Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Newcastle draw with Pompey

Newcastle United's nerve wrecking end to the season continues as their future is still undecided and isn't getting any better after a goalless draw with Portsmouth at St.James' Park.

Newcastle United wasted two opportunities to have three points in the bag with misses from Obafemi Martins and Micheal Owen.

However,Portsmouth did have a few chances of their own as Richard Hughes hit the cross bar late on to send jitters down Newcastles' players spine as well as the coaching staff.

Martins blazed the ball over the bar in the first half and Michael Owens one on one effort against James were two chances Magpies might regret later.

This has put Alan Shearer without a win in his four games in charge at Tyneside.Magpies climb above Middlesbrough into 18th.

Portsmouth look a comfortabler lot with 7 points away from Newcastle United and at 14th position.

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Rafael extends contract

18 year old,Rafael De Silva has extended his contract with Manchester United by 2 years which would keep him with the club until 2013.

The Brazilian has made 24 appearances this season with one goal and many many surges down the right with impeccable crosses and as expected Sir Alex Ferguson is delighted with his progress.

Ferguson spoke to the official website :
"Everyone at the club has been very impressed and excited by his first year as a professional,"

"His enthusiasm and the adventurous way he plays is typical of a Manchester United player and we are delighted that he has signed a new contract."

He arrived from Rio de Janiero in July and was part of Manchester United's rampant performance against Tottenham on Sunday.

He is also expected to be part of the team to face Arsenal in the semi finals of Champions League.

A player who has grown many strides in just one season was also a contender for the PFA Young player of the year where Ashley Young won the award.


Jagielka to get surgery

Everton and England international Phil Jagielka is to get knee surgery in London and could be back in action early next season.

The player sustained the injury in Saturday's defeat to Manchester City at Goodison Park.

He has been immediately set for operation by the club to make sure he's fit to start for the next season as early as possible with Everton assured of a Europa Cup spot.

He would miss the FA Cup final with Chelsea at the end of May as well.

The injury would have been definitely a cruel blow to Jagielka who has had a fabulous and a consistent season with the tofees. He also scored the ultimate penalty to overcome Manchester United in the semi finals of FA cup.

Everton go into the FA Cup final with the assurance of European football next season even if they lose and despite their league position after Chelsea beat West Ham.

Jagielka is unlikely to get back for the qualifying stages for Europa Cup either and his place in the FA Cup team is likely to go to Joseph Yobo.


Niko Kranjcar's season over

Portsmouth's creative midfielder Niko Kranjcar has been ruled out for the remaining part of the season due to an ankle injury.

The Croat sustained the injury in the 1-0 win over Bolton and missed the trip to Old Trafford where Portsmouth lost 2-0.

Portsmouth were expecting his return to cool down the pressure at the bottom of the table but the scans revealed bone related damage.

Kranjcar has scored 4 goals in 25 appearances this season and would have been an indispensable part of the setup with Pompey just 6 points away from safety.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Ashley Young wins young player of the year

The Young player of the year award went to Aston Villa's Ashley Young who beat Agbanlahor,Jonny Evans,Rafael De Silva,Aaron Lennon and Stephen Ireland for the award.

Ashley said :
"To break into the England squad, to play as well as I have done and at the end of the day to get this award shows I have been doing really well, but if I didn't have my team-mates round me to help me as well I wouldn't be standing here now,"

The Englishman was also named in the Premier League team of the year.

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Giggs - PFA player of the year

Manchester United's versatile midfielder,Ryan Giggs has been awarded the PFA player of the year.

The Welshman received the award on Sunday by beating 4 Manchester United team mates and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.

He's won two young player of the year accolades earlier but this is his first top award as a professional footballer.

He said :
"I've been fortunate to win a lot of trophies, I won the young player award twice, but this is the big one."

There has been massive criticism for his award because he's made only 12 starts this season and scored only one goal.The award is for fabulous performance throughout the season and this award seems more like a compassionate one rather than for excellent season and dominating performance.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Indian group GMR eyes Liverpool

After Sahara India were in talks with sponsoring Manchester United jerseys,another Indian conglomerate GMR Group has emerged as contenders for a stake in Liverpool.

