Saturday, 28 July 2012

Football Tweets of the week 28/07

This weeks 10 funniest football tweets! (In no order too!)

1.) Owen Hargreaves is training with QPR. Their physios will be the only people busier than John Terry's lawyers. - @PickThatOneOut

2.) Man United change their logo to match their new kit: - @AndreVillyB

3.) Maradona: "Messi scores a goal and screams. Cristiano scores a goal then poses as if he's trying to sell you shampoo in a commercial."- @Simon_Hughes__

4.) FIFA13 Achievement Unlocked: Complete a full 90 minutes with either Owen Hargreaves, Keiron Dyer or Michael Owen- @BigJohnTerry

5.) How do you fix a £50m striker who never scores? Sign 4 attacking midfielders worth £90m (Mata, Marin, Hazard & Oscar). @FootballFunnys

6.) This Olympics opening ceremony costs £27m, or roughly half a Fernando Torres.

7.) BREAKING: Luis Suarez may have apologised for his racist remarks, but this is a little too far. - @BBCSporf 

8.) Mancini's answer to Fergie. - @FootyMemes

 9.) BREAKING: Nuri Sahin is set to move on-loan to a "Big Premier League Team". That's Tottenham out of the queston.- @FootyTrollz

10.) Exclusive images of Robin van Persie in a Manchester United shirt. - @
 Be sure to follow all these guys on Twitter, you can follow us at @ReviewFootball

See last weeks funny tweets here 

Just How Good is Scott Parker?

Now, if you ask 10 people who in their view is the best signing of the Premier League 2011/12 season, 3 out of the 10 people would probably say Scott Parker.

I’ve always been a bit confused by this. Firstly, I don’t think Scott Parker has been that amazing for Tottenham. Yes, he’s been very tidy and solid for Spurs. But has he really been the best signing of last season? I’m unsure, especially considering the impact Sergio Aguero had on Man City.

But let me be clear. I don’t hate Scott Parker. I do think he is a very good DM, perhaps one of the best in the Premier League. He can pass, tackle and retain the ball sensationally. While his personality makes him extremely likeable too. Parker is tenacious, determined and selfless in his pursuit to win. I just feel he is a bit overrated, that’s all.

But how does Tottenham’s Scott Parker match up with other leading defensive mids in the Premier League?

Stats via EPL Index

Defensive Stats:

Key: Green = Best, Orange= second best & Red =Worst

Without a shadow of a doubt, having fantastic defensive stats is imperative for a top class defensive mid. It kind of goes without saying. But Parker’s defensive stats, are decent. But they are by no means amazing, but they aren’t poor either.

In terms of tackles won, Parker sits right in the middle out of the players analysed. One of Parker’s strengths is his tackling and it does reflect in the stats. But he is by no means the best tackler in the Premier League. Lucas Levia had the best tackle win percentage, he won an impressive 76.47% of his tackles.  It’s interesting the player with the worse tackling win percentage is Tiote. I feel for such a solid, mobile and imposing midfielder, Tiote should be winning far more tackles. Looking at Tiote’s stats generally, they aren’t impressive. Perhaps this is why clubs such as United and Chelsea have cooled off interest in the £20million rated man.

One of the parts of Parker’s game which I feel is often underrated is his reading of the game. If you watch him closely, you can tell he read the game very astutely.  Parker may look like a bull in a china shop, but I feel he often gets away with this thanks to his good understanding of the game. He can roam out of position, pick up the ball and move it on for his team within a matter of seconds. Parker made the most interceptions out of the players analysed, by quite a bit too. What I find intriguing is that the top three interceptors are the English lads, Parker, Carrick and Barry. This little stat tell us, that in certain positions, English players really do understand their role and do have a football understanding. Sometimes English players are portrayed as clueless footballers whose best abilities are their courage.

One defensive area where Parker lags behind is aerial duals. The other defensive mids are far comfortable in winning balls in the air.  But there are other aspects to Parker’s defensive games which isn’t that great either. Parker has made the most defensive errors out of the players analysed, this correlates with the number of times he has been disposed too. The number of times Parker has been dispossessed has surprised me. I always felt one of the strengths of Parker’s game was his ability to retain the ball, but obviously, he is either spending too long on the ball or opposition are closing him down quickly as they know he’s not the fastest nor the most agile of players. But what’s incredibly impressive is how Gareth Barry, in 34 games was only been dispossessed 17 times. Faurlin only played 20 times, yet he lost the ball nearly double the amount of the Man City man. Barry may not be everyone’s favourite footballer (to hell, no one really likes him), but he certainly is very tidy and does the job in a disciplined manner.

