On this week’s podcast we picked our goals of the season, the one and only Brent Atema describes our choices.

Eran Zehavi earned a special place in the hearts of football fans with this amazing overhead goal against Lyon in a December Champions League match. Not only did this goal help Hapoel Tel-Aviv earn a spot in the Europa League, it earned the Goal Of The Year nomination from Brazilian football expert Jack Lang.  While Jack admits to knowing nothing about Zehavi, he will always think of this goal whenever he hears that name mentioned.
read more »

StumbleUponRedditShare

Andrew Gibney is joined by Scott Johnston, David Bevan and Eliot Rothwell as they dicuss this weeks four Champions League games – Chelsea v Man United, Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter v Schalke and Real Madrid v Tottenham.

Eliot gives us an excellent insight into the two remaining eastern european teams left in the Europa League – Dynamo Kiev and Spartak Moscow, we talk about how well Aiden McGeady has settle in Moscow and who the other players are to watch.

Finally we get David’s feelings on the new TV deal that will see English Championship clubs lose out on some well needed revenue.

Download directly – HERE

Download on iTunes – HERE

Download the RSS feed – HERE

StumbleUponRedditShare

Really quick short post this morning.

Michael Owen it has been announced this morning is out for the rest of the season, after picking up another injury during the Carling Cup Final against Aston Villa, he pulled up in the first half and it was evident that he had pulled his hamstring. After the game Owen said that it didn’t feel that bad, and it shouldn’t keep him out for too long,  obviously now it has been diagnosed in a scan yesterday that the injury is bad enough to force him to miss the rest of the season.

My question is, does Michael call an end to his football career, he has been plagued by injuries most of his career:

2005
December 31 – Breaks metatarsal bone in defeat at Tottenham and is ruled out for ‘several months’.

2006
March 24 – Newcastle announce Owen requires surgery to tighten the screw inserted into his foot during the initial operation.  

April 29 – Makes Premiership return as a substitute against Birmingham but complains of pain afterwards and withdraws from the final game of the season.  

May 13 – Carried from the field suffering concussion after collision with team-mate Matty Pattison in game with Watford.  

June 20 – Injures knee in first minute of group game against Sweden in Cologne and is immediately replaced.  Ruled out for at least nine months and reports suggest he may miss the entire Premiership season to follow.  

2007
July 20 – After featuring in just the final three games of the previous campaign, Owen picks up a thigh injury in pre-season training which rules him out of the first game of the new season.  

September 17 – Owen is substituted early in the second half against Derby with a groin problem.  

September 23 – He is passed fit to line up against West Ham but again the same injury forces him off. Club confirm the striker will undergo further scans to determine extent of the problem.  

September 25 – Magpies boss Sam Allardyce reveals Owen has a 3cm tear in his abductor muscle which will sideline him for three weeks and rule him out of England’s two October Euro 2008 qualifiers. He adds Owen may also require a hernia operation.

November 16 – Suffers a thigh strain during the first half of his side’s 1-0 friendly win over Austria.

2009
January 28 – Ruled out for six weeks with a cracked ankle bone sustained in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.

March 5 – Ruled out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury

In the last 6 years Owen has only managed to pay 125 games, now someone like Frank Lampard in the same timescale has played about 315 games, that’s Lampard playing 3 games for every 1 that Owen plays, also how many of those games has Michael been 100% fit, you need games to get match sharpness back and get up to full speed, you could probably take the number of games played when he has been fit to around 70-75.

Now at the age of 30 the body will not recover as fast as it used to, and I think this lastest injury could take it’s toll on the former European Player of the Year, and there is no guarentee that he will be able to return for preseason training, which for a player in Michael’s situation is crucial to get up to speed and get his sharpness back, it is very hard to get match sharpness back during a season if you have been out, you need that pre-season time to get ready.

Now on the top right hand side of my site you will see I have set up a new section, where you can Vote on whether you think this is the end for Owen, I really look forward to seeing what everyones views are, so please let you vote count, I will leave the poll open for 2 weeks.

