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Weekend Preview – Sunday – Gameweek 29

March 6th, 2010

EVERTON v. HULL CITY – Sunday, March 7th

After a shaky start to the season, the Toffees have turned things around and are steadily moving up the table.  Recently, they’ve toppled Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City and there aren’t many sides that would want to tackle this side at home, especially Hull City.  It’s hard to look past the fact that the Tigers are offensively challenged on the road, not to mention, winless.  The arrival of Donovan has proven to be a worthwhile investment while reports are circulating that he is pushing to make his move to Goodison Park permanent.  Regardless, the Toffees are looking strong at the moment, while Hull is looking very much like a dying animal.  They could be on their way out unless they find some form.  There’s only one way this game will end.

Everton 2 – 0 Hull City

LIVERPOOL v. WIGAN – Monday, March 8th

Wigan’s leaky defensive record on the road may be their downfall in this fixture against a Liverpool team who isslowly finding form and getting their stars back from injury.  Wigan are winless in their last nine matches and are going to need to park the bus in front of goal to be able to get any points from the Reds.  However, with Liverpool’s shaky form recently, that might just be enough to throw them off.  Expect Benitez to field his strongest team possible as any slip ups from here on out will be curtains on their Champions League aspirations.  And with Gerrard, Torres and possibly Johnson back, the Reds should be coming out firing on all cylinders.

Liverpool 3 – 1 Wigan

PORTSMOUTH v. BIRMINGHAM – Tuesday, March 9th

This is a crucial fixture for Pompey and Avram Grant’s men must find a way to get a win if they want to even think about EPL survival.  Hopefully for the cash-strapped side, they won’t have one eye on Wembley as retaining their top flight status should be top of their to-do list.  Unfortunately for them, Birmingham are having a very decent season and sit 8th with more away wins than Portsmouth have home wins.  Pompey have actually won three of their last four, one of which was against Birmingham in the FA Cup.  This fixture will be an exact replay of their game today (March 6th).  Pompey look to have the upper hand, but I think we’ll see a different game on Tuesday and Pompey will be even hungrier to emulate their recent victory over the Blues.

Portsmouth 1 – 3 Birmingham

SUNDERLAND v. BOLTON

Sunderland are winless in their last 14 matches.  Yes, 14.  They haven’t taken 3 points since November 21st against Arsenal.  That pretty much sums up their plight and the reason that they are now being dragged into the relegation dogfight.  Even with their seemingly sound squad, Sunderland are hopeless at the moment.  Steve Bruce had better churn out a result somehow or he could be tipped to be the next manager ousted.  Bolton have a hard time scoring on the road, and (other than today) haven’t scored in their travels in their last six matches.  Not many goals are scored at the Stadium of Light, and this match probably won’t be any different.

Sunderland 2 – 0 Bolton

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The Battle for 4th

Even at Christmas, we knew that the last Champions League spot would be up for grabs.  With Liverpool, Man City, Aston Villa and Tottenham all vying for the coveted position, there is serious potential for a dramatic climax to the end of the season.  It’s tough to get all the information you want and need about these four teams, their fixtures, tendencies and key players.  So, naturally, we’ve decided to compile what we think is a comprehensive analysis of the fourth place spot and all the parties involved.  Starting from our current (As of March 4th) fourth place team, we have Tottenham.

TOTTENHAM – 49 Points

The Spurs have been one of the seasons high fliers and now have a realistic chance at grabbing the fourth place spot as well as the FA Cup.  Despite some setbacks in injuries to players like Modric and currently Lennon, they have just as much bite as ever.

Remaining Fixtures:  Blackburn (h), Stoke City (a), Portsmouth (h), Sunderland (a), Arsenal (h), Chelsea (h), Man United (a), Bolton (h), Burnley (a)

Obviously the tough patch will be the Arsenal, Chelsea, United games on back-to-back weekends.  They play their two most hated rivals on home turf and then finish up with a monumental game at United.  They have the potential to knick full points from Arsenal and maybe scrape a draw of Chelsea, but if they fail to win either of the those games, don’t count on them taking points at United.  At home, they are a stingy group at the back, and are tied with Fulham for second fewest goals conceded at home (9, Birmingham and Man United only 8).  However, with Arsenal having scored the most away goals in the EPL (28) and Chelsea in a close third (24), it will be interesting to see how Redknapp handles them defensively.

Key Men:  Jermain Defoe, Luka Modric, Michael Dawson

With Defoe continually getting on the scoresheet, the Spurs will always be an offensive threat.  Combine Defoe’s speed with Crouch’s aerial ability and Pavlyuchenko’s knack for knicking goals and you have a potent mix. Luka Modric faced a lengthy spell out with a broken bone in his leg, but is back at his best in the heart of the Spur’s midfield.  The Croat is a genuine playmaker and will be essential to Tottenham breaking down defensively sound teams like Manchester United and Chelsea.  Despite not getting consistent starts in the beginning of the season, Michael Dawson has been omnipresent in the latter half of the season and is one of the main reasons Spurs hold such a strong defensive record.

MANCHESTER CITY – 49 Points

Who ever said money can’t buy happiness?  Who ever said money can’t win you a Premier League Title?  Abramavich?  Probably not.  Money bags City have been at the forefront of a boatload of media attention and for good reason.  They are the face stomping, trash talking, manager sacking bad boys of the EPL at the moment, and there’s no wonder there is speculation as to whether Mr. Jose Mourinho may be tempted to ply his trade at Eastlands.

Remaining Fixtures:  Sunderland (a), Fulham (a), Everton (h), Wigan (h), Burnley (a), Birmingham (h), Manchester United (h), Arsenal (a)

Easily enough to predict, the end of the season could be a nail biter for the Blue’s faithful.  Though, Everton and Birmingham shouldn’t be a walk in the park either.  Granted, City remain the ONLY team in the EPL who are unbeaten at home and that speaks volumes about their defensive line.  What has hurt City the most this year has been all the draws they’ve accumulated. If you look back, they dropped points to mediocre teams when they were in the driver’s seat.  Looking towards those last two fixtures, City only lost to United by seconds at Old Trafford and could certainly provide a game for the Red Devils at Eastlands.  They’ve met again in Carling Cup action in which the United dumped them out in the second leg.  As for Arsenal, City has already ousted them once at home and once in the Carling Cup.  Granted, Wenger followed the typical play-your-reserves type scheme whereas Hughes went for the jugular and grabbed a 3 – 0 win.  However, I’ll expect a goalfest at the Emirates as City have allowed almost as many goals they’ve scored on their travels and Arsenal boast the second highest number of goals conceded at home (Also Man City – 14, after Everton, 17).  Oh yeah, they also have a game in hand.

Key Men:  Carlos Tevez

City actually does a considerable job spreading the wealth in terms of goal scoring, but Carlos Tevez leads the line with 15 goals, with Adebayor coming in second with 9.  The little Argentine has been in a battle of words with several of his former teammates across the way at Old Trafford, and from a neutral supporter’s perspective, you can only smirk.  Should Ferguson have kept him around?  Put it this way, would you rather see Berbatov or Tevez on your teamsheet?  I know where I’d put my vote.  Tevez is like a bulldog.  A small, Argentinian, smiley, bulldog.  If he and Adebayor weren’t so efficient in front of goal, City would be miles down the table as they have a fairly high number of goals allowed at home.  Should, for some reason, Tevez or Adebayor be stricken with sickness or injury, Blues fans had better start praying to somebody.  It’s no wonder Mancini wanted Tevez back from Argentina so badly…

LIVERPOOL – 48 Points

“What’s happened?” could be the headline of Liverpool’s season so far.  That applies to the season in general, the game against Portsmouth and Manchester City as well as their illustrious history.  Really though, what happened?  The Reds were tipped to be right up there in the title fight and now face an embarrassing season outside the Champions League.  But now, with their big guns returning to the show, we may still have yet to see the Reds fight.

Remaining Fixtures: Wigan (a), Portsmouth (h), Manchester United (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a), Fulham (h), West Ham (h), Burnley (a), Chelsea (h), Hull (a)

The script hasn’t yet been written by Benitez’s men, but a lot of people have surely started a rough draft.  Their remaining games aren’t anything to smile about as they face an airtight Birmingham defense (at least at home), Manchester United at Old Trafford and then the London Blues at Anfield.  Remember that last year at about this same time, Liverpool ousted United at Old Trafford to keep the title fight still alive.  Reds fans across the country will be hoping for a similar result.  And, in possibly their season defining fixture, host the mighty Blues.  The only thing they could have going for them going into this game is that Chelsea may already have one hand around the title, but still be gunning in the Champions League.  That could cause Ancelotti to field a weakened side which could allow Liverpool to take points.  Liverpool are known for pulling out magic comebacks, but Benitez has hopefully saved his biggest trick yet to get into the last Champions League Spot.