Attacking and Passing

Now, the attacking abilities of a defensive mid are not that vital as say as a winger, striker or an attacking midfielder. But, it does give an indication on how well rounded the player is and how influential he is.

In terms of passing, Scott Parker has seen a lot of the ball. It does show how influential he has been for Spurs. But, what I find more interesting is the accuracy of Parker’s passing, the England international’s pass accuracy was 90%. It was the best alongside United’s Michael Carrick. Without a doubt one of the strengths of Parker’s game is his ability to pass accurately. This is of course, is very vital if you’re a defensive midfielder, as one of your roles is to link the defence to the midfield.

Parker v Rest

Parker v Sandro

Key- Green = Best, Red = Worse

Now, this is an intriguing comparison, due to both playing for Spurs and both being defensive midfielders. By the end of the season, Redknapp often played both players, but Sandro was utilised in a more defensive role than Parker. But looking at the defensive stats, Sandro dominates Parker. The Brazilian has a better Aerial win percentage, a better ground dual percentage and a better tackle percentage too. But both players seem to have a weakness in retaining the ball. This maybe a concern to Spurs, as losing the ball in the central areas of the pitch, is catastrophic especially with Spurs being a dynamic attacking side. For me, Sandro looks the more comfortable in defensive mid, he has the ability to not only keep it simple, but he does the basics well enough.

Parker v English Lads

This is a hard one. Parker, Barry and Carrick are players of very different styles. In some respects, one of the three (Carrick ) is arguably England’s best passer, while another (Barry) is probably England’s best keep it simple player and the other one, Parker is probably the most comfortable in attacking and defending.

From a creative and passing perspective, Carrick edges Barry and Parker. Carrick made the most passes and had the best pass accuracy. From a defensive perspective, it’s very close again too. But looking at the stats, I feel Carrick is the most comfortable defensively. Out of the three, he had the best win percentage for aerial duals, ground duals and came second best for interceptions. Carrick may not be the most dominating of midfielders, but for me he’s more rounded than Barry and Parker. Some may argue, Carrick isn’t a defensive mid, I firmly believe he is. Of course, he isn’t a typical defensive midfielder. He is one, like Parker, who joins attacks when the momentum is with his side. It does surprise me how Carrick is under used by England.  If England are really determined to keep the ball, Carrick must be utilised. He is someone who keeps things ticking in midfield, and off the ball he can win his fair share of duals too. But with the same token I can see why England managers have chosen Barry and Parker. Both lads add reliability, grit and drive to England. Look at Barry, he rarely loses the ball. While Parker, reads the game sensationally well, something that is crucial for international football.


Image via WhoScored

So, just how good is Scott Parker?

Well, he certainly is a good footballer. He is a player most teams wouldn’t mind having knocking about. But is he the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League?

The answer to that is no.

In my eyes and in the eyes of the stats, he isn’t even the best English defensive midfielder either. One could easily argue, Barry or Carrick are better defensive midfielders. If had to choose between the three, I would pick Carrick.

The reason why Parker is rated, respected and admired so highly is because of his style of play. He is tireless, determined and visibly hungry to win, not only that he has got some good technical abilities.

I think Scott Parker is a top defensive midfielder, but he is by no means the best in the Premier League.

But that leads me to the question, who is the best defensive mid in the Premier League? For me, (and again like most things, it comes down to personal taste) I think Lucas Levia is the best defensive mid in the Premier League. As the stats show, he is the most well rounded and I feel his linking up play is fantastic too.

While for Scott Parker, he is proof that, you are never too old to fulfil your potential. I feel some of the hype towards Parker is over the top. I think he is a good footballer, but by no means the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League. The UK press and fans probably love him, as he typifies the idyllic English player. He is courageous, selfless and passionate. But the reality is, he just another good defensive midfielder in the Premier League.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Interview with a pro James Panayi – ex Watford, Apollon FC defender and QPR trailist

 Hello, I'm Callum Rivett and this week for The Football Front, I'm doing something a little different. I've gotten myself an interview with an ex-pro -- James Panayi. He's my PE teacher, a very good one at that, and he kindly agreed to do this interview, so I thought I'd share it with you. It actually made me more aware of his footballing talents - he clearly was a good player. Also, it made me realise how much he had been through to "nearly make it" as he put it. From Luton Town's youth academy to astonishing racism in Cyprus, this is James Panayi.  

