Archive for premier league

Outraged Arsenal fan takes extreme measures

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Cesc Fabregas’s £30m move to Chelsea has left many fans heartbroken. But the bad guy, according to one long time Arsenal fan, is Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal had first option to bring the Spain international back to the Emirates, but even though Fabregas wanted to return to North London, Arsene Wenger felt he already had enough players in that position.

This decision has prompted long-term Arsenal supporter John Eastman to take drastic measures.

The 55-year-old Eastman, who has been a Gunners supporter for the last 45 years, was so outraged by Wenger that he had an Arsenal crest tattoo on his chest covered with another design before binning club memorabilia.

After Fabregas completed his move to Chelsea, Mr Eastman decided that he no longer wanted the tattoo or club souvenirs that he had collected over the many decades of supporting Arsenal.

‘Wenger won’t put his hand in his pocket to buy players, he’s too tight,’ Mr Eastman said.

‘He’s broken my heart.’

Love hurts…

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Tables turned: Skysports apologises to John Terry

Photo by: Александр Мысякин.

‘I am too lazy for revenge, I just wait for karma to kick in’ could have been John Terry’s facebook status today.

Karma really is shinning down on JT who has often been the victim of unfair media coverage. In February last year, media organisations the world over scrambled to publish details about John Terry’s alleged affair with ex-teammate John Bridge’s former wife.

These alleged revelations splashed on front pages of publications all over the world lead to the footballer losing the England captaincy and almost/ nearly ended his marriage.

Leading the brigade was New of the World. The 168-year old tabloid was forced to shut-down after a Guardian investigation revealed a shocking, soul-less culture and turned the tables on the dirt-digging publication.

Today, Sky Sports apologised for misquoting John Terry in an interview about Tottenham midfielder Luca Modric. I suspect, John Terry and most celebs can look forward to deluge of apologies coming their way in the following weeks as media organisations go into a NOTW spurred extra-cautious mode.

Photo by: Gene Hunt.

Although, the NOTW revelations make it impossible to argue in the tabloid’s favour. Romantics among us might have felt some remorse for a 168-year old establishment to have come to such a terrible and bitter end. Others who remember times when tabloids were publications that got some of the best scoops and set the tone for political debate and weren’t synonymous with dirty, sensationalist, (and now criminal) news reporting might go further and blame Rupert Murdoch for ruining a British tabloid.

But, there is no denying that the tabloid culture and the news culture as a whole needs to change. If a sesquicentennial publication has to die to set this change in motion, so be it.

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Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent

Liverpool FC have announced that Rafael Benitez has left the club by mutual consent. The Spaniard succeeded Gerard Houllier at the english premier league club 6 years ago in June 2004. In 2005, his very first season at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez lead the club to Champions League success followed by an FA cup in 2006. He became the first manager in Liverpool’s illustrious history to win major trophies in his first 2 seasons. American businessmen, Tom Hicks and George Gillette took over the club in 2007 marking a new era for Liverpool FC and Benitez. The new owners were quick to back Benitez and Liverpool returned to the finals of the Champions League in 2007 but this time lost to AC Milan.

The fans however were getting impatient and wanted desperately to win the Premier League title back from their fierce rivals Manchester United. The owners made funds available for Benitez so he could deliver the Premier League. A record £26.5m pounds were spent to bring spanish striker Fernando Torres to the club but the premier league title eluded the Anfield faithful.

Last season Liverpool went out in the group stages of the Champions League and finished 7th in the league table, denying them Champions League football this season. Benitez’s tactics on the field as well as his transfer dealings including the £20m spent on the rarely used Robbie Keane and £20m on an injured Alberto Aquilani started to frustrate the fans and friction between the owners and Benitez became more and more public. However, it seems that falling out of the top 4 is what ultimately caused Benitez to lose his job.

Benitez, who had four years left of his five year contract to run, resigned after accepting a severance payment said that he was “extremely sad” to be leaving the club. The former Valencia manager had in the recent months been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid.  The posts at both these clubs have been recently filled since and it seems likely that Rafael Benitez might fill the spot left vacant by Jose Mourinho at at this year’s European Champions Inter Milan.

Liverpool FC which in debt to the tune of £351m and was put up on sale by it owners now focuses on finding a successor to Rafael Benitez. Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, Fulham boss Roy Hodgeson as well as former Chelsea manager Gus Hiddink have all been linked with the job. The search for a new manager however could be hindered by the uncertainty surrounding the Liverpool FC’s future ownership and its precarious financial condition.

Article first published as Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent on Technorati.

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Avram Grant Named New West Ham Manager

West Ham United have appointed Avram Grant as the club’s new manager. The Israeli signed a four-year deal which is subject to him being granted a work-permit. The former Portsmouth manager succeeds Gianfranco Zola who was sacked after the Hammers finished 17th in last season’s league.

