Hughes In Angry Swipe At City

Aug. 03, 2010 - 06271713 date 03 08 2010 Copyright imago Mark Hughes Newly appointed Manager of Fulham Football Club poses with The Club Shirt Press Conference Press Conference Fulham 3rd August 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK men Football 2011 Premier League England Fulham Photo shooting premiumd Vdig xkg 2010 horizontal.

On his first official press conference as new Fulham boss, Mark Hughes lambasted his former employers, Manchester City, and aired out his frustrations about his short tenure at Eastlands.

Hughes was sacked last December and replaced by Roberto Mancini, who still failed to get City into the Champions League and had to settle for Europa League football. Hughes was asked whether he would have got City into the Champions League and he said, “Yes I would. I agreed to the targets at the beginning of the season, which was to get to sixth position. I agreed to that because I thought we could over-achieve. I thought fifth, possibly fourth was very, very achievable.“.

Hughes also ripped into the higher authority at Eastlands, saying he was keen to get back into direct management after some of his managerial powers were stripped off him at Man City. “On some occasions at City players were presented to me which I didn’t really have a direct input on. But if you get a call and someone says ‘Would you like Robinho?’ then, as a manager, I have to say ‘Yes I would’. Whether a situation like that was correct in terms of timing, that’s open to debate“.

Hughes has definitely lit the fire with his former employers and it will be interesting to hear what City officials have to say on the matter. For now, Hughes is keen to concentrate on his new side and his priorities must be to bring in a new striker, he openly admits. Bobby Zamora only scored 8 goals last season and was the top scorer. Hughes will also look to fend off the interest of Arsenal and maintain star ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer.

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Khedira Looking To Master Madrid

Jun 27, 2010 - Bloemfontein, South Africa - SAMI KHEDIRA (GER) during Germany's 4-1 victory over England. Germany reaches the final eight during the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 in Mangaung / Bloemfontein.

Germany’s World Cup star Samir Khedira has moved from Stuttgart to Spanish Giants Real Madrid on a five year deal. Madrid sealed an undisclosed fee with Stuttgart for the 23 year old on Friday. Khedira is the third summer signing for new boss Jose Mourinho, following the captures of wingers Angel di Maria from Benfica and Pedro Leon from Getafe.

Khedira impressed the footballing world with his play alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mezut Ozil in the three man German central midfield and a host of clubs were looking for the midfielder. Mourinho got his man and expect him to protect a Madrid defence that looked unbelievably shaky last season. Khedira will add the bite and determination that Los Merengues have missed for a long time, back to when Ivan Helguera regularly played in the side.

I still feel Mourinho needs to dip into the pockets of president Florentino Perez and come up with some defenders to partner the world class exploits of Sergio Ramos. Mourinho will also look to buy a striker for Gonzalo Higuain to play off and if he can capture these assets, he should have a lethal squad to barge into the new season with and recapture the glories of past times.

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Thierry On An American Adventure

France's Thierry Henry wears the captain's armband during the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match against South Africa at Free State stadium in Bloemfontein June 22, 2010. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Ex-Arsenal hitman Thierry Henry has switched to the MLS to play with the New York Red Bulls from Barcelona on a multi year contract. The 32 year old has become out of favour at the Nou Camp and makes the switch to America after three years at Barcelona.

A statement from the Red Bulls said Henry was expected to make his debut on 22nd July against Tottenham at Red Bull Arena for the Barclays New York Challenge.

Henry said, “This marks an exciting new chapter in my career and life. It is an honour to play for the New York Red Bulls. I am fully aware of the team’s history and my sole goal during my time here is to help win the club its first championship. Knowing Red Bull’s significant commitment to soccer locally and internationally, I am confident that my team-mates and I will succeed.”

Erik Soler, Red Bull New York general manager and sporting director, said: “Thierry is not only a world-class player who will undoubtedly improve our squad, but he has shown most importantly throughout his career that he is a winner. He has made it clear to us that he is committed in the short and long term to help in our vision of making our organisation the premium franchise in Major League Soccer.”

Henry’s move to New York is understandable, given the rise in football over in America. Beckham plays in America, the performances of the American national team and the constant media swirl about Ronaldinho’s potential move to LA Galaxy to play alongside Beckham gives more advantages to moving to America. Henry, at 32, is falling out of favour at Barcelona and with the French squad, so he will probably spend his twilight years at Red Bulls, much like Best, Pele and now Beckham before him did.

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City or United for Super Mario?

