It's Friday again, so we all know what that means – it's time for the famous . And like , we're full of Christmas generosity for you today and have served up 15 teasers to test your knowledge of festive football. Do you know your Roque Santa Cruare chasing a deal for the German defensive utility before Thursday’s transfer deadline.But Rose has made it clear he doesn’t want toy won’t sell Hee-Chan Hwang this month.Wolves have been linked with a move for the 23-year-old in recent weeks.But Freund has confirmed that Hwang will not be allowed to depart this month. “Hwang is not for sale in this transfer period,” he told the see Ginter sold.”Matze has a central role as a leading player – I cannot imagine this without him at the moment!”Rosz from your Christmas tree formation? All we want for Christmas is for you to give our quiz a whirl and then let us know your scores on Twitter. Can you beat Good luck and Merry Christmas to one and all.
This is Manchester United's first official squad photo under Louis van Gaal. The Dutchman was forced to wait for his first three points as Red Devils but they duly came And Van Gaal and his players and staff were back todael Messi anytime soon.The future of Messi is a top priority at the club these days and Laporta thinks the captain won’t retire any time soon.”I think we’ll have Messi for a while yet,” he said.”He already knows [that he’s nearing retirement] and he ky. New skipper Wayne Rooney took up a new seat alongside the United boss, who was also flanked by vice-captain Darren Fletcher. The influx of big-money arrivals were all present, including Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera and Sunday's star perfLiverpool have allowed Taiwo Awoniyi to join Mainz on a season-long loan deal.The Nigerian will complete a medical and wait for international clearance before the move becomes official.The talented striker has spent time on loan at FSV Frankfurt, NEC Nijmegen, Royal Excel Mouscron (twice) and KAA Gent.He signed a new long-term contract with the Reds in 2018.ormer Angel Di Maria. There were also spots for Marouane Fellaini and Anderson – whose United careers appeared to be numbered when Van Gaal took over. Where will Manchester United finish in Van Gaal's first season as manager?40000+ VOTES SO FAR Manchester United ins and outs this summer:
To see Liverpool’s eleven game , after being unbeaten in the league since the end of 2013, would have been difficult enough to take on its own. To see it come off the back of just added to the disappointment, almost as much as the fact that it meant the destiny of this season’s league title was no longer in the Reds’ own hands. When Gerrard slipped in and that goal went in, during first half injury time, as both sets of fans took a moment to work out if it had really happened. Delight for Chelsea fans to see the man who turned them down twice meet with such misfortune. Despair for Liverpool fans to see the man who has inspired them so much make an uncharacteristic mistake. For some the disappointment manifested itself as anger and frustration and after the game a title that was never supposed to be Liverpool’s so soon into this period of transition was now being referred to as having been “thrown away”. The element of the fanbase who demand success without particularly getting involved in providing any actual support to help achieve it had been biting their tongues for months and couldn’t wait to throw their tantrums. It would be easy to focus on that negativity but most of us had actually had quite enough of that already, thanks to a man some still refer to as “special” without a hint of irony. His incessant moaning is like interference on an AM radio most of the time, it’s always there but you learn how to ignore it. As a meeting with your team draws nearer the droning gets louder and it’s harder to avoid his dull stream of negativity. That press conference negativity is nothing to his actual football though. Within seconds of kick-off his players, clearly well-drilled to keep doing it, were wasting time. Today he’s being praised for playing that way because of the result it brought him, yet without that slip from Gerrard the game might well have ended in a dull, scoreless draw. Weyers sold.Tuttosport says Conte is happy to oversee a major overhaul this summer, having formally taken charge less than a month ago.Those up for sale are Radja Nainggolan and Mauro Icardi, along with Joao Mario, Dalbert and Borja Valero.All money rast Ham came to Anfield last season and played out a dull, scoreless draw. The result itself was frustrating but not as frustrating as the spectacle in front of us. Earlier in the season Stoke City had been to Anfield and done the same, getting the same result. I questioned at the time how Stoke’s fans could sit through that week-in, week-out, spending so much time and money on a pastime that their team made less exciting and entertaining than an afternoon in the supermarket. Stoke changed their manager in the summer to bring about a change in playing style. West Ham fans are asking the same questions now of their manager, feeling their club should always play its football in a stylish and entertaining way. Of course it’s up to Mourinho how he chooses to play and down to Chelsea’s fans if they can put up with that in return for results, although ultimately it’s Abramovich who will decide if it’s an approach he’s happy to pay for – and few people pay more for their football entertainment than him. As disappointing as yesterday’s result was – and it was extremely disappointing – it’s done now. Liverpool have smashed expectations this season and still have it in their hands to push Manchester City to the wire. If Liverpool win both their last games Manchester City would only be able to win the title on goal difference – and any slip-up on their part would put it back in Liverpool’s hands. One thing Brendan Rodgers has done consistently since arriving at Anfield is to learn from mistakes, to improve based on experience, and although he is yet to pit his wits against Tony Pulis since he left Stoke in the summer, he found a way to beat Sam Allardyce at his game, with the Reds doing the double over West Ham this season. Liverpool need to do the same over Crystal Palace to go into that last home game of the season against Newcastle to be in with a chance of taking that title for the first time in 24 years. For now though it’s all about putting yesterday behind them and preparing for the game a week today. Gerrard has been an inspiration this season, dragging Liverpool towards that finish line, and between now and next Monday he’ll have his focus back and will be ready to drag his team mates those last few yards. Liverpool supporters also need to find the same focus. After the game against Manchester United, that 3-0 win at Old Trafford last month, Liverpool had eight games left. Winning all eight was always going to be a tall order, especially as it would have meant 14 wins in a row, but the belief was there that we could come close to doing so. Now, as Gerrard would say, we go again. Everton can beat Manchester City on Saturday, and if they do, it’s absolutely back on again for Liverpool, arguably the most entertaining side English football has seen in some time. The side that features the PFA Player of the year Luis Suarez, the side that has three players in the same organisation’s team oG for €15m on transfer deadline day on Monday. It was a deal that upset many inside the Real dressing room.That’s according to Okdiario’s pundit Eduardo Inda, speaking on El Chiringuito.Inda revealed: “Keylor Navas was very loved in the locker roomf the season. Whatever happens in the next two weeks this has been a season to remember for the Reds and it’s vital that the club build on it for next season. Liverpool are on their way back, not just for now but for the long term. And now you’re going to believe us. Have Liverpool thrown away the title following their slip-up against Chelsea?1000+ VOTES SO FAR
was not their only embarrassment of the weekend after fe Elite Development Team.Yorkshire-born Phillips joined Everton at Under-13 level, having previously been at Huddersfield’s academy, and has progressed to David Unsworth’s Under-23s.The 19-year-old links up with the Championship club.He initially willmale fans got the blues over a new section of the club's website intended to cater for them. City Woman launched on International Women's Day to immediate controversy, with supporters horrified by a press release promising it would contain "special discounts… recipes and fitness tips from the experts" and could be enjoyed "even if you have only a passing interest in the beautiful game." You know, like girls do. Contributors include occasional Daily Mail hack Angela Epstein – think Kate Hopkins without the charm – whose first column grumbles about women with tattoos and whose previous work includes informing ladies that "today's glass ceiling is largely self-imposed" and calling feminists "grumpy women in bad clothes spoiling for a fight." The reviews have been damning in what appears to be a rare mis-step for City's innovative and award-winning digital team. "Absolutely terrible idea and incredibly patronising," write one season ticket holder on Twitter. "First column judging women on their attractiveness as well? On a football website?" Added another: "Why recipes? Men also eat, don't they?" And most damning of all, another fan wrote: "I honestly don't know who thought of this but I bet it was a man." Head's gone Manchester United supporters blaming this season's mess on not David Moyes but crack transfer negotiator and Ed Woodward have been heartened by a screengrab showing the executive vice-chairman in action. Taken from Sky Sports' coverage just after, it shows Sir Bobby Charlton, Red Devils director Mike Edelson and some companions all reacting in horror at the wasted chance 10 minutes from time while an oblivious Woodward appears to be happily taking a picture if the other end of the ground with his phone. Poles apart You could have forgiven Birmingham's adult nightspots for dimming their lights still further last work as news broke of in Hong Kong. Perhaps the world's richest barber simply had an affinity with poles, but Yeung was an enthusiastic regular at Spearmint Rhino on the Hagley Road, the chain's most profitable venue outside London, where top punters regularly drop £10,000 in a night. Carson is unlikely to be receiving any private dances in his new home of Stanley Prison but perhaps he'll be able to participate in his other great love, karaoke. "I Fought The Law And The Law Won," should do it. Writing's on the wall Pepe Mel's days at West Brom seem to be numbered if precedent is anything to go by. It didn't go unnoticed that Albion's legal counsel and club secretary Simon Carrington snuck in to listen to the Spaniard's pre-match press conference before Manchester United's visit. Carrington's previous assignment was attending Nicolas Anelka's disciplinary hearing, after which the Frenchman was immediately suspended and Baggies are wondering whether Mel will soon be following him out of the Hawthorns. What's in a name? Excellent self-awareness at League Two Mansfield Town, who have been criticised for their direct style under manager Paul Cox. The club has just launched a comedy club night at their One Call stadium and christened it Hoofers. No ifs or butts Press conference question of the week? Sky Sports' Gary Cotterill grilling Arsene Wenger about his long-ago bust-up with Alan Pardew when the Newcastle nutter was at West Ham. Cotterill asked: "Are you pleased he didn't headbutt you?" Needless to say, the room fell silent before Wenger gave out a nervous giggle. Lowe brow Rupert Lowe liked to have everyone singing from the same hymn sheet in his days at Southampton chairman and it is proving ever thus in his new career in finance. The Evening Standard's brilliant City Spy diary column was pouring over Stockbroker WH Ireland's recent results statement and noted chief executive Richard Killingbeck popping up in the report to say: "For the first time since the financial crisis, the group is now operating in more benign markets, albeit the environment remains highly competitive and subject to much regulatory change and regulation." And a few pages on, up pops our old pal Posh Rupe with this killer quote: "For the first time since the financial crisis, the group is now operating in more benign markets, albeit the environment remains highly competitive and subject to much regulatory change and regulation." Great minds and all that.. Silver linings playbook His Wigan team reaching Wembley is not the only piece of recent good news for Josh McEachran, whose career appeared to have stalled after loan spells with Swansea, Middlesbrough and Watford. The midfielder remains well remunerated after penning a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge in 2011 worth £25,000-a-week. McEachran celebrated the deal by buying two Range Rovers despite not owning a driving license. But now he has finally passed his test. Caps lock Credit to the excellent Twitter account @NOT_MOTD for spotting this Crystal Palace fan who appears to have forgotten the purpose of a baseball cap… Burrell and squeak When you go by the name of Paul Burrell, you're likely to be used to peopl Liverpool.Adrian has made 10 appearances this term as Alisson recovers from the calf injury he sustained in the win over Norwich in the opening game of the Premier League season.”Every goalkeeper would feel comfortable behind that defence but Adriane laughing at you and so it proved on Saturday for Arsenal's stadium announcer and Royal butler namesake. Fans who'd traveled up from Merseyside were amused when for some reason – possibly dark forces at work of which we have no knowledge – Burrell popped up just after the half-time whistle to inform the 59,719 who'd just watched the first half inside the Emirates that "at half time the score is Arsenal 1 Everton 1". He went on to announce that Mikel Arteta had scored a penalty just as Mark Clattenburg was ordering it to be retaken. Still, Burrell can be forgiven anything for his performance during the Gunners' home draw against Manchester United during last month's foul weather, in which he cheerfully informed the away supporters that "all tonight's train services from Euston to Manchester have been suspended, the M5, M6 and M60 motorways have been closed and if you manage to get back to Manchester, the ring road is shut too." Wicked whisper Which veteran manager has failed to impress a recent arrival to his club? The youngster says he "is the worst coach he's ever had and just stands there mumbling during training, occasionally shouting "pass", "move" and "shoot". He knows nothing about tactics. I can't believe he ever got close to being national manager." Football gaffes Heard a gaffe? Tweet it using #FootballGaffes or email email@example.com, putting 'Football Gaffes' in the subject field "You have to take it on the chin when the boot is on the other foot" – Steve McLaren "We've kicked ourselves in the foot today" – Chris Hughton "Duncan Ferguson was a big big favourites fan" – Peter Reid "The only question was, could Toure find Navas? And could Navas finish?" – Gary Neville "I don't want to stir up a can of worms" – Alan Brazil "Gary Cahill asked me, 'did you mean it?' I definitely meaned it" – John Terry Overheard… Tell us the funniest things you've overheard either said or shouted at football and you can win a VIBE Beat Portable Bluetooth Speaker, RRP £99.99. There are more prize details at Tweet your stories using #FootballOH or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Overheard' in the subject field. From Bob Graham, via email: New Stoke chant, to the tune of Mrs Robinson: "Here's to you Asmir Begovic, City love you more than you will know." From Guy Nash, via email: Overheard the following at halftime of the Chelsea vs Fulham game: "If Chelsea have bought a worse player than Schurrle in the last 2 years I've yet to see him." The German then went on to score a 16-minute second-half hat-trick. From Motters, via email: Man Vs Food's Adam Richman in the away end at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Spurs fans singing "He eats what he wants." From Terry Chaplin, via email: Forest fans to their Jesus lookalike: "Jonathan Greening, he walks on the Trent." From Big Al via email: Around 10 minutes before the start of the Capital One Cup final, I fought my way to the bar in my local. The queue was four or five deep. When I got there I heard a bloke ask the barmaid, "Any chance you could put the racing on please, love?" The silence was deafening! And this week's winner is… @JamesHorsham: Took mum to Wembley. Crowd shouts "who are ya, who are ya". Mum joins in, shouting "Kia-Ora, Kia-Ora".
Bolton team news Bolton boss Owen Coyle will assess the condition of a number of players ahead of his relegation-threatened side's must-win Barclays Premier League season-closer against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday. Coyle is hopeful Nigel Reo-Coker (leg) and Mark Davies (virus) will be available despite the pair missing some training sessions recently and fellow midfielder Darren Pratley (virus) could be in line for his comeback having managed to do some light work at Wanderers' Euxton complex. Winger Lee Chung-yong, who broke his leg last summer, made a surprise return to action as a substitute in last weekend's 2-2 draw with West Brom and will once again be in the squad, but full-back Gretar Steinsson remains sidelined with a thigh problem, while centre-half David Wheater has joined the long-term casualty list after sustaining cruciate ligament damage in his right knee in the match against the Baggies. Bolton (from): Bogdan, Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Boyata, Knight, Ream, Ricketts, Reo-Coker, M Davies, K Davies, Klasnic, Miyaichi, Ngog, Petrov, Eagles, Tuncay, Sordell, Vela, Pratley, Lee. Stoke team news Stoke are waiting on the fitness of left-back Marc Wilson ahead of their final Barclays Premier League match of the season against Bolton on Sunday. Wilson had a scan today on his back after being forced off with the problem at half-time during last weekend's loss to QPR, and boss Tony Pulis will give him until the day of the game to prove his fitness. Defender Andy Wilkinson (groin) and winger Jermaine Pennant (hamstring) are expected to be fit while Dane Thomas Sorensen will keep his place in goal as he builds up to next month&Aston Villa have signed 16-year-old United assistant coach Michael Carrick insists their young players are good enough to make it at Old Trafford.Carrick won every major trophy as a United player including the Champions League and five Premier League titles.”All those great players fr striker Louie Barry from Barcelona – just six months after he joined the Spanish club, reports Sky Sports.Barry left West Brom to join Barca in July, turning down lucrative offers from a host of top European clubs – including a £2m deal with Paris Saint-Germain.The deal is subject to international clearance.apos;s Euro 2012 tournament. Provisional squad: Begovic, Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Wilkinson, Shotton, Wilson, Woodgate, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Jones, Jerome, Crouch, Walters, Fuller.
Rafa Benitez today declined Chelsea fan requests for an “apology” over his statements about the club when he was Liverpool boss. But the new man at the Blues helm vowed again to win over the supporters who booed him into the job. suggested he will never be accepted by a large proportion of Chelsea fans. , when Benitez suggested Liverpool “did not need to give away flags for our fans to wave”. Pushed once again today, Benitez replied: “We can analyse what I said and didn't say. We can't be checking if it's true or not. “I was praising the fans of my club, my team. But I'm here now, it's my club, and I will do my best for them. “That's my explanation, very easy and very simple. I will try to defend my club, and this is now my club. “I know how the fans feel. I understand how they feel. “It's not a situation we can change in one minute. But working hard, winning games, I can improve it. Starting with Fulham. “If I have a player that doesn't have the support of the fans, I'd tell him to stay focused and try to do his job, to not be distracted and concentrate on his football. “I understand the feelings of the fans because of my time at Liverpool, where we had rivalry and it was quite difficult. “But at the same time I will try to prove I'm here for the right reasons. We want to win, and we can do that together. I'll try and improve players and it'll be easier to win games and bring the fans back.” Rafa: I'm working 12 hours a day Asked if he hoped for a kinder reception before Wednesday's home clash with their West London rivals, Benitez added: “To be fair, I don't know. “But I can say that since coming here I've worked really hard, coming in at 8.30am and leaving at 8.30 at night, doing my job, talking to players and staff and trying to be ready for the game. “The only thing I can do is try and win their trust working hard and doing my best. “I can't worry if I'm upset or not. If it was a player, I'd be telling him to concentrate on his job. The best way to change things is to win games.” After Chelsea picked up just three points from their last five games – and with the holders on the brink of Champions League elimination – Benitez needs his first win. But the Spaniard – whom many fans believe has been appointed because Roman Abramovich feel he will be the man to get the best out of £50million flop Fernando Torres – admittedb.Waddle had a spell playing for the Black Cats in 1997, long after Newcastle had launched him to stardom in the 1980s – and was roundly booed by fans at St James’ Park when he returned with their bitter local rivals.Bruce, who managed the Mackem he cannot be certain Australia youth international Con Ouzounidis has signed a new deal with Everton to 2020.Ouzounidis was part of David Unsworth’s Under-23s squad that won a Premier League 2 and Premier League Cup double in 2018-19.The 19-year-old is targeting more silthe striker will return to his Anfield performance levels. Benitez said: “He's not exactly the same player now, because he was at maximum level at that time. “But I think he can come back. How close? I don't know. It depends on the rest of the team. I'm sure he can improve, but the team has to help him. “The first thing is to give him some confidence, in instructions as to how he can do things in a different way and improve him a little bit physically. “If you are conceding goals – we hadn't had a clean sheet in 10 games – you need to be stronger in defence, regain the ball easier and then you can create your own chances. “That will benefit Torres. Players with mobility, quality – we can improve all these things.”
Stoke winger Matthew Etherington is a doubt for tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash with Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium. Etherington has missed two days of training due to a virus and will be assessed ahead of kick-off. Aside from that concern, manager Tony Pulis has virtually a full squad to select from, with only long-term absentee Mamady Sidibe (knee) unavailable. Provisional squad: Sorensen, Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Etherington, Croucr Mattijs de Ligt.The pair are close and left Ajax this summer for different clubs.De Jong told Gazzetta dello Sport: “If he has adapted to Juventus? I have not seen all his matches, my analysis is incomplete. I have seen only Fiorentina and Atleticoh, Waheek says he’s ever closer to a playing return.He has had a six-month spell on the sidelines due to a May Achilles injury.“It’s been a long time and I’ve had a few setbacks as well,” he told Versus.“It’s never been just a straight path but I’m cllters, Shotton, Upson, Diao, Jones, Whitehead, Whelan, Woodgate, Fuller, Jerome, Collins. *** Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill will be without defender Wes Brown and midfielder David Vaughan for tomorrow's Barclays Premier League trip to Stoke as the pair face up to weeks on the sidelines. Brown (knee) will be missing for up to two months, while Vaughan (ankle ligaments) is expected to be out for a lesser, but still significant, period. Midfielder Lee Cattermole (hamstring) is hoping to return to training a the end of next week, while defenders Matt Kilgallon (ankle) and Titus Bramble (Achilles/foot) are still sidelined, but Sotirios Kyrgiakos is available to join fellow loan signing Wayne Bridge in the squad. Provisional squad: Mignolet, Westwood, Bardsley, Bridge, O'Shea, Turner, Kyrgiakos, Lynch, Richardson, Gardner, Larsson, Elmohamady, McClean, Meyler, Colback, Sessegnon, Wickham, Ji, Campbell.
A leading heart specialist has cast doubts on whether Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba will ever play professional football again. Coyle writes letter of thank final against Arsenal.The Blues are scheduled to meet New England Revolution in a charity match in Massachusetts on Wednesday May 15.The match at the Gillette Stadium has been booked in since March to raise funds for anti-semitism and discriminations to Spurs staff for Muamba support Peter Weissberg, the Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, believes Muamba's sudden collapse means he can never truly be cleared to compete in the future – even if he makes a full recovery. Former England Under-21 international Fabrice Muamba was rushed to hospital after collapsing during the FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham at White Hart Lane earlier in the month. With 41 minutes of the game gone, with no-one near him, 23-year-old Muamba suddenly collapsed to the floor and lay with his face down on the turf. It was late Kelly is ready for his Bournemouth debut, and he hopes to gain a starting spot soon enough.The 20-year-old has yet to play his first competitive game for the club since arriving from Bristol City.Kelly suffered an injury to his ankle during preseasor confirmed he had suffered a heart attack. Weissberg now believes it would be difficult for the former Arsenal youngster to make a comeback. He told Press Association Sport: "It is not possible to say, but I think it is likely he would be advised not to play again because most conditions like this are a combination of physical activity and an underlying tendency to have a cardiac arrest." Bolton's team doctor Jonathan Tobin confirmed Muamba's heart stopped for almost 80 minutes and Weissberg praised the fast-acting medics present at the time. "I'm impressed (with the response) but you would expect that at a Premier League football ground," he said. "(It was) a fantastic example of a well-trained team recognising first of all what was wrong and then moving into action and doing something very, very quickly about it." Since the incident there have been calls from many quarters of the game to enhance player screenings in an attempt to eradicate such issues arising, something Weissberg believes is almost impossible. He said: "It will happen from time to time and the reason for that is, as doctors, we can not yet predict with total accuracy those players who might have an underlying heart problem. "I'm afraid the technology is not good enough yet to identify the really, really subtle heart conditions which just aren't apparent until someone keels over." Weissberg did suggest solutions which could be in place to help Muamba if he were to suffer a similar attack in the future, but that it does not mean he should be making a return to the pitch. "With people like Fabrice, we can put in a defibrillator inside the body," he said. "But I repeat, I think it is unlikely he would be advised to play football again even though he may be fit and healthy to do so." Muamba is currently recovering at the London Chest Hospital and has already surprised doctors with the speed of his progress. The FA Cup match was rearranged and the midweek Barclays Premier League fixture against Aston Villa that was due to follow the tie was also postponed. Bolton did play at the weekend and the club and it's supporters gave a moving tribute to Muamba before collecting a vital three points from Blackburn as they look to avoid relegation come May.
Peter against Newcastle today but his striker partner was too busyer Jurgen Klopp says Divock Origi’s new long-term extension is a “win-win” situation.The 24-year-old scored key goals in the semi-final and final of this season’s Champions League and has been rewarded with a brand new contract.Just 12 months ago, th reading the programme to celebrate. Doing what he does best, Crouch came off the bench to score a brilliant guided header at the far post past Newcastle's Tim Krul. We all know he Smith Rowe after his substitution against Eintracht Frankfurt.The youngster was taken off despite a decent performance in the 3-0 win.And Emery revealed his words to the youngster, and how he believes Smith Rowe can improve in the coming weeks and ow much but even he didn't have chance as he was mobbed by his team-mates following his 90th minute equaliser. Walters didn't let the excitement of a last gasp goal get the better of him though, he decided to pick up the programme and read it to the home fans. Well played Walters, we approve. What do you think of Walters' celebration? 0+ VOTES SO FAR
Mike Williamson had revealed that Come Dine With Me style evenings among Alan Pardew’s squad have helped the club cook up a storm this season. The defender, who has helped the Geordies to three clean sheets in four games, says the tight-knit team love to entertain each other – but he gives James Perch’s baked spuds zero out of 10! Williamson says the down to earth nature of his team-mates has helped Newcastle become an ego free zone despite their challenge for the top four which continues against Stoke on Saturday. For example, instead of watching Barcelona play Chelsea this week and dreaming of similar nights, Williamson was busy “getting the kids' tea on the table”. Williamson, who has been a solid performer in the absence of long term injury victim Steven Taylor, said: “There’s just an honest mentality of feet on the ground at this club. No-one’s got head in the clouds. “I can’t really comment on years gone by but it’s a different looking team and we haven’t got anyf this week.Srna is currently assistant manager of Shakhtar Donetsk and just completed a week’s work experience at the City campus.Writing on social media, the former wing-back stated: “Dear friends, thank you for your hospitality. “Itin the Nations League finals squad.The Spurs star is racing to be fit for June 1’s Champions League final against Liverpool in Madrid.Southgate has been contacting both Kane and Tottenham for fitness updates on his captain, the Mirror has claimed.Kan was a pleasure massive players, you know, big money that have come in. It’s just a team that works hard. “We have gelled from pre-season and just got stronger and the momentum has continued on. Long may it continue because this is a fantastic place to work. It’s a good environment at the minute. “It’s just that we all get on. "Cooking for each other happens quite a lot. The girls are friends, they go out for lunch, everyone goes around each other's house. Everyone lives in close proximity and everyone just gets on. “I cooked for Shola Ameobi the other day – bit of risotto. For the kids last night, we had chilli, salad and rice. "I’m not quite Come Dine With Me just yet, but I had a jacket potato around James Perch’s house, so that’s a zero! “Shola doesn’t cook and leaves it all to his missus. He very much stays out of the kitchen, but she is very good.” Pardew’s defensive recipe has given the Geordies a solid platform, and Williamson added: “We have worked hard on defending throughout the season and yet we were fantastic at the beginning of the season and that’s what they have built the base off. “In this league you are going to go through periods when you concede goals because of the quality of opposition but what hasn’t changed are the drills, the organisation and what we go over. Everyone knows what to do. But yeah, the last few games have been good. “This season has been a phenomenal achievement and we have to finish it off. And when it is done and dusted the lads need to look back on it and be proud of what they have achieved. "The standards that were set at the start of the season we have exceeded and I think it’s a fantastic building block to carry into next year as well. “We will push on and build because I’m sure the gaffer will try and add to the squad with quality like he has done this season. “The lads set the standards early on and we have been very consistent keeping to them. We’ve been right up there, so you can’t just say it’s been a late run or flourish. "And the whole squad has shown it because players have come in and come out which shows the strength in depth we have that we have been able to sustain it throughout the year.” Click here for the latest Newcastle vs Stoke team news Simon Bird's Premier League previews and predictions Tiote: I'm a Newcastle player – my future is at Newcastle
Chelsea captain John Terry will be able to lift the Champions League trophy and collect his medal should the Blues beat Bayern Munich, UEFA today confirmed. The England defender is suspended for the final at the Allianz Arena on May 19 following his red card against Barcelona in Tuesday's semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp. However, despite having to watch the match from the stands, Europe's governing body this afternoon confirmed Terry would be able to join in with any post-match celebrations. A statement read: "If Chelsea win the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, John Terry will be allowed to lift the trophy and collect the medal." Terry was shown a straight red card during the first half of the semi-final against Barcelona when he knedefender was said to be on the brink of penning new terms.”There’s nothing going on. That’s how it is,” Van Dijk told Sky Sports.”I saw some rumours in the media that I was about to agree on a new contract or something like that. “But I’m not in a died Alexis Sanchez in the back. Despite the setback, 10- has been in excellent form on loan at Leeds United this season.Liverpool have been watching his performances, but The Argus says Albion do not want to sell the young centre-back.The Reds are reportedly willing to pay £20m for the Englishman.White sman Chelsea went on to record a famous result as they held the hosts to a 2-2 draw as Fernando Torres struck a late goal to progress 3-2 on aggregate. Afterwards, Terry, 31, apologised to fans. "It does look bad on the replay," he said. "I raised my knee but hopefully the people out there who know me, know I'm not that kind of player. "At the time I was bewildered, but looking at the replay it looks a red card. On a personal note, of course (it hurts I miss the final), but we deserve to be in the Champions League final. "I really hope that doesn't take away from this win." UEFA's control and disciplinary body will decide the length of Terry's suspension on May 31. European football's governing body have the power to extend the punishment, which would apply to next season's European Super Cup and possibly early Champions League or Europa League matches. Terry will be joined on the sidelines in Munich next month by Ramires, Raul Meireles and Branislav Ivanovic, who will all serve one-match bans after picking up their third bookings in the competition. However, the international players' union FIFPro have issued a plea for clemency by UEFA to allow the players, three from each club, who were all shown yellow cards in the semi-finals, to play. The players' union points out that UEFA will adopt FIFA's policy for Euro 2012 where existing yellow cards are waived after the quarter-finals. If the current ruling stands, Bayern are set to be without Luiz Gustavo, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has added more fuel to the fire in the rivalry with Tottenham Hotspur, with this cheeky Facebook post. suffered a humiliating this afternoon, as uploaded his post towards the end of the encounter. The Facebook status, which has received over 6,000 likes, read: "Wonderful scenes at The Etihad…", and is likely to infuriate Tottenham fans even further. The two North London rivals were competing for a Champions League spot last season but have increased the gap between the sides to eight points, as the Gunners continue to top the Premier League table.ol training on Monday.The Mirror says Jurgen Klopp was given a fresh injury headache when both Van Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed the last training session before Tuesday’s Barcelona showdown.The Liverpool manager is already without Mo Salah Szczesny, who has never been afraid toade-Chamberlain clashed Manchester United fans after full-time at Old Trafford.The midfielder was clearly told to “F*** off” while talking to one fan, while another rejected his offer of a fist bump.It’s not clear why the 26-year-old went to the home voice his opinion, will no doubt join the Spurs players in the firing line,
Players and pundits flooded Twitter with thfrom Bayern Munich over their long-term interest in Jurgen Klopp.Having dismissed Niko Kovac on Sunday, Bayern are now seeking a new coach and RMC says the priority is to bring Klopp back to Germany.The former Borussia Dortmund coach tops Bayern’s sheir thoughts on the chances t Bournemouth.A stirring comeback early in the second half saw the Cherries cancel out Marcos Alonso’s opener and take the lead thanks to goals from Jefferson Lerma and Joshua King.But following a sustained spell of pressure from the visitors, Alonsoof at the World Cup in Brazil next summer. put on a brave face, pointing out: "If we want to win it we will have to play the best teams anyway!!" His team get underway in the Amazonian city of Manaus, and 2,659 miles from their base in Rio. Former England man Kevin Davies summed up the thoughts of many by writing: "Ouch!! Oxygen needed a plenty!!" will not be at the World Cup, meanwhile, but the former Spurs star knows which games he will be watching on the TV.
want back at Old Trafford to help spearhead an Ajax-style coaching revolution, Plans are underway for a major shake-up of United’s Acadamy set-up with boss Louis van Gaal at the centrm midfielder Eric Dier is back on the agenda of Manchester United.The Times says Dier is on United’s radar to replace Nemanja Matic this summer.West Ham youngster Declan Rice is also said to be under consideration.Unitd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is ee of an initiative to go Dutch with the club’s approach to youth development. And they would like Ferdinand to re-join the Old Trafford staff once he quits his playing days at in the summer. They have earmarked a key role for their former star coaching, developing and mentoring both the young defenders coming through the ranks and also stars like Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw. Ferdinand had a distinguished twelve year career at Old Trafford spanning 455 games during which he won six Premier League titles, a Champions League, an FA Cup and League Cup. Van Gaal’s assistant , a long-standing teammate of Ferdinand’s, believes the club should tap into the defender’s knowledge and recruit him to the staff. The offer will leave Ferdinand, who has a pundit contract with BT Sport, with a dilemma with the star planning media, business and charity projects when he hangsC Milan have announced the axing of director Zvonimir Boban.Boban leaves after publicly criticising chief exec Ivan Gazidis over his move for Red Bull football chief Ralf Rangnick.A statement read: “AC Milan confirms that it has informed Zvonimir B up his boots. United’s hierarchy want to go the Ajax route and recruit major former stars to be hands on with emerging young players of the future – just like Dennis Bergkamp is doing for the Dutch side now. Van Gaal has already said that he sees Michael Carrick – – as a “trainer-coach” in the current set-up. And he’s hopeful Carrick may stay on the United staff once his playing days finish. United are ready to embark on big coaching changes behind the scenes with current Acadamy boss and former striker Brian McClair set to end a 13-year spell with the club in May. McClair will become Performance Director at the Scottish FA triggering a huge raft of behind the scenes changes to United’s coaching set-up. Should Rio Ferdinand retire at the end of the season?2000+ VOTES SO FAR
Robbed in a cruel finish at Letsby Avenue, Steve Kean was neither a lucky general nor a soldier of fortune. By common consent, poor old Kean’s reward of a solitary point, after Blackburn’s 1st Battalion Chicken Farmers stormed the parish of turkey tycoon Bernard Matthews, was poultry. The good people of Norwich have not enjoyed such a great escape since their resident chat show buffoon Alan Partridge survived when irate farmers dropped a dead cow on him off a bridge. And if Canaries domestic goddess Delia Smith offered Kean a lump of sugar to go with his tea and sympathy in the boardroom after this grand larceny, it was a back-handed condiment. Rovers day trippers who ventured to East Anglia with ‘Kean Out’ banners never saw fit to unfurl them – because Blackburn’s performance spoke volumes for their belief in a beleaguered manager. Junior Hoilett, who opened the scoring with a jinking run and rasping finish, was outstanding. So was skipper Chris Samba, who should have wrapped up their first away win since May when he stooped to conquer at the far post to put the visitors 3-1 up. And Steven Nzonzi, who was on the verge of tears after a diabolical penalty decision shafted Rovers in stoppage time, was immense. Dry your eyes, son – you are going to be a star. Norwich, who scored 12 goals beyond the 90th minute last season, we can deal with summarily. They turned perseverance into an art form again. Steve Morison’s volley apart, they were outgunned until Bradley Johnson’s shot took a wicked deflection over keeper Paul Robinson, and substitute Grant Holt’s equaliser from the spot in stoppage time was more than they deserved. Rovers striker Ayegbeni Yakubu, who scored his fourth goal of the season, said: “The dressing room is silent. It feels like we lost. We had three points in our hands, but we didn’t get them. “We’ve been unlucky all season, and now we have another deflection and cruel penalty to prove it. But we have to believe our luck will change and our season will start again when it does. “The protests at our last home games make no difference – as players, you have to deal with pressure home and away, and at the moment the league table doesn’t look very good, but hopefully we will be fine. “After we lost against Tottenham last week, Harry Redknapp said we looked like a team pulling for their manager and it was the same thing here – we stuck together.” Before any more Rovers dissidents rustle up placards, or scrawl any more anti-Kean propaganda, consider these facts. Blackburn’s last clean sheet may have been six months ago, but in those 17 games Kean has presided over six wins, five draws and six defeats. Hardly the stuff of burning effigies. He said: “Sometimes with a young team, near the end of a game, we might need to see it out better. I’m screaming at them to get it into the corners to run down the clock, but I can’t say the players did too much wrong.”ROBBED in a cruel finish at Letsby Avenue, Steve Kean was neither a lucky general nor a soldier of fortune. By common consent, poor old Kean’s reward of a solitary point, after Blackburn’s 1st Battalion Chicken Farmers stormed the parish of turkey tycoon Bernard Matthews, was poultry. The good people of Norwich have not enjoyed such a great escape since their resident chat show buffoon Alan Partridge survived when irate farmers dropped a dead cow on him off a bridge. And if Canaries domestic goddess Delia Smith offered Kean a lump of sugar to go with his tea and sympathy in the boardroom after this grand larceny, it was a back-handed condiment. Rovers day trippers who ventured to East Anglia with ‘Kean Out’ banners never saw fit to unfurl them – because Blackburn’s performance spoke volumes for their belief in a beleaguered manager. Junior Hoilett, who opened the scoring with a jinking run and rasping finish, was outstanding. So was skipper Chris Samba, who should have wrapped up their first away win since May when he stooped to conquer at the far post to put the visitors 3-1 up. And Steven Nzonzi, who was on the verge of tears after a diabolical penalty decision shafted Rovers in stoppage time, was immense. Dry your eyes, son – you are going to be a star. Norwich, who scored 12 goals beyond the 90th minute last season, we can deal with summarily. They turned perseverance into an art form again. Steve Morison’s volley apart, they were outgunned until Bradley Johnson’s shot took a wicked deflection over keeper Paul Robinson, and substitute Grant Holt’s equaliser from the spot in stoppage time was more than they deserved. Rovers striker Ayegbeni Yakubu, who scored his fourth goal of the season, said: “The dressing room is silent. It feels like we lost. We had three points in our hands, but we didn’t get them. “We’ve been unlucky all season, and now we have another deflection and cruel penalty to prove it. But we have to believe our luck will change and our season will start again when it does. “The protests at our last home games make no difference – as players, you have to deal with pressure home and away, and at the moment the league table doesn’t look very good, but hopefully we will be fine. “After we lost against Tottenham last week, Harry Redknapp said we looked like a team pulling for their manager and it was the same thing here – we stuck together.” Before any more Rovers dissidents rustle up placards, or scrawl any more anti-Kean propaganda, consider these facts. Blackburn’s last clean sheet may have been six months ago, but in those 17 games Kean has presided over six wins, five draws and six defeatfers for Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes in the final weeks of the Premier League market.O Jogo says Sporting’s stand has left Fernandes furious after he had expected to move to London by Thursday.Spurs’ final offer was for €60m up front plus. Hardly the stuff of burning effigies. He said: “Sometimes with a young team, near the end of a game, we might need to see it ailed his players after an amazing 7-2 rout of Lecce.Lecce were actually 2-0 ahead before La Dea steamrolled them – with Duvan Zapata hitting a hat-trick.“We are proud that we are able to fight back and keep going. When Lecce went from 0-2 to 2-2, out better. I’m screaming at them to get it into the corners to run down the clock, but I can’t say the players did too much wrong.”