Puyol returns to Spanish squad as Del Bosque calls up Jordi Alba and defends Fernando Torres

Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has recalled Carles Puyol to his squad for the European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Scotland, to be played on October 7 and 11 in Prague and Alicante respectively. The Barcelona skipper has been suffering from a knee injury sustained in a match against Racing Santander back on January 23 this year, and last represented Spain in the 4-0 friendly defeat by Portugal in November, 2010. Puyol’s colleague in the centre of the Barcelona defence, Gerard Piqu

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Tottenham want assurances over West Ham running track retention

Daniel Levy is believed to have requested firm assurances from the UK government that West Ham will be forced to keep the running track as a permanent feature of the London Olympic Stadium, throughout their prospective tenancy of the property, according to a report in the Telegraph. Levy’s concern with the fate of the track after the games, is thought to originate primarily in the matter that West Ham’s proposal to retain it, was a key factor in them being awarded tenancy of the Olympic Stadium over Spurs, who planned…

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Tottenham assistant delighted with Modric reaction

Spurs assistant manager Kevin Bond has expressed to talkSPORT his delight at the form shown by Luka Modric, since the Croatian’s prospective summer transfer to Chelsea failed to materialise. Although Chelsea presented Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy with several offers over the summer, including a final one rumoured to be worth £40m, for Modric, each were rebuffed, which Bond believes is great for the club, especially given the player’s displays in recent weeks. “He’s got a smile on his face in training and you can see from the performances that he…

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Harry given scare but Spurs see off Shamrock

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has conceded that when his side went a goal behind against Shamrock Rovers last night, he was slightly concerned as to what the final outcome of the Europa League Group A encounter would be, as revealed by BBC Sport. A Stephen Rice strike put Rovers into an early 2nd half lead at White Hart Lane, which led to Redknapp experiencing still feelings of anxiety over his prospects of winning the game. “They got the first goal and I was worried. But we were always going to…

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Los Granotes enjoy the moment as they break free of their local rivals’ shadow

If you asked any keen observer of La Primera which teams would be unbeaten come the sixth round of fixtures, you would have heard the obvious names of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and perhaps Villarreal or a Sevilla. You would have been hard-pressed to find someone telling you that Levante would be in such a position, yet heading into their away game in Seville against another surprise package in current La Liga leaders Betis, Los Granotes sit in third place above the likes of Los Blancos and their more established…

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Lampard: Most competitive Premier League season yet

According to the Guardian, Frank Lampard has praised this season’s Premier League for being the most competitive he has seen in his 16 years of playing. The midfielder said: “I would say it is the most competitive, with the inclusion of Manchester City as a major force from what they’ve spent and the team that they’ve assembled and squad. “Liverpool have invested during the summer and bought themselves right back into the equation and Tottenham Hotspur have been there for a few years so once you add them to the…

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Championship Preview – Southampton, Middlesbrough and Derby look to keep early pace

With nine rounds of game having passed, we find ourselves hurtling toward the reflective point of the season, where performances can be judged with some rationality. The early pace setters are Southampton, Middlesbrough and Derby who have all amassed an impressive nineteen points from their opening games. Southampton host mid-table Watford, who are showing steady signs of improvement under new boss Sean Dyche. With the shadow of Malky Mackay still hanging over Vicarage road, Dyche has a steren job in hand to rebuild the side in his own image. In…

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Villas-Boas defends indiscipline after Valencia clash

Following their 1-1 draw with Valencia on Wednesday, Chelsea players showed some of the indiscipline that’s seen served with suspensions in past Champions League campaigns says The Sun. Substitute Salomon Kalou’s handball allowed Valencia’s Roberto Soldado to equalise from the spot on 87 minutes and after the final whistle, there were ugly scenes with referee Nicola Rizzoli. Juan Mata remonstrated with the Italian and got a yellow card his trouble. England full-back Ashley Cole then also got involved and Rizzoli had to barge John Obi Mikel out the way as…

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Lampard talks on Tevez and Chelsea future

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has weighed in on the on-going Carlos Tevez saga. Sky Sports reports that Lampard said he understands Tevez’s frustrations but would never go as far as ignoring an instruction from the manager. “I didn’t actually see what happened in Munich, but I can understand people’s frustration,” he commented. “Some people might make the wrong decision at the wrong time and regret it afterwards, so I’m not going to dig anybody out.” The Argentinian international allegedly refused to come off the bench in Manchester City’s UEFA Champions…

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Scholes understands Tevez no-show

Paul Scholes says he understands why Carlos Tevez refused to play for Manchester City having done it himself at one point but he has revealed that he has come to regret the decision and is sure Tevez will too. Scholes refused to play for Manchester United in a League Cup tie against Arsenal in 2001. The former United midfielder told The Sun: “I know how Carlos feels. He obviously thinks he is being messed about by Roberto Mancini and he probably has a case with the amount of football he…

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Atletico Madrid – Sevilla: Champions League hopefuls seek to gain advantage in the Vicente Calderón

La Liga Week 7Sunday October 2, 2011 (17.00 UK)Estadio Vicente Calderon – Madrid The two teams that will be battling it out for a place in the Champions League this season have already impressed. Whilst Sevilla are undefeated and stole all three points against Valencia, Atletico is still recovering from the hammering by Barcelona and the draw against Rennes. Atletico went to the Camp Nou eager to play an offensive game – suicidal tactics when faced with Barca’s mobile team. However, against Sevilla they are likely to opt for similar…

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Man Utd legend warns against lack of concentration

