Monday, February 23, 2009

Champions League - United in defensive crisis

Eurosport - Mon, 23 Feb 12:18:00 2009

Manchester United are facing a crisis at the heart of their defence ahead of the Champions League trip to Jose Mourinho's Internazionale.
The defending champions are without the suspended Nemanja Vidic, who is serving a belated ban for his red card in December's World Club Cup final.

However, United boss Alex Ferguson is also missing Wes Brown, Gary Neville, Jonny Evans and possibly John O'Shea for the first leg of their last-16 tie, meaning he may have to start a midfielder at centre-back.

Club captain Neville and Brown are both yet to return to action following bouts on the sidelines through injury, while Evans was substituted during the second half of United's 2-1 win over Blackburn with an ankle problem.

Ferguson's best hope of fielding a recognised defender to partner Rio Ferdinand at centre-back is O'Shea, who was left out of the squad against Rovers to recover from a heel injury.

Evans and O'Shea have both travelled to Milan with the squad, but should they both fail to recover in time, Alex Ferguson may have to charge either Michael Carrick or Darren Fletcher with the task of keeping Zlatan Ibrahimovic at bay at the San Siro, as defensive midfielders Anderson and Owen Hargreaves are also injured.

Ferguson said: "I just hope we can get two centre-backs out because at this moment it's very doubtful. We don't have Vidic, we don't have Gary Neville and we don't have Wes Brown. I just hope we can get John O'Shea available.

"But we're having a nightmare with defenders this season. Gary, Wes and John all missed the Blackburn game and now Evans has done his ankle. Hopefully we can patch up a defence but it does leave us very, very short."

Inter boss Mourinho used his British newspaper column to assert his belief that Vidic should not play any part in the tie.

The big Serb will be eligible for the second leg at Old Trafford, but Mourinho said: "I think Nemanja Vidic should be suspended for both legs, not just this week's game.

"We will certainly try to make things uncomfortable for the United defence without him at the San Siro.

"We have almost the whole squad fit and with the support of our fans and the experience of our players we can make this very, very tough for United."

Mourinho said of Ibrahimovic - the Swedish striker who has scored 14 goals in 24 Serie A appearances this season: "It will not be an open game - we want it to be tight and tactical.

"So the strikers will not have time and room to work in. That makes it important for us that Zlatan Ibrahimovic produces his very top performance."

Tony Mabert / Eurosport

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Serie A - Inter made to work for win

Eurosport - Sat, 21 Feb 23:33:00 2009

Substitute Mario Balotelli scored a fluke goal moments after coming on to give Serie A leaders Internazionale a 2-1 win at Bologna.
Jose Mourinho's side went ahead through Esteban Cambiasso before Miguel Britos equalised.

Forward Balotelli, out of favour with Mourinho for much of the season after the coach criticised the 18-year-old's attitude, whipped in a free kick on 82 minutes which evaded everyone in the box and nestled in the corner.

Bologna had several chances late on but Inter keeper Julio Cesar was in inspired form and the Italian side can now look forward to Tuesday's Champions League last 16 first leg at home to holders Manchester United.

"At the end we suffered a lot with five or six corners in a row but we defended well," the Brazilian told Sky. "It is another three points before the big match. We have to stay calm."

As so often this season, champions Inter used their aerial power to score the opener from a set piece amid controversy.

Adriano, who netted with his arm in last weekend's 2-1 win over Milan, met Maicon's corner and again appeared to head the ball against his shoulder before Cambiasso blasted in on 57 minutes.

Britos then scored his first league goal for Bologna, coached by fiery former Inter assistant coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, when he headed in a corner. Cambiasso tried to block the ball on the line but got in a tangle as he avoided committing handball.

Bologna, who held a minute's silence before kick off for recently deceased former player Giacomo Bulgarelli, also had two decent chances at the end of a first half which Inter bossed.

Roma moved up to fourth with a narrow 1-0 home victory over Siena courtesy of Brazilian Rodrigo Taddei's second-half goal, a fine curling effort into the top corner.