May 16, 2010 - 05916171 date 16 05 2010 Copyright imago IPA Photo Mario Balotelli Inter Milan is Italian Master 16 05 2010 Siena Italy ph Davide Elias IPA Photo PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxITAxNEDxFRA men Football Italy Series A 2009 2010 Siena Italian Master Championship Scudetto Celebrations Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd Siena Inter Siena Inter sfida Scudetto Tricolore Series A Calcio Soccer Elias IPA.

Inter Milan bad boy Mario Balotelli is happy to be rumoured with a move to Manchester, after interest from both Man United and Man City. The 19 year old is one of Italy’s hottest prospects, but after disciplinary troubles at the Serie A champions, Balotelli is being shown the exit door.

Balotelli’s agent has said that both City and United have expressed an interest in his client and he was happy that Sir Alex Ferguson has considered him as a potential signing.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini coached Balotelli, when Mancini was manager of Inter. “He’s a really great coach. I debuted in Serie A with him, because he is a great friend”, Balotelli said. Mancini may have a chance at capturing the Italian, because Balotelli knows the City boss’ coaching methods and the way Mancini works. Balotelli would also have the chance to play upfront with Edin Dzeko, if the Bosnian’s rumoured deal with Man City is confirmed. Dzeko is keen to move to Eastlands and Balotelli would love to play alongside the Wolfsburg star.

Sir Alex Ferguson is also in the race and you cannot rule out Ferguson in the transfer market. He plucked Roy Keane out of the hands of Blackburn Rovers in 1992 and might just do the same to his Manchester rivals with the Palermo-born striker. Balotelli has tons of praise for the Manchester United manager, saying “If Ferguson wants me, it means I’m not as bad as I thought”. Balotelli also said that he thought United were “a great club and they have not seen the real Balotelli. I need to learn and acheive more goals”.

Whoever gets Balotelli will have to put up with his troublesome habits and his ego. Balotelli has been quoted as saying he wants to win the Ballon D’Or in 2011, so he has no lack of confidence. There’s no doubt that he has the talent, but it is whether he can produce the goods in English football or whether he will flounder, like so many before him. Whichever club he goes to, they are getting a potential star, there’s no question about that.

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14.08.2010 – 22.05.2011

May 09, 2010 - 05884777 date 09 05 2010 Copyright imago Chelsea Win The Premiership Trophy Barclays Premier League Chelsea v Wigan Athletic 9th May 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK men Football 2009 England Premier League Master Championship Celebrations Champion ceremony Highlight premiumd Vdig xub 2010 horizontal Symbolic image.

When Iker Casillas raised the World Cup high in the Johannesburg sky and the streamers and cheers rocketed around the Soccer City Stadium, the English public set down their suppers and dug out the replica shirts and scarfs they had hidden away for a month and anticipated pre-season.

The trips to League 2 clubs on cold nights to see the fitness of a few reserve team players is a daunting trip for followers of most Premiership sides. Pre-season games either produce shock 1-0 wins for the minnows or produce a thumping from the Premier League outfit. The only thing that makes games like these easy to get through is the prospect that once they are all over, you can settle in to the excitement of the Premier League.

There was a time when there were only two teams who had a chance of winning the league. It used to be a straight shootout between Man United and Arsenal with the outside bet being a team who had a particularly good year, usually Newcastle or Chelsea or Liverpool. This year, there are still four teams who can make a definite push for the title this season, or so I believe.

The first main contenders are the reigning champions from Stamford Bridge. Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti will be looking to follow up his first English title with an immediate second. He has the arsenal to do it with strike partnership Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka and if Frank Lampard can find his club form back, Chelsea will be in good stead. The defence is always there with the bravery of John Terry, the adventure of Ashley Cole and the ever-improving Branislav Ivanovic. The only concern is the apparent departure of Ricardo Carvalho to Inter Milan and who will partner John Terry in the centre of the Chelsea defence. Alex may be the man, but he looks shaky at times and Ancelotti may have to recruit. Also, Chelsea have an ageing squad and the creaky bones may start to give way through the season, unless some new depth and talent is brought in to freshen up the squad.

The next shout is Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson hates to lose and he will make sure that the hunger and desire is in the squad for this season. The Red Devils narrowly missed out on the title last season and the cessation of rumours about a Nemanja Vidic departure from Old Trafford will settle the fans. Ferdinand and Vidic together is a defensive partnership that will strike fear into any forward’s mind. A downpoint for United is Wayne Rooney’s poor World Cup performances. If he maintains that form and plays like that for his club, Man United will again fall short. They have to rely on their Croxteth creator and pray he finds his goal touch.

