Thursday, 31 October 2013

Wonderkid #2 - Ross Barkley

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post where I have my second post from my new Wonderkid segment on my blog - today I will be talking about Everton and England young midfielder Ross Barkley who is tipped to be the new Gerrard. 

The young English midfielder has the potential to lead the line for his country in the next few years, having stepped up to the plate in vital games for Everton over the past year which has prompted teams from the EPL to scout his games for The Toffees under new manager Roberto Martinez. 

He has attacking flair, the ability to pick a pass and assist a team-mate is amazing and he has the potential to become one of the best midfielders in the Premier League within the next three years. 

Young talent: Barkley is one of the best young midfielders in the world, impressing at Everton.
His consistent and impressive performances have prompted scouting action from many top clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United who are all desperate to sign him up before he has a huge price-tag inflated on him. 

Is he over-rated? No. He is clearly grounded and is focused on his football.

Will he become one of the best? Most likely

Should he leave Everton and join a bigger club? At the moment, he should stay where he is, because the team setup is based on helping him to develop as a young player with potential. 

He is one of my favourite young players, and he is one to watch in the future.  

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Liga BBVA El Clasico - Review + Analysis:

Biggest in the world: The heavily-anticipated rivalry between Spanish giants Barca and Real reignited on Saturday afternoon.

One of the most heavily-anticipated rivalry games in the world took centre stage at 5pm (GMT) yesterday after the EPL 3pm kick-off's, with crucial derby debuts being given to world-record transfer signing and Welsh winger Gareth Bale aswell as Barcelona's Brazillian forward Neymar at the Nou Camp.

Real Madrid have had a slow start to their 2013-14 campaign, finding themselves behind the pace and sitting uncomfortably in 3rd place behind title rivals Barca and Atletico Madrid after a poor run of results, with their hosts Barcelona feeling the opposite sitting high on the top of the table.  

The game started off with a low intensity, with both teams trying to suss the other out with sly tactics and comfortable passing around the back, however the game exploded into life after Neymar broke the deadlock in the 19th minute with a lovely curled strike from the far post which Spanish goalkeeper David Lopez was helpless to save the shot. 

Great game: Neymar celebrates his strike in his first El Clasico match against Real.

Real Madrid suddenly looked dangerous on the counter attack after conceding the first goal, with Di Maria, Bale and Ronaldo all looking good with ball control on the counter, before Messi almost doubled Barca's lead with a finesse shot which narrowly missed the bottom corner of the net after a great through ball which set the World's Best Player through on-goal. 

The visitors were desperate to scored an equaliser, but could not utilise Bale and Di Maria enough to press Valdes and the Barca defence for a goal before half-time, with some cynical fouls being commited by both sides to create a fierce atmopshere between the two clubs just before the whistle. 

Real Madrid looked better in the second half after Bale was replaced by Benzema, with the wanted (Arsenal) French striker hitting the crossbar with a stinging drive from 20 yards out beating Valdes but not the woodwork.

It was looking as though Real were going to equalise, until substitute and Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez doubled Barcelona's lead with 12 minutes to go on the counter with a delicate teasing chip over Lopez from 20 yards out. 

Delicate chip: Sanchez doubled Barca's lead with a great chipped finish over Lopez.

Game over: Sanchez celebrates his finish which virtually sealed Barca's victory.
Barca could have made it 3-0 soon after, with right-back Daniel Alves using good trickery and improvisation to get past Ronaldo with skills on the wing before having a strike parried away by Lopez.
It was virtually game over before young Spanish forward Jese Rodriguez scored a late consolation goal in the first minute of stoppage time with a slot underneath Valdes, who should have saved the effort but luckily for him his side still ended up winning the game. 

Consolation: Jese Rodriguez scored late on for Real in the hope of a late fightback, but that was not the case.

It was a tense finish, but Barca won the tense game between two Spanish rivals desperate for a win, which was well deserved and proved that they are not 100% dependent on Lionel Messi for all their goals. 

