Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pompey Handed Defoe Fitness Boost

Breaking news suggests that Portsmouth striker Jermaine Defoe has been handed a big fitness boost ahead of the weekends Premiership fixtures. The England star was injured during international duty in last weeks friendly against Germany and recent reports had suggested he may have faced surgery on the niggling calf injury - which would have seen him sidelined for around a month. However, after consulting a specialist the injury appears to be less extensive than initially feared, and Defoe may even be passed fit to partner giant striker Peter Crouch in Saturday's Premier League clash against struggling Blackburn. Portsmouth manager Tony Adams will no doubt be delighted with the news that his leading scorer will soon be back in action, having already seen Defoe notch up 7 goals this season.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cesc to Get the Armband at the Emirates?

The latest football banter echoing around the terraces of England this weekend surrounds the apparent crisis setting in at the Emirates stadium. The well documented outburst by now former Gunners captain William Gallas is just the latest in a long line of public and non public showing of disharmony emanating from deep within the heart of the North London Giants. Even the experience and patience of the Great Arsene Wenger has now been seemingly stretched to the full, after Gallas publicly criticised his team in a recent autobiography and in the English football media. The latest football banter spreading across the capital would seem to suggest that the fallen Frenchman will be replaced by the 21 year old star of Arsenals midfield: Cesc Fabregas. Gallas' loss of the captaincy may be the final straw of his turbulent Arsenal career, following heavy public criticism of his leadership and off field demeanor. Certainly, his recent appearance on the front pages of the English tabloids leaving a nightclub with a cigarette in his mouth could certainly have not strengthened Gallas' claim as a suitable figure head of one of the world's best known football clubs. If the Arsenal are to become famous for more than playing attractive football and actually go on to break there long running duck of trophyless seasons, it is going to take a great shift in attitude and spirit amongst the squad - but if anyone can implment that change, it surely is Arsene Wenger.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sousa Lands QPR Coaching Role

The latest football banter circling the internet at the moment seem to be that surrounding the appointment of the new first team coach at Queens Park Rangers. Former Portugal international Paulo Sousa becomes the next big foreign name to arrive into England, joining manager Flavio Briatore, who replaced the hapless Iain Dowie at the wealthy London based Championship side in October. Sousa shone as a player, appearing 51 times for his country in a glittering career. His CV also proudly boasts successful spells at some of the worlds top clubs including Juventus and Inter in Italy, as well as German giants Borussia Dortmund. While there is little doubt of Sousa's ability as a player, the question mark surely remains over whether the Portuguese's' favoured continental footballing style can be effectively transfered into the competitive bustling style of the football league Championship. However, one thing can surely now be certain, in there is seem to be little doubt of the burning Premier League ambitions of Briatore and QPR, and the addition of Paulo Sousa will no doubt bring valuable experience to aid the club's push for the top flight.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Club Vs Country - Which Would You Choose?

Well it seems that footballs international week is once again upon us and with the latest bout of mid-season friendly fixtures there comes the inevitable reopening of the ongoing club vs country debate that has long been a cause of great debate by football fans in pubs across the length and breadth of England. There's nothing quite like the English national team for stimulating football banter and this week has been no exception, as fans across the country debate on whether their international stars should or shouldn't be involved in what many perceive to be meaningless fixtures that can only cause disruption to the weekend fixture preparations of their respective club sides. The club vs country debate has been reignited in particular this week by the withdrawal from the England squad of several notable names including Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand. The football banter on the lips of the more cynical fans in England at this moment seems to centre around the fact that should Wednesday's friendly at Wembley against Germany have been the World Cup final, would these multi-millionaire players have withdrawn from the fixture with their apparent "injuries." that may be a somewhat critical view, although it has to be said it may certainly be no coincidence that England's latest list of absentees all play for clubs challenging for the Premier League title. Now I may be stoking the flames even more through these comments, but I certainly wouldn't bet against these premier league superstars miraculously recovering from their respective ailments just in time to turn out for their clubs next fixtures. You may argue that it is the clubs who pay these players vast sums of money for their services and should therefore not have to risk them picking up injuries in friendly fixture, but I personally would give my right arm to play for my country in any fixture, in any time, in any place. The debate will no doubt continue as to the commitment of England's international players, especially considering the national teams continued failures in recent years. what do you think? Join in with the football banter and share your thoughts on this blog today!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Drogba May Face Police Charge After Coin Incident

