Tag Archives: nPower League Two

Bradford City Shock Arsenal – Why Defeat Is A Huge Disaster For The Gunners?

Bradford-Arsenal

Bradford City pulled off one of the greatest League Cup shocks with a penalty shoot-out victory over Arsenal in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

The League Two side prevailed 3-2 on spot-kicks, to the delight of a capacity Coral Windows Stadium. Gunners skipper Thomas Vermaelen missed the crucial penalty on a difficult night for the Premier League side. Garry Thompson volleyed the hosts ahead, before Vermaelen headed home a Santi Cazorla cross at the back post with with only two minutes remaining of normal time. Defeat is a huge disaster for manager Arsene Wenger and his club, who last won a major title in 2005.

Why Defeat Is A Huge Disaster For The Gunners?

Arsenal had ridiculous amount of possession (63% to be exact) but the big problem for them is that the lack of ruthlessness. They had so much possession, so many shots, so many entries into the final third to put that final ball and I think that’s the difference between the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea compared to Arsenal. At the same time, the Gunners are going through an interesting phase in the season where they are finding it difficult to score goals. They have scored many in the Capital One Cup games this season but prior to last night’s match they had scored just four in the last five games. They have found it difficult to score goals in the last few weeks and that was once again visible last night.

Talking about the current Arsenal team, there is a lot of individuality, brilliant technicians but when you look for the heart of the team, it comes from the youngsters like Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and doesn’t come from the experience players. The team overall is a bit soft and do they have strength in character? I don’t think so there is enough and that’s why they are just out of the top teams.

Wenger came out and said that the defeat is not an embarrassment, but to be honest its a big disaster. If you see, they have Swansea away in the FA Cup, that’s going to be a very tough game and can go either way. In the Premier League, they are already 15 points behind leaders Manchester United and its highly unlikely they will win it. In the Champions League, again there are a number quality teams in it and will be very difficult for them to go all the way to the final. And so, the Capital One Cup was their best chance of getting a silverware and if they go another season without a silverware that’s going to be a big blow for the club. Many players have already left the club and many more will leave at the end of the season.

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Top 7 Teenagers To Watch In The Premier League

With just more than a month to go for the new Premier League season to kick-off, it’s time to look forward and build-up to it. Today, we look at the top 7 teenagers (under-20 years of age) to keep an eye on in the upcoming Premier League season.

1. ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN – ARSENAL

‘The Ox’ joined Arsenal from Southampton last season and was very impressive in his debut season in Premier League. The 18-year-old made 26 appearances for the Gunners during the last campaign and scored four times. His performances in the league caught the eye of the new England boss Roy Hodgson and was picked for the Euros in Poland/Ukraine. The winger, who started his country’s opening game against France, has been capped five times by the Three Lions.

The 18-year-old has a lot of pace and his direct attacking style has been already loved by Arsenal faithful. Chamberlain broke into the first team last season and he is expected to stay there & play an important role for Arsene Wenger’s team this season, who love to give the teenagers a chance to prove themselves.

2. NICK POWELL – MANCHESTER UNITED

Powell joined Manchester United from Crewe Alexandra this summer for a transfer fee believed to be in the region of £4m. The 18-year-old caught the eye of many top Premier League clubs with his impressive displays for the League Two side as he played an important role in helping Crewe win the playoffs. The England U-18 international made a total of 38 appearances last season scoring 14 goals including the winning goal in the nPower League Two Play-Offs final at the Wembley.

Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed in the press conference yesterday that he would be developing the teenager in center midfield role and with United having many problems in that position over the past couple of years, Powell could get his chances this season. The attacking midfielder is certain to feature in most of the Capital One Cup games and FA Cup games this year.

3. ROMELU LUKAKU – CHELSEA

Lukaku moved to Stamford Bridge last season from Belgium side Anderlecht for a fee around £18m. The 19-year-old, who is dubbed as the ‘next Didier Drogba’, was tipped for big things last year but he hardly got a chance to impress. The Belgium international, who has been capped 14 times by his country, made just eight Premier League appearances and failed to score a single goal.

The former Anderletcht striker was one of the flop signings of last year, but with both Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba having left the club and with just Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge ahead of him in the pecking order, this might well be the year where the teenager may get the chance to impress at the bigger stage.

4. ROSS BARKLEY – EVERTON

Barkley has been the part of Everton’s successful youth academy and has come through the ranks at Goodison Park. The 18-year-old has been at the fringes of the senior team ever since signing the professional contract at the start of the last season. The England U-21 international has made a total of six appearances for Toffees – mostly from the bench – in the Premier League since making his debut against QPR in the opening game of last season.

The midfielder, who has been predicted to ‘become one of the best ever player to play for England’ by Martin Keown, is expected to get much more game time this season than what he got last season. With a lower budget to spend in the tranfer market, David Moyes is certain to give Barkley and many other young players a chance to play in the first team.

5. JOSH McEACHRAN – CHELSEA

The creative midfielder, who is the product of Chelsea’s youth academy, is heralded as the future of the Blues. McEachran made his first team debut for the Blues in a Champions League match against MSK Zilina in September 2010 and ever since has been around the senior team making a total of 22 appearances in all competitions. The 19-year-old, who is touted as the natural successor to Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge, spent the second half of last season on loan at Swansea.

