Live TV Footy – Are we being entertained?

With the cost we are being asked to pay to watch football on TV these days I think it’s fair to say we expect a good level of entertainment for our hard earned £.

Watching the bore fest of Liverpool v Man Utd got me thinking…Just what are we paying to watch?

united-fan-sleeping

For anyone not a nerd like as myself, the players on show were bought by the North West giants for a combined total of £449M!!

They managed 5 shots on target and a passing averages equivalent of a part time side. Yes there will be the odd 3-3 or as the past weekend has shown a rare 5-4 but on the whole do we feel like we have enjoyed those 90+ minutes with the 0-0’s or “tactical” 2-1’s.

Sky and BT Sport are battling between themselves for supremacy. Major meetings take place to discuss who gets what game and at what time it will be played, bear in mind this is catered for the TV audience and not the fans travelling to the games (another story for another day). The 3 main leagues shown by the TV companies mentioned are The Barclays Premier League, La Liga and the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership.

I’m sure if I asked most to name the most “entertaining” the BPL would be the easiest and possibly most argued for answer. So is this correct?

Below is a basic breakdown of games shown, goals scored, shots on target and red cards dished out. I believe the latter 3 are the key to basic entertainment for the neutral TV viewer.

Premier League Total
Games Goals Shots On Target Red Cards
93 238 894 11
Average 2.5 Goals PG 9.6 Shots PG Every 8.4 Games
SPL Total
Games Goals Shots On Target Red Cards
27 80 248 7
Average 2.9 Goals PG 9.1 Shots PG Every 3.8 Games
La Liga Total
Games Goals Shots On Target Red Cards
141 485 1231 44
Average 3.4 Goals PG 8.7 Shots PG Every 3.2 Games
  • The Premier League gives us the lowest goals to game ratio
  • However does provide us with the most attempts on target
  • La Liga loves a red card with one being shown nearly every 3 games
  • The Spanish game provides us with nearly an additional 1 goal per game and before you ask….Barca & Real have featured in only 20% of the games shown
  • The Scottish Premiership performs very well in comparison, despite being considered “poor standard” by most

Sam-Nicholson-Hearts

So I urge football fans to shun the Swansea v Watford’s of this world and cast your eye to Partick Thistle, Eibar, Hearts and Getafe.

You may be pleasantly surprised in the quality you watch, entertainment it provides and potentially learn a bit more about other countries leagues to impress your mates with down the pub.

Happy watching!

Manchester United fans image sourced from; www.talkingbaws.co.uk
Hearts image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football

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Half Term Reports – Who’s excelling and who’s failing to make the grade!

In this edition we take a look through the leagues and give opinion on how certain teams are performing

Is your club an A+, a passing C, must try harder D or a failing F?

Premier League

It is arguably one of the most interesting years we have seen for a while. Everything is still to play for, no run away leaders, no guarantee of the usual top 4, the reigning champions are in a relegation battle!

Something can literally be said about every club in the league in regards to money spent, players available and current positions held.

It’s fair to say that Leicester are the main surprise package this season having continued the fantastic run from last season that saw them escape relegation.

Other observations such as Spurs could finally make the top 4 having been threatening for the past few years, Palace & West Ham have moved onto a new level under Pardew & Bilic respectively whilst Watford are holding their own at the top table.

Stoke-City-2015-20116-Season

A+ =Leicester City – 2nd in the league and done it in style

C = Stoke City – Signing Champions League winners and progressing well

D = Chelsea – The champions are struggling, moody players and conceding for fun this season

F = Aston Villa – £45M spent in the summer and 10 points adrift, going down

Championship

Still one of the most competitive leagues in Europe is the SkyBet Championship.

I’d  suggest that the current top 4 (M’Boro, Derby, Hull & Burnley) will remain the top 4, with the just the finishing order to be decided. That only leaves 2 play off sports available for number of teams to try and sneak into.

Some “big” names still linger in this league. Wednesday, Forest and Leeds have all been away from the top for too long and harbour play off ambitions again this year.

