Tag Archives: chelsea

Cook has three key areas he needs to strengthen for Wigan Athletic to try and hit the playoffs

Well, after a positive season in the Championship (for a change), it feels like our squad has been ripped apart and we have to start again this summer. I suppose it was expected considering three of our best players were on loan, and Powell was always unlikely to sign a new contract.

We still have the foundation of a decent squad, however, we still need a squad overhaul to ensure we have competition for places. I expect us to loan a few of Chelsea’s youth players, after the outstanding work we have done with Reece James. If this link with Benfica comes to fruition, they could provide us with a few top players also.

It’s a big summer for Wigan. How much ambition do the new owners have? Do they trust Cook to sign a number of young, talented players for decent money, or are we looking at signing frees and loans? A mix of both, I’d imagine.

Either way, we need to get our signings right. Powell and James were our two best players, we’ve already lost one and will likely lose the other. Furthermore, we’ve got squad players to buy after Darron Gibson and Callum McManaman were both released.

I look at three areas we need to strengthen ahead of next season…

Strength in midfield

It’s impossible for us to replace James. He’s worth more than our club, genuinely. But what did he offer us – pace, power, ability on the ball, so we need to look at replacing his attributes and signing a similar type of player. A powerhouse. Morsy is more of a ‘ball-winning’ midfielder, so offers that protection for a partner to have the freedom and break forward.

Lee Evans ended the season very well but is more suited as an attacking midfielder, opposed to a defensive one. Mohamed Diame has recently been released from Newcastle, it’s a shame his wages will be a stumbling block, he’s exactly what we need to replace James.

Speed merchants

Cook likes to play with one up front, and that striker is predominantly a ‘target man’. I don’t have a problem with that as it allows our creative players to flourish, and enjoy plenty of the ball in the right areas. However, we need a plan B to improve our away form. We led by one goal in a number of games away from home last season, but couldn’t find that killer second goal because we didn’t have the pace to counter-attack.

Conor Washington is available for free. He’s a striker that can run in-behind and exploit a high defensive line. Fraizer Campbell another. Come on Cookie, I’m doing your job for you.

A new number one

We’ve had Christian Walton on loan from Brighton for the past two seasons, and he’s been brilliant. However, there are no suggestions that he’ll be joining us for a third spell. Jamie Jones didn’t take advantage of a run in the side, therefore Cook will be looking for a new commanding ‘keeper. Jamal Blackman is currently unused at Chelsea, he’s got a wealth of EFL experience and would be a good addition for us.

‘Yes, I love this straight away to business 3-0’ Man United fans feeling optimistic ahead of their opening Fixture

A hot topic for next season’s Premier League is how will Man United will perform after a disappointing end to the 2018/19 season.

The Red Devil’s only managed a 6th place finish with 66 points. The reds need to aim for around the 80-90 points to even be in with a chance of getting back into the title race as their rivals, City, won the league and finished on 98 points. Liverpool managed 97 points and Chelsea finished on 72 points.

Hopefully with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer trying to build his team, United will be able to return to their old ways and fans will be celebrating again. With that being said, Premier League fixtures were released today and it’s been revealed that United will open their campaign by playing Chelsea at home on Sunday the 11th of August.

The following week they will travel to Wolves but it’s the opening game that has fans talking on Twitter this morning…

Season Prediction: Man City Women’s Success Hinges On Lioness World Cup Campaign

With Manchester United Women being promoted to the Women’s Super League, will they cause problems for Man City?

Possibly. Nick Cushing has such a strong side, they managed to finish second in their league last season on 47 points. Arsenal ended their campaign on 54 points putting them as Champions, and finishing in third under City was Chelsea who had 42 points. This proves just how tight the league is and how the top tier can change quickly. 

My prediction for next season is that City will be fighting with Arsenal for the top spot once again. I hope they can manage to win the Super League but there are a few things to consider before that can happen.

For example, a lot of the Blues squad are out in France right now for the World Cup. Club captain, Steph Houghton is also leading her national side, players such as Karen Bardsley, Demi Stokes, Jill Scott and Ellen White are also out there at the minute hoping to prove that they are the best. What if any of them pick up an injury or come back to the Women’s League seeming unfit? It would sure cause City a few setbacks. 

