Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Carling Cup Preview - Quarter Finals

The competition heats up as the last eight teams look to reach the semi-finals stage of the Carling Cup. Seven of the eight teams play in the Premier League and it will be interesting to see how teams are shuffled in terms of the the competition’s importance. There is also a tasty Second City tie where both sets of fans would love the chance to gain bragging rights.

Arsenal v Wigan Athletic

Clearly Arsene Wenger is taking this competition more seriously than in previous years. I suppose that is what five years without a trophy does to you! It is likely the team will alter slightly from the one that played at Aston Villa...

To read more go here

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Premier League Review - Match Day 15

Even a cynic like me agrees this is the best Premier League season we've had in a very long while. Lots of goals. lots of drama and an equal amount of disappointment. A full programme this weekend and EVERY single team managed to score, with a full Christmas on it's way I can barely contain my excitement.

As a Gooner every time we go two nil up I get a little worried and it's a habit we need to get rid of. Quickly. Samir Nasri continued his excellent form with his ninth goal of the season from the edge of the box after Andrey Arshavin had opened the scoring. Ciaran Clark has been at Villa since the age of 11 and Villians will be looking forward to his future there after he scored a brace to bring them back into the game. Although, some would like the referee's association to confirm whether John Carew was active or inactive as the second goal was scored.

Chamakh has been a welcome addition to Mr Wenger's squad and he showed his worth before setting up Jack Wilshere's injury time header. Once the injured players return, Gerrard Houllier may have a collection of players with the ability of challenging for Europe.

STAR MAN: Ciaran Clark - Took his chances well and played with a composure way ahead of his years.

As predicted both teams were all about the attack as Blackpool drew first blood with Ian Evatt scoring both goals from set pieces. The first a powerful header from a corner and the second from a free kick. But Bolton under Owen Coyle have strength as well as flair and there was no doubt about them coming back into the game.

Super sub Martin Petrov sent a bomber into the top corner before a great second was scored by Mark Davies, who was making his first start since January. He started the move by passing to Kevin Davies who found Johan Elmander, the Swedish striker sent a sublime back heel into M Davies' path for him to score and give Bolton a point.

STAR MAN: Johan Elmander - For that back heel alone. Are we sure he isn't Brazilian?

The stress continues for David Moyes and the Toffees who are seriously struggling at home. With Phil Jagielka looking a little above his fighting weight and Jermaine Beckford achieving a hat-trick of misses, the only good news is that David Beckham is interested in joining them on loan. Though, I must say that is allegedly. As expected Tim Cahill scored their consolation goal with another header while this match was filled with controversy surrounding Everton captain Mikel Arteta's red card.

West Brom were full of everything the home team were lacking; invention, style and belief. It was their first win at Goodison Park in 31 years and the newly promoted team continue to look far stonger than they have in previous seasons. The purchase of Paul Scharner was a masterstroke by Roberto Di Matteo and the former Wigan man's experience and knowledge was visible in all the away team did. Unfortunately Gonzalo Jara's over excitable body checks on Leighton Baines AND Stephen Pienaar will overshadow his teams performance in the papers. As it will here.

STAR MAN: Paul Scharner - Provided his teammates with a calming influence to guide them towards their well deserved three points.

I have just checked my notes and all I wrote was:
Sebastian Larsson scored with an Alexander Hleb assist while Clint Dempsey scored his sixth goal of the season. So that is all I have to write, pretty much says it all.

STAR MAN: Anyone who paid to go to Craven Cottage! (Sorry)

Dimitar Berbatov joined the special ranks of players who have scored five goals in a PL match while Wayne Rooney returned in the role of the puppet master at Old Trafford. United were as superb as Blackburn were abysmal with Nani, Rooney and Berbatov running riot as the home team continued their unbeaten start to the season. The three of them were involved in every goal, the best move giving Berba his hat-trick after he started the move in his own half. A lengthy run that may have surprised the Bulgarian himself.

Sam Allardyce blamed injuries but there are other PL teams who could blame their batterings losses on the players that are missing. Surely those on the pitch have to be good enough to take responsibility for whatever result occurs. Hopefully the new owners will follow he example of Jack Walker when it comes to opening their wallets in January.