Print-screen of the Liga BBVA table currently, with Barca top and Real third.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Player Of The Week + Team Of The Week #1

A new segment on my blog, where I look at some of the outstanding players that have performed well for their clubs/countries over the past week across Europe and the EPL.

Here are the outstanding performers over the past week:

Miralem Pjanic - Silky skilled Roma midfielder Pjanic scored a crucial double as Roma beat Napoli 2-0 at home in a top of the table clash last Friday. He scored an amazing wonder strike free-kick from 20 yards out to break the deadlock past Reina, before a penalty finish in the second half sealed the victory for the hosts in Serie A. 

Super: Pjanic celebrated his wonder-strike against Napoli last Friday, giving Roma all 3 points.
Roma run: The hosts have won all 8 of their matches in the Serie A this season

Giuseppe Rossi - Lethal Italian striker Rossi scored a quick-fire hat-trick against Juventus in another interesting game in the Serie A last week Sunday, with Fiorentina going 2-0 down before half-time thanks to goals from Argentine striker Carlos Tevez and French defensive powerhouse Paul Pogba. Rossi made the game exciting with a quick hat-trick, taking advantage of poor Juve defending on the counter attack to score past Buffon on three different occasions in quick succession before he was substituted with 10 minutes to play with a warm round of applause by the home crowd. 

Lethal: Rossi celebrates one of his quick-fire goals against Juventus.
Steven Gerrard - You cannot help but recognize the effort and hard work that English and Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard has put in throughout his tenure for The Reds.

After a great week helping his country qualify for the World Cup next year, the Liverpool captain scored his 100th EPL goal from the penalty spot to help his team take a 2-2 tense draw against a 10-man Newcastle side. And that's why he is in the team of the week this week. 

Legendary status: Gerrard celebrates his 100th Premier League goal last Saturday

Next on the team of the week list is fellow EPL player and Argentine striker Sergio Aguero, who made a decisive impact for Manchester City against West Ham away from home on Saturday evening. 

He was clinical with his goal-scoring opportunities, and his vision was top class as he assisted his team-mates with chances throughout the game giving the West Ham defence trouble on the counter attack. He scored a double and helped set up David Silva's goal in the 80th minute to kill the game off - how much more could he have done? 

Number 1: Aguero slots the ball past Jaaskelainen in the 16th minute to open the scoring

Number 2: Aguero heads high to convert his second of the game from a Silva cross

Clinical: Aguero cannot believe his luck after finding space inside the box to slot home

In-form: Aguero is mobbed by his City team-mates after his header

Killer: Midfielder David Silva made it 3-1 in the 80th minute with a great curling strike

Silky Spaniard: Silva celebrates his goal to give City all 3 points away from home. 
Another EPL player who performed well last week was Chelsea and Belgian winger Eden Hazard, who was electric for The Blues as they cruised to a 4-1 win against Welsh side and newly-promoted Cardiff City at home.

He scored twice and always looked dangerous when he was on the ball with Oscar and Mata on the counter attack. He has confidence, and his dribbling on the ball confuses defenders enough for him to have a strike at goal which is impressive, but he just needs to keep consistent. 

Controversial: Cardiff goalkeeper Marshall bounced the ball in his area - Eto'o intercepted and Hazard slotted home

Bullet: Hazard scored twice for Chelsea in an inspired performance against Cardiff. 
Hazard will hope for a good second season in the EPL after an inconsistent first.
A break from the EPL now, with former Borussia Dortmund midfield playmaker gone Bayern Munich young startlet Mario Gotze started his first game of the season last week against Mainz 04, and was impressive.

He was influential as the hub of midfield, helping to assist his team-mates as they dominated at home with a 4-1 win to move back to the top of the Bundesliga. Robben, Muller (2) and Manduzkic got the goals for the hosts, but Gotze was a deserved man of the match in a good showing which will only help his chances of becoming a first-team regular in the future when he is 100% fit. 

