Sep 302014

In the summer, Arsenal carried out an internal restructuring of it youth set up when a new Academy head was appointed. Liam Brady had served notice of his departure last year, before he eventually step down as the head of the club’s Hale End Academy in May. His replacement Andries Jonker has already being at the helms for a few months. Although the effect of his work is not expected to bear fruits anytime soon, he has however outlined what his aims are for the Arsenal Academy.

There was a hint in the past that the academy had gone stale under the leadership of Arsenal legend Liam Brady after a handful of players came through the youth set up during his time at the club. However part of the plans to revamp and rejuvenate the youth set up brought about the Dutch man’s appointment.

He was officially appointed in January, and he has a past history of working with Manchester United manager Luis Van Gaal at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He joined Arsenal from Wolfsburg.

While Arsenal pride itself as a club that gives opportunities to youth talents, the drought in that area is something Andries Jonker highlighted in an interview, detailing that Ivan Gazidis has a grand plan to see Arsenal develop a world class academy. According to him:

“Arsenal want more talented players to come through, because that has been lacking,”

“They want me to develop the players from the academy much better than it was done before.

“At this moment, considering the investments the club have made, players have hardly been developed properly. This is why they wanted me, a man who can guide the coaches and who can influence the other coaches.”

“Ivan Gazidis [Arsenal chief executive] wants Arsenal to be the best academy in the world. He realises that will cost money and will take time, but that is his ambition.”

Besides, his grand plans to get the academy back on track, he still dwelled on the scouting network that would be involved in bringing some of these players to his attention. He detailed the kind of players he wants from the scouts, and the fact that the scouting network would need to be restructured to get the best out of it as well as the working relationship with the manager, Arsene Wenger in coming to a decision about  certain players.

“The scouting must be restructured all over again. It needs to be brought to a level so that we can bring in the absolute best talents from abroad and from England at an age that Wenger can immediately work with them.”

‘My chief scout at the academy, Steve Morrow, came and asked me what kind of players I wanted him to look for. So I said, the best player I have worked on, Xavi.’

“It is important that Wenger and I work closely together. What I do see is that everybody at the club has the feeling that they need to have the green light from Wenger before they do anything. But maybe that is not the case.

The key part was when he said that there are things in the academy that could improved on.

‘But there are a lot of things in the academy which can be improved or should be done different.”

The plan has been set up to reorganize the Academy set up, only time would tell how it pans out.

Sep 152014

The English Premier League of 2013/2014 was a captivating affair. Liverpool got to sniff victory, but was ultimately denied by a far more polished Manchester City. In the end, Liverpool fell 2 points short as they folded in critical games. Now, the 2014/2015 Premier League season is about to get underway and it will be Manchester United vs Swansea to kick off proceedings. Man U is looking like a much improved team, and their morale will be boosted by their stunning 3 – 1 victory over Liverpool in the final of the International Champions Cup in Miami. Liverpool will get a shot at putting themselves back on the map when they take on Southampton on the 17 August. Other fixtures to look out for include QPR vs Hull City on the 16th; West Ham vs Tottenham on the 16th and Burnley vs Chelsea on the 18th. Fans looking for a little distraction from the footy are welcome to enjoy free online slots games in between the corners!

 Posted by at 7:23 pm
Sep 092014

Whether you’re an armchair supporter or just love watching as much football as you can, it’s frustrating when you don’t know which game is on which channel and when.

For supporters of the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, a Saturday match with a 3 o’clock kick-off is a rarity. However, more and more games are now effected by the increased demand to watch games live from home.

Is your team on the telly? Which channel? What time?

That’s where the Virgin Media Football Fixtures Generator comes in to play. You can search for games at the touch of a button and filter the results depending on which game you’re interested in. The Football Fixtures Generator has results for all Premier League and Sky Bet Championship games, which can be filtered by date and by team.


Aug 292014

Man City v Stoke

Man City have started this campaign the same way they finished the last; looking like champions. After an opening day victory against Newcastle and breezing past Liverpool on Monday night, City will be looking to make it 3 wins in a row at The Etihad, where they won 17 of their home games last year.

After his brace on Monday night against Liverpool, Stefan Jovetic will be buoyant coming into Saturday’s fixture against Stoke. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that those two goals are in fact his only two attempts on target this season but also that there is far more to his game than simply scoring goals. He has won three of his four tackles, made two interceptions and tried to create goals for others with his two attempted crosses.

