Dec 222017
Spurs look for surge in Premier League

LONDON: Mauricio Pochettino is hoping for a surge up the Premier League table now he is close to being able to unleash his strongest Tottenham team on surprise packages Burnley.Spurs dropped to seventh in the Premier League table following last week’s 4-1 drubbing at leaders Manchester City, their second defeat in five league games.That put them back below Burnley, who they visit on Saturday evening. Tottenham could overtake their hosts with a win against Sean Dyche’s team, and put pressure on fourth-placed Liverpool and Arsenal, who are fifth. Defender Davinson Sanchez is back following a three-match ban and Pochettino is hopeful that two more key men — Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama — can also feature in a busy period that sees Spurs host Southampton on December 26 before clashes with Swansea and West Ham.Alderweireld is set to return from the hamstring injury he suffered against Real Madrid in November while Kenyan Wanyama, absent with a knee problem since August, is back in full training. England duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli are available, although both came close to red cards at City for challenges many referees would have ruled were straight reds.Kane’s lunge on Raheem Sterling was deemed out of character but Alli, who stamped on Kevin de Bruyne, has a history of reckless tackling. Pochettino vowed to keep helping the 21-year-old, whose form on the pitch has been less consistent than Kane’s. “It is a massive time for him, he is an important player for us and England [Read More…]

Nov 282017
Old boys firm favourites as Premier League clubs play it safe

LONDON: Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew are favourites to take over the managerial vacancies at Everton and West Bromwich Albion, appointments that would reinforce the cautious culture that exists in the Premier League.Allardyce, the 63-year-old former England boss, has managed six clubs in the league, gaining a reputation as Fireman Sam who arrives in times of crisis and always keeps his teams up.Pardew also has a fine track record of avoiding the drop and West Brom would be his fifth Premier League club, putting the 56-year-old joint second on the list behind Allardyce.If confirmed, the appointments mean that eight of the past 15 jobs will have gone to British managers over 50, a surprising statistic given that Allardyce, who will have taken two of these positions, last month bemoaned a tendency for British coaches to be treated as “second class” and get overlooked.“The Premier League is a foreign league in England,” he said.“When you look across the owners, the managers and players, that is exactly what it is now.”Yet the imminent appointments suggest the traditional networks influencing English football’s job market remain strong. Pardew has been recommended by West Bromwich Albion’s technical director, Nicky Hammond, with whom he played at Crystal Palace.Allardyce has reportedly been championed by Steve Walsh, Everton’s director of football, who worked alongside Craig Shakespeare, Allardyce’s assistant at England, at Leicester. Shakespeare is tipped to fill a similar role at Everton.The recycling of a small number of managers around Premier League jobs is an ongoing trend.Both Allardyce [Read More…]

Oct 172017
Leicester sack manager Craig Shakespeare

LONDON: Leicester City sacked Craig Shakespeare on Tuesday, just four months after handing him a permanent contract to manage the former Premier League champions, British media reported. Shakespeare, 53, was promoted from his role as assistant coach on an interim basis following the shock dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in February and in June he was handed a three-year contract.But the 2015-16 champions have struggled this season and are third from bottom of the table with a single league win. Monday night’s 1-1 home draw with West Brom saw Leicester’s winless Premier League run reach six matches.Shakespeare’s appointment earlier this year sparked a striking upturn in form that saw Leicester secure their Premier League status and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Reacting to Tuesday’s development, former Leicester and England player Gary Lineker tweeted: “Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.” Click for detailed story