GMR group currently owns Indian Premier League cricket club Delhi Daredevils.They now look to foray into other sports as well.

The leading group members were in Merseyside over the week and sat in the directors' box alongside owners Gillett and Hicks to witness Liverpool draw Arsenal 4-4.

The American owners are looking to refinance the investment they made to purchase the club worth 350million pounds.

After the game the representatives were shown around Anfield by the owners. This followed two hours of discussions earlier.

Other possible suitors include Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai's ruling family, as well as Nassar Al Kharafi of Kuwait.

The GMR Group is worth 4.2billion pounds as reported by Sunday Express Sport

Group is currently working on the development of Delhi airport as well.


Zola extends contract

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola extended his contract with the hammers until 2013.

The Italian put pen to paper after their 1-0 loss to Chelsea on Saturday.

Zola said :
I am delighted to have signed the contract. I'm very pleased and grateful for the club for looking after me.

Zola also expects first team coach,Steve Clarke to follow suit and sign a new contract which is expected to be signed early next week.

Despite West Ham's loss to Chelsea and Zola's former club, the Londoners are still in contention for the Europa League spot next season.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

O'Shea and Neville out for weeks

Manchester United's defensive duo of Gary Neville and John O'Shea would be out for weeks, Sir Alex has confirmed.

Both the players limped out of their game against Portsmouth on Wednesday night where they won 2-0.

Neville was forced with a foot injury and his replacement O'Shea went out with an ankle injury.

Victory sees Manchester United move three points clear of the second placed Liverpool as Chelsea drew with Everton.

Sir Alex obviously isn't happy and had this to say :
"They are out for weeks - they were both bad tackles,"

Manchester United would require all their defensive armour with their remaining campaign of Premiership and Champions league clash with Arsenal.


Chelsea's title dream all but over

Hiddink has conceded that Chelsea's task of a treble is all but over after their draw with Everton last night.

Chelsea met Everton at Stamford Bridge last night, a dress rehearsal for FA cup final on the 30th of May.The game was dominated by both the teams' keepers,Peter Cech and Tim Howard which resulted in a goalless stalemate.

Add to that Manchester United beat Portsmouth 2-0 to dash Chelsea's chances to win the Premiership.

Hiddink had this to say :

"Everyone is disappointed. We knew it was difficult to go for the title so when you drop two points there is disappointment of course. But this team is able to cope with that and focus ourselves on the difficult game against Barcelona next week."


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Two Premier Leagues?

According to a report published in The Mirror (dated 18th April),there is a proposal laid out by Bolton's chairman ,Phil Gartside to have two Premiership divisions of 18 teams each.

The proposal currently in the blueprint stage is being handed out to Premiership managers and other key figures in the game for their consent to see it go through.

The blueprint proposes two Premier league divisions of 18teams each.There would be promotion and relegation of two clubs between the divisions.

There would also be one club relegated from the Premier League 2 going down to Football league.

The most controversial part of the proposal would be the idea to include Scottish giants Celtics and Rangers.

Further there are chances of a winter break which is enjoyed by other European leagues like Serie A,La liga and Bundesliga.

Also the FA and Football league conducted knock out competitions for promotion would be scrapped and be replaced by a Premier League knock out cup.

There are also ideas to allow equal wages to the lower placed clubs outside the big four of Manchester United,Chelsea,Liverpool and Arsenal.

The proposal needs to be supported by 14 clubs out of the present 20 to see it being implemented.

It certainly does look like an attractive plan but the rationale of an "English" Premiership is lost when you include Scottish clubs into it.Agreed Rangers and Celtic would bring on a different flavour to the league which viewers of the Premiership outside UK haven't seen but to the local fan of the Premiership it would definitely be a no-no.

If the proposal does go through it would also mean even more difficulty for the Football league sides to get into the Premier League 2 as only one club would be able to make it.

However,it would make even compensation and wages for clubs like Bolton to maintain financial stability but the game isn't about money only,is it?(Am sure FA's watchdog - Football Data Co. would beg to differ!)

The idea would be put to vote when the clubs' shareholders formally meet.

What are your views on this proposal? Leave comments!

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Wolves promoted to Premiership

[Source : BBC/PA]

Wolverhampton Rovers have qualified for the next season of English Premiership with their 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers.