An equally unenviable task for Stoke’s defence will be trying to stop Sergio Aguero from adding to his two goals off the bench in his opening two games of the season. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that this is even more remarkable as he has converted 50% of his four shots on goals so far this season in just 29 minutes of Premier League action. He is also yet to give the ball away, completing 100% of his passes attempted.

Whilst their two strikers are in impeccable form, their back four look equally strong. Gael Clichy in particular has started the season very quickly in accordance with EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The French full back has won all of his ten tackles, made 11 clearances and made six interceptions, completed all four of his dribbles and attempted five crosses.

Whilst he has had an end to end first two games, Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis have had a solid defensive start to the season with 10 and 15 clearances respectively, with the latter also making four interceptions.

Stoke will be looking to kick start their season with their first victory of the new term and will want to inflict City’s first home defeat since the 3rd February loss to Chelsea. With this Stoke will need to make sure their strikers are on top form to break down a resolute defence, whilst remaining equally solid at the back.

One man who will prove crucial, is captain Ryan Shawcross. The former Manchester United trainee has scored Stoke’s only goal of the year so far and EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that he is the only member of the Stoke squad to hit the target more than once this year with his two attempts on target. More important is Shawcross’ strength in defence, which has seen him complete 30 clearances; more than anyone else in the Stoke squad. He has won all five of his tackles, completed two blocks and made a further interception. His resolute defence will need to be at its absolute best this weekend.

Against the powerhouse, multi million pound Man City midfield, Stoke will have to be at their best to handle such a force. Steven Ireland has had a solid start to the season and EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he has completed 92.86% of his passes; more than any other Stoke outfield player. He also has four interceptions to his name, and it is both ball retention and interceptions that could prove the difference come Saturday.

Going forward, Stoke have signed a Champions League and La Liga winner in Bojan, who they hope will be able to maintain his work rate on Saturday. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he has attempted 11 dribbles and it will be difficult to stop him in full flow for any defence. His six crosses and two interceptions show his willingness to work for the team.

Aug 292014

Tottenham vs Liverpool

After falling to defeat at the hands of Manchester City, Liverpool will be looking to bounce back at White Hart Lane this Sunday. Tottenham have got off to a good start under Mauricio Pochettino and sit pretty on top of the league, having not yet conceded a goal.

Spurs midfielder Erik Lamela has completed the second most successful dribbles in the Premier League behind Eden Hazard with eight, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The £30m man is likely to line up in the attacking trio behind the striker again this weekend and could cause problems to Liverpool if he carries last week’s form in to this weekend.

Jan Vertonghen’s return to the side saw an improvement in distribution from the back. He managed to complete 94.1% of his 51 passes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The Belgian defender’s composure certainly suits Pochettino’s desire to play out from the back and Liverpool should look to apply pressure to him when they can.

Left Back Danny Rose managed to clock a top speed of 34.4kmph last weekend, the fourth fastest of any player in the Premier League in the opening rounds of fixtures. His ability has not gone unnoticed by Roy Hodgson and the 24 year old has been called up to the England squad this week

A pacey battle looks set to ensue as Rose’s opposite number, Raheem Sterling, has been recorded running at 34.1kmph, making him the seventh fastest player in the Premier League so far this season. Mauricio Pochettino will have to make plans to deal with the elusive winger in order to limit any potential damage.

Martin Skrtel has made the third most clearances of any player in the division, managing 26 over the course of the two games played so far. The Slovakian is likely to be tested further this weekend and it would be no surprise to see him add to this total.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has completed the ninth most successful passes in the Premier League so far, with 124, managing a 90.5% accuracy rating according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. His distribution from deep midfield for the likes of Sterling and Sturridge proved vital last season and could be very useful at White Hart Lane.

Aug 292014

Burnley v Manchester United

Burnley will be hoping to give their Premier League campaign a re-boot after their two opening fixtures on their return to the top flight of English football have ended in defeat. They will be looking to tighten up their defence, which has shipped four goals in two games, and add to their only Premier League goal of the campaign so far.

One of the bright points to their season so far has been midfielder Scott Arfield, who is the only Burnley player to have hit the target on more than one occasion this year, with one of those two finding the back of the Chelsea net. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has completed 24.66km over his first two games, including 111 sprints and it is this lung bursting type of run that could see him test the Manchester United midfield and back four.

