Jumpers For Goalposts http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk The Football Blog Sun, 22 May 2016 19:15:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Even at their lowest, United win the FA Cup, so how bad a condition are the Red Devils actually in? http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/even-at-their-lowest-united-win-the-fa-cup-so-how-bad-a-condition-are-the-red-devils-actually-in/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/even-at-their-lowest-united-win-the-fa-cup-so-how-bad-a-condition-are-the-red-devils-actually-in/#respond Sun, 22 May 2016 19:15:36 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=397 347E0F5900000578-3603325-image-a-26_1463924702643

Manchester United celebrate winning their 12th FA Cup title as they came back from behind to defeat Crystal Palace at Wembley

Form is temporary, class is permanent. This is the adage that we’ve heard since forever, and its authenticity was proven yet again as Manchester United won the FA Cup after beating Crystal Palace in an enthralling tie at Wembley. Louis Van Gaal, the much-maligned manager of Manchester United masterminded their first trophy win since 2013 to prove that even at their lowest, United are capable of winning silverware.

The Red Devils underwent a spectacular fall from grace since the departure of their talismanic boss Sir Alex Ferguson. With no Champions League to look forward to in the next season, United needed the FA Cup trophy to shut their critics up ahead of what could be tough times for the once great club. A big day needed a big performance, and in true United spirit, their boys stepped up to the mark.

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Wayne Rooney, United’s captain on the night, was also the Man of the Match after he put in a terrific display in the middle of the park

When Jason Puncheon’s ferocious volley hit the back of the net in the 78th minute of the game, most of you had probably crowned Palace as the winners of this year’s FA Cup. Even the most ardent of United fans would be forgiven for losing all hope of winning the Cup after conceding a goal with just 12 minutes left on the clock. United are only a shadow of their former selves and no way can they make a comeback. Fergie time was a thing of the past. Right?

How we were all mistaken. Three minutes was all it took for them to equalize and as extra time ensued, Jesse Lingard found a place for himself in Manchester United lore as he scored a 110th-minute winner to win his side their 12th FA Cup title. In the aftermath of this most exciting victory, I was wondering, even at their lowest ebb, Manchester United are still winning titles.

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Jesse Lingard was United’s hero on the night as he grabbed a 110th minute winner to put his side in the lead for the first time in the game

Ever since the turn of the 90’s, Manchester United have only finished outside of the top four on three occasions. Other than their 5th placed finish this season, they came 6th in the 90-91 season while coming 7th in the 13-14 season. This is definitely the sign of a football club in their prime, but even in the past few seasons, in the seasons after Sir Alex I mean, they managed to perform reasonably well, if you get what I mean.

Of course finishing lower than second is totally unacceptable for a team as regal as United, but considering the departure of their great stalwart and the evolving climate of the Premier League with the rise of so many strong teams, consistent finishes in and around the top four is pretty good if you ask me.

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Louis Van Gaal celebrated winning his first trophy as United boss along with their former manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Now when you go on to consider that teams like Manchester City and Chelsea and Liverpool have failed to pull of what United have, you really get to see my point in true detail. Manchester United are indeed having their worst spell in over three decades, but then again, this is surely because of the standards that they’ve set for themselves over the same period of time. While half of the nation is up in arms about the Red Devils devastating fall from grace, I cannot help but agree with LvG who has asked us to curb our expectations. Van Gaal’s message has so far fallen on deaf ears, but how long can United fans avoid this rather inconvenient truth? Only time can tell.

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Like the rise of Leicester, falls of Newcastle and Villa are massive events in the history of English football http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/like-the-rise-of-leicester-falls-of-newcastle-and-villa-are-massive-events-in-the-history-of-english-football/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/like-the-rise-of-leicester-falls-of-newcastle-and-villa-are-massive-events-in-the-history-of-english-football/#respond Sun, 15 May 2016 05:16:57 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=388 _89663979_newcastle_fan_stand_getty

Newcastle fans will be hurting beyond belief right now as their beloved Magpies got relegated for the second time in seven years

Every season that passes gives us champions, a team of heroes who got things right over the course of the campaign. Similarly, every season gives us failures, lads who didn’t get the rub of the green, or often, lads who let themselves down. The Newcastle United and Aston Villa teams of this year fall in the second part of the second category and I cannot begin to imagine how angry the fans of both these clubs are feeling right now.

