Fabregas admits Arsenal can't challenge for the title ... Talk about stating the bloody obvious Cesc
The Premier League is, as we all know, a one horse race this season with Manchester United likely to run away with the title. Ever since the second weekend of the season, one club who have certainly not looked like winning the title are Arsenal, so it came much to my surprise this evening when I read Gunners skipper, Cesc Fabregas' comments.
The Spanish international has today admitted he doesn't think challenging for the title this season is a realistic goal. This is what the 21-year old had this to say :
"It's not realistic to look at the league title now ... You can never say never but we would not be intelligent to be looking right to the top of the league ... To be intelligent now is to go game by game and think about who is directly in front of us."
Jesus Cesc, you might as well have said this four months ago. All season long Arsenal have been average at best. They have had far to many draws this season to even think of challenging for the title and for me, they will be doing extremley well to claim the final Champions League spot.
Another very exciting week in the world of football. The thought of Europe's elite club competition returning had me beside myself with the excitement, but to be honest I found it rather boring.
On Tuesday the game I chose to watch was the eagerly anticipated Inter Milan V Manchester United tie which turned out to be a bit of a bore to be honest. Ok, I know it was a very tactical game and I know neither team wanted to be finished going into the second leg but I still feel it didn't live up to expectations. Surely the second leg at Old Trafford can only get better? I'm with Mourinho on this one and I think we could be looking at another 0-0 draw, with extra time being needed to separate the teams.
Out of Wednesday's games I chose to watch the in-form Real Madrid take on Liverpool in the Bernabeu. A lot of doubts surrounded Rafa's future at the club going into this game but it didn't seem to affect the players' as Liverpool ran out deserved 1-0 winners.
After hearing the news that Everton Midfielder Mikel Arteta will be out for 6 months with a knee injury, the always-reliable Star newspaper has reported that "Everton manager David Moyes is ready to offer Niko Kranjcar an escape from Portsmouth by making a £6 million bid for the Croatian playmaker!" Now what the problem with this I hear you cry? The article goes onto say "Moyes sees the former Hadjuk Split star as a replacement for Mikel Arteta, who faces six months out with a knee injury." Well the problem is the earliest Kranjcar could sign for Everton is July so he could play for them no earlier then August which is 6 months away. Arteta is out for 6 months. Something surely doesn't add up. Always trust the tabloids!
On Wednesday I also discovered an excellent story. This gem of a jersey will be worn by Dublin clubs Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers to raise money for breast cancer Ireland. I think this is a great initiative and all for a brilliant cause. I Love the jersey and I reckon these will sell-out very fast.
In the spirit of the raising €10,000 for Action Breast Cancer Ireland my team Bohemians and arch rivals Shamrock Rovers will wear the kits against each other in the 4 league meetings this season. In each case the away team will wear the kit modelled here by Brain Shelley and Padraig Amond. Shamrock Rovers will be the first to wear the kit in their visit to Dalymount Park in round 3 of the League of Ireland programme 2009.
I was expecting this to happen in the summer but not now.
Yes, it's the news that has got everyone in football talking. Just days after seeing his side's Premier League title hopes disappear, Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez looks as though he could be on his way out of Anfield after it was claimed that the deadline for him to sign a new contract at the club has passed.
Earlier today, several leading bookmakers suspended betting on Benitez to be next Premier League manager to leave his post after reports emerged that the Spaniard could be gone by this weekend's trip to face Middlesbrough.
Benitez has been in negotiations with the Merseyside club over a new contract for what seems like years, however the former Valencia manager has rejected the offer of a new deal on more than one occasion. Benitez' reluctance to sign a new deal at Anfield over certain conditions of the offer has left the club's American owners (Tom Hicks and George Gillet) to consider his position at the club.
It was revealed last year that Hicks had held talks with Jurgen Klinsmann about the possibility of taking over from Benitez. This revelation led to weeks of uncertainty over Benitez' future at the club and at the time, I must admit, I thought he would walk. This time, I don't think it's a question of will he walk or not. Despite the club's insistence that it's "Business as usual" I always feel there's no smoke without fire and that is certainly the case here.
With contract talks continuing to stall and Liverpool now out of everything bar Europe, I think the owners will dismiss Benitez within days. What do you think? I'm intrigued to hear what you Liverpool fans have to say on the matter. Leave your comments below please.
All in all it was a decent night for English sides in the Champions League this evening.
Arsene Wenger's Arsenal beat Italian side Roma 1-0 at the Emirates to give themselves a really good chance of progressing to the quarter-finals. The Gunners scored the only goal of the game minutes before half-time when Robin Van Persie converted from the spot after he himself was taken down in the area.
Meanwhile, In the San Siro, Manchester United drew 0-0 with Serie A leaders Inter Milan, however Sir Alex Ferguson's men may feel they should have got that all important away goal. Cristiano Ronaldo had a host of free-kicks which were expertly saved by Julio Cesar in the Inter goal.
I would be surprised if both Arsenal and United don't go through now after tonight's results. Arsenal really could of done with another goal or two but having said that I think they will have enough to get a draw in Italy in two weeks time. If United play like they did tonight, I am sure they will have no problems in seeing off Inter, however Jose Mourinho's men are bound to get better in the second-leg.
Elsewhere in the Champions League : Atletico Madrid 2-2 Porto, Lyon 1-1 Barcelona.
