Wednesday, December 30, 2009

English Premier League Eleven of the Decade

Everyone is talking about this and that of the decade as we approach 2010. Because of my obsession for football, i thought i should also do something of the decade. And what came into my mind was "Premier League 11 of the Decade". Now i was faced with the snag of making my selection without having anyone criticize me for leaving out their own legends.

Luckily for me, i came across a similar effort by Phil Mcnulty of the BBC and i was relieved. So Y'all can pour your anger on him not me. Surprisingly, i think his' is a little bit similar to what i had in Mind.

So Meet Phil.................

Ever had a hospital pass? The one with the red cross marked on it that you know is going to end with a large amount of personal grief - if you are very lucky?

This is mine. Namely the request to name the Premier League team of "The Noughties". The job that will please no-one and will have plenty of you waving your fist in fury at the laptop.

So apologies in advance. My only excuse for leaving out your own personal favourite or club legend is that I can only pick 11 players and there could have been so many more - and this might be the best substitutes' bench in history.

Tin hat at the ready. And try not to be too hard on me. Remember - I could only pick 11.

GOALKEEPER: Shay Given (Newcastle United,Manchester City and the Republic of Ireland) Given was a model of consistency for Newcastle United and has continued this at Eastlands.

He remains as good as ever for club and country, at 33. There has been plenty of debate about signings made by Mark Hughes, but no-one questions Given. Well worth his place in this team, just edging out Brad Friedel and Petr Cech.

RIGHT-BACK: Gary Neville (Manchester United and England) A taste not acquired by many outside Old Trafford, an outspoken champion of Manchster United and a player who has flourished at the highest level for well over a decade. At his peak peerless defensively, and while not a scorer of goals has created his share. Formed one half of a devastating right-flank partnership with David Beckham at Old Trafford.

LEFT-BACK: Ashley Cole (Arsenal, Chelsea and England) Part of Arsenal's "Invincibles" in 2004 and will travel to the World Cup with England as one of Fabio Capello's true world-class stars. Went through a period of public unpopularity after leaving Arsenal, but has been back to his best this season. His performance against Cristiano Ronaldo in the Euro 2004 quarter-final against Portugal at The Stadium Of Light remains one of the finest individual defensive displays I have ever witnessed in the flesh.

CENTRE-BACK: John Terry (Chelsea and England) Terry stood alongside Jose Mourinho as one of the shining symbols of Chelsea's resurgence under "The Special One." Brave, maybe sometimes too brave for his own good, ready to risk injury in both penalty areas and the emdobiment of what you want a defender to be, with his "over my dead body" approach to conceding goals. Not quite the force of old these days, but still formidable and worthy of a place in this team.

CENTRE-BACK: Rio Ferdinand (West Ham United, Leeds United, Manchester United and England) Thought long and hard about this one for some strange reason, with the Liverpool pair of Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia figuring prominently. The Finn might just get the award for the most under-rated defender of "The Noughties".

Ferdinand gets it, though, for his class, elegance and defensive ability that has contributed so much to Manchester United successes. But it's a close run thing with Carragher and I would see no problem exchanging the two - a cop out I know.

RIGHT MIDFIELD: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United and Portugal) Right midfield is such a low-grade description of one of the greatest players to grace the Premier League. United's most devastating weapon in recent seasons and sorely missed after his move to Real Madrid. Few players are irreplaceable, but he is one. No contest for this position.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool and England) Getting interesting now. Gerrard is my choice despite vicious competition for these positions, just getting the nod ahead of Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Manchester United's Paul Scholes.

So easy to make a case for those two, but in recent seasons Gerrard has been magnificent, occasionally carrying Liverpool on his own. Virtually won an FA Cup Final and the Champions League on his own. Dynamic and a leader - so he gets the vote.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Patrick Vieira (Arsenal and France) Gone for a partnership in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, and Vieira and Gerrard would not be too shabby. In at the start of the Arsene Wenger revolution and the significance of his contribution can be outlined by the fact they have never quite been the same since his departure. Ruthless midfield enforcer and consumate creator. Last kick for the club earned them their last trophy, the 2005 FA Cup against Manchester United.

LEFT MIDFIELD: Ryan Giggs (Manchester United and Wales) Deservedly crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2009. Could not be left out with 11 Premier League titles to his name.

Still producing outstanding performances at the age of 36, a model professional since making his debut in March 1991 and regarded as "a god" in the Manchester United dressing-room according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

STRIKER: Alan Shearer (Newcastle and England) Tough competition here, but if you want goals, leadership, bravery and someone to follow into football's trenches, Tyneside legend Shearer is your man.

Even before this decade he won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers, and while not under-estimating the all-round team ethic of Kenny Dalglish's side, there would have been no title without Shearer. Shearer scored 260 goals in 441 games in the Premier League - this statistic alone ends any argument about his inclusion.

STRIKER: Thierry Henry (Arsenal and France) Henry's reputation was blemished by his recent handball for France that sent his country to the World Cup in South Africa at the Republic of Ireland's expense, but no-one can question his Premier League pedigree.

A wonderfully stylish player, he scored 226 goals in 364 games for Arsenal before leaving for Barcelona in 2007- and finally picked up the Champions League medal that eluded him with the Gunners when Barcelona beat Manchester United in the 2009 final.

So with particular apologies to Dennis Bergkamp, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes (and maybe even the likes of Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba and many others) this is my Premier League team of "The Noughties"

I shall now retreat to my bunker and leave you to pick your own....not easy is it?

By Phil McNulty BBC Sports

Saturday, December 05, 2009

World Cup 2010 Group Draws and Fixtures- Can Africa Win it?

World Cup 2010 Group Draws and Fixtures

With the world cup draws now out, what do you think? Is it now Africa’s time to win it. Granted that Pele is known to be perennially wrong with his predictions. Till date he is yet to get one right, but pundits believe this could be when Pele’s predictions finally come true.

