Monday, 29 August 2011

Two Horse Race: Premier League Title Staying in Manchester this Season?

The magnificent displays of attacking prowess shown by both Manchester clubs this weekend has seen them establish themselves as early season frontrunners for the Premier League title this season.

City thrashed Tottenham 5-1 on Sunday only to be top trumped later in the day by United who demolished Arsenal 8-2 at Old Trafford, sending out an ominous statement of intent to the rest of League’s clubs.

The emphatic victories ensured both Manchester teams kept up their 100% start to the season, further increasing the expectation that the season’s silverware will be contested between the two local rivals.

Currently on seven points, Chelsea are expected to be the most potent force challenging for the title outside of Manchester though their early season form has been unconvincing against much weaker opponents.

Last season we saw Chelsea get off to an impressive start with a number of high scoring victories, only to encounter a drastic dip in form later in the season and Frank Lampard has spoken out in regards to the significance results this early in the season.

'It is still early in the season' said Lampard. 'I have seen a lot of games and if you look at Man City, they have looked very good but went to Bolton and conceded two. Teams at this early stage of the season are quite hard to read.'

'It might be quite nice for people not to talk about us and the fact other teams have spent more than us. We can concentrate on ourselves. Sometimes it is quite nice when everyone is not expecting Chelsea to run away with it like in previous years. It leaves it up to us to prove people wrong.'

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

End of a Weng-era?


Arsene Wenger admitted last month that Arsenal could ‘no longer be called a big club’ if they were to sell Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

So following the departure of their two star players and an underwhelming set of results in their opening fixtures it comes as little surprise that the Gunners boss has faced some intense criticism and speculation about his future at the club.

Opinion has been split amongst the fans, with some suggesting that we could be witnessing the end of Wenger’s reign as Arsenal manager.

Speaking after Saturdays defeat against Liverpool Wenger insisted, 'There is no chance of me walking away.'

'I won’t quit and I have never considered quitting. My only interest is to work harder to make the right decisions for the club.'

'People have to trust me. Unfortunately we are living in circumstances where every defeat is an absolute disgrace and an earthquake.'

'I always feel under pressure, but I don’t feel under pressure any more than I normally do.'

Are we witnessing the end of a Weng-era?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Cesc in the City (of Barcelona): Fabregas Completes his Dream Move

The longest running transfer saga in recent football history was finally brought to an end today as Cesc Fabregas signed a five year deal to return to his boyhood team Barcelona, in a deal potentially worth £35 million to Arsenal.

Fabregas has been handed the number four shirt and is determined to play a part in the Spanish Super Cup match against Real Madrid on Wednesday, but has acknowledged he will have to earn his place in the team.

Speaking to the media after signing the 24 year old said: 'I come here with great humility because I know I have a lot to learn and I can learn a lot from this coach and this great team.'

'I know I can enjoy it and make a contribution. I'm going to try very hard to make this team even more competitive and strong.'

'It’s not my decision whether to play or not. I’m going to work very hard as always and enjoy it. I will give everything to make this club better.'

Fabregas also expressed his gratitude to former manager Arsene Wenger stating that 'I can't express my admiration for him strongly enough. If it hadn't been for him I wouldn't be here today, living my dream.'

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Twitter Troublemakers Leave Toon

Newcastle United fans will have to witness yet more of their best players from last season leave the club, as twitter ranting duo Joey Barton and Jose Enrique head for the exit door.

Liverpool have agreed a £5.5 million deal with Newcastle for wantaway defender Jose Enrique according to reports today in the Daily Star Sunday and Joey Barton has been told he can leave the club this month for free.

Newcastle are prepared to offload both players as a result of their recent Twitter outbursts in which the club, its owners and their transfer policy were heavily criticised.

Enrique tweeted 'The club is allowing all the major players of the team to go. Do you think it is the fault of the players? Andy (Carroll), Nobby (Kevin Nolan).'

'This club will never fight to be among the top six again with this policy. You fans are the best and you deserve the best, not what they are doing with the club.'

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has responded to the criticism of the clubs transfer policy by stating that they can no longer compete financially with the Premiership's elite clubs.

Pardew said 'The problem is where we are now financially means that we can never really fulfil the expectations of the fans.'

'They have memories of European football, but the gap is getting bigger as the years go by. The top clubs are getting an influx of money at Champions League level and we have sovereign states owning football clubs.'

'It is becoming difficult to compete with the top clubs, but that is not to say we can’t compete at the level we are at. But we are always vulnerable to the bigger clubs, as Andy Carroll proved.'

 'Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias made it quite clear, the club needs to wipe its nose and therefore we haven’t got investment above our income. That is how Mike wants to run the football club.'

Monday, 1 August 2011

Villas-Boas Selecta: Chelsea Strikers Battle it out for Place in Starting Line-up

Competition for a place in the Chelsea starting line up promises to be extra fierce this season with strikers Torres, Drogba, Anelka and Sturridge all looking to establish themselves in new manager Andre Villas-Boas’s 4-3-3 formation.

Didier Drogba is not ready to relinquish the leading striker role he has occupied over the last few years despite now being the oldest member of the Chelsea squad and has spoken of how he has seen it all before when it comes to fighting for a place in the starting line up.

‘It has been like this for me all the years I have been at Chelsea,’ said Drogba in a recent interview. ‘It was the same when Eidur Gudjohnsen was here, when Sheva [Andrei Shevchenko] was here.’ When asked if he welcomed competition he replied: ‘yes and no’.

Unwelcome comparisons with Andrei Shevchenko have prompted Fernando Torres to speak out against his detractors, stating his belief that this season will see him return to his best form. In reference to the upcoming season he said ‘I'm 27. I don't forget to score goals. I will score.’

Daniel Sturridge is also keen to stay at Chelsea and fight for a regular place in the first team rather than go out on loan again and has had an impressive pre-season which he attributes to new boss Villas-Boas.

‘The manager has given me licence to express myself. I have never had that before with any manager,’ Sturridge told The Independent. ‘He has let me off the leash if you like. He has given me a lot more freedom than I have ever had and I will enjoy my football a lot more.’