Tag Archives: Arsenal

New Post: The Premier League finally has an American manager, Bob Bradley

In a move that had been expected by many, Swansea City fired coach Francesco Guidolin Monday after the club’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool at the weekend.

The replacement came as a shock to many as well, with American and former U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bob Bradley appointed to the position.

Bradley is the first American to be hired as a manager in the Premier League, considered by many to be the best league in the world.

Hiring Bradley came as a surprise to many of the team’s fans on Twitter, who doubted his experience and his previous coaching stops.

In a nutshell, that has been part of the problem for American coaches. Like soccer itself in the U.S., coaches from here do not get much respect. This is largely down to some still thinking American soccer feels like the wild west.

It is fitting justice, however, that Bradley was appointed to the job.No other American coach in recent memory deserves the title of being the first more.

To overcome the stereotype American coaches face is going to take a lot of stepping outside your comfort zone, something Bradley has been doing for years. I have always admired his fearlessness.

After taking over the U.S. from Bruce Arena in 2006 on an interim basis, Bradley acted like anything but an interim manager. He ran the team his way and gave plenty of new players their introduction, something Arena was not known for.

Upon being fired from the U.S. gig in 2011, Bradley could have shrank back into a cushy MLS job, like Arena eventually did with the New York Red Bulls. Bradley looked at the national team level again, though, signing on with Egypt and making them far more competitive.

To prove himself in Europe, Bradley went into the club coaching wilderness for the last two years, first with Stabaek in Norway and then Le Havre in the second tier of France. Bradley  almost guided the latter to French Ligue 1.

More than any American coach, Bradley has shown a tendency to step outside of what is known. He faced a tough task with Swansea, which currently sits one place above relegation with just one Premier League win, which came on the first day of the season against promoted side Burnley.

There are a few good players, such as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leroy Fer, but the team’s spiritual leader Ashley Williams left in the summer, causing a big hole that was not immediately able to be filled.

Bradley has two weeks now to put his stamp on the club before a tough trio of games — Arsenal away, at home to Watford and Stoke away.

Many might not believe in him right away and things might be ugly, but Bob Bradley does have the experience and the confidence to lead a club in the Premier League.

 

 

 

Premier League Preview: Top 4, Bottom 3, Golden Boot and Fantasy

By, Kyle Gibson

It’s almost Christmas in August. The Premier League is finally upon us. New superstar managers, new superstar players, huge egos and more!

Let’s get into a quick preview, featuring the predictions Champions League sides, relegated sides, Golden Boot winner and my Fantasy EPL side.

Champions League Teams and Champions

4. Chelsea – Antonio Conte is a badass. His Italy team could have won the Euros if Germany did not beat them in penalties. I kept thinking they would win it, but I’m not sure of the back line.

3. Arsenal – Such a talented team, but Arsene Wenger still did not sign the top-of-the-line striker the club needs. Olivier Giroud looked so good at the Euros setting up Antoine Griezmann. Give him someone to work with!

2. Tottenham – “Lads (retches, sweating profusely) it’s…Tottenham.” That line from Alex Ferguson now has a different meaning. This Tottenham team is talented, deep, well drilled and only finished third last year on the final day. Spurs did not make huge changes over the summer, but did not need to.

Spurs needed a backup for Harry Kane and got that with Vincent Janssen, who scored 27 league goals for AZ last year. Adding Victor Wanyama also provides more steel in the midfield.

Many have seen the Spurs falling off, but I see the club improving.

1. Manchester United – I wish i wasn’t jinxing my favorite club. I’m just buying into the hype. Jose Mourinho has so much to prove, after the debacle last season with Chelsea.

The club worked through its central defense slightly with the emergence of Chris Smalling last year. Adding Eric Bailly in the off-season should really help.

Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrihk Mkhitaryan are the elite level signings the club has been lacking.

This all should culminate in a spellbinding year for United. Pau

Relegated Squads

20. Hull City – Ownership in turmoil. Manager Steve Bruce left just a few weeks ago. Selling their best players and not replacing them.

19. Burnley – I still think they are too small of a club, but they are a very solid team and probably the 21st best in England.

18. Swansea City – Sold the team’s heart and soul in Ashley Williams. Borja from Atletico was a solid signing, but too little. Plus, Swansea bought Leroy Fer, who relegates almost every EPL team he is with.

Golden Boot Race

Harry Kane – 24 Goals

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 22 Goals

Jamie Vardy – 20 Goals

Sergio Aguero – 20 Goals

 

My Fantasy EPL Team

I believe that I will win.

Goalkeepers – Kasper Schmeichel, Adrian

Defenders – Hector Bellerin, John Stones, Wes Morgan, Antonio Valencia, Patrick van Aanholt

Midfielders – Anthony Martial, Danny Drinkwater, Andre Ayew, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Phillipe Coutinho

Forwards – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Callum Wilson,Jermain Defoe

New Post: EPL Predictions that will probably all be wrong. 

