Last week may have seen the first significant news of the football off-season, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Following the retirement of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes’ arrival at Old Trafford as his successor, there has been plenty more big news in the past seven days.
Category: Manchester City
When Vincent Kompany was sent off during Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat of Arsenal, television pundits immediately registered their disapproval, with Match of the Day seemingly on a crusade to have the red card rescinded.
People may confidently claim “he got the ball”, “it wasn’t even two footed” or “that was a standard challenge in my day”, but they are fundamentally ignoring the rules of the game.
These place tackles into three categories: careless fouls, which carry no penalty, reckless challenges for which a yellow card must be issued, and a tackle that is “dangerous” or involves “excessive force” that should result in a sending off.
It would have been an even more pleasant surprise to anyone brave enough to put money on the Black Cats to make it three 1-0 victories in a row yesterday to find that this was exactly what happened.
Far from playing like Premier League champions, the Citizens were sluggish and the result by no means flattered Martin O’Neill’s side, who had several chances to put the game to bed.
One question in football has never been answered by the owners of the world’s elite football clubs: When is the right time to change your manager?
I’ll start with the obvious ones – probably not, say, within five months of winning you the Champions’ League title you have craved for almost a decade, not the day after claiming your club a league crown but doing so “in the wrong style” (a la Bernt Schuster), and probably not simply because you’ve just bought the club and you’d quite like a more high-profile manager.
The thing is, there doesn’t really seem to be a right time for change.
This week in Europe may have turned into the week of the comeback for the English quartet, but there can be little doubt, if any lingered, that the Premier League’s finest are no longer Europe’s dominant force.
Remember that spell when there were three English clubs in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League every year between 2008 and 2010?
At this time, footballing knowledge suggested that the continent had been conquered by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Well, can you really see that happening this year?
Deadline day once again produced its usual mix of excitement, hyperbole and confusion yesterday, with a standard assortment of a couple of ‘blockbuster’ moves and many, many loan deals done between Premier League teams and lower-league clubs.
As is our duty, though, we’ve dredged through the rumours, the hopes and the hogwash to bring you the ten most intriguing deals of yesterday’s shopping frenzy…
With one Premier League match played, and football having returned from its slightly shorter than usual summer break, if the season were to abruptly end before tomorrow’s action begins, Fulham would have narrowly lost out on their first ever Premier League title to neighbours Chelsea, while Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers would be heading back to the Championship having failed to find the net in the top flight.
Although, while Cottagers supporters struggle to contain their nosebleeds and Swansea City fans organise an open top bus parade for legendary manager Michael Laudrup, we must remember that there are 37 games remaining (for most sides), and plenty of time for the table to take on a more predictable appearance. However, although it is impossible to assess a side’s ability and probable fortune this early on, it is worth taking a look at what is likely to transpire over the next nine months.
You know how sometimes you take a big gamble on something, knowing that if it pays off you’re in a fantastic position? Well, sometimes that gamble falls flat on its face and leaves you facing a catastrophe.
That’s kind of how Arsenal probably feel this afternoon.
Robin van Persie has announced via his official website today that, because he and the club “in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward”, he no longer has any intention of extending his current contract, which has a year left to run.
Arsenal’s big summer plans, centred around the already-sealed arrival of Lukas Podolski and the almost confirmed signing of Olivier Giroud, have supposedly left them in a far stronger position to attack the Manchester clubs in next season’s Premier League. That, however, all hinged around van Persie.
Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was yesterday (23 May) handed a 12 match ban for violent conduct during the clash with Manchester City on the final day of the season.
The Football Association (FA) chose to extend the original four match suspension by eight games, and issued a £75,000 fine to the QPR captain.
The ultimate round of matches of the 2011-2012 Premier League season had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. In this vein, footballing clichés were wheeled out by the bucket load. At Manchester City, it really was a game of two halves, as the league leaders thoroughly pummelled the Queens Park Rangers defence, peppering shots at Paddy Kenny and any other body the R’s could get in the way. 44 of them, in fact. With Manchester United maintaining a 1-0 lead over Sunderland for the majority of the game at the Stadium of Light, all eyes were on the Etihad Stadium. Pablo Zabaleta set the Citizens on their way just before half-time, at almost exactly the same point as Bolton Wanderers completed their turnaround against Stoke City to take a 2-1 lead. QPR were relegated, Bolton were staying up, and City had a hand on the trophy. Surely this would be it from Mark Hughes’ ultra-defensive side?