This would be their second spell in the Premiership.They last played in 2003-04 and lasted only a single season.

The wolves deserved the automatic promotion as they have been top of the Championship table since October.The main reason for their complete overhaul is touted as their manager, Mick Mcarthy who took over at the beginning of the 2006/07 season and failed to qualify that season losing in the playoffs followed by losing out by a single spot in the next season.However things got brighter and prettier for the club this season as they clinched automatic berth.

Hope they last more than one season next time around...


Relegation Saturday : Wrap-Up

Stoke City,Sunderland and Portsmouth win to help their relegation woes.

With the top four not playing this weekend in the Premiership the action shifted to the lower side of the table as Middlesborough took on Fulham,Portsmouth hosted Bolton,Stoke took on Sam Allardyce's Blackburn and Sunderland hosted Hull City.The other game of the day was West Ham's trip to Villa park.

Sunderland 1 - 0 Hull City
Sunderland had gained only two points from their last 7 games.Ricky Sbragia's men had portrayed a decent effort last week against Manchester United only to lose courtesy a Macheda goal. Sunderland scored the only goal through Djibrel Cisse's header in the 45th minute was enough to see of the Tigers who are now below Sunderland in the league tables.

Portsmouth 1 - 0 Bolton Wanderers
After last week's heroics against Chelsea,Bolton looked to stun Portsmouth at Fratton Park.However,things didn't go as expected for Gary Megson's players.Portsmouth's second half substitute Nwankwo Kanu scored for Pompey in the 78th minute to give the club further hopes of survival.

Stoke City 1 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
Stoke City's chances of playing football in the top flight of England are most likely to be confirmed as they moved to 11th position after Liam Lawrence's second half goal.The position for Rovers however looks abysmal as they are closer to the bottom three now.

Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Fulham
There was a stalemate at The Riverside as Middlesbrough couldn't replicate their 3-1 win over Hull City last week.The chances for both the teams were few and far between in a game which was must win for Middlesbrough to avoid relegation.However they are not mathematically out of it yet but the situation has definitely deteriorated for Gareth Southgate managed club.

Aston Villa 1 - 1 West Ham United
Aston Villa had been struggling to replicate their early season performance as they hosted West Ham they were winless in seven games.Emile Heskey scored first for Villa in as early as the 11th minute.Villa's hopes of three points were crushed five minutes before the end through Diego Tristan's slightest of headers which put the ball behind Friedel's goal.

The weird part of this game was the clash of kits between the two teams.Villa sported a white jersey whereas West Ham players wore a scarlet blue.The game was delayed by 5 minutes as the referee asked the players to change kits.Why couldn't the Villa players just use their home kits anyway?

Tomorrow's fixtures are :
Spurs v Newcastle United
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion
Manchester United v Everton (FA Cup)


Ronaldo drops hint about his future

Cristiano Ronaldo who has grabbed headlines day in,day out with his transfer speculation with Real Madrid.

The whole of the previous summer was filled with transfer news regarding the Portuguese winger.The gossip resurfaced this week with Real Madrid's chairmanship candidate Roman Calderon vowed to bring the player to Santiago Bernabeu.

The player said :

"I am very happy here. I want to win more trophies here. At the moment I think I am at the right club.

"And I want to win trophies next season as well."

Ronaldo scored the one and only goal in the week which got Manchester United the win against Porto in the Champions league and progressed them through to the semi-finals where they will face Arsenal.

Manchester United have their quintuple dream alive as they play Everton on Sunday in the FA Cup semi-final.If they win they would go on to play Chelsea in the final.


Itandje apologises for bad behaviour

Liverpool's French goalkeeper,Charles Itandje has apologised for his behaviour during the Hillsborough memorial service.

The player was spotted laughing in the process of the service by television cameras.

This didn't go down well with the Liverpool fans who called for extreme action against the player and manager,Rafa Benitez duly obliged by telling the player not to come for practice on Friday and to stay away from the club for 14days.

Hillsborough disaster took 96 lives in 1989 when Liverpool fans traveled to Nottingham Forest for their FA cup semi-final.

The player spoke to Liverpool echo and had this to say :

"The events at Hillsborough were a tragedy and in no way did I mean to disrespect the memory of what happened 20 years ago. I would never do that.