By, Kyle Gibson

We have the only Friday game of the year, so let’s get to the predictions! 

Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa

I think Memphis Depay goes off in this one. 

Everton 1-1 Southampton

Everton will feel hard done by just getting a point last week against Watford. This will be a more respectable draw. 

Sunderland 0-1 Norwich City

I’ll even give you the goal scorer here. Nathan Redmond will continue to impress. 

Swansea City 2-1 Newcastle United

Swansea became the toast of the league last week in a draw against Chelsea. Should win handily enough here.

Tottenham 1-0 Stoke City

Spurs lost against United and Stoke lost in heartbreaking fashion against Liverpool. Stoke will be in mild panic after 0 points in two games. 

Watford 0-0 West Bromich Albion

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

West Ham United 2-1 Leicester City

City put in 4 against Sunderland, but the Hammers should feel inflated now after their win against preseason favorites Arsenal. 

Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal

The panic continues!

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City

Yes…City will go five points up on Chelsea. 

Liverpool 2-0 AFC Bournemouth

Mario Ballotelli will finally…..can’t even finish the sentence. I expect Benteke and Fermino to play well 

What are your predictions? Leave in the comments below! 


New Post: EPL Preview! I rank every team from first to worst. #BPLKickoff

By, Kyle Gibson

Ahhh, English Premier League time is upon us. No more empty feeling, or meaningless weekends where we actually pay attention to our families. With no further ado, here are my predictions. Check back here in May to see that I got all 20 places right.

1.Manchester United (Last season, 4th): United finally signed a defender that could help. Many say Mattia Darmian was the best wing back in all of the Serie A. It also doesn’t hurt to shore up the midfield with Southampton star Morgan Scheiderlin and Bayern Munich and Germany legend Bastien Schweinsteiger. For this pick to hold, I think the club still needs to sign an attacker. Memphis Depay was an excellent addition, but Wayne Rooney can’t shoulder the load at striker all by himself. Signing Pedro away from Barcelona would really, really wrap up the title. The second season is usually make or break time for a Van Gaal coached side.

2.Arsenal (Last season, 3rd): Arsenal are everyone’s EPL darlings right now, which has me a bit nervous. Arsene Wenger is a great manager, but sometimes he and his team replace the need for defensive steel with the desire to spring forward and attack, leaving the back exposed. Petr Cech was one of the absolute signings of the summer and he will help, but I think this injury-prone club will falter around the middle point of the season, leaving the door open for Van Gaal’s men.

3.Chelsea (Last season, 1st): Jose Mourinho is the best manager in the EPL. Unfortunately, Jose also knows this all too well. His mind games and blunt honesty seem to wear with players over time and I think that will happen this season with CFC. Eden Hazard will shine as he always does, but I don’t know if John Terry can have such an amazing, relatively injury free season like last year. The same goes for Diego Costa. When the team was at its best last year, he was healthy and scoring bags full of goals. Chelsea’s lack of squad rotating will catch up to it.

4.Tottenham Hotspur (Last Season, 5th): Yes, you are reading this right. This spot does not belong to Liverpool or Manchester City. I’m operating on a hunch here, but I think Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino are more stable than the two former clubs. They also made solid, team building additions in defenders Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier. Harry Kane may need help up front, but I think West Brom’s own Saido Berahino will be in to help before the transfer window shuts.

5.Manchester City (Last season, 2nd): Oh, how the mighty have fallen. No one is high on Manchester City right now after a sloppy close to last season and a disaster of a transfer window this summer. Raheem Sterling is the only big name brought in, but they paid nearly 50 million pounds for a 20 year old that hasn’t proven himself throughout a full campaign. Fabian Delph may have committed career suicide in leaving Aston Villa for here. Honestly, I can’t see him making more than 15 starts. What the team really needs is cover for aging defenders Martin Demichelis and Vincent Kompany. Also, the club needs an attitude overhaul. No one sees Manuel Pellegrini keeping the manager’s job. I can name the players who I think have heart: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The rest don’t seem to care. That is an indictment to your club and manager.

6.Liverpool (Last Season, 6): No more Sterling. No more Gerrard. But in comes James Milner from Manchester City. I think he was one of the shrewdest deals done this offseason, coming in on a free transfer. Up to him and Jordan Henderson (your new captain) now to right that midfield.

7.Swansea City (Last Season, 8): The Swans are part of the new guard that are going to be very present in this section of the table the next few years. Garry Monk is one hell of a manager and this is a good team to boot. Andre Ayew and Eder are quality signings that show this club’s ambition.

8.Stoke City (Last Season, 9): Stoke is part of this group as well. Solid, hard to beat and they just keep improving. Sure they lost Steven N’Zonzi and Asmir Begovic, but I think the guys they’re bringing in are more than quality. Mark Hughes is a very good manager and the Brittania Stadium is a fortress.