Key Men:  Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt

Anybody who knows anything can tell you that Gerrard and Torres are the backbone of this Liverpool team.  When they are fit, Liverpool’s chances of success increase exponentially, and now that they are, the Reds have a realistic chance at getting 4th.  Now the question is: can they stay fit?  Dirk Kuyt has been a hero for the Kop in Torres’s absence, ensuring wins at Tottenham, Everton and Bolton at home.  The Dutchman has a knack for popping up at the right time to grab points and could be instrumental in the dogfights they are going to face in coming weeks.  That plus Gerrard’s ability to be a game changer and Torres’s goal scoring record (13 despite being injured for a few moths)  just might be enough to see them through.

ASTON VILLA – 45 Points

The Clarets have been contenders for a top four spot from the start of the season, beating Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United but dropping silly points to bad teams.  This season has been a fairly open one, and the difference between here and there has been slim.  Villa does have two games in hand which will come to immense in coming weeks as they look to break into the top four.

Remaining Fixtures: Stoke (a), Wigan (a), Wolves (h), Sunderland (h), Chelsea (a), Bolton (a), Everton (h), Portsmouth (a), Birmingham (h), Manchester City (a), Blackburn (h)

Unfortunately for Villa, they have to face Chelsea and City away from home.  The good news is that both defenses are prone to giving up goals at home, which could make for edgy, high-scoring affairs.  However, Chelsea’s home scoring has been free flowing and their goals for sits at 41 while their goals allowed is 12.  Aston Villa is quick, can break on the counter and has multiple angles that they can attack from which makes them dangerous in virtually any situation.  The big worry for the other contenders is Villa’s games played.  The Clarets still have two games in hand which, if they play it right, could essentially get them into fourth spot.  And by playing it right, I mean being stingy and hard nosed when it comes to playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.  Their result there will shape the end of their season, and, having already beat them once, Aston Villa are hungry for another “W”.  But it is hard to look past the fact that, recently, whenever faced with tough opposition they’ve drawn.  That list includes Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal, not to mention teams like West Ham.  Aston Villa must avoid silly draws like these if they want Champions League football next season.

Key Men: Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner, Richard Dunne

In Agbonlahor, Aston Villa has a young, talented striker of the ball who tears defenses up with his pace.  His goal count as of now is 11, but that’s likely to change with games at home against Portsmouth and Blackburn.  His pace and agility iscomplimented well by his strike partner John Carew.  The big Norwegian provides him with space that he creates through physicality and using his aerial ability to play Agbonlahor through.  James Milner is the lynchpin of the Aston Villa midfield, particularly the attacking aspect.  Petrov is key as well, but not in the way that Milner dissects defenses with his through balls to his forwards.  It certainly looks like City may have been somewhat rash in letting Richard Dunne go.  He is proving to be one of the most valuable defenders of the season as his defending style is physical and smart, not to mention he scores the occasional goal.

Verdict:  Whatever the outcome of this season, we are in for a treat.  Many of the crucial games for these four teams come along towards the end of the season.  Let’s not be cliché and say that the winner of the fourth spot will be the one who takes full points from the small teams.  With the way things have been going this season, it is a virtual certainty that there will be some “shock” upsets over more than one of these teams.  Now the question is, which one?

Villa must break their recent hesitancy with quality teams.  Tottenham won’t be able to pull the results they need to in order to pull it out.  Liverpool have two very tough fixtures in Manchester United away and Chelsea at Anfield, if they keep everybody healthy, they can do it.  Manchester City look likely to pull it out given their upcoming fixtures and the game in hand.



Transfer News – September 16th

Transfer News – September 16th, 2009

DAILY MIRROR:

  • Newcastle boss Chris Hughton wants to sign Fulham forward Diomansy Kamara and Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood on loan.
  • Hull could allow Caleb Folan and Daniel Cousin to join Middlesbrough and Newcastle respectively on loan.
  • Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is giving former Sunderland goalkeeper Jurgen Macho a chance to return to the Premier League.
  • Bolton have agreed a deal worth up to £1million with Wolves to sign defender Mark Connolly.
    The French-Senegalese hitman has been targeted by a number of clubs.

