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How doubt eventually brought Ranieri and Leicester to their knees

Last year can be defined quite simply as a fairytale season for Leicester City who lifted their first ever English Premier League title. But this year has been anything but that. Hovering dangerously above the relegation zone thanks largely to some awful league performances, Leicester’s owners have been forced into making one of the hardest decisions of their seven year reign. Stick with the manager … Continue reading How doubt eventually brought Ranieri and Leicester to their knees

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Rangers hunt for new management as Warbutton leaves under a cloud of his own making

From the moment that Mark Warburton’s representative waltzed into the office of Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson, the managers position became untenable. Dave Lockwood’s impromptu meeting with Robertson midweek started the wheels in motion that would end the troubled relationship between the club and Warburton. His request to alter the contracts of Warburton, his assistant Davie Weir and Head of Recruitment Frank McParland may have … Continue reading Rangers hunt for new management as Warbutton leaves under a cloud of his own making

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The FA have acted irresponsibly. Berahino should be banned until the end of the season

In a month which saw Paul Pogba and Jessie Lingard criticised for a having fun in a social media post and Raheem Sterling spotting doing something crazy like eating in Greggs or having a dirty car, it’s odd to think anything that happens to young footballers today would not be spread over the back pages or used as unadulterated “clickbait”. But until recently Saido Berahino’s … Continue reading The FA have acted irresponsibly. Berahino should be banned until the end of the season

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Are Hull Selling Away Their Survival Hopes?

Hull City are right in the middle of a battle to stay in the Premier League and ultimately do not want to get relegated back down to the Championship. They currently sit in 19th place, winning only four games all season and are only one point above bottom placed Sunderland, so you would think that they want to keep their best players in order to … Continue reading Are Hull Selling Away Their Survival Hopes?

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Pep’s Unravelling? No just a small hiccup

Pep Guardiola’s body language said it all. Slumped in his seat on pitch side with his jacket pulled up over his mouth as if to cover up the obscenities flowing from it, Guardiola looked like a beaten man as his side was thoroughly thrashed by Everton. The 4-0 loss, City’s heaviest in the Guardiola era was the latest setback in the Spaniard’s master plan. Many expected Pep’s arrival in Manchester to be the start of an unheralded dominance by City of the Premier League and for the first 6 games it looked to be the case. But after a difficult festive period that saw City falter with defeats to Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool the proverbial wheels have well and truly fallen off the wagon with Pep declaring their title challenge is over. Chelsea’s remarkable 13 match winning run that was only just recently ended by a superb Tottenham performance didn’t help. Liverpool’s continued resurgence under Jurgen Klopp also added to Guardiola’s woes whilst the fact that Mourinho has finally found a winning formula at neighbours United puts another thorn in his side. Which raises the question  – what has happened at City?

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Former teammates, now opposing managers Ronald Koeman’s Everton got the better of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in their latest clash (Image from Tumblr)

Continue reading “Pep’s Unravelling? No just a small hiccup”

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An Expanded World Cup? Sign Me Up!

After the expansion of the 2016 European Championships, the World Cup is now set for a revamp. The FIFA Council has unanimously decided on a 48-team World Cup from 2026. The increased World Cup would see 16 groups of three teams with the top two teams in each group would progress to the knockout rounds. Ordinarily I would be cynically calling this a money making … Continue reading An Expanded World Cup? Sign Me Up!

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Tactical Review – Chelsea vs Manchester City

Guardiola and Conte are two new acquisitions in the Premier League, with each of them boasting impressive tactical pedigrees. On one hand, Guardiola has been struggling with a hit-and-miss Manchester City side. His players are still adjusting to their new tactical workload, and while they started out the season in a promising fashion, Pep has found himself struggling off late, suffering from a leaky defence, … Continue reading Tactical Review – Chelsea vs Manchester City

In this Nov. 2, 2016 photo, players of Brazil's Chapecoense team pose before a Copa Sudamericana soccer match against Argentina's San Lorenzo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A plane carrying the Brazilian first division soccer club Chapecoense team that was on it's way for a Copa Sudamericana final match against Colombia's Atletico Nacional crashed in a mountainous area outside Medellin, Colombian officials said Tuesday, Nov. 29.  (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)

BOTNBlog Podcast – Episode 7 – All Hail Chape – Copa Sudamericana Champions!

