Thursday, 30 September 2010

New Labour Leader Visits Sir Alex

Fearsome attack: Ed Miliband is shown around Carrington by Sir Alex Ferguson
If Ed Miliband needed any tips on how to win, going to meet Sir Alex Ferguson was a good move today. The new Labour Party leader was shown around Manchester United Head-Quarters and met the youth players at the Academy with United manager Ferguson - a loyal Labour voter.
With Ferguson a veteran when it comes to beating his rivals, the pair may well have been discussing and comparing notes, with Miliband fighting against Prime Minister David Cameron to run the country.
Ed Miliband and Sir Alex FergusonMiliband is a loyal Leeds supporter - arch rivals to Manchester United, but Ferguson must have been in a good mood. Sir Alex said "discipline and teamwork" were the key to success in football and politics.
Ed Miliband and Sir Alex FergusonAs he left Carrington after his audience with Ferguson, Ed said: "He's given me good advice." When asked what this advice was, Ed replied "It's a secret."


Hernandez Lifts United

It was a tricky game for Manchester United last night. A game away to the La Liga leaders with both Rooney and Scholes not travelling is a tough job to complete. But they did it.

Nemanja Vidic Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United holds off a challenge from Alejandro Dominguez of Valencia during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Valencia and Manchester United at the Mestalla Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Valencia, Spain.United had to resist a lot of pressure from Valencia, but they knew this would happen away from home. Valencia wanted to put on a show for their fans, who, so far this season have been very pleased with what they have seen. However, Valencia could not penetrate the United defence with their play, although they tried other tactics, such as an aggressive stamp on Vidic's chest by one of the Valencia attackers, and then Soldados ridiculously desperate attempt to remove Nani's boots as the winger had the ball, when Soldado was on the floor. Astonishingly, in both occasions, the offender got away with it, but ultimately payed the price by conceding a late goal, and losing the game.

Nani Nani of Manchester United battles for the ball with Manuel Fernandes of Valencia during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Valencia and Manchester United at the Mestalla Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Valencia, Spain.Valencia were a compact force. It was hard for United to create anything through the midfield, although this was probably thanks to the absence of Scholes, and the poor performances from Nani, Park, and Anderson. Nani, once again was giving the ball away with silly decisions, when a simple pass was on, and often, when he did choose the right pass, hit it too short, leaving the receiver with more work to do. It adds to the frustration, when it seems Nani doesn't realise the mistakes he makes, when they are schoolboy errors, which a man of his ability doesn't need to make. The sooner he realises that the small things like accurate, simple passing make him a better player as well as the big things like scoring a few goals, the better, because otherwise, he won't improve.

Javier Hernandez Javier Hernandez of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Valencia and Manchester United at the Mestalla Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Valencia, Spain.Berbatov had a tough game. His excellent season so far has relied on space and time on the ball, with options around him, as well as a good supplier from the wings. Last night, he had very little of any of those things, and therefore struggled to make an impact due to insufficient support. "Chicharito" saved United's day with a great little finish in the 85th minute to win the game. His first touch was to hit the post, while his second and third were controlling the ball and scoring. The young Mexican has brilliant pace, a great finish, and now a boost in confidence after his first Champions League goal for Manchester United. Is he the improved, young version of Michael Owen? Of course, he has a while to go before he eclipes the English legend, but the attributes are there.

United are now level on points with Rangers in their Champions League group, and their next game is against the Turkish club, Bursaspor, who have lost their first two games against Rangers last night, and Valencia. It should prove an easy qualification through to the knock-out rounds this year for United, but with their current form, you don't know what will happen.

Spurs "ball" boy

A blast from the past now. In September 2007 Tottenham were playing in the UEFA Cup, and they obviously asked their ball-boy to be their twelth man...

The Tottenham ball-boy plays his part in humiliating the opposition in Tottenhams European match at White Hart Lane. Watch to the end.