STAR MAN: Berba and Rooney - Manchester's Christmas lights have definitely been switched back on.

The snow didn't stop the match which is a credit to Deputy Groundsman, Andrew Tully and all the staff. Though Chelsea's travelling fans may have wished it had been postponed. The first goal came after a terrible back pass from Alex, with Andy Carroll taking advantage to give the Geordies the lead. Chelsea came back through Solamon Kalou on the stroke of half-time. They may have avoided their third straight defeat but four points from 15 is not befitting of Premier League champions.

With both manager's reportedly under pressure neither will be happy with a draw, although Chris Houghton will be the less depressed of the two. Having been at Cobham for Carlo Ancelotti's press conference on Friday, I can tell you he didn't seem that worried. Part of his relaxed manner was due to the fact the teams spine John Terry, Michael Essien and Frank Lampard should all be back next week. On the other hand with rivals United hitting their top form, he will know he cannot drop many more points if he wants to stay in the Stamford Bridge driving seat.

STAR MAN: Sol Campbell - Good to see the former England man back and in good shape.


Manchester United continue to falter and like a Monet painting that looks good from afar, they are not so attractive up close. Stoke were more than capable of achieving their fourth PL win in succession had it not been for a lack of cohesion in front of goal. Tony Pulis' men look more like the team the neutrals have grown to love and will know they can shoot up the table if they take their chances.

It was clearly cold at the Potteries as Roberto Mancini's scarf made a reappearance along with another mediocre display from his team. Comments that a draw was a good result emit from Eastlands but personally I do not buy it. A team that cost the amount of a small country's GDP should be more that capable of beating a team who have conceded 19 goals in 15 games. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that City have an amazing array of players but not much of an actual team.

STAR MAN: Micah Richards - A shining English star amongst the foreign clouds.

What exactly is 'Arry Redknapp saying to his team at half-time? Whatever it is, for the second league match running it worked wonders. No one must underestimate the job he is doing in allowing certain players to play to their strengths while ensuring they are part of a cohesive team. Luka Modric is starting to look more at ease in the PL although 'Arry will nervously wait on news of Rafael Van der Vaart's hamstring injury. They can find consolation in the return of Jermain Defoe who is looking sharp even if he did miss from the spot.

Nothing seems to be going well for Liverpool these days. A feeling that will only be confounded with being drawn away to Manchester United in the FA Cup Third Round. Martin Skrtel was the surprise scorer of the opening goal, before returning the favour for Spurs by deflecting Modric's shot into his own net. Roy Hodgson's problems continued as Aaron Lennon scored the winner and Jamie Carragher dislocated his shoulder. Another good show from Spurs, but do they really have what it takes to get any higher than fourth?

STAR MAN: Luka Modric - His pace and run was the catalyst for the own goal.

Finally a bit of release for the fans at Upton Park with a much needed win for Avram Grant and his men. I'm sure Wally Downes will be taking some credit! Scott Parker returned although he still looked to be suffering a bout of 'man flu'. - Honey, lemon and brandy Scottie. My name swears by it. There were some impressive goals, particularly Tom Cleverley top corner effort. It was finally the result the home teams displays warranted and took some of the heat off Avram Grant.

Wigan could have lost by more if Ali Al-Habsi hadn't made some good saves from Frederic Piquionne and Victor Obinna. The performances of the goalkeeper, youngster Cleverley and Charles N'Zogbia may be the only highlight for manager Roberto Martinez as his team fights to get clear of the relegation zone. He should be able to pick them up after this loss as it wasn't the worst performance of the weekend. It will be intriguing to see how he copes when the inevitably N'Zogbia transfer rumours start again in January. They may be better off selling their star man in order to add to the squad if they are to live to fight another season.

STAR MAN: Scott Parker - Left his sick bed to lead his team and remind us why he is much respected as both a man and a footballer.

A much needed win for Mic mac and his boys against Sunderland, who haven't lost to any of the 09/10 top 10 this season. Danny Welbeck kept his place and Darren Bent returned to the starting line-up as Asamoah Gyan was on the bench. With the starting frontmen repaying Steve Bruce's faith in them by scoring the away goals. Bent will be pleased to get back on the score sheet so soon into his return while Welbeck continues to impress with his composure and eye for goal.

