Premier League Preview – 2011/2012 (Part Four)

12 08 2011

Swansea City

Brendan Rogers has been fairly busy strengthening his squad this summer and has spent £10.2million in a bid to survive in the top flight. Rogers has spent that money on players who are more familiar with the Championship than the Premier League, though. Danny Graham has been charged with the responsibility of scoring the goals needed to survive after his £3.4million move from Watford. Wayne Routledge joins Swansea, and club number nine in the process, for a fee of £2.8million, Leroy Lita cost £1.7million from Middlesbrough whilst goalkeepers Michel Vorm (£1.5million) and Jose Moreira (£750k) join from FC Utrecht and Benfica respectively.

Brendan Rogers likes his team to play attacking football and often deploys a 4-3-3 formation. This leads to obvious comparisons to Blackpool last season. I think Swansea will begin life in the Premier League in a similar fashion too. If we look at Hull City and Blackpool, the last two Championship play-off winners before Swansea, the ‘surprise factor’ was often mentioned as a reason for their good starts. Last season I was impressed with Swansea in an attacking sense and their defensive record was the best in the Championship at home which leads me to believe they will get off to a good start this season too. A strong start and getting points on the board early is crucial for newly promoted sides. Failure to do so can lead to a long and rather miserable season.

Key Player: Scott Sinclair

Net Spend: -£10.2million

Prediction: 17th

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham’s quiet summer so far makes it difficult to imagine them challenging for the Champions League places this season. Brad Friedel arrived from Aston Villa and the veteran American goalkeeper signed a two-year-deal at White Hart Lane. The highly-rated Souleymane Coulibaly signed from Siena for an undisclosed fee and Cristian Ceballos joined on a free transfer from Barcelona B. Two senior members of the Spurs squad have departed with the injury-plagued Jonathan Woodgate  joining Stoke City on a free transfer whilst Jamie O’Hara turned his loan move at Wolves into a permanent deal for £3.5million.

The Luka Modric ‘saga’ continues to unfold and Tottenham need that to be resolved one way or the other before the season kicks off. Modric is an outstanding player and would be a great addition to any team. If he doesn’t want to stay at Tottenham, though, it might be best if Harry Redknapp cashes in.

The biggest problem with the Spurs squad is the lack of a top class striker. They have talent in abundance in midfield with Aaron Lennon, Tom Huddlestone, Rafael Van Der Vaart (pictured), Gareth Bale and, of course, Luka Modric all excellent at

Rafael van der Vaart

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fashioning out chances for strikers but there isn’t a striker at the club good enough to lead the line on his own and score goals on a regular basis. Jermain Defoe is still a top quality finisher but Harry Redknapp opted to play one up front for large periods of last season with Rafael Van Der Vaart deployed just behind the lone striker and Defoe isn’t equipped to play the lone role up front. Robbie Keane’s second spell at the club has been a complete disaster and he is coming ever closer to leaving the club. Peter Crouch showed signs last season that his days playing at the top level are coming to an end and Roman Pavlyuchenko has struggled to score regularly since signing from Spartak Moscow  in 2008. Pavlyuchenko’s record at Tottenham is 20 goals in 73 games; a ratio close to a goal every four games.

Tottenham have looked to ease their striker crisis on a number of occasions. Harry Redknapp lodged a bid for Andy Carroll in January before he moved to Liverpool and Fernando Llorente, Hulk and Giuseppe Rossi have all been linked with big-money moves to White Hart Lane this summer. Neither of those three are realistically likely to join Tottenham but there is someone who appears to be close to agreeing a season-long deal to return to north London. That man is Emmanuel Adebayor. Adebayor, whilst not a popular figure among the Tottenham faithful, is the type of player Tottenham need if they are to continue with a 4-2-3-1 formation. He is comfortable leading the line on his own and the service provided from a creative midfield should ensure that he is a success for Tottenham this season.

Tottenham’s rivals have spent considerable amounts of money this summer and unless they bring in reinforcements before the transfer window slams shut on the 1st September, it’s  hard to imagine they will keep up with the rest of the teams aiming to secure Champions League football.

Key Player: Rafael Van Der Vaart

Net Spend: +£3.5million

Prediction: 6th

West Bromwich Albion

Roy Hodgson has done a good job at West Brom since replacing Roberto Di Matteo as manager in February this year. He safely guided The Baggies to 11th place last season and will hope to build on that finish this season. He has added to his squad with the record signing of Shane Long for an initial fee of £4.4million and Ben Foster could turn out to be the bargain of the season after his switch from rivals Birmingham City for just £970k. Boaz Myhill joined Birmingham on loan as part of that deal. Zoltan Gera has returned to the club where he made his name in England, leaving Fulham on a free transfer.

