Monday, April 30th, 2012
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: ”I think Carlos Tevez is destined to score the most important goal in the history of this club. This is my belief.” - Roberto Mancini.
Runner-up: ”Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set-out soon after Fabio Capello’s departure.” – FA chairman David Bernstein.
Mega Manc Monday
It’s time to bet like a man, Roberto! City must risk it… United would (Martin Samuel, Mail) In Mancini’s first season, he faced a similar head-to-head duel with Tottenham for the fourth Champions League place. Tottenham needed a win to guarantee it, or a draw to keep their noses in front before a final trip to Burnley. City had to win to go into the last day ahead, and require only an away victory over West Ham United. When Tottenham got their first corner, Mancini pulled 11 men back to defend the box. It was not a good sign.
City to win tonight – but they may not grab title (Alan Shearer, Sun) I don’t see it as a title decider, unless Manchester United win. With City’s home form, I think they are going to edge it 2-1 but that doesn’t mean they are going to win the title. Newcastle may have lost to Wigan — but they will still be well up for the visit of City next Sunday with Champions League football still well within their grasp.
Welcome to Manchester! Game of Thrones as City and United face off in title showdown (Matt Lawton, Mail) It is, as Ferguson says, a shoot-out, a clash between the best away side and the best home side. But it could yet be determined by whether Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick can match Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry in midfield, not to mention if Mancini takes a risk by selecting Mario Balotelli. Surely he will leave the volatile Italian on the bench.
Manchester: One city, two clubs, and a match like no other (Tim Rich, Independent) The ticket-exchange agency Viagogo was last night offering two seats to watch Manchester City against Manchester United for £4,512.98, though it did promise “a clear view of the pitch”. In those terms, every other football match this year is a sideshow. A ticket for next Saturday’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool can be yours for £441. A ticket for Chelsea’s Champions League final against Germany’s Bayern Munich costs £878.
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney puts dramas aside in fine season (Guardian) A calmer, more mature Rooney has evaded disciplinary problems to help put his side on the verge of their 20th title.
Fergie Parks the bus (Sun) Alex Ferguson is ready to recall Ji-Sung Park at the expense of Danny Welbeck to stop Manchester City.
Which team is better, United or City? All the players rated before the crunch clash (Jamie Redknapp, Mail) The result: Manchester City 92.5/110, Manchester United 91.5/110.
Woah! Woy 4 England
Why Hodgson deserves better than to be written off before he’s even got the England job (Ollie Holt, Mirror) Hodgson also deserves a lot better than to be written off before he has even taken the job. His record and experience of coaching across the world demands that. He knows about the demands of international football. He is comfortable in that world.
Roy Hodgson for England is a shock choice and maybe a wrong one (Daniel Taylor, Guardian) At some point the Football Association is going to have to offer a plausible explanation about why it has decided Roy Hodgson has better credentials than Harry Redknapp to lift and invigorate this England squad, and then at least it should become easier to make sense of its thinking and understand the processes involved.
Hodgson’s record reads: P 52 W 20 L 20… Is this a job for Mr Average? (Martin Samuel, Mail) Hodgson has done a good job at West Brom, and at Fulham, but England is different, England is immense. Unless results are good, the England manager needs to carry the country and, if he does not, the roof quickly caves in.
Roy for England! Hodgson is the shock FA choice to get job ahead of favourite Harry (Mail) The immediate outcry over Hodgson’s seemingly imminent appointment could complicate Monday afternoon’s talks between the West Bromwich Albion manager and the FA.
Roy Hodgson must gain trust and make England players believe Football Association’s ‘safe choice’ is right choice (Telegraph) Hodgson is the choice of a conservative man like the Football Association’s chairman David Bernstein.
The key questions about FA’s approach to Roy Hodgson for England job (Guardian) Selecting a captain and a squad for Euro 2012 are the two most pressing matters the manager will have to address if appointed.
England go for Hodgson as Redknapp is rejected (Sam Wallace, Independent) Last night there was no clear consensus on how the media stood on the FA approach to Hodgson.
A little dull, maybe… but that’s just why the FA have gone for him (Steven Howard, Sun) They want a period of tranquillity, safe in the knowledge the new man will neither rock the boat nor, like Harry Redknapp, do things his own way. They don’t want a Kevin Keegan type, either, a man whose emotions might get the better of him. Nor do they want a Steve McClaren, a coach who fitted the bill but whose lack of international experience eventually found him out. They were looking for a safe pair of hands — and that is exactly what they have got.
