Posts Tagged ‘football



21
Aug
08

Sivestre a Gunner!

The unthinkable has happened for thew first time in 21 years. The last time somebody did this was Viv Anderson in 1987, albeit it was the other way around. French International Mikael Silvestre completed a move to Arsenal from arch rivals Manchester United. It will be interesting to see the kind of response he is going to receive from his former United fans when Arsenal play at Old Trafford later this season. The transformation from a Red Devil to a Gunner is never going to be easy for the left-back. Although the rivalry between the clubs do not have a Derby status like the one between the two Milan giants, it is still considered to be one of the greatest rivalries in football history. Premiership fans especially are known for the rather unhappy welcome they give to players while returning to play against their former home teams. Rio Ferdinand and Eric Cantona were both booed at Leeds for whom both had played before signing for Manchester United, during their games at Elland Road.

I doubt if Silvestre will ever be able to shine at the Emirates. Already in the twilight of his career, he will have to battle it out with countryman Gaël Clichy for a first team spot. But at the same time if he does perform he can more or less establish a first team place considering Arsenal has nobody else at the position and it is unlikely that Arsene Wenger would sign anybody else.  Wenger would want Silvestre’s role to be that of a guide to the young guns of the team. With the addition of Silvestre the number of French speaking players at the Emirates has now increased to 12.

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17
Aug
08

Magpies manage a draw at Old Trafford

A drawn opener just like last season, something that Sir Alex Ferguson hoped would be the last thing to happen to Manchester United. Fergie’s team were held to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. The team was nowhere near any of its phenomenal performances last year. Newcastle scoring midway through the first half through Obafemi Martins, in my opinion one of Europe’s most under-rated striker. United equalised almost immediately. Darren Fletcher, who has been in and out of the squad, levelling things. United were without two of their most important players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, with rookie Frazier Campbell partnering Wayne Rooney up front. Young Brazilian Rodrigo Possebon also made his Premiership debut for the Red Devils. The Magpies played some really good football and even went the closest to scoring the winner but only for Martins to head above the cross bar. The home team were scrappy and couldn’t create enough chances to trouble Shay Given at goal. Newcastle deserved the one point they got. As for Man Utd, they can only hope that they don’t repeat the same away against Portsmouth next week. Newcastle next play Bolton at home.

16
Aug
08

English Premier League – Preview

The Mother of all Football leagues is set to enter a new season today. Will the Red Devils boosted by Ronaldo and Rooney be able to do what they are best at – Winning. Or will the rest of the Big-4 with a spate of new signings be able to dethrone the Champs? The eyes of the World might be set open the 100m Final at the Olympics. But for football fans nothing can rival the English Premier League. Manchester United definitely start as the firm favorites. The focus will be on Cristiano Ronaldo, will he fire after the transfer saga ended as an anti-climax?

Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are no pushovers especially with big pre-season signings, something which did not happen with Man Utd. Certainly United’s inability to sign stars probably is the most discussed topic among the pundits. Dimitar Berbatov was the prime target for United, but into the new season he is still with Tottenham Hotspurs who are looking for a top four finish. Chelsea after losing both the Premier League and the Champions League to United have nothing but revenge in their mind. The Blues have a new manager in Luiz Felipe Scolari who is well aware of Ronaldo’s brilliance having coached him with the Portuguese national team. Scolari seems to be another Mourinho with his wacky humor and a determination to win. New arrivals Deco and Jose Bosingwa will be looking to impress. Arsenal meanwhile have lost a lot over the transfer period. With departures from key players Alisaksandr Hleb, Mathieu Flamini and Gilberto Silva, the only relief are the new signings, Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey. Wenger himself has described 17 year Welshman Ramsey as a player with a fantastic engine, good build, good technique and good vision. For Liverpool Robbie Keane has been the only major signing. The key player this season will once agin be star striker Fernando Torres who will be aiming to emulate last year’s success.

As for the other clubs, Tottenham Hotspurs, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers are the ones to watch out for. These are clubs which can spoil the day for any top club. All four will be aiming for a place in the top four and a place in the Champions league next season.  Spurs especially are seen as the Dark horses. Although weakened by the departure of Robbie Keane and Paul Robinson, arrivals Luka Modric and David Bentley can more than compensate. Also look out for Giovanni dos Santos who had good times at Barca and Heurelho Gomes, the young Brazilian ‘keeper. Michael Owen is undoubtedly Newcastle’s best player. But remains to be seen whether he can shake off injuries. Along with Owen, Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka will be carrying the club’s hopes. Joey Barton is another player to reckon with if he can keep out of trouble. As for Blackburn, the major signing was ‘keeper Robinson from Spurs. Morten Gamst Pedersen and Roque Santa Cruz are key players. Manchester City was probably last season’s biggest disappointment. After promising a lot initially. they could only fade away. This season however they had beaten AC Milan in a pre-season friendly. With new striker from CSKA Moscow and Tal Ben-Haim from Chelsea things sould change. Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Aston Villa and West Ham are contenders for the UEFA Cup slots. Fulham, Middlesborough, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Wigan will try to keep themselves clear from the relegation zone. Newly promoted Hull, Stoke and West Brom should consider themselves lucky if they are to continue next season.