West Brom have a decent squad and one which should have no problems in surviving in the Premier League again this season. There is a worry that West Brom’s defence remains somewhat suspect and there have not been any defensive reinforcements so far. However, the influential Chris Brunt has remained at the club and so have Youssouf Mulumbu, Graham Dorrans and Peter Odemwingie. The retention of these key players coupled with the additions of Foster and Long should inspire belief that West Brom can secure another mid-table finish this season.

Key Player: Chris Brunt

Net Spend: -£3.4million

Prediction: 13th

Wigan Athletic

Wigan Athletic continue to defy the odds by establishing themselves as a Premier League club, having remained in the top flight since promotion was won in 2005.  They narrowly escaped relegation last season but this summer’s transfer activity points to another season in a relegation battle. Ali Al-Habsi impressed enough on loan last season to earn a permanent deal and Oman’s number 1 joins The Latics for £3.7million. David Jones joins on a free transfer from Wolves and the pair are the only signings made by Roberto Martinez this summer.

Charles N’Zogbia is arguably the biggest reason Wigan are still a Premier League club. His goals and assists proved just enough to lead Wigan to safety and earned him a transfer to Aston Villa as a result. This season, there a two players who need to perform consistently if Wigan are to have any chance of surviving again. These are Hudo Rodallega and James McCarthy. Both have been linked with moves away from the club but as the beginning of the season edges ever closer, Wigan will do everything in their power to keep the two at the club. Without N’Zogbia, though, Wigan’s fight for survival has been made all the more difficult and this could be the season their Premier League journey comes to an end.

Key Player: Hugo Rodallega 

Net Spend: +£5.9million

Prediction: 18th

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves begin their third successive season in the Premier League away to Blackburn Rovers and the moves made by manager Mick McCarthy in the transfer market this summer point to them surviving once more. The acquisition of Roger Johnson for £7million is very good business and Jamie O’Hara will add some much-needed creativity to Wolves’ midfield. O’Hara was on loan at Molineux last season and has made the move permanent for £3.5million. With no high-profile departures, Wolves are in good shape for the coming season.

The defence and midfield have been strengthened this summer so it is vital that key strikers Steven Fletcher and Kevin Doyle remain fit. Both are very good, underrated players and their goals will be key for Wolves this season. The two complement each other very well and should become a good partnership if McCarthy plays two strikers.

Wayne Hennessey has established himself as McCarthy’s number 1 goalkeeper which means there is a strong spine to the team in Hennessey, Johnson, O’Hara, Fletcher and Doyle. If all five remain fit and in form, Wolves should enjoy a successful season.

Key Player: Kevin Doyle

Net Spend: -£9.6million

Prediction: 15th

Predicted Table

1- Manchester United

2- Chelsea

3- Manchester City

4- Liverpool

5- Arsenal

6- Tottenham Hotspur

7- Aston Villa

8- Sunderland

9- Everton

10- Stoke City

11- Bolton Wanderers

12- Fulham

13- West Bromwich Albion

14- Newcastle United

15- Wolverhampton Wanderers

16- Blackburn Rovers

17- Swansea City

18-Wigan Athletic

19- Queens Park Rangers

20- Norwich City

All transfer fees correct according to the excellent TransferMarkt. Don’t believe the exaggerated fees you see in newspapers and on Sky Sports News!

Click here for Part One

Click here for Part Two

Click here for Part Three





Premier League Preview – 2011/2012 (Part Three)

11 08 2011
English football (soccer) player Joey Barton

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Newcastle United

Newcastle United appear to be coming close to turmoil once more under Mike Ashley’s leadership (or lack of). As we all know, on January transfer deadline day Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool for a staggering £35million. With no time to find a replacement, Mike Ashley explained on record in an attempt to appease disgruntled, yet loyal, fans that all the money would be available for Alan Pardew to spend this summer. So far, Newcastle have spent just £7.3million on Yohan Cabaye (£4.4million), which is terrific business considering how impressive he was for Lille last year, and £2.9million on Manchester United flop Gabriel Obertan who has been given a five-year-deal. Pardew has continued his French Revolution by signing Demba Ba (yes, I know he plays for Senegal!) on a free transfer and former Rennes winger Sylvain Marveaux, also on a free transfer.