Bolton have serious problems both on and off the field and rightly find themselves bottom, Charlton change managers as often as the weather and that does nothing for them and MK Dons along with Bristol City are struggling to adapt to the step up in league.

A+ =Middlesborough – Top of the tree and deserve promotion after last year’s playoff final defeat

C = Birmingham – 8th place and Rowett getting a tune from a mediocre squad

D = QPR – 11pts off the play offs and Hasselbaink struggling to settle

F = Charlton – Downward spiral ever since Curbishley left and look destined for League 1

League 1

I’ve always seen League 1 as a “half way league”

You’re not quite in the championship and you want to be as far away from League 2 as possible.

It also contains 5 ex Premier League teams and 2 are featured below.

Wigan have slid down to the 3rd tier since finally succumbing to relegation having miraculously escaped year after year, Gary Caldwell has the club back on the up in his 1st managerial position.

Oldham are in trouble of becoming the lowest ranked team in the Manchester area, having been in the original Premier League season. Bury and Rochdale have now overtaken them as they stare relegation to League 2 in the face.

A+ = Walsall – One of the smallest budgets in the game, lost their manager and still 2nd

C = Wigan – Gary Caldwell has steadied a sinking ship, play offs a minimum must though

D = Bradford – 10th place for the cup heroes, league is more important than some of their exploits

F = Oldham – 3rd different manager this season and only 3 wins to their name

oldham-atheletic-stadium

League 2

The FA Cup 3rd round served its main purpose and showed us that there are some good teams, players and managers down there.

Wycome & Exeter held Villa & Liverpool respectively whilst Oxford and Kemar Roofe despatched Swansea.

Add into these teams Northampton, Portsmouth, Wimbledon and you have a good competitive league that doesn’t get enough coverage.

A+ =Northampton – Plenty of trouble off the pitch with money, joint top after a great run

C = Oxford – Aiming for automatic promotion with a big budget in the league, looked good in the cup

D = Luton – Too big a name to be in the bottom half, sacked John Still achieving little effect

F = Notts County – One of the world’s oldest clubs in danger of slipping out of the leagues

SPFL

Looks like it’s going to be one of the closest SPL’s in years with Aberdeen and Hearts just behind Champions elect Celtic.

The remaining West Coast teams (Kilmarnock, Hamilton, Partick & Motherwell) are occupying the bottom 6 and are accompanied by a poor Dundee United team with only 2 wins all season.

Ross County and St Johnstone are defying odds with small budgets and Dundee are still moving in the right direction under Paul Hartley’s guidance.

A+ = Hearts – Kicked on from last season’s title win, certainties for top 3

C = Ross County – McIntyre has turned relegation candidates into top 6 material

D = Celtic – Should be far clear at the top due to decimating their rivals, Delia is not the man

F = Dundee United – 10pts from 21 games, bottom spot more than deserved

Scottish Championship

This is the season that most have been waiting for, Rangers are coming back to the top flight. This time it will be automatic and they won’t have to try via the Play Offs.

Falkirk & Hibs are trying to keep pace and are currently doing well but they will slip further behind as the weeks go by. Peter Houston has done incredibly at the imaginatively named Falkirk Stadium. Last year’s Scottish Cup Final appearance is proving no fluke as they sit 2nd.

St Mirren in contrast have struggled and are looking at a long stay in the 2nd tier.

Peter-Houston-Falkirk-Manager

A+ = Falkirk – 2nd place above Hibs and also outscoring the Edinburgh giants

C = Rangers –  16 Wins and at the top where they should be, struggle where they shouldn’t at times

D = Hibs – Should really be performing better with the players available

F = St Mirren – Disappointing since relegation and already had a change of management, 18pts so far

What grade do you think your club is currently at?

Stoke City image sourced from; www.thetelegraph.co.uk/sport/football
Oldham Athletic image sourced from; www.azurecatering.co.uk/venues/oldham-athletic
Peter Houston image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/sport

The January Transfer Window – Who Needs What?

The festive season has come and gone, we’ve eaten and drank our weight multiple times over and December coming to an end means one thing…..the January transfer window is now OPEN!

