Talk of the Turnstile – March 28th

Welcome to another edition of Talk of the Turnstile, bringing a weekly round up of all things football and SoccerStarz!

A week where there was fifteen Premier League games, including the Manchester Derby and an absolute drubbing for Arsenal, away at Chelsea.

Fourth placed Arsenal’s title challenge was ended by an imperious Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, last weekend. 2-0 down after seven minutes it went for bad to worse for Arsenal as Oxlade-Chamberlain gave away a penalty for a hand ball, well I think it was Chamberlain or was it Kieran Gibbs? Best ask referee Andre Marriner to clarify that one.  Needless to say one of them was sent off and Arsenal dropped to 10 men. Chelsea scored a further three goals and the game finished 6-0, to end any hope of Arsenal winning the league.

Fast forward to Old Trafford for Tuesday night’s Manchester derby, and it took all of 43-odd seconds to decide the match. An early Eden Dzeko goal set the tone for the evening and Man City left Old Trafford with a 3-0 victory.

Let’s jump on a plane to Spain and have a quick view of their title race. Barcelona beat Real 4-3 in a Clasico to remember, that brought the top three all within a point of one another. It was too get worse for Real thought as they dropped to third following defeat to Sevilla on Wednesday. Atletico managed to stay top with a win over Granada, whilst two goals from Neymar helped Barcelona to win 3-0 over Celta Vigo.

Now for some SoccerStarz Newz as we announced the release of two blind bags for this summers World Cup event. An all England Blind Bag and an International Tournament edition blind bag. There are plenty of players up for grabz,

Some brief headlines

  • UEFA have approved a new League of Nations tournament that is due to start in 2019, keep an eye out for the full story next Monday.
  • Liverpool are interested in bring in Ashley Cole this summer
  • Victor Valdes has played his last game for Barcelona following a ACL injury.
  • Manchester United fans plan to fly a “Moyes Out” banner, over Old Trafford during Saturday’s game against Aston Villa

Congratulations to our last two #FSSF winners Cam Melling and John Crosbie. Cam was lucky enough to win an orange based Matija Nastasic and John Crosbie won a black based Aaron Ramsey.

Make sure you play this week, where you can win an orange based Darron Gibson and a bronze based Craig Gardner, click here to enter now http://on.fb.me/1dUDzAU

We had 36 winners on Guess the Scores last weekend, but will it be you this week? Click HERE to place you predictions now and to give yourself a chance of winning SoccerStarz

Thanks again for reading, and make sure you check out next weeks Talk of the Turnstile

What’s happening in the World of Football

A look at football outside the media focused Europe, as we delve into continental competition in Asia and South America.

Football at times can be very European centered, none more so than during a Champions League week. Well that wasn’t the only Champions League football that has been played this week; the Asian Champions League began, so this is where we shall start.

The AFC Champions League

Holders Guangzhou Evergrande began their defence of the trophy with a 4-2 win over Melbourne Victory. Former West Ham United striker Alessandro Diamanti scored a hat-trick on his debut for the Chinese side. He made more of a splash than Cerezo Osaka’s new signing, but we will speak of him later on.

There were no real surprises in the opening games of this season’s tournament, with most clubs seemingly happy to settle for a point. Clubs to watch for in this season’s tournament include the holders Guangzhou, last season runners up FC Seoul, Jeonbuk Motors and Al Hilal. Sanfreece Hiroshima will be hoping for a better showing in the tournament this year round, and should have aspirations of at the very least reaching the second round, whilst Japanese play-maker Shunsuke Nakamura will be hoping to inspire Yokohama F Marinos.

J. League preview.

Defending champions Sanfreece will be looking to make it a triple crown this season, as they have won the last two editions of the league. It will also be the first time since the J.League began that Jubilo Iwata will not be present, following their relegation to J2. Omiya Ardija will be hoping for a much improved showing this season following their utterly dismal slump in the second half of last year. Atop the league at the midway stage with 36 points, they managed to gain only a further nine points.

Much will be expected of Cerezo youngster Yoichiro Kakitani in this World Cup year, as they look to improve on their fourth place finish. But the biggest news for the J.League was the signing of Uruguayan star Diego Forlan. Having left Internacional in Brazil, the World Cup 2010 golden ball winner, will now ply his trade in Osaka. It’s an important year for Cerezo, as city rivals Gamba are back following promotion from the J2; Cerezo will want to preform better than Yashuito Endo and his teammates.

CONMEBOL

Copa Libertadores

Two games in, for most teams, the Copa Libertadores is the premier competition for South American sides. Current holders Atletico Miniero began their defence with a 1-0 victory over Zamora of Venezuela. With Ronaldinho staying on at the club, they will amongst the favourites though, one really does doubt whether they have the squad to win back-to-back Copas. If they do they will be the first team since Boca Juniors in 2000 and 2001 to have won the Copa in succession.

