Tag Archives: Football

Fairwell Sandro-Spurs Unlucky Midfield General

This January transfer window finally saw the end of Sandro Raniere’s career in British football as he moved on a free transfer from QPR to Turkish side Antalyaspor. With it fell the curtain on an injury plagued period in which Sandro never reached the heights that he promised early on in his time at White Hart Lane.

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Sandro at his unveiling at Antalyaspor

After commanding the midfield in Internacional’s  2010 Copa Libertadores win, Sandro arrived in North London with the promise to change Spurs reputation of having a somewhat flaky midfield. Early on he starred for Tottenham, dominating the midfield in crucial Champions League ties against Inter and AC Milan, breaking up the play in front of the back four. He appeared to be the answer to Spurs fans prayers, a player capable of adding steel to a team that all to often looked lightweight in the middle, earning him the nickname ‘beast’ amongst the fans. Yet these two performances were to be the pinnacle of his career to date, showing glimpses of a world class defensive midfielder.In 2013, Sandro picked up a knee injury, putting him out for the majority of the 13-14 season. This was to become a regular occurrence for the rest of his career in English football, lengthy rehabilitation periods punctuated with rare uneventful appearances.

 

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Sandro snapping into a tackle in perhaps his finest performance in a Spurs shirt against AC Milan.

In September 2014 Sandro joined Queens Park Rangers after falling down the pecking order at Tottenham due to his persistent knee injuries. His time at QPR displayed little of his best form, suggesting that the knee injuries had a lasting impact on his game. In January 2016 he joined West Bromwich Albion on loan for the rest of the season, but he barely featured for Pulis’s side and they didn’t take up the option to make his loan move permanent at the end of the season. At the end of the season QPR made it apparent that  Sandro was no longer wanted at Loftus Road, as they wanted to shift his considerable wages off their bulging wage bill. Over the summer, a move to Sporting Lisbon got to the stage of a medical, only for Lisbon to back out of the deal due to Sandro failing the medical because of his knee problems. This outcome is disputed by Sandro, who claims that the medical report was insincere and that he was actually fully fit. This angered Sandro, who understandably saw the potential move to Lisbon as a real opportunity to play at the elite Champions League level many felt he belonged. As the summer transfer window slammed shut, he was forced to remain at QPR and barely feature until his recent January transfer to Turkish team  Antalyaspor. This saw the end of Sandro’s frustrating career in English football, in which he never fulfilled the promise he showed in the first year of his Spurs tenure.

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Sandro at his time at QPR.

In many ways Sandro represents a change of direction for Spurs, with them moving towards stronger, more dynamic centre midfield players. With Moussa Dembele, Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier currently battling for defensive midfield positions at the Lane, it can perhaps be attributed to the early performances of Sandro that displayed that a bit of bite in the midfield could lead to increased returns for the Lilly-whites. For that and the great memories and attitude that Sandro brought to Tottenham, we should be thankful for his short English career and hope that he can succeed in Turkey and rise again to the top level of European football in which it once appeared he thrived.

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Why YOU Should Support USA

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Team USA

With England out of the World Cup, it’s time to pick your second team. In 2010 it was Ghana, they shouldered the hopes of the continent, only to be dumped out unceremoniously by the ever popular Luis Suarez.This time around it’s time to raise our star spangled banners in support of USA and here’s why;

It would be great for the world of ‘soccer’ (when in Rome), if the US became a real force. Major long term support could provide the world with millions of enthusiastic fans as well as substantial commercial opportunities. The world game needs more than Europe and a couple of south American teams competing to survive and grow, it needs worldwide backing. This would see the games wealth more equally balanced and would therefore fuel genuinely compelling world competitions.

They are a real team. As a group of individuals they are weak, but as a group they are strong. They work incredibly hard for each other and disciplined, they all put themselves before the team. A team without ego’s is hard to come across but the US appear to have just that.

They are underdogs in the truest sense.  The USA defied expectation by reaching the knock-out rounds from the so called ‘group of death’. If they went one step further and beat Belgium it would be a great sporting story, the team that’s new to the sport beating a team filled with premier league stars.

So there really is only one more thing to say; USA!USA!USA!

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The England Autopsy

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The English Hopefulls

With the group stages of the World Cup over and teams like Costa Rica, USA, Algeria and Columbia through to the second round, it’s high time to analyse what went wrong for our plucky English underdogs.

Firstly it’s important to state that our English underdogs were not underdogs at all. The press had downplayed England’s chances so significantly as to raise the expectations back up again due to this lack of perceived expectation. As a result the England players yet again went into A World Cup under crippling pressure and after their opening loss to Italy, they looked like shadows of men, too afraid to receive the ball against Uruguay.

A problem seemingly ignored by the press is that Gerard was awful and was partially responsible for the three goals conceded at this World Cup. But then again he did spray the ball outside at awkward heights for his team-mates to receive, so maybe he deserves to be let off. In defence of Gerrard he had just completed a gruelling, yet disappointing season. However if this was in any way likely to hamper his performance he should of put his team first and let someone else have a go.

Another problem for England was there lack of finishing ability. Given the chances England had in the first two games at least two points were a real possibility. The ability to be clinical is what separates the good from the average on the world stage. As a result of this England dropped out. This lack of ability to finish our chances can be seen as a large reason for the disappointing early exit. However you cannot blame the personnel as both Rooney and Sturridge were clearly the best candidates in their position, it’s just slightly disappointing that they couldn’t replicate their club form on the global stage.

Two of the worst players for England were Everton duo Baines and Jagielka. Both of them looked completely all at sea. They looked incapable to deliver in major tournament football and the question has to be asked as to whether England would have been more solid with Cole and Terry occupying these positions. The answer to that question is almost resoundingly yes. Jagielka was particularly culpable for the Uruguay goals, mainly for not keeping his eye on Suarez, a threat he should of been all too aware of. Baines on the other hand was culpable for the Italy defeat, allowing Candreva to whip in dangerous balls into the England box, one of which resulted in Balotelli’s winner. Both of these players showed an inability to perform at the top level and therefore must shoulder some responsibility for the death of England’s unlikely dream.

But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom England fans, we did manage a unbelievably boring draw with Costa Rica to round off our role in the football festivities.

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