Where next for Gareth Bale?

November 30, 2012 in Premier League, Transfers by Kai Kapo

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Gareth Bale: the best Welsh player since Ryan Giggs. The similarities between the Manchester United legend and the new, younger ‘Welsh Wizard’ are there for everybody to see. Both were hailed as the future of Welsh football. In his peak, Giggs was a blistering left winger that induced a medical condition amongst defenders known as ‘twisted blood’, and at the moment, you would find it difficult to look past Bale when considering who you would call the best left winger in the Premier League. Gareth Bale has even adopted Ryan’s famous number 11 jersey for both club and country. The one thing that will remain starkly different about the two is that Ryan Giggs’ future had never been in doubt since his debut back in 1992 – he was going to be at Manchester United for the rest of his career. Gareth Bale, however, will not be spending another 10 or 15 years at Tottenham Hotspur, no matter what AVB may say to the media - sorry Spurs fans, that is a fact, and it’s not ‘if’, but rather ‘when’ he leaves. Tottenham fans will call it ‘lack of loyalty’, but Gareth Bale will call it ‘ambition’.

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A Drop of Claret and Blue: West Ham’s November review

November 30, 2012 in Premier League by Darren Woon

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Welcome to A Drop of Claret and Blue.

It‘s been a while since this feature has appeared on the site; due to other commitments, it will now be something of a monthly contribution, as opposed to the game-by-game schedule it once adhered to. So allow me to cast your minds way back to October 27th, when West Ham visited Wigan.

“Confidently anticipate a comfortable win,” I said. “Perhaps even a clean sheet to go with it.” A West Ham side, buoyed by a fantastic second half performance against Southampton, looked almost certain to claim three points against a Wigan team who hadn’t won a game at home yet this season.

Surely that was forewarning enough of what was to come at the DW Stadium.

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“Give Brendan Rodgers time” - but for what?

November 30, 2012 in Premier League by George Curtis

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In May 2009, on the back of a second Champions League final in four years, Rafael Benitez had led Liverpool to within five points of their inaugural Premier League title. Merely two-and-a-half years on from the Spaniard’s departure in 2010, the roaring flame of Benitez’s legacy has been reduced to nothing but a damp squib. Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish, and now Brendan Rodgers have all failed to reignite LFC’s charge, and as mid-season looms, Rodgers’ tenure to date poses more questions than it provides answers. Mid-table obscurity beckons for a side once nailed on for a top four finish, but after thoughtless transfer deals, ownership fiascos and semi-political controversies, performances on the pitch have stalled. Moreover, Liverpool are not the team they used to be.

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Do Manchester United still need Nani?

November 29, 2012 in Premier League by Aman Pathiara

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The thing about Nani is that there’s always been an air of expectation around him; a belief that he was capable of being a world-beater. Not sure why?  A raw Portuguese talent (like Cristiano Ronaldo before him), United took a relative financial punt in paying double figures for the winger (like Cristiano Ronaldo before him) to bring him over from Sporting Lisbon… (yep, you guessed it, like Cristiano Ronaldo before him). Still not sure where the expectation came from? Hmm.

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Matija Nastasic and the Redemption Of The Man City Defence

November 29, 2012 in Premier League by Louis Baxter

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Manchester City’s defence - the best in the Premier League for consecutive seasons largely thanks to the effective brain and brawn partnership of captain Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott - began the 2012/13 season in disarray. If you include the Community Shield, City conceded six goals in their first three games of the season, and 10 in their first 7. They didn’t keep a clean sheet until October, and even that was a home game against Sunderland, who at the time had the worst attack in the league and whose continued impotence in front of goal has left them on the verge of a relegation battle. Vincent Kompany both looked like he was trying too hard, and like he’d lost the magic touch that saw him take the Barclays Player of the Year last season. Mancini looked reactionary, switching the formations every twenty minutes, switching up his defensive personnel week in week out, experimenting with a back three, seemingly favouring Lescott in the Premier League but Nastasic in the Champions League. It looked a mess. But here we are, 14 games into the season and City hold the best defensive record in the division. What happened?

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