Who will be the next player to win their first Balon D’or

 

Unfortunately, we are not too far from the twilight years of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s careers, and football will be back to normal where records will not fall week after week. The two undisputed best players in the world have had a monopoly on the Balon D’or for almost a decade with the last winner other than these two being Kaka in 2008. The Balon D’or is awarded to the best player in the calendar year, however, previous years has shown competitions won is taken into account as well so I will be doing the same here.

Who will win the award next after these two start to show a decline in their ability? Here are my top 10 candidates for future Balon D’or wins.

Continue reading “Who will be the next player to win their first Balon D’or”

How fixed football match scams work.

 

All over the world, there are fixed football matches at certain levels of the game. Wether it is spot fixing or fixed results. Today a twitter account followed me claiming to be selling fixed football match results and obviously it will be a scam.

Continue reading “How fixed football match scams work.”

Who will be the next team to win their first World Cup?

Currently, there are eight nations to have won a World Cup. England, Uruguay, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Spain.

Spain are the last team to win the World Cup for the first time back in 2010 but who will be the next team to be able to claim the honour of being World Champions. Here we will look at possible candidates and rank them.

10. Nigeria.

Russia 2018 may well be too early for Nigeria and the climate will not suit them one bit. However Qatar 2022 could be the time for the first ever African World Cup winners and Nigeria look the most likely. Just in the Premier League there is a crop of extremely talented Nigerian players coming through and making a lot of first team appearances at a young age. Players like; Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Wilfried Ndidi, Ahmed Musa and Isaac Success. Victor Moses is also only 26 and has proven to be a brilliant player for Chelsea this season.

If any African team is going to win any of the next two World Cups it will be Nigeria. Mark my words.

9. Mexico

One of the better teams at the last World Cup were robbed of a Quarter Final place via an Arjen Robben dive. Mexico’s current crop is at the prime age to put in their best performance in Russia next year, the climate will be an issue but if Brazil can win in Sweden in 1958 I don’t see why Mexico can’t go far in Russia. Guilhermo Ochoa wowed everybody at the last World Cup, Javier Hernandez has continued scoring in Germany. Solid players that would make it into any national team squad such as Carlos Vela, Hector Moreno and Andres Guardardo will all feature. The emergence of Hirving Lozano will also be interesting in the build to Russia as multiple big clubs around Europe are looking to secure his signature.

8. China

Other than Sun Jihai I couldn’t name you another Chinese footballer. However as any football fan knows football in China is growing at an incredible rate with money being pumped into it and international talents being bought for tens of millions of pounds. With a population approaching 1.5 billion if China continues to invest heavily in football they will begin to develop stars.

With managers like Andre Villas Boas, Gus Poyet, Manuel Pellegrini and Luiz Philipe Scolari all coaching in China the upcoming generation will have the perfect tutilage to become world class players. And with the implementation of a rule allowing teams only 6 foreign players in the matchday squad Chinese players will get the chance to play alongside some of the best footballers in the world as the big money signings keep coming in.

7. Colombia

Another team that won a lot of fans over at the 2014 World Cup Colombia are looking to go even further in 2018 or 2022.

With Falcao looking his best again at Monaco and James Rodriguez still being one of the most talented midfielders in the world Colombia’s attacking force is stacked. Carlos Bacca and Juan Cuardrado playing brilliantly in Italy, as well as Crstian Zapata and David Ospina, being solid down the other end, Colombia could go all the way at the next World Cup. People forget how good they were in 2014 and were only eliminated after an amazing goal by David Luiz

Colombia are a nation that love football so don’t be surprised to see the next generation of Colombian footballers be full of players as talented as James and Falcao.

6. USA

Ever since the MLS was founded football has been on an upward growth in the USA and the next decade could be the time for that to pay dividends for the national team.

The Women’s team are already dominant at their side of the game so if “Soccer” gets any bigger in the USA the National team could emulate their female conterparts successes.

Christain Pulisic and John Brooks are set to be the stars of this next generation fo American players. Both already finding great success in Germany at young ages. Brooks was fantastic in 2014 and 2018 will be Pulisic’s first time at a World Cup should they qualify. Emerson Hyndman and Gedion Zelalem both currently on loan at Rangers and VVV Venlo respectively, are two of the United States rising stars plying their trade in England so look out for them in the near future.

 

5. The Netherlands

The three-time runners-up and 2014 4th placed side have been on a huge decline since then. Failing to qualify for the 2016 Euros and recently sacking manager Danny Blind. The Netherlands need a dramatic turnaround if they are to make Russia 2018. The current crop of players will not win a World Cup, with the only arguably world class talents in the squad being an ageing Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben.