    The French-Senegalese hitman has been targeted by Newcastle

    DAILY STAR:

  • Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has blasted Manchester City manager Mark Hughes for trying to defend Emmanuel Adebayor.
  • Rafa Benitez says the Premier League has rushed through the introduction of a quota system for home-grown players too soon.
  • Former Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton has applied for the manager’s job at League Two side Rotherham.
  • Stoke defender Andrew Davies has rejected the chance to join Plymouth on loan.
  • Sheffield United boss Kevin Blackwell is ready to battle with Ipswich, Colchester and Barnsley to sign Danny Shittu from Bolton.DAILY MAIL:
  • It has emerged that Liverpool’s kit sponsorship with Standard Chartered is worth more than the £120million a year reported.
  • Liverpool chief Tom Hicks has hit out at the Arab owners of Manchester City and insisted that there £120million transfer spending spree is ‘unsustainable’.
  • Olympiakos have expressed interest in making Bryan Robson their new coach.
  • James Vaughan has been given approval by Everton to join a club, which could be Middlesbrough, on loan.

    The EPL's youngest goal scorer could be on his way out of Everton.

    The EPL's youngest goal scorer could be on his way out of Everton.

  • Former West Ham and Liverpool defender Julian Dicks has been appointed as manager of Grays Athletic.DAILY EXPRESS:
  • Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung wants Birmingham to spearhead a revolution in Chinese football, after formally lodging his takeover bid.
  • The Scottish FA yesterday kept faith in George Burley by backing him to continue as Scotland manager.THE SUN:
  • Newcastle are lining up a loan move for Fulham’s Diomansy Kamara to cover for Shola Ameobi.
  • West Ham are set to open an academy in Minna, Nigeria.
  • Carson Yeung’s Birmingham takeover is just six weeks away after his company made an £81million offer in cash.
  • New Portsmouth owner Sulaiman Al Fahim insists there will be money to spend in January even though Peter Storrie says the club remains short of funds.
  • Michel Platini’s plan to make the clubs live within their means was approved by UEFA yesterday.DAILY RECORD:
  • Alex McLeish has welcomed the decision to save Scotland manager George Burley’s job.


  • Transfer News – September 2nd

    DAILY MIRROR

    * Daivd James fears for his World Cup place after being left stranded at crisis club Portsmouth.

    * Burnley boss Owen Coyle hailed the sgining of striker David Nugent in a last-gasp loan deal from Portsmouth on deadline day.

    * Gary Megson is backing Ivan Klasnic to solve Bolton’s chronic goalscoring problems after completing a loan deal for the Croatian striker.

    DAILY STAR

    * Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is said to be angry and frustrated after discovering he will not be getting a new contract this season.

    David James has been told to focus on Portsmouth and not showing pictures of himself to 8 year olds...no matter how much it boosts his esteem

    David James has been told to focus on Portsmouth and not showing pictures of himself to 8 year olds...no matter how much it boosts his esteem

    * Arsenal are set to appeal against UEFA’s decision to hand Eduardo a two-match ban for diving.

    * Martin O’Neill was forced to sweat it out as he took his Aston Villa summer spending spree past the £40m mark last night.

    * Steve Bruce last night blocked a deadline bid by Spurs to sign Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand.

    * Fulham snapped up Swedish striker David Elm on a one-year deal for £1m from Kalmar FF.

    * Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga became Everton’s top earner last night in a beat-the-clock move to Merseyside.

    * Portsmouth lost another of their big stars yesterday with Niko Kranjcar joining Tottenham in a £2.75m move.

    * FA Cup sponsors E.ON have pulled the plug on their £35m deal.

    * Rafa Benitez has become the first top boss to face the wrath of the FA over their new rules for criticising referees.

    * Steve Harper has told Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to pull his finger out if he wants promotion this season.

    THE SUN

    * David Nugent finally ended his Portsmouth hell by securing a six-month loan move to Burnley bang on deadline.

    * Niko Kranjcar insists he has not joined Tottenham as a stand-in for crock Luka Modric.

    * Michael Ballack says Chelsea have been boosted by Liverpool’s rocky start to the season.

    * Jamie Carragher has told Liverpool’s critics not to write them off – because they are the No 1 comeback kings.

    * Emmanuel Adebayor says it will be like a family at war when he lines up against Arsenal in 10 days’ time.

    * Manchester United and Real Madrid target Franck Ribery has blasted Bayern Munich boss Luis van Gaal in an amazing deadline-day outburst.