Back to the EPL, and this time we have to pick a goalkeeper. Goalkeepers do not tend to get the recognition that they deserve, especially if they are not tested significantly enough in a game, but Tottenham's French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was solid against Aston Villa last Sunday, keeping a clean sheet and doing well to ensure Villa did not get back into a game that could have been easily swayed with a goal for either team. 

Solid: Lloris has performed well for Tottenham with 5 clean sheets so far this season. 
Southampton did well to draw 1-1 with Manchester United last Saturday, with Croatian defender Dejan Lovren being a standout performer in a strong Southampton side who are eyeing a European spot come the end of the season. 

He was a leader at the back for The Saints, not letting Rooney, van Persie & Co to get past him on the counter attack often but more importantly he scored a vital goal past David De Gea in the second half to make it 1-1 after van Persie broke the deadlock. 

Vital goal: Lovren slots the ball past De Gea to equalise for Southampton.
Another EPL match, with the only game on Sunday being played between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.

English winger Andros Townsend played exceptional well for Spurs, scoring a goal and looking dangerous on the counter attack with his blistering pace past the Villa full-backs. He is certainly making a name for himself as a good replacement for Welsh winger Gareth Bale, and could play for England next year at the World Cup and play a pivotal role in attack. 

Fine strike: Townsend scored for Spurs in a great overall performance.
Arsenal were top-class against Norwich at The Emirates last Saturday afternoon, thrashing their opponents 4-1 thanks to goals from in-form Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey, French striker Olivier Giroud and a double by German playmaker Mesut Ozil. 

As you can probably tell, some of the Arsenal players are included in this TOTW and one of them is the Welsh midfielder in the form of his life Aaron Ramsey

He played very well for The Gunners against Norwich, always looking to find a team-mate in space to take a shot on goal, feeding Ozil and Giroud as well as Wilshere with precise passes and good attacking movement and defensive tracking back when needed.
He even did some skills and trickery to confuse the Norwich defenders, which just shows his attacking confidence now that he is in-form despite being criticized in the past, proving all of his doubters wrong. 

His team-mate Mesut Ozil was also impressive for Arsenal, scoring a clinical double including a header to cap off a great week for both Germany and Arsenal as his 25th birthday present - silky skills and quick movement throughout baffled the Norwich players as he cruised to a comfortable game. 

Heads I'll score: Ozil converted Giroud's cross with a powerful header. 

Unstoppable: Ozil has been in fine form since his club-record £42.3million move from Real

World-class: Ozil celebrates his brace at home against Norwich. 
Thank you for reading my blog post today, I will have more content available to read soon everyone, including the EPL games that were played today! :) 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Why Brazil will not win the World Cup:

Much-awaited: The World Cup in Brazil next summer is in under 250 days from now. 

In the week that England have finally secured their place in Brazil for the World Cup next summer with a crucial 2-0 home win against Poland, everyone (journalists and football supporters all around the world) is already giving their predictions as to who will win the tournament, even though there is still 8 months to go until the start in early June.. 

So here are my predictions for the World Cup next year (note, these opinions and predictions may fluctuate, but I will be speaking the truth): 

Brazil will NOT win the World Cup - Slightly controversial one, especially considering they are the host nation and a strong footballing side aswell, but I highly doubt they'll win because they don't have the 90-minute work-rate or intensity to win the important matches against teams such as Italy and Germany, who will be desperate to beat Spain and win their first European trophy in over 10 years. 

Even though Brazil are the favourites on home soil, they struggle in major tournaments.

I say this because even though they have a good side overall, they are too heavily reliant on Barcelona's attacking forward Neymar to score their goals, without him they are not as clinical or dangerous in attack. 

One-man team? Neymar is the key to Brazil's squad, and if one of their rivals can expose him then the hosts will not be as much of a threat come June.

