Archive for January, 2008

Arsenal 1-1 Birmingham

January 13th, 2008

For the second time around, Arsenal yet again was unsuccessful in winning a Premier League match this season when they ended up with a 1-1 deadlock with Birmingham. The club is just the second team to be unbeaten by Arsenal, next to Manchester United, in the Premier League this season.

With this, Chelsea is now only four points behind Arsenal after an undefeated streak with a 2-0 triumph against Tottenham, tied with Manchester United after a 6-0 win against Newcastle. Liverpool, on the other hand, also had a 1-1 tie with Middlesbrough that is said to have increased the pressure on manager Rafa Benitez. Manchester United has taken the lead again. With Newcastle’s unstable managerial hot seat, the United has been in better form.

During the course of the match, Arsenal was given a penalty kick when Stephen Kelly hit Eduardo da Silva at the rear in the area. Adebayor striked the kick to goalkeeper Maik Taylor, making it his 13th goal this season.

Birmingham was, on the other side of the game, denied a penalty of its own as Philippe Senderos tackled down Olivier Kapo within the area.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was downright frustrated with the way things happened at the Emirates Stadium. They were expecting an easy match but ended up with a tight deadlock. With Manchester United showing a better-than-ever performance, the team is worried with their stance. The Gunners failed to lock a victory in their own home in front of their own fans as Alex McLeish’s men managed to put a battling display to earn valuable spoils from the audience.

Still No Newcastle Deal for Redknapp

January 11th, 2008

According to Frank Lampard Snr, Harry Redknapp’s brother-in-law, no one has tried to approach Harry for the Newcastle manager position. Being the early favorite for the team after Sam Allardyce left who managed Newcastle for eight solid months, it has been a bit disappointing that no move has yet been made.

Lampard has been Redknapp’s assistant for seven years with West Ham and he divulged after Redknapp’s departure that Portsmouth boss has received no offer from the team. Also, according to Lampard, managing Newcastle will be a totally different thing for Redknapp since he has never managed any club further than London and that it will be a big decision for him.

Newcastle has reportedly been in search for a new manager, being the seventh in 11 years in football. Nigel Pearson will temporarily be in charge of their game against Manchester United on Saturday.

Redknapp has top qualities for a manager and the fans believe that he is fit for the vacant job. Many are speculating and anticipating his being appointed for the position. Only two months ago, he has also been linked with the England job.

Alan Shearer has also been connected with the vacancy but is known to have excluded himself from the list, perhaps not being ready for yet another managerial position. Magpies owner Mike Ashley has been scouting for experienced managers. Other names connected with the job are Martin Jol, Blackburn manager Mark Hughes, Jose Mourinho, and ex-England boss Steve McClaren. The question as to who has the greatest chance is yet to be known.

Henry Says His Heart Is Still With Arsenal

January 10th, 2008

After transferring to Spain at a 16-million-pound-worth deal, ex-Arsenal Thierry Henry admitted that he dreams of playing for Arsenal again. According to him, being in the club is in his blood and that he looks forward to playing for them again in the future. The Barcelona striker is eager to return to a team that has been so dear to his heart– maybe not today or the not-so-distant future, but in the future, at least

Last June 2007, he unexpectedly had to make a transfer. After eight memorable years with Arsenal, He was transferred to FC and penned a four-year deal for a reported £4.6 million per season. It was also reported that the contract incorporated a release part of £84.9 million.

According to him, he will never have the same affection he received from Arsenal, perhaps because he never stayed with a team longer than eight years. Also, his feel won’t let him. Henry’s 06–07 season was spoiled by injuries. Though he scored 10 out of 17 goals in domestic games for Arsenal, his season was cut short in the month of February.

With Barcelona, right after the transfer, Henry used the given number 14 by the team as he used in Arsenal. He has performed well by scoring his first goal for Spain on September 2007 in a Champions League game against Olympique Lyonnais. They won at 3-0.

It could be that Henry is regretting his move to Barcelona after divulging his sentiments with the press. His departure has somewhat been beneficial to the team since more talented young players are given the chance to play, although he played really well with Arsenal. Question is, will the fans give him a warm welcome if ever he comes back?

Arsenal Remains At The Top

January 10th, 2008

With 11 minutes left, Theo Walcott scored a goal, ending the match with Tottenham’s 1-1 deadlock with Arsenal during the first round of the English League Cup Semi-Finals at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger did not make a mistake of putting his trust again on the 21-year old after scoring the goal, as he considers his future with the team.

