Man City Club Focus – Time called on Tevez best for club and player

Manchester City’s preparation for Saturday’s trip to Blackburn Rovers is naturally being overshadowed by speculation regarding Carlos Tevez’s future with the club. The Argentine striker remained on the bench throughout City’s 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League Group A match, with Roberto Mancini accusing him of refusing to play when asked; a truly deplorable act if the accusations are true. Amid almost universal fury, Tevez quickly moved to defend himself, claiming that he had not refused to play, only to warm up. There had, he argued,…

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Everton Club Focus – Toffees with injury and contract concerns over Cahill and Distin ahead of derby meeting

Preparations from the Everton side for Saturday’s Merseyside derby have been dominated by comments from Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin’s contractual situation and concerns over the fitness of the Toffees’ talismanic midfielder, Tim Cahill. Jagielka said earlier this week that Everton would have to abandon the defensive mindset they took to Manchester City last weekend and come out fighting when Liverpool come to Goodison Park, and the fitness of Cahill may be intertwined with the chances of that happening. An injury picked up in a challenge with Vincent Kompany however threatens…

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Valencia – Granada: Andalusians face sternest test to date at the Mestalla

La Liga Week 7Saturday October 1, 2011 (19.00 UK)Estadio Mestalla, Valencia Home side Valencia will be looking to get back to winning ways against La Liga newcomers Granada on Saturday following defeat at Sevilla a week earlier. Unai Emery’s men will remain close to full-strength after coming through their Champions League tie against Chelsea unscathed, with Mehmet Topal the only player unavailable through injury and Aritz Aduriz suspended following his red card at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The Valencia boss also has a selection headache in goal after Diego Alves’…

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Osasuna – Real Mallorca: Impressive home record meets poor away form

La Liga Week 7Saturday October 1, 2011 (17.00 UK)Estadio Reyno de Navarra, Pamplona Mallorca’s less than enjoyable week may well continue on Saturday as the managerless Islanders travel to Pamplona to face Osasuna. The visitors’ preparations for this match have been well and truly marred by the recent resignation of their manager Michael Laudrup after the Dane cited a complete breakdown in his relationship with club President Lorenzo Serra Ferrer. Serra Ferrer, the man responsible for taking Real Betis to the Champions League five years ago, has clashed several times…

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Martin Jol talks on role on Sporting Director on English football

Martin Jol has shed some light on the role of the Sporting Director in the modern game, and revealed that club managers rarely are involved with any negotiations for players. The system is common-place in Europe, and in the last decade has been seen more prominently in the UK, with the likes of Damien Comolli (Liverpool) and Frank Arnesen (previously at Tottenham and Chelsea) being among the more high-profile ones. “It is a long time since they said to the manager: “This is your budget, do what you like.” I…

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Liverpool Club Focus – Dalglish prepares for Merseyside derby with Gerrard quandary

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will take charge of his first Merseyside derby at Goodison Park in 20 years as the Reds prepare to face arch-rivals Everton this weekend. But the Scot, who left his post as Liverpool boss just days after a frantic 4-4 draw against the Blues in a FA Cup fifth-round replay in February 1991, insists that nothing has changed in the intensity of the fixture since then. The Reds legend said: “The competition is still as intense and the desire to win is the same as before.…

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Jol wants to see 6+5 rule in Premier League

Fulham manager Martin Jol has put forward the case for a 6+5 rule for the Premier League, believing it would be more effective than the forthcoming Financial Fair Play system. “If you talk about Financial Fair Play you could go on and on and on. Everybody takes Barcelona as an example, everybody. But they are 450 million euros in debt! “It’s not the fairest set-up, but what I would like to see is the 6+5 rule, which will have the same effect. Play six players from abroad, and five English…

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Blackburn Club Focus – Jensen becomes latest staff member to leave Rovers

Another month, another departure. This time, it was the turn of Blackburn Rovers’ assistant manager John Jensen to leave the Lancashire club, despite the fact that the former Arsenal midfielder signed a new deal at Ewood Park just a few months ago. It is still unclear officially as to whether Jensen was dismissed or he resigned, however the search for his replacement is likely to begin immediately. The 46-year-old joined Rovers in January to assist managerial newbie Steve Kean, who replaced the outgoing Sam Allardyce. Jensen’s sudden arrival at the…

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Jol targets attractive, attacking football for Fulham

Fulham manager Martin Jol has declared his intention to win playing good quality, attacking football, and insists the club were unlucky not to beat Chelsea in the derby match earlier in the season. “My ambition is to follow the same Dutch principle,” said Jol. “If you play your best football, starting from the back, the results will come naturally. If you don’t, you go back to the defensive, compact way – it’s good, because it’s the style Fulham used – but to go forward you need to score goals. The…

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Jol encourages English managers to follow in McClaren’s footsteps and manage abroad

Fulham manager Martin Jol has been talking about the development of British coaches, and cited under-fire Nottingham Forest boss Steve McClaren as evidence that experiences abroad help improve managers. McClaren won the Dutch Eredivisie with FC Twente, playing against Jol’s Ajax side, and the Dutch manager believes if more followed in McClaren’s footsteps, the standard of English managers would improve: “You might have one or two in Holland or France, but in general foreign countries don’t take British coaches because they believe in their own identity. Steve McClaren is a…

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Newcastle Club Focus – Magpies bid to end Molineux hoodoo

Newcastle face Wolves at the weekend as they look to keep up the momentum generated from an impressive start to the season. In the build up to the game the squad travelled to Slaley Hall to enjoy a paintballing session. The team bonding experience was a deserved reward for the players who have yet to lose a game in the league and cup. While there appears to be few problems with team morale at the moment social activities such as this can help to bring the group closer together. In…

