Monthly Archives: November 2015

  1. Relentlessly fuelling Neymar's battle with Danilo is key to Barcelona success in El Clasico

    Guest Post by Karl Matchett.


    Barcelona head into El Clasico in the rare and envious position of being a club facing a win-win situation, as they look to take on Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon.


    Sitting first in the table by three points, the Catalan side know that at worst, even defeat will still leave them level on points at the top of La Liga-and an away defeat to Real Madrid is hardly cause for embarrassment. Instead, the pressure and the expectation will all be on the home side, as the home side, to do the chasing.


    It's a fine starting point for Barça-but that's not all they'll want it to be. Instead, they'll be looking to maximise the opportunity they have given themselves to extend the lead at the top of La Liga and head off to the Club World Cup in December w

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  2. AS Monaco Stumble in 2015 - 2016 Ligue 1 Play

    AS Monaco have been one of the big success stories of the last few years of French football. Sure, they haven't won a Division 1 title since 2000, but the Red and Whites have done some extremely impressive rebuilding in recent years. In the 2010 2011 season, AS Monaco finished 18th and were relegated to Ligue 2. They spent two seasons in the second tier, and even though they soared to a first-place finish and promotion in 2013, no one was quite sure how the Red and Whites would fair. Pretty well, it turned out. So as AS Monaco stumble in 2015 we assess why?

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    Monaco's Recent Seasons

    In 2013 2014, their first season back in the Ligue 1, AS Monaco won 23 games, drew 11, and lost only

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  3. Euro 2016 Lineup Officially Confirmed

    Since September 7th, 2014-less than two months after the conclusion of last year's World Cup-we have been watching and wondering about the qualifiers for the 2016 UEFA European Championship. Now, with the conclusion of the final playoff games on November 17th, the qualifiers are officially over, and the Euro 2016 lineup officially confirmed.

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    The Teams and Seeds

    As always, the Euro qualifiers allowed room for eight teams to battle for second chances at reaching the final tournament. The top two teams from each qualifying group qualified directly for Euro 2016, as did the third-place team with the highest point total. (This year, the top-ranking third-place team was Turkey.) The remaining eight third-placers, meanwhile, earned spots in the playoff

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  4. Blackburn Rovers Appoint Paul Lambert as New Manager

    With the Blackburn Rovers languishing in the bottom half of the Football League Championship table, the soccer club clearly needs some fresh blood and a new perspective to turn things around. On Sunday, November 15th, the soccer club announced that said "new perspective" will be provided by Paul Lambert. Lambert, was sacked at Aston Villa nine months ago, so as Blackburn Rovers appoint Paul Lambert we ask can he turn the clubs fortunes around?

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    A Challenge Awaits

    In the story about his hiring on the Blackburn Rovers website, Lambert said he felt "refreshed" after his brief sabbatical from the soccer world, and that he was "looking forward to the challenge ahead."

    "Challenge" was the correct word to describe

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  5. James Rodriguez is Real Madrid's Key to Success in El Clasico

    Guest Post By Karl Matchett


    The international break couldn't have come at a worse time for Real Madrid in terms of getting some of their star players fit; no sooner had the likes of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez-both out injured after exertions with their respective nations last time out-managed to get back on the pitch for their club than it was time to head off around the world again with their national teams. 


    While Bale was rightly excused from friendly duty with Wales, Rodriguez was demanded by Colombia to play a part in their World Cup qualifiers. He helped them to a point in Chile, scoring in the 1-1 draw, but couldn't prevent a defeat at home to Argentina next time out.


    Importantly, though, he came through the 90 minutes unscathed-and that's of paramount importance to

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  6. The Netherlands Beat Wales - Finally Snagging A Win but Too Late for Euro 2016

    When the UEFA seeded teams for the Euro 2016 qualifying rounds in January 2014, the Netherlands were seeded third, behind Spain and Germany. The team's success at the 2014 World Cup only further affirmed their status as one of the frontrunners for Euro 2016-not just for the qualifiers, but also for the final tournament. Unfortunately, the Dutch had a disastrous run throughout the qualifying competition, losing five of their ten matches and ultimately finishing in fourth place in Group A-not even earning a spot in the playoffs.

