Football Station


Out of the Starting Gates

With the first round of games knocked down in the English Premier League, football fans across the globe now have their feet wet in one of the most appetizing leagues in the world.

A handful of games could have been dismissed as early season anxiety, however, some were worth note.  Newly promoted Blackpool took Wigan to the cleaners for 4 goals, and sit second in the table under Chelsea and above Manchester United.  They may want to relish the position, because not many can claim they’ve held it for long.  The reigning champions demolished West Brom by 6 goals to nil, Liverpool (i.e. Pepe Reina) surrendered their lead to Arsenal in the 90th minute after being reduced to 10 men, Tottenham and Manchester City played out a goalless draw in London and Manchester United cruised to a sweet 3-0 over

Impressive was an understatement for the reigning champions against West Brom.

Newcastle.

With the initial nerves fading fast and reality setting in, teams must soon realize that if they don’t snap out of their summer funk soon, they’ll be looking at a long season (we’re looking at you Wigan).  Standout fixtures are mainly Liverpool v. Manchester City and Manchester United at Fulham.  That’s right.  United have lost their last three visits to the Cottage, and you wonder in the Londoners can keep up the streak.

Liverpool will be looking to overcome their last minute draw against Arsenal in a tough tie against Chelsea look-a-likes Manchester City at Eastlands.  Manchester have yet to prove their credentials in the Premier League,granted their first game was against Champions League newboys Tottenham at White Hart Lane.  Liverpool will be without Joe Cole and with Aquilani seemingly on his way, it looks like Gerrard will line up behind Torres, with maybe Mascherano/Lucas paired up with Poulson, who looked rather impressive against Trabzonspor.  City have a slew of players in their ranks and Mancini has his pick.  Balotelli may well start up alongside Tevez, and, if he does, I will seem more like a statement from Mancini rather than a genuine selection.  Yaya Toure is expected to start and he will provide a great matchup for Gerrard and whoever wins that battle, controls the ebb and flow of the game and could very well control the outcome of the match.

Typically, a Manchester United matchup against Fulham would yield a full three points for the former, however, on Fulham’s

Danny Murphy nets from the spot as Fulham beat Manchester United at Craven Cottage.

ground, the Red Devils have lost three consecutive matches.  Will the fact that Roy Hodgson has moved on to Liverpool make a difference for the tie?  Or is Craven Cottage simply kryptonite for United?  Fulham may be without Mark Schwarzer between the sticks but Hughes is hopeful of a return for the Aussie stopper.  Patrice Evra was a doubtful for a little while, but it looks like he’s shaken off the knock and will suit up against Fulham.  Wayne Rooney hasn’t scored for his club since…United played Fulham at Old Trafford last March.  Since then, the boys gone dry.  Other than those little snippits of information, there isn’t a lot to be said about the tie until the teams actually take the field.

Predictions – Being so early in the season, it’s hard to try and call the shots.  However, that’s exactly what I’m going to do…

Saturday

Arsenal 2 – 0 Blackpool

Birmingham 1 – 0 Blackburn

Everton 2 – 1 Wolves

Stoke City 1 – 3 Tottenham

West Brom 0 – 0 Sunderland

West Ham 1 – 0 Bolton

Wigan 0 – 3 Chelsea

Sunday

Fulham 1 – 1 Manchester United

Newcastle 1 – 2 Aston Villa

Monday

Manchester City 1 – 1 Liverpool

A lot of close games, and, obviously, a lot can depend on who the head men select for the starting XI.  Until next week, we’ll see who is the quickest out of the starting gates…



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.


  • 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.



