Friday, 26 February 2010

Arsenal’s Goalkeeping Crisis

With Arsenal showing record pre tax profits thanks to smart business movements, there are serious calls from Arsenal fans and many football pundits alike, for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger to use the money to seriously invest in a goalkeeper. I echo these sentiments. Since many world class keepers may not be currently available at this very time, simply due to clubs holding teams more and more to ransom over transfer fees, along with Wenger’s reluctancy to "loosen the purse-strings” or “spend big” on a player, let alone a goalkeeper, means Arsenal's scouts would need to look for the most viable options.

Lets look at the options available right now

No. 1 – Manuel Almunia, Age: 32
The man signed Celta Vigo in Spain never really set the Premiership alight with his ability; however he gained respect for his shot stopping skills and penalty saving capability. However he has come under increased pressure over recent seasons due to a string of high profile errors, showing that he just cannot perform in high profile matches. Disastrous errors against Manchester United in the Champions League Semi-final, again in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the Premiership game where he gave away an unnecessary penalty fouling Wayne Rooney. But the final nail in the coffin which some Arsenal fans found unforgivable was that David Bentley goal in the 4-4 draw against rivals Spurs. Now I don’t want to add to the critics but it seems his is performing similar to how Arsenal legend Jens Lehmann performed before he was dropped and sold. Back then Almunia provided admirable competition for the German, but as of right now the likes of Mannone and Fabianski are surely not troubling the Spaniard for the number 1 spot.

No.2 – Lukasz Fabianksi, Age: 24
Where do we start with this guy? Wenger seems to have unbelievable faith in the Polish international. Indeed he is very young, and its no secret that goalkeepers prime is between the ages of 32 and 37 years old, and has a lot to learn, but his performances have failed to offer any other role to the Arsenal side than a Carling Cup goalkeeper. He made errors in the FA Cup Semi-final against Chelsea in the 2-1 defeat where he was at fault for both Malouda and Drogba's goals. Most recently he played terrible against FC Porto in a vital away Champion's League game, at fault again for both goals. He was also the goalkeeper in the 5-1 defeat to Tottenham in the League Cup Semi-final defeat in the 2007/2008 season. The 24 year old is struggling to instil that same belief Wenger has in him, into Arsenal fans. He cannot consider himself the Arsenal number one any time soon, unless there is a vast improvement in his ability and performances.

No. 3 – Vito Mannone, Age: 21
The young Italian was thrown into action earlier this season after both goalkeepers became injured and managed to put in some very commendable performances against the likes of Olympiacos, Fulham, Stoke and Wigan. Looks like a player for the future, but not the too distant future.

Arsenal are forever linked with players, and seemingly 90% of theses names linked are untrue. Wenger is unlikely to sign a player unless he feels it’s a must. Some of the goalkeepers linked include Rui Patricio of Sporting Lisbon, Thomas Sorenson of Stoke, Artur Boruc of Celtic and even the likes of Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus (so unlikey I cannot comprehend!) So l believe there are only a select few players Wenger could bring in. They are as follows:

No.1 – Igor Akinfeev, Age: 23
The Russian goalkeeper is an exceptional player and has represented his national team since the age of 18. He has played over 179 games for Russian superpower CSKA Moscow, and solidified his position as the number one goalkeeper and one of the best in Europe. He has one numerous trophies and has vital experience not normally associated with a player of his age. Akinfeev is a player who would suit Arsenal very well and would command a transfer fee of £15million and upwards. Wenger would have to think hard about this decision, and act before a possible bidding war begins, with the goalkeeper being continuously linked, amongst others with Premiership rivals Manchester United.

No.2 – Hugo Lloris, Age: 23
The new French number one is another excellent goalkeeper who plays for French side Lyon. The number 1 has risen up through the French Ligue 1 and showed his brilliance in the controversial win over the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup Qualifier, where he was voted man of the match. He is expected to be between the sticks for Les Bleus at the 2010 World Cup. The downside to this option is that Lyon are known for holding on the their players for as long as possible and commanding the biggest transfer fee available (Michael Essien to Chelsea and Mamadou Diarra to Real Madrid), however the fact he is French may have a positive impact on Lloris.