Q: How long did your pro career span?

A: I first started with Luton Town, when I was 13 years old, for one season, in the academy. I then trained for Charlton for a year, and when I was 15 I was offered a trail with Watford, which resulted in myself being offered a two-year school boy contract, like an apprentiship, in 1996 to 1998 on £45 per week. I was offered a pro contract, originally a two-year but upped to four, on £300 per week. I spent one year as a pro in the reserves. Then in 1999, I made my debut for the first team versus Coventry at Highfield Road, which was live on Sky’s Super Sunday, so that was pretty exciting. I played the next game as well, at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday, but was then dropped meaning I missed the game against Newcastle where I would have had to mark Alan Shearer, who at that time was one of Europe’s hottest marksmen, so I was gutted. I was injured over Christmas, and didn’t play the rest of the season and had to have two operations on my shoulder. The next year in the Championship [then Division One] - so against Coventry and Wednesday was in the Premiership - I played eleven games. The stand-out game being a 4-1 win over Norwich City. I was offered a two-year contract, which I first turned down, then the management changed. It used to be Graham Tayler, ex-England manager, but he was retiring so it turned to Gianluca Vialli. I went and played on the pre-season tour, but fell out of favour, then I wasn’t offered a new deal, so I left when my contract expired and had a trial at QPR. I played against Celtic in a friendly infront of a packed Loftus Road, so that was good. I wasn’t offered a contract, and when I was considering hanging up my boots and stopping, there was a last-minute offer from Cypriot side Apollon Limassol. They had tax-free pay but a different wage structure, so I didn’t get paid for two or three months. I didn’t realise, but they were a right-wing club, in terms of politics, and the first game was versus a left-wing team [AC Omonia] and I looked around the ground and there were banners of swastikas, and loads of flares. I will say that I was put off a bit by it, and when I was paid, I went home and studied a journalism course for two months. I got pieces published on Football365’s website, then did some coaching. I decided that I wanted to go to university, so in summer 2003, I did, and now, well, I’m PE teacher at Flegg High School. But now I try to avoid playing, and I'll only play if it's for fun.

Q: Who was the best player you played either with or against?

A: Against, there were a few good players, but it has to be Rio Ferdinand. I played against him when he was in the West Ham youth team, he was 17 I think, and he’d already made his debut in the first team. He was an absolute Rolls-Royce, and West Ham has one of the best youth set-ups in the world, we never beat them. We beat teams like Man United, Arsenal, but we never beat West Ham. With, it is probably Charlie Miller, who signed from Rangers. He was the worst pro, an absolute disgrace – a borderline alcoholic, massive gambler, but the best player.

Q: What was your biggest regret?

A: Not appreciating what I had at the time. Not working hard enough. I almost became the stereotype, moan if we had double session, moan if we didn’t have a day off, moan if we had fitness training. Players worse than me have got further than me, some of my mates are millionaires. Am I bitter? Nah, I just didn’t try hard enough.

Q: Best moment in your career?

A: There was a few. I’m a big Tottenham fan, so playing in the reserves against them at White Hart Line has to be up there. But my debut at Highfield was amazing – it was a mix of cacking your pants and excitement.

Q: Who was the joker in the dressing room?

A: Me, wasn’t it? (laughs) Nah, Charlie Miller was funny, Noel Williams – he was a funny, funny guy. If you got him, he would not stop until he got you back, and got you back hard. Briefly there was Ian Holloway, he was a good character and a funny guy.

Q: If you could sum up your career in one word, what would it be?

A: Crikey. Probably ‘nearly’. I was nearly there, but didn’t work hard enough.

Follow Callum on twitter: @CJRivett12. You can find more of Callum's work here.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Football Tweets of the week 20/07

This weeks 10 funniest football tweets! (In no order too!)