Tottenham won 4 - 1 last night in the Champions League against FC Twente, and will be playing Inter Milan in their next Champions League group game. oh how things change...

Monday, 27 September 2010

Almunia will miss Arsenals next match, but will Arsenal miss him?

Manuel Almunia Manuel Almunia of Arsenal looks dejected as he fouls Peter Odemwingie of West Bromwich Albion for a penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium on September 25, 2010 in London, England.Arsenal will play Partizan Belgrade during the week, and the figure in their goal - to the relief of Arsenal fans will not be Manuel Almunia. That's the good news for you Arsenal fans - the only good news, because the goalkeeper to replace Almunia will be Fabianski.

Almunia will miss the match because he picked up an injury against West Brom on Saturday when he dived in at Odemwingies feet to give away a penalty. He saved the resulting penalty, but stayed true to his low standards with a blunder to allow a shot to bounce off of his arms (with the intention of preventing the goal of course!) and end up in his net, which what should have been a routine save.

Fabianski being the replacement may also give Arsenal fans a sick feeling in their stomach with mistakes and costly errors just around the corner for the Polish "stopper". Why Wenger didn't rip open his cheque-book and drive himself to the nearest football club (it doesn't matter where) and find himself a new goalkeeper in the summer is beyond me. Anyone would have done. Just someone. It's even more baffling when you consider that Arsenal recorded about £56 million of profits for last season. As well as being linked to a £30 million teenager from the Barcelona B-Team, Oriol Romeu, Wenger needed to get his priorities right instead of sticking with the keepers he has and disappointing the Arsenal fans that trust him so much.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sneijder Wouldn't turn down Manchester United

Reports that Manchester United had bid close to £25 million for Wesley Sneijder in the summer, Sir Alex Ferguson dismissed as rubbish. He said that Sneijder hadn't turned United down, because they hadn't even made an approach. But no doubt, Ferguson was interested.
His nose would have been pressed up against the shop window, and as he checked his pockets for money, he would have found a few buttons, a couple of chewing gum wrappers and a note from the Glazers reminding him that Manchester United were in billions of pounds of debt. He couldn't enter that shop.

But maybe, sometime in the future, the United manager will have his pocket money increased, and maybe then he can enter the shop instead of browsing on the outside. After what Wesley Sneijder said today, it seems that if Ferguson were to pay the money, the Dutchman would jump at the chance of joining United.

"If somebody asks me if I will ever play for Manchester United, it's impossible for me to say no," Sneijder told the Daily Star Sunday.
"How can you say that if the chance came you would not play for one of the biggest clubs in the world? I don't think there is any player in the world who could publicly rule out ever playing for Manchester United, and if they did I would doubt they were telling the truth."
"The Premier League, in terms of top clubs, is the strongest in the world, and it would be nice to finish my career saying I have played at the very top in Spain, Italy, and England. There is not many who can say they have done that, and if that does happen for me I would only want it to be with Manchester United."

Manchester United have Defensive Problems, Crossing inability and are Off form

Jonny Evans Kevin Davies of Bolton Wanderers tangles with Jonny Evans of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United at the Reebok Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Bolton, England.
Beaten to it: Evans
Manchester United, along with Fulham remain the only two teams in the Premier League who are unbeaten. Not only that, but United have scored at least two goals in each of the six games that they have played, and have scored 16 goals in the League. "So what is the problem?" you ask. "Where do I start?" is my reply.

United, in their opening six games have conceded nine goals. This simply isn't good enough for a team challenging for the title. Two clean-sheets in six games is poor, especially considering none of the teams United have played so far finished in the top four last season. The defence of Manchester United is going through a very shaky and unstable time at the moment.
Who will start alongside Vidic in the centre? Ferdinand or Evans? Will Ferdinand be fit? Will Evans handle the pressure? Will Vidic slip up and give away a penalty? All are questions that most United fans will have asked before and during every game so far this season - the answer, they found hasn't always been good.