Equally impressive has been Arfield’s midfield partner Dean Marney, who will be integral to Burnley’s chances this weekend. If Burnley are to contain the Red Devils, Marney will need to add to the 24.05km he has already covered in the first two games of the season. EA SPORTS Player performance Index shows us that he has won nine tackles, the highest at the club, and has also racked up five interceptions.

Burnley have only managed one goal in their first two games, but their strikers will be lining up against a new look United defence after the departures of Vidic and Ferdinand in the summer. Lukas Jutkiewicz has had four shots off target and Danny Ings has also failed to hit the target from his five attempts, but the pair will fancy their chances this weekend. According to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, they have both hit a top speed of 31.9km/h, and will look to trouble the United defence with their pace.

Manchester United are still looking for their first win of the season, having started their season with a possible one point from six. Having completed the British transfer record signing of Angel Di Maria, their squad will be looking to win in impressive fashion as every player fights for their place.

United’s goal scorer against Sunderland on Sunday, Juan Mata, has started the season impressively so far. According to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he has completed over 25.14km in his first two games of the season, nearly 2km more than anyone else in the squad. EA SPORTS data also reveals that he has hit the target twice more, attempted seven crosses and boasts an impressive 88.89% pass completion rate.

Wayne Rooney opened United’s scoring account for the season, and has looked every inch the new captain in those two games. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that he has hit the target three times and completed five dribbles, both of which are more than any other United player. He has completed 85.33% of his passes in the first two games of the season in which he has also covered 23.17km.

Rumors have circulated that Ashley Young is one of the players who may lose his position with the arrival of Angel Di Maria, but EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows how good a start Ashley Young has made to the season. His two attempts this season have both found the target and his five clearances and five interceptions show his defensive work rate. His 15 attempted crosses is more than double anybody else in the United squad has managed. The 32.34km that he has covered across the two games is bettered only by Rooney and Mata, and his top speed of 33.3km/h is the second fastest pace recorded by any United player.

Aug 292014

Everton vs Chelsea

The late kick-off on Saturday sees Chelsea face Everton in a game that possesses many sub-plots. Everton’s new strike force consists of two players who will be desperate to prove a point as both Samuel Eto’o and Romelu Lukaku will be seeking to impress against former manager Jose Mourinho. Chelsea will be looking to continue their winning start to the season, but will likely face their toughest test yet.

Phil Jagielka has managed the sixth most clearances in the Premier League thus far – with 21, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The Everton captain is likely to add to that this weekend when he’ll be occupied by the wealth of attacking talent that Chelsea possess including Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.

Despite operating primarily as a holding midfielder, Gareth Barry still has the ability to be effective further up the pitch, ranking tenth in the entire division for passes in the opposition half, managing 64 in total – which also places him first amongst the rest of his squad, as per the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Stephen Naismith could prove to be an important figure on Saturday evening against Chelsea, and his tireless approach may be invaluable in pressing high up the pitch, with the Scotsman covering the most distance of any forward this season, clocking up a cumulative 24.4km over the course of the first two games.

The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows Chelsea winger Eden Hazard to have strengthened his commanding lead as the top dribbler in the Premier League, having completed a total of 14 successful dribbles this season, 6 more than anyone else in the league. He is certain to provide a stern test for in-form right back Seamus Coleman.

Spanish playmaker Cesc Fábregas has settled into life at Chelsea seamlessly, recording the fourth most passes in the opposition half out of any Premier League player so far this season with 87. It is important for Everton to cut him out of the game in order to prevent supply to the Chelsea front-line if they are to achieve a result this Saturday as the playmaker already has three assists in two games, the most in the league.

John Terry has made more defensive contributions than any other player in the Chelsea squad. The Blues’ captain has won four tackles, made 20 clearances and three interceptions in the first two games – and former Chelsea boys Lukaku and Eto’o face a tough task this Sunday if they are to break down the Chelsea defender.

Aug 292014

Leicester v Arsenal

Leicester City’s tough start to the season continues with the visit of Arsenal following last week’s trip to Stamford Bridge.

No Leicester City player will have felt their tough opening games more than goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who made eight saves against Chelsea, more than any other goalkeeper in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in the last round of games.

Leicester City midfielder Dean Hammond has been putting himself about on the pitch, and topped the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for tackles attempted last weekend with 11. However, with only six of those tackles won Hammond may want to think twice before attempting to take the ball off Arsenal’s midfield, who are renowned for moving the ball on quickly.

