Premier League Predictions: Matchweek 28

Premier League Predictions: Matchweek 28

Two teams enter this competition that are suffering shocking defeats after periods of optimism. Spurs, who many considered actual title contenders before the weekend, slipped against Burnley, suffering a 2-1 loss. Even with Harry Kane back in the lineup, Spurs were unable to secure even a point at Turf Moor. Pochettino will be demanding a response at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea, who many expected to be severed in half by Pep’s men, put up a valiant fight against Manchester City for an entire 118 minutes in Sunday’s Cup Final. However, a sideline row between Kepa and Sarri, the likes of which football has never seen, along with a heartbreaking loss in the penalties that followed, left Chelsea with few positives to take away from the match.

Playing at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope to repeat their 2-1 victory against Spurs from the League Cup semi-final. Also, after losing their first match of the season by three goals against Tottenham in December, Chelsea will hope to regain their dropped points in a revenge match against their London rivals.

Read More

The Greatest Teams in Football History Week Seven: Barcelona (2008-2012)

The Greatest Teams in Football History Week Seven: Barcelona (2008-2012)

After announcing his decision to leave the club in April of 2012, Pep Guardiola said, “Four years at Barcelona is like an eternity.” 

In those four years, Pep Guardiola and his Barcelona side accomplished what many coaches and players could not achieve in three lifetimes. This Barcelona side are the greatest team of the 21st century. They played the most beautiful football. They had the best players. In future decades, fans of the game will look back at this side with sadness, wishing they could see them play just one more time.

Read More

Premier League Predictions: Matchweek 27

Premier League Predictions: Matchweek 27

Though Manchester United will feel the need to deliver at home against their massive rivals, Liverpool bears the pressure in this match. That is why, if Liverpool comes away with a point this weekend, they will see that as a decent result. Not necessarily because Manchester United pose a massive challenge, but because – now that the pendulum has swung and Liverpool are finding goals slightly harder to come by – Liverpool know how valuable this match will be.

Ultimately, this match will be decided by the more clinical side. If Liverpool finishes the way they did against Bayern Munich, missing golden opportunities to go ahead, Manchester United will make them pay. Due to each side’s respective form and the benefit of Manchester United playing at Old Trafford, the reds of Manchester will take this won – slightly.

Read More

Atletico Madrid’s Crotch Thrusting Tour of Vengeance Might Just Win Them the Champions League

Atletico Madrid’s Crotch Thrusting Tour of Vengeance Might Just Win Them the Champions League

From top to bottom, Atletico Madrid are a squad hell-bent on proving the critics wrong. Whether it is the old regime of Godin and Luis revealing they’ve still got Champions League quality at 33 or it is Morata ferociously attacking the net, desperate to prove his caliber, Madrid are angry. Much of this team suffered the catastrophic last-minute collapse against rivals Real in the 2016 Champions League final. They remember the anguish of defeat that left their successful season that included winning La Liga in tatters. This Atletico Madrid side, therefore, are out for revenge. Yes, Manchester City look unbeatable, Juventus aren’t dead yet, and Barcelona still have the greatest player of all time, but if Atletico continues to perform as solid defensively and as lethal offensively as they proved capable of playing last night, they might just go all the way.

Read More

This Is Paul Pogba's World, We're Just Living In It

This Is Paul Pogba's World, We're Just Living In It

In Manchester United’s 2-0 victory against Chelsea, Paul Pogba put on a show. Displaying why he is the world’s most valuable midfielder, the Frenchman delivered an assist to Ander Herrera and even bagged a goal of his own.

In a match that more closely resembled a Lion tormenting a baby gazelle, Pogba was the brain behind United’s ferocious potency.

Read More

The Greatest Teams in Football History - Week Six: Spain (2008-2012)

The Greatest Teams in Football History - Week Six: Spain (2008-2012)

Unlike Germany, Argentina, Italy, and Brazil, success has never been synonymous with the Spanish national team. Though they house two of the best clubs in the history of the game, Barcelona and Real Madrid, the country always stuttered to produce results in major tournaments. Before 2008, their only trophy came in the 1964 European Championship – a four-team tournament that took place in Madrid and Barcelona. That year, Spain beat the USSR 2-1 to win their first and only international trophy for the next half-century.

In the late 20th century, as Germany blitzed their way across Europe, Brazil showcased their beautiful play, Argentina unleashed Maradonna, and even England brought football back home to Wembley, Spain sat on the sidelines, struggling to compete. Underachievers for decades, Spain resembled the Charlie Brown of international football.

