Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Modric, Fabregas: who's going to win and lose?

As the transfer mayhem continues throughout this miserable British summer, Tottenham Hotspur are holding out for more than £27m for Luka Modric; Arsenal have rejected a bid of £27m from Barcelona for Cesc Fabregas.

If those players eventually move - Modric to Chelsea, Fabregas to Barcelona - who will be the big winners and losers in the deals?

Tottenham: loser or winner by selling Modric for, let's say, £30m?
Chelsea: loser or winner by buying Modric for that price?
Arsenal: loser or winner by selling Fabregas to Barcelona for, let's say £35m?
Barcelona: loser or winner by buying Fabregas for that price?

I'd say:
Tottenham: winner, by getting so much for a player who didn't play that much last season.
Chelsea: probably a winner, given the lack of inspiration in their midfield for much of last season.
Arsenal: loser; they need top players; they need players.
Barcelona: Fabregas to improve their team? Really? Not now, but maybe in the future. Just about a winner.

So, I'd say:
Biggest loser: Arsenal.
Biggest winner: Tottenham.

But the game's all about opinions, isn't it?

Monday, 11 July 2011

So familiar - England's women pay the penalty

In the end England's women's did tread exactly the same path as the men usually do - they lost on penalties in the World Cup quarter-final.

Misses in the penalty shoot-out by skipper Faye White and Claire Rafferty meant that England succumbed 4-3 to France after a 1-1 draw after extra time. This, despite leading the penalty shoot-out 3-2 with only two kicks each left. England missed their two; France scored theirs.

And that was after England had led 1-0 through a Jill Scott goal, only for Elise Bussaglia to equalise for the French with only three minutes of normal time to play.

It all sounds so depressin gly familiar doesn't it? Only the names have changed.

Yet, once again like the men, England's women performed up to the expectation of their ranking; tenth in the world, they reached the last eight of the tournament.

France are joined by Japan (conquerors of hosts and holders Germany), USA and Sweden in the semi-finals.

Friday, 8 July 2011

England's women look to make further progress

The transfer nonsense carries on.
Fulham have already progressed through one round of the Europa Cup of the new season.
The managerial musical chair game has settled down a bit.

And England's women eventually made serene progress out of the group stages of the World Cup to face France in tomorrow's quarter-final. England are 10th in the world rankings compared to France's 8th (indeed, only Australia (11th) are lower than England in the rankings of the teams left in the competition).

In matches between the two countries England have won two, France five and there have been five draws. It looks tough for the English girls, but their competitive spirit has been shown already in this tournament with a turn around from 1-0 down against New Zealand to win 2-1, and a fine 2-0 win against group favourites and 4th-ranked Japan to win the group. Otherwise they would have been facing Germany.

There's seems to be an upbeat togetherness in the England ranks and it may seem them progress. Manager Hope Powell said: "We've played well in all three group games but not quite to our best yet so hopefully we can get better.

"This squad wants to win games and now it's a case of you win you stay, you lose you go home, so we have to prepare ourselves the best we can before we face France."