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3 Italian Clubs Ready To Fight For European Glory Again

Published August 5, 2014 by gossipzoo

Marek Hamsik1

For some years now, Italian football has been in the wilderness. Despite Inter Milan being crowned champions of Europe in 2010, Italian clubs have struggled to make their mark in Europe’s premier club competition.

Such has been their demise on the European stage that Serie A has lost one of its 4 places in the competition, with now only 2 sides qualifying automatically and the other having to navigate the tricky qualifying round.

However, match day 1 of the Champions League showed us that Italian football is slowly on the rise again. Napoli and AC Milan picked up opening day wins, while Juventus were held to a draw by the resilient Copenhagen.

The results will no doubt fill Serie A fans with a renewed sense of optimism going into this year’s Champions League, something which has been lacking in previous seasons.

In this feature WhatCulture takes a look at Serie A’s 3 European clubs and assess what we can expect from them in this season’s Champions League.

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Man City vs Man Utd: Why Yaya Toure Is A Key Player In Derby

Published August 3, 2014 by gossipzoo

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

Manchester City’s box-to-box midfielder Yaya Toure is widely regarded as one of the side’s most influential players since signing from Catalan giants Barcelona in 2010.

Often known for his rampaging runs through midfield and his casual swagger style of play, Toure has risen to star status during his time in the Premier League. He’s been utilised largely in two positions for the Citizens – as a holding midfielder or a central midfielder given license to roam up the pitch.

This season has once again seen him playing a relinquished role in midfield, positioned in front of the defence as protection. New manager Manuel Pellegrini has used the 30-year old to break up the attacks and move the ball on in a swift fashion, or to set up counter attacks – dribbling the ball out of midfield at a minimum.

When title rivals Manchester United come to town this weekend, the Ivory Coast international will be a key player for the hosts. Yaya Toure has boasted high ball-retention stats early on this season – a 90.8% pass completion, while making an average of 86.8 passes per league game.

Manchester United duo Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney will have been targeted as the two biggest creative threats to the side, and the pair will need to be kept from picking out passes in the final third whenever possible.

As Rooney can often drop very deep to receive the ball, the job to stop both him and Carrick from playing will be on Yaya Toure, and should he collect the ball after making a challenge or interception, he’ll then be required to launch a counter-attack or to simply play it to an available teammate close-by.

Toure could be a pivotal player for Manchester City this weekend, and he could well be the one who decides which sides come out the victors in the pending clash.

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Ukraine vs England – 5 Key Battles

Published July 21, 2014 by gossipzoo


Tonight, the nation will hold its collective breath as England take on Ukraine in Kiev.

The crunch Group H World Cup qualifier will likely have a deciding say on which side tops the table and makes it through to next summer’s tournament in Brazil.

Both sides go into this encounter in varying moods.

England, despite rolling over Moldova in a 4-0 win at Wembley Stadium last week, had their feelings tempered by the suspension to Danny Welbeck and injury to Daniel Sturridge.

Ukraine meanwhile are flying having battered shoddy San Marino in a thumping 9-0 win, a national record for the Yellow-Blues.

They also have the home advantage and the knowledge that they held tonight’s opponents to a shock 1-1 draw in their own stadium almost a year ago to the day.

Then, Frank Lampard rescued the Lions with an 87th minute penalty, and, with the Chelsea veteran set to make his 100th cap tonight, will he be similarly influential over proceedings?

As with any game, this one will be decided in certain key areas and here, we take a look at the 5 Key Battles that could decide the outcome of this fixture.

Click “Next” to begin.

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Serie A Round-Up: Matchday 2

Published July 6, 2014 by gossipzoo

Napoli 4 2 Chievo

After a thrilling start to Serie A last weekend, the action continued in similar fashion as goals were scored all across the league. 11 goals were scored in the 2 matches on Saturday and there were no goalless draws in the entire weekend.

Napoli picked up their second consecutive victory with a 4-2 win at Chievo. Hamsik gave the visitors the lead but Paloschi equalised 10 minutes later. Callejon put Napoli ahead again but Paloschi scored his second of the game to send the sides into the interval on level terms. In the second-half, Hamsik got his second of the game to restore Napoli’s lead before Gonzalo Higuain scored his first Serie A goal to secure the points.

Also on Saturday, Juventus continued their 100% start with a 4-1 victory against Lazio. Vidal fired Juventus into a 2 goal lead with a brace before Miroslav Klose pulled one back for Lazio. Vucinic restored Juve’s advantage 4 minutes after the interval and 10 minutes from time Carlos Tevez was on target to score his first goal for the side from Turin.

Roma rose to the top of Serie A with a 3-0 victory against Verona. An own-goal from Cacciatore gave Roma the lead and Pjanic extended the advantage with a delightful long-range chip. Ljajic made it 3 after 66 minutes with his strike from range.

