Saturday, 13 December 2014

Fernando Torres: Home A Loan [picture]

Fernando Torres could be on the move again, just months after his loan move to AC Milan. The Spainish striker has only scored one goal in ten appearances for Milan and is now struggling to break into the first team. His poor form has followed him from Chelsea and now there is speculation linking him with another loan move to a number of clubs.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has commented on recent speculation linking Torres with a loan move back to his boyhood club. 'We must to be respectful to my squad,' stated Simeone. 'Despite how important a player Fernando is. I can't speak about other players because it wouldn't be fair for my players. I just have to focus on my guys.'

The Daily Star are claiming that Torres could be about to make a shock return to former club Liverpool where he previously enjoyed four successful seasons which earnt him a £50 million transfer to Chelsea.

Rumour have also arisen that Madrid want to cancel the loan deal agreed with Chelsea and send him home to his parent club. Chelsea manager Jose Morinho attempted to quash these claim when questioned by ESPN about the matter.

'No, I don't know but he's on loan for two seasons at AC Milan,' stated Mourinho. ' He's our player but he's on loan. We have no space for players in the list. Either in the Champions League or Premier League. That's an impossible picture.'

'But I have to say, nobody from AC Milan made contact with us thinking about that possibility, so probably nothing is true and, more than possibly, he's happy at Milan and Milan to have him.'

Monday, 24 November 2014

Blackburn 2 - 1 Leeds: Marco's mistake and Varney dive cost Leeds 3 points

After an impressive start to his Leeds career Marco Silvestri was at fault for another important goal as Leeds lost 2-1 to Blackburn on Saturday. Reminiscent to the howler conceded against Cardiff, Silvestri and the Leeds defence once again managed to gift their opposition an open goal. With Leeds very much in control of the match, a long ball caused unnecessary confusion between Silvestri and Cooper which resulted in them both being out on the floor whilst Jordan Rhodes passed into an empty net.

Silvestri’s flamboyant shot stopping has made him a fans favourite since signing in the summer, but his ability to communicate with his defence under pressure has recently come into question. The late goal conceded at Cardiff could have been argued as both a defensive and goal keeping error. However, the responsibility of this weekends blunder has to falls at the feet of Marco.

Leeds manager, Niel Redfearn told the Yorkshire Evening Post: 'The goalkeeper’s coming onto that and he should clear it.If you’re coming onto it you’re favourite to clear it. Its happened before at Cardiff and he’s got to learn from that'

Leeds were good value for all three points after a 33 minute strike from Doukara gave the visitors a first half lead. However the match was turned on its head by Leeds embarrassing goalkeeping gaffe. Blackburn were reduced to 10 men in the 82 second minute, yet a Luke Varney dive managed to convince referee Kevin Wright Sam Byram's challenge warranted a penalty in the 88th minute.With only a couple of minutes remaining Jordan Rhodes calmly scored the penalty to secure the 3 points were to stay at Ewood Park.

It doesn’t get any easier for Leeds as they face a tough couple of fixtures up till Christmas, starting with league leaders Derby County next Saturday.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Not So Jolly Rodgers [picture]

It was another bad day at the office for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as his side gave up a 1-0 lead to lose 3-1 against Crystal Palace, making it three league defeats in a row for the reds. The game got off to a promising start with Rickie Lambert netting after only two minutes but went downhill from there and it soon became a second miserable trip to Selhurst Park in two seasons for the Liverpool lads.

The result leaves Liverpool 12th in the Premiership and has raised further questions about Rodgers future at Anfield. Speaking after todays defeat, Rodgers stated: 'I’m not arrogant enough to think that I will be in a job through anything. Any manager will tell you that you have to win games and you have to get results, especially after how we’ve been developing as a football club. But I have a great communication line with the owners. We’ve been honest enough with each other but ultimately you have to get results. You have to perform. In my first year when we weren’t maybe getting the results we were performing well.'

'Owners and directors and chairmen and chief executives have to see development on the field. Barring this period, our development has been very good and fast. But there’s no doubt as a manager you have to get results. That will support the confidence to the owners, and you take it from there. I will only ever do my best. The best has seen us develop well. Now I need to fight even harder. And take the responsibility because as manager full responsibility comes down to me. Any pressure comes on to me.'

'It was bitterly disappointing. Nowhere near the levels we’d expect, after a very good start. You’ve seen a team low on confidence today. Not quite together as a team. We need to find a solution very quickly because it was very disappointing.'

'It’s my responsibility as the manager, ultimately. I put the team out there, the best team to win us the game. We made a good start. You could see our passing was a wee bit tentative, and then we make mistakes. Mistakes you wouldn’t expect to see from a team that’s supposed to be challenging. We failed to manage the game.'