Avram Grant who is a personal friend of Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, shot into the limelight when he was appointed the  manager of Chelsea FC following the abrupt departure of the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Chelsea fans were shocked by Jose Mourinho’s sacking and livid at the owner’s choice of ‘The Special One’s’ successor sparking a series of protests, some of racial and anti semantic nature. They felt he lacked the expertise to manage at the highest level. UEFA didn’t make things easier for Avram Grant either, with the governing body threatening to put an end to his long-term future at Chelsea FC since he did not possess the UEFA Pro License required under the Premier League rules by anyone wishing to manage a top-flight club on a permanent basis i.e. longer than 12 weeks.Despite all the chaos surrounding his appointment, Avram Grant kept his head and led Chelsea FC to a second place finish in the Premier League, to the Champions League Final, the League Cup Final and the FA Cup final.

Avram Grant’s contract was terminated by Chelsea FC at the end of the season and he moved to Portsmouth FC.

During his tenure at Portsmouth, they suffered a 9-point deduction owing to their financial meltdown and became the first top-flight club to go into administration. Avram Grant however, motivated his players who had not been paid on several occasions to give it their best every time they went on to the pitch. He galvanized the team and Portsmouth fought till the very end. Grant quite brilliantly, through sheer grit, determination and belief managed to take the most-obvious relegation candidates to England’s most coveted Cup Final, the FA Cup Final. Even though Portsmouth lost to Chelsea in the final, their fans continued to sing past the final whistle, still believing in their club. Last season truly was one of Avram Grant’s best, silencing critics once and for all.

Avram Grant’s time in England with Chelsea and Portsmouth leaves no doubt about his managerial abilities. No one would argue with West Ham’s co-owner David Gold who felt Avram Grant’s appointment as West Ham manager brings “stability and experience” to the club. Avram Grant who will be officially unveiled this month said, “I am proud and honoured to be the manager of West Ham”.

It seems only fair that a club supported by an impressive fanbase including the likes of Elton John, Rod Stewart, Russell Brand, Alfred Hitchcock, Sebastian Faulks, Nicolas Cage and the President of the United States, Barack Obama is managed by the very impressive Avram Grant.

Article first published as Avram Grant Named New West Ham Manager on Technorati.

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Chelsea Win, Sir Alex Rants

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Chelsea beat Manchester United and we are now 5 points clear of them at the top (the view from the top is spectacular!). The best bit was that it was our captain fantastic John Terry who scored the all important goal in a very hard fought out game of football. I can’t believe I finally got a prediction so right! Earlier in the day someone asked me who would score for Chelsea and I had said JT!  It would have been great if Chelsea had won by loads of goals but credit to Manchester United for playing very well. In fact, I think United played some of their best football of the season last evening, which probably isn’t saying  much especially since their form has been no where near  what it was during the sparkling win-all Cristiano Ronaldo days.  However, of all the clashes with the top 3, the match I enjoy the least is when Chelsea play Manchester United and it’s not because I am scared of Chelsea losing… I mean, c’mon the last time Chelsea lost to Manchester United was in April 2002!  Its because no matter how well you play against Manchester United to beat them, you are always blamed for cheating or getting lucky or both. The next days headlines are usually dominated not by the positive play of the team that won but by how poor a deal United or what Sir Alex thinks! I don’t care what Sir Alex has to say! He is the worst loser in the league. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that wanting to win every time is the mark of a champion. It shows your desire, your passion for the game and your commitment to excellence. But there is a difference between wanting to win every time and being a unsporting, blaming, bratty loser. Sir Alex has made being a bad loser something of an art. Whenever his team loses, there is almost always something wrong with the refereeing, or the referee or the weather and when United win, he shares a laugh and jokes with the same referees who have now remarkably become fit and worthy of his smiles and back-slapping!

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He is a brilliant manager and one would forgive  him a lot but surely he must know that his attitude is adopted by his team. They look up to the gaffer and so when thing aren’t going their way, instead of focusing on their football, they start to focus on being bratty and on trying to influence referee decision like Darren Fletcher did when he waved an imaginary card at referee Martin Atkinson in an attempt to get Carvalho dismissed for a tackle on Rooney.

If Johnny Evans’  ill-tempered tackle on Drogba was not a case of a dangerously high-challenge, I don’t know what is. His studs caught Drogba in the chest full-force leaving the Chelsea striker wincing in pain and he was quite understandably in no position to jog off the field at lightening pace. The referee showed him a yellow for staying on the field, an incomprehensible and inhuman decision. Johnny Evans who deserved a red for the assault got away scot-free.

Sir Alex has pointed out quite a few things wrong with the goal that won Chelsea the game, starting from the free-kick which he felt was unjustly awarded to Chelsea; he feels Drogba was interfering with play from an offside position and also something about the referee not being in the right position. Next, he will be complaining about the colour of the referee’s hair or perhaps the effect Carlo Ancelotti’s raised eyebrow has on Fletcher’s concentration and how the chairs at Stamford are at a strange home-team advantage angle. Stop lying to yourself and cooking up excuses and blaming everything in sight. Admit that you didn’t make the most of the chances you had and the other team did, decisions in football have a weird way of evening themselves out and are never the reason a team wins or loses a game. The bottom line is Manchester United lost and Chelsea who haven’t by the way conceded at Stamford Bridge in 872 minutes, won.

