So the big news today comes with an unfortunate sense of inevitability, as another manager is punished for achieving too much in too short a time. Brian McDermott has been given his marching orders by Reading owner Anton Zingarevich after a dismal run of form, culminating in a loss to fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday. McDermott took full charge of The Royals in 2010 and lead them to promotion to the Premier League last season, but with the club sitting level on points with bottom club QPR the itchy trigger finger of the Russian owner finally flinched. Paolo Di Canio has been installed as the early favourite to take over by Sky Bet.
The FA have been left sweating by Chelsea’s cup comeback this weekend as they now have to work out where to place the replay in The Blues’ already congested fixture list. However, if the London club are unable to overturn the 1-0 first-leg deficit when they face Steaua Bucharest on Thursday they will be able to take on Manchester United in one of the newly opened midweek slots. If they win however the FA may go into meltdown, or send Chelsea into one at least.
Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool’s win over Tottenham yesterday proves his club can compete with the best in the country. It was the first time the Merseyside club have beaten a top-six side this season but Gerrard thinks the psychological block has now been lifted.
The FA Cup semi-final draw was made yesterday and we will see Manchester rivals United and City play for a place in the final if the former can overcome Chelsea in their replay. The other semi-final sees Millwall or Blackburn face Wigan, with the winner qualifying for next season’s Europa League, something that Roberto Martinez thinks his club can manage with a few summer additions. It could, however, see a Championship side representing England on the European stage once again.
James Morrison has lauded the contribution of Romelu Lukaku to West Brom’s impressive campaign. He believes the striker will leave a massive hole if he is not allowed to extend he loan spell for another year. The on-loan Chelsea frontman has scored 13 goals so far this season and manager Steve Carkeis hopeful his old club will allow the Belgium international to stay at the club beyond the current season.
Bayern Munich will be without Franck Ribery for the second leg of the Champions League tie with Arsenal on Wednesday. The France international strained ankle ligaments in his clubs 3-2 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday but they face Arsenal with the impressive 3-1 lead they took away from The Emirates in the first leg.
Gary Neville believes the amount of home-grown talent coming through the ranks will continue to decrease until the FA place a greater emphasis on the grassroots game in England. He said he learnt his trade by playing as a kid but this would have been impossible without volunteers generously offering their time to the cause.