It’s always difficult to pick out who will win the Copa, as the teams can change so drastically, thanks to the summer transfer windows, but teams that one would expect to be in the final reckoning, usually come from the dominant Argentina or Brazil, so I fully expect to see a club from either nation. That being said, challenges will be made from clubs of Columbia, Uruguay and Paraguay. The next round of games are on the 11th, 12th and 13th March.

Copa Libertadores de America 2011 | Santos  - Peñarol | 110615-Remember if you feel we missed anything out please don’t hesitate to comment at the bottom.

FA Cup Fifth Round

We’re back, after a long time without any activity (We’ve been working on some major new features, which we hope to release very soon), so we thank you for your patience.

Saturday’s games

Let’s get down to business with the weekend’s Fa Cup action then. First up, Carling Cup Finalists, Sunderland, welcomed Southampton to the Stadium of Light, in an all Premier League ties. In what turned out to be a tight affair, Craig Gardner got the winner as Sunderland progressed to the Sixth Round.

With the Sheffield Wednesday vs. Charlton Athletic game being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, there was only one 3pm kick off; this was the FA Cup Holders, Wigan, looking to beat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Cardiff City. With all the goals coming in the first half, Wigan triumphed 2-1, to set up a repeat of last season’s final as they face Manchester City in the Sixth Round. Keeping with Man City, they faced Chelsea at the Etihad stadium in the late kick off on Saturday evening. City gained revenge for the defeat in the League just under 2 weeks ago, coming out on top thanks to goals from Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri.

Sunday’s games

Roberto Martinez, moves ever closer to being the first manager in history to win the FA Cup two years in succession with two different clubs. The last manager to win it 2 years in a row, but for the same club was Arsene Wenger with Arsenal in 2002 and 2003. An entertaining game at Goodison saw Everton overcome a much changed Swansea side, 3-1. Lacina Traore scored with a flick of the heel, before Jonathan de Guzman equalised with a well placed header. A change just after half time altered the outcome of the match as Steven Naismith was introduced and to great effect. A poacher’s goal (from Naismith) and a penalty, converted by Leighton Baines, saw Everton over the finishing line. They now head to North London to face Arsenal, who will face Merseyside opposition for the second round in a row.

Following on from Liverpool’s demolition of Arsenal last weekend, the Gunners were “gunning” for revenge. An embarrassing 5-1 score line was not on the cards this time, as Arsenal took the lead through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Lukas Podolski doubled the lead soon after halftime and Arsenal had a two goal cushion. In a game marred with controversy, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard pulled one goal back from the penalty spot, but was perhaps lucky to stay on the field for the full 90. Luis Suarez should have had a penalty, from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s clumsy challenge but referee Howard Webb was having none of it.  In the end Arsenal held on to win 2-1.

In the other game of the day Sheffield United came back from one-goal down to beat promotion chasing Nottingham Forest 3-1. Two 90th minute goals proved to be the difference for the Blades and they will now face either, their fierce city rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, in the Steel City derby, or South East London club Charlton Athletic.

Monday Night game

An 86th minute equaliser from Hull City’s Sagbo denied Brighton and Hove Albion passage to the sixth round of the FA Cup and instead handed them a replay at the KC Stadium. The Seagulls will be disappointed now to have progressed to the next round where they could face Sunderland.

Below is the Sixth Round Draw, with some ties sure to delight.

Sixth Round Draw

to be played weekend of March 8th/9th

Arsenal v Everton

Brighton or Hull City v Sunderland

Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday or Charlton Athletic

Manchester City v Wigan Athletic

FA Cup trophy

7th Jan – NEWZ as it happens

After a brief New Years sabbatical here is all the NEWZ for the world of football.

Theo Walcott will miss the rest of the season and the World Cup tournament due to a tear to his cruciate ligament. He did manage a 2-0 gesture towards the Tottenham fans as he was stretched from the pitch though.

Walcott 2-0

 

Sticking with ligament injuries, Giuseppe Rossi will spend sometime on the sidelines following a knee injury. Unlike Theo above though, he didn’t tear a cruciate.

Manchester United crashed out of the FA Cup following defeat to Swansea at Old Trafford

Di Natale has annouced he will retire at the end of the season, to the dismay of many Udinese fans.

Tom Huddlestone’s lock of hair sold for £6,300 on eBay, with the money going to charity.

 

Festive Football round up

We hope everyone had a great Christmas. Here is the round up of the headlines over the festive period.

Liverpool were top of the league on Christmas day, but following two, 2-1 defeats now find themselves out of the top 4 and they are 6 points behind leaders Arsenal.

Phil Jagielka will be out for up to 4 weeks, due to a hamstring injury.

Clint Dempsey was confirmed as a loan deal for Fulham for two months. He will wear the number 32 shirt.