Arsenal will be there as always. With the creative inspiration that Cesc Fabregas holds, if he stays at Arsenal and doesn’t jump ship to Barcelona, and the star qualities of Robin van Persie, Arsene Wenger’s side will thrill fans with their passing and their electrifying brand of ‘Total Football’. New signing Laurent Koscielny will add some much needed bite alongside Belgian Thomas Vermaelen and an ever improving Alex Song will hope to anchor the defence and allow the excitement of Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri to do the work. The disadvantages Arsenal face are Wenger’s lack of depth and his side’s lack of experience. Arsenal always seem to crumble towards the end of the season and if Wenger can address these problems, I don’t see why his side can’t heavily challenge.

No-one’s going to rule out the noisy neighbours. Man City are making their financial pulling power felt across the world with the acquisitions of David Silva, Jerome Boateng and Yaya Toure with more rumoured to be on the way e.g. Torres, Balotelli, Milner. They improved a lot last season, pushing all the way to fifth place, missing out on fourth by a Peter Crouch tap in on the penultimate game of the season. At home, they are a danger, losing only twice all season at Eastlands. It is the away form of City that’s worrying and something boss Roberto Mancini needs to address. He also needs to address the constant media storm that whirls around his players. If he can get them to focus entirely on the football and not the transfer mill that’s set up at the City of Manchester Stadium, their brand of attacking football will frighten the Premiership and make everyone sit up and take notice.

Other teams that could have a chance would be Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa. Realistically, Liverpool’s club instability will ruin them, Tottenham will have too much to deal with, due to the Champions League preparation, and Aston Villa always fall away, after promising starts. All I know is that this season looks to be exciting and I, for one, can’t wait for August 14th. Settle into your seats, football fans, it’s going to be a topsy-turvy 9 months.

My Top 8 prediction:
1- Chelsea
2- Man United
3- Man City
4- Arsenal
5- Tottenham
6- Liverpool
7- Aston Villa
8- Everton

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Adam Is Ready For The Fight

May 11, 2010 - United Kingdom - Football - Nottingham Forest v Blackpool Coca-Cola Football League Championship Play Off Semi Final Second Leg - The City Ground - 11/5/10..Blackpool's Charlie Adam celebrates reaching the Football League Championship Play Off Final.

Blackpool captain Charlie Adam maintains Blackpool can upset the bookmakers and avoid relegation. Adam acknowledges that it will take a lot of hard work, but he is adamant they can stay in the top flight. “Every fixture will be a dream for us, because at the start of last season, none of us expected to be in the Premier League. But we’re not in it to make up the numbers. We want to show that everyone in our dressing room is capable of playing at the top level”, said the Scotsman.

In transfer news, Blackpool are in talks with former Arsenal defender Kerrea Gilbert. Gilbert is available on a free transfer, after seeing out his contract at the Emirates stadium. Blackpool manager Ian Holloway is unlikely to have large amounts of money in his transfer fund, so the fact that Gilbert is free would provide a high attraction for the Seasiders.

Also, French midfielder Malaury Martin has landed a trial with Premier League newboys Blackpool. The 21 year old has represented his country at all youth levels, but failed to make an impact at club level, trialling with MLS side Chicago Fire before attempting to get a contract at Bloomfield Road.

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Platini Out Of Hospital

May 12, 2010 - 05898728 date 12 05 2010 Copyright imago Gribaudi ImagePhoto GC Germania 12 05 2010 Final Europe League Atletico Madrid Fulham Photo Giuseppe Celeste Image Sports Nella Photo Michel Platini PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxITA men Football EC 3 Europe League Europe League Final Hamburg 2009 2010 Single Vdig xsk 2010 horizontal premiumd.

UEFA president Michel Platini has been released from hospital and is expected to attend tomorrow’s World Cup final between Spain and Holland in Johannesburg. Platini was taken to hospital on Friday night, after collapsing in a restaurant. Early reports indicated a heart attack was the cause for Platini’s collapse, but he had actually been suffering from the flu for a few days.

He underwent tests, which revealed no problems, and the French footballing legend is out of hospital. A joint statement from FIFA and UEFA said, “Michel Platini, UEFA president, was released at 9am this morning from the hospital in Johannesburg, where he was admitted after feeling unwell”.

UEFA advisor William Gallard said that the 55 year old’s condition was not a worrying concern. “I am here in London, but I talked to the assistant who was with him and it seems it is just fainting. I have been told not to worry, there is nothing serious”, quoted Gallard.

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