Chelsea v Man Utd – Capital One Cup preview and team news

Just three days since the dramatic events of Sunday’s clash between these two sides, Chelsea and Manchester United meet again at Stamford Bridge. Much has been said about the refereeing decisions of Mark Clattenburg on Sunday, and subsequent allegations of ‘inappropriate language’ directed at Chelsea players Jon Obi Mikel and Juan Mata. However tonight’s Capital One clash is unlikely to see most of the weekend’s protagonists go face-to-face, as both Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo, and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, ring the changes. Chelsea will already be without the…

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Referees, microphones, and the Euro 2008 test

Referees are once again in the headlines following allegations made by Chelsea regarding Mark Clattenburg’s alleged ‘inappropriate language’ during the Chelsea-Man Utd fixture at the weekend. One of the suggestions being discussed as an alternative system to combat once and for all such events, is to record the referees microphone, either to the general public, or at least for the use of the refereeing authorities. This is not currently the case in the Premier League, although has been used in the recent World Cup. What few people will be aware,…

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Gerrard apologises and retracts critical Everton comments

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has apologised and retracted his comments which criticised Merseyside rivals Everton for their approach to the dramatic 2-2 draw between the two sides in their last Premier League encounter. Gerrard had initially compared what he deemed as Everton’s long-ball tactics to the approach used by Stoke City. However, according to the official Everton club website, the 31-year-old is said to have re-watched the game and felt the need to re-dress his comments. “Just to clarify, I’ve watched the game again and I’ve seen some of Everton’s…

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Smalling and Jones set to hand Manchester United defensive boost

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is set to have his defensive concerns eased somewhat by the imminent return of English defensive pair Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. The Red Devils have had concerns at the back this season, only keeping three clean sheets in all competitions so far and having to deal with injury problems that has left the likes of midfielder Michael Carrick playing in central defence. However, according to the Daily Mail, having been missing since the end of last season with a foot injury, Smalling looks…

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Walcott delighted with Arsenal comeback

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has spoken of his disbelief as his side came back from trailing 4-1 away to Reading at half-time in their League Cup fourth round tie at the Madejski Stadium. However, another Walcott goal as well as one each from French pair Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny pushed the tie into extra-time, before a further Walcott effort came to complete his hat-trick in-between two long-range Marouane Chamakh strikes. Pavel Pogrebnyak’s 5-5 equaliser for Reading was then rendered academic and gave Arsene Wenger’s team a quite remarkable 7-5…

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Confusion at the FA over Serbia U-21 charges

The fallout from the racism scandal that involved England’s Under-21 play-off victory in Serbia this month continues after it has emerged that the Football Association has not been informed by the Serbian FA as to which two England U-21 players they have charged for what was deemed “acts of violence”. The Daily Mirror reports that the two members in question of Stuart Pearce’s development squad could be Danny Rose, who received a red card after reacting to alleged racist abuse from the home Serbian fans, and England’s assistant Steve Wigley,…

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Man Utd Focus – Van Persie continues to shine for Ferguson following Old Trafford switch

Although it is too early to qualify Robin van Persie’s move to Old Trafford from Arsenal as a success, there is no doubting the electrifying start the Dutchman has made to his Manchester United career. It is astonishing to think of the doubts that were presented in the face of Sir Alex Ferguson paying £24m for a 29-year-old with a debatable injury record when the forward signed for the deposed Premier League champions just over two months ago. The manager, having admitted the pain of losing his title to neighbours…

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Jagielka defends Everton style after criticism from Liverpool captain Gerrard

The Merseyside derby may have ended in a 2-2 draw but the sides are still fighting it out in the Press rather than on the field, as the Daily Mail reports Everton defender Phil Jagielka has replied to the comments of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. Gerrard criticised Everton’s style of play earlier this week, complaining that Everton’s style was too direct and physical, despite the statistics of the contest not bearing out the midfielder’s claims. Jagielka, meanwhile, has suggested that Liverpool’s own style of play is counter-productive, adding that the…