Ok, it's an interesting tie as it is, but why not make it even more interesting?
This evening's Champions League tie between Inter Milan and Manchester United is bound to be a cracker. Sir Alex Ferguson comes up against his old friend, Jose Mourinho for the first time in nearly two years in what is undoubtedly the tie of the last 16.
Football Corner's good friend Paddy Power has his usual odds for first goalscorer and correct score in the game at the San Siro. To mark the occasion Paddy is offering to refund all first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast bets placed on the match if Cristiano Ronaldo scores the last goal of the game, so there's no better time to open your account.
Open your account now and receive a free £20 bet. Here are a few bets I feel are definitely worth a look :
Inter Milan 2-1 Man United - 17/2.
Inter Milan 1-1 Man United - 9/2.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic First Goalscorer - 6/1.
Wayne Rooney Last Goalscorer - 13/2.
Adriano First Goal & Inter 2-0 Scorecast - 45/1.
Dimitar Berbatov First Goal & Man United 3-2 Scorecast - 175/1.
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English teams draw blanks in Europe
I think its fair to say it has been a disappointing week for English teams in Europe. With Tottenham going down 2-0 in the Ukraine, Manchester City crumbling to a last minute equalizer to draw 2-2 with FC Copenhagen and Aston Villa drawing 1-1 with CSKA Moscow. With Harry Redknapps's recent comments I can't see Spurs progressing and I see the same fate for Aston Villa as they face a tough task away to CSKA.
However, I don't think its a case of 'the grass is always greener on the other side'. In my opinion Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all face very tough opposition in the last 16 of the Champions League. I can definitely see at least two of the remaining four British teams crashing out. Here is my preview of some of the Champions League games coming up. Feel free to disagree or not take any notice at all as I chose who will advance and key players to look out for in each of the games.
Champions league preview
Arsenal v Roma
An intriguing tie here, I think it all comes down to what Arsenal turn up. Will be it be the fluent, easy on the eye attacking football Arsenal or the Prone to mistakes Arsenal? Roma currently lie 6th in Serie A and like Arsenal will certainly not be winning a league title this season. Roma's failures have mainly been at the back this season having conceded an incredible 31 goals in the league. If Arsenal could exploit Roma's frailties at the back I think they stand a good chance.
Players to watch:M. Vucinic and R. Van Persie.
Team to advance: Tough call but I think Arsenal will just about edge it.
Inter Milan v Man United
This one is definitely without question my tie of the round. Yet another Ferguson vs Mourinho tactical battle. Both teams are at the summit of their domestic leagues and both have played some world class football this season and it will be disappointing to see one of these sides go out. Two players who could be key to each teams success are Inter Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Man United's Cristiano Ronaldo. I'm sure we all know what both of these players can do and that is why I think they are both going to be a crucial part of their teams chances of progression into the quarter finals.
Players to watch: C.Ronaldo and Z.Ibrahimovic
Team to advance: This one could really go either way but...Inter Milan.
Lyon v Barcelona
What more can be said about Barcelona? They are having an absolutely phenomenal season and are taking La Liga by storm. With the likes of Eto'o, Messi and Henry all in sensational form I think it would take a miricale for Lyon to stop Barca from advancing to the quarter finals. However, Lyon do top Ligue 1 but haven't had it as easy as they have in previous years. Karim Benzema is a huge reason for their succeses and he will be key if they are to stand any chance of ousting the seemingly unstoppable Barcelona.
Players to watch: L.Messi and K. Benzema
Team to advance: Without a doubt in my mind, Barcelona
Chelsea v Juventus
Claudio Ranieri returns to Stamford Bridge in what is sure to be an enthralling encounter. With Chelsea's title hopes now in tatters Guus Hiddink may now focus his attention on the Champions League. While Juve currently occupy 2nd place in Serie A but are 9 points adrift of rivals Inter Milan. Personally I feel this game could turn out to be a classic Champions League match, both teams are under pressure to deliver success and it doesn't look to be coming in their domestic leagues.
Players to watch: F.Lampard and Amauri
Team to advance: Yet another hard call but I'll go with Juventus.
Liverpool V Real Madrid
Usually by this stage of the Champions League Liverpool are not surprisingly out of the race for the Premier League, however this year they still have a little bit of life in their title challange and I believe this will signal the end of their champions league hopes. Any year they have done well in the champions league they have not had the distraction of the premiership. The same could be said for Real Madrid, although they are all but out of the race fo the La liga title, I think this could work to their advantage. If Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres aren't fit for either of these games I cant see Liverpool having much of a chance therefore I am going to predict that Real Madrid will be in the draw for the quarter final of this years champions league.
Players to watch:S. Gerrard and G. Higuaín
Team to advance:Real Madrid
So by my reckoning Spurs, Villa, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea will all be OUT of Europe by the time the draws are made for the next round of each competition. A bold call I know, but I feel the Premier League has been poor this season and this will reflect in the Champions League. Maybe I'll be writing my next post with egg on my face and all the English teams will indeed have done themselves proud but looking at it right now ... I doubt it.
For the last few weeks, Football Corner has been thinking of ways to improve the site. We experimented with several ideas including the idea to start up a forum on the site, however in the end we have decided to start a new weekly column which will be written by a good friend of mine, Frankie Lally.