No offence to any other teams in the Premier League, but relegation is never expected from either Newcastle or Villa. Taking a look at the Magpies, it’s still so hard to accept that a team as big as theirs got sent to the Championship back in 2009, and for that disaster to happen again just seven years on is a massive blow to their very existence as a club. Similarly, who would have thought that Aston Villa, a team that has played Premier League football since the inception of the League back in 1992, would be relegated this season, and more importantly, in this manner!

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Similarly, Aston Villa are in turmoil and have been so for the entire year and there was nothing that present caretaker manager Eric Black could do about it

Aston Villa were one of the elite few clubs who have had the honour of playing in every edition of the Premier League, and yet they were booted out of England’s top division for the first time since 1986. If Leicester’s achievements this season is stuff to tell our grandkids, then the fall of Newcastle and Villa are surely equally big events that need retelling to the coming generations.

One technical difference between Leicester’s canter to the title and Villa’s and Newcastle shameful exits from the Premier League is that the former is moving towards a position of permanence in the lore of English football. The latter, though, are heading towards extinction, to a situation where they’ll be looked at as one of the fallen giants of yore, as the likes of Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday.

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Newcastle fans are voicing their frustration regarding the present regime as they want their current owner, Mike Ashley, to sell the club

Change is permanent as they say, and maybe this is not a time to be romantic because a power shift in favour of  newer teams would automatically mean that a few others were going to be heading in an unfavoured direction. But then again, it would be wrong to blame the wane of these clubs fortunes on the waxing of another. The underlying powershift did not score the goals that won Leicester so many games, and similarly, the very same powershift did not lead to all the bad goals that the Magpies and the Villans conceded.

I’m looking towards characters like Gabby Agbonlahor, Joleon Lescott and Jack Grealish as I say this bit. Newcastle too have had too many of their star names letting them down over the course of the last season, but Aston Villa have been a toxic cesspool and the discipline issues that cropped up at Villa Park all throughout the year have ruined the club’s reputation in the public eye. Both clubs will need to buy well in the transfer market, so they can prepare themselves as best as possible ahead of their Championship campaign.

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Similarly, Aston Villa fans want exactly the same as they have grown impatient with owner Randy Lerner

Personally, I hope that both of these teams can bounce back into better days from the next season even if they cannot win promotion. Newcastle have experience in this regard as they managed to climb straight back into the Premier League after a season in the Championship in 2009. While I’d wish both of these giants of English football a big helping of luck as they struggle through a tough patch in their illustrious history, I cannot help but fear for their existence as there have been too many incidents of clubs failing to control their drop from the honour roll and into the underbelly of English football.

 

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Infuriating Liverpool allow Rafa another comeback as Klopp’s boys undo all their hardwork http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/infuriating-liverpool-allow-rafa-another-comeback-as-klopps-boys-undo-all-their-hardwork/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/infuriating-liverpool-allow-rafa-another-comeback-as-klopps-boys-undo-all-their-hardwork/#respond Sat, 23 Apr 2016 12:27:16 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=377 337777CD00000578-0-image-a-4_1461421360297

Liverpool legends of the present and the past greeted each other before all affiliations were brought to a halt as Liverpool played Newcastle United at Anfield earlier today

Just when Liverpool fans were beginning to think that their fortunes were turning for the better, they managed to fall flat on their face again. This time, like all of the times in the past, they have only themselves to blame. Call it complacency, mediocrity or downright carelessness, Liverpool have undone all of the hard work that they completed so amicable over the course of the last few weeks.

Leading relegation fighting Newcastle by two goals at home, the Reds allowed their valorous opponents to come back into the game without having to break a sweat. To kick-off my inquest into our dispiriting draw, the first question that I would like to ask God is why Simon Mignolet is still a Liverpool player. Before any of your grab your pitchforks and ransack my house while defending Mignolet for all the countless times his superb shot stopping skills bailed us out of jail, I’d like to remind you that the margin of error at the highest level is minuscule. There’s a fine line between hero and villain and at this level, mistakes made too often are enough to get people sacked.

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Sturridge gave Liverpool the lead in the 1st minute of the match after his superb left footed-stroke fizzed into the back of the net past a hapless Karl Darlow

Yes, there have been many occasions where the Belgian our hero, but then again, there have also been quite a few occasions where he’s been our villain. With all due respect to Simon Mignolet, I would like to raise my hands up and accept that I would never be able to be as good a ‘keeper as him, but as far as being the first goalkeeper of Liverpool Football Club is concerned, we definitely need someone better.