The other factor being Manchester United. They have just been promoted to the WSL and, will be out for a good first season in the league as they smashed the Championship. I’m not saying the reds will do the same and go straight to the top of this league too. However, I do predict that they will cause a few problems for the likes of Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea and they will be in the mix for a top table finish. 

I’m wishing the Lionesses all the luck in the world and hope they can bring it home but, when the City players get back into training and start their new campaign, I hope they can maintain the same standards they already have.

I think the World Cup will depend on the mindset of some of the City women, if they do win, they may be hungry to win a title when they come home. If they don’t, they’ll either be feeling deflated or it will drive them to do well next season. 

Two Chelsea Youngsters Wigan Athletic Should Go In For This Summer

Reece James arrived to Wigan a boy, and left a man.

On the final day of the season, Paul Cook gave him the opportunity to captain the side, and substituted him in the last five minutes, to allow the fans an opportunity to thank him for his efforts throughout the season. In my time watching football, I’ve never seen a loan player have such a positive effect on a club, fans had tears in their eyes when he walked off the pitch vs Millwall. A truly special talent. Now, who’s the next one, give us some options Chelsea…

Chelsea are known for loaning out a lot of players every season, I think we’ve built a good connection after the work we have done with James, so will definitely be getting a couple of players to develop. There are certainly worse feeder clubs than Chelsea.

I look at two players I’d like to see us take on loan from Sarri’s side…

Matt Miazga

Paul Cook is reportedly on the lookout for a ‘ball-playing’ centre back, and Miazga absolutely fits the ball. The American had a very good five months at Reading, making 18 appearances and helping The Royals avoid relegation. I imagine Chelsea will want him to gain more experience in the Championship, Wigan seems the perfect fit. They can trust us to develop him as a player, he’ll play regularly and be joining a side that likes to play attractive football starting from the defence. It makes sense for all parties.

Jamal Blackman

Christian Walton has been our number one for the past two years, the young ‘keeper has returned to Brighton and there’s been little talk of him returning for a third loan spell. With Wigan needing a lot of signings this summer, I think Cook will be looking to utilise the loan market and sign players that will be guaranteed starters. Blackman is a highly-rated goalkeeper, has experience in the EFL and is at an age where he’ll be wanting to play regularly. He could come to Wigan and be handed the number one shirt immediately.

OPINION: Man Utd Women To Take Super League By Storm In Their First Showing – Agree?

Manchester United Women had an amazing first season in the Women’s Championship as they were promoted to the Women’s Super League. 

The team were only formed last year and ended their efforts on 55 points. Now that they are looking forward to a newly promoted season, how will they do?

Well, the clubs Captain, Alex Greenwood is currently out in France playing for the Lionesses, although there are chances of the youngster catching an injury while she’s there, it’s a hugely beneficial chance for her to eye up competition.

While she plays against the likes of Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal women team members, it will help her know how to play against these women as well as with them. Abbie McManus is another player who’s out playing for England but at the end of the 18/2019 season, the 26-year-old left City for United. She has played with the blues for years, so transitioning to the rivals may be hard for her but again, very beneficial to the squad. 

In the Women’s championship, United had easier competition with the likes of Tottenham and Charlton. They stormed their league with a 9 point lead, however, they will have tougher matches on their hands with Super League professional’s, Arsenal winning their league this season.

The league that these girls are going into is a lot tighter and tougher to win points, Arsenal ladies won the league last year but not by many points, they finished on 54 points with Man City coming a very close second at 47 points. Even third and fourth place is tight with Chelsea finishing on 42 points and Birmingham on 40.

With this being said, although I think Man United won’t go down without a fight and will cause problems for these clubs who have never played against them before, I do think they will come across problems when it comes to the likes of City and Arsenal.

My prediction is that Man City and Arsenal will be fighting for the top spot next season, nevertheless, I don’t think United will make it easy and will probably finish around 3rd place, which again will be brilliant for the Red Devils. I just don’t think they will be able to top this league too. If they can, I’ll eat my words!

Bernardo Silva: Ballon d’Or Favourite After Exceptional Season?

After winning the UEFA Nations League player of the tournament, could Bernardo Silva be in the running for the Ballon d’Or award?