Evans hasn't had a strong start to the season. He was targeted by Everton as a weak spot in the 3 - 3 draw, and again today, Zat Knight rose above him to give Bolton the lead. Ferdinand may have done better jobs, but with his inconsistency and often reliance on Vidic, who knows?

Another cause for concern is the inability to get good crosses into the box. Last season, Valencia was brilliant in his deliveries - with Rooney profiting greatly from them with a bucket full of goals. But now, with Valencia out for a while injured, only Nani and Giggs are on the touchlines ready to cross. Unfortunately for the strikers, the crosses are often disappointing.
Nani Chung Yong Lee of Bolton Wanderers competes with Nani of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United at the Reebok Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Bolton, England.
Needs work on crossing: Nani
Nani is unbelievably frustrating. There are so many examples of when he could get the ball in a dangerous area and create a goal - a winning goal, but lets everyone down. Then there are those times when he does something absolutely brilliant. However, with Nani, the bad decisions outweigh the good.
And Giggs!. Once a marvelous source of crosses with Beckham on the other wing, he is now starting to wither. His passes are often poor, and his crosses are not the best. He can no longer take on a couple of players on the wing, and finds it hard to keep up with the pace of the game. United need a winger who can cross the ball and create chances. Wesley Sneijder perhaps? (See my next article)

In general, United are off-form. The good news is, United are often off-form at the start of the season, and only get into gear later on. But they really do need to improve. They travel to Valencia on Wednesday, and come back to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on the second. They need to be ready. They need to win.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Man City's squad is Strong. Stronger than Chelsea's?

 Premier League
On Saturday, in the early kick-off, Manchester City ruined Chelsea's unbeaten season with a 1 - 0 win over the reigning Champions. It seemed unlikely after Chelsea's excellent to the season - scoring goals for fun, however they hadn't faced a strong opposition yet. Unfortunately for them, they found stronger opposition in Manchester City whom they could not beat.

The interesting thing that I wondered was: Why did Manchester City win? Of course, in the end, they played the better of the two teams - they scored a goal and Chelsea didn't. Simple. Despite Chelsea not showcasing their true attacking ability, City defended well and didn't self-destruct like they may have done a couple of years ago.

Thanks to millions of pounds of investment, they have a much stronger squad than a couple of years ago - and a stronger squad than Chelsea.

*The visiting bench consisted of Ross Turnbull, Yuri Zhirkov, Paulo Ferreira, Daniel Sturridge, Patrick van Aanholt, Gaël Kakuta and Josh McEachran – all good players in their own right , but this was not a list that smacked of a team with great strength in depth.
City, meanwhile, could call upon Shay Given, Emmanuel Adebayor, Adam Johnson, Jérôme Boateng, Patrick Vieira, Joleon Lescott and Jô. The problem for Ancelotti when his team went a goal behind was that he did not have many ways to change his side for the better.*
*from the Guardian

Friday, 24 September 2010

Hargreaves is Back!

After what seemed like ages out of football with persitent injuries which seemed like never leaving him and even threatened his career, Owen Hargreaves is back in training for Manchester United.

Not only is he back in training, but he is also giving Sir Alex Ferguson headaches which may even keep him up at night. He is impressing Ferguson so much that he could be in a Manchester United squad - and therefore replacing a current regular in the very near future if he keeps his good form in training. The cure for Ferguson's headache, is quite simply the cause. Owen Hargreaves is an excellent weapon that can be injected into United side, and will add a great deal of stability to a defence which at the moment seems to be leaking silly goals like never before.

Carlo Ancelotti has recently said that having Michael Essien play for Chelsea again is like having a new player because he was out for most of last season. Manchester United having Hargreaves back is even better. He has been out for most of the time since signing for United, and his introduction now will be an excellent boost for the club and could prove the engine in the Manchester United side that this season could over-take Liverpool in the amount of titles won.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Carling Cup Round Up 22/09/2010

The Carling Cup's opening few rounds aren't usually the most exciting of games - tonight was an exception.