Incidentally, Newcastle have sold former captain Kevin Nolan to West Ham for £2.9million. Nolan became frustrated at St. James’ Park after he was refused a new and improved five-year-deal, the same length given to boss Alan Pardew and Gabriel Obertan by Mike Ashley. Football’s youngest journeyman Wayne Routledge has joined his ninth professional club in Swansea City for £2.2million and Jose Enrique’s refusal to sign a new contract has led him to also grow disillusioned with life on Tyneside. A £6million move to Liverpool appears to be nearing completion. There’s not much time left remaining for Alan Pardew to spend the Andy Carroll transfer kitty.

Newcastle’s woes have continued as Joey Barton (pictured) joined Jose Enrique by taking to his keyboard and launching a scathing attack on his employers. Subsequently, Barton has been told he can leave the club on a free transfer. The departure of experienced players will do little to help Newcastle improve on last season’s respectable 12th place finish. Their squad is not as good as the one which was relegated in 2009 but it is better than six or seven in the Premier League. As long as Mike Ashley is chairman of Newcastle United, Premier League survival should be the realistic aim for the Toon Army.

Key Player: Yohan Cabaye

Net Spend: -£1.5million

Prediction: 14th

Norwich City

Norwich City’s remarkable rise from League 1 to the Premier League in just two seasons is an outstanding achievement. It is the first time a team has won back-to-back promotions to the top flight since Joe Royle accomplished the same feat with Manchester City in 2000.

Since losing 7-1 at home to Colchester on the opening day of the 2009/2010 League 1 season, Paul Lambert has made himself a hero at Carrow Road and there is plenty of reason to be optimistic with him leading Norwich in the top flight for the first time since 2005.  That said, with optimism should come caution as Norwich have spent just £6.9million on players mainly associated with teams plying their trade outside the top flight. James Vaughan does have Premier League experience with Everton and he joined Norwich this summer for £2million. Wales international Steve Morison has enjoyed a rapid rise to the top flight of his own after spending five years playing non-league football with Bishop’s Stortford and Stevenage Borough before signing for Millwall in 2009. He joins Norwich this summer from Championship side Millwall in a deal worth £2.4million. Bradley Johnson is the last of the permanent signings at Carrow Road and he signed on a free transfer from Leeds United.

Paul Lambert turned his attention to the best of what League 1 had to offer by quickly signing Elliot Bennett from Champions Brighton and Hove Albion for a fraction under £1.5million and Anthony Pilkington for £970k from Huddersfield Town. Pilkington, much like Steve Morison, is also familiar with non-league football after he spent a short time with Atherton Collieries following his release from Blackburn Rovers in 2006. Youngsters Kyle Naughton and Ritchie De Laet have joined The Canaries on season-long loan deals from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United respectively.

If Norwich can bring in one or two more proven Premier League players they might have a chance of avoiding relegation.  As it stands, it’s difficult to imagine Norwich City as a Premier League side when the 2012/2013 season begins.

Prediction: 20th

Net Spend: -£6.9million

Key Player: Grant Holt

Queens Park Rangers:

QPR have added to their squad with one or two decent signings but it has been a relatively quiet summer at Loftus Road. Neil Warnock has mainly signed unattached players as they prepare to battle for Premier League survival. Jay Bothroyd, Daniel Gabbidon, Kieron Dyer and Brian Murphy have all joined QPR on free transfers whilst DJ Campbell has returned to the club he joined as a six-year-old after completing a £1.7million move from Blackpool. Bothroyd and Campbell should make a decent partnership should Warnock opt to play two strikers.

QPR have so far managed to retain the services of their gifted, but somewhat erratic, captain Adel Taarabt and cultured Argentinian midfielder Alejandro Faurlin which offers hope to Rangers’ fans in an attacking sense.  Defensively, Warnock’s side seems a bit thin in terms of numbers and quality which will make it difficult for them over the course of a season. QPR may attempt to replicate the Blackpool model by aiming to outscore their opposition so expect to see them involved in a number of high-scoring games but, ultimately, their fate will likely be the same as Blackpool’s last season and relegation beckons.

Prediction: 19th

Net Spend: £-1.7million

Key Player: Adel Taarabt

Stoke City

Tony Pulis has yet to spend a penny in transfer fees this summer but he has snapped up released former England defenders Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson. Woodgate joins on a pay-as-you-play deal which could prove to be a masterstroke by Pulis as the former Tottenham defender’s quality is there for all to see. Pulis is reportedly in negotiations with Tottenham over the signing of Honduras grafter Wilson Palacios whilst Peter Crouch is still on his radar.