1.) Martin O'Neill in talks with Ken Bates over the Leeds job ()
  2.) Ashley Cole v Arsenal: ()

3.) The awkward moment when Chelsea's official Twitter account gets hacked.: (

  4.) Why is Emile Heskey so good at tennis? Because he never hits the net.- @StupidFootball

  5.) Now Ledley King has retired the most fragile thing in football is a Liverpool fan...- (@RealParkJiSung)
  6.) BREAKING: Newcastle sold Andy Carroll for £35m. To buy Cisse, Ba, Cabaye, Tiote, Ben Arfa,    Santon & Andy Carroll. ()

 7.) Ibrahimovic confirmed at PSG. He's earned about €100 in the time it took you to read this tweet. ()

 8.) Bear found not guilty of shitting in the woods after hiring John Terry’s lawyer. - (@FormidableRed)

 9.)  United's biggest fan from our game yesterday: (@Leyshon_MUFC)

 10.) Owen Hargreaves has been selected as captain of the Team GB Olympic football squad. He's said to be delighted to be part of the Paralympics.(@SkySporksNews)

Be sure to follow all these guys on Twitter, you can follow us at @ReviewFootball

See last weeks funny tweets here 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Football Tweets of the week 12/07

Here's this weeks 10 funniest football tweets! (In no order too!)

1.) "I'm not racist. Some of my best friends wives are black." - John Terry- (@StupidFootball)

2.) What do Arsenal and Rangers have in common? They're both losing their whole team. ()

3.) What happens if you leave Arsenal: - (@FootballFunnys)

 5.)By (@ArsenalMemes)

6.) How was first day training Joseph (Joey Barton)? When I heard QPR making major announcement I thought you may have been arrested again. - (@DietmarHamann )

7.)BREAKING: Steve Kean is appointed as chief-executive of mobile phone company O2, immediately sending the mobile phone network down. - (BBCSporf)

8.) (@ThorpeAFC)

9.) (@UnluckyFutball)

10.) Genius by Arsenal fans: (KaneD101)

Be sure to follow all these guys on Twitter, you can follow us at @ReviewFootball

See last weeks funny tweets here

Friday, 6 July 2012

Why I got it so wrong over Mikel Arteta’s move to Arsenal

On deadline day of Summer 2011, I wasn’t sitting at home eagerly watching Sky Sports News till the transfer window slammed shut,  (which is something I dreamed of doing.) Instead, I was in the middle east, on my dad’s BlackBerry, constantly refreshing the BBC Sports website looking to see which clubs had made some dramatic last minute business. 

I inevitably stumbled across the news that Mikel Arteta was on the verge of joining Arsenal.
I chuckled to myself and instantly thought, ‘oh no, Arsene has lost the plot, he’s only gone out and spent £10million on a 29 year old.’

But by the end of the season, it seemed if anything, I had lost the plot for even thinking Arteta would be a bad buy for Arsenal. 

When I arrived home from my holiday, I got back on Twitter, one of the first things I tweeted was something along the lines of Arteta is a panic buy. No one really disagreed with me, no one tweeted me in disdain arguing that he was a good buy. 

If I wrote the exact same tweet now, Arsenal fans and fans from different clubs would openly disagree with me and they would have every right to. 

Mikel Arteta has been an absolute revelation for Arsenal. 

The first time I got the chance to watch Arteta was when Arsenal was defeated at Ewood park by Blackburn. Indeed, Arsenal may have lost that game, but my eyes were fixated on the new Arsenal number 8. 

He was brilliant. 

During this defeat, especially in the first half, Arteta kept the ball fantastically and moved the ball with great ease and simplicity. But what impressed me the most about his performance that day was his positioning, movement and decision making. The Spaniard continuously picked the perfect moments to support Arsenal’s attacks, and defensively, he wise and experienced enough to stay back and control the game in the quarter back position for Arsenal. 

But that wasn’t all, in a physical affair at Ewood Park, Arteta did enforce his presence onto the game. He won every single one of this tackles in that fixture and by the end of the season, he had won 82% of his tackles. A very impressive feat. 

As the season wore on, Mikel Arteta looked even more comfortable in the Arsenal set up. It was as if he’d been at the club since a young age. 

I’ll be honest with you, I tried to look at the flaws of Mikel Arteta and indeed, there were some. But they were outweighed immensely by his strengths, such as his majestic passing, his fantastic ball retention and his ability to create within confined spaces and time. 

