Thursday, 29 November 2012

Arsene's Going Back to the Future with Henry, Again [picture]

Arsene Wenger has confirmed his interest in bringing Thierry Henry back to Arsenal for a third spell at the club in January in order to compensate for the effect that the African Cup of Nations will have on his striking options.

Henry is currently training with the Gunners in order to keep up his fitness following the end of the MLS season and the Arsenal manager is hoping New York Red Bulls forward could recreate the successful loan spell he enjoyed last season in which he boosted his club record goal tally to 228, scoring two goals in seven appearances.

Wenger stated: 'Will I sign him again in January? I don't rule it out. I don't know if he is interested. He is sharp. We will lose Gervinho again as they are playing in the African Cup of Nations two years in a row, so we will be confronted with a shortage particularly if Marouane Chamakh should go. I cannot stand in his way, then we will be short.'

'You know what Thierry gives you. he gives you hope especially when he comes on, that is the most important thing. Thierry is a communicator, an extrovert, very intelligent. He can only give good advice to players because he was in their position when he arrived here.'

Fellow Frenchman Oliver Giroud spoke of his desire to play alongside the Arsenal legend stating that: 'Henry misses the enthusiasm around the Premier League. But he didn’t tell me if he will be back. It would be great joy to play with him.'

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Monday, 26 November 2012

Has Christmas Come Early For Warnock [Picture]

 Neil Warnock must be thinking his Christmas has come early, after waiting almost six months the much speculated £52 million pound takeover of Leeds United has finally been confirmed. The deal with Dubai-based investment bank GFH Capital earlier this week has finally brought the feel good factor back to Elland Road.

Warnock has hailed the Leeds takeover as a 'new era' for the club, and with his new backing swiftly signed Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas on loan. Warnock's new era could not of started with a tougher opponent, with Leeds playing top of the table Crystal palace who were on a  fourteen match unbeaten run.

However, Warnocks men managed to turn the form book on its head with a well disciplined 2-1 victory. Speaking after the match, Warnock said 'I am absolutely delighted for the new owners. We deserved the win over the 90 minutes.'

'We started the game very well and had to hang in there at times but our two new lads made the difference. Alan Tate is a good pro. He had a calming influence on us at the back and Jerome Thomas is as good as anyone in the Premier League, let alone the Championship.'

'We needed the lift in confidence those two have given us. I am delighted for the new owners. They have given us all a massive lift. It alters everybody's outlook when you beat a team that started the day on top of the league and we thoroughly deserved the three points. We coped well with a very strong side.'

'Our two loan signings came in and did us proud. We needed a lift in confidence and Jerome Thomas and Alan Tate provided it. The atmosphere was like the Elland Road of old today.'

Leeds currently sit in 16th in the Championship yet are only six points behind the top 6, the completion of takeover earlier this week will hopefully prove to be the turning point in their season. At flaminghairdryer we have managed to get hold of an exclusive gif of Warnocks reaction at full time on Saturday.

Written by Andy Lee
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Friday, 23 November 2012

RDM set to Bounce Back at new Club after Chelsea Sacking

It has only been two days since Roberto Di Matteo became the latest managerial casualty of Roman Abramovich's trigger-happy regime at Chelsea and the Italian is already being linked with Serie A giants Napoli as a replacement for their current manager Walter Mazarri.

Mazarri's contract at Napoli runs out in the summer and it is expected they will seek to replace him rather than agree a new deal, with Di Matteo being touted as the ideal candidate due to the successes he has enjoyed during his short spell in the hotseat at Chelsea.

RDM enhanced his managerial CV greatly over the 8 months he spent in charge at Chelsea with the addition of the FA Cup and Champions League to his list of honours, however this wasn’t enough the escape the inevitable wielding of Abramovich’s axe.

Di Matteo expressed no bitterness when he released a statement following his sacking, in which he spoke of the pride he felt to have lead the club he loves to victory in the Champions League for the first time in its history.

'It was an honour for me to be a manager of a club I loved playing for and one that is close to my heart. I`m proud of the successes and trophies we won recently,' said Di Matteo.

'Lifting Chelsea`s first Champions League trophy was the best achievement in club history and without doubt the highlight of my career to date, both as a player and a manager. It is a memory I`ll treasure.'

'I've a deep and unreserved passion for Chelsea and I`d like to sincerely thank all of the staff, my players and off course the Chelsea fans, for their tremendous and unconditioned support in the intense time I have been the manager.'

Illustration by Ned Wilson of WhimsyWoods

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Saturday, 17 November 2012

Relief for Adkins but is Hughes closer to the sack?


Both Mark Hughes and Nigel Adkins were desperate to gain 3 points from their bottom of the table clash today. With Southampton losing all five of their away games and QPR  not registering a win so far this season, a victory today at Loftus Road could prove to be a massive turning point for both clubs.

In the end it is Adkins who can sleep more soundly tonight after his Southampton side won the day with an impressive 3-1 win at QPR. With mounting pressure on both managers many believed a loss today may be the final curtains for the unfortunate manager - the bookies odds have both Adkins and Hughes as the favorites in the managerial sack race.

Before the match QPR manager Mark Hughes played down the importance of today's fixture telling the BBC...

'My future doesn't hinge on this match.'

'The club has moved forward in a massive way since I came in the door through the work I and my staff have done.'

