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My Favourite Premier League Home Shirts 20/21

If you have read this blog since the start you will know I love a good football shirt, but then again who doesn't? In more recent years the designs just seem to get a little more out there as the seasons go on so as the start of the season approaches I actually really enjoy seeing what every team comes out with. 

The Premier League definitely hasn't disappointed this season and there are some great home shirts but here are my favourites for the 2020/21 season...

Manchester City

As soon as this was released I said I liked it as the design is just different to others. I love how it looks like shattered glass or something straight from a piece of David Hockney artwork. Puma have definitely upped their game in recent years with their football shirt designs and it is definitely shown with this design this season.  

Chelsea

Chelsea have definitely kept it simple and actually quite classic with this shirt. I honestly think that is what I like most about it as it is just simple unlike some of the other shirts we are going to see this season. The only thing I aren't really keen on with this shirt is the big 3 on the front, is there any need for sponsors to take up so much space on the front of the shirts?  

Sheffield United 

Classic Sheffield United with the red and white stripes but not too overboard as the shoulders are a nice simple white with the classic Adidas 3 stripes. I love how Adidas have managed to get their mark on the shirt with it not looking out of place and actually make it fit quite well with the overall design. This shirt definitely suits the club's style very well. 

Wolves

I honestly don't know what it is with this shirt but I really like it again though I wish the sponsor on the front was a bit smaller. The colours  are just the classic Wolves colours and the pattern on the shirt is surprisingly nice and doesn't gain to much attention as it is actually quite subtle. 

Manchester United

Of course the Untied home shirt is on this list and honestly it might be my overall favourite. The main colour is the classic red but I just love the little black and yellow lines that make the finer details of the shirt. The shirt isn't too over powering or in your face but is definitely a stand out. I think I may actually end up picking one of these up very soon. 

There you have it those are my favourite Premier League home shirt for the 20/21 season, keep checking back as there is plenty more shirt content to come. But for now which Premier League home shirt is your favourite? 

Match Report : Bradford City Women vs Sunderland West End Ladies


Bradford City women kicked off their Women's FA Cup campaign against Sunderland West End Ladies and unfortunately for Bradford the start was also the end to the campaign as they fell to a 2-0 defeat. Right from the start the West End Ladies came out on the attack by getting themselves into some good positions and winning back a lot of possession, unfortunately for Bradford though even when they did get possession there just wasn't that final piece that fell into place for them. 

The game was very end to end for the majority of the 90 minutes with both teams making some fantastic tackles to save their team but ultimately it was the West End Ladies defence that was the strongest on the day with all players getting back and helping keep City off the score sheet. To be honest there could have been even more goals to West End Ladies if it wasn't for the City 'keeper making some fantastic saves to deny them the opportunity, in fact both goalkeepers had a great game with the West End Ladies 'keeper also pulling off some brilliant saves to deny City. 

West End Ladies first goal came from a bit of a messy play in the box with City unable to clear the ball which fell to the feet of the West End Ladies player before being fired from close range into the back of the net. Their second goal was a bit cleaner with a corner being swung into the box and finding the right player who headed the ball home. 

Possibly City's best chances came when Roberts free kick rattled off the cross bar or when Stuart found the end of a cross but the 'keeper was unfortunately in the right position to collect the ball and diffuse the danger. The majority of City's shots throughout the game ended up going directly to the 'keeper who was either quick to get on the end of the ball or was already where the ball was going. I would say that is easily one area City need to improve on, catching the 'keeper out of the position and aiming to either side of them. That final pass through sometimes let's City too as it can have too much pace on it or just end up at the oppositions feet instead of their own players, I think if they can get that final pass sorted out they are going to end up in some fantastic positions with some brilliant oppositions as the players do get into the box ready to get onto the end of those passes.

This game was another game filled with plenty of free kicks and a few questionable challenges which could have escalated if the players hadn't managed to calm themselves down. Both teams were definitely getting frustrated with the referee as well as the crowd and the players and fans didn't hide the fact they thought some decisions were uncalled for or needed. It was great to be at a game with some atmosphere and being able to hear the fans and how passionate they were and to see the celebrations when that final whistle went was great even as a Bradford fan, you could just see how much that win meant to the Sunderland West End Ladies team and their travelling fans. 