You may remember Frankie. He previously wrote on the site last summer and he was a massive help to myself. I must admit, it's great to have him back on the site and I'm sure over the coming months he will prove a massive hit with you, the readers. Frankie will be writting a new weekly football column called "All Things Football".
"All Things Football" will bring you, well all things football I guess. It will be posted every Thursday evening (apart from the first column which will be posted on Monday evening) and I hope you enjoy. So make sure to stay tuned to Football Corner over the coming weeks and months for all the latest news and views of the footballing nature and for the new feature.
Everton have today been rocked by the news that midfielder Mikel Arteta will be out for the rest of the season. The Spanish international ruptured his cruciate knee ligament in Everton's 0-0 draw with Newcastle yesterday which now leaves David Moyes without his star man for the rest of the campaign.
The Toffees currently sit sixth in the Premier League with 12 games remaining and personally, I think they will struggle to hang onto to that spot with Arteta.
Arteta isn't the only player who Everton will have to do without for the final third of the season. We all know that Yakubu is also sidelined for the rest of the season and for me, they are their best players. No doubt about it.
Arteta is simply irreplaceable for Everton. Without him they are a totally different team. The 26-year old is Everton's joint top-scorer this season and has several assists to his name already so without him I feel they could really struggle to find the net in the coming weeks and months.
Arteta's injury should lead to Segundo Castillo earning a starting role in Moyes' midfield and for me, Castillo isn't half the player Arteta is. It will be very interesting to see how manage without their number 10 over the next few weeks, starting with the visit of Premier League strugglers West Brom on Saturday. What do you think? Will Everton be able to cope without Arteta. Comments below please.
Benitez rejects latest contract offer then sees Liverpool's title hopes disappear, so is it only a matter of time before he leaves Anfield?
It was an interesting day for Liverpool football club to say the least. First, it was revealed that Rafa Benitez had rejected a new contract at the club, then the Spaniard saw his side's chances of winning this season's Premier League title disappear.
Benitez has repeatedly rejected new contract offers from American owners George Gillet and Tom Hicks. Benitez has no problems with the money being offered, however he does have a problem with some of the terms of the contract. The former Valencia manager has insisted he will only sign a new deal at Anfield if he is given full control of all dealings regarding transfers at the club.
As most of us will know by now, Liverpool fans don't like the owners. Simple as that.
It has been reported in recent weeks and days that the summer could bring radical change at Anfield. Either the owners go or Rafa goes and we all know what the fans would prefer. Despite the majority of fans wanting Benitez to stay, I personally feel he will walk once the season ends.
The owners are clearly reluctant to give into Benitez' demands and I think that coupled with the fact that Liverpool won't be collecting any silverware come the end of the season will see Benitez' five year spell at the club end. So, Liverpool fans (or any football fans in general) what do you think? Will Benitez stay or will he go? Leave your comments below please.
They are still ten points behind leaders Manchester United, however has Chelsea's victory over title rivals Aston Villa today put them back in the race for this season's Premier League title?
Nicolas Anelka scored the only goal of the game this afternoon as Guus Hiddink's men ran out 1-0 winners at Villa Park. Before today's game, many people had questioned whether or not Chelsea had what it takes to challenge for the title. Despite the fact I think United will eventually win it, I feel Chelsea's victory today gives them a real good chance of at least beating Liverpool for 2nd.
I have been really impressed with Hiddink's attitude since his arrival at Stamford Bridge last week. During his first press conference as Chelsea boss earlier this week, Hiddink claimed he wasn't just at the club to pass time. When asked about the club's chances of challenging for the title, Hiddink had this to say :
"We're 10 points down on Manchester United, which will be very difficult but we will give it a try."
Personally, I think that was the perfect response. He wasn't conceding defeat in the title race and he didn't put too much pressure on himself saying that he could win the title. He simply said, we will give it a try. With the pressure now off Chelsea this season, I feel that could have a positive affect on the team. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them go on a great run of form between now and May and who knows where it might take them.
Can Chelsea still challenge for the title? Have your say by leaving your comments below.
Let's face it, it was only a matter of time before Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez had something to say about the comments made by Arsene Wenger earlier this week. The Arsenal manager claimed that Manchester United looked untouchable this season, however Benitez has responded by saying they're not.
Liverpool are considered by many as United's only challengers for the Premier League title this season, however with the Merseyside club currently sitting five points behind Sir Alex Ferguson's men, I for one find it hard to see how they will even get close to them.
Benitez is never short of things to say when it comes to United. We all remember his famous rant, where he talked only about facts and how the FA are so leiniant with United and all that crap. When asked by Wenger's recent comments, the Spaniard had this to say :
"When I speak of facts, one is that United are a very good team and I knew they could have a run of winning games in a row ... They will win more than a lot of the other teams but to say we can't beat them? I don't think so ... I can only talk of my team but I don't think they are untouchable. In football now every game is tough so anything can happen."
I am going to have to completely disagree with Mr.Benitez here. Let's be honest, United are certainties for the title this season, no matter what way you look at it. They are five points clear and have the advantage of facing the "big four" (Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal) all at home in the final months of the season. As much as it pains me to say this (considering I am a Man City fan) I think United look untouchable and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they went unbeaten from now until the end of the season.
What do you think? Do you agree with Benitez or Wenger? Leave your comments below.
It's official, Tottenham are all but guaranteed to exit the UEFA Cup next Thursday.