Manchester United legend Paddy Crerand says the Red Devils will be punished in the Premier League if they repeat their performance against Basel in the Champions League in midweek. United went 2-0 up before conceding three goals and just scraped a point thanks to a header from Ashley Young in the dying minutes. Crerand told the club’s official website: “The Premier League is a top-class football league and if you do anything daft you’re going to get punished. It’s the same in Europe – you need 100% concentration all the…

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Sporting Gijon – Barcelona: Barca hoping for an easy win to maintain the advantage over Real Madrid

La Liga Week 7Sunday October 2, 2011 (19.00 UK)Estadio Municipal El Molinon – Gijon Sporting have only picked up one point so far this season and look unlikely to add anymore when they host Barcelona on Sunday. As Marca aptly noted, the team suffers from chronic laziness and has yet to pick up more than five points in the first five games of the season since their promotion in back in 2008. However, as their players noted, when it comes to facing a giant like Barcelona, their motivation levels increase…

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Real Sociedad – Athletic Bilbao: Improving Leones travel to Anoeta for derby clash

La Liga Week 7Sunday October 2, 2011 (11.00 UK)Anoeta, Donostia-San Sebastian La Liga strugglers Athletic Bilbao take on an assured Real Sociedad side in the first Basque derby of the season. Marcelo Bielsa’s team are currently second bottom with only two points from their first five games. Real Sociedad forwards Antoine Griezmann and Imanol Agirrexte are both feeling very confident about the upcoming derby, the Frenchman boldly predicting a 3-0 win, in which he will score all three, and Agirrexte has spoke of his desire to continue scoring in the…

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Ferguson warns against careless defending ahead of Norwich visit

Sir Alex Ferguson says it is vital that Manchester United stop making so many errors, after his side threw away leads in their last two matches. The Champions lost their 100% Premier League record at the weekend when Peter Crouch equalised for Stoke City to draw the game and they lost a two-goal lead against Basel in the Champions League before the Swiss side went ahead, only a last minute header from Ashley Young rescued a point for the Red Devils. Ferguson revealed that he has been concerned with the…

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Dalglish: New signings ready for Merseyside derby

Kenny Dalglish has quashed claims that his squad of new signings will not be ready for their first Merseyside derby when Liverpool travel to Goodison Park this weekend. Toffee’s Goalkeeper Tim Howard suggested in midweek that the wealth of experience in the fixture that the Everton squad possesses will give them an advantage come kick off. Dalglish however insists that just because there may not be as much Merseyside Derby experience, other derbies are not to be undermined. Speaking to the Liverpool Daily Post Dalglish stated as much. “I think…

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Liverpool join race for French defender

According to talkSPORT, Liverpool and Juventus are battling it out for the signature of Lyon’s French full back Aly Cissokho. The Red’s had reportedly been interested in Cissokho in the summer but were unable to sign him as he is held in very high regard at The Stade Gerland. When Lyon entertained Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night, Liverpool and Juventus were both said to have had scouts there to watch the 24-year-old. Cissokho himself was keen on a move to Newcastle United in the summer according to L’Equipe magazine. However…

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Liverpool midfielder set for Blackpool move

Liverpool’s young midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is reportedly about to move to Blackpool on a loan deal, with Kenny Dalglish apparently keen to provide the former Charlton Athletic man with some precious first team football. With the arrivals of Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam, who was signed from Blackpool, and the return of talismanic captain Steven Gerrard the competition for midfield places has intensified and it does not look likely that Shelvey will be breaking into the first team anytime soon. Shelvey has not made a first team appearance this season,…

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Norwich Club Focus – Lambert searches right balance for Man Utd clash

After two consecutive victories in the league, Norwich City winger Elliott Bennett has stated the teams confidence, ahead of the challenge they face at Old Trafford on Saturday against league leaders Manchester United. “Hopefully we can go there and give a really good account of ourselves like we have done in the previous games,” said the former Brighton and Hove Albion winger ahead of the fixture. ”Hopefully our hard work and the football we play can pay off, who knows? Anything can happen, it’s 11 players against 11 at the…

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Sunderland Club Focus – Vultures circling around under pressure Bruce

With Monday’s loss to Premier League new boys Norwich City still fresh in the memory, bookmakers have been quick to jump on Sunderland’s more than shaky start to the campaign. Black Cats boss Steve Bruce was quick to defend his players indicating in his post-match press conference that a large percentage of the blame should lie at his door for picking the players – but could this admission of responsibility ultimately cost him his job? Unfortunately for Mackems fans, this last result is defying the planets greenhouse effect as it…

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Aston Villa Club Focus – Villa focused on getting three points against Wigan

After last weekend’s disappointing draw with Queens Park Rangers thanks to a late Richard Dunne own goal, Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is now gearing his squad for what on paper seems to be a straightforward home fixture against Wigan Athletic. Former Latics man Charles N’Zogbia left the DW Stadium this summer to join McLeish at Villa Park and now faces up to his former side for the first time since the £9.5m move. Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has backed his former player to start to show the quality within…

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Bolton Club Focus – Judge the team after Chelsea match

No team should ever go into a match with their heads down, already having written themselves off, or else they might as well not be there. However, due to a combination of Bolton Wanderer’s poor form, and Chelsea’s growing belief under new manager Andre Villas-Boas, the upcoming match between the sides does have an air of inevitability about it. With Bolton’s current, unfortunately long, injury list containing key players there is just no way the team can compete with the top clubs right now. The scheduling of the Premier League…

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