ADL Daily – Weekend Round Up

The hopelessness of the Premiership peloton’s pursuit of the frontrunners was highlighted again this weekend; as usual Chelsea provided the weekends routing of a newly promoted side – this time 4-0 against Blackpool – while Manchester United delivered the thrills with Dimitar Berbatov’s hat-trick marking a significant point in his as-yet unfulfilled United career. United fans will not forget the three goals that put aside Liverpool who are now left in lowly 16th position, but the neutrals will remember his instinctive but breathtaking two touch overhead finish that put his side 2-0 ahead. The undistinguished remained as much; Arsenal drew with Sunderland , and Manchester City’s form continued to be consistently inconsistent as the pack jostled for position beneath them. City might have been pleased with the 2-0 defeat of north-west rivals Wigan Athletic, but reports of striker Emmanuel Adebayor squaring up to manager Roberto Mancini on receiving news he was starting on the bench will not help progression for the Eastlands outfit. In contrast, fans and pundits will have enjoyed the performance of Tottenham Hotspur’s new signing Rafael van der Vaart, who spirited the defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers and showed football fans that some good has come from the broken leg of Luca Modric.

Encroaching into the scorelines this weekend was the news that two fans faced police charges after fighting on the pitch at Saturday’s game against Watford at the New Den. Shortly after Watford right-back Lloyd Doyley was booked for a strong challenge, a 22 year old member of the armed services and Millwall fan chased Dooley up the field of play, where he was mauled down and dragged off the pitch by stewards and Millwall striker Neil Harris. Another scuffle then ensued involving the stewards and other Millwall fans seeing the first fan being struck about the head, resulting in a second Millwall fan being arrested on suspicion of assault. Both fans have been banned from the ground.

News of money and morals has also lit up the recession-proof summit of English football this weekend.

Chelsea has revealed that that multi-billionaire owner Roman Abramovic will no longer bankroll the wages and signings made by the club, with the players having to take a slash in their bonuses as the club attempt to stabilise the its finances and become self-sufficient. The news marks an end to the incredible investment Abramovic initially made at the club, which saw him spend £230 million in two years. Another with capital to consider is Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who will have heard the news that Premier League officials are due to meet to discuss his refusal to speak with the BBC, and are considering fining him up to £25,000 every time he declines to speak. Fergurson has not spoken to the BBC since 2004, when he took against a documentary made by the BBC about him and his son Jason, a football agent.

Finally, for perhaps the first time in history animal rights activists have taken interest in footballing matters and attacked Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych after the Ukrainian government announced plans for a mass cull of stray animals from the streets of Kiev. Poland and Ukraine will host the European finals in 2012, and the planned slaughter was intended to clean up the streets before the onset of mass tourism.

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ADL Daily – Weekend Round Up

Moving away from the international break that has perforated the start of the season, this weekend became less about the game and more about the players. Saturday’s absentees grabbed most of the headlines, while Sunday saw only one game in the Premier League; the outcome of which will provide an unerring shake of reality to Liverpool fans who will sight their goalkeeper Pepe Reina as the man that earned them a point at Birmingham City. The post match reaction of both managers was the best barometer by which to judge the two sides’ expectations for the season: Roy Hodgson eulogised the attacking play of Birmingham and spoke sparingly of the ‘promising signs’ he apparently detected as the game went on. Blues manager Alex McLeish justified his side’s ‘excellence’ and ‘concentration’ when speaking to the press, proving that they had come a long way to be disappointed to have not beaten Liverpool.

Injury reports from Sunday will have given England Head Coach Fabio Capello much to consider, with the news that Fulham’s talismanic striker Bobby Zamora has had surgery on a broken leg suffered in the game against Wolves, and will be out of action for at least 4 months depending on how his leg reacts to the surgery. This is bad news for Fulham who have seen Zamora blossom into a top rate Premier League striker, bagging 19 goals last season. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has defended his side who have gained a reputation as hatchet-boys of the League already this season. Wolves had 5 players booked and Christophe Berra sent off in the 2-1 defeat, yet McCarthy claimed it was ‘competitive game’, and that his side would do their best to ‘go to Spurs and play wonderful silky football’. Capello may also be slightly roused by the news that David Beckham is yet again back to service his country, claiming that he is fit, ready to play again, and pre-empting the Italian’s thoughts, with Beckham claiming he is ‘sure the (England) manager will consider (him)’. Beckham, who is 35, came on as a sub for 10 minutes against Columbus Crew after not playing since March.

In other news, Italian Serie B side Triestina have resorted to painting fans in seats in order to make the ground seem less empty at home games. This act is a rather bizarre symptom of the financial crisis that the lower echelons of Italian football are currently going through – the statistics of which completely reflect the top-heavy nature how money and fans are distributed through the Italian leagues. 21 clubs have already been banned from all competition, and with Triestina’s average gate of 3,810 trying to fill their 32,454 all-seater stadium, the board have decided to shut a whole stand – filling it with posters of celebrating fans in order to generate an atmosphere and make operating costs of around £100,000.

Finally, Diego Maradona as awoken to the news that angry taxmen have invited themselves to his birthday bash in Napoli. Maradona apparently owes around £30.5 million in unpaid tax since his playing days at Napoli, the same city in which he intends to celebrate his 50th birthday. The ex-Napoli captain and Argentinean legend does not seem ruffled, inviting the whole city and exclaiming that “they will want for nothing!”

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