It became perfectly clear to me,  Mikel Arteta was the engine of Arsenal. He was on the one linked all the departments on the pitch for Arsenal, he ultimately became the heart of Arsenal. Everything went through him. He was the one who made Arsenal tick. 

The stats tell you this too. 

Last season, Mikel Atreta passed over 2200 times with a pass accuracy of 91% for Arsenal. He also made 2023 accurate passes, no Arsenal player made more accurate passes than him. It’s a real testament to his passing abilities. It also demonstrates how the Spaniard is at the core of Arsenal’s passing game. In fact,  Mikel Arteta averaged the most passes in the whole of the Premier League last season. He made 76.9 passes per game, within the space of a few months Arteta became indispensable to Arsenal’s midfield. He brought stability, composure and fluidity to the side.

Arteta became like fuel to Arsenal. Without him Arsenal often stalled, stuttered and laboured through games without him. Last season, without Arteta, Arsenal won 6, lost 6 and drew 4. Furthermore, to make it even clearer on how Arsenal stuttered, the Gunners only one once in the Premier League when the former Everton man didn’t play. 

Arsenal depended on Mikel Arteta. They depended on his passing, positioning and ball retention. But perhaps most crucially, other Arsenal player’s success hinged on him.

One of the best things about Arteta is his ability to bring out the best In the players around him. That’s what fantastic players can do, they can use their abilities to make other players better.

No player benefited more by the signing of Mikel Arteta than Alex Song.

Prior to Arteta’s arrival, some viewed Song as a limited defensive midfielder, while others even argued his best position was as a centre back. But now almost everyone agrees he is a central midfielder.
Last season, Alex Song managed a sensational 11 assists in the Premier League. Mikel Arteta’s fantastic positioning and reading of the game allowed Song the licence to roam forward and be something of a creative force for Arsenal. In the season before the Spaniard’s arrival, Song assisted just 3 times, creating 32 chances. While with Arteta joining, the Cameroonian has managed to create 45 chances. 

Indeed, when Mikel Arteta joined, I thought he was coming in as a direct replacement for Cesc Fabregas. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. 

Arteta has not joined to be a replacement for Fabregas. Arsene Wenger has simply changed the style of his midfield make up. Now Arsenal are far more fluid, organised and perhaps one could agrue, they are even more unified. As everyone in the centre for Arsenal are playing in dual roles. 

Take this for example, Mikel Arteta created 60 chances, with 19 of those chances coming from set pieces last season. He created more chances than Walcott, Gervinho and Song. In fact, the only player who he hasn’t created more than Arteta is Robin Van Persie. 

I often ponder to myself, if Mikel Arteta was an English footballer, would everyone be raving about him? Or perhaps would Everton demanded double to what Arsenal offered for him in the summer of 2011.

But regardless of this, the true reality glistens like a star. 

Arteta may not be in the ilk of Nasri or Fabregas. Arteta may not be one of those typical Arsenal signings where they make a huge profit on him. But in his own way he is a glorious footballer. Arteta is the man has poured a new lease of life into this Arsenal side. Arteta is the man who has added balance, composure and desire to this Arsenal side.

Arteta is the man who has got Arsenal ticking for glory the club crave for.

Euro 2012 Team Reviews

      Hello, I’m Callum Rivett, and this will be my review of the European Championship, running through team-by-team. I’ll give a brief overview of their matches, then their highlight. Finally a rating out of 10, based on what people thought of them before the tournament (for example, a team who over-performed and came 2nd in their group would get a higher rating than one who was expected to win their group and did), and we’ll see if we agree. Hope you enjoy!


            The hosts were widely expected to qualify in second place from Group A, but they failed to win a single game. Opening with a draw against Greece, then another against Russia, all they needed to do was beat an average Czech Republic side. They lost 1-0, and the co-hosts were out at the first hurdle, but at least there was one moment to savour: Lewandowski’s strike against Russia was easily their highlight.
RATING: 5/10

            The 2004 winners were not expected to proceed from their group, with Russia and Poland the favourites. However, a draw against Poland and an unlikely win against Russia - which was their highlight - in the final group match sent them through, playing their almost traditional style of play: defensive. Finishing second, they faced a tough task against Germany in the quarter-finals, and succumbed to a 4-2 loss. Not disgraced, and can take heart from their performances. 
RATING: 7/10