AC Milan achieved their first win of the season with a 3-1 victory at the San Siro against Cagliari. Robinho gave the hosts an early lead and Mexes put Milan 2-0 up on the half hour mark. Sau pulled one back for Cagliari before half-time but in the second-half Mario Balotelli ensured that there would be no surprises when he restored AC Milan’s 2 goal lead.

Inter Milan got their second successive win with a 3-0 victory away against Catania. Palacio gave Inter the lead after 19 minutes and it was the difference at half-time. After the interval, goals from Nagatomo and Alvarez meant that the 3 points travelled back to Milan.

Genoa lost 5-2 at home to Fiorentina, ensuring the home side lost their second match on the trot and the visitors won to maintain their 100% record this season. Aquilani gave Fiorentina the lead after just 10 minutes and 4 minutes later Rossi doubled the visitors advantage. Mario Gomez scored to send the sides into half-time with a 3 goal difference but after the interval Gilardino reduced the deficit. It wasn’t for long though as just a minute later Rossi struck with his second of the game. Lodi scored from the penalty spot to pull one back for the hosts but Mario Gomez scored his second of the game from the penalty spot in the 90th minute.

Udinese secured their first win of the season with a 3-1 victory against Parma. Agyemang-Badu put the hosts ahead after 11 minutes and that single goal was the difference at half-time. With 18 minutes remaining, Heurtaux doubled Udinese’s advantage but 10 minutes later Cassano pulled Parma back into the game. Muriel scored a late penalty to ensure there would be no comeback.

Elsewhere, goals from Stendardo and Lucchini gave Atalanta a 2-0 victory against Torino and Livorno won 4-1 away against Sassuolo. Greco and Paulinho were on target for Livorno while Emeghara secured a brace. Zaza scored for Sassuolo.

In the other match in Serie A, Bologna drew 2-2 with Sampdoria. Eder gave Sampdoria the lead but Moscardelli equalised before half-time. Kone then gave Bologna the lead after the interval but 19 minutes from time Gabbiadini scored to ensure the points would have to be shared this time around.

The post Serie A Round-Up: Matchday 2 appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Man Utd Transfers: 7 Deals To Save David Moyes’ Disastrous Window

Published July 5, 2014 by gossipzoo

Leighton Baines 2

Manchester United have not enjoyed the best transfer window so far: they have been forced to concede defeat on a number of high profile targets, including Gareth Bale who was finally unveiled as a Real Madrid player today, to the collected hysteria of his new fans.

United might face problems if they are to ramp up their activity today, ahead of tonight’s 11pm deadline, especially with an underwhelming start to the season, and the continued problem of the perceived difficulty of competing with London clubs, but United fans have urged their new manager to show more ambition and make a marquee signing.

What is clear, despite those potential obstacles, is that David Moyes needs a big transfer window to appease those fans, who have seen all of their major rivals improving squads, and who were not universally enamoured by his appointment. One high-profile fan has offered his own opinion on what Moyes needs to do today, with a creative midfielder at the top of the bill:

It’s important to remember that United have form of making big signings on the last day of the window, with both Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov signing for big money in the last hours. So fans perhaps shouldn’t write off their club just yet.

Honourable Mention

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

It seems that long-term rivals Arsenal are about to complete a deal to bring in German international Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, after the Spanish side signed long-term United target Gareth Bale, but with reports emerging that United made an enquiry for the German, it seems the Champions might have missed a major opportunity.

Though United sources have subsequently denied those reports, that still begs the question of why United were not in the running for Ozil, who would represent a huge boost to Moyes’ squad. If the side want to express their ambitions, to allay fan fears that they will be left behind, Ozil would have been the perfect option, and they could have scored the extra bonus of pushing Arsene Wenger’s nose out of joint in the process.

The post Man Utd Transfers: 7 Deals To Save David Moyes’ Disastrous Window appeared first on WhatCulture!.

10 Premier League Players Who Should Not Be At Premier League Clubs

Published June 20, 2014 by gossipzoo

Simon Dawkins

The Premier League: Arguably the most competitive and highest standard of domestic club football on the planet.

Over the years, some of the world’s best players have graced the competition – Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Ryan Giggs, Dennis Bergkamp, Rio Ferdinand, Jurgen Klinsmann, Gareth Bale, David Ginola and Didier Drogba to name but a few.

But there have also been some absolute turkeys.

Who can forget Ali Dia – the Senegalese footballer who had previously only ever played non-league football in England, as well as around Europe for a series of poor teams – the man who convinced the then Southampton boss Graham Souness that he was George Weah over the phone. ‘George’ told Souness to sign ‘his cousin’, Dia and, without even checking up on him, Souness signed him and brought him on as a substitute against Leeds United, but he was substituted himself 20 minutes later with Saints legend Matt Le Tissier saying “he ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice; it was very embarrassing to watch.”

This emphasises, in an extreme sense, that bad players do make their way to the Premier League – and there are plenty still there now.