Clint Dempsey

Brendan Rodgers is too be investigated by the FA following comments made about referee Lee Mason

Inter Milan have been linked with Juan Mata and Erik Lamela

 

The World Cup Draw

The draw for next Summer’s show piece tournament is upon us.

So there it is, the World Cup draw. Feel free to comment below

We will be updating live right from this page.

Group A

Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Group B

Spain, Holland, Chile, Australia,

Group C

Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group D

Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group E

Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Group F

Argentina, Bosnia, Iran, Nigeria

Group G

Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Group H

Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

Legends ready to make the draw for the WC 2014, Geoff Hurst, Mario Kempes, Fabio Cannavaro, Lothar Matthaus, Zinedine Zidane, Fernando Hierro, Cafu and Alcides Ghiggia.

It, finally looks like we are about to get started. Just showing the watching audience the make up of the pots.

Zidane has been welcomed to the stage, as has Cafu

We get a little natter from Pele

Ronaldo is now on stage

As is Bebeto and Marta

As happens at the majority of draws, there is plenty of music and speaking before we get down to the actual business

 

Brazil Host Cities

Ballon d’Or shortlist has been released.

The annual Ballon d’Or shortlist has been unveiled, with the usual names prevalent on the list.

One name that has been included is Gareth Bale. He has so far flattered to deceive at Real Madrid, mainly due to injuries, but is present on the shortlist, thanks to his stunning form for Tottenham Hotspur.

Below is the full list

Gareth Bale
Edinson Cavani
Radamel Falcao
Eden Hazard
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Andres Iniesta
Philipp Lahm
Robert Lewandowski
Lionel Messi
Thomas Muller
Manuel Neuer
Neymar
Mesut Ozil
Andrea Pirlo
Franck Ribery
Arjen Robben
Cristiano Ronaldo
Bastian Schweinsteiger
Luis Suarez
Thiago Silva
Yaya Toure
Robin van Persie
Xavi

The managers list has also been released. One would feel that there can only be one winner this year following his retirement and that must be Jupp Heynckes

Carlo Ancelotti
Rafael Benitez
Antonio Conte
Vicente Del Bosque
Sir Alex Ferguson
Jupp Heynckes
Jurgen Klopp
Jose Mourinho
Luiz Felipe Scolari
Arsene Wenger

Could this be the top three again?

Could this be the top three again?

Robert Lewandowski still undecided on his next move

The Lewandowski transfer saga takes yet another twist. Whilst many outlets were reporting that he planned to sign for Bayern Munich, in a pre-contract this January, Lewandowski has moved to dismiss those rumours. Quoted on Sky Sports, Lewandowski said “I will sign a contract this January, but not once did I say I was signing for Bayern”.

He continued by saying that he planned to play in the Premier League one day, and that he would be looking forward to that experience. With Lewandowski’s contract due to run out in the Summer of 2014, Dortmund maybe willing to listen to offers for the striker this January so that they don’t lose him on a free transfer.

So where will he end up? Will he indeed sign for Bayern Munich or will we see him plying his trade in one of the Manchester colours?

Lewandowski is still undecided on where his future lies

Lewandowski is still undecided on where his future lies

Whether a deal is concluded this January of next summer, one thing is for certain, he will not be in the yellow of Borussia Dortmund.

FIFA to investigate a winter World Cup

So it is official Sepp Blatter and FIFA have once again moved the goalposts to suit themselves. The decision on whether the World Cup will now be taken after the 2014 World Cup. If decision is to move the tournament to the winter, cue absolute havoc with the European Leagues, the transfer window, The FIFA Club World Cup, Champions League, Europa League, need I name many more?

Why Qatar were awarded the World Cup in the first place is beyond most football fans. They haven’t even qualified for a past tournament. It was clear from day one that the heat was going to be an issue. They had trouble with USA’94 with the unbelievable heat in Dallas when it reached 45C (113F). UEFA President Michel Platini points out that nobody criticised the decision then, yet, one would expect the mistake not to happen twice.

Qatar have also been accused of mistreating migrant workers, meaning FIFA President Sepp Blatter will visit the country

Whilst we still have nine years left to go until the tournament, (yes nine long years, where we will never hear an end to matter), so anything can happen in between now and then.

Ready for a winter World Cup?

Ready for a winter World Cup?

England announce squad for World Cup Qualifiers

Roy Hodgson has announced the squad he believes will lead England to the World Cup when they face Montenegro and Poland next week.

Needing two wins to guarantee automatic qualification, Hodgson has picked the following squad.

Will Lambert be celebrating next week?

Will Lambert be celebrating next weeksquad.

Goalkeepers

Fraser Forster, Joe Hart, John Ruddy

Defenders: 

Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker.

Midfielders:

Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere.

Forwards: 

Jermain Defoe, Rickie Lambert, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Daniel Welbeck.

A strong looking squad? Anyone you feel is missing and should have been included. Give us your thoughts in the comment box below.