No.3 – Joe Hart, Age: 22
This has become a quietly growing link as the 22 year old has been outstanding for Birmingham this season, and his English nationality is something that is appealing to Premiership sides. The youngster has been in excellent form for Birmingham and has displayed some brilliant performances that helped the midlands side set a club record of going 15 games unbeaten. He has played 75 Premier League games in his career, and is currently on loan from Manchester City. With City's number one being the brilliant Shay Given it is unlikely he will be starting for Citizens any time soon. He is an excellent prospect however his lack of big match or International experience would provide an undoubted risk Wenger would be probably unwilling to take.

There are numerous goalkeepers around at the moment but if Wenger feels he needs to buy someone; Akinfeev or Lloris would be excellent decisions and the fans would probably feel a sense of Arsenal flexing their financial muscle in the transfer market.

Who do you feel Arsenal should invest in? Leave a comment or email me @

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Incredible Hulk

As Arsenal gear up to face FC Porto in their Champions League second round tie, we all know a an excellent array of players will be on show, however one player has already caught the eye of the media due to him being amptly named "Hulk". The Porto striker however is a serious threat and has been lighting up Portugal and could make a big impact against the gunners.

Name: Givanildo Vieira de Souza
Date of Birth: 25/7/1986
Age: 23
Height: 5ft 11in
Nationality: Brazil
Position: Forward
Previous Club: Tokyo Verdy
Club: FC Porto
Total Career Apps: 167 Total Career Goals: 88
Shirt Number: 12

Wayne Rooney: The King of Manchester

With the Didier Drogba post earlier this week, many fans were unhappy at the Chelsea star being proclaimed as the best striker in the world. So in response to those fans; here is Real Talk Football’s tribute to the King of Manchester Wayne Rooney.

Born in Liverpool, the youngster joined the Everton youth team at the age of 10 and made his way through the youth ranks until bursting onto the scene in 2002 scoring a wonder strike against then champions Arsenal, in a game that saw break the record for the youngest player ever to score in the Premier League (later surpassed by James Milner then by Everton’s James Vaughan). During his impressive cameo appearances, Rooney rarely gave interviews citing his aim to stay out of the media spotlight.

He then continued to be impressive for Everton, earning him an International call up that saw him become England’s youngest ever player (surpassed by Arsenal’s Theo Walcott) and England’s youngest ever goal scorer, as well as lighting up the Euro 2004 Championships.

After two seasons with his boyhood club Everton, making 67 appearances and scoring 15 goals, at the age of 18, Rooney turned down a three year contract offer from the Toffee’s as well as a transfer to Newcastle United by opting to sign with Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. The fee was a modest £25.6million, making it the highest transfer fee ever paid for a player under the age of 20. He scored at Hat trick on his debut in the Champions League match against Turkish side Fenerbahce in September 2004. He finished his first season with the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

In his second season he won the 2006 League cup, scoring 2 goals in a 4-0 win over Wigan, in which Rooney was named man of the match. He and Manchester United finished runners-up in the league, scoring 19 goals in 48 appearances.

In the 2006/07 season, was Rooney’s best so far, netting 23 times in 50 appearances helping Manchester United win the Premier League title, his first, and help United to the Champions League Semi-Final.

Season 2007/08 was a injury impacted season for the youngster, whose progression into a real star player, saw him switch to the Number 10 shirt from number 8. He broke his metatarsal in his right foot, same as which saw him drop out of the Euro 2004 Quarter-Final match against Portugal. However this did not deter the player who went on to win the Premiership and Champions League to complete an emphatic double, scoring 18 goals in 42 appearances.

In the 08/09 season, Rooney started by helping the Red Devils win the FIFA World Club Cup and went on to take his tally to 20 goals in 49 appearances, continuing his excellent form and helping Manchester United retain the Premiership title.

