Why The ABBA Penalty System is Ridiculous

Cahill Pen
Photo Credit: WIXSports.com

Penalties, who’d want to take them? If you’re watching a penalty shoot-out as a neutral then they are quite exciting. However if your team has been condemned to taking penalties, it is a scary prospect.

But ask yourself; Have you ever complained about traditional penalties?

On Sunday in the FA Community Shield Final, Chelsea and Arsenal finished the regular 90 minutes at 1-1, thus the game went straight to a penalty shoot-out. A few weeks ago it was announced that the ‘ABBA’ penalty system would be trialed.

Now you may be asking “Why is it called ABBA”? well think about it. ‘ABBA’ hypothetically you have Team A and Team B. To start the shoot-out Team A will take the first penalty, then subsequently Team B will take the next two spots kicks. Yeah, really odd isn’t it?

None the less the Community Shield Final did in-fact go to a penalty shoot-out, ultimately trialing the ABBA penalty system for the first time ever. Fair to say that fans in attendance were confused as to why Arsenal had two players consecutively take spot-kicks. Clearly not many at Wembley on Sunday afternoon were aware of the trialing system.

This penalty shoot-out was as confusing as any penalty shoot-out has ever been, essentially no one really understood what was going on. More specifically it completely cut-off any suspense a penalty shoot-out possesses, really making the outcome more foreseeable.

However what really bothers me the most is the decision to enforce the ABBA system. Why was it made? as the old saying goes “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. In the years I have watched and played football, I have never heard anyone complain of the traditional penalty shoot-out system.

Arsenal went onto to win the shoot-out 4-1, to lift the Community Shield. But the Gunners victory was ultimately overshadowed by a more than questionable penalty system enforced and trialed for the first time.

To me the Community Shield should not have been the designated stage to trial the ABBA system. Despite some believing the Community Shield is not an important stage, any final should not be the subject of a ‘Trialing’ system.

None the less, here’s to hoping the FA see the light and revoke the ‘ABBA’ penalty system. I for one among millions do not want to see this penalty system enforced, EVER again.

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Frank de Boer Appointed Crystal Palace Manager- The Perfect Fit?


Photo Credit: BBC Sport Website 

At 2pm this afternoon Crystal Palace confirmed the appointment of manager Frank de Boer. The Dutchman has signed a three-year contract with the Premier League club. Amidst the appointment, one may question- is Frank de Boer the right manager to finally fit the football club?

Following the departure of former manager Sam Allardyce last month, Crystal Palace were once again left searching for a new manager. Despite Allardyce guiding the club to safety last season, the former England boss resigned upon an alleged dispute with the board over the clubs transfer budget. Then shortly after Allardyce’s departure, he confirmed his retirement from football management.

For Palace fans this would have been an all too familiar feeling. Since Alan Pardew was sacked last season, the managerial picture at the club has been unclear. Even during Allardyce’s tenure at the club, fans remained somewhat unsure of his future at the club, prior to the end of last season.

Since returning to the top-flight four years ago Palace have been successful in remaining afloat. Their most successful season back in the top-flight was under Pardew as they finished 10th in the 2014/15 season. Also in their first season back in the Premier League Tony Pulis guided the club to an 11th place finish, in what is still remembered as a remarkable turnaround.

Despite the club not struggling for safety over the past four years, they have essentially lacked the figure of a long-term manager.

The appointment of Frank de Boer is an encouraging one. After a legendary playing career with the likes of Ajax and Barcelona, De Boer stepped into management. Subsequently his first managerial job was with former club Ajax. During his time in Holland as Ajax manager De Boer would win four consecutive Eredivisie titles.

Shortly after resigning from his role at Ajax, de Boer was then appointed manager of Inter Milan. However he would only last three months at the San Siro, citing a lack of direction and leadership at the club. It was a short and frustrating time in Italy for the former Dutch international.

Per the BBC Sport website dBoer stated the following “The aim is to be a solid Premier League team, not to struggle with relegation.” In addition to this De Boer also added “That is our main target – if we do more that’s nice.”