The competition: 
The defending champions Spain have an ageing squad, and seem to be losing their touch slightly after analysis of performances from previous years in comparison to recent games in both the Confederations Cup and friendlies against teams from across the world. 
The likes of clinical striker and Manchester City man Alvaro Negredo will be key to whether Spain retain their world title crown or not in Brazil, but the hot climate and freak weather conditions may prove a factor for Xavi, Iniesta and Co.

Italy were the runners-up at Euro 2012 last year, and they produced an impressive side with the likes of Pirlo, Marchisio, Balotelli and Giovinco all in their side. However, they seem too reliant on Balotelli to perform, and get dominated by the bigger sides like Spain when it gets to the main stages of the tournament - so they will probably get far but it is doubtful they would go all the way and win it. 

Argentina have never been favourites for a World Cup, and despite a solid side with Tevez, Mascherano, Lavezzi, Banega, Di Maria and the world's best player in Barcelona forward Lionel Messi on their team. 
They have struggled to get past the quarter-finals, with no squad depth and they tend to rely on Lavezzi and Messi to score their goals instead of playing good team football. If either is not on top form, they will not win, it's as simple as that.  

Messi needs Lavezzi to feed him the ball, Lavezzi needs someone to support him when he passes on the wings with one-touch football. Most of the other players are defensive minded, and Di Maria is inconsistent for his country. 

Germany are one of the best footballing sides in the world when it comes to producing and developing young talent:
Reus, Schurrle, Ozil, Draxler, Hummels, Neuer - the list goes on and on for days, but they have always fell one step short of the final in major tournaments in recent years despite a strong attacking squad with a solid defence.

I have a feeling that 2014 could be their year if the team sticks together and doesn't concede cheap goals against sides they should be comfortably beating, while they perform well against the top-seeds such as Spain, Italy and Argentina in the knock-out rounds.

My prediction? Either them or Spain for the World Cup.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Over-rated or future Ronaldo? Adnan Januzaj:

The media have kept going on and on about Manchester United's 18-year-old midfield startlet, who recently signed a new five-year contract at the club which kills off any interest from other clubs in Europe over Januzaj's signature. 

Ending speculation: Januzaj (middle) was pictured signing a new five-year contract deal on Saturday morning. 

It seems weird how everyone is over-hyping him after his great debut double against Sunderland, even though he is not a recognised first-team starter and he is still a young player who needs time to develop and reach his full potential. 

Dream debut: Januzaj scored twice for United against Sunderland to win his side the game.

Perfect volley: Januzaj scored a 20-yard volley finish which was the strike of the day.

Don't get me wrong when I say that I think he is a great young player with potential to be one of the best in a few years, but there is no point putting so much pressure on him to perform now because he will end up failing to reach the potential that he can. 

He has an intelligent footballing brain, quick on and off the ball and knows how to pass the ball to team-mates, but I simply think that it does not mean you can start making comparisons to other good players across the world simply because it's not fair to do so. 

The international countries that he could play for:

England - place of residence currently
Turkey - Where his grandparents were born
Albania - Due to his ethnic Albanian parents and relatives
Belgium - Birthplace and passport
Kosovo - Parent's homeland, but they are not a FIFA affliated team

He has potential to be special, and he will get lots of world-wide recognition in months and years to come simply because of his age (being able to play for the senior squad at 18 and perform the way he does) but he needs to keep his feet on the ground and ignore the media hype or he will underperform. 

Future Ronaldo? Too early to say. 

Over-rated? Unfortunately, like most young players who play for a club with the stature of Manchester United. 

Newcastle vs Liverpool - LIVE Commentary:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post where I have a LIVE Commentary of the early afternoon game being played in the EPL - Newcastle vs Liverpool. 

There are 8 games being played today, including Arsenal vs Norwich, Chelsea vs Cardiff and Manchester United vs Southampton in the 3pm kick-off's. 

Team Line-ups:

Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Santon, Cabaye, Tiote, Sissoko, Gouffran, Ben Arfa and Remy.

Subs: Elliot, Dummett, Anita, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi and Cisse. 

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Cissokho, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Henderson, Gerrard, Moses, Suarez and Sturridge.