The result leaves them only two points behind Milan in third and seven behind second-placed Juventus, after they won 2-0 at Palermo.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wenger hopes Eduardo can spark Arsenal revival

Tue 17 Feb, 10:15 AM

LONDON (AFP) - Arsene Wenger believes Eduardo's fairytale return to action with Arsenal can help his side get their spluttering season back on track.

After almost a year on the sidelines, Eduardo was back with a bang on Monday as his double strike inspired Arsenal's 4-0 FA Cup fourth round replay win over Cardiff at the Emirates Stadium.

The Croatian forward showed no signs of any rust following his long rehabilitation from the horrific broken leg and ankle suffered in a challenge with Birmingham's Martin Taylor last February.

Eduardo gave the kind of virtuoso display sorely lacking from any of his team-mates in recent weeks and, although he had to come off after 66 minutes with a slight hamstring strain, Wenger is confident the 25-year-old will play a key role in Arsenal's bid to finish in the Premier League's top four and win the Champions League and FA Cup.

"I am very happy to have him back because he gives us options," Wenger said. "He can play on the flank, he can play central, he can play behind the striker or up front on his own. It is fantastic for us.

"Of course everybody is happy for him. It was good to see us play with the handbrake off. Eduardo played a big part in that.

"He is intelligent, talented, he understands quickly what is happening and reacts well to every situation. That is why he is a striker."

Eduardo was overcome with emotion after his comeback and paid tribute to his family for helping him emerge unscathed from the gruelling recovery period.

"It was the best day of my life because it proved I can play again," he said.

"It was a special moment to score and very emotional. I had tears in my eyes.

"I celebrated by kissing my wedding ring because my wife Andreja, daughter Lorena and family supported me right through this."

Wenger claimed it was Eduardo's mental strength that was the key to his return to full fitness.

"I'm not surprised he did well. He made a big step forward in training a couple of weeks ago. You could see he had found sharpness and got rid of a bit of apprehension in the tackling," Wenger said.

"It has been a long time out but he has been extremely strong mentally. I could never see one minute of doubt when he said 'no I don't want to do it'.

"He was always wanting more. This guy is small but he has the mental strength of a mountain."

Eduardo's double and goals from Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie were just reward for a scintillating display that left Cardiff, last season's FA Cup runners-up and serious contenders for promotion from the Championship, looking like a team of part-timers.

The Gunners host Burnley in the fifth round next month and will face Hull or Sheffield United in the last eight if they can get past the Clarets, who have already beaten them in the League Cup this season.

Despite the FA Cup looking like Arsenal's best chance to end their four-year trophy-drought, Wenger is more concerned with securing a Champions League place by finishing in the Premier League's top four.

"At the moment Manchester United looks untouchable because they are 12 points ahead of us. Our basic target is to get in the Champions League so the league remains the priority," he said.

"We are very consistent now. We missed some goals recently that we are capable of scoring but we are on a very strong run."

Cardiff boss Dave Jones was furious with his side's lacklustre performance and warned his players they will have to rebound against Wolverhampton on Sunday or face the axe.

"I'm glad it's over because we didn't do ourselves any justice," he said.

"One or two started thinking about the league campaign. If I could have changed all 10 of them I would have.

"If I don't get a reaction from my players I'll move them on and that's just the harsh world of football."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Transfers - Gossip Shop: Benitez 'denies' Madrid link

Eurosport - Mon, 16 Feb 12:41:00 2009 Reda Maher

This column would like to thank Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez for making its life a lot easier with his continued, perplexing statements.

Benitez's outbursts are becoming painfully frequent, and while his latest comments lack the paranoiac attempts from previous mind games they are no less loaded, provocative and downright counter-productive.

This time he is making the dangerous play of toying with the caveat as he flirts with bloodthirsty Spanish giants Real Madrid.

"If I say that Real Madrid would be the icing on the cake for my career, people will say I want to leave Liverpool," Benitez said. "If I say it would not be, then it looks like I am showing a lack of respect to Madrid.