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Chelsea trio Oscar, Luiz and Ramires named in Brazil squad

Three Chelsea players face a long round-trip to the United States in between two Premier League fixtures after being included in the Brazil squad to play a friendly on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the Independent has reported. Midfielders Oscar and Ramires and defender David Luiz are the trio concerned. The match between Brazil and the United States is due to be played at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on November 14, held to commemorate Brazil’s 1000th fixture. Three days before then Chelsea play Liverpool at Stamford…

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Liverpool boss Rodgers expects good reception at Swansea for Allen

Brendan Rodgers believes Swansea City’s supporters will afford Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen a warm welcome back when the sides meet in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, the Daily Mail has reported. Both Rodgers and Allen made the move from the Liberty Stadium to Anfield over the summer and, while acknowledging that the Swansea fans may have been disappointed to see Allen depart, Rodgers believes they have little reason to hold Allen in contempt upon his return to Wales. Allen came through the Swansea academy and Rodgers argues that by…

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Arsenal forward Gervinho facing a month out injured

Arsenal forward Gervinho is expected to miss the next month after suffering injury in the Gunners’ Premier League win over Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, the Daily Mail has reported. Gervinho was stretchered off only 10 minutes after he came on as a substitute, with a subsequent scan revealing the Ivory Coast international has injured his ankle and will need around four weeks to recuperate. He stands to miss two of Arsenal’s last three Champions League group games, as well as the weekend’s Premier League meeting with Manchester United and…

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Nani ready to leave Man Utd after contract impasse

Luis Nani will look to leave Manchester United in the summer after growing frustrated that the club has yet to come up a new contract the Portugal international feels is acceptable, the Daily Telegraph has reported. Nani is out of contract in 2014 but will push to leave Old Trafford at the end of the current season having seen a move to Russian side Zenit St Petersburg collapse this summer after the 25-year-old proved reluctant to move to Russia, the newspaper adds. Wages are however at the heart of the…

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Jamaica move to take Liverpool winger Sterling out of England set-up

The Daily Mail has reported that Raheem Sterling is to consider the option of playing international football for Jamaica, the country of his birth when senior figures from the Jamaica Football Federation meet with the Liverpool winger, who has already been involved in the senior England set-up. Sterling was called up to Roy Hodgson’s squad for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine and has represented England U-21s this season after breaking into the Liverpool first team under Brendan Rodgers. However, Sterling’s international future will not be decided until he plays…

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Lloris rushed into Tottenham move, claims Deschamps

Didier Deschamps, the coach of the France national team, believes Hugo Lloris should have taken the time to speak with Andre Villas-Boas before agreeing to join Tottenham Hotspur, the Daily Mirror has reported. Lloris moved to Spurs on the final day of the summer transfer window in late August, after the Premier League season was already underway, a factor that Deschamps believes has been integral in Lloris’ inability to dislodge Brad Friedel as first choice goalkeeper under Villas-Boas. The 25-year-old has made only four appearances for Tottenham thus far, with…

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Arsenal stage stunning Capital One Cup comeback against Reading

Arsenal reached the next round of the Capital One Cup in stunning fashion, beating Premier League rivals Reading 7-5 after extra time having trailed 4-0 after little more than half an hour, Reuters has reported. Theo Walcott pulled a goal back for the Gunners just before half-time, setting the stage for a second-half that saw Reading eventually give up what had seemed a commanding lead. Goals from Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and, in the 90th minute, a second from Walcott took the game to extra time. There, Marouane Chamakh put…

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Chelsea call in lawyers to determine next step in Clattenburg case

Chelsea have taken the advice of outside counsel in order to judge whether or not to pursue the allegations made against referee Mark Clattenburg after the weekend’s Premier League match with Manchester United, the Daily Mail has reported. Clattenburg was alleged to have made comments of a racist nature towards John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata. Clattenburg denies the allegations. Once the independent experts conclude their investigation into the claims of Mikel and Mata, Chelsea will decide on their next step. The Mail adds that the lawyers will inform Chelsea…

