Club Focus – Liverpool – Late Maxi goal lifts Reds up table

Liverpool climbed up to twelfth in the Premier League table thanks to a late Maxi Rodriguez strike against Bolton on Sunday. The Reds now have twelve points from ten games and are trailing fifth-placed Tottenham by just three points. Roy Hodgson’s side were far from their best, but clinching all three points mattered far more than the performance. Fernando Torres’ commitment has come under much scrutiny recently and despite his winning goal against Blackburn Rovers last week, some were still questioning whether his mind is in the right place. The…

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Everton Analysis – Moyes’ striker gamble pays off as Toffees stick it to Stoke

EVERTON 1 Yakubu 67 STOKE CITY 0 The phrase ‘hard-fought’ barely begins to describe Everton’s 1-0 Premier League win over Stoke City on Saturday, such was the extent the Potters chased, harried and harassed the Toffees all over the field. David Moyes’ side eventually found a way past the visitors’ resistance and held on to the lead Yakubu’s goal delivered, but there was more than a little luck and a great deal of managerial courage involved in clinching this home victory. The main stroke of fortune came from Stoke’s disallowed…

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Chelsea Analysis – A difficult win for the Blues

BLACKBURN 1Benjani 21 CHELSEA 2Anelka 39, Ivanovic 84 Chelsea put last year’s disappointing Ewood Park visits to bed thanks to a late Branislav Ivanovic header. The visitors have now won four of their last five visits to the Lancashire based club, but were dumped out in a thrilling Carling Cup encounter and dropped two vital points in the race for the title last term. In his pre-match press conference, Carlo Ancelotti declared that he enjoyed the clash of two contrasting styles of football, but the Italian’s nous was evident when…

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Arsenal Analysis – Gunners on Song after late winner

ARSENAL 1Song 88 WEST HAM UNITED 0 Arsenal needed a late goal from Alex Song to overcome West Ham and maintain the pressure on leaders Chelsea. The Gunners’ best opportunities in the first half came through the width provided by the overlapping Bacary Sagna. As the Frenchman teamed up with Samir Nasri to stretch Herita Ilunga out of position, gaps appeared in between Ilunga and the centre-half, and that is where Arsenal attacked. Firstly, Song threaded the ball between Ilunga and Danny Gabbidon for the advancing Sagna, who then cut…

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Manchester United Analysis – Red Devils back to their best defensively as Nani gets a helping hand

MANCHESTER UNITED 2 Vidic 31, Nani 84 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 Manchester United kept a clean sheet against Tottenham Hotspur in a tight game at Old Trafford which will be remembered for Nani’s controversial second goal. The decision by Mark Clattenburg in allowing Nani to fire past a stationary Heurelho Gomes may be the talking point many will draw from the game but there were plenty of positives from the United performance to please Sir Alex Ferguson, most notably the clean sheet. When United took the lead but were subsequently matched…

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Man Utd news – Rooney out for 5 weeks, Rio to lead calls for pay-rise, No January signings

Rooney out for 5 weeks. Manchester United have confirmed that Wayne Rooney could be out for up to five weeks. Rooney has not played since the 16th October when he managed 30 minutes against West Brom. Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed to Sky Sports, “I think Wayne Rooney will be out for another five weeks.” The England international will miss several important games for his club, namely the Manchester derby. Ferguson explained the time frame allowed for a full recovery, “he’ll have to pick up his fitness again. I would…

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Arsenal news – Fabregas fit for Champions, Versatile Song impresses, Injuries key to title

Fabregas fit for Champions. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has told Sky Sports that Cesc Fabregas will be fit to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday – despite the player playing “within himself” during the Gunners’ 1-0 win over West Ham yesterday. Wenger revealed that the 23-year-old was suffering with a hamstring strain at half time, and the Frenchman was even considering substituting the Spaniard. Fabregas ran off the knock in the second half, however, and appears to be ready for selection for the trip to the Ukraine…

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Liverpool news – Hodgson plans 5 or 6 signings, Bolton match team news, Dalglish ok

Liverpool to win 1-0 against Bolton today: 7-1. £10 bet wins £80. Hodgson plans 5 or 6 signings. Roy Hodgson is believed to have targeted ‘five or six’ new signings in the January transfer window, according to reports on skysports.com. Top priority on his list of potential signings is a new striker. However, this should not cloud Fernando Torres’s future at Liverpool: it has long since been recognized that the Spaniard is inadequately backed-up at first-team level. In what was his frankest admission of a lack of squad depth, Hodgson…

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Real Madrid Analysis – Ronaldo at the double as Real overcome Hercules