David Nugent has been working hard to close players down from the front for the Foxes so far this season. He’s ranked second for distance covered at a high speed sprint this season, having covered 1,158 metres at full speed.

Andy King has been putting in the biggest shift for the Leicester City team so far this season, covering 23.5km across their first their games.

Arsenal will be concerned that a free scoring start to the season, with four goals in their first two Premier League games, could be about to dry up after Olivier Giroud was ruled out until 2015 with injury

Giroud scored the equaliser in their last Premier League fixture against Everton in a 2-2 draw that mirrored Leicester’s result against the same opponents. Giroud is one of only two strikers in the Premier League to have had five shots at goal in the last round of games, having got two of those on target. The other player to have had five efforts last weekend was his team mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, though ‘The Ox’ didn’t hit the target with any of those efforts.

The Ox also attempted the second highest amount of dribbles with ten, but with only four successful he’s due a change in fortunes and Leicester City may well be victims of that this weekend.

Aaron Ramsey has picked up this season as he did the last, and looked in scintillating form for the Gunners. He is one of only two players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have completed over 100 passes in the opposition half.

Ramsey has also completed more sprints than any other member of the Arsenal squad, with exactly 100 so far this season.

Aug 292014

Aston Villa v Hull

Aston Villa will be very happy with the start they have made to the campaign, picking up four points from a possible six so far and should rightly go into the game in buoyant fashion. They are one of only two teams who are yet to concede this season, and they will hope to extend their run of clean sheets to three games to ensure their second win from their opening three fixtures.

Aston Villa’s defensive solidity has provided the perfect foundation for them to pick up points in their first two games, and American shot stopper Brad Guzan has started the season in fine form with six saves across his two appearances. According to EA SPORTS Players Performance Index, the Villain’s centre backs have also been in fine form with Philippe Senderos completing 12 clearances, and Dutch international Ron Vlaar completing 16 clearances. Whilst Vlaar has won both of his two tackles in his opening two games, he has made as many interceptions and Senderos has made three interceptions which points to how well the pairing are reading the game.

At the other end of the pitch, Andreas Weimann has netted Villa’s only goal of the season so far, in their opening day victory against Stoke. He will be hoping to add to that tally this weekend. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that his finish against Stoke was the only shot that he has taken in two games, and getting more shots off could be the key to his success. He is a hard worker, making two interceptions and getting three crosses into the box for his teammates.

In the middle of the park, Villa will rely on Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph to win the battle of the engine rooms. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows us that the pair have covered more ground than anyone else in the squad so far, with Westwood covering 23.67km and Delph completing 21.95km in their opening two games of the season. Delph has completed seven of his eight dribbles so far this season and Westwood has completed 82.43% of his passes, both of which are more than anybody else in the Villa squad. They will need to use their drive and ball retention to conquer the Hull midfield come Sunday.

Hull have started the season sharply with four points from a possible six, whilst also having to juggle their squad due to European commitments. Hull responded quickly from the disappointment of losing the FA Cup Final to Arsenal with an opening day win away at QPR and will be looking to pick up their second consecutive away win to help maintain their position in the European places.

Much like Aston Villa, Hull’s good start to the season has been built on the solid backbone of a good defence. Hull’s shot stopper Allan McGregor has been in equally good form according to EA SPORTS Player Performance index, making seven saves in his first two games. James Chester and Curtis Davies have bolstered that defensive solidity with 14 and 23 clearances respectively, and Paul McShane deputising for the injured Alex Bruce has also made an impressive 19 clearances. James Chester has also added a further three blocks and three interceptions in his first two games, and it is crucial that the back three continue their strong start to the campaign to ensure victory.

Hull’s midfield star Tom Huddlestone has also has also impressed in his opening two games of the season, grabbing an assist already. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index also shows that he has won four of his five tackles, completed seven clearances, made two interceptions and also made two blocks. His work rate has been impeccable and he has covered 22.64km in his first two games; the second most ground covered by any Hull player. Hull’s other former Tottenham starlet Jake Livermore has completed 24.08km, and the pair will look to keep up their work rate to win the battle of the midfield.