9.Crystal Palace (Last Season, 10): I predict another stellar year for the Crystals. Alan Pardew will have a chance to build over a full season and I can see this team really scoring some upset victories. Yohan Cabaye signing to play here from PSG was an all-star deal. I love watching this team.

10.Everton (Last Season, 11): If you aren’t a fan, you probably forgot about them over the summer. I think Roberto Martinez is a good manager. I think this team has some very talented guys. But still, there’s no excuse to not really bring in any star transfers after having an off season. They’ll be the folding point of the table and I think will have a lackluster year where we pretty much forget about them.

  1. Southampton (Last Season, 7): I predicted these guys to get relegated last year and they shocked the hell out of me. Ronald Koeman is a very good manager though and the team was strong. Here are my issues for this year. There’s no more Nathaniel Clyne, Morgan Schneiderlin or Toby Alderweireld. They all moved to Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, respectively. With that being said, that’s nothing like what the lost last
  2. West Ham United (Last season, 12): If you’ve noticed over the last few predictions, no one is really moving a lot. West Ham scares me to death, though. I could easily see them going as high as seventh and as low as getting relegated. Slaven Bilic is a wild card of a manager who has shown no signs of being able to keep his temper in check during Europa League qualifying. This being said, I love the signing of Dimitri Payet from Marseille.
  3. Newcastle United (Last season, 15): New boss Steve McLaren will make sure this team stays away from relegation, but this is a broken team with a very loyal fan base. It deserves a new owner in the worst way.
  4. West Bromwich Albion (Last season, 13): Tony Pulis and his squad will stay exactly where they were last year. This is a club that is too deep to go down. Here is why I don’t think they will move forward, though. I think striker Saido Berahino will move in either this transfer window or the winter one. Without him, it gets rough trying to find a goal scorer.
  5. Sunderland (Last season, 16): Everyone from here on is always in danger of relegation. That’s how Sunderland lives. This may be a pick made with my heart, though, because I just like these guys.
  6. Aston Villa (Last Season, 17): They lost Fabian Delph and key goal scorer Christian Benteke, but I think Tim Sherwood (if he lasts the whole season) will rally the base and secure survival.
  7. Bournemouth AFC (Last Season, Promoted): They play in a stadium that fits only 11,700 people. For some perspective, my high school football stadium seats 10,000. However, they have a real fighting spirit and they’re the kind of team that can hang around.
  8. Norwich City (Last season, Promoted): They have EPL experience, but I don’t find them very convincing.
  9. Leicester City (Last Season, 17): Pulled off the greatest of great escapes last year, not so lucky this year.
  10. Watford (Last Season, Promoted): Sorry guys……I guess that’s why they call it the blues.

Follow Kicking It on Twitter @kickingitsoccer.

New Kicking It Podcast: EPL Wrap Up Edition!

On this week’s edition of the Kicking It Podcast, Kyle and Richard close the book on the English Premier League season by recapping the standings and naming a Player of the Year for the league, the top ten and a few from the loser bracket. Listen in, because Louis Van Gaal demands it!

You can listen via our Buzzsprout page, or by subscribing in iTunes!

Is it really? It is! Time for a new Kicking It podcast!

By, Kyle Gibson

Remember that thing called the Kicking It podcast? Well, it’s back! Tune in for soccer “analysis” and “previews” for the English Premier League (including Manchester United vs Arsenal) and more, including MLS action!

Listen as always for free via Buzzsprout, or subscribe on iTunes by searching “Kicking it with Kyle Gibson.”

New Post: Danny Welbeck to Arsenal is just what the doctor ordered.

By, Kyle Gibson

The soccer public (Arsenal fans especially) seem to have mixed opinions about the signing of Danny Welbeck.

I think one of the biggest things people forget when analyzing Danny Welbeck is his age. After all, Welbeck, who signed with Arsenal after growing up in the Manchester Untied academy and playing there, is only 23. 

At 23, Welbeck has already seen plenty of football. He has 90 appearances with United in the league, 27 already for England. Those who complain about Welbeck’s style of play have a point. He is overall very inconsistent, but he has never had a chance to shine as a number 1 striker. 

At Manchester United, Welbeck was overshadowed by Wayne Rooney and Chicharito at first, then later, by Robin Van Persie. It’s hard to compare plenty of players to Rooney and Van Persie, let alone a young striker like Welbeck. 

Welbeck is more of a number 9 than a creative player, so he is honestly never going to adapt as a winger. His spot should be as a central striker, which Arsenal now has a chance to provide. 

Arsenal did the right thing by signing Welbeck. Players have been signed for much more money, for doing much less in the Premier League than Welbeck already has. 

As I mentioned earlier, all Welbeck needs is a true chance to be the number one option going forward. At Arsenal, he is going to have plenty of options around to help: Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla etc. There will be some growing pains I’m sure, but I fully anticipate Welbeck to have 15-20 goals in the EPL this season. If he doesn’t, then we can be more harsh on him before. 

Danny Welbeck needed a chance to prove himself. Here’s that chance. Now it’s proving time.