It would be fair to say that Silva has had a remarkable season, he’s won three trophies with Man City and now been a part of the winning Nations League team. However, the Premier League have overlooked the 24-year-old and have shown to be more in favour of Sterling’s efforts and Van Dijk.

It is now being discussed to who will win this year’s Ballon d’Or award and understandably, Silva’s name is in the mix. 

Virgil Van Dijk is set to be favourite to win the award after his impressive season and a Champions League win. Lionel Messi is also in the running, which is standard. Now that Silva is being recognised for his efforts, maybe the City star will earn another trophy for his collection.

When Bernardo won the Nations League player of the tournament, teammate Ronaldo didn’t seem too impressed, maybe he expected the award himself but if Silva also takes home the Ballon d’Or, how will 5-time winner Ronaldo take that news? 

Personally, I think it’s about time a City player won the award as they have been looked over for years. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United and even Leicester have all had more recognition from the French award officials than City have had in a decade.

The closest that a City player has been to take this award home was Kevin De Bruyne last year when he came in 9th place. So can Bernardo Silva set another City record by getting further up that list or even topping it? I really do hope so, I’m just not convinced that he will get as much of a look in as others, after he’s already won one award for his individual efforts this year and several team awards.

Two Things New Signing From Liverpool Laura Coombs Will Bring To Man City Women

After 74 appearances and seven goals for Liverpool, Laura Coombs has decided to move on into a new adventure. That adventure is Man City.

The real question is, what can she bring to an already successful Man City side?

Bringing out the best in her new teammates

Coombs has plenty of experience behind her, the 28-year-old has represented Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and even played in America’s W League. When speaking to Man City about her new deal, she described herself as an “aggressive box-to-box midfielder.” Coombs should fit in perfectly with the already successful City team as she has played for England, and was part of the Chelsea side that won a league and cup double in 2015.

Former teammate, Gilly Flaherty describes Laura as “a real grafter” and said she would, “put the work in that other people don’t want to do.” This should give Nick Cushing the confidence in his new signing that she will get the job done and, hopefully, inspire her new teammates to fight for every ball and keep attacking throughout a game.

Champions League Title?

She’s already been a part of teams that have won leagues and cups, but there’s still room for improvement that Cushing’s side should be able to help her with.

When speaking to the press, Nick Cushing said, “she has the potential to be a top player and we are very excited to have Laura at Manchester City where we feel we can give her the opportunity to play at her highest level.” This sounds promising for the former Liverpool midfielder but fans of the blues will be wondering what their team could win next season.

After speaking to Man City upon signing her new contract, Laura explained how she had played a few games in the Champions League, but felt that joining City would be a step in the right direction of going further in the competition and hopefully winning the title.

Coombs made 27 appearances for Liverpool last season and with determination like this, it sounds like a hopeful season ahead for Laura and for the blues. If she has a good season, some more England caps may be on her way and with the right coaching, managing and teamwork, could City achieve a Champions League title?

Chelsea’s Reece James is Certainly One To Watch Out For As Well Wigan Fans Know

Reece James certainly made an impact during his time at Wigan Athletic, with many fans, singling out the Chelsea loanee out as one of the sole reasons the Tics stayed up this season.

Even at the tender age of 19, James is attracting interest from the big fish in the Premier League. However, it seems highly unlikely the defender will be going anywhere close to a rival, with another loan move likely on the cards next season to a possible mid-table team.

Everyone at Wigan is going to sorely miss James going off the love he’s received on social media. Especially, after collecting Wigan’s player’s player of the season and player of the season awards, which was well-deserved after playing the most amount of minutes this campaign.

Cook, the Wigan boss would love another season mentoring the youngster, and you have to applaud the growth James has shown under him.

Especially making the move up north last season, many would not have taken their chances and positively help his temporary side out like James has done this season. He seems to have matured and grown, not only as a footballer but as a man – leading him to be named Captain in his final game.

James received a standing ovation in his captained final game, as he was substituted in the 90th minute against Millwall. His two goals and one assist in that final run-in, helped Wigan end up 12 points clear of the relegation zone and has given them a decent platform for next season in the Championship.

Again Wigan left it till the end of the season to show what they are made of, and more importantly, capable of. We have seen this happen many a time in the Premier League under former boss Roberto Martinez and Paul Jewell.

