Tag Archives: Premier League

Premier League predictions, part 2

Is this where the trophy will end up, again?

Is this where the trophy will end up, again?

On Saturday it begins, the 2010/11 Premier League season. Day before yesterday, I wrote my predictions for the 8:th to 5:th spot finishes, here are my predictions for the top four spots:

4. Arsenal
I think Gunners supporters all over the world are still holding their breaths that Cesc Fabregas won’t make that seemingly inevitable switch to Barcelona just yet. He must be the single most important player to a team in the Premier League. With him they are always title contenders. Without him… I can’t even imagine where they would finish.  But I suppose Wenger would as always have a trick up his sleeve and buy a young French or Dutch guy that noone has even heard of and turn him into one of the best in the league in no-time. Still, with or without Fabregas, they will be surpassed by three teams this season.

3. Manchester City
With City’s mad spending they have to be considered title contenders but I don’t think they will win the league just yet, Buying top players is easy if you got the money, but to make those players into a team is harder and takes a bit of time. However, they already have a team that can beat any side in the world now and new boys David Silva and Yaya Toure are quality signings in my opinion.

Wayne Rooney, Man Utd

Wayne Rooney, Man Utd

2. Manchester United
Last season’s predictions focused on how United would cope without Ronaldo. Rather well it turned out with old boys Giggs and Scholes still playing important roles and Rooney having his best season so far. But at the end of the day, they did not manage to go all the way. I can’t see Giggs and Scholes performing to their highest levels any longer and as promising and talented as players like Hernandez, Obertan and Macheda are,  I dont’ think it is enough to bring the trophy to Old Trafford this season either.

1. Chelsea
Last season, the title race was wide open until the last day when Chelsea managed to win by one single point. This year, I can see the Blues clinch the title earlier than that. Finally there is some consistency at Stamford Bridge without players coming and going all the time. I think this plays to their advantage and if players like Essien, Drogba and Cech can stay injury free then Ancellotti certainly has a team strong, technical and organised enough to not just win the Premier League but also finally conquer Europe in the Champions League.

What do you think? Do you think Chelsea will win once again? Or will City or United bring the title to Manchester? Feel free to comment and discuss below!

/Carl

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Premier League predictions, part 1

Who will lift the trophy next spring?

Who will lift the trophy next spring?

So, it’s time. In no more than three days the new Premier League season will kick off and my beloved Spurs will meet the “dark horse” of the title race: Manchester City. With Tottenham in the Champions League and City stronger and richer than ever, I think the Premier League 10/11 season will be the most exciting season in many years.

Norwegian John Carew and Ashley Young, Aston Villa

Norwegian John Carew and Ashley Young, Aston Villa

The Premier League has not been unaffected by the international economic downfall and clubs are not being able to do as much business during the summer as usual. Well, apart from Manchester City, who are buying players like there is no tomorrow. Chelsea have been unusually quiet in the transfer market, Manchester United do not have any money to spend and Liverpool and Arsenal spend more time on trying to keep their best players than recruiting new ones.

This means that clubs like Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham have turned the Premier League into a seven horse race. Though I still find it hard to see someone other than United or Chelsea winning the title this year, it certainly brings even more excitement to the best league in the world.

So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the new season:

8. Everton
On a good day, Everton have the ability to beat every team in the league. The problem is that those days come quite seldom. Last season was ruined by injuries and they need to keep players like Arteta, Cahill, Jagielka and Saha fit this season. I am also excited to see what Jermain Beckford can do in the Premier League.

7. Aston Villa
Villa has a great squad with a lot of pace and technique in their midfield. Key players James Milner and Richard Dunne (!) had a great season last year but their squad is quite small and I can’t see them climbing higher than 7:th this year.

Fernando Torres, Liverpool

Fernando Torres, Liverpool

6. Liverpool
Last season’s big disappointment have not been too active in the transfer market and even though key players like Gerrard and Torres have pledged their future to the club, Anfield still seems to be in shambles to me. It will be interesting to see what Roy Hodgson can do at a big club like this but if he manages to get the house in order then Liverpool will of course be up there – as they should.

5. Tottenham
I wish I could write that Spurs will follow up their fourth place finish from last year with another one, but I don’t see it happening.  We got a good and rather big squad but still lack that final touch. Last season was a big step forward in the way we play – instead of just trying to pass it around nicely but ineffectively, we managed to play more physically and sometimes even boring long ball football. Not always too fun but more varied and way more successful. But we never seem to be able to finish ahead of the Gunners and I think the other three teams above are just too strong.

What do you think? Am I dillusional in thinking Spurs will finish ahead of Liverpool? Will Liverpool restore the order and finish in the top four? Feel free to comment and discuss below!

