Who will Craig Gordon sign for?

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon has been released by Sunderland after losing his place as their number one this season.

Craig Gordon has played 40 times for Scotland

The Scotland international was signed for £9 million in 2007 which at the time was the highest fee a British club had paid for a goalkeeper and to begin with it looked as though he was worth every penny. But soon things started going wrong as he was dropped to the bench after conceding seven goals against Everton. His first season at the club he played the most games in his Sunderland career and eventually Simon Mignolet took his place permanently and towards the end of last season it was obvious that he wasn’t going to get a new contract. However, one of the finest moments of his career must have been his save against Bolton Wanderers in 2010 which was voted the best save at the Premier League 20 seasons awards.

He does still have his admirers and I’m sure a lot of clubs will be hoping to convince him to sign for them. Surprisingly though, Tottenham Hotspur are linked with him and I was really shocked by this as they have a very good number one in Brad Friedel who is very consistent and plays in every league game, even though he is getting towards the end of his career, it doesn’t look like he is planning to retire anytime soon with some very impressive saves last season. However, if Gordon is willing to wait for at least a season he could become Spurs’ number one in a few years time and in the meantime he will still be playing Europa League and cup football which is something that he didn’t even get at Sunderland. So if the interest is genuine then I could see this transfer happening.

A more realistic transfer could be to Celtic as he has already proven that he is one of the best ever in the Scottish Premier League when he played for Hearts as he was inducted into their hall of fame at the age of only 24, which makes him the youngest player to receive this honour. Celtic may need a goalkeeper too as Fraser Forster was only on loan from Newcastle United last season and even though his contract has expired there, compensation will still need to paid which could be up to £2 million. With Gordon being a free, I think he would be a much better option anyway as I have never been convinced by Forster.

Finally, another team I have seen linked with goalkeeper is Wigan Athletic and this does not seem likely to me either unless they are losing Ali Al Habsi in the summer because Al-Habsi proved time and time again last season that he is too good for Wigan and should be playing for a team that is challenging for Europe. So if Al Habsi leaves then yes I think Gordon would be an adequate replacement but I cannot see him becoming their number one if the Oman international stays at the DW.

Are Wigan good enough for the Premier League?

After beating Manchester United 1-0, Wigan have given themselves a great chance to stay up this season but are they really good enough to stay up again this year?

Roberto Martinez has a 24.59% win record at Wigan

I am one of the few people that actually had faith that the club would stay up basically because they have been there and done it for a number of years now and they understand the pressure that they are under. It is the same reason why a lot of people believe that Manchester United have already won the title and that is because of their experience in their current situation. But even Alex Ferguson said Wigan are in a false position and are playing some of the best football in the league and yes some decisions went there way in this game but in recent weeks they have had some horrific decisions against them, in particular the Chelsea game where both goals could have been given as offside.

But anyway, Wigan have a lot of quality that may have been missed by a lot of fans and pundits because of the position they are in now. Starting with the manager, Roberto Martinez, he likes to play football in one way and sometimes it works against his team but on the whole they play some good football and are one of the best and most fluent attacking teams in the league when they are on form. If he could sort out the defence then I believe they would be a solid mid table side and wouldn’t have to worry about relegation.

However, saying that Wigan have one of the most underrated goalkeepers in the league in Ali Al-Habsi who has saved his team on many occasions and produced some stunning saves, surprisingly against United he was rarely stretched and you have to give credit to the whole team for that not just the defence. I think when Brad Friedel retires, Tottenham may look to sign Al-Habsi because he wouldn’t look out of place in a top four side.

In defence, they have a bit of experience but maybe not a lot of quality, Gary Caldwell has been there and done it, he has played for Celtic so he knows what it’s like to be under pressure to win games and in the last few weeks he has been in really good form. Scoring the winning goal against Liverpool must have given him and the whole club a boost and they have gone from strength to strength since then.

The midfield is full of quality with James McArthur, James McCarthy and Shaun Maloney who have all looked good in Scotland but now this season are proving they have enough talent to succeed in the Premier League but the stand out player is winger Victor Moses. He may not get as many goals as he should because his shooting and decision making can be a bit poor but his skills and his ability to create a chance out of nothing have been crucial in the last few weeks, even if they do stay up it might be difficult to keep hold of him this summer.