A 5-2 win for Manchester United against Scunthorpe saw United go a wonderful strike down early on, only for them to fire straight back against a very resilient and brave Scunthorpe side. A Gibson chip, 2 typical Michael Owen goals, a Park strike and Smalling finish was enough to see off the Championship side who had double the amount of attempts on target than United but were thwarted by a good game by Tomasz Kuszack. The game also saw Bebe grab his first game for Manchester United's first team as he came on as a second half substitution. I have been a sceptic since he signed, however he did look bright when he did have the ball. He isn't short of confidence with a long range shot being deflected and a few dribbles which unfortunately were intercepted. He showed good pace but apart from that didn't do much else.

Another seven goal thriller was at Stamford Bridge. Previously unbeaten this season, Chelsea were obvious favourites against the newly promoted side Newcastle. However, the Magpies went 1 - 3 up, with Kalou going off injured. Chelsea had used all of their substitutions so they were now reduced to ten-men, but this seemed to have the opposite effect to what you may think. Anelka upped his game and scored one, whilst equalising with a penalty. When it seemed to be heading to extra-time, Shola Ameobi scored the winner to send Chelsea packing from the League Cup. A great game.

Manchester City's millions didn't help them as they crashed out at the hands of West Brom. City striker Jo scored the opener, only for the Albion to bounce back with two goals in quick succession to defeat Mancini's flailing side.

Gerard Houllier made a good start to his career at Aston Villa as he watched his team beat Blackburn 3 - 1 at Villa Park. Givet put Blackburn ahead in the 34th minute, but Heskey and a double from Ashley Young secured Aston Villa's place in the next round.

Liverpool's dreadful season continued with a very poor performance against the lowly Northampton town. The reds created very few chances and were even taken to extra time. Normal time finished 1- 1, with Jovanovic scoring in the ninth minute for Liverpool. Ngog got the goal in extra time - just in time, but Liverpool were taken to penalties. Astonishingly they lost, with David N'Gog and Jovanovic missing their penalties and sending Liverpool out!

Carling Cup Third Round


FT Wigan Athletic 2 – 1 Preston North End

Jordi Gomez 87, N'Zogbia 90 Treacy 23

FT Scunthorpe 2 – 5 Manchester United

Wright, J 19, Woolford 90 Gibson 23, Smalling 36, Owen 49, Park 54, Owen 71

FT Aston Villa 3 – 1 Blackburn Rovers

Heskey 59, Young, A 75, Young, A 77 Givet 34

FT Chelsea 3 – 4 Newcastle United

van Aanholt 6, Anelka 70, Anelka (pen) 87 Ranger 27, Taylor, R 32, Ameobi 49, Ameobi 90

FT Liverpool 2 – 2 Northampton

Jovanovic 9, N'Gog 116 McKay 56, Jacobs 98

FT West Brom 2 – 1 Manchester City

Zuiverloon 55, Cox 57 Jo 19

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Liverpool want Honda to drive their miseries away.

After Liverpool lost to Manchester United late on in Sundays game, Roy Hodgson would have been looking for things to cheer him up. It looks like he may have found it too, in Honda!

Hodgson feels that around £12 million will be enough to get what he wants. Before you ask, Roy Hodgson hasn't been scammed into buying a dodgy Honda car for £12 million from his local car sale shop, no! Honda is a Japanese International - Keisuke Honda to be precise.

The Japanese playmaker is currently playing for CSKA Moscow in Russia, but also had a relatively succesful World Cup. He scored a couple of goals with his trademark free-kick, where he hits the ball so hard, often it is hard to see the ball for the viewer. Watch His World Cup Free-kick HERE.

He has had a good start to his CSKA career, however it has been suggested that he wishes to move to the Premier League, and with Liverpool returning that interest, a deal could go through.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Antonio Valencia and Bobby Zamora's Injury Updates

As a footballer writhes in pain on the fresh green grass that they had been standing on only minutes earlier, it is terrible to think what the next few months of rehabilitation for both mental and physical issues will be like for them. A broken, fractured or dislocated bone is extremely painful for anyone, but for those who rely on their legs to earn them a living (granted, a very good one), such as footballers, it must be even more distressing.