"I would like to speak to the families in person to offer my apologies to them because, like I said, I never meant to hurt anyone."

In my personal opinion,the player deserves a bigger punishment than this for his actions.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Voronin to return to Anfield

Liverpool's on loan striker Andriy Voronin looks set to return to Liverpool at the end of the season.

The Ukrainian player was on loan to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga for the whole season where he has scored 11 goals from 20 appearances.

The Berlin based club were expected to close the deal with Liverpool to acquire the services of the player but the deal is believed to have broken down momentarily as the German club assess their qualification status for the next years' Champions League.

Voronin had this to say :
"Liverpool made a good offer which Hertha did not accept. It is a shame that it may not go through.

"I have already ordered the boxes and am moving out of the apartment within a month-and-a-half."

Most certainly Liverpool don't need another striker with N'gog,Torres,Babel although if media reports are to be believed both N'gog and Babel aren't happy with their situation at the Merseyside club.


Bouma to again get surgery

Aston Villa's Wilfred Bouma is set to undergo another surgery on his ankle injury.This means he would not play any part in Aston Villa's attempts to gain momentum on the 4th and final Champions league spot currently being held by Arsenal.

The Dutchman was looking for a recall after completing three games for the reserves but suffered a setback in the course of action and it has been decided the best course would be to get further surgery done.

Villa manager Martin O'Neil said :
"I think he needs a bit of keyhole surgery. If he does, I think that might prevent him from making the comeback between now and the end of the season.

"We will know better about that by the middle of next week but I think the idea is that it is best to get it (the surgery) done now."


Al Fayed rubbishes Fulham sale gossip

Fulham and Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed has angrily dismissed rumours of his intention to sell the cottagers.

Fulham are having a fantastic season after a horrible campaign last time around where they managed to stay in the top flight only on the last day.

The claims were made by Evening Standard and claimed Al Fayed was looking to sell the club after losses of 7.5 million pounds were announced for the previous financial year.

Fulham's website reads :

Fulham’s Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed is angered by claims in the Evening Standard that he is interested in selling the Club and dismisses any notion that the Club is up for sale.

The comment was made by an analyst who has nothing to do with the Club, who has never spoken to the Chairman, and who the Chairman believes is ignorant of Fulham and its position.

Following a fantastic season under Roy Hodgson, the Chairman wants to assure the fans that he is as committed as ever to the Club and to its future success.


Zola near contract renewal

Italian,Gianfranco Zola has agreed he is near to signing a new contract which would keep him with West Ham.

Zola had taken over from Alan Curbishley in September and has taken the then struggling club to the heights of vying for a European spot currently.

In the process he wants to sort out the contracts and future of the players as well.

Zola had this to say :

On the contract here are some positive things. We will see but hopefully in the next few weeks things will be settled. Hopefully there will be no problems. The club wants to look after us and I hope everyone will be satisfied.

This for sure is great news for the London based club which for sure can qualify for Europa cup next season.


Viduka could return at the weekend

Australian and Newcastle United striker Mark Viduka could return this weekend to help Alan Shearer and crew in their battle for survival.

Viduka has missed the significant part of the season due to an Achillies problem.

Manager Alan Shearer said :
Mark Viduka has trained for the majority of the week and will travel with us. He has trained well.

"He's obviously got a huge amount of talent and we believe if we can keep him fit, then he will play a big part in helping us.

Shearer hopes to have Steven Taylor in full training on Friday and Joey Barton do the same next week.

Striker,Obafemi Martins remains a doubt with his groin problem as well as Jose Enqrique.

Newcastle play Spurs on Sunday.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

PFA Awards nominees

Manchester United players dominate the list of nominees for PFA Players' player of the season.

Of the six players that have been nominated,5 of them are Red Devils.Van Der Sar,Vidic,Ryan Giggs,Cristiano Ronaldo,Rio Ferdinand represent Manchester United along with Steven Gerrard being the 6th contender from Liverpool.

