Thursday, 26 April 2012

Priceless Moment for Torres [picture]

Fernando Torres has endured more than his fair share of unfortunate moments since his £50 million transfer, so the majority of the football world will have been delighted to see the Spaniard bag the goal that ensured the Blues would make it through to the Champions League Final.

In what has to be the highlight of his Chelsea career so far Torres came on as a late substitute in Tuesday night’s second leg semi-final game against Barca, rounded Victor Valdes and booked his team’s place in the Munich final in May at the expense of the Catalan holders.

'To be in the Champions League final, obviously, is a dream come true for all the Chelsea players, for all the Chelsea supporters who come here and everyone watching the game at home,' Torres told reporters.

'It's the second Champions League final for Chelsea. Everyone knows what happened in the past with the penalty shoot-out [in the 2008 loss to Manchester United]. So, I think Chelsea deserved a second chance and we have the chance now.'

Torres admitted he never expected to get any chances, but expressed his delight at adding to his impressive goal scoring record of seven goals in 10 league appearances for Atletico Madrid against Barcelona.

'I was playing almost as a left-back. The only chance we could have was on the counter-attack like this,' said Torres.

'One more goal against Barcelona. I have nice memories in this stadium, nice memories against them. But this one's more special than any one before because it helped us to go the final. I am very happy to be part of the game, to score the goal.'

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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Young ‘Understands’ Diving Furore [picture]

Alex Ferguson has spoken with Ashley Young warning him not to go down too easily following a fortnight of accusations that the United midfielder is one of the Premiership’s most prolific divers.

Young has come under fire after winning controversial penalties in for United against QPR and his former club Aston Villa, which prompted Newcastle’s Ryan Taylor to take to his twitter account to state that: 'Ashley Young is an absolute DISGRACE. He's the biggest cheat in the league.'

Fergie was willing to admit that Young had overdone it when he won the penalty against Villa, but stated he still had some way to go before catching up with the diving antics of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea.

'I have had a word with Ashley,' said Ferguson. 'He understands where we are coming from. Hopefully it makes a difference.'

'Last week, if the player doesn't bring Ashley down he is going to score. It was a clear goalscoring opportunity.'

'He did overdo the attempt to get a penalty but I watched Real Madrid and Bayern Munich the other night and it was absolutely ridiculous, players were diving and rolling about, nothing like what Young has been accused of.'

'You see the other night in the Chelsea game, we are in an age where you expect it now.'

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Friday, 20 April 2012

Balotelli Blameless for City Slump [picture]

Joleon Lescott has spoken out in defence of bad boy striker Mario Balotelli, stating that the Italian is not to blame for the slump in form that has allowed title rivals Manchester United to pull five points clear of City at the top of the Premier League.

Some have cited the distractions caused by the indiscipline of City players such as Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez as reasons to why they have gone from trailblazing Premier League favourites to title underdogs once more.

But Lescott said: 'I think it’s a bit harsh to solely lay the blame on Mario. He’s a young player and he’s going to make mistakes, and we all did at that age.'

'Hopefully he is learning from them and when he plays he is going to give 100 per cent. Obviously he’s disappointed what happened with Arsenal but I am sure he’s learnt from that.'

Lescott also put a positive spin on the Carlos Tevez saga that has overshadowed City's season stating that: 'We’re not dwelling on the past. Who’s to say that if Carlos had stayed he wouldn’t have got injured and been out for the rest of the season? We’re just grateful now that he’s back and playing for Man City and scoring goals.'

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Carroll Quits the Booze [picture]

Andy Carroll has spoken of the drastic change of lifestyle he has undergone since his transfer to Liverpool, which has included cutting out the boozy nights out that he developed a reputation for during his time at Newcastle.

During his time as England manager Fabio Capello told the media that he had private words with Carroll regarding his alcohol intake stating that 'Andy likes to drink beer' and that 'he needs to improve, to drink less.'

Speaking regarding his Anfield reformation Carroll said: 'When I came here I changed my lifestyle and everything about it and settled down. I have my girlfriend Stacey with me and I love it here. I’m settled down now.'

'I’ll go down the street and people will say to me, 'Oh, you were in the boozer last week', but it is just rumours going round. I laugh it off, really.'

'To be honest, I don't go out at all. My family know it’s not true and the club know it’s not true, so that is all that matters.'

'All I do now after games is sit in the house with my girlfriend, chill out and watch movies. I'm on the Xbox or I’ll watch TV.'

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A Little Bird Told Snoddy [picture]

Leeds Chairman Ken Bates has revealed that the club have made a final contract offer to club captain Robert Snodgrass, who has just twelve months left on his existing deal.

Speaking to Yorkshire Radio, Bates said: 'Snodgrass is a very gifted player and a leader. Ideally, Neil would like to build his team around him, both as a dynamic midfielder/winger and as a captain because he is good captain material.'

'We have made the offer and we think it is as far as we can go and we should have an answer sooner rather than later.'

Neil Warnock has expressed his desire to keep Snodgrass at the club so that he can build a team around him as the Leeds aim to get promoted back to the Premiership next season.