Subs: Jones, Agger, Kelly, Flanagan, Alberto, Sterling and Allen. 

12:30 - So we get to see the dangerous duo of Suarez and Sturridge again, with the interestingly named "SAS" partnership being used for the first time since 1995 with Blackburn strikers Shearer and Sutton. 

Warming up: Liverpool warm up prior to the 12.45 kick-off against Newcastle.

12:33 - Loic Remy is looking dangerous so far for Newcastle, 5 goals in 5 games and you have to think whether he will join The Toon on a permanent deal at the end of the season from QPR (if they do not get promoted)

12:40 - Teams are walking out of the tunnel onto the pitch, with Gerrard and Tiote leading out their respective teams. 

Aly Cissokho plays his first game for Liverpool after a loan move from Lyon on the flank in midfield, with Gerrard needing 1 goal to score a total 100 for Liverpool.


0: The referee blows his whistle to start the match off at The Sports Direct Arena. 

10: Fairly tame start to the game, not many chances as of yet after a long international break. Not lively and exciting like you would expect from an EPL game, but you cannot really be surprised.

11: Liverpool go on the counter attack with Moses feeding Sturridge just outside the box, but the English striker's resulting effort is not powerful enough to trouble Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul. 

13: Remy tries an effort at crossing the ball into the box, but his cross is too fast for a team-mate to catch and the ball goes out of play.

16: Liverpool try to go on another fast attacking move, but Suarez is dispossessed of the ball thanks to a good challenge by a Newcastle defender.

17: Remy goes for another cross into the box, this time it is headed away by Slovakian defender and solid centre-back Martin Skrtel out for a corner. Cabaye to take.

18: The corner is cleared away well by captain Gerrard and Liverpool go on the counter with Moses, but Tiote tackles him and Remy has a 45-yard strike towards goal which flies past goal into the advertising boards.

21: Liverpool's 4th corner of the game taken by Suarez, but a clearance away by Yanga-Mbiwa gives The Reds another corner to try and score.

22: Skrtel has a good chance to head on target, but the header sails over the bar and does not trouble Krul. Newcastle goal-kick.                    

23: GOAL! What a counter attack! Newcastle find Liverpool exposed at the back and French midfielder Yohan Cabaye hits a strike from 30 yards out which Mignolet dives and parries to save, but the ball falls into the bottom corner of the net. 

Cabaye cracker: Cabaye scored his second goal of the season with a bullet strike

Cabaye takes a long-range effort from 30 yards out and beats Mignolet to open the scoring

FACT: That's his 2nd goal in the 2013-14 EPL season.

FACT: Liverpool have now conceded 6 goals so far this season.

25: The game has suddenly exploded into life after Cabaye's goal, with the hosts singing louder than ever and Liverpool looking vulnerable when they are trying to defend counter 

27: The partnership between Suarez and Sturridge hasn't really worked so far this game, not enough players feeding them the ball but to be fair to them, Newcastle's defending has been very solid at the back. 

31: Newcastle pressing high on Liverpool, not giving their opposition much time on the ball with a high tempo of football and closing down the midfielders well and pressuring the strikers so they don't have time to think.

Liverpool look messy and rushed in their attempt to score, it's as if they've never been in a situation where they are losing 1-0 away from home and they are starting to realise that they might not win today if Newcastle keep up the display they are currently showing. 

32: Sturridge has to walk off the pitch as his boots have ripped and he needs to get a new pair on the touchline - he is frustrated because his team have a corner and he is unable to do anything about it.

33: But the Englishman gets a new pair of Nike Hypervenom boots and comes off the touchline to rejoin the game.

36: Cabaye tries with another long-range effort, but this time the ball swerves just over the bar, with the Newcastle faithful encouraging the team to keep going and double the lead before half-time.

41: PENALTY! Newcastle are down to ten men after French defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa holds onto Suarez's shoulder to stop him from getting past him in-front of goal. 

Blatant: Yanga-Mbiwa brings down Suarez inside the box and gets sent off as a result. 

