Spurs boss Villas-Boas monitoring Bolero

Tottenham are eying up the capture of Fiorentina’s former West Brom midfielder Borja Valero, reports The Mirror. Scouts from the Spurs camp are thought to have been monitoring the progress of the 28-year-old, and the club could be set to make a move in the summer. Valero joined the Baggies on a four year contract in 2008, but left the club when they were relegated to the Championship at the end of the same season. He has since had spells at Mallorca – which was his second at the club…

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Wenger plans raid on Bundesliga for trio

Arsene Wenger could be set for a huge transfer raid on Germany in the summer, with three Bundesliga stars linked with a move to the Emirates, reports The Mirror. Borussia Dortmund pair Robert Lewandowski and Mario Goetze are joined on the Frenchman’s wishlist by Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender. Wenger is armed with a £70m war chest for the trio of transfers, and is known to be a long-term admirer of Goetze, who is in Germany’s senior international squad at 20-years-old. Polish international Lewandowski is also being courted by the…

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Mourinho to take Ronaldo with him to Chelsea?

Jose Mourinho will return as Chelsea manager in the summer, and plans to bring Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo with him from the Bernabeu to Stamford Bridge, according to Eurosport. The Real Madrid coach has long been linked with a return to the club he led to their first top flight title in over 50 years in 2005, and rumours of his departure from the Spanish giants have long been present. With interim manager Rafael Benitez looking set to leave the Blues when his contract expires in the summer, Mourinho…

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Ferguson refuses to rest until United win the title

Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that his side’s pursuit of their 20th Premier League title will not rest until it is a certainty, reports BBC Sport. United are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League table following their 1-0 win at Sunderland, but Ferguson refuses to rest on his laurels until the job is done. The 71-year-old said: “We are not concerned with what we have left behind us, we are only focusing on what is in front of us. The players have created…

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Aston Villa v Liverpool – Match preview and team news

Aston Villa were unable to make serious ground on their relegation rivals despite their dramatic 3-2 victory at home to QPR in their last outing, with victories for Southampton above them and Wigan below them leaving Paul Lambert’s men still in 17th place and just three points above the drop zone. The Scot can at least head into the clash with Liverpool knowing that his side have won two out of their last three home matches, with the only defeat coming to Manchester City and only then by a slender…

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Sunderland sack Martin O’Neil, di Canio linked

Sunderland have sacked manager Martin O’Neill following a string of eight games without a win. The former Aston Villa manager watched his side fall 1-0 at home to champions elect Manchester United, and was swiftly dismissed. The news heralds an end to O’Neill’s 15-month reign on Wearside, and also marks the first occasion during his managerial career where he has been dismissed. Sunderland currently sit one point above the relegation zone with seven games left to play, and the eight-game winless streak which preceded his dismissal saw the Black Cats…

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Everton v Stoke – Match preview and team news

Everton still retain hopes of a place in the top four and will be looking to build on their deserved 2-0 win over Manchester City in their last league fixture against a Stoke side that are desperately short of form at the moment. Speculation still remains over the long-term future of Toffees boss David Moyes, whose current contract expires at the end of the season, but the Scot will be keen to end the season as well as possible and at least secure a Europa League place for the Merseysiders.…

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Wigan v Norwich – Match preview and team news

Wigan’s customary late-season charge for survival looks to be in full swing after Arouna Kone’s last-minute winner against Newcastle in their last outing saw them take their second win from three matches and leave them just three points off Aston Villa in the final relegation position. Indeed, Latics boss Roberto Martinez will know that a win at home to Norwich could even drag the Canaries back into contention for the drop, despite their relatively safe current position of 12th. The hosts may leave out Callum McManaman after Martinez claimed the…

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West Ham v West Brom – Match preview and team news

Upton Park will play host to a clash between two sides that appear to have more than exceeded their targets in the Premier League this season. West Ham have all but secured their top flight status and are eying up a potential top-half finish while Steve Clarke, a former Hammers employee, has impressed everyone in his first season in charge at West Brom, leading the Baggies to in all likelihood their best ever Premier League finish. Sam Allardyce will have skipper Kevin Nolan available for selection again after the goalscoring…

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Swansea v Tottenham – Match preview and team news

Capital One Cup winners Swansea will be keen to avoid ending their season with a whimper and in the process, heaping more pressure on Tottenham, who have just begun to stutter a little in their chase for Champions League football next season. The Swans have performed magnificently all season long and still remain in a heady ninth-position. However, since their league cup success at the end of February, Michael Laudrup’s men have begun to slacken with only one win and two defeats from their three matches. Indeed, the last of…

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Southampton v Chelsea – Match preview and team news

Southampton will look to continue an impressive home record against the Premier League heavyweights this season as they face up to the visit of an in-form Chelsea. The Saints had just been looking over their shoulder after a tough run of results but the 3-1 victory over Liverpool in their last fixture just eased the pressure slightly, though Mauricio Pochettino’s men remain just four points above the drop zone. The Argentine has doubts over Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Jos Hooiveld ahead of the visit of the European champions though…

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Man City v Newcastle – Match preview and team news

Manchester City will attempt to reinvigorate a flagging season by taking victory at home to Newcastle. The defending Premier League champions could find themselves 18 points behind rivals Manchester United at the top of the table by the time they kick off at the Etihad Stadium and boss Roberto Mancini has already publicly declared the title race to be over in United’s favour. However, the Italian has stressed the need for City to continue to attempt to win every match, particularly with them still in the FA Cup. The hosts…

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Arsenal v Reading – Match preview and team news