Sep 202017
Liverpool rocked, Alli lifts Spurs

LONDON: Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki sent Liverpool crashing out of the League Cup, while Tottenham edged past Barnsley to reach the fourth round on Tuesday. Okazaki came off the bench to fire Leicester ahead in the second half of their 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium.The Japan forward, on as a second-half replacement for Leonardo Ulloa, broke the deadlock in the 65th minute of the third-round tie. Vincent Iborra headed into Okazaki’s path in the penalty area and he controlled well before scoring with a deflected strike.Reds boss Jurgen Klopp had made eight changes to his starting line-up, giving a first start to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Philippe Coutinho played the first 45 minutes before coming off at half-time. But Liverpool’s disappointing recent form showed no signs of improving and Islam Slimani finished them off 12 minutes from full-time.Slimani took Okazaki’s pass and drove a fine strike into the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area. Klopp’s side have now gone four games without a win after frustrating home draws with Burnley and Sevilla followed a 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City.“We played really good football in the first half. We had big chances, strange situations but football is a 90-minute game,” Klopp said. “I am sick of goals like this. Leicester somehow survive in the game because we are not clinical enough. They scored two easy goals.”At Wembley, Tottenham won for just the second time at the national stadium since moving into their temporary home at the [Read More…]

Sep 172017
Lukaku wins battle of old boys, Chelsea held by Arsenal in Premier League

Romelu Lukaku’s signing from Everton continues to pay off as he scored and created a goal in Manchester United’s 4-0 drubbing of his former club on Sunday with United joining Manchester City on top of the league.United — whose record goalscorer Wayne Rooney endured a miserable return with his Everton team-mates — are only second in the table by virtue of C coming before U as both the Manchester clubs share exactly the same statistics after five matches.Champions Chelsea are on 10 points, three adrift of the leading duo, after being held 0-0 at home to Arsenal — the first scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge under Antonio Conte’s tenure.United were slightly flattered by the final scoreline — three goals coming in the final 10 minutes after Everton had largely dominated the second-half — but manager Jose Mourinho was more than satisfied.“I think the performance was very good, especially in the first 30-35 minute, it was probably our best performance of the season,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.“We pressed them and they did not have a chance to get out, they did not have a shot, it was very impressive.”For Everton and manager Ronald Koeman — who spent £152million ($207million, 173million euros) in the close season — it is fast becoming a crisis as this was their fourth successive defeat and in which they have failed to score to boot.The Dutchman grasped at whatever straw he could to see a positive side.“From what I saw today from the team it made me [Read More…]

Sep 092017
Football transfer window the talk of Europe

The European football transfer window may now be closed but there was talk of little else this week as the likes of top coaches Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti and even German Chancellor Angela Merkel made calls for sweeping changes.The subject is at the centre of attention not only because of the soaring inflation that marked the latest round of transfers, but also because of the mayhem losing top players can wreak on a team’s best-laid plans.transfers, but also because of the mayhem losing top players can wreak on a team’s best-laid plans.The English Premier League clubs voted on Thursday to shut the 2018 close-season window before the start of the 2018-19 campaign in a move that sparked approval across the European game.The vote followed complaints by managers that transfer activity disturbs their preparations and others in Spain, Germany, Italy and France have been swift to jump on the bandwagon.The windows in Europe’s other major leagues run until at least August 31, meaning clubs outside England could buy players from English top-flight teams after the new Premier League deadline.“I think the same thing as most people do,” said Real Madrid coach,” said Real Madrid coach Zidane.“The transfer window must stop when the league restarts. When official competition restarts, it must stop.”Manchester City are believed to be one of the five clubs who voted against the proposal, but their coach Pep Guardiola said the club’s only concern was that rival teams in other European leagues will still be able to sign [Read More…]

Sep 072017
Premier League to close transfer window before 2018 season start

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave his backing to the decision to close the 2018 transfer window early before it was announced – AFP LONDON: English Premier League clubs voted on Thursday to close the 2018 close-season transfer window before the start of the 2018-19 campaign.Following complaints by managers that transfer activity disturbs their preparations, Premier League clubs will not be able to register new players after 1600 GMT on the Thursday before the season starts.The transfer window in Europe’s other major leagues runs until August 31, meaning clubs outside England could buy players from English top-flight teams after the new Premier League deadline.“Premier League clubs have today agreed to a rule amendment that will see the summer transfer window in any year end at 17:00 on the Thursday before the start of the season,” the Premier League said in a statement.“This is for Premier League clubs only and has no bearing on other leagues and competitions.”The move was announced following a meeting of Premier League club officials and is not believed to have been agreed unanimously.Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave his backing to the decision before it was announced.“Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity,” he told reporters at his weekly press conference.“Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out? It’s not the way to [Read More…]