For the first time, Africa is presenting her some of her best football nations and with the mundial taking place in Africa for the first time, they are now set to have the same advantage the south Americans and Europeans have been having over the years. Home advantage and crowd backing!

World Cup 2010 group draw and fixtures

Group A Group B Group C Group D

South Africa Argentina England Germany
Mexico Nigeria United States Australia
Uruguay South Korea Algeria Serbia
France Greece Slovenia Ghana

Group E Group F Group G Group H

Netherlands Italy Brazil Spain
Denmark Paraguay North Korea Switzerland
Japan New Zealand Ivory Coast Honduras
Cameroon Slovakia Portugal Chile


Friday, 11 June 2010
South Africa v Mexico, Gp A, 15:00
Uruguay v France, Gp A, 19:30
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
South Africa v Uruguay, Gp A, 19:30
Thursday, 17 June 2010
France v Mexico, Gp A, 12:30
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
France v South Africa, Gp A, 15:00
Mexico v Uruguay, Gp A, 15:00


Saturday, 12 June 2010
Argentina v Nigeria, Gp B, 12:30
South Korea v Greece, Gp B, 15:00
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Argentina v South Korea, Gp B, 19:30
Greece v Nigeria, Gp B, 15:00
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Greece v Argentina, Gp B, 19:30
Nigeria v South Korea, Gp B, 19:30

Saturday, 12 June 2010
England v USA, Gp C, 19:30
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Algeria v Slovenia, Gp C, 12:30
Friday, 18 June 2010
England v Algeria, Gp C, 19:30
Slovenia v USA, Gp C, 15:00
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Slovenia v England, Gp C, 15:00
USA v Algeria, Gp C, 15:00

Sunday, 13 June 2010
Germany v Australia, Gp D, 15:00
Serbia v Ghana, Gp D, 19:30
Friday, 18 June 2010
Germany v Serbia, Gp D, 12:30
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Ghana v Australia, Gp D, 12:30
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Australia v Serbia, Gp D, 19:30
Ghana v Germany, Gp D, 19:30

Monday, 14 June 2010
Japan v Cameroon, Gp E, 15:00
Netherlands v Denmark, Gp E, 12:30
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Cameroon v Denmark, Gp E, 19:30
Netherlands v Japan, Gp E, 15:00
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Cameroon v Netherlands, Gp E, 19:30
Denmark v Japan, Gp E, 19:30

Monday, 14 June 2010
Italy v Paraguay, Gp F, 19:30
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
New Zealand v Slovakia, Gp F, 12:30
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Italy v New Zealand, Gp F, 15:00
Paraguay v Slovakia, Gp F, 12:30
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Paraguay v New Zealand, Gp F, 15:00
Slovakia v Italy, Gp F, 15:00

Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Brazil v North Korea, Gp G, 19:30
Ivory Coast v Portugal, Gp G, 15:00
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Brazil v Ivory Coast, Gp G, 19:30
Monday, 21 June 2010
Portugal v North Korea, Gp G, 12:30
Friday, 25 June 2010
North Korea v Ivory Coast, Gp G, 15:00
Portugal v Brazil, Gp G, 15:00

Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Honduras v Chile, Gp H, 12:30
Spain v Switzerland, Gp H, 15:00
Monday, 21 June 2010
Chile v Switzerland, Gp H, 15:00
Spain v Honduras, Gp H, 19:30
Friday, 25 June 2010
Chile v Spain, Gp H, 19:30
Switzerland v Honduras, Gp H, 19:3

Monday, November 23, 2009

Supporters who travelled to Wigan's 9-1 thrashing at Tottenham to be refunded

Wigan's players have offered to refund supporters who travelled to Sunday's 9-1 thrashing at Tottenham

The Latics crashed to the second worst defeat in Barclays history as they conceded eight second-half goals at White Hart Lane.

Defender Mario Melchiot admits the result was embarrassing and, along with the rest of his well-paid team-mates, will pay away fans the cost of tickets.

Melchiot told the club's official website: "We feel that as a group of players we badly let down our supporters yesterday, and this is a gesture we have to make and pay them back for their tremendous loyalty.

"There is not a lot else to say, just that as a group of professionals we were embarrassed by the way we performed, we feel it was below our standards and this is something we feel we owe to the fans.

"Now we have to draw a line under the game, focus completely on training this week and bounce back on Saturday.

"We are professionals, we will take it on the chin and move on but it's important that we do not take our supporters for granted."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Angola 2010 Draws:

Nigerian and Mozambique meets again. More details coming soon...........

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Germany keeper dies in 'suicide'

Germany and Hannover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke has died after being hit by a train in an apparent suicide on Tuesday, police have confirmed.

Enke, 32, was fatally injured at a level crossing north west of Hanover.
The German football federation (DFB) said in a statement: "The German team has learned of the death of Robert Enke with great shock."

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff added: "We are in a state of shock. It is beyond words."
Enke's daughter Lara died in 2006 of a rare heart condition when she was just two.

He leaves behind his wife, Teresa, and an eight-month-old daughter the couple had adopted in May.
German police released a statement saying: "The victim is apparently national team goalkeeper Robert Enke from Hannover 96.

The first police indications are that it was a suicide."
Enke was struck by a regional train travelling between Norddeich and Hannover at a railway crossing in Neustadt am Rubenberge and died at the scene. Some reports gave the time of his death as "shortly before" 6pm local time (1700 GMT).