In the knockout round of the 2006 World Cup, Spain was brushed aside by France in a 3-1 loss. Though their squad included promising talent like Sergio Ramos, Fernando Torres, David Villa, and Cesc Fabregas, Spain had once again been ousted by one of their European big brothers. Everyone believed Spain’s young team was merely a novelty act that would never stand alone at the top of world football – everyone except for Luis Aragones.

Read More

Win, Lose, or Sack, It's Always Entertaining at Chelsea. Here's How to Make it Better

Win, Lose, or Sack, It's Always Entertaining at Chelsea. Here's How to Make it Better

Since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, the club has entered into a well-established cycle of prolific success and tragic capitulation. Though this pattern could be seen as far back as during Mourinho’s first stint at Chelsea, the recent squad of players have taken it to an entirely new level.

After winning the Premier League under Mourinho in 2015-16, the core players of the squad such as Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, and Willian said, “You think finishing first was impressive, check this out.” The following season, Chelsea finished 10th in the league after sacking Jose Mourinho. At the time, the decision to remove Chelsea’s most successful manager in their history came as a result of locker room mutiny.

Read More

Real Madrid ('56-'60) - The Greatest Teams in Football History: Week 5

Real Madrid ('56-'60) - The Greatest Teams in Football History: Week 5

In the past three seasons, Real Madrid won the Champions League three times in a row. Such an astonishing achievement solidified them as true conquerors of Europe. With players like Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo – this was one of the best Madrid sides of all time. In 2016, when Zidane was installed as manager, Madrid now had a galactico on the sidelines directing galacticos on the pitch. Though this Madrid side did not achieve much success domestically, they established a record that will develop into a jaw-dropping legacy in decades to come. 

Though they ruled Europe for three years, a harsh reality underlies their achievements – they aren’t the first Madrid side to do it. And compared with the Madrid side of the late ’50s which first achieved this accomplishment – they aren’t even close. 

Read More

Premier League Predictions: Matchweek 26

Premier League Predictions: Matchweek 26

In Pep Guardiola’s time in England, Manchester City’s performances in the league against Chelsea have defined each of his three seasons. In ‘16/’17, a 3-1 loss at the Etihad sent Chelsea flying into a thirteen game win streak in which they went top of the league and never looked back. Last year, Manchester City became instant title favorites following a 1-0 thumping of Antonio Conte’s men at Stamford Bridge. This season was no different. On December 8th, Chelsea delivered Manchester City their first loss in the form of a 2-0 victory at the bridge. Following that match, Liverpool became the only undefeated side in the league, a reputation they utilized to send them into first place a week later. 

When Chelsea take on Manchester City at the Etihad Sunday, the implications will be no less significant. 

Read More

Should He stay or Should He Go: Eden Hazard’s £100 Million Question

Should He stay or Should He Go: Eden Hazard’s £100 Million Question

In an interview with French radio station RMC, Eden Hazard admitted that he has finally made up his mind on what he intends to do in the future. The interview, recorded two months ago but released recently as part of a documentary on the Belgian’s career, includes Hazard saying: “I know what I will do. I have made my decision.”

The Guardian’s Matt Law recently reported that Hazard is “expected” to tell Chelsea that he wants a move to Madrid any day now. Similarly, La Liga journalist Guillem Balague has revealed Real Madrid’s £300 Million summer transfer budget, which they are expected to throw at a double transfer for Hazard and Eriksen or for Neymar alone.  

Read More

How to Create a Fourteen Track, Fantasy Draft Oasis Album

How to Create a Fourteen Track, Fantasy Draft Oasis Album

Too depressed by rumors that Eden Hazard has decided to move to Madrid this summer, I'm taking a break from football today. This article is an extension (rip off) of a podcast released by the great people behind Celebration Rock. They attempted to create a 14-track album of what they believed to be the greatest tracks from Oasis’s mid-90s heyday. Today, I’ll be doing the same. Only this time, correctly.

In the two short years between 1994 and 1996, Oasis transformed from a group of 5 unemployed Manchester City fans into the greatest British band of the decade. In this article, I’ll reveal the true fantasy Oasis album that encapsulates the vast spectrum of their greatness. Expect drama, exaggeration, and more adjectives that can fit in a fourth grader's thesaurus.

Ultimately, I’ll answer the question: what would happen if Creation Records forced Noel and Liam Gallagher to combine Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story (Morning Glory) into a single, 14-track mega-album.

Read More

The Greatest Teams in Football History - Week Four: Manchester United ('95-'01)

The Greatest Teams in Football History - Week Four: Manchester United ('95-'01)

In the two-decade purple patch of arguably the greatest club in English history, determining the peak of their success proves challenging. Based on trophies, players, and legacy, the seven years from 1995 to 2001 are tough to beat.