Harry Redknapp's men were beaten 2-0 on Thursday evening away to Shakhtar Donetsk and although that doesn't sound too bad a result, it would appear their chances of turning that deficit around next week at White Hart Lane are now slim to none.
Redknapp fielded a much-changed side in Ukraine last night and the former Portsmouth boss has today confirmed he will field an even less experienced side next Thursday.
"I gave one 17-year-old (Dean Parrett) his debut and might have four 17-year-olds next week ... When we play the second leg it will only be half as strong as this side."
Spurs have a busy few weeks coming up so I am not at all surprised that Redknapp has given up on the UEFA Cup. The North London club face Hull City on Monday before Shakthar on Thursday and then finally the trip to Wembley to face Manchester United in the Carling Cup final. It is a little disappointing to see Spurs give up on Europe this season because I think they could have gone a long way in the tournament but I agree with Harry when he says Premier League survival is far more important.
Do Spurs have any chance of progressing through to the final 16 of the UEFA Cup? I certainly don't think so but what do you think? Leave your comments below.
It has been confirmed this afternoon that Manchester City did make a January bid for Lyon striker Karim Benzema. The French international is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe and has been linked with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United, however it was City who made the only move in January.
Benzema, 21, has never hidden his desire to one day leave Lyon to join a bigger club, with United or AC Milan his preferred destinations. Lyon president Jean Michel Aulas has today confirmed that the world's richest club, Man City, did indeed make a "huge offer" for the player during the transfer window, but that was rejected.
Aulas had this to say : "We had first contact from an English club, a newcomer among the great traders of the transfer market ... The offer was huge. Barcelona, Madrid and Manchester United are also attracted. But he is a Lyon player so far".
Wouldn't it have been great to see Benzema arrive in the Premier League. We all know that he is a top quality player and I am sure he would have proved a massive hit in England. I wouldn't rule out a possible summer move to United but only if Carlos Tevez leaves Old Trafford. As far as a potential move to City goes, I can't see it happening unless the club make a ridiculous offer like £70 million or something.
That's according to Irish bookmaker Paddy Power. Yes, the bookie that prides it selves on being the punter's friend and has become famous for it's early payouts and money-back specials has today taken the bold move to pay out on all bets placed on Manchester United to win the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup.
A spokesman for Paddy Power had this to say : "We know and punters know the race for trophies is all but over for another year so why wait for the formalities? However, paying out on all three is a gamble. Football has a way of biting teams on the backside when they least expect it so we could yet end up with egg on our faces and not for the first time."
Football Corner is a proud affiliate of Paddy Power's and as a result, you now have the opportunity to take advantage of a cracking offer. Sign-up through the link below and you will receive a free £20 bet when you bet £10 or more. My advice would be to put your free bet on United to win all three domestic trophies and the Champions League at odds of 12/1.
That's according to our readers anyway. Yes, after nearly a week of voting, you, the readers, have decided that Manchester City boss Mark Hughes will be the next Premier League manager to go. The former Blackburn manager only arrived at Eastlands last July, however things haven't gone according to plan and he has been under pressure for some time now.
Here is the full result of the poll :
Mark Hughes - 19 votes (55%)
Gareth Southgate - 11 votes (32%)
Joe Kinnear - 4 votes (11%)
Other - 1 vote (2%)
Total Votes : 35.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted in the poll and I would encourage all of you to vote in our latest poll which can be found in the far right sidebar of the site. The latest poll asks you : Who will Cristiano Ronaldo be playing for next season? Place your votes now.
Blackburn face the daunting trip to Old Trafford on Saturday to face Manchester United. Now, we all know that Sir Alex Ferguson's men haven't conceded a Premier League goal since their 2-1 defeat away to Arsenal back on November 8th. So will the man in the picture (Roque Santa Cruz) be the first to score against United keeper Edwin Van Der Sar in over 1,300 minutes? Comments below.
Before I start writing this, I'll just let you all know I'm a City fan.
I have heard and seen many things said and written about Manchester City in recent months and I must admit, I'm sick of it. Yesterday I saw some quotes from the chairman of Danish side FC Copenhagen (who City face in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup on Thursday) about how City are destroying football and all that crap. It seems as though everyone in the world has to have a go at City nowadays.
Yes, the club are spending a lot of money and why shouldn't they. If someone buys your club and gives you millions to spend, your not just going to let it sit their, your going to spend it. So when Mark Hughes and other City officials decide they want to try and bring one of the world's most exciting talents in Kaka to the club, they aren't applauded for their efforts. No, they are criticised.
That just doesn't make sense. OK, you can argue that the sums of money involved were a bit over the top but why shouldn't they go over the top, they have the resources to do that.
Another person who, is never short of a something to say, is now having a go at City is Michel Platini. The president of UEFA is threatening to ban City from European competitions if they fail to "respect their budget". Like, come on, what does that even mean?
During their pursuit of AC Milan's Kaka the club was widely criticised for bidding such a ridiculous amount (£107 million) on the player when the country was (and unfortunately still is) going through a recession. Why should the Arabian investors be criticised for spending so much money on a player instead of pumping it into the economy.
They bought City for one reason. To make the club the best in the world and to do that, obviously you need a great deal of money. They're not going to spend the money on building schools and fixing hospitals, why would they, yet still they are criticised for spending so much money.
