The temperature is so cold that even the snow seems to be showing timidity, but in football we look forward to a red hot weekend of football which includes the battle for the first piece of silverware of the season. Today everyone is warming up in preparation but there is plenty of news away from the pitches.
Roberto Mancini has threatened his players with a seat on the bench if they fail to lift their performances for the remainder of the season. The under fire manager has also accused Samir Nasri of resting on his laurels, saying that a player of his quality should play well in every game, and not sporadically.
Damien Duff has signed a one-year extension to his contract, keeping him at Fulham until 2014. The 34-year-old winger told the club’s website he signed the new deal because he has enjoyed his time so far and was eager to stay for as long as possible.
Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino is hoping he can convince Jason Puncheon to extend his current deal at St Mary’s. The winger’s current deal expires in the summer but the Argentine has said Puncheon is a player he “depends on” so hopes he’ll sign an extension in the coming months.
Arsene Wenger has said that sporting ambition is the driving force behind Arsenal’s quest to finish in the top four, and not financial gain. The Gunners currently sit four points ahead of bitter rivals Tottenham in 5th place.
Meanwhile at White Hart Lane the focus has been on European silverware this week, and manager Andre Villas Boas has said he is excited about the clubs last-16 match-up with Inter Milan. AVB has repeatedly stated that he wants to win the Europa League this season and feels the experience is essential if his team are to compete in the Champions League next season.
Sam Allardyce has said he will only discuss a new deal as West Ham manager if the club avoid relegation this season. “If we’re safe we will talk about a new deal but, if not, there is no contract to discuss,” he told reporters.
Chris Chantler has extended his contract at Carlisle until 2014.
Chelsea have agreed a deal to sign Chilean teenager Cristian Cuevas for £1.7 million. The midfielder will join in the summer, after a successful trial at the Blues last November.
I hope you’ve warmed up a bit while reading today, and hope you’ll be back to read my Premier League round-up on Sunday.