With the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, the 2009/10 season was expected to be difficult for Manchester United however Wayne Rooney has performed superbly so far this season. Highlights include scoring all 4 goals in the 4-0 win over Hull, scoring winners against Arsenal, as well as scoring a vital last minute winner against bitter rivals Man City in the Carling Cup semi-final, taking United to Wembley. At the age of 24, Rooney has scored 23 times in 31 appearances so far this season and receiving plaudits from Managers all over Europe.

Rooney, a fan favourite, blessed with power and strength, along with excellent shooting ability and a great team work ethic, the Manchester United star is a future captain at Old Trafford and will definitely collect many honours for years to come. Expect the England star to maintain his title as the King of Manchester, and progress to take the title as the King of Europe, maybe even King of the World.

This is Real Talk Football’s Tribute to Wayne Rooney

Monday, 15 February 2010

Greatest Indoor Goal Ever?

This goal was suggested to me by a fan of the Real Talk Football Blog, so without going on and in the words of Andy Gray "Just watch this, I'm not usually lost for words!!"

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Excellence of Didier Drogba

The striker started his career as an apprentice and made his debut as an 18 year old for French side Le Mans. In his early career his was a player who was troubled by injury, and managed to sign his first professional contract with the French ligue 2 side Le Mans, at the relatively late age of 21. He spent 4 years with “MUC72” scoring 12 times in 64 appearances.

In the 2001/02 season Drogba joined Ligue 1 side Guingamp for a fee of £80,000 scoring 3 goals in 11 appearances, most notably an equaliser against giants Lyon in a historic 3-3 draw. Undoubtedly he managed to help the club avoid relegation in his first season. In his second season with the French side, the Ivorian showcased his potential scoring 17 goals in 34 games, which caught the eye of Europe’s big guns.

At the start of the 2003/04 season he was snapped up by “the club of his dreams” Olympic Marseille for a fee of £3.3million, and given the number 11 shirt to wear. This was the best season of his career so far, as he played Champions League football for the first time where he scored 5 goals in 6 matches despite Marseille only featuring in the group stages. In Ligue 1 he was the star player of the season, where he scored 19 goals in 35 matches, in which many of the finishes highlighted his brilliance up front and lead him to pick up several awards including; the Ligue 1 “goal of the year”, “Player of the Year” and a place in the Ligue 1 “Team of the Year”.

In this magical season his brilliance helped take Olympic Marseille to reach the UEFA Cup Final, helping himself to 6 goals in the process, scoring against the likes of Liverpool, Inter Milan and Newcastle. The French side lost to Valencia 2-0 in the final after their luck had seemingly ran out, and Drogba was unlucky to be on the losing side.

In 2004, at the age of 26, Didier Drogba left the Stade Velodrome for Stamford Bridge in a transfers saga that ended with a the striker joining Chelsea for a fee of £24million. He would end his career at Marseille with a record of 30 goals in 51 games. He was signed by Jose Mourinho and scored his first ever goal against Crystal Palace, wearing the number 15 shirt. In his first season he helped Chelsea to win the Premiership for the first time since it became so, and helped the Blues win the League Cup, scoring and beating Liverpool 3-2 in the final. Drogba also had trouble this season, being accused of diving and cheating with the use of hands in finishing goals in big games, something Drogba refutably denied.

The 2005/06 season was a year of progression for the striker, Drogba started with 2 goals in a 2-1 win against Arsenal in the Community Shield. He then helped Chelsea retain their second Premiership title scoring a total of 17 goals in all competitions and creating 11 assists.

In the summer of 2006, Drogba captained his country Ivory Coast to the World Cup in Germany. Drogba’s side face the “Group of Death” after being drawn against Holland, Argentina and Serbia and Montenegro. The Elephants lost to Argentina and Holland 2-1 in both games with Drogba scoring against the Argentineans in the 82nd minute. The one win wasn’t enough as the Ivory Coast finished third in the group but gave an excellent account of themselves.