Stoke have become a team with a reputation for their in-your-face attitude and they are incredibly difficult to beat at the Britannia Stadium. Whilst their style of play isn’t always one for the purists they play to their strengths and that has seen them establish themselves as a Premier League side and they can also look forward to European football this season. Pulis has gradually assembled a squad capable of handling the rigours of playing twice a week.

Europa League qualifiers leave Stoke’s players match fit and in great condition as they prepare to host Chelsea on Sunday. Whilst it’s difficult to imagine Stoke remaining in Europe as the season draws to a close, their fans should be optimistic about enjoying another successful in the Premier League and building on last season’s 13th place finish.

Prediction: 10th

Net Spend: +£250k

Key Player: Ryan Shawcross

Sunderland

Sunderland have had the busiest summer of any Premier League team in terms of comings-and-goings. Steve Bruce has wisely spent the £15.8million fee received for Jordan Henderson by bringing in a blend of experienced players and highly rated youngsters for the future.  John O’Shea (£3.9million) and Wes Brown (£1.3million) should prove to be good signings so Bruce has done very well to acquire the pair for relatively little money. Ahmed Elmohamady impressed enough during his loan spell last season to convince Bruce to sign him permanently in a deal worth £2.2million to his former club Enppi.

Bruce turned his sights to bolstering his midfield by signing two of the most sought after free transfers in the country in Seb Larsson and David Vaughan who impressed for Blackpool last season. Former Coventry goalkeeper Kieran Westwood has also made the move to the Wearside on a free transfer. Craig Gardner will add some creativity to Sunderland’s midfield and his eye for goal convinced Bruce to splash out £5.8million on the man who finished as Birmingham City’s top scorer last season.

Chairman Niall Quinn opened his chequebook again by signing youngster Connor Wickham for an initial fee of £7.9million from Ipswich Town and one-time Reading man Ji Dong-Won joins for £2.1million from K-League side Chunnam Dragons.

The squad overhaul has been completed by moving on six players who featured regularly in the first team last season. Jordan Henderson’s transfer has already been mentioned and John Mensah has joined Lyon on loan, Bolo Zenden has been released at his own request, Cristian Riveros has ended his unhappy spell in England by joining Turkish side Kayserispor,  Steed Malbranque has ended his ten-year spell in the English top flight by signing for France’s most successful club Saint-Étienne and George McCartney has ended his second spell with Sunderland by returning to West Ham United for a second spell.

Asamoah Gyan has remained at the club and he is pivotal to this team. He is the only striker at the club who has proved he belongs in the top flight. The biggest problem Steve Bruce might have will be getting his new signings to gel together as a team. Such overhauls to first teams are rare in football so it will be interesting to see how well Bruce fares. He has spent £23million in a bid to improve Sunderland’s on-pitch fortunes after a disappointing end to the previous campaign.

Key Player: Asamoah Gyan

Net Spend: £-7.8million

Prediction: 8th

All transfer fees correct according to the excellent TransferMarkt. Don’t believe the exaggerated fees you see in newspapers and on Sky Sports News!

Click here for Part One

Click here for Part Two





Goal of the Week – Cheik Tioté vs Arsenal

7 02 2011

Cheik Tioté’s wonder-strike gets the nod from me as goal of the week. In a match widely regarded as the best ever in the Premier League, Tioté’s 87th minute equaliser after being 0-4 down at half-time makes it all the more special.

It’s worth keeping an eye out for Steve Harper joining the Newcastle team celebration. I get the feeling he’s not celebrated many goals before.





27/01/2011 – Thursday’s Transfer Talk

27 01 2011
Adrian Mutu

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Chelsea’s move for Benfica defender David Luiz is on the verge of collapse. The Blues are refusing to meet the Portuguese club’s asking price of £30m.

Liverpool have been given until Saturday to come up with the cash to buy Luis Suarez from Ajax. The Dutch club are holding out for £25m for their 24-year-old striker, but the Reds are hoping to pay about half that figure.

Turkish side Konyaspor have made an offer for Blackburn forward El-Hadji Diouf, although his agent says his first preference is to remain in England.

Fiorentina striker Adrian Mutu (left) could make a shock return to the Premier League, with Newcastle keen on signing the 32-year-old, who was sacked by Chelsea in 2004 after testing positive for cocaine.

Blackpool are eyeing up a move for Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera as they prepare for Charlie Adam to leave Bloomfield Road.

