Monday, May 30, 2011

Qatar 2022: Exclusive Interview with Bid Inspection Project Manager

FIFA awarding the World Cup to Qatar in 2022 has certainly caught the imagination of the footballing public. For the first time ever the competition will make its way to the Middle East, where a vast untapped footballing community awaits with baited breath.

Jon Sinigaglia was Project Director for the FIFA pre-qualification bid inspection of Qatar and was an integral member of their winning bid team.

Here he exclusively answers my questions about Qatar’s plans, ambitions, and ability to host such a prestigious tournament and about the legacy they wish to leave behind.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mohamed Bin Hammam Resigns From Presidential Election On The Eve Of FIFA Ethics Questions

Mohamed Bin Hammam has sensationally pulled out of the race to become the next President of FIFA, leaving Sepp Blatter as the only candidate left in the field ahead of the June 1st election.

The withdrawl comes just hours before the 62-year-old was due to face the FIFA Ethics Committee over allegations of collusion between his bid team and members of CONCACAF ahead of the 2022 election.

Bin Hammam is the current head of the Asian Football Confederation and masterminded Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup.

Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United : Highlights From the 2011 Champions League Final

Barcelona, inspired by the magnificent Lionel Messi, has beaten Manchester United 3-1 in the 2011 Champions League Final in Wembley tonight. But in truth, La Blaugrana destroyed the Premier League champions in one of the most one sided finals of all time.

The game saw four fantastic goals scored as Pedro and Wayne Rooneyexchanged efforts before Lionel Messi and an inspirational goal by David Villa gave Barca the trophy their dominance and play deserved.

Barcelona Are The Best Team We Have Ever Faced - Sir Alex Ferguson

In the aftermath of his teams destruction by Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League Final, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has declared Pep Guardiola's team as "the best team I have ever faced."

La Blaugrana beat the Red Devils in a one sided affair in 2009. Last night was more of the same as bar an opening ten minute salvo, Barca dominated the game from start to finish with a sublime showing of their footballing philosophy.
"Nobody's given us a hiding like that but they deserve it," Ferguson said in reference to the difference between the two teams.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beautiful Barcelona and Mesmerising Messi Give Man Utd a Lesson in Football

Barcelona, inspired by the magnificent Lionel Messi, has beaten Manchester United 3-1 in the 2011 Champions League Final in Wembley tonight. But in truth, La Blaugrana destroyed the Premier League champions in one of the most one sided finals of all time.

The game saw four fantastic goals scored as Pedro and Wayne Rooney exchanged efforts before Lionel Messi and an inspirational goal by David Villa gave Barca the trophy their dominance and play deserved.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

EPL Survival Sunday Review and Champions League Preview Podcast: Hold the Back Page!

Hold the BackPage - Everyone to Juve by bpfootball

The Hold the Back Page podcast is one of the best football podcasts on the Internet. Run in conjunction betweenSetanta Sports and Back Page Football, the podcast has rapidly built up something of a cult following amongst football fans across Ireland, England, Australia and the US.
This week, regulars Tom Fox, Ger McCarthy and Neil Sherwin were joined by EPL Featured Columnist and Premier League Report's Willie Gannon to discuss all things Premier League, Champions League, and Survival Sunday with a couple of weird stats thrown in for good measure!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Champions League Final 2011: Barcelona vs. Manchester United Tactical Preview

The Champions League Final. Barcelona, La Liga champions, will take on, EPL champions, Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in London in a match for the ages.

Two of club football's greatest teams will go head to head in a repeat of the Champions League Final in 2009 where La Blaugrana dominated the Red Devils in a very one sided affair. Armed with a better team ethic and with revenge in mind, Sir Alex Ferguson will lead his side out against Pep Guardiola and a team that many feel is the greatest club side of all time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chelsea Sack Ancelotti For Finishing Second and Line Up Hiddink, Van Basten to Replace Him

Chelsea FC have sacked their manager Carlo Ancelotti after Roman Abramovich deemed the clubs second placed finish in the English Premier League was not good enough. The Italian only joined the Blues last year and won the domestic double in his first season in charge but a trophy-less haul this term has seen him exit the club.

In leaving the club, Ancelotti has become the sixth manager to leave Chelsea in the last six years.

Birmingham, Blackpool, and West Ham all Deserve Their Relegation Fate

Blackpool and Birmingham City have been relegated from the Premier League after last day losses away to Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. They will join West Ham United in the Championship next season. The East London side went down last week after capitulating against Wigan Athletic who survived on the final day thanks to a 1-0 win away to Stoke City.