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The Open Season: Stronger than Ever EPL

barclayspremierleagueIt has been a weekend of quite a few revelations in the English Premier League. The results from Saturday’s and Sunday’s matches really are an eye-opener, showing us just how much the league has changed since its inception and just how different this season is from the seasons in the past. Being in the top 4 is no longer a done deal or a privy of the traditional top four clubs with Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City hard on their heels threatening to replace them should they even for a second, take their eye of the ball. Aston Villa quite literally displayed this by scoring off two set pieces in their match against Chelsea.

Unlike past seasons, this season has also seen a lot less draws, which just goes to show that teams are stronger and more confident about being able to take points off of each other and off the Top 4.  Moreover the games in the league are becoming a lot more open and most teams are willing to take some risks to try and win. `Win or lose trying’ seems to be the mantra they’ve come up with after analyzing last years’ results in which Liverpool lost fewer matches than Manchester United and yet ended up second despite having done a double on the then would-be Champions.

There is a newfound confidence in the top half of the table.  West Ham who came back from 2 goals down to draw the match against an Arsenal team in explosive form, goes on to show that more and more teams are beginning to believe that if they take their best game to the top clubs, attack and don’t allow their game to be dictated by the Big 4, they have a very good chance of taking a few points off them. Add to that the fact that the top four are picking points against each other. Manchester United won against Arsenal, Chelsea walked away with all three points in their match against Liverpool and Liverpool beat Manchester United showing that the Top 4 know that a draw against each other just isn’t good enough to guarantee them a top 4 or 5 or six finish in a very competitive premier league season.

Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea are going to have to fight for every point. There are just no more easy games for the top teams this season. Tottenham and Aston Villa have improved their squads. Manchester City with the millions they’ve spent in the transfer market are also looking to break into the top four and have quite an impressive squad.

This time, last season, Liverpool were top of the table at 25 points while Portsmouth were seventh and had only 14 points to show. This season, should Manchester City and Aston Villa pick up any points in their games in hand, the gap between the top 7 would be just six points.

This season is probably the most open Premier League season yet, and also the most entertaining. It is a clear indication that the English Premier League has become stronger despite having lost some of its stars to the La Liga and is probably the tightest, toughest, most competitive league in the world.

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Liverpool Win-Win Chelsea

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Go Liverpool! (Now, don’t leave, I haven’t changed allegiance!) Most true blues right now are rooting for Liverpool. Heck! I bet even Terry and the lads are running on their treadmills while hydrating themselves with their energy drinks (coz that is what they should be doing when the season is on)are cheering on Stevie G and his men. Chelsea did their job last evening with a stunning performance at home against Blackburn Rovers and are top of the table. That is all they could have done, and unfortunately we are in a position where staying top of the table depends on Liverpool really giving United a fight in today’s clash at Anfield.

I am glad we have Liverpool taking on the Red Devils today, because if there is any team, according to me who have the power, desire and a real chance of beating United, it Liverpool. I wouldn’t judge them by their form in the last few matches; in fact, I think it just might work out to Liverpool and our favour. They haven’t tasted success in so long and have been under such tremendous pressure and criticism and we know that they are the stuff champions are made of. They just might use all this anger and frustration to give a real thrashing to Sir Alex’s ‘not-really-in–form’ Manchester United. Manchester United have been scraping through but really didn’t deserve all the points against Bolton and it would have been fair if Sunderland had gotten all 3 points in their match against them.

Of course, Liverpool haven’t really been going great guns either. But for Liverpool it all depends on whether they play their best 11. I think Liverpool have the best starting 11 in the league after Chelsea and when everyone in the team is fit to play, they are capable of beating even the free-flowing Arsenal. The problem for Liverpool starts when one or two of their players are injured, that is when they really struggle because they just haven’t got players good enough to replace the first-teamers. A lot of people call Liverpool a Torres-Stevie show. I think it’s more of a Toress-Stevie G and Mascherano show. They need the midfielder even more now following Alonso’s departure. Mascherano has said recently that he wants to win. I hope Rafa can lead the team to some silverware this season or it would get very tough for Liverpool. The Argentine, I guess will be in the starting line-up today and hopefully, the talk about him not signing a new contract with Liverpool and Barcelona’s immense interest in the midfielder will all be forgotten on the field, atleast for today’s match. If they can have Stevie G, Torres and Javier Mascherano starting they are an incredibly tough team to beat, especially at home where their fans can drive any team to commit Hara-kiri!

So, there is really a very good chance that Liverpool will end up beating United or atleast drawing the match at Anfield today. And you know what that means…. Top of the table baby! ktbffh

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