Latest news reports suggest that controversial Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba may be soon facing up to separate investigations by both the police and Football Association following an incident which occurred during Wednesday nights League cup fourth round defeat at the hands of Burnley. The striker was apparently hit by a coin by one of the travelling supporters during his goal celebrations after giving Chelsea the lead at Stamford bridge, and promptly returned the favour by tossing the offending item back into the away enclosure. There were no Burnley fans reported injured following the incident, and Drogba has subsequently made a full public apology for his actions, but the consequences of them are yet to be fully determined. Drogba received a booking from the match referee Mr Keith Stroud for his part in the incident but may now face a more lengthly FA ban or even the possibility of a police charge, pending the results of the enquiry. Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was once sent off at Highbury during an FA cup tie with Premier League rivals Arsenal for a similar incident in which he threw a coin which had been directed at him back into the terraces. For me there is little doubt that such acts from so called football supporters go far beyond the realms of what can be deemed acceptable football banter, but the actions of the player concerned are also certainly not what should be expected of an experienced international star, who has never remained far from the tabloid headlines for his conduct. It remains to be seen whether Chelsea are to lose their star forward through suspension having already missed him for much of the season through injury, but the incident last night certainly marred what was otherwise a fantastic English cup tie.

Big Boys Crash Out Of League Cup

Last night saw a fantastic night of giant killing in the league cup, with 2 of the so called English "big 4" clubs crashing out of the competition. A second string Liverpool side were unceremoniously dumped out of the cup by an in form Tottenham side at Anfield, with some shocking goalkeeping from both sides resulting in a high scoring 4 - 2 win in favor of the visiting North Londoners. However, the major shock of the evening occurred at Stamford Bridge, where a strong eleven featuring international superstars Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba put out by the Premier League favorites Chelsea were knocked out by Championship side Burnley on penalties after a 1 - 1 draw. Both these sides suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of Barnsley in last seasons FA cup and must now face up to the prospect of an early exit from another major domestic cup competition. such results may now open the door for Arsenal and Manchester United's young guns to show their experienced managers that they have the ability to break into their regular first choice 11.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blades In The Dock Over Hume?

Sheffield United may face another legal battle following their clash with Championship rivals Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday. The Blades are already locked in a long term legal battle with West Ham concerning the now infamous Carlos Tevez affair which they argue had a huge influence on their eventual relegation from the Premier League last season. Now the furious Tykes say they are taking legal advice following a clash between Sheffield United captain Chris Morgan and Barnsley striker Iain Hume, which left the Canadian striker in hospital recovering from major surgery. The Barnsley hitman suffered a fracture to the skull and internal bleeding following the challenge from former Oakwell favourite Morgan. He is now recovering in hospital and Tykes manager Simon Davey faces the prospect of several matches without their recent £1.2 million pound acquisition, who signed from Leicester during the close season. Davey told the local Yorkshire radio station following the incident "The club may be seeking legal advice on the matter...We've ended up with a life-threatening injury and a player in a hospital bed."
While Sheffield United have released an official club statement wishing Hume a full and speedy recovery, the possibility of another trip to the courts cannot be one that Blades fans are looking forward to. Do you as a fan believe that Barnsley are right to consider taking such action in order to recoup some of their significant investment, or do you believe that such injuries - however serious - are all part and parcel of the risks involved with professional football. Please share your views here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Boothroyd Out At Vicarage Road

Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd has become the Football League's latest managerial casualty after a less than inspiring start to the championship season at Vicarage road, which has seen Watford claim only 15 points from their opening 15 championship fixtures. The man who led the unfancied Hornets to the heady heights of the Premier League in 2006 has reportedly left the club by mutual consent following a string of poor results which has left last seasons Championship play off semi finalists hovering just one place above the Championship relegation zone. Only goal difference separates Watford from fellow former premier league strugglers Charlton Athletic, whose defeat at the weekend to an in form Barnsley side has led many fans and pundits to speculate that Alan Pardew, once hailed as a hero amongst the Addicks faithful may be the next high profile championship gaffer out of the job.
After such an impressive start to last season's championship campaign, Boothroyd's men fell apart in the final games of last season, with a dismal run of form seeing his side ultimately fall from the automatic promotion places to a crushing defeat to eventual playoff winners Hull City. This poor run of form has extended into the new season, and Watford fans have had to endure seeing players such as the magnificent Ashley Young leave for Premier league pastures new. Watfords demise and Boothroyds exit have arguably typified the lack of patience shown by football league chairman in recent years, and an apparent attitude that sees little long term faith shown in managers who have taken clubs to reasonable success less than a season ago, only to be shown the door after a string of bad results in 2008 (just ask Juande Ramos). Pardew must now be looking over his shoulder waiting for the bad news and will have to dig deep to save his own managerial skin at The Valley.