Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “It was beyond all doubt that the incident was a product of a deliberate act perpetrated by adulterated foodstuff as they [the players] could not get up all of a sudden just before the match. If an accident happens during training or transit, and it affects the match, the host country should take responsibility for the accident. But matters related to hotels or the food are the responsibility of the visiting team. The match thus turned into a theatre of plot-breeding and swindling. It is as clear as noonday that it was a product of the Lee Myung-bak group’s moves for confrontation and a deliberate behaviour bred by the unsavoury forces instigated by it.” – a statement from the North Korean FA accusing the South Korean FA of poisoning their team before last week’s World Cup qualifier that the North lost.
Runner-up: “To be honest, he’s one of my favourite players and when the people ask me about who was the most dangerous striker or who was really a pain in the ass, I always say Didier Drogba. I think in a way he’s becoming stronger and stronger. He’s been having some injury problems in the last months but now he’s scoring goals. He’s scored four or five in the last six games or something like that and whoever plays in front, like Nicolas Anelka or even Drogba, it will be difficult to stop them.” – Pepe Riena.
Today’s overview: There is a strange absence of interesting features ahead of the Champions League matches tonight, with most opting to churn out Macheda Facebook stories rather than offer insight ahead of Porto’s arrival, while Arsenal’s trip to Villarreal is reduced to being the return of Robert Pires in most papers. There are however some articles still worth getting your teeth into.
Chelsea’s long-term management issues occupy Dominic Fifield, the Guardian journalist floating the theory that “senior Chelsea players would welcome the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge in the summer should the club fail to retain the services of their temporary coach Guus Hiddink.” Yet according to Matt Lawton, “Roman Abramovich has identified Carlo Ancelotti as the next manager of Chelsea after conceding he will not be able to keep Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of this season.”
Keeping with Chelsea, Mark Fleming reports how “one reason for [Nicolas] Anelka’s ability to treat success and failure with the same understated equanimity is his devout faith in Islam.”
Two days later and Kevin Mitchell is still buzzing over Federico Macheda’s super-strike. “Can Macheda do it again? George Best did. There. It is said. The ultimate blasphemy. Of course, it is necessary to cover your back with the usual caveat, ‘if he turns out to be half the player Best was’, but the signs are there.” And keeping with the young Italian, “‘bribing’ the parents of Federico Macheda and turning football into a ‘cattle market.'”
Sam Wallace looks at the common bond between Sir Alex and CR7. “They both love to be centre of attention, they have a confidence that is unbreakable and their moods yesterday suggested they believe a historic end to the season is on the cards.”are awaiting the outcome of club’s presidential elections in June and do not have a manager for next season. That is a lot of questions that need answering before any prospective recruit even ask how much he will be paid.” While on the same theme,
Previewing Arsenal’s Champions League match with Villarreal,His slight frame and running style make him vulnerable in any case, as the slightest touch can send him flying to the floor, which has contributed to the various calf, back, thigh and leg injuries he has also suffered since joining Arsenal three years ago.”
Ian Wright farts his usual extreme opinions to claim that a Liverpool exit in the Champions League could be to the Anfield side’s benefit. “If they are to keep their hopes alive of pipping Manchester United to the league title, then Liverpool are probably better off out of the Champions League… United can cope with a war on all fronts. Liverpool canâ€™t.”
In other Premier League news, Mark Ritson reports that “Alan Shearer will deliver a massive snub to Dennis Wise by axing Newcastleâ€™s Â£10million flop Fabricio Coloccini.” While, looking at the Reds’ academy, Rory Smith picks out five Liverpool players for the future.
Another day and more transfer nonsense from the Mirror’s Alan Dixon who today bleats “Harry Redknapp is lining up a surprise cut-price move for Egyptian bad boy Amr Zaki.” Perhaps more likely is the Mirror’s second transfer rumour, that “Portsmouth misfit Theofanis Gekas is a target for Zenit St Petersburg.”
Dropping into the Championship, John Ashdown comments that “if a points penalty for financial woe doesn’t condemn Southampton to the drop, their leaky defence will.”
Having being given the Rangers’ chop, Daily Mail also suggest that Ferguson has offers to play football in Qatar.offers appear to be rolling in for Barry Ferguson. “Australia is shaping up as one real possibility if the 31-year-old wants a fresh start, or if Ferguson wants one last big pay day, Zenit St Petersburg.” The
The Guardian roll out their usual European Tuesday round-up. Paolo Bandini focuses on how “Adriano’s absence is an unwanted distraction for Inter, but Juve’s challenge won’t be enough to prevent them winning the title.” Leander Schaerlaeckens reviews the weekend’s action from the Eredivisie, while Raphael Honigstein wonders whether Grafite’s goal against Bayern was the greatest goal ever scored in the Bundesliga.
Finally, slipped in between the cracks in the Independent is news that “the Faroe Islands have hired former Ireland boss Brian Kerr as coach of the Atlantic island nation’s soccer team.” The Irish Independent’s Daniel McDonnell speaks to Kerr to get the quote “There’s lots of people who are not working in the game. I’ve been offered a job and I’ve decided to take it.”