Football

Holland College Coasts Past Tigers

 

(Photo Credit: Dalhousie Football Club)

By: Henry Whitfield

The League leading Holland College Hurricanes made short work of the Dalhousie Football club in their Atlantic Football League Semifinal on Saturday, beating last year’s second place team 38-7.

Three touchdown’s by Dave Clarke set the tone for the Hurricanes, pounding the running game up the middle with the Tigers unable to shutdown the run game.

Demetrius Ferguson ran a kick-off back and Jeff Hillier scored on a brilliant 60-yard reception on a pass from standout quarterback Nick Hunsley.

The Tigers lone touchdown came from Greg Pelly, who also had a touchdown called back early in the game on an offensive holding call.

In the other semi-final matchup, the UNB Red Bombers squeaked out a come from behind 23-22 win over the defending Champion UNB Saint John Sea Wolves. The Red Bombers won when Evan McAulay slipped in his own endzone, causing his team to concede a single point on the final play of the game.

The Hurricanes will face the UNB Red Bombers on Saturday at 1pm on MacAdam Field, with home field advantage going to Holland College. 

The Premier League Transfer Madness, Explained.

After a painfully slow start, Monday’s Premier League Transfer Deadline Day proved to the masses of football fans all over the world that English Football world has gone mad.

Here is the madness explained…

Aston Villa

US International Bradley on loan at Villa

 

The Villains made two transfers of note in this window, the first being the loan signing of USA midfielder Michael Bradley, an interesting signing and it will be interesting to see how he fits in at Villa.

He is a hard-working midfielder and I think he will compliment Villa’s other signing; the 24 million pound signing of Darren Bent from Sunderland. The second the Bent transfer
was announced people were talking of how crazy the deal was and that Bent isn’t worth that much and etc., however a goal on his debut against Man City which proved to be the winner says that was he was bought for, his undeniable goal scoring ability.

The only departure of note was new signing Stephen Ireland off to Newcastle, it has been well documented that he didn’t want to join Villa but rather than keep his head down he pouted and played poorly and has now found himself at Newcastle, maybe he’ll find his love for the game again.

Blackpool

Ian Holloway is most people’s man of the hour, his witty retorts and blunt opinions have brought something to the Premier League not seen since Jose Mourinho left for Italy, however the situation surrounding Charlie Adam brought into light Holloway’s resolve.

Following a number of bids from Villa and Birmingham, Liverpool made an offer and Adam in turn handed in a transfer request, however Holloway was unimpressed with Liverpool’s offer and he managed to keep his star player – just a day later, the Scott showed why he is so highly rated, putting in a man of the match effort against League Leaders Manchester United.

Holloway, then managed to add Adam Reid and James Beattie to his side on the final day of the window, signings which I believe will add to his already hard-working team and should keep them up if they play to their potential and recover their form.

Manchester City

27 Million Pound Man Dzeko excited to be at City

Only three changes at the blue half of Manchester this time round, with Strikers being the only players to move.

Out of favour Roque Santa-Cruz returned to Blackburn on loan and Emmanuel Adebayor headed overseas to Real Madrid.

Their big purchase was Edin Dzeko, brought in to replace the departed duo. Certainly an interesting move, Dzeko is a good player but so were Adebayor and Santa-Cruz, but the question will be how well he can adjust and he copes in the physical English league. If this edition works out, it appears Manchester City will be able to make a real push towards the top of the table.

Chelsea and Liverpool

I’ve grouped these two teams together because they managed to make transfer deadline day interesting.

With the revelation that Fernando Torres wanted to leave Liverpool after Chelsea had made a bid, it became apparent that he was joining the Blues and Liverpool needed to find a replacement, quickly.

Suarez took just 16 minutes to score on his LFC debut.

Their attentions turned to young Andy Carroll, the Newcastle striker and England international. After a day of drama it was announced that he would be joining fellow new signing Luis Suarez at Liverpool for a fee of 35 million pounds.

Crazy money in my opinion for an unproven striker, but a gamble Liverpool needed to make in order to replace the hole left by Torres, they do however finally have two good strikers with which to lead the line. Whether they can now turn Liverpool’s season around is going to be exciting over the next few months.

Chelsea meanwhile have a strike-force that is in transition, despite pairing Drogba and Torres up, their squad is on its last legs as its age begins to show with injuries to Lampard and Terry. The summer will be one of interesting developments, can Torres fire Chelsea to the top or will he be the lone star as the inevitable mass chop and change of the summer occurs.

As usual Arsenal and Manchester United sit quiet during the January transfer period.

The top two teams in the Premier League, happy with their squads and ready to fight to the end of the season.

One thing is for certain, an interesting end to the season lies ahead.

