Michael Owen says that he expects Gareth Bale to improve


Former Real Madrid striker Michael Owen says that he expects Gareth Bale to improve a lot in the upcoming season.

The Welshman has had to receive bulk of the criticism for the club failing to win any major end of season honours. His season’s statistics did not match up to those from his first season at the club, but they were not poor by any means. However, it was made to look poor by the impressive Cristiano Ronaldo, who once again ended up with a haul of more than 50 goals for the season. Even though it meant little in terms of trophies, fans did not complain.

Owen has come to the rescue of Bale by saying that the Welshman has the capability to return to his best even as early as in the coming campaign. The arrival of Rafa Benitez as the new Real Madrid manager puts some uncertainty into the situation. It could be helpful for Bale, who started out as a defender and is known to offer much more in both sides of the game. This is especially opposite to that of Ronaldo, who is known as being extremely focused on scoring goals. Benitez could like the defensive nature of Bale and make him feel wanted once again.

"Real Madrid have a great team right now. Maybe they need a little more to be better than Barcelona at the moment, but they have a fantastic squad. I spent very little time with Rafa at Liverpool, but I can say that he is a very good coach. I thought that Bale had a decent start to his career at Real Madrid. He's quiet and shy by nature, but I think that the more fit and confident he is, he'll improve even more. He's a world class player,” said Owen.


Michael Owen has been disappointed by RadamelFalcao


Michael Owen and just about every single other figure in the world of football have been disappointed with what RadamelFalcao has accomplished with Manchester United after the Premier League club signed the Colombian forward on a loan deal which is worth €6 million. This transfer fee is not as high compared to what United has spent in signing other players but what is incredibly huge is the salary that Falcao is receiving as he is paid £265,000 each week.

£265,000 every week is a steep price for a player who has only managed to score 4 goals and provide 4 assists for Manchester United in 22 Premier League appearances in this current season.

“I’ve been disappointed with Falcao because I really rated him when he was at Athletic Madrid. I thought he was top class and I was quite excited about him coming’’ Michael Owen said.

There are defenders in the Premier League who have been able to score more goals and accomplish more things than what RadamelFalcao has done with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Michael Owen continued on by saying that he is starting to get concerned about the attacking force of Manchester United which consists of: Wayne Rooney, RadamelFalcao and Robin van Persie.

‘’I think Manchester United might have a little problem in the coming seasons. You look at Rooney, Van Persie and Falcao, none of them are spring chickens and one of them, Falcao, has not been performing well and you would think that they aren’t going to keep him,” Owen added on.

Owen believes that his former club, Manchester United should start considering searching for younger attacking options that can replace Rooney, Van Persie and Falcao as all of those players are not as vibrant and energetic as they used to be a few years ago.


Michael Owen says he is expecting Arsenal to win Easily


Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen says that he is expecting Arsenal to comfortably beat West Ham and get three points in the weekend’s league match.

The gunners have an upcoming Champions League match against Monaco just a few days away. Since they are trailing 3-1 from the first leg, it has been suggested that Arsene Wenger may rest some of his big names in anticipation of getting an early goal against Monaco. Owen says that this may not be the case, as Wenger will be wary of giving up on the third place in the league.

Unlike in the last couple of seasons, Arsenal appear to be the favourites to comfortably finish in the top four this season. They might have only a one-point advantage over Manchester United, but Arsenal have been playing much better football – at least in the league – than the Red Devils. The reason to dropped points for Manchester City has also given a lot of motivation for Arsenal to try and grab the second spot. Wenger recently admitted that he felt that winning the title was asking a bit too much of his team at this point, but he spoke with a lot of confidence about finishing in the second place.

“The Hammers were excellent at White Hart Lane last month, despite having to settle for a point, and they were unlucky not to get a draw against league leaders Chelsea at Upton Park last time. That said Arsenal will be desperate to maintain their challenge for a vital Champions League place and confidence will be high after their FA Cup success over Manchester United earlier in the week.Sam Allardyce has never managed a winning team at Arsenal in the PL in ten previous attempts and is unlikely to buck that trend at the weekend,” said Owen.


Real Sociedad win over Madrid a Major Boost to Team


Real Sociedad managed a stunning victory over reigning champions Atletico Madrid to boost their chances of getting away from the relegation zone.

The 2-1 win does not mean opening a gap between the teams in the relegation zone like Levante, but Sociedad will take a lot of confidence from this victory. It is also looking likely that former Manchester United and Everton manager David Moyes may be appointed as the new manager in the next few days. The bookmakers have cut the odds of the Scot becoming the next Real Sociedad manager.

