Month: September 2020

  • Spurs without trio for fortnight

    first_imgTottenham have received a huge boost in their hopes for Champions League qualification with the news that Gareth Bale will return to training within two weeks. The statement added: “The results of these scans have indicated that all three players are expected to return to training within two weeks. Bale, Gallas and Lennon have all commenced their treatment today and are responding positively.” Many thought Andre Villas-Boas was just being optimistic when he claimed that Bale would be out for a short time of around three weeks. The way that David Degen trod on the 23-year-old’s standing ankle, twisting it almost at a right angle to his right leg, led to a shriek from the player and Spurs fans inside White Hart Lane started to fear the worst. Yet the results of the scan are even better than expected with the Welshman possibly missing two matches – next Thursday’s second leg against Basle, which follows Sunday’s visit of Everton in the Barclays Premier League. He is scheduled to return to training before Tottenham’s crunch match against champions Manchester City on April 21. There are many statistics that can be used to highlight just how important Bale has been to Tottenham’s success this season, the main one being that he has already found the net 22 times. Many of those goals have been crucial ones that have decided the outcome of matches that seemed lost before he took them by the scruff of the neck. Yet Lennon’s contribution on the right flank has been almost as important, with the England winger finding the best form of his career under Villas-Boas, whose team sit third in the league with seven games of the season left. Bale was carried off on a stretcher during the dying seconds of Spurs’ 2-2 draw against Basle, prompting fears the 22-goal forward could be out for a lengthy period. The Welshman, Aaron Lennon and William Gallas – who also had to come off during Thursday night’s Europa League quarter-final first leg – all underwent scans and the news was positive for the London club. A Spurs statement read: “The club can confirm that Gareth Bale (sprained ankle ligaments), William Gallas (calf strain) and Aaron Lennon (soft tissue contusion below the knee) all underwent scans today (Friday) after being forced off with injuries during our Europa League quarter-final first leg draw with Basel last night.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

  • Pulis ready for battle

    first_img Press Association Stoke boss Tony Pulis accepts his side are up against “overwhelming odds” as they host runaway Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United this weekend. Pulis added: “We have to pick a team we think will work as hard as they possibly can to nullify their strengths, and also give us an opportunity to compete at the other end of the pitch as well.” Alarm bells have started ringing at the Britannia Stadium after a dismal run of just one win in 13 league games. They have kept only one clean sheet in the last 14 and scored just two in the last six. The Potters were five points off the Champions League places at Christmas but after last weekend’s results they found themselves just three above the relegation zone. It is an unfamiliar position for the club having held their own since promotion to the top flight in 2008, and underlined their progress by reaching an FA Cup final and playing in Europe. But in a 21-year managerial career that has taken him through the divisions, Pulis feels he is equipped to deal with the challenge. “I think publicity-wise it is the hardest time I’ve had – but I have had tougher times with teams that haven’t been as good as this one, and you’ve had to eke out results,” said Pulis, who has managed six clubs. “But everything that goes with the Premier League is magnified and multiplied enormously. We have to concentrate on ourselves and not take too much notice of what is going on around us. “You have got to stay focused and stay strong. I don’t get too up or too down in lots of respects. I do lose my temper now and again but in respect of being level and strong, you have to stand up and I don’t mind doing that.” center_img United, 12 points clear at the top of table with seven games to play, are striding towards a record-extending 20th title while the Potters struggle at the opposite end. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men did suffer defeat to rivals Manchester City in their derby last Monday but Pulis sees that as a mere blip. He said: “I think you have got to recognise the strength they have got. You have got to recognise you are competing against overwhelming odds in a lot of respects. That is why they are champions-elect – they have got the best team and the best players.” last_img read more

  • Suspended ban and fine for Townsend

    first_imgTottenham winger Andros Townsend has been banned from all football and football activity for four months, three of which are suspended, after breaching betting regulations. An independent regulatory commission hearing imposed the sanction, which has been backdated to May 23 when he voluntarily withdrew from the England Under-21 squad. However, a statement released by the Football Association revealed that the three months of the ban have been suspended until July 1 2016. Press Associationcenter_img They will be automatically invoked upon a proven breach of the FA’s betting rules during that period. “Townsend, who was also fined £18,000, was charged for breaches of FA Rule E8(b) for misconduct in relation to betting, which he admitted and requested a personal hearing,” read the statement. With Townsend’s ban effectively reduced to one month, the 21-year-old will be available for the start of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season. He spent a successful loan spell at QPR, arriving at Loftus Road in January, and while the club were relegated he received frequent praise from manager Harry Redknapp. Once the FA had charged him with breaching their betting regulations, he pulled out of England’s squad for the European Under-21 Championship in Israel and was replaced by Birmingham’s Nathan Redmond. Townsend was not accused of betting on matches he had any involvement in, but the FA operates strict rules that forbid gambling on a wide spectrum of games. Townsend used his Twitter account to say he would not appeal the sanctions. “Following a personal hearing at the FA and the statement issued today, I fully accept the disciplinary action and shall not be appealing,” Townsend wrote. “This has been a regrettable experience from which I fully intend to come back stronger…now I’m fully focused on returning to football during pre-season & determined for this indiscretion to not tarnish my career moving forward.” last_img read more