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Blackpool set to loan Liverpool star Shelvey

According to skysports.com, Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has agreed to join Championship side Blackpool on loan. Shelvey, who has seen his first team chances at Anfield limited following the summer purchases of fellow midfielders Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson, will be looking to bolster Ian Holloway’s side as they look to compete for an immediate promotion back to the top flight. The signing would provide welcome relief for the Blackpool boss, who has today been served with a one match touchline ban and a £2000 fine from the F.A. in…

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Tottenham v Shamrock: Match preview and team news

Tottenham Hotspur welcome Shamrock Rovers to White Hart Lane in the second round of Europa League Group A matches. Spurs kicked-off their European campaign with a 0-0 draw away to PAOK in Greece, a strong defensive performance from a youthful Tottenham side. Shamrock Rovers meanwhile, were defeated 3-0 by Rubin Kazan, but come to Tottenham with a former Spur in Rohan Ricketts, who made 30 appearances for the club between 2002-05, and has since played for eight other clubs around Europe. Ricketts is set to play after getting his first…

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Racing Santander – Rayo Vallecano: Racing looking to claim first victory against La Liga new boys

La Liga Week 7Saturday October 1 2011 (17.00 UK)El Sardinero, Santander Racing Santander will be looking to climb out of the relegation zone by picking up their first victory of the season this weekend against Rayo Vallecano. The Verdiblancos have not scored in their last four La Liga matches and their three points have all come from 0-0 draws. Despite getting off to a respectable start to the season, Rayo Vallecano have lost their last two league matches, most recently suffering a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Real Madrid,…

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Villarreal – Real Zaragoza: Villarreal hoping to bounce back after a disappointing defeat in Europe

La Liga Week 7Saturday October 1, 2011 (17.00 UK)El Madrigal, Villarreal El Submarino Amarillo come into this game after their mid-week defeat away to Napoli in the Champions League. They face an inconsistent Real Zaragoza side with a poor defensive record, having conceded the highest number of goals in La Liga. Villarreal’s Marco Ruben is unavailable due to a foot injury he picked up last weekend against Athletic Bilbao. Coach Juan Carlos Garrido has lamented the goals he conceded midweek against Napoli, and will be looking for a much more…

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Cahill looking forward to Merseyside derby

Ahead of the Merseyside derby this weekend, Toffee’s star Tim Cahill has talked about how big an event it is when Liverpool and Everton meet eachother. Cahill, 31, is not certain to play after sustaining a shin injury against in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City last weekend. However it is clear the Australian international looks forward to this game as much as any, telling Sky Sports: I think it is one of the biggest [matches] other than playing for your country in a World Cup. The derby is magical.…

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Hartlepool tight-lipped on potential Lua Lua capture

Hartlepool are remaining coy on a possible swoop for former Newcastle United striker Lomana Lua Lua. The 30-year-old has been without a club since his release from Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia and has been recently been training with the North-East side. If a deal was completed it would continue a long-term affiliation between Lua Lua and Pools head coach Mick Wadsworth that dates back to the pair’s time together at Colchester in 1999. Lua Lua moved to Newcastle in September 2000 and was reunited with his former boss who had…

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Mertesacker looking forward to Tottenham-Arsenal derby

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is looking forward to the weekend’s north-London derby clash with Tottenham, with the German expecting a ‘special experience’ at White Hart Lane. The £10m signing from Werder Bremen has been part of an Arsenal side that has had a mixed start to the new season, but has won their last three in a row, albeit against Shrewsbury, Bolton and Olympiakos. Talking ahead of the Tottenham tie to Soccernet, the Germany international explained: “This is my first special game for Arsenal. A lot of people have been…

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Adebayor admits regret over goal celebration ahead of Arsenal clash

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor has revealed his regret at his over-zealous celebration upon scoring for Manchester City against Arsenal, shortly after his £25m move from north-London. The Togo international celebtrated his goal in the 4-2 victory for Man City with a run the length of the pitch to gloat in front of the travelling Gunners support, much to their annoyance. Talking to talkSPORT, the Spurs striker, who has three goals in three appearances for Tottenham, said: “What happened two years ago was an accident and I do apologise to all…

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Xavi labels Man Utd as one of Champions League favourites

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi has stated his belief that Manchester United are one of the favorites to lift the Champions League trophy for the 2011-2012 season, when the competition reaches its May finale in Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, according to Goal.com. At the launch of his new ‘Xavi’ branded Adidas football boots, the ingenious Spanish playmaker indicated that although Barca are determined to become the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles since the competition’s inception in 1993, they are aware of those sides most capable of preventing…

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Basle draw labelled as ‘inexcusable’ by Carrick

The performance that resulted in Manchester United surrendering a 2-0 lead against Basle, to trail 3-2 to the Swiss side before recovering to salvage a 3-3 draw in Tuesday night’s Champions League encounter, is one which Michael Carrick has declared the Red Devils have no excuses for, according to the Guardian. “We said at half-time that the game wasn’t over,” said Carrick. “It was a bit of a shock to find ourselves 3-2 down after being 2-0 up. We’ve no excuses, we threw it away. It’s not like us at…

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Welbeck eyes Man Utd place for Norwich tie

Danny Welbeck is fully intent on continuing to repay the faith Sir Alex Ferguson has shown in him so far this term and become established as a long term fixture in Manchester United’s starting XI, Sky Sports has reported. A clear indication of the belief that Ferguson has in Welbeck’s ability to perform at the highest level, was given against Basle in Tuesday night’s Champions League encounter, when he started the 20-year old in attack ahead of both Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen. Subsequently Fergie was vindicated in this decision…

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