The home team deserved the three points with a revitalised Matthew Jarvis pulling the strings in midfield. They had lost their previous four games and were in serious danger of being sucked deeper into the mire. But goals from stand-in caption Kevin Foley, a first club goal for Stephen Hunt and a last minute strike from Sylvan Ebanks-Black the points stayed at home. I'm glad they won if only for Mick Mac's celebration. I get the feeling he could give David Haye a better run for his money than Fraudley did!

STAR MAN: Matthew Jarvis - Wolves' main man on the pitch.


David Moyes: "I'm not talking about the red card, I'm talking about the challenge on the edge of the box before it."

Chris Brunt - Absolutely amazing free-kick to take West Brom 2 - 0 up at Goodison Park.

Avram Grant smile. Who knew?

Mick Mac sparring on the sideline.

(PS: Please comment on new blog design.... Yay or Nay?)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Premier League Preview - Match Day 15

I've finally recovered from the traumatic week Arsenal gave me and putting those derby day tears behind me, it's time for another Premier League preview.

With Cesc Fabregas missing - again - due to that troublesome hamstring Mr Wenger will be looking to his other superstars to continue Arsenal's impressive away form. It will be interesting to see if Nicolas Bendtner will be in the squad after his dismal 'pink-footed' showing in Braga. Villa's kids have shown they can give the PL heavyweights a run for their money during their match against Manchester United, although they will be without talisman Mark Albrighton.
KEY MAN: Robin Van Persie

Look forward to an all out attacking game with both teams fans of playing the ball on the ground. Johan Elmander's contract talks are still ongoing but hopefully he can continue his purple patch as he leads the line with Kevin Davies. Blackpool will surely be their energetic self in their aim to survive in their first season in the top tier.
KEY MAN: Charlie Adam

Marouane Fellaini is serving his suspension which could be worrying in a match that may well be won in midfield. The availability of James Morrison will be beneficial to the away team who have lost four of their last six matches.
KEY MAN: Phil Neville

After losing at home to Manchester City last time out Mark Hughes will be looking for a big improvement from his team. With Bobby Zamora still out and Andy Johnson a doubt they may again struggle to score goals. Birmingham have a good record against London teams and the travelling fans will hope that continues.
KEY MAN: Alexander Hleb

So Wayne Rooney is back and it looks as if all is forgiven but we all know that will only last as long as he keeps scoring. The Lancashire visitors will no doubt be their usual bolshy self and there may be a few hard tackles that Sir Alex's men could do without. He'll be hoping his long term fan friend does him a favour.
KEY MAN: Wayne Rooney

St. James Park could do without a visit from the Champions especially with his first choice defence of Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini unavailable. Terry and Lampard are still out injured while Michael Essien serves his one match ban. It could all be about the two solid front men of Dider Drogba and Andy Carroll.

Both of these sides have won three of their last six matches though that may count for nothing as opposites attract at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke are only six points behind Roberto Mancini's men and this will be a serious test for them. City have to win games like this if they are to have any chance of challenging for the league.
KEY MAN: Who else but Carlos Tevez?

The newest member of the top four meet one of the old guard at White Hart Lane. 'Arry Redknapp is still without Michael Dawson, although I can testify they seem to manage alright without him. Roy Hodgson is without everyone's favourite midfielder Stevie G but can be buoyed by the return of Joe Cole who could of been lining up for the home team if he had made a better, sorry different decision.
Here's a little stat for you: Jamie Carragher has scored three of his seven own goals when playing against Spurs.
KEY MAN: Jermain Defoe

Avram Grant holds the dubious record of having spent the past year in the relegation zone and needs a win like Joey Barton needs anger management. His board may have backed him in the press but I wonder how long the real Hammers can continue to be patient. Hopefully the appointment of Wally Downes as his no.2 can restore some semblance of order on the pitch. Wigan need a win equally as much, sitting just two spots above them in the table. Without Hugo Rodallega and James McCarthy they may play more on the defensive side in the hope of grabbing a crucial point.
KEY MAN: (If he plays) Scottie Parker

With the Black Cats missing Titus Bramble and Michael Turner, Mick Mac will spend the hours before the match praying his strikers finally start to take their chances. They need points and goals, if only to keep their boss from spontaneously combusting. Steve Bruce's men look a completely different team to the one that was battered at Newcastle and sitting 7th in the table they look increasingly comfortable.
KEY MAN: Anton Ferdinand

Thursday, 18 November 2010

England 1 - 2 France Review

Oh England, England, England.
Oh Capello, Capello, Capello.

