Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “My record stood for 40 years — 85 goals in 60 games — and now the best player in the world has broken it, and I’m delighted for him. He is an incredible player, gigantic. He’s such a nice and modest professional and I hope he gets one or two more goals in 2012 and that he can then hold onto the record for the next 40 years. He’s fantastic. He only has one defect and that is that he doesn’t play for Bayern Munich!” – Gerd Muller.
Runner-up: “Fernando has been in good positions only because the team has created more chances. It is the team that is doing well. I can communicate with him a different way sometimes but the main thing, for me, is his team-mates. He’s happy, yes. When a striker is scoring, he is happy, happy. I’ve noticed the difference in him too. The team is doing really well. I’m not surprised because they are all training very well. You don’t have anyone who is lazy. Everyone is trying to do the right things. Everybody has been talking for months about, ‘Fernando has to score more goals’, so to score four in a week he must be pleased. I’m not being asked so many questions about him. It means people are getting used to seeing Fernando scoring.” – Rafa Benitez.
Ashley Cole’s Mum & Brother Joke About Rio Getting Hit On Facebook
Rio got hit… ha, ha, ha (Sun) Ashley Cole’s mum and brother sent Facebook messages LAUGHING over the coin attack which could have blinded Rio Ferdinand. The pair, still fuming after Manchester United star Rio called Chelsea rival Ashley a “choc ice”, posted their comments moments after the defender left the pitch with blood pouring from a gash near his eye. Ashley’s brother Matthew, 30, scoffed: “So happy Rio got hit in the face today when he tried to give it kissing his badge!! Straight in the eye!! Made my day.” A message posted in mum Sue’s name said: “Bloody missed that, ha ha ha . . . give the fan that threw it a medal!!!” Last night she denied sending the message.
“Give Rio coin yob a medal”: Ashley Cole’s mum celebrates Ferdinand attack (Mirror) The blood was barely dry on Rio Ferdinand’s face when Matty Cole took to Facebook to gloat over the sickening coin attack that left the Manchester United star with a nasty wound. And Ashley Cole’s brother was joined by mum Sue who seemed to revel in the stricken star’s agony with comments on the same thread… The offending thread was removed five minutes after mum-of-two Sue spoke to our reporter.
Manchester City fear fan who struck Rio Ferdinand could escape (Telegraph) Manchester City’s tempestuous defeat against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday led to 13 arrests, with the host club and police continuing their attempts to identify the coin thrower who left Rio Ferdinand with blood pouring from his eyebrow… While City have given GMP full access to their CCTV footage of crowd surveillance, both parties are facing difficulty in pinpointing the culprit owing to the distance between Ferdinand and the alleged thrower.
Stars must stop taunting fans… or it could be a knife instead of a coin which is thrown (Jamie Redknapp, Mail) This isn’t an excuse for abuse or throwing coins but players have to take more responsibility for the way they behave on the field. A goal celebration should be a show of joy, but when it is received as an act of provocation and aggression, especially in an away game, it creates an entirely different reaction. The behaviour of some players, when leaving the field to celebrate, is dangerous and irresponsible. They are putting their own safety at risk… I don’t want players to become robots but they need to be aware of their environment. Next time, instead of a coin, it could be an idiot with a knife.
Time to tackle thug element! End the coin-throwing now, or expect some more serious damage (Ian Ladyman, Mail) Let’s find the moron who wounded Ferdinand and, while we are at it, let’s view the footage and find his co-conspirators. Let’s also look properly at the issues surrounding safety netting and let’s continue to remind players and managers of what is acceptable. Above all, let’s be vigilant. But let’s not pretend we are sliding back towards the age of Doc Marten boots and organised tear-ups outside train stations. Because, quite simply, we are not. We remain better than that.
It is only luck that has stopped a footballer from losing their sight… now it’s time we brought in netting to stop yobs (Martin Keown, Mail) It was the thing that scared me most of all on a football pitch. You have no control over what can be thrown at you from the stands, and you cannot defend yourself against what is coming. It is only luck that has stopped a footballer from being blinded.
This vile hatred in football must be rejected by the masses (Paul Hayward, Telegraph) The now weekly degradation of football by racism, violence and venom must stop. The authorities should consider real punishments – such as points deductions and closed grounds – if we are to stop hatred killing the game.
Post Mortems: The Manchester Derby
City must stick with Mancini (Ian Wright, Sun) Roberto Mancini will be given the time he deserves to hunt down Manchester United at the top of the Premier League. More than ever before, managers at big clubs find themselves under intense pressure after a couple of poor results but Mancini will have been helped by the disgraceful way Roberto Di Matteo was treated by Chelsea.
Mancini: City are MUCH better than United even though we lost the derby! (And I won’t sell Balotelli…) (Mail) Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has claimed his team are still superior to rivals United and has revealed he will not sell Mario Balotelli in the forseeable future… He said: ‘United have more experience but we have a much better team and play much better football.’
Mario move a no-go (Sun) Roberto Mancini says he has no plans to sell Mario Balotelli — despite his dismal derby display on Sunday… The Etihad boss said: “Balotelli has enormous quality — he is not for sale.”
Over and out? Balotelli poised for Milan loan and may never play for City again (Mirror) Mario Balotelli may have played his last game for Manchester City – with manager Roberto Mancini ready to ship him out to AC Milan on loan.