  1. Van Der Sar(Manchester United)

  2. Vidic(Manchester United)

  3. Ryan Giggs(Manchester United)

  4. Rio Ferdinand(Manchester United)

  5. Cristiano Ronaldo(Manchester United)

  6. Steven Gerrard(Liverpool)

PFA Young Player of the Year

Manchester United have two players in the young players' category in the form of Jonny Evans and Rafael De Silva.The other candidates being Aston Villa's Agbanlahor and Ashley Young;Manchester City's Stephen Ireland and Spurs midfielder Aaron Lennon.

  1. Jonny Evans(Manchester United)

  2. Rafael De Silva(Manchester United)

  3. Gabriel Agbanlahor(Aston Villa)

  4. Ashley Young(Aston Villa)

  5. Stephen Ireland(Manchester City)

  6. Aaron Lennon(Spurs)

Who is your pick for both the categories?Leave comments!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wenger's bonus point idea

Arsenal manager,Arsene Wenger keeping sync with FIFA boss,Sepp Blatter(limiting foreign based players and Ronaldo a "slave" comments) and UEFA president,Michel Platini's(6+5 idea) views to make the footballing world a better place has voiced out another idea to make the league "more attacking".

Wenger told the club's official magazine,"A fairer system would be three points for a victory as now, then extra points for your positive goal difference."

So what he's suggesting is 3 points for a win,then a subsequent bonus point for the goal difference and the losing team getting nothing.

The format is already in use in the rugby union where a team gets 4 points for a win,2 points for a draw,1 bonus point for scoring 4 or more tries,1 bonus point for losing by 7 points or fewer. Interesting idea to promote attacking play and notable here is how the losing team also fetches a point(unlike in football).

It would be very interesting to see this idea implemented in the Premiership with the goals per game ratio going down from 2.64 last year to 2.45 this year. We have seen many 1-0 wins this season and many teams parking their team bus in front of the goal after getting a minimum goal advantage or wasting time in the ending few minutes.

However,it would come at the price. This would mean the gap between “the big four” and the rest of the league would only increase. The big four are the highest scorers this season and would only benefit from this idea.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Gallas out for the season

William Gallas is confirmed to miss the remaining season due to a medial knee ligament injury.

Gallas was substituted in their 1-1 draw against Villareal in the first leg of the Champions league quarter-final.

The Frenchman collided with Villareal striker,Rossi in the first half.

This adds to Wenger's woes with the increasing number of injuries.Almunia is set to be out for three weeks after an ankle injury in the same game. Spaniards place was then taken by Fabianski.

Full back Gael Clichy is also going to miss the weekends clash with Wigan in the league and the return leg at Emirates on Wednesday after a back problem.

Wenger had this to say on his injured players' list :

"It's a big, big blow but that's where the squad comes in.

"I believe as well we have lost Manuel Almunia for three weeks and we lost Clichy for two weeks with a back problem.

"We lost three players on Tuesday night so we have to once again rely on the depth in the squad - that is quite strong but as well we have to rely on our mental strength because until now we have dealt well with all our injury problems."

Arsenal are still waiting for results on Eduardo and Robbie Van Persie's fitness problems.Both missed the midweek game.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

West Ham duo extend future

West Ham duo of Mark Noble and James Tomkins have agreed to their future at Upton Park.

Both the players are part of the youth development program under Zola's regime.The deal would last three and a half years.

"The new manager has come in and some of the football at times has been unbelievable and I think people have noticed that. I'm just delighted to have signed and hopefully we can push on and try to get that European place."
- says Noble.

Tomkins voiced the same level of happiness with the deal.
"It's really great to have signed for this great club so I'm just delighted to get it all sorted."

This is great news for the London based club which is vying for a spot in the Europa cup amongst the many contenders.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Liverpool leave it late for the win

Injury time Yossi Benayoun goal took Liverpool to the top of the Barclays Premiership table.

Liverpool had been on a run of classic wins over bitter rivals, Manchester United and Aston Villa when they faced Fulham at Craven Cottage.Fulham had started to become nemesis for the top four clubs with their 2-0 win over Manchester United a fortnight ago.

The game looked to be heading for a nil nil end when substitute Israeli player,Benayoun provided the goal which would prove vital in the championship race.

Liverpool had been the dominant force but failed to convert the chances that they created.The reds hit the woodwork on four occasions in the first half and continued to rue chances in the second half as well.