Up top, Hull’s Nikica Jelavic will look to double his goal tally on the weekend after opening his account against Stoke last weekend. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that his finish against Stoke was in fact the only shot Jelavic has found the target with in his opening two games of the season. Jelavic’s three dribbles and three attempts on goal show his direct nature though and his hard work in completing 21.51km in his first two matches shows willingness to close down defenders.

Aug 292014

West Ham v Southampton

The Irons have made a solid start to the season, having been unlucky to lose out to London rivals Tottenham at home, before triumphing in their second London derby of the season at Crystal Palace. Their 3-1 victory means that they will enter this fixture in a buoyant mood.

The Hammers will rely on a good defensive record to turn their home ground into a solid platform for results, and EA SPORTS Player Performance Index suggests that their shot stopper is in good form. West Ham keeper Adrian has already made seven saves in just two appearances this season, meaning West Ham have conceded just one goal in two games. He will need to keep up his good form to keep Southampton at bay come Saturday.

In defence, Winston Reid has started the season well according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, by winning both of his two tackles, making three interceptions and three blocks and an impressive 20 clearances. His good work has been mirrored by the man playing in front of him, Cheikhou Kouyate, who has won all 10 of his tackles, made five clearances and also made six interceptions. He has been equally impressive going forward and has managed to hit the target twice, attempted three crosses and eight dribbles whilst maintaining a 86.49% pass completion rate.

Last weekend saw Carlton Cole and Mauro Zarate find the back of the Crystal Palace net, but it is the third goal scorer Stewart Downing who looks to be in top form. According to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Downing has hit the target three times in two games; more than any other player in the West Ham squad. Along with his 75% shooting accuracy, Downing has looked a threat from wide areas by delivering fourteen crosses in just two games; nine more crosses than any other West Ham player. Downing has hit a top speed of 35.1km/h this season, which is the fastest in the West Ham squad, and it is this pace that will worry the Southampton defence.

Southampton had a turbulent period over the summer with the loss of so many key squad members and with the loss of Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham. After an opening day defeat at Anfield and a home draw with West Brom, Southampton will be looking to kick start their season into life with three points for their travelling army to take back to the South coast.

With the sale of Adam Lallana in the summer came room for new creativity from the Southampton midfield, and EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that this void has been filled by Dusan Tadic. Whilst he is yet to score, the Serbian midfielder has hit the target with two of his three efforts and completed three of his six dribbles. It is his creativity where he comes into his own, having already got an assist and has delivered a staggering 22 crosses in just 164 minutes of playing time.

Defensively, Nathaniel Clyne has been very impressive and added to his defensive performances with a goal at Liverpool. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index also shows us he has also won nine out of his 11 tackles, made two clearances and two interceptions and delivered three crosses. He has also reached a top speed of 33.3km/h, which is the fastest in the squad, having also registered 92 sprints in the Saints’ first two games, which is again the most in their squad.

The Saints will look to dominate in the middle of the park, which will mean they will require a big performance from French international Morgan Schneiderlin. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he has covered 24.9km in his first two games this season, nearly 3km more than the next closest member of the Southampton squad. Whilst hitting the target with both of his attempts on goal and successfully delivering his only cross, it is defensively where Schneiderlin has most impressed. He has won eight tackles, made four clearances, two interceptions and one block whilst managing to complete 83.94% of his passes. He will be a key asset to Southampton getting their first win of the season.

Aug 292014

Newcastle v Crystal Palace

Newcastle have found themselves starting the season with a possible one point from six, and will hope that they don’t have their second home defeat in a row inflicted upon them. Failure to score a goal in either of their opening two fixtures will be a major concern, and something that they must look to resolve on the weekend.

One of the brightest notes in the Newcastle side in their opening fixtures has been the man who made the move across from arch-rivals Sunderland, Jack Colback. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he has completed 23.47km over the duration of the first two games of the season; more than any other member of the Newcastle squad. Off the ball, he has made five interceptions, and on the ball he has attempted five dribbles, five crosses and completed 63 passes in the opposition half; again, more than any other Newcastle player. He will be essential to driving Newcastle forward and creating chances for their forwards.

Whilst Newcastle will be relieved to have picked up their first point of the season last weekend against Aston Villa, they will be upset to have lost centre back Michael Williamson, who had made a good start to the season prior to his red card. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he will be a big loss, having won three of his four tackles so far this season and made 13 clearances and 6 interceptions; both of which are more than any other player in the Newcastle squad. It is important that Newcastle find a replacement to partner Fabricio Coloccini that can live up to the start made to the season by Williamson.