Check back here tomorrow for my predictions for the top four spots!
/Carl

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10 days to the Premier League 10/11

Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe

Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe

I’m excited. Very excited. It’s a bit silly actually, I watched more or less every minute of this summer’s World Cup but I am still hungrier for football than I’ve ever been. And today it is no more than ten days left until the start of the Premier League 2010/11!

As a Tottenham Hotspur fan, last season proved to be the season when “it” finally happened. We took advantage of Liverpool’s dismal season and broke into the top four of the table. This may not sound like an “it” big enough to celebrate but if you have been supporting Spurs for the majority of your life, watching them disappoint and being ridiculed time and time again, then this certainly was a milestone occasion.

Francesc Fabregas, Arsenal FC

Francesc Fabregas

As I wrote back in May, this may not mean more than that they get a shot at getting beaten in the Champions League qualifying rounds by the likes of Ajax, Porto and Lyon in a couple of week’s time, but it is still proof that it is possible to challenge the big four (Manchester Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool) in the race for those four attractive Champions League places. And if they go through to the group stages, that means big games, big money and big honours. And if they go through to the knock-out stages, who knows how far they can go? (I really sound like a classic overoptimistic Spurs supporter, do I not?)

Regardless, I certainly will be watching Tottenham – Manchester City at 12:45 GMT on the 14:th of August and I recommend you to do so too – it truly will be exciting!

I also thought I would predict the outcome of new season but it is way too early for that now. Will Fabregas stay at Arsenal? Will Mascherano leave Liverpool? Is Kaka going to Chelsea? Check back here on the 12:th-13:th for my Premier League predictions and let me know what you think yourself!

For now: Come On You Spurs!

/Carl

Go to our Premier League site to watch player interviews, get more information on the teams and how to get tickets to the games. Click here!

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Congratulations to Chelsea… and Tottenham!

Drogba and Cole celebrating

Drogba and Cole celebrating

So it is all over and the three month Summer boredom starts. Yesterday was the last match day of Premier League 09/10 and Chelsea came out winners after thrashing Wigan 8-0. That stunning display also ended Manchester United’s hope of a fourth consecutive league win. Far from a Chelsea fan myself I am not too excited about it, but to is hard to argue that they weren’t worthy winners. So, from all my heart (well, at least a corner of it), congratulations to Chelsea FC, their fans and all of South West London!

Frank Lampard, player of the season in my opinion

Frank Lampard, player of the season in my opinion

Irony aside, Chelsea truly did have an amazing season. They won all six games against their three top rivals (Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool). They scored 103 coals, the first team to acieve the century since my beloved Tottenham in 1963. They won 17 of their 19 home games. They also scored seven goals or more in four games this season, which is also a record. Didier Drogba scored three goals on the last day to become the top scorer in the Premier League 09/10.

These facts also signal that Chelsea are not just the defensively strong machine they have had a reputation for being for years. With the new manager Carlo Ancelotti the club has also proven to be an attacking force and, even though it hurts me to write,  a somewhat attractive side to watch.

Little and large, the Tottenham striker partners Crouch and Defoe

Little and large, the Tottenham striker partners Crouch and Defoe

OK, I think that is as much positive I could ever write about Tottenham’s London rivals so I will end the post on a personal high note: Tottenham Hotspurs finished fourth! For long it looked like they were going to take advantage of Liverpool’s disastrous season of slip ups. But as it lies in the nature of being a Tottenham supporter to end up very disappointed and severely confused, I was sure Manchester City would nick that last attractive Champions League qualifying place in the end. But after beating City away last Wednesday, history proved to have no guide and Tottenham could celebrate as if they had won more than just a shot at getting beaten in the qualifying rounds by the likes of Ajax, Porto and Lyon.

But still, I for one can’t wait until the new season starts in August. We just have to survive until then. Oh, is there a World Cup this Summer?

/Carl

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Things to do in Britain when you’re stuck

Stuck in Britain because of an ash cloud? Don’t despair – Britain is probably the best place to get stuck in, since it’s full of great things to do all year round. So read this blog post and get inspired!

LONDON

Musicals
Phantom of the Opera, Buddy, La Bohème, Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys or The Lion King – There is simply no better place to catch a musical than in London. And even if you don’t have tickets, there’s always a good chance to find tickets last minute at Leicester Square.

Find out which musical you want to see and if it’s running this weekend on Time Out London.

Storm Exhibition – Right but Wrong
See the highly recommended exhibition “Right but Wrong – The Extended Album Art of Storm Studios and Hipgnosis” at Idea Generation Gallery. The exhibition is open until 2nd of May 2010.