Roberto Mancini’s mixed messages corrode Manchester City’s cohesion (Guardian) Before the game, Mancini said: “At the moment we have four strikers who can’t score. Our season depends on our strikers.” Clever psychology from a maverick among top managers? Or a clumsy carrot-and-stick approach that added to the sense of a manager out of tune with his players? By the close of the game, none of Sergio Agüero, Mario Balotelli (the starting forwards), or Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko (both second-half substitutes) had scored.
Once beaten, twice shy… how Fergie keeps a winning edge (James Lawton, Independent) On Sunday all the old building blocks of the United empire were put back in place, even to the point when Ferguson had every incentive to take a point from the team who had not lost on their own ground for two years. Instead, he sent on the still coltish but also refined attacking instinct of Welbeck in place of striving young midfielder Tom Cleverley. Ferguson had come with his best attacking options, Young and Valencia wide, Rooney sweeping through from behind Robin van Persie. He came with his best instincts restored and he got his reward.
Racism In Football
Kick It Out slams top clubs for ‘year wasted in hypocrisy’ (David Conn, Guardian) The chairman of Kick It Out, Lord Herman Ouseley, has launched a damning attack on the Football Association, the Premier League, Chelsea and Liverpool for a failure of “morality” and “leadership” over their handling of the racist abuse incidents by John Terry and Luis Suárez. Lord Ouseley, who has decided to stand down from the FA Council and his other FA positions, said Chelsea and Liverpool protected their players because of their value as “assets”, even when they were alleged, then proven by independent FA commissions, to have racially abused opponents. He describes the last year, when football has been rocked by repeated incidents of racism, as “12 months wasted in hypocrisy” by the authorities.
Lord Ouseley: Football loses moral compass when stars racially abuse (David Conn, Guardian) In Lord Ouseley’s damning assessment of the football authorities’ record on racism, his most dispiriting insight is that the game’s moral compass suffers institutional wobbles when its stars, not fans, are found guilty of racist abuse.
Chelsea: Club World Cup
Benitez could conquer the world for Chelsea this week, but it won’t be enough to win over the fans (Martin Lipton, Mirror) After losing three of the seven pots they set out in search of in August – Community Shield, UEFA SuperCup and Champions League, although the move into Europe’s secondary competition now means they will actually play for an eighth – getting one on the sideboard could be a big boost for morale. Quite how seriously Roman Abramovich takes the FIFA Club World Cup is another issue altogether. But we know Abramovich likes to win. And, equally, we know that Benitez would see silverware as an early validation of his methods and approach towards the squad he inherited from Roberto Di Matteo.
Everton: Champions League?
Why Everton’s last-gasp victory against Spurs will be worth more than just three points in the long run (David Anderson, Mirror) This turnaround could have a huge baring on this season’s battle for the top four places. The full impact of this win could be felt by Everton over the rest of the season and this wasn’t just about snatching three points from Spurs… That sort of self-belief and character can drag teams over the finishing line in games and could be hugely-important for Moyes’ men over the remainder of the campaign.
Everton are among the upwardly mobile, and real Champions League contenders (Independent) How to celebrate an important victory without getting too carried away? It is not in the character of David Moyes to proclaim his own work, nor is it the habit of his players to trumpet theirs. Yet there is an unmistakable determination about Everton, exemplified by the refusal to surrender the points in a tight game against Spurs, that might yet send them into Champions League nirvana.
Gunners target Nani (Sun) Nani is a shock £20million target for Arsenal. The winger is in a contract row with Manchester United and could leave next month. Arsenal are looking for a quality replacement for Theo Walcott, whose future at the Emirates looks bleak… Chelsea are also keeping an eye on the wideman.
All over Ba the shouting: Newcastle ready to sell Demba and buy replacement (Mirror) Demba Ba is set to leave Newcastle – within the first week of the January transfer window… Marseille hitman Loic Remy has re-emerged among the Magpies’ main candidates to come in this time around… Arsenal, also interested in Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Liverpool are the latest clubs linked with Ba, who will once again be available for a knockdown £7million because of a clause in his contract.
Arsenal hopeful of signing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Thierry Henry in January transfer window (Independent) Arsenal are hopeful of bolstering their strikeforce in January by signing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar from Schalke and securing Thierry Henry on a second loan spell from New York Red Bulls.
Saints eye Sanchez bid (Sun) Southampton are trying to secure a £2million deal to sign Colombian Carlos Sanchez. The defensive midfielder, 26, failed to agree terms with Bolton in the summer and joined Chilean side Rangers instead. But he was immediately sent back to Europe to join former club Valenciennes on loan.
Mancini wants a Brazilian: City boss hopes £12m Paulinho can revive title chances (Mirror) Roberto Mancini wants his Manchester City bosses to sign Brazilian star Paulinho in the transfer window… The Italian thinks he needs fresh legs in midfield, where his side have been relying on Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry, with Nigel de Jong sold in the summer and replacement Javi Garcia failing to make an impact.
Real Madrid confident they can beat City and Chelsea with £45m Falcao bid (Mirror) The La Liga champions hope that a bid of £45million will be enough to end Roman Abramovich’s interest – especially after the Blues owner had his fingers burned by spending £50million on Torres.
City stay hot on the heels of Sampdoria’s Obiang with Chelsea and Spurs also keen (Mail) Manchester City continue to track Sampdoria’s Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang. The 20-year-old has been watched by the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea, while a number of other European clubs have expressed an interest.
Wigan catch Ferrie (Sun) Wigan have handed a trial to former Swansea midfielder Ferrie Bodde.