They do not have a lot of firepower up top but they do have a bit of talent in Franco Di Santo and Hugo Rodallega who maybe should get more goals than they do because they do have a goal in them and if they could have produced more consistently then they wouldn’t be in the position they are in now.

Like I said earlier, I always thought Wigan would stay up this year and it will still be difficult but they have given themselves a great chance of being a Premier League club next year and with a few more additions they may not be in this position again next year, although that is probably what the fans thought last summer.

Who will be relegated from the Premier League?

The battle at the bottom is going to be one of the best ever with five teams all struggling to string together a set of results that will pull them away from the danger zone.

Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, QPR and Wolves are the five teams and it will probably go to the last day to decide who is going to play Championship football next season. With only four points separating them, it could even be decided by goal difference. So who is the most likely to stay up.

Let’s start with bottom of the table Wigan. Out of the five teams they are the favourites to go down because they are the smallest club and have always struggled in the Premier League. However, this could work to their advantage as some teams may not take them as seriously as they should. They also have some good players and have been in this situation before and survived, it was only a few seasons ago they stayed up on the last day which shows when it comes down to it they can hold their nerve. They have a good goalkeeper in Ali Al-Habsi and he should be playing for a better team as he has performed brilliantly for the club and it wouldn’t surprise me if he left in the summer even if they did stay up. Wigan play some good football and probably only need a proven goal scorer but these are difficult to find. Hugo Rodallega is a decent player but he will not score enough goals, Victor Moses, another very good player but he will not be a consistent goal scorer.

Blackburn have just beaten Wolves and this shows that when it comes down to it, they are up for the fight. Their manager Steve Kean has been written off multiple times this season but the players seem to be playing for him and are very much behind him. They also have some very good players and what maybe the other teams don’t have is a proven goal scorer. Yakubu has arguably been the signing of the season and if they stay up he should receive a lot of praise. They also have Morten Gamst Pedersen and Junior Hoilett in their midfield and these two can change a game in the blink of an eye, they both have fantastic technique and have also got a few goals in them.

Bolton also secured a massive three points when they beat QPR with a very late goal from Ivan Klasnic. They shouldn’t really be in this position but most teams in the league will struggle when they have their two best players out injured for most of the season. Lee Chung Yong and Stuart Holden give the team so much quality and it would be difficult to replace them especially when they don’t have the biggest budgets. However, they do have Nigel Reo Coker and Mark Davies in their midfield and if Bolton go down then surely these two will still be Premier League players after the summer because they can control a game from the middle of the park.

Wolves are in real danger in my opinion because they have given Terry Connor the responsibility of guiding the club away from the danger zone. I am not slating him but in a situation like this you want a manger with experience. Also, putting in the assistant to me is a bad choice because it is like the old regime is still in the club and maybe something new would have given everyone a lift. Steven Fletcher has had a good season for the club but he has lacked the support, Kevin Doyle works hard but has not scored enough goals, and Sylvain Ebanks Blake is not a Premier League striker at all. The problem with Wolves is that they cannot defend and concede some very sloppy goals, Wayne Hennessey deserves praise this season because he has gained the team points and also kept the score lines down which could prove vital at the end of the season.

QPR have a good team, a good manger and the backing of the board so it seems that everything should be going well at the club but for some reason it hasn’t actually worked out. If QPR do go down there will be a lot of what ifs asked, for example what if Warnock stayed in charge would we have stayed up? The signings they made in January should have kept them up safely with Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora coming in to provide some much needed firepower. The defence is still a worry though as Clint Hill is still first choice, and he is not a Premier League defender. In the Bolton game they didn’t have much luck but you don’t get much at the bottom anyway.

I am not sure on who will go down and my opinion will change now on a weekly basis, but looking at QPR’s fixture list they seem to be in a lot of trouble but football is a strange game and anything can happen so it will be enjoyable for all the neutrals but for the fans involved it will be agony.