The world of football is just a little bit jealous. City have money and like it or not they will become a force to be reckoned with in European football in years to come. RANT OVER
Sir Alex Ferguson has today claimed that Liverpool are the only side capable of challenging Manchester United for this season's Premier League title. As it stands, Liverpool are just two points behind United at the top of the table, however that is likely to become five points if (when) Ferguson's men beat Fulham tonight.
Despite a relatively slow start to the campaign, United have managed to ease their way to the top of the table which has left people wondering can anyone even get close to them this season. Ferguson thinks so :
"I think they have played into our hands and that the title race now is going to be between ourselves and Liverpool."
For me, I'm not surprised to here Ferguson say this but I completely disagree with him. I don't think even Liverpool have a chance of stopping United claiming their 11th Premier League crown.
Even with some of their better players out injured, United have looked outstanding this season. Quite a few of their victories this season have come by a solitary goal to nil so, really, they haven't even got into fourth gear. There is no doubt United will go onto to claim the title and I fancy they will have wrapped it up by the end of April. Agree or disagree? Leave your comments below.
Am I disappointed. Yes. Surprised. No.
Yes, Valencia striker David Villa unfortunately looks as though he won't be moving to the Premier League after all. The Spanish international has been linked with a move to England for years now, however his agent has today ruled out any possibility of that happening and has said that should his client leave Valencia, he would like to stay in La Liga.
Over the years, Villa has earned a reputation as one of the greatest strikers on the planet, scoring nearly 200 goals in his career. Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City have all been linked with the 27-year old in the past although it is believed that City are the only side to have made an offer for the player.
Jose Luis Tamargo's (Villa's agent) had this to say : "David has rejected the chance to play in England ... It would be a nonsense to negotiate with Manchester City and Chelsea aren't interested ... If Valencia do decide to sell him he wants to stay in Spain."
Tamargo's comments certainly leave the door open for a possible summer move to either Barcelona or Real Madrid who are both keen admirers of the former Real Zaragoza man. It will be intriguing to see how this one pans out over the summer. Valencia are, as we all know, in a spot of bother in terms of finances and I feel they will find it difficult to reject any bids of £35 million plus. Given that, I would be extremely surprised to see Villa in a Valencia shirt come the start of next season.
I know, I know, we've heard it all before but these latest quotes coming out of Real Madrid could be very significant.
Once again Real Madrid have reiterated their desire to sign Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo. You might be saying, "well, they have been saying this for ages now". The reason why these latest quotes coming out of the La Liga giants could be significant is the fact that it is the new Madrid president, Vicente Boluda making the remarks.
When asked about Ronaldo, Boluda had this to say : "I am convinced we will see him at the Bernabeu."
In previous times, it was Ramon Calderon (the former president of the club) who was maintaining the club's desire to sign Ronaldo, however Boluda's comments mean that Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will have to put up with another summer of constant speculation.
Although I am hoping Ronaldo stays in the Premier League for many years to come, I think this summer will see the Portuguese international leave these shores. He has never hidden his desire to one day join Real and I feel Madrid's perseverance to sign the player will finally pay off when the transfer window opens in July. What do you think? Who will Cristiano Ronaldo be playing for next season? Leave your comments below.
What a comeback!
As a I mentioned in the headline, he is like a new signing for Arsenal. After nearly twelve months out of action, Eduardo made a simply outstanding comeback last night to earn his side a place in the 5th round of the FA Cup.
The Croatian international scored twice in Arsenal's 4-0 victory at home to Cardiff last night in what was his first appearance since that horrific leg break he suffered against Birmingham City last February.
We all knew/hoped that Eduardo would eventually get back to his best form following the injury, however it's amazing to see that he has made an immediate impact. The 25-year old had this to say : "It was the best day of my life - it was a special moment to score, very emotional,"
Personally, I feel the return of Eduardo to Arsene Wenger's starting eleven will only help the side. The Gunners have lacked that cutting edge up front this season and Eduardo will go someway to fixing that. It will be interesting to see who Wenger now plays up front. Which two strikers should he play? Robin Van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor or Eduardo or all of them? Leave your comments below.
This season has seen several players make names for themselves in the Premier League, including the likes of Stephen Ireland and Carlton Cole but Football Corner has decided to take a look at some players who have almost become forgotten amongst fans of the greatest league in the world.
The first player we take a look at is West Ham striker Dean Ashton. The England international started the season on fire scoring twice in the first game of the season against Wigan. Little did we know that them two goals on the opening day of the season would be the last we saw of the 25-year old this campaign. Ashton sprained his ankle during Gianfranco Zola's first training session at the club and has since been ruled out for the rest of the season.
The second player who I nearly forgot played in this league is Manchester City winger Martin Petrov. The 30-year old joined City back in 2007, making an immediate impact, however a serious knee injury picked up whilst on international duty has seen Petrov miss a large chunk of the season. The Bulgarian international is likely to return to action some time month.
The final player we take a look at is Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien. The Ghana international has been out for nearly the whole season after rupturing anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee. The 25-year old has been sorely missed this season in the centre of the Chelsea midfield and many people, including myself, feel that without Essien they cannot challenge for the title.
So, I have mentioned some forgotten men of this season's Premier League but is there anyone else who I've missed? Leave your comments below.
Jose Mourinho (or the Special One, as he is more commonly known) has claimed that he will one day return to manage Chelsea.