Maybe international friendlies aren't a waste of time and money.

What exactly did we learn? Other than the fact that Fabio looks like a twat in a hat!

So here is what I learnt:

*THEO WALCOTT lacks confidence playing for England and it doesn't help when people try to pass the ball, 8 yards behind him.

*England rely on STEVIE G in the same way that Liverpool do. And let's be honest, it ain't bloody fair. He can't be expected to be the player to create everything.

*KIERAN GIBBS is struggling for match fitness and even though it was his first start he will be made a scapegoat for this debacle.

*If GARETH BARRY is the answer, then what the hell is the question?

*Neither ANDY CARROLL nor JORDAN HENDERSON are ready to be regulars in the senior team. Let them continue their education under Stuart Pearce.

*BEN FOSTER is not good enough to be our No.1, his positioning was poor all night and he clearly cannot organise his defence properly. Do they even have any confidence in him?

*PETER CROUCH must be the unluckiest man in the world not to be the first name on the team sheet. Whether or not you like his style of play is irrelevant. His scoring record speaks for itself. He came on and scored our only goal with his first touch! Need I say more?

*France showed us exactly what is possible when you respect and understand your manager and what he asks of you. They played with freedom, they played without fear. And more importantly, they actually played football and attacked us.

Overall it was a disappointing showing by England and I don't buy the fact it was a young team. There was a spine of RIO, STEVIE G, BARRY, MILNER and WALCOTT, all experienced internationally and regular starters. The veterans should have been guiding and talking to the newbies, particularly in a defense that was constantly breached. I continue to wonder if RIO is the right man to wear the Captain's armband.

Once again we look lacking of ideas when playing 'good' international teams. According to FIFA we are 15 places ABOVE France in the World Ranking. Though on tonights showing, it should surely be the other way round.

I'd love to know what you learnt tonight. Feel free to comment.
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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

England v France Preview

There was a big, huge announcement today. In case you didn't hear it, here it is:

Fabio Capello is starting with at least three players under 30! I know, I was shocked as well. I mean, I didn't know he could count that low.

No, all jokes aside I'm a little bit impressed with Mr Capello's squad choices this time around. Hey, I only said a little. And not just with his squad choices but with the team we're hearing he will start with. It's a team that mixes expperience and youth and a team that points all the way to 2012.

KEVIN DAVIES of Bolton Wanderers has my sympathy on missing out on the squad, but on the basis that this friendly is all about planning for the future then his inclusion would've gone against that. I was a little shocked to see CARLTON COLE called up, I like him as a player but he is not even first choice for his club. Which goes against Capello's 'must be playing regularly' manifest.

As for JAY BOTHROYD, all I can say is congratulations. I remember his time at Arsenal and the cloud he left under clearly damaged his early career. But you have to respect the way he has learnt from his mistakes and rebuilt his career at Cardiff. The way he has matured is commendable. Having watched JORDAN HENDERSON a few times this season, his cap will not be a surprise to me. He is a talented young man and under the tutelage of Steve Bruce, I have the feeling he will go far.

JACK WILSHERE will be disappointed to be out of contention but as an Arsenal fan, I'm secretly glad he'll be resting and hopefully he'll be fit for the North London derby on Saturday morning. But, I think it can be agreed he has lots of time to become an England regular. I'm happy that KEIRAN GIBBS will be starting, after his injury problems it will be a good run out for him. It will also give him the opportunity to show why he is being called the natural successor to Ashley Cole.