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The Liverpool players celebrate Daniel Sturridge’s 1st-minute opener that gave the home team a sensational start to the game

Moving on from Mignolet, the second matter of concern that has been bothering me is our lack of consistency. No matter who we make our manager and no matter who we sign, consistency is the key to success. That is exactly why we’ve found so much success in the cup competitions this season. Leagues are marathons and every club needs to maintain a certain speed throughout the course of this exhausting race. Slipping up at any stage of this gruelling journey almost always results in failure.

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Newcastle players celebrate Jack Colback’s second half equalizer as they managed to silence the Kop on the day their former manager made an emotional return

Over the course of the past decade, Liverpool have proven on numerous occasions that they are very well capable of pulling off stupendous results against the most intimidating of opponents in the most audacious of ways. Doing this on a regular basis, or to phrase myself better, doing this against the more lesser decorated teams has always been the problem.

It’s extremely frustrating to be a Liverpool fan because you know that your boys are very well capable of blowing apart some of the most impenetrable of defences while reducing the most potent of attacks to mere laymen. But to see the very same team fall against the likes of Stoke City and Newcastle United and Crystal Palace is an all new level of pain altogether.

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Leicester Title Win To Cost UK Bookies £10 Million http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/leicester-title-win-to-cost-uk-bookies-10-million/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/leicester-title-win-to-cost-uk-bookies-10-million/#respond Thu, 21 Apr 2016 13:47:01 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=369 CLAUDIO-RANIERIAccording to reports published on BBC Sport, the UK’s leading bookmaker will have to pay out in excess of £10 million if leaders Leicester go on to win the Premier League title.

Leciester were priced at 5000/1 to win the league at the start of the season, but they have defied all expectations and currently lead by 5 points with just 4 games remaining. They need 3 more wins to guarantee the first league title in their history.

Around 50 people backed Leicester at those huge odds at the start of the season, while more and more punters have been backing them throughout the season as their remarkable run of form has developed.

Some bookies including Betfair are still offering enhanced odds on both Spurs and Leicester to be champions. Most bookies have cut Leicester to heavy odds on prices, or are refusing to take any more bets on them at all!

Betfred have already paid out, but other leading betting websites including William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power are nervously watching the remaining matches of the season in the hope that Spurs can overturn Leicesters lead and save them some cash.

Most punters love hearing stories of bookies taking a beating, so the payout will come as welcome news to all punters whether they backed Leicester or not. But the bookies will all be Spurs fans between now and the end of the season.

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10 walking marathons in 10 days… http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/10-walking-marathons-in-10-days/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/10-walking-marathons-in-10-days/#respond Fri, 01 Apr 2016 10:00:48 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=357 Jeff Stelling’s Men United March – #JeffsMarch

10 walking marathons in 10 days… He’s done it! Jeff Stelling has completed his Men United March, walking an incredible 262 miles in just ten days and raising more than £300k. But you can still sponsor him.

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The route and the daily diary…

Jeff Stelling visited more than 30 football clubs over 10 days from 21 to 30 March 2016. He was joined on each leg of the journey by a select band of Men United supporters and his mates from Soccer Saturday, including Matt Le Tissier, Chris Kamara, Paul Merson, and Charlie Nicholas. Jeff1

Day 1: Hartlepool Utd via Middlesbrough to Marske

Day 2: York City to Leeds United

Day 3: Doncaster Rovers to Scunthorpe United

Day 4: Rotherham via Sheffield to Chesterfield

Day 5: Derby County via Burton and Nottm Forest to Notts County

Day 6: Wolves via Walsall, West Brom, Aston Villa to Birmingham City

Day 7: Coventry City to Leicester CityJeff2

Day 8: Northampton Town to MK Dons

Day 9: Luton Town via St Albans City to Watford

Day 10: AFC Wimbledon via Brentford, Fulham, Chelsea, QPR to Wembley

Intrepid television presenter Jeff Stelling yesterday completed his epic 262-mile walk to help tame prostate cancer, helping raise more than £300,000 for us so far.