Blackburn Rovers and Wolves, who played each other, also survived a last day scare and stay up. At one stage, Wolves had dropped into the bottom three but two second half goals combined with results elsewhere was enough to guarantee survival for Mick McCarthy's hard working side.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

EPL Relegation Battle:Blackpool and Birmingham to go Down On Survival Sunday

As "D-Day" or "Survival Sunday," depending upon which broadcaster you watch, looms. There are no less than five teams involved in the relegation scrap at the bottom of the Premier League.

Sorry West Ham United have already taken the dreaded plunge into the Championship after last weeks capitulation against Wigan Athletic and with just goal difference and the odd point separating five teams, two from Wigan, Blackburn, Wolves, Blackpool and Birmingham face the very real prospect of financial ruin and relegation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Van der Vaart Pledges His Future to Tottenham as Redknapp Lines Up a Move For Drogba

Rafael van der Vaart has given Tottenham Hotspur fans the news they have been waiting to hear, by vowing to stay at the club next season despite missing out the Champions League. In the aftermath of Spurs losing to Manchester City it was widely feared that the influential forward would leave, but he has declared his intentions to stay at White Hart Lane by telling Harry Redknapp "I want to stay."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pep Guardiola Compares "Extraordinary" Manchester United to Real Madrid

Just hours after they wrapped up an historic 19th English League title, and a full ten days before they meet in the Champions League Final in Wembley, Pep Guardiola has started cranking up the pressure on Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson by saying that the Scot's 2011 team are "extraordinarily strong and very similar to Real Madrid" in terms of greatness.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Manchester City is United as Red and Blue Celebrate EPL and FA Cup Wins.

Not since 1968 have both sides of Manchester had something to sing about, but history repeated itself today as, first, Manchester United were crowned Premier League Champions for the 12th time before Manchester City beat Stoke City on the FA Cup Final to claim a memorable double for the former industrial centre of the world.

United wrapped up their 19th English League title with a well taken penalty from Wayne Rooney as they claimed the one point they needed against relegation threatened Blackburn Rovers. While in London, Yaya Toure, a certainty for City's player of the year, scored the only goal of a one sided game against Tony Pulis' Stoke side.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Manchester City 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Citizens Qualify For the Champions League

Manchester City has qualified for the Champions League after beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at the Eastlands. The victory came about thanks to a Peter Crouch own goal after just 15 minutes. The Citizens were second best for long periods of the match but despite Spurs dominating possession they barely created any clear cut chances on goal as a mean City defence led by Vincent Kompany stood firm.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Manchester United Sit On The Verge Of 19th Title After Destroying Chelsea

Manchester United sit on the verge of a record 19th title, thanks to a devastating win over their closest rivals, Chelsea, at Old Trafford. In truth the game was over from as early as 35 seconds after Javier Hernandez raced onto Ji-Sung Park's through ball to calmly slot the opener past Petr Cech.

Nemanja Vidic doubled the Red Devils' lead midway through the first half and from there there was no looking back. Frank Lampard restored some pride for the shell-shocked Pensioners with a late goal, but the damage had already been done by United who literally blew their opponents away with a first half performance of guile, pace, attacking ambition, and sheer hard work.

To claim their title, Alex Ferguson's team now only need one point from their final two games against local rivals Blackburn and Blackpool.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

EPL: Manchester United vs. Chelsea Tactical Preview

Manchester United takes on Chelsea at Old Trafford in a game that for many will decide the destination of the English Premier League title for this season.

With just three games to go, the two teams left standing after all the dust has settled are just separated by three points with an equal goal difference.

In other words, whoever wins this game should take the title and when all is said and done, this game for all intents and purposes is a final.

QPR Win "Double" By Gaining Promotion as Champions and Avoiding Points Reduction

QPR achieved something of a "double" yesterday when the won promotion to the Premier League as champions of the Championship but also avoided a points reduction despite being found guilty of breaking transfer rules by the FA.

Having found the club in the wrong in two of the seven charges brought against them, fans of the club then breathed a sigh of relief as the FA decided that an £875,000 fine was punishment enough and that a points reduction was not needed in this case.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Manchester United Beats Schalke 04 to Set Up Champions League Final With Barcelona

Manchester United beat Schalke 04 at Old Trafford to set up a mouth watering UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona in Wembley on May 28.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team dominated the 2nd leg with goals from Antonio Valencia, Darron Gibson, and a brace from Anderson Luis de Abreu Oliveira.

In making the final, the United boss becomes only the third manager in history to bring a team to the Champions League Final four times, joining a small but elite group of managers that include Miguel Munoz (Real Madrid - '60, '62, '64, '66) and Marcelo Lippi (Juventus - '96, '97, '98, '03) .