Cage the Elephant – Tell Me I’m Pretty

The Indie Rock group just released their 4th studio album Tell Me I’m Pretty on December 18th. The group has been known for a mostly Alternative and Garage Band rock style. This album felt a lot more like a Blues Rock album during most of it.

Rating: 3 out of 10, I think they played this album a little too safe. Vocals were borderline unimpressive and the music dragged for large portions of the album. This album doesn’t feel like it fits with the rest of their releases. The best song is “Portoguese Knife Fight” which is way off the charts compared to the rest of the album. If they would have out a few more agressive songs like “Portoguese Knife Fight” they might have saved this album, way too safe, better luck next time boys.

Merry Christmas everybody!!!


Match Day Four: Reactions and Storylines

As we head into the International Break the Premier League can now say that the season is roughly 10.5% complete. Teams are beginning to find their places in the table. Others are scrambling to get back to previous form or stay in the Premier League. Match day four gave us some interesting story lines and even more interesting score lines as well.

Chelsea is disarray?

Crystal Palace have once again proven they are a team to be reckoned with this year. This time around the victims were Chelsea who just looked off in the match. I have to question if this match was the result of amazing form from Palace or another bad day for Chelsea. The pace their got in Pedro’s debut disappeared and their defense was again questionable. Meanwhile, Palace claims another surprise 3 points and solidified they are a threat to crack at least the top half of the table this season. I think the real result of this game will be funds exiting Chelsea’s bank account. I predict they will seriously attempt to get Pogba and Stones. At this, from what I’ve seen both new boys are sorely needed to wake up this talented squad.

Manchester United also in disarray?!?!

Another perennial Top 4 team appears to be in disarray as Manchester United fell 2-1 to Swansea. In my opinion, that magnifies the 0-0 draw last week to Newcastle. Also, it makes their blowout win to Brugge meaningless. I have said since early in the season that they would need to score more than 1 or 2 goals each game to win in this Premier League. That has again proven to be true as Swansea dealt with their attacking threat. Just like Chelsea, I feel that United will make a firm effort to grab attacking power in the transfer window. As to the Red Devil’s fans, please calm down. Despite only 1 point in the last 2 match days, this will pass. The club was fresh off a Champions League playoff and still sits 5th in the table. I think they will come out firing fresh off the international break.

Top of the Table: Manchester City

Manchester City finally showed they were not invincible and struggled mightily in the 1st half. But they made the best of their opportunities in the 2nd half. Raheem Sterling opened his account for the season and Fernaninho had another great goal. City are cruising but I am still leery of how they will play from behind and how they will face true adversity. The Champion’s League will be a test for them and their schedule as well. The current 11 play great together but I want to see how they play without the current mixture of players. But either way, great start for City and the team just got even deeper with KDB’s signing.

Bold Prediction: Gareth Bale will not be sold this transfer window, those rumors are ridiculous.

Top of the Table: Why City’s Next Game will be their biggest test yet

City now sit along atop the Premier League table a measly two points clear of shocker Leichester City. The Blues have cruised in their first three games and dominated play. They now must face Watford this coming weekend, a team that sits 12th in the table. Watford is also considered by many to be a relegation zone team this season. In order to understand the importance of this game, one must look one year back to the 2014/2015 Premier League Season. Where City’s performance against the bottom three teams may have cost them the title.

Last season City finished 2nd in the table to the almighty Chelsea. After last weeks win at Goodison Park Manuel Pellegrini said his team needed to be more focused against smaller clubs. He definitely knows what he’s talking about when you look at their performance versus the bottom three from last year. Versus Hull City, Burnley, and Queens Park Rangers City were dismal. They only captured 8 of a potential 18 points last season versus the bottom three. Meanwhile Chelsea, versus those same three teams, captured 16 of a total 18 points. That is an eight point difference and would have tied Chelsea and City atop the table.

Due to their two 1-1 draws during the season, the decision would have come down to Goal Differential. City held a +45 and Chelsea held a +41 goal differential. So City, hypothetically, would have won the Premier League had the duplicated Chelsea’s performance against the bottom three. Now if they would have swept the bottom 3 they would have won the Premier League outright. That fully explains and completely validates Pellegrini’s comments. Furthermore, it establishes the importance of their upcoming match day versus Watford.