Both Bobby Zamora and Antonio Valencia know the feeling, as both have recently suffered awful injuries that will rule them out, very unfortunately, for a while.

It has been confirmed that Bobby Zamora will be out for about five months after he had an operation on his broken fibula that he sustained in Fulhams 2 - 1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers last Saturday.
Zamora's manager Mark Hughes said:

"Bobby will now be in bed with his leg elevated for two weeks. The operation showed ligament damage so we're probably now looking at five months. We want to help Bobby get back quickly and there are no concerns over his ability to get back to the level he was before he got injured."

The injury is even more cruel to the striker as he had just recently made his debut for England after years of trying. His progress and recent good form will now be interrupted by this unfortunate incident.

Antonio Valencia suffered significant ligament damage as well as a fractured ankle in an injury similar to that of Alan Smith when the now Newcastle man played for United against Liverpool. The winger underwent surgery yesterday after the injury was suffered against Rangers in the Champions League.

The good news for Manchester United fans is that, according the a United spokesperson, the operation went well, however he will still be out for a good portion of the season with a plate inserted to stabilise the fracture.

Sir Alex Ferguson had initially said that Valencia would probably miss the rest of the season with his injury, however, this might not be the case with the operation being such a success.

Both tackles that led to the broken fibula's of Zamora and Valencia seemed routine and not at all dangerous, but rather the studs were caught in the grass which led to the leg being dragged in an awkward direction - the momentum taking it further forward and doing the damage.

Aston Villa's New Manager interested in Owen

As Gerard Houllier settles in at Aston Villa next week, he will look at his squad and decide where he can improve it to challenge for a Champions League spot or some silverware.

However, he has already confirmed an interest with one of his former Liverpool players, Michael Owen. The striker, who is currently playing for Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, has been the subject of Houllier's attention for some time it seems.
Houllier explained:

"He has always been in my thoughts. I like him [Owen], as a player and a man"
The Frenchman said that he watched Owen at Jamie Carragher's testimonial and that Owen still has the legs for playing football.

Only recently, Owen was quoted saying that he has been trying as hard as ever to try and grab a first team spot at Manchester United, but he never knows when he will be picked.

"You can only do your best and prepare and train well, so that you are ready when the manager calls on you. After that, it's up to the manager who he chooses. It sounds easy, but probably the most difficult thing is not playing for a couple of weeks and then all of a sudden getting called up and being mentally and physically right to perform well"
Owen seems frustrated, as any footballer would be, because he isn't getting the game time that he would like. Added to this, it looks as if Dimitar Berbatov has hit good form at last for United, and with Rooney almost guaranteed a starting spot it will be even harder for Owen to force his way into the team - allowing Aston Villa to make their move and offer Owen more oppurtunities to play, as well as re-unite with Emile Heskey.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Carlos Tevez New Style

Tevez Training [Click To Enlarge]
After becoming so used to seeing Carlos Tevez with his caveman like hair, it came as a bit of a shock that he has had his trademark hair and hairband banished for a new style. 

Maybe he feels it will be good luck for him and a fresh start, or maybe he was just copying Robero Mancini as his manager also had a trim at the start of the season. But to be fair it doesn't look bad on the City captain.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Man United's Antonia Valencia suffers break during draw.

Ten changes to the team that drew against Everton on the weekend, and to no prevail. A 0-0 draw came complete with a horrific injury to the flying winger Antonio Valencia - cruel blow to a bad few days for Manchester United as he looks to be out for a long time with a suspected ankle or leg break.

Valencia receives oxygen

Rangers went to Old Trafford with the main objective of defending their goal. They were tough to break down, and without the presence and vision of Paul Scholes, this was even harder for United to complete. The final ball from United was poor and they were restricted to a only couple of half chances and one or two long range efforts from Darron Gibson.

The injury to Valencia was a massive blow. There is always an impact on players when they see a teammate and friend in so much pain and with a grim few months ahead of him. Valencia was a big source of United's and Rooney's goals last season with his reliable crossing ability and good pace to get passed players. Giggs replaced the stricken Valencia, and the veteran will expect a lot more game time during the next few months and possibly longer as Valencia recovers. Nani will presumably occupy the other wing, with Park able to fill in and add more creativity, but Ferguson may be cursing that he didn't bring any more players in during the summer.

Tottenham also drew against Werder Bremen as they kicked off their Champions League campaign losing a two goal lead. An own-goal by Pasanen in the twelfth minute and then a goal from Crouch six minutes later set the game up well for Tottenham but the hosts came back to secure a draw at the end of the first half and start of the second. Considering the venue as well as the injuries to key players such as the extremely influential Luka Modric, this may be seen as a good result, however it will be dissapointing to lose a two goal lead despite the circumsatnces.

The other results are as follows

FC Twente 2-2 Internazionale

Barcelona 5-1 Panathinaikos

FC Copenhagen 1-0 Rubin Kazan

Bursaspor 0-4 Valencia

Lyon 1-0 Schalke

Benfica 2-0 Hapoel Tel Aviv

Monday, 13 September 2010

Ferguson has no regrets, But Moyes does.

Sir Alex Ferguson has said today that he has no regrets about leaving Wayne Rooney out of the Manchester United side that played Everton on Saturday, in which United threw away a 3-1 advantage to draw 3-3 in the final minutes.
 I have no regrets - I did the right thing. And I have no concerns about playing him tomorrow [against Rangers] at all.
Why should he have regrets? He left Rooney out, and with good reason. It would have been a big risk playing Rooney with him either rising to the occasion, or doing completely the opposite and buckling under the pressure in front of his heckling former fans and do something stupid. It wasn't a risk worth taking and Ferguson knew it. He made sure nothing controversial would happen by not naming him in the squad against bitter fans who hate Rooney whatever he does.
Ferguson also proved that Rooney can be left out of the squad, and Manchester United still score goals. Three goals against Everton is a very good total, as they have (most of the time) confident, solid defenders as well as an experienced midfield. Relatively new England defensive rock Jagielka along with Distin, in front of the former Manchester United keeper Tim Howard, who made some fantastic stops to save his team from losing are usually tough to crack, but United banged in three passed them through Fletcher, Vidic (both from crosses) and Berbatov - thanks to another marvellous pass from Paul Scholes.

Three goals without your top striker isn't half bad is it?

Now to Moyes. Fuelled with enormous amounts of adrenaline as his eyes popped out of his head (yes, even more) watching his side blast two goals in the final few minutes of the game against United, he raced onto the pitch as the referee, Martin Atkinson blew the whistle just as Everton burst into the United penalty area on the attack, looking for the winning goal. Along with his assistant Steve Round,
shouting all sorts of abuse at the referee,  they went a bit over the top, and Martin Atkinson remembered the gist of what they were saying (or bawling) at him, and recorded it in his report of the match.

FA Chiefs have since decided to punish Moyes and his sidekick with improper conduct and fine them both £8000.

The Scottish Moyes may or may not (probably not) be cheered up by the fact that Manchester United play the Scottish side Rangers on Tuesday where Rooney will play - fit and raring to go after a weeks rest and give a mind blowing performance to win his fans back after a terrible few weeks in his personal -
but quite public private life

Monday, 6 September 2010

Great Teams Need Great Goalkeepers. Joe Hart can Be Great.

