La Liga R2 - Saturday Games
Elche begin their home campaign on Saturday looking to improve on
Monday night’s result in Madrid. The La Liga new boys found life back in Spain's elite tough losing 3-0 at Rayo Vallecano. Although they'll be looking for a happier result this week, things won't be any easier as they face a stylish and confident Real Sociedad. La Real hit the ground running in their first game getting the better of Getafe at the Anoeta and went on to cap an impressive performance, winning at Olympic Lyonnais with a couple of spectacular strikes on Tuesday in the Champions League qualifying round 1st leg. 2 goals in 2 games will no doubt encourage new signing Haris Seferovic, the Swiss striker who signed from Fiorentina in the summer and the manner of his goal and performance in Lyon marks him out as the man to watch.
Villarreal face Real Valldolid looking to move onto 6 points in their home gmae. An opening day victory with 2 late goals at fellow promoted side Almeria got their season off to a good start. Manager Toral has brought in some new faces for their return to La Liga and in Dos Santos have the potential for goals. Valladolid on the other hand have retained the majority of their squad but will hope that in keeping the services of Patrick Elber, who got off the mark in last week's defeat, they can follow up another respectable mid table league finish.
Espanyol line up against Valencia hoping to build on an impressive come back against Celta last week. After a torrid start to last season the Barcelona club improved to finish comfortably mid table and with an impressive defensive record. In Garcia, Mubarak and the addition of Pizzi they may have the threat going forward to improve on last year. The sale of Soldado to Tottenham presents a problem to Valencia, namely how to recover the loss of a striker who provided 24 goals last season. However the whites are still well equipped and in Ever Banega and a fit Sergio Canales can cause problems for anyone.
La Liga R2 - Friday Games
Round 2 of La Liga gets underway on Friday night as Getafe look to secure their first points of the season as they take on promoted Almeria. A 2-0 reverse in San Sebastien delivered a fourth consecutive year that the Madrid side have failed to win their opening La Liga fixture. The club have managed to retain the majority of their squad over the summer that secured a respectable, if unspectacular, mid table performance last year and can expect similar this round. Almeria come into this game on the back of a home defeat at the hands of fellow promoted side Villarreal. Following their playoff promotion last year and some interesting signings, including Suso from Liverpool on a 1 year loan, Almeria will be hoping that they can be one of a clutch of clubs to escape the drop come May. Despite losing last weekend they performed well and were unlucky to finish up with no reward.
Whilst Real Sociedad travel south for their game on Saturday, their Anoeta stadium hosts two of the regions other teams. Following the demolition of the San Mames, home to Athletic Bilbao, the San Sebastien venue is doubling up as the makeshift home to their near neighbours. Athletic will be hoping to build on a solid opening day result at Valladolid and no doubt hoping for more from young forward Iker Muniain. He grabbed the winner last week which saw him equal last season’s goal haul, however all eyes will be on Keke Sola following his summer move from El Sadar to Bilbao. Osasuna completed a disappointing season in May finishing in 16th position and their flirtation with the bottom three was too close for comfort. However unless they can find the goals that alluded them last year, scoring a paltry 33, this season may result in similar.
QPR have released midfielder Kieron Dyer after the club activated a clause in his contract which enabled him to leave in January.
The much travelled player will now be looking for another club, and after returning to full fitness after years of chronic injuries, he will be looking for a long term home (or retire), potentially lower than The Premier League, where he can re-discover his form which made him on of Englands brightest prospects in the past.
After playing regularly year after year for Ipswich Town and Newcastle, his career took a turn for the worse in 2007 once he left St. James's Park.
He moved to West Ham United on a four year contract, and after only a few days at the club broke his leg in two places, which would be the start of his injury problems in Englands top flight.
After numerous hamstring, foot and ligament injuries during his spell at The Hammers, Ipswich (Loan) and QPR, he has barely kicked a ball in 5 years, and has only emassed 40 games including sub appearances in this time.
To the BBC, Harry Redknapp said:
"If he can stay clear of injuries I'm sure there are clubs that will offer him the chance to play football," .
"He wasn't in my plans and I think he's got something to offer someone, so we wish him all the best."
At 34, Dyer only has a few years of football left in his career, and he could choose to hang up his boots after being released from Loftus Road earlier today
Reading to sign midfielder Hope Akpan
It was reported late last night that Reading were closing in on Crawley Town midfielder Hope Akpan.
The pace of the report has gathered pace this morning with sources close to Reading suggesting the player is in talks with the club ahead of a move to The Madejski Stadium.
The player has an interesting track record, which shows ill discipline after being fined for homophobic comments made on Twitter, which he later admitted too leading to a £1,200 from the FA.
Further to this Akpan was sent off for Crawley in 2012 for a challenge which left AFC Wimbledon defender Jason Prior with a broken leg in two places.
He has played 27 times for the League 1 side this season where he has scored 6 goals in the process, although two sending offs in the first half of the season suggests he isn't the type of cool headed player Reading need in their aim for Premier League survival.
It would be a strange signing for Manager Brian McDermott, who has confirmed he is looking for experienced Premier League players. Can he not obtain the players he wants? or has this been on the cards for a long time?
Either way, Akpan is due at today for a medical at Hogwood today ahead of signing a three-and-a half year contract with the club.
Football Roundup Thursday 29th November
Phil Scolari has been appointed as the new manager of the Brazilian national team for the second time today. The former Chelsea and Portugal manager has said his aim is to win the World Cup on home soil in two years even though he has conceded they are not the favourites.
More on international management as ex-Bolton manager has said he would love to manage Scotland. He said: “There is no doubt that the Scotland job is a terrific job for the right candidate and if the SFA felt I was one of those candidates and wanted to speak, then of course I’m happy to listen and see what people think.”
David Beckham today said that although he would find it hard to play for another team in England after playing for Manchester United he would listen to any offers he received.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is confident young star Raheem Sterling will sign a new deal at the club soon. He told reporters: “Raheem’s been ongoing, the club and his representatives are in good dialogue and hopefully things will be resolved fairly soon.”
Jermain Defoe has today told Sky Sports News that he will not be leaving Tottenham Hotspur despite interest from former manager Harry Redknapp. When asked about the move he said: “That’s not going to happen. I’m not leaving Tottenham, I love the club and to score goals at a big club like this is fantastic. Even if the opportunity comes to leave the club it won’t be happening. I don’t want to leave. I want to finish my career with Tottenham”
Andres Iniesta has been named as the third candidate for the Ballon d’Or alongside Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Messi has been installed as favourite to pick up the award for the fourth year running with team mate Iniesta the rank outsider. The Spaniard said he is just honoured to be nominated for the trophy.
Real Madrid’s German midfield Mesut Ozil is apparently considering his future at the Spanish giants after losing his place to Luka Modric. This is news that will surely alert Europe’s biggest clubs with Manchester United already said to be interested.
Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder is also on the radar of the continents biggest clubs as he stated he has been forced to reconsider is future after being told he will have to take a 30% pay cut if he is to stay at the Italian club.