    Transfer News – July 22nd

    ******************

    July 22nd

    ******************

    MIRROR

  • Spurs have tabled a £17million bid for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Negredo.
  • Ipswich boss Roy Keane is hoping to sign Danny Simpson from Manchester United and Sunderland midfielder Dean Whitehead.
  • Doncaster are leading the chase for Cardiff midfielder Paul Parry.
  • Sheffield Wednesday want Oldham striker Lee Hughes to replace Marcus Tudgay, should he move to Burnley.
  • AC Milan will not be signing David Beckham on a permanent deal from LA Galaxy.
  • Reading are hoping to land Tottenham midfielder Adel Taarabt on loan.
  • DAILY EXPRESS
  • Peter Crouch has handed Fulham and Tottenham a massive boost in their bid to sign him by telling Sunderland he does not want to move north.
  • Martin O’Neill’s £2.5million bid for Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin has been rejected by new boss Paul Hart, who says he is not for sale.
  • Didier Drogba is poised to sign a three-year contract after new Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti dubbed him “irreplaceable”.
  • Sven-Goran Eriksson will return to England today in one of the most bizarre appointments in British football history after being offered the post of Notts County’s director of football.

    Real Madrid's Alvaro Negredo has been linked with clubs all over Europe.

    Real Madrid's Alvaro Negredo has been linked with clubs all over Europe.

  • DAILY STAR
  • Steve Bruce is closing in on £10million striker Marouane Chamakh after admitting defeat in his pursuit of Peter Crouch.
  • Sulaiman Al Fahim finally became Portsmouth’s new owner yesterday and immediately handed boss Paul Hart a new two-year contract.
  • Everton are leading the chase to sign Hull defender Michael Turner.
  • Premier League new boys Burnley are on the trail of Norwich midfielder Darel Russell.
  • Wigan have splashed out £1.5m to sign 18-year-old midfielder James McCarthy from Hamilton on a five-year deal.
  • DAILY MAIL
  • Egypt striker Mido has finally returned to Middlesbrough after being fined for missing the start of pre-season training.
  • Burnley are back on the trail of Norwich’s Darel Russell.
  • Chelsea and Manchester City are in the hunt again for Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, whose proposed move to Real Madrid has stalled.
  • Sulaiman Al-Fahim has completed his £60million takeover of Portsmouth.
  • Manchester City striker Ched Evans is expected to join Sheffield United for a fee of around £1.5m rising to £3m on appearances.
  • Tottenham are weighing up a move for Man City winger Martin Petrov and are closing in on a deal for Portsmouth striker Peter Crouch.
  • Wolves are considering a move for Celtic’s Scotland defender Stephen McManus.
  • THE SUN
    The 6'7'' striker is on the radar of both Fulham and Tottenham after his move to Sunderland collapsed.

    The 6'7'' striker is on the radar of both Fulham and Tottenham after his move to Sunderland collapsed.

  • Craig Bellamy has defended Manchester City’s summer spending spree and blasted: The big four have been doing it for years.
  • AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani insists they will not splash any cash on David Beckham.
  • Nicky Butt will miss the start of Newcastle’s season with a hand injury.
  • Spurs are hot favourites to land Peter Crouch after the England striker pulled the plug on a £12million move to Sunderland.
  • Everton are leading the £8million chase for Hull defender Michael Turner.
  • Alan Pardew will make Ipswich left-back Dan Harding, 25, his first capture as Southampton boss.
  • West Ham have stolen England youth striker Frank Nouble from Chelsea as backup for striker Carlton Cole.
  • Wigan have completed the signing of 18-year-old Hamilton midfielder James McCarthy.
  • DAILY RECORD
  • Aberdeen boss Mark McGhee is hoping to sign Benin international defender Roda Johnson today.
  • Hibs boss John Hughes wants Plymouth goalkeeper Graham Stack as backup for Yves Ma-Kalambay.Rumours Pure, unadulterated rumours from around the internet.  Many claim to have inside connections, or themselves be connected with clubs.  Don’t believe it all, but if it makes you feel better…go ahead and believe it.
  • The Hammers will offload Dean Ashton to Celtic for £8m in two installments
  • Xabi Alonso’s move to Real Madrid seems to be stalling, and Manchester City look to capitalize.
  • A source with good friends inside Liverpool FC says David Villa will sign on with the Merseyside club shortly.

    Arsenal are said to be courting Dutchman Klaas Jan-Huntelaar.

    Arsenal are said to be courting Dutchman Klaas Jan-Huntelaar.