After today's result Hughes is even more likely to get the boot, especially as QPR were playing at home. Adkins has a safety blanket of winning back to back promotions with Southampton and many fans would want Adkins to keep his job even if this season is a failure in the Premiership. He could well keep his job and have another shot at promotion to the Premiership using the parachute payments received after relegation.

Hughes claims the club has moved forward in a massive way since he came through the door, but if QPR don't give him the boot soon he could well be moving them forward to the Championship.

Andy Lee

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Back to Toon for Carroll? [picture]

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has opened the door for Andy Carroll to make a sensational return to the club he left in January of last year. Speaking about his former player Pardew confirmed his intention to resign the striker should the opportunity arise in the near future.

The 23-year-old is currently on loan at West Ham after being cast by new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Pardew has made it clear there is a place for him at his hometown club when he is ready to make his next permanent move.

'He's a Liverpool player and not wanted so at some point he's going to move permanently. I'd like to think we'll be in the mix for that,' said Pardew. Speaking of Carroll and former Toon midfielder Kevin Nolan, Pardew stated: 'Big Andy, hopefully, one day will want to come back and certainly I'd like to have them both in my squad now because we would be stronger for it.'

Pardew attempted to resign Carroll in this summer's transfer window and has been hugely complimentary about the attacking threat he adds to a team playing as a No 9 striker.

'I like working with him, he was brilliant for me,' said Pardew. 'There was a point this summer when there was a possibility of it. We were in there because he brings something different to what we have got and we could probably do with another striker. We were right in there but unfortunately we weren’t able to get it done at board level.'

'I’ve always stuck up for him and I still think he has a role for England. As a No 9 there are times and periods in international games where an England No 9 can still be a massive threat. People keep talking about the modern game, a loose No 9, the way Spain and Barcelona play, but there is still a place at the top level for a player of Andy’s qualities. He’s one of the best No 9s out there.'

Illustration by Ned Wilson of WhimsyWoods

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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Chelsea v Liverpool Match Preview


Chelsea face a tough test against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge today, a fixture which has developed into a tense rivalry over the last few years. With Man United extending their lead at the top of the table through a Chicharito inspired comeback at Villa Park yesterday, the Blues will be hoping for 3 points to re-close the gap.

Today’s match will see Chelsea captain John Terry restored to the side after completing his four-match domestic ban and the return of Mata and Luiz, who sat out of the 1-1 draw with Swansea due to injury. Liverpool will make a number of changes from Thursday nights 1-0 loss to Anzhi Makhachkala in Europe.

Chelsea will be hoping their £50 million pound striker Fernando Torres can recapture his form from his early Liverpool days. However, history doesn’t make good reading for Chelsea as since moving to Stamford Bridge, Torres has yet to be on the winning side against his old club.

It’s hard to look beyond a Chelsea victory, with Liverpool struggling for consistent form during Brendan Rodgers reconstruction of the squad and style of play. However, Liverpool did the double over Chelsea in the League last season and are becoming a bogey team for Chelsea. I believe today’s match will hinge on who gets the first goal.

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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Sobering Experience for McCarthy

New Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy received a nasty wake-up call last night when his side were beaten 5-0 at the hands of Crystal Palace.

After a dream start last Saturday with a 1-0 win over Birmingham, McCarthy was given a severe reality check as his side were easily dispatched by Ian Holloway’s new team.

McCarthy described the defeat as a 'sobering experience', but explained that he wasn't expecting to solve his new sides problem's overnight.

Speaking to the BBC, McCarthy stated: 'That's highlighted our frailties. It was a sobering experience. But I didn't come away from Birmingham thinking we'd turned a corner, that everything was going to be OK.'

'I've certainly learned a lot. I'll learn even more when I watch it back in the morning. There's a lot to look at. It's really disappointing.'

McCarthy's men conceded three penalties in 11 minutes early in the second half of the game against Birmingham, ensuring they would suffer a ninth defeat in fourteen games to keep them rooted to the bottom of the Championship. 

'I've never seen a team concede three penalties at all - never mind in 11 minutes. It was bizarre and it's killed us off completely,' said McCarthy.

'The penalties, I'm undecided on. It's disappointing for all the fans that came. I was probably encouraged a little bit in the first half. It's so disappointing in the second.'

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Centre Forward Position Top of Walcott’s Christmas List

Theo Walcott’s future at Arsenal hinges heavily upon whether he is gifted a regular centre forward position in Arsene Wenger’s team and a Christmas deadline has been set for the player to agree a new deal.

Walcott scored a hat-trick when selected as a striker in Arsenal's 7-5 epic comeback against Reading in the League Cup on Tuesday, but the lack of first team action in the league has left the 23-year-old reluctant to commit his future to the Gunners.

In response to Walcott's demands, Wenger has stated: 'I have always said it is important that he plays in the right position and that certainly would be through the middle in the future. He showed that again on Tuesday night.'

'The positions on the flanks are changing, you need to do a lot of defending. He should be dedicated more to offensive work. He has good pace, makes excellent, intelligent runs, and what has changed with Theo is he's become a very good finisher.'

After a five year new contract was rejected by Walcott in August he has been linked with a move away from Arsenal, with Liverpool been cited as potential suitors. His existing contract runs out next summer and Wenger has stated his intent to resolve talks with Theo by Christmas.

Wenger said: 'There is urgency. We want to sort it out before Christmas, one way or the other.'

Illustration by Ned Wilson of WhimsyWoods