He played eight times for Germany and also for clubs Carl Zeiss Jena, Borussia Monchengladbach, Benfica, Barcelona, Fenerbahce and Tenerife, before returning to the Bundesliga with Hannover in 2004.
Enke made his international debut aged 29 and became Germany's number one keeper after Jens Lehmann retired from internationals at the end of Euro 2008. He had missed Germany's last four matches with a virus but returned for his club at the weekend. Germany coach Joachim Low had indicated that Enke was in pole position for the number one jersey at next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

Dr Theo Zwanziger, president of the DFB, said that the football community in Germany "are deeply distressed and in mourning", adding: "All our sympathy goes to the wife of Robert Enke and his family."

The Germany squad is currently in Bonn ahead of a friendly against Chile on Saturday, but Enke had not been called up, having only just returned to action for his club.
Hundreds of fans flocked to Hanover's Niedersachsen Stadion on Tuesday night to lay flowers and light candles for the captain of their club.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Wayne Rooney - The Latest Father in Town

Coleen Rooney, wife of Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney, has given birth to a boy they have named Kai Wayne.

Coleen, 23, had her baby at Liverpool Women's Hospital on Monday.

Rooney, who scored for United on Sunday, had earlier missed his team's training session ahead of their Champions' League match on Tuesday.

Coleen was nine days overdue. The child, the couple's first, was born at 1420 GMT, their spokesman said.

He added: "Mother and baby are both absolutely fine. Wayne and Coleen are thrilled with the wonderful addition to their family life."

The couple were married on the Italian Riviera last summer.

Coleen is the eldest of four children and a television presenter on ITV2, while Wayne is the eldest of three. Both have large extended families.

Following the birth, bookmakers have offered various odds on the couple's child achieving sporting success in future.

Coral are offering odds of 66-1 that Kai Rooney will follow in his father's footsteps and play football for England.

William Hill rate him at 100-1 to play Premiership football, 125-1 to play for Manchester United and 150-1 to gain a full England cap.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Chelsea Destroyed Ragged Rovers

Chelsea gave Carlo Ancelotti a perfect tonic as they soared back to the top of the Premier League with a 5-0 demolition of Blackburn at Stamford Bridge.

Ancelotti, back in the dugout after visiting his seriously ill father in Italy in midweek, watched his side produce a fabulous performance against ragged Rovers to go two points clear at the summit.

Chelsea destroyed Sam Allardyce's outfit with two goals from Frank Lampard, one a penalty, plus others from Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and an own goal from Gael Givet.

The game was so one-sided that had Chelsea taken all their first half chances, the scoreline could have been in double figures.

But four goals in a 15-minute second half spell handed Rovers their biggest defeat since Allardyce took charge at Ewood Park and kept Ancelotti's 100 per cent home record intact.

Joe Cole, making his first start since January, should have opened the scoring for Chelsea within the opening minute but he somehow headed a cross from Lampard wide of the target from six yards.

Lampard was inches away from giving Chelsea the lead in the 10th minute when his 20-yard shot just evaded the far post.

But the Blues broke the deadlock in the 20th minute with a goal of classic simplicity.

A Blackburn attack broke down allowing Michael Ballack to collect the ball in midfield.

The Germany captain fed Nicolas Anelka on the left flank with a superb low pass and when the France international crossed the ball into the six-yard box, it was turned past his own goalkeeper by the unfortunate Givet.

Blackburn had to rely on counter-attacks and in the 25th minute they almost grabbed an equaliser but Morten Gamst Pedersen's 20-yard effort flashed wide of Petr Cech's right-hand post.

Chelsea's players were lining up to shoot and Essien tried his luck from 25 yards in the 29th minute but although the ball dipped violently in the air, it still went over the crossbar.

Lampard wasted another chance to increase Chelsea's lead moments later when Ballack's cross found him unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box. However, the England midfielder put his header wide of the target.

In the 33rd minute, Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson came to their rescue when Lampard fed Anelka inside the penalty area.

A second goal seemed on the cards but Anelka's shot hit Robinson in the chest, much to the frustration of Ancelotti.

It was shooting practice for Chelsea and Robinson did well to punch away a 35-yard blockbuster from Drogba.

Five minutes before the break, Anelka turned and twisted before firing an 18-yard shot into the sidenetting.

Pedersen was the first player into the notebook on the stroke of half-time for a foul on Branislav Ivanovic. Seconds later Robinson pulled off a magnificent save to deny Lampard again.

Chelsea, somewhat predictably, went further in front in the 48th minute through Lampard.

The England midfielder scored his first goal in open play in the top flight since last April when he finished off a fine Chelsea move.

Essien sent Drogba racing into the penalty area and his cross was only half cleared by Lars Jacobsen, leaving Lampard to pick his spot from eight yards.

It was 3-0 in the 51st minute when Essien sent a 35-yard shot thundering beyond the despairing dive of Robinson.

Anelka then tried to repeat the feat in the 54th minute and his 20-yard shot was so fierce that Robinson had to save at the second attempt.

It got worse for Rovers in the 58th minute when Ryan Nelsen brought down Drogba inside the penalty area and Lampard converted the spot-kick for his second of the game.

Drogba underlined Chelsea's superiority in the 63rd minute when he rose highest to head home a corner by Lampard to make it 5-0. It was the Ivory Coast international's eighth goal of the season.

In the 67th minute Chelsea replaced defender Ricardo Carvalho with youngster Jeffrey Bruma for his Premier League debut.

Cole was then replaced by Daniel Sturridge, making his home league debut, in the 76th minute. Cole received a standing ovation from the fans and a hug from Ancelotti.

The England midfielder had shown he was back to his best during an afternoon when Chelsea returned to top form.

Saturday 24th October 2009 will live down memory for both Ancelotti, Chelsea faithfuls and Blackburn Rovers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

FIFA U-17 wold cup now under way in Nigeria

The day we have all been waiting for finally came and the FIFA U-17 world cup kicked off at the FCT. for once let's enjoy the game and leave out the dissapointments.