In recent years Palace fans have been provided false hope, however there may be new-found hope for the club. De Boer is a figure who has been in the game for sometime and he also possesses a different perspective of the game.

Three years ago Southampton appointed Ronald Koeman and found great success under his guidance. Despite not many playing up the possibility of success under Koeman, Saints were more than impressive under the former Barcelona player. Who is to rule out a similar possibility for Palace under de Boer?

The appointment of Frank de Boer may provided a new lease of life for Crystal Palace. As I previously said, de Boer is someone who has been in the game for a long time. Could the club finally have found the right manager?

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Jay Rodriguez- The Unfortunate Saga of An Underrated Player

Photo Credit: BT Sport Online

If there is any current footballer in the Barclays Premier League who can be considered unlucky- then it would have to be Jay Rodriguez. The Southampton midfielder has endured a tough three-year period, which has been ridiculed by injury. 

Cast your mind back to the 2013/14 season, this was Southampton’s second season back in the top-flight. This was also former manager Mauricio Pochettino’s first full season in charge at the club. Over the course of that particular season, the Saints proved to be a surprise package. In addition to this they also began to uncover a handful of young prosperous English talent.

Most notably Jay Rodriguez led the way for the Saints. The former Burnley player finished the season as top scorer, scoring 15 league goals. Rodriguez enjoyed himself in an impressive season under Pochettino. He would also earn an England call-up in November 2013, which remains his only international cap to date.

Among the English talent that blossomed at the club, such as; Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw & Adam Lallana, it was Rodriguez that perhaps displayed the most prominence.

At the culmination of the 2013/14 campaign English fans would have been drawing up their ideal England squad for the 2014 World Cup. There is no doubt majority of fans would have pitched the idea of having Rodriguez on the plane to Brazil. In addition to this it would not have been surprising if he was in the mind of then England manager Roy Hodgson.

However on April 5th 2014, Rodriguez’s unfortunate saga began. After being stretchered off during a match against Manchester City, it was revealed that Rodriguez had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament. Therefore this injury ruled him out for 11 months, thus in missing out on the 2014 World Cup in the process.

Furthermore due to the extensive damage of the injury, Rodriguez would not play a single game for Southampton during the 2014/15 season.

Finally after 16 months on the sideline, Rodriguez returned to action for Southampton on August 6th 2015. Upon returning to league action he scored his first Premier League goal for two years, against Sunderland at the back-end of August 2015.

Last season Rodriguez finished the season with five goals in 24 appearances. unfortunately for the 27 year-old recent seasons have flickered on and off. While it was far from his best season, there appears to be re-growing stability in the still potentially promising role that Rodriquez can still play for the Saints.

In recent weeks there has been mounting speculation regarding Rodriguez’s future as a Southampton player. The former England international has been linked with a move away from St Mary’s. It has been reported by the Telegraph that West Bromwich Albion are in-talks over a £12m deal for the Saints player.

If West Brom can secure a deal for Rodriguez, then they would have a valuable player for next season. But while his services can be valuable, many would question his overall fitness in the long-term, over the course of a full season.

There is plently Rodriguez can offer to most sides and still only aged 27 years-old, there is more to come from him.

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97.




Is Tottenham Hotspur The Ideal Club For Ross Barkley?


Photo Credit: Daily Express

Since January Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has been blinded with an unclear future. The 23 year-old has not endured the best time in recent seasons, despite such clear promise for the future. Now with the summer transfer window looming, Barkley once again faces an unclear future.

In recent weeks it would seem as if a move away from Goodison park is growing more likely. Premier League champions Chelsea have been linked with interest in signing the Everton player. More interestingly London club Tottenham Hotspur have been rumored to be keen on his services.

Just over a month ago Everton manager Ronald Koeman handed Barkley an ultimatum, as the England international was reportedly in a contract dispute with the Merseyside club. However those rumors appeared to go up into thin air, as Barkley remains a Toffees player, for now.

In the rummage of clubs rumored to be interested in signing Barkley, it goes without saying that Tottenham Hotspur are an interesting club in the pile. The North-London club are coming off the back of a brilliant season, as they finished 2nd for the first time since 1963.

