Today sees the opening of the Under 21 European Championships. I love this tournament for many reasons. It’s football that I can watch when I’m bored, that is of a very high quality, but mainly it’s a great chance to see some of the emerging stars of future football. It’s fantastic to see some unknown players develop into world superstars, and then be able to look back and say “I saw him become huge before everybody else knew about him.”
Spain are the bookies’ favourites to take home the trophy, while England come close after them. It’s no surprise to see these two teams the most favoured to win, seeing as there are plenty of established players playing at the top level in both squads.
Fans of Manchester United and English football in general will want to keep an eye on Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea, who could well move to Old Trafford soon.
Meanwhile, Belorussian ‘keeper Aleksandr Gutor had a very noteworthy performance earlier today in his side’s 2-0 defeat of Iceland. Gutor made two excellent saves while the score was still 0-0.
Looking at the Swiss team, it’s Granit Xhaka who eyes should be kept out for, as the 18 year old is already a full senior international and is being called potentially the greatest Swiss player ever. Xhaka played the full 90 minutes in Switzerland’s recent 2-2 draw at Wembley Stadium against England in a Euro 2012 qualifier.
Our poll to you is as ever, a simple one. Who do you think will win the Under 21 European Championships 2011?
Ladies and gentlemen, sorry to say that Poll of the week wasn’t the greatest success or idea we’ve had. It turned out to be too much to think of a new poll every week. So instead, we’ve got a Poll of the Month for you! This will be published on the first, or in and around, every month. No registration to wordpress is needed in order to vote or leave comments, so please feel free to leave your opinions on the page.
April 2011 and the Champions League quarter final draws are out. The “filler” teams in the competition have been whittled out and remaining are only Europe’s finest football teams, battling for the most esteemed trophy in European club football, possibly even club football throughout the world. Manchester United take on Chelsea in a repeat of the 2008 final. Real Madrid have been dealt Spurs, playing in their first season in the Champions League. Favourites Barcelona have been paired with Shakhtar Donetsk while holders Inter will play against Schalke 04.
You may have guessed what the poll is for this month. Predict the Champions League 2010/11 winners. Easy, right?
Irish league football returns tonight after the winter break. Current champions Shamrock Rovers visit Dundalk in Oriel Park, while Sligo go head to head with newly promoted Derry City. Bohemians visit Bray’s Carlisle Grounds, Galway United entertain St. Pat’s while a potential relegation 6-pointer takes place in the form of Drogheda vs UCD.
Our poll this week is simple. Who do you think will win the league this year?
So we missed a week in poll of the week, our apologies. But this edition’s a good one, it’s half news, half a poll.
Galway United have been granted their Premier Division license after originally only being awarded an A League license due to financial difficulty and unpaid wages. For a five day period Monaghan United had been celebrating their promotion to the premier division after failing earlier in the season in the most dramatic of fashions, on penalties at Bray Wanderers with a match report to be found here. I’d recommend taking a quick glance over it, it really was an amazing game all football lovers would kill to be able to have been at.
Monaghan even had later hopes of promotion after the sudden demise and death of Sporting Fingal. The FAI had two choices on who to allow take the vacant position – The Mons or Drogheda United who had an abysmal season finishing bottom of the league with only 4 wins to their name for the whole campaign. The question was who was more deserving of a place in the Premier Division, Monaghan – third in the first division only seven points behing champions Derry and having beaten Waterford in the Promotion playoff, or the Drogs who had their terrible season.
And only the genii that is the FAI (the link is an example of their stupidity) would choose to let the Louth club back in the Premier League.
So that’s the story of Monaghan’s woes, and how close they’ve come to the Premier Division. Now, this poll asks, who do you think should have been let into the premier division, Galway or Monaghan? Should the Tribesmen have been awarded their Premier license in the end?
The Champions League places are by no means secured. With Liverpool’s victory in Stamford Bridge, Chelsea could be in danger of not even finishing with a Champions League spot, let alone having their titles hopes practically shattered. And at the same time Tottenham are still doing well. Will Manchester City keep up their rich form? It does look, however, for all the world that Manchester United and Arsenal will play in Europe’s most esteemed competition come the 2011/2012 season.
But we put it to you to vote for who you think will finish this season as Englands top four teams.