Now I am not picking on the Watford by saying they will be relegated this season. As a matter of fact, I feel they will be thorn in the sides of teams atop and at the bottom of the table. What I do want to make clear is that City’s upcoming match is one they need to take very seriously. One would hope they learned their lesson from last year’s folly, but the season is still young. One thing that I know, with absolute certainty, is that I cannot wait to play Watford or literally any team as City in FIFA 16. The next 28 days will be agonizing.

Bold Prediction: Benteke will score twice the next time he plays.

Match Day Three: Reactions

The Premier League is now 3 games days through the season. Most of the games featured rain and players falling left and right during the 90 minutes. The games also showed who went to the top of the table and who may be playing in the Championship next year. But there are some good story lines and I apologize if I don’t cover them all.

Manchestester City Look Good Again

Goodison Park has long been a hard place to win, especially for City. Everton made things difficult in the early going. Lakuku was about two inches from an amazing free kick. But City were pressed in only a handful of situations and City dealt with them nicely. It appears Mangala is going to make life tough for new boy Otamendi. But City had too many opportunities and converted on two great strikes. The 2-0 win confirms their position atop the table and also likely places a bigger target on them moving forward.

Liverpool/Arsenal reaction

I would venture to say that this game featured the most entertaining 0-0 1st I’ve ever seen. Petr Cech was in good form and prevented a 2-0 score line at half. Alexis Sanchez showed good flashes and passed beautifully. I thought the second half was dominated by Arsenal and Liverpool didn’t really accomplish what they set out to. Coutinho continued to be solid but he didn’t get great support. I think both these clubs will run into problems if they can’t score more goals and product more chances.

Man United Need a Striker

Manchester United again struggled to find goal opportunities and didn’t convert the ones they got. While they weren’t beat, they still lost 2 points in my opinion. Newcastle were far the lesser team on the pitch. The Magpies were on the defensive all afternoon and managed to keep the ball out of the net. Wayne Rooney again did not have a present in the penalty area. At numerous times throughout the game, I could see Rooney at midfield when United were on the attack. My guess is that United will be linked with a numerous strikers up until the deadline. Neymar is the most recent but Barca will want a fortune for him at this point. My player of the game was Tim Krul whose presence in goal is the only reason Newcastle got one point.

Bournemouth’s first win/West Ham falling apart?

The team with the oddest logo and the smallest stadium has now won a game in the Barclay’s Premier League. The 4-3 win was ugly at best but Gary Howe’s men held it together. It has taken them 125 years but the Cherries can finally celebrate 3 Premier League point. In sports, however, for each victor there is a loser. Match day three didn’t go worse for anybody than West Ham. The Hammers completely fell apart and now sit close to the bottom of the table. It’s been a high fall from their victory at the Emirates. But this fall won’t kill them quite yet. In other words, there is a lot of football yet to play. Slaven Bilić should not be sacked for at least 10 more games. West Ham must claim points in their next match over the pressure will be overwhelming and could sink them.

Where is this money coming from?

As of today Premier League clubs have now spent over £700 million on transfer fees. The amount dwarfs any other league in the world. Clubs both big and small are getting in on the action as well. The big four have always spent a lot in the summer window but it’s the smaller clubs that are posting surprising amounts so far. 

This money is, by association, the effect of wide international interest in the Premier League. Its popularity here in the United States alone has seen a startling growth in the past few years. The TV money that has been flowing in to all clubs in the Premier League. The Leagues alleged “richest” club take in over £100 million per year from TV deals alone. But the spending has been astonishing, but does it make the Premier League more competitive?

I don’t think that the newly acquired players will have a profound impact just yet. But I feel that once the players have a chance to gel with the new clubs you will notice a market difference in the League. That difference will be felt across Europe and will no doubt affect the Champions League. But the competition amongst the Top 20 Team in England will continue to increase.

Kevin de Bruyne: Another Saga that won’t end

The notification I received on my phone sums up my view of the Kevin de Bruyne transfer saga. “Even people in prison serving life sentences are growing tired of the de Bruyne saga”, a City fan cleverly tweeted. I could not agree more this saga has drawn on for too long and at this point I don’t even care anymore. With de Bruyne the City midfield is overloaded, without him they are still talent heavy. Numerous issues such as price tag, player history, and now the mixed messages point to me that City should back out of any negotiations. But City have a long reputation of signing players they don’t need for huge sums of money, so who knows where this deal will go.