While there lies an array of incentives for Barkley to sign for the likes of Arsenal or Chelsea, one could argue that Spurs possess as much incentive as any other top four club, if not more.

Over the course of the past three seasons Spurs’ success has not been bestowed upon by mega investment, in fact the complete opposite. The club’s academy has slowly grown a reputation for successful graduates who are continuing to make an impact at the club. Namely the likes of Harry Kane, Harry Winks, Joshua Onomah and even 18 year-old Marcus Edwards.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino has re-branded football at Spurs and has implicated his own philosophies, which have been incorporated into the club. The Argentine has grown a reputation for his work with younger players, as he has overseen the development of several notable English stars in the past few years.

The former Southampton boss has made quite the impact in English football, as he is one of the few foreign managers who has been accredited to contributing the growth within the English game.

Now consider this; Pochettino has become notorious for his work with young English talent in addition to working with his philosophies. So with this in mind this would only provide some incentive for Ross Barkley to sign for Spurs. Furthermore Pochettino would also be allowed to work with Barkley, as he could benefit with some re-training.

During his time as an Everton player Barkley has become accustomed to playing behind the striker. At times this has been a position which he has thrived in, at other times one would be inclined to question if it is his best position. Essentially the role of playmaker may perhaps not be his only viable position.

In recent seasons Barkley has proven that he boasts a lot of credible attributes. His capability of running with the ball and beating players is perhaps most notable. In addition to this he has also proven to boast decent strength, which is something that can be constantly worked on and improved.

At some points during the past few seasons, some may question why Barkley has not been tried in different roles within the midfield.

Photo Credit: Evening Standard

Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele is the best box to box midfielder in the Premier League. If anything he can be regarded to as one of the best defensive/central midfielders in the league overall. The Belgian’s ability to control the tempo of a match and alter the play is truly wonderful to watch. Not to mention his ability on the ball, sometimes it is a joy to behold.

However in the absence of Dembele Spurs are then without a huge piece in the puzzle. In his absence the likes of Eric Dier would be drafted in to replace him. Of course Dier is capable of playing the defensive midfielder, either a ball-winner of anchor man suits his play-style.

Unlike Dembele though Dier does not possess the same capability. In the system Spurs play Dembele attains such a crucial role as he contributes to the defensive and attacking phase, essentially linking the two. This is where I believe Ross Barkley is an ideal player for the role, in the absence of Dembele.

If Pochettino is provided the time to work with Barkley then there could be something to prosper. As I previously noted the ability that Barkley possesses, there is no doubt that it could come into effect at Spurs. Furthermore he can also be utilized in a variety of roles within the midfield.

Undoubtedly Dembele is in Pochettino’s plans for next season. Regardless Spurs are in need of some extra bodies with the prospect of Champions League football forthcoming. This is where Barkley could be a bargain for the club.

As for Pochettino the idea of signing Barkley would tick all of his proverbial boxes. At the age of just 23 years-old Barkley still possesses a tonne of unraveled potential.

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97!








Vincent Janssen- Second Chance Or Moving On?

Photo Credit: The Mirror

While it was quite a season to remember for Tottenham Hotspur, one player who shall not fondly remember his personal campaign is Vincent Janssen. The Spurs striker who signed for the club last summer, did not endure the campaign which many expected of him. 

Last summer Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino added to his fire-power, in the form of Dutch striker Vincent Janssen. The North-London club signed the forward from AZ Alkmaar for £17 million. For the entire 2015/16 season, Spurs lived with just the single out and out striker. Thus Janssen was added as an insurance player, for the season ahead.

Prior to signing for Spurs, Janssen enjoyed a great campaign with Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar. The 23 year-old scored 27 goals in the 2015/16 season , making him the youngest player to score more than 25 goals, in one season in the Dutch league since Ronaldo in the 1994-95 season.

At the end of his only season in Holland’s top-flight, Janssen was awarded the Johan Cruyff Trophy, otherwise recognised as “Dutch Talent of The Year”.