Tom Dobbyne throw’s his own spin on current sports affairs and offers satirical commentary on current events. Follow him @TomDobbyne or on Facebook as English Tom.

Dalhousie Football Team Grinds out a Win

The Tigers came up big in front of their home crowd

(Photo  Credit: Dalhousie Football Team)

By: Henry Whitfield

In front of a sold out home crowd at their first home coming in more than three decades, the Dalhousie Tigers football team improved to 3 – 2 on the season after a 17 – 8 win over the Moncton Junior Mustangs.

A pair of touchdowns and a 28-yard field goal provided the offense for the Tigers and pulled out a big win.

Bouncing back from a devastating loss to the Saint John Sea Wolves, the Tigers defence stood tall and forced seven turnovers, three of them interceptions.

Bryce Wade, defensive captain, returned from injury and delivered a number of devastating hits and added to his season tally with another interception.

On offence running back Greg Pelly ran for 131-yards on twelve carries and added 68 yards receiving, while contributing two touchdowns to the Tigers cause.

The Tigers hit the road for their final regular season game on November 6th, when they face the same Moncton Junior Mustangs. A win there would guarantee the Tigers second place and would mean the Tigers would host their first home playoff game in more than 34-years.

Henry Whitfield is a sports contributor to the Dalhousie Gazette and provides commentary on local sports in and around the HRM. You can follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield or on his blog, Sports With Henry.

England’s Goalkeeping Makeover

Flashback two months, David James was the England number one, with Robert Green and Paul Robinson seen as backups to the Portsmouth keeper.

Due to injury Green started the first match in place of an injured James, but had a gaffe that will make his career for decades, while Paul Robinson never got a shot at the big show.

James returned to injury and although he played well in his first two matches, he showed a lack of skill and very slow reflexes in the four to one drubbing by Germany.

With England playing Hungary on Wednesday, Fabio Capello has gone full

Joe Hart look's to be the future for English goalkeeping

circle on his goalkeeping selections and has named young Manchester City keeper Joe Hart as his starter. Meanwhile Scott Carson will be his backup and Ben Foster had been named as third choice.

Many will wonder that after a strong season with Birmingham, why didn’t Joe Hart get a shot at the World Cup? He will seemingly be the England goalkeeper for the next decade and the experience would have given him valuable insight into the pressures of playing in important matches.

Ben Foster has since pulled out due to injury problems and this prompted Capello to call up inexperienced Watford keeper Scott Loach and Blackburn reserve keeper Frankie Fielding.

Loach has become England’s U21 first choice after Hart made the move to the senior level and is seen as a possible replacement in years to come but has little experience at the top level.  While Fielding is a Blackburn player he has yet to play for the club at Senior level and has been on loan at various teams since 2007, his most recent stint with Rochdale where he made 17 appearances.

Fabio Capello promised a youth movement in the aftermath of a terrible World Cup and it seems the first changes will be at the back.

Community Shield Preview and Predos

Football is back!

Yes, the lower England football leagues kicked off this weekend and we have a few international tours to keep us busy, oh and that league they call the MLS was going on, but today the real football season starts.

The annual Community Shield pits defending league champions Chelsea against runner-up Manchester United. The one-point difference at the end of last season will still be fresh in both teams and the battle for dominance between the two powerhouses will ensure this matchup is as exciting as ever.

Last year Chelsea pipped United in penalties, but go into the match this year on the string of four pre-season losses and a run of injuries. Goalkeeper Petr Cech is out, along with defensive stalwarts Alex and Boswinga, while Didier Drogba will start on the bench.

Manchester United has its own set of injuries to worry about with Michael Carrick out for the start of the season and both Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney battling injuries last year, both strikers will play at least 45-minutes but Sir Alex Ferguson will rely heavily on his young stars to fill in the gaps.

Many of the players in today’s match will have much to prove after a dismal, disappointing, disastrous, absolutely horrible World Cup for England and an implosion of France, which leaves Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Florent Malouda, Nicholas Anelka and Wayne Rooney.

This season will be a testing one for Manchester United who have a squad filled with a combination of experience and youth, but time will tell if legends Paul Scholes, Edwin Van Der Sar and Ryan Giggs will contribute at the same level as before or if young stars Nani, Anderson, Smalling and new signing Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez will usher in a new era.

Match Predictions

Henry – Chelsea wins 3 – 2, with Malouda scoring and Drogba hitting the back of the net twice, while Wayne Rooney answers with a goal and sets up Hernandez for his first United goal.

Tom – Manchester United wins 2-1, while Javier Hernandez scores both for United.

A Look At The 2010/2011 Premier League Season

Previewing 2010/2011 Premier League Season

With Tom’s European preview in the books and the English Premier League just over a week away from kicking-off, it’s time to preview the season and throw some early predictions out there.