Idea Generation Gallery
11 Chance Street
London E2 7JB
Web: Idea Generation Gallery

London Architecture Walks
If your interested in architecture but not sure what to visit or how, then a guided walk might be the answer. With London Architecture Walks, you can choose a theme like “London Churches”, “Financial London” or “River Thames”. Take your pick and start walking.

Web: London Architecture Walks

Have a pint at a local pub
Relax – there’s nothing you can do about the cloud anyway. So why not have a pint and just let the hours go by for a while? With the Good Pub Guide you can find the best places to find a good pint throughout Britain.

Web: The Good Pub Guide

ENGLAND

Fine Food Market in Nottingham
With almost 40 stallholders from across the East Midlands – selling everything from meat, cheese and pickles, to fudge, cakes, beer and wine – there is going to be plenty of choice for food and drink lovers everywhere. So take yourself down to Old Market Square between 16th and 17th of April and eat your way through British food culture this weekend.

Find more things to do in Nottingham on Visit Nottinghams homepage.

See a Premier League football game
Take the opportunity to see a Premier League football game this weekend. There are still some great matches that aren’t sold out like the derby between Manchester City and Manchester United or Liverpool – Westham and Blackburn – Everton.

Buy tickets on Premier Leagues homepage.

Hadrian’s Wall in Newcastle
You can’t visit Newcastle without walking along designated World Heritage Site, Hadrian’s Wall. This famous 2,000-year-old Roman defence wall stretches from Carlisle in Cumbria to Wallsend in Newcastle going right through the city.

Find more things to do in Newcastle on VisitNewcastleGatesheads homepage.

Shopping in Manchester
Manchester is a real shopping Mecca, and if you’re stranded here – take the time to do some serious shopping. Some good places to shop is The Lowry Outlet Mall at The Quays, the bohemian area Northern Quarter where you’ll find famous Afflecks, or Kings Street with its fashionable shops.

Stuck in Manchester, but don’t have any shopping cravings? Then visit VisitManchesters homepage for more inspiration.

The Harry Potter Sensation
All over Britain you’ll find places to visit if you’re a Harry Potter buff. Take the Hogwarts Express through Harry Potters London & Oxford, find the filming locations for Hogwarts Dining Hall, Hogsmead Station or Diagon Alley and lot’s of other exiting places throughout Britain.

Read the first part of our three part guide to Harry Potters Britain here.

The Beatles Story in Liverpool
While in Liverpool you don’t want to miss The Beatles Story, an interactive museum located at the historic Albert Dock in Liverpool. Join the four lads in their journey from unknown boys to world famous.

The museum is open seven days a week, all year round (excluding December 25th/26th) Opening hours are 9am – 7pm. For information about current exhibitions, admission fees etc, please visit The Beatles Story homepage.

WALES

Millenium Centre
Cardiff’s showpiece arts centre features everything from ballet and opera to hip hop shows and comedy. Known locally as the ‘Golden Armadillo‘, its gigantic bronze-coloured façade inscribed with poetry has made the building an iconic UK landmark.

Historic Pubs
If you like beer and history, Cardiff is the place to go. Many of the ancient pubs of Cardiff actually existed before the city itself. So find a pub, have a pint and take in the historic atmosphere of Cardiff.

SCOTLAND

Glasgow International Festival Of Visual Art
Have you been stuck in Glasgow and love art? Lucky you. Between16 April-3 May you have the chance to see Glasgow International Festival Of Visual Art. Packed with events, talks and tours as well as major world-class exhibitions, some by artists living in the city and others by leading international figures, the Festival is Glasgow’s art scene at its liveliest and best.

The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh
If your fond of whisky and happen to be stuck in Edinburgh, I suggest you walk down to The Scotch Whisky Museum. Apparently they just started a thrilling new guided tour where you can take a barrel ride through a replica distillery, hear stories about the craftsmanship of whisky making and get some inside hints on how to improve your palate and lead you to your favourite Single Malt Whisky.

The Scotch Whisky Experience
354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile,
Edinburgh, EH1 2NE

For more information about the opening hours or ongoing events, please visit The Scotch Whisky Museums homepage.

I hope you got some ideas on what to do in Britain when you’re stuck. For further information or inspiration, please visit our homepages:

Sweden: http://www.visitbritain.se
Denmark: http://www.visitbritain.dk
Finland (ENG): http://www.visitbritain.fi
Norway: http://www.visitbritain.no

Enjoy!

– Towe –

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Team of the week: Stoke

And now our ‘Team of the week’ posts are coming to an end.. Last team to be introduced is Stoke! This team  is from the city Stoke-on-Trent in West Midlands, right in the middle of Manchester and Birmingham. Stoke is known as the Potters and they play their home matches at Britannia Stadium.