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Arsenal join Premier League trio in battle for Crewe starlet

Arsenal have reportedly joined the race for the latest talent off the Crewe Alexandra production line in striker Max Clayton. According to the Daily Mail, the 18-year-old has been already watched by scouts from Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle and has been likened to a player who graced all three of those clubs in Michael Owen. However, the Gunners are said to have stepped up their interest in Clayton in recent weeks and have sent former assistant manager turned scout Pat Rice to keep tabs on the youngster. However, Crewe…

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Man City defender Micah Richards sidelined until late December

Manchester City defender Micah Richards could be up out of first-team action for up to eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery. The England international was stretchered off during his side’s tight 1-0 league win over Swansea on Saturday having only just returned from a long period on the sidelines with an ankle problem. According to Goal.com, City physios were relieved not to find cruciate ligament damage but the right-back still had to undergo surgery for damaging the miscus cartilage of his right knee. Richards made 29 league appearances last season…

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Vegard Forren backed for Man Utd move

Reports are emanating that Molde’s Norwegian centre-back Vegard Forren is interesting Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson attempts to find a long-term replacement for Nemanja Vidic. Forren, 24, has been at the Norwegian side his entire career and has been crowned Norwegian league champions for the last two seasons under former Red Devils striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who according to Sporting Life believes that his defender has the talent to succeed at Old Trafford if a move to England materialises. “Yes, he could play for Manchester United,” said Solskjaer. “But…

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Spurs considering move for Edin Dzeko

Tottenham are reportedly interested in making a shock January move for in-form Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. Andre Villas-Boas’ side lack forward options in their squad with only Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor to choose from, although the former has been in fine form so far this season with five league goals to his name already. However, according to the Haringey Independent, that has not stopped the Lilywhites from pursuing Man City forward Dzeko, who despite also having five league strikes under his belt, has grown impatient at the Etihad…

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Gerrard attacks Neville over derby dive

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has criticised Everton captain Phil Neville for his dive in the Merseyside derby at the weekend, claiming he has made life difficult for Toffees boss David Moyes, reports the Daily Star. Neville had been running around the edge of the Liverpool penalty area, when he appeared to fall without contact from Reds defender Daniel Agger – he was promptly yellow-carded for simulation by referee Andre Marriner. Gerrard, who provided the assist for the Reds’ second goal for Luis Suarez, claimed the dive was all the more…

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Warnock slams Chelsea for Clattenburg complaint

Leeds manager Neil Warnock has criticised Chelsea’s complaint against Mark Clattenburg, and claimed that the London club are trying to ‘kill’ the referee, report talkSPORT. The Blues have reported the match official claiming that inappropriate language was used by the referee towards two Chelsea players, believed to be Jon Obi Mikel, and one of the Spanish contingent of the club, in their 3-2 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday. Chelsea had two players sent off, Branislav Ivanovic, and Fernando Torres, the latter of which deemed the Spaniard to have dived,…

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Arsenal set last chance for Walcott deal

Arsenal will have one more set of contract negotiations next month before England winger Theo Walcott decides his future, reports the Daily Mail. Walcott and the Arsenal officials are yet to come to an agreement for the former Southampton man to extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium. If no breakthrough can be found next month when representatives of the player sit down with club officials, Wenger is reportedly happy to sell the player in the January transfer window. Despite the fact that Walcott has recently complained over a lack…

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Fulham Focus – Defensive frailties continue to haunt Cottagers’ quest for success

We pointed out a few weeks ago that Fulham must overcome their problems defensively if they were to have any chance of succeeding the ambitious goals laid down to them by manager Martin Jol this season. It appears those warnings were not heeded as the Cottagers threw away two points at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday against a Reading team not exactly renowned as high scorers. Going forward, Fulham were close to their brilliant best. Dimitar Berbatov in particular was simply majestic and is justifying the billing Jol gave to…

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