The new fixtures have been published. Liverpool start the season with games against Aston Villa and then Chelsea, so not the easiest start to the season.
Manchester United open up their Premier League defence with a home game against Steve Coppell’s Reading. Sam Allardyce goes back to the Reebok Stadium as his new side Newcastle open up against Bolton. Newly-promoted Birmingham will travel to Chelsea, while Championship title winners Sunderland host Tottenham.
Here is the full list of opening weekend fixtures:
Arsenal v Fulham
Aston Villa v Liverpool
Bolton v Newcastle
Chelsea v Birmingham
Derby v Portsmouth
Everton v Wigan
Man Utd v Reading
Middlesbrough v Blackburn
Sunderland v Tottenham
West Ham v Man City
Finally England manage a win – against lowly Estonia. It seems that the David Beckham factor is working, setting up two of the goals tonight. We are now 4th in the table with some chance of still qualifying.
Oh the pain! I am sitting in a church meeting blogging about how I can’t watch my beloved Liverpool play in the Champions League Final!
Liverpool are the dream team in Champions League. We play poorly in the cups in England, we, according to others didn’t play particularly well in the games against Chelsea (I was at dance, so I didn’t get to see the games accept for the penalties) but we still come out on top. I am sure some of it is due to our players being slightly fresher as we aren’t going for a treble/quadruple, but then again all it came down to was penalties, and we always seem to have great keepers for that, and players who score.
It is a pity that Manchester United lost to Milan as that would have been a sweet final, especially if we won. AC Milan will certainly be a challenge. Not sure what I am going to do about watching it, a church meeting is booked in for that night!
Well as usual England fail to achieve in a World Cup and so are now due to come home. Once again, regardless of the sport, we now have the usual inquest into why we didn’t do as well as everyone expected. I think there are two key issues:
Grassroots level sport is in need of much improvement in the United Kingdom. The way in which we scout and develop youngsters in sport needs to be challenged.
We seem unable to achieve at the big tournaments. Much has been said about the super long length of the Cricket World Cup, particulary given they had already been on a long tour in the Southern Hemisphere, but they are highly paid professionals employed to do a jon, and it does seem that we always bottle it in the end.
Hannah and I came in from our dance lessons last night to discover that there was a progamme on television about disabled dancing. It was really interesting watching how they adapt it, train up for competitions. The programme followed a group from Bristol and a group from Scotland as they competed at the national championships. Really interesting.
What a great set of results. Liverpool win yet again (following good results against Arsenal and PSV); Arsenal continue to struggle, with some commentators suggesting they may miss out on a top four place – although in a couple of years time they will be demolishing the rest of the premiership with all their youngsters; West Ham beat Arsenal to finally get some points, and with Sheffield United losing they are now within two points of Sheffield United (18th) and Charlton (17th), and as I write this Manchester United are 1-0 down to Portsmouth.
England were again shocking tonight. The result (3-0) against Andorra isn’t a disaster but no one seems to be feeling positive at the moment. The fans seem to have had enough and were giving some real abuse to Steve McLaren in the first half, which seemed a bit over the top.
Things do need to change: firstly our expectations need to lower, we haven’t made it to a semi-final in a major tournament in ages, so let’s not expect to get there; secondly, we have some incredibly good players who are consistenly thought to be some of the best in Europe and yet they just don’t quite gel and pul it off.
In other news though Wales have finally got their second win of the qualifying period with a 3-0 win; Scotland went down 2-0 to Italy but still seem to be very positive and have a great chance of qualifying after many years of being no where near doing so; Republic of Ireland got a 1-0 result against Slovakia.
The result of the night has to be Northern Ireland beating Sweden 2-1. Dennis Wise the Leeds manager went to watch David Healey, and he must be gutted as whenever he plays for Norther Ireland he seems to score (5 goals in the last 2 games, something like 29 goals in 56 matches) and yet he can’t hit the target for Leeds. A great night for Lawrie Sanchez who is doing an awesome job as the Northern Ireland manager.