However The Netherlands have always got a new crop coming around the corner and have never been without some of the games top players, from Cruyff and Neeskens, Van Basten and Gullit, Van Nistelrooy and Seedorf and Robben and Van Persie. In the future The Netherlands will have another amazing crop of talent come through at some point but at the moment they don’t look likely but for the reason they will always have at least one world class talent they find themselves 5th on this list.

4. Croatia

Croatia have an argument to put forward that they have the best midfield in international football at the moment. With Modric, Rakitic and Kovacic all playing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid they are definitely one of the best midfield trios at the moment.

The talent doesn’t end there though. Going forward Ivan Perisic was one of the stars of Euro 2016 and Mario Mandzukic has been a great striker for years now.At the back Dejan Lovren, Tin Jedvaj and Daniel Subasic aren’t going to leak goals no matter what team they come up against.

The young crop coming through is also exciting. Alen Halilovic, Marko Rog, Tin Jedvaj, Mateo Kovacic and Marko Pjaca are all players under 23 playing for some of the best teams in Europe. It is fair to say the future is bright for Croatia and with them being one of the few teams who will cope with the climate in Russia next year don’t be surprised to see them cause a few upsets.

3.Portugal

You just cant write off a team that are European Champions and have Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad. Ronaldo is yet to have his huge crowning World Cup moment other than the infamous wink against England over a decade ago.

Next year will be a lot of this generations last chance at World Cup Glory with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Pepe and Quaresma all probably heading to their last World Cup and they will all want to go out on a high.

With young players like Renato Sanches and Bernardo Silva to add to the experience of the core players Portugal have a good chance of replicating their Euro 2016 success.

2. Chile

Back to back Copa America wins have Chile looking good heading into the next World Cup. Spearheaded by Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez Chile have an outstanding chance to do something huge at the next world cup.

Another team that was cruelly eliminated from the last World Cup with Brazil eliminating them on penalties after they hit the cross bar late on in the game. Gary Medel is an impressive player whenever he puts on the national team shirt. As bad as Claudio Bravo has been for Manchester City this season he does put in good performances for Chile.

1, Belgium

In my opinion, the best national team in the world on paper. The have to do something big in 2018. Every single area of the pitch has a top class talent, Lukaku, De Bruyne, Vertonghen, Courtois, Hazard, Kompany, Dembele, Nainggolan, Benteke. The list is endless. If they can get all of their players working together and firing on all cylinders they will be unbeatable. Their players all know each other so well as well playing together for the national team for years as well as the majority of the squad being Premier League players.

The attack is every defenders nightmare and the defence is every attackers nightmare. Scoring past Thibaut Courtois is hard enough but with Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Kompany in front of him, teams will find it hard to even get a sniff at goal. Belgium are one of the favourites for the next World Cup for a reason and it is now or never for their golden generation

 

 

Player for player: What is the best team in Premier League history?

It’s a question we have thrown around between friends and family for years. Position by position. Comparing arguably the five greatest Premier League sides ever assembled man for man in every position is a tough ask but it is something that will always spark discussion. In this discussion is the 07/08 Manchester United team, 04/05 Chelsea The Arsenal Invincibles, 11/12 Manchester City and The Manchester United treble winners.

Goalkeeper: The Candidates

Peter Schmeichel

Petr Cech

Joe Hart

Jens Lehmann

Edwin Van Der Saar

This is a two horse race for me between Van Der Saar and Cech. On one hand Chelsea only conceded 15 goals all season and Cech went over 1,000 minutes without conceding a goal, a record at the time. A record that would be beaten by Edwin Van Der Saar with Manchester United. Peter Schmeichel gets an honourable mention, however, I think Cech and Van Der Saar get the nod over him. It is impossible to separate the two so both Chelsea and Manchester United get a point each on this round.

Right Back: The Candidates

Gary Neville

Wes Brown

Paolo Ferreira

Micah Richards

Lauren

The most straight forward decision in all the squad. Gary Neville slots in easily at right back. The greatest right back the Premier League has ever seen leaves the rest of the candidates a mile back. Right back is the weakest area of the squad for most of these teams. The point goes to the 1999 Manchester United team.