You can find @TomDobbyne’s Premier League predictions throughout the article as well, enjoy the read!

Transfers To Watch – This year’s transfer window has been quiet, but there were a few moves that should impact teams battling at the top:

–          David Silva, Man City (From Valencia, £24m) – Adds more creativity and experience

–          Joe Cole, Liverpool (From Chelsea, Free Transfer) – Will add a lot of pace to the midfield, and will be re-invigorated after being put back into a first team selection

–          Pablo Barrera, West Ham Utd (From UNAM Pumas, £4m) – The Mexican International played well in the World Cup and will be an influx of creativity for the mid-table side

–          Ramires, Chelsea (From Benfica, £18m) – The only key signing for Chelsea this summer and should balance the departure of J. Cole, Ballack and Deco earlier this summer.

Barrera Looks To Keep West Ham Up

Mangers In The Hot seatFinally, Benitez is out of England and wreaking havoc upon another league, but now we need another couple of managers to pick on:

Martin O'Neill Faces big pressure this season

–          Martin O’Neill, Aston Villa – The Villa manager has led his team to back-to-back sixth place finishes, however he increased their point total by just two last seasons. The pressure is on to get his team into the Promised Land of Champions League football.

–          Roberto Mancini, Man City – After the quick dismissal of Mark Hughes, Mancini was able to lead his team to a fifth place finish but the pressure is always on when your owners have unrealistic expectations

–          Chris Hughton, Newcastle – Now that Magpies are back into the Premier League, there will be no allowance for going back down, that being said look for Hughton to be the first to go if the team embarks  on a steady descent towards relegation.

The Relegation Battle – Last season saw Burnley, Hull City and in tatters Portsmouth drop down to the championship and saw Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool pop into the top flight, here’s who is pegged to go down:

–          Blackpool – The Tangerines were an outside bet to gain promotion and managed to shock pundits by sneaking in through the playoffs, but look to see them drop back down and there won’t be much Ian Holloway will be able to do to keep them up.

–          West Bromwich Albion – WBA is famous for coming up, only to drop back down and for every season since 2000, except 2004/2005 and 2006/2007, they have either been promoted or relegated from the top flight. It would be a pleasant surprise to see them stay up, but I’d expect to see them continue their usual trend.

–          Wigan Athletic – The Lactics had a goal difference of -42  at the end of last season, which was worse than all three teams relegated and without any additions in firepower the team looks destined for the drop.

Tom’s Predictions: Blackpool, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion

The Title Battle – A two horse race for much of the season, the final weekend saw Chelsea pip Manchester United by one point to win the English Premier League title on 87 points, while Arsenal finished third with 75 and Tottenham a distant fourth with 70 points.

–          1st, Chelsea Football Club – The defending champions are my favourites to repeat, ignoring the fact I am a diehard supporter, and should see off any challenge from Manchester United. A fit Didier Drogba will look to build on his Golden Boot season and rebound from a disappointing World Cup, look for him to break all his previous goal scoring marks.

–          2nd, Manchester United – The 2009/2010 runner-up has a lot to prove after injuries hurt them midseason and were unable to win the Champions League. They have yet to bolster their first-team, but signings of Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez are purchases for the future.

–          3rd, Manchester City – The newest member of the millionaires club, City added Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jerome Boeteng and Aleksandar Kolarov to their team and look to push for the title. It would be foolish to look past the talent of this team, but it will be up to Mancini to make the players fit together and play a fluid game.

Tom’s Predictions: Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City

Can anyone stop Drogba from Scoring?

Top Scorer – Last season Didier Drogba finished three goals ahead of Wayne Rooney with 29 goals, while Sunderland’s Darren Bent finished with the third highest goal total at 24, closely followed by Carlos Tevez on 23 and midfielder Frank Lampard rounding out the top five with 22.

–          1st, Didier Drogba, Chelsea – Drogba missed a month of the season for the African Cup and still managed to score 29 goals. This season he’ll have a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing World Cup, and I see him scoring 30+ goals this season

–          2nd, Wayne Rooney, Manchester United – Rooney was hit with injuries last season, but I don’t see him scoring more than Drogba. However, look for it to be close all season much like last.

–          3rd, Carlos Tevez, Manchester City – The Man City striker will build off of a strong season and will be key to the final position for City.

–          Honourable Mentions – Jermaine Defoe, Fernando Torres and Gabriel Agbonlahor

Tom’s Prediction: Wayne Rooney

The English Premier League kicks off August 14th and make sure you come back each week our Weekly Premier League Roundup and our Fantasy League Roundup, where we will breakdown the top players each week.

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Henry Whitfield covers all things sports and can be found on Twitter @HenryWhitfield, where he live-tweets Mooseheads, Bluejays and much more!