Argentina and Honduras were they first before host Nigeria and Germany followed suit. There is much to say about the first day, but will limit myself to issues that are more of football than peek into the facilities.

At about 4pm local time, on one the few grass tuft of these championship, the Argentines took the game to Honduras from the blast of the whistle.

Though sometimes quilty of over elaboration, showed so much class i thought i was watching the senior world cup. One thing we need to give to this championship is the standard of play so far. It took so much persistence for them to finally breach the Honduran defence who just would'nt just yield.

They later scored and were it not for the water logged pitch, would have probably scored more goals.

Two hours later, the Nigerian Golden Eaglets took the stage along with the Germans. Many people were looking up to this team to erase the sad memories of the U-20 world cup, but that was not to be as they quickly went down by a goal following poor ball delivery and lack of cordination. The Germans superior tactics was such that at the end of the first halt, they were already 2 goals up.

Thanks to a penalty awarded the Eaglets and a red to the Germans, we regained control of the game only after we have gone 3 goals down. In very quick successions the goals came and it was 3-3 just before we went slowly back into our slumber. We couldn't capitalise on the 10-man situation to snatch a winner. Overall, they standard was high and the argies were particularly inspirational. The Eaglets showed a lot of promise but you could easily detect a disjointed team without any form of camping to get use to aone anoether. good first after all. See you tomorrow.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Anfield's Day of Destiny

Distractions and sideshows are never required when Liverpool and Manchester United meet and the current criticism, much justified but some downright hysterical, surrounding Rafael Benitez makes them even less important this Sunday.

Benitez's circumstances are clear enough. He needs to end Liverpool's worst run since 1987 swiftly, and while a meeting with Manchester United provides danger it also provides opportunity and the best possible chance to blow away the clouds of crisis.

And yet, in among the politics and behind-the-scenes pantomime that has replaced what used to be called "The Liverpool Way", it should not be ignored that the champions have not always been convincing themselves this season.

It does not do to question the team that sits on top of the Premier League once more, and Ferguson's faith in Manchester United's growing maturity and his strength of squad is backed up by how they have held firm as Liverpool and Chelsea have slipped recently.

But even seasoned and partisan Old Trafford observers would have to agree there has been an uncharacteristic vulnerability in defence, a fault that can be attributed to the uncertain goalkeeping of Ben Foster and the lack of match fitness and sharpness of Rio Ferdinand.

United needed to call on their time-honoured knack of escapology to fashion a draw from an awful display against Sunderland and it was sobering to witness the panic stations as they held on for victory against Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford last Saturday.

The Champions League win against CSKA Moscow in Russia, sealed by the rapidly improving Antonio Valencia, had a reassuring "job done" air from a reshaped team and will have provided huge satisfaction for Ferguson.

Sunday provides a pivotal moment, even though we are talking about a season in its infancy and the glint in Ferguson's eye as he pondered this trip to enemy territory proved the point.

If United can go to Liverpool and win, revenge for two defeats last season will be a small matter when placed against the wider context. Ferguson is unlikely to have forgotten the way Liverpool - and in particular Fernando Torres - made short work of a defence that had made Premier League history in a 4-1 thrashing at Old Trafford, but a win at Anfield would soothe those painful memories.

Victory would be an emphatic assertion of authority by United. It would put them 10 points of clear of Liverpool and make pre-season predictions of a return of the title to Anfield (who was it who made those bold claims?) an even more distant prospect.

Ferguson will give Rooney every chance of recovering from a calf injury because he will be the main thrust of their game plan against an uncertain Liverpool defence. Darren Fletcher falls into the same category because he is implictly trusted to exert influence amid the midfield mayhem of such encounters.

If Rooney comes up short, what price the intriguing inclusion of Michael Owen in Manchester United's line-up against Liverpool at Anfield? The once unthinkable prospect.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Liverpool Hit by Injury Worries

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is facing up to the worst injury crisis of his five years at the Reds' helm ahead of Sunday's visit of champions Manchester United.

Benitez will oversee a succession of scans and medical examinations on a host of his top stars following Tuesday night's 2-1 Champions League defeat at home to Lyon.

Liverpool have lost four successive matches for the first time since 1987, and are now in danger of dropping out of the title race and failing to advance from their Champions League group.

Benitez said: "We have just too many problems, I cannot remember an injury situation like this."

Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson both missed Tuesday night's game with groin injuries, while Steven Gerrard limped out of the match in the first half with a recurrence of the problem he picked up while playing for England last week.

Winger Albert Riera is also in need of a scan on his hamstring while teenager Martin Kelly's impressive full debut was ruined by an ankle injury.

And Benitez claimed his troubles do not end there.

He said: "There are other players with other problems, I have no idea what team I can put out against Manchester United until we have had the players tested and seen by the medical team."

Benitez, however, refuted suggestions that playing Gerrard was too much of a gamble and insisted his team can still qualify from Group E and reach the last 16.

Lyon maintained their 100% record at the top of the pool with Tuesday night's win, while Fiorentina's 4-3 victory in Hungary against Debrecen puts them in pole position to grab the second qualification spot.

Liverpool now must raise their game in their final three matches in order to progress further. They are away to Lyon in a fortnight, then travel to Budapest on November 24 before their final home game against Fiorentina on December 9.

The hosts led at half-time on Tuesday night through Yossi Benayoun, before crumbling under pressure to concede goals to substitutes Maxime Gonalons and Cesar Delgado - the latter in stoppage time.

Benitez said: "It was not a gamble to play Gerrard. He wanted to play and had trained normally for two days.

"He was given the all-clear by the doctor and it was just bad luck what happened. He felt something wrong in his groin, and it was wise to come off."