Centre backs: (Choose 2) The Candidates

Vincent Kompany

Joleon Lescott

Sol Campbell

Kolo Toure

John Terry

Ricardo Carvalho

Nemanja Vidic

Rio Ferdinand

Jaap Stam

Ronny Johnsen

This is the hardest area of the squad to choose and other than Lescott and Johnsen you can stake a very serious claim for any of the players. Looking solely at statistics Chelsea’s defence that season only conceded 15 goals all year in the league. Such an unreal feat that will probably never be repeated. Therefore it would be impossible to leave out either Terry or Carvalho due to that unbelievable record. I have never known a defender read a game as well as Ricardo Carvalho, however, he only played 39 games compared to John Terrys 53. John Terrys aerial dominance, strength and leadership see him put in as our first centre back.

The second centre back slot has to belong to Nemanja Vidic. It is so close between him and Sol Campbell. Overall I do think Sol Campbell is the better defender but we are only comparing one individual season and Vidic didn’t put a foot wrong all year in 07/08. If we were talking whole careers I would say Campbell is better than Vidic due to Vidic’s discipline and the amount of times he got torn apart by Fernando Torres. But for a single season Vidic takes it. a point each for 07/08 United and 04/05 Chelsea

Left Back: The Candidates

Ashley Cole

William Gallas

Gael Clichy

Dennis Irwin

Patrice Evra

Left back is a much harder choice than first thought. Evra, Irwin and Cole are all in with a shout of being the best Premier League left-backs of all time. However the only choice I can justify making here is Ashley Cole. In my opinion the greatest left back the world has ever seen Cole was one of the last of a dying breed of full backs who are world class defenders. Now at the highest level of the game left backs are expected to go forward as well as they defend. Ashley Cole didn’t need that as the defensive aspect of his game was just that good. Point goes to 03/04 Arsenal

Central Midfielder: The Candidates

Roy Keane

Yaya Toure

Gilberto Silva

Patrick Vieira

Michael Carrick

Paul Scholes (1999)

Claude Makelele

This is a position that will spark massive debate as fans of their respective clubs can make debates about each of these players. From the off I am going to eliminate the three Manchester United players as options as I think there is such a massive gulf in class between them and the remaining three players.

I have addressed my feelings on Scholes in a previous blog post. Keane was never the technical genius that Toure, Makelele and Vieira were. Roy Keane was a tough tackling hard working midfielder but very overrated in my opinion. Carrick just isn’t at that level albeit I do think there is a debate as to whether or not Carrick is better than Scholes.

Toure, Makelele and Vieira. Three of the best at their respective roles. Without a doubt Claude Makelele is the best pure defensive midfielder the game has ever seen. The spine of any team he was in, there is a reason that the role is named after him. Patrick Vieira, physically imposing is an understatement. The man used to intimidate me through a TV screen and one of the strongest players I have ever seen. It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12

Patrick Vieira, physically imposing is an understatement. The man used to intimidate me through a TV screen and one of the strongest players I have ever seen. It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12

It will be a very controversial decision but Yaya Toure gets the nod from me. During the 11/12 season Yaya Toure showcased all of his talents brilliantly. I have never seen a player run on the ball like Toure used to he would just power through defences like he was a tank. Not as good defensively as Makelele or Vieira but Toure was a threat going forward and could always be counted on to put in a shift when it counted. Point goes to 11/12 Man City

Right Wing: The Candidates

Cristiano Ronaldo

The only candidate I am going to put for this position. Without a doubt the best player throughout any of these squads. The reason the 07/08 United squad was what it was Ronaldo in 07/08 is arguably the best single season performance from a player alongside Thierry Henry in 03/04 Luis Suarez in 13/14 and Gareth Bale in 12/13. We don’t even need to discuss any other candidate in this position. Point goes to Man United 07/08

Attacking Midfielder: The Candidates

Frank Lampard

David Silva

Samir Nasri

Dennis Bergkamp

It really hurts me that I am not choosing Dennis Bergkamp in this position. It truly does. My favourite ever player to watch and the greatest technique on any footballer ever I wish I could choose him here. Unfortunately we are doing this on a season by season basis and Frank Lampard’s 04/05 is better than Dennis Bergkamp’s 03/04. I know Dennis Bergkamp can be considered a striker but in 03/04 he was more of a second striker/ attacking mid. Frank Lampard is the choice here 13 goals from midfield that year is a standard return from Frank Lampard who would go on to finish only behind Ronaldinho in that years Balon D’or voting. Point goes to 04/05 Chelsea

Left Wing: The Candidates

Ryan Giggs (1999)

Ryan Giggs (07/08)