The Tangerines chairman, Karl Oyston, has told Adam to withdraw his transfer request and help the club stay in the Premier League.

But Blackpool’s move for striker Jeremie Aliadiere, who is a free agent, has hit a snag and may be called off.

Bolton are poised to sign 21-year-old Arsenal striker Carlos Vela on loan.

German side Werder Bremen want to sign Tottenham midfielder Nico Kranjcar, who is free to leave White Hart Lane, but he is thought to want to stay in England.

Spurs striker Robbie Keane could be leaving White Hart Lane to join West Ham on loan, with a possible permanent move to follow in the summer.

Spurs have already agreed a deal with the Hammers for Keane to move to east London and they have approached Atletico Madrid over a £9m move for 31-year-old Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan.

Aston Villa defender Curtis Davies could be on his way across town to bitter rivals Birmingham, with midfielder Sebastian Larsson going in the opposite direction.

Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky could be offered a way out of his nightmare time at Anfield with a return to Fulham on loan.

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has revealed he will get a share of any profit made on the sale of Charlie Adam if the midfielder leaves the club.

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists he is heading back to the Premier League. The Real Madrid boss reportedly said: “I’ve decided to return to England.”

Manchester United’s 36-year-old midfielder Paul Scholes says he does not know if he will be playing football next season.

Sheffield Wednesday are lining up Notts County’s Paul Ince as a possible successor to under-pressure manager Alan Irvine.

 For full stories, head over to the BBC website.





12/01/2010 – Wednesday’s Transfer Talk

12 01 2011
Georgios Samaras of Celtic FC

Image via Wikipedia

Genoa have agreed to sign Wigan’s Argentinian striker Mauro Boselli on loan. Boselli has scored only once for the Latics since they broke their club record to bring him to the DW Stadium in a £6m move from Estudiantes in the summer of 2010.

Liverpool have joined Arsenal in the race to sign £10m-rated Southampton teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Manchester United are lining up a bid for Lyon’s Brazilian wing-back Michel Bastos.

Stoke City boss Tony Pulis has made a £4m bid for West Ham midfielder Mark Noble and is also keen on Hammers striker Carlton Cole.

West Ham are poised to make a move for Udinese striker Antonio Floro Flores, who is keen to leave the Italian club.

West Ham are confident they will complete the loan signing of Manchester City and England left-back Wayne Bridge in time for him to face Arsenal on Saturday.

Bolton are hoping to finalise a deal to sign Argentine defender Santiago Gentiletti from Argentinos Juniors.

Chelsea will make a renewed attempt to sign 20-year-old Lyon midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who they see as the perfect long-term replacement for Frank Lampard.

Aston Villa are interested in Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko but the Russian striker is expected to sign a new contract at White Hart Lane.

Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has pulled off a major coup by persuading Everton striker Yakubu to join the club on loan.

Everton have bluntly told Tottenham that veteran midfielder Phil Neville is going nowhere, despite the London club’s willingness to pay up to £2m for the 34-year-old.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is aiming to bring in at least one of his three top targets this month – Bolton’s Gary Cahill, Werder Bremen’s Per Mertesacker or Emir Spahic of Montpellier – after defender Thomas Vermaelen suffered another setback in his recovery from an Achilles tendon injury.

AC Milan look set to scupper Tottenham and Manchester City’s moves for Bayern Munich midfielder Mark van Bommel by taking the Dutch international to Italy.

Aston Villa have had a bid rejected for Peterborough’s England Under-21 goalkeeper Joe Lewis.

Leeds and Leicester are interested in taking midfielder Michael Johnson on loan from Manchester City following his recovery from long-term injury.

Tottenham have agreed a deal in principle to sign Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar, having seen off competition from Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid.

Birmingham still hope to persuade Rangers striker Kenny Miller to move to England, despite him rejecting two deals since the clubs agreed a fee and being close to joining Fiorentina instead.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has blamed the rush of managerial sackings on foreign club owners. “I don’t think they have the patience of older generations,” he said.

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is determined to make up for what has been an injury-ravaged season so far by scoring the goals to help the club win major silverware.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted ahead of the Carling Cup semi-final, first leg against Ipswich on Wednesday that he is feeling the pressure of having to win a trophy after six years without silverware.

Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky says he began to study physiotherapy during his 18-month absence with a knee injury in an effort to sort out his own problems.

Chelsea captain John Terry concedes his side’s recent poor form has been “unacceptable” and they have to think about winning games before they can think about winning trophies.