Here are ten Premier League players who simply should not be at Premier League clubs…

The post 10 Premier League Players Who Should Not Be At Premier League Clubs appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Everton Transfer News: Predicting Roberto Martinez’s 5 August Signings

Published May 23, 2014 by gossipzoo


New Everton manager Roberto Martinez faces a stern task as he prepares to step into the shoes of the departed David Moyes this season.

The former Wigan boss has an army of critics to prove wrong and a terrace full of fans to win over as he begins in his new role at Goodison Park.

The Spaniard has already made four summer signings having brought in three of his former players from the DW – Arouna Kone, Joel Robles and Antolin Alcaraz – along with Barcelona youngster Gerard Deulofeu on loan.

But these purchases haven’t pleased everyone with Dan Ripley of the Daily Mail claiming the signings make the Toffee’s “look more like relegated Latics than top four hopefuls”.

A harsh assertion perhaps but then maybe he has a point.

Martinez has much to prove at Goodison Park.

Yes, he won the FA Cup in May, but he also got Wigan relegated.

By bringing in three players who were part of that doomed squad, are Everton really headed in the right direction?

Perhaps if Martinez made a few more signings this summer, his critics would be a lot less scornful in their analysis of the Merseyside outfit’s chances this season.

Here, we try to Predict Roberto Martinez’s 5 August Signings.

The post Everton Transfer News: Predicting Roberto Martinez’s 5 August Signings appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Man Utd Transfers: 5 Players David Moyes Needs To Sign To Keep Up With City

Published May 8, 2014 by gossipzoo

David Moyes

This summer, Manchester United fans have had to sit by helplessly and watch the Blue half of the city do all the spending.

So far, City have signed four players, Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic, for a combined fee of 90 million.

Meanwhile, the only piece of transfer business new United manager David Moyes has completed so far is the acquisition of Uruguayan full-back Guillermo Varela, who’s probably going out on loan.

It’s not as though Moyes hasn’t tried to strengthen the Premier League champions with new signings this summer, let’s be fair.

The ex-Everton man has seen bids for left-back Leighton Baines and midfielder Cesc Fabregas rejected in recent weeks, while others targets, such as youngsters James Rodriguez and Thiago Alcantara, opted to ply their trade elsewhere.

Ever since City’s takeover in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi United Group, bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour, being outspent in transfer windows by their rivals has been the norm for United fans.

Yet there is still a feeling as though the Red Devils are being left behind by their enemies.

While City have strengthened in key areas this summer, United are yet to address their deficiencies, which could prove vital in the title race.

Here, we take a look at 5 Players David Moyes Needs To Sign To Keep Up With City.

Click “Next” to begin.

The post Man Utd Transfers: 5 Players David Moyes Needs To Sign To Keep Up With City appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Man Utd: 5 Things We’ve Learned From Their New Year Slump

Published March 11, 2014 by gossipzoo

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

You have to go back to May 2001 to find the last time Manchester United lost three matches in a row. At that stage they had already wrapped up yet another Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fast forward the best part of 13 years and the Red Devils find themselves in quite a different situation with David Moyes at the helm. United had looked equal to the task of a demanding festive fixture programme after winning six in a row after an early December wobble.

To his credit Moyes has made relatively plain sailing of his first proper crack at the Champions League as a manager, but the Old Trafford faithful are used to being a force in all competitions.

Victories ground out over West Ham, Hull and Norwich have been belied, however, by successive losses to Spurs, Swansea and Sunderland. The Red Devils are a dozen points off the pace in the title race. Moyes is also out of the FA Cup and progress to the League Cup final is in the balance.

What are the hallmarks of his nightmare start to 2014? More importantly, what can be done to reverse United’s fortunes? Here are five things we’ve learned about United because of their New Year slump.

The post Man Utd: 5 Things We’ve Learned From Their New Year Slump appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Sunderland Transfers: 5 Recent Players Black Cats Should Not Have Sold

Published January 27, 2014 by gossipzoo

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

It’s safe to say that Sunderland are struggling.

Even though results have been somewhat positive recently and their home form has improved dramatically with wins over Newcastle United, Manchester City and Southampton (that one in the League Cup), they still sit second from bottom in the table. For the Black Cat fanatics, they just seem to stutter from season to season and to the fans, it is massively frustrating.

Some say it will be the constant stream of managers, others will say it’s the tactics. However some of the blame may go towards those who have been shown the door over the last couple of seasons. Both members of the youth team and senior squad showed glimpses of ability and talent, but in the end, they were either forgotten about or left for the bigger clubs to pry them away from Wearside.

The players that make an immediate impacts are the ones the fans take to very quickly, Lorik Cana, is an example and was one of my personal favourites. His tackles and leadership qualities were exactly what Sunderland craved for, but sadly his form plummeted and was sold in the summer.

There are a few names that may spark debates – so with out further or do, let’s look at the five players that Sunderland should NOT have sold over the last few seasons.

The post Sunderland Transfers: 5 Recent Players Black Cats Should Not Have Sold appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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