Friday, June 5, 2009

Edin Dzeko - Bidding War on The Road

With rumours swirling of Edin Džeko possibly heading to Manchester City, AC Milan or Chelsea, the Bosnia and Herzegovina international stated in a radio interview: “Talks on a new contract with Wolfsburg are currently underway. If I get what I have asked for I will most likely stay there for another year.”

That aside, with Manchester City sniffing around, the asking price of £9m could make a sizable jump to the point that it would be impossible for Wolfsburg to turn down. With Man City’s attempt to sign Carlos Tevez suffering some growing pains, it is very possible the Wolfsburg could see a bidding war erupt for the Sarajevo native.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009



Premier League underachievers in the last 18 years showed no mercy on 9 time European Champions. Real Madrid were never been in the game in the whole 180 minutes and outplayed by Liverpool in every department. Liverpool bolstered by Torres return. Real Madrid were torn to shreds by a breattaking attacking display from Liverpool in remarkable fashion. Torres scored early on, before Steven Gerrard fired home from the spot. Gerrard scored a spectacular third seconds after the break to deflate Madrid further and substitute Andrea Dossena added a fourth with three minutes to go. Gerrard had a greatest night among all by scoring brace on his 100th Europen appearance.


Chelsea reached the quarter finals of Champions League after coming back twice to overcome 10 men Juventus on 3-2 aggregate. Chelsea came to Turin with a goal advantage from Stamford Bridge when Vincenzo Iaquinta scored in the 19th minute. In the 44th minute referee Alberto Undiano had ruled that a free-kick by Didier Drogba had not crossed the goal line. The debate became academic in first-half stoppage time as Frank Lampard's shot came down off the underside of the bar for Michael Essien to bundle home. Juventus restored their lead on the night when Undiano awarded the Italian side a 74th-minute penalty for handball by Juliano Belletti. Chelsea battled back for a second time when Drogba prodded home a cross from Belletti in the 83rd minute to give the Blues a 3-2 aggregate win. Juventus received a major blow when Pavel Nedved injured twice in the first eight minute which forced him to stay out of the game. Juventus hopes were hampered further when Chiellini was sent off for a second bookable offence after fouling Drogba.


Bayern just continued their merciless assault on Sporting Lisbon just where they have left couple of weeks back. Bayern thrashed Lisbon by 12-1 on aggregate. Leading 5-0 from the first leg, a double from Lukas Podolski and Anderson Polga's own goal put them 3-0 up on the night within 40 minutes before Joao Moutinho pulled one back in stunning fashion. Bastian Schweinsteiger hitting an immediate reply, before Mark van Bommel, Miroslav Klose (pen) and Thomas Muller netted in the second half. Bayern made record aggregate winning margin for post-group stage matches which is previously held by Lyon's demolition on Werder Bremen by 10-2 in 2005.


Villareal came to Olympic Stadium for second leg of the first knock-out round tie with the disadvantage of having conceded on home soil in the 1-1 draw two weeks ago. Four minutes into the second half Argentine Ibagaza opened the scoring for Villareal. Vangelis Mantzios levelled the tie with his fourth goal in six matches in the 55th minute through powerful header. Joseba Llorente's strike sealed Villarreal's place in the Champions League quarter-finals in the 70th minute. Llorente was replaced ineffective Nihat Kahveci.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

SAF : Next 7 Days Time to Land Big Five...

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has told his players that the next seven days could unlock the door to a record-breaking five trophies this season.

With the Carling Cup and the Club World Cup already in the bag, United face Fulham in the FA Cup today, Inter Milan in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday and Barclays Premier League title rivals Liverpool next Saturday.
The United manager had shied away from talking about a possible five trophies but last night he hinted that it will be a real possibility. Ferguson said: 'If you asked me at the start of the season where I would like to be in the middle of March, you couldn't go much beyond where we are now.

United have had opportunities to sweep the board domestically before, but their Treble of 1999 is the only time they have gone close to claiming all the trophies available to them in one season.