"The right thing to say, and the truth, is that I am not thinking about leaving and I hope to be here for a long time.

"But, of course, Real Madrid would be the perfect ending to anyone's career although my career is not coming to an end yet."

Wow. Like a little game of 'just the tip', he's in, he's out, he's in again, then he's somewhere else altogether.

That place is unlikely to be Madrid, though. Since Juande Ramos took over in December, Real have taken 24 out of 27 possible Liga points and only conceded three goals, two of which came in their sole defeat - Ramos's first match against runaway leaders Barcelona.

Even by Los Merengues' warped standards, that has to be worth a second season?

Reds fans should not worry, assuming that they have forgiven Rafa for outburst-gate and actually want him to stay at the club.

Taken in the context of the wider interview - where he scolded Liverpool's owners for neither offering him a long-term deal nor allowing him to secure the futures of his dozen or so assistants - it is a clear attempt to force a reaction from Tom Hicks and George Gillet.

Given recent reactions from Premier League club owners, however, a panic-sacking is more likely than a contract offer.

Stewart Downing submitted a transfer request to try and force a move to Tottenham in January but boss Gareth Southgate is convinced he will stay on Teesside.

"He's never been a problem for us," Southgate said. "His attitude to things is great and he's a Middlesbrough lad who wants Middlesbrough to do well. He's as frustrated as everyone is that we haven't been able to match other clubs in the transfer market but that is the reality of the situation we have.

"His determination is to make sure we come out of the spell we've had."

Everton's 17-year-old goal-scoring hero Jack Rodwell has been the subject of an ongoing internet prank, where jokers repeatedly change his Wikipedia profile to say that he was born in Brazil in tribute to an 'error' on Football Manager a few years back.

Rodwell has caught the eye of Arsenal, but boss David Moyes has offered the Merseyside-born academy product a five-year contract to fend-off Arsene Wenger's advances.

In one of the more unusual transfer rumours in recent years, Russian champions Rubin Kazan - home of Spurs flop Sergei Rebrov - are reported to be preparing a £2 million bid for speedy Rangers striker Kenny Miller.

Former Celtic, Wolves and Derby man Miller is affectionately known as 'Barn Door' in the GS office and was particularly rubbish in the Old Firm bore-draw at the weekend.

One miss in particular - when he almost hit the corner flag from eight yards out - provided further evidence to the theory that Scottish league football is just monkey tennis with a proud enough history to keep the turnstiles swinging.

The last over-rated Scot to ply his trade in Russia was Garry O'Connor, who lasted a season at Locomotiv Moscow, and scored around one in five. Miller has a similar goal-scoring ratio from his previous clubs so expect a similar return if he does go East.

Ferguson eyes unprecedented Manchester United trophy haul

Mon 16 Feb, 01:57 AM

News from
Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that his quest for five trophies is not an impossible dream after Manchester United remained on course for an unprecedented haul of silverware by beating Derby 4-1 in the FA Cup fifth round.
Having already claimed the Club World Cup and a place in the League Cup final against Tottenham next month, United can extend their advantage at the head of the Premier League to five points with victory over Fulham on Wednesday.

Ferguson, whose team are also in the Champions League last 16, certainly believes he has the squad to attempt a clean-sweep.

After making seven changes against Derby including relegating Nemanja Vidic to the bench and leaving out Dimitar Berbatov entirely, the Scot is determined to give himself every chance of keeping his team fresh for the run-in.

"The squad has been fantastic. They have carried us through and got us through some difficult games," said Ferguson whose team have been drawn against either Swansea or Fulham in the FA Cup last eight.

"With the game on Wednesday in mind I made some changes and the squad did very well again
"That is encouraging and we are delighted to be in the next round of the FA Cup. It would have been nice to have a home draw, but we are one game away from the semi-final and that should give everyone a great incentive.

"I hope the squad can maintain the levels they have hit in the last few weeks, but I saw Swansea play very, very well against Fulham in the first game and that tie is far from finished."

Derby manager Nigel Clough has been up close and personal with United more than any other manager recently.