  • Mourinho to manage use of Lampard

    first_img Club record goalscorer Lampard was a near ever-present in Mourinho’s first spell in charge and signed a one-year contract extension just before the self-proclaimed Special One’s return was confirmed. Lampard has had an Achilles injury during the club’s tour of Asia, which concludes against the BNI Indonesian All-Stars XI on Thursday night, and the future of the midfielder is about management. “I believe he is the same player (as before), with the difference of, he is 35 and the time (needed) to recover from match to match is not the same for a man of 25 to a man of 35,” Mourinho said. “The role doesn’t have to change. What has to change is the way we analyse competition. “Before we didn’t analyse, before it was ‘every match: he plays’. “Sometimes I wanted to give him a rest in a Carling Cup match and he said ‘if you give me a rest the next match I will not be the same, because I have to play every three days’. “He can’t play 60 matches like he did before, but the quality of the player and what he represents for the way I like to play football is exactly the same.” Mourinho believes the 35-year-old midfielder can be as influential a player in his second spell at Chelsea as during the first, when Lampard scored the goals which sealed the Blues’ first championship in 50 years. Mourinho said: “Performance is how good you are, not your passport or birth certificate. It’s about performance, nothing else.” Young or old, Jose Mourinho is determined to get the best out of his Chelsea players, including Frank Lampard.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

  • Wenger’s all right with Jack

    first_img Wilshere was placed under the media spotlight ahead of the visit to West Brom when pictures emerged of him apparently smoking on a night out. He responded by claiming his side’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns, albeit via a Jonas Olsson deflection. Wenger, though, could not resist a smile when asked if Wilshere has smoked his final cigarette. “I don’t know,” he said through a smirk. “Wilshere himself was glad simply to have helped his team to a point. “At the end of the day when it comes to the weekend you’ve got to do your job and today we’ve done it well,” he said. “It was a tough game for me. I am not used to playing on the wing, I’m still learning it, but I’m happy to do it for the team. I got a goal, which was nice – I’ve always said I want to score more goals.” Baggies boss Steve Clarke was chipper about taking a point from the table toppers, even though Claudio Yacob’s opener just before the interval gave them the chance to take all three. It follows a 2-1 away win over Manchester United and sends Albion into the international break in impressive form. “I’m pleased with the players for another good game against another top team,” said the Scot. “On the back of what we did at Old Trafford four points from these two games is a good return for us. But it’s not just the fact we’re getting results against top teams it’s that we’re in the game. We look a good team. “It was a good game between two good teams. I thought we more than deserved the point.” Arsene Wenger was pleased to see Jack Wilshere in the spotlight for the right reasons as the England midfielder ended a difficult week with his first Barclays Premier League goal in almost three years. Press Association It was not Wilshere’s finest ever performance, with the England midfielder struggling to impose himself in the first half, but it was an apt time to end a remarkable league drought which stretches back to a 4-2 win at Aston Villa in November 2010. “He is an honest lad and when he’s wrong he knows it,” said boss Arsene Wenger, whose side go top of the table by virtue of scoring more goals than fellow pacesetters Liverpool. “Today the players do not get away with anything – we got away with a bit more. But they know that is the rule of the game and the rules of modern society and they have to deal with it. “But what is more interesting for England and for Arsenal is that he shows the right response on the pitch. “He had a difficult first half where he was fouled a lot but showed he has character and kept going. At least that (barren run) is done now.” Wilshere was clearly delighted to find the back of the net – and celebrated accordingly – but Wenger suggested there is no real pressure to up his scoring rate considerably. “I don’t think he will ever be a goalscorer,” said the Frenchman. “He’s a player who can create chances and provide for others. In our job it is quite simple: you need players who score and players who give the ball to those who score. “Jack is more in the second category than the first. But from the second category you want a few goals as well so it is good that he knows he can score.” last_img read more

  • Clark wishes Kozak well

    first_imgDefender Ciaran Clark has wished his Aston Villa team-mate Libor Kozak well in his recovery from the broken leg that resulted from his tackle on the striker in training. Press Association Czech Republic international Kozak, who joined Villa from Lazio over the summer and has scored four times for the midlands outfit so far, sustained the injury last Thursday, with his club subsequently announcing that he will be out for the rest of the season. Clark told Villa’s official website: “He’s had his treatment and hopefully he’ll come back stronger. All the lads are thinking of him. Hopefully he’ll make a full recovery. center_img “We were playing a possession game and it was a clash of legs. No-one expected it and we thought he was going to get back up. The physio came on and knew it was a bad injury. “I didn’t sense anything was wrong and I don’t think anyone did. At the time people thought it was a normal challenge. “I don’t know if it was the impact of the way his leg went but it was innocuous and no-one expected it to be as bad.” last_img read more

  • Ince in line for Swans talks

    first_imgTom Ince is set to hold talks with Swansea over an initial loan move from Blackpool, Press Association Sport understands. Any deal would see a fee paid to take Ince on loan until the end of the season, when a permanent switch could be completed once his Blackpool contract comes to an end. Ince, whose father Paul was sacked as Blackpool manager last week, had been reportedly set to join Monaco earlier in the January transfer window, but a move to the Ligue 1 club did not materialise. The Seasiders had confirmed Ince would hold talks over a move to the top-flight in a club statement which read: “Blackpool Football Club can confirm that, following discussions with Thomas Ince and his representative, permission has been given for Thomas to discuss a loan move to a Premier League club. “Thomas has expressed his ambition to play in the Premier League for the remainder of the season, a decision that the club fully understands and supports.” Swansea’s Welsh rivals Cardiff agreed an £8million fee for Ince last summer, but the player eventually turned down a move to Cardiff City Stadium. The winger is expected to arrive in south Wales on Monday afternoon after the Seasiders gave the England Under-21 international permission to discuss a switch to the Liberty Stadium. Other clubs are also keen to sign Ince, with Crystal Palace believed to be among them, who is out of contract in the summer. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

  • Rodgers plays down title talk

    first_img Victory, Liverpool’s first in the league over Arsenal since 2007, closed the gap between them in fourth place and the Gunners to five points and they were six off the lead at the end of the day after Chelsea went top. With Jose Mourinho’s side and third-placed Manchester City still to come to Anfield, there is plenty of opportunity to do further damage to the teams above them but Rodgers played down Liverpool’s chances. “You only need to look at our squad really, that can be an indication,” said the Reds boss. “The objective has always been to finish as high as we can but you also have to look at the other teams around you. You only have to look at what Arsenal had on the bench today. “I want to be in a position where we can really challenge for the title here and the players have been incredible – we just hope to continue with that development and see where it takes us. “There is no doubt we have been outstanding for a big part of the season. “We have had one or two off days but in the main our consistency and quality of our game has been incredible. “We will keep focused and keep our concentration.” Manager Brendan Rodgers insisted Liverpool are still not in the title race despite their 5-1 demolition of deposed leaders Arsenal at Anfield. Press Association Four goals in the first 20 minutes – the first coming after just 52 seconds – left the Gunners reeling. Defender Martin Skrtel scored the first two, with forwards Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge following his lead. Sterling added his second just after half-time and although Mikel Arteta pulled one back from the penalty spot with 20 minutes to go the match was well over as a contest. Liverpool’s display was one of their best for several years and Rodgers was full of praise for what he considered an all-round excellent team effort. “We were brilliant today, it was a wonderful performance in such a prestigious game between the two teams,” Rodgers said. “The performance level was absolutely out of this world and I am very pleased as it is another marker for us that we are getting better and improving all the time. “These games are normally very tight games and Liverpool haven’t beaten them in the league since 2007 – that is a long time – but I felt we could have gone on and scored more, but I was pleased with how we managed the game. “The crowd were so excited and they were really wanting us to go for the throat but it was also important we could manage the game as well and that was a pleasing aspect. “Sometimes with these performances you don’t get these types of goals going in but we know we can perform to that level, with Everton (4-0) at home and Tottenham (5-0) away, there are many times we’ve scored many goals this season.” last_img read more

  • Inter ‘close to Vidic deal’

    first_img “I want to challenge myself again and try to make the best of myself in the coming years. “I’m not considering staying in England as the only club I ever wanted to play for here is Manchester United and I was lucky enough to be part of this club for so many years. “I’ve got a few options to move on and I will choose the right one for me and for my family.” The player has been one of the most popular members of the Red Devils’ squad since he arrived from Spartak Moscow for £7million – a transfer bizarrely announced on Christmas Day in 2005. He has played a central role in virtually all United’s significant triumphs since then – Vidic did recently reveal he handed his first winners’ medal from the 2006 League Cup to Giuseppe Rossi as the Italian had played in all the previous matches up to the final. Last May, Vidic skippered United to their historic 20th championship – his fifth and the last under Sir Alex Ferguson. However, the tough defender made only 19 league appearances as he battled to overcome a serious knee injury, suffered in a Champions League defeat to Basle in December 2011 that required two major operations, ruling Vidic out for extended periods on both occasions. It was argued by some that Vidic has never been the same player since, although for experience alone he would still be an invaluable presence, especially as long-time defensive partner Rio Ferdinand seems certain to be leaving as well in the summer. Inter Milan president Erick Thohir has remained tight-lipped over suggestions the Serie A side are very close to completing a deal to sign Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian defender becomes a free agent at the end of the season and is expected to be Inter’s first summer signing. Thohir told inter.it: “Vidic? I can’t say anything even if the deal is 90 per cent done. Press Association “It’s better to announce it once everything is completed. “I don’t want to declare something that has not taken place.” The 32-year-old Vidic confirmed earlier this month he would be playing abroad once his contract with United expired this summer. Inter are fifth in Serie A and likely to miss out on playing in next season’s Champions League. The Nerazzurri trail 11 points behind Napoli, who are third and hold the last qualifying spot for Europe’s elite club competition. Inter are keen to strengthen their defensive line as they have the weakest back line of the top six teams in Serie A, with 28 goals given away in 24 games. It was confirmed on February 7 that Vidic would leave United at the end of the season. He said at the time, in a statement released by United: ”I have decided that I will move on at the end of this season. last_img read more

  • United ease to win at West Brom

    first_img Phil Jones headed United ahead before Wayne Rooney scored his 13th of season after the break. United rarely looked in trouble and substitute Danny Welbeck rounded off the win which moved Moyes’ team up to sixth in the Barclays Premier League. With Pepe Mel not having managed to win a match since his appointment, this was never going to be the hardest of United’s fixtures this term. But United desperately needed a win following the Greek tragedy that unfolded before a shell-shocked Moyes nearly a fortnight ago. The only downside for United was that Robin van Persie was lucky to remain on the pitch for a sliding tackle on Steven Reid just three minutes after his first booking. The Dutchman looked dismayed when he was wisely replaced soon after. Despite their recent problems, West Brom started well. Victor Anichebe caused panic by charging down Jones’ early attempted clearance, but Patrice Evra came to the rescue. The Nigerian charged at the United defence again, but Chris Smalling did just enough to push the striker wide. United started to take a hold of the game around the quarter-hour mark, with Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj pinging dangerous crossed into the box. Januzaj, rested for that terrible performance in Greece, blotted his copybook by deliberately handling the ball as he raced into the box and he was cautioned. United ramped up the pressure. Chris Brunt mishit an attempted clearance from Marouane Fellaini’s header and Youssouf Mulumbu cleared off the line. Januzaj earned a couple of yards on his marker with a sequence of step-overs and he found Rafael at the back post. The unmarked Brazilian headed towards goal but Foster tipped his effort on to the bar and West Brom cleared. The pressure looked to be getting to Moyes as he refused to give the ball back to the West Brom players following an argument with the fourth official. The United boss did eventually throw the ball back onto the pitch and two minutes later his side took the lead. Van Persie sent over a flat cross and Jones glanced a header beyond Foster following some slack marking by Liam Ridgewell. Claudio Yacob then hobbled off after Fellaini raked his studs down the player’s thigh. Albion had a rare chance when Anichebe turned Jones in the box, but the former Everton man shot a foot wide. United were then almost gifted a second goal after a howler by Foster. Foster strolled a yard outside his box as he came to control a long ball over the top from Mata, but the goalkeeper missed the ball completely. The ball struck Foster’s right arm but referee Jonathan Moss waved play on, much to the dismay of Moyes, who vented his fury towards the fourth official on the touch line. Van Persie was booked for a tackle from behind on Morgan Amalfitano seven minutes after the restart and three minutes later he cleaned out Reid with a sliding tackle. The Dutchman completely missed the ball, but this time it was Mel who was the annoyed manager on the touchline as Moss did not show a card to Van Persie. Zoltan Gera and Anichebe came close to equalising for the Baggies, but United doubled their lead through Rooney. The England striker laid the ball off to Mata and the Spaniard then played in Rafael, who crossed to Rooney and he nodded into the goal from close range. Moyes did not want to end the game with 10 men so he withdrew the disgruntled Van Persie, who shook his head when the board went up. Albion did not give up and Gera stung David de Gea’s palms with a fierce half-volley. However, their hopes of a comeback were extinguished late on though when Welbeck picked up Rooney’s pass and drifted past Jonas Olsson before lifting the ball past Foster. Moyes wrote to United supporters earlier this week thanking them for their patience during what he admitted was a far worse debut season than he ever expected. The 2-0 defeat at Olympiacos had deflated the confidence of the most optimistic United fans, but on Saturday morale was raised at The Hawthorns following this encouraging display. Manchester United fans were given something to cheer about after David Moyes’ men strolled to an easy 3-0 victory against West Brom. Press Associationlast_img read more