Liverpool have launched amazing recoveries in group stages in previous seasons to advance in Europe's premier club competition, and will need another one now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Are you a Chelsea Fan? Meet peter Cech on Facebook as Chelsea Facebook Page is lunched!

Chelsea fans accross the globe will be glad to hear this one. Chelsea FC is set to leverage on the power of face book to expand it reach and satisfy online followership. With 300 million people currently using facebook, it is the right thing to do especially when you consider that Chelsea has become an international brand.

By lunching it page on facebook, it has beome the first football club in the world to use the new Facebook connect app. Next month peter Cech is set to fill questions from fans all over the world from the club' website and fans will be able to participate in an online live streaming interview session. Cech will try as much as possible to answer every question.
This will be very welcome as fans will have the one on one feel with the Keeper. This interview session with the fans comes up early next month and all you need to do to participate is to add the Chelsea badge to your facebook profile. From there you can post your questions and get it answered by Cech. To get the full details visit,,10268~1830622,00.html .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Man United and Arsenal Power on as Chelsea and Liverpool falter

The English premier league is heating up.
Chelsea faltered at Villa Park against a more organized and determined Martin 'O Neil's side. liverpool showed again how much the team over depends on their captain and Torres.

Though sunderland isn't everyone idea of a very bad team as showed so far having claim Manchester United's scalp earlier on, the Ballon Goal notwithstanding, Liverpool need to do some spending in January. For now the league is looking like we are talking about top 7 when you consider that Aston Villa, Totternham and Manchester city are clicking so well.

Arsenal maintained thier 100% home run this season even when they appear shaky in the second half. Deja vu? Last time Eduador was the victim, this time Walcot. Manchester city will take on Wigan today and if they win they go third. I think i like it this way.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tunisia set to Drop points at Maputo; But can super Eagles Beat Kenya?

It has been a while my last ranting and atempting to kill myself on behalf of the NFF and of course our darling super eagles, including Sampson Siasia's Flying Eagles who have just had to fly out of Egypt 2009 window back home.
I have been busy with several other issues like putting finishing touches towards upgrading the website to an online magazine as well as lunch the print version of the site. So much on my hands in the last few weeks as i virtually left the rantings to Imaikop. Good job Imaikop. We'll be hearing more from Imaikop anyway whether or not i am available.

Now to issues more football. My worst fears look like hitting us hard at the camp of the super Eagles. Rumours have it things have gotten so bad that, the Yar'Adua's task force, is so frustrated despite all the force, have resort to ignoring the team as it is looking more and more true 2006 missed opportunity is about to replay in 2010. Again let me just say it again, i will not watch the Super Eagles if they qualify for the world and Amodu gets to be the coach.
Yes, the eagles are likely going to qualify. After watching the Mambas, i have every reason to believe the Cartage Eagles can't possibly leave maputo with maximum three points. I am almost 100% certain of that. My doubt is in wether the Super Eagles can capitalise on this to snatch the ticket. I don't know if we can beat Kenya.

On other matters, Samson Siasia receive an ovation from fans in defeat. That was really commendable as we seem to have matured enough to know when and where not to lay blames. I was impressed but dissapointed with the act of booing the Nigerian national anthem.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Day Drogba Inflicted pain on Liverpool

Drogba, a bizarre mixture of toe-curling amateur dramatics an
d fearsome attacking threat, was even more of a nuisance when upright, on his feet and punching holes in Liverpool's Premier League title credentials.

The Ivorian's contest with Fernando Torres was billed as a heavyweight confrontation wrapped within Chelsea and Liverpool's battle to make an early statement of intent to challenge Manchester United's domestic domination.

There was only one winner. Drogba may spend more time on the deck than any glass-jawed boxer, but he delivered crucial blows while the subdued Torres barely laid a glove on Chelsea.

Liverpool struggled to cope with Drogba's physical presence

Benitez navigated his way around any inquisition about Drogba'
s antics. He has more to worry about than Drogba after a third defeat in eight league games raised fresh doubts about Liverpool's capacity to end a 20-year wait to win the title.

Drogba showed all sides on his nature in a game settled by fine margins, but one deservedly decided in Chelsea's favour. Call him an old ham. Call him a drama queen - but never call him anything less than a world-class striker.

On one occasion, Chelsea captain John Terry even appeared to suggest to Drogba that he might be better served getting up and getting on with it rather than making another appointment with the Stamford Bridge physio.

This was one of many priceless interventions from Terry, because Drogba's main talent is playing with the sort of power, drive and ruthless pursuit of opposing defenders that set up goals for Nicolas Anelka and substitute Florent Malouda.

Torres, in contrast, had a laboured and fruitless afternoon. He started a physical confrontation with Terry that he was never going to win with a nasty early challenge, an ill-judged move that only appeared to inspire Chelsea's captain in his efforts to snuff out Torres, a personal battle he won long before the final whistle.

If there is a minor flaw in this great striker's make up, it is a tendency to became side-tracked by pointless bickering instead of inflicting damage with his ability. He has been bogged down by side issues on three occasions this season, when Liverpool have played Spurs, Aston Villa and now Chelsea.

Liverpool fans, and perhaps Torres, can work out for themselves what is the common denominator in those three results.

If Drogba provided the muscle in Chelsea's win, Terry was the heart and soul. He was withering in his assessment of Chelsea's performance in defeat at Wigan - and he led by example here.

When Anelka put Chelsea ahead on the hour, Terry cut short his celebrations to gather his team-mates around him and order total concentration. When Malouda settled affairs deep into injury time, Terry's release of emotion was an illustration of the importance of this victory.

It was fitting that the final act of the game was Terry rising imperiously to clear a corner before leading a communal huddle of elated colleagues. He was an immense figure for Chelsea.

And for coach Carlo Ancelotti, it was a win that put another layer of gloss on his reputation. Luiz Felipe Scolari's early successes were exposed as a false dawn when Liverpool won at Chelsea last season - no such problems for Ancelotti.

