So with only 2 games left in this year’s Premier League title race, I thought it would be an appropriate time to pick my 11 players for the Team of the Year, I already know it’s going to cause some discussion, which of course can only be a good thing.


Joe Hart

In-between the posts there can only be 1 man, played an outstanding role in his teams excellent and surprising season, on loan from Manchester City JOE HART has had a fantastic season, leading to most England fans to call for him to be the #1 in England’s World Cup campaign, Joe has been superb all season, excellent shot-stopping, reflex saves, very rarely showing any weakness, it will be a very interesting summer, Birmingham may have lost their chance to have him next season by not letting him return to City after Given’s injury.

Honourable Mentions: Shay Given, Heruelho Gomes, Brad Freidel, and Thomas Sorensen.

Left Back

Ashley Cole

This was a very tough choice, two players fighting for the title, one had a fantastic start of the season the other has made superb towards the end of the campaign, Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra have been fantastic for their clubs this year, Cole seeming to find his attacking instincts again charging forward but also showing a defensive presence also, Evra has recently been praised from Sir Alex himself applauding the Frenchman’s quality, very consistent this season but has excelled in recent games, the place in this team could easily go to either player however only one can be picked and I am going to choose Chelsea’s man ASHLEY COLE only an ankle injury has stopped his progress this season, I think Chelsea would be Champions already had he been fit.

Centre Backs

Thomas Vermaelen

So many players to choose from in this category, luckily I get to pick 2 from a long list. My first choice is THOMAS VERMAELEN the relatively unknown Belgian came to England with lots of question marks over the price-tag, his size, experience, this was all dismissed within the first few weeks of the season scoring goals, superb defending, after 2 months you wondered how Arsenal had ever competed without this man, his season has been slowed with Injuries however his performances have been enough to earn this spot.

Richard Dunne

Alongside him I have went for a experience player who swapped one Champions League chasing team for another, when he was pretty much made surplus to requirements at Eastland’s and snapped up by Martin O’Neill, RICHARD DUNNE has shown the Man City were wrong to let him go, and Aston Villa have been reaping the benefits, creating a strong partnership with James Collins they been the basis of Villas excellent season, unlucky not to be going to the World Cup, Dunne is maybe not as fast as he used to be, however still shows he is one of the better Centre Backs playing in this country.

Honourable Mentions: Roger Johnson, Scott Danns, Michael Dawson

Left Midfield

Florent Malouda

One player has stood out recently in this position and it has really made me happy, as a follower of French football FLORENT MALOUDA was a player I had seen do great things for Lyon in Ligue 1 and when he signed for Chelsea, I was bigging him up about his ability then unfortunately his first couple of seasons can only be described as Average at best, this season however he has finally shown the ability I knew he had, scoring and supply goals he has been a mainstay in Ancelotti’s team, terrorising defences for most of the season, I am very happy to see Florent perform well.

Central Midfield

James Milner

2 player with contrasting season, the first one has had his break out season, everyone knew of his abilities however this season JAMES MILNER has been superb, playing in a number of positions, left and right, but his play through the middle has been fantastic, one of the reasons for Villa’s great season, calls for James to be part of England’s squad increase every week maybe only his versatility will stop him gaining a starting berth.

Frank Lampard

Beside him I have put one of the most consistent Central Midfielders in the game, I am not always blown away by his ability but you cannot argue with 20 Premier League goals FRANK LAMPARD again has made his way onto the scorer’s table and for a midfielder his goal scoring is 2nd to none, there are many Premier League strikers that would be happy to match his goal tally, although he doesn’t wear the armband, Frank is a captain for this team, and leads the charge for goals most games, I’m actually glad he can’t recreate this form for England.

Right Midfield

Antonio Valencia

When Ronaldo left Old Trafford everyone knew his boots would be really hard to fill however ANTONIO VALENCIA has in my opinion done a fantastic job in not filling his boots but stamping his own footprints on United’s team, fantastic pace and the ability to deliver a great ball into the box, Man U’s strikers and midfielders have capitalised on his strong points, people will look at his at times poor touch, or that he goes missing at times, however with Fergie as his coach Antonio will only improve, and if this seasons successes have anything to go by it is a scary prospect to think of an improved Valencia.