Liverpool are now not only on a winning run but also have scored 10 and conceded 1 in their last three league games.

Manchester United play tomorrow against Villa and they have two games in hand.

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Chelsea spoil Shearer's debut

Alan Shearer's managerial debut was ruined by Chelsea as they handed the Magpies a 2-0 defeat and a further slip into relegation debacle.

Lampard and Malouda scored in the second half to keep Chelsea in contention for the title.The loss leaves Newcastle just three points away from relegation with seven games to go.

Newcastle were highly spirited.The crowd was highly spirited and charged up.The on field performance again failed to bring the desired outcome for Geordies.

Owen however thought he had pulled one back in the 73rd minute after few deflections saw the ball cross the line only to be cleared by Ashley Cole(as confirmed by TV replays) but wasn't given by the referee or the linesman.

Lampard scored the first in the 55th minute after Anelka's clipped shot hit the bar and rebounding to Lampard who headed into an empty net.

Second arrived soon for the Blues.Anelka flicked on Cech's clearance which fell to Lampard who slid in for Malouda who calmly slotted the ball in the back of the net with his left foot.

Chelsea are 3rd while Newcastle are 3rd from bottom after the result.

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Middlesbrough sink deeper into trouble

Bolton thumped Middlesbrough 4-1 at The Reebok stadium leaving them in further relegation problems.Middlesbrough are now five points adrift of safety and are second bottom in the league table.

Bolton started the scoring through Kevin Davies.The English striker got his 12th goal of the season in the 7th minute only for their lead to be canceled by Gary O'Neil in the 37th minute.

Bolton got the second just before half time through Gary Cahill to go into half time break at 2-1.

The home side ensured victory with late strikes in the 78th and 84th minute through Matt Taylor after woeful defending left Gareth Southgate fuming from the dugout and thereafter from Ricardo Gardner who controlled a cross field pass beautifully to add the fourth.

Win puts Bolton in a relatively comfortable position and Middlesbrough need a miracle to avoid relegation with both Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers winning their games.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Arsenal maintain distance with Villa

Arsenal maintained their distance from Aston Villa and if their title ambitions are to be believed they are 6 points behind 3rd place Chelsea.On the other hand,Manchester City's woeful season away from home continued.

Adebayor returned from injury to score two goals for Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.The Togo player had been out of action since February combined with his returning captain,Cesc Fabregas to slot in the first as early as the 8th minute.

Arsenal also saw the return of Theo Walcott who has had his share of injuries too and was seen with an ice pack on his knee after being substituted.

Fabregas was again the providor for Arsenal's second chipping the ball over Dunne in the 49th minute and Adebayor maintained his cool to draw Given forward before slotting the ball home.

This takes Arsenal's unbeaten run to 17 games.

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West Ham strengthen Europe dream

West Ham strengthened their dream of qualifying for Europa Cup as Sunderland slipped down towards the relegation zone.

Stanislas broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute for the Hammers with an easy finish to make it 1-0.Stanislas is Zola's homegrown talent and made the debut for the club today.

Second came in the 52nd minute through a Mark Noble set piece which was headed home by Tomkins to score his first goal for the club.

The win puts West Ham in the seventh place which seems good enough to get them into Europe.As for Sunderland this puts them just one place better than the bottom 3.

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Rovers come from behind to down Spurs

This was one game which was not short of controversies.Spurs opened the scoring at the 30 minute mark through Robbie Keane who slotted home from the penalty spot.

The penalty awarding is in itself a dubious decision with the ball hitting the defender with some distance from an attempted Lennon cross.It was more of ball to hand than of hand to ball.

The placement of the ball on the penalty spot was a little doubtful too with Robbie Keane placing the ball not entirely on the 18 yard spot but the ball fairly touching the mark.

Spurs went into the locker room with a goal advantage.

The second half produced much the same of what the first did.Spurs players put many balls in the area but Rovers defenders were equal to it or weren't expected by Keane or Bent.

The game changed in favour of Rovers when Palacios was given his marching orders.The replay showed he didn't touch the player or the ball in all fairness.

Rovers took advantage of Spurs' lack of defensive players availability with goals from Mcarthy in the 82nd minute and Ooijer in the 89th minute.