Ancelotti has made the partnership of Drogba and Anelka work, while he showed his willingness to be flexible by withdrawing Frank Lampard from the point of Chelsea's midfield diamond formation.

It was a not a move that brought immediate success, but it was Lampard who won the ball from Javier Mascherano to start the move that led to Chelsea's first goal. The record shows he is more effective arriving late in the area and Ancelotti's switch appears to be a recognition of this.

Chelsea were also well-served by stand-in keeper Hilario, in for suspended Petr Cech. After questioning his ability in the build-up, it is only right his faultless contribution is acknowledged here.

If it was a game that will have given Chelsea fresh confidence for battles ahead, it was an experience that will have left Liverpool nursing renewed doubts.

ln Benitez's words they were "not bad." He was right because Liverpool were not bad, but not bad never wins Premier League titles and they were found wanting in crucial areas.

Liverpool, while lacking serious ambition, were coping until Anelka ended the stalemate, but the dash and verve that illuminated their final three months of last season has not been present against a better class of opposition this term.

Liverpool manager Rafa BenitezLiverpool boss Benitez needs to find the right balance in midfield

Benitez's team selection also begs questions. The exclusion of Yossi Benayoun for Albert Riera was mystifying. He drifted around the edge of affairs, looking more the player he was on loan at Manchester City than the Spanish international Benitez splashed out on.

And while it is understandable that the temptation to tuck Steven Gerrard just behind Torres is almost irresistible, surely on this occasion the captain would have provided a better midfield contrast to Mascherano than Lucas.

Mascherano and Lucas is a creative vacuum as a central partnership and Liverpool needed more, and will need more. Did the fact Benitez chose not to move Gerrard demonstrate not just his unswerving loyalty to Lucas, but also a lack of faith in Liverpool's attacking undercard?

Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel gave cause for hope with an improvement on performances in recent weeks, but they could not deal with Drogba and Anelka when it counted.

Xabi Alonso gets better with every game he doesn't play for Liverpool, while the pressure on Alberto Aquilani to deliver grows with every day he edges towards eventual fitness.

Benitez sought some solace in defeat by suggesting Liverpool are now winning more games this season while they were guilty of drawing too many last term. In other words the points might even themselves out this time around even if Liverpool lose more matches - risky logic this.

Six points off the top hardly represents crisis time for Liverpool, but they lack momentum and Benitez cannot rely on what he sees as a more unpredictable Premier League throwing up results like Wigan beating Chelsea or Burnley beating Manchester United.
It's early days still and, as Benitez says, no time for panic.

There is no shame in losing to Chelsea but Liverpool have lost to the four best teams they have met this season at home and abroad - there is no shield against this reality.

For Chelsea coach Ancelotti, it was a satisfactory end to a week that brought ludicrous suggestions that he was under pressure after his first league defeat and a scratchy Champions League victory.

The Italian was at his deadpan best as he dismissed the scare theories and delivered the line: "Football is the same the world over."
Not quite Carlo. Not every team has a Didier Drogba. And for all his faults Chelsea were grateful they had him to see off Liverpool and return Ancelotti's side to the top of the table.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Arsene Wenger becomes the longest-serving manager in Arsenal's history on Thursday.
The Frenchman took charge of the Gunners on September 28, 1996 and has since gone on to win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups during his 4,749 days at the helm. Wenger also led Arsenal to the Champions League final in 2006 but his hopes of European glory were crushed after Barcelona secured a 2-1 win in Paris. The former Monaco chief has now surpassed George Allison, who was in charge of the north London outfit between 1934 and 1947, as the Gunners longest-serving manager and he has been backed by his current squad.

Wenger Brought Henry into the club in 1999 from Monaco and he went on to be the club's top goalscorer of all time with 226 goals in all competitions between 1999 and 2007 having surpassed Ian Wright's total of 185 in October 2005. Wright's record had stood since September 1997, a feat which overtook the longstanding total of 178 goals set by winger Cliff Bastin in 1939. Henry also holds the club record for goals scored in the League – 174– a record that had been held by Bastin until February 2006.

Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal's curr
ent captain, was signed by Wenger as a 16-year-old from Barcelona's youth team and he has now gone on to be one of the most valuable players in world football during his time at the Emirates Stadium.

After failing to produce any silver ware for almost the last 5 seasons, wenger credibility has in recent times comes under scrutiny. But the frenchman does not bother himself about this. The board management and fans are still in support of him. He is still a great coach. He has recruited more players, and many youth team players has been called into the senior team to boost the squad. The likes of Russian Arshavin, English Theo walcot, Spanish fran Merida who gave Nigeria U20 something to think about in Egypt on monday and Thomas Vermaelen, etc.

These are talented stars that can turn things around for Arsenal. I hope they will bring back those good days for Arsene Wenger to smile victoriously again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ancelotti Can Lead Chelsea To Champions League Glory- Terry Speaks

John Terry has claimed that Chelsea will be out for redemption in the Champions League this season, with the pain of the loss on penalties against bitter rivals Manchester United in the 2008 final still hurting.

The center-back will forever be remembered as the man who missed the spot kick that would have won it for the Blues in Moscow, slipping over as he went to strike the ball. The ball slew off his right boot and smashed into the upright, giving United a lifeline - which they made the most of.

Terry said that the pain of the loss had galvanized the squad, with most who played part in that match still with the Blues today.

“What has happened to us in the past still hurts massively. That was why it was very important we kept the backbone of the side together,” Terry said to The Daily Mirror.

“We have experienced some bad times together. Of course, there have also been some good times, but the bad ones will live with us forever. That is something we all want to make amends for, to put things right.

“Together we’ve come so close and after so many years of doing so well in this competition and not winning it, this is the chance to finally do it.

