This is my blog on the unpredictable world of football. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Villa's Bent Signing

Well Aston Villa have smashed their previous record transfer fee in order to secure Sunderland's front man Darren Bent. A transfer I'm sure not many people in the footballing world would have saw coming. Darren Bent hasn't quite been in the form that has seen him win seven caps for England, but he seemed quite happy at high-flying Sunderland. Villa have forked out a whopping 18 million pounds for his services and could see that figure increase another 6 million with added extras. It's another astute buy from manager Gerard Houllier, whom has also brought in Lyon midfielder Jean Makoun. These signings are what is needed to spark an out of form Villa out fit into a mid table finish. They have quite a good young squad that needs some more development and the likes of Bent and Makoun can help this along, now they just need some wins!

In other Villa transfer news John Carew is in talks with Stoke after Villa's signing of Bent. But they are not the only club in the race for the Norwegian target mans signature, West Brom and Birmingham also looking to pounce.

Steven Pienaar, a World Cup favourite has decided to join Tottenham instead of Chelsea on a four and a half year contract, after Everton accepted both clubs bids for the South African playmaker. Pienaar is already eyeing off silverware with his new London-based club. He believes he can prove to manager Harry Redknapp that he is good enough to be a regular starting XI member of the Hotspurs.

Liverpool are looking to make the most of the final week of the transfer window with club chairman Tom Werner stating that club owners NESV (New England Sports Ventures) are willing to splash the cash on a big name player to benefit the club in the long term. This you feel directly relates to the latest transfer rumour of Luis Suarez going to Liverpool. Suarez was a star for both the right and wrong reasons at the World Cup in South Africa for Uruguay. He is only 22 years old and has plenty left to learn, including curbing his anger and ill-discipline. But Ajax manager Frank De Boer insists it will take a massive bid for any club to get Suarez. Ryan Babel is almost on his way out of Anfield after Liverpool accepted a bid from Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. He is now in Germany to discuss personal terms, further clearing the way for Suarez.

Finally to the A-League, it is nice to see Shane Smeltz return to the A-League for glamour club Gold Coast United and have an immediate impact. It is fair to say United have hardly look good in front of goals all season until the return of the 'golden child'. Now he is involved in a tug-of-war, with Perth Glory and Gold Coast wanting him for next season and beyond. However one feels he will now stay at United after two failed attempts to leave the club.

Flavour of the week? Big Aussie (adopted or not) centre-backs! Yes thats right the K-League love them, particularly after labelling current Socceroos and Seongham player Sasa Ognenovski "too slow". He then played a typical Ogre game and now it seems all Aussie centre-backs are brilliant for K-League clubs. First Adelaide's Iain Fyfe signed with Busan I'Park, then Bas Van Den Brink from Gold Coast joined him also for three years and now young Socceroo Matt DeVere signing for Gyeongnam FC.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review: Australia V Bahrain

So much for my 3 nil victory for the Australians prediction, they were lucky to escape with the three points and first place in the group. It was a game that had a few 'heart-in-mouth' moments, in particular for Socceroos supporters. Evergreen 'keeper Mark Schwarzer was at his best making some brilliant saves for the Australians and probably deserved man of the match for his efforts. Mile Jedinak despite his horror passing performance in midfield scored the only goal of the match and my word what a strike it was. It proved to be the difference despite a pressuring Bahrain early in the second half, with a couple of brilliant opportunities falling to danger man Abdulatif. It just wasn't Bahrain's night and the coach's tactics were not helping. He pulled their other biggest goal threat Jaycee John off in the 66th minute and replaced him with 21 year old striker Abdulla Al Dakeel. The coach really should have went for two up front at this stage of the match when they were looking dangerous.

Matt McKay did the best he could in the unfamiliar left back role, his passing was pin point accurate as always. However his defensive game needs plenty of work, much like Australia's first choice left back David Carney. Cahill was again marked out of the game quite well by Bahrain's centre backs, and came of late with a knock, fingers crossed he will be fit for the finals. Brett Emerton was given his second yellow card of the tournament for a silly shirt pulling incident and will now miss the Socceroos next match. Unfortunately for Emerton he has become quite ill-disciplined in recent years which is very disappointing considering his wealth of talent and experince. Now the Australians must wait to find out their next opponent for the knockout stages of the 2011 Asian Cup.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Australia V Bahrain

Hello and welcome to my blog once again. In under an hours time Australia will play its final group game of the Asian Cup against Bahrain. It is a game where Australia only need to snatch one point to qualify for the knock out phase of the cup, but coach Holger Osieck has come out stating that, "We don't want to consider anything but victory as being good enough". So the gauntlet has been laid for the Socceroos by their coach, how will they respond? Any team with as sharp a duo as Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell up front has enough goals in them for a victory. But the left hand side of Australia's formation is the weak spot, as seen against South Korea. David Carney is NOT a left back, his forward runs can be valuable at times, but son you must track back as well. Unfortunately this is where Holman comes in as the left mid. He should drop back, but he is one of our biggest threats in the build up and in front of goal so why should he? It may be a blessing in disguise if Carney is unable to play against Bahrain, however with no natural left back in the squad to replace him it looks as if the left side will remain the Socceroos weak spot. The imminent loss of both Culina and Wilkshire will have some implications on the squad - in particular the right hand side for Australia. Wilkshire and Emerton seem to have almost telepathic knowledge of each others movements at times during matches and have forged possibly the strongest partnership for the Aussies. Valeri is most likely to fill Culina's vacant spot, which is great as Valeri is a future star for the Socceroos. He turned in some solid performances in South Africa last year and deserves a spot in the starting XI.

Bahrain turned in a thumping 5-2 victory over India in their last outing. They showed some brilliant attacking football and will look to carry this momentum into the match against Australia. The biggest threats for the Australians are Ismaeel Abdulatif who bagged four against India and Fawzi Ayish another Bahraini star. This is a big match for Bahrain with a chance of getting out of the group stage. They will try to use their underdog status and a slight 'home advantage' to pressure the Australians but it is a massive ask of this small nation. If Holger Osieck's comments are anything to go by we should be in for a real cracker of a match. Australia will look to use Cahill's aerial advantage as always, coupled with Kewell's slick dribbling skills. I think Australia will struggle in the early stages with a couple of the fringe players on the park, but they will overcome it and forge on for a 3 nil victory.