Much like they did in the Champions League, yesterday Manchester City threw the towel in at the Etihad and handed the title to neighbours Manchester United.
City drew 3-3 with Sunderland after being 3-1 down. The comeback was commendable but it wasn’t enough to prevent another Premier League title heading to Old Trafford come the end of the season. City simple don’t have the mentality required to hold off a challenge from United, the likes of Balotelli, Tevez, Nasri aren’t the players you need in a tight situation. When the going gets tough, they’re nowhere to be seen.
Roberto Mancini will now be feeling the pressure with City failing to return any silverware this season despite massive investment from the Manchester City owners. Questions will be asked whether Mancini is the man for the job, particularly when the likes of Fabio Capello are currently out of work.
With all their millions, the one thing City needed this season was the one thing they couldn’t buy. Bottle.
It’s a headline that I’m completely uncomfortable with, I’ll admit that straight away but it’s a question that’s going to keep on cropping up over the next 8 weeks each time the Norwich City striker hits the back of the net.
Holt is in form, no-one can deny that. A quick look at the Premier League’s top scorers table shows Holt in second place with 11 goals, only Wayne Rooney who will miss the first 2 games of Euro 2012 in front of him. The other attacking contenders consist of Danny Wellbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch. Wellbeck has had a good season but hasn’t exactly scored at will, Sturridge is alarmingly out of form, Defoe struggles to get a game for Spurs and Crouch is completely one dimensional. Suddenly Grant Holt looks like a viable alternative, or does he?
Fans are often heard saying that managers should pick players on form but that can’t always be the case – David Nugent and Michael Ricketts spring to mind, 2 players that were in good enough form to earn themselves an England cap yet simply weren’t good enough to play for England. Is Grant Holt another in this mould?
Fortunately for England, there are others in the team that can contribute goals – Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott and Ashley Young are all dangerous players and their inclusion in the squad is likely to leave the England manager, whoever that may be picking only 4 out-and-out strikers for the squad, hoping that goals will come from other areas of the pitch.
At 30, Holt isn’t exactly the up and coming young firebrand that England seem to be lacking but he just may be able to do a job. Wellbeck, Sturridge and Defoe are all very similar in style and offer little for a manager needing to switch tactics in the last 15 of a game – this could be the factor that sees Holt and not Defoe getting on the plane in June.
And there we were thinking that Mario Balotelli had been a bit quiet lately. Nope, when Inter Milan were announcing their new caretaker manager following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, who should walk in?
It’s that time of the week again! This week on the Football Banter podcast we ask if Roberto Mancini will be sacked if Manchester City fail to win a trophy this season, could Grant Holt really make England’s Euro 2012 squad? We take a look at Liverpool’s poor form and review all of the weeks football action.
This week Pete returns to the pod and we talk about Fernando Torres’ return to form, Mancini turning into Kevin Keegan and review action from the Champions League, Premier League FA Cup and take a rare look at the Championship!
In a team full of stars it’s never easy deciding who should take the free kicks. Bayern Munich’s Frank Ribery has got the solution though – have a quick game of rock paper scissors…
Bolton’s 23 year old midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch in the 42nd minute of their FA Cup quarter final with Spurs today. Muamba was treated by paramedics before being stretchered off and rushed to hospital, referee Howard Webb abandoned the game after consulting with both managers.
It’s unclear what caused Muamba’s collapse, and he is thought to be in critical condition. Both sets of players were visibly shaken by the events, and supporters of both teams started chanting Muamba’s name shortly after the match was abandoned.
Here at Football Banter we wish Fabrice Muamba a speedy recovery and our thoughts are with his family and friends.
After a typically long and arduous ceremony, eventually we learned what matches we would be enjoying over the next few months, with the final taking place on May 19th.
Quite possibly the tie of the quarter final draw is AC Milan against Barcelona, the Italian side grinding out a win against Arsenal which may well give then a renewed belief, although it seems highly likely Barcelona will be the team that we see In the semi-finals. An interesting dynamic to this match is the fact it seems almost a foregone conclusion we will see Thiago Silva in a Barcelona shirt next season, and so his performance may be one to watch out for. (more…)
Icelandic football team Stjarnan F.C. are known for their elaborate goal celebrations – take a look at this compilation of some of their best efforts!