“Now we’ve got players of the right age and experience and also the right quality to push on this year and make it ours. That’s what we’re looking to do.”

With the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, who has won the Champions League trophy twice with AC Milan, Terry feels that Chelsea now have the leader with the requisite experience to lead them to glory.

He continued: “The first thing that Italian managers have is that they are very well organized tactically. We do a lot of defending and working together as a team.

“If you look at his Milan side over the years, they’ve been very well organized too. Everybody knows their job and ensures they do it correctly.

“That’s something he’s come in and got us doing, making sure we fight and work hard for each other.

“We know that if we’re organized we’re going to be very difficult to break down and with the quality we’ve got up front, we know we’ll always be able to score goals as well.

“Carlo is a very good man, somebody we can go to and approach while at the same time we all have huge respect for what he’s done in the game.

“To have him on board and pass on his knowledge and experience and get us organized and doing the tactical work is really good.

“He knows when to relax and when to focus and those are things that are really key. He knows exactly what players want and that’s the key to the success we want.”

Ancelotti Can Lead Chelsea To Champions League Glory- Terry Speaks

John Terry has claimed that Chelsea will be out for redemption in the Champions League this season, with the pain of the loss on penalties against bitter rivals Manchester United in the 2008 final still hurting.

The center-back will forever be remembered as the man who missed the spot kick that would have won it for the Blues in Moscow, slipping over as he went to strike the ball. The ball slew off his right boot and smashed into the upright, giving United a lifeline - which they made the most of.

Terry said that the pain of the loss had galvanized the squad, with most who played part in that match still with the Blues today.

“What has happened to us in the past still hurts massively. That was why it was very important we kept the backbone of the side together,” Terry said to The Daily Mirror.

“We have experienced some bad times together. Of course, there have also been some good times, but the bad ones will live with us forever. That is something we all want to make amends for, to put things right.

“Together we’ve come so close and after so many years of doing so well in this competition and not winning it, this is the chance to finally do it.

“Now we’ve got players of the right age and experience and also the right quality to push on this year and make it ours. That’s what we’re looking to do.”

With the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, who has won the Champions League trophy twice with AC Milan, Terry feels that Chelsea now have the leader with the requisite experience to lead them to glory.

He continued: “The first thing that Italian managers have is that they are very well organized tactically. We do a lot of defending and working together as a team.

“If you look at his Milan side over the years, they’ve been very well organized too. Everybody knows their job and ensures they do it correctly.

“That’s something he’s come in and got us doing, making sure we fight and work hard for each other.

“We know that if we’re organized we’re going to be very difficult to break down and with the quality we’ve got up front, we know we’ll always be able to score goals as well.

“Carlo is a very good man, somebody we can go to and approach while at the same time we all have huge respect for what he’s done in the game.

“To have him on board and pass on his knowledge and experience and get us organized and doing the tactical work is really good.

“He knows when to relax and when to focus and those are things that are really key. He knows exactly what players want and that’s the key to the success we want.”

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Does Amodu deserves another chance?

Under-pressure Nigeria coach, Shuaibu Amodu, has pleaded with the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to give him another chance to ensure Nigeria still qualify for next year's World Cup.

He asked that he be given more support, while blaming the players for not beating the visiting Tunisians in a must-win game on Sunday.

At the dressing room immediately after the match, Amodu, in the presence of the sports minister and other top officials, accused the players of lacking tactical discipline.


Guus Hiddink has hinted he would be interested in a return to the Premier League.

Hiddink, who is preparing his Russia side for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier with Wales, remains a big fan of English football after his four-month spell at Chelsea last term.

The Dutchman guided Chelsea to FA Cup final success before returning to his job with Russia.

Hiddink expects to take a break from football after next summer's World Cup finals, but he has indicated he would consider a move back to England if the opportunity arose.

"I had a wonderful time there and before I worked for Chelsea I was often [watching] the Premier League," Hiddink told The Guardian. "I love to be in England to smell the atmosphere. So, missing it? Of course missing it. But I love to work with the guys in Moscow as well."

"Of course. England is very attractive. It's unique in that the level of competition is high. But I have to make a judgment whether I stop for a few months, or half a year or a year, or do something different within football. I don't know yet. I am ageing in our profession.

"But as long as football gives me the energy and I am not repeating myself - because that is a trap, being a long time in the business that you go on automatic pilot."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

AC Milan Wants Fabregas for 35million Euros PLUS Arsene Wenger's new Formation

How does that other saying go? Adding salt to injury? Or making an already bad situation worse? Well, it seems to me that after Arsenal has lost two star players – do I still have to name them? – they are being asked to lose yet another.

Just like asking a man with measles to add elephantiasis to his stockpile of diseases.

As I heard (and as the crow flies) AC Milan are attempting to cause a new depletion to Old Trafford. It seems they are not deterred by the fact that Arsenal has only recently lost two players – Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure – with some people speculating that the sale is a loss Arsene Wenger will live to regret.

I hope in the interest of football that this attempted “deal” does not fall in place as it will leave quite a number of Gunners fans extremely angry.

In one simplified sentence: AC Milan has submitted their bid for Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas. The club president on the Milan side has given his permission for the pursuance of the bid. Yay!

Now the details: Milan wants to make the juicy offer of 35 million euros for the Gunners star midfielder. They are hoping to seal a three year contract with the cool kid, all the while dangling a four million a year bait over the proposed five year deal. The almighty Berlusconi himself has admitted to saying that he is in search of under 23 years old players to enrich his squad. He attests to the fact that Fabregas will be a splendid addition.

Meanwhile, Asene wenger has come into braod light to explain how his team will play for the forthcoming season. Seems he has learnt a thing or two from Barcelona FC. He has revealed that the Gunners will play in the remarkable 4-3-3 formation that Barca have often and tirelessly employed in bringing down formidable football foes.