“They say I can talk the talk, and now I’ve walked the walk,” joked the long-standing Soccer Saturday host after finishing 10 walking marathons in 10 days, from Hartlepool to Wembley, together with close friend Russ Green, the chief executive of Hartlepool United.They checked in at 32 football clubs along the way, and were joined by some famous friends and people affected by prostate cancer.

Trevor Sinclair, Dennis Wise, Les Ferdinand and Matt Le Tissier were among the small group of walkers on the last leg from AFC Wimbledon, rubbing shoulders with our long-time supporters, Kevin Webber and David Annand. And after collecting his Men United March medal from the Royal Box at Wembley, Jeff told onlookers it was his fellow walkers’ personal experiences of prostate cancer that drove him on.

“Everyone was our inspiration to keep going,” he said. “All your stories were humbling, uplifting and unforgettable. We will never forget them.”

Our chief executive, Angela Culhane, who walked the final marathon and more than 50 miles during the walk, said: “It’s been a truly incredible 10 days capped with a phenomenal fundraising total of more than £300,000. The money and awareness raised will be life-altering to the men affected by prostate cancer and their loved ones.

“Each and every walker that put their best foot forward for the cause, more than 400 of them, provided inspiration to us all. And on behalf of everyone involved in the Men United March and every man affected by this disease, I’d like to say a big thank you.”

 

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talkSPORT 2 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/talksport-2/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/talksport-2/#respond Tue, 01 Mar 2016 10:00:38 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=351 14th March 2016, London: talkSPORT 2, a new national 24-hour sports radio station and part of the Wireless Group (GB) brand portfolio, has secured rights to one of the biggest sporting events of the year, after reaching an agreement to broadcast the ICC World Twenty20 in India.

About talkSPORT 2

talkSPORT 2 is the sister station of the world’s biggest sports radio station, talkSPORT, which is the global audio partner of the Premier League and has a UK audience of over 3 million. Launching in March 2016, talkSPORT 2 will concentrate on live coverage of cricket, golf, rugby union, rugby league, tennis, football outside the Premier League and US sport. talkSPORT 2 will be available nationally on DAB digital radio, online and on mobile.

www.talkSPORT.com

About Wireless Group GB

Wireless Group GB is part of Wireless Group plc, a leading UK and Irish media company. It owns 13 radio stations across England and Wales, including talkSPORT, the world’s biggest sports radio station, as well as Sport, the UK’s biggest sports magazine.

www.WirelessGroupplc.com

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Arsenal: Best chance for the Premier league in a decade? http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/arsenal-best-chance-for-the-premier-league-in-a-decade/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/arsenal-best-chance-for-the-premier-league-in-a-decade/#respond Sat, 13 Feb 2016 10:00:56 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=338 As we approach the crunch point of the season, Arsenal are set to play Leicester, Manchester United, Tottenham and not to mention Barcelona all in a month. You have to ask is this their best chance to win the league?

The north London club are in with a great shout for the title. This season has been one of shocks, Chelsea have put up the worst ever defence of a Premier league crown, Manchester United have been floundering and despite their millions Manchester City have been unpredictable. Surprisingly it is Leicester who have taken the league by storm and are now table toppers.

Arsenal will be hoping to put their title credentials to the test when they face off against the foxes on the 13th February. If they are to seriously contend the gunners have to win. It was a great game last time around, with Arsenal coming out on top at the King power winning 5-2. Leics 2 Arsenal 5

But recently there have been question marks over their ability to produce in ‘big matches.’ This comes after the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea. But with Alexis Sanchez back fit this is now time to prove they can do it. It will be a huge boost to have him back, with the Chilean scoring a hat-trick in the reverse fixture.

What’s changed since last season?

Petr Cech has been the major change in personnel since last season and what a difference he has made. The Czech goalie has been fantastic and finally the Gunners have some steel in between the post, he has been instrumental in organising the defence properly.

This season the squad is also coming off the back of winning back-to-back trophies. After such a baron run, winning one trophy can set you on the path for more trophies and bigger trophies. The team finally has a winning mentality. Tomas Rosicky believes Arsenal have what it takes to go all the way.

They are older and starting to deliver. The majority of the team are now approaching their peak years. Theo Walcott has been in great form after a difficult start and was instrumental in beating Leicester and Manchester City earlier in the season.

