World Cup Last 16 Predictions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2010 by byronchenko

After my obviously brilliant group stage predictions, I’m definitely in a position to offer predictions for the rest of it. Well, at least I got Ribery/Gourcuff to light up the tournament. Cheers, France

YOU’RE A GAY VS THE POOR MAN’S KDPR

South Korea looked better than I expected, energetic and not pathetically defensive, Uruguay looked brilliant against South Africa and lethargic against France, and I watched the France/S. Africa game, for the most part. But I still properly rate Uruguay, Forlan dictating play against S. Africa was one of my favourite performances of the tournament. He could do the same against a not great S. Korea side. Suarez is due another goal too. Comfortable, 2-0.

U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A vs DESAILLY

Probably my least anticipated of the round of 16, two nations that I don’t particularly rate. They both create a fair few chances, but miss so many of them, so the potential for a goalfest is there, I just don’t see it happening. It’ll probably be settled by a flukey goal, Ghana have probably been the luckiest side at the tournament so far, so I’ll have them to win 1-0.

IN-GER-LAND VS THE NAZIS

History, grudge matches, penalties, cliches.

Unsurprisingly, my most anticipated fixture, so big and with the actual potential to be a good game, two evenly matched teams, passion on either side. England haven’t really fired on full cylinders yet, Germany did, but then went backwards. I see England edging it, Rooney still needs to start going properly, Lampard is due a goal. 2-1 (AET).

CORNED BEEF UNITED VS BURRITO FC

Argentina have probably looked the best at the World Cup so far, and a meeting with Mexico really shouldn’t faze them, obviously Argentina have defensive issues, but can Mexico take advantage of that? It seems highly unlikely.

Messi is due a goal, Higuain will be dying to be back on the pitch after being rested. I see Argentina potential walking this one, they’re just too good for them. 3-0.

Can I get paid out on an England World Cup victory yet?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 13, 2010 by byronchenko

Oh, England. Why must you tease me so?

I know, I know, it’s all my own fault, I believed that things would be different. Forget looking through the squad list and seeing distinguished names like Robert Green, Jamie Carragher, Michael Carrick and Shawn Wright Phillips. This would be our year, an easy group to warm up for the real stuff. Four minutes into this easy group, Captain Fantastic ‘Self Defence’ Stevie has shrugged off his personal issues and fired us one up…

All must be rosy from here, we’ve got Capello instilling discipline, Rio’s out of the squad, ENGLAND’S NUMBER SIX is between the sticks, £30million man Milner is finally getting his chance to shine & Ledley is fit.

Ah, of course not. England’s number six has somehow found himself on the plane, and, bafflingly in the starting eleven. Letting in weaker shots than Flowers against Collymore, Milner’s hauled off before he’s sent off, as he can’t time a tackle or know how to just stand up and Ledley can only do half a match.

Hauling Milner off gave Capello a chance to go with the talented Joe Cole, but instead went with the speedy SWP, which I didn’t disagree with, as the US right back was attacking, and England were a goal up at the time. SWP is fitter and faster, good for tracking and hitting the counter. However, having two wingers who can’t cross a ball is probably an error of judegment,  the amount of times Lennon got down the right and knocked it back to no-one was brilliantly predictable. Despite him being the golden boy for the right midfield spot, he still can’t cross a ball.

The right midfield spot is a tough one, Walcott doesn’t deliver consistently enough (I’d start him though), Beckham is injured, SWP and Lennon can run, and that’s it. David Bentley has got a beautiful delivery but is too slow, there’s one player I always think of for the right midfield spot, and I don’t known why he’s not considered. Jermaine Pennant. I know, I know, Pennant is a dick, but, he can get past full backs, he’s fast and he’s got a great delivery. Why not?

Despite my obvious whinging, England weren’t that bad, they just weren’t very good, but could easily have won the match, if Heskey had the ability to score, or if Lennon could cross, or finish. At least Wazza didn’t get sent off.

Still, two winnable games left, top spot is still on!

World Cup 2010 Group Predictions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 12, 2010 by byronchenko

(Despite the late posting, this was wrote before the first group games)

Group A: France, Uruguay, Mexico South Africa

Despite the recent criticisms of France, and Domenech especially, I still see France topping this group, they’ve got strength across the pitch, Ribery and Gourcuff are capable of lighting up the tournament, and their back five is strong. I don’t see South Africa winning a game. I think second will be between Mexico/Uruguay, but I think Uruguay’s superior fire power will see them through.