United rest key players today but will field a team strong enough to reach the semi-finals. Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be in the squad, despite the buffeting he took at Newcastle in midweek.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Is Jagielka Promise Burning

Talk about being thrown in at the deep end. Just two years after first gracing the Premier League, Phil Jagielka last night made a well-earned England debut. Not in a gentle run-out against a group of plumbers from the wrong side of the Caucasus, but facing possibly the world's two best strikers at the same time.
Jagielka will have had better evenings. Fernando Torres and David Villa's electric movement, deft touch and blistering pace ensured a baptism of fire for the Everton man in the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. He was withdrawn after just 45 minutes, around seven after his stray pass found Xabi Alonso, who slipped in Villa to twist Jagielka and John Terry and open the scoring.
Those who doubt Jagielka's credentials will be comfortable they were proved right. Those who would rather have seen Matthew Upson fill the breach left by Rio Ferdinand. Those who regard the 26-year-old as a one-time Championship standard clogger who should be left in a lay-by on the road to the World Cup.
At one of Fabio Capello's open training sessions last summer, where the media are invited to cast an eye over the two dozen or so who represent England's best and brightest as they go through a variety of simple exercises, Jagielka caused quite a stir. Not because of his performance, but because nobody among the assembled throng seemed quite sure who he was or why he was there.
The ignorance is easily explained. For five years, Jagielka was famous for one thing only - he was quite a decent stand-in goalkeeper when required. Neil Warnock, his manager at Sheffield United, often failed to name a specialist on the bench, knowing the man born a Blade could fill the breach. But when Bramall Lane became a Premier League venue, Jagielka blossomed.
His energy, drive and uncompromising attitude to defending caught the eye as Warnock's side narrowly failed to avoid relegation. David Moyes brought him to Everton for £4 million, and after a slightly shaky start, he is now surely one of the league's best defenders.
Nobody has been more important to Everton's resurgence than Jagielka. His partnership with Joleon Lescott has helped the club on a run of just one loss in 12, a sequence that has included eight clean sheets. His first England appearance was thoroughly deserved.
There is a step up, though, from top Premier League player to international standard centre back. Jagielka barely gave Torres a sniff of goal in three Merseyside derbies, but it is quite a different matter when there is a player of Villa's quality to think about as well. But if Jagielka's transition from stand-in keeper to Premier League rock is anything to go by, he can only get better. He deserves the chance to do that on the international stage too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Steve Clarke Departure is Begining of The End for Scolari

Luiz Felipe Scolari's shock departure means there are now two holes to fill on the Chelsea bench.
Whether it is Carlo Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard, Roberto Mancini or Guus Hiddink who fills one of them, it is who the Brazilian's successor chooses to plug the other gap that may be more significant.

Of the myriad factors which combined to bring Scolari's tenure at Stamford Bridge to an end, the loss of Steve Clarke as assistant manager may have been the most important. Clarke was the last survivor of the heady days of Jose Mourinho, a trusted confidante of the players and the man credited with fine-tuning the minutiae of the system that made Chelsea great.
Players complained Scolari's training regime was not sufficiently intensive. Clarke's domain. Chelsea leaked goals from set-pieces, with Scolari flitting between zonal and man marking. Clarke's domain. Their full-backs negated by blanket defences at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea looked guileless and shapeless. Clarke's domain.

Allowing the Scot to team up with Gianfranco Zola at West Ham may have been a bigger mistake than Roman Abramovich not opening up his chequebook to rejuvenate the squad or Peter Kenyon's failure to land Robinho. West Ham, resurgent under the Italian, look compact, solid, sharp and well-drilled. All the things Scolari's Chelsea were not.

Most managers would bear witness to the importance of the right-hand man. Ask Sir Alex Ferguson, who missed out on the Premier League title in 2002 after losing lieutenant Steve McClaren and failing to replace him.

When Carlos Queiroz was brought in, the championship returned to Old Trafford. When the Portuguese left for Real Madrid, United slumped again. Ferguson returned Queiroz as soon as he could.

Or perhaps Rafa Benitez could provide testimony. His long-time associate, Pako Ayesteran, was the link between training ground and boot room, the man who knew the players inside out. When he left the club in 2007, Liverpool's form dipped, and it was small wonder that Benitez acted as quickly as he could to replace him as soon as his contract expired last summer.
Arsene Wenger has Pat Rice, Martin O'Neill has John Robertson. Aside from Clarke, Mourinho took all of his staff with him from Porto to Chelsea and from there to Inter.

The assistants are sounding boards, critics and friends. They handle the details managers cannot. They are the men players complain to, tasked with quieting unrest.

In Clarke, Chelsea had a man imbued with the spirit of the club, who explained to the world-class mercenaries brought to west London by Abramovich's billions what it meant to play in blue. It would never have been easy to replace him. Chelsea's error was getting into a position where they had to.

Chelsea kingmakers:
Eugene TenenbaumRoman Abramovich's trusted deputy, a director at the club and a former head of corporate finance at Sibneft, the oil company which made Abramovich his fortune. Tenenbaum was head of Millhouse Finance, Abramovich's advisors, and has now become the Russian's man on the ground in London. It is Tenenbaum who reports to Abramovich on the state of affairs at Chelsea and whose opinion was key in deciding to dispense with Scolari.
Bruce Buck Chelsea's chairman, American Bruce Buck, is the only other investor in the club apart from Abramovich. Buck, a season ticket holder at Stamford Bridge since the early 1990s, owns one share to the Russian's 84 million. He met Abramovich through working on takeovers for Sibneft, and prefers to keep a low profile, allowing Peter Kenyon to be the public face of the club.

Clarke became assistant to new manager José Mourinho in the summer of 2004 and was a part of the coaching set-up which saw Chelsea win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups over three seasons. When Mourinho departed from Chelsea in September 2007, Clarke's services were retained by new manager Avram Grant, although Henk ten Cate was brought in as co-assistant. Following Avram Grant's departure in May 2008 there was increasing speculation where Clarke's future lay. There were rumours that Clarke would be installed as assistant manager to David Moyes at Everton FC. Further speculation arose when co-assistant, Henk ten Cate had his contract terminated on the 29 May, five days after Grant was sacked. On May 31st 2008, he was linked to the Leicester job vacated by Ian Holloway, who was sacked after guiding the club to relegation to League 1 for the first time in their history. He was also linked with the job after Gary Megson left to join Chelsea's Premiership rivals Bolton. However new Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari decided to retain Clarke citing his 'importance to the club's history'.

Monday, February 9, 2009

SACKED : Chelsea Sacked Scolari

Chelsea have sensationally sacked manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, just hours after Tony Adams was booted out of Portsmouth.
A statement on the club's official website revealed the move had been made 'tomaintain a challenge for the trophies we are still competing for'. Scolari, who coached Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002, was this afternoon dismissed with the Stamford Bridge club fourth in the Barclays Premier League - seven pointsbehind leaders Manchester United having played a game more.
In a short statement, written in Portuguese, Scolari said: 'I appreciate the opportunity to have worked at Chelsea and in English football. It was a very valuable experience. I regret that our time together has not lasted longer. 'I wish luck to Chelsea in the three competitions that they are disputing.
'I will continue to live in London,' he added. The 60-year-old has paid the price following a poor run of results that included recent defeats against title rivals United and Liverpool, and culminated with a dismal 0-0 draw against Hull City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, a result that was met with boos from the home supporters.
Scolari becomes the eighth Premier League manager to depart this season, following Adams (Portsmouth) earlier today, Paul Ince (Blackburn), Roy Keane (Sunderland), Juande Ramos (Tottenham) now managing Real Madrid, Harry Redknapp (Portsmouth) now managing Tottenham Hotspurs, Alan Curbishley (West Ham) and Kevin Keegan (Newcastle).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jagielka and C. Cole Gets Chance from Capello

England coach Fabio Capello rewarding in-form players in Everton's Phil Jagielka and West Ham's Carltone Cole with a chance to impress, while the on-loan AC Milan midfielder David Beckham could equal Bobby Moore's 108 cap record if selected against the Euro 2008 champions. Capello has opted not to include Wayne Rooney, who has been out with a hamstring injury since January, although he is expected to return to action for Manchester United at Upton Park tomorrow. A similar ailment has also ensured the absence of the Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard from the squad.

England squad to face Spain on 11 February
Goalkeepers: Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Man City), David James (Portsmouth).
Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Man City), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glenn Johnson (Portsmouth), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Luke Young (Villa).
Midfielders: David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Gareth Barry (Villa), Michael Carrick (Man Utd), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Villa), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Man City), Ashley Young (Villa).
Forwards: Gabriel Agbonlahor (Villa), Carlton Cole (West Ham), Peter Crouch (Portsmouth), Emil Heskey (Villa).