The two new attacking threats purchased by Newcastle in the summer, Remy Cabella and Antoine Riviere, are also simmering and EA SPORTS Player Performance Index show that they are impressing on the pitch. The statistics show us that Cabella has attempted nine dribbles and nine crosses whilst Riviere has attempted five dribbles and two crosses. Whist they have both made two interceptions, Riviere has won to tackles compared to Cabella’s nine. The statistics point to the pair to be a bit more selfish as neither has hit the target in the opening two games, but the talent is definitely there.

Crystal Palace have endured a tough time of late after losing their first home game of the season to West Ham, losing their manager but thankfully not losing hope thanks to a Dwight Gayle hat-trick, which saw them progress to the next round of the League Cup. The Eagles will be looking to impress under Neil Warnock’s new regime and keen to get their season back on track by returning to London with 3 well earned points.

Whilst it was Gale who netted a hat trick in the week, he has only been given 25 minutes of playing time across the two games he has featured in so far. According to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, it is Marouane Chamakh who has impressed for the Selhurst Park outift. However, it would appear that Chamakh’s best work is at the wrong end of the pitch as he has won six tackles, completed seven clearances and had three interceptions. In contrast, going forward he has completed only one dribble and no crosses, has had no assists but has scored with his only shot on goal. If he works higher up the pitch and gets more shots off, he will be reaping the rewards.

Whilst Palace will naturally want to add to their goals scored for the season, it is of more importance they stop conceding as they have the joint worst defensive record so far, shipping five goals. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that Julian Speroni has made nine saves in those two games and will have to continue that shot stopping form if his Crystal Palace side are to come away with a result from Saturday’s game.

This game could well be won in the engine room, where Newcastle’s Jack Colback may in fine form, but will be met by Crystal Palace captain, Mile Jedinak. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that only Jedinak has covered 21.28km in his first two league games; the second most in the Eagles’ squad. His 15 tackles won, more than anyone else in the Premier League, also show the centre midfielder’s hard work, as do his five clearances and his nine interceptions made. On the ball, Jedinak has already created a goal and completed 35 passes in the opposition half, but will be eager to improve on his 65.05% pass completion rate so that he can continue to create more goals to inspire the team that he leads.

 Posted by at 9:15 am
Aug 292014

QPR vs Sunderland

Winless QPR face Sunderland, who will be feeling confident following their hard earned draw against Manchester United last week. QPR will be hoping to kick-start their season with a win against Sunderland, but both managers will see this as a winnable game and it could turn out to be an entertaining contest.

QPR may be struggling to pick up points, but one thing they do not lack is pace. Five of their players are among the top 20 speeds recorded in the Premier League so far this season. Armand Traore is the pick of the bunch, clocking in at 34.3kmph, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

In addition to the pace in their side, they possess a hard working core, with Joey Barton being the most hardworking. Barton has covered the 9th most ground in the division, managing 24.37km over the course of his first two games. He remains an important part of Redknapp’s QPR side this year and will be expected to put in another shift against Sunderland.

Loic Remy has attempted more crosses and dribbles than any of his teammates, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. With 9 crosses and 11 dribbles so far this season, Remy is the player who poses the biggest threat to Sunderland.

Seb Larsson has covered the most ground for Sunderland two weeks running. The 11.83km he covered against Manchester United is the greatest distance any Sunderland player has covered this season as per the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and Larsson’s energy has proved to be important so far this season, with Sunderland yet to drop a point.

The quickest Sunderland player so far this season is Connor Wickham. The forward has been recorded running at 33.4kmph according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and he is looking to be a likely starter again this weekend.

New signing Patrick Van Aanholt has made the most defensive contributions in the Sunderland squad so far this season. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows the ex-Chelsea man has made more tackles (7) and more interceptions (8) than anyone else in team, and the Dutchman is likely to continue in his berth on the left hand side of defence this weekend.

 Posted by at 9:00 am
Aug 032014

Cesc Fabregas was a hero amongst Arsenal fans. Even when he left them and returned to Barcelona, he was still regarded as a legend… unlike Robin van Persie who was a “Judas”.

When Fernando Torres left Liverpool for Chelsea, Fabregas was quick to come out and claim that he would never sign for another English club.