Group B: Argentina, Greece, Nigeria, South Korea

Argentina are surely nailed on for top spot, Maradona might be a mental but he’s got Messi/Higuain/Tevez/Milito/di Maria/Cambiasso/Zanetti, no-one could mess that team up so much. I think (based on not knowing their players) South Korea could be the whipping boys here, Greece might be dull but they’re pretty solid and Nigeria have got decent forwards. Greece to squeeze into second, boring their way through.

No Zanetti and Cambiasso? Oh.. He is a mental.

Group C: England, USA, Slovenia, Algeria

England really couldn’t have asked for a better group, USA aren’t pushovers but they aren’t blessed with a huge amount of quality either. I don’t know much about Slovenia, but they edged Russia in the playoffs and finished second ahead of the Czech Republic, so they can’t be all bad, which, after seeing them a few times, can not be said for Algeria. I’m baffled they are there, a bit of spirit but really low on quality. I don’t see them getting a point.

Group D: Serbia, Germany, Australia, Ghana

Four relatively even teams, probably the most even group, and at one time arguments could be made for all topping the group, injuries have played a big part though. Germany missing their influential leader Ballack, Ghana losing Essien is a huge blow and Austrlia struggling to get Kewell and Cahill fit. All big losses. Serbia are very solid, with quality all over. With Germany looking a little toothless, Ghana lacking their true quality player and Australia being a little workman like, I see Serbia topping this with Germany coming in behind them.

Group E: Holland, Cameroon, Denmark, Japan

I see Holland getting nine here, Japan getting nil. So it’ll all come down to the middle game, between Denmark and Cameroon as to who progresses with the Dutch. I just think Samuel Eto’o will be such a big factor, he’ll surely relish being allowed to be the man again, not backing up Milito, leading his country and becoming the Milla of his generation, a big opportunity against a set of not so Great Danes.

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, Slovakia, New Zealand.

Nailed on top spot for Italy, surely? They might be old, but they are World Champions, they’ve still got good players and they’re in an easy group, Paraguay could potentially cause trouble, but Cardozo is missing for them. I still see Paraguay getting two wins in the other games to go through though. New Zealand will get nothing, and will be happy with it, any team with Rory Fallon up front should not be competing at the World Cup. I don’t know much about Slovakia, I know some of their players, but not a lot, for that I’ll put them third, they must beat New Zealand.

Group G: Brazil, Ivory Coast, Portugal, North Korea.

Seriously mental group. Three teams who’d fancy themselves as winners, and one that Kim Jong il has already named as World Cup winners. North Korea surely can’t get a point here, it could be embarrassing for them. The big game in this group should be the opening one in the group, as Portugal take on Ivory Coast, who are praying for Drogba to be fit enough to play. If Drogba plays, I think they will get second, if not, Portugal will. Crucial game, crucial player. Brazil to go through as winners, nine from nine, Kaka to be pulling the strings for Robinho and Fabiano, this could be his tournament.

Group H: Spain, Chile, Switzerland, Honduras.

Spain are the most complete side in world football at the moment, I think they’ll win here, but could have their feathers ruffled a little by the dull Swiss, attacking Chileans and a physical Honduras side, led by Palacios of Spurs. I don’t know a lot about the three others here, Switzerland have always been dull so I’ll have them third, I do want to see more of Gokhan Inler though. For Chile, I seen a few of their World Cup qualifiers, and they seem attractive., pushing Brazil for top spot, so them in second and Honduras struggled to finish ahead of Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Qualifiers, they’ll find it tough here.

09/10 Awards

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by byronchenko

Team of the Season

Chelsea

The Premier League is what I watch the most (most of my picks are Prem first) and Chelsea were the best team in the division. Players stepped up unexpectedly, and the players you expected to carried on as they do. Great season, great first year for Carlo.

Notables – Norwich, Barcelona, Inter.

Best ‘Keeper

Joe Hart.

Solid, consistent, kept his troops organised. That was good enough to be top in the league this year.

Notables – Gomes, Gordon, Lloris.

