Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “It was the best day of my life because it proved I can play again. It was a special moment to score and very emotional. I had tears in my eyes. I celebrated by kissing my wedding ring because my wife, Andreja, daughter Lorena and family supported me right through it.” – Eduardo da Silva.
Runner-up: “Football means nothing when situations are going on like this [the bushfires in Australia]. The armband was just something little in tribute to the families who have lost someone and to tell the people in Australia that I’m mourning. I’ve got kids as well and coming from Australia it’s always going to be something that touches my heart and I’m very emotional. It was probably one of the hardest moments of our careers being in Japan last week when there’s so many people dying while we were in the air and bodies are still being found now. It was hard for us to understand whether we really should have played that game but we did and we got a great result, but still now it seriously turns my stomach thinking about it. Every single player wore the armband in tribute and we will fight on together. That’s what we do. The army, the prime minister, cricket â€“ every single sport â€“ is involved in it in Australia.” – Tim Cahill.
Today’s overview: Are Manchester City trying to become the new Chelsea?
Over-excitedly labelling the Man City-John Terry link as potentially “one of the more astounding transfers of modern times,” Daniel Taylor tells his Guardian readership that “potential for an end-of-season move is not as remote as Chelsea supporters would like to believe.” The Daily Mail’s Neil Ashton adds that “City believe they can lure Chelsea captain John Terry at the end of the season with an offer to double his Â£120,000-a-week wages.” And the Citizens transformation into the truly becoming the new Chelsea could be furthered according to Jim White, who claims that “Peter Kenyon is apparently being considered by the clubâ€™s Abu Dhabi owners to replace Gary Cook at the helm of the world’s wealthiest football organisation.”
Both deals could be agreeable to the Blues provided they receive adequate compensation, particular with Jeremy Wilson reporting that “according to Finans, a Russian business magazine, Abramovich’s total wealth has fallen from $23 billion to $13.9 billion, although he still remains second on the list of Russia’s most wealthy individuals.”
Alan Hansen casts his eye over Chelsea calling for unity in the squad. “What you have got to have are players who want to do well, not only for them-selves but for the club. It is impossible for all Chelsea’s players to like each other â€“ human nature dictates otherwise â€“ but it is not about liking, it is about relying on one another when you go out on the pitch.” Following on the same theme, many of the papers (including the Telegraph’s Ian Chadband) today report how Michael Ballack is insisting that he was not part of the internal group who wanted Scolari out of the club.
Loudmouth Ian Wright today’s offers a tirade against Roman Abramovich in the Sun. “A playerÂ or manager cannot be bigger than the club â€” and the same applies to owners. Maybe someone should tell Roman Abramovich, although Iâ€™m not sure anyone at Chelsea has the guts to do it. Itâ€™s perfect timing that Chelsea should play Aston Villa this weekend â€” as they are two clubs which appear to be going in opposite directions. They both have foreign owners. But one seems to understand the English game while the other, nearly six years after buying his club, has yet to grasp what itâ€™s really all about.”
Staying with Villa, James Nursey claims that “VillaÂ are set to make a fresh move in the summer for Micah Richards amid growing fears about Martin Laursenâ€™s long-term fitness.”
Stan Collymore rips into Robinho in the Mirror. “Robinho’s performance on Saturday was the worst the Premier League has ever seen … and for a Â£40million player, that’s criminal.”
Liverpool’s tug-of-war with Rafa Benitez over his new contract could soon be coming to an end according to Sid Lowe, who writes “the Spaniard is expected to put pen to paper before next week’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid on a deal which will tie him to Anfield until 2013 after months of wrangling with the club’s owners.” Daniel Agger is set to leave Anfield however, John Edwards writing how AC Milan, Inter and Juventus are all tracking the Reds’ centre-half.
Ferguson prefers not to talk about the quintuple, but the United manager and his players are 25 games away from an incredible achievement.”
Pompey’s pursuit of Sven Goran Eriksson may have hit a financial brick wall, Jeremy Wilson, may be for Sven to take on the Portsmouth job while remaining in charge of the Mexican national team. But Sam Wallace believes the Sven-Portsmouth union will not materialise as “Eriksson has once again told Portsmouth that he wants to continue as Mexico manager and is not interested in leaving the job unless he is pushed.”the clubâ€™s latest financial problems could rule out any possibility of them finding funds beyond the sum they had earmarked for wages for the remainder of the season and a bonus payable if the former England head coach keeps Portsmouth from relegation to the Coca-Cola Championship.” One possible solution, as tabled by
The Toffees are on the receiving end of praise this Tuesday.Such men do not always rise to the top in the celebrity circus of the modern game, but when they do it is cause to celebrate something rather more than an individual example of determination and ambition.”
In other football news, still reeling from Sunday’s tepid Old Firm derby Kevin McCarra fears that “Scotland, in common with other small countries in Europe, is at risk of slithering into obscurity.” While in a vicious tongue-lashing on by Matt Scott, the Guardian’s scribe argues that until ‘football people’ join the ranks at FA headquarters the standard of English footballers will continue to decline.
Michael Henderson turns focus onto who should win the Footballer of the Year award, noting that while Ryan Giggs has a strong case “if you look at the team that Ferguson has constructed so artfully, its success is rooted in a refusal to concede soft goals… The key man is therefore Nemanja Vidic, that steel door of a centre-half, and surely Footballer of the Year if the award is to go to the player who makes the greatest contribution to the champion team’s performance.”
In the Guardian’s European round-up, Sid Lowe traces how Malaga have transformed from a yo-yo club to being Champions League contenders while Leander Schaerlaeckens celebrates AZ Alkmaar, and in particular manager Van Gaal’s methods of reinventing Total Football. “Call it Total Football 2.0, if you will.”