So with that in mind, we are going to take a look at teams from various leagues and in various predicaments.

transfer-centre-transfer-window-generic

We are going to summarise what they need and who they need to hold onto in order to prolong, challenge for honours or in some cases save their 2015-16 season.

Man Utd
Where to start with the world famous Red Devils?!

LVG has already spent over £250Mil and achieved no more than the sacked Scot David Moyes. I would question the Old Trafford’s board decision to give him much more money, but they do need at least 1 position filled.

The post Fergie era has been slightly worse than expected but transition was inevitable, Champions League qualification is the minimum but even that is in danger.

Cole, Yorke, Sheringham, Van Nistelrooy….where is United’s lethal feared finisher?

What do they need -A proven striker is a must, Higuain or Zlatan could be achievable.

Higuain-Image

Aberdeen
There may well just be a sustained title challenge to Celtic this year.

Aberdeen will stutter and drop points that the Glasgow giants won’t, however we are in January and they are only 3 points behind.

Derek McInnes will be a wanted man come the end of the season for sure so this could be a big few months for the former Rangers man.

They are too reliant on a couple of players (like most SPL clubs) but need to add a touch more quality to pull away from the rest and closer to the top.

What do they need – A back up striker to take the pressure from Adam Rooney.
Who can’t they afford to lose – Niall McGinn.

Sheff Wed
One of the “big” clubs still plying their trade in the 2nd tier, this season however is looking different for the Owls.

Currently one place outside the play offs they have a real chance of being in the end of season shake up to return to the bright lights of the Premier League.

Carlos Carvalhal’s men are strong in certain areas of the park but are missing a bit of squad depth for the final few weeks of the season.

They could do with adding 3-4 players, if they can find the right ones to add to the underappreciated players they currently have in the side.

Ashley Westwood, Michael Turner, Sam Hutchinson & Fernando Forestieri provide a fantastic spine for a team at this level.

What do they need – A creative / goalscoring midfielder such as Alan Judge at Brentford.
– A winger to provide needed width
– Centre half cover

Sunderland

The Black Cats are more than likely in a “sell before you buy” situation.

They have a lot of squad players picking up good money who have been purchased by many previous bosses. This is a club who pays Patrick Van Aanholt to play football!

Looking at the players available Sunderland do have a decent Premier League forward line. Defoe, Fletcher and Borini should score enough to win the club points when they are needed. It’s the other areas of the pitch that are the problem.

I can see the likes of Danny Graham, Adam Matthews and Will Buckley heading for the exit door.

One thing is for sure though, Big Sam will bring in trusted and experienced players in order to help beat the drop.

What do they need – A good centre half (O’Shea, Brown,Coates and Kaboul provide poor options)
– Full back cover left and right
-A winger to put the ball in the box

Who can’t they afford to lose – Jermain Defoe for goals and Lee Cattermole due to suspension!

James Tomkins is someone Big Sam would trust and could sign.James-Tomkins

Coventry City

Finally the Sky Blues appear to be on the right track back up the leagues. After being relegated to League One in 2012 they have a serious chance of promotion back to the Championship, a level at which a club of this stature should be operating.

Tony Mowbray has done a great job since taking over in March 2015, Keeping them up before taking them into the play off places.

Youth mixed with experience is a great balance at this level and they have that in abundance at the Ricoh Arena.

What do they need – A striker to share the responsibility with Adam Armstrong
– A permanent deal for Joe Cole, amazing player to have in the dressing room

Who can’t they afford to lose – Adam Armstrong, 16 goals in 22 games speaks for itself

Cases could have been made for Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Crewe Alexandra and Dundee United however I’m afraid all of your seasons look to be beyond salvation.

Whatever happens we are sure to see records broken, last minute deals and panic buys between now and 11pm on February 1st.

We all love it really.

Transfer Window Image Sourced From; www.skysports.com
Higuain & Ibrahimovic Image Sourced From; www.gettyimages.com
James Tomkins Image Sourced From; www.express.co.uk/sport