Defender of the Year

Ashley Cole

Serious improvement from him this year, with more freedom to attack and actual be consistent with his attacking play, rather than just looking like he should be good doing so. The best left back in the world.

Notables – Dawson/Pique/Ivanovic/Harte.

Midfield Man of the Year

Frank Lampard

I couldn’t really look anywhere else, he had a pretty slow (relatively) start to the season, but he really kicked up a notch in the second half of the season, becoming a real leader for Chelsea when the Terry/Bridge controversy was breaking. Incredible goal return too.

Notables – Fabregas/Adam/Xavi/Malouda/Cambiasso.


Goalscorer Extraordinaire Award

Lionel Messi

Just breathtaking at times, I tried to go PL first, but Messi was just mindblowing this year, 47 goals in 53 appearances doesn’t seem real in this day and age. Always playing in his own way, scoring beautiful goals. Just majestic.

Notables – Droggy, Rooney, Charlie Austin, Lambert, Pedro.

Surprise Package

Blackpool

There’s really no words to describe how well Holloway has done at Blackpool, to get this side promoted is a fantastic achievement, even if it does end in instant relegation. There was good seasons from Wolves and Birmingham, but I expected both to stay up anyway, Blackpool going up just captured the imagination, especially as it meant the other three playoff sides have another year striving for the Premier League.

Notables – Swindon, Dagenham & Redbridge, Birmingham, Spurs.

Woeful Underachievers

Liverpool

Wonderful, just wonderful. Ballsed up in the Premier League, out of the Champions League before Christmas and couldn’t even get to the Europa League final. Massively disappointing season for them, Benitez paid for it with his job. In a season of numerous highs, I can’t think of a more satisfying one than Lisandro Lopez scoring in the last minute to essentially put Liverpool out of the Champions League. Beautiful.

Notables – Southampton, Middlesbrough.

Goal of the Season

Arjen Robben (Bayern) vs Man Utd.

Largely due to personal satisfaction, but also, it was a wonder strike at the perfect time. High corner comes in, watched patiently by Robben who volleys beautifully into the bottom corner. Gorgeous.

Notables – Drogba vs Bolton, Pericard vs Norwich

Manager of the Season

Ian Holloway

How could it be anyone else? Obviously Mourinho doing the treble, Hill taking Rochdale up after years and ‘Arry getting Spurs in the Champions League finally are all worthy of winning accolades, but all of them were seen as possible at the start of the season, Blackpool being promoted wasn’t. I’ve never had much time for Holloway, always seemed sarcasm over substance, but I can’t downplay the job he’s done there. Brilliant.

Notables – Redknapp, Mourinho, Shteve Mclaren, Keith Hill.

Biggest Clustercunt of the Year

Michael Brown

Really frustrating as I used to enjoy watching him at Sheffield United, but since he stepped into the Premier League he’s just got dirtier and dirtier, this year being his worst. Every time I see him he’s stamping, pushing, just generally being a Mascherano without any of the talent.

Notables – Thierry Henry, Mascherano, Paul Scholes.

What Your Team Needs to do next season…

Carlisle United

Carry on as you are Greg really. Abbott came in for some serious stick in his first half season in charge, but after two third round cup exits, a Wembley appearance in the other cup and very comfortably clear of relegation he deserves another go at doing it his way. Try and play more attacking football, and deal with contracts sooner rather than later would be my main advice.

Also, try and get the fans onside with media appearances, the football alone isn’t doing it.

World Cup Predictions!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 11, 2010 by byronchenko

WC Winner!

England. I really hate the fact that I believe this will happen so much, but I see no reason why not. I know Spain are a lot of people’s picks, and the bookies favourites, but I might be made to look silly, I just think if someone plays physically against them, they might falter. I don’t think there’s a properly special team at the tournament.

Letchkov’s Tip To Shock

I don’t think there’ll be a massive shock anywhere, but I’ll go with Cameroon to get to the Quarters.

Tip to Underachieve (formerly held by Spain)

Germany. A side that appear short on confidence and leadership, in a potentially tough group, I see them finishing second at a push, setting up an encounter with a confident England.

Muller Muller Top Scorer

Really really torn on this (I’ve bet on four players), but I’ll go with Wayne Rooney (who I didn’t bet on), a pretty easy group, and Rooney was on fire in the qualifiers, there’s no reason to think he’d falter.