The Danish football keeper Thomas Sørensen came from Aston Villa to Stoke in 2008. Sørensen plays an important role on the team and has saved penalties from Arsenal, Wigan and Portsmouth this season.

Traditionally the football matches on Boxing Day are played between local rivals. Stoke is playing Manchester City today – what do you think the score will be? And who will score the first goal?

Ryan Shawcross is playing defence and has been an essential player since he arrived in 2007. This young football player from Chester, scored in Stoke’s first match this season, helping the team win a 2-0 victory over Burnley.

You can read about all the Premier League teams in our previous ‘Team of the week’ here: Sunderland, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Burnley, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Hull City, Fulham, Bolton, Manchester United, Chelsea, Wigan, Blackburn, Manchester City, Everton, Wolverhampton, Aston Villa and Liverpool.

Are you planning to go to England and watch a Premier League match? Buy tickets here!

Thanks for following our ‘Team of the week’ this autumn! It’s been great fun writing these blogs!

Enjoy the rest of this festive season – both in Christmas terms and when it comes to football!

– Hanne –

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Team of the week: Sunderland

My relationship with Sunderland AFC (Association Football Club) began when I was conceived, some time in 1970 (I can’t be bothered to calculate exactly when and I won’t, out of respect to my parents)
I need to explain; when a child is born in the North East of England, the mother has a lot of  ‘say’ when it comes to a child’s name, religion and schooling. The father has one job, that’s to make sure you don’t end up supporting the ’other team’.  (Note: this is regardless of whether you are a girl or a boy, that’s irrelevant)

So, Michael Robson did his job and I was born and will die a Sunderland supporter. My earliest memory of going to a match was at Sunderland’s old stadium Roker Park. It was probably around 1977. So there I was, a 6 year old, plonked into the empty television camera box in the Clockstand, watching Sunderland vs Preston North End. I don’t recall the result, but do remember being in awe of the 30,000 roaring Sunderland fans (Mackem’s), This experience not only confirmed my religion as a true ‘mackem’ but increased my ’naughty word’ vocabulary ten-fold in 90 minutes, the rest as they say, ‘is xxxxxxx history’.

My pick of Sunderland’s history:
1.  1879 – Sunderland and District Teachers was founded by James Allan. They dropped the ‘teachers and district’ in 1880.

2.  1890 – Sunderland joined the football league, we won it in 1892 and 1893 becoming the first ever team to score 100 goals in a season.  We came second in 1894 and won the league again in 1895.

3. 1908 – Sunderland record their biggest ever league away win 1-9 against Newcastle united.

4. 1933 – Over 75,000 supporters saw a FA Cup quarter final replay vs Derby Country – Still a club record and my uncle Geordie was there!

5. 1948 – True rebel talent, Len Shackleton (Shack) ‘the clown prince of soccer’ (think Zlatan on a good day) signs for Sunderland from Newcastle for a world record fee of £20,500. Read his autobiography it is amazing.

6. 1961 – Brian Clough signs for Sunderland. A pure genius who scored 251 goals in 274 games in his career. What would he be worth today?

7. 1973 – second division Sunderland, defeat Leeds united, one of the best teams in Europe at the time to win the FA cup.

8. 1985 – A young Gary Robson gets his first trip to Wembley to witness a 1-0 defeat against Norwich in the Milk Cup (league cup) final. An emotional experience with Sunderland supporters in fine song throughout the match.  A young Robson is physically ill and inconsolable after coping with one of the biggest setbacks in his life and a bloody long drive home to Durham.

9. 1990 – A slightly older Gary Robson witnesses the game of his life as Sunderland defeat Newcastle at St James’s park. We go to Wembley in the play off final, lose to Swindon, but get promoted as Swindon are disqualified for dodgy financial dealings!

10. Sunderland now. I’m writing this from a hotel room in London after a disappointing 0-2 home defeat to Aston Villa. But overall I’m happy, we are holding our own in the Premier League, we have a great Chairman in Niall Quinn, a good manager in Steve Bruce and some talent on the pitch; Darren Bent has scored 10 goals so far this season, captain Lorik Cana is scaring the pants off everyone he meets, Andy Reid has stopped eating pie and started playing football.  We have an owner with enough cash to make sure we will become an established Premier league team. The future is bright, must buy some shades.

Proper facts on Sunderland
Independent information on Sunderland
If you are going to see Sunderland and need some inside info, drop me a line. 99% of people in The North East of England are completely obsessed with the beautiful game, the rest of them support Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

Find Sunderland’s home arena on our Britain map.

Gary

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