LEAGUE CUP FINAL: BRADFORD CITY vs SWANSEA CITY PREVIEW

English Football will today see a new club lift the silverware as Bradford City and Swansea City go head to head against each other in the Capital One Cup final in the Wembley Stadium.

bradford city vs swansea phil parkinson michael laudrup league cup final

Here is a brief preview of the Bradford vs Swansea League Cup Final.

Phil Parkinson’s side’s strength lies on set piece, physical game  relying mostly on counter attack. Their fans say it is the best thing happened in football for their team that hasn’t much success over the past few decades and has been in the news for all the tragic and wrong reasons. Twice in administration, Valley Parade fire tragedy and relegation from English Premier League, Championship and League 1. As the kickoff nears, there is all madness around Bradford City as the city covers itself in the festive mood.

bradford city vs swansea league cup final

Of course the club has suffered a mini crisis as far as the league form is concerned with the side 11th on the table. But at the the moment they only want to concentrate on the cup Final. And if the Bantams do lift the trophy that might well pave the path for the turn around that their rivals Swansea has accomplished over the past few years. A massive boost not only for the fans, players and staff but the fact that they will play Europa League next season is also mouthwatering.

swansea league cup final vs bradford city

And for their rivals,it is nothing more than a dream. It will be Swansea City’s first major final in their history. But Michael Laudrup’s side can not afford to take their opponents who are 73 places lower than them in overall English table lightly. Pressure will all be on Swans as they start favorite.

Other Facts:

  • Before Bradford city, only one team from League Two have reached the League Cup Final – Rochdale.
  • Last team from outside the Premier League to win a Cup Competition was Sheffield Wednesday back in 1991.
  • Bradford City players will wear No. 56 tracksuits before the match in the memory of 56 people who were killed in Valley Parade fire tragedy back in 1985.
  • If they win the final, Bradford City will achieve an absolutely fantastic cup victory defeating four Premier League sides. bantams have already ousted Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa in the competition.

PROBABLE LINEUP:

SWANSEA:

                  Vorm
Rangel, Williams, Tiendalli, Davies
Routledge, De Guzman, Britton, Dyer
               Hernandez
                  Michu

BRADFORD CITY:

                Duke
Darby, McHugh, McArdle, Good
Atkinson, Jones, Doyle, Hines
          Wells, Hanson

We might have to wait for 90 minutes or beyond 120 minutes but whoever comes out victorious it will be a dream come true and a fairytale ending to their incredible cup run. 

PREVIEW: Arsenal v Aston Villa, QPR v Manchester United, Deportivo v Real Madrid, FC Barcelona v FC Sevilla

Here are the previews of key fixtures in the football leagues across Europe.

English Premier League

Arsenal v Aston Villa

Arsenal will look to get back to winning ways after two back to back back defeats within 4 days. Last week’s FA Cup defeat to Blackburn and Tuesday’s Champions League loss at the hands of Bayern Munich at home piled the pressure for Arsene Wenger as his only aim for the season is now to qualify for the Champions League next season. They are 4 points behind their north London rivals Tottenham and with 12 more matches to go before the season ends, any failure to get all three points against Paul Lambert’s side will be a heavy blow for Wenger’s side.

Arsenal vs Astonal Villa

Aston Villa on the other hand have been fighting the relegation battle and are 17th with 24 points. Things have looked positive for the last few weeks as they got 4 points from the last two matches. Every other side in the league have better goal difference than Villa which might be a good news for Arsenal. A draw would be a very vital result in their quest to survival.

Reading v Wigan Athletic

This is another fixture where both the sides have been busy fighting against relegation. 3 point would be an amazing result for either of the team. Win for Reading means they would go 5 point clear of Wigan Athletic who have 21 points. Wigan are winless in last six games and the travel to Madejski Stadium would not be an easy one for the Latics.

QPR v Manchester United

QPR’s five match unbeaten run came to an end two weeks ago at the hands of Swansea. Sitting on the bottom of the table they face the top of the table side Manchester United who look to increase their lead at the summit as their rivals Manchester City won’t play Chelsea (another fixture City might lost points) until Sunday. It has been more than 21 years since QPR have last beaten Manchester United home or away.