HERCULES 1Trezeguet 2 REAL MADRID 3Di Maria 51, Ronaldo 81, Ronaldo 85 Real Madrid’s trip to Hercules had all the ingredients for a potential upset with the Alicante-based team already having defeated Barcelona at the Nou Camp and Sevilla at home. But goals two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Jose Mourinho’s men on the road to a vital victory. Mourinho stuck with the same 11 players that had put six past Racing Santander last weekend, while the home side boasted the likes of summer signings David Trezeguet and Nelson Valdes…

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Barcelona Analysis – Messi and Villa double up to thump Sevilla

BARCELONA 5 Messi 4, 64, Villa 24, 90, Alves 53 FC SEVILLA 0 Lionel Messi and David Villa combined to crush Sevilla in the Nou Camp last night as Barcelona returned to second place in La Liga. The highlight for Barcelona fans will have been the performance of summer signing David Villa. After Messi’s opportunistic opener, Villa shaked off his stuttering early season form to add a stunning second goal, cutting in from the right flank and arking a delightful left-footed strike past Javi Varas. The forward enjoyed perhaps his…

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Arsenal news – Szczesny in Celtic link, Wilshere set for contract talks, Wenger:There’s more to come

Arsenal to win 3-0 against West Ham: 13/2 – £10 bet wins £75. Wilshere set for contract talks. Jack Wilshere looks set to sign a bumper new deal to keep him at the Emirates for the long-term. He has already been capped at senior level for England and has been one of the most consistent performers in the Gunners’ first team this season following a successful spell on loan at Bolton last year. His impact already does not betray his 18 years, and his existing deal does not expire for…

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Man Utd news – Hargreaves injury returns, Hernandez deserves starting place, van der Saar plans to continue

Man Utd to win 3-0 against Tottenham: 11-1. £10 wins £120. Hernandez deserves starting place. Sir Alex Ferguson has declared that it would be difficult to omit Javier Hernandez from United’s starting line up. “He’s keeping his place in the team because he deserves to keep his place in the team,” Ferguson told the Daily Mail, before saying of the young Mexican “We’re all pleased with him, everyone around the club is excited because he’s done really well. He’s got desire and he trains well.” With Wayne Rooney out for…

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Liverpool news – Reina and Torres won’t be sold, Meireles backs Hodgson, Henry insists squad will not weaken

Reina and Torres won’t be sold. Recent speculation has been mounting that dissatisfaction with Liverpool’s poor start to the season has led Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina to become disillusioned with life at Anfield. Escape clauses have been mooted which have attracted Manchester City (Torres), Manchester United and Arsenal (who both show an interest in Reina). Yesterday Liverpool’s hierarchy was quick to dismiss the notion of the two Spaniards leaving the club in the foreseeable future. John W. Henry described the rumours as “destructive and unwarranted” in the Daily Telegraph,…

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Chelsea news – Lampard injury latest, Cole like Maldini, Ancelotti wants ruthlessness

Latest Odds – Chelsea to win 3-0 against Blackburn: 10-1. £10 bet wins £110. Lampard injury latest. Frank Lampard will again miss out when Chelsea take on Blackburn at Ewood Park this afternoon. The midfielder has missed the last ten games and according to Sporting Preview.com, he has now set his sights on playing a part in next Sunday’s trip to Anfield. Alex, who has recovered from a thigh problem, is set to start against Sam Allardyce’s men and his inclusion will see Branislav Ivanovic move to right-back. Ramires is…

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Club Focus- Arsenal – Gunners capitalise on a Krul twist of fate to dispatch Newcastle

Fielding arguably the strongest side Arsene Wenger has ever named at this stage of the competition, Arsenal comfortably saw off Newcastle and took another step towards the Carling Cup Final. Both sides made nine changes to their starting line-ups from the previous games, however, Newcastle and Arsenal have vastly differing aspirations, as was shown in the eventual scoreline. Wenger appears to be taking the Carling Cup more seriously this term, but still dreams of lifting the Premier League title again and securing the elusive Champions League. By contrast, Chris Hughton…

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Club Focus – Real Madrid – Beckham And Zidane Could Delight Bernabeu Once Again

Former Real Madrid and England star David Beckham has admitted he is interested in returning to the Santiago Bernabeu in a coaching capacity as his playing days draw to a close. The 35-year-old spent four seasons in Spain, a period which yielded just one solitary trophy (2007 La Liga) and saw Beckham feature as part of the ‘Galactico’s’ – the star-studded team set up by club President Florentino Perez. Lured from boyhood idols Manchester United in 2003, Beckham followed Luis Figo, Brazilian Ronaldo and Frenchman Zinedine Zidane to Madrid in…

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Club Focus – Chelsea – Tough trip awaits Blues against former bogey side Blackburn