French manager Laurent Blanc has played down his teams' abilities. Since the abysmal events at the World Cup the French have been in a transition period. Like Capello, the former World Cup Winner is rebuilding for the future as well as attempting to restore his nation's faith in the national team. Although he didn't make it to South Africa, SAMIR NASRI should start tomorrow. Hopefully he can take his club form to Wembley and inspire his team mates. They will still be without PATRICE EVRA who is still serving his ban, for going on strike during the WC. It will be down to the new boys to show they are good enough to keep their places when the qualifiers re-commence in March.

ENGLAND: Foster; Richards, Ferdinand, Lescott, Gibbs; Walcott, Barry, Henderson, Gerrard, Milner; Carroll.
FRANCE: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Moxes, Abidal; Gourcuff, M'vila, Nasri; Valbuena, Benzema, Malouda.
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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Premier League Review - Match Day 13

With dropped points, spectacular goals and impressive wins, the EPL leaves us excited before the injuries the International break will bring.

Alex Ferguson will admit his side had to work hard to get their point as they scored two desperate goals in the last nine minutes. Villa attacked well and Gerard Houllier put his faith in youth, none of whom disappointed. Ashley Young scored from the spot and Mark Albrighton got the second after an impressive Villa counter attack. Before Ferderico Macheda and Nemanja Vidic grabbed the point for United.
STAR MAN: Mark Albrighton

If I hadn't have watched it myself, I might have thought you were lying to me. But I did and it did happen. I won't dwell on how bad Chelsea were but how fluid the Black Cats were. Starting with a 4-4-2, they took the game to the home team and were rewarded with three points. A great individual goal by Nedum Onuoha, a second by Asamoah Gyan and third by Danny Welbeck after an individual error by Ashley Cole.
STAR MAN: Danny Welbeck (Chosen by my Mum because 'he was a pain in the arse for Chelsea')

Arsenal managed to capitualise on a weekend when the other members of the table's top four all dropped points. Arsenal were their normal attacking self when defender Bacary Sagna opened the scoring with a superb strike, before Cesc Fabregas increased the lead just after half-time. The Toffees gave the Gunners a nervy last 15 minutes before the always lively Tim Cahill gave the home team a consolation goal.
STAR MAN: Lukasz Fabianski

The goalless draws continue at the home of the noisy neighbours as City continue to be rich and poor all at the same time. Much will be made of Roberto Mancini's decision to bring Gareth Barry on for lone frontman Carlos Tevez, though I prefer to commend Birmingham on a well drilled defensive performance.
STAR MAN: Roger Johnson

Fulham continue to struggle on the road as they picked up a point at St. James Park. Chris Houghton will know his side's inabilty to take all three points were down to Mark Schwarzer and another impressive goalkeeping display.
STAR MAN: Mark Schwarzer

The nightmare of losing in the Premier League carries on for Liverpool, taking their total losses to five. Roy Hodgson looks increasingly bewildered and now has to deal with another injury to Fernando Torres who was missing for this game. Stoke have reminded people their league poosition has been a bit of a lie as Ricardo Fuller scored his 101 league goal and newbie Kenwyne Jones added a second just before the final whistle.
STAR MAN: Ricardo Fuller

Unfortunately Blackburn didn't start playing until the 75th minute when the home team were already 4-0 up. Gareth Bale continues to gain all the plaudits with two goals. Although no one should ignore that 'Arry Redknapp has built a good team which has allowed the Welshmen to thrive. Roman Pavlyuchenko redeemed himself after sending a penalty wide and Peter Crouch scored his first of the season. Ryan Nelsen and Gael Givet scored two to set up a nervy ending.
STAR MAN: Who else but the Welsh Wonder that is Gareth Bale.

Avram Grant is surely living in one of those bubbles the fans sing about if he is not at all worried about the Hammers lack of points. Blackpool were their normal exuberant self and although they were unable to score, Ian Holloway may make 11 changes again next week.
STAR MAN: Scott Parker

Martinez three, Di Matteo nil. Wigan needed these three points as they continue to float around the bottom of the table. West Brom were a tad tentative but they should continue to pick up points with their good home form. Forgotten youngster Victor Moses scored the goal that gave the home team the points.
STAR MAN: Victoe Moses

Mick McCarthy needs to get his team to stop conceding goals if they are to get out of the bottom three. They have the players yet the cannot seem to get the points. An own goal in the first minute, an surprising piece of individual flair by Johan Elmander and Stuart Holden sent Bolton on their way. Kevin Foley and Steven Fletcher scored in the space of eight minutes but it was a case of too little too late.
STAR MAN: Johan Elmander

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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Premier League Preview - Match Day 13

Well we've got a great full fixture list to get our teeth into this week. I'm particularly looking forward to see my boys at Everton on Sunday. Here's a quick rundown on the matches and my key man in each one.