Having lost twice to the ferocious opponent in the Premier League this season, Tottenham eventually showed a better chance of winning in the course of a 37th-minute goal from midfielder Jermaine Jenas, taking them to the lead.

The Gunners however equaled the team’s effort with Spurs defender Lee Young –pyo’s attempt on Walcott, making the ball hit the striker on the chest and rolling into the net.

Keane seemed to be offside while the ball was played ahead. The referee, however, made the game continue. Wenger put in Eduardo da Silva and Bacary Sagna during the second half. Tottenham had the first opening when Keane made a goal within about 20 meters.

Tottenham have accepted more goals compared to any other team this season. During the 75th minute, Arsenal got the chance when King fouled Sagna on the border of the area. Armand Traore however put the follow-up kick high into the crowd.

On another note, New England manager Capello was present during the match and was watching intently in the stands, probably eyeing some good prospects for his team.

For the record, this is the first score Tottenham has had in eight of the last 13 games amid the sides, but still didn’t manage a win.

Dooley Dies at 77

January 9th, 2008

At age 77, former coach Jim Dooley, who took George Halas’ place, died Tuesday. After being at the hospital for three solid weeks, the coach finally ended his ten years of suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He stayed at the intensive care unit and eventually developed pneumonia. All the complications led to his death.

Jim Dooley was an ex-American football player and coach. He had a significant career during  his term with the National Football League’s Chicago Bears. He is known to have wanted to practice a career in Medicine but ended up being discovered as a talented football player.

His last match as a player was way back in 1962. After that, Dooley officially retired. He then became an assistant coach. After three years, he was assigned as a wide receivers coach, prior to his being a defensive coordinator. He was then hired by the Bears as an offensive consultant

The Bears improved and seemed to be on their way for a major improvement by winning five of their first seven games in one season. However, at some point of the campaign, it became a disaster. Dooley was then fired, making him the first ever Bears coach to experience that doom. After the unfortunate events, Dooley soon signed a contract as the linebacker coach for the Buffalo Bills. He, however, resigned after just one season.

In the year 1997, he was given an award by his alma mater with a position in the Miami Hurricanes’ Ring of Honor. With all his achievements and awards, he is considered as a significant part of football history.

AC Milan Beats UAE at 2-0

January 9th, 2008

The UAE national team did great at the start of their match against AC Milan held at Al Nasr Club, being the host of the much anticipated game at the start of the year. The brilliant performance was however ended when Milan striker Alberto Gilardino advanced forward to strike during the second half, scoring two goals.

The Champions League winners Milan decided to give all their players a shot during the game, with star football players Gattuso, Maldini, Ronaldo, Dida and Cafu appearing during the first half. During the second half, the team allowed Emerson, Gilardino, Nesta, Inzaghi, and the World Player of the year Kaka to play, changing the entire team.

The players showed remarkable performances proving their team’s prowess. Associazione Calcio Milan, generally known by the abbreviation A.C. Milan or plainly Milan, is an Italian trained football team based in Milan, Lombardy. The club started on the year 1899 and has since been recognized as the most competitive national team because of their history of always being in the top flight of Italian football.

In all fairness to the UAE defenders, they showed a reasonably good performance in significant parts of the match. The stadium was full with a strong attendance of 20,000, most of them being UAE’s supporters. The fans were not disappointed with how the team performed after seeing a very good fight shown by the hosts.

The team is presently getting ready for the coming World Cup qualifying match that is to begin this February. Milan, however, will be in Dubai for winter training.

Manchester United 2-0 Aston Villa

January 7th, 2008

After scoring a goal at Villa Park during Manchester United’s 2-0 away win against Aston Villa, Wayne Rooney ended the game ruining Villa’s FA Cup chances again.

Remembering the past seven seasons, this has been the fourth time Villa was matched with United during the third round stage. The team has lost at each match. Given this, Ferguson has preserved his proud record of “no-loss matches” during a third-round deadlock in the competition.

As always, the United proved their club’s worth by winning the game. Surely, they wouldn’t be where they are now, placing second to Arsenal and still in good form for the title race. Observers however say that the game was one of the mediocre ones that they have played, considering the other matches that gave way to outstanding performances, and given that they are expected to do much better, since the nearing of the end of the season is almost at hand.

