Soccer Chat: Ask Dale Johnson
Dale has been part of the Soccernet editorial team for over five and a half years, joining in May 1999 after covering the France World Cup with TEAMtalk. Dale started out reporting on non-league football with Bridlington Town, taking a break to qualify with a BA (Hons) in journalism at the University of Teesside before going on the cover the sport through to international level.
Born and bred in the seaside Yorkshire town of Bridlington, Dale looks after much of the Premiership coverage and the management of nearly 1,000 player profiles from England's top flight.
Dale won't be stopping by until 3 pm BST (10 am EST) on Thursday but you can send your questions now and we will save them for his arrival.
Dale Johnson (10:00 AM)
I'll be getting the chat started very shortly - so keep all your questions coming in!
Do you think Everton will be able to maintain their success in the oncoming season?
Dale Johnson (10:14 AM)
It's going to be tough. If they do not get through the final qualifying round of the Champions League - and they could get a tough tie - then it will put a real dampener on the start of the season. It's hard to see them being able to match fourth place again - mind you, few expected a top-half finish last term. The unexpected can happen. We have seen how difficult Everton have found it to attract the best players, even though they do have that Champions League carrot. Scott Parker chose Newcastle, a club without European football, probably because he felt they would be a better proposition long-term. Unless David Moyes can attract some decent talent then mid-table may be the best they can hope for
Jon, RI, US
First quick take on the new premier schedule? Will Wigan hold the champs? How about Everton Man U 3 days after they play i the CL? Will the Chelsea Man U game April 29 decide the title?
Dale Johnson (10:19 AM)
Wigan could not have hoped for a much better game as a Premiership curtain raiser. Their first pick was a local derby, but this cannot be far behind. Wigan have talked a good game over the summer, trying to sign Scott Parker for one. But that really was a pipe dream. They are going to struggle to attract high calibre players. It's hard to see them getting anything against Chelsea. In fact, it could be a baptism of fire. Everton did well against Man United last season, and there is of course the added Rooney factor yet again. I think a draw could be on the card there. As for talking about Chelsea v Man United as a title decider, it has all the hallmarks but it's far too early to start speculating as such.
Which team do you fancy to lift the EPL next season and why?
Dale Johnson (10:19 AM)
Chelsea, because they have the best squad. Man United and Arsenal are playing catch-up.
How to you rate manchester united's chance of challenging Chelsea in this oncoming season?
Dale Johnson (10:21 AM)
A lot will depend who else they bring in before the transfer window closes. Right now they do not have the strength in depth to match Chelsea over the course of the Premiership season.
DO you think Rafael Benitez's tactics of buying more andmore spanish players will pay off?
Dale Johnson (10:25 AM)
He obviously knows the market well and is aware he can get what may appear to be better value for money in La Liga. However, his signings have not exactly been fantastic so far - bar Xabi Alonso. How many teams would seriously be interested in Nunez, Pellegrino, Josemi? How much of an impact has Morientes had? And Luis Garcia has blown hot and cold. He will need to buy some players from these shores so that the team is aware of what is required to be a success in the Premiership.
what do you think about michael owen?I am a big fan of owen,is a great finisher.I like him to join arsenal or man united,i mean better to play in england.what do you think? thanx
Dale Johnson (10:29 AM)
Real Madrid should think about matters on the pitch rather than political decisions on team selection. Raul has been poor now for two seasons and Owen should be first choice alongside Ronaldo. Instead they have had to cram all three into the side. Owen deserves to be first choice but there is little chance of that happening long-term. So, Owen should head back to England - Arsenal would be a good choice.
Brad Ackles Oceanside, CA
Hi Dale...So what do you think about Adu? Over hyped, just a bad tourney (U20), still to young for all the pressure, or his time will come?
Dale Johnson (10:31 AM)
Adu is still a kid playing Major League Soccer with so much to learn. Anyone who tries to read too much into his game at this stage is trying to over-analyse the situation.
well dale,how much do u think js park can offer from midfield,can he replace the keanes and scholes of this world.
Dale Johnson (10:36 AM)
He won't be replacing Roy Keane as he's not that kind of player. He's essentially a wide player, who's more at home on the right than on the left. As with most players from Japan and South Korea, he has a great engine and will run all day. He's creative and a real livewire. It may take him time to adapt to the English game, and United will hope he has a better impact that Chelsea's Eredivisie import, Mateja Kezman. It's an interesting one.