In this edition of the pod, we look at developments in South America as the world rallies to help out Chapecoense who tragically had a majority of their squad wiped out in a plane crash last week. We also take a look at the FIFPro report into player working conditions around the world. Enjoy! Continue reading BOTNBlog Podcast – Episode 7 – All Hail Chape – Copa Sudamericana Champions!

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Jurgen Klopp – Making Liverpool Great Again

The appointment of Jurgen Klopp, the enthusiastic, charming, charismatic yet humble German symbolized better things to come at a suffering Anfield after a year of bitter disappointment and failure. The pragmatic German took the helm of a faltering, heartbroken team, haunted by their failures and separated from their Uruguayan Dream. His six-year contract symbolized the beginning of a long-term project – unlike other managers in … Continue reading Jurgen Klopp – Making Liverpool Great Again

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BOTNBlog Podcast– Episode 6 – Strachan’s Scotland Sorrows

We are back with another podcast and todays has a solo focus -the future of Scotland manager Gordon Strachan after a poor start to their World Cup Qualifying campaign. Should he stay or should he go? Can he pick a striker who can score? Will he drop Grant Hanley? Is Barry Bannan his lovechild? All this and more in this weeks pod! Enjoy! Continue reading BOTNBlog Podcast– Episode 6 – Strachan’s Scotland Sorrows

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Pampered Players Aren’t To Blame For England’s Failings

Following on from England’s embarrassing exit from the European Championships at the hands of Iceland, fans and pundits have been quick to blame the “washbag generation” of pampered England stars who don’t have the fight. Jamie Carragher in his excellent Daily Mail column has talked of how young players today have become babies and today’s mentality strips them of the character needed to succeed. He went … Continue reading Pampered Players Aren’t To Blame For England’s Failings

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Tactical Review – Arsenal vs Burnley

Arsenal have had an impressive run of form throughout their past five games, boasting an impressive, mini-unbeaten run. After dismantling their long-term London rivals Chelsea and securing a comfortable second place in their Champions League group after a win against Basel, it was time for them to refocus their attention on their league campaign, to ensure that they didn’t drop valuable points and allow their … Continue reading Tactical Review – Arsenal vs Burnley

Britain Football Soccer - England Training - St. George s Park - 30/8/16 England manager Sam Allardyce during training Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

BOTNBlog – Episode 5 – The Fall of Big Sam

We are back with another pod and the big feature on this weeks episode is of course the fall of Sam Allardyce. What a week for Big Sam, one day he is England manager the next he is out following a tabloid sting. Allardyce fell on his sword after putting the FA in an uncomfortable position; his job as England manager was untenable. Elsewhere Scot … Continue reading BOTNBlog – Episode 5 – The Fall of Big Sam

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BOTNBlog – Episode 4 – The Old Firm is reunited, Donovan returns and Steve McLaren goes back to schhhhooooool.

Welcome to the fourth episode of the BackofThenetBlog Podcast! It’s been a busy week so we look back at some of its highlights including the first Old Firm league derby in over four years. Will Rangers really be able to challenge Celtic for honours this season? Not likely based on this performance. There was a shock return for Landon Donovan who has come out of … Continue reading BOTNBlog – Episode 4 – The Old Firm is reunited, Donovan returns and Steve McLaren goes back to schhhhooooool.

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Tactical Review – Arsenal vs Watford

Arsenal had suffered a slow start to the season after enduring a painful loss to Liverpool in the opening fixture, and drawing against last season’s champions. Leicester City. Even at this early stage of the campaign, the masses decided to take the evidence into account and convict Arsenal to failure. Many had written them off, stating that they lacked the competitive edge and squad depth required … Continue reading Tactical Review – Arsenal vs Watford

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BOTNBlog – Episode 3 – Pep Rips Hart Out Of City As Maradona Opens His

Welcome to the third episode of the BackofTheNetBlog podcast! This week we look at Pep’s decision to dispense with England stopper Joe Hart, Big Sam’s first England squad, Oliver Burke’s transfer to Germany, who the British clubs will face in the Champions League and Europa League and finally Diego Maradona’s scoring ability off the pitch! Listen below, download via Soundcloud, ITunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or on … Continue reading BOTNBlog – Episode 3 – Pep Rips Hart Out Of City As Maradona Opens His

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The Zlatan Effect – What next for PSG?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The name, in itself, is considered to be legendary. Over the years of his playing career, the towering Swede has made a name for himself in various countries – Sweden, Italy, France and finally, is attempting to prove himself in the English top flight with a rejuvenated United under his one of his favorite managers, Jose Mourinho. For the majority of his playing career, … Continue reading The Zlatan Effect – What next for PSG?