Rooney had a superb likelihood to open the scoring 79 minutes past the game start when he did a long pass to Ronaldo prior to taking the return. Ronaldo then scored seconds later.

Carson also made a good save from Michael Carrick as United prepared to hit Villa again during the break. Carrick’s well-known advantage is likely to be his decision-making. It has helped him become such a good passer. But this character of his has affected the way the team has played this season, and has continued to affect how they played this game as well. Luckily though, with Rooney completing a brilliant goal, he sealed the match with a win.

Boruc Continues Career With Celtic

January 6th, 2008

27-year old Poland international Artur Boruc has signed a new 5.5-million pound deal with Celtic effective for three and a half years, which means that he is to stay with the club until year 2011. He has become the highest-paid player in Scottish football. After the speculated weeks of negotiations between AC Milan, Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he has finally decided to stay with Celtic.

After undergoing a knee operation early this December, he has returned to play with Celtic on a 3-0 away win against Gretna, putting the club back to the leading spot. His spectacular performances in the Champions League is said to have raised his market value to about 12 million pounds.

The Italian media earlier voted Boruc as the third most excellent keeper in the world which made Milan reportedly ready to negotiate with the player’s representatives.

During the month of July 2005, he penned a contract with Celtic from the Polish club Legia Warszawa. The deal was originally to be effective for a year but given a choice to make it permanent. Boruc then signed a one-year-deal with Celtic until 2009.

On November 2006 during a match against Manchester United, Boruc became the key to a knockout stage of the match. He was then considered the player of the month for December 2006 for the Scottish Premier League. This is a very rare incident for a goalkeeper. His performance also gained a nomination for the Scottish Professional Footballers’ Association’s player of the year award for the year 2007.

Heart Screening For Football Players Made Mandatory

January 4th, 2008

Because of Phil O’Donnell’s tragic death, all Scottish football players will undergo a mandatory heart screening as early as the coming season. Also, players who will take part in the UEFA EURO 2008 this summer will be obligated to undergo cardiac examinations prior to the tournament in the wake of earlier tragic events. The UEFA Executive Committee settled to this proposal during the second day of their assembly in Lucerne, Switzerland.

A heart examination is a medical test done to assess arterial blood flow to the heart muscle at some point in any physical exercise, compared to a person’s blood flow when at rest. The outcome can also mirror the overall physical fitness of a person. Heart test irregularities are signals of clear imbalances of comparative blood flow to different parts of the muscle tissue of the heart.

According to Professor Stewart Hillis, SFA’s medical consultant, the mandatory screening was something the association had promoted for quite some time. Everyone is aware that O’Donnell is not the first football player to die during a game due to a heart problem in the previous years. Marc-Vivien Foe fell and died at an international game in the year 2003. The 22-year old Spanish defender Antonio Puerta also died this season after a collapse during a match for Sevilla.

Everyone should be concerned with all the precautions during every match, ensuring all the players’ safety and well-being. Although it has been a habit that doctors sit on the bench during games, it was never put into paper and was never considered a regulatory prerequisite. This year, the Football Association will make sure that it is listed for the well-being of all the footballers who will play in the coming matches.

Hutton Decides to Stay With Rangers

January 4th, 2008

Spurs boss Juande Ramos has been aiming to make Rangers full-back Alan Hutton as his first signing for his club as they face the problem of a worn-out and incompetent back line.

After an impressive start to the 2007-08 season, the Scotland international has been in great shape for both his club and country. Damien Comolli, Tottenham’s director of football, was at Ibrox to observe the player himself during Rangers’ 2-1 triumph against Hearts.

Alan Hutton, however, contemplated about the offered 8.5 million pounds worth move to the Spurs, hoping that Manchester United will make an adversary bid for his talent. London club has settled with an agreement with Rangers for Hutton, but the latter pleaded that he be given a few more days to think it over.

Tottenham’s offer was considerably high for Rangers to make the decision of making Hutton move and continue his luck with the club. However, Hutton was resolute that the move did not fit his plans for his playing career, since he just penned a 5-year contract with his new family in the summer of 2007.

A tall, athletic and attack minded right-back, Hutton has made several appearances in several matches. He has done well in most of them. Hutton was asked by manager Alex McLeish for the first time on May 2007 for a match against Austria and a Euro 2008 qualifying game in opposition to the Faroe Islands. On the same month, he made his international debut against Austria, playing as a replacement. This season, he has played amazingly well which made other clubs eye his performance.