Signing players from foreign leagues can sometimes spring doubts. This is because some may question the standard of their previous competition, especially the league which they played in. In Vincent Janssen’s case, the same was never broadly asked. This is because 27 goals reflected a more than capable striker.

Additionally Janssen was also well received for his performances for Holland on the international stage. Most notably Janssen scored and picked up an assist in Holland’s 2-1 win over England in March of last year. In addition to this he would go on to score at will for his country over the course of 2016, only fueling his highly spoken of potential.

Striker Harry Kane suffered an injury in September, sidling him for six-weeks. This provided Janssen the chance to fill the boots for Spurs’ talisman. Ultimately he would struggle to get going, but despite some willing and determined performances, the goals were not materializing.

Janssen scored his first goal for Spurs in the EFL Cup against Gillingham in September. Then a month later, he finally scored his first Premier League against Leicester City. Furthermore scoring one against Liverpool, in the EFL Cup once more.

Finally Janssen netted his first Premier League goal against Leicester City. Once more this one coming from the penalty-spot. By the end of October 2016, Janssen had three goals to his tally so far in the season. However none of which were from open-play, with all three coming from penalties.

Finally in March, Janssen scored his first goal from open-play, against Millwall in the FA Cup. He would once again score from open-play in the league against Bournemouth, just over a month later in April.

Janssen finished his first season at Spurs with six goals in all competitions, with just two league goals.

A striker’s job is to score goals, correct. So with this in mind there is little wonder as to why people question the signing of Vincent Janssen, more specifically his return in goals last season. However ask yourself; What more could he have done?

In-front of Janssen was teammate Harry Kane, who by no means was ever going to be replaced by the Dutch striker. Once again Kane continued to flourish as each month of the season progressed. For a second-consecutive season, Kane was awarded the golden-boot, ending the season with 29 league goals.

Therefore with the excelling Kane in-front of goal, one has to see the obvious that Janssen was always going to find it hard to get a look-in. Not to mention that manager Mauricio Pochettino did not need to alter his tactics, as two up-top would not have been beneficial for his side. As a matter of fact, it may not have even crossed his mind at any point.

While Janssen was given his fair share of game-time, perhaps not being accustomed to first-team regular football ultimately played against the striker. Also one would have to consider that his playing style was of a different approach. Janssen prefers to hold up the play and bring in teammates, whereas Kane can do the same, he more than often opts to travel with the ball.

Overall it was not an inspiring season for Janssen, although he did show signs of a constant work-rate, which perhaps merited more goals. None the less six goals last season did not provide the Dutchman with any plaudits.

It has been reported that Janssen is “open” to a move this summer. One of the thoughts going through the mind of the striker, could be the prospect of more first-team football. This would be something that might re-galvanize his once rich form in-front of goal.

Spurs fans shall be wondering; Is there a second chance for Vincent Janssen? Or shall the striker be moving on from the North-London club?

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think! Make sure you follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97.





Southampton Sack Claude Puel- Should We Be Surprised?

Photo Credit: Daily Mail Online

Last night it was confirmed that Southampton sacked manager Claude Puel. After just one season in-charge at St Mary’s, the Frenchman has left the south-coast club. However- should we be surprised his departure? 

Taking the reigns from Ronald Koeman, Claude Puel was appointed Southampton manager last summer. Prior to his appointment as Saints manager, Puel had spent years as a manager in Ligue 1. Where he would manage the likes of AS Monaco, where he would also spend his entire playing career.

Additionally Claude Puel would also manage the likes of Lille, Lyon and Nice.

As manager of Monaco Claude Puel won the Ligue 1 Title in the 1999-00 season, as well as the Trophe des Champions in 2000. Following his two-year tenure at Monaco, he would continue to spend years managing in France’s top-flight.

During his time at Lille, Lyon & Nice Puel failed to win any silverware. However he did manage to attain respectable finishes for each club, as he displayed signs of stability.

Last June when former manager Ronald Koeman departed Southampton for Everton, Claude Puel was appointed as his replacement. Yet another untested manager within the realms of English football, stepping up to the plate at Southampton.