Unfortunately, with the big 3 having opened up the kind of gap they have done it's hard to see anyone else actually winning the league. Nevertheless, who are your dark horses for next season? Who would you fancy to provide the likes of Liverpool with genuine competition for 4th place? Personally, Spurs and Newcastle would be high on my list - Sounness does seem to be signing quality players who will perform week in, week out and Spurs will continue to get better. Do you agree?
Dale Johnson (10:41 AM)
Souness may be signing some decent players but I'm just not convinced he is a good enough coach to cut it at the top end of the table. And I do wonder about Tottenham's transfer policy as they must now have one of the biggest squads in the Premiership! If Yakubu produces his Portsmouth form at Middlesbrough they will be a strong contender next season. Much will depend on how well Benitiez does in his second season at Anfield, though. If he can sort of the club's away form they may be untouchable for fourth.
If you were Mourinho what would be your priority in terms of transfer market activity? People are banging on about strikers.. The strikers didn't actually cost us last season - it was the injuries to robben and then duff that really hurt. Seeing that he plays two wingers every game, shouldn't he look at bringing in another genuine winger and perhaps look at playing Cole centrally?
Dale Johnson (10:46 AM)
In signing Del Horno they have sorted one of their problems, he should be a fine acquisition. Despite what you claim they do need to find a striker who's going to bang in te goals - then they may well be unstoppable. Imagine a 25-goal striker in the team? With the full squad fit, Cole would have to drop into the centre as Duff and Robben would go wide. Chelsea have never really settled on their third midfielder, with Smertin, Gudjohnsen and Tiago among those to have played alongside Lampard and Makelele. A true out-and-out right-winger would make the squad stronger (whatever happened to the Joaquin link?) and I'm still not convinced Joe Cole will cut it long-term
Hi Dale, Will Mr Park make an impact? or just a marketing tool. What do you think of Gatusso coming over
Dale Johnson (10:48 AM)
Park could be a useful squad player - although he does have financial benefits in the Far East market! Gattuso would be an excellent successor to Keane in the middle - but can United now afford him?
Cheers Dale--what do you make of the whole Arnesen affair? Do you think that Spurs are correct in seeking compensation, and what do you think they will end up with? Finally, do you think that this will severely hamper their attempts to right the ship, or do you think that they will continue on the right track?
Dale Johnson (10:52 AM)
Maybe Spurs are entitled to compensation - but the amount of money they have been looking for is a joke. Trying to get in excess of GBP;10million (Scott Parker was mooted as part of a possible deal) for a coach is ludicrous. And Chelsea may not even lose points as this alleged approach was actually made before the FA gave them a suspended points deduction. No-one can condone the way Chelsea go about their business. There is a definite arrogance about the way they like to ride roughshod over other teams.
Dale, how do you fancy Liverpool to do in the premiership this year? With a fully fit side they are able to give anyone in the premiership a rum for their money and hopefully with a couple of top quality signings they can make a push further up the table?
Dale Johnson (10:57 AM)
Well, they can push further up the table as they can finish fourth. But that's as good as it will get. I have grave doubts about Benitez's policy of buying all his players from Spain - the Liverpool team will lose something if they continue to cut away at the Premiership experience within the squad. It's not the kind of tactic you see changing their fortunes away from home. Yes, Liverpool can give any team a game on their day. But the Premiership is about consistency across a season which Liverpool do not look capable of.
What young American talent has a chance to get bought by a Premiership club? What about by a Championship club? What are Eddie Lewis's chances of making the Premiership (either by transfer or promotion)?
Dale Johnson (10:59 AM)
I can't say I'm particularly up to speed with young American talent, but I can answer your Lewis question. He's signed for Leeds United today so will not be in the Premiership for 12 months... at least!
Dale - I know Arsenal has a policy of one-year contracts for players over thirty, but with Pires' goal scoring record over the past few seasons, why wouldn't they fight harder to keep him? Also, is there now no chance of Arsenal signing SWP with them supposedly opting for Hleb instead? Thank you.
Dale Johnson (11:02 AM)
Despite Pires' goalscoring exploits last season I think he himself would admit he did not actually have his best season at the club. That said, he is central to Arsenal's fortunes and they need to keep hold of him. As for Wright-Phillips, Man City appear to have been pricing their Premiership rivals out of the race - which is why clubs are looking to the continent instead
B - Boston
What three teams do you think will be bottom on May 7th?
Dale Johnson (11:09 AM)
The promoted trio will be coming back down this time, I'm afraid.
Agyingi Kingsley (Bamenda Cameroon)
Hi Dale looking at the situation between Cameroon and Ivory Coast, who do you think will finally get that single ticket for Germany 2006 world cup?