StumbleUponRedditShare

With most teams having about 10 or 11 games left, every point is crucial in the next few weeks, the title race in the Premier League has come down to 3 teams; Reigning Champions Manchester United, the early favourites Chelsea and Arsene Wenger’s underdogs Arsenal. Everyone of these teams since September has shown Championship credentials, Arsenal were ruled out at the start of the season by pretty much every pundit worth listening to, even talked down for 4th place, they have proved all the doubters wrong, and this without main forward Robin van Persie out through injury.

Chelsea were most people’s early favourites some strong early showings away from home at Sunderland, Burnley and Fulham. Then without 4 of their players off playing in the African Cup of Nations in Angola, Chelsea managed to win all 9 points and score 12 goals in the process, not bad for a team meant to struggle without their main striker Didier Drogba.

Man United have had a very stop/start season, just when you think they have turned a corner and about to kick on, they lose or draw a game you don’t expect them too, would be interesting to see where in the league they’d be if Rooney wasn’t playing the best football of his life, a lot of defensive issues have also not helped their season.

Despite the ups and downs all 3 remain in the title chase and will be battling it out for the chance to lift the Premier League trophy. 10 games remain  for each team, let’s have a look at the run ins.

CHELSEA

West Ham (Home), Blackburn (Away), Portsmouth (Away)
Aston Villa (Home), Man United (Away), Bolton (Home)
Tottenham (Away), Stoke (Home), Liverpool (Away)
Wigan (Home)

ARSENAL

Burnley (Home), Hull City (Away), West Ham (Away)
Birmingham (Away), Wolves (Home), Tottenham (Away)
Wigan (Away), Man City (Home), Blackburn (Away)
Fulham (Home),

MAN UNITED

Wolves (Away), Fulham (Home), Liverpool (Home)
Bolton (Away), Chelsea (Home), Blackburn (Away)
Man City (Away), Tottenham (Home), Sunderland (Away)
Stoke (Home)

On paper Arsenal’s run in looks easier, only Man City and Spurs to play from the higher placed teams, but they do have to play 3 teams fighting for survival and at this time of year those games can be harder than against the top teams, 4 home games out of the 10 games and trips to West Ham Birmingham and Blackburn won’t be easy, add to that the Derby match against Tottenham, I would predict that worst case scenario would see Arsenal pick up 22 more points.

Chelsea and Man United have a tougher run-in, Chelsea have trips to Old Trafford and Anfield which could see no points gained, tough trips to Portsmouth and Blackburn could provide slip ups, and Villa coming to Stamford Bridge could be a trick tie, again worst case Chelsea for me could pick up 22 points. For United away trips to Bolton, Blackburn and Sunderland then the Derby match at Eastlands against Man City will prove tough, then Home stands against Fulham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs the toughest of the run-in’s for me, I do think Man United are capable of amassing at least 21 points from the 10 games.

If that all went as I have predicted the final table would be as follows

1. Chelsea – 82 points
2. Man United – 82 points
3. Arsenal – 80 points

Of course one of the best things about the Premiership is that anything can happen, so I’m sure my point predictions will be different to what happens, I am convinced though that this title race will go down to the wire, as I said before Wayne Rooney is playing to football of his life so he will be spurring his team forward, Arsenal now are determined to win the league for Aarom Ramsey after his unfortunate leg-break and Chelsea will want to win take the title back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since Mourinho left Chelsea, another factor which could decide the fate of the title will be how the 3 teams do in the Champions League, Arsenal could easily go out to Porto, 2-1 down after the game in the Dragao, Chelsea also behind with the same score, Man United could face a tricky tie with Milan at Old Trafford, surely a reduced fixture list would help each team out, however the 3 teams will be fighting hard on both fronts, however could a Champions League run hamper the League success.

Arsenal could go on and win all the remaining games, and that would be enough to win the title, with Chelsea and Man United, the games against each other, and of course Liverpool will go a long way to deciding the location of the Premier League trophy.

No matter what happens, it’s going to be an exciting few months of football in England.

StumbleUponRedditShare