The 2006/07 was an excellent season for Drogba, as he switched to the number 11 shirt and he managed 33 goals in 60 games played for Chelsea. He picked up the Premiership Golden Boot for the first time with 20 goals, and helped Chelsea win the FA Cup final over Manchester United and the League Cup Final over Arsenal. He also picked up the Ivorian player of the year award, African player of the year and runner up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the PFA Player of the Year awards.

In the 2007/08 season saw Chelsea lose Mourinho and Drogba felt the most frustration at his departure expressing his desire to indeed leave the club too. Inter, AC Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid all circling Chelsea’s star player. However he did indeed stay at the bridge, whereby despite a season dogged by injury, he still reached the League Cup Final and Champions League Final, but losing to Tottenham and Manchester United respectively. Drogba was sent off in the Champions League Final. His tally for this season was 16 goals in 31 games.

The 2008/09 season saw Drogba score 16 goals in 42 games, and he took Chelsea to the final of the FA Cup, and the Blues beat to Everton 2-1 in the Final with Drogba scoring the first for Chelsea. The downside to the season was Drogba and Chelsea’s Champions League semi final defeat to Barcelona, where Andres Iniesta scored in the last minute, which furious protests from all the Chelsea players including Drogba; who confronted the referee and was seen swearing on Sky TV. The actions of the Ivorian saw him banned for 5 Champions League games.

In this current season Drogba the form of Didier Droga has been better than ever, he has taken Chelsea to the summit of the Premiership, continued tormenting teams, taking his tally of goals against Arsenal in his career to 12 goals in 12 games against Arsene Wenger’s side. He has helped his side to the knockout stages of the Champions’ League, Sixth round of the FA Cup and represented Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations. His tally so far for this season is 17 goals in 21 games, with 6 assists.

Blessed with strength, power, pace, finishing ability, great technique, skill and aerial ability, and despite being at the age of 31, Drogba is a world class player, and now considered the best and most complete striker in the world.

This is Real Talk Football’s tribute to the star

FA CUP 5th Round Weekend

No Liverpool, no Arsenal and no Manchester United leaves the race for the FA Cup wide open with Chelsea the undoubted favourites. The pick of the round is the south coast derby between cash strapped Portsmouth and Southampton. Here are the matches:

Saturday 13/2/10

Chelsea vs Cardiff

Derby vs Birmingham

Man City vs Stoke

Reading vs West Brom

Southampton vs Portsmouth

Sunday 14/2/10

Bolton vs Tottenham

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa

Fulham vs Notts County

Who's your money on?

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Number 1: David N'gog

Name: David N'gog
Date of Birth: 01/4/1989
Age: 20
Height: 6ft 3in
Nationality: French
Position: Striker
Previous Club: Paris-Saint Germain
Club: Liverpool FC
Total Career Apps: 74 Total Career Goals: 15
Shirt Number: 24

My number one striker who could make an impact in 2010 is Liverpool number 24; David N'gog. The young French striker came through the ranks French clubs Paris-Saint Germain, training with the likes of Portuguese legend Pauleta and current France international Peguy Luyindula, helped him to gain the reputation as a player for the future and catch the eye of Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

N'gog signed for Liverpool in July 2008, then aged 19, for a fee of just £1.5million, making his Premiership debut against Aston Villa and scoring his first ever goal in a UEFA Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven. The Frenchman has good finishing technique, speed, trickery, along with excellent postioning. Along with now training along side the likes of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, has no doubt aided his progress helping him in scoring against the likes of Manchester United, Aston Villa and Birmingham.

The youngster came in for some harsh criticism this season due to an alledged "dive" that won
Liverpool a penalty in the 2-2 draw with Birmingham, but has bounced back, starting 13 games this season, covering the injured Fernando Torres, and making 10 substitute appearances chipping in with 6 goals.

Finally 20 year old has represented his country at at all levels, apart from the senior side, but almost looks a certainty for an appearance for "Les Bleus" in the near future.

