Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “It [Adebayor’s stamp on Van Persie] looks very bad. You ask 100 people; 99 will say it’s very bad and the hundredth will be Mark Hughes…Â I think it was a very bad challenge, surprisingly bad. I didn’t expect him to do that, but the referee should have sent him off for his challenge on Cesc FÃ¡bregas. I was surprised that there was such animosity in Adebayor’s attitude towards Arsenal because Arsenal was great to him. He will realise that in a few years. That’s why I was deeply surprised and shocked. It has now become the case of Man City and the FA and we do not want to interfere in that. But you ask me what my opinion is, did he do it on purpose? I say yes.” – Arsene Wenger.
Runner-up: “In this Champions League, there are a lot of teams who have already got a settled team like Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. Then there is Inter, who have a big squad but the team is still under construction. It is like this for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Last season, none of the Italian teams did well but I don’t think that this year it will go as badly. But whoever says that Inter ‘have’ to win the Champions League knows nothing about football, and in the place of ‘nothing’ I could use much stronger words.” – Jose Mourinho.
Today’s overview: Wayne Rooney’s temperament is in question this Wednesday after the Manchester United forward reacted angrily after being subbed at Besiktas.
Daniel Taylor reported on how “Wayne Rooney’s febrile temperament came under scrutiny again last night when he reacted angrily to being substituted in Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat of Besiktas and became involved in a verbal confrontation with Turkish supporters behind the dugout before hurling his right boot to the floor.” James Ducker also reported on Wayne Rooney’s bad attitude. “Alex Ferguson took the unusual step of replacing Rooney with Michael Owen. The dismay at the decision was etched large on Rooneyâ€™s face as he trudged off the field and not even a sympathetic pat on the back from the manager could console the striker as he threw down his boots in disgust.”
Looking to inject some humour into the analysis, Mark Ogden wrote “Perhaps Wayne Rooney is taking the task of assuming Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s mantle at Manchester United too literally. The England forward is revelling as Unitedâ€™s main attraction in the absence of the Portuguese forward this season, but he can do without mimicking Ronaldoâ€™s reaction to being substituted.”
In his match report on Manchester United’s victory in Turkey, Daniel Taylor made special mention of the Besiktas fans. “The fans bounced and shook and when that failed to work they used a different tactic altogether, shining laser pens into the faces of United players. A green flickering light could be seen man-marking some of those wearing red and United have reported it to Uefa.” Matt Hughes went a step further to suggest that “the Turkish club may find themselves in hot water with Uefa after a fan flashed a green laser pen at United players at least three times during the first half, with Anderson, Scholes and Jonny Evans targeted.”
If Chelsea struggled to win without Didier Drogba last night against Porto, what is it going to be like when the Blues’ African contingent head off to Angola in January for a month?
That’s the question lingering at the back of your mind when reading Kevin McCarra’s observations that “Didier Drogba, suspended for his outburst after last season’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, was badly missed. It is no surprise that Chelsea should pine for a man who spreads terror so liberally.” Jamie Jackson was equally dismissive of the Pensioner’s performance without Drogba. “Between a bright start and the moment three minutes after the break when Nicolas Anelka, the man who will carry Chelsea’s scoring hopes in this competition until Drogba can return, scored a typically instinctive goal, Carlo Ancelotti had watched his team struggle.”
The Ivorian’s importance to Chelsea is also discussed by Matt Dickinson. “Chelsea require Drogbaâ€™s presence to make a significant mark on this tournament, not just for the goals that he scores but for his ability to dominate, to intimidate the opposition. It is why the club ignored all the advice to ditch him, like a bad penny, last season.”
Keeping with the Champions League but heading off on a completely different tangent, Martin Samuel highlights the problems of minnows, such as Hungarian side Debrecen, suddenly receiving a sackload of UEFA money. “In a domestic league currently ranked the 34th strongest in Europe, with the attendant financial paucity implied, one club, Debrecen VCS, are to receive a payment from UEFA in the region of Â£12million… by suddenly introducing immense spending power to one club in an economically minor league, UEFA places Hungarian football at risk.”
Still waiting for the FA to hand out their punishment for Emmanuel Adebayor, the latest thinking by David Hytner is that a five match ban will be served onto the City striker. Mark Ogden challenges that assumption arguing “it appears likely his suspension for this charge will not be extended beyond three matches, City will explore all legal possibilities before Wednesday’s 6pm deadline.”
Fuming, Kevin Gardside hopes the FA throw the book at Adebayor. “By behaving as he did Adebayor legitimised the behaviour of the brute on and off the pitch. This is not without consequence, as any father with a son playing junior football would tell you. It is time to change the culture of the game. And that starts at the top. It starts, one hopes, with Adebayor.”
Backlash against the new regulations insisting on home-ground quotasÂ for Premier League clubs (each club must have 25 players over 21-year-old, including 8 home-gown players) has come under fire today from Rafa Benitez – unsurprising as we learned yesterday that Liverpool have 56 registered professionals with 23 battling for 17 spots for non-home-grown players. Andy Hunter details Benitez’s gripe writing “Liverpool have embarked on a global recruitment policy for young players under BenÃtez and, like ArsÃ¨ne Wenger, the Spaniard believes the Premier League should be more concerned with attracting the best talent than British passports.”
Yet Benitez’s negativity is supported by Oliver Kay who believes the new need for home-grown players has meant “the battle to sign the best young kids in Europe has just intensified.” “The reality is that homegrown doesnâ€™t mean homegrown anymore. It means ‘association-trained’, which means a player who has spent at least three years at an English club (or a Welsh club in the English league system) by the age of 21. In effect, it means Cesc Fabregas and Federico Macheda â€“ not just Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney.” And David Maddock sings from the same hymn-sheet barking “at best, the new rules introduced by the Premier League from next season regarding the need to have home grown talent in the squad are ill thought out. At worst they are madness.”
Pompey receive some good news this morning,Sulaiman al-Fahim, the Portsmouth chairman and owner, may finally be able to put some money into the debt-ridden club after an announcement last night that he has secured new finance ‘in principle.'”
In the latest transfer gossip, Gordon Tynan links Mark Viduka with a return to his homeland with the Melbourne Victory while the Daily Mail report that “Olympiakos have expressed an interest in making Bryan Robson their new coach after sacking Temuri Ketsbaia on the eve of their Champions League opener against AZ Alkmaar.”