Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Leeds [United] is like a young Pamela Anderson. It’s in great shape, with superb assets and a great future ahead of her. Like any big acquisition we have to be thorough and that’s the process we’re going through right now. We’re almost there and, hopefully, within three weeks it could be done.” – GFH Capital chief executive David Haigh.
Runner-up: “We don’t need two [orthodox] centre-halves against San Marino. But if Hodgson puts two midfield players at centre-half, people will say, ‘What is he doing that for?’ The Germans have done it for years – Lothar Mattheus, Franz Beckenbauer, Matthias Sammer all went back there. I think we should do that more. I thought Carrick has played all right at centre-half,. Why can’t he play there? He’s quite mobile and he reads the game very well. Just because he doesn’t go and win headers and thump people, people go, ‘I wouldn’t have him there.’ We pigeonhole a player in a position, then we say, ‘He hasn’t got the legs now, get rid of him’. Put him in a different position… In two years, instead of saying ‘Gerrard hasn’t the legs’ say, ‘he’ll make a good centre-half’. He’d make an ideal sweeper, but if we play three at the back we haven’t got a clue. Look at Italy at Euro 2012. They went three at the back, 4-5-1, 4-4-2, three at the back again. Why can’t we do that? If you are a good footballer and you read the game you can play any system you want. We should be able to adapt.” – Chris Waddle.
Hughes Out, Harry In?
Redknapp on Rangers alert (Sun) QPR chiefs will this week decide whether to replace Mark Hughes with Harry Redknapp… Enormous pressure has built up on Sparky, whose planning has been hit by injuries. And with no Premier League games for the next 11 days due to the international break, Rangers could make a move.
Coyle Out, Allardyce in?
Coyle out… Big Sam in? (Sun) Owen Coyle is facing the sack from Bolton today. And, incredibly, the Trotters want to try to tempt former boss Sam Allardyce back at the end of the season… Bolton intend to put a caretaker in for the rest of the season once Coyle departs, possibly Sammy Lee.
Coyle feels Bolton axe hovering after day of talks fail to resolve club issues (Mail) Bolton have won only three of their 10 games in the Championship since being relegated from the Premier League in May and sit seventh from bottom. The international break has given Davies and Gartside the opportunity to make a change and the indications were that Coyle will be axed after nearly three years in charge.
Coyle’s future in the balance at Bolton (Ian Herbert, Independent) Although Coyle is likely to take Bolton beyond the international break, the prospect of playing third-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers and Middlesbrough away, after facing Bristol City at home, leaves the 46-year-old in a grim fight to hold on to his job.
Ashley Cole: Twitter Pariah, England Outcast?
Cole Near Chelsea Exit (David Woods, Star) Ashley Cole’s oul-mouthed attack on the FA is set to cost him £300,000 – and could drive him away from Chelsea… Cole, 31, is in the final year of his current deal and Chelsea are unwilling to offer him more than a 12-month extension.
Don’t hate Ashley Cole for Terry race row (Ian Wright, Sun) I know I’m in the minority, and that you will probably disagree with me, but I feel sorry for him. I’ve known him since he was 17 — most of the people who dislike Ashley have never actually met him. In football, I have met some unsavoury characters, as we all do in life, but Ashley is not one of them. It is typical of John Terry that he finds himself in hot water then drags a mate into the situation. Ashley’s biggest mistake was agreeing to help Terry over the allegations made by Anton Ferdinand. Cole was not the one using filthy language but has come out of it equally as badly.
Roy can pick Cole after Twitter tirade (Sun) Roy Hodgson can pick Ashley Cole against San Marino on Friday. Chelsea left-back Cole has been charged with bringing the game into disrepute after calling the FA a “bunch of t**ts” on Twitter. But England boss Hodgson has been told it is his decision whether to pick the player for the World Cup qualifier at Wembley.
Cole set to be denied England armband for 100th cap despite personal apology to FA chairman Bernstein over Twitter outburst (Mail) Football Association chairman David Bernstein has revealed that Ashley Cole apologised to him personally on Monday night over his offensive Twitter message. Bernstein also stressed that England manager Roy Hodgson will decide whether the Chelsea full-back plays against San Marino in Friday’s World Cup qualifier. But he has hinted that Cole will not be offered the England captain’s armband when he makes 100th appearance for his country.
The Cole enigma: How England’s best defender became football’s ultimate PR disaster (Matt Barlow, Mail) He hasn’t had an easy ride but Cole has opted out of responsibility. He would rather not speak publicly and does not want to captain his team. He would prefer to play football, bank the money and not do anything he doesn’t like doing. Who wouldn’t?… Should any of this prevent Cole from joining the ranks of England centurions? Should it be all about the football? Should the FA leave him stranded on 98, short of two hats?
Beating San Marino may be easy, solving the Ashley Cole problem is not (Dominic Fifield, Guardian) Effectively banning a player [Ashley Cole] would blur those lines and the FA is not inclined to go down that route. Instead this will end up being Hodgson’s choice. The politics of his position remain agonising.
England’s number three! Why Baines should replace Cole in the national side regardless of FA Twitstorm (David Anderson, Mirror) The mob want him out and Leighton Baines is the obvious choice to replace him at left-back against San Marino and Poland. While I would back that outcome, I don’t agree with the reasoning. I think Baines should be England’s first-choice left-back regardless of what Cole has done. We all know Baines is a fine player, but the key thing, as his Everton boss David Moyes pointed out on Saturday, is that he is playing consistently well.