Sep 042017
Rooney promises no England U-turn

LONDON: Wayne Rooney has insisted there will be no going back on his decision to retire from England duty in a bid to at last enjoy a successful World Cup campaign. The former England captain, charged with drink-driving on Friday, retired from international football last month having scored a national record 53 goals in 119 appearances that included three World Cups and three European Championships. And the Everton striker said even the fact that the 2018 World Cup in Russia was on the horizon would not lead him to change his decision.“My mind’s made up,” he told talkSPORT radio on Sunday. “I’ve seen it a few times when players come out of retirement and gone to tournaments and it’s not right.“I think the lads now who are trying to qualify for Russia, if they get there they’re the players who will deserve to play in the tournament, so my decision is made.” Rooney made his move despite England manager Gareth Southgate offering to recall him for the World Cup qualifier against Malta on Friday, a match England won 4-0.England have won the World Cup just once, on home soil back in 1966 and Rooney’s three editions all ended in bitter disappointment. He was shown a red card during the 2006 quarter-final defeat by Portugal, with England suffering a second-round loss to Germany in 2010 and failing to get out of their initial group in Brazil four years later. Rooney said he had been particularly angered by the conduct of then [Read More…]

Sep 012017
English clubs smash spending record in 1.4 billion-pound splurge

LONDON: English football clubs splurged on the final day of the transfer window, laying out 210 million pounds to take total gross spending to a record-high 1.4 billion pounds as the Premier League again flexed its unrivalled financial muscles. Figures from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group showed a 23 percent rise from the previous record, set last summer. The spending would have been even higher had several proposed transfers gone through as expected on Thursday. Even so, Premier League clubs are not breaking the bank, thanks to lucrative domestic and overseas broadcast deals. “Importantly, and when analysed in the context of generating record broadcast, commercial and matchday revenues, Premier League clubs are spending well within their means,” Dan Jones, a partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said. “For the last 15 years, annual transfer spending has remained within the range of between a fifth and a third, and averaged at around a quarter, of total revenues.” Based on income estimates for the Premier League’s 20 clubs this season, the 1.4 billion pounds of new signings represent an average of 31 percent of total revenue per club, down from 2008-09, when the figure peaked at 34 percent. Watford’s net spending of 41 million pounds was the highest compared with income at 44 percent. Premier League spending during the window dwarfed that of other top European leagues. Serie A’s total of 735 million pounds was the next highest figure, followed by Ligue 1 at 590 million, the Bundesliga at 510 million and La [Read More…]

Sep 012017
Wayne Rooney charged with drink-driving

Everton striker Wayne Rooney was arrested on suspicion of driving under influence, the Mirror reported. Photo: File  London: Everton striker Wayne Rooney has been charged with drink-driving, British police said Friday.Rooney, England’s all-time record goalscorer and former captain, was stopped by police near his home in Cheshire, northwest England, in the early hours of Friday.“The man was arrested shortly after 2.00am (0100GMT) today, Friday 1 September, after officers stopped a black VW Beetle,” said a police statement.Police said 31-year-old Rooney “has since been charged with driving whilst over the prescribed limit.”Rooney had been released on bail and is due to appear at Stockport Magistrates’ Court on September 18.He was seen posing for a selfie with cricketer Jack McIver in a bar in the upmarket town of Alderley Edge, near his home, on Thursday, August 31.McIver shared the photo of the pair in the Bubble Room on Instagram at around 10:00pm (2100 GMT) that day with the comment: “International Break #legend”.Rooney announced his retirement from international football last week, having scored 53 goals in 119 appearances.He made his decision despite England manager Gareth Southgate offering to recall him for the World Cup qualifier against Malta on Friday.Rooney re-joined boyhood club Everton in the pre-season after a successful 13-year spell at Premier League rivals Manchester United.He has seemed rejuvenated by the move to the Liverpool-based club and scored in his first two Premier League games of the 2017/18 campaign, a 1-0 win over Stoke City and a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. Click [Read More…]

Get Adobe Flash player