Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I think if my team do not have the quality to win against Cluj at home, it’s better that I go home to Brazil. We’ve lost two times now the [chance of] qualification. We lost [3-1] to Roma and now this. We need to think about this and we need to discuss why. The qualification is in our hands and now we need to win the last game. I think that with these players, we have a 75% chance to win against Cluj at home.” – Felipe Scolari.
Runner up: “Sunday is a massive game. It’s a huge game for the players, the fans and the club after what happened at City with the takeover. It’ll be nice to show them who are the kings of Manchester. It doesn’t irritate us that City are getting all this publicity. If they were winning trophies it would irritate us, but while they’re still lingering in mid-table we’re not too bothered about it.” – Wayne Rooney.
Todayâ€™s overview: Chelsea are on uneasy ground this Thursday, having failed to secure qualification in the Champions League and having to contend with persistent stories surrounding Didier Drogba.
On Drogba, Matt Hughes stoked the flames suggesting the Ivorian is set to depart writing “Didier Drogba has added to the feeling that his departure from Chelsea is inevitable by describing the past six months as the worst of his career.” John Ley picks away at the Blues claiming “the Samba revolution is over. Suddenly, Chelsea have reverted to the side left behind by Jose Mourinho.” And Sam Wallace is dumbfounded by the Blues’ downturn in form, commenting “what is hard to comprehend is how quickly the Chelsea project, undertaken with such brio by Scolari this season is starting to look ragged.”
Support is flowing this morning for Ronaldo after Sir Alex argued that his star is always fouled. Ian Herbert has sympathy for Cristiano, giving his support that the player is routinely fouled, and Graham Poll concurs writing “Sir Alex Ferguson was right to identify Villarreal’s tactic of ‘systematic’ foul tackles on Cristiano Ronaldo but what can a referee do about it if other teams adopt the same approach?”
In other Premier League news, Colin Young reports that “Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is preparing to give Joe Kinnear a contract until the end of the season as hopes fade of selling the troubled club quickly,” and Mark Irwin suggests that AC Milan could swoop for William Gallas for as little as Â£5 million. Other transfer rumours include Darren Lewis’ claim that “Arsenal’s Champions League hero Nicklas Bendtner is a Â£5million January target for Spartak Moscow,” and Alan Nixon reports that “Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is making a Â£11million bid to take England left-winger Stewart Downing from Middlesbrough.”
David Conn reports from the High Court on Sheffield United’s victory over West Ham in the Carlos Tevez affair, noting the decision came “at the worst possible time for West Ham, who now acknowledge that the wealth of the club’s owner, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, has been seriously damaged by the economic meltdown in Iceland.”
Reporting on South Africa 2010, Kevin Easton describes what football means to the locals – “With every kick, children here dream that they can emulate someone such as Lucas Radebe, who escaped Soweto to captain Leeds United and South Africa.” And in a separate article, Kevin Easton reports on the new “Home Grown Players” proposal that would ensure “that four players would have to be registered in England for a minimum of three seasons before their 21st birthday. That means that some foreign players, particularly those groomed in academies, would be considered a domestic product and allowed to join the match-day squads of 16 as part of the English quota.”
In a humorous article listing the 50 worst famous football fans, Tim Lovejoy at number 26. “‘TV personality’ who used to support Watford but now hangs out at Stamford Bridge. Responsible for writing one of the worst books in the history of publishing. ‘Lovejoy on Football’ prompted one reviewer on amazon to write: ‘As Ally Ross of The Sun pointed out, there are 38 pictures of Lovejoy in this book, eight more than Nelson Mandela used in his autobiography.'”
Lastly, Gregg Roughley writes a superb article on the Premier League’s online battles with websites who live stream, like Justiv.tv, commenting “with the world economy on its knees… thrifty football fans will turn in ever increasing numbers to the internet for their fix. So does this signal the death knell for the Premier League’s big-money broadcasting deals?”