Take a look at the winning teams from recent Premier League years. Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal. All had reliable, trustworthy, established and confident goalkeepers. United had Schmeichel and now have Van Der Sar, Chelsea had, and still have Petr Cech when they won consecutive Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006, and Arsenal had Jens Lehmann in their "Invincibles" team of 2004. Who was in goal in 1966 when England won the World Cup for the first and so far only (and possibly last) time? Gordon Banks - elected in a poll by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History Statistics) as the second best goalkeeper of the 20th Century.
Joe Hart is showing all of the qualities to become a top quality goalkeeper - on the same, and with his potential, possibly higher level as the goalkeepers listed above. His confidence brings so much to his game as well as others around him. He has bravery - to come out and put his body on the line for the good of the team. He has a great personality - one which shows his love of playing football - something which is rarely seen in modern football, with pressure often getting to players. And most importantly, he is reliable. His defenders know that he can catch the ball from crosses with conviction, and his reactions are second to none.

This can only mean good things for his team-mates. His defenders know how good he is, which gives them the confidence to push further forward, which, in turn, makes the midfielders push further forward, which helps to pressurise the opposition higher up the pitch. The defenders know that they can trust Hart. He lifts pressure off of his team-mates, which then helps them to play with more freedom.
Before Hart, the players couldn't do that. David James was known for his great reactions, but unfortunately, his erratic behaviour and often poor decision making too. This meant the players were always cautious and worried that a mistake could happen at any time, and they simply couldn't trust him.

The good thing is, that not only do the players trust Hart, but the manager, Capello, does as well.
"Roberto Mancini has chosen him for Manchester City and I have chosen him for the England team. He improved a lot last year when he played at Birmingham. That was really important. The two keepers we had who stayed with us [including Ben Foster] are in really good form."
England have struggled with goalkeepers for a while, with the last consistently good one in David Seaman. Have England found a long term successor? Is he a player who has the confidence and the right amount of arrogance to handle the pressure of being England Number One? Yes. And he's only 23.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Rooney Scandal

On the Birth of his son - 2 November 2009:
Now I have someone to look after and I just want to be with Kai and Coleen as much as possible. Becoming a dad means you have to be a role model for your son and be someone he can look up to.
A few days later, Coleen Rooney said:

I'm hoping he will grow up to have Wayne's temperament.
Little did she know that only a few months earlier, her husband had been cheating on her, if we are to believe the newspapers have reported.
It's a sad situation for many. His wife, his fans, Manchester United and probably himself. He will be ashamed of what he reportedly did and will regret it enormously. The revelations could destroy not only his marriage to Coleen, who he met when both were still in school, but his career.

Taunts that he looks like Disney character Shrek, will be much worse to say the least, and multi-million pound sponsor-ship deals could be thrown out of the window as he has failed to uphold a family-man image and reputation of which the deals require.

His Manchester United manager will not be pleased either. Sir Alex has spent a lot of time and effort trying to drill into his young players lessons on the need for discipline, on and off the pitch. In addition, Ferguson has always supported Rooney when he has been going through rough patches in his career, after all, he is United's star striker, but it will take a lot of arduous talks with his manager, known for his bad temper and hot head to gain the Scots forgivness and apologise.

You may say that it is his personal life, and people shouldn't be poking around in it, but surely he musn't have thought that with the media as it is and newspapers always hungry for an "Exclusive" report, he could get away with it? And the girl? He couldn't have thought (and/or hoped) that she would stay quiet about it, when she could easily sell her story.

I really liked Rooney - as a player, and although I hope the stories aren't true, I know that they most probably are. Unfortunatley after this, you can't help but lose a lot of respect for him - as a person.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Have Manchester United already found a Scholes replacement?

Paul Scholes has been a fantastic servant to Manchester United since his debut in 1994. He has played a big part in United's success but taken little of the limelight, however, it is only recently that United fan's have wondered who will replace him when he has gone. At 35, he isn't getting any younger - although his performances suggest he is getting better, but when he does finally call it a day, you would think, Sir Alex Ferguson, or whoever the United manager is at the time, will have to fork out millions of pounds to find a replacement for the golden oldy. But I think the replacement is already at the club.