Spanish La Liga

Deportivo v Real Madrid

Deportivo have lost all their last five games in the Liga. It will be a massive surprise if Madrid fail to win the bottom side. Jose Mourinho might rest key players against the side with worst defensive record (who have conceded 54 goals so far) with Copa del Rey semifinal against Barcelona in mind. Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas will not be involved because of suspension and injury respectively.

FC Barcelona v FC Sevilla

Barcelona looks to bounce back after their Champions League loss away at AC Milan and prepare well for the midweek clash against rivals Real Madrid.

Barcelona vs Sevilla

But there is a good news in The Blaugrana camp with Eric Abidal is back after Liver Transplant last April. Sevilla might also give rest to few players as they play Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

German Bundesliga

Hannover v Hamburg; Augusburg v Hoffenheim; Schalke v Dusseldorf

Hamburg have benefitted after last night’s fixture between Freiburg and Frankfurt ended in a draw and they may climb back to fifth in the table with a win against  There is relegation fight between Augusburg and Hoffenheim. And Schalke are in search of their first win in 5 games as they host Dusseldorf.

Europa League Fixtures for Round of 16

Europa League reaches its second knockout stage after the completion of round of 32 last night.

Europa League Football Round of 16

Defending Champions Atletico Madrid were knocked out from the first knock out round despite winning 1-0 away at Rubin Kazan. The Russian side won 2-1 on aggregate.

Last season’s UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea had to wait till very late at home against Sparta Prague. The match was set to go into extra time with the Czech side leading after a 17th minute goal until Belgian Eden Hazard scored in the dying moments. But there wasn’t good news for Liverpool supporters as Zenit St. Petersburg’s Hulk’s away goal proved vital. The match ended 3-1, 3-3 on aggregate but Zenit advanced on away goals rule.

There were identical 2-0 wins for Victoria Plzen, Vfb Stuttgart and Lazio in their respective matches as all three advanced. Similar scoreline in the match involving Steaua Bucharest and Ajax saw the match dragged to penalty shootout with Steaua defeating the Dutch side 4-2.

Europa League football Newcastle United Goal Cisse

There was an easy win for Inter Milan but New Castle United had to fight hard for a 1-0 win against Metalist Kharkiv.

Round of 16 (Pre- Quarterfinal) Fixtures

Anzhi Makhachkala v Newcastle

Plzen v Fenerbahce

Steaua Bucharest v Chelsea

VfB Stuttgart v Lazio

Benfica v Bordeaux

Basel v Zenit St Petersburg

Levante v Rubin Kazan

Tottenham v Inter Milan

The first leg will be played on 7th of March while the second leg on the 14th

UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw : Real Madrid, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund All In The Same Group

 

Group D is the group of Death for this season’s Uefa Champions League as Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax Amsterdam and Borussia Dortmund will play against each other.

uefa-champions-league-logo

Champions Chelsea gets Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and newcomers FC Nordsjaelland. Arsenal and Manchester United have been drawn in relatively easier groups.

Champions League Group

Group A : FC Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris Saint Germain, Dinamo Zagreb

Group B : Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos, Montpellier

Group C : AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga

Group D : Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax Amsterdam, Borussia Dortmund

Group E : Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, FC Nordsjaelland

Group F : Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov

Group G : Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic

Group H : Manchester United, SC Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj

UEFA Champions League Playoff Second Leg : Fenerbahce vs Spartak Moscow Preview

Fenerbahce will look to qualify for the UEFA Champions League  for the first time in 4 years as they host Spartak Moscow in the second leg of the play offs. The first leg ended 2-1 to Russian club with Dmitri Kombarov and Emmanuel Emenike on the score sheet for the winners while former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt scored for his new club.

dirk kuyt fenerbahce

The Turkish side last qualified for the Champions League in 2008-09 where they failed to win any of their group G games that included Arsenal, Porto and Dynamo Kiev. Fenerbahce were withdrawn from the elite competition by Turkish Football Federation last season because of match fixing allegations and were replaced by Trabzonspor. Interestingly Emmanuel Emenike who was one of the suspects of the match fixing scandal will return to play against his former club in a 50000 plus seater stadium, a place never easy for the visiting sides.