    DAILY MAIL

    * Aston Villa were given dispensation to complete a £5million deal for Richard Dunne last night as negotiations over his departure from Manchester City rumbled on past the 5pm deadline.

    * Newcastle pulled off a coup by signing Manchester United defender Craig Cathcart on a season-long loan.

    * Aidy Boothroyd will return to football today as the new manager of Colchester United.

    * Stoke were beaten by the clock in an ambitious bid to sign Bayern Munich right back Christian Lell.

    * Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea manager, is the new coach of Roma after Luciano Spalletti resigned yesterday following defeats in the opening Serie A games.

    Ranieri...Claudio Ranieri

    Ranieri...Claudio Ranieri

    DAILY EXPRESS

    * Ashley Cole will complete a new £120,000-a-week, five-year deal with Chelsea when he returns from England World Cup duty.

    * Birmingham have signed Sunderland midfielder Teemu Tanio on loan until the end of the season.

    * Harry Redknapp’s reputation as the master wheeler-dealer took a major hit on transfer deadline day.

    * The Premier League’s Big Four reined in their spending yesterday to leave Everton’s £6million deal for Holland international Johnny Heitinga the biggest transfer in a low-key deadline day.

    DAILY RECORD

    * Celtic boss Tony Mowbray last night admitted he was delighted to snap up Chinese international Zheng Zhi after chasing him for more than a year.

    * Jerome Rothen revealed he slammed the door shut on a glamour Premier League move to sign a deal with Rangers.

    * Darren O’Dea signed on at Reading and then insisted he’ll be back up the road in no time to nail down his place as a Celtic stalwart.



    Opening Day! Life Starts Again…

    Arsenal opened the new Premier League season in awesome fashion with a crushing 6-1 demolition of hapless Everton at Goodison Park.

    Arsene Wenger’s side produced a classy and clinical display to tear apart last season’s FA Cup finalists.

    Denilson started the avalanche with a superb strike on 26 minutes, and new boy Thomas Vermaelen was left unmarked to nod home the second from a free-kick 11 minutes later.

    The Spanish play maker was in fine form today at Goodison Park

    The Spanish play maker was in fine form today at Goodison Park

    The game was over as a contest four minutes before half-time thanks to another header from a free-kick – this time from William Gallas.

    Things didn’t get any better for the Toffees after the break, with Cesc Fabregas taking centre stage to net on 48 and 69 minutes.

    Eduardo added a sixth for Arsenal with two minutes remaining – his first Premier League goal since suffering that horrific injury at Birmingham back in 2008.

    Louis Saha finally got Everton on the scoresheet with a tap-in in the closing seconds.

    Earlier in the day, Didier Drogba had netted a fortunate winner in stoppage time to hand new Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti his first Premier League win as Hull were beaten 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

    Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Hunt – signed only on Thursday from Reading – fired the visitors into a shock lead on 27 minutes.

    However, the title favourites were level 10 minutes later when Drogba crashed in a dipping 25-yard free-kick.

    Then, with two of the six added minutes played, just as it looked like the Tigers had secured a point following a stern defensive second-half display, Drogba’s chip into the area from a tight angle looped over keeper Boaz Myhill and into the back of the net.

    Manchester City started to see a return for their summer spending spree with a goal after just three minutes from £25million striker Emmanuel Adebayor in a 2-0 win at Blackburn.

    The Togo international, signed from Arsenal, converted Shaun Wright-Phillips’ cross to open his account.

    City boss Mark Hughes, who has laid out almost £100million, also handed competitive debuts to defender Kolo Toure and England midfielder Gareth Barry – but former Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez had to be content with a place on the bench.

    Midfielder Stephen Ireland wrapped things up with a second goal for the visitors in stoppage time.

    City’s victory was one of five away wins out of the first seven Premier League games.

    New Wigan manager Roberto Martinez saw his side produce an unexpected 2-0 victory at much-fancied Aston Villa.

    Colombia forward Hugo Rodallega (31) drilled in a 25-yard effort to put the visitors ahead at half-time, with Jason Koumas (55) securing the three points with a close-range finish following a fine run by former Newcastle midfielder Charles N’Zogbia.

    Last season’s Coca-Cola Championship winners Wolves went down 2-0 at home to West Ham.

    Mark Noble (22) put the Irons ahead midway through the first half, and following a string of good saves by England goalkeeper Robert Green as the hosts pressed for an equaliser, defender Matthew Upson (69) headed in a second from a corner to put the game beyond Wolves.