Dale Johnson (11:16 AM)
The African World Cup qualifying section is actually very exciting. As things stand, it looks as though Tunisia or Morocco will be the only nation with finals experience to make it to Germany. It's great when a new team makes it to the finals, as they are invariably raring to go and add to a tournament immensely - like Jamaica did in 1998. With the Ivorians to host Cameroon in September they have to be favourites to get the draw they need to remain in the driving seat. They have a very good side these days which could certainly ruffle a few feathers at the finals. It will be great to see Togo, Ghana and Angola make it as well - although I'm not sure our army of Nigeria fans would be too happy!
hi Dale, am positive about one thing, France will not qualify for 2k6 world Cup. Do you aggree?
Dale Johnson (11:17 AM)
That group has so many twists and turns left in it. But I do think France will pull through, even if it takes a play-off.
Crispinna .s. country lodge complex freetown sl
Del am leeds utd fan i want to know the heaviest defeat between man utd and leeds.
Dale Johnson (11:21 AM)
Manchester United 6-0 Leeds United - September 9, 1959 Leeds United 5-0 Manchester United - December 20, 1930
We've usually played only one striker.. add up Didi, Keza and Gudjohnsen's goals.. its respectable to say the least. Besides, most of this pessimism about the quality we posess upfront is down primarily to Didi's poor form after coming back from injury. He does posess enough quality to be a 25-goal a season striker.. just not with long ball football. Signing Del Horno is an indication of getting the fullbacks more involved in an attacking sense. One of the first things Mourinho said after joining Chelsea was that you can win the league playing highly attractive football. We didn't always do that last season. When we did attack, Didi was awesome, at times. One season of attacking football from Chelsea and the apparent need for a striker will be rubbished. All 3 at the moment, are excellent strikers, with very different attributes. Absolutely no reason to spend big bucks on someone whos marginal utility will be minimal.
Dale Johnson (11:23 AM)
Drogba is poor and Kezman is just plain awful. Gudjohnsen is the best striker at Chelsea. In now way can you term all three as excellent!
The play-off spot will be Israel's. France are done. And Van Basten's Holland will finally give the dutch the cup they should have won in 1974. Discuss.
Dale Johnson (11:25 AM)
Israel have not taken enough points from their home games to finish in the top two, you mark my words! As for Holland - they have to get there ahead of the Czechs yet. No doubt if they do get to the final their hopes will be ruined by infighting and bickering.
Aruna country lodge complex freetown sl.
Del pls i want to know who is the leading goal scorer of all time for national level, and how many goals? how many goals did Pele scored for brazil and total of his career goals.
Dale Johnson (11:32 AM)
Pele scored 77 goals in 92 appearances for Brazil - a truly outstanding record. He scored an amazing 1,281 goals. I'm not aware of the overall stat, I'm afraid!
urr.. Drogba posesses strength and pace like very few premiership strikers.. when he's attacking the ball, his finishing isn't half bad. The problem is he can't play with his back to the goal (something Guddy is the master of) and when we're playing route 1 football, it negates his best strengths. As for Kezman - proven quality in a very underrated league. He also showed glimpses of what he can do in pre-season.. he's as good a finisher as anyone. Gudjohnsen is the most complete footballer of the three, but he isn't the best striker. Didi is. You'll see, I suppose...
Dale Johnson (11:36 AM)
Drogba's problem is that he's a poor finisher and misses far too many chances. Get those blue blinkers off! Kezman performed well in a very average league - he cannot cut it in the Premiership. Sell him now while he still has some value! I will see Drogba miss many chances again next season, I can promise you that.
Jon (Tallahassee, FL)
Why all the Liverpool bashing? Liverpool's inconsistency last year could be largely added up to the fact that 4 of their strikers and their two main central midfield players were injured for most of the year. Benitez, while linked to many Spanish players, hasn't bought any yet, and is looking at Prem stars like Crouch to help the squad. Even with that, you think 4th is the best they can do?
Dale Johnson (11:37 AM)
Of course it is. There's no way they will break into the top three this season. And I bet he signs at least three players from Spain this summer.
i was just wondering, why does jose mourinho like to wear the same overcoat for every match? surely roman can afford to buy a new one for him as a gift for winning the league....
Dale Johnson (11:39 AM)
You never know, maybe he has a cupboard full of the same jacket and wears a new one for every match? A bit like Missy Elliott's strange policy of only ever wearing a pair of trainers once!
Dale Johnson (11:40 AM)
That's it for this week, chaps. Nex week you'll be in the company of Dom Raynor. Bye for now.