            This was a Russian side full of quality, boasting players like Alan Dzagoev, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin. Things started very well for them, a resounding 4-1 victory over a lacklustre Czech Republic side, their one and only highlight. A draw against Poland meant they were still favourites to progress, and only a defeat to Greece and a Czech Republic win over Poland in the final group game would send them out… A 1-0 defeat to Greece followed, and the Czechs won 1-0, sending the Russians home early.
RATING: 4/10

Czech Republic
            The Czechs were expected to go out with the Greeks in the group stage, but veteran Milan BaroŇ° helped guide them to the last 16, exceeding many expectations. A heavy defeat to Russia in the opening game merely spurred them on, collecting two wins from two against Greece then Poland. They met Portugal in the quarters, and went out fighting, going down 1-0. Perhaps not the most vintage set of performances, but it’s the results that matter. The win over Poland has to be the highlight.
RATING: 7/10


            The World Cup runners-up had a nightmare tournament, one that fans hope can be thrown into the abyss of football history, never to return. Expectations were high, but performances and results never met those standards. Wesley Sneider hinted at an “ego problem” within the Dutch set-up, and with players like Arjen Robben, you can’t help but to agree. Losing every game and not putting up much of a fight dents their reputation, one which they hope will be restored come Brazil 2014. 
RATING: 2/10

            Being dealt in the Group of Death meant expectations were low, and the world was expecting them to be on the first flight home with zero points. But an opening win over Holland - their highlight - put them in good spirits, and it took a late Portugal winner to deny them a point. Germany followed, and so did another good display, but they unfortunately lost 2-1, sending them home with the Dutch. 
RATING: 7/10

            One of the best German sides in my lifetime, and they were hailed as the favourites to lift the trophy before it had even kicked off. Three wins out of three in the group stage certainly helped their cause, and momentum was building. A 4-2 win over Greece and they were in the semi-finals, thinking they could go all the way. But the infamous Mario Balotelli popped out with two goals to ruin the Germany parade. 
RATING: 8/10

            A team that has constantly underperformed given the strength of their side on paper: Ronaldo, Nani, Moutinho, Miereles… Finally they get to where they should be - a semi-final, and just penalty kicks away from a final. Going out to the eventual winners is no disgrace, and they put in some good performances along the way, and finally got Ronaldo playing well for the national side. 
RATING: 8/10


            Three trophies on the bounce says it all about this Spain side. They are simply the best in the world. Why would anyone ever call them boring? They play nice football, and have when their original tactic was on the verge of being sussed out, they changed it to a tactic no one expected. They didn’t play with a striker, yet they still had a striker win the Golden Boot. It seemed they didn’t get out of second gear for most of the tournament, until the final. The performances weren’t vintage Spain, but it’s the results that will be remembered.
RATING: 10/10

            The other finalists surprised many on-route, including beating favourites Germany. Even more surprising was Mario Balotelli. He stormed his way to three goals, including a brace against the Germans in the semi-final. The cool and calm Andrea Pirlo provided the killer ball many times, and his style and grace on the football pitch will be missed at international tournaments, as this was almost certainly his last one. A win over England on penalties was impressive, but they had many chances to kill us off. It has to be remembered that Thiago Motta had to go off injured in the final, and they didn’t deserve to lose so heavily.
RATING: 9/10

            A disastrous tournament in terms of results for the Irish, but the fact that they even reached the group stages has to be seen as a success. The fans were brilliant, but that would be no consolation back in Ireland as they crashed out at the first hurdle. They gave it their best shot, but with teams like Spain, Italy and Croatia in their group no one expected them to do anything, and they didn’t.
RATING: 3/10

            Croatia were unlucky to be drawn in this group, they had a good side and a draw against Spain would have sent them through. Slaven Bilic had them playing well, and scoring goals. They didn’t have the strongest defence, but with a bit more coaching, and with the youngsters coming through, they could be a force to be reckoned with in the next World Cup. A draw against Italy and a convincing win over Ireland made it a very respectable campaign, and a good building block.
RATING: 6/10


            The co-hosts didn’t embarrass themselves in a tough group, with an opening victory over Sweden the highlight. After falling behind, they rallied and the home crowd spurred them onto a well-deserved win. An expected defeat against France followed, then a spirited performance against England where they had a goal disallowed - it did cross the line, but the attacker was offside so justice was done in my view. They played well excluding the France game, and it was a good tournament.
RATING: 6/10