    The former Spurs man makes his mark for Sunderland

    The former Spurs man makes his mark for Sunderland

    Darren Bent marked his debut for Sunderland with a fifth-minute winner against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.

    The £10million signing from Tottenham headed in from close range following a left-wing cross by Steed Malbranque to give new Black Cats boss Steve Bruce a winning start as they held off a late onslaught by the home side.

    Fulham have already been in Europa League qualifying action and continued their early-season momentum as they beat Portsmouth 1-0 at Fratton Park.

    Clint Dempsey’s shot deflected off striker Bobby Zamora (13) and past England keeper David James, which was enough to collect all three points.

    Play-off winners Burnley were given a tough welcome back to the top flight as Stoke beat them 2-0 at Britannia Stadium.

    Ryan Shawcross (19) nodded in a free-kick from Liam Lawrence, before an own goal by Stephen Jordan (33) doubled the home side’s advantage and there was no way back for the Clarets.

    Analysis:  Well, well, well.  Arsenal are certainly hitting the ground running after terrorizing the blue Merseysiders on their home turf.  Their passing and technical abilities blew the lid off the Toffee defense.  I’ll say one thing, Bobby McMahon’s bold prediction that Arsenal will finish top of the table may be more legitimized after today’s rampage.

    Chelsea hit Hull late on with a fluke (you know it was) goal from Drogba.  The Ivorian looked to cross, but found the side of the net to give the Blues all three points and the best opening day record in the EPL.  Hull didn’t look terrible, especially when you consider they had their opening day at one of the biggest fortress’s in the League.  Gardener and Turner were kept busy, but the former was my man of the match for Hull, him or Myhill.



    Bent a Blackcat?
    August 3, 2009, 9:02 AM
    Filed under: premier league, Transfer | Tags: , ,

    Darren Bent is undergoing a medical at Sunderland ahead of his proposed move from Tottenham.

    The Black Cats initially moved for the England striker more than a week ago, after they missed out on the signing of Peter Crouch – ironically to Spurs.

    The Tottenham, Twitter addict, looks set to make his switch to the Stadium of Light

    The Tottenham, Twitter addict, looks set to make his switch to the Stadium of Light

    But Steve Bruce has become increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress since and made his feelings known over the weekend.

    Interest from the likes of Hull and Stoke has delayed talks, but Bent has always made it quite clear that his heart was set on a move to Wearside.

    Now Bent has flown to the north east and is undergoing a medical after the two clubs came to an agreement.

    It is now known how much the deal is worth, but reports claim it will be around the £14million mark.

    The deal will represent a club record for Sunderland, and will take their summer spending to more than £20million following on from the arrivals of Lorik Cana, Frazier Campbell and Paulo da Silva.



    Brucie Frustrated With Bent Saga
    August 1, 2009, 6:09 PM
    Filed under: premier league, Transfer | Tags: , , ,

    Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is ready to pull the plug on his attempt to buy Darren Bent from Tottenham.

    Bruce’s on-going and highly-publicised bid to bring Bent to the Stadium of Light took a bizarre twist on Friday when the player outlined his frustration on the internet networking site Twitter.

    The former Manchester United man may look on to other options.

    The former Manchester United man may look on to other options.

    After watching his side beat Celtic 2-1 at Parkhead in a friendly, thanks to goals by Kieran Richardson and Kenwyne Jones, the Black Cats boss expressed his exasperation that no deal has yet been done.

    “What time is it in America?” he said. “I think the Tottenham chairman Mr Levy is in America at the moment and talks are on-going.

    “It is a frustrating time for everyone concerned but until we reach an agreement with Spurs then obviously we can’t get the player.

    “We thought we had an agreement a couple of times but things have changed.

    “I have to say this though, there comes a time when I have to draw the line.

    “I have been at it for weeks and one or two of our other targets have drifted away from us because I have been targeting Darren, but we will see.”

    Analysis: I’m not sure how much this will hurt Sunderland in the end.  Bent only knows the Premier League and English football, and he has that working for him.  However, when you display the emotional maturity of a 14 year old girl and advertise it on Twitter (where he knows hundreds and thousands of fans will see what he posts).  You’ve got to know better than to pull a stunt like that.  I don’t blame Bruce for factoring that fiasco into the equation.

    Result:  If the deal isn’t wrapped up over the weekend, Bruce may well start moving on and looking other options up top.