Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Year New Starts in Korea

K-League Classic
There is rarely a quiet month in South Korean football and while January is the close-season, the first month of 2013 has been a busy one.

It started with a change of name for the league which is celebrating its 30th birthday. ‘The K League’ now refers to the second tier of South Korean football. The top tier is now known as 'K League Classic'. As well as the name, there is a new logo.

"We wanted to inherit the tradition and values of professional football in this country, and at the same time, we wanted to convey our willingness to take on new challenges," said then-K League Commissioner Chung Mong-gyu sat the unveiling in January. "We thought long and hard over different ideas so that our names and logo will be beloved by many fans of our sport." Reaction has been reasonably positive and with promotion taking place for the first time in 2013, relegation was introduced last season, The new logo is a little Pepsi-esque but if it can help a little fizz return to the league, then so much the better.

Chung on the move

If that wasn’t enough change then Chung won the January 28 election to find the new chief of the Korea FA. Cho Chung-yeon had announced his decision to resign in 2012 and Cho, in charge of the K-League for two years, beat three other candidates to become the most powerful man in Korean football and will serve a four-year term.

“I want to share the joy with all those in the football circle,” said Chung. “I will try to make football a culture that everyone can enjoy.”

European rumours

Yoon Seok-young provided the biggest story of the transfer window. The young left-back, who starred in the 2012 Olympics, was linked to all manner of European clubs but it set to join QPR despite interest from Fulham and Liverpool. Yoon, who made his senior national team debut in October in Iran, will become the 11th Korean to play in the Premier League.

There were also reports that Ulsan's tall striker, Kim Shin-wook turned down a move to Loftus Road while Hamburg attacker Son Heung-min, who recently grabbed his seventh goal of the Bundesliga season, has decided to stay in Germany until the end of the season at least amid reports of interest from Spurs.

Domestic shuffling

There have been a number of transfers. Jeonbuk Motors have been perhaps the busiest, and splashed out on Kevin Oris. The Belgian striker scored 16 goals last season for Daejeon Citizen and with the addition of classy Incheon defender Jung In-hwan Jeonbuk will be looking forward to the new season.

Suwon added to the signing of North Korean striker Jong Tae-se by picking up Lee Jong Min from FC Seoul. The club was linked to 2002 World Cup star Cha Du-ri who has been playing in Europe for over a decade in Germany and Scotland and has never played in his homeland. “There is no doubt that Cha Du-ri is a star player equipped with ability as well as popularity, but have to take into account his age as he is closing in on the mid-30s,” said a Bluewings official after the club made an offer to Fortuna Dusseldorf. “It is up to the player’s side whether to accept our offer or not.”

Suwon have also signed Seongnam wingback Hong Chul while Kwak Tae-whi, Ulsan’s Asian CL title-winning captain, becomes the latest Korean star to head to the Middle East, joining Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia.

Pohang Steelers have been the quietest while Busan have seen one of their best performers, Matt McKay head to China and have replaced him with 25 year-old Montenegrin Zarko Korac.

Taeguk Warriors ready to gather

The wheels are turning ahead of a vital 2014 World Cup qualifier in March against Qatar with Choi Kang-hee announcing a squad for a friendly against Croatia in February. The game will take place at the London home of Fulham. Korea have happy memories of Craven Cottage and defeated the reigning European champions Greece there in 2007 and then downed Ivory Coast in 2010.

There were few surprises. Thirteen of the 24 are based overseas. Veteran defenders Kwak Tae-hwi and Lee Jung-soo return as does Ji Dong-won, on loan to FC Augsburg from Sunderland.

“Croatia is a strong team and will be a great opponent for us in a friendly,” said coach Choi. “It will not be an easy match for us. We will have to test our defense and fiddle with our offense by putting in players from Europe. We will try to prepare the best we can for the World Cup qualifier against Qatar in March.”

Friday, January 25, 2013

George's Premier Predictions 26 January 2013

George got seven results right last week and one perfect score, not bad for a series of very unpredictable fixtures. Here are our resident pundit's tips for this week of our FA Cup action.

Saturday 25 January 2013

Millwall 2 v Aston Villa 1 ‎‎

Sunday 26 January 2013

Stoke City 2 v Manchester City 1
Reading 2 v Sheffield United 0 ‎
Macclesfield Town 2 v Wigan Athletic 1 ‎
Huddersfield Town 2 v Leicester City 1 ‎‎
Middlesbrough 3 v Aldershot Town 0 ‎‎
Norwich City 4 v Luton Town 1 ‎‎
Derby County 3 v Blackburn Rovers 2 ‎
Bolton Wanderers 2 v Everton 3 ‎
Hull City 2 v Barnsley 1 ‎‎
Queens Park Rangers 3 v MK Dons 1 ‎‎
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 v Arsenal 3 ‎‎
Manchester United 4 v Fulham 2 ‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Friday, January 18, 2013

George's Premier Predictions January 19 2013

George got two results right last week and no perfect scores, so a very poor week from our premier pundit. Things can only get better this week. Get on!

Saturday 19 January 2013

Manchester City 2 v Fulham 1 ‎
Newcastle United 1 v Reading 0 ‎
Wigan Athletic 2 v Sunderland 2 ‎
Swansea City 1 v Stoke City 0 ‎‎
Liverpool 3 v Norwich City 2 ‎‎
West Ham United 1 v Queens Park Rangers 1 ‎‎
West Bromwich Albion 2 v Aston Villa 0 ‎‎

Sunday 20 January 2013

Chelsea 2 v Arsenal 1 ‎
Tottenham Hotspur 1 v Manchester United 0 ‎

Monday 20 January 2013

Southampton 1 v Everton 1 ‎

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Arsenal 2 v West Ham United 0 ‎

Last time's Premier League predictions

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fifa World Rankings January 2013

Fifa's World Rankings for January 2013 were published today at FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland. They are now published on Thursday and not Wednesday as before.

Euro 2012 winners Spain start the year on top of the FIFA rankings followed by Germany, Argentina, Italy, Colombia, England and then Portugal and Holland. Russia and Croatia round out the top ten which is unchanged from December. Copa America champions Uruguay are 16th, while Brazil remain stuck in 18th, their lowest ever ranking. A resurgent Belgium are up to 20th.

Ranking Team
1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Argentina
4 Italy
5 Colombia
6 England
7 Portugal
8 The Netherlands
9 Russia
10 Croatia
11 Greece
12 Ecuador
13 Switzerland
14 Côte d'Ivoire
15 Mexico
16 Uruguay
17 France
18 Brazil
19 Sweden
20 Belgium


Full world rankings

Previous Fifa World Rankings

Bet with Bet 365

Soccer betting tips

Soccer Books & DVDs


Friday, January 11, 2013

George's Premier Predictions January 12 2012

George got five results right last week and two perfect scores, so a 50% average with the bonus of predicting the scores of Reading v West Ham and Fulham v an in-form Swansea.

Saturday 12 January 2013

Queens Park Rangers 0 v Tottenham Hotspur 1
Reading 1 v West Bromwich Albion 2 ‎
Sunderland 2 v West Ham United 0 ‎
Stoke City 2 v Chelsea 1 ‎
Norwich City 2 vs Newcastle United 1
Fulham 2 v Wigan Athletic 1 ‎
Everton 2 v Swansea City 1 ‎
Aston Villa 2 v Southampton 2 ‎

Sunday 13 January 2013

Manchester United 2 v Liverpool 0 ‎
Arsenal 1 v Manchester City 1

Last time's Premier League predictions