'We concede a throw-in which shouldn’t happen and then the third goal, a long ball down the middle and I didn’t think it was a free-kick. Both were holding each other’s shirts. OK, it was a good free-kick. Overall, that intensity and togetherness in our game isn’t there.'

'When you don’t get the results, that affects you. We have to work harder but we go away bitterly disappointed with the result. We have to put it right very quickly because we have a massive game in midweek and a busy schedule ahead. We have to do better.'

Is Rodgers still the right man to manage Liverpool?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Top Six a banker under Karanka? (Picture)

Aitor Karanka has enjoyed a successful first year at The Riverside but isn’t getting carried away with his recent praise.  Middlesbrough currently sit third in the championship just one point behind Steve McLaren’s table topping Derby County. Middlesbrough fans must be expecting at least a top six finish this season and hope their good form doesn’t slip away in their traditional after Christmas slump. 

Karakna recently admitted that his managerial style has been directly influenced by the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho. The Boro manager told ABC  “From Mourinho I learned that what is fundamental is that the players feel happy.” 

"He told me that it was a good place to grow and to fulfil myself. Chelsea have loaned us three footballers. After each match we speak and exchange messages. 

"He gives me advice – the best that he has given me, since I worked with him during those three wonderful years at Real Madrid is the that the team is above individuals."

Middlesbrough’s success one the pitch has seen a resurgence in support. Their next away match against Wigan on Saturday has seen the Smoggies sell out the 4,800 allocation – this will be the second highest away follow of any Championship team this season.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Bright Future for 3 years [picture]

Don't worry United fans, its all under control. The glory days aren't over, they're just on hiatus. A three year hiatus to be exact, according to manager Louis Van Gaal. Speaking in regards his teams cruddy start to the season the Dutchman explained its part of a process which will eventually see them return to the multi-title winning Champions they were under Sir Alex Ferguson's stewardship.

In a tense press conference this week, Van Gaal stated: 'I feel, myself, very lousy for the fans firstly, but also for the board because they have a great belief in me and my players and my staff and when you have 13 points out of 10 matches you are not doing well.'

'It's not good enough. But on the other hand, we are in a process, as I have said from the beginning. The process shall take more than one year, it shall take three years. I cannot say when the results are coming. When I did it with Bayern Munich it was December 8. It can be February 1. But it doesn't matter. This is a process of three years. I have signed for three years.'

His predecessor David Moyes wasn't even allowed a full season to attempt to acheive his Red Devil dream, only making it ten months into a six year contract. So patience when it comes to failure is a big ask when at a club so accustom to success, especially given the amount of money spent on the team over the summer transfer window.

United are currently four points worse off than they were this time last season under David Moyes and former player Paul Scholes has criticised Van Gaal's start to life at Old Trafford, stating following recent performances: 'It concerns me that expectation levels have slipped so far that many supporters I know felt relieved at snatching a late draw with Chelsea and losing narrowly to City.'

'The scoreline against City might have been more respectable than last season but the performance in the first hour of the game was very poor indeed. This is Manchester United. It is not simply good enough to play well for 20 minutes and lose.'

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Back Pardew Campaign Kicks Off

Newcastle manger Alan Pardew relieved himself further this weekend of the pressure which had been mouting upon him, with a second league win in succession. A poor start to the season had seen the Toon lingering in the bottom 3 of the Premiership, but a win over Spurs today saw them shoot up to 14th in the table.

Pardew's side fought back from a goal down to win 2-1, with half time substitutes Sammy Ameobi and Remy Cabella having a pivotal effect on the game. Speaking after the game Pardew praised the fight and belief that his side showed when turning things round for the Toon in the second half.

'At the moment, the Geordie nation does not really think I am good enough so hopefully that has ticked one box that I do know what I am doing. The players showed they are fighting for the shirt. That is what our fans want to see.'

'I have been here for 701 games now so it is pleasing for me and for my team, because we do a lot stuff that we think is important for the team. But the players have to carry it out. At the end of the day, you are as good as your players.'

'We have got some belief in them and they showed they are fighting for the shirt. That is what our fans want to see.'

It's a tough road ahead for Pardew with his next two games against Manchester City and Liverpool and it will take more than a couple of wins to convince certain sections of the Newcastle fans he is still the man for the job. Anti-Pardew website has vowed not to rest 'until Alan Pardew has been sacked.' Unfortunately due to logistical problems their Sack Pardew placards didn't make it down to White Hart Lane today, no doubt to the delight of the Toon boss.

Ask anyone who has been given the sack and they’ll tell you it’s not so nice. Henceforth, here at we are beginning the ‘Back Pardew Campaign’ to keep Alan from signing on at his local job centre. Print off your ‘Back Pardew’ placard and take it along to St James to show your support for the cause.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Darko Milanic Watermelon Test: 3 Games In [picture]

Massimo Cellino gave the watermelon test to a grand total of 36 managers during his 22 years in charge of Italian side Cagliari and this conveyor belt method of selection shows no sign of slowing after having taken over at Leeds.