Olivier Giroud finally looks like a world class striker. The Frenchman has always been considered a bit of a ‘nearly’ player, but he now looks terrific leading the line. He has been banging them in for fun this season. Along with Giroud, Mesut Ozil is starting to look like the £42 million that Arsenal paid for him and has been excellent this season. The German has 16 assists to his name and has created an astonishing 100 chances so far this campaign.

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What happens after Leicester?

Leicester is undoubtedly a must win match, but the title deciders will continue to come. Arsenal travel to London rivals Tottenham and play Manchester United at Old Trafford. It is imperative not to lose at Tottenham and surely have to beat United to stay in the hunt.

Unfortunately for Gunners fans Tottenham are well in the title race. Arsenal have already beaten them at White Hart Lane in the League cup but to give away three points to title rivals would be a huge disappointment. If they were to win, surely they would be favourites for the title. United will be a tough test, but surely the Red devils are out of the race and shouldn’t be considered such a threat.

Arsenal are also on the hunt for a treble. This has its pros and cons but despite being given no chance against Barcelona, if they were to win, it would give them a massive mental boost going into the later stages of the season. Loosing, however, could mentally fatigue them as they come unstuck again, in one of the ‘big games’

Why couldn’t they do it next season?

This season has been unlike any other, nobody could have foreseen the unpredictability that has happened. But with the enormous influx of money that will come into the league next season, every football club will become more competitive.

It is also difficult to see United and Chelsea being quite so poor again next season and the arrival of Pep Guardiola will only add to the optimism of Manchester City.

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Why hosts France are the team to beat at Euro 2016 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/why-hosts-france-are-the-team-to-beat-at-euro-2016/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/why-hosts-france-are-the-team-to-beat-at-euro-2016/#respond Tue, 26 Jan 2016 10:00:25 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=327 France have struggled to inspire confidence on the big stage in recent years but all of that may be about to change at this summer’s European Championship. As hosts of the tournament, Didier Deschamps’ men will have plenty of pressure on their shoulders, however, this France team are capable of going all the way and getting their hands on a major international trophy for the first time since 2000. There are plenty of other contenders who will fancy their chances but it’s hard to look away from France’s sheer passion, hunger and desire to succeed on the international stage.

While some may have accused France of being over-reliant on individuals in previous years, that is no longer the case. Deschamps now has an impressive pool of talent at his disposal and it would take a brave man to back against France on home soil this summer. As of January 15th, the Euro 2016 odds show that France are 7/2 with around five months until the tournament gets under way. If France are lucky on the injury front, there’s absolutely no reason why they cannot go all the way in front of their passionate home supporters.

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As previously mentioned, Deschamps has a strong group of players to choose from and France’s depth is a key reason why many believe they will go on to win the tournament. Defensively, they are solid. Hugo Lloris is a competent shot-stopper and is capable of playing the ‘sweeper keeper’ role well – even if he’s not quite as proficient as Germany’s Manuel Neuer. In front of Lloris, the likes of Bacary Sagna, Patrice Evra, Raphael Varane and Mamadou Sakho are likely to be included in Deschamps’ squad and all four are experienced at both club and international level.

It could be argued that France have the best group of midfielders in Europe and that could be the key difference for Deschamps’ men throughout the competition. Paul Pogba and Yohan Cabaye will be central to their success and the former is likely to be the key man for France in the summer. He’s been an integral part of Juventus’ recent success and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Pogba play a key role on the international stage. In fact, he will be one of the dark horses to finish as the Player of the Tournament.

Going forward, France have talent in abundance. Whether you’re looking at Karim Benzema or Olivier Giroud to lead the line, both players are exceptional footballers and are capable of spearheading France’s bid for European glory. On either side of the ‘number 9′, Antoine Griezmann has been in form for Atletico Madrid this season while Anthony Martial has been finding his feet at Manchester United. Opposing defences will be terrified at the prospect of facing both stars in the same contest. If Deschamps gets his squad selection spot on, France will stand a great chance of winning the tournament.

If they perform at their best and everything clicks, of course France can win the competition. In previous major tournaments, the French have crumbled but it’s hard to see them doing that under Deschamps’ leadership. They showed plenty of quality in the 2014 World Cup but crashed out to eventual winners Germany. However, this could be their year. With a bit of luck, France could be crowned European champions for a joint-record third time.