A look at the 2010/2011 Football Season

With the World Cup closed out and champions Spain still enjoying the afterglow of their glory, a new season of football dawns upon Europe.

While our main focus is on the English Premier League, this is a brief look at what the rest of Europe has to offer this year to the footballing world so without further ado we’ll start with the World Champions, Spain.

La Liga

After a summer spending spree rivaling that of Paris Hilton Real Madrid were tipped to win La Liga comfortable last season, however newly crowned treble winners Barcelona managed to pull a victory over the Galacticos dos (2) and forced Madrid to sign a new manager in Jose Mourinho (formerly of Chelsea and Inter Milan) however as of yet – no high-profile signings however with the departure of legends Raul and Guti, new signings are sure to come before the transfer window shuts. Meanwhile Barca’s reaction was to sign the most wanted hit-man outside of Chev Chelios DAVID ‘don’t call me Aston’ VILLA – not a bad signing to replace Thierry ‘all hands on deck’ Henry.

Winning Prediction: Barcelona – I’m of the mindset that unless Madrid are whipped into a team that isn’t playing for the money which might be harder without Guti and Raul it’ll be another disappointing year for Ronaldo and co.

Surprise of the Season: Valencia – after selling their two best players in David Villa (Barca) and David Silva (Man City) and reports of HUGE debt Valencia are in a make or break season; either they make it into Europe and the money that follows or be forced to sell more stars which can only head downwards…

Bundesliga

After almost reaching the promised land, Bayern Munich look likely to storm to the title again with talk of Ribery moving to Madrid or Chelsea proven to be nothing but scuttlebutt, Bayern again look to be the clear favorites – however with Steve McClaren in charge of FC Wolfsburg, could he be the first Englishman to conquer Germany since 1945?? And bigger news former Chelsea player Michael Ballack is back playing in his home country.

Winning Prediction: Bayern Munich – Can’t really see anyone else taking it if Bayern can hold to their best players and sign one or two more to hold out for injuries I can see them working through Europe as well.

Surprise of the Season: FC Wolfsburg – Steve McClaren might be able to do a good job with FC Twente but whether he can do the same with Die Wolfe is an interesting test which might rely on being able to keep Edin Drazo with Man City and a host of other clubs wanting his signature times are interesting…

Scottish Premier league

After a season of pretty much nothing Celtic fans need their team to do well – with fan’s favorite Neil Lennon at the helm maybe this time they’ll be able to compete. However Rangers under Walter Smith will be looking to keep the title and progress further in Europe, however a few departures which may hurt the team in the long run shouldn’t affect the team that badly this year, whilst Celtic are strengthening in every department, in signing of Joe Ledley, Celtic have a good young player who will add something different to the side. Hopefully a team such as Hearts or Hibernian will FINALLY break in……..

Winning Prediction: Celtic – I dunno but I’m a hoops fan and I feel that this year Neil Lennon is going to have the right attitude towards the team and the fans.

Surprise of the Season – Any team other than Rangers and Celtic who finish in the top two will be a joy to watch.

Eredivse

With Holland reaching the World Cup finals this year, it should more draw attention to the Eredivse,  however with Steve ‘wally with a brolly’ McClaren escaping to Germany, FC Twente’s hopes of securing back to back titles are incredibly slim. Ajax with there 104 goals last year should be contenders, led by World Cup surprise Luis Suarez, and despite strong interest from Fulham they managed to keep manager Martin Jol, however the they face tough competition. Meanwhile, former champions PSV look a shadow of their former selves and are outsiders to win the league title back.

Winning Prediction: Ajax, I can’t really see anyone else unless Suarez leaves and PSV sign one or three good players. FC Twente will be focused on Europe next year and the financial gains that it brings.

Surprise of the Season: This one is tough, but FC Twente are the ones to watch to, if only to see whether the work by Steve McClaren falls apart or is built upon.

Serie A

With Inter Milan strolling through Serie A last season, one might think that a continued pattern could occur, however with local rivals AC Milan improving towards the end of the year,  one might hope a closer race occurs this year. Juventus has shown a strong resurgence and Roma are always looking to crash a party. Combined with the national side’s poor showing at the world cup expect many players to be proving a point this year.

Winning Prediction: Inter Milan: Always been a fan of AC but I still feel the squad is too old to win major titles so my faith is going the blue half (never thought I’d say that) of Milan.

Surprise of The Season: Juventus: The old lady is coming back and she has a point to prove watch out for her to upset the title race and almost definitely have a final say in its outcome.

Tom Dobbyne is a contributor to “Sports With Henry” and throw’s his own spin and insight onto the world of Football. Follow him @TomDobbyne or on Facebook as English Tom.