Arsenal will be confident of banking three points at home to relegation-threatened Reading that will keep up their chase for a place in next season’s Champions League. The Gunners have been on a good run of league form of late, with only one defeat in their last seven outings despite exiting both the Champions League and FA Cup within that period. Arsene Wenger has been beset by injury problems since his side’s impressive 2-0 win at Swansea in their last fixture. After delaying Jack Wilshere’s comeback for another two weeks,…

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Liverpool’s Rodgers prases Suarez appetite for football

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has praised Luis Suarez and his appetite for training, reports The Guardian. The 26-year-old is awaiting a verdict from FIFA after alledgedly punching Gonzalo Jara during Uruguay’s 2-0 defeat by Chile on Tuesday, but Rodgers was quick to praise the side of Suarez which he feels does not get enough credit. Fifa are still deciding as to whether to pursue any action against Suarez, but Rodgers said: “I said to the staff Friday morning while I was stood there watching him, this is why you love…

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Sunderland v Man Utd – Match preview and team news

Sunderland are looking to halt an alarming slump in form against champions-elect Manchester United. The Black Cats have gone seven games without a win and have only scored 33 goals all season long to leave them near the bottom of the Premier League form table and only four points above 18th-placed Wigan. The performances have been nearly as bad as the results and Martin O’Neill’s team are slowly becoming peoples’ outside tips to finish in the bottom three. The Northern Irishman, who has looked devoid of confidence as much as…

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Benitez slams Chelsea’s “impossible” fixture schedule

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez believes that the club’s league and cup fixtures are proving “impossible”, and feels that rival Sir Alex Ferguson has the advantage ahead of the Blues’ big FA Cup clash with Man United, reports The Guardian. The Stamford Bridge outfit travel to Southampton on Saturday for a Premier League outing less than two days ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final replay with United in London. The cup game will be Chelsea’s 55th of the season, and Benitez believes that such a pile-up in fixtures takes its toll,…

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Vermaelen vows to fight to win Arsenal spot back

Arsenal capitain Thomas Vermaelen has vowed to fight to win back his place in the Gunners’ starting line-up, reports The Mirror. The 27-year-old former Ajax defender has had an indifferent season, and recent form has seen him dropped for the team for the club’s last two games. Both matches resulted in wins, against Bayern Munich and Swansea respectively. Arsene Wenger has paired Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in those two games, and will now decide whether to stick with this partnership or recall the Belgian international. Speaking to the Gunners’…

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Wenger warns Arsenal stars they must perform

Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal stars that their performances until the end of the season will be closely monitored, and has hinted that anyone failing to meet his expectations could be sold in the summer, reports The Guardian. The Gunners appear in danger of falling short of Champions League qualification for the first time in 16 years, and host Reading on Saturday desperate to do what they can to close the four point deficit they have on fourth placed Tottenham. They do have a game in hand, however, but…

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Arsenal Focus – Abou Diaby’s sad tale nears its conclusion

Among the big names at the Emirates Stadium, there is plenty of deadwood; idle, profligate individuals who contribute very little, or indeed nothing, to Arsenal Football Club at present. The likes of Sebastien Squillaci, Andrei Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh are names which particularly resonate with that term. Abou Diaby is another player who doesn’t supply as much ability to the Gunners as he should – though his case falls into a very different category. Details of the French midfielder’s latest injury setback hit media outlets on Thursday afternoon – a…

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Moyes has nothing to prove at Everton, says Kenwright

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright believes that David Moyes will sign a new contract to stay at the club, but insists that if the long-serving Scot does leave Goodison Park this summer, he can do so with no regrets, the Daily Mail has reported. Moyes’ current contract expires this summer and he has twice stalled on negotiating a new deal – first putting it off until after the transfer window and then delaying until the end of the season. Kenwright believes that he and Moyes will speak about the manager’s contract…

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Villas-Boas confident Tottenham can reach Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas believes his side will finish in the top four of the Premier League this season, and has set a target of 70 points to ensure that aim, according to the Guardian. Spurs currently have 54 points and with eight games to play, would need to take an average of two points per game from their remaining fixtures. Villas-Boas takes Spurs to Swansea City on Saturday and also faces games against Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton before the end of the season. The Guardian notes…

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Everton Focus – How to replace Pienaar and Fellaini foremost on Moyes’ mind

Everton will look to build on the success of their last Premier League outing against Manchester City when Stoke City come to Goodison Park on Saturday evening, but David Moyes will be forced to name a much-changed line-up from the one that saw off the champions. Both Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar will miss the next two Everton games, Fellaini as a result of his 10th booking of the season and Pienaar the red card received against City. How Moyes copes without two of the team’s most important players against…

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Stoke Focus – What has happened to Peter Crouch?

After some had questioned Stoke City’s wisdom in making Peter Crouch the club’s record signing at 30 years of age last season, the England international quickly established himself as a Britannia favourite with 14 goals in all competitions. Unquestionably, the highlight was the jaw-dropping volley at home to Manchester City that, bar a couple of Papiss Cisse thunderbolts, was a shoe-in for goal of the season. It was not just his goals either. Crouch may never have truly succeeded in the air considering his mammoth frame but under Tony Pulis…

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Redknapp was set for Ukraine post before QPR offer came

Harry Redknapp has confirmed that he was close to agreeing to become the new manager of the Ukraine national team before Queens Park Rangers approached him to become their new boss and keep them in the Premier League, the Daily Mail has reported. Redknapp left Tottenham Hotspur last summer and the Ukraine appointment would have taken him into direct opposition with England in the World Cup qualifiers. Redknapp was a contender to replace Fabio Capello a year ago, with Roy Hodgson ultimately getting the vacancy, and Redknapp believes England face…

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