A is for Arsenal
The Gooners will end their quest for the silverware. They want the Premier League or Champions League but Arsene Wenger will have to settle for the League Cup. His team face out of form Championship side Ipswich over two legs which should be easy enough, then a trip to Wembley to play either Birmingham or West Ham. As I said it’s not the trophy Wenger wants, but after over five years having won nothing it’s a start.
B is for Blackpool
It’s fair to say everyone has been surprised by the plucky Seasiders. They got off to a flying start and in the first half of the season have won seven out of 18 games. That included away wins against Liverpool, Newcastle and Stoke. They were everyone’s favourites to go down and whilst there are still a lot of points to play for I can see Ian Holloway keeping the Tangerines up.
C for Champions League
The second round’s big tie is Barcelona vs Arsenal. The Catalan side will rightfully be favourites, they’ll be disappointed at having been knocked out by Inter last season and will be looking to lift the trophy in May. Chelsea and Manchester United are nowhere near as strong as Pep Guardiola’s side and Inter are not the team they were under Jose Mourinho.
D is for Despair
It’s always sad to see your team lose but you have to feel for ex-European Champions Feyenoord who lost 10-0 to rivals PSV. There are bound to be many results that will make you ask why you bother with football but remember nothing will be as bad as that Dutch result.
E is for Edin Dzeko
The highly sought after Bosnian Striker currently plays for Wolfsburg but is thought to be in talks with Manchester City over a January move. He looks like he could score goals in any league, and Mancini is keen to take the goal scoring burden off Carlos Tevez.
F is for Fergie
The big question is how long can Sir Alex go on for? The Scottish tactician is 69 years old and doesn’t look like calling it a day yet, he’s keen to win more trophies. You get the impression he wants one more Champions league title to his name before he throws his hat in …
G is for Glasgow
As always the SPL is a two horse race. Rangers have two games in hand which will give them an advantage but they will need to hold on to Kenny Miller. The top scorer has been linked with a move south of the border. The blues are struggling financially and desperately need investment but the most recent takeover discussions have stalled. Celtic will be keen to win back the title, they have just brought in Freddie Ljungberg and the first Old Firm win of 2011 will please Neil Lennon. The Bhoys legend will be looking to strengthen the squad to give him the chance of lifting his first title as a manager.
H is for Hodgson
Poor old Roy – Having impressed at Fulham the ex-Inter boss jumped at the opportunity of taking on one more big job. After losing to Wolves he admitted he hadn’t had any support from Liverpool fans since joining the club and looks like his time at Anfield will be short lived. One positive is that he’s lasted longer than his predecessor Rafa did at Inter but unfortunately I can see the likeable Englishman being unemployed in the summer.
I is for Inter
They were Champions of Europe and Italy yet now they’re seventh in Serie A and have sacked Rafa AFTER just six months. The new man who has been handed the responsibility of changing their fortunes is Leonardo – The Brazilian World Cup winner is a Milan legend, he played for the Rosoneri then became a Director and was their Head Coach last season. It seems like a strange choice but it won’t be hard to do better than Rafa.
J is for Joe Cole
After a very poor start to his Liverpool career Joe Cole finally made an impact on New Years day when he came on as a substitute and scored the winner two minutes into injury time. Hopefully this will kick-start his season …
K is for Keane
There could be changes for the two Keanes – Robbie is highly likely to leave Spurs, initially on loan and then permanently. Even though Roy has led Ipswich to the League Cup semi-final his team are just three places above the relegation zone – the pressure is on the Manchester United legend who could find himself unemployed by May if the league doesn‘t improve.
L is for Lazio
The Roman side who last won their last Scudetto under Sven in 2000 find themselves second in Serie A and enjoying their best season for years. After almost going bankrupt and seeing their best players regularly leave they’re now building a good side with MusLera in goal, Hernanes and Mauri in midfield then Zarate and Floccari up front.
M is for Milan
After seeing their rivals win five titles on the bounce the Rosoneri are three points clear at the top and lead Inter by 13 points – COULD IT BE THEIR YEAR???
N is for Newcastle
What will happen next to the Tyne and Wear club – After a good start to the season the Magpies got rid of the very popular Chris Hughton and replaced him with Alan Pardew, a man whose been sacked by his last three clubs including League One side Southampton earlier this season.
O is for Optimistic
With everything to play for everyone is optimistic – Arsene Wenger thinks his side will win the title whilst Avram Grant is looking to avoid relegation. There are five clubs who believe they can win the league and there will be a lot of optimism is the air next weekend when every side in the third round of the cup will ha think they can get to Wembley for a big day out.
P is for Play-Offs
Last season Blackpool shocked everyone when they beat Cardiff at Wembley – Which shock side will get to the Play-Offs: will it be Millwall, Watford or maybe Doncaster ???
Q is for QPR
The London club look like they will be back in top flight football for the first time since 1996. They’re currently four points clear of second placed Swansea with a game in hand – It’s theirs to lose.
R is for Rivalries
There are always cracking London derbies – over the next five months Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham will be fighting for both the title and Champions League positions which will provide lost of feisty derbies. The title will end up in Manchester, there’s a real battle for top spot between the two sides. As it stands both teams are level on points, but United have two games in hand (one of which is against Chelsea) and despite having remained unbeaten Sir Alex’s side have not reached top form yet. City are expected to bid big during the transfer window, but it’s too soon for them to lift the top prize. Next season could well be their time ….
S is for shocks
The FA Cup 3rd round is next week – Let’s get ready for the shocks. Last year Leeds shocked Manchester United at Old Trafford, this time out they face another tricky away test against Arsenal. High flying QPR take on Premier strugglers Blackburn, one possible shock could be Crawley vs Derby. The league side have only won one in six and the Blue Square Premier leaders will want to pile more misery on the Championship side.
T is for Tottenham
They pipped Manchester City in May for the final Champions League spot and then shocked Inter by topping the group. They now have a tricky tie against Milan in the second round and are chasing another top four finish. Harry is doing a great job; Spurs are one to watch over the next few months and they might even sign David Beckham on loan.
U is for Underdog
The three teams that have come up from the Championship are always classed as Underdogs, but with the season halfway through none of the promoted sides are in the relegation zones – It would be great to see Blackpool, Newcastle and West Brom all stay up.
V is for Vale
Poor old Port Vale saw their manager Micky Adams leave for Sheffield United. The club ended 2010 in second but in their first game of the New Year without the Yorkshire man saw them get smashed 5-0 by Rotherham.
W is for Wembley
Okay the national stadium won’t hold a World Cup final but it will host the finals of the Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup and the play-offs.
X is for X-Ray
I looked for a range of word that started with an ‘X’, but Xavier Gravelaine and Abel Xavier were the only two I could find. Over the following months there are bound to be injuries and lots of use of x-rays, hopefully there won’t be an major injuries like the ones we saw to Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo over the last few years.
Y is for Youngsters
Following Watford beating Portsmouth, the Hornets got back into the play-off positions with the youngest squad in all four divisions.
Z is for Zinedine Zidane
The Algerian born French international helped Qatar win the bidding war for the 2022 World Cup – As the bid ambassador he collects a very lucrative salary.