Honourable Mention: Aaron Lennon

Centre Forwards

Carlos Tevez

My Centre Forward pairing played together last year, and both of them I think would agree have had much better seasons apart, CARLOS TEVEZ has played out of his skin for Manchester City scoring so many important goals, and his work rate and passion for the game is infectious, although City paid an obscene amount for Carlos, I think he has been worth every penny for the club, big goals against Man United and Chelsea, and I think he can improve as well, maybe some big signings could complement Carlos very well.

WAYNE ROONEY will be in everyone’s team of the year, with Ronaldo gone, the boy wonder has stepped up and become a World Class player, he has always been very talented I always think he lacked consistency, now he is everything his team needs him to be, added a scoring touch with his head, more composure he has lead his team very well, a couple of niggling injuries will keep him out for the grandstand finish and maybe lose the Golden Boot, however Rooney definitely has had the Midas touch this year.

Manager of the Year

A Couple of names up for this award, Roy Hodgson was one, but most of his miracles have been in the Europa League, Martin O’Neill and Harry Redknapp for their pursuit of a Champions League place. And Alex McLeish for his wonderful season with Birmingham City

Carlo Ancelotti

However I am going to give this award to CARLO ANCELOTTI no one was quite sure what to expect from the Italian, no big signings like Mourinho and Scolari however he has guided Chelsea to top of the table, the most goals ever scored in the Premiership, brought the best out of Malouda and Anelka, had to deal with a lot on and off the field problems, an African Nations cup with some important players missing, and he has done this quite quietly, People may say he already has a strong team, however Grant and Scolari had the same team and couldn’t bring the best out in them, and I think Carlo has done a fantastic job.

Right Back

So you may have noticed that there is a position missing from the list, the Right Back, I just couldn’t decide who to pick, no one for me has excelled in this position, so I am going to leave it up to a vote. So please vote for who you think has been the best Right Back this year and I will add him to the team. (Poll can be found on the main page)

If you agree or more likely disagree with any of these choice, please let me know.


Only 5 games left in Serie A and things couldn’t be closer at the top, 4 points seperate the top 3, and 5 points seperating the 4 teams chasing that elusive last Champions League place and that’s what I will be concentrating on.  AS Roma’s 1-0 win away at Bari thanks to Marko Vucinic’s goal saw the Capital club take the top spot in Serie A, Inter Milan’s 2-2 draw at Fiorentina saw them slip from the top spot for the first time since Matchday 7. This gave A.C Milan the chance to pull within 1 point of Inter and 2 points off top spot, however they struggled against Catania at Home and Boriellio’s 80th minute goal saved a point for the Rossoneri.

Of the 3 teams Milan have the toughest run in, having to face Sampdoria, Palermo, Fiorentina, Genoa and Juventus all 4 teams still fighting for a place in European competition next season, and to make things worse for Leonardo’s men, only 1 of those games (Juventus) is at the San Siro, for me this rules Milan out of the title race, however they are safe for a 3rd spot, miracles can happen though, I can see them picking up 8 points from 15 and finishing on 72 points.

The race between Roma and Inter however is alot tighter, Inter a slight advantage with 3 home game to Roma’s 2, however Roma’s next game is the Rome Derby against Lazio so it will feel like a home fixture in venue, maybe not in atmosphere though. After tthat Roma have a home game against Sampdoria which will not be easy as Del Neri’s men are in the hunt for a Champions League qualifier place,  a trip to high flying Parma is next having a great season back in Serie A and finding themselves only 5 points away from Juventus in that last Europa League spot, Cagliari then travel to the Stadio Olympico and on the last day Roma travel to Verona to take on Chievo in which the Marcantonio Bentegodi stadium could be the scene for great triumph or disappointment.

Inter have a slight advantage in that apart from Juventus’s visit to the San Siro on Friday night (16th) none of Inter’s 4 remaining opponents are trying to qualify for Europe so the quality of team isn’t as high, this is balanced up with 3 of the teams, Siena, Lazio and Atalanta are all fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table and there is nothing more dangerous than a team fighting for their place in Serie A, Inter i’m sure however will feel strong enough to overpower these teams. Home games against Atalanta and Chievo should be 3 points each the destination of the title will be decided on Inter and Roma’s away performances.