Well done to Sunderland West End Ladies for picking up the win but let's hope City can get back to winning ways soon as the team certainly has great potential they just need to work on a few areas and finally pick up some more goals.

More NWSL Players Coming To England, Is It A Good Thing?

 


This season we have seen a lot of players coming over to the FAWSL from the NWSL. It all started towards the end of last season really with the Australians Kerr, Raso and Foord joining Chelsea, Everton & Arsenal but since the return for the new season there has been a whole lot more names added to the list. 


Obviously the FAWSL season ended in a way no one could have predicted with the coronavirus cancelling the league but that was towards the end of the season anyway, not like with the NWSL which was due to start just as the whole pandemic situation really began to escalate. We saw the Euro’s postponed and pushed back a year and the same happened with the Olympics. I guess when you think about it the NWSL players had to find somewhere quick to get game time to try secure places on their International teams for those tournaments and with no news on what was happening over in the NWSL a lot of them have opted to join the English top flight. It is funny how things panned out really as not long after the first round of players signed for English clubs the NWSL announced the Spring series but we didn’t see some of the big names star in it. Then they announced the Fall series but players still kept signing for the WSL teams. 


It is great to see some of the biggest names from the World Cup winning USWNT here in the UK and it is only going to held boost the ratings for the league with more American fans tuning in to see how some of their favourite players are doing. I think it is what the league has needed for a while, we saw attention pick up when Dunn, O’Reilly & Lloyd all joined a few years ago but since then it has been a case of the USWNT sticking to the NWSL or going elsewhere in Europe. The FAWSL is an exciting & competitive league though and with play time needed for the big tournaments coming up I think a lot of players will have been encouraged to join due to that factor and that they would be challenging and pushing themselves each week to earn a place on that team sheet.


We have already seen the sort of impact the signings are having off the pitch, commentators can’t stop talking about Morgan, Lavelle & Mewis and it even made the main news a few times here in the UK so more people were made aware of the league. It was also recently announced that sales of the Manchester United shirt with Heath & Press on the back outsold every other Manchester United player sales since they were announced which when you think about it is pretty unbelievable. Who would have thought that even though the United men’s team aren’t doing well at the moment that Heath & Press would out sell the likes of Fernandes, Rashford, Martial and De Gea? I know I definitely wouldn’t have predicted this.


Another positive for all these stars coming to the league is that the players who have held starting places on team sheets for years are now getting that challenging that has been needed for a while. The league has always been filled with great English talent but now that talent has to fight against some fantastic international players to get in that first 11. This will hopefully make the England national team a bit stronger in the long run as it means the English layers who just had a walk on spot for their club team will have to fight for it now, so we should see an increase in their fitness and playing levels to help them get on the sheet again. Take Jill Scott for example she was always one of the first names you would see when she wasn’t carrying an injury but now Mewis is getting that starting spot and Scott is sat on the bench. But knowing the kind of player Jill is she will push herself to earn that spot back and keep under the England management’s radar. Whilst this is a positive it can also be a bit of a negative because if players are genuinely picked due to their name and to bring attention to the club then the English players who have been at that club for a long time might end up losing valuable playtime and their chances of possibly some of their last tournaments passing them by. No one wants to see a players work so hard their whole career and for it to end in a way like this so fingers crossed it doesn’t happen to anyone. 


Another thing that could possibly happen is those youngsters who were just breaking through into the first teams may end up being pushed back and be left feeling frustrated with the lack of game time they are receiving. A lot of young players were just starting to come into some of the big injury hit teams and were starting to make a bit of a name for themselves and get on the international radar, so you can only imagine how they would be left feeling if all those first team call ups were just stopped due to a player who might not be around for a long time. It could end up effecting players fitness too, if a player is used to playing 70+ minutes each week is then left to sit on the bench who knows what long term effect it could have on their fitness levels if it is something that happens over and over again. 