Chelsea travel to Blackburn Rovers this weekend looking to return to winning ways on the road after dropping points on their last two away days. Trips to Manchester City and Aston Villa resulted in no goals scored and just one point – achieved from a fruitless stalemate at Villa Park – and the Premier League leaders will no doubt be looking to break their poor run away from Stamford Bridge in Lancashire on Saturday. The Blues have enjoyed a good recent record over Blackburn after a barren run against the…

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Club Focus – Liverpool – Hodgson on the offensive over Reina rumours

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson was criticised by fans last week for admitting that Fernando Torres could be on his way to Manchester United. Some supporters suggested that the Liverpool boss should instead have issued a hands-off warning to any potential buyers and declared that the Reds’ star striker is not for sale at any price. The former Fulham manager may have got it wrong last time, but he has certainly learnt his lesson and came out firing on all cylinders when speaking about Sir Alex Ferguson’s reported interest in Pepe…

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Club Focus – Newcastle – Managerial uncertainty overshadows derby day build up

Despite being on the receiving end of a 4-0 loss to Arsenal, the biggest story on Tyneside on Wednesday night was the future of manager Chris Hughton. A number of stories in the media claimed that Hughton was on the verge of losing his job, while a number of leading bookmakers were forced to slash the odds on Hughton becoming the latest managerial casualty of the season. Within minutes of the end of Newcastle’s cup tie against Arsenal a statement was issued from club officials to give their backing to…

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ADL Daily – Newcastle suggest stability while Russians mock England’s World Cup bid

Such is the expectation on Tyneside that Chris Hughton’s future, despite his having met the remit of delivering promotion, is once more the subject of intense media speculation. “Chris is our manager and will remain our manager,” read an official club statement in the wake of Newcastle United’s 4-0 Carling Cup defeat at the hands of Arsenal, either a defiant show of support or an ominous vote of confidence dependent upon one’s perspective. What is not open to interpretation, however, is Hughton’s admirable record while at the helm of the…

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Club Focus – Manchester City – Tevez’s homesickness casts doubt over his Manchester City future

Footballers are amongst the most handsomely remunerated people in society today. As Wayne Rooney’s fraught and public bid to (successfully) wrangle a wage rise out of his Manchester United employers’ shows, money is a huge motivation to many contemporary footballers – even those perceived to play for the sheer love of the game, as we thought Rooney did in more innocent times. Love, too, is a motivation. For all the pressure that comes on a match-day, intense media speculation about private lives and the repeated monotony of going into work…

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Game of the Week – Blackpool vs. West Bromwich Albion

For all you hear of the excitement of the Premier League ‘brand’ there is an unfortunately high number of supporters who are finding the product somewhat ‘same old, same old’. With a familiar clique of half a dozen clubs competing for honours and the rest battling beneath the glass ceiling, the meeting of two promoted teams by the seaside should provide a refreshing and entertaining reminder that just occasionally, the Premier League is the best in the world. It pits two evenly matched sides against each other that have both…

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Arsenal news – Howedes Gunners link increases, Maradona wants Arsenal job, van Persie and Ramsey injury comebacks

van Persie and Ramsey injury comebacks. Arsenal look set to be boosted by the news that long-term injury absentees Robin van Persie and Aaron Ramsey look set to return to training with the Gunners’ first team next week, according to The Telegraph. RVP’s ankle injury has healed well and Holland wanted him to play for them on November 17, but manager Arsene Wenger has ruled this out – and is thought to be even more cautious about Ramsey, who returns after 8 months on the sidelines with a horrific double…

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Newcastle Utd news – Magpies in for Donovan, Hughton backs Krul, Carroll can go home

Hughton backs Krul. Magpies boss Chris Hughton has given his backing to stand-in goalkeeper Tim Krul. The 22-year-old has impressed since coming into the team for the injured Steve Harper, but his unfortunate own goal gifted Arsenal the lead in Wednesday’s 4-0 Carling Cup defeat. “Knowing Tim as I do I’m sure he’ll be absolutely fine,” Hughton told The Journal. “The reason why he has been able to come into a Premier League club and do well is because he’s a big character. He won’t be fazed by that in…

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Liverpool news – ‘Pool eye £13m Vucinic, Kuyt set for return, Torres progress

Kuyt set for return. Dirk Kuyt is edging his way towards full fitness and anticipates a return in next weekend’s match against league leaders Chelsea, according to Skysports.com. Kuyt has been missing for Liverpool since sustaining an ankle injury whilst on international duty with the Netherlands earlier this month and initial fears were that he would miss months of the season. However his return to fitness has been quicker than expected and, although this weekend’s game against Bolton will probably come too early for him to make a comeback in,…

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