My opinion is Inter will win 4 of the last 5 games and pip Roma to the title by 1 point, of course as with every league anything can happen, and with only 1 point seperating the teams, there will be a number of twists and turns I’m sure, as I’m sure will be the chase for the last Champions League place, Palermo sit in 4 th place right now, their games remaining include a visit from Milan and finishes with 3 away games at Siena, Sampdoria then Atalanta, that 2nd last games against Sampdoria will be an absolute huge fixture, with Sampdoria only in 5th place due to goal difference, it could come down to that game to decide 4th place. Before the crunch match with Palermo, Sampdoria have the small task of taking on Milan and Roma and finish with a very hard match when Napoli come to town.

Napoli themselves are 5 points off Palermo at the moment so with a good run, they could be in contention when they have to travel to Sampdoria on the last day they’re run in is slightly favourable Home games against Cagliari and Atalanta and away trips to Bari and Chievo, Napoli have the players capable of winning all 5 games, but they can be eratic and could lose them all too.

The last team trying to fight their way into the Champions League is no other than the “Old Lady” Juventus a very up and down season could be salvaged by a late run into that 4th spot, it’s not going to be easy though, the 5 games left starts and ends with trips to Milan, Inter tonight and Milan on the 16th of May in the middle they have home games against Bari and Parma and an away game against dangerous home side Catania. Juve’s away form has not been good at all, but again on their day they could beat all 5 teams, in my eyes however this will not happen, I am predicting 2 wins from 5 for Juve.

So after all 5 games have completed what are my predictions:

1. Inter Milan – 80 pts – Champions League Group
2. AS Roma – 79 pts – Champions League Group
3. A.C Milan – 72 pts - Champions League Group

4. Sampdoria – 64 pts -  - Champions League Play-offs
5. Palermo – 62 pts – Europa League Play-offs
6. Napoli – 59 pts – Europa League 3rd round qf
7. Juventus – 59 pts

Inter to pip the title from Roma, Sampdoria to take that last Champions League place, and the biggest shock would be Juventus missing out on all European competition.

Of course now that I’ve put my predictions on here, I will be completely wrong and it’ll be all change, should be an exciting climax to the season.



Going to start a series of posts today all mapping out my thoughts on the finales to most of the big european leagues around, Starting with La Liga.

Most people unless they have been living under a rock will know that this years title race is between the “El Super Classico” teams of Real Madrid and Barcelona, Manuel Pellegrini trying to save Madrid blushes and win a league title before he gets sacked, however Pep Guardiola is trying for the “Double Double” can he win the league and Champions League 2 years running in only his 2nd year in management.

Saturday saw Barcelona roll into the Bernabeu armed with the Greatest Players playing today in Leo Messi and walked away with all 3 points, this seasons sensationl players Messi and Pedro with the goals, and put Barca in the driving seat, still 7 games left and a lot of time for both teams to gain more points, with a 3 point lead this is there run in.

14th Apr – Deportivo (H)
17th Apr – Espanyol (A)
25th April – Xerez (H)
 2nd May – Villarreal (A)
 5th May – Tenerife (H)
9th May – Sevilla (A)
16th May – Valladolid (H)

A very interesting few games left, at home I would put a substantial amount of money on Barca winning all 4 games without complication, it’s the away games that make things interesting, a Catalan Derby, trips to El Madrigal and the Sanchez Pizjuan could easily turn into 3 defeats, especially with Sevilla and Villarreal in the tussle for European places. Real Madrids run in on paper looks the easier of the two, only Valencia and Mallorca at the top half to play, however Malaga away on the last day could be a match to decide the title and relegation battles. If Barcelona slip up, Madrid have a run of games where they should pick up points, Valencia’s away record has been very poor, Almeria, Zaragoza an Osasuna could have nothing to play for.

15th April – Almeria (A)
18th April – Valencia (H)
25th April – Zaragoza (A)
2nd May – Osasuna (H)
5th May – Mallorca (A)
9th May – Athletic Bilbao (H)
16th May – Malaga (A)

You also need to factor in that Barcelona have 2 more Champions League games to play and will be tough games against Mourinho’s Inter Milan, Barcelona have always been “my team” when choosing between them or Madrid, but I can see Real sneaking in to take the title, however with Lionel Messi playing the way he is, it would be hard to bet against him scoring the goals to lift Barcelona to that 20th Spanish League title.