42: Steven Gerrard to step up and take the penalty.... GOAL! The English captain and legendary midfielder slots the ball past Tim Krul who dives the right way but the shot is too powerful to save. 

Gerrard cooly slotted the ball past Krul into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-1 before half-time. 

Legendary: Gerrard celebrates his penalty to equalise and score his 100th goal in the EPL. 

43: And that just shows how quickly a game can change, from 1-0 up and dominating to 1-1 with 10 men against Liverpool.

45: The electronic board shows 2 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the first half, where it is 1-1 in an interesting game where the whole face of the match itself has changed thanks to Yanga M'Biwa's dismissal 4 minutes ago.

45+2: Referee Andre Marriner blows his whistle for half-time at The Sports Direct Arena. 


45: The teams are out for the second half, and the referee blows the whistle to start the second 45 minutes. 

53: The second half has certainly started brighter than the first, with Remy having a penalty appeal denied after Skrtel was adjudged to hold him back when he was shaping to shoot, while 

56: Newcastle have a free-kick in a dangerous area... can they capitalize? Cabaye with the lofted delivery into the box.... 

GOAL! substitute and young left-back Paul Dummett is unmarked inside the box and poor defending by Liverpool gives him space to tap past Mignolet into the bottom corner of the net.    

Unmarked: Dummett takes advantage of some weak Liverpool defending to slot past Mignolet.
Shock: Dummett can't believe his luck after finding himself unmarked in a dangerous position.

58: Liverpool were dominating the start of the second half, and now they are 2-1 down. 

60: Liverpool's powerhouse defender Mamadou Sakho is down on the floor looking uncomfortable after a forceful challenge by defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote who has been dangerous in the midfield not letting much get past him. 

62: Loic Remy looking dangerous on the break for Newcastle again, but again Skrtel is there to deny the Frenchman from having a shot on target with a good block.

64: Liverpool SUB:
Mamadou Sakho OFF
Luis Alberto ON

Alberto replaces Sakho who took a knock a few minutes earlier, the Spanish striker has not played much first-team football since his move in August. 

68: Newcastle's French striker Yoan Gouffran gets a yellow card for a late challenge. 

72: GOAL! Victor Moses finds Suarez on the Liverpool counter attack, and he unselfishly feeds Sturridge inside the box who slots past a helpless Krul to make it 2-2 and score an equaliser. 

SAS: Sturridge and Suarez celebrate after making it 2-2 with some good team-work.

SAS are back in business, Liverpool making the most of their counter attack. 

78: Liverpool are desperate to score the winner now, with Suarez and Sturridge now looking more lively than they did in the first-half. Newcastle will be happy with the point, they won't mind and they are making a double substitution:

Newcastle SUB:
Yohan Cabaye OFF
Hatem Ben Arfa OFF
Vurnon Anita ON
Sammy Ameobi ON

Pair of fresh legs coming on for Newcastle, with Cabaye playing a good game of football today, linking well with Remy and Ben Arfa on the counter attack. 

82: Henderson has a shot which flies over the bar, and The Reds are preparing a change.

84: Liverpool SUB:
Glen Johnson OFF
Raheem Sterling ON

90: The electronic board shows 4 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the game at The Sports Direct Arena - with Liverpool desperate to score a late winner and move comfortably in-front at the top of the table.

90+2: Newcastle are doing well to keep ball possession and waste away some time so they can hang onto the 2-2 draw and take a valuable point out of the game. 

90+3: Luis Alberto has a shot which flies over the bar which Krul had no problems dealing with, he'll take his time with the goal-kick.

90+4: Referee Andre Marriner is in no hurry to blow his whistle for full-time, much to the frustration of Newcastle fans but expectation of Liverpool fans inside the ground.

90+5: The last kick of the game will fall to Luis Suarez, who has a free-kick in a dangerous position after being fouled just outside the box. He steps up to strike the free-kick.... great parry away by Krul and his defenders step up to clear the ball to safety.