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Could Costa be heading back to Atletico? http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/could-costa-be-heading-back-to-atletico/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/could-costa-be-heading-back-to-atletico/#respond Mon, 18 Jan 2016 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=317 When Atletico Madrid clinched their first La Liga title in 18 years in 2014/15, it was only a matter of time before star players Diego Costa and Filipe Luis were going to be picked off by European football’s major clubs.

As it turned out, Chelsea ended up shelling out over £50 million to sign the duo and went on to win the Premier League the same season. But while Luis made a return to Atletico after just one year in the Premier League, his former Chelsea team-mate, Diego Costa, could be the next man to re-sign for the club where he enjoyed his most success.

Luis never really managed to break into Jose Mourinho’s plans during his time in England, and a return to Madrid was something of a no-brainer when Chelsea decided to cut their losses on the Brazilian.

For Costa, though, his first season in the Premier League saw him finish as the division’s top scorer with 20 goals, playing a crucial role in Chelsea winning the title.

It was a different story at the start of this season, however, with the Brazilian-born Spain international falling out of favour under Mourinho and reportedly playing a role in the manager losing his job at the end of 2015.

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With Chelsea seemingly out of the title race, looking like real outsiders in Europe and priced at around 5/1 as of 14th January with the FA Cup betting, Costa knows this team is in a very different place from the one he joined at the beginning of last season.

Following his role in Mourinho’s sacking, a section of the Chelsea fan-base has turned on the striker and that has not been helped by Costa’s modest form this season.

While it would be a real shock to see the forward leave Stamford Bridge during January, Costa’s current troubles may convince him to push for a move back to the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Despite getting back to scoring ways under Guus Hiddink in recent weeks, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Costa would be open to a return to Atletico. For the Primera Liga side, they would jump at the chance to re-sign a player who scored 27 goals in their title-winning season, if Chelsea made him available.

Currently top of the league, Atletico’s impressive form this season comes down mainly to their remarkable defensive record, conceding just eight goals since the start of the campaign, rather than their offensive unit.

In attack, however, the club have scored less than 30 goals and, without Antoine Griezmann’s tally of nine goals, the rest of the club’s strikers have only scored seven goals between them. Following a big-money move from Porto in the summer, Jackson Martinez has so far failed to live up to the hype, mustering just two goals since his arrival in Madrid.

The Colombian had been tipped to be Griezmann’s main striking partner, but Martinez has instead opted for Luciano Vietto, Angel Correa and Fernando Torres for much of this season alongside the Frenchman.

At 27 years old, Chelsea would want to recoup much of what they spent on Costa in 2014. Whether or not Atletico could afford that remains to be seen, but it would certainly be a move that would send out a statement to Barcelona and Real Madrid.

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Smash and grab United win over dominant Liverpool takes massive weight off LvG’s shoulder http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/smash-and-grab-united-win-over-dominant-liverpool-takes-massive-weight-off-lvgs-shoulder/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/smash-and-grab-united-win-over-dominant-liverpool-takes-massive-weight-off-lvgs-shoulder/#respond Sun, 17 Jan 2016 18:16:15 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=309 3043281D00000578-3403698-image-a-29_1453047000036

Manchester United narrowly beat Liverpool by one goal to nil at Anfield earlier today

The immensely competitive world of professional sport is always about bullets being dodged and individuals making the grade just by the skin of their teeth. Many professionals have been saved by a whisker but none have come as close as Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal. The Dutchman has nine lives it seems because here he is, still the coach of one of Europe’s biggest football clubs, almost a month after he was certain to be sacked.

Elimination from the Champions League, six weeks without winning a football match and a run of three League losses on the bounce saw the former Barcelona manager pushed to the brink of his reign at Manchester United. Three weeks on from then however, it looks as if the one-time Champions League winner has, just barely, turned things around.

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United skipper Wayne Rooney got the only goal of the game in the 78th-minute of the match as he smashed in Marouane Fellaini’s header which came off the woodwork

A win against Swansea City started the revival for United and another win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup saw it gather pace. A 3-3 draw against Newcastle United showed signs of the old United coming back even though their back four was noticeably leaky. LvG’s biggest achievement during this time though, was today’s win over Liverpool at Anfield. Derby matches act like kingmakers as they have the unmatchable ability to fast-track a player or manager to greatness. In Van Gaal’s case though, he’s actually been fast-tracked to safety with a narrow win over his side’s arch-rivals.