Suarez In Diving Storm: Getting Firm With Flopping
Forget the diving… Suarez is the victim, blasts Rodgers as Liverpool come out fighting in defence of under-fire striker (Dominic King, Mail) Rodgers said: ‘I find it incredible that in nearly all the coverage about Luis Suarez this weekend, very little focus has been placed on the fact that he was the victim of a stamping incident within the first five minutes of the game. There seems to be one set of rules for Luis and another set for everyone else. Diving and simulation is a wider issue in football – one we all agree has to be eradicated – but there were other incidents this weekend that didn’t seem to generate the same coverage.”
Enough of the jokes, it’s time we got serious about diving (James Lawton, Independent) What is needed, of course, is someone with the minimal guts required to stand up for the name of football, to say that its relentless cheapening has reached perilously close to a point of no return… It is a culture of deception which cries for self-monitoring but in its absence, in the sheer, putrefying failure of the clubs to look at themselves, there needs to be some stringent new directives from an FA which has, when all the smoke has been blown away, been entirely vindicated in its pursuit of John Terry and all his evasions. They have to make it clear that what Suarez and Bale did warranted more than fleeting mirth and a weary shrug of the shoulders. They have to say that football cannot go on hurting itself, cannot continue to make a mockery of a game that used be fit to involve the interest of decent, honest people.
How can football solve a problem like diving? (Sean Ingle, Guardian) Retrospective video evidence: The sensible, live-in-a-semi-and-have-2.4-children choice and supported by Arsène Wenger, Pulis, David Moyes and every caller to 6-0-6 whenever this issue is discussed. However, Fifa is less keen because it regards the referee as omnipotent and fears establishing a precedent where other incidents are re-refereed at a later date.
Keown and Redknapp analyse the season so far (Mail) Redknapp: I would love to see retrospective bans for diving but I can’t see it working. It’s an embarrassing problem for the game at the moment and it’s not just a problem with foreign players. The Gareth Bale effort was as bad as Luis Suarez’s on Sunday. It’s so tough for the referees and maybe retrospective punishment could be effective in the long term. But in the short term, there would be chaos with lots of bans and confusion over what constitutes a dive.
Liverpool striker Luis Suárez take note: Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero has proved that honesty does pay (Henry Winter, Telegraph) Statistics from Opta indicate that Agüero goes to ground less easily when challenged in the box. Since the start of last season, Agüero has had zero “box fouls won” from 48 “box ground duels”. Suárez has been involved in 95 “box ground duels”, earning four “box fouls won”.
No Elbow Room: RVP Avoids Charge Because No-one Saw It
Nah… We didn’t see it, say FA (Sun) Newcastle are fuming after the FA let Robin van Persie off the hook over his elbow storm. The Manchester United hitman’s escape capped a day of incredible leniency as the FA also cleared Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale over diving claims and decided to take no action against Robert Huth and Cheick Tiote for alleged stamping. Toon are stunned RVP will face no inquiry for seemingly elbowing Yohan Cabaye on Sunday. Ref Howard Webb admitted missing the incident during United’s 3-0 win but insisted there was no case to answer after studying video footage yesterday.
Garth Crooks’ Gaffe
Really, Garth? BBC ‘expert’ Crooks tips Morrison for England… despite his 23 caps for Scotland (Mail) Garth Crooks has become the latest BBC football ‘expert’ to be guilty of an extraordinary gaffe. The former Tottenham and Stoke forward suggested that West Brom’s James Morrison might force his way into England manager Roy Hodgson’s thoughts. But Morrison, as anyone calling themselves a pundit should know, has actually been playing for Scotland for four years, earning himself 23 caps.
Roberto Mancini homes in on a Fal guy (Star) Roberto Mancini was in Spain at the weekend to run the rule over Falcao… Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said: “We know that Mancini has come to watch, but we are calm on the subject of Falcao.”
Chinese £250k a week for Lamps (Sun) Frank Lampard will be offered a Chinese takeaway of £250,000 a week AFTER tax. The England midfielder is wanted by former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba’s club Shanghai Shenhua, as well as their Chinese Super League rivals Beijing Guoan. And both are ready to offer that mega-bucks £1MILLION a month jackpot… Sunsport also exclusively revealed that David Beckham’s LA Galaxy are interested in Lampard — as an eventual successor to 38-year-old Becks.
Reds look to score an Og (Sun) Liverpool ppear strong favourites to sign Torino defender Angelo Ogbonna… Ogbonna is rated at least £16million by his club and has also been watched by Manchester United and Everton.
Gunners turn to Palace’s Zaha as Walcott contract wrangle continues (Mail) Arsenal are lining up a swoop for Theo Walcott’s potential replacement after joining the race to land Crystal Palace prospect Wilfried Zaha.
Arsene Wenger: I won’t break bank for Theo Walcott (Star) Arsenal’s offer to Walcott is nowhere near what he could pick up at title rivals Manchester City or Chelsea. Liverpool and Tottenham, who have also expressed an interest in the ex-Southampton star, could also pay more. If he runs down his contract, Walcott would be in line for a huge signing-on fee elsewhere in the summer and he will be free to talk to foreign clubs in January if no agreement is made before then.
Ravel’s unravelling: Birmingham want rid of the former Man United starlet (Mirror) Blues boss Clark has run out of patience with the former Manchester United starlet already, less than three months after signing him on a 12-month loan from West Ham.