A Drop Of Claret And Blue: West Ham vs Fulham preview

August 31, 2012 in Features, Premier League by Darren Woon

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Welcome to A Drop of Claret and Blue. At the time of writing this article, West Ham United have announced the signing of Andy Carroll from Liverpool on a season-long loan deal. The 23-year old striker had been linked with the East London club for the best part of the transfer window, and whilst it looked like the move was unlikely to take place, the Gateshead-born forward has finally put pen to paper. We at Ballsy Banter would like to wish him all the best at his new club.

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So Berbatov Picked Fulham over Juventus

August 31, 2012 in Premier League, Serie A by Louis Baxter

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Being a kid in the 90′s without Sky Sports was a cruel existence. Live football was a sparse and rare thing, often confined to Champions League on Wednesday nights, and even that was always Manchester United, something a young Man City fan like me would rather not be put through. So aside from the occasional FA Cup game, I found my refuge in Football Italia, Channel 4′s non-repeated foray into football broadcasting. Presented by James Richardson, reborn these days as the celebrated football weekly podcaster, it would show one live game from Serie A every Sunday. And at the time, this was no small thing. Serie A was the best league in the world, it had Ronaldo (the fat Brazilian one), Zidane, Cafu, Del Piero, Shevchenko. It made the Premier League look immature, positively park-like in comparison. Well, today, Dimitar Berbatov chose to sign for Fulham instead of Juventus. The line has been drawn in the sand, the final page of the book closed on Serie A’s status as a league that mattered.

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What do Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon and AVB have in common?

August 30, 2012 in Features, Premier League by Jonathan Holdstock

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It is always a great feeling when someone tells you that you have great potential. It gives you a confidence boost and you can’t help but dream of what lies ahead if you fulfil that potential. Footballers and managers work under the same principle, but just like in real life, not all of us reach our potential (I never got that B in maths); two footballers and one coach have come under the spotlight in recent days and all three share the same problem. They haven’t fulfilled their potential.

Back in 2006, two promising young wingers were surprise inclusions in Sven Goran Eriksson’s World Cup squad. A 17-year old Theo Walcott and a 19-year old Aaron Lennon. Both were touted to be England’s future wide options, with David Beckham getting on a bit and Steven Gerrard being wasted on the left. Small, lightning quick, and good with the ball at their feet, you couldn’t help but imagine them jinking past some of the world’s best defenders in years to come. Sadly, that dream has not turned into a reality.

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The Three Best (and Worst) Positional Changes

August 30, 2012 in Features, Premier League by Joseph Kingsley-Nyinah

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Apparently, Brendan Rodgers has the perfect idea to resurrect Stewart Downing’s Liverpool career. Downing’s said to be “excited” by this prospect, but seeing as the other options are a sale or the reserves, I doubt anyone’s surprised by that.

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All smiles at Sunderland

August 29, 2012 in Premier League by Ben Said Scott

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As it appears is Sunderland’s way in the Premier League, the team fizzled out towards the back end of last season. Following the hammering Everton dished out to us in the FA Cup quarter-final replay, the Black Cats failed to win any of their last eight games, losing three. It was an almost identikit replica to the end of Steve Bruce’s last season in charge. Contrary to popular belief (well, so Brucey would have you believe anyway), the current Hull City boss was not sacked because of his Geordie roots, but because Sunderland’s form dropped dramatically following the January departure of Judas (Darren Bent), and that form continued well into the beginning of the last campaign. We only won two of our first 14 games. Change was needed, it came in the form of Martin O’Neill, and his impact was instant. Pulling away from the danger zone, Sunderland looked threatening for about ten games before the perennial end of season syndrome kicked in and we ran out of steam.

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