  • It was heard on good authority that Aston Villa will come back in with another bid for Sylvain Distin on Wednesday for £3.5m
  • Peter Crouch’s most likely destination is now Tottenham, as his move to Sunderland has looked to have fallen through.
  • AC Milan are set to bid £15m for injury hit Yakubu from Everton.
  • Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is stalling on the deal to stuttgart in order to speak with Arsene Wenger this week, as he has been given a heads up on the club from his pal Robin van Persie who just signed a new deal.


  • Transfer News – July 19th

    ********************

    July 19th, 2009

    ********************

    NEWS OF THE WORLD:


  • Rafa Benitez is ready to table a £20million offer for Ashley Young.
  • Peter Crouch is close to joining Tottenham in a £12million deal.

    Lescott is next up on Mark Hughes's wish list and valued at over £15m

    Lescott is next up on Mark Hughes's wish list and valued at over £15m

  • Chelsea are set to report Manchester City for “tapping up” John Terry.
  • Everton will demand £30million for defender Joleon Lescott.
  • Arsenal are poised to make a £10million offer for Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh.
  • Mido claims he is owed image rights money by Middlesbrough.
  • Matthew Upson is to be handed the West Ham captaincy.
  • Former Newcastle striker Lomana LuaLua is tempted by a switch to Stoke.
  • Hull want to take Manchester City striker Benjani on a season-long loan.
  • Bolton are closing in on Hull contract rebel Sam Ricketts.
  • DAILY STAR SUNDAY
  • Everton have told Manchester City Joleon Lescott will cost £30million.
  • Tottenham are ready to join Sunderland and Fulham in the battle for Peter Crouch.
  • Jason Scotland has sealed his £2million switch to Wigan from Swansea.
  • West Ham’s hopes of keeping Lucas Neill look finally to have been dashed.
  • Nottingham Forest are set to sign Chris Gunter, Dexter Blackstock and Paul McKenna.
  • Matt Kilgallon is ready to snub interest from Birmingham and Burnley by pledging his future to Sheffield United.
  • Rob Hulse is a target for Middlesbrough.
  • Gary Megson is ready to hijack Portsmouth’s £2million move for Hull’s contract rebel Sam Ricketts.
  • Aston Villa are keeping tabs on Leicester young gun Andy King.
  • Norwich will sign Preston winger Simon Whaley this week in a £100,000 deal.
  • Barnsley are set to complete a £600,000 deal for Charlton striker Andy Gray.
  • THE PEOPLE:
  • The Valencia playmaker is on Rafa Benitez's hit list

    The Valencia playmaker is on Rafa Benitez's hit list

  • Chelsea are ready to report Manchester City to the Premier League for tapping up John Terry.
  • Having failed with an £18million offer for Ashley Young, Tottenham are ready to beat Aston Villa in the chase for Leeds’ Fabian Delph.
  • Arsenal are to launch a cut-price move for Obafemi Martins.
  • Chelsea will make one last attempt to sign David Villa this week.
  • Manchester United want £2million for right-back Richard Eckersley, who has joined Burnley.
  • Portsmouth hope to re-sign Benjani from Manchester City.
  • James McCarthy is swaying towards joining Wigan ahead of Wolves.
  • Rafa Benitez will rubber-stamp Xabi Alonso’s £32million move to Real Madrid, providing he gets all the money up front.
  • Everton hope to complete a £3million deal for Rasmus Elm on Sunday.
  • Blackburn are looking at Croatian striker Armando Mance.
  • Wolves are winning the chase for £2.5million-rated Nantes midfield star Guirane N’Daw.
  • West Brom will move for Derby’s Paul Green if Jonathan Greening leaves the club.
  • Middlesbrough are set to sign Charlton captain Nick Bailey in a £750,000 deal.
  • SUNDAY MIRROR:
  • John Terry’s relationship with Chelsea is at breaking point.
  • West Ham are set to offer Matthew Upson their captaincy in a bid to keep him at the club.
  • Sulaiman Al Fahim’s takeover of Portsmouth is under threat from a Premier League investigation.
  • THE MAIL ON SUNDAY:
  • Chelsea and Tottenham are ready to offer David Beckham a Premier League lifeline.
  • SUNDAY EXPRESS:
  • Liverpool are closing in on David Silva, increasing the likelihood of Xabi Alonso joining Real Madrid.
  • SUNDAY MAIL:
  • James McCarthy admits he is still agonising over whether to join Wigan or Wolves.
  • Falkirk could be set to sign Dutch goalkeeper Barry Dietwig.
  • Craig Levein has handed Portsmouth kid Joe Collins the chance to win a deal at Tannadice.
  • Rumours Pure, unadulterated rumours from around the internet.  Many claim to have inside connections, or themselves be connected with clubs.  Don’t believe it all, but if it makes you feel better…go ahead and believe it.