Manchester United may have beaten Liverpool on the night, but one point that cannot be ignored is that they were actually the poorer side on the day. To be fair to be both the teams, the game was a dull affair, especially during the first half. Wayne Rooney’s 78th-minute winner opened the game up, but other than that and the odd chance at either end, this game was way below the standard that these two teams had set for themselves over the years.

Liverpool totally bossed the game though with 54% possession compared to United’s 46% and a tally of 19 shots against United’s seven is proof enough that the home side were in fact the better side. In football, there’s only one stat that counts and Manchester United made their only shot on target during the entire game count. Thus, Louis Van Gaal walked away from Anfield with not just three points, but a massive feather in his cap.

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Roberto Firmino was Liverpool’s best player on the day as he looked to continue add to the two goals that he scored against Arsenal during the week

The former Holland national team manager has an outstanding record against Liverpool after winning all of his four meetings with them since moving to England. This win should really relieve the pressure that was on him because not only did they bag the bragging rights, but also moved to within two points of a Champions League place.

Football is a fickle game though and the monkey may well be taking up a position on his back if United’s next few results went awry but for the time being, there’s no one happier than Louis Van Gaal, who has defied the odds and resurrected his Manchester United career.

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Roman took the easy way out and axed Jose, but it’s the Chelsea players who have blood on their hands http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/roman-took-the-easy-way-out-and-axed-jose-but-its-the-chelsea-players-who-have-blood-on-their-hands/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/roman-took-the-easy-way-out-and-axed-jose-but-its-the-chelsea-players-who-have-blood-on-their-hands/#respond Sun, 20 Dec 2015 07:01:41 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=292 2F75F77200000578-3364824-image-a-29_1450385800995

Chelsea sacked manager Jose Mourinho earlier in the week after a long string of poor results saw the current holders of Premier League occupy a place towards the bottom of the table

This Premier League season has been all about surprises and there was no bigger surprise than Chelsea Football Club. Nothing is permanent in the world of sport and every team or player will have to endure the downs just like they embrace the ups, but the level to which Chelsea have fallen is truly unimaginable. Many teams have done well one season only to mess up the following campaign. Liverpool went from mid-table mediocrity to serious title contenders and back again in a space of 24 months.

Not too many teams have managed to hold on to the Premier League title, but then again, no team has ever been relegation challengers just the season after they won. Chelsea have broken a few records ever since their upturn in fortunes in 2004, but the record that they have broken this season is the most surprising of them all.

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Mourinho is seen here hiding his face as he leaves Chelsea’s Cobham training complex soon after being notified that he had lost his job

No team has done as poorly after winning the title than Chelsea did this season. With 16 games played, the Blues sit in 16th place with 15 points, just one point above the drop zone. And this, is why their manager, Mr. Jose Mourinho, lost his job. The self-proclaimed Special One was sacked just hours before I wrote this article and while a few people in the world of football seem to think that it was a good decision, I cannot help but disagree. How on Earth did they go from unstoppable juggernauts to relegation-threatened whipping boys in barely six months? Is all of this the manager’s fault? I think not.

Is it his fault that the players have been doing so poorly? In fact, I actually think that there could be something very wrong going inside Chelsea Football Club that the world is not aware of. Tell me, how can a world class manager fall so low in such a short span of time with basically the exact same group of players? Things don’t make sense and I feel that the players have blood on their hands. Don’t get me wrong, I personally despise Jose Mourinho as a human being, but I’d be lying if I said that he wasn’t a great coach.

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Roman Abramovich had a tough call on his hand but most believe that he made the wrong decision by sacking the Special One

What I’m really interested to see right now is how the players perform under the new manager, whoever he may be. If they’re still playing like a bunch of Sunday league amateurs, we’ll know for sure that this downfall of their club is their fault. If they perform better however, Roman Abramovich will need to really look into his players because it just may be that there may have been some sort of unrest between them and Mourinho.

Chelsea Football Club are in a mess and they have a major problem on their hands, but then again, Roman took the easy way out and sacked the manager because it’s much easier to sack one guy rather than 25. But as things stand right now, Chelsea fans the world over will be hoping that Mourinho was the problem and that all things become okay now that he is gone. But if you ask me, I think things are not that straightforward at Stamford Bridge and things may just get even worse.