During the summer the club would see another exodus of players. Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama & Graziano Pelle all left the club. However the club brought in the likes of Nathan Redmond and Ryan Bertrand, who proved to be key starters over the course of the forthcoming season.

Over the course of the season the club flirted with the top-half of the Premier League. They were also competing in the Europa League, only to be knocked-out in the group-stages of the competition.

Claude Puel did manage to stumble upon some success, as the Southampton reached the final of the EFL Cup by beating Liverpool in the semi-final. However they failed to graduate their success, as they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United in the final.

Ultimately Saints finished the season 8th as well as runners-up in the EFL Cup. In contrast to previous seasons, one could argue expectations may have been dimmed from a Saints’ fan’s perspective.

Following the official departure of Claude Puel from Southampton, there shall be some questions raised. Some may question if the club are heading in a new direction? Perhaps the club did not see Claude Puel in their long term plans?

Last month reports began to surface that the club were considering Claude Puel’s job. Those reports sprung following the culmination of the regular season, which raised some eyebrows amongst most fans.

Paul Doyle of the Guardian Online published this piece: ‘Claude Puel a victim of Southampton’s admirably unreasonable expectations’.

It has been reported that the club possess a wealthy list of replacements in mind. But it could be debated; Should we be surprised at the sacking of Claude Puel?

Thanks for reading! Do share your thoughts with me! You can follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97.





Five Positives for Spurs fans to take away from 4-0 win against Stoke City


This afternoon at the Bet365 Stadium, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino saw his side run riot. A dominant second half display from Spurs was graduated with a convincing 4-0 win against Stoke City, it is also the second season in succession they have scored four goals away at Stoke.

In a performance full of positives from Spurs, here are five specific positives for Spurs to take away after their 4-0 away to Stoke City this afternoon.

1. Harry Kane off the mark

Prior to kick-off, Harry Kane had not scored in nine games for club and country. After a less than memorable August the England International finally scored his first goal of the season.

Much like last season it has taken Kane until September to finally find the back of the net, so essentially his first goal shall be pivotal in finding his feet and form for the rest of the season.

It shall be of great relief for Spurs fans to see Kane score his first this season and it shall be a definite positive for manager Mauricio Pochettino.

2. Heung-Min Son’s Brace

Another positive for Spurs was the performance of Heung-Min Son. The South Korean returned early from International duty and was in the starting line-up for Spurs this afternoon, a decision that paid off.

A goal right before half-time to give Spurs the lead was followed up by a fantastic strike from Son as he shone for Spurs this afternoon.

There is no doubt Pochettino has options on the flanks with the likes of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and new signing Georges N’Koudou but in my opinion Heung-Min Son maybe the most suitable option to be a regular starter.

3. Ben Davies’ Solid Display

With Danny Rose unavailable for selection due to injury, Ben Davies was provided an opportunity in the starting line-up.

The Welsh international has only started fout times for Spurs since January however it is fair to say he took his chance very well today. In terms of his defensive display Davies proved to be efficient cover for Rose.

The left-back also provided good support going down the flank with some great passing-play moments in the game. For me personally Ben Davies was match of the match.

4. Eriksen pulled the strings

This week Attacking-Midfielder Christian Eriksen signed a new contract at the club, keeping him at Spurs until 2020.

Today against Stoke the Denmark International quite literally pulled the strings in the midfield for Spurs. Providing two assists for both goals from Heung Min-Son, Eriksen put in a fantastic contribution this afternoon.

Providing that Eriksen can control the play in the manner he did today for the rest of the season, then Spurs’ attacking front shall not be short of service.

5. Another Clean Sheet

Despite enduring a shaky start to the game, Spurs managed to gain their bearings and looked nothing short of comfortable. Last season Spurs boasted the best defensive record in the Premier League and today was no different.

Spurs recorded their second successive clean sheet. Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld should be accredited for their defensive display during the game as they closed the gate on the Stoke attack, who rarely threatened.

A performance well worth the victory for Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino. Up next for Spurs; The visit of Sunderland next Sunday.