The Portuguese manager left Stamford Bridge nearly a year-and-a-half ago after spending a very successful three years at the club and has since joined Italian giants Inter Milan.
Mourinho left Chelsea back in September of 2007 after falling out with club owner Roman Abramovich, however he has now claimed that he will return to the club.
"If you ask me if one day I think I will return to Chelsea, I will tell you yes I think so, I think so because we were so happy together."
Following the departure of Luis Filipe Scolari from the club and indeed the subsequent appointment of Guus Hiddink (until the end of the season) many names have been linked with the job, including Mourinho. As a fan of the Premier League, I must admit, I would be delighted to see Mourinho return.
It just hasn't been the same without him over the past 18 months or so. Whether it was his touchline celebrations or his hilarious post-match interviews, the guy was just a genius. I feel the sooner Mourinho comes back to English football the better and I'm sure the majority of you will agree with me when I say that.
Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has today been linked with a summer move to Italian giants Inter Milan. The Dutch international is currently locked in negotiations with Arsenal over a new long-term contract, with the club unwilling to cough up the £80,000 a week Van Persie is demanding.
The 25-year old has been one of Arsenal's top performers this season in what has largely been a disappointing campaign to date. Inter boss Jose Mourinho is desperate to bring a new striker to the San Siro once the season ends, with Van Persie believed to be his number-one target, however Arsene Wenger will obviously be reluctant to sell one of his most prized assets.
If Arsenal are to finish the season without winning any kind of silverware, I think Van Persie may well look for a move to Inter. Since joining the club back in 2004, Van Persie has won just one trophy. The FA Cup in 2005 and for me, a player of Van Persie's quality should be winning more than just one trophy every four years.
What do you think? Will another trophiless season see Van Persie on his way out of the Emirates? Leave your comments below.
It has been confirmed today, that David Beckham will not be signing for Italian giants AC Milan on a permanent basis. The England midfielder recently expressed his desire to stay in Milan after only joining the club on a two-month loan deal, however LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has today claimed the move is now off and that Beckham will return to America next month.
AC Milan were told earlier this week that if any move was to happen it would have to be done by Friday evening. That deadline has now passed without Milan making an acceptable offer and Beckham, 33, will now have to return to the US.
Arena had this to say : "Today's deadline imposed by Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber regarding a resolution of David Beckham's potential transfer to AC Milan has passed and we did not receive an acceptable offer for the player.
"As a result, David remains an LA Galaxy player and we look forward to having him back with the club starting 9th March". Since joining Milan back in January, Beckham has been in outstanding form and as a result has recieved some high praise from Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti. It is clear for all to see that Beckham is desperate to stay in Italy and somehow, I don't think we've seen the end of this.
What do you think will happen? Leave your comments below.
Tottenham striker Darren Bent has told Harry Redknapp he will leave the club in the summer unless he is given more first team opportunities.
The England international has fallen down the pecking order at White Hart Lane since the arrivals of Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane last month and it looks as though his time as a Spurs player could be coming to an end.
Bent, 25, was strongly linked with a move away from the club last month, however despite interest from both Newcastle and Sunderland, nothing ever materialised and he remains in North London.
The former Charlton man has made nearly half of his 23 Premier League appearances from the bench this season and he is now preparing for a summer exit.
"I've spoken to the manager a couple of times about my position but I can only hear the same thing so many times ... I'm not one of those players who will just sit back and let his career pass him by."
"I'd like to think that improvement will be with Tottenham but if nothing is happening for me by the end of the season then I will look to go elsewhere ... I need to play more games. I want to play football. I don't want another season where I am in and out of the team all the time."
Compared to his first season at Spurs, Bent has been tremendous this campaign. He has scored 9 league goals which is nearly double the amount of goals Roman Pavlyuchenko has managed so I feel Bent is right to consider his future. At the end of the day, he is still a top quality striker, who I think could walk into nearly a dozen Premier League starting elevens.
What do you think? Leave your comments below.
Daniel Agger's future at Liverpool looks uncertain after the player claimed he would leave the club in the summer if he did not get more first team football. The Danish international has struggled this season to force his way into Rafa Benitez' starting eleven due to injury and the form of Martin Skrtel and it looks as though his time at Anfield may be coming to an end.
The 24-year old has made less than a dozen Premier League appearances this season and with AC Milan reportedly interested in his services in looks increasingly likely that he will leave Liverpool once the transfer window opens in July.
When asked about his future on Merseyside, Agger had this to say : "Let me be honest and admit that if I don’t play then it’s untenable and it can’t go on like that ... It’s never fun as a footballer when you don’t play every time ... But that’s my situation in the club right now. I feel I’m good enough."
When Agger arrived in England back in 2006, I must admit I was really impressed with him. During his first season with Liverpool he was superb but unfortunately it hasn't worked out for him over the past 18 months or so. I feel the arrival of Skrtel from Zenit St Petersburg last January has really prevented Agger from progressing at Liverpool and a move away in the summer could do him the world of good.
Following the departures of both Luis Filipe Scolari and Tony Adams this week, Football Corner has decided to start a new poll. The poll asks you, the reader, who you think will be the next Premier League to be sacked / leave their job.
There are several obvious candidates. The likes of Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate or Manchester City manager Mark Hughes are definitely in there but who do you think will be next to go? The poll can be found at the top right of the site. Place your votes now.