For the moment, players like Carlos Vela are enjoying the victory over Atletico, who proved the last season that they are incredibly tough to beat. This was only the second defeat that they suffered this season, while it was also only the second win for Real Sociedad. Carlos Vela said after the match that these kind of games give a lot of motivation to the players who are concerned about the threat of relegation. He is hoping to use this victory and propel the club out of trouble. Since the international break occupies the fixture list until the next fortnight, there is a danger of Sociedad once again losing momentum. Vela hopes this is not the case.

"These are the kinds of games that motivate us, the situation we're in, we had to take a step forward if we didn't want to go into the international break with this bad feeling.It's not a matter of the coach, the players have to believe and follow this line to keep working and see what happens. It's all we have left,” said Vela.

Meanwhile, he also insisted that his has no problems with Atletico forwarder Mario Mandzukic with whom he was involved in a light scuffle during the match on Sunday.


Steven Gerrard again in Headlines


Steven Gerrard has been consistently making the headlines in the last few weeks due to several reasons. His future remains on the speculation because he is out of contract in the summer.

This coupled with the poor form shown by the 34-year-old since the start of the season has led to many believing that this may be Gerrard’s final season of the club. Michael Owen is one of the players who came through the ranks at Liverpool along with Gerrard. He is someone who knows the captain extremely well and he says that there is undeniable truth in the poor form of the 34-year-old.

However, he expects Gerrard to adapt once again to the new kind of football that he is expected to deliver.

Given his age, not many expect Gerrard to be the force going forward. This is evident from the fact that he has not scored a goal from open play for almost a year. He has primarily found the back of the net from set pieces and penalties. The former England international has played for Liverpool throughout his career, but he recently admitted that he would consider the prospect of leaving the club should he get a better offer elsewhere.

“He may not be the Gerrard of five years ago, but even if he’s slowed down a yard, he is the best midfielder at the club.Unfortunately, he’s reached the stage of his career whereby every bad game gets attributed to his age.I don’t think he needs to move.He can still have a huge effect on the Liverpool team,” said Owen, who had to retire much earlier than Gerrard due to a number of injury problems. The former Liverpool and United striker is now working as a pundit with the likes of BT Sport and write several columns.


Owen Thinks Liverpool Are MAking A Mistake


Michael Owen says that his former club Liverpool are not making a mistake by bringing in Mario Balotelli from AC Milan. The Italian international is expected to complete his £ 16 million move to Anfield before Monday, although he will not be able to play in the match against his former team Manchester City. Balotelli spent almost 3 seasons at City where he created a reputation for being a troublemaker. He was also regarded as one of the talented youngsters in the world. Now 24 years old, the striker will not be forgiven for repeating his antics off the pitch.

At his age, Balotelli will be seen as someone who can be a regular first-team player if he is on form. Now retired from all forms of football, Owen has been seeing his former team slowly raise up the table. Last season, they almost won the title while season they will be making a return to Champions League after a four-year absence. Balotelli has the potential to be a star at Liverpool according to Owen. He is confident that manager Brendan Rodgers will be able to get the best out of him. Liverpool are thought to have inserted a clause in Balotelli’s contract that he would be sold if his character was not upto the mark.

"Going to be great fun having Ballotelli back in The Premier League. There is no doubt about his talent and I'm sure Brendan Rodgers will make sure he behaves having witnessed the problems Suarez inflicted on the club. If that's the case, 16m looks good value," said the former Liverpool striker who scored almost 300 goals for the Merseyside outfit. After the loss of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool badly needed to strengthen the attack in order to cope with the stress and rigors of a 50 game season.


Owen Confident Arsenal Will Not Even Finish Fourth


Former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen has claimed that he is confident that Arsenal will not even finish fourth let alone win the title. Arsenal come into the new season with a lot of positivity after having finally brought their trophy drought to an end by winning the FA Cup. This was the first title in nine years for Arsenal. They have managed build on this positivity by signing players like Alex Sanchez. So far, they have splashed out £ 40 million on two players, while more are expected to come in the next few weeks.

They are heavily linked with Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, who will be available for around £ 20 million. Signing such experienced players has made Arsenal as one of the favourites for the title. However, former United and Liverpool striker Owen, who has now retired from football, claims that Arsenal will even struggle to finish in the fourth place. The comments by the former England international certainly raise eyebrows, but Owen that Arsenal will struggle to compete with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United.