Aykut Kocaman’s side have made some good signings this season with Milos Krasic, Mehmet Topal, Dirk Kuyt, Hasan Ali and Kaldirim added into the squad.

Spartak Moscow’s last appearance in the Champions League was two seasons ago in 2010-11 where they finished third in the group having Chelsea, Marseille and MSK Zilina.

Spartak Moscow signed Brazilian midfielder Romulo from Vasco da Gama , Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom from Lyon and Russian midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov from Everton.

In other tie FC Copenhagen has a slight 1-0 advantage over French Ligue 1 club Lille. Cesar Santin had scored in the 38th minute for the Danish club. Lille on the other hand havent won their last two fixtures in the domestic league as last weekend’s match against Nice ended 2-2. This weekend though, they will will host big spenders PSG. Lille will rely on Saloman Kalou, Marvin Martin and Dimitri Payet if they are to qualify for the Champions League Group stage.

Spain 0 Japan 1 : Spain Suffer Defeat In Their Opening Match

Spain started their Olympic Football campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Japan at Hampden Park.

sp jp

The second game of the Group D saw much fancied Spain take on Asian giants Japan. But La Roja were not able to live up to the expectations as Yuki Otsu’s slide from the corner in the 34th minute proved the difference between the two sides.

Japan pressed hard, denied Spain the space  and were also brilliant in their counter attacking display.

This is Japan’s first ever triumph over Spain at any level.

Spain’s Iñigo Martínez was shown a straight red in the first half after he fouled Nagai who was through on goal.

In the opening encounter of the group Honduras and Morocco played out a 2-2 draw.

Barrada gave Morocco the lead but Bengston pulled two goal to keep Honduras ahead until Labyad equalized in the 67th minute.

In group B the match between Mexico and South Korea in a goal less draw.

Remaining Fixtures for today:

Group A

U.A.E vs Uruguay

Great Britain vs Senegal

Group B

Gabon vs Switzerland

Group C

Belarus vs New Zealand

Brazil vs Egypt

Ten Footballers To Watch At London 2012

The opening ceremony of the London Olympics will take place on Friday the 27th. But the football events kicks off a day earlier with 16 nations in action. We keep you guys updated on the information, results, statistics and latest football news of London 2012.

We start our package by taking a look at the ten footballers worth watching in London Olympics. But first let’s see which team are in which group.

Group A : Great Britain Senegal U.A.E. Uruguay

Group B : Mexico South Korea Gabon Switzerland

Group C : Brazil Belarus New Zealand Egypt

Group D : Spain Honduras Morocco Japan

Looking at the groups there will not be any difficulties for Brazil, Spain and Mexico to advance to the next round. Hosts Great Britain and Uruguay are the favorites to go through from Group A although Senegal are a decent side.

Neymar, 20 Brazil, Santos

Undoubtedly a key player for Brazil he has got plenty of talent. Blessed with amazing speed, explosive dribbling, great control and excellent finishing, the wonderkid has attracted a lot of interest from the top clubs in Europe with his value around 26 million pounds.

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Club : 186 games 110 goals 37 assists

Country : 18 games 9 goals

Oscar, 20, Brazil, Internacional

The midfielder has been given NO. 10 shirt by the coach and is expected to show some great deep lying play making ability as that of Andrea Pirlo or Luka Modric. But he can play in an advanced attacking role too from where he can provide breathtaking passes as well as find the back of the net.

oscar

Linked with Chelsea all summer and very close to signing for them for 25 million pounds, this Sao Paulo product will be an interesting prospect especially for the Blues fans.

Lucas Moura, 19, Brazil, Sao Paulo

Already 15 international games under his belt, this boy has got almost everything you would want to have in a future superstar. He is powerful and he can take on the defenders and has excellent dribbling ability which is what Sir Alex wants to add in his fading central midfield. A bit selfish at times, his favorite position would be the right wing or behind the main striker.

The Manchester United target is valued at 30 million pounds and is close to joining the Red Devils.

