Tag Archives: Stoke City

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.

 

 

 

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!

EPL Preview: Teams 10-5 or “The Mediocre Guys”

By, Kyle Gibson

Stop number 3 of my EPL season preview rolls along. Tomorrow will be the final installment; the Champions League places and, of course, the EPL champion. 

Without Freddy Adu, here are teams 10-5. 

10. QPR- The promoted club that packs a serious punch. That’s Queens Park Rangers in a nutshell. Talented, big name players  with plenty of experience, plus a manager with loads of experience and cunning in Harry Redknapp. Loic Remy is a very, very good player. He needs to have a huge season. Ultimately, I think this team falters down the stretch, but 10th place for a promoted club is nothing to sneeze at. 

9. Newcastle United– These guys had a quietly strong transfer window, signing Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat, Jack Colback and Emmanuel Riviere to name a few. The team only lost Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal, which means it even kept plenty of high profile players. Newcastle seems to have a bad season like last year, then rebounds to have a pretty good one.

8. Stoke City- Building. That’s the word we keep hearing with Mark Hughes and Stoke City. I think this team is very solid and it could definitely finish higher than this. Signing Bojan away from Barcelona might have been the shock of the summer. I love Tony Pulis, but that type of deal for a small, creative player would never have been done under him. 

7. Everton- It was great making the signing for Lukaku and Barry permanent. Like Hull City, though, I don’t know if the team will be as ready with the upcoming Europa League games. So many people signed extensions, though, that the team will have all kinds of depth. 

6. Tottenham- I think those signings from last summer finally start to make good under new management. Not good enough though.

5. Arsenal– Poor Arsene Wenger. I think Arsenal will finish just outside of Arsene cup (aka top 4 range.) Even with Alexis Sanchez, I think the club needs a second consistent striker. 

What are your thoughts? Comment!

New Post: EPL Predictions February 1-3 + Bonus American Football Prediction

Big games this weekend plus the “big game” in U.S. football! Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section. Let’s get to it!

Newcastle vs Sunderland- Ah, the Tyne-Wear Derby! Huge rivalry. Sunderland wins 2-1

West Ham United vs Swansea City- Ah, 19th Century Football vs a team that recently got back to its winning ways with a 2-0 defeat of Fulham. Still, West Ham wins at home 1-0.

Cardiff City vs Norwich City- For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it’s a make or break weekend after recently adding talent like Wilfried Zaha and Fabio on loan from Manchester. 0-0 Draw in the  Welsh capital.

Everton vs Aston Villa- Two teams going in completely different directions. Still, an exciting game now that both can score. 2-2 draw.

Fulham vs Southampton- The Saints of the South has 2 goals in a draw against Arsenal. Fulham is Fulham this year and by my prediction, will go down to the Championship. 3-1 Southampton.

Hull City vs Tottenham Hotspur- Tom Huddlestone plays his old squad and at the right time as Spurs lost 5-1 to Manchester City on Wednesday. Still, Tim Sherwood’s attacking style works well against the less talented teams. 2-1 Spurs.

Stoke City vs Manchester United- Mark “Sparky” Hughes coaching against one of the teams he made a name for as a manager. United now finding its form though through Mata, Van Persie and Rooney. Manchester United close 1-0.

West Bromich Albion vs Liverpool- I love the Hawthornes, the West Brom stadium, but Sturridge, Suarez, Sterling, Coutinho and company are going to love this match-up. 3-1 Reds.

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace- Ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a classic Arsenal game circa 2011. The midfield is going to have a terrible time trying to figure out how to get a ball in a box. Crystal Palace is going to score a goal in the 50th minute. The fans at the Emirates are going to be so restless it’s crazy. Then, Arsenal comes back starting in the 80th minute and puts two goals in the back of the net. 2-1 Arsenal.

Manchester City vs Chelsea- The big one! These teams are impossible at home. Manchester City scores goals by the bushel at the Etihad Stadium. Jose Mourinho has never lost at Stamford Bridge. The game will end in a draw. It won’t be attractive. Actually, it will look like trench warfare, but this will be awesome. 2-2 draw.

Bonus- Super bowl. Seattle wins 27-23 with Peyton failing to get it done on the final drive.

-Follow @kickingit10 on Twitter

New Post: The Ballad of Tony Pulis

Tony

By, Kyle Gibson

He walks out onto the touchline. He’s been in this stadium before, but hasn’t been back in 8 months. He looks around, what he sees has to warm his heart.

Banners, bearing his name.

Fans. Shouting his name, even though this home, once his, now has a new king.

At the Brittania, Tony Pulis has returned.

Tony Pulis spent 7 years in charge of Stoke City and oversaw a great run for the club in his tenure. Pulis has never been relegated as a manager, something that a side like Stoke, resilient, but not the most talented, needed in a manager.

Still, all good things come to an end. This May, Pulis and Stoke parted by mutual consent.

After becoming the Crystal Palace manager, Pulis was tasked with what he faced at Stoke, keep a team that isn’t the most talented in top flight football. Just take a look at the team, there aren’t a lot of inspiring names on that roster.

January 18, 2014 must have been marked on the calendar at Palace, as that is the date that Pulis returned to his old stomping grounds. His faith in his team was rewarded yesterday. Last week Jason Puncheon had one of the worst penalty misses of all time.

However, Pulis kept Puncheon in and was rewarded with the midfielder scoring the game winner, moving Palace out of the relegation cellar and up to 16th.

The fans were great, as was Pulis, applauding the Stoke crowd before and after the game.

The steady-handed manager will need plenty more results like that to continue his reputation of never being relegated.

–Follow @kickingit10 on Twitter