Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Luiz Felipe Scolari laments that unscrupulous individuals outside the club, acting for their own benefit or trying to make profit, tell lies to the general public through the press. Not a single player in Chelsea’s squad has contested the substitutions made in English championship or Champions League games. There has been no kind of criticism, comment or complaint from any player. There is not the slightest foundation to information that he [Scolari] will be able to take charge of the Brazilian national team next year.” – a statement released on behalf of Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Runner-up: “It was an incredible defeat. Inter did absolutely nothing to earn a win that was handed to them by the linesman. The mistake was so bad, it doesnâ€™t even need to be commented on… I donâ€™t understand why the stronger sides are always given the advantage by officials. However, we are not downhearted, as we are aware of the great performance we put in.” – Siena’s Cristiano Del Grosso.
Today’s overview: Two stories grab attention this Sunday, as reports circulate that Joe Kinnear could soon be a Mackem, while Real Madrid are focusing in on prizing Arsene Wenger away from the Gunners.
In an article sure to raise local tensions, the Sunday Express’ John Richardson writes that “Joe Kinnear Newcastle Unitedâ€™s caretaker boss, has sensationally confided to friends that he would love to be a candidate for the managerial vacancy at Sunderland.” (Note, this article had a total of zero quotes in support.)
But this is far from the only headline grabbing story this Sunday, with the News of the World running a series of controversial stories. According to Rob Beasley, Real Madrid “will try to lure the Arsenal boss away from the Emirates in the summer.” Aiden McGee quotes an unnamed source to unearth trouble at Eastlands, saying “‘the players are furious Robinho swans around doing basically what he wants â€” and the boss lets him get away with it. He thinks heâ€™s untouchable and Hughes hasnâ€™t done anything to show that heâ€™s not. Many of the players think he doesnâ€™t dig in for the team, that heâ€™s injured too often and is picking and choosing his games.'”
Ahead of today’s Arsenal-Liverpool match, Joe Lovejoy writes off the Gunners’ long term ambitions noting that they “are destined to fall short again should come as no great shock, few having fancied them at the outset anyway.” Pinpointing where it has gone wrong, Stewart Robson writes “their inability to defend set plays has also cost them dearly, but their lack of creativity in games against Fulham, Stoke, Sunderland, Manchester City, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa has been of greater concern.” And staying with the North Londoners, after a week of turmoil in the boardroom and Alisher Usmanov have ruled out launching takeover bids for Arsenal, paving the way for a third party – possibly from the Middle East – to buy the club.”
On Liverpool, Michael Grant writes “in Torres’ continued absence, the choice of spearhead striker in their 4-2-3-1 formation at The Emirates will be significant. If it is not Robbie Keane, then the Irishman may be gone within a month.”
On the Champions League draw, Paul Wilson bemoans the “arrogant English supporters going around telling anyone who will listen that this year we are aiming for all four semi-finalists.”
Tony Adams emasculates himself of any power over his Pompey squad, telling Amy Lawerence “players are not scared of managers any more. The clubs have done that. Society has done that. The game has done that. It has taken away the power of the manager. You have got to be their mate now.” While in the other Sunday interviews, Shaun Wright-Phillips tells one of the best things Iâ€™ve ever done.”
On the transfer front, Rob Draper says “Arsenal are preparing a club record Â£20million bid for Russia forward Andrei Arshavin in a dramatic move to bolster their squad this January.” Paul Smith offers a different transfer target for Wenger’s team, with the juicy headline claiming “Arsenal are lining up a stunning bid for Manchester Unitedâ€™s loan star Carlos Tevez.” North London neighbours Spurs have apparently opened “talks over a Â£15million move for Stewart Downing,” according to Simon Jones.
And the transfer news continues. Rory Smith reports that “the Manchester United boss is hopeful of completing a deal to bring Nigerian-born Milan youngster Wilfred Osuji Chinoye to Old Trafford next month.” The People claim that “Jermain Defoe will be sold by Portsmouth in the transfer window – with Aston Villa preparing a Â£10million deal.” But it’s not all bad news for Pompey, as Rob Beasley pens “Tony Adams is ready to make a Â£10million raid for Tottenham midfield man Didier Zokora.”
In other news, James Corrigan sticks up for the Club World Cup while, calling English managers “default managers,” David James argues that only “when an English club is strapped for cash they seem to bring in an Englishman for the job.”
In an offbeat article, a devilishMay God speed Charlton as they edge ever closer towards the drop and may West Ham be bought for about Â£12.50 and a tube of sour cream â€™nâ€™ chive flavour Pringles by either Mike Ashley or an exiled Robert Mugabe.”