The referee finally blows his whistle, and that concludes the afternoon's EPL action from The Sports Direcct Arena. A great, lively game where the final score was 2-2, but Newcastle will feel injustice after going down to ten men just before half-time in a game they were dominating up until this point.  

The Reds did well to fight back even though they conceded again after half-time, thanks to goals from Gerrard and Sturridge either side of half-time moves Liverpool 1 point ahead of closest rivals Arsenal, who play at 3pm at home against Norwich City. 

You have to wonder whether Liverpool can sustain their early run of form, having had over 10 goalscoring opportunities squandered against a side they should be beating if they want to be title contenders (even though Newcastle are a strong team they are not exactly the best)

Thank you for reading my LIVE commentary post today, I will be back with two more blog posts later on today including coverage and a review of all the other games being played today in the EPL including:

Arsenal vs Norwich
Chelsea vs Cardiff City
Everton vs Hull City
Manchester United vs Southampton
Stoke City vs West Brom
Swansea vs Sunderland
West Ham vs Manchester City - 5.30pm kick-off

Friday, 18 October 2013

Wonderkid #1 - Julian Draxler:

Hello again everyone and welcome to one of my latest new segments that I am implementing on my blog, where I look at a wonderkid player who has potential to be special in the future in a certain league - I may do a wonderkid post either frequently, or less frequently depending on who I find throughout the weeks of me watching football and scouting for young players to analyse. 

So here is the first on German and FC Schalke 04 young midfielder Julian Draxler, whose transfer worth is gradually rising everyday with his impressive performances both in the Champions League and Bundesliga. 

Rising star: Draxler (centre) has impressed Europe with his consistent displays in the CL.

The young 20-year-old playmaker has played for Schalke since the tender age of 8 where he developed his skills as a young startlet in the world-famous Schalke youth academy who have produced the links of German No.1 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the past 10 years. 

FACT: Draxler became the fourth youngest Bundesliga player ever in January 2011 when he made his debut for the senior side at the age of 17.

FACT: Draxler has already made 82 appearances for Schalke in the Bundesliga and 121 total appearances in all, scoring 25 goals in all competitions

FACT: Draxler has already made 20 international caps for Germany from Under-18 level to the senior squad.

German gem: Draxler has 20 caps for Germany already from U-18 to senior level.
And now as a result of his amazing potential and great displays in both the German league and the Champions League, many top clubs want his signature in the future including Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid. 
He has admitted that he wants to complete a "dream move" sometime in his career, but has confirmed he will not leave Schalke until the summer of 2014 at the very earliest, with Arsenal his preferred destination at this present time. 

Wanted: Many of the top European clubs are interested in Draxler's signature ahead of next summer.

I have personally watched him grow since he was 17 and at the Schalke ranks, and he is improving game-by-game into a world-class midfielder who could become very special in years to come. He has great vision to seek out passes to team-mates, can create a chance out of nothing, has electric pace which baffles opposition defenders and knows how to get into good scoring positions with a very clinical shot.

Plus, he has gone from a youth star to a first-team player with the famous No.10 shirt, with the status of "Fans Favourite" ringing from the stands each week as the Schalke faithful hope they can hang onto the German starlet for as long as possible.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Friday Night World Cup Qualifiers Review + Analysis:

Another international break for all you football fans to enjoy (sarcasm evident) and on a Friday night there are 29 World Cup Qualifying matches across the world being played. 

Here are the games being played LIVE tonight:

Group A:

Croatia 1 Belgium 2:
Belgium sealed their place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a 2-1 away win against Croatia, their first qualification for a European tournament since 2002. A double from Everton's loanee striker Romelu Lukaku gave the dark horses a much needed win despite a late challenge thanks to midfielder Niko Krancjar's consolation goal in the 83rd minute. 

Powerhouse: Lukaku clinically finishes his chance after getting past the Croatia defence.