Do you agree with the players on this list? Do you feel their are anyone else who should be recognized as making an impact in 2010? Let me know what you think

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Number 2: Hugo Rodallega

Name: Hugo Rodallega
Date of Birth: 25/7/1985
Age: 24
Height: 5ft 11in
Nationality: Columbian
Position: Striker
Previous Club: Necaxa
Club: Wigan Athletic
Total Career Apps: 195 Total Career Goals: 87
Shirt Number: 20

Columbian international Hugo Rodallega joined Premiership side Wigan Athletic, after beig signed by than manager Steve Bruce in 2008. The 24 year old posses excellent pace, technique and an eye for goal, having scored some important goals for the Latic's, boasting a scoring record against the likes of Liverpool, Man United and Aston Villa. Expect the Wigan striker to continue to improve and a top four club may take a closer look in years to come.

Check the video below for more:

Number 3: Marc-Antoine Fortune

Name: Marc-Antoine Fortune
Date of Birth: 5/1/1982
Age: 28
Height: 6ft 0in
Nationality: French
Position: Striker
Previous Club: West Brom
Club: Celtic
Total Career Apps: 319 Total Career Goals: 82
Shirt Number: 10

The oldest player on the list, forward Marc-Antoine Fortune has been in blistering form since joining Celtic along side his former manger Tony Mowbray. Don't let the age fool you, the 28 year old has scored some stunning goals for his side this season and scored 8 goals in 15 games, two of which have been featured on this website.

The experienced Frenchman has played in England with West Brom, France with AS Nancy and in Holland with FC Utrecht. He has never been a prolific striker, but blessed with good technique, strength and finishing ability, the Scottish Premier League may be the perfect location for him to show his worth.
Check the video below for a preview:

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Number 4: Nikola Kalinić

Name: Nikola Kalinić
Date of Birth: 5/1/1988
Age: 22
Height: 6ft 1in
Nationality: Croatian
Position: Striker
Previous Club: Hajduk Split
Club: Blackburn Rovers
Total Career Apps: 93 Total Career Goals: 45
Shirt Number: 22

The 22 year striker had built a formidible reputation in Croatian football, showcasing his striking and aerial ability scoring 38 goals in 79 games. He has an excellent record at Croatia Under 21's, 19's and 17's.

Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Alladyce signed Kalinic for £6 million, signing a four year deal in August 2009, deciding against signing with Portsmouth.

Currently he has scored 3 goals in the last 4 games, taking his tally to 6 for Blackburn this season. He probably produced his best performances in the Carling Cup, where he scored a penalty in the quarter final shoot out with Chelsea, and was unlucky not to score against Aston Villa in the semi final 1st leg, but made up by scoring 2 in the 2nd leg.

Croatia manager Slaven Bilic is quoted as saying that the 22 year old is "the future of Croatian football", watch this space:

Number 5: Mame Diouf

Name: Mame Biram Diouf
Date of Birth: 16/12/1987
Age: 22
Height: 6ft 1in
Nationality: Senegalese
Position: Striker
Previous Club: FC Molde
Club: Manchester United
Total Career Apps: 90 Total Career Goals: 46
Shirt Number: 32

The young striker has been compared to Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskaer, as seen in the video below. The Senegalese striker had been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Feyenoord before being snapped up by Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson in July 2009. He then spent 6 months on loan back in Norway with his former club Molde in order to gain a work permit, and then in his home debut Burnley, he scored his 1st ever goal.

With Dimi Berbatov struggling to impress many United fans, Michael Owen failing to make a real impact, Danny Welbeck out on loan, the striker could get some opportunities to prove himself and make waves during the latter part of the season, just like Macheda did last year.

Here's some more: (Apologies for the awful music!)

5 Strikers Who Could Light Up 2010

Apologies for the lack of posting, have had some serious issues to sort out regarding the site and promotion.

Over the next few days I'm going to highlight the strikers who I believe will cause a stir in 2010, whether they be young players or players who have recently moved club in order to play.

In the posts you will see all the information you need to know about the player, and a video that shows the potential they have shown at their respective club.