Since taking charge six weeks ago this was his third encounter with the European champions and after the way United breezed over their latest hurdle, Clough thinks people should begin to take their quintet quest far more seriously. "It is possible that they can do all five. That was the most impressive performance they have put in against us. They are almost impossible to prepare for and when you look at the players they have to add to that squad and come back," Clough said.

"It is a very difficult thing to do and would be unprecedented, but they looked very good indeed and if anyone can do it they can. If they had played Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool today they could have put four goals past them as well. That is how good they were."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of United's goals from a relatively rare outing in a central striking role, to add to others from Darren Gibson, Portuguese winger Nani and substitute Danny Welbeck, while Miles Addison got one back for Derby.

Despite Ronaldo's impressive partnership with Ryan Giggs, Ferguson has no plans to use him in that position on a more regular basis.

"He did well in a central role and we have great options with Ronaldo, but he is such a fantastic player out wide. He is streets ahead of everyone else in the game," added Ferguson.

"The goals he can get from out there are very valuable to us and you cannot deprive yourself of that by moving him and we also have plenty of strikers. Berbatov, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney will be back next week.

"Ronaldo is a centre forward playing wide and a winger playing centre forward when he is in the game. I like him as a winger and that is where I want him to play."

The history of Premier league

by: Marcia Henin

The Premier League – professional league competition for football clubs. It is the most watched league around the world, which attracts millions of viewers and provides a challenge for the top football players. Millions of viewers search the Net as they look for Premier League streaming video, and read the Premier League news articles. It was formed in 1992 from the Football League first division, which has been the highest division of the Football League, and the highest division of English football. Breaking away from the first division has been a milestone for the professional competition, which symbolized a new era in English professional football.

The English Premier League was given the right to negotiate broadcast and sponsorship agreement, which was an essential step towards commercial independence. In several years The Premier League became the most lucrative football league in the world; the league annual revenue was approximately 1.8 billion £. The League charged fans to watch sport on television, assigning television rights to SKY TV, which was a major commercially successful step. Sponsorship helped the Premier League to grow and develop. The sponsor determined the league’s sponsorship name: Carling, Barclaycard and Barclays gave their family names to the competitions sponsored by them. The investments paid off, allowing Premier League to invite the top players from all over the world.

Today, the Premier League is presented worldwide on networks in more than 200 countries. It gained freedom of signing the best players from the highest possible categories, owing this to the promotion of the League and large investment; nowadays Premier league soccer is England’s primary football competition.

About The Author
Marcia Henin, content writer for Inter-dev - internet marketing company -

On Behalf of - A sports news site:, providing of The premier league news:

What do we know about MANCHESTER UNITED?

by: Marcia Henin

Manchester United Football club is one of the most successful and rich clubs in English football. The club was established in 1878 by the workers of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, and was called Newton Heath LYR. In 1885, the club has reached the final of Manchester Cup competition, and won it the following year. In 1902, the club was renamed and became Manchester United Football Club. John Henry Davies, a wealthy brewery owner, bought the team, saving it in time from large debt, and replacing its colors to the famous kit we today tend to associate with the club: red shirt and white trousers.

Man utd has won its first league in 1908; then followed many other trophies, starting from FA Cup in 1909. During its long history Manchester United Football Club has won the Premier League 16 times, and became the first English club to win the European club. The attacking style of their game brought them success; in the 90’s, Manchester United won the Premiership, UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup. The number of their FA Cup titles amounts to 11. The club is known as one of the most lucrative football clubs in the world.

The club is based at the Old Trafford stadium in Trafford, Manchester; the capacity of the stadium is 76, 312 people. The manager of the club since 1986 is Sir Alex Ferguson. Manchester United is considered by many people as the most popular football club, having 50 million supporters around the world.

A big part of Watching Manchester united news is the interest in the Manchester united transfer rumous. The transferring of players and couches is one of Man utd most popular news updates.

About The Author
Marcia Henin, content writer for Inter-dev - internet marketing company -

On Behalf of - A sports news site:, providing updated Manchester United news: