Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: ”I will sit down with the owners and discuss a plan on how to assemble a squad to help us bounce back up straight away. We need to try to keep the majority of the squad together and add one or two experienced players that can help us, so from the first game of the season we are ready to bounce back and make sure we are in the division we should be in. I have spoken with the owners, like I do every day. We haven’t mentioned what has happened tonight but I am confident we will have a sit-down and have a plan in place as quickly as possible. I do believe I’ll be here next season.” – Steve Kean.
Runner-up: ”If we could close it out it would be unreal. You dream of these things. I never once thought, ‘Yeah, I’m bound to win the Premier League’, but it was always in my mind. It will be crazy days if we win it.” – Joleon Lescott.
Blackburn Go Down
Blackburn Rovers owners’ paltry investment comes home to roost with relegation following defeat to Wigan Athletic (Mark Ogden, Telegraph) Instead of Real Madrid and Barcelona, it will be Bristol City and Brighton on the fixture list next season, but the concern for a club once regarded as one of the best-run in the country now centres on how bleak the picture might become. Will Venky’s possess the appetite to invest the sums required to make Blackburn competitive in the Championship? As it stands, Kean’s team does not have the look of an outfit likely to push for promotion. And if Venky’s decide that their investment has been waste of time and money, what happens next?
Chickens come home to roost for sorry Blackburn (Tim Rich, Independent) It is hard to imagine any club that would employ Kean again in a hurry. His responsibility for the disasters that have overtaken Blackburn runs very deep… Kean, sooner or later will lose his job. However, once his contract is settled, he will walk away a millionaire. The same cannot be said of the people in the ticket office, in corporate hospitality and who have to sell a ruined, relegated club to advertisers. They will have no parachute payments and Blackburn in 2012 is an awful place to find yourself without work.
Blackburn Rovers suffer season of struggle and revolt (Sachin Nakrani, Guardian) Protests and poor performances have marked the 2011-12 campaign of Steve Kean’s team.’
Man City: Almost There
QPR’s Mark Hughes heads back to Manchester City with double agenda (Louise Taylor, Guardian) Mancini, whose side have not lost at home all season, will be mindful that Hughes and his staff possess rare, possibly invaluable, knowledge of various City players’ little-known technical flaws, tactical weaknesses, preferred tricks and on-pitch foibles. He is also conscious that his Welsh counterpart continues to feel deeply wronged by his dismissal after only 18 months in charge and at a time when City were sixth in the Premier League and had lost only twice since the start of the 2009‑10 season.
Manchester City’s players shine away from the pitch too and it’s time to ditch the mercenary tag (Henry Winter, Telegraph) Manchester City are the club of immense wealth, of controversial individuals such as Carlos Tévez and Mario Balotelli, spicy themes that tend to dominate headlines.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini could join managerial greats by winning Premier League (Alan Hansen, Telegraph) Roberto Mancini will elevate his managerial status by claiming the Premier League title, deservedly taking his place among a select group of elite coaches.
City shade it in this Manc dream team (Ian Wright, Sun)
The Red Half Of Manchester
Time to walk away? No chance. Fergie is up for his toughest fight (James Lawton, Independent) Some might say that of all his achievements at Old Trafford, last season’s title and the fact that United, with just one game left, still have an at-least theoretical interest in the current race, are among the most astonishing.
Manchester United poised to pay a £20m price if they finish without a trophy for the first time since 2005 (Mark Ogden, Telegraph) Manchester United are facing a shortfall of at least £20 million if they end the season without a trophy for the first time since 2005.
Eye On Europe
Black cloud over Köln as the shambolic club goes down in smoke (Raphael Honigstein, Guardian) Poor performances from the boardroom, the managers and team have seen the club relegated for the fifth time in 15 years.
Granada lose their bottle and respect by pointing finger at referee (Sid Lowe, Guardian) Granada’s fury at their defeat was inexcusable but the league organisers do not help ease the concerns of suspicious minds
England: Euro 2012
Roy Hodgson spoilt for choice if he decides to go back to basics (Michael Cox, Guardian) [Grant] Holt is a genuinely intelligent forward. His record of 14 goals in his debut Premier League campaign is even more impressive when considering he’s only started 23 times, with 12 substitute appearances, but his age and lack of international experience will probably count against him. Hodgson is probably left with three genuine options: Zamora, Crouch and Carroll.
Review of the 2011/12 EPL Season
Premier League 2011-12: Top 10 worst signings of the season (Mail) [8. Samir Nasri] At Arsenal he was crucial to the midfield with his keen eye for goal and talent to display a defence splitting pass making him one of the Premier League’s most exciting stars. Since joining City, the 24-year-old has become a bit-part player. The talent is still there but his displays are being far overshadowed by his team-mates and his stock has fallen.
Has this been the best Premier League yet? (Independent) For the 369-game body of the season, the thrills and entertainment have been better than they have been for quite some time. A new shade to the title race, some daring attacking football and a quantity and quality of goals far outstripping what we had grown used to.
The Transfer Lies
Arsenal boss Wenger ramps up interest in £17m M’Vila and free agent Hoilett (Mail) Arsenal have scouted other targets in case their attempts to sign M’Vila end in failure; Athletic Bilbao playmaker Javi Martinez and Anderlecht central midfielder Lucas Biglia have both been watched.
Yann’s a Gun man (Sun) Emirates boss Arsene Wenger must now sit down with the player’s agents to talk wages, with the club ready to offer around £60,000 a week.
City line up Belhanda as alternative to Hazard as move stalls over wage demands (Mail) [Belhanda] can play on either wing or behind a centre forward and is valued in the £10million bracket as opposed to Hazard’s £30m price tag. City are still exploring their chances of luring Robin van Persie from Arsenal this summer as Mancini reshapes his attacking options. Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez are unofficially up for sale after their problems this season but City will not accept less than £20m for either player.
Take it or leave it, Didi (Sun) Didier Drogba will be given one last chance to sign a new Chelsea contract. The striker has already rejected a new one-year deal on his current salary of £100,000-a-week.
Double Dutch: Fulham close on £10million Heerenveen pair (Sun) Dutch league stars Luciano Narsingh and Oussama Assaidi are set to agree personal terms on a five-year contract after Heerenveen accepted a joint offer for the highly-rated wingers.
Second time unlucky: Chelsea fail with fresh Guardiola bid (Mirror) Blues are offering £12million-a-year deal and huge funds to raid Barcelona’s squad, but the answer is still no – which is good news for Di Matteo.
Hijack? Manchester United launch bid to swipe Vertonghen (Mirror) Sir Alex Ferguson has made a last-ditch move to try to hijack Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen’s move to the Premier League.