He has made just a handful of appearances for Manchester City this season, however Elano tonight proved his class as he played a leading role in Brazil's 2-0 victory against Italy at the Emirates.
Since the arrival of Mark Hughes at Eastlands last June, Elano has struggled to nail down a first team place at the club but that hasn't prevented him from continuing his terrific form at international level. The 27-year old joined City back in 2007 after leaving Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee of £8 million and he made an immediate impact.
Elano was an integral part of City's starting eleven last season, however this season it has been quite frustrating for the playmaker. It was rumoured in January that Elano may leave the Premier League to join Serie A side Lazio but that never materialised and he remains a Man City player and I think it is about time Hughes gave him a chance at City.
I was extremely impressed with Elano's all-round performance tonight. His goal was fantastic, however it was the other side of his game that impressed me most. His desire to win the ball back was outstanding and I feel Hughes would be stupid not to start him for the side's next game away to Portsmouth at the weekend. We all know what Elano is capable of and I think he could once again become a valuable asset for City if Hughes just gave him some regular first team football.
Have I missed something here?
Following the departure of Luis Filipe Scolari from Stamford Bridge this afternoon, it is believed that Chelsea are now looking for bring Avram Grant back to the club just eight months after sacking him.
The former Israel manager was sacked by Chelsea after narrowly missing out on the Champions League, Premier League and Carling Cup last season and for me, it beggars belief that they even want him back. It is understood that Chelsea have drawn up a list of two possible candidates to replace Scolari with Grant being one of them.
The other on the list is Russia manager Guus Hiddink and although I think Chelsea have a job persuading the Dutchman to move to West London, I feel it would be well worth their time going after him.
I am sure a lot of Chelsea fans would agree with me that re-appointing Grant would a step in the wrong direction. During his time as Chelsea boss, I don't know about you, but I found his tactics quite negative. Many of his wins were unconvincing to say the least. 1-0 wins at home to the likes of Middlesbrough, Reading and West Ham prove this and I don't think bringing Grant back to the club would improve them in any way.
What do you think? Should Chelsea bring Grant back to the club or should they look elsewhere? Leave your comments below. Also, feel free to vote in our latest poll (top right of the site). The poll asks : Who will be the next Chelsea manager? Get voting.
That's according to our readers anyway. After just a couple of days of voting, Football Corner has decided to bring to an end our latest poll. The poll asked you, the reader, who you thought has been the Premier League's player of the season so far. I would like to say it was close but quite frankly, it wasn't. Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic simply ran away with it.
Here is the full result of the poll :
Nemanja Vidic - 176 votes (58%)
Steven Gerrard - 28 votes (9%)
Robin Van Persie - 17 votes (5%)
Edwin Van Der Sar - 17 votes (5%)
Other - 17 votes (5%)
Ashley Young - 16 votes (5%)
Stephen Ireland - 11 votes (3%)
Dimitar Berbatov - 6 votes (1%)
Nicolas Anelka - 5 votes (1%)
Cristiano Ronaldo - 4 votes (1%)
Fernando Torres - 4 votes (1%)
Total Votes : 301.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted. It was one of our biggest polls to date and I would strongly recommend you vote in our latest poll which can be found at the top right of the site. It asks : Who will be the next Chelsea manager. Get voting now.
Let's admit it, we were all a bit surprised to see Chelsea sack Luis Filipe Scolari after just seven months in charge. The Brazilian arrived at Stamford Bridge last July after spending five years as the Portuguese manager.
His arrival was met with great optimism amongst the Chelsea faithful, however, their form in recent weeks and months has begun to deteriorate and ultimately this has led to Scolari's departure.
Chelsea currently sit seven points behind Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table and some people would argue they are out of the title race. During his rein at the club, Scolari had many ups and downs. The highlight of his time with Chelsea would have to be the opening game of the season when they simply demolished Portsmouth beating them 4-0.
Throughout his time in West London, Scolari's relationship with Chelsea striker Didier Drogba came in for a lot of questioning. It was clear for all to see that the pair never really got on with one another. Scolari continued to leave Drogba on the bench even when the Ivorian striker was fully fit and who knows, that may have been part of the reasoning why Chelsea sacked him.
I don't know if Chelsea have made the right decision here. There is no doubt that Scolari's is a top class manager and I feel, given more time he would a proved a success. I am a bit sad to see Scolari on his way out of English football. He was a lickable character in the game and wherever he ends up next, I certainly wish him the very best of the luck.
What do you think? Should he have been given more time to turn things around or where Chelsea right to get rid of him now? Leave your comments below.
After yet another Premier League defeat it would appear as though Tony Adams' days as Portsmouth boss are numbered. It has been reported tonight that the former Arsenal defender will be sacked on Monday morning after Pompey lost 3-2 at home to Liverpool on Saturday which was the side's ninth game without a victory.
Portsmouth have been tumbling down the table ever since Harry Redknapp left the club back in October of last year. Adams was almost instantly appointed as Redknapp's predecessor and unfortunately for him it really hasn't worked out. Pompey now sit just a point above the drop zone and are in real danger of being relegated.
Earlier this week it was reported in an English newspaper that Alan Curbishley was being lined up to replace Adams on the South Coast and personally, that wouldn't surprise me one bit. Curbishley has been out of a job for some time now and I think it is the right time for him to go back into management.