Breakout Player of the Tournament

Milos Krasic is already an established player, but a good tournament coupled with a move to a real European force will cement him. He’s looked good in European matches, and I can see Serbia progressing to the Quarters, with him being important to them.

Player of the Tournament

If he does end top scorer, as I’ve said it’s got to be Wayne Rooney the crucial driving force for England, obviously there’s question marks over his temperament but he’s a big game player, and can warm up with a relatively straight forward group. I can see Kaka really dominating for Brazil, but as I don’t think they’ll win it, I don’t think he will win the individual award.

Team you hope Ballses it up the most

Pretty easy, France. So many shithead players and lead by a spastic manager. Them going out in the groups would be perfect.

Who Will Capello take?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 1, 2010 by byronchenko

Right, Fabio Capello will name his World Cup squad today, so I figured I might as well post mine up too..

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry.

Midfielders: Gareth Barry,  Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner,  Theo Walcott.

Forwards: Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.

Obviously all three goalies have to go, so, in total I’d drop Warnock, Dawson, Upson, Carrick, Parker, SWP and Defoe.

Warnock, Dawson and Parker have certainly not done enough for England to go, unfortunately for them, they have not had a chance to impress Capello in a game situation.

Wright Phillips, Carrick and Upson have all had poor seasons at club level, and none have shone internationally, despite having experience, all three seem in a rut, club moves could benefit them if they want to challenge for international honours again. Crucially for Huddlestone he can play at Centre Back as well as in midfield, lessening the need to take an extra Centre Back.

Defoe was a tough one, it was between him and Adam Johnson, as Heskey/Crouch offer direct football if needed, Bent is in much better form than Defoe, and Rooney is undroppable. Defoe hasn’t had a great season, despite his goals (the majority came in the first half of the season). I wouldn’t mind going with five strikers, but as Walcott can fill in up front, along with  Cole/Gerrard being able to play in the hole, I think it makes sense to drop Defoe.

Unfortunately I don’t think Capello will go the same way, I think he’ll take

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson,

Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner,  Theo Walcott

Forwards: Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.

OUT – Warnock, Dawson, Bent, SWP, Parker, Huddlestone, A. Johnson.

I just think Capello will look at Defoe as more tried and tested in an England shirt than Bent, same for Carrick instead of Huddlestone. I think Capello will be torn between dropping Johnson or a defender, but I think he’ll take Upson/King instead of Johnson, in a similar vein to Sven taking Keown instead of Jansen, safety first.

My Teams Of The Year

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 23, 2010 by byronchenko

Copying my friend James’ Team of the Year idea, which he nicked from Gabriele Marcotti, by splitting the Premiership into four catergories, and working each groups best eleven, pretty interesting. I’ll do 4-4-2 for all, screw modern formations.

The Best + Man Utd and Arsenal (Chelsea/Man Utd/Arsenal)

Manager – Carlo Ancelloti

Cech

Ivanovic Terry Vermaelen Cole

Valencia Lampard Fabregas Malouda

Drogba Rooney

No real thought needed for this one, I’m not hugely keen on Vermaelen, if he hadn’t scored a few, I don’t think he’d be so highly rated, but he’s been one of the best two from the top three, Terry’s not been as good as usual but still a step up above the majority. Ashley Cole is probably the best left back in the world nowadays and Ivanovic looks really solid.

I was really impressed with both Valencia and Malouda this year, I didn’t anticipate either stepping up really, but I love watching Valencia, he’s a throwback to wingers from the earlier Premiership years, like Ripley/Kanchelskis. Malouda has finally started performing, fair play to him. Cesc and Lamps have probably both had their best seasons yet, no brainers.

Rooney and Droggy pick themselves, incredible seasons for the pair.

Not Two Good (Spurs/Man City/Villa/Liverpool/Everton)

Manager – ‘Arry Redknapp

Gomes

Corluka Dawson King Baines

Milner Cahill Modric Bale

Torres Tevez

This was tougher. Gomes is possibly the most improved goalie in the Premiership, Reina’s still good, but I think Gomes was just a bit better.