With that being said some players such as Alex Morgan and Rachel Daly are only here until December so what if a team goes to build itself around a player such as Alex Morgan and there is no extension at the end of the initial loan? Will we just see teams decline in a quick period of time? I really hope teams aren't relying on the NWSL players too much as there is so much potential in the UK as it is so others should get a chance to show of their skill too. Who knows that striker Spurs keep on the bench to give Morgan game time may just end up out performing her. 


With an influx of talent coming over to the UK those who haven't really followed the NWSL previously might not know some of the big names that have come over the FAWSL so here are the ones I think you should be keeping an eye on. 


Alessia Russo - A big name for such a young talent. Russo hasn't actually played in the NWSL but she did opt to come to the FAWSL instead of beginning her pro career in the NWSL. Russo was a well sort after player in terms of international teams was she going to play for England or the USWNT ? Well it seems like she has picked England and is definitely a name to watch for the future. I can see her doing really well at Manchester United.


Hayley Raso - Even a broken back couldn't stop this Australian from losing her playing ability, in fact I think since she has returned from that major injury she has just got better and better. Everton have definitely got a great player on their hands who is more than capable of scoring plenty of goals for them. 


Sam Mewis - The midfielder can tower over the opposition and is lethal with the ball at her feet as she can shoot and score from distance as we saw plenty of times when she was in the NWSL. Not only can Mewis score but she is also a playmaker, her distribution from midfield is absolutely brilliant and she creates some great opportunities for her team mates.


Tobin Heath - For anyone who hasn't properly seen Heath play yet, well you are in for a treat. Heath's skill levels are unbelievable from nutmegs to rainbow flicks she has it all. But Heath doesn't off throughout the games she just does it to get out of situations what is amazing though is her crosses. She can pick out players from anywhere and help create plenty of chances, given a chance herself though she is no stranger to finding the back of the net. 


Jessie Fleming - The young Canadian is straight from college to the FAWSL to represent Chelsea. Fleming is a player who I have watched closely when she has played for Canada as even though she is still a young age she has plenty of potential. She can move easily around the midfield, win challenges and get her team in dangerous positions, she is certainly a player to keep your eye on in the future. 


Christen Press - Christen has often been over looked by the USWNT but we saw just how good she was when she came up against England in the World Cup semi finals. Able to get herself in plenty of space to find the back of the net and plenty of pace when she is on the attack. I really do think that the FAWSL can really bring the best out of Press.


So here are the list of players who have made the jump to the FAWSL recently. I am sure there will be some I have missed as there were just so many to keep up with, but if there is a name missing let me know and I will add it in...


Sam Kerr

Caitlin Foord 

Rose Lavelle

Sam Mewis

Steph Catley

Lydia Williams  

Jess Fishlock

Hayley Raso

Mackenzie Arnold 

Jessie Fleming

Chloe Logarzo 

Alanna Kennedy

Shelina Zardosky

Rachel Daly 

Alex Morgan 

Denise O'Sullivan

Tobin Heath

Christen Press 

Rachel Corsie

Alessia Russo

Emily Van Egmond 

Claire Emslie


So there you have it those are the players that have left the NWSL for now to come and give the FAWSL a go. Do you think this will benefit the league or do you think other players may suffer? 

Match Report : Bradford City Women vs Norton & Stockton

 

Finally after what has felt like far too long we finally got to go back to watch a league game for Bradford City Women as they took on Norton & Stockton Ancients. Unfortunately the 1st game of the season was behind closed doors, then we ended up having an enforced break but finally the team were back on the pitch and ready to make an impact. Not only was it our first game back but it was also our nephews first ever live football game and I think he enjoyed the action to. 

City started off looking very threatening, making some promising runs but unfortunately the Norton & Stockton back line managed to deny them every time by making some brilliant challenges that definitely kept them in the game. Norton & Stockton then gained pace themselves and make some fantastic breaks but this time it was City's defence keeping Norton & Stockton at bay.

It was Norton & Stockton who made the breakthrough though when they were awarded a penalty which they slotted home nicely. The penalty came from a moment of frustration, City lost the ball and just lacked judgement when trying to win the ball back. Not long after they found themselves 2-0 up through a pretty well worked goal. 

