City quicker than Jabba The Hutt’s Deck Chair
Where else would we start an EPL round-up but at White Hart Lane? After dominating for 45 minutes, the Citizens only had one goal to show for their superiority and quickly capitulated in 30 second-half minutes. While Spurs were aided by two goals that were blatantly offside, injuries to Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany quickly came back to haunt the Etihad club. With three defeats in four, City fans may need to start preparing their ‘Get Pellegrini Out’ placards.
Just three weeks ago, Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal was being widely ridiculed for orchestrating one of Man Utd’s most shambolic transfer windows. Even we joined in the merriment, as United failed to complete the transfer of David De Gea to Real Madrid while spending a staggering £36 million on unknown teenager Anthony Martial from Monaco.
21 days represents a lifetime in top-flight football however, and the Dutchman has now been transformed from a figure of fun to a managerial genius with a shrewd eye for a potential in the transfer market.
Martial has Lift-off
Both De Gea and Martial were prominent as United climbed to second in the league this weekend, just two points adrift of previous runaway leaders Man City. Martial scored two incredibly well-taken goals in the victory against Southampton at St. Mary’s, doing much to support the growing belief that he is a natural born finished. De Gea was also in prime form, pulling off a stunning save to deny Fonte at the near post before palming over Wanyama’s long range strike in stoppage time.
In our humble opinion Championship Manager remains the most popular and addictive footie game of all time. Guaranteed to keep you up until the early hours of the morning, the nuances of the game and its immersive nature have scuppered multiple careers and strained even the most loyal marriages.
Another unique facet of the game is the presence of some staggeringly talented young players, each of whom mysteriously failed to achieve their in-game potential.
Here are three of the greatest virtual players ever to grace the game…
So the madness is over. Despite sitting through a summer transfer window that saw records amount of money spent, the final 48 hours were arguably the most disappointing in modern history. There were however some nuggets of entertainment to enjoy, that is unless of course you were a Tottenham fan. Here were some of our favourite bits…
David De Gea stars in a Chuckle Brothers sketch
The highlight of the transfer window was undoubtedly provided by Manchester United and Real Madrid, who decided to play the roles of children arguing over a bag of sweets in a playground. Their comic turn concluded with De Gea’s move collapsing after the paperwork was submitted two minutes late, with both clubs blaming one another in a very public way.
Who didn’t want to play striker as a little ‘un. Ferdiand, Shearer and Cole – and before them Lineker and Rush – set our imaginations ablaze. No.9 has always been known as the glamour position, from which footballers can be elevated from mere mortals to demi-gods. Despite this, there appears to be a lack definite lack of world class strikers in world football, at least in comparison to a decade ago. This situation has been reinforced by Louis Van Gaal’s decision to sign unheralded French forward Anthony Martial for £36 million, as the lack of genuine top quality options seems to take its toll.
Let’s cast our mind back a decade ago, when strikers such as Raul, Thierry Henry and Ruud Van Nistelrooy dominated the European game. These were authentic number nines, who combined strength with high quality finishing while leading the line for their teams with distinction. The game has evolved during the last decade, however, with deeper players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard now assuming a heavier goal scoring burden.
Ah, diving. This is the most contentious issue in football, and also something that mysteriously gets blamed on overseas players. This bizarre mindset was demonstrated in a recent incident involving St. Johnstone defender Brad McKay, who has been charged by the Scottish FA after labelling Hearts’ striker Juanma as ‘a typical foreigner’ who ‘gets touched and goes down’.
If foreign players are responsible for diving, homegrown players have certainly picked up the concept. To celebrate the dark art of diving we have dug out three of the worst offences:
Kyle Lafferty, Rangers v Aberdeen
My personal favourite, Kyle Lafferty set a new low with his disgraceful ‘simulation’ against the Dons’ Charlie Mulgrew. After a collision on the touchline, the two players came together before Lafferty hurled himself to the ground as though he had been head-butted by an extra from Easter Island. A dumbfounded Mulgrew was sent-off, and despite sharing a smug wink with his teammates,Lafferty was forced to apologise after a backlash on social media.