    • Hull City are in talks with “bad boy” Joey Barton of Newcastle
    • Xabi Alonso’s move from Liverpool to Real Madrid is set to be finalized this week.  The money from the sale will be put towards long-time transfer target David Silva…as well as Alberto Aquilani of Roma for £12m.
    • John Terry’s father is urging his son to follow through with a move to Manchester City due to his high wages.
    • Marouane Chamakh is certain to sign at Arsenal, but will not fit into the starting XI.
    • Martin O’Neill is ready to part ways with in-demand winger Ashley Young with several top clubs vying for his signature.
    • Aston Villa have agreed an £8m deal to sign Fabian Delph from Leeds United.
    • Part of Emmanuel Adebayor’s departure was due to the fact that he didn’t get on well with several other team members.  Despite the fact that the manager rated him very highly, Wenger didn’t want to disrupt the chemistry.


    Wolves, Blues & Burnley…Into the Lion’s Den
    July 2, 2009, 9:32 PM
    Filed under: premier league | Tags: , , , , ,
    Burnley earned the top flight status in a dramatic play off win at Wembley.

    Burnley earned the top flight status in a dramatic play off win at Wembley.

    In the last few seasons, we’ve seen some emphatic finishes to the season at the bottom of the table.  Just in the last three we’ve seen Wigan survive by a single goal on goal difference in 06/07 season, Fulham’s great escape in ’08, Newcastle’s slip up just last season.

    Sometimes all you need is an unreal start like Hull last season who hung around the top three for quite some time with impressive wins at the Emirates and White Hart Lane and stubborn draws at Stamford Bridge and Anfield.  Hull only barely survived their season, but the only reason they did so was because of their start to the campaign (until the infamous Manchester City half time show).

    With that knowledge, let’s look into the first six fixtures of the teams rising from the Championship…

    Wolve’s first five fixtures:

    1. West Ham (h)
    2. Wigan (a)
    3. Manchester City (a)
    4. Hull (h)
    5. Blackburn (a)

    Not too shabby for McCarthy’s boys.  You can bet they are going to want to try and establish themselves early, and these fixtures might give them a chance to do so.  Home form will be key for the Wolves, so their games against West Ham and Hull might give them the ability to.  However, remember that last season Hull were more lethal on the road than at home.  Bear that in mind.

    Birmingham City

    1. Manchester United (a)
    2. Portsmouth (h)
    3. Stoke (h)
    4. Tottenham (a)
    5. Aston Villa (a)

    The Blues are going to have to get ready for Premier League action fast with an away trip to Old Trafford.  They also might have trouble with Tottenham and Aston Villa away…as a matter of fact, they might have trouble for any of those fixtures.  Birmingham are going to have to prove their mettle early and stake their claim for a spot with the big boys.

    Burnley –

    1. Stoke (a)
    2. Manchester United (h)
    3. Chelsea (a)
    4. Liverpool (a)
    5. Sunderland (h)

    It’s baptism by fire for the Clarets with three of the top four in the first five games.  It’s been 33 years out of the top flight, but they’ll be eager to try and hit the ground running.  Their first game on the road to Stoke could prove to be a big fixture as it will lay the foundation for the next three fixtures.  On the up side, Owen Coyle’s & co. will have several tough fixtures out of the way early on and can focus on the first half of the season from then on.

    It’s hard to say how these three teams will end up at the end of the season.  Wigan and Reading both finished favorably on their returns to the Premier League with 10th and 8th place finishes, respectively.  It’ll be interesting to see who the managers bring in over the summer in order to bolster their ranks for what will prove to be, as always, a gruelling season in the EPL.