Posts Tagged ‘Premierhsip’

Football

Why Liverpool can still qualify for The Champions League

By Stefano on December 14th, 2012

After the recent win against West Ham, Steven Gerard emphasised that he is certain that Liverpool can qualify for The Champions League this season. He told The Liverpool Echo…

“We’re building slowly towards where we want to be. We’ve got two home games now against Aston Villa and Fulham. If we can capitalise and make it 12 points out of 12 then we will find ourselves a lot closer to fourth.”

“It’s a platform to build on. We just have to focus on Villa now. Come the end of December we’re really looking to be close to that fourth position.”

I don’t think this is blind optimism on his part, there are quite a few reasons why Liverpool will finish top four and maybe even press Chelsea for third place.

1 They are now on the cusp of a putting a run together. Remember the Reds’ start to the season and games against Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs? Things are going to get a bit easier for them now with the next five opponents being Villa, Fulham, Stoke, QPR and Sunderland all of which are very winnable games. Three or four wins on the spin should get confidence levels up. Rodgers told The Indie

“If we can arrive in January in and around that top four then we can really put our foot to the floor, when the confidence will be improved even more and players will be aligned with what we’re trying to achieve. I believe we can have a good second half of the season.”

2 Their rivals are still not consistent enough – Arsenal are all over the place at the moment, Everton and Spurs keep tripping up and none one, apart from maybe Steve Clarke, believes that West Brom will be in the mix come the end of the season. Fourth place is Liverpool’s for the taking.

3 The team seems more comfortable playing Brendan Rodgers way. It has taken some time for the team to adapt but the Reds are starting to suit the manager’s preference for a quick, pressing game. Key players like Johnson, Shelvey and Allen are hitting form and Gerard finding the net again is great news for the Reds.

4 They will strengthen in the Winter break. Not replacing Andy Carroll was borderline calamitous. Liverpool need at least two forward players, one to play along side Luis Suarez and another for cover. Daniel Sturridge looks like a great buy and Tom Ince could be a very useful squad player.

Pic PA



Football

Arsene says no January sale for Theo Walcott – but is he at odds with the Arsenal board?

By Stefano on December 8th, 2012

The Daily Mail has what it is billing as an exclusive today. According to the paper…

1 In spite of the public perception that talks between Theo Walcott and the club are ongoing,  no formal discussions between the two parties have taken place since August 28. The last offer on the table was a five-year £75,000-per-week deal.

2 That Wenger is desperate to cling on  to his in-form winger for the rest of the season knowing that Walcott could leave on a free transfer in the summer. However Wenger also wanted to keep Van Persie and Nasri but he was over ruled by the board and both were sold with less than 12 months on their contracts. So if the board gets its way Walcott will be sold in January with Chelsea  Liverpool and Manchester City the front runners.

All this in spite of strong rumours that Walcott wants to stay at the club.

He might have been dogged by injuries, but Walcott has been very impressive this season and is clearly forming a useful partnership with new striker Olivier Giroud. His crosses from the right have been a source of seven Arsenal goals and he also netted ten himself.

What the fans can’t understand is why the club won’t make an improved offer to arguably the club’s most in-form player. The financial gap between the two parties is apparently only a few thousand a week. The other sticking point is that Walcott is adamant that he wants to play as a striker.

Given the club’s shortage of front men many fans feel Wenger has missed a trick this season not to experiment with Walcott through the middle. What is even more galling for Arsenal faithful is that Wenger was prepared to give Gervinho a striking berth which, apart from brief  flashes of genius, has been wholly unsuccessful.

It appears that Walcott has the respect and support of a large section of Arsenal fans and were he to leave, unlike Nasri, Van Persie, Toure and other Arsenal emigres, the fans would blame the club and the manager and not the player.

Of course the side could pull a huge rabbit out of the hat by signing the highly rated Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace. Whether that would be enough for the fans to forget their speedy winger remains to be seen.




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