Right back was a tough pick, I can’t think of anyone from these teams that has excelled, Johnson looked like he’d be good at the start of the season, but then realised he couldn’t defend and went back to being Glen Johnson. Corluka has been solid, not great going forward, but fine enough to back up play.

Dawson and King were easy enough picks, King didn’t play that much, but excelled when he did, and no-one else was incredible enough for me to re-consider. Dunne seems an obvious choice, but I don’t think he was that good, Villa have a solid base but nothing outstanding. Baines at left back was another easy one, he’s a crucial part of Everton’s team nowadays, going forward and defending.

Milner obviously hasn’t played on the right all season, but he’s still the best option there I did have De Jong in the middle, but opted for Cahill and Modric instead, I think they’d complement each other well, and De Jong was just solid, rarely anything more. Bale on the left was great for Spurs this year, especially against Arsenal/Chelsea when it got to squeaky bum time, he seems much more comfortable there than at left back. Really really good year for him.

Tevez and Torres again pick themselves, great years when they were playing for both. Defoe scored a fair few, but pretty much all were against rubbish sides. Saha done better than expected, but was nowhere near T&T.

I’ve Third Worse (Birmingham City, Stoke City, Fulham, Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland)

Manager – Alex McLeish

Hart

Carr Johnson Samba Givet

Bowyer Dunn N’Zonzi Etherington

Bent Jerome

Hart had a really solid year, probably the most consistent goalie in the Premiership, Gordon seems to have improved a lot this year too, but just wasn’t quite as good.

I genuinely can’t believe I’m having Steven Carr in a team of the year, but he’s been solid, reasonably intelligent and a leader for them, Roger Johnson has put in a great effort too, a great step up from Wycombe just a few years ago. Samba and Givet are probably in through a little bias from me, but I can’t think of anyone better at another position. I don’t think Shawcross is as good as when he first came in with Stoke, and I can’t think of a left back who has been as solid as Givet, at left back and centre half. Not a bad looking bloke either.

I was torn between Cana and N’Zonzi, they both had good first years, I guess Cana showed his importance when he wasn’t there, but I’ll stick with big Steve, an awful lot of potential. It was great to see Bowyer and Dunny getting back towards their bests again, I really hoped there might be an England call up for either on the back of it, if Huddlestone can get one, these two should be able to. Etherington was probably Stoke’s best player this season, another classic type of winger, get it on his left and deliver, over and over. A real pleasure to watch.

Benty was an absolute definite up front, what a season. Unfortunately for him it looks like he’ll miss out on the World Cup again though, you’ve got to wonder what he’s got to do.. Jerome seemed the best second striker, Zamora/Fuller/Kalinic were my other thoughts, but Jerome’s impressed me a lot, with his attitude/teamwork, plus, he’s actually scored goals, which I didn’t think he’d do at this level.

May The Fourth Be With Them (Bolton, Wolves, Wigan, West Ham, Burnley, Hull City, Portsmouth)

Manager – Mick McCarthy

Jaaskelainen

Melchiot Craddock Cahill Figueroa

Lee O’Hara Parker N’Zogbia

Doyle Fletcher

Picking a right back for this team was probably the most difficult pick, Melchiot was reasonably solid, and I like him, so I went with him, no-one shone that I can think of. Craddock was ridiculous, it’s Jody Craddock, he should be rubbish, but he marshalled his troops well, massive surprise from him. Cahill had another good year, nearly pushing for England honours until he had to miss games through injury. Figueroa was decent and scored from his own half, fair play.

A genuinely decent midfield, Lee was a real surprise for Bolton, not just a lightweight. Parker and O’Hara instilled real balls into their teams, when few others were, adding quality to the mix too. N’Zogbia had a great year, playing both sides and being effective linking with the forwards, probably earning a move to a bigger club. I wanted to include Wilshere too, but these four were good all year, Wilshere was only there a little while.

Doyle and Fletcher obviously didn’t trouble the top scorer charts, but I loved their all round game for both clubs, working tirelessly up front and being genuinely clever with it. I can’t see either player being at clubs at the bottom next season (well, obviously Fletcher went down, but I can see him at a higher placed club). Doyle has been linked with Arsenal, which seems too much, but Villa/Everton would be a good step up for either.

LINKS

Marcotti’s lot

James’ Teams

Any big agreements/disagreements? Quite interested to see who other people would pick..