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BOTNBlog – Episode 2 – Five Things We Learned This Week

Welcome to the second episode of the BackofTheNetBlog podcast! This week we discuss the five things we learned this week from Arsenal’s failure to learn from past mistakes, Real’s continued dominance, Canada’s Olympic Gold dreams, FC Twente’s nightmares and the sad news around the death of former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson. Listen below, download via Soundcloud, ITunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or on all good podcast … Continue reading BOTNBlog – Episode 2 – Five Things We Learned This Week

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Predictions For the Premier League Season

So the first weekend of the new Premier League season has been and gone. Today I’m going to run through my predictions for the coming season and to preview what i think will happen. So here goes: Champions – Manchester United This might be a controversial choice but i feel that Utd have a manager in Mourinho who has done it all before. He has … Continue reading Predictions For the Premier League Season

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Back Of The Net Blog Podcast – Episode 1 Who Will Win The Premier League?

Welcome to a brand new feature on Backofthenetblog – podcasts! Yep, if it wasn’t bad enough that you had to read what i thought, now you get to hear me as well. This is the first one I have done and is far from perfect (note the sound changes throughout) but everything is a learning process. Today’s podcast is on the Premier League race for … Continue reading Back Of The Net Blog Podcast – Episode 1 Who Will Win The Premier League?

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Shout Out From The Stands – Down To Business For Spurs

Down to business. New season. Team. Players. In out. Go. Something to build on. Tottenham made progress at a remarkable rate last season, both as a team and in terms of the individual players. This is Pochettino’s finest achievement – every one of them were better players in May than they were in August. As for the team, stratospheric improvement.  Some, like Kane and Dembele, made … Continue reading Shout Out From The Stands – Down To Business For Spurs

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England’s Hunt For A New Manager Takes An All Too Familiar Path

Abject failure, catastrophe, disaster beyond repair, calamitous. All over exaggerations heard about the current problems facing the England national team following their disappointing exit from Euro 2016. Yes, it was a surprising exit at the hands of Iceland, but one that truthfully those closest to the game would know was coming for some time. It all started during the qualifying campaign. England qualified for France … Continue reading England’s Hunt For A New Manager Takes An All Too Familiar Path

LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 19:  Granit Xhaka of Switzerland's ripped shirt during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between Switzerland and France at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 19, 2016 in Lille, France.  (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Euro 2016 – Ten Takeaways From The Group Stage

1. Let’s not get shirty Generally one of the quietest men on the technical bench is the kit man but that wasn’t the case for the Swiss representative who was kept extra busy during the France vs Switzerland match. In a fairly heavy handed and tempestuous match the Swiss kit man was called upon not once, nor twice, but five times to replace ripped strips. It … Continue reading Euro 2016 – Ten Takeaways From The Group Stage

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Beginners Guide to Euro 2016 – Part 2 – Groups D, E and F

Group D – Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic + Turkey Q: Who should top the group? – Spain Q: Who are the dark horses – Turkey Q: One to watch: Emre Mor (Turkey) Having won back to back Euro’s in 2008 and 2012, Spain are looking to make history by completing the treble and lifting the trophy in Paris on July 10th. However a poor performance … Continue reading Beginners Guide to Euro 2016 – Part 2 – Groups D, E and F

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Beginners Guide to Euro 2016 – Part 1 – Groups A, B and C

Watching the European Championships or any major international tournament with your friends is generally highly enjoyable. That is until your so-called friend starts spouting stats and facts about each team making you feel simply like you don’t know anything about football. But fear not, we are here to help. Below is your group by group cheat sheet which should help impress your friends and shut … Continue reading Beginners Guide to Euro 2016 – Part 1 – Groups A, B and C

Ronald Koeman has been impressed with what he has seen of his players in pre-season.

Key Challenges Facing Ronald Koeman at Everton

Ronald Koeman’s move from Southampton to Everton may have come as a bit of a surprised given his recent comments rebutting any notions of such a switch but in fairness it makes a lot of sense. Whilst just over 238 miles separate the two clubs geographically and five positions part them in the most recent league standings, the differences between the two clubs are few … Continue reading Key Challenges Facing Ronald Koeman at Everton