a few more in depth tributes to the great man. One, two, and of course three.

The Six Pointer: Europe-Wide Edition – Manc-heda Strikes Again, Fat Sam’s Samba Football & more…

12/04/2009

That was the weekend that was.

 

1. The title race – Liverpool make mincemeat of Blackburn in the early kick off beating them 4-0. This is surely the only time we will see Fat Sam let Samba inspire his side’s attacking prowess… oh yeah, and Chris Samba won’t be playing up front for them again. Poor puns aside, Blackburn were awful. Liverpool didn’t even need to call on Gerrard who rested on the bench, and the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster saw Anfield basked in sunshine. Fernando Torres scored two, including an awesome first from a route one Carragher pass.

Are you SERIOUS?

Are you SERIOUS?

So, the focus then turned to Man Utd and Chelsea for the 3pm kick offs. To the detriment of my fantasy football team (and chances of catching the Football Guy), Fergie decided to start with Cristiano on the bench and risked playing G Nevs again, who is about as useful as a crack addict with a bum fluff moustache. Scholes opened for United with a rare header but the inevitable Sunderland goal came through Kenwyne Jones. On came C-Ron to save United’s blushes but instead it was another substitute that did the business… yes him, the Italian that looks about 25 and disturbingly models himself on Cristiano – none other than Kiko Manc-eda. This one wasn’t as scintillating as his winner last week against Villa but it was the tonic that Fergie’s faltering side needed.

Meanwhile, at the Bridge Chelsea eased into a 4 goal lead against Bolton, with the inevitable Lampard goal (which Sportboy T failed miserably to jinx, much to the joy of the Football Guy) and Snoop Drog double. Hiddink then proceeded to understandably substitute the aforementioned duo, saving them for Liverpool’s trip to the Bridge on Tuesday. However, this seemed simply to send out the message to the rest of the Chelsea team that the match was over. Bolton, who seem to have turned into something of a goal machine in the second half of this season, duly took up the challenge and proceeded to score three in eight minutes, leaving a nervy finish in front of the Chelsea faithful.

"I said C-Ron and a mobile phone, not five blondes!"

"I said C-Ron and a mobile phone, not five blondes!"

 

2. The race for fourth place – A tale of two halves and a lucky red card escape for the Gunners. Having decided to watch this one on Arab TV in a sweaty pub full of yobs, I hoped we would see a confident performance, even if the Arsenal defence was depleted. What I got was an awful first 50 minutes in which I had to bear with Mido scoring (and very nearly two at that). To make matters worse, Gibbs should have been sent off as he brought down Valencia as the last man. Instead he got away with it and the penny dropped with Wenger that changes needed to be made. On came Adebayor and Van Persie allowing Cesc to drop into a much more effective deeper role. Arshavin’s persistence paid off as Walcott was played in for the equaliser. The Gunners played some sweet stuff, topped off by a goal from my beloved Arshavin and a sexy finish from Song. That left Aston Villa and Everton to fight it out on the Sunday to see which team could give Arsenal a run for their Champions League money.

Villa played out a thriller against United last week and didn’t fail to deliver against Everton at Villa Park. Although Martin O’Neill’s side allowed Everton to steam into a 3-1 lead, a James Milner peach of a free kick and a dodgy penalty decision against Joleon Lescott allowed Villa to snatch a point that keeps them ahead of Everton but eight behind Arsenal. Despite the Gunners’ remaining matches against Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool, I think the fourth spot has now been sealed. Villa have a slightly easier run in than Everton but it should be an interesting battle. Kudos must go to David Moyes who has assembled a good side packed with battlers, creators and goal scorers. Fellaini seems to be excelling in his advanced role behind a rejuvenated Jo.

 

3. Spirits raised in the North-East… slightly.

After Southgate called it a must-win game, Boro’s 3-1 defeat of Hull will certainly give them some belief that they can avoid relegation. Unfortunately for them, they remain in the zone, two points off Sunderland and behind Newcastle on goal difference.

As for the Magpies, a 1-1 draw against Stoke must constitute a well-earned and highly valued point for Shearer. It must have been the training bikes on the pitch at half time. Or perhaps it was the ability to withstand Rory Delap’s launches into the box, enabling Newcastle’s own Geordie brute, Andy Carroll, to steal the point. It will still be the home games that decide whether Big Al manages to stick a big two fingers at all the doubters out there. Please Al, anything to see you finish your BBC career… please.

Big Al gets to grips with the job of keeping New'astle up

Big Al gets to grips with the job of keeping Newcastle up

 

4. La Liga watch – Messi is shit.

Ok, we all pretty much knew that Barca would win the league, but their 2-0 win against Recreativo at the Nou Camp only brings that day closer. Messi even managed to miss a penalty… rubbish isn’t he.

On a sad but good note for the Gunners, Marcos Senna had to come off injured in Villarreal’s 2-0 defeat at home to Malaga and will now miss the quarter final, second leg at the Emirates on Wednesday (unless this is a cruel deception by Villarreal’s website). Senna was awesome in the first leg both defensively and offensively. That is probably an injury too far for Los Submarinos Amarillos.

 

5. Bundesliga watch – all up for grabs now.

The German league definitely has the most exciting title race of any league in Europe at the moment with four teams competing. Wolfsburg, who destroyed Bayern Munich last week, stay on top with a win away at Borussia Monchegladbach. Klinsmann’s men managed to pick themselves up from their spanking at Barcelona by beating Frankfurt 4-0 at the Allianz Arena. Martin Jol’s Hamburg suffered a last minute defeat away at Stuttgart, putting them in third place behind Bayern on goal difference. The standings are now: Wolfsburg, 54 points; Bayern Munich, 51 points; Hamburg, 51 points; Hertha Berlin, 49 points and Stuttgart, 48 points. Now that is what I call an open race. Let’s just hope the inevitable Bayern win doesn’t materialise.

 

6. Serie A – Forget the title race but look out for Genoa.

Inter managed to draw 2-2 at home to Palermo depsite leading 2-0 but luckily for them, Juve were beaten 3-2 by the ever-more-impressive Genoa side that now finds itself two points clear of Fiorentina in the fourth Champions League spot. Milan notched up another win 1-0 at Chievo thanks to Seedorf and could now overtake Juve in second (just two points behind). If the rumours are to be believed, that won’t prevent Carlo Ancelotti ending up at Chelsea. Any takers on Frank Rijkaard ending up at the San Siro? Lazio smacked up Roma in the derby of the eternal city with the usual flurry of red cards being shown. Roma’s hopes of Champions League football next season now look over as they lie in sixth place, eight points behind. I don’t think Spaletti will be round for much longer. Shame really…I quite liked Roma under the baldy one.

 

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