This could be more trouble for Alex Ferguson's men than you would expect. With Wayne Rooney still lacking match fitness they could struggle against a team who are looking far more confident under their new manager. Gerard Houllier has shown his squad who is boss and is admirably giving some youngsters the chance to begin their PL education. Man Utd will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
KEY MAN: Mark Albrighton

The leaders have turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress and although I may have doubted Steve Bruce's men in the past, I think they may have the commitment to pick up a point. Frank Lampard will be out for another three weeks, while Didier Drogba should start even though he is still recovering from illness. Lee Cattermole will have to keep his head if Sunderland are to return to the north east with anything. Although it will be interesting to see how John Terry copes with another pacy forward.
KEY MAN: Asamoah Gyan

After a hard fought win in the Midlands, Mr Wenger's team travel to a Liverpool to meet a resurgent Everton. David Moyes men are never a walk over and Cesc Fabregas will need to recapture his early season form to lead his team to victory. With Jermaine Beckford scoring his first goal late in Wednesday's game, he has a chance to start and increase his tally. Djuorou will partner Squillaci as Koscielny is still banned, they will both have to be ready for the Toffees tricky midfield trio of Arteta, Cahill and Pienaar.
KEY MAN: Tim Cahill

After their bore draw against the local rivals, the home fans will be hoping for a vast improvement from Roberto Mancini's men. They will likely be more attacking against an inconsistant Birmingham side. Alec McLeish may be happy with a draw against the big spenders. They will be dreaming of waking up to a teamsheet that doesn't contain the name of City's talisman, Carlos Tevez.
KEY MAN: Ben Foster

Two teams with managers who aim to play the game the right way. The Geordies will be without Joey Barton, who was rightly banned for three matches following his punch on Perdesen on Wednesday. Fulham continue to improve under new boss, Mark Hughes and appear more like the team that reached the Europa Cup final. There remain doubts over Tim Krul's aerial ability and the Londoners may look to target that.
KEY MAN: Andy Carroll

Liverpoool continue to be as erratic as the weather and could do without a game against a physical Stoke team. As always Rory Delap will use his directional throw in's to trouble the Scousers defence. Roy hodgson will hope he won't have to rely on Stevie G to save his team as happens far to often. The home team will set their stall out early and hope to catch them on the counter.
KEY MAN: Fernando Torres

Spurs need to win matches such as this if they aim to retain their spot in the elusive Top 4. After rumblings of unrest, Jason Roberts is letting his football do the talking and is looking more like a forward teams may actually want to buy. Harry Redknapp has injury worries but has built a squad that should be able to cope. This match may well go down to the final whistle.
KEY MAN: Gareth Bale

Both teams league positions are unexpected, though the Hammers can console themselves with good performances if not actual points. The Seasiders will be as attack minded as always and Robert Green will need to be at his pre-World Cup best. Look forward to a good midfield battle with rising star Charlie Adam continuing to impress with every PL game. Hopefully Ian Holloway won't have resigned due to any unwanted FA interference.
KEY MAN: Scott Parker

Wigan continue to filter between good and awful while newly promoted, West Brom have gained a lot of fans for their free flowing, attacking play. Wigan desperately need the points to get them away from the dangerous foot of the table while West Brom will see this as another chance to silence the critics. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in the tale of the two Roberto's.
KEY MAN: Charles N'Zogbia

Wanderers were disappointed to end up empty handed on Wednesday, although their attack warranted at least a point. Owen Coyle has given the Bolton team an attacking flair to go with their sturdy defence. Mick McCarthy will be looking for his strikers to finish all their good work while Coyle hopes his team go some way to securing a place in the Top 10.
KEY MAN: kevin Davies

Friday, 12 November 2010

No Respect for Ray

I know it is not just me who feels a bitter taste in their mouth while reading about Ray Wilkins unceremonious and abrupt sacking by Chelsea football club. I know it is not just me who thinks there is slightly more to the story than what we are hearing in the media. I also know it is not just me who has lost a bit of respect for manager, Carlo Ancelotti.