Iker Muniain, 19, Spain, Athletic Bilbao

He was instrumental in Athletic Bilbao’s brilliant 2011-12 campaign where he inspired his club to the finals of two cup competitions.

Can play as a winger or in the middle, Muniain is set to play a major role in Spain’s Olympic side.

Gaston Ramirez, 20, Uruguay, Bologna

He is a goal creator as well as a player with great eye for the goal. He can create havoc in the opposition midfield along with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. He is a treat to watch because of his excellent ball control and technique.

This eight goal Bologna talent may move to one of the big clubs in the summer.

Adel Taarabt, 23, Morocco, QPR

He is no new to the followers of English Premier League. The QPR winger was not very impressive last season but is expected to provide flair to the Morocco side.

Joe Allen, 22, England, Swansea

Impressed many with his ball possession and a very composed playing style. He has earned praised from many during last season with Swansea but is heavily linked to join his former boss at Liverpool.

Javier Aquino, 22, Mexico, Cruz Azul

He is an unheard talent but Mexico is fully confident he can inspire his side to the next round.

Winger by trade, blessed with electric pace and a fantastic left foot.

Tom Cleverly, 23, Great Britain, Manchester United

He is set to be an important member of the Great Britain Olympic squad.

The attacking midfielder impressed many Premier league fans before damaging his ligament in September.

Ki Sung Yueng, 23, South Korea, Celtic

With 45 international caps for his country this midfield general is certain household name in the future after he has attracted interests from top clubs in Europe.

ki sung yeung

Compared with Steven Gerrard, Ki Sung Yueng has greating passing ranges and will be a key component in South Korean squad.

Notable Mentions :

Other players who can be a hit in the London 2012 Football are

Thiago Alacantra, Ryo Miyaichi, Javier Hernandez, Ganso, Christian Tello and Damioao

Aroundsoccer News Roundup Top Stories : Filippo Inzaghi Becomes Coach

Here are the top 5 football news of the day.

Filippo Inzaghi Becomes Coach

Former AC Milan player Filippo Inzaghi is set to retire from football and start a coaching job at the club’s youth academy.

inzaghi 300

38 year old Italy Striker had quit Rossoneri last season and was linked with a move to Reading and Watford.

He played 202 games for Milan scoring 73 goals and won 2 Serie A (2003-04, 2010-11) titles, 1 Coppa Italia and 2 UEFA Champions League (2002-03, 2006-07). The former Juventus striker was a member of World Cup winning Italy squad in 2006.

Pippo, who also spent seasons with Parma(1995–6), Atalanta (1996-97) and Juventus (1997-01), will be the coach of Allievi Nazionali, a youth academy section of AC Milan.

Rafael Suffers Injury

Brazil will be without their goalkeeper Rafael in the London Olympic after he injured his right elbow in the collision with a practice dummy during training.

The Santos stopper, 22, was the first choice in the Brazil squad.

Santi Coming To Arsenal ?

Arsenal edge very close to signing Spain winger Santi Cozorla according to the reports.

santi cazorla arsenal

The sources say that club has agreed the terms with Malaga who he joined last season from Villarreal. The 27 year old will cost Gunners 15.6 million pounds. He can play in different attacking positions across the midfield.

Another good news for Arsenal fans ! Laurent Koscielny has agreed a new long-term contract at the club. Arsenal, in its statement has said the 26 year old France defender has agreed a new long term contract. He signed for the Gunners in July 2010 and made 85 appearances in two seasons in all competitions.

Staying with Arsenal, 20 year old midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has been charged by the Football Association with improper conduct following a recent Twitter post. The FA statement says, "Arsenal’s Emmanuel Frimpong has been charged under FA Rule E3 for improper conduct in relation to recent comments made on Twitter.

"The allegation is that Frimpong posted comments amounting to improper conduct and/or which brought the game into disrepute, which included a reference to ethnic origin, faith or race.

"The player has until 4pm on 27 July 2012 to respond to the charge.”

Bayern Demolishes Beijing Guoan, Arsenal Scored Late Winner

Bayern Munich thrashed Beijing Guoan in a friendly match this evening. Claudio Pizarro scored twice while Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gomez each got one.