The fact that Toure and Adebayor have left a chink in the armor notwithstanding, some adjustments have been made to the tactical arrangement to ensure maximum play.

You probably already have noticed the adoption of the new formation in their pre-season play.

As Wenger himself said, “when you play with Arshavin, you are never on your own, when you play with Theo Walcott you are never on your own”. I can almost imagine the old boy beaming with pride.

He emphasized that the amount of output that will be gotten from his strikers will depend on the amount of support they get from the other part of the team.

He explained that the pre-season play will be a form of test run of the new formation as it will enable him strike the tentative balance between the offensive and defensive portions of his reputable squad. He expressed immense satisfaction with the results so far.

I must admit that Arsene Wenger really loves his Gunners and he believes they are the best. Whatever the case, I believe staunch Arsenal fans will stand solidly with their manager’s moves, knowing they are borne out of good will and love.

May the best team win.

Please leave your comments

Real Madrid Insure Cristiano Ronaldo's Legs For €100m

There is a quaint old saying somewhere that you do not miss the water until it is gone. That you regret your loss only when it happens. Well, I know someone who is not going to wait for the loss before making plans. No what-ifs here. And that someone is none other that Spanish millionaire club, Real Madrid. They have acquired their star, and intend to use him. And if a puny knee injury says they won’t get their money’s worth, well, think again.

The Spanish club – which I immensely admire, I might add – has taken out a 100 million pound insurance policy. Against what? Fire? Hail? Accidents? No. For the legs of Cristiano Ronaldo.

They have magnificiently insured themselves against any ugly scenario concerning the Portuguese superstar’s legs and are ready to showcase their masterpiece to the world without fear.

The record-breaking superstar who was formerly a Manchester united totem before his sale to Real Madrid – the record breaking sum is ninety four million pounds, I might add – has been receiving grand and special treatment due to the important role he would play for his new club, and Real Madrid have rapidly insured themselves against any painful loss in the event that their much-pampered star is unable to play.

As we all know, they twenty four year old star recently had a case that might have prompted such measures. He recently had a knee injury that stopped him from playing for sometime, in which period he was quickly bestowed under the care of specially trained doctors who rapidly brought him to tip-top condition. I should say that in the event that such a similar situation occurs, Real is trying to save their head. Good, astute, business-like move.

In case you want to know – or have a nice, cozy trip down memory lane – you would remember that the young Portuguese striker for former club Manchester United was purchased in the summer by the Spanish giants, Real Madrid, during a happy season of big spending. It was also during one of those wild money-throwing parades that they also acquired Kaka, Karim Benzema and Raul Albiol.

These are great players, I must say, but to give honour to whom it is due and in right proportions, I must chip in the fact that Ronaldo’s addition to the club was the most celebrated of the additions, and it would only be logical for Los Merengues to try as much as possible to guard their prized possession and valued investment.

My own personal fears lie in the fact that while C. Ronaldo might be an exceptional player, there exist also stars like Kaka who are worth their mettle. I wonder how Kaka would feel when he hears that bit of news – Ronaldo’s legs insured for that some. Heck, what’s wrong with insuring Kaka’s legs, too.

While I support the move, I suggest that there is a balance so there is no division in the camp.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Chelsea FC Set to Spend 100 million pounds on three top players – Aguero, Ribery and Pirlo.

While all the hustle and bustle has been going on in the past week in Arsenal and Man City’s camp, a friend of mine commented on Chelsea’s seeming dormancy. He wondered what the blues were doing while its neighbours were preparing hot coals for a big showdown.

I, as usual, dispensed with some candid answers. You see, the grand game masters usually wait to watch their opponents’ moves before baring the cards up their sleeves. I believed that was exactly what Chelsea FC was doing – oh, and how right I was.

It has become evident that the blue team is making plans to submit their carefully mapped bids for three players – Frank Ribery (Bayern Munich), Sergio Aguero (Athletico Madrid) and Milan’s Andrea Pirlo. All these were gotten from the Daily Mail.

Chelsea Chairman, Roman Abramovich made these moves just to show that the blues are in no wise resting on their oars to prove their mettle in this coming season. Some believe that the move may have been pre-empted by Captain John Terry’s questions about the Chelsea fate in the coming matches. Technically, this is a form of saying, “We are marching on!!”

Here are the hard facts: manager Carlo Ancelotti is making plans to reel in Andrea Pirlo to the Blues side to hold their midfield tenaciously. And he comes with an estimated fee, too. They are estimating something along the figures of 12 million pounds or more. They want him to join their formidable diamond formation where they are sure of having a tight defence and powerful midfield to boot.

Admittedly (on the Chelsea side) it won’t be easy for the Blues to get player Aguero, as Manchester United are also showing interest in the same player. It is also noted that Sergio Aguero’s present club, Athletico Madrid, have slammed a forty five million – pound fee on their star. Guess further what? Sergio himself has said that for whatever new club he is going to be signed in to, he would be paid a 200,000 pound a week pay. Amazing, isn’t it? As I hear, this has thrown Chelsea off the mark a little. Bad, bad.

That is not all, pals. The formidable blues are making plans to offer a little over forty million pounds to Bayern Munich Star Frank Ribery. They hope the money bait is large enough to draw the star to Stamford bridge. I hope it is, too. Another thing that may work in the blues’ favor is the fact that Frank is nearing his deadline for his transfer. They are hoping that the pressure will make Bayern Munich play right into their arms.

Well, that’s it. The figures are well within the 100 million pound range. The blues are ready to show the football world that they have the cash and are not afraid of spending it. I hope that they get their prized additions as it will add more fire to an already sizzling pre-season preparation in the English leagues.

Please leave your comments.

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