The England U-21 international, who has the talent and potential in him to become one of England’s best midfielder in future is expected to spend next season away on loan at a Premier League side where he might get some more first team football than at Chelsea, due to the competition for a place in the starting XI at the Stamford Bridge club.

6. CONNOR WICKHAM – SUNDERLAND

Sunderland signed Wickham last summer from the Championsip side Ipswich for a fee of £8m. The 19-year-old was tipped for big things but his first season in the Premier League was a bad one. He was able to find the back of the net just once in 15 appearances as the Black Cats struggled without the services of Danny Welbeck, Darrent Bent and Asamoah Gyan, who were all present during the 2010-11 season.

This season is going to be the make-or-break for the England U-21 international has he will need to get over his ‘first-season blues’ and repay the club’s faith in him. Sunderland’s number 10 is expected to play an important role this season and he will have to score much more than what he did last season, if the Black Cats have to challenge for a place in Europe next season.

7. RYO MIYAICHI – ARSENAL

Miyaichi joined Arsenal in the summer of 2010 after impressing the scouts and the boss during a High School Soccer Tournament in Japan. The 19-year-old has featured only twice for Gunners since his arrival and that to in the Capital One Cup. The Japanese international was sent on loan to Bolton Wanderers in the January transfer window last season and he had a very successful time at the Reebok, making 12 appearances and was also voted as the club’s February Player of the Month.

With Andrey Arshavin expected to leave the club in the summer, Miyaichi may get a chance on the wings but at the same time he will face competition from the likes of Gervinho, Alex Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and the new signing Lukas Podolski for playing time. It looks likely that he will be sent on loan to another Premier League side again this season, where he will get some regular first team football.

Who Is Jack Butland? Introducing England’s 3rd Choice Keeper For The Euros

At the start of the season, Jack Butland wouldn’t have ever dreamt of being on the plane to Poland-Ukraine as a part of England 23-man squad for the Euros. But nine months later, an unfortunate injury to Norwick keeper John Ruddy means the 19-year-old Birmingham keeper has been called into Roy Hodgson’s team, taking the youngster straight into the big time.

Who is Jack Butland?

The question is a very good one. We havent seen Butland playing in the Premier League  or the Championship or even in the League One this season. Even the fans of Birmingham City – who are his employers – have only seen him if they have seen their reserves or the under-18s in action. But ask the people of Cheltenham and they will have nothing but praises for the young keeper who has appeared 24 times for them during his two loan periods at the club this season.

Yes, surprised? Cheltenham Town who play in the nPower League Two is Butland’s only club – so far – for whom he has played first team football. At six feet four inches, Butland is a commanding presence in the box and an athletic, agile shot stopper, and he has made full use of his stature to keep eleven clean sheets this season and has conceded just 26 goals. He has been one of the reasons for Cheltenham’s success this season which has seen them qualify for the League 2 playoff final against Crewe at the Wembley on Sunday.

Butland joined the Birmingham Academy in 2007 but hasn’t yet played a single game for the Blues. The best he could get was a place on the bench during the recent Championship playoffs. Despite having yet to make single appearances for the first team, the young keeper has already ‘Young Player of the Season’ award at St Andrews in May 2010 for his performances with the Reserves and England U-17s.

He has been involved with England setup since 2008 when he made his debut for the Under-16s against Northern Ireland and kept a clean sheet as the Young Lions won 6-0. Since then Butland has represented the Three Lions at every age group and was the key member of the U-17 squad that won the European Championship in Liechtenstein in May 2010. He was later called up for the Under-20s for the 2010 Under-20 World Cup in Colombia. He kept three clean sheets during the tournament and conceded just one goal against Nigeria, which in the end led to England’s downfall as they later failed to score.

His performances did not go unnoticed and he was later called up for the England Under-21s by boss Stuart Pearce. Butland made his debut in the 6-0 win over over Azerbaijan Under-21s in a Euro 2013 qualifier, and has since gone on to make a total of six appearances before being called-up as a replacement for John Ruddy in the senior team yesterday.

Who has been the man behind Butland’s success?

Butland comes with a huge promise and could be one of the stars in the future but much of that credit must be given to Birmingham City’s and current England goalkeeping coach David Watson. Watson, who has 178 appearances as a keeper for Barnsley, has been the key to not only Butland’s success but also has enhanced the careers of former England keeper Ben Foster and the current number one Joe Hart during their times at St. Andrews. And in Butland, it looks like he has moulded another potential shot-stopper for the Three Lions in the future.

What are his chances of playing at the Euro 2012?

To be quite honest the chances of him playing for England at Euros are zero. Joe Hart is England’s number one choice keeper and Robert Green will be his backup in case Hart suffers an injury, hope it doesn’t happen. So, Butland will only get a chance to play if both Hart and Green are suspended or injured and that looks highly unlikely. But expect to see a lot of him in the future, maybe during the friendlies after the Euros or during the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup or 2016 Euros.

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