Similarly in another friendly match in east Asia, Arsenal scored two late goals to beat Malaysian XI 2-1. Azmi Muslim gave Malaysian XI the lead with a stunner in the first half but Thomas Eisfeld got the equalizer in the 87th. Chuks Aneke then scored with deflected strike from the edge of the box in the 89th minute.

Barcelona is playing Hamburg and are leading 2-1 as the game reaches 80th minute.

£31m And Axel Is Yours

Axel Witsel, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United has been valued at £31m by his club Benfica.

The Belgian Midfielder joined Lisbon club for £5.4m from Standard Liege in 2011.

Club president Luis Filipe Vieira said "Every club knows what his release clause is. If they come here and pay that fee, then there is nothing that we can do.

"We are very happy with Witsel and we do not think about selling him."

TODAY’S FOOTBALL ROUNDUP

Here are today’s top five football news across the globe.

Great Start To The Job

Didier Drogba started his life at China by setting up a goal in a 1-1 draw against Guangzhou R&F.

drogba shanghai senhua

His debut for Shanghai Shenhua in Chinese Super League became a memorable one as Ivory Coast striker came off the bench and provided a brilliant through pass to Cao Yunding who made no mistake and gave his side an equalizer.

The former Chelsea striker is reported to earn a 200,000 pound every week.

“Cavani costs 78 million pound”

Chelsea target Edinson Cavani is worth £78m, according to Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis. The 25 year old six feet two inch Uruguay striker has become a sought after player as he scored 33 goals in 47 games for the Italian side last season.

edinson cavani napoli

‘Cavani is not for sale, but we could let him go for €100m (£78m),’ he told Sky Sport Italia. ‘’This is not his actual value, but his value to me and he won’t leave for less.’’

No Match for Lionel Messi

Argentina football great Diego Maradona has said Lionel Messi will never be overthrown by Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Cristiano Ronaldo will never be of Messi’s level. Lionel doesn’t need Cristiano Ronaldo’s powerful shot. Messi just dribbles towards the goal with the ball at his feet," Maradona stated to TVR.

Lionel Messi scored an incredible 73 goals in 60 appearances for Barcelona last season while his Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo netted 60 goals in 50 games.

"When Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or he told Messi ‘No more second places’. Now silver is the best he can achieve."

Sir Alex Defends Glazers

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has voiced his support over club’s owners saying they have been great.

“They have always backed me whenever I have asked them. I have never faced any opposition. They have always been as sensible as they can be in terms of financing the club. They have to invest in the team to maintain the value of their asset.

Glazers are into their 7th years as the owner of 19 time English Champions but are not popular among majority United fans who have critisized the club’s transfer policy.

“When the Glazers took over here there was dissatisfaction, so there have always been pockets of supporters who have their views. But I think the majority of real fans will look at it realistically and say it’s not affecting the team.

"Just look at what they are spending on the training ground," he said. "It’s going to be marvelous with a new sports science and medical centre, outdoor astro-turf pitches, a new viewing gallery and a groundsmen’s work base.

Hodgson Feeling Media Pressure

Roy Hodgson has said he is finding it difficult to face the media attention after being appointed as England Football manager.

"I don’t know how much I enjoy it. I enjoy the job of being the England national team manager and I accept the things that go with that. I certainly don’t seek out the cameras but I know they’re going to follow me and I have to learn to live with it. I’m sure I will get caught out on many occasions doing something I shouldn’t!"

He was not interested in commenting over David Beckham’s exclusion from Great Britain Olympics squad.

"Stuart (Pearce) was given the autonomy to select his team, it was his decision that David would not be a part of it and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to be involved in any comments towards that.

"I’m sure the decision has been debated pretty thoroughly but I’ve not been a part of it."

Official Ball For Champions League and Europa League Unvelied

Here is the picture of Official Ball For the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for season 2012-2013.

official ball uefa champions league 2012-13 europa league 2012-13

The Champions League Ball looks really great in its new design. It has 70% polyurethane / 30% polyester leather and costs around $135.

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