Wednesday, 30 May 2012

2011/12 Premier League Team Of The Season

By Shane Thomas

Do we really need a lengthy introductory paragraph here? The Premier League season's over. Here were its best players - with special mentions for a few others:

* - denotes my player of the season


Joe Hart (Manchester City)

Friday, 25 May 2012

All Hail The (Nearly) Invincibles

By Shane Thomas

2006 is forever remembered as a golden time for Italian football, with the national side winning that year's World Cup. But Italy's international glory was sullied by a story much closer to home. It can be summed up in one word: calciopoli.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Champions League Final Special

By Shane Thomas

It's not easy to sum up Saturday's astonishing night in Munich in a blog post. So I won't waste time trying. The links below are my best attempt to appraise one of the most extraordinary nights of what was been a pretty extraordinary season of football:

How Chelsea's extraordinary campaign could only have been scripted beforehand:

Ratings for both starting XI's in the Champions League Final:

How rolling the dice finally paid off for Roman Abramovich:

Arjen Robben falls short yet again in a major final:

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Gambler Who Could Afford To Keep Rolling The Dice

By Shane Thomas

It's seldom that a person succeeds in any walk of life without having something of a gambler's instinct. Playing it safe only gets you so far, and in football, Roman Abramovich is a man who's rolled the dice ad nauseum.

Chelsea vs Bayern Munich - Match Ratings

By Shane Thomas


Petr Cech (8)

Has atoned for some sub-par performances earlier in the season, with some stellar displays at the back-end of the campaign, and he was brilliant again in Munich. A major part of the rearguard that kept Bayern at bay for 83 minutes, and his two saves in the penalty shoot-out played a crucial role in Chelsea's victory.

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Keys To Beat Bayern Munich

By Shane Thomas

In a few hours time, Chelsea take to the Allianz Arena to contest the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Chelsea have endured a turbulent season, and have reached Saturday's final in spite of the lack of stability at the club. After a 6th place finish in the Premier League - their worst league position since 2002 - they are left needing to win in Munich to compete in the tournament next season. Bayern - with home advantage - go into the match as favourites, but not overwhelmingly so. Here's four key areas that could expedite the West Londonders upsetting the form book yet again:

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Running The Rule Over The England 23

By Shane Thomas

With the domestic season reaching its finale, attention begins to turn to this summer's European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine. Yesterday, new England manager Roy Hodgson selected his squad of 23 for the tournament, which as always with England squads, has provoked debate and consternation in some quarters. So let's go through the squad, and see where Hodgson got it right, and wrong:

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Perfect Storm

By Shane Thomas

For regular football viewers, the hard-sell we have to endure from television companies borders on the maddening side of tedious. The amount of times we hear the word "best" misused in the name of trying to convince the public that the next match of football is "must-see", and the "greatest ever" is an affront to all intelligent people and the English language. David Mitchell once summed it up beautifully, thus.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Olympics Stars #3 - Qiu Bo

By Shane Thomas

The sport of diving has become one that has found increasing popularity in recent years in Britain, primarily due to Tom Daley. Daley went to the Beijing Olympics as a highly rated 13 year old, and while he underperformed in China, it was said that the experience of an Olympic Games would stand him in good stead for the London Olympics four years hence. However, it's not Daley that we should be focusing on when the television cameras move to the Aquatic Centre, as China have a diving wunderkind of their own; Qui Bo.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Diary Of A Pessimistic Arsenal Fan - Farewell Pat Rice

By Shane Thomas

As the dust settled on the 3-3 draw against Norwich, and the Arsenal players walked around the edge of the pitch for the traditional end-of-season lap of honour, the feeling that swept throughout the stands was one of disappointment and fear - at least, it was for the fans that stayed, my thoughts about those that left The Emirates immediately after the full-time whistle will have to wait for another day.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Roy Hodgson: Right Man, Wrong Country?

By Shane Thomas

The appointment of Roy Hodgson as the manager of the England team was met with as much enthusiasm as the England team are these days. The pervasive sense of ennui that surrounds the squad, combined with the shambolic co-ordination of the hiring process, means that Hodgson is immediately starting behind the 8-ball, particularly with large swathes of the tabloid press, who favoured Harry Redknapp being given the job.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Welcome To Manchester: City's Dream. United's Nightmare

By Shane Thomas


The tectonic plates of the Premier League title race shifted once again in an impassioned night at the Etihad Stadium. The lead at the top of the table changed hands for the 11th time this season as Manchester City beat their rivals Manchester United to grab the initiative with only two games of the league campaign remaining.

Manchester City vs Manchester United - Match Ratings

By Shane Thomas



While he wasn't called upon to make a save, his importance to City comes not only from what he does with his hands, but his sheer presence. Anything he was required to do, he did with the minimum of fuss. God help England if he gets injured before or during Euro 2012.