However, last summer, Fabregas was open to joining Manchester United, only for Ed Woodward to offer a paltry £30m for him. Having remained silent all summer, Fabregas only spoke out to confirm his desire to stay at Barcelona once the Spanish club rejected a bid for him.

This summer, he signed for Arsenal’s rivals, Chelsea, and Jose Mourinho said he didn’t need much convincing to snub his former club for the blues.

“How did I persuade him? I spoke to him for about 20 minute,” said Mourinho. “I think he really wanted to come. Arsenal had an option where they could interfere, but I don’t think he was open to that. He was in our direction so it was easy for me.”

Fabregas isn’t the only one though. Frank Lampard rejected the chance to stay at Chelsea, the club where he is regarded a legend, for a massive pay day in America. Despite playing 40 games for Chelsea last season, showing he clearly has a few more years in him, he opted to effectively end his career by signing for a club in the US that doesn’t even exist yet.

Last May, Lampard revealed that a few Premier League clubs tried to sign him, but that he couldn’t join them because of his loyalty to Chelsea.

“There were a couple of opportunities to stay here in the Premier League but I can’t imagine playing for anyone else after being 12 years at Chelsea,” said Lampard. I’ve got a lot of respect for a lot of other Premier League clubs, particularly the top ones, but I couldn’t have done that.”

Lampard has just signed for Manchester City on loan.

Jul 242014

Following his move to New York City FC, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has posed on the Brooklyn Bridge with the scarf of his new club.

The transfer has been met with some disapproval by some New Yorkers though. Lampard was amongst a group of Chelsea players, including John Terry, who abused and mocked American tourists at Heathrow Airport following September 11th.

Jul 122014

Luis Suarez reiterated his desire to leave Liverpool FC on a number of occasions last summer after the club failed to reach the top four.

Suarez claimed it was nothing against Liverpool, rather the fact he wanted to play in the Champions League. When Arsenal put in a bid of £1 over the £40m asking price that he believed would release him, Suarez gave an interview with The Telegraph claiming that Liverpool had “betrayed” him.

“I have told the manager that I want to leave the club,” he said. “I am being accused of showing a lack of loyalty but last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club and I stayed on the understanding that if we did not qualify for the Champions League the following season then I would be allowed to go.”

Suarez was forced to stay at the club and a few months later he signed a new five-year-deal with Liverpool.

“I am delighted to have agreed a new deal with Liverpool and have my future secured for the long term,” said Suarez at the time. “I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool.”

And Liverpool fans believed him.

However, Tony Evans, a Liverpool fan who is the football editor for The Times, has revealed this evening that the only reason why Suarez signed that contract was because it included a clause which stated he had to be sold if his asking price was met.

Given the reason that Suarez gave for wanting to leave Liverpool was his desire to play in the Champions League, some of their fans may now be scratching their heads as to why he has chosen to leave now that they have qualified for Europe’s elite competition again.

However, in the statement that he released after signing for Barcelona, Suarez claimed that he loved the club, loved the city, and signed it off with “you’ll never walk alone”. That’s literally all it takes for their fans to be convinced that he’s a legend, whilst it’s quite apparent to everybody else that he’s a racist who bites people who is relieved to finally have got his wish and been allowed to leave Liverpool.

Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra after he admitted that he called the United defender a “negro”. He claimed that he used the term in a “friendly and affectionate way”, which, in Uruguay, would mean it wasn’t offensive. However, independent language experts confirmed that the fact Suarez used the term whilst in the middle of a row with Evra means, conclusively, that in Uruguay this would be a term of racist abuse.

Still, this didn’t stop the Liverpool manager and players showing up at their next game with Suarez’s face on a t-shirt.

Whenever Evra has played at Anfield since then, he has been booed by the fans, for having the audacity of reporting the racist abuse one of their players dished out to him.

Liverpool have been shamed on a worldwide scale by Suarez, following his racism and repeated biting, and now he’s binned them off for a bigger and better club.

Jun 162014

No footballer regularly plying their trade in the Premier League can ever be described as poor. However, there are some, at the top of their game, or with a great career mostly behind them, who attract even greater riches.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney is worth a reported £45m but it could be even higher. His contract at Manchester United, which was renegotiated last season, is now a five and a half year deal which is worth approximately £300,000 per week. Rooney was one of the few United players to star last season as the team upset the Betfair betting odds and finished seventh in the table.