    Now, thanks to a post-qualifier friendly fixture with Wales, it seems the Oranje might have done considerably better had they been drawn into a different group. The Netherlands beat Wales 3-2 in a Friday, November 13th friendly, scoring a surprising away victory against a team that will feature at the European Championship next summer.

    The Match

    As the third-place teams

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  7. Chelsea's Nightmare Season: How High Could the Blues Feasibly Finish in the 2015 - 2016 Premier League?

    Last season, Chelsea FC were unstoppable from the get-go. Right from their first game of the season (a 3-1 win against Burnley), the Blues were in first place on the Premier League standings table. They would hold that lead for the entire length of the 38-game league campaign, not losing a single match until week 15, and only losing three fixtures all season. Sure, Jose Mourinho's squad was criticized for a highly tactical, "boring" style of play, but there was nothing boring for Chelsea fans about getting to see their team thoroughly dominate every other football club in the league. The Blues finished the season with 87 points-eight points above defending champs, Manchester City. Fast forward to the 2015 - 2016 Premier League and what can only be described as Chelsea's nightmare season.

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    The Current State

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  8. Spain Take Down England in 2-0 Friendly Fixture

    Was England's massive success in the qualifying rounds for the 2016 European Championship a fluke? Did the Three Lions manage a perfect 10-win record in the qualifiers because they got drawn into an easy group? Those questions are certainly being asked by football pundits worldwide after Spain take down England 0-2 in a Friday friendly match.

    Tweaking the Lineup

    To be fair, England manager Roy Hodgson was experimenting with an unusual lineup on Friday evening. Hodgson mixed things up quite a bit throughout England's Euro 2016 qualifiers, swapping between Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane for the center forward position but also frequently putting Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, and Jamie Vardy at or near the front of his offensive line.

    For Friday's match, Hodgson left Rooney off the starting lineup, handing the captain's armband to goalkeeper Joe Hart instead. Kane, meanwhile, took

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  9. El Clasico 2015: Looking Ahead to One of the Biggest Football Matches of the Year

    El Clasico, the name given to any fixture played between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, has always been one of the most-anticipated rivalry matches in Spanish football. This season, though, El Clasico 2015 might be the biggest rivalry game and the most anticipated football contest in the entire sport. Not only are Barca and Real Madrid fierce La Liga rivals with a score to settle-Barca only beat the Vikings to the title by two points last season-but they are also the last two Champions League winners. Real Madrid won a landmark 10th Champions League title in 2014 while Barcelona won the UCL last season as part of their second-ever treble victory.

    Needless to say, all eyes will be on the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday, November 21st, when the 2015 2016 season sees its first incarnation of the El Clasico rivalry match. Which team will win? Which club will take the bragging rights? Who will score the most goals? All of these questions are on the table as the

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  10. CSKA Moscow Take a Commanding Lead in the 2015/16 Russian Premier League

    CSKA Moscow finished second in the Russian Premier League last season, falling seven points behind Zenit St. Petersburg after having clinched the title by just a point in 2013 2014. Now, 15 weeks into the 2015/16 Russian Premier League 30-game season, CSKA Moscow are six points ahead of the rest of the field eyeing a potential sixth Russian Premier League title. Will CSKA's Horses be able to keep their streak of solid performances alive during the second half of the season? Or will another contender-Zenit St. Petersburg, perhaps-come out of the woodwork and challenge the current leaders for the title?

    Zenit St. Petersburg's Downfall

    If another football club is going to push CSKA Moscow out of the top slot, it would stand to reason that the reigning RPL champions would be the top contenders. Zenit St. Petersburg, though, are not in the best shape in terms of domestic record. The Anti-Aircraft Gunners led the way

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