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway says Liverpool caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish was “the skeleton in the closet” who meant former Reds boss Roy Hodgson never stood a chance of success at Anfield.

Celtic hope Georgios Samaras (pictured) will stay at Parkhead, despite the striker turning down a 12-month contract offer because he wants a longer deal.

There is only one Torres left in this season’s FA Cup – and it is not Liverpool’s Fernando. Sergio Torres, Crawley Town’s match-winner in their shock third round win over Derby, used to stack the shelves at Boots in Basingstoke and worked at his father’s brick factory in his native Argentina.

Former Foreign Secretary David Milliband, an Arsenal fan and the MP for South Shields, has been offered a position of vice-chairman at Sunderland.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.





Premier League Highlights – 01/01/2011

1 01 2011

Liverpool 2-1 Bolton

 

Man City 1-0 Blackpool

 

West Brom 1-2 Man United

Wayne Rooney

 

James Morrison

 

Peter Odemwingie Missed Penalty

 

Javier Hernandez

 

Stoke 2-0 Everton

 

Sunderland 3-0 Blackburn

 

Tottenham 1-0 Fulham

 

West Ham 2-0 Wolves





Final Scores: European Football Round-Up

30 11 2010

Results from the 26th -29th November 2010

Barclays Premier League

Aston Villa 2 – 4 Arsenal
Bolton 2 – 2 Blackpool
Everton 1 – 4 West Brom
Fulham 1 – 1 Birmingham
Man Utd 7 – 1 Blackburn
Newcastle 1 – 1 Chelsea
Stoke 1 – 1 Man City
Tottenham 2 – 1 Liverpool
West Ham 3 – 1 Wigan
Wolverhampton 3 – 2 Sunderland

SPL

Celtic 2 – 2 Inverness CT
Hamilton 0 – 0 St Mirren
Hibernian 0 – 0 St Johnstone
Kilmarnock 2 – 0 Aberdeen

La Liga

Athletic Bilbao 1 – 0 Osasuna
Atletico Madrid 2 – 3 Espanyol
Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid
Hercules 3 – 1 Levante
Mallorca 2 – 0 Malaga
Racing Santander 1 – 0 Deportivo La Coruna
Real Zaragoza 0 – 3 Villarreal
Sevilla 1 – 3 Getafe
Sporting Gijon 1 – 3 Real Sociedad
Valencia 2 – 1 Almeria

Serie A

Bari 1 – 1 Cesena
Brescia 0 – 0 Genoa
Cagliari 3 – 2 Lecce
Inter Milan 5 – 2 Parma
Juventus 1 – 1 Fiorentina
Lazio 1 – 1 Catania
Palermo 3 – 1 Roma
Sampdoria 1 – 1 AC Milan
Udinese 3 – 1 Napoli

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich 4 – 1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Borussia Dortmund 4 – 1 Borussia M’gladbach
Cologne 1 – 1 Wolfsburg
FC Kaiserslautern 5 – 0 Schalke 04
Hamburg 4 – 2 VfB Stuttgart
Hannover 96 3 – 0 SC Freiburg
Mainz 3 – 0 Nurnberg
TSG Hoffenheim 2 – 2 Bayer Leverkusen
Werder Bremen 3 – 0 St Pauli

Ligue 1

AS Nancy 1 – 1 St Etienne
Auxerre 1 – 2 Toulouse
Bordeaux 1 – 1 Lille
Caen 0 – 3 Sochaux
Lorient 2 – 0 Rennes
Lyon 2 – 2 PSG
Marseille 4 – 0 Montpellier
Monaco 1 – 1 Nice
Valenciennes 3 – 0 Arles

Eredivisie

AZ 2 – 2 Heerenveen
De Graafschap 1 – 1 Vitesse
Feyenoord 2 – 1 ADO Den Haag
Heracles 2 – 1 FC Utrecht
NAC 4-2 PSV
NEC 2 – 4 FC Twente
Roda JC 1 – 0 FC Groningen
VVV 0 – 2 Ajax
Willem II 1 – 1 Excelsior





25/11/2010 – Thursday’s Paper Round-Up

25 11 2010
Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United, Roque Sant...

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Liverpool are ready to challenge rivals Manchester United for Rosenborg’s Ghanaian midfielder Anthony Annan.

CSKA Moscow’s Japanese international Keisuke Honda is attracting interest ahead of the January transfer window with Arsenal, Liverpool, and AC Milan the interested parties.

Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle are battling for FC Lorient striker Kevin Gameiro. AS Monaco, Hamburg, Schalke 04 and Benfica are also interested in the 23-year-old.

Blackburn are weighing up a £4m January move to bring Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz (left) back to Ewood Park.

Stephen Ireland is looking for a January move away from Aston Villa. Fulham boss Mark Hughes is keen after the pair worked together at Manchester City, but the Cottagers would struggle to find the £8m asking price.

Liverpool and Tottenham target Ola Toivonen expects to stay at PSV Eindhoven this winter – but the Sweden striker has opened the door to a summer move.

Lille admit they face a battle to keep hold of Liverpool target Eden Hazard. The 19-year-old winger is also been tracked by Arsenal and Manchester United.

Liverpool scouts have also been keeping tabs on CSKA Moscow’s £10million rated Czech Republic striker Thomas Necid.

Goalkeeper David De Gea has insisted he will be staying at Atletico Madrid, despite interest from Manchester United.

Dimitar Berbatov’s agent has claimed the Manchester United striker will not be going anywhere in January. Emil Dantchev said: “There’s nothing to say. He will stay in Manchester.”

Manchester City and Chelsea are keen on Paris Saint-Germain’s teenage striker Jean-Christophe Bahebeck. The 17-year-old has yet to sign professional forms with the French club.

Chelsea are tracking Partizan Belgrade’s teenage centre-back Stefan Savic as a candidate to bolster their threadbare defence.

Championship promotion chasers Swansea City want Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge on loan.

Manchester City have made an enquiry about Udinese’s £15m-rated defender Cristian Zapata.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has been promised funds to bolster his squad in January by the club’s new Indian owners.

Middlesbrough defender David Wheater will move to the Premier League in January, says his former team-mate, Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing.

Sheffield United boss Gary Speed is chasing Arsenal’s highly-rated young striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas for a loan deal.

Birmingham City’s £3m midfielder Michel is wanted by Real Mallorca in January on a six-month loan deal.

Bolton are ready to let Andy O’Brien join Leeds permanently when the transfer window opens. The defender has extended his loan spell at Elland Road until the start of January.

Crystal Palace manager George Burley is set to make a shock move to take Notts County’s much-travelled striker Lee Hughes on loan.

Millwall manager Kenny Jackett is ready to bid for Bournemouth’s 12-goal Northern Ireland striker Josh McQuoid.

Greek striker Georgios Samaras is poised to be sold by Celtic in January after talks over a new contract stalled, with two Spanish clubs, including Hercules, declaring an interest.

West Ham striker Carlton Cole has questioned the tactics of under-fire Hammers manager Avram Grant during their 3-0 loss at Liverpool last weekend. “In the first 10 minutes we had lost the game, psychologically anyway,” said Cole.

Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou insists the west London club have not been affected by last week’s shock departure of assistant manager Ray Wilkins.

Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge insists there is no crisis at the club despite recent speculation over the future of manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Liverpool’s Ryan Babel has blamed former Reds boss Rafa Benitez for the problems with form and fitness that have blighted his time at Anfield. “I wasn’t allowed to train extra under our former manager. Even when I wasn’t involved,” said Babel on his Twitter feed.

German former Tottenham midfielder Steffen Freund says English football needs to take its lead from Germany if the England team is to be successful. The German national U17 coach believes English clubs need to place greater focus on youth development.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson believes the Gunners are suffering from mental problems and they must overcome them quickly if they are to challenge for the Premier League title. The club have lost four of their last six games in all competitions.

Wales still want veteran Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs, who is on a six-man shortlist, as their next national manager.

Former assistant manager Ray Wilkins was sacked by Chelsea only two weeks after a bust-up with the club’s chief executive Ron Gourlay, who had criticised the management team’s use of substitutes.

Scotland’s referees will today tell the Scottish Football Association that they will not call off their planned weekend strike, but Dutch referees are poised to ensure that the six Scottish Premier League fixtures and the ALBA Challenge Cup final will go ahead.

Only one match – Sunday’s ALBA Challenge Cup final – is guaranteed to go ahead this weekend unless the Scottish Football Association can hammer out a peace deal with referees over their strike threat.

Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir is demanding to know by lunchtime on Thursday if Division One, Two and Three games, plus the ALBA Challenge Cup final, will go ahead despite the threat of a referees’ strike.

The Scottish Football Association has provided an assurance to Scottish Premier League clubs that their matches will go ahead this weekend even if there is a strike by referees.

A large number of Scotland’s category three referees are unhappy at the stance of their senior colleagues and are dismayed that there was no strike ballot among all members of the Senior Scottish Football Referees Association.