There have been lots of jokes over the years about the lack of soul in the Stamford Bridge boardroom since Abramovich's takeover, maybe the jokes were true. Is it possible that the jokes were true. I wonder if with all that money comes a lack of morals and a sense of doing things exactly as you like, rather than in a fitting and right way.

Ray Wilkins was not just another member of staff, he was a Chelsea man and I would presume he still is, regardless of how they treated. Ray Wilkins is a football man. As a player he played for Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan, Rangers and QPR. He is respected by all involved in the game and all who love the game. His playing time at Chelsea in the 70's conincided with the teams most successful period before the Russian intervention. A man with blue blood pumping through his veins has been left shock and bemused.

We should all be shiocked but I suppose this is the way of the world now. Loyalty and respect no longer counts in a world of yachts and private jets.

I could go on blaming the money men but there is still enough humans involved in the game to know right from wrong.

So instead, I'll leave you with a quote from Carlo Ancelotti, made on 10th September 2010:

"Without Ray we couldn't have won a thing and I wouldn't have started this year at such a supersonic speed..."

You can tell so much about a man by his words...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Sucker Punch!

Tonight I was all ready to sit down and write a blog about a full midweek fixture list. About the bore draw at Eastlands, Arsenal's record breaking scorer and erratic Newcastle. But I'm sorry I can't because all I remember is Joey Barton's disgusting example of thuggery at St. James Park.

Another distasteful act of violence from possibly the most disliked man in football, after Gary Neville of course.

After a running battle and a couple of shoulder barges, Barton decided to react to this by punching Perdersen in the ribs. Not a slap as he tried to claim later on or even a nudge but a real and direct punch.

Now, I'm all for giving people second chances. We all make mistakes and deserve the chance to atone for our actions. But how many chances does this 'man' want or need? How many more does he deserve?

Once again he has shown a complete disregard for the sport, his club, their paying fans AND his fellow prefessionals. Once again he's shown he has all the common sense of a rabid dog.

Fair enough the referee didn't see it, so I won't blame him for the lack of punishment. But everyone else did, if they didn't, they sure will have by midday tomorrow. And what will they do about it? The FA will ban him and the club will fine him. But is this suffice for what is equal to assault in the world the rest of us live in?

Personally, I don't think it is. He's served the prison sentence, had the expensive counselling and paid the fines that he'll barely notice with his bank balance. And after all that, he continues to behave in such a vile manner.

There's two possible reasons for that:
One. Either he's ill, mentally and unable to control his actions, or;
Two. He just doesn't care.

I know which I think it is. What about you?

As far as I'm concerned he's had his nine lives and the sooner we kick this vile creature out of our modern day game, the better.
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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Who really gives an Arse?

So allegedly Mr Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal, has been having an affair with a French wannabe pop star 22 years his junior. Mr Wenger and his wife Annie have a 13 year old daughter, Leah.

But along with this breaking news story there is a severe lack of proof. There were pictures of him with Sonia. Walking side by side in an airport. There was a picture of him supposedly shielding his face from the press, though to me he looks like he's fixing his hair. Something all footie fans know he does habitually. There are no incriminating photos, that I have seen. No statement from Mr Wenger, Annie or Sonia.

All we have is innuendo and suggestion.

But to be honest, even if it is true. I couldn't care less. Not because I'm an Arsenal fan or because I worship the ground the Frenchman walks on.

But because unlike some, he has always kept his personal life personal. One fan told me that until this story he had no idea Wenger was married, which pretty much says it all.

He has never conducted his life in the media, nor I doubt he ever will. If it is true, then I will be disappointed to see another married man ignoring his vows. But other than that, nothing.

Until now his private life has never been my business and I don't think things should change now.
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