Maybe, James’ influence will have a lasting impression on the Wigan squad, with that sprinkle of Premier League standard giving the whole squad a lift.

Everyone will miss his strong dribbling and crossing ability, alongside his key passing. In which he assisted three times last season, which is not bad for a young defender indeed.

So, Wigan fans which player would you like on loan next season that could have the impact Reece James had last season?

Is it Time to Bid Farewell to the Premier League’s Top Six?

As the Premier League season draws to a close, the inevitability of who the top six clubs will be is once again plain to see.

In the entire history of the Premier League, only Blackburn in 1994/95 and Leicester City in 2015/16 managed to buck the trend and top the table. For the other 25 seasons, it has been one of the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea or Arsenal.

This demonstrates the gulf that exists between the six richest clubs in the country and everyone else. There hasn’t been a single season in which at least two of the current top six, haven’t finished in the Champions League or Europa League places.

Currently, Wolves sit 11 points adrift in 7th place and although this is a very credible performance by the West Midlands club, it does show that all the rest of the Premier League is doing is making up the numbers.

It’s a similar situation in Europe with PSG in France 16 points clear, Juventus 18 points above Napoli in Italy. Ajax and PSV 18 points ahead in Holland and Barcelona nearly 30 points ahead of fifth-placed Sevilla in Spain, and Germany dominated by Bayern where 10 points separate 3rd and 4th places.

There have been rumours of interest by European clubs in a breakaway League, which some would say already exists in the UK. Not so long ago, German publication Der Spiegel ran a story about talks between Europe’s top clubs on the possibility of a breakaway league.

Many of the clubs allegedly involved were quick to distance themselves from the story, but given that most of the big clubs have the interests of their shareholders in mind rather than that of their supporters, the idea will not be seen as one which should be discounted.

The original idea that the vast amounts of money that have come into the game would trickle down to the lower leagues has proved to be just a pipe dream. As in real life, the poor have got poorer and, the rich have got very richer indeed.

With what seems like a weekly occurrence, clubs with solid support and a rich footballing history are finding themselves facing ruin as a result of massive debt. Much of this can be attributed to the fact, that clubs have found themselves needing to pay extortionate wages in order to attract players to reach the promised land of the Premier League.

Before the TV money came along, it was the people who came through the turnstiles who dictated the success of a club, now their contribution is looked at as little more than small change. The Far East market is an almost bottomless pit of merchandise sales to people who will never set foot in Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge, yet whose money is funding the chasm, which grows wider every season between the haves and have nots.

There is a growing crisis which needs to be addressed in British football, and if it means losing the countries top clubs and returning to the state that existed before Sky arrived then it is a price the sport may have to pay.

Man United Ending Up In Sixth Would Not Be a Bad Thing

Much as been made over the need for Champions League football at Old Trafford next season.

Granted last time the Red Devils qualified for the Europa League, they went big in the transfer market and massively overspent on players to lure them to Manchester, eventually winning the competition.

However, this time around is a completely different feel to back then. Solskjaer needs to rebuild a squad that has lacked any sort of consistency over the years, there’s deadwood in there that should have gone a long time ago and a need to bring in players to suit the style and history of Old Trafford.

Being in the Europa League may not be what the financial people want at the club. However, what United must learn from the last time they were in this position is not splash the cash to hunt for instant success. United now need to rebuild over two, three transfer windows, time has to be given and recruitment needs to be on point.

United are competing in the market with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs and going toe-to-toe in a bidding war is not what the board want to get involved in.

Looking outside the box, using their vast scouting network and most of all being shrewd. Man United is still a big attraction for the majority of players around the world, and throwing cash at players shouldn’t have to be the answer. The Norwegian needs to convince players to be apart of the rebuild – one that could see some further bad times for the United faithful.

However, if they now and understand that the club is restructuring from top to bottom, they’ll be a little more forgiving: as long as they don’t go into mid-table mediocrity of course.

United could attract the type of player that is up for the battle over the salary, players with prospect. So maybe, just maybe finishing in the Europa League spots could be a blessing and drive United into going a different direction. They can’t afford to throw more money at flops and underperforming players anymore.

This is a crucial time in United’s recent history, and one they can’t afford to get wrong.

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