De Bruyne is rumored to be worth £50 million with incentives. That is a major increase from the £18 million he was worth when he went from Chelsea to Wolfsburg. The increase in price can be attributed to two solid seasons and his essential role to Wolfsburg. But I don’t think you will find many fans who would say that priced isn’t borderline over the top. Some may even go as far to say this price is ridiculous. But regardless of price, there are far deeper issues in this transfer story. It is obvious that either the club or De Bruyne’s camp want him to stay put in Wolfsburg. But, as usual, the true facts have been buried behind smoke screen after smoke screen.

Most of the 2013/2014 season was ruined by, big surprise here, a transfer saga from Chelsea. That saga dragged out into the January transfer window. Upon return to the Bundesliga De Bruyne was productive scoring 3 goals and 6 assists over 18 games started with Wolfsburg. The 2012/2013 season was also productive on loan with Werder-Bremen. He started 33 games scoring 10 goals and 9 assisted in the Bundesliga. He also earned acclaim in his six World Cup qualifier appearances scoring twice and assisting two goals. His only hands down SMASHING season was last year. In 2014/2015 de Bruyne score 10 goals and had 20 assists leading Wolfsburg to a 2nd place finish. He also was credited with scoring once and two assists in the World Cup for Belgium. That great season and buzz has now led us to this point and a truck load of stories.

De Bruyne has been in Manchester City’s sights supposedly since Raheem Sterling’s signing. So the past two months have been filled with back and forth rumors. First De Bruyne was going and then he was staying. This back and forth stream will no doubt make him a hated man should he ever land in the Premier League. But it’s absolutely unclear where the jam in the negotiations has occurred. My opinion is that Manhester City would be getting a good midfielder should they sign De Bruyne. But he would again be in a crowded midfield and struggling for time. I think if City sign him for the estimated £50 million fortune, it will be another poorly laid move. On the flip side, City’s calendar is about to start filling up with Domestic Cup matches and the Champions League. So de Bruyne could provie even more depth to the midfield. De Bruyne  has the potential to be another loss for City but he has to first sign for the club. If he signs I think either he or another player will wind up departing at a financial loss to the club.

Bold Prediction: De Bruyne will not sign for City citing personal reasons.

Match Day Two Complete: Reactions

Match day two of the English Premier League 2015/2016 season has come and gone. The season is now 5.2% complete and it’s still brutally early. The table is starting to take some form but it’s still way too early to mark a clear favorite. But with two matches gone groups of fans are falling into the emotional statuses of overjoyed, panicked, and still leary. But no matter what your clubs current spot in the table you must still either remain calm or bring yourself back down to earth, it’s early on.

Arsenal Fans can now relax until next week

After their opening loss to West Ham would would’ve sworn the Emirates had been destroyed and Arsene Wenger has quit. But it simply took a 2-1 win for Arsenal supporters to get back on board. Giroud’s strike in the 16th minute was SMASHING (Watch the goal) but it still took an own goal for Arsenal to win. But wins are wins and 3 points are all that matters and that’s what Arsenal got. So breathe easy for this week Arsenal fans, you’re headed in the right direction.

Manchester City Earn Top Spot

Chelsea came into the Etihad looking for a bounce back from their opening draw. It was obvious from the start that they didn’t get it. City were dominant in their first 45 minutes and, despite controversial calls, maintained that dominance through the second half. The 3-0 win put them atop the table for good reason. Their back line looks good, midfield has been solid, and Aguero looks on form as well. Captain Vincent Kompany’s comments following the win saying, “we still have a long way to go to lift the cup” shows City will be motivated this year. Their next game at Everton will be a great matchup.

Leichester City the Early Surprise

Only 4 teams have claimed six points out of their first 2 matches. Three of them would not surprise you; Liverpool, Manchester United, and Manchester City. But the fourth, Leicester, is a surprise to many. Their 2-1 win over West Ham will no doubt leave a buzz around King Power Stadium. But the club sits 2nd in the table early, which is still a great accomplishment. If they can grab 3 points from Tottenham, then this buzz will be real. Overall, I think this club have performed well over the first two games. But the next few fixtures will determine if this is more than a short run of good form.

Despite Manchester City being atop the table, Chelsea near the bottom, and Arsenal finding their feet; the season is still young. Whether your club is 1st or 20th you must still keep the faith. I still want to see Bournemouth claim 3 points so badly, but that will have to wait for Matchday three. 

Bold Prediction: Vincent Kompany will still be the top scorer on Manchester City after Matchday three.