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Willian hands Chelsea and Mourinho a lifeline as stunning free-kick secures win over Dynamo Kiev http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/willian-hands-chelsea-and-mourinho-a-lifeline-as-stunning-free-kick-secures-win-over-dynamo-kiev/ http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/willian-hands-chelsea-and-mourinho-a-lifeline-as-stunning-free-kick-secures-win-over-dynamo-kiev/#respond Fri, 06 Nov 2015 07:57:06 +0000 http://www.j4goalposts.co.uk/?p=242 2E1D431F00000578-3304095-image-a-78_1446674366488

Chelsea hotshot Willian wheels away to celebrate after scoring a stunning 83rd minute free-kick that edged the Blues past Dynamo Kiev

Chelsea Football Club and their troubles have been one of the biggest stories of the entire season. Their curious case is so big, that we here at j4goalposts.co.uk have been covering their ups and downs for the past month. The Blue’s season has mostly been about downs but on Wednesday night, they managed to record a very rare and much needed up. Chelsea finally managed to bag a positive result as they beat Dynamo Kiev by two goals to one. The win came at a crucial time for the team and their manager because anything less than three points from this game would have left them struggling for their Champions League survival.

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Aleksandr Dragovic celebrates scoring Dynamo Kiev’s equaliser in the 77th minute of the match

While Chelsea deserve credit for winning the game, a lot of praise must be given to their influential midfielder, Willian. In fact, had it not been for the Brazilian, chances are that Jose Mourinho would have been sunbathing on a beach in Mallorca right around this time. That is exactly how close the Special One was from the sack. It is a well-known fact that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich considers the Champions League as the holy grail. Numerous managers have bit the dust for failing to deliver on the continental stage and there was no reason why Jose Mourinho, possibly their best ever manager, would be handed a different fate.

Odds On Willian To Finish Top Scorer?

Willian is the leading scorer for Chelsea this season (marginally ahead of “own goals”) and UK bookmaker Ladbrokes have him as third favourite to finish the season as the top scorer for Chelsea in the Premier League. You can open a Ladbrokes account if you want to make this bet (you can also claim the signup offer if you are a new customer). More details of Ladbrokes company and news can be found at their website.

Although there are more recognised goalscorers at the club such as Costa and Hazard, it’s easy to make a case for Willian if he keeps up his current form. So you could land a winning bet at good odds.

Match Details

Coming to the game itself, one can’t help but deem Chelsea to be very lucky after seeing the manner in which the game progressed. The match got off to a decent start for the home side as Aleksandar Dragović managed to put the ball in the back of his own net on the 34-minute mark. Credit must be given to Willian though for getting in a good position before knocking in a dangerous cross that gave Dragovic no option but to take a chance to clear it. The ball from Willian was fantastic and like any other cross that has been placed in between the last defender and the goalkeeper, Dragovic simply had to make an attempt to play it even though he was facing his own net.

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Brazilian international Willian exhibits the perfect body stance as he whips in a 28-yard free-kick straight into the back of the net

Chelsea were the better of the two teams and it would be fair to say that they did deserve the lead even though it wasn’t one of their own who got the goal. It seemed as if Chelsea were finally getting the rub of the green but just when you started to think that, their disastrous form managed to hit them again. In the 77th minute of the game, just 13 minutes from time, Dynamo Kiev equalised and it was Dragovic again who made amends for his own goal in the first half of the match. The Blues were shell shocked but once again, they only had themselves to blame. Their ‘keeper, Asmir Begovic came out to claim a corner-kick but all he could find was John Terry. Both of these Chelsea lads took each other out in rather comical fashion as the ball, undisturbed from its trajectory, landed at the feet of the Kiev defender who wasted no time in smashing the ball into the back of the net.

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The entire Chelsea team gather together to celebrate Willian’s late winner

Their lead was squandered and once again, Chelsea were seeing their hopes of qualification get snuffed out. Just as things were getting a bit desperate, up stepped Willian again as he arrowed in a fantastic free-kick from 28 yards out. This winner from Willian meant the world to the Chelsea fans and their manager and this fact was proven by the raucous celebrations that Mourinho broke into as soon as the ball hit the back of the net.

The game ended without any more drama and the Blues managed to climb to second place in the group, giving their hopes of qualification and their manager’s employment status a lifeline.

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