Since we bought Wayne Rooney in 2004, I always wondered how well he could play if he played a little deeper - in the position just ahead of the midfielders. There is no doubt that he has the ability - he has the ability to play anywhere. He runs and runs, chases and chases, he tracks back when he loses possession and is all over the pitch, helping out all of his team mates. He is a very self-less player. But he loves to score goals, and I have wondered, during his time at Manchester United, what he would play like - and how well he would play in the position that Paul Scholes used to occupy - the central attacking midfield position.

We never really found out until Friday night when he played in a similar position against Bulgaria. He played magnificently, playing a big part in all four goals that England scored, whilst directly assisting three. His cross field balls reminded me of Scholes, and his vision was astonishing - the return chip over the defenders for Ashley Cole during the build up for the first goal was an example of this.

England at times were lacking in spark, and, although comfortable in  possession, couldn't create anything - cue Rooney. Dawson and Jagielka passed it to each-other in their own half and whilst the attackers waited for a long ball, Rooney came rushing back, took the ball and found a team mate with an exquisite pass. He should have been on the end of it, yet he was the one delivering it. Thats what he can do. His decision making for the assists was perfection - choosing Defoe over Walcott in a three on three situation.

In general, Rooney tore the Bulgarians to shreads with his quick thinking, perfect passing, and stunning vision. He would be a much better goalscorer for England if he had a similar player to him or a good crosser of the ball in the wings to cross onto his head or into his feet - like he has at Manchester United with Valencia, Nani and Giggs.

Rooney can be a goalscorer with the right service, however he can also be a creator as he proved on Friday. I would like to see more of Rooney in that position, because maybe, just maybe, he could turn into the Scholes replacement that Manchester United fans have been looking for.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Stop Blaming Capello

As England fans sit down in front of their televisions on Friday to watch England play against Bulgaria, it will bring back all the memories of the latest World Cup exit and leave a sickening feeling in even die hard England fans. We all know that it is hard to watch England, with catastrophic mistakes just around the corner and uncharacteristic errors just seconds away. These blunders are magnified enormously as they are watched by millions of fans around England and the world. Fabio Capello knows more than anyone that when mistakes happen, everyone wants someone to blame. In the most recent World Cup failure, as with so many others, the manager has been the one who has been attacked as the weak-link in the team. He is blamed for the failings of a team with the players of such high-quality that they should be able to beat any nation on any given day. But with the only thing to change between major competitions being the manager (and of course the retiring of players) it must be questioned as to why the new manger is blamed when it has been the players who have failed to deliver.

Capello has been under massive pressure to leave his England post by certain newspapers who have branded him as stupid and evan a "jackass" since England lost to Germany in the World Cup. Yes, he made mistakes during the competition, but so did the players. I fear that fans and newspapers like to demand the manager to be sacked because they think it will make things better, and also because they can. Under massive pressure of the media, the FA can crumble and try to appease fans by giving them the managers head. But this is only a short term solution. It doesn't solve much, and it makes you wonder, who would want to be manager of England. The criticism of Capello is hardly fair. He understands that he made mistakes, but to call a manager who has won most of Europes top prizes and managed Europes top clubs stupid and a "jackass" is absurd.

As fans, we need to realise that over the past forty four years, England, with excellent players have won nothing. We have been the victim of incredibly bad luck over the years, Robert Green and Frank Lampard could tell you that. But the ammount of managers that we have gone through without winning anything - and these are highly experienced, top class (well paid) managers, we need to think logically and realise that it isn't all the managers fault, and the easier we turn against the men who lead out our nation in major competitions, the harder it will be for them to do their job.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Premier League 25 Man Squad's

See Every Premier League squad picked for this season as well as the under 21 players selected.

Rafael Van Der Vaart on Moving to Tottenham

So Van Der Vaart moving to Tottenham was one of the transfer headlines of the final day of this years summer transfer window. Have a look at what the player himself has to say about his new club as well as his old club by clicking the link below.

Click Here to watch interview

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