            They lost in surprising fashion against Ukraine, then a good performance - helped by England’s defensive frailties - was only ruined by a sublime back-heel by Danny Welbeck and a wicked shot on the edge of the area by Theo Walcott. They were not sent home empty handed, however, defeating France 2-0 in the final group game, an acrobatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic volley giving them the lead, then a late goal secured the victory. Not a terrible performance, but the opening day loss will haunt them. 
RATING: 6/10

            A balanced opening game against England ended in a 1-1 draw, then a victory against Ukraine provided a massive stepping stone to qualifying for the quarter finals. But a loss to Sweden in the final group game proved their downfall, which meant they finished second in the group behind England. They faced eventual winners Spain, and got dominated. For a French side with so much quality - easily a better side on paper than England’s - they lacked the cutting edge, and this will be a tournament to forget.
RATING: 5/10

            Last but by no means least, we come to England. A team in transition, with a newly appointed manager meant expectations were low. Some expected us to go out in the group, most thought a quarter final was a reasonable target. We, along with Spain, were unbeaten in the first ninety minutes of football, and only went out by the dreaded penalties. This was undoubtedly a tournament where not much was known about our game plan, our manager, but we put in a good display. Hopefully we will be ready for Brazil 2014, and get further than the quarters, where we fall so many times.
RATING: 7/10

So, that wraps up the team reviews, and as you can tell this took a while: re-watching highlights, looking at team line-ups, tactics, results. If you agree or disagree, I’d be delighted to know, so drop me a line either on my twitter (@cjrivett12) or in the comments below. Hope you enjoyed, and I’d like to end on a quote which I found completely correct, one by double European Championship and World Cup winner Cesc Fabregas:
“Those people who think we are playing boring, in my opinion they don’t understand the game.”

Follow Callum on twitter: @CJRivett12. You can find more of Callum's work here.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Football Tweets of the week: 05/07

Here's this weeks 10 funniest football tweets! (In no order too!)

1.) Podolski: "I'm signing for Arsenal to win trophies." - Van Persie: "I'm leaving Arsenal because I want to win trophies." -  ()

2.) Pegguy Arphexad had a 16-year career, played 39 games and won 7 medals. A medal for every 5.57 games.- 90sFootballers

3.) Italy down to 10 men. Spain should bring on Torres to even things up. It's only fair. - @PickThatOneOut

4.) Money can't buy the quality of football that Spain has produced in the last 4 years. Which is fortunate as they have absolutely no money. - @FootballFunnys

6.) Injured Robin Van Persie will struggle to get a new club. The 'back injury' occurred after he was forced to carry Arsenal for 2 years. - @ThickFootball

7.) Don't get why Balotelli is crying? A postman doesn't cry when he loses the post. - @Footy_Jokes

8.) Hodgson at Wimbledon today. There was me thinking he'd seen enough long balls and constant surrendering of possession after this summer. -@Kristian_Walsh

9.) Kiev security goes into overdrive. Man in red t-shirt refused entry to players' area. He gets angry, understandably. He's Alvaro Arbeloa -@SamWallaceIndy


Be sure to follow all these guys on Twitter, you can follow us at @ReviewFootball

See last weeks funny tweets here

League Dominance in Euro 2012

Themba Sweet is back with a statistical review of the Euro’s for The Football Front, based entirely on where the players ply their trade. The first attempt at this really didn’t have the right grading tools. I’ve added & subtracted some attributes & also changed the weighting of these attributes. But first, let’s recap what the intention of this little project is:

  • We grouped players who play their club football in the same league and gave them points for the goals they scored, assists & performances they made. So Nasri, Rooney, Torres & RVP all scored points for the EPL as long as they featured, scored or assisted.

I’ve done this to help add some flavour to the Euro’s, generate debate and, see which league carried their average form into the Euro’s. As stated before I've also changed the grading system now, so here it is:
  • 1 point per shot on target
  • 3 points per assist
  • 5 points per goal
  • 5 points per MOM
  • 6 points for Team of the Tournament

So there have been 295 shots on target, 76 goals, 65 assists, 31 Man of the Match's & 15 top players.....let's see where they came from, and we'll take a little look at the top performing clubs. We're expecting the EPL to do well since they have the largest contingent at Euro 2012. Were they the top performing league though?