It’s Roy: Hodgson to be named next England boss…not Harry (Mirror) Football Association chiefs were tonight granted permission by West Brom to speak to Hodgson, they have already held talks and they hope to have a deal wrapped up within 72 hours .It will come as an amazing snub to Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp who is the people’s choice for the job and has always been the bookies’ odds-on favourite. Spurs are also understood to be furious that the FA have dragged out the process.
“Are the FA mad?”: Celebrities react to England’s shock approach for Roy Hodgson (Mirror) There was quite a bit of bemusement among some to the news. Footballer turned racehorse trainer Mick Quinn wrote: “Roy Hodgson for England Manager and Torres scores a hat trick,book me in a nut house please #CUCKOOCUCKOO.”And comedian and Liverpool fan John Bishop added: “Are the FA mad- no offence to Roy Hodgson but how can you ignore Harry Rednapp!! Unbelievable !!!!”
I need your support (Sun) Roy Hodgson will appeal for the backing of England’s fans after the FA approached him last night to become the new national manager. The FA have snubbed favourite Harry Redknapp in favour of the West Brom chief as their choice to replace Fabio Capello.
Everyone Loves Torres
AVB must be miffed (Steven Howard, Sun) The former Chelsea boss was brought in to create a totally new on and off-field philosophy at Stamford Bridge. To slowly pension off the old-timers, bring on the new talent, play a more disciplined and modern game and point them towards the future. And what’s happened? Out on the pitch, the Blues have gone back to square one under his successor. The result? Chelsea are in the middle of one of the most uplifting runs the club has known and through to the Champions League and FA Cup finals. Eureka!
Torres revival gathers pace in rout of Rangers (Sam Wallace, Independent) When Fernando Torres scored his third goal of the afternoon, there were the kind of high-fives exchanged among Roman Abramovich and his entourage that you might expect on winning a trophy or buying an oil company. Relief? It is still a long way from the return they expected for £50m, but the last seven days for Torres have been a start.
Fernando Torres shows Chelsea what to expect when Didier Drogba goes (Guardian) Hat-trick striker played with the air of a man who had never missed a chance in his life.
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres shows he still has it after Barca cameo helps Spaniard burst back into life (Telegraph) Roman Abramovich’s fortune dropped £800 million this year, reportedly, but he is recovering £50 million of that with Fernando Torres’ return to form.
Pep Still Piques Interest
Why Pep Quit (Anthony Kastrinakis, Sun) Pep Guardiola has quit Barcelona because of his differences with the president and tensions with star players… Guardiola’s loyalty to Laporta is unflinching but that was not the only reason for his exit. Guardiola worked 24-7 and didn’t spend enough time with his family.
Beating The Bilbao Drum
Titillating Basques get Channel 5 excited … and it’s not hard to see why (Independent) Bilbao are fun to watch. Their football is bright and inventive but where it differs from Barcelona is in the physique of the players. Bilboa resemble a collection of upmarket Ted McMinns, skilful, big, unpredictable and never safe to take an eye off. They play as if life is worth living and never mind if it leaves your underwear exposed.
Soccer AM, Cult Classic
Soccer AM’s raspberry blowing the perfect remedy for pre-match tension (Martin Kelner, Guardian) I am not a regular viewer but on Saturday morning I was suffering from PMT (pre-match tension) in advance of West Ham United’s predictably damp squib of a bid for automatic promotion, and craved light relief, of which the programme is still a fairly reliable source. I see it much like Viz, an institution fighting the popular perception that it is, in the time‑honoured phrase, “not as funny as it used to be”, but like the comic, blowing a raspberry at conventional wisdom. If anything, Soccer AM is more enjoyable than when I last saw it.
£8m Elm set to grow on Kop (Sun) Liverpool have agreed an £8million fee for Swedish midfielder Rasmus Elm.
United on alert for Kagawa (Sun) Manchester United target Shinji Kagawa is set to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer.
Flying Swan: Sigurdsson wants move to the Premier League (Mirror) In-demand Sigurdsson has already been linked with a £10million transfer to Manchester United.
Dalglish makes personal trip to watch £50m-rated striker Giroud in action (Mail) Liverpool have joined the list of clubs showing interest in Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud.