Football Roundup Wednesday 28th November

As the Premier League gears up for another night of excitement the football world continues to throw up stories off the field. Here’s what’s been happening today.

 

UEFA President Michel Platini has hinted that the Europa League could be scrapped from 2015 in favour of a bigger Champions League involving 64 teams. Read more here.

 

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas Boas has today issued a ‘hands off’ warning to new Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp regarding striker Jermain Defoe. He said the forward is in form and happy at the club and rates the diminutive England international very highly, saying he is as good as Chelsea target Radamel Falcao.

 

Redknapp does want to add firepower to QPR following last night’s 0-0 draw away to Sunderland. But has said he is happy with the result and is much more confident about Premier League survival than he was when he joined the club on Saturday.

 

Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has escaped a touchline ban for his actions during the match against Millwall earlier this month. He has instead been fined £2,000 and warned about his future conduct.

 

Scottish manager David Moyes has admitted today that he will start talking about a contract extension at Everton after January. He said he wants to see if the club are planning on moving in the right direction first. His current deal runs out at the end of this season and I’m sure he won’t have to look far for interested clubs if he does leave.

 

Arsenal defender Andre Santos is considering his future at the club today amidst interest from Turkey. He insists if he does leave he wants to stay in Europe, telling reporters today: “I still have many objectives on this continent, some clubs from Turkey have called me, but there is nothing concrete.”

 

French club Monaco have admitted an interest in Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who’s current contract expires at the end of the season. When asked about their interest by French newspaper L’Equipe a club official said: “there is nothing concrete.”

 

Follow: @andrew_willcox

 

 

Football Roundup Tuesday 27th November

Good evening everyone,

 

Here is the news from football today in brief.

 

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has apparently provisionally agreed a new contract with the club that will see him earning £60,000 a week. The finer details will now be worked on between the club and Cleverley’s agent.

 

Arsene Wenger has insisted starlet Jack Wilshere will not be leaving the club in the near future. The arsenal midfielder has two years left on his current contract and Wenger is confident that this is more than enough time to sort out a new deal.

 

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has leapt to the defence of goal keeper Ali Al Habsi today. Claiming that despite his howler against Reading on the weekend he wouldn’t swap the ‘keeper for any other in the world. He went on to say Al Habsi is even more determined after the mistake and that it will help him improve in future.

 

Leeds United are apparently close to extending the contract of striker El Hadj Diouf whose current deal expires in January. The Senegalese forward has impressed in his time at Elland Road and the club are confident a deal can be sorted out in time.

 

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has assured fans they will be strengthening in January and won’t be looking to sell their best players. The Ulsterman said “I think that we will have to be looking at trying to strengthen the squad in January without doubt. Both me and the owner want to deliver a team that, not only will the fans be delighted with but will compete.”

 

Chelsea and Mark Clattenburg have today held ‘clear the air’ talks that ended with both parties reportedly happy with the outcome. Former referee Dermot Gallagher believes everyone else should now move on too.

 

Cardiff City manager Malky Makay has insisted star midfielder will not be moving in January. He said "It's nice when clubs take interest in your players, but he's certainly not going to be going anywhere in January, that's a promise.”

 

Follow: @andrew_willcox

 

 

Lunchtime Roundup 27th November

Afternoon all,

 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident that midfield maestro Jack Wilshere will sign a new deal. Wilshere still has 2 years left on his current contract, so there is plenty of time for negotiations

Roberto Martinez still believes that Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi is at his best, even after his huge error this weekend practically gifted Reading a goal. Luckily for Al Habsi Jordi Gomez scored in the final few minutes of the game to see wigan come out 3-2 winners

Michael Owen is set to miss out on playinf former club Newcastle United tomorrow as he is still not fully fit after being out for a month with a hamstring injury

Wigan are on the verge of signing Sporting Kansas midfielder Roger Espinoza. The Honduras international sparked the attention of many scouts around Europe after impressing at the 2012 Olympics

Aston Villa right back Alan Hutton believes that there is no future for him left at Villa Park. The Scotland international completed a loan move to Nottingham Forest last week

Everton are planning to make a move for former Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon. Gordon is a free agent after leaving Sunderland in the summer.

Manchester United are planning on making an ambitious move for QPR 's Morrocan playmaker Adel Taarabt. United are also planning on making a £15 million bid for Everton left back Leighton Baines

Michael Dawson has confirmed that he has shrugged off any interest shown from QPR. There were rumours saying that Harry Redknapp wanted to sign the Spurs central defender in January

Leeds are hoping to finalise a new deal for Senegalese striker El Hadj Diouf. His current contract runs out in January

Tyrone Barnett who is currently on loan at Ipswich from Peterbrough has said that he would be delighted if he never returned to Peterbrough. Peterbrough boss Darren Ferguson has also confirmed that Barnett does not have a future at the club

Port Vale have completed the signing of former Crystal Palace striker Calvin Andrew on a short term deal to fill the hole that was supposedley meant to be filled by Notts County's Jeff Hughes

 

 

 

Mandaric expectations hold key to Jones survival

If you think about the qualities of Milan Mandaric, patience and loyalty would not be the first things that spring to mind. So after Sheffield Wednesday's home defeat to Leicester City on Saturday which dropped his side into the bottom three, Dave Jones may be cautious about planning too far ahead in his managerial future. Mandaric released a statement on the club's website calling for Wednesday's "football family" to stick together and trust in him, and his manager, to get the results needed to move them up the table.
 
It didn't look like it was going to be this way in August. Wednesday had been on a staggering run of form. Dave Jones' side headed to Crystal Palace on the first day of September 19 games unbeaten. One more needed for a club record.
 
Jones had taken over from a club legend in Gary Megson,  controversially dismissed by Mandaric despite ending a barren run by beating local rivals United 1-0 at Hillsborough. Jones, and his new chairman, faced a backlash from Owls fans incandescent that their man Megson had been dispensed with so callously.
 
But it's the way you deal with adversity that says a lot about you. And as Rafa Benitez has pointed out this weekend, the way to win hostile fans over is to win games. And the new Jones boys did exactly that, winning and winning, putting together a blistering run to turn up the heat on Danny Wilson's Blades. It should not be forgotten that Wilson's men went on a pretty amazing run themselves but it was ultimately not enough to keep pace with Wednesday and the Owls were promoted.
 
So, on a wave of confidence and optimism, and backed by a raucous away following, Wednesday started the Championship season pretty well. Two wins and a draw in August was a great start and the fans began to dare to dream of doing a Southampton or Norwich, bouncing back into the Premier League with a double promotion. But that game at Selhurst Park is where the season began to unravel for Jones and his team. The end to the unbeaten run was always likely to be a test. When you are going into every game thinking you're going to win, what happens when you lose?
 
The answer for Wednesday was lose again and forget how to win. The next nine games yielded just two points as the wheels fell off Wednesday's promotion bandwagon and they started free falling down the table. Safety began to look an appealing proposition.
 
So what's gone wrong? Many Wednesday fans now seem to blame Jones, and perhaps reasonably so, despite that rich run of form that got them to the league they're in now. His tinkering of the promotion winning side has perplexed fans as he has tried to rediscover the blend for winning football. Fifteen players have made their debuts for Wednesday this season, and he has used 26 players in the league already this season. Sounds a lot, but it is comparable to the other promoted sides (Charlton have used 25 and Huddersfield 22). But only two players have started every league game - the biggest signing of the summer Michael Antonio and the goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.
 
Antonio terrorised League One when on loan from Reading at the end of last season and many fans both sides of the city point to him as the reason the Owls went up. He has struggled to find the goals and assists so easy to come by this season but remains the side's most dangerous threat. But goals represent a big problem for Wednesday. The highest goalscorer in the league with four is Ross Barkley, the talented Everton midfielder whose loan has been ended early thanks to Phil Neville's injury. Otherwise Chris O'Grady's return of 3 goals in 15 games is the best it gets. The loan signing of Jay Bothroyd promised much but he has failed to deliver, and he has been on the receiving end of frustrated Wednesday fans on Twitter as a consequence. The loan deadline day signing of injury-plagued Mamady Sidibe from Stoke smacked a little of desperation, as moves for Connor Wickham and Cameron Jerome were rebuffed.
 
Kirkland has also struggled, having kept just one clean sheet all season. Wednesday were strong at the back last season but this season they seem porous, and Jones' key defensive summer signings in Anthony Gardner, Martin Taylor and Kirkland himself have been disappointing in their performances. In fact few of Jones' signings have really come off, leading to growing murmurings from disgruntled fans that he got Wednesday up with Megson's team.
 
Wednesday have lost four on the bounce after picking up two crucial wins against fellow strugglers Ipswich Town and Peterborough United. Rumours abound amongst Wednesdayites that Jones is on the verge of the sack, potentially as early as this week if Tuesday night's game at home to Watford goes sour. This might seem a little harsh, especially given that those four defeats all came against sides likely to be play off contenders. The games coming up over the next month, including Bristol City and Charlton at home and Barnsley away should be more significant. Poor results in these three games would really increase the pressure on Jones, especially with the transfer window a potential salvation for a new manager.
 
This really depends on Mandaric though and his expectations for the season. He told the Telegraph following promotion that "this club belongs in the top 10 of this country". However he suggested that this was not his immediate vision saying "I'm not going to tell you we will get to the Premier League next year. That would be wrong...But we have a plan to get there". Mandaric's plan is not likely to include a return to League One. In his club statement he said "I will manage these difficulties with the best interests of Sheffield Wednesday at heart", echoing the words he used when justifying the sacking of Megson. Dave Jones needs to find that winning formula, and fast.

Lunchtime Roundup 26th November

Afternoon all,

 

The FA are investigating into chants made by West Ham fans during yesterday's Premier League match versus Tottenham Hotspur. The West Ham fans made offensive chants towards the Spurs fans such as "Viva Lazio"

Ryan Shawcross has today declared that he is happy at Stoke City and wants to be a part of the clubs future. Shawcross has been linked with a move away from the club, with many Premier League clubs set to be interested in him

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has claimed that he is already very settled in London. The French striker has scored 4 goals for Arsenal so far this term since his move from French champions Montpellier

Sunderland boss Martin O'neill has admitted that Sunderland need to desperately sign some players in the January transfer window. Sunderland are currently only 2 points above the relegation zone

This is the complete opposite for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. The Liverpool manager has no plans to spend a lot of money during the transfer window as he thinks his team is coming together nicely

Now onto some transfer news,

Arsenal winger Andrey Arshavin could be heading back to old club Zenit St Petersburg in a cut price £3 million deal

Liverpool and Stoke are both monitoring Lazio's 25-year-old Argentine striker Mauro Zarate. Some other major clubs in Europe are also monitoring him

Everton manager David Moyes is searching for a new Goalkeeper after he said that there is a lack of competition for current first team keeper Tim Howard

The company that currently owns Championship club Birmingham City has said that advanced talks are taking place with a group from Hong Kong regarding a possible takeover

MK Dons are hoping to extend the loan deals of Patrick Bamford and Zeli Ismail from Chelsea and Wolves respectively

And finally,

Leicester City's Hungarian striker Marko Futacs agent has said that Futacs will consider his options come January. The Hungarian has failed to make an impact since his move from Portsmouth in the summer

 

Follow: @Tom_Brooks95

Football Betting Tips - Saturday 24th November

Good morning Football Family!

I am going to run through some betting tips for today for your pleasure and to make your wallet a healthy one! ALL ODDS AT EVENS OR HIGHER!!

All courtesy of William Hill - The best odds on football

Sign up here for a free £25 bet when you create a new account through this link: http://www.williamhill.com/en/nui/free-bet/#bet/en/betting/e/3719134?lang=en

Firstly Home Wins:

BLACKPOOL to beat Watford - 21/20

BLACKBURN to beat Millwall - EVENS

DONCASTER to beat Scunthorpe - EVENS

Treble pays 7.2/1

 

Away Wins:

READING to win at Wigan - 3/1

LEICESTER to win at Sheffield Wednesday - 6/5

SWINDON to win at Nott's County - 13/8

Treble pays 22/1

 

Both Teams To Score (BTTS):

ASTON VILLA VS ARSENAL - 8/13

CHARLTON VS HUDDERSFIELD - 7/10

IPSWICH VS PETERBOROUGH - 1/2

Treble pays 3.1/1

 

OVER 2.5 GOALS:

WIGAN VS READING - 8/11

ASTON VILLA VS ARSENAL - 13/20

BARNSLEY V CARDIFF - 7/10

Treble pays 3.84/1

 

FIRST GOALSCORERS:

Jermaine BECKFORD - 13/2 for Huddersfield away at Charlton

Billy SHARP - 13/2 for Nottingham Forest away at Wolves

Adam LE FONDRE - 7/1 for Reading away at Wigan Athletic

Dimitar BERBATOV - 13/2 for Fulham away at Stoke City

Christian BENTEKE - 7/1 for Aston Villa at home to Arsenal

 

BANKER OF THE DAY! BLACKBURN ROVERS TO BEAT MILLWALL - EVENS

 

Those are all my tips this weekend, fingers crossed a few come home!

Free £25 bet on sign up: http://www.williamhill.com/en/nui/free-bet/#bet/en/betting/e/3719134?lang=en

 

Football Roundup Wednesday 21st November

Good evening,

 

The news today has been dominated by Chelsea’s sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, and the reactions from the other managers. Most of the other news is about tonight’s Champions League games, as the other half of the teams play their penultimate group games. Here is a quick roundup of the other news in football today.

 

Harry Redknapp is inevitably being linked with the newly available position at Chelsea today, but appears to be distancing himself from the rumours, stating that he is seriously considering the Ukraine national team position. His representatives are apparently in talks over a big-money move to a country that Harry has said are ‘an up and coming football country with some very good young players’. He went on to say ‘I will talk to them and see if we can sort something out. I’m definitely interested, without a doubt’.

 

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has today stated that although he feels he has a very good team he is worried about the depth of the squad. His concern seems one mirrored by the board also so we can expect a few new players joining The Magpies in January. France international defender Mathieu Debuchy seems to be one of their main targets.

 

The long awaited take over seems to be a done deal at Elland Road, with Dubai based investment bank GFH Capital becoming 100% shareholders subject to Football League approval. Leeds  current owner Ken Bates will continue as chairman at the club until the end of the season, when he will become president. Manager Neil Warnock has been promised funds to strengthen his team in the hope of pushing for promotion.

 

Didier Drogba has asked FIFA for permission to move on loan outside the transfer window as the Chinese Super League is in preseason. Chelsea are apparently interested in a loan move for the talismanic striker, but are sure to face plenty of opposition for the Ivorian forward.

 

Athletic Bilbao’s Europa League game with Hapoel Kiryat Shmona has been postponed due to the recent violence in Tel Aviv. The situation has pushed UEFA to ask England to be prepared to host next month’s U21 European Championship just in case the trouble escalates further.

 

Arsenal seem to have made some progress in the Theo Walcott saga, with the player agreeing to slightly lower his wage demands and the club promising to give the player more chances to play in a more central role. The England international has called for patience on the matter claiming he is leaving the negotiations to his agents and will tell the fans as soon as anything is decided.

 

Premier League club West Ham have joined the race for David Beckham with chairman David Gold saying it would be a ‘fantastic statement’ if they could secure the midfielders signature. The move may appeal to Becks as it would see him return home for what is surely the last leg of his career.

 

Aston Villa has been handed a one match ban and an £8,000 fine for ‘improper conduct’ in relation to ‘language and/or behaviour’ for his reaction to the 5-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City.  He will miss the game with Arsenal as a result.

 

Great news for Tottenham Hotpur fans as Scott Parker has resumed light training and hopes to be back in action as soon as possible. Manager Andre Villas Boas doesn’t want to rush his recovery though, stating ‘We’ll build up his fitness and then we can look at the options for him’.

 

Follow: @andrew_willcox

 

 

 

Football Roundup Tuesday 20th November

Good evening everyone, ready for a night of Champions League football? You may have seen that a couple of games have already been played, with Lille winning 2-0 away to BATE Borisov and Barcelona winning 3-0 away to Spartak Moscow. But elsewhere football motors on, and with the January transfer window just around the corner the rumours are, as you’d expect, in full flow.

 

Much of today’s speculation surrounds ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham. The 37 year old has announced he will leave LA Galaxy at the end of the season, with his last game being the cup final on December 1st after six years at the club. His next club is the subject of much debate, but Australia seems to be heading the list of destinations.

 

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson seems to have written his Christmas wish list, with Christiano Ronaldo right at the top. The manager has stated the player is ‘unbuyable’ though, as any player that has scored 165 goals in 163 games would be. Rumours have stated the Portuguese superstar isn’t 100% happy in Madrid, and has said he misses his ‘father in football’ Alex Ferguson.

 

Arsenal are apparently planning a ‘take it or leave it’ contract offer for in demand winger Theo Walcott. They are prepared to let him leave if he doesn’t sign it, with Liverpool and Chelsea apparently waiting in the wings.

 

Liverpool are also said to be monitoring the situation of Daniel Sturridge, as they only have one striker and the Chelsea front man appears to have fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge. Figures being mentioned are around £15 million, which could well see Chelsea bid for Walcott as early as January.

 

Sam Allardyce believes West Ham deserved 3 points in last night’s game against Stoke. While he admitted Stoke where the better side in the first half, he feels his side had more than enough chances in the second half to feel a little aggrieved with just a point.

 

Southampton starlet James Ward-Prowse has signed a new deal, keeping him at the club until 2017. The 18 year old was promoted to the first team this season and has impressed his club enough to warrant a new long term deal.

 

Ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is apparently the main target of Italian giants Juventus, who are planning a January bid for the Ivorian international. Drogba is apparently unhappy with life in China, only six months after joining Shanghai Shenua at the end of last season.

 

Peter Herbert (Society of Black Lawyers) has today said he has been in touch with the Metropolitan Police, with a meeting next on the agenda. Herbert told reporters ‘Ideally, as a result of that they will speak to Tottenham and the Football Association about the anti-Semitic chants. We are prepared to make an official complaint if we feel action is not being taken’. Expect a raucous atmosphere at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

 

Follow: @andrew_willcox

 

Football Roundup Friday 16th November

Good evening everybody,

 

It’s Friday evening, for some that means a weekend off, but for some it means you are just about to embark on another busy weekend of work. Whatever you are doing tomorrow there is a big day ahead in football. While fireworks are being set for ignition at The Emirates Stadium tomorrow, there has been plenty going on elsewhere.

 

For now I’ll stick with Arsenal, as Aston Villa and Belgium international striker Christian Benteke apparently told reporters back home that he dreams of playing for The Gunners. Manager Paul Lambert has since claimed that his comments have been taken out of context, and that ‘the big guy is more than happy’. He moved to assure Villa fans that he is going nowhere, and hasn’t mentioned moving at all.

 

Much has been made of job security today, with many claiming that the game tomorrow between QPR and Southampton could see one of the managers receiving a P45 by Monday. Both managers have since spoken out about the situation, claiming that they are not worried that they will be rendered jobless as a result of this game.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, today saw the manager of the month awards handed out for October.

Cheltenham Town manager Mark Yates scooped the League 2 award, having guided his team to 3rd and only tasting defeat once.

With 16 points from a possible 18, Sheffield United had a great month, and manager Danny Wilson deservedly picked up the League 1 award.

Middlesbrough fans would be forgiven for dreaming of a long awaited return to The Premier League after watching their team win 4 and draw 1 in October, progressing to the Quarter Finals of the Capital One Cup in the process. Manager Tony Mowbray was rewarded with the Championship’s award as a result.

Last month saw Manchester United knocked out the League Cup by Chelsea, but in the League it was a different story, as the Red devils got the better of the The Blues in London. Victories at hometo Stoke and away to Newcastle added to a great month for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, meaning he picked up the Premiership accolade.

 

Many of you may remember Roberto Martinez rejecting a job offer from Liverpool in the summer. The Spaniard has today insisted he was ‘100% right’ in his decision. Wigan currently sit in 14th, one place and one point behind The Reds and the two clubs meet at Anfield tomorrow.

 

For more on today’s headlines, read the Lunchtime Roundup by Thomas Brooks.

 

Follow: @andrew_willcox

Lunchtime Roundup Friday 16th November

 

Afternoon all,

There has been a lot of speculation surrounding David Beckham over the past couple of days whether he would be moving to Australia, but that speculation has now been silenced as Beckham's management team has confirmed that he will not be moving to Australia

Christian Benteke of Aston Villa has revealed that he would one day like to play for Villa's Premier League rivals Arsenal. The 21 year old moved to Villa this summer for a total of £7 million from Belgian side Genk

Roberto Martinez feels that he made the right decision to reject an offer from Liverpool in the summer to stay with Wigan. The Latics are set to face Liverpool this Saturday

Jack Wilshere has asked for the Arsenal supporters to be pateient whilst he returns to full fitness. The Arsenal midfielder had been out for 14 months before playing in Arsenal's 1-0 win over QPR

Middlesbroudh manager Tony Mowbray has been named Npower Championship manager of the month. He guided Boro to five wins and a draw in October to see them sit very happily in 2nd place in the league

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has admitted that the signing of Fernando Torres has not quite worked as he planned it

Staying with Chelsea, The Blues are now stepping up in their chase to capture the signing of Athletico Madrid's star striker Radamel Falcao

Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given has said that he would love to play for his boyhood club Celtic before he retires

Hartlepool United have revealed that former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson applied for the vacant managers role at Victoria Park, but Livingston manager John Hughes was appointed instead

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins feels very confident coming into Saturday's must win game against QPR that both he and Mark Hughes will avoid the sack if one of the teams doesn't win. QPR have not been able to muster up a win in the Premier League this season, where as Southampton have only got one themselves

Wolves goalkeeper Wayns Hennessey has been ruled out for the rest of the season as he has undergone a second operation to help repair cruciate ligament damage in his knee