Both goals came courtesy Spurs' horrible man marking as both players were left totally unmarked in the box to slot the ball home.

This is a fabulous result for Rovers who're down on the bottom of the table and would boost their hopes of staying in the Premiership.

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Berbatov out for two weeks

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov is set to be sidelined for the next two weeks due to an ankle injury.

The Bulgarian picked up the injury with the game against Fulham where Manchester United lost 2-0.

The player also missed international games against Republic of Ireland and Cyrpus as he withdrew from the squad.

This means the player would miss the weekends crunch game against Aston Villa,both the ties against Porto in the Champions league and next weeks trip to Sunderland.

This would add to Manchester United's woes who have had two straight losses against Liverpool and Fulham.Other players in the squad who would not be eligible for the weekend fixture due to suspension are Wayne Rooney,Vidic and Paul Scholes.

Sir Alex Ferguson had this to say on his lack of options :

"It's probably going to be another two weeks,"

"Hopefully he will be back training with us at the end of next week and he will be okay after that."

One positive for Manchester United is the fitness level of Gary Neville who played for the reserves in the week and had a good enough game to get the backing of the Scot but it remains to be seen if he indeed starts for the Red Devils.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Liverpool Day!

After Kuyt and Gerrard extended their contracts by two years,along came the awards.Liverpool duo of Rafa Benitez and Steven Gerrard have been named Manager and Player of the month of March,respectively.

This is Gerrard's fifth player of the month award.The month saw Liverpool keep neck to neck competition with Manchester United after their away win at Manchester United and a hammering to Aston Villa at home.

Rafa Benitez rightly picked up the award for the manager of the month too.Liverpool collected maximum possible points to stay second in the title race.This is also Benitez's fifth manager of the month title and the secont this season.Earlier award came for the month of October.


..Kuyt extends contract too

Liverpool fans had a fabulous day.After Gerrard extending his contract with the Anfield club its the turn of Dutchman,Dirk Kuyt.

Kuyt has agreed to pen a two year contract extension which would keep him with Liverpool till 2012.He already had one year remaining in the current contract.

Manager Rafael Benitez said:

"This is another great piece of news for the club.

"Dirk had one year left on his contract and we were keen for him to stay. He is a player with great quality who has a big part to play in our future. We are delighted to have reached an agreement. "

Kuyt had moved to Liverpool in 2006 from Feyenoord.He's played second most number of games this season,second only to Jamie Carragher.


Gerrard extends Liverpool contract

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has agreed to a two year contract extension with the Mersey siders.

This would keep the talismatic midfielder with Liverpool until 2013.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez had this to say on the clubs official website :

"Steven has once again shown his commitment and it was an easy deal to agree. As soon as we offered him the option he said yes. There were no problems at all. He wants to stay for life."

This is fabulous news for the reds as Gerrard is in scintillating form.The player scored a hat-trick in their previous game against Aston Villa which ended in a 5-0 triumph.


Bruce loses cool with Zaki

Wigan boss Steve Bruce will fine Egyptian striker, Amir Zaki for his late return from international duty.

Zaki was due to be back in Wigan on Tuesday,nearly 36hours after his game against Zambia.His country and club mate,Mido however was on time.

This is the fourth time Zaki has missed the deadline to return from international duty.He has faced heavy fines in the previous three occasions.

The club have received a fax from the Egyptian team doctor saying the player has a hamstring injury but that has not been backed up by a required scan.

Bruce on his part was justified to be livid with the player who isn't having the best of times with the Latics. He had this to say :

"I really am at the end of my tether with him,"

"Before this latest incident, Zaki had already been fined considerably more than the average person in Britain earns in a year and he will now face another heavy fine.

"This is the fourth time he has not reported back on time from international training.

"I have already fined him the maximum allowed but this just seems to have no effect.

"I am now fearful that if I don't take firm action, it will disrupt the rest of my squad, who - to a man - behave totally professionally."


Fabregas would return at the weekend

Cesc Fabregas would be making his return from injury this weekend against Manchester City is has been confirmed.

Arsenal manager,Arsene Wenger confirmed the return of the Spanish midfielder who has been out of action since December due to a knee ligament injury he sustained in the game against Liverpool.

"He is ready to play again, but he needs three games to be back [at his best]," Wenger told French TV channel TF1.