It didn't take too long for City to get back into the game though as a very well worked free kick was turned into the back of the net by Keegan Lambert. City managed to draw the game level before halftime by yet another free kick that was this time slotted home by Katy Woodcock. I think after seeing City's performance with free kicks today they could really threaten other teams if they get brought down in their own half. 

The game was very end to end for the full 90 minutes with each side trying to grab that winning goal but unfortunately neither of them could and the game ended 2-2 giving City their 1st point of the season and hopefully they are only going to gain more and more as they progress this season. 

To say Bradford haven't played in a few weeks it didn't look like it effected the team much as they looked consistent and threatening that final 3rd just needs a bit more work but that will all start to come together as the team gets more minutes together under their belt. Throughout this game there were a few stray passes from either side but then they would find some brilliant passes which just goes to show the ability is there and given more game time this little issue should easily be ironed out. 

There was also quite a few stoppages in play thanks to the referee seemingly happy to hand out free kicks out for any slight touch at some points. Maybe if there weren't so many stoppages for each side there would have been more time for the teams to piece those passes together and get into the run of play more. 

It was great to be back and you can certainly see the improvements the Chris Hames has made to the City team and I am excited to see what is to come from the side as there is definitely a lot of potential for the season ahead. 

Favourite Stadiums I Visited So Far

I have been lucky enough to go to plenty of football games over the years, whether they have been in the league, FA Cup, friendlies or charity games. This means that I have been to plenty of  stadiums over the years and there have been some great stadiums and some not so great stadiums. So here are the favourite stadiums I have visited so far...


Valley Parade
Of course the home of Bradford City is the first on this list as it is where I spend most of my weekends and even plenty of Tuesday nights. This is a stadium I have been visiting for years now and I just love it (I might be biased as it is the stadium for the team I support). I actually think it is wasted on us at times as it can feel so empty during some games. But to say it is a stadium for a league 2 team you really can't go wrong, it is huge and there can be a brilliant atmosphere, we just need to start to bring it back.


Wembley Stadium
Unfortunately I have only been to this stadium once but I am hoping to go back plenty of times in the future and I want to eventually do the stadium tour for this one too. Even just the look of the stadium from a distance is great and you can't beat walking up to the stadium on Wembley Way, the atmosphere is fantastic walking on here & inside the stadium too. The views inside the stadium are fantastic too, we were actually sat at the back of one of the levels but you could see everything.


Etihad Stadium
Now this stadium I haven't actually watched the football at, I have been to a few concerts & rugby matches here and they were fantastic so I would love to experience an actual football match at the stadium. Honestly the first time I went I wasn't too sure what to make of it as the outside looks great but what would the inside look like? Well it was fantastic as I say the first time I went to this stadium was actually for a rugby game and it was fantastic, walking up those spiral ramps and finally seeing the pitch. The view from where we was sitting was great too.


City Academy Stadium
The Academy Stadium is where Manchester City Women play there games and it is an absolutely brilliant stadium. It is the perfect size for the women's team and academy teams which play there and is nice and open. The views are great but the best part is the leg room, some stadiums you go to you can feel cramped together and like there is not much room for movement however, here you can move about comfortably and there is actually space for people to get past you without the need to stand up.


Old Trafford
Of course the home of Manchester United is on the list. Old Trafford is a stadium I have been to many times over the years. I have been to this stadium for both rugby and football matches and I love it. The Stadium is great on both the inside and the outside and the atmosphere inside the stadium is fantastic too, it has honestly never disappointed me. I did the tour for my 16th birthday too and that is something I am going to remember forever and in fact I want to go back and do it again.


Anfield
Now I never thought that something to do with Liverpool would be in a favourite list of mine but honestly Anfield is such a great stadium. I would actually love to go back and do a stadium tour of the ground because I think it would be brilliant. We actually only went here for a charity game but the atmosphere was fantastic which make me wonder just what it would be like to go watch an actual Liverpool game there.

So there you have it those are the favourite stadiums I have visited so far, I would love to finally go to some stadiums abroad in the future as there is actually quite a few I have wanted to visit for a while now. What are some of your favourite stadiums you have visited?