Breakthrough: Lukaku celebrates his first of two goals for Belgium earlier tonight
Mourinho, are you watching? Loans out one of the best young strikers in the world, makes perfect sense. 

Wales 1 Macedonia 0:
Wales moved off the bottom of Group A with a 1-0 home win against Macedonia thanks to a goal by young Reading striker Simon Church, which pushes Wales to 4th place in their World Cup qualifying group..

They cannot qualify for the World Cup next year however, with the leaders of the group Belgium and Croatia leading by a comfortable margin. 

Group B:

Armenia 2 Bulgaria 1
Armenia won a crucial game in Group B on Friday night, with a 2-1 win over Bulgaria thanks to goals from right-winger Aras Ozbiliz and striker Yura Movsisyan. They still need to win their last game, but have a slim chance of qualifying for the World Cup by winning a play-off match closer to the finals. 

Malta 1 Czech Republic 4
A 4-1 rout by The Czechs thanks to goals by Hubschman, Lafata, Kadlec and Pekhart makes sure they keep 4th place in their group, however they will need to win their last game and ensure that results go their way to move onto the play-off's. They are level on points with Armenia and one point behind both Bulgaria and Denmark.

Denmark 2 Italy 2
The top two sides (in terms of quality) in Group B faced off against each other, with many EPL players in action for both international sides. 

Arsenal's underfire striker Nicklas Bendtner (who always seems to do well for his country in comparison to his club) scored a double on either side of half-time, after Southampton striker Pablo Osvaldo opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a tap-in finish. 

Danish double: Bendtner scored twice past Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Bendtner got booked for taking off his shirt but he doesn't seem to care in this picture.
Deadlock broken: Southampton's record signing and striker Pablo Osvaldo made it 1-0.

1-0: Osvaldo cannot believe his luck after tapping the ball across the box into the net. 

Italy were very close to a shock loss against their hosts, but thanks to former Liverpool midfieder Alberto Aquilani's late 91st minute strike made it a dramatic 2-2 draw between a world-class Italian side and Denmark, with The Danes desperate to follow Italy's footsteps and secure their place in Brazil next Summer. 

Italy have qualified, while Denmark need to win their last game and hope results go their way to play in the play-off round. 

England 4 Montenegro 1:
The Three Lions' World Cup qualification hopes are still up for grabs after a comfortable 4-1 dominating victory at home against Montenegro at Wembley. 

Goals from (new debutant) Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge (last-minute penalty) as well as an own goal from their visitors helped England to take a vital three points in the race for qualification for next year's World Cup. 

Perfect debut: Townsend made it 3-1 to England with a stinging drive from 25 yards out. 

Great debut: Tottenham winger Andros Townsend stole the show with a stunning strike. 

England play against Poland on Tuesday night in their final game of their World Cup Qualification group - with only a win needed for the hosts to top their group, however it will not be easy against a tough Poland side who are dangerous on the counter attack with Kuba and Lewandowski. 

On the whole, England dominated but were unable to take their goal-scoring chances clinically enough to impress at a high level, (the Rooney and Sturridge goals show this)

Silly: Walker was booked after a push on Jovetic, which means he is banned for the game against Poland. 

If they want to get far in the World Cup next year, they are going to have to start off every game quickly and with purpose while taking every chance they have or else they will get punished by the likes of Spain, Germany, Italy and Portgual. 

Rooney missed a great chance in the first half, hitting the post with a strike he should have buried.

Here are all the teams that have already qualified for the World Cup in June 2014: 

Brazil - hosts
Japan - AFC Group B Winners
Australia - AFC Group B Runners-Up
Iran - AFC Group A Winners 
South Korea - AFC Group A Runners-Up
Netherlands - Group D Winners
Italy - Group B Winners
Costa Rica - CONCACAF Fourth Round Winners
United States - CONCACAF Fourth Round Winners
Argentina - CONMEBOL Round Robin Winners
Belgium - Group A Winners
Switzerland - Group E Winners
Germany - Group C Winners
Colombia - CONMEBOL Round Robin Winners