"We are due to play eight games in 25 days, which are all decisive.

This is fabulous news for all Arsenal fans as they hope to keep the distance from Aston Villa and going by what Fabregas said earlier in the week,Arsenal could even be title contenders!

This game is indeed strange and anything can happen but really I'd settle for the fourth spot if I were you!


Fernandes considers Man City exit

Young Swiss midfielder,Gelson Fernandes is considering moving from the City of Manchester Stadium.

The player has just made three starts this season and further 11 from the substitutes bench.

"I'm not a regular in the City team and I'm really not happy about that, and also about my own form" says Fernandes.

A number of clubs home and abroad are interested in acquiring his services.Monaco seem to be the top of the players list.Except the French club,Hamburg,Celtic and neighbours Bolton also are in the running.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Carlton Cole out for six weeks

West Ham striker Carlton Cole has been ruled out for six weeks due to a groin injury.

The England striker was already carrying the injury going into the international break.This wasn't pushed by The Hammers to the English camp and hence was included in the game with Slovakia where he worsened the injury.

This would mean the player could at the max be available for the last three games of the season which would mean he would be out of match practice.

Add to that,West Ham are pushing for a place in the Europa League(formerly UEFA Cup).

"Fortunately he won't need an operation, it is a problem between the muscle and tendon in the groin," Zola said. "He should be available in six weeks."

West Ham's injury woes don't end there.They are without Radoslav Kovan and Scott Parker playing recently with a groin problem.

West Ham play Sunderland next.


Benitez : I could have quit

Liverpool boos Rafael Benitez considered quitting the Merseyside club before he eventually signed the deal.

The main concern for the Spaniard was the future of the club in the hands of American tycoons Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The former Valencia boss has thus signed a contract which keeps him with the club until March 2014.

Benitez had this to say :

"It is true that at times I may have thought about my future,"

"There was a lot of uncertainty at the club but when you put all of these things together and the fact I am sure we can improve, there was no doubt in my mind.

"It will be easier now the contract is done. Once you sign a contract you know you can start thinking about the future. That is why it was important to get it done as soon as possible.

"The uncertainty at the club was the only thing on my mind before. But delaying the decision before saying yes at the end of the season would have been worse for everyone because we would have lost some of our transfer targets or certainly been at a disadvantage."


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Arsenal youngster on Eagles' radar

Arsenal's 17year old,Anton Blackwood has been captured by Crystal Palace.

The youngster will be on trial with the club and is named in their reserve team to face action on Wednesday.

The player could have been part of Arsene Wenger's back four and also in the midfield.He wasn't sure of getting a professional contract with the Gunners.

The player was picked up by the Arsenal scout two years ago from Northampton where has been under scolarship since.


Shearer : New Newcastle manager

It is reported that Newcastle United are set to unveil their longest serving captain and lover, Alan Shearer as their new manager.

The former English striker is expected to take charge for the remaining 8 games with the Magpies.There hasn't been an official word from St.James' Park on their website but it is expected to be made today.

The decision comes in the wake of Newcastle's Joe Kinnear heart surgery as he is recuperating and Newcastle's board don't want to take chances with his health.

Shearer is the fourth manager this season for Mike Ashley owned club.

UPDATE : Shearer's role as the new manager has been confirmed by Newcastle United.The club will hold a news conference tomorrow to formally unveil the new manager.

This also coincides with the sacking of Dennis Wise,executive director with the board.His role was to look on the transfers and scouting aspect of the game.However,this didn't go down well with the then boss Kevin Keagan who handed over his resignation.

Shearer had then also disapproved of the clubs structure.Wise's exit was confirmed less than an hour before Shearer's managerial status with the club was confirmed.

Ian Dowie : Shearer's assistant

Alan Shearer's position isn't confirmed but it seems he already looks to have his coaching staff prepared.Ian Dowie is his chosen assistant as has been reported.

Ian Dowie unlike Shearer has managerial experience with Oldham,Crystal Palace,Charlton Athletic,Coventry City and Queens Park Rangers.

Ian Dowie and Shearer had played together at Southhampton.

Would this get the Tyneside out of the bottom three and his love affair be able to save them from sinking into Championship? What do you think?