This is probably the best for everyone. It was clear for all to see that Adams didn't get on too well with his players. The departures of Lassana Diarra and Jermain Defoe last month proved this and maybe bringing in a new manager will prove to be a massive boost for the club. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out over the next few days so stay tuned to Football Corner for all the latest.
Liverpool moved back to the top of the Premier League this evening after beating Portsmouth 3-2 at Fratton Park. Rafa Benitez' men came from behind on two separate occasions to eventually claim all three points and move ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United at the top.
Goals from Fabio Aurelio and Dirk Kuyt cancelled out both David Nugent and Herman Hreidarsson's efforts before Fernando Torres popped up in injury-time to send the travelling Liverpool fans home very happy indeed.
Meawhile at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were held to a 0-0 draw with Hull City. Luis Filipe Scolari's men continued their poor home form this season and it looks as though now they are beginning to become detached from the leading three which now includes Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa.
Yes, Villa continued their impressive away form at Ewood Park this afternoon to move ahead of Chelsea into third. Goals from England duo James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor ensured Villa took all three points away from Blackburn. The win leaves Villa just three points off the top of the table and I don't know about you, but I am delighted to see them there.
For me, it is very refreshing to see a side like Villa actually challenging to win the title. For too long it has been Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal challenging for top honours, however Villa have managed to change that this season. Liverpool's win at Pompey was crucial. With ten minutes remaining it looked as though they would leave with nothing but they showed tremendous character to force their way back into the game a deserved to all three points.
So who do you think is going to win the title now? Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below.
Well, here are the latest odds from Paddy Power :
- Manchester United 2/7
- Liverpool 7/2
- Chelsea 11/1
- Aston Villa 33/1
Robbie Keane is in line to become the first ever player to be relegated from the Premier League and win a Premier League medal in the same season. The Republic of Ireland international completed his return to White Hart Lane on transfer deadline day on Monday after Rafa Benitez agreed to sell him after a disastrous six months at Anfield.
Should Liverpool go on to win the league title, Keane, 28, would be eligible for a medal after making more than ten appearances for the Merseyside club, not that he is too concerned about that. "Winning the Premier League would mean nothing at all to me now ... My brother is a Liverpool fan, so I’d probably give it (the medal) to him."
With Spurs sitting just a point above the relegation zone there is no doubt they could still go down, leaving Keane in real danger of picking up the unfortunate record. In order news, Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez has had his £140,000 Bentley impounded after it was revealed he doesn't have a full UK driving licence.
Tevez, 25, was pulled over on Friday morning after Police suspected his windows were tinted too dark. Following further investigations it was confirmed that the Argentine international did not have a full UK driving licence and his Bentley was then seized. Unlucky Carlos. Maybe it's time you book your test.
It was bound to happen, wasn't it?
Brazilian striker Jo scored twice in his first ever appearance for Everton as the side ran out 3-0 winners over Bolton. Jo arrived at Goodison Park on transfer deadline day on Monday after spending over six months at Manchester City where he scored just one goal in the Premier League.
The 21-year old moved to Eastlands back in July in a then, club record transfer fee of £19 million and to say he was a flop would be a huge understatement. Everton boss David Moyes decided to take Jo off Mark Hughes' hands last Monday in a deal that will see Jo spend the rest of the season at the club.
Jo arrived in England with a pretty big reputation after spending thee successful years with Russian giants CSKA Moscow. Unfortunately for him and indeed City it didn't work out and the move to Everton already looks to be doing him the world of good.
It has to be said, he looked rather rusty in the first of half of Everton's victory today, however he showed everyone just why City forked out so much money on him in the second-half. His first goal was one of real class. After a long ball was played forward by Everton, Jo managed to control the ball exquisitely and coolly volleyed past Jussi Jaaskilainen in the Bolton goal. He capped a superb debut display with a late late penalty.
As a City fan myself, I must admit I am not one bit surprised to see this happen. Although Mark Hughes never really gave him a chance at the club, whenever he did play, he never really impressed and I think it was only right that he was allowed to leave the club. When I saw Jo score the two goals this afternoon I just thought to myself "why on earth couldn't he do that at City".
"Taking the current economy into account, we’ve made a bold and brave decision to sacrifice income in an effort to add strength in numbers."
That was the message from Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn after announcing that the club are set to cut their ticket prices for the 2009/2010 Premier League season. As we all know too well, the credit crunch is starting to affect how we all spend our money and this one gesture may be the catalyst for several more schemes like this.
Quinn is regarded as a legend at the Stadium of Light with the Sunderland faithful after spending several years playing in the red & white. Since becoming chairman back in 2006, Quinn has made an immediate impact. In his first season, Sunderland were promoted to the Premier League under the expert guidance of Roy Keane.
Since then, the Black Cats have managed to consolidate their place in the league, however, as with most Premier League clubs, their attendances have steadily decreased this season, something which Quinn is keen to address.
The club have now made the bold move to cut prices of all seats at the 49,000 seater stadium. There is at least £30 off all adult season tickets whilst it will cost just £19 for a junior (under-16) to buy a season ticket. That works out at just a £1 a game for anyone under-16 going to the games accompanied by an adult.
They are incredible savings for Sunderland fans and I think several other Premier League chairman should follow suit and lower the prices of tickets because at the moment there are far too many half-empty stadiums every weekend due to the ridiculous price of tickets. Somehow, I don't think the Glazier family will be doing the same at Old Trafford.
Tip of the hat to you Quinny!