Rooney, part of the England World Cup squad that travels to Brazil, also has deals with sponsors including Nike and Samsung which bring in almost £2m extra a year. He is not one of the biggest earners in terms of endorsements; Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo earn much more off the pitch, though if Rooney has a good World Cup, more deals may well come his way.

Samuel Eto’o

Samuel Eto’o faces an uncertain future at Chelsea but he won’t be short of money wherever he ends up next season. Chelsea will be looking to add strikers to their squad as they seek to justify the Betfair odds as one of the favourites to lift next season’s Premier League title.

Eto’o is now aged 33 and, after a career including lucrative spells at Barcelona and Inter Milan, the forward became the highest paid player in world football when he joined Anzhi Makhachkala.

He was earning about £350,000 a week for the Russian side and, on moving to London at the start of last season, was agreeing a massive pay cut. However, having completed the move to Stamford Bridge he did receive an eight-figure severance package and a substantial signing on fee. Eto’o also receives about £5m a year from being the face of Puma.

Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand also has his footballing career up in the air after his career with Manchester United came to an end. Much of his estimated £44m fortune has been generated through his long career at the top of the game, with spells at West Ham and Leeds before his big money move to Old Trafford in 2002.

He also have various business interests outside of the game including films, music and magazines while he also owns a Manchester restaurant called Rosso. He now has homes in Manchester and London as well as Barbados, Turkey and Dubai and will not be short of interests when his playing career eventually comes to an end.

Steven Gerrard

Unlike Rooney and Ferdinand at Manchester United, Gerrard has never won the Premier League trophy during his long career with Liverpool which has now spanned 16 years. However, Liverpool won the Champions League during his time with Anfield and, as England captain, his fortune could increase further if he and his country have a good World Cup in Brazil.

Gerrard is likely to stay at Anfield in some capacity after his playing career ends and he has earned outside of the game, through a contract with Adidas among other outside interests. After coming so close last season, Liverpool will be among the favourites in the Betfair title odds to lift their first ever Premier League title next season.

Frank Lampard

While his Chelsea team-mate John Terry has signed a new contract at Stamford Bridge, Lampard is yet to do so, and he has been linked with newly promoted QPR, managed by his uncle Harry Redknapp. Despite his lucrative Chelsea contract coming to an end, Lampard still has sponsorship deals with Adidas and Pepsi which have boosted his earnings.

May 232014

Luke Shaw is a Chelsea fan who started his career at the club’s development centre but was not offered an academy place.

“Seriously, I was let go because of my height,” he revealed. “It was only when I was about 14 or 15 I got taller and bigger. I remember the first day of my trial at Southampton I got a phone call straight away to say they wanted to take me on.”

Shaw is now set to make a move to rivals Manchester United after the World Cup for anything over £20 million. Shaw has replaced Ashley Cole, who was released by Chelsea today, in the England squad for this summer’s tournament in Brazil.

May 202014

As I’m sure you are well aware, today is Yaya Toure’s birthday. We all know this because the player’s agent, Dmitri Seluk, has claimed that the player will probably leave this summer because Manchester City didn’t show him enough attention.

Toure then went on Twitter to support his agent’s claims.

Whilst this would be ridiculous enough, even if the story stopped there, it’s worth pointing out that City didn’t forget his birthday. Aside from wishing him a ‘Happy Birthday’ on Twitter, the club actually presented the player with a cake.

“Honestly, it’s not 100% he will stay at Manchester City, it’s better to say 50/50,” Seluk said. “I tell you this is not about cake, more importantly it is about attention. Yaya can buy cake for everybody and it’s no problem from him. When Yaya is on the pitch he works very hard for the entire 90 minutes. He takes the ball from his own half and runs the entire length of the field and scores beautiful goals, there aren’t too many players who can do this. He has motivation to pay well for City, he fights for City, but he feels he fights for the team and the club forget about him. It’s very upsetting for him. When the club celebrated winning the Premier League, everything was good. Yaya had a great season and everybody at Manchester City was together. But nobody said congratulations to Yaya for his performances, and that made Yaya think the club doesn’t respect him and don’t give him enough attention. Of course it’s not a question about the money, his relationship with the club is the most important thing to Yaya. The attention a player has at a club, the more motivation they have for the future there.”

Even worse, the player then took to Twitter to confirm that the club had sent him a card.

If Yaya Toure wants out of The Project (TM), then why not say so? It surely would be less humiliating than making a fuss over bloody attention on his birthday!