'Snoddy is one player I would like to see at the club next season. We can build a team around him and that is what I want to do,' said Warnock.

'He is out of contract next summer and I have had talks with his agent about signing a new contract. I just want him to give me one full season to try to get the club promoted and if I don’t do it, I would be happy to have a clause inserted in any new deal saying he can leave for a set fee.'

Snodgrass has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs for a summer transfer, notably Norwich City who have poached Bradley Johnson and Jonny Howson from the Yorkshire club in the past couple of years.

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Friday, 13 April 2012

Wolves Premier League Days Dying? [picture]

Wolves may look like a team with a one way ticket to the Championship following a run of seven consecutive defeats, but in-form midfielder Matt Jarvis has vowed to battle for every available point in the remaining five games of the season.

Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat against Arsenal has left Wolves nine points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership meaning that they could effectively be relegated by Monday if results don’t go their way, but Jarvis has insisted his side aren’t throwing in the towel just yet.

'We will carry on working extremely hard and trying to get something from each game from now to the end of the season,' said Jarvis. 'Everything seems to have gone against us in recent weeks.'

'In the last three or four games I think we’ve played well. As a team we have worked extremely hard and created chances and so many things just haven’t gone for us. But all we can do is keep going.'

Interim boss Terry Connor is without a win in the Premiership since stepping in to replace Mick McCarthy in February and Jarvis is determined to get all 3 points for TC when Wolves face Sunderland this weekend.

'We will make sure we go there in good spirits and give it another go,' Jarvis added. 'We can all see the league table but we will just keep going and giving it our best. We want to get a win for the fans and for ourselves but we also want to give TC his first Premier League win as a manager.'

Can TC mastermind a great escape or are Wolves Premiership roadkill?

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

City Show Their Fighting Spirit [picture]

Manchester City look certain to finish in second place behind rivals Manchester United in the Premiership this season despite having led the table for 28 matches and the lack of discipline within Mancini’s squad must take much of the blame for the demise of their title bid.

The last few weeks of City’s campaign have been marred with on and off the field controversies which have proven costly whereas United have been relishing squeaky bum time by going on a run of eight consecutive wins in the Premiership to pull eight points clear at the top.

The ill discipline of players such as Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli has overshadowed what had looked to be a very promising season for City and Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken out of his intolerance of misbehaviour from his players and the benefits of unity within a team.

 'I wouldn’t allow it,' he told The Observer. 'There's a distinction to be made between having your say on the pitch, like Peter Schmeichel used to do when he bawled out his defenders and squaring up to each other like the two players at Wolves did at the weekend.'

'That can happen, particularly at the bottom of the league, because clubs who are struggling are under a lot of pressure and it is easy to understand players becoming frustrated.'

'But really, if you don't have unity you are not playing as a team. The demeanour of a team is important, you can judge it by the way they celebrate a goal.'

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Newcastle's New Number Nine Starting to Shine [picture]

Papiss Cisse continued his explosive start to his Newcastle career this weekend with his 10th goal in 9 games for the Toon as they continued their push for a Champions League place with a 2-0 victory over Bolton.

Hatem Ben Arfa was also on target against Bolton opening the scoring with a magnificent solo effort and the Frenchman credited the quality of the Toon’s Senegalese strike force for the run of results which has seen them come level on points with fourth place Tottenham.

'Papiss is showing very good form and if he keeps it going I could probably say he's the best striker I've played with,' said Ben Arfa.

'He scored two amazing goals against Swansea. He's just brilliant. He scores a lot of goals and is very good for us. Hopefully, he can continue this form until the end of the season.'

'Demba is amazing as well, and he worked very hard on the left (on Friday). We have two very good strikers and that's why we win.'

'Having two such strikers gives us very good confidence. We know they can score in every game, at any moment.'

Cisse’s impressive goal haul from his first 9 Premier League games has brought comparisons with a number of former Newcastle strikers most notably Andy Cole and judging from current form he looks a worthy wearer of the legendary No 9 shirt.

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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

New England Manager Quest Continues [picture]

The Football Association have made it clear that they want to wait until the end of the season in May before they appoint a new England manager, despite facing criticism for not having found a replacement for Fabio Capello with Euro 2012 drawing ever closer.

It is understood that the FA wish to delay the appointment to avoid the destabilising effect it would have on the club of the manager they select, but former England manager Terry Venables has emphasised the need to make a decision as soon as possible

Venables said: 'It seems to have gone on too long. There’s now a double take and no one seems to really know what’s going on apart from those that are in the seat.'

'They [the FA] may know what’s going on, but I don't know whether they do. They have to get someone in there straight away to do something about it. I don’t see any benefit at all in coming in at the last moment with a rah-rah-rah approach.'

'The manager has got to know those players, not just from he has seen, but how they talk and what they feel is important – really getting into the individuals. The more time you can get in the role the better. There’s nothing for you going in cold and you need everything in your favour because this is a big job.'

Harry Redknapp has established himself as a firm favorite with the fans and bookies to be the next England boss, but former England manager Glenn Hoddle has emerged as an outside contender after announcing he would like a second chance at managing his national team.

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