With Brian McDermott, David Hockaday and Neil Redfearn having already been pulped in Massimo’s quest for the perfect manager, next in the firing line is previously unheard of Slovenian coach Darko Milanic.

Opting to roll the dice once again on another unknown and untested manager, Cellino gave an early vote of no confidence stating: 'I don't know why I've chosen Milanic. The coaches are like watermelons. You find out about them when you open them. His particular qualities? He is good looking, what can I tell you?'

Having a tough act to follow after Neil Redfearns decent interim spell, Milanic has yet to earn his first victory for the Whites since his installation last month. The Slovenian opened with a 2-0 defeat to Brentford and then followed it up with a nil-nil draw against Reading at Elland Road. He then made it two points out of a possible nine after fighting back to earn a 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

It is far off promotion form, however Leeds currently sit just six points behind league leaders Norwich. When asked about the chances of a play-off place Milanic refused to be drawn, stating: 'My job is to improve the team. I have to see the players on the field in a big game like this and they have the quality, yes. There's enough quality. But my job is to improve them like I said. We're working very hard to make a good team.'

Are you a betting man (or woman)? How many managers will Cellino get through in his first season at Elland road? For those who like a bit of online football betting check out the odds of Leeds here

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Hart's Not In It [picture]

Joe Hart was left sat on the bench for Manchester City's game against Hull this afternoon, with Manuel Pellegrini opting to give Willy Cabellero his Premier League debut rather than playing the England ace.

Pellegrini stated after the signing of Cabellero in the summer transfer window that he would not have a number 1 keeper and that either man could make the starting line up for any game, regardless of the competition.

He lived up to his word opting to play the Argentine keeper in consective games following his clean sheet City's mid-week Carling Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday. Speaking after today's game, Pellegrini stated: 'I think for Willy it was good to play not just one game but to play two in a row.'

'Joe played eight games in 32 days, a lot of games for a goalkeeper. I have a squad of 22, 23 players and I make rotations because I think it is better for the team. In this case I think it was good for Willy.'

There has been speculation linking Hart with a move away from City, which could gain further momentum if Pellegrini continues to opt for his former Malaga pal Cabellero. Hart is yet to be offered a new contract with City which has given rise to rumours that he could leave the Etihad for Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Speaking about his contract situation, Hart stated: 'Anything about a new contract is news to me. I’ve heard nothing. I’ve got a year, nearly two years, left on my deal. That is all I am aware of.'

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Billy Sharp Signs as Leeds reinforce squad

Souleymane Doukara scored twice on his first competitive outing at Elland Road as Leeds beat Accrington Stanley in the first round of the Capital One cup. David Hockaday’s side provided a much improved performance from Saturday’s loss against Millwall and were deservedly 2-0 ahead at half time. Accrington improved after the break and James Gray scored a late consolation for Accrington in the 84th minute. Leeds’ new signing Gaetano Berardi saw red in the 88th minute after a reckless flying tackle which led to a nervy last few minutes for the home side.

Leeds have added to their ranks this afternoon having announced the signing of Billy Sharp on a two year deal from Southampton. The experienced striker will help to replace goals missing since Ross McCormack departed Leeds this summer.

Leeds look set to announce three new signings this week as Massimo Cellino aims to improve his squad. Guiseppe Bellusci, 24, has signed a season long loan deal from Catania with the option for of a permanent deal at the end of the season. Chesterfield have also announced that a fee had been agreed for their central defender Liam Cooper after Leeds came back with an improved third offer for the 22 year old.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wenger: Mourinho truly is the Special (at failure) One [picture]

Wenger has finally done it. The curse is lifted and the famine is over, Arsenal have won a trophy. You may not have heard, but it had been nine barren season's for the Gunner's without silverware. Thankfully with the winning of the FA Cup last Saturday that statistic can be put to bed and Wenger can focus on more important things, like doing battle with unruly coat zippers.

With the passing of one managers trophy drought, so beginneth another. Jose Mourinho followed up from his final season at Madrid with another trophyless season at Chelsea and as Arsene can attest they quickly start to stack up.

Mourinho branded Wenger a 'specialist at failure' earlier in the season and had looked to be proven right when the Gunner's Premier League title challenge fizzled out in trademark fashion, but a lifeline was provided when they scraped past Wigan on penalties in the Semi-final of the FA Cup.

Arsenal's bad luck had looked to have struck again when Hull went 2-0 ahead in the first eight minutes of the FA Cup final, but a hard fought comeback saw them win 3-2. Silverware was finally being brought back to the Emmirates and a smile was brought back to Wenger's face.

Speaking to Channel 4 following Arsenal's triumph, Mourinho stated through clenched teeth: 'I know. In the last nine years, Arsenal won an FA Cup. That’s a nice moment for them.'