There will be as much as six teams competing for the top four places, which will provide Champions League football. Owen expects Arsenal to miss out on the top four along with Tottenham. "The signing of Sanchez has made everyone sit up and take note. I really do rate him, he's a top player and it's a big step in the right direction. But, in no particular order, my top four for next season would be Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool. If Liverpool are going to progress again, they probably need to get better again. Manchester City won the league, Chelsea have strengthened in a big way,” said the former striker, who won the league title with United.


Michael Owen Compliments Van Gaal


Louis van Gaal guided Netherlands to the 3rd spot of the 2014 World Cup and he has received praise for his work from supporters and players all over the globe including Michael Owen who recently stepped up and complimented the Dutch manager who will be in charge of Manchester United for the next season.

Owen spoke to the media: "If there were any doubts about Van Gaal's credentials to become the United manager and given his CV I doubt there ever were they must have been eradicated after that destruction of Spain, a fixture which set the tone for a riveting tournament’’
"Van Gaal's most eye-catching decision was to substitute goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen for Tim Krul before the quarter-final penalty shoot-out against Costa Rica.

"That encapsulated his single-mindedness but his influence was evident throughout the competition with some of his unorthodox but successful selections. It must have been reassuring for United fans who are desperate for the club to return to their natural home in the Champions League."

Replacing David Moyes with Louis van Gaal was the first step that the staff members of Manchester United decided to do in order to help the club restore themselves from the disastrous campaign they went through in the past season.

Some signings have been made in Old Trafford as Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera are the players that will be joining the Premier League club and help them in their journey of getting back into the Champions League with Louis van Gaal being the main man in charge of making it all happen.

Mats Hummels, Arturo Vidal, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria are some of the other summer targets that Van Gaal is hoping to sign but the Dutch manager will have to be ready to break the bank in order to sign all of those sought out talents before any other club does.


Owen Confident About England Team


With the 2014 World Cup arriving in less than 1 month, players and managers around the globe are preparing themselves for the worldwide tournament. Spain and Brazil are the favorites on winning it this time around. England has not managed on securing the trophy since 1966 and they still are considered underdogs.

Roy Hodgson has his work cut out for him as England was pitted in the same group alongside Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica which is one of the harder groups in the entire competition and it will be difficult enough for them to escape the group stages.

Despite the tough opponents that England has to face, Michael Owen is confident about the team and the managerial abilities that Roy Hodgson has to offer for the nation.

‘’I believe Roy Hodgson is an attack-minded manager. He certainly has been with England, as there are goals in every game nowadays. We have fantastic attacking players and, like Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool, you must play to your strengths’’.

‘’England has Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley and Steven Gerrard, and these players are able to score and create. We should try to outscore our opponents rather than play defensively and look to steal a win. I think Barkley is an exceptional talent. Young players like Barkley haven’t been scarred from previous experiences and they are full of confidence’’. Owen stated.

Michael Owen praised all the young talent that the England squad has to offer.

England has a number of friendly matches scheduled to play against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras just before the start of the 2014 World Cup and it will be a crucial time for Hodgson as he has to settle on which players and formation he is going to rely on for the tough mountain that lies ahead of him and the squad which starts on June 14 when they face off against Italy.


THE CLASICO OF ALL CLASICOS


Real Madrid’s 4-3 loss against Barcelona in the Santiago Bernabeu witnessed Lionel Messi stepping it up once more for his club as he scored on 3 occasions as well as the Argentine providing the assist for Iniesta to score the opening goal of the match.

When the team needed him most, he demonstrated why he is still regarded to be the best player in the world despite losing the last Ballon d’Or race against C.Ronaldo.

The Spanish ‘’Clasico’’ was yet again filled with plenty of fouls, aggressive playing, fighting, yellow cards and even 1 late red card was displayed to Sergio Ramos who had to be sent off in the 2nd half of the match.

There were a lot of controversial moments during the match which has caused some Real Madrid players on criticizing the performance from the referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco and even suggesting him to not be in charge of another high profile and important match such as this one.

"The referee made some incredible decisions but we have to carry on. In a Real Madrid-Barcelona game you have to have a referee who is up to the task. I don't want to use the referee as an excuse but if you analyze the 90 minutes there were a lot of mistakes." C.Ronaldo said after the conclusion of the match.

"Real Madrid is the greatest club and there is a lot of envy around it. It's tough because a lot of people did not want us to win and Barcelona to be out of the title race. They probably do not want Real to win this league. It makes me think that you don't only win matches on the pitch but also with a little bit of help from outside." C.Ronaldo added.

This victory for Barcelona now puts them back in the race for the league title along with Real Madrid and Athletic Madrid as they are the top teams which are fighting for the silverware.


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