The use of foreign officials would have to be approved the Scottish Football Association’s referee committee, which is understood to be sympathetic to Scottish referees’ strike action.

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has seen his football exploits recognised by a salsa tune. The World Red Army featuring salsa artist Choco Orta have released Chico Is The Man, which details the 22-year-old’s rise to stardom.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.





Final Scores: European Football Round-Up

22 11 2010

21st-22nd November 2010 results:

Premier League

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Birmingham City 1-0 Chelsea
Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Aston Villa
Blackpool 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers 5-1 Newcastle United
Fulham 1-4 Manchester City
Liverpool 3-0 West Ham United
Manchester United 2-0 Wigan Athletic
Sunderland 20:00 K/O Everton
West Bromich Albion 0-3 Stoke City

SPL
Aberdeen 0-1 St Johnstone
Celtic 1-1 Dundee United
Hearts 2-0 Hamilton Academical
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4-2 Hibernian
Kilmarnock 2-3 Rangers
St Mirren 1-1 Motherwell

La Liga

Almeria 0-8 Barcelona
Deportiva La Coruña 3-0 Malaga
Espanyol 3-0 Hercules
Getafe 20:00 K/O Real Zaragoza
Levante 3-1 Racing Santander
Osasuna 1-0 Sporting Gijon
Real Madrid 5-1 Athletic Bilbao
Real Sociedad 2-4 Atletico Madrid
Sevilla 1-2 Mallorca
Villarreal 1-1 Valencia

Serie A

AC Milan 1-0 Fiorentina
AS Roma 2-0 Udinese
Brescia 1-2 Cagliari
Catania 1-0 Bari
Cesena 1-2 Palermo
Chievo 2-1 Inter Milan
Genoa 0-2 Juventus
Lecce 2-3 Sampdoria
Parma 1-1 Lazio
Napoli 4-1 Bologna

Bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Bayern Munich
Borussia Monchengladbach 2-3 Mainz
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-4 TSG Hoffenheim
Hannover 96 3-2 Hamburg SV
Nurnberg 1-3 Kaiserslautern
SC Freiburg 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Schalke 4-0 Werder Bremen
St Pauli 1-1 Wolfsburg
Stuttgart 0-1 FC Koln

French Ligue 1

Arles 2-4 Bordeaux
Lille 2-1 AS Monaco
Nancy 2-0 Valenciennes
Nice 0-1 Montpellier
Paris St Germain 2-1 Caen
RC Lens 1-3 Lyon
Rennes 2-1 Brest
Saint-Etienne 1-1 Auxerre
Sochaux 2-0 Lorient
Toulouse 0-1 Marseille

Eredivisie

Ado Den Haag 3-0 NAC Breda
Ajax 0- PSV
De Graafschap 3-1 Roda JC
Excelsor 1-0 VVV
FC Twente 1-2 AZ Alkmaar
FC Utrecht 4-0 NEC
Groningen 2-0 Feyenoord
Heerenveen 5-0 Willem II
Vitesse 2-0 Hercales





Wilkins Contacts LMA For Legal Advice

20 11 2010
Ray Wilkins

Image via Wikipedia

Former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins has contacted the League Manager’s Association for advice over his dismissal which he insists was ‘unfair’.

Reports suggested that Wilkins was informed that his contract would not be renewed during half-time of a reserve team match.

Wilkins was brought back to the club where his playing career began to assist Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2008 and had been a key part in Carlo Ancelotti’s team up until his surprise dismissal. He was quick to express his disappointment at the club’s decision.

“I am very disappointed that the board decided that I had no further contribution to make at Chelsea Football Club which has played such a huge part in my life,” said Wilkins.

“Since rejoining the club, I am extremely proud to have assisted in Chelsea’s recent successes.

“I enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the staff, players and the supporters and I now wish them all the very best for the future.

“The LMA’s legal advisors are assisting me in obtaining answers to a number of questions arising from my undoubtedly unfair dismissal, and all efforts are being made to reach an amicable solution.

“I therefore will be making no further comment at this stage.”

It was a departure that surprised many in football, including LMA chief executive Richard Bevan.

Bevan said: “Ray’s departure from the club was certainly a surprise given the success that Chelsea enjoyed after his arrival, and the fact that they are reigning Barclays Premier League champions, and currently top this season’s table.

“He has enjoyed an illustrious career to date which began with Chelsea and I share his disappointment and sadness at his leaving the club.”








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