Yes, in 2003, United signed Ronaldo and in 2004 they signed Rooney. The two forwards led the charge for a new United that saw the emergence of club legends Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Nani, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, and Edwin Van der Sar. This new generation, however, came about in an era of Arsenal’s “invincibles” and Abramovich’s Chelsea. Manchester United was no longer alone at the top of English football…

Read More

Premier League Predictions: Matchweek 25

Premier League Predictions: Matchweek 25

Manchester City will welcome Arsenal to the Etihad this weekend, desperately needing a win after their midweek loss to Newcastle. The loss widened their gap between 1st place Liverpool to 5 points. They will be thankful to Leicester, however, for digging out a draw against Liverpool at Anfield – saving City from the threat of a seven-point gap,.

Arsenal, meanwhile, has risen to fourth place on goal difference thanks to Bournemouth’s humiliation of Chelsea on the south coast. Desperate to return to the Champions League next season, Arsenal needs a result against City to stave off threatening Chelsea and Manchester United sides.

Read More

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is Determined to Bring Swagger - in Trophies - Back to Old Trafford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is Determined to Bring Swagger - in Trophies - Back to Old Trafford

Let’s get one thing straight – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants trophies at Manchester United, not the top four title.

After an incredible start to his interim position as United manager that has seen the Red Devils win 8 straight games, Solskjaer has brought the swagger back to Old Trafford.

Though many pundits are drooling over United’s ability to pull off an incredible resurgence that lands them back in the Champions League places, Ole made a point in a recent interview that trophies are the target.

Read More

The Greatest Teams in Football History - Week Three: France (1998-2000)

The Greatest Teams in Football History - Week Three: France (1998-2000)

On the 26th and 29th of August, 1944, flanked by French and American soldiers, thousands of Parisians flooded the Champs Elysees celebrating the liberation of France from Nazi control.

Not until 54 years later would the French once again flock to the streets in celebration. Only this time, they were not celebrating the end of a brutal occupation – this time, they were celebrating victory on football’s biggest stage: the world cup.

Read More

League Cup Semi-Final: 3 Talking Points

League Cup Semi-Final: 3 Talking Points
  1. Sarri’s Changes Paid Off

After a fuming press conference following Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat against Arsenal last Saturday, Maurizio Sarri tore his team apart insisting that they lacked motivation and the desire for victory. Criticized heavily by much of the media who insisted he was digging his grave at Chelsea, Sarri refused to pamper to the personalities of the locker room – the same locker room that has effectively pushed out Mourinho and Conte after breakdowns in their relationship.

Read More

Football Analytics: An Informal Education

Football Analytics: An Informal Education

In the United States, “sports analytics” is no longer the taboo subject it used to be. The days of scoffing at spreadsheets while favoring the raw and undefined “tools” of the prospect have finally disappeared over the horizon. “Sabermetrics” in baseball and “APBRmetrics” in basketball have transformed their respective sports. Scouts no longer judge players solely on how fast they look or whether they have the infamously undefinable “it” factor. Instead, they can quantify the players' potential through analytics.

How efficient was that left-fielder's path to the fly ball? 74% or 92%. Such seemingly insignificant disparities could be the reason a player is called up Majors or is discarded to Minor League purgatory.

Football or Soccer, however, has been slow to embrace the push for analytics. Though some clubs have adopted them into their scouting networks, many clubs are wary of changing their system. For a sport with hundreds of professional leagues throughout the world, the potential database for a football-based prediction system is tremendous. With games like Football Manager producing frighteningly accurate predictions of future Ballon d’Or winners, the hesitation from many boards to alter their boardroom habits baffles many analytics enthusiasts

Read More

The Greatest Teams in Football History - Week Two: Bayern Munich (1967-1976)

The Greatest Teams in Football History - Week Two: Bayern Munich (1967-1976)

This is the second in a series of articles, released weekly, counting down the 10 greatest teams in the history of football. The teams were selected based on the trophies they won, the cultures they created, and the effect they had on the game of football.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century and into the late ‘60s, Bayern Munich were the Fredo Corleone of German football. The team that would go on to dominate Europe as a bastion of German efficiency, refinement, and strength was not even able to compete in the Bundesliga’s inaugural season of 1963. 

Read More

Sunderland 'Til I Die: A Show Worth Shouting About

Sunderland 'Til I Die: A Show Worth Shouting About

Emotion and entertainment cross paths on rarer occasion that the promoted content on Twitter, Youtube, and Netflix lead us to believe.

How often do shows make us empathize with what we are watching? The days of shouting at the TV screen are over. Instead, we set our undead gaze on our phones and laptops. As the screens shrink, so does our investment in digital entertainment.

Sunderland ‘Til I Die, however, is worth shouting about.

Read More