The third automatic Champions League place see’s Valencia in the drivers seat 5 points ahead of Sevilla and Mallorca all 3 teams still have to face one of the Big Two, they don’t have to face each other again however they do come up against teams also fighting for the Europa League places, Valencia have Athletic Bilbao at Home and Villarreal Away, Sevilla have to travel to Getafe and Mallorca will go to the San Mames in Bilbao tough games against Bilbao for those team but also tough for Bilbao in their chase for a Europa League spot, with 5th and 6th place going into the Europa League Getafe and Villarreal find themselves 2 and 4 points respectively off that 6th spot.

Villarreal have the toughes run in, big game against Getafe then home stands against Barcelona and Valencia, Getafe have Sevilla visiting them, nearly impossible to predict, I will have a try.

Looking at the remaining fixtures and trying to work out how each game will go (if I could predict this I’d be rich) this is how I think the table will finish, and unfortunately for Villarreal and Getafe it’s how you are for the 6 teams involved

3. Valencia 38 games 69 points – Champions League
4.Sevilla 38 games 64 points – Champions League Qual.
5.Mallorca 38 games 62 points – Europa League Playoff
6. Athletic Bilbao 38 games 59 points – Europa League 3rd round
7.Villarreal 38 games 58 points
8.Getafe 38 games 58 points

So If (Big if) I’m correct Villarreal and Getafe will be close but no cigar, Valencia and Sevilla will be in the Champions League, and I might put a cheeky bet on Real Madrid winning the title.

Next…………Serie A


This morning I woke up with a smile on my face, for the first time in 7 years there are no English teams in the Champions League Semi-Finals, this means I don’t have to hear about how the Premier League is the greatest league in the world, far superior to any other league etc, Alex Ferguson blaming those “typical germans” for getting Rafael sent off, when it was Ribery a Frenchman and van Bommel a Dutchman who had approached the referee

Teams from Germany, Spain, Italy and France make up the 4 left in the competition, by English media standards surely this means now these 4 leagues are all better than the Premier League, of course it doesn’t, it is simply a great advert to how global the game of football has become. Personally I do enjoy the Premier League, but also in the same I Love La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, I just love football, and will watch any league available, of course in all these leagues, you will get games that bore you to death on the other hand games that will blow you away, there are people that I speak to on a regular basis who just decide that they don’t like a league and will never ever change their opinion of it, no matter what.

This type of opinion really gets to me, why be so narrow-minded, given the choice of watching Wigan v Burnley or Bayern Munich v Stuttgart, to me it would be the German match every time, and sometimes it could turn out to be a poor 1-1 draw or it could be a cracker, the same with every game you sit down to watch, I love watching top European football no matter what league or country it is from, this allows me to form opinions of players based over league, cup and international matches, not just 2 or 3 Champions League games against English opposition and then form a limited opinion.

The opinion that the Premier League is the greatest league in the world, is one that English people love to spout off about, 1 point I always make is, “What players at the peak of their game have moved to the Premier League?” and “How English is the Premier League?”

From last year’s Champions League semi-finals 3 of the teams were English but only 8 different English players started in both Legs, not a great amount from 3 of the top teams in England’s top Division.

9 French players played, 7 Spanish, 3 Brazilian, 3 Ivoirians and 2 Argentineans, in total 21 different nationalities were represented, and who was in charge of these so called “English teams” a Scotsman, a Frenchman and a Dutchman, and only Arsenal were owned by an English company.

Without boring everyone with stats as far as I am aware, most other big leagues have a majority of home based players in their squads have home grown coaches and are owned by men or companies from their own country, this so call domination of the European game by “English” teams to me is very diluted, and there are very little English things remaining of these teams, except where they play.

I don’t want this post to seem like an attack of the English game, I watch the Premiership every week and there are some fantastic players playing for some great teams, however I could never limit myself to English or even British football, I’d be missing out on some fantastic players, La Liga with Messi, Xavi, Ronaldo, Higuain and David Villa, Bundesliga with Franck Ribery, Robben, Toni Kroos, Torsten Frings, Stefan Kiessling, Serie A with Sneijder, Milito, Pato, Ronaldinho, Totti, and Cavani, Ligue 1 with Gourcuff, Chamakh, Bastos, Lisandro, Gervinho, Jelen I could go on and on.

People often ask being Scottish why do I bother with the World Cup, and all the players mentioned above are why, I have long come to terms with the fact that Scotland don’t have the players to make it on the International or Club stage, that does not however make my want to watch football any less, because there are hundreds of wonderful players worldwide that make it a joy to watch the beautiful game.