Joe Cole

Robert Pires

Adam Johnson

For as much as everyone says “Ryan Giggs is the best Premier League player of all time” he never had a phenomenal season. I go over Ryan Giggs in the same blog post I mentioned when speaking about Scholes earlier. Giggs scored a measly three league goals in both 98/99 and 07/08. Joe Cole was at the height of his talent in 04/05 showing glimpses of world class talent at times and he still is Englands most skilful player in my lifetime. Adam Johnson is such a huge waste of talent. Their will always be a dark cloud over his career however he was an incredibly talented player at one point. Rewatch his goal vs Sunderland for Manchester City and you will see what he was capable of producing. This position absolutely goes to Robert Pires though. Scoring 14 league goals from the wing and playing the best football of his career Pires was outstanding in an Arsenal side full of outstanding players. Point goes to 03/04 Arsenal

Strikers: (Choose 2) The Candidates

Sergio Aguero

Edin Dzeko

Mario Balotelli

Thierry Henry

Didier Drogba

Eidur Gudjohnssen

Wayne Rooney

Carlos Tevez (Man United)

Dwight Yorke

Andy Cole

Thierry Henry is a shoe in. Henry’s season is one of the best by any Premier League player as I mentioned earlier. Hitting 30 goals as well as six assists Henry walked to the player of the year award that year. The greatest Premier League player of all time for me Henry you can’t not have him as your first choice striker here.

Sergio Aguero is the only one of these players other than Henry to hit 20+ league goals in their respective seasons and he is my choice as the second striker. I can’t think of a better debut season from any striker in the league. From his Brace off the bench against Swansea in his first ever game to his iconic last kick of the season against QPR Sergio Aguero won the league for Manchester City that season as well as scoring a huge amount which is why he gets in the team. Point each for 03/04 Arsenal and 11/12 Man City

Captain: The Candidates

Patrick Vieira

Vincent Kompany

Roy Keane

Ryan Giggs (Neville was injured for the season)

John Terry

For all the reasons I think that Roy Keane is over rated there is no question that he is an amazing leader on the pitch. I beg anyone to rewatch his Champions League semi-final second leg performance . That is what you need from a captain even though he got booked early and knew he would miss the final if they got there he rallied the troops and ran the midfield against Zinedine Zidane and Edgar Davids. Two of the best midfielders of that generation. Roy Keane is the best captain in Premier League history. Point goes to Manchester United 98/99

Manager: The Candidates

Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson

Roberto Mancini

Arsene Wenger

Jose Mourinho.

Every single one of these managers has a claim at having the best managerial season. Mourinho broke so many records with that Chelsea side and only lost one game in the league. Manchester United won the treble in 1999 and the double in 2008. Arsene Wenger led his team to an unbeaten season in the league. A lot of people will disagree with me here but I am going to choose Roberto Mancini. Without a doubt the rest of the managers are better and Fergie is the best manager of all time.

However comparing single-season feats from a managerial standpoint Mancini takes this. The difference is for the rest of the teams the league title was never in doubt towards the end of the season. Not a lot of managers would be able to claw back an 8 point deficit against their biggest rivals with only 6 games to go. With a club chasing their first league title for 44 years Mancini managed to win the league in the most dramatic of ways playing some of the best football the league has ever seen along the way. Beating Man United 6-1 at Old Trafford and Spurs 5-1 at White Hart Lane. Swallowing his pride and putting Carlos Tevez back into the team after vowing to never play him again. In a single season Roberto Mancini had the best managerial season out of any of these great managers. Point goes to 11/12 Manchester City

If you disagree with any or all of my selections feel free to comment or tweet me @charliejones141 I would love to see some discussion about who you think deserves a place more than others.

2017 Cheltenham Festival Preview and tips

 

We are less than a week away from the biggest and best race meeting of the year. The Cheltenham festival is the showcase of the greatest horses that the UK and Ireland have to offer and this year it has been an unpredictable road leading up to the festival.

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What happened to Radamel Falcao?

 

During Radamel Falcao’s two-year stint in the Premier League, he went from being considered one of the best strikers in the world to a flop. However, after Tuesday’s performance for Monaco against Manchester City, English fans are rightly wondering what’s happened to Falcao. Continue reading “What happened to Radamel Falcao?”

How Fulham have changed this season.

How have Fulham changed since last season.

Two hard fought 3-2 wins last week against Wigan and Nottingham Forest have highlighted the difference between present day Fulham and a squad that finished 20th in the Championship last season.

Continue reading “How Fulham have changed this season.”