Let's start with the obvious - Goals:
While there were 6 players who shared the top goal-scorer title, 2 of them came from the EPL (Torres & Balotelli) & 2 came from the Bundesliga (Mandzukic & Gomez). 2 other EPL players managed to score more than once - Bendtner & Silva. In total there were 16 goals scored by players currently in the EPL. Only 9 scored by players from La Liga & Bundesliga (Bundesliga players totalled 14 goals from their 9 players). So the EPL based players, scoring 22 goals, were nearly twice as successful at scoring a goal than their Bundesliga & La Liga counterparts.

You may have not spotted this but there were 76 goals scored in Euro 2012 (excluding penalty shoot-outs). The reason there are 75 in the table above is because Glen Johnson scored an own goal & this doesn't count towards any league.

There were 65 assists throughout Euro 2012. Once again our expectations that the EPL, by sheer number of participants, has contributed the most assists during the competition. 16 assists for EPL based players puts the EPL ahead of La Liga. This strange way of looking at the Euro's his highlighted in the finale when Torres set up Juan Mata. Although the Spanish team-mates scored for Spain, Torres' assist was the EPL's 15th of the tournament, and Mata's goal was the EPL's 22nd of Euro 2012. Obviously, since they don't play in La Liga, their goals counted for the EPL. Currently it appears as if the EPL is running away with these stats, but that's about to change. Firstly, see the assists chart below with an impressive appearance by the Ukranian Premier League.

Shots on Target:

Ronaldo has to be mentioned when looking at Shots on Target. He had the most in the tournament – 15. Iniesta was only 1 shot off target, with 14 on target (yet no goal), and Benzema also making double figures. It is not the easiest feat in the world to get a shot on target, but with this weighting, 5 shots on target is equivalent to 1 goal. With this grading system, 2 goals earn you a solid 10 points. A player from a league would have to take 10 shots on target to match this score, which is unlikely since the most shots on target by 1 player was 15. We also only took into account players with 3 or more shots on target.

Carlsberg Man of the Match:
We used the Carlsberg Man of the Match winners since this is a neutral selection & doesn't favour any league in particular. Using a grading system of 5 points for every MOM, we see that La Liga clearly dominate this category. In fact, only 3 EPL players earned themselves MOM awards (Gerrard, Nasri & Torres). 4 layers earned the MOM award more than once during this tournament: Pirlo (Serie A) & Iniesta (La Liga) earned 3 Man of the Match awards, while Ronaldo (La Liga) & Ozil (La Liga) each earned 2 Man of the Match awards.

Top 15 players of Euro 2012:
On you can find a write up on how the Castrol Edge rankings work. It basically tracks everything a player does. Xavi won Player of the Tournament in 2008 nad that was entirely based on the Castrol Edge rankings. The Top 15 Players has the highest weight and for good reason. This isn’t the Best Starting XI of Euro 2012, simply the 15 best players:

Taking all of the above into account and remembering the grading system, below is the overall table which should reflect which league dominated Euro 2012. Our winner is La Liga which ended a clear 40 points ahead of the EPL. Although more goals & assists came from the EPL, La Liga players had more Man of the Match performances & 11 of the top 15 players come from La Liga.
When looking at the actual table, it may not be a surprise to see which leagues make up the top 5: La Liga, EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A & the Russian Premier League:

Another point to take note of is the minor influence of the Eredivisie. The truth is that very few players were picked from this league & those that were chosen had very little to do with the outcomes during Euro 2012.

I’ve thrown in a bonus chart using the above scoring system, but one that looks at the actual club instead of the league. Remembering that Ronaldo would score points for Real Madrid, and that a goal is worth 5 points, take a look at the below table and see if it’s something you expected:
Real Madrid
Man City
AC Milan
CSKA Moscow
Dynamo Kyiv
Man United
FC Porto
Lokomotiv Moscow
Inter Milan
Leicester City
West Brom
Club Brugge
FC Copenhagen
Istanbul BB
Spartak Moscow
Sporting